Monthly Archives: May 2011
In a sensational development following Barcelona’s win over Manchester United on Saturday, Michel Platini, the President of UEFA has decided to hand Arsenal a trophy for having been the only team in the Champions League to have beaten Barcelona. Robin Van Persie and Andrey Arshavin had found the net for the Gunners in the first leg against Barcelona after falling behind for a David Villa goal early on. The result meant that Arsenal are the only team in the entire Champions League to have beaten Barcelona in either a home or away match this season. Speaking to reporters at a hurriedly assembled press conference, Platini elaborated on the issue.
“The present Barcelona team are being considered to be the best team to have ever played football. And this season, all the players have been performing at their peak. With this being the situation, it is only fair to show our appreciation to the only team that has beaten Barcelona in Europe this season – Arsenal.”
Platini also said that the trophy would be handed to Arsene Wenger and Arsenal at a special ceremony to mark the occasion sometime early next week.
“This is not exactly a trophy per se. It is more like a plaque in the shape of the words “We Beat Barcelona” and Arsenal at the bottom of the plaque. But it is definitely worth being treated as a trophy. Like I said, beating Barcelona this season has been extremely tough and for a team that did accomplish it, they do deserve it.”
When asked by one of the reporters if this is a fair thing to do, considering that Arsenal had not actually won any tournament as such, Platini responded:
“You are right that way. Arsenal has definitely not won any tournament here.” He paused for a while and said softly, as if to himself, “Damn. That was the most redundant statement I have ever made.” Then he continued, “This trophy or plaque that we are giving them should be considered differently. It is like a posthumous award. Or like an honorary degree. It is like getting inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame AFTER you are dead. It doesn’t count for anything but still we are showing our appreciation of your efforts.”
Arsene Wenger was overjoyed with the announcement. Within minutes of hearing it on TV, he called a big press conference including all major sports journalists of every newspaper in England.
“This is to let the entire football world know that Arsenal has officially ended its trophy drought which has lasted for more than 6 years. This proves that we do have a side that is capable of winning trophies. And we have won this trophy by beating the best team on this planet. That makes this trophy even better. In fact, I would rate this trophy as the best trophy I have ever won in my managerial career. We have created a separate compartment in our trophy cabinet for this special trophy. The players should be really proud of themselves. They have put in a lot of effort into this and it is good to see that in the end it is all paying off.”
“Beating Barcelona was definitely no mean feat. I had to bring in all my experience as a manager who doesn’t win trophies, in order to find a way to beat Barcelona. The boys played a wonderful game. This is such a young team with such inexperience of big games. And for them to win this trophy means a lot to them as well. Even the fans can rest assured now knowing that their beloved team has won a trophy.”
When asked about the comments made by Platini that this was not a real trophy, Wenger replied, “Well, thats just like his opinion. If he knew how hard it is to beat the best team in the world when all their players are performing at their peak, then he would have assigned a trophy even before the season started. It is definitely worth awarding a trophy for being the only team to beat FC Barcelona this season in Europe.”
Cesc Fabregas had even more reason to be happy. He said, “I am extremely happy that we have been awarded this trophy. So now that I have helped Arsenal win a trophy, I hope I will be let go to join Barcelona this summer.”
Barcelona star Lionel Messi also seemed to agree with Platini’s decision to award a trophy to Arsenal. “They play some really entertaining football. And beating us this season has been hard for even the best of teams. And considering how less money was invested in the Arsenal squad, I think it is only fair that they get a trophy for beating us this season.”
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson was livid when he heard about the news. “Am I the only one in Europe who thinks this is a stupid idea? How can you award a trophy to a team for winning just one game? Irrespective of who the opponent is? We won a lot more games than Arsenal in the Champions League and if anything, WE should be given a trophy for that. This is completely unfair!”
