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Author: Michael H.

Golden Globes 2017 TV Nominations

Golden Globes 2017 TV Nominations

Let’s take a look at the Golden Globes nominations in the television categories.

 

It goes without saying, but the Golden Globes are kind of the Cousin Eddie of award shows. I outwardly profess to despise any an all of these narcissistic, back-slapping, self-given kudos fests, but, secretly, I like watching them. At least, I like seeing if my favorite shows and actors win, and, if not, I like railing against the injustice of the stupid, meaningless award shows.

I’ll stick to the TV categories since I cover that for The Open Field periodically. Also, I don’t see many movies in theaters so I’d be throwing darts at a wall. Furthermore, there were a couple of television programs from this year that I am madly in love with; expect very unbiased analysis of these noms.

(All categories and nominations have been taken from this Variety article.)

Best Television Series – Drama:
“The Crown”
“Game Of Thrones”
“Stranger Things”
“This Is Us”
“Westworld”

“This Is Us” can take a hike and I haven’t seen much of “The Crown” so that leaves us with three options. You all are probably aware of he we feel about “Game of Thrones” here at the site. And Westworld, well, imo it’s great as straight up sci-fi and kind of iffy as a character-driven HBO drama. I liked the first season a lot, but it’s not winning this category.

So who is winning this category? It will probably be “Game of Thrones,” but I want it to be “Stranger Things” so bad. I love this show so much. It has great world-building, great characters, a great mixture of horror and sci-fi, effectively pays homage to Stephen Spielberg and Stephen King, AND features a dumpy Indiana town. If not for “Atlanta,” it would have been my favorite TV show of the year by a considerable margin. Speaking of…

Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy:
“Atlanta”
“Black-ish”
“Mozart In The Jungle”
“Transparent”
“Veep”

Look, all the other shows are fine. But “Atlanta” was a gosh damn revelation. Donald Glover managed to create something new and unique in a TV landscape that is more overpopulated than Bangladesh. The first season was hilarious and insightful and surreal and really really good. “Atlanta” may have a chance at the Globes, but “Veep” will probably win the Emmy because old white people are dumb.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama:
Rami Malek – “Mr. Robot”
Bob Odenkirk – “Better Call Saul”
Matthew Rhys – “The Americans”
Liev Schreiber – “Ray Donovan”
Billy Bob Thornton – “Goliath”

Best Performance by an Actress In A Television Series – Drama:
Caitriona Balfe – “Outlander”
Claire Foy – “The Crown”
Keri Russell – “The Americans”
Winona Ryder – “Stranger Things”
Evan Rachel Wood – “Westworld”

How David Harbour – or any of the fantastic child actors – didn’t make the cut for Best Actor in a Drama is beyond all comprehension. His opposite, Winona Ryder, is very much deserving in the Best Actress category. Although, I must say, Evan Rachel Wood was freaking outstanding in “Westworld.”

Additionally, her “Westword” co-star, Jeffrey Wright, was also shamefully omitted from the Best Actor category. All the actors selected are fine; Harbour and Wright – not to mention Tony Hopkins! – were better than all of ’em.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy:
Anthony Anderson – “Black-ish”
Gael García Bernal – “Mozart in the Jungle
Donald Glover – “Atlanta”
Nick Nolte – “Graves”
Jeffrey Tambor – “Transparent”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy:
Rachel Bloom – “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus – “Veep”
Sarah Jessica Parker – “Divorce”
Issa Rae – “Insecure”
Gina Rodriguez – “Jane the Virgin”
Tracee Ellis-Ross – “Black-ish”

You can guess who I want to want to win the Best Actor, Comedy award (Bino, I’m so for real-o), but it will probably, and deservedly, go to Jeffrey Tambor. I’m pretty ignorant on the ladies side of this thing, but Julia Louis-Dreyfus is always a safe bet. Sarah Jessica Parker was really good in “Divorce.” I have seen snippets of the last three shows; each of those actors are dope as well (#analysis).

Best Limited Series:
“American Crime”
“The Dresser”
“The Night Manager”
“The Night Of”
“The People v O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television:
Riz Ahmed – “The Night Of”
Bryan Cranston – “All The Way”
Tom Hiddleston – “The Night Manager”
John Turturro – “The Night Of”
Courtney B Vance – “The People v O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television:
Felicity Huffman – “American Crime”
Riley Keough – “The Girlfriend Experience”
Sarah Paulson – “The People v O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”
Charlotte Rampling – “London Spy”
Thandie Newton – “Westworld”

Let’s take these in a big chunk. “The People v O.J.” was excellent – yes, even Ross from Friends was good in it – but I feel like it was overshadowed by the ESPN documentary covering the same topic. Also, “The Night Of” was my jam.

