USA Oh-Babay Basketball Team

By: Christopher O’Brien

Here’s the most up to date list of the USA Oh-Babay basketball team roster:

If you can’t see the image above very well, take a look here.

How in the world do you narrow this down? So much talent to choose from.

With the exception of Lamar Odom, who I’m not really sure how he got on this list in the first place, each cut from here on out is a major challenge.

Here is how I would construct the 12 man roster.

*Note: I’m assuming Dwyane Wade is going to miss the Oh-Babay due to surgery.

1. LeBron James – Easiest selection by far. In the international game, LeBron can play all five positions.

2. Chris Paul – Team needs a point guard, Chris Paul is the best in basketball.

3. Kevin Durant – Durant carried the USA team on his back in the 2010 FIBA World Cup. Not sure if it’s called World Cup yet, but I’m sticking with it.

I can’t wait to see LeBron and Durant play together. It’s like the Miami Heat, but with Durant playing the role of Mike Miller. Good luck defending against this.

4. Kobe Bryant – This will be his last run at another Olympic gold medal. The team needs him especially with Wade’s injury. Plus, I’d love to see Coach K put Kobe against LeBron’s team in practice and recreate the ’92 MJ vs. Magic alpha dog battle.

5. Carmelo Anthony – In the international game, Carmelo Anthony has actually had the most success offensively of any player on this list. His mix of size, strength, and shooting ability has made him the team’s leading scorer in the past.

Could Coach K use this as his starting five? Possibly, but against some of the bigger teams he’ll need to utilize a true defensive minded center, which brings me to:

6. Tyson Chandler – He’s not Dwight Howard, but NBA Defensive Player of the Year Chandler will be crucial when battling the Gasol brothers of Spain.

7. Chris Bosh – Good guy to have on the court hitting midrange jumpers. Bosh’s more finesse style bodes well for the international game and he’ll need to put the same effort into rebounding that he did in the NBA Finals to help fill in the potential rebounding weakness of this team.

8. Deron Williams – I like Rajon Rondo better, but he’s not on the list. I’m assuming too much bad blood between him and the Heat guys. I could see Rondo never giving the ball to LeBron. With Deron Williams you have a solid backup for Chris Paul.

9. Russell Westbrook – Versatile pick. He can play a little point guard, but will often come in as the backup shooting guard to Kobe Bryant. His speed and effort will provide a huge boost off the bench.

10. Kevin Love – Can step out and hit the three and rebounds like crazy. Better value with Love than going with Blake Griffin.

11. Anthony Davis – Not a bad year for the Unibrow. Kentucky National Championship, No. 1 draft pick, and now the potential to win a gold medal. Once again, not Dwight Howard, but the combination of Chandler and Davis should give USA all the shot blocking power they need down low.

12. Blake Griffin – Imagine the dunking potential of Griffin going up against some of the lesser international squads in the first few games. Way too many Youtube moments and poster opportunities to pass this up.

Who I cut:

James Harden – This is hard because my roster only has one true shooting guard in Kobe Bryant. I think they can recover from this with Westbrook or maybe playing Chris Paul and Deron Williams at the same time. If necessary, they can always have Kevin Durant, LeBron James, or Carmelo Anthony slide over to the shooting guard.

The biggest concern for this team will be the Spanish frontline of Marc Gasol, Pau Gasol, and Serge Ibaka (not sure how he ended up in Spain). It will be more important to have depth with the bigs (Griffin, Love, Bosh, Davis, and Chandler) than bringing in Harden.

Eric Gordon – Health concerns.

Andre Iguodala – Just too much depth at the small forward position. His defense was crucial for the 2010 FIBA team, but hard to steal minutes in 2012 from LeBron/Durant/Carmelo. If Carmelo were to opt out, Iguodala would be my first choice to fill the spot.

Rudy Gay – Same reasoning as Iguodala, too much ahead of him at the position.

Starting Lineup/Rotation: 

An even harder decision. I’ll go with this look: Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Tyson Chandler. 

Off the bench I bring in Carmelo Anthony, Deron Williams and Kevin Love as my main three  reserves.

After that, depending on certain matchups, then I can utilize Chris Bosh and Russell Westbrook.

Expect Blake Griffin and Anthony Davis to be the 11th and 12th men on this team.

Let me know what your lineup looks like and go USA!

