Wrote about my favorite 2019 movies, television, records, songs, rock shows, books, theater, podcasts, and more.
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Wrote about some of my favorite 2017 television.
A few scorching observations from this week’s “Ride Along” to Malebolge and back:
1. Still not an occupation.
2. Chemistry as a metaphor is just a lame simile.
3. Shouts to all of Ben’s former teachers who were most definitely watching their newly famous former student call them hags (paraphrasing) on one of network TV’s most enduring programs (while “running through the halls of high school” faster than John Mayer runs from the fact he once penned this euphorically nostalgic song).
4. Ben blaming that Ricky Rubio-esque jumper on his button-down may have murdered fellow Hoosier Jimmy Chitwood.
5. I’m making eye contact with you too, Lace!
6. “Hi kids. Are you having fun during your reality television-induced abandonment?”
7. Poor Man’s Noah Emmerich SLAYS as dystopian Dr. Love.
8. Shushanna speaks English?!
9. On a scale of 1-Carrie’s Mom:
Abandoning your two little girls for a dating show = Carrie’s Mom
Only acknowledging their existence out of pure desperation = 7.5
Comparing them to other contestants’ dogs = 7.0
10. “If it was never new, and it never gets old, it’s a song from Amos Lee’s bizarro private concert during The Bachelor’s 20th season’s second episode.” – Llewyn Davis
11. I obviously chose “LB” in my first ever suicide pool. Blessing in disguise. My fickle heart wasn’t built for this show.
12. See y’all next week?
The only sport that matters is returning, and I’m almost as excited as Robin Lopez on Back to the Future Day.
Meet your 2015-16 All-Bank Team. This eclectic squad is essentially my version of Taylor Swift’s “futuristic, neo-noir” army of stage-crashing henchwomen.
While these esteemed gentlemen won’t be competing for a title together, each will individually vie for your heart.
Heading into this wildly compelling season, they’ve already hijacked mine.
Head Coach – Frank Vogel (Indiana Pacers)
Even in 2014-15’s dismal Eastern Conference, I have zero clue how this 42-year-old “Avenger” led the Pacers to 38 victories. George Hill’s team leading 16.1 PPG and 5.1 assists shouldn’t have been enough to keep Zombie Roy Hibbert upright and in meaningful April basketball games. With Hibbert pursuing more Parks and Recreation-esque cameos in Los Angeles, newly-acquired point guard Monta Ellis should help Vogel make these guys fun again.
It’s easy to forget how awesome Paul George is, but never sleep on Vogel. Last year’s job was even more triumphant than 2013-14’s (I’m still convinced Mike Woodson’s Knicks would’ve faced Miami in the Conference Finals if Chris Copeland played more minutes and Tyson Chandler didn’t drop dead).
I can’t wait to see where the league’s fourth-longest tenured head coach (!) goes from here.
Point Guard – Michael Carter-Williams (Milwaukee Bucks)
There’s something inherently charming about a third year guard who can’t shoot being coached by a dude who spent most of his Hall of Fame playing career making teams wish he’d pass less.
While I admittedly have Syracuse University bias, I really do like MCW in Jason Kidd’s system. With Greg Monroe, Greivis Vásquez, O.J. Mayo, Khris Middleton, a (hopefully) healthy Jabari Parker, and Greek Freak doing Greek Freak things, there won’t be many jumpers left to brick.
Kidd masked his own playing deficiencies for nearly two decades. Carter-Williams should have enough talent and mentorship around him to do the same. The dude has been EPIC before. He’s ready to begin again.
Shooting Guard – Andre Iguodala (Golden State Warriors)
I bet you already forgot Iggy is the reigning Finals MVP.
Iguodala may not be the elite athlete he used to be, but he’s only 31. No productive role player is in a better situation. With or without Steve Kerr, he’ll make you remember last June.
Small Forward – Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks)
This will come as a major shock to those who know me.
I’ve never been a Melo guy (I was a Kansas fan until I attended SU in 2007), but I’ve decided to sign a Trump-esque loyalty pledge to the player whose health (and attitude) will determine whether my dysfunctional basketball family’s pursuit of pleasant mediocrity is realistic.
