I have a question for the teams in the East that are vying for a playoff spot. Would you rather get kicked in the nuts by a bull or play the Pistons? I don’t want to say the Pistons are the best team in the East right now, buttttttttttttt only two teams have longer win streaks than them (4 in a row). The Griffin and Drummond combo is clicking ever since Andre came out of concussion protocol. Thon Maker may be a god in human form (possibly a premature exclamation). Wayne Ellington is certainly a basketball player. Reggie Jackson doesn’t stink anymore. Luke Kennard is officially NOT a bust. I could go on and on about how the Pistons should strike fear into every living basketball franchise on the planet, but if I waxed any more poetic, the rest of the East may just fold and give the Conference Crown to Detroit right now. What sort of fun would that be?
In all honesty, the Pistons making a run at the playoffs is the right move over tanking. Outside of Zion, I am not sure if there is a player more likely to change a franchise than to bust. The Pistons are so far out of the number one pick (and have too much talent to be the worst team) that tanking for the number 9 pick is so much worse than trying for a playoff spot. The Knicks have lost 17 in a row! There is no way Detroit could suck that bad. As for the draft? You just have to hope the new Pistons front office can find value in wherever they are picking. They havent had a chance yet to draft int he first round so you cant trust or distrust them, but their second round picks (Brown and Thomas) have proved worthy picks, especially Bruce Brown.
If the Pistons make playoffs, I don’t expect them to win a playoff series but I would be pretty disappointed if they didnt win a game. Especially considering that a LeBron led team is out of the question for a first round match-up. Obviously, these expectations are hinged on the fact that they make the playoffs. If the Pistons dont make the playoffs this will be the most disappoint season in a while. So, lets not think about that until later in the season, ok?
As anyone who follows college basketball knows, Michigan and Michigan State are a couple of the top teams in the country. As of now (Jan. 9th) the Wolverines are ranked 2nd in the nation and the Spartans are ranked 6th. Obviously, nobody expected Michigan to be as good as they are after graduating/losing their three best players in MAAR, Duncan Robinson, and Mo Wagner. Michigan State is doing their typical Michigan State thing where they are really good in November, December, and January. While these early months don’t really mean a whole lot in the grand scheme of things, they can produce some pretty fun and exciting match-ups. With that said, here lies my issue.
Michigan is undefeated and Michigan State only has two losses. Both are firmly in the top ten in the nation. Both are playing great ball right now. Both are the top two favorites to win the B1G Ten. Both have players who are competing not just as a team, but as individuals i.e. Winston vs Simpson. Wouldn’t it make sense for the B1G Ten to schedule one of the games between U of M and MSU earlier than FEBRUARY 24TH?!?!?!?! But Dalton, how would the B1G Ten know that both of these teams would be in the top ten? That is a fair point, loyal reader, but still a stupid argument. Michigan vs Michigan State has been the B1G Ten’s best basketball rivalry for about five years. The B1G Ten could always garner national attention with a January match-up between these two. It just doesn’t make sense to make both games two of the final four games of the B1G Ten season. They also couldn’t be COMPLETELY blindsided that Michigan and Michigan State are both really good. Izzo always has MSU humming in the basketball months that dont matter and Michigan is coming off of an NCAA Championship appearance. Yea, they lost their top players but you would think they would at least be a top 25 team. By waiting for these games towards the end of the season, the B1G Ten takes money out of their own pockets. If MSU and Michigan played tomorrow, it would probably be the highest rated college basketball game of the season thus far. Say both teams get roughed up a little bit in conference play, something that is totally possible. Now, instead of undefeated #2 vs 14-2 #6, that match up might be #18 vs #15. It is just idiotic what the B1G Ten is doing.
Obviously, the B1G Ten being shitty at their job isn’t anything new. College athletic governing boards have made billions of mistakes in the past and will probably make millions of mistakes by the end of this week. But this error of back loading games hurts not only themselves and their respective universities, it hurts fans of basketball everywhere.
Back when I was writing for WCBN, I did an end of year media awards blog. Well, it popped up in my Facebook memories today and inspired me to write another. But Dalton, aren’t you at work? Yes, but its that weird week in between Christmas and New Years where nothing really gets done. This one will be a little more in depth than my previous one, probably because I care a little more and have consumed more media.