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LeBron James on Late Show Dave Letterman

By: Christopher O’Brien

A few weeks ago I wrote that the secret to LeBron James’s succes was that he had finally found himself again and was truly happy.

Well, look at him now:

And…

Watch the video of LeBron on Letterman here.

Couple notes:

-It’s good to see the man this happy

-Olympics are going to be awesome!

-He handled the Cleveland questions well. He handled everything in this interview well. This was not a gloating LeBron, there was no malice, no, “See, haters, I’m the man now!” vendetta.

-His hairline is higher than David Letterman’s.

ALL VIDEO AND STILLS BELONG TO THE “LATE SHOW WITH DAVE LETTERMAN” AND CBS. 

2012 NBA Mock Draft: Picks 15-30

Hi, welcome to the rest of the first round. If you haven’t seen my lottery picks yet, hop on over here.

Let’s pick up at No. 15.

15. Philadelphia 76ers select Perry Jones III

The 76ers have a really solid roster in the works. Point guard, Jrue Holiday, check. Shooting guard, Evan Turner and Lou Williams, check. Small forward, Andre Iguodala, check. Stretch forward, Thaddeus Young, check. Center, Spencer Hawes, check.

Power forward. Elton Brand. Check-ish. 

Elton Brand has been great for this team, but he’s got a 1979 birthday. In two, three years max, there will be nothing older than 1980 floating around in starting lineups.

Time to bring in the young, freakishly athletic big man Perry Jones III.

16. Houston Rockets select Arnett Moultrie 

17. Dallas Mavericks select Jared Sullinger

Let’s say the Mavericks win either the Deron Williams or Dwight Howard sweepstakes. Hell, let’s say they win both and suddenly have a terrifying Big Triple D of Deron, Dirk, and Dwight.

If this happens, the rest of the pieces on the roster have to be cheap and effective. Sullinger at No. 17 would be cheap compared to anyone in free agency and the potential is there for him to do well in the NBA. This is the same guy who once sat on top of many mock drafts circa 2010-11.

My problem with Sullinger is not just the back issues that have recently come up, but the way he struggles against longer opponents. Rewatch game film in the NCAA Tournament against Kansas. Jeff Withey was a nightmare matchup for Sullinger.

In the NBA, he will always be going up against taller, longer opponents. This is why I think he will fall out of the lottery, but if he can be paired with a true attention grabbing (well, on and off the court) center like Dwight Howard, Sullinger could fill in quite nicely.

18. Houston Rockets select Fab Melo

Houston has been doing a lot of shenanigans in the last couple of days. All their picks seem to be trade bait or parts of potential packages. I say they take Fab Melo for a rebounding presence they likely will never use.

19. Orlando Magic select Royce White

Weird predicament to be in. Are the Orlando Magic in “lure Dwight Howard into an extension” mode or “begin to plan for life after?” Either way, I think Royce White is the best pick.

A lot of people know Royce White as “that NBA prospect who’s afraid of flying.” The Magic can work around this.

