While I don't really have much to say on the events in Ferguson in terms of racism, etc, one thing that has stood out to me (in other cases, as well) is how often police (in seemingly every community) blatantly lie about incidents in which they shoot/kill people. There is the quagmire of shit that was Michael Brown's death, there was that dude with a knife who was basically executed, there was that dude in NY who was choked to death, and every time, the version of events the police publicize directly fucking contradicts things like video footage and autopsies, two things that should always take precedence over "he said/she said."
My issue is that there is seemingly no oversight. There is no one to police the police. If the police say a series of events unfolded a certain way, no one really has the authority to challenge it. All that really happens is perhaps the officers in question take a paid leave of absence for a while so they aren't assaulted in the streets.
There's also shit like cops just pointing their weapons willy-nilly at random people during protests (something that should be covered in basic fucking gun safety - never point your weapon at something you aren't prepared to shoot) or using tear gas at the drop of a hat (another side note - I've seen a lot of pictures from Ferguson of people having milk dumped over their eyes after being gassed - If you're ever tear gassed, just don't rub your eyes, the burn will go away eventually. It only sucks for about 3 minutes).
One thing that I think would put a huge dent in police corruption/brutality involves tax/police reform on a national level. This might be completely unrealistic as it may take a constitutional amendment, but make it a requirement that every police officer has to live in the community they're policing, be it city/county/state. Some places already have this policy, but some places do not as they have the issue of either not enough people in their community joining the force and/or the community being too expensive to live in (i.e. San Francisco). To counteract that, tax reform would have to be introduced (and this is the hardest part) that would inflate the salaries of cops wherever there is a shortage of labor/recruits (not enough qualified people joining the force? Raise the salary until there are! Capitalism! ... through taxes). Then, to counteract the obvious conflict of interest (cops deciding how many people to hire when less employees = higher salary... hmmm...), an entirely separate entity would have to be created to conduct the hiring/maintenance of staff, and probably determine exactly how many officers are needed on the force in any one community.
obviously some of that is highly unlikely to ever happen and somewhat murky. And a "police police" would, one would assume, be just as open to corruption as our normal police. But I think it helps. As our police forces become more militarized, I think it's extremely important that some system of checks and balances is introduced
Now that the summer blockbuster season is pretty much over and done with, as we venture forth into Oscar season, what are your top movies of the year? What are you still looking forward to?
Personally, I don't think I've seen more than 5 movies from this year. I just finally watched The Winter Soldier like last week. I don't get time to go to movies often and I didn't have a TV for a while. I'm going to try and make things up over the next couple months.
Top movies of 2014 by domestic BO:
1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier - Disney - $260m
2. The LEGO Movie - WB - $258m
3. Guardians of the Galaxy - Disney - $251m
4. Transformers: Age of Extinction - Paramount - $244m
5. Maleficent - Disney - $248m
6. X-Men: Days of Future Past - Fox - $233m
7. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes - Fox - $204m
8. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 - Sony - $203m
9. Godzilla - WB - $201m
10. 22 Jump Street - Sony - $190m
11. How to Train Your Dragon 2 - Fox - $172m
12. Divergent - Lionsgate - $151m
13. Neighbors - Universal - $150m
14. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Paramount - $146m
15. Ride Along - Universal - $134m
Top movies of 2014 by average rating (English/Animated) on RottenTomatoes (not counting documentaries/concerts):
1. Boyhood - 9.4
2. The Grand Budapest Hotel - 8.4
3. Ernest & Celestine - 8.2
4. The LEGO Movie - 8.1
-. Snowpiercer - 8.1
6. Blue Ruin - 8.0
7. The Wind Rises - 7.9
-. Under the Skin - 7.9
-. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes - 7.9
10. The Normal Heart - 7.8
--. How to Train Your Dragon 2 - 7.8
12. Guardians of the Galaxy - 7.7
13. Captain America: The Winter Soldier - 7.6
--. Locke - 7.6
--. X-Men: Days of Future Past - 7.6
--. Calvary - 7.6
1. Ida (Polish) - 8.3
2. We Are the Best! (Swedish) - 8.0
3. Gloria (Spanish) - 7.9
4. Stranger by the Lake (French) - 7.8
5. The Lunchbox (Hindi) - 7.7
6. Like Father, Like Son (Japanese) - 7.6
7. Omar (Arabic) - 7.5
-. The Dance of Reality (Spanish) - 7.5
9. The Raid 2 (Indonesian) - 7.4
10. Venus in Fur (French) - 7.1
Upcoming movies I'm looking forward to:
The Two Faces of January - The directorial debut from Hossein Amini, the writer of such films as The Wings of the Dove, Drive, Snow White and the Huntsman, and Killshot (and 47 Ronin, but... eh). It's an adaptation of a Patricia Highsmith novel that stars Oscar Isaac as a tour guide in Athens in the 1960s who gets caught in a sticky situation involving a wealthy American played by Viggo Mortensen (the whole "alluring wealthy person who isn't what he seems" deal) and his wife, played by Kirsten Dunst. Early reviews are pretty positive, saying the film is old-fashioned, beautifully shot, and tense as a motherfucker.