Another team that was extremely unhappy about the development was the La Liga side Real Sociedad. Real Sociedad happened to be the only other team to have beaten Barcelona this season when they won 2-1 against the reigning European Champions in April. A statement on their website said,
“We at Real Sociedad consider it extremely unfair to not be recognized as the other team to have beaten FC Barcelona this season. Irrespective of whether this is the Champions League or La Liga, Barcelona always play to win with their strongest side. And having defeated Barcelona, we feel that we also deserve a trophy commemorating our achievement. If UEFA does not grant our wishes, we will be taking up this matter with FIFA.”
Investigations into the activities and attitudes of the supporters of one of the largest football clubs in the world – Manchester United – have revealed some disturbing news. Scotland Yard police released a report to the public, minutes after United’s victory over Chelsea at Old Trafford, in which they claim that the fans of the club are all part of a world-wide religious cult. The report brands the club to be an organization which has a strong following all over the world along the lines of any religious cult.
Scotland Yard detective and chief investigator Scott McLean said, “We have found ample evidence and proof that Manchester United is indeed a religious cult which recruits members in a typical cult-like fashion. Once people enter this cult, there is absolutely no way out of there. The existing members of the cult create an environment of severe and intense ridicule and hatred if anyone is trying to leave the cult. This makes it practically impossible for someone to return to normalcy after they have entered this organization.”
Not satisfied with the explanation, reporters asked how such a popular football club can be thought of as a cult organization. Detective McLean elaborated:
“During our investigation, we found that there were a lot of striking similarities between fans of Manchester United FC and all other religious cults. Not only the fans, but also the way the club works is quite similar to that of a religious organization. Let me give you a few examples:”
“First of all, as with every religious cult, there needs to be a God personality. Different religious cults have different personalities, characters or ideas as their God whom they worship single mindedly without asking any question whatsoever about the validity of their God’s actions. Here in Manchester United, it is Sir Alex Ferguson who is worshiped as the supreme being or in other words, as God. You can see for yourself. NOBODY, and I mean NOBODY, questions ANYTHING that Sir Alex Ferguson does or says. He is the ultimate truth and answer to all questions and prayers of the fans. Just the fact that he has stayed there for the longest time ever proves that he is the cult’s God and Supreme being.”
He continued, “Another example. Every religious cult has a certain purpose that the followers aim to achieve. It could be to attain Nirvana, to become One with God or in some cases, to commit suicide on a particular day. Whatever the purpose may be, all their actions and efforts, time and money are directed towards this one purpose very rigorously and without question, ready to do whatever it takes to get there.
Similarly here in Manchester United, the sole purpose of the organization is to win more trophies and increase its following BECAUSE the club is winning more trophies. The fans’ only concern and purpose in life is to support their club to win more trophies and to recruit more members into this cult. Just look around you. Why do you think United fans are widely referred to as Glory Hunters? Its in their doctrines. You cannot change it!”
“The process of recruiting members to this cult is even more interesting and cult-like. Manchester United FC widens its membership by the process of, what I call, Associative Hypnotism. What this means is that just associating with ManU fans is the first step in entering the cult. Once you associate and spend time with ManU fans, you will be subjected to continuous hypnosis ‘to support “title winning” teams only’. The hypnosis also places a lot of emphasis on the ‘History’ of a club and also its statistics in terms of winning trophies. The hypnosis also takes the form of constant ridicule of other clubs and their lack of history and/or trophies.
And as a result of all this hypnosis, the neutral football fan or even a non-football fan will get brainwashed and believe that Manchester United is the only club worth supporting on this planet due to its ‘rich history’, ‘trophy collection’ and its ‘title winning habit’. I have not come across a single United fan on this planet who was not recruited to this cult in this way.”
Detective McLean gave out more examples of how Man U is even RUN as a cult, specifically pointing out to the fact that the Glazer family, who run the club, keep the internal workings of the organization a complete secret. “You don’t find them giving interviews or even making an appearance in front of the fans now do you?” questioned Detective McLean. In spite of all these startling revelations, the Detective had kept his most chilling and disturbing discovery to the end.