  • 41 games are played at home in Orlando
  • 2 games are played in Miami
  • Train ride makes places like Charlotte, Washington, New Orleans
Here’s the thing, rookies usually hit a wall because they are not accustomed to an 82 game schedule. White would only have to play 50-55 games. For west coast trips why not bring some recently retired player on the plane for a 10-day contract. Same thing for the east coast stretches.
Come playoff time, all roads go through Miami. Royce will be well rested and told to go out and defend the hell out of LeBron James. Bus to Miami. Bus back to Orlando. Repeat.
What if they have to play Los Angeles or Oklahoma City in the Finals? Eh, we’ll figure that out when it happens. They said Yao Ming would never learn English either. These things tend to work themselves out.
20. Denver Nuggets select Terrence Ross
21. Phoenix Suns or Boston Celtics select John Jenkins
In my last article, I had Phoenix trading their lottery pick, Austin Rivers, to his dad in Boston. But when this trade never actually happens, I like John Jenkins at this spot regardless of team.
For Phoenix, he replaces Grant Hill. For Boston, he replaces Ray Allen. Jenkins is one of the best shooters in the draft (led all of college basketball in threes) and was the lead scorer in the SEC.
I think he’s a more athletic version of last year’s underrated rookie Klay Thompson.
22. Phoenix Suns or Boston Celtics select Tyshawn Taylor
Once again, this pick works for either team. For Phoenix, they’d be taking a gamble on an explosive but turnover prone replacement for Steve Nash. For Boston, they’d be bringing in a poor man’s Rondo.
Taylor and Rondo are very similar. Both about the same height, long, crazy fast, hard to understand, passionate, great leaders who are not known for their outside shooting. Taylor is a little more out of control, but I think he’s improving. At least some baby steps in the right direction.
In Boston, Taylor would be the body double for Rondo. They wouldn’t need him for more than 10-15 minutes a night and Doc could give him freedom to go play fast. If Taylor turns the ball over five times in his substitution minutes, no big deal as long as he keeps the offense moving and throws in a few steals. If Rondo’s out with injury, it’s like having a similar backup quarterback in football; he won’t be able to do the same things the starter does, but you won’t have to change the offense.
Taylor would also have the Jayhawk bond with Paul Pierce.
23. Atlanta Hawks select Draymond Green
I strongly believe Draymond Green will have a solid NBA career. He’s like Glen Davis but a better passer. I could see him coming in and averaging 6 ppg, 5 rpg, 3 apg and slowly getting more and more minutes off the bench.
24. Cleveland Cavaliers select Quincy Miller
25. Memphis selects Tony Wroten from Washington
26. Indiana Pacers select Robbie Hummel
Come on Indiana, this feel good story is meant to end with Robbie Hummel in a Pacers uniform knocking down big threes.
Yeah, yeah, the two ACL injuries, but he bounced back and if a third happens, there’s always Kobe Bryant’s German guy to go see.
I’d love for someone to convince me why Hummel can’t be Steve Novak or Kyle Korver 2.0. If I’m a GM and I can get Stevyle KorVak for the No. 26 pick and maybe $1 million investment, I’m doing it.
27. Miami Heat select Marcus Denmon 
For all of the anti-Miami Heat fans, this off-season could be a difficult one to stomach. The Heat might get Ray Allen, they could possibly land Steve Nash, and they have nothing to prevent them from taking a few gambles.
For example, why not sign Greg Oden for a minimum contract. If it doesn’t work, who cares, they have Udonis Haslem and Joel Anthony to backup the new super look of LeBron James at the four, Chris Bosh at the five.

Marcus Denmon is a great shooter, streaky, but when he’s on it’s lethal. Send him in from time to time to catch passes from LeBron, you know the ones that aren’t going to All-Stars Wade or Bosh or strong outside shooting Mario Chalmers, Ray Allen, Shane Battier, Mike Miller, James Jones, ah damn you Pat Riley, you hair-gelled genius!

28. Oklahoma City Thunder selects Moe Harless

29. Chicago Bulls select Tu Holloway

This is my Number 1 sleeper pick of the entire draft. In reality, he’ll probably be taken in the 40s, but I have no idea why.

Holloway can create his own shot and has great offensive moves. A lot of times he had the pressure of being the only source of offense for Xavier.

Next year the Bulls still need a solution at shooting guard, they’ll need a lot of scoring help with Rose out, and then when Rose finally does come back, they need a guy like Holloway who can create on his own to relieve the pressure on Rose.

30. Golden State selects Marquis Teague

Backup point guard to Steph Curry or starting point guard and move Curry over to the more natural shooting guard role. I’ll leave that decision to Mark Jackson.

And that concludes my NBA Mock Draft. Sorry there’s no Round 2, but I feel like I brought a little bit of Round 2 flavor into this one with Hummel, Holloway, and Taylor. Enjoy the 2012 NBA Draft Thursday night and I hope your favorite team gets the next great NBA star.

Or at least the next Steve Novak…

Moonrise Kingdom: Wes Anderson Strikes Again

By: Christopher O’Brien

Wes Anderson’s new film, Moonrise Kingdom, is the best movie I’ve seen all year.

First of all, this is Wes Anderson:

Look familiar? Maybe not. He’s the director behind:

Anderson also did Life Aquatic, Darjeeling Limited and his debut film Bottle Rocket. The casts of his movies usually include the otherwise rarely seen Bill Murray, his former college roommate Owen Wilson, and his long time friend Jason Schwartzman. He brings big names into his films the likes of George Clooney, Meryl Streep, William Dafoe, Gene Hackman, Danny Glover, Ben Stiller, and Adrian Brody; just to name a few.

Within the first ten seconds of any Wes Anderson film you can tell you’re watching something different. It’s a different pace, different colors, different camerawork than we’re used to. The dialogue moves fast, actors hardly smile, the awkwardness between characters is ratcheted up.