*Obviously there are some HUGE names I am leaving off of this list (Avengers, Star is Born, Black Panther, etc.) but I never a. got around to seeing them or b. Not a huge fan of comic book movies/am so far behind on them that it would be a disservice for me to watch them now.
- Isle of Dogs– A classic Wes Anderson film through and through. From the stop animation, similar to that of Fantastic Mr.Fox, to the constantly dry humor. A cute and touching story about a boy going and finding his dog. What is not to love about that? All the big names in the movie certainly delivered on their voice acting. When the biggest gripe with Hollywood is that its all remakes, this was an invigorating breath of fresh air.
- Into the Spider Verse-While I said I am not a huge fan of comic book movies, this one completely blew me away. It was a refreshing take on the played out Spider-Man story. It was cute, funny, and 100% self-aware. For example, they introduce many Spider-People into this movie and each time they show the origin story, they make some comment about how “we’ve all heard this story before”. This movie took a story line that looked to be dead and pumped new life into it. I’m not saying I would like a second movie in this series, but I am saying this is my favorite comic book movie of all time.
- Death of Stalin– Death of Stalin was a phenomenal film with a lot of nuanced, dark comedy that a lot of people didn’t expect. It wasn’t advertised that much or shown in many theaters nationwide. I was luck enough to see it in its last week of running. If you get the chance to buy/stream it, you have to do so.
- The Ballad of Buster Scruggs– Netflix release movies typically scare me away, but this Cohen Brothers film bought Netflix a little more credibility. The fact that this movie was so unconventional is what made it so great. Instead of a normal movie where there is a main story line surrounded with B and C plots through out the entire film, this movie was a collection of five individual stories that had no connection to each other. Setting it in the Wild West was a great way to touch on the different types characters you would come across that the Silver Screen doesn’t really pay homage to. Because of the ‘five individual story’ structure, it is one of the easiest movies of the year to watch.
- Bad Times at the El Royale– The big cast (Bridges, Hamm, Hemsworth) certainly delivered in this murder-mystery thriller. But it was the lesser known names that stole the show. Lewis Pullman’s performance as Miles Miller, the bell boy/concierge at the El Royale was phenomenal. Portraying the innocent boy who knows too much, his character was the whipped cream and cherry on an already delicious movie. The movie is a little long and can drag at times, but the “You don’t really know who anybody is” aspect of the film keeps you engaged for its entirety.
WINNER: ISLE OF DOGS
*I know that most of these songs are rap and a lot of my followers will ask where the Greta Van Fleet is. GVF is good. I like them, but they didnt put out anything in 2018 that was “Song of the Year” good. So get off my back.
- Mo Bamba by Shek Wes: The anthem of college kids across the nation. It is simple, the words are easy to figure out, and anytime drunk people can scream three consecutive obscenities in public, the song will pick up a lot of steam. Also Mo Bamba being a good basketball player has helped. Underrated part about this song is that Shek Wes filmed it while in a walking boot and on an Amigo scooter.
- High by Young Thug ft Elton John: The first 500 times I listened to this song, I wept uncontrollably. Its like Thug, Sir Elton, and Jesus sat down in a studio and decided to give this world the most important piece of media since the Ten Commandments. If you haven’t listened to this song yet, I’m jealous that you get to experience it for a first time.
- Rats by Ghost: This radio friendly rocker from the Satan-worshiping metal band is catch as all get out. Ghost would probably be my band of the year if I had that category. Their new album “Prequelle” was strong from front to back and “Rats” is the crowned juul (trying to get my SEO up). My Dad always told me that a metal song is all about the riff and “Rats” certainly delivers. From ground and pound melodies to mind melting solos, this heavy rocker takes back seat to nobody.
- Nice for What by Drake: Undeniably the King of Main Stream Rap right now, Drake’s newest album “Scorpion” delivered hits on hits on hits. “God’s Plan” got all of the social media hype with the tear-inducing music video and meme culture. “In My Feelings” got massive numbers because of the Shiggy Challenge that was inescapable on Instagram. But “Nice for What” is the most fun, dance-able, singable, and listenable song off of the 2018 project from Aubrey.