Whether he’s a Knick for four more months or years, loathing your best player is equally excruciating and exhausting. Trust me.
No “superstar” is worse at hiding when he isn’t trying (especially since James Harden learned how to kinda feign playing defense), so I’m hoping my “unwavering” support will make a subtle difference.
If I’m stuck with Carmelo Anthony, so are you.
Power Forward – Nikola Mirotić (Chicago)
I don’t know what’s more shocking – the fact that last year’s behemoth Rookie of the Year runner-up came out of a woman’s womb, or that this occurred in 1991 (just two years before Henry Rowengartner tore up the National League). This man simultaneously makes me feel ancient and prepubescent.
Mirotić played all 82 games and led the NBA in fourth-quarter scoring last March. With unconventional confidence, efficiency, finesse, power, and range, the Serbian Sorcerer (my nickname until you can think of a better one) is a Hummer and bizarro McConaughey Lincoln commercial rolled into one.
I’m not sold on Fred Hoiberg filling Tom Thibodeau’s void, but I am convinced Chicago has a future All-Star on the rise. He’s arrived just in time to replace their former MVP.
Center – Steven Adams (Oklahoma City Thunder)
“Steven Adams pissing off opposing players, then staring at them, stone-faced, as they attack him — and get ejected.” – Zach Lowe, Grantland
“Adams is the youngest of Sid’s 18 children with five different women. His siblings and half-siblings are notable for their exceptional size and athletic prowess.” – Wikipedia
Sorry, Kirk Hinrich. Steven Adams is my new favorite basketball player. He’s also the first annual All-Bank Team CAPTAIN.
– Thabo Sefelosha. Frustratingly underreported story.A productive (and respected) 10-year NBA vet. What if he was a star?
– Entertainment publicist who told me she believed Sasha Vujacic could become “Basketball’s Beckham” back in 2009.
– Janis Porzingis
Bank’s 2015-16 NBA Predictions
MVP – Anthony Davis
Rookie of the Year – Karl-Anthony Towns
Finals – Cavs over Thunder
Kristaps Porzingis’s early training camp injury may not be the end of the world, but it sure felt like the end of Armageddon. When Krispy (my current nickname of choice) tweaked his left knee during a non-contact drill on Wednesday evening, life flashed before my eyes faster than first-class Leftovers babe Liv Tyler appeared in our 1998 global savior’s.
For a 26-year-old New Yorker with an unhealthy amount of future happiness resting in the hands (and knees) of a 20-year-old Latvian, this felt like a rational response. After initially questioning Phil Jackson’s fourth overall selection, I quickly contracted an incurable “Porzingis Fever” and will never be the same.
Porzingis represents a cultural shift within an organization plagued by a multi-decade-spanning identity crisis. In 2015-16, the Knicks aren’t just rebuilding, they’re also rebranding. Janis’s not-so-little brother happens to be the perfect spokesman.
Since June’s draft, Porzingis has said and done all the right things. With Ivan Drago-esque confidence (and facial expressions), Carmelo Anthony’s first legitimate mentee (apologies, Tim Hardaway Jr.) seems ready to embrace the diverse on and off court challenges headed his way. Whether facing Jahlil Okafor in Vegas Summer League or Berman of The Post at Panini’s NBA Rookie Photo Shoot, Porzingis has yet to shy away from the spotlight.
17 wins shouldn’t be difficult to top (I’m expecting 32), but significant progress comes in many forms. If Porzingis can remain intact and in a practical supporting role (settle down, Willis Reed), he’ll give fans a reason to believe and finally delete Beginnings: Raymond Felton from their DVRs.
It’s only October 3rd, and Porzingis’s highs and lows will surely provoke more fervent responses throughout his rookie tour. Knicks enthusiasts and apologists should brace themselves for an equally bumpy and interesting ride.
October 28th is approaching like an asteroid, and like Liv Tyler’s fictional and real-life fathers, I don’t want to miss a thing.