His movies are incredibly funny, but I wouldn’t label them as comedies. The subject matter is often serious; with a focus on being an outsider in your own family, or society, and has used suicidal characters, depressed characters, misfits, violent characters in main roles.

But these aren’t dramas. They’re not dramadies, they’re neither too light nor too solemn. They’re artsy films, but accessible to almost anyone.

The only description that works is, “That’s a Wes Anderson movie.”

The newest Wes Anderson movie is Moonrise Kingdom. Right now it’s only showing in a handful of cities around the United States, one of which being Royal Oak, Michigan. I was lucky enough to be in Detroit this last weekend and was able to drive over for the 7 p.m. showing.

If you look at the movie poster, you see the big names listed at the top. Bill Murray. Bruce Willis. Edward Norton. Tilda Swinton. Most directors would kill to have one of these actors, let alone all four. Moonrise Kingdom also has Academy Award winning actress Francis McDormand (think the lady in Fargo) and the underrated Jason Schwartzman.

Here’s one of the ways Wes Anderson differs as a director/producer: he can bring in all these superstars and cast them as supporting characters. The stars he chose for this film are first time movie actors Kara Hayward (age 12) and Jared Gilman (age 12). Huge risk! He gives either one of them or both together at least half of the run time, if not two-thirds, on screen.

The characters they play are Sam and Suzy. Sam is an orphan and a member of the khaki scouts (think boy scouts) and Suzy is one of Bill Murray and Francis McDormand’s four children, the only girl. Sam spots Suzy dressed up as a raven in the local church’s performance of Noah’s Ark and approaches her backstage. She gives him her address and they begin sending letters to each other, eventually coming up with a getaway plan.

When they finally do run off together, chaos breaks out both in the khaki scout camp and in Suzy’s household. Sam’s foster parents decide, in an oddly hilarious scene, that they don’t want their foster son back even if he is found. Bruce Willis is the lonely cop who is having an affair with Suzy’s mother, Edward Norton is this particular khaki scouts group leader.

In terms of the characters, no one is particularly great at what they do. In terms of the acting, all the adults do a great job, particularly Bruce Willis who should be considered for award honors for his take at kind of the exact opposite version of Die Hard police officer John McClane.

Anymore plot will spoil the experience so I’ll stop there and let you be surprised and entranced the same way I was.

What’s amazing about this film is the combination of other seemingly unrelated film and literary experiences. The scenes when Wes Anderson would show Suzy’s view through the binoculars felt like an homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window with James Stewart. I was also reminded of Hitchcock’s Vertigo during the dramatic steeple climbing chase at the end of the movie. 

The island setting paired with the wildness and attitude of all the 12-year-old khaki scouts was reminiscent of Lord of the Flies. The perfect capture of childhood love between Sam and Suzy took me back to Bridge to Terabithia (book, not the weird movie version) with maybe a slight splash of Romeo and Juliet. One of the scenes toward the end of the movie with the kids up in the treehouse felt a lot like the, “You’re killin’ me smalls!” scene in Sandlot.

But the most skilled scene of the movie takes place on a beach coined by Sam and Suzy as Moonrise Kingdom. It was an inherently difficult scene to film because Sam and Suzy have both just hopped out of the water. Suzy is in her underwear, Sam too, but with an unbuttoned shirt on. Remember, these are 12-year-old actors playing the 12-year-old characters. He has the two start dancing, separate at first, then recreates everyone’s awkward first sixth grader dance with their first crush.

The two kiss. Suzy asks if he knows how to french kiss. They experiment with this. She says he can touch her breast. He awkwardly puts his hand on one breast. She deadpans the hilarious line, “I think they’ll get bigger.” He puts his hand on her other breast. Somewhere in the exchange they hug, she says he feels hard, he apologizes, she says, “No, I like it.”

Reading that paragraph was probably cringeworthy. There are thousands of directors who could not have pulled this scene off and probably hundreds of thousands more who would dare ever attempt it. But somehow Wes Anderson handles it perfectly. It’s not two horny teenagers ready to have sex, it’s two kids who are experiencing their first big person emotion and are trying to innocently carry out the physical moves that big people do.

When the movie ended, everyone in the theater spontaneously started clapping as if the actors were going to pop out from behind the screen and run on stage. More than half the audience stayed put in their seats for the entire credits.

