Sunday, April 8, 2012

Film Recommendation of the Week...

A Gang Story (Les Lyonnais)
Release Date November 30, 2011 (France).
Running Time 1 hour 42 minutes.
French w/English subtitles. 

The critics have pilloried this French gangster film as being formulaic, devoid of action and better suited to a made-for-television miniseries, which is why I never take reviews to heart when judging something as subjective as cinema. My opinion is it will go down as one of the unappreciated classics of the genre. When I read the reviews I was hesitant to watch it, but once I got into it I wound up appreciating everything about it. This is really two stories in one, and the seamless back-and-forth through time is done with exceptional skill.

The film begins with a glimpse into the life of a retired grand lion in winter, Edmond “Momon” Vidal (played by the dashing and charismatic Gérard Lanvin), co-founder and survivor of the legendary real-life "Gang de Lyonais" that terrorized France throughout the 1970's with some of the most daring armed robberies in the annals of organized crime. During a celebration at his tastefully post-modern home, Momon has gotten word that his best friend from youth and fellow ex-gang member Serge (played by Olivier Chantreau) has been captured after many years on the run by the same cop who helped take the gang down in the first place.

There is one overriding concern for Mormon-what if Serge flips in prison and gives up information he doesn't want the cops to know? Does Mormon then decide to have him murdered in prison, does he bribe the guards to make his life more comfortable, or do they hatch a plot to get his old friend out? Mormon, out of loyalty to his friend and dedication to the mantra "honor among thieves", plans an audacious escape plan that works, with tragic results. But the past, as per usual, comes back to haunt both Mormon, Serge and the policeman who's been on Serge's trail all these years.

Two pressing issues intertwine immedialtey after Serge is busted out of captivity-Serge is being chased by two opposing factions-the cops, who want him back in prison, and the Spanish gangsters that Serge has stiffed out of some unknown but apparently large sum of money while he was dealing in narcotics in Spain, where he was hiding out the whole time the French police were looking for him. Mormon is concerned that Serge isn't coming completely clean about his dealing with the Spaniards, and winds up gets caught in the middle while the cops threaten his present lifestyle of the suave and debonair retiree and the Spanish drug dealers sending hitmen to take out what remains of Serge's family, who Mormon now must find a way to protect.

The Lyonnais Gang in their '70s Heyday-
The flashbacks to their days as an organized gang are juxtaposed brilliantly with the present days' action. I highly recommend this film and gladly state that the critics have gotten this one totally wrong. Not only is the plotline engrossing, the cinematography is superb. Forget the critics and go check this one out. You will not be sorry.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Fuck Tiger Woods Already...

Somebody had to say it, so it might as well be us. And I'm not alone in elucidating this particular sentiment. Everyone here at the home office of "Busting Chops" feels exactly the same way. A couple of weeks ago Woods won his first tournament since his ex-wife took a driver and hit a wedge shot that slammed him all the way into the worst bunker he's ever had to slither out of. I have no idea what I just said, because I'm not well-versed in golf parlance, nor do I care to be. There's a reason for this-golf isn't a sport. Never was, never will be. It's stupid to watch and the people who play it are annoying, none more so than Tiger Woods himself. Here he is having a classic meltdown at the 2012 Master's, shanking the shit out of a shot that goes far wide and into the crowd-

Anything where being rich and white gives you an advantage can never be called a sport. It's a country club contrivance that allows bloated, sagging, Caucasian octogenarians the ability to get away from their disgusting, Botox-embalmed wives so they can smoke cigars with the boys and talk about what it feels like to be masters of the universe. This Old Boy's Club wasn't ready for a brother to kick their asses on the links. It didn't happen because Tiger woods isn't really black. He's never identified himself as black, his image doesn't resonate with the black community, and he certainly doesn't take a stand on any controversial issues that affect the black community, like how brothers are only allowed into the most exclusive country clubs only to be servants, grounds crew attendants and caddies.

Woods was supposedly going to cause a groundswell of interest in the sport amongst blacks, but that never happened because he never reached out to them. If he did, it was in such a quiet fashion no one heard him. Let's be real-the country clubs don't want blacks sharing their space, and blacks don't give a shit about golf. During his whole career up to this point, I've never heard any of my black friends say they had to stop what they were doing to watch Woods catch wood on the back end of a par nine. Not so with cats like Michael Jordan, who, love him or hate him, stopped traffic almost every single time he was on television.

So after a salacious, world-wide sex scandal and the attending ridicule, a costly divorce, 45 different surgical procedures on various body parts and the loss of many of his sponsors, here is Woods at the Master's throwing clubs, hitting spectators with errant golf balls (one almost hit me and I live in the Bronx) and acting out like a petulant little bitch-ass child. His profanity-laced tantrums are nothing new-for him they are, shall we say, "par for the course". But there is more to this than meets the eye.