“Now that United have more or less won the title, just go out and have a look. You will just simply be convinced that this is nothing but a religious cult.” Looking at the puzzled faces in the crowd, he continued, “If you get to see a Man U fan now, you are bound to see him in a state of induced-trance. Every single fan will be found chanting “Glory Glory Man United” in praise of his club repeatedly and without the realization of what he is doing. It is not unlike many of these religious cult ceremonies where you see the followers, in a state of trance, chant something repeatedly in praise of their cult and/or God. However, this is not just restricted to chanting here in Man Utd. The followers of this cult even take to social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to carry out their practices which include mocking and ridiculing other football clubs.”
“This is a very scary situation and should be immediately dealt with. Otherwise, in a few years time, there will be only Man Utd football fans. Dystopia will settle in. Even George Orwell could not have foreseen this” the detective said.
In stark contrast to the mood at Scotland Yard, Sir Alex Ferguson was in an upbeat mood while talking to press reporters outside Old Trafford.
“This is incredible! Its like normalcy is restored on this planet. Manchester United are going to be champions of England again. Doesn’t that just feel so right?”, said the beaming manager.
“We are the champions. That is all the world needs to know. Our fans can once again say that and mock all other supporters for a long time now. I know for a fact that they will do so. However, I would also like to remind them that they actually have a responsibility to mock other club supporters and act cocky in general. They have to do it as a matter of general principle. It is a tradition dating back to the time when I took over the club” he added.
When confronted with the idea that he is the head of a religious cult whose sole purpose is to win silverware, he said, “Religious cults? Bollocks! We are not a religious cult! But our sole purpose is indeed to win silverware and create a big fan base. In fact, I think winning trophies is so important that people should be made to support clubs only which land trophies!”
“Really..How can you support other teams? Manchester Utd is the only club that satisfies all the criteria, namely rich history, stable management and trophy winning habit. Supporting any other club should be made illegal! Especially Arsenal supporters. They should be euthanized. They are already suffering so much under Arsene Wenger that they need to be put out of their misery. One way to do that is to support Man U so that then you can say you have won some trophies.”
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger had just the opposite to say: “It should in fact be made illegal to support trophy winning teams. Because then you wont know the true loyalty of your support. Look at us. We got the best fan base ever. Absolutely zilch to show for in the past 6-7 years and still our supporters hold us strong! The fans dont want trophies. They just want to show their support to a team that plays beautiful entertaining football. And so I think they are content. In fact, the best teams to support and the best fans are those of mid-table. Never aiming for anything and being happy with whatever comes their way! Thats the way to be.”
It remains to be seen what action, if any, the FA will take over these allegations. In the meantime, the Manchester United cult has already doubled its size while writing this article due to their win against Chelsea FC. Dystopia appears to be already here.
I have never been so motivated to write a negative review of a movie which is being hailed otherwise all over the world. And considering the fact that I am a big fan of this genre of movies and a fan of the previous installments of this FF series, my objectivity need not be questioned.
So I went to see Fast Five at IMax just because I had not had the I-Max experience before ever. Anticipating good action sequences and special effects, I went for a late night show. But what I ended up subjecting myself to was pure and unadulterated mediocrity and one that lasted for about 130 mins.
Now when I say that this movie is really bad, not only do I just mean that it is REALLY REALLY bad,but there is another more subtle reason. This is one of those movies which had a good mainstream director, good budget and already a measurable benchmark set in the previous movies. But the end product is what you might find from an amateur filmmaker who has no idea how to write a script and put the large budget to good use. And THAT is why I find it really bad. That it had all the resources and still managed to suck so bad.
I don’t even know where to begin. So let me begin with the first sequence of action. As Roger Ebert put it,
…steal cars from a speeding train by driving a truck beside the tracks, cutting the side out of a freight car with an acetylene torch, flipping the cars onto the truck bed, tilting the bed, letting them roll to the ground and then driving them away…”
The actual action sequence is actually lamer than what Ebert makes it sound like. In the scene, Paul Walker does a lot of acrobatics and stunts to get off a moving train and on to a car (driven by Vin Diesel) before the train gets on a bridge after which he may be forced to jump into the river running deep below. So he gets on the car just before the train hits the bridge but the momentum of the car takes them over the cliff and down into the river anway, thus making the whole action sequence redundant.