This wasn’t the way people stay for the credits after a Marvel super-hero movie. There was no surprise cliffhanger to look forward to, no preview to who the next villain would be. No, you got the sense that everybody left in the theater wanted to hold on and stay just a bit longer in this fantasy world.

Wes Anderson usually takes two or three years to make a new movie, but if all his hard work continues to produce movies like this, it’ll always be worth the wait.

Check out the trailer here.

Miami Heat NBA Champions: LeBron’s MVP Ranking

By: Christopher O’Brien

A lot of weird things happen in the 24 hours following a championship victory.

Sometimes you have a guy like LeBron James who rolls into the club wearing a shirt with a picture of his own face as a vampire.

Sometimes you have Dwyane Wade enjoying a $70,000 bottle of why-the-hell-am-I-not-getting-in-the-business-of-selling-these-types-of-drinks?!?

Sometimes you have a guy like Chris Bosh who takes the champagne celebration to a whole new level.

There’s, “Will this be a dynasty?” claims, there’s Skip Bayless getting owned by Mark Cuban, there’s the back and forth of:

“where does LeBron rank all time/

it’s too soon come on now/

well, but can we at least talk about it though/

no, that’s ridiculous/

but please?”

I don’t really have anything new to be said. LeBron played amazing. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook also played well in this series. Mike Miller, Shane Battier, and Mario Chalmers came up huge in Game 5. Neither one of these teams is going away any time soon.

What I wanted to do was find out where LeBron’s NBA Finals MVP performance ranked against the all time greats. Maybe someday I’ll tabulate every NBA Finals MVP and do a complete ranking, but for now, I’m taking a little easier path.

Here are the top 12 players of all time according to Bill Simmons:

  1. Michael Jordan
  2. Bill Russell
  3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
  4. Magic Johnson
  5. Larry Bird
  6. Wilt Chamberlain
  7. Tim Duncan
  8. Jerry West
  9. Oscar Robertson
  10. Hakeem Olajuwan
  11. Shaquille O’Neal
  12. Moses Malone
Since this list consists of seven big men, a couple of shooting guards, a few small forwards, and the game’s greatest point-forward, it’s really hard to compare any of them against each other. This is why I have the CPR.

I have fallen in love with my own “CPR statistic.” I add the minutes, points, assists, rebounds, blocks, steals together. I then subtract missed shots, missed free throws, and turnovers. A missed field goal, 2-pt or 3-pt, is (-1) and a missed free throw is (-0.5). The number at the end of this is a player’s Complete Player Rating.

LeBron James’s 2012 NBA Finals CPR was 76.2. Here are the instances from those 12 players listed above who went above 76.2

Magic Johnson – In 1987 he had a 77.52.

Larry Bird – In 1984 he had a 77.95, in 1986 he had a 78.67

Tim Duncan – In 1999 he had a 79.7, in 2003 he had an 82.2

Hakeem – Had a 79.85 in 1995.

Kareem – Had a 82.18 in 1971.

Wilt  Chamberlain – Had the second highest CPR I could find with an 86.74 in 1972.

Shaquille O’Neal – In 2001 he had an 85.3. In 2000 he set the record for best CPR with an incredible 89.12.

Michael Jordan – The moment you probably have all been waiting for. How did the new king stack up against the old king?

Michael Jordan has the edge in 1991 and 1993 with an 83.3 then a 83.65, but I found it interesting that LeBron’s 2012 performance ranked higher than MJ’s 1992, and ’96-98.

I was also interested to see how LeBron compared against the 2006 Dwyane Wade.

2012 LeBron CPR: 76.2

2006 Wade: 75.67

Then, finally, I wanted to see ’12 LeBron vs. ’07 LeBron and ’11 LeBron

2012 LeBron CPR: 76.2

2011 LeBron: 65.62

2007 LeBron: 58.41

In conclusion, LeBron James put together by far his best NBA Finals performance. It’s not the best in history, not a top 5, but it’s right in the mix rubbing shoulders with the legends’ bests. LeBron’s 2012 Finals, according to the CPR, was better than four of Michael Jordan’s NBA Finals performances. He’s hushed tons of his critics and has secured his spot as the greatest player on the planet.

But now the real climb begins. Each NBA title/Finals MVP after this point moves him another notch higher on the all-time list. How high can he get? Not sure, but I’m ready to witness.