There is nothing more pathetic than watching an athlete lose it before ones' very eyes. This is what is happening to Woods. He seems incapable of tailoring his game to anything but sheer dominance, unlike say, Michael Jordan, who became an overweight (yet still eerily effective) jumpshooter with a bum knee and no hops whatsoever. If Tiger isn't front running, he's not in it to win it. Yes, he can still place high in tournaments, but no one wants to see that. If he's going to do that and nothing more, who the fuck will care? That's what happens when you set the bar too high and can no longer jump over it with relative ease. And good riddance to his so-called "domination". Golf needs to breathe some fresh air, because Woods has sucked it out of the room for far too long, and it has benefited only one person-himself.

Blacks aren't allowed to be mediocre in any aspect of American society. They must be twice as good just to be let into the same room as everyone else. So if you show up with a brother for a golf partner, everyone expects the cat to be a ringer, or else why bring him along? If the brother in question is going to be as mediocre as everyone else, why not save everyone the discomfort and just bring another white guy to the course? You really stunt the atmosphere when the guys can't spend an afternoon on the links relaxing and telling racist jokes when there's a brother around. That really kills the atmosphere.

So Tiger Woods had to be that guy-the phenom who was not only better than all the other black players out there struggling to make inroads into this racist, lilly-white bullshit non-sport, but crushingly better than all the other white cats who've dedicated their lives to upholding the unwritten rules that have kept golf exclusively upper-class and white for centuries. And this was part of the reason why he's fucked now that he's crashed down to Earth.

Another thing was his image. To maximize corporate sponsorship levels to unprecedented heights, his race had to be eliminated from the equation. Woods wasn't selling himself as a black man dominating a white sport. He was polished, erudite, sophisticated, infused with an insufferable, arrogant air of supreme invincibility and huge, blindingly alabaster front teeth that made him palatable to the predominantly white audience he was marketing himself to. This was the only way White America would tolerate a brother fucking their game up with skills never seen before and more than likely never to be seen again.

But that ride is over. His physical decline has already taken place. The injuries he's accrued have been borderline catastrophic. And as much as he prides himself on his physical fitness, ask any athlete what happens when a knee goes. It's a wrap after that. No amount of steroids or German platelet therapy is going to change the fact that he's done as a dominating player. Will a mediocre Tiger still have fans? Yes. Will he still be hired as a corporate shill, selling product for massive amounts of money? The numbers say yes. But that's because there is no other player out there with nearly as compelling a story, except recently it's been nothing but lurid tabloid fodder.

Woods is guilty of one thing-setting the bar too high for other black players coming after him. This is why during his sixteen years as a professional, we have not seen one other black golfer break through the highest ranks of pro golf. His influence in this regard has been absolutely stifling. It's not his fault, mind you-his approach has always been about himself and the crafting of an image that was clearly, in retrospect, at odds with reality. My question to him would be this-why go through the trouble of seeking out such a beautiful woman to marry, a white woman at that, knowing what you'd lose if you were caught cheating, and then cheat on her with so many trashy white broads? It's almost like marrying a Brazilian supermodel and then trolling Queens Boulevard for one of those skanky, disease-ridden Puerto Rican whores that stroll that particular part of NYC. I don't get the logic. Monumental hubris must be a motherfucker.

On the other hand, you can't blame someone for being more talented than the field by the widest berth we've ever seen. But it just goes to show you that in the world of country club "sports" (and when referring to golf, I use the term "sport" loosely) there are many more challenges to face other than having Wood's big stupid face plastered on every commercial that's shown during a golf tournament and being comapred to him at every turn. The Williams sisters really got tennis going in the inner cities, didn't they, judging by all the black talent that's come up after them. Then again, I don't think normal women could ingest the massive amount of steroids they take and still live to play a whole match at Wimbledon.

So fuck you, Tiger. Fuck you and your corporate branding, fuck your humongous set of fake choppers, fuck your arrogance and fuck your petulance. Fuck your obnoxious sense of urgency, as if walking from hole to hole is akin to a brain surgeon strolling into the ER to save a patient with massive head injuries. It's time to have others share the limelight for a change in a so-called sport that sorely is in need of an injection of new and compelling characters. We've all had enough of you, and even if you miraculously come back to break the record for most majors, everyone will STILL be talking about how much money our ex-wife walked away with for doing absolutely nothing in life. That will be your legacy. Own it, you've certainly done enough to deserve your place in the pantheon of douchebag athletes who could have done more and done it better but chose the low road instead.

(under construction)

Friday, April 6, 2012

Babe of the Week for April 6, 2012 is...

Ana Beatriz Barros!!!