- The Middle by Maren Morris, Zedd, and Grey: So, so catchy. This dance hit combines all the features of a modern pop song. Strong vocals, fun bass/beat drops, and high energy. It was played at least 2x at every house party or bar I went to in the summer. Not the greatest song of all time, but I would be doing it a huge disservice to leave it off of this list.
WINNER: HIGH BY YOUNG THUG FT. ELTON JOHN
BEST TV SHOW*
*I don’t watch Game of Thrones. I’ve been planning to since last April.
- Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Season 13: The ASIP cast delivered again. While there were a couple of duds in this season, there were just as many all-time classic moments. It was great that Dennis (my favorite character) is back to his maniacal ways, Frank is as crazy and depraved as ever, Mac fully embraced his gay character, Charlie is Charlie, and Dee still doesn’t get an ounce of respect. A very self-aware season where they poked fun at the TV industry, society, and themselves.
- Big Mouth, Season 2: From the weird mind of Nick Kroll, Big Mouth was the most outrageous show I’ve seen in a very long time. Continuing to follow a group of kids through puberty, it is every bit as awkward and hilarious as it is raunchy and adoring. The best addition to this season was Nick’s personal Hormone Monster. Weird, decrepit, and a total failure. “You’re the man Steve!”
- American Vandal, Season 2: Crushed the entire season in one sitting while out in San Francisco with some friends. Not as funny as the first season, but the main story and the plot twists were just as captivating. Again, they perfected the mock-umentary and I will be sure to watch Season 3 (if there is one)
- South Park, Season 22: One of South Park’s better seasons in a while. I’m not sure what the critical reception is, but anytime they can put in an entire episode about Catholic priests, count me in. They also brought back Al Gore and ManBearPig (MBP) in a couple of episodes. The biggest thing I got out of this season is that Al Gore’s life mentor was Al Gore.
- Better Call Saul, Season 4: For those of us who has stuck with Saul through the first three seasons, we were rewarded BIG TIME. This season really dives into the character of Jimmy McGill and you see more and more cross over with Breaking Bad. I don’t want to spoil too much of it in case there is someone who has been meaning to watch the series. The first few seasons were slow, but this last season was just as good, if not better, than the best seasons of Breaking Bad.
WINNER: BETTER CALL SAUL, SEASON 4
BEST VIDEO GAME*
* I don’t have a PlayStation or a Switch but I’ve heard really really good things about God of War and Smash Bros.
- Red Dead Redemption 2– In the much anticipated release to the sequel to Red Dead Redemption, RDR2 doesn’t disappoint in the slightest. In fact, it may be the only game that had exceeded already sky-high expectations. The graphics were absolutely phenomenal. It was the first game that was built for consoles with enhanced graphic capabilities. Ever minor detail was accounted for. The game play was even more in-depth than the visuals. From the horse relationship mechanics to the way you could interact with local towns folk. RDR2 didn’t just give us a rehash of its predecessor, it took what made it great (story line, endearing characters, rarely touched upon genre) and built upon. Not too often does a video game sequel deliver on this level.
- Fortnite- I know that this game technically came out in 2017, but it didn’t become what it is today until early 2018. I’m sure most people understand the gist of what Fortnite is and how its played. But some many people don’t understand what makes it so fun. Simply put, it is the multiplayer aspect. Squading up with your friends and taking on 96 other people is both challenging and exhilarating. Pair that in with the fact that no two games are exactly the same and it is 100% free to play, and you have yourself a smash hit. Obviously, people buy different character skins and dances to help personalize the experience, but they offer no competitive advantage. All you need is a console, an online membership, and some friends for a good time.
- Far Cry V- Before this game, I was never really into the Far Cry series. But, when my brother told me it was about a cult in Montana, I was hooked. It was a very open world game with a lot of side missions and mindless activities that helped enhance the game play. The story line was engaging and the weaponry was very fun. From guns like a shovel launcher (exactly what it sounds like) to a variety of assault rifles, the guns in this game added another level of enjoyment. Not as in depth as RDR2 but for this game, that is a good thing. They kept it complexly simple and delivered an absolutely outstanding game.