Anchorman 2: Is Will Ferrell Still the Star? (Part 2 of 2)

By: Christopher O’Brien

If you are joining this article now, I encourage you to go back and read Part 1 first. If you’ve read Part 1, then don’t bother with the next paragraph, continue on. If you don’t want to read Part 1, well fine, but let me fill you in on what I’m doing.

I am ranking the top 10 stars heading into Anchorman 2. Eight years ago, it was a much different landscape. The 2004 Anchorman comedian rankings would probably look like this:

  1. Will Ferrell
  2. Ben Stiller
  3. Vince Vaughn
  4. Luke Wilson
  5. Steve Carell

Vince Vaughn and Luke Wilson have both fallen out of the top ten. So let’s continue where I left off, number 5.

5. Paul Rudd

Great in the 40 Year Old Virgin (2005), great in Knocked Up (2007), and awesome in Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008). Only issue here is Rudd was never the main guy.

In Role Models (2008) and I Love You Man (2009) Rudd got the chance to be part of a lead tandem. Both of these movies were great, Role Models being a little on the under-appreciated side and I Love You Man filling in as the most quotable movie since Anchorman. Slappin’ the baaaaase maan!

If you look at the five movies above, plus the original Anchorman, Rudd has had significant roles in at least five of the top 10 comedies of the last 12 years (hmmmm… I feel another list coming).

The only thing keeping Rudd from leapfrogging higher on this list is he hasn’t had HIS movie yet. He’s the king of the bromance, works really well paired with another male comedian and can thrive as the quirky boyfriend of a beautiful actress. His leading role in Our Idiot Brother, which is actually a pretty solid movie, didn’t connect the way it needed to on a large-scale to move him into the top four on this list.

Look out for Judd Apatow’s This is 40 coming out later this year. This is Paul Rudd’s big leading role. The three movies Apatow has written/directed have been landmark films for the main star involved. 40 Year Old Virgin launched Steve Carell to household name territory. Knocked Up did the same for Seth Rogen. Funny People may not have given new life to Adam Sandler, but it did hush his, “he can’t act, he always plays a moron” critics (well, at least until Jack and Jill). This is 40 could have the same effect for Paul Rudd.

4. Ben Stiller

At some point during the 2000-2004 era, Ben Stiller had a firm grip on the No. 1 ranking. In that stretch, his prime if you will, he was the star, or at least part of the leading tandem in all of the following films:

Meet the Parents, Zoolander, Starsky & Hutch, Dodgeball, Meet the Fockers. 

He did his family friendly era with the Madagascar films along with the entertaining Night at the Museum (the sequel fell short).

Afraid that he would be lost in the kid’s world for the next decade, Stiller came back in a big way with the mega-hit Tropic Thunder (2008). He didn’t have anything of note for three years, but then came back with the decent Tower Heist (2011). But Tower Heist was more noted for Eddie Murphy being Eddie Murphy again than anything Stiller did.

I would say Paul Rudd has been involved in funnier movies throughout the last eight years, but Stiller’s name still carries more weight.

Look out for The Watch as Stiller’s next potential success. If this movie falls short, he could be handing the No. 4 spot over to Rudd.

3. Will Ferrell 

The few episodes when Will Ferrell was on The Office represented an interesting moment in the comedic landscape.

  1. Would taking over a wildly popular TV show be a step up or down for Will Ferrell?
  2. Would The Office be more popular with Ferrell instead of Carell?
  3. Were these two stars at completely equal points in terms of their popularity?

So who’s bigger, Ferrell or Carell? In 2008, this wouldn’t even be a conversation. Will Ferrell exploded after Anchorman playing outrageous leading man roles in big comedies like Talladega Nights (2006), Blades of Glory (2007), Semi-Pro (2008), and Step Brothers (2008). 

He had a legendary cameo in Wedding Crashers, did well in a dramatic role in Stranger Than Fiction (2006) and built up his family friendly resume with Kicking and Screaming (2005) and the animated Megamind (2010).

But now when you look back at this list of movies, it doesn’t seem as impressive. Compare it against Carell’s. I’ll take 40 Year Old Virgin over Tallaega Nights. Little Miss Sunshine over Stranger Than Fiction. Despicable Me over MegamindThe Office over anything else.