Ah, another one of Brazil's national treasures. Aside from samba, a relentlessly sweltering sun, the worst slums in the Western Hemisphere (with the glaring exception of Haiti, which has the worst of EVERYTHING), and some of the most egregious wealth inequality between rich and poor, it thankfully also boasts some of the most beautiful and exotic-looking women in THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD. Our beautiful baby Ana was spotted by a talent scout in Rio de Janeiro at the age of thirteen (along with her sister, who is also a model), and the rest was history.

She's got legs...
Why is she so beautiful? Why does she loook mahvelous, dahling-absolutely mahvelous? Is it the sweaty tropical climate? Is it the grinding poverty? Could be, but being a blend of Portuguese, Italian and Spanish heritage certainly doesn't hurt. She has had major contracts with the likes of Guess, Victoria's Secret and Chanel. She's also modeled for that whore Jennifer Lopez and her bullshit JLO line of absolute crap clothing and cosmetics, but hey-if the gig pays well then what the fuck, right? It just annoys me that such a naturally gorgeous woman as Ana is in any way affiliated with that jive-ass ghetto wanna be poser. Jenny from the Block? You mean Jenny from THE COCK...

Aside from that, we can still appreciate this woman's genetically-enhanced physical qualities without having to bring J-Ho into the picture. You know what's funny? Even with all the cosmetic surgery and and painfully obvious liposuction (remember not too long ago when she had a smashed-in nose like a prize fighter) Jennifer Lopez still can't hold a candle to this sweetie pie of a goddess. Bless you, Ana. We regular shlubs will never get anywhere near someone like you, but we can gawk at your photos and thank who or whatever is responsible for the fact that for every ugly, fat, lardass tramp that walks by with a snotty attitude thinking they're all that, we have you, darling Ana, to put them in their place. Viva Brazil!!!

Mirame, coño...

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Tales from The 'Hood...

This new investigative series chronicles the myriad ways in which dysfunctional, hoodrat motherfuckers of the ghetto sabotage themselves and their families, leading to generational poverty due to overall stupidity which knows no bounds. The stories are horrifying, tragic, ironic, self-destructive and hopefully make for a pleasant and entertaining read. We here at "Busting Chops" feel there is no better pick-me-up than laughing at someone elses' misfortunes, especially when those misfortunes are self-inflicted.

Harry* hasn't a pot to piss in nor a window to throw it out of. He has no place to stay because his father decided to re-marry and move his blushing new ghetto loser bride in to his apartment along with two of her crack babies from a previous dalliance. Given this scenario, Harry was the obvious choice as odd man out. With nowhere else to go, he gets a fat bitch pregnant because birth control is beyond someone this stupid. They were staying at her mother's house until all three of them got thrown out.

Harry has a low-paying job off the books. He is also renting a room from someone where she cannot stay. His girlfriend decided to go to a shelter because the city would then help her get an apartment. While in the shelter, she meets up with another homeless asshole and they decide to get together to plot against Harry. Say what you will about Harry, but at least he was giving this dumb ho money for their child. Very admirable of him. She thought if she took him to court, he would have to give her more than whatever it was he was giving her. What this idiot didn't know was you cannot have the court garnish the wages of someone getting paid off the books because there is a little legal issue called "proof of income".

Once in front of the judge, Harry stated that he wasn't working. He had to lie because, what else was he going to do? And it's not like his ex had any proof he was employed, since officially Harry didn't have an apartment under his name. There was nothing she could prove except that she's a fat fucking bitch. The judge then settles on $25 a month, which is much, much less than what he was originally giving her. In fact, that was less than what he was giving her A WEEK. So because she decided to listen to her homeless Lothario and took Harry to court, she winds up getting just enough money for an occasional trip to Kennedy Fried Chicken and a bottle of Thunderbird wine to wash it down with. Stupidity is like infinity, ladies and gentleman-it knows no bounds.

Ah, but it gets better. The judge then tells Harry to try a little harder to get a job because he has a child who depends on him. Instead of saying "Yes, Your Honor-I'll try harder" and leaving it at that, Harry decides to get stupid, just as he was almost in the clear. Not only were his payments lowered, but he was able to rub it in his ex girlfriend's face for trying to extort him. He replies (to the judge, mind you) "Yeah? If you think it's so easy out there, why don't you get me a job?"

Someone should have told homeboy that you don't talk to judges like this. The judge then retorts-"Well, Harry, I'll put you in a court-mandated job program. Once you are trained and placed, you'll come back and see me so I could then take more money out of your earnings.". This not only jeopardizes Harry's current employment (he cannot possibly work a full-time job AND attend a training program at the same time) but if he loses his current job he won't be able to pay for the room he is currently renting, so unless he can manage to be at two places at once, he's probably going to lose someway somehow. Let's hope he can extricate himself from this Gordian Knot of dysfunction long enough to gain some stability in his life.