And that brings us to my toughest choice of these Golden Globes: Riz Ahmed or John Turturro for Best Actor? They were both pitch perfect – as was Michael K. Williams in a supporting role – and enthralling. But, as I said in my series finale recap, Turturro was a force of nature as the out of place, eczema riddled, seemingly hapless but actually pretty decent attorney. The show would have been pretty much the same with a different “Naz,” it would have been completely altered with a different “John Stone.”

Quick question: How did Thandie Newton from “Westworld” get a nom in the Limited Series category when Evan Rachel Wood already did, for the same show, in the Drama category? Oh well, Thande as “Maeve” – the slowly-becoming-sentient robot who cranks all of her sliders and owns a bunch of dumb humans – was probably my favorite part of “Westworld.” I hope she wins, but Sarah Paulson is also very deserving.

I hope all of my favs win a Golden Globe. If not, well, everything is broken and everyone is stupid.

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Old Guy Hates Thing: Twenty One Pilots

Old Guy Hates Thing: Twenty One Pilots

Twenty One Pilots: “I’ve been thinking too much. Help. Me.”

Me: “1) I would bet my whole life that there is no way you have been thinking too much, and 2) I wouldn’t help you if we were the last two people on Earth and you were injured and if I didn’t save you I would be completely alone until I died many years later.”

I’ve never had more difficulty writing something in my entire life. For this article I did the thing I like the least. I did the worst thing on Earth. I did something that I wouldn’t subject my actual worst enemy to.

I listened to Twenty One Pilots.

GGGAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH KILL ME PLEASE KILL ME NOW KILLLLLL MEEEEEEEE

Listen up young people. I’m a live and let live kind of guy. I swear I am. But some things in this world are so vile, so vapid, so tremendously stupid and awful that you have to stand against them. I’m talking genocide. I’m talking human-trafficking. I’m talking Caillou. I’m talking kids starving to death. I’m talking racism.

But most of all I’m talking Twenty One Pilots.

I would like to get one thing out of the way immediately: Why does the drummer guy (if you think, for one second, I’m going to look up the names of these colossal dingbats you are completely insane) insist on acting like he’s actually doing anything in these songs? There is no real drumming in these songs. It’s all drum machines and computers. Or, maybe it was real drumming at one point but it’s so distorted and covered in dog shit that it makes no difference. WHO DOES HE THINK HE’S FOOLING. What a goddamn joke.

Now.

I am aware of three of their songs. Two from their latest album – you can imagine my shock when I looked them up and saw that they have four total albums; how could we let this happen? – and that one from Suicide Squad. That’s the extent of my exposure. (Oh my god, “Lane Boy” just came on accidentally on Youtube while I was listening to these three songs and, holy shit, it’s worse than the rest.)

All together, I’ve probably heard all three songs all the way through once or twice. There are a few reasons for this: 1) I don’t listen to the radio, 2) I don’t work at a place that has a communal radio, and 3) when for some reason I am listening to the radio – guaranteed to be my kids’ fault – and one of their songs comes on I am immediately faced with two choices: swerve into oncoming traffic or turn the radio off. I opt for the latter because how can I take my children with me to that end? They have agency; only they can choose how to live their lives. On the other hand, the first option would mean my sweet kids would never have to hear another Twenty One Pilots song…

Anyway, they all have that faux-melancholic bullshit melody that is faker than the Housewives’ newly installed jammers. They all have fake drumming and various dumb electronic sounds. And they have horrible, horseshit rapping by the rapper guy. It’s so so bad, guys. Please be honest with yourselves.

“Stressed Out” is so obviously a dime store “My Name Is” knockoff that it bleeds into poorly-done-parody territory. “Ride” is…jesus, “Ride” is odious. I hate it with the fire of a million suns.

But I have the most visceral reaction to “Heathens.” It’s like they distilled the very worst parts of their band – which is every part of their band – boiled the resulting sludge in a vat of acid and poured it straight into my goddamn ears. It’s the most repulsive thing I have ever heard. I’ve never heard the whole song and I’m very proud of that fact. You couldn’t pay me enough to listen to the whole thing – OK, I would do it for a million dollars; OK, a thousand; OK, $35. Still.

In closing, let’s look at a sampling of the lyrics of these songs.

From “Stressed Out”:

Sometimes a certain smell will take me back to when I was young,
How come I’m never able to identify where it’s coming from,
I’d make a candle out of it if I ever found it,
Try to sell it, never sell out of it, I’d probably only sell one,

God shut up.