I guess I like to think of this all like a fantasy draft. Guys like Will Ferrell, Adam Sandler, Jim Carrey, and maybe even still Eddie Murphy warrant first round draft status because the potential’s there for another smash hit. Steve Carell or Paul Rudd are great secure picks, but they don’t have the same high ceiling, at this point in their careers, as the guys listed above. Right now I take Carell at No. 2, but watch out for Ferrell in the next two years. Here’s his upcoming films:

The Campaign (2012) – Pairs Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis together in an election comedy.

Three Mississippi (2013) – Pairs Will Ferrell and Adam Sandler together in a football comedy.

Anchorman 2 (2013) – Will Ferrell returning to his most famous and beloved character.

Carell has the lead now, but expect Ferrell to go on a run soon.

2. Steve Carell

Steve Carell’s back to back from 2005 to 2006 with 40 Year Old Virgin then Little Miss Sunshine is as good as anybody’s best one-two punch.

40 Year Old Virgin is a first ballot Hall of Fame comedy and has to be in the discussion for funniest movie of the ’00s (Anchorman, Hangover, Superbad? Like I said earlier, this will become a blog post of its own).

In Little Miss Sunshine, Carell proved he could act in a dramatic role. He was worthy of a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination, but it was hard to either a) knock eventual winner Alan Arkin off the ballot or b) get two nods from the Academy in the same category. If Little Miss Sunshine came out a year earlier, it could have and should have beat Crash, but it was hard to pull the upset against Departed. 

Carell was phenomenal in his role as Michael Scott on The Office and solidified himself as one of the biggest names in comedy. He’s got his animated film cred (the underrated Despicable Me) and seems to be locked into leading man roles as the everyday guy with a twist in Crazy Stupid Love, Date Night, and Dan In Real Life. His new movie Seeking A Friend For the End of the World looks more cult hit than big box office success.

But he’s not as big now as…

1. Seth Rogen

What? Seth Rogen wasn’t in Anchorman?

I didn’t realize it either until a re-watch circa 2008.

It’s not really a cameo and he doesn’t have any scene stealers. He’s just the dude holding the camera for Veronica Corningstone. This was before Seth Rogen had the following list of hits under his belt:

40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Superbad, Pineapple Express

Rogen also tallied cult favorites Zach and Miri Make a Porno and Paul 

He flexed his legitimate acting chops in 50/50 and Funny People and has the most recognizable laugh in Hollywood.

What I like about Seth Rogen is his ability as a writer too. He’s also branching out to direct The End of the World, which, just take a look at this cast if you are curious whether or not it will be any good. Rogen is on top of this list and, unlike many of the others, I don’t think he’s hit his peak yet.

Comedy has its eras and different stars have their limited time at the top. Right now I think we are in the middle of the Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Jason Segel era. Considering Rogen is on top of the list, I find it hard to believe that he will show up in Anchorman 2 as a small character. If he does, he definitely won’t go by unnoticed.

NBA Finals Game 4: Captain (leb)Ron

ALL IMAGES USED IN THIS BLOG POST BELONG TO TOUCHSTONE PICTURES AND THE MOTION PICTURE CAPTAIN RON DIRECTED BY: THOM EBERHARDT AND PRODUCED BY: DAVID PERMUT AND WRITTEN BY: JOHN DWYER.

By: Christopher O’Brien

If you are in a strictly basketball mood, skip ahead to the CPR section, otherwise begin here:

My favorite movie of all time is Captain Ron.

For those of you who haven’t seen it, the story revolves around the Harvey’s, a middle-class family of four from Chicago who are going about their normal lives until the father (Martin Short) inherits a massive sailboat worth $250,000. This price tag is their ticket out of their mortgage payments and credit card debt. All they have to do is sail the boat from St. Potato in the Caribbean Islands to Miami, Florida.

Only problem? The Harvey’s have no clue how to sail.

To make matters worse, when the Harvey’s finally see the boat, it looks like this:

Because of this condition, the yacht buying company in Miami decides not to send down one of their better sailors and instead sets them up with a local.

Meet Captain Ron (Kurt Russell).

Captain Ron has a whole lot of swagger and begins winning over the Harvey’s one family member at a time. He flirts with Martin’s wife, bonds with Martin’s daughter, and becomes a hero to Martin’s son. What was once Martin’s family (his team if you will) has all been cast under Captain Ron’s charismatic spell.

Martin continually makes a fool of himself throughout the film and as serious trouble arises in the form of the real pirates of the Caribbean kidnapping their boat (yeah, this movie is awesome), his family doesn’t believe Martin can save the day. Watch from 3:25 to 4:30

“Guys, it would take a miracle,” –Martin

Of course the miracle comes in the form of Captain Ron. The whole family is thrilled to have Captain Ron save the day. Well, all with the exception of Martin.