Here's to you, Harry-good fucking luck. And remember, don't talk shit to the next judge who presides over your case. He may not be as nice as the last one you were in front of.

*Names, dates and other pertinent information which would lead to the identity of said people have been changed. Not to protect the innocent, but to keep them from further shame and ridicule. Not that it matters to anyone here at the home office at "Busting Chops", but if we didn't provide a modicum of anonymity, we wouldn't get out hands on such tales of relentless woe.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The NCAA Final Four...

If anyone has any doubt as to the increasing corporatization of college sports, I hope you are enjoying the truly abysmal spectacle that is the NCAA basketball tournament, which will culminate in tonight's final game. The University of Kentucky goes up against the University of Kansas, and Kentucky coach John Calipari will more than likely end his mercenary and completely joyless tournament run with his first national championship, after which most if not all of his star freshman players will declare for the NBA draft before the nets are cut down.

No one knows how "Coach Cal" works his white boy voodoo magic to lure the most talented high school players in the country year after year to play for him, but he has left a slimy trail of thinly veiled malfeasances at every program he has worked for. Neither UMass nor Memphis have come close to matching the success they enjoyed with Calipari, but those successes came at a cost, with the NCAA coming down on both programs after he's left. Here is a short laundry list of questionable practices by Calipari-

-There are many coaches who feel extremely uncomfortable with the allegiances Calipari's carved out for himself with various powerful street agents who masquerade as AAU coaches all across the country. This may not be illegal, and indeed these types of relationships are necessary if one is to compete for the best high school talent in the country, but the system itself is rife with massive corruption on that particular end. And the only thing that talks is money.

-The myriad of NCAA violations UMass and Memphis were left with after Calipari's tenures at both schools had ended. Leaving town just ahead of the posse doesn't look good, but it hasn't hurt his ability to land what is arguably the best coaching job in college sports. What does this say on the premium Kentucky puts on winning at all costs?

-At Kentucky, basketball has always taken precedence over everything else, including education. There is nothing else going on in that state, and despite the monumental pressure to succeed, Calipari has been unrepentantly doing "The Dougie" ever since he got there. So whatever he is doing to bring in these blue chip athletes, it's with the University's blessing.

Calipari is by no means what ails college basketball, he is merely the poster boy for how rotten things have gotten. He is a symptom-the greasy, flashy player's coach who can all but guarantee his signees a one-way ticket to the NBA lottery if they just buy into his system, which caters to developing a pro-style game with the dribble-drive offense on one end and stifling man-to-man defense on the other.

These guys played on the same college team-and couldn't win the big one...
Yes, it takes a great coach to bring these type of cats together. No one is denying Calipari's skill set as an X's and O's guru. There have been a few glaring examples of hyper-talented teams whose coach couldn't take them to the promised land. One of the most egregious examples was Dale Brown of LSU, who had a bomb squad with Chris Jackson, Maurice Williamson, Shaquille O'Neil and Stanley Roberts in 1990 yet lost in the second round of the tournament to Georgia Tech. But that doesn't excuse the manner in which Calipari goes about his business.

This type of talent-hoarding at the top by the super-programs has damaged college basketball. The athletes you see playing in Division I are indeed physical specimens-quicker, faster, and stronger than at any other time in the history of college basketball. But that doesn't make them compelling players to watch. Where are the transcendent talents? Last year we were subjected to the nauseating Jimmer Fredette as the darling of the tourny, and this year it's one. Come on, man, please!!! And where are the eccentric coaches like Guy Lewis of Houston or Jerry Tarkanian of UNLV? The sad part is that in today's game, there is no room for coaches like this. They are an anachronism, having been run out of town by the corporate structure that pervades in college sports. Coach K of Duke will go down as the most successful coach in D-I history, but that doesn't make him any less boring.

Jerry Tarkanian-at least he made cheating fun...
Calipari, as polished a corporate slickster as there is, has a few things in common with the loveable redneck goon Dale Brown and the out-of-control renegade Tarkanian-they all had problems with the NCAA. Brown and Tark the Shark were continuously hounded by accusations of recruiting violations, something which coach Cal has managed to somehow avoid. With his track record of violations after the fact, that is a miracle, but an example of what college basketball has turned into. Kentucky is a national powerhouse, not some backwater program run by a coach who is constantly at odds with and challenging the power structure, which was Tarkanian's eventual undoing. Calipari probably cheats just as much as these other coaches did (and probably a lot more, seeing how big-money has infiltrated the ranks of basketball all the way down to the junior high school level) but he puts on  the face of the happy corporate warrior and doesn't make any waves.Which is not so much a crime as it is a shame. when the suits win, we all lose. And college basketball is all the worse for it.

So enjoy cutting down the nets tonight, Calipari. I for one will not be rooting for you despite the inevitability of the outcome.