From “Heathens”:

Welcome to the room of people
Who have rooms of people that they loved one day
Locked away
Just because we check the guns at the door
Doesn’t mean our brains will change from hand grenades

God please shut up.

And finally, from “Ride”:

Metaphorically, I’m the man

This is, literally, the worst line in any song ever.

But, whatever, you need to make money, I guess.

OH JESUS WHAT HAVE I BECOME.

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Fantasy Football can go straight to Hell

Fantasy Football can go straight to Hell

A couple of things that are the worst: tweet storms, Twenty One Pilots, most of humanity, and other people’s fantasy football stories.

Well, too bad, here’s my fantasy football story: my fantasy team lost because my IRL team was too good at football. I shit you not.

I needed 33 points from Andrew Luck to make the playoffs. A long shot by any measure, to be sure. And then he started flipping that pigskin all over the field. And the Jets are complete horseshit and I’m like, “oh hell yes I’m gonna get these points and make the playoffs and at least win my money back so the wife isn’t pissed at me for pissing away money on dumbass fantasy sports again.”

So guess what? The Jets are so goddamn bad at football that Andrew Luck throws for for 289 yards and 4 touchdowns and has 29 points, and the Jets only have three points, because they are an abomination. So, the Colts are making one last drive with Luck at QB late in the third quarter. They get down to the three yard line because, again, the Jets would lose to Rutgers I swear to god. And but so, Luck hands the ball off to Robert Turbin – who’s that? you ask; exactly, I reply – who turns on the afterburners that I never knew he had and dives for the pylon and scores a goddamn touchdown.

The Colts are now up a million to goddamn three or whatever and Luck is coming out of the game because he didn’t even really need to play at all against the goddamn Jets because they are a pox upon the tainted sport of football. And so I lose my fantasy match up by three points to some cocksucker I have never met all because my team – the team I want to win more than any other team – was too fucking good at playing the sport I want them to be good at.

Fantasy Football and the NFL can go die in a hole. It won’t be around in 15 years anyway.

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Plane carrying Brazilian soccer club Chapecoense crashes in Colombia

Plane carrying Brazilian soccer club Chapecoense crashes in Colombia

A plane headed for Medellin, Colombia crashed last night. It was carrying players and staff of the Brazilian first division soccer club Chapecoense, as well as members of the media. There were 81 people on board, only six survived. It has been reported that three of the survivors may be players.

Chapecoense were on the way to play Colombian club Atletico Nacional in the Copa Sudamericana (South American Cup) final, which is essentially a South American Champions League. They were an amazing story: only reaching the Brazilian top division in 2014, Chapecoense were in the fourth division as recently as 2009.

The club was on a Cinderella run through the Copa Sudamericana. They were beloved by citizens of Santa Catarina, a small Brazilian city with a population under 200,000 in which they played. It is a truly heartbreaking tragedy, and the worldwide soccer community – and really every community – is deeply saddened and reaching out with support. Atletico Nacional is apparently petitioning to award the Copa Sudamericana championship to Chapecoense. Another petition has evidently been started to allow the club to receive free loanees and be exempt from relegation.

As you would expect, many images and videos of the team are being shared.

Here are some of the players who were not making the trip to the final, sitting in their home locker room after news of the crash:

This is a video of Chapecoense, in the same locker room, celebrating their win last week that saw them through to the final:

Here’s a video of Chapecoense players telling a teammate he is going to be a father. It’s from 20 days ago:

Finally, this is a video of Chapecoense fans who came together at their stadium:

I don’t know what else to say besides hug your peoples.

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Things to talk about at Thanksgiving other than politics

Things to talk about at Thanksgiving other than politics

A lot of people are home or heading home – by home I mean their parents’ house – for the Thanksgiving break. The conversations surrounding Thanksgiving dinner are always seen as a field of landmines, but this year is the Bane of potentially awkward interactions.

Here are some other less horrible things to talk about besides politics:

1. Nana’s goiter.

2. That one time Uncle Fred brought a “date” to Christmas dinner who he claimed was 19 years old but everyone was very suspicious.

3. Japanese internment camps, wait, no, uh…

4. How handsome Jimmy Garoppolo is.

5. Go around the table and have everyone list and describe all their family pets that have died.

6. How insane it is that White Nationalism used to be a thing, crap, sorry, hmm…

7. The Problem of Evil, which goes something like this: if God is omnipotent, omnibenevolent, and omniscient why do horrendous things – e.g. Andrew Luck being concussed – happen constantly all over the world to billions of people.