“We don’t need you to rescue us!”

Moments later, Martin runs off to the boat to start up the engine. Captain Ron plays the role of getaway driver. As always, he handles the stressful situation with ease.

“I’m really glad you’re back Captain Ron. Dad, he tries, but he really screws things up. Not like you.” –Son

“Hey lighten up will ya? Dad does the best he can. It’s not his fault that he—” daughter

It’s at this moment when Captain Ron realizes exactly why Martin had been so angry with him; the Harvey’s no longer believe in their father as a hero.

Ron runs onto the boat and slips on the stairs.

As Captain Ron’s about to get up, some epiphany music plays in the background.

He knows what he needs to do.

“Sorry boss, I fell. Think I broke my leg.” -Ron

With Captain Ron out, Martin has no other choice than to take charge lead his team. He rushes up the stairs, hops on the boom and, although it’s not particularly smooth, Martin knocks over the pirates like a bunch of bowling pins.

His family starts cheering.

“Dad, that’s the coolest thing I’ve ever seen!” -son

His wife’s amazed too. Martin’s back on top of the world.

But the battle’s not over. In fact, the action’s about to get even more intense.

Still, Captain Ron stays down below, tells the family the bone is about to punch through the skin, he let’s Martin lead the team. He cheers them on, but really doesn’t see this turning out very well.

“Naturals, by God every one of you, naturals!” -Captain Ron shouts. Then in a much quieter voice to himself, “We’re gonna f:-(in’ die.”

This time it’s not Martin, but instead his wife who comes up with the big play. She fires the secretly powerful flare gun off at the pirates.

Coast Guard comes to the rescue. Martin runs downstairs and sees Captain Ron hopping around celebrating. Martin realizes the whole injury was a fraud and couldn’t be happier that Captain Ron pulled this tactic.

Now, I’m guessing you can see where I’m going with this connection. But let me make it clear, I don’t think LeBron was faking the leg cramps at the end of Game 4. I think it was one of the rare moments of humanity for LeBron when 45 minutes of aggressive, physical, Ron Artest-esque defense on one end paired with barreling-fullback-on-a-basketball-court offense resulted in his legs finally wearing out.

It’s like in the Tour De France when you see a cyclist lead all day long then slowly wear out to the point where he can hardly move the pedals.

But even with these crippling cramps, the guy still hit a huge three, wobbly self and all!

What it did achieve when LeBron was out on the sidelines was the same thing you saw above in Captain Ron. Dwayne Wade, the man who used to be the hero of the Miami Heat, the man who took flack all postseason for not having the same explosiveness, the man who used to own this city, now had to put the team on his back.

And Mario Chalmers had to rise to the occasion too.

LeBron wasn’t faking it, but if he was, it was a brilliant move. Who knows what’s going to happen in Game 5. Maybe the Heat will head back to Oklahoma City for Games 6 and 7. Maybe in one of these games LeBron will foul out. Maybe OKC will double team LeBron at the end and he’ll need a teammate to step up and hit a big shot.

Whatever lies ahead, be it only 48 more minutes or two battles in front of an energetic OKC crowd, the Harvey Heat family now believe they can get it done even if LeBron’s out on the sidelines. Having LeBron on the court with these new confident teammates… it could be a real celebration taking place Thursday night in South Beach.

Let’s look at the CPR numbers:

  1. Russell Westbrook Game 4 CPR: 86.46
  2. LeBron James CPR: 78.83
  3. Kevin Durant – 68.16
  4. Dwyane Wade – 64.65
  5. Mario Chalmers – 58.36
  6. Chris Bosh – 53.3
  7. Shane Battier – 46.35
  8. James Harden – 45.35
  9. Serge Ibaka – 39.05
  10. Thabo Sefolosha – 29.23

There’s your game right there. Despite Westbrook having an all-time great performance (with CPR think of 60’s being good game, 70’s being great game, 80’s being incredible, and anything above 90 being top 25 NBA Finals performance ever), five of the top seven spots went to Heat players. Chalmers, Bosh, and Battier were all better than James Harden and Serge Ibaka.

If the Thunder can’t get more production out of guys not named Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, they’ll have a long offseason ahead to think about how Captain LeBron sunk their ship.