Come to think of it, the movie is replete with redundant scenes which do not amount to anything in the end. About 1/2 the movie is filled with such scenes. The whole planning of the heist, including assembling a ‘team’ (when half the members dont even contribute anything to the final outcome) and chalking out how to access the vault (when they really dont ‘access’ it in the end). There are also scenes where Vin Diesel and Paul Walker go in search of a faster car in order to beat the CCTV cameras in the heist site. They get a new car and show a bunch of scenes where they are practicing the run through the heist site but they still cannot beat the cameras. So later in the movie, they decide to use cop cars for the purpose ‘to camouflage’ their escape. And in the end, the way they eventually pull off the heist, they are not even avoiding to be caught, making all the previous planning scenes redundant.
The film tries to develop along the lines of a stereotypical heist movie. That is until the point where it suddenly decides NOT to be a heist movie. Sample this gem. Paul Walker says this somewhere in the middle of the movie:
“As a stealth mission, we will be in and out before they even know we are there.”
After watching the movie to the end, I am convinced the makers of Fast Five define ‘stealth’ as (Ebert) :
“…take two mid-size sedans, chain them to a bank vault and haul it behind you on a high-speed chase through the streets of Rio de Janeiro while being chased by the cops.”
I am not exaggerating here. In the end, The Rock takes his hummer and crashes into the concrete wall, thus breaking it. Then Paul Walker and Vin Diesel rip the vault off the safe room and haul it all around Rio. That is so ‘stealthy’ no? Totally making use of all the planning that went into the heist. But really, is it a heist anymore?
Some other notable instances of unwatchability: All the hot girls that are shown in the preview as the mandatory association with fast cars and the racing scene are shown for exactly the same duration in the movie as well. No exaggeration here either. And while portraying the racing scene in Rio, the characters decide to put a car-for-car bet on winning a race. Only thing, the filmmakers completely SKIP over the race part. Totally awesome no?
For a movie series that has made its name with action scenes arising out of car chase sequences and races, this movie features exactly 1 race and 1 car chase sequence. The inconsequential race lasts for less than 60 seconds (and it should have lasted even shorter considering the fact that they were trying to race for just 1/4 mile at super fast speeds). The car chase sequence is the last scene and it lasts for about 7-8 mins. The only other action sequences are the opening redundant train-car thing and a couple of ambush sequences of The Rock’s contingent (lasts for about 8 mins total). So that leaves you with about 110 or so mins of redundant planning and cheesy one liners.
The acting and the characters leave a lot to be desired. Vin Diesel looks like he is trying to be a wannabe Vin Diesel from the first movie. He tries too hard to sound and look invincible and totally awesome with his final-word-type dialogues. Paul Walker makes his presence felt by flashing his nice smile at the camera every time he agrees (like he has a choice) with Vin Diesel’s confidence-oozing plans. Jordana (Mia) shows us how you can jump 50 feet into a makeshift favella home and still escape uninjured - even while being pregnant.
Perhaps it is The Rock’s character that is the most hilarious and unnecessary. Seriously, his character has absolutely no influence in the movie’s story line, apart from a brief disrupting of their plans. And he seemed to be competing with Vin Diesel for cheesy and incongruous one liners and punchlines. The other female cop who supposedly has a tragic story to tell about how she lost her husband to the drug lord and that making her motivated to fight him seemed to be putting too much effort into her acting. It would have been better if someone just put up a message on the screen that read: “Ok. This female cop here has lost her husband to the drug lord. So she is motivated to fight him.”Oh and she is supposed to fall for Vin Diesel. But the chemistry between them is totally repulsive.
There are so many more sequences I can keep talking about. But I am getting tired of recollecting such intense mediocrity. And the worst part is that it has been getting extremely positive reviews all around. IMDB has it at 7.8. Roger Ebert gave it 3 stars praising the attention to detail in the story. ( I want what he was smoking when he wrote the review). I just found the movie retarded. Period.
Go watch it for yourself and feel retarded too. And hopefully you will do that BEFORE reading any review at all.