8. Duke Basketball.

9. That one cousin who is in and out of jail, but his parents think he is a sweet boy that would never do anything wrong. Also, his parents are eating Thanksgiving dinner with you.

10. Twenty One Pilots…just kidding, they are the worst thing on Earth, don’t you ever dare speak of them.

Good luck and Happy Thanksgiving!

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Jurgen Klinsmann finally speaks: it’s not great

Jurgen Klinsmann finally speaks: it’s not great

Let’s take a live look at Jurgen Klinsmann enjoying his Sunday evening.

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I was very excited and happy when US Soccer hired Jurgen Klinsmann. Bob Bradley did a fine job, but he wasn’t going to push the USMNT through to new and higher ground. Klinsmann was definitely going to do that. Never mind that it would take years (like a decade) and a completely different institutional structure to execute his promise of more proactive, attacking, possession-oriented, “beautiful” soccer. Never mind that it turned out that it really was Jogi Low behind the success Germany had under Klinsmann (JK does deserve credit for reinvigorating their youth program).

I bought it all: hook, line, and sinker. I was a believer. I was fully on Team Klinsmann. And, without a doubt, there has been success: big wins in Europe (Italy and Germany come to mind), a decent showing at Copa America, getting out of a terrible group in 2014. But, boy, has there been some stinkers: basically everything else.

Of course, most recently it was the loss at home to Mexico and the embarrassing demolition on the road at the hands of Costa Rica that has nearly everybody calling for Klinsmann to get the boot. I haven’t really lost the anger and desire to see him fired over the last week like I thought I might. Ol’ Jurgen himself seems to be keen on keeping those coals hot for everyone.

The New York Times released a piece today that included Klinsmann’s reactions to all of it. For most of us, it’s the first time we have heard him address all the ire and rage and calls for his head.

He said some things that were fine and optimistic: “I’m not afraid…I still believe we will get the points we need to qualify, and I am even confident we could win the group.” That last bit is pie-in-the-sky horseshit, but, OK, nothing out of line really.

Klinsmann went on, though, with some stuff that was not so fine and was actually arrogant and insulting (more in-line with his true nature imo) re people wanting him to be sacked: “Soccer is emotional and a lot of people make conclusions without knowing anything about the inside of the team or the sport.”

Uh oh, stop right there, Klinsy. Before it’s too late!

“The fact is, we lost two games. There is a lot of talk from people who don’t understand soccer or the team.”

Oof. There it is. Anyone that criticizes him, even in the face of monumental incompetence, just doesn’t know soccer. All of us are stupid and ignorant for wanting him fired. Ironically, he admitted that he would probably have been fired a few different times already had he been coaching a national team on the level of a Germany or England.

Klinsmann could have tried to address some of the issues and given his long-term plan to right the ship. He could have acknowledged how horrendous these last two performances were. He could have asked the fans to stick with him, promising he would work his ass off to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Instead he went the petulant and snobbish route, insulting those who care most about his team and program.

There’s not much more that needs to be said about all of this. I’m done with Klinsmann. I think most USMNT fans are done with Klinsmann. I think most USMNT players are done with Klinsmann.

Unfortunately, I don’t think Sunil Gulati has the marbles to make the right decision. Here’s to hoping I’m wrong.

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Mallory Pugh provides much needed USMNT hangover relief

Mallory Pugh provides much needed USMNT hangover relief

The US U-20 Women’s National Team are currently participating in the Under-20 World Cup in Papua New Guinea. If you’re not following the competition: 1) quit being so sexist, and 2) you should start now (since the games are being played in the middle of the night they are difficult to watch live, but you can check the results and highlights on the internet, dummy).

After drawing in their first Group C match with France, the U-20s beat New Zealand early this morning 3-1. They currently sit atop the group with four points. A win or a draw against Ghana on Monday (1 AM ET, FS1) will see them through to the quarterfinals.

Many future USWNT stars are taking part in the tournament, as well as one player, speedy winger Mallory Pugh, who has already made an impact with the senior team. In the eighth minute of the match against New Zealand, Pugh showed why this will probably be her last “youth” competition.

GOLAZO-AZO-AZOOOOO. Pugh pick-sixes the hell out of New Zealand here. After the interception, she uses her blazing speed and good close control to blow by the defender, cutting inside and unleashing a beautiful near-post strike. The keeper has no chance.

It’s easy to see why she has already been contributing to the senior team. In 2016, Pugh has scored four goals in 12 games with the USWNT. If the U-20s go on to win the World Cup it will most likely be a result of the fine play of Mallory Pugh.

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