The Congress - In the vein of Being John Malkovich, The Congress stars Robin Wright as herself. From what I gather, Robin Wright agrees to basically sell herself as a character to a studio, then the film somehow goes on this crazy ride where Robin Wright is sucked into a dream world that blends live action and animation and looks spectacular. I don't know much about the plot (neither, apparently, does the film), but early reviews say the movie is ambitious and beautiful enough (plus Robin Wright's performance would be Oscar-worthy if half of it wasn't voice-acted) to make it worthwhile.
A Walk Among the Tombstones - Liam Neeson. A Particular set of skills. I'm in.
The Zero Theorem - A new Terry Gilliam movie that looks so unapologetically Terry Gilliam that it gives me goosebumps. The movie takes place in an awesome-looking cyberpunk world and stars Christoph Waltz as an anti-social hacker who is trying to find the meaning of existence. Just watch the trailer. Holy shit.
Gone Girl - David Fincher. Thriller. Mystery. Ben Affleck.
Fury - Directed by David Ayer. It takes place toward the end of WWII and stars Brad Pitt, who leads a tank crew that gets trapped in a battle where they're hopelessly outnumbered. Pitt leads a crew of war vets along with a soldier fresh from the states played by Logan Lerman. After End of Watch (one of the best films of 2012, easily), I'm eager to see what Ayer does again tackling heavy subject matter, only this time with a much bigger budget and Brad Pitt to work with.
White Bird in a Blizzard - Written and directed by Gregg Araki, and I'm pretty much always down for anything he does, even if I don't ultimately end up liking it (he's done Kaboom, Smiley Face, Mysterious Skin, and Nowhere). He's got a way of getting into uncomfortable territory without it being cringe-worthy that I really like. Plus the movie stars Shailene Woodley, and I'm eager to see what she does with Araki's kind of material. And Eva Green is in it, which almost certainly means her boobs are as well.
Interstellar - Obviously.
The Hunger Games: Mockinjay, Part I - Yes, it's another "part 3 of a trilogy, only we're making 2 movies out of it because you'll pay to see it anyway," but the last 2 Hunger Games movies have been so damn good that I have faith the next 2 will be as well. The quality of the movies blows the books so far out of the water, it's unreal. Francis Lawrence did a magnificent job with the last movie. The only things to give me pause would be that the movie could possibly end up bloated to shit because it's one (thin) book stretched over 4-5 hours, and this movie doesn't quite have the screenwriting pedigree of the last 2 (Billy Ray and Michael Arndt, respectively). This one is written by Danny Strong and Peter Craig, who both do have good movies under their belt (The Butler and The Town, respectively), but aren't as established as Ray and Arndt.
Exodus: Gods and Kings - This one might suck, but there are enough names around it to make me watch it anyway. The story of Exodus, as told by Ridley Scott (Blade Runner, Alien, Gladiator, etc etc), Steven Zaillian (Schindler's List, Mission: Impossible, Gangs of New York, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), starring Christian Bale, Aaron Paul, Joel Edgerton, Ben Kingsley (obviously), Sigourney Weaver, Indira Varma, and John Turturro.
Inherent Vice - Paul Thomas Anderson, going back to subject material that (presumably) isn't preachy as fuck, which is something I feel like his las few films have been really guilty of.
If we end up with 8 people, there will be 2 QB's per team and 7 other offensive spots. Those go down as more people join (smaller leagues are more fun when every team is loaded).
Right now socring is set up as pretty standard PPR, but I'm always interested in trying different things. 6 point passing TDs, heavy punishments for mistakes, etc. Some of you probably remember my ill-fated Suck League last year (I would still love to do that if there's a system out there that lets me score drops, missed tackles, penalties, etc)
Also, if anyone is at all interested in making it an IDP league, I would absolutely love it. I haven't done one of those in a couple years. Some people think it's too much work and there's too much luck involved, though.
Of course I already bought one, though, GI-style. I bought the 48" entry level Vizio E-series for $500. My old Panasonic croaked and I needed a new one on a budget.
Anyone else have experience with Vizio TVs as of recent? Their models over the last few years seem to be getting really solid reviews. Most reviews say they still might not quite be on Samsung's level, but the fact that they cost roughly the same as a Toshiba, it's well worth it.