“So what you’re saying is, if I just keep saying motherf*cker non-stop in all my movies, I’ll never be out of work?”
Last week I accidentally set fire to my penis.
No I didn’t, but good god it felt like it.
I went 0-4 in the first round of the NFL playoffs and lost money on a football weekend for the first time this year. It hurt. It really hurt. The Cards taking a lucky one off Atlanta I could live with. Darren Sproles almost single-handedly pushing out Indy? That one bruised me, but hey tomorrow will have me 50-50 right?
After the Ravens literally ran over Miami Sunday morning, I was wandering the house dazed and confused. For the final game of last weekend I was constantly shifting seats, rooms, watching, not watching, ANYTHING to try and unjinx myself. Even my lucky Obama baseball shirt brought no relief (yes I wore it Nov 4).
As the clock went double zeros and Philly had hammered the final nail in, I felt depleted, burnt out, a shell. I was DONE.
A future as a vastly more portly version of Matt Dillon in factotum lay before me.
But then fate intervened.I caught Hard Eight again on cable a few days later, and realised no matter how past it you seem to be, you can always come back. And you can come back strong.
If you haven’t seen it, it’s Paul Thomas Anderson’s (Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood) first foray into decoding father/son relationships. It’s set in a pre cell-phone low rent Vegas, and tells the story of Sydney, a loner in his 60’s with a history who befriends the simple John (John C Reilly) and his equally stupid hooker girlfriend Clementine (Gwyneth Paltrow).
Its hard to remember now that Paltrow used to a) be a decent actress and b) be quite hot, but true dat.
Samuel L Jackson, still in Pulp Fiction mode, plays Jimmy, a thug pimp who blackmails Sydney over his paternal love for John.
Lifetime character actor Phillip Baker Hall brilliantly plays the put upon older guy, the man with nothing left to offer, until the film’s abrupt and perfect conclusion.
Moral of the story: don’t f*ck with the little guy.
So in his honour, we present the Hard Eight Memorial NFL Playoffs Round Two Sort Of Picks (with apologies to Bill Simmons for nicking the format).
BALTIMORE RAVENS v TENNESSEE TITANS
“John, this is a real f*cking mess you got here”
I really like the Titans, because I really like Jeff Fisher. The man knows how to coach. How to not pick public fights with his players. How to build a successful team in a small market city (Memphis is about the size of Takapuna) with a tight owner. How to rock a traffic cop mustache but still be manly.
They are one of the most physical teams in the NFL, and are successful with 36 year old rehabbed country singer at QB.
Unfortunately, they are playing the Ravens, who are almost their mirror image, i.e a team that can win a game with no offense whatsoever.
This is like a George Forman/Riddick Bowe fight. There will be no flashy technique, but if a team lands ONE clean punch its over. When they met earlier in the season it ended 11-10 to the Titans. Now its even closer.
WINNER: PUSH (see what I did there? I wimped out)
You know what the Ravens ones look like. Tennessee are in the South.
Slam and Dunk.
CAROLINA PANTHERS v ARIZONA CARDINALS
“I know about you. I know about Atlantic City. I know what happened there.”
What happened there is that I could not beilieve how loud Arizona’s home crowd were last week against the Falcons. They were deafening. Unfortunately they will not be in Charlotte this weekend.
Where it will also be outside, and not warm. So even the weather doesn’t like Arizona in this one.
Carolina? Also in the South. Do you see a pattern here?
NEW YORK GIANTS v PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
Here we go! Six the hard way.
That’s a hard six, old-timer! That’s not bad for me, is it, sister?
Phillip Seymour Hoffman is the best male actor currently living.
The only actor anywhere near him is Micheal Sheen who is appearing in the multiplex as a werewolf and David Frost simultaneously.
Hoffman can play charismatic, dull, gay, straight, dumb, super-intelligent, young, old, uptight, stoner, charming, vicious.
If he wasn’t a ginger he could probably play every ethnicity under the sun too.
Take any TV show or film and recast him as any of the parts.
For example I could see him playing Charlie or Alan or Bertha or Rose or the fat kid from Two and a half Men, and improving on all of them. That guy can freaking act.
His lines are prophetic here.
This will be a game decided by one touchdown either way. And it will be a hard six.
At some time Philly HAS to implode on offense, McNabb just can’t help himself, but not if the excellent and passionate Brian Westbrook has anything to do with it.
WINNER: NEW YORK
The Giants don’t have cheerleaders. You read that correctly.
They don’t even have drummers like asshat Russell Crowe’s Rabbitohs. So instead we will run a picture here of Kate Mara, who is the great-granddaughter of the founder of the New York Football Giants.
If you haven’t seen Shooter with Mark Wahlberg, Ms Mara’s nipples are worth the effort.
PITTSBURGH STEELERS v SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
You know the first thing they should have taught you at hooker school? You get the money up front.
I love the idea of hooker school. I’d be up for a visiting professor role there. Maybe in the Advanced Girlfriend Experience module.
That phrase always cracks me up in escort ads. Yes, what I’d like is to pay someone to force me to go to a dinner party at that dull girl you work with’s place. The one who’s boyfriend’s ‘into music’ so like, you’ll have something in common with him.
Cut to the dinner table:
Me: ‘So, you’re into music?’
‘Yeah. I saw Def Lepperd live in the UK last year. Awesome.’
With this game, if you know any San Diego fans, get the money up front. Because they are going to have to pay you.
While I don’t necessarily trust Ben Roethlisberger, I trust San Diego less, with the notable exception of super sprite Darren Sproles.
Sproles has a theory that he’s so small, big NFL defensive backs lose sight of him. He may actually be right.
The Verne Troyer football strategy is born.
Ok, the technical quality of this photo of Pittsburgh’s finest isn’t the best, but the content is spectacular.
I’d like to thank the Hilton Sportsbook in Vegas (above) for hosting me while I wrote this, and also for giving me my Mojo back with Florida winning last night. Thank you Tebow! A couple of other notes:
1) The sportsbook is the last old-time part of glossy Las Vegas casinos. No women, lots of crumpled men, poring over papers, smoking cigars.
Who look at me with my laptop and white earbuds like I’m a faggot-ass cheater. Or just a faggot.
TVs with horse racing on them. Ah, good times.
2) The Lakers really did a headjob on The Celtics on Xmas Day. They were awesome before that game, they have been awful since. Right know LeBron is toying with them in a flat, uncompetitive game. It’s kind of sad.
3) LeBron is god. But we knew that already.
– Mark Tierney