Joe Bags’ Belated Film Reviews: Creed II

Alright, so it’s officially Thursday, which means it’s officially Color Rush Thursday. For those who’ve been living within the confines of a bomb shelter for the last couple years, Color Rush is a shameless promotion the NFL runs where, instead of teams wearing their conventional jerseys, teams wear jerseys that consist of one primary color because why would I watch football on Thursday if both teams aren’t wearing uniforms where their pants match their jerseys? Wild stuff from the shield.

On second thought, I’m not sure if teams still endorse this but I do know one thing: tonight is a trap game for New Orleans. Anytime you see a breathing bulldozer like New Orleans play in a big market on the road against a struggling team past Week 12, it’s officially a “trap game.” Look for the Saints to inexplicably puke on their cleats tonight as every talking head in sports broadcasting starts spewing that “this team has flaws” narrative until they bend over the Bucs next Sunday.

Anyway, today is also a lucky day for everyone out there. Today is when I get back on the horse with my belated film reviews. My most recent review was on Avengers: Infinite War, and today, I’ll be reviewing Creed II.

Funny side story about the first Creed: I actually saw this movie on a first date when it came out back in 2015. Everything was going fine until the last 5 minutes when she randomly mentioned she had to run to the bathroom. The movie ended, I walked out, called her roughly 10 times, and resolved I had been dipped on. During my walk home, I texted her saying something along the lines of “Ummm, you could’ve just said you weren’t interested in guys who wear cargo shorts and eat bologna” and she apologized, claiming she had food poisoning or something. I then drove back down to the theatre to check on her (but really just to see if she was bullshitting) and turns out, she wasn’t. We dated for a little over a year, but I digress…

So yeah, Creed holds a special place in my decrepit heart—along with the original Rocky franchise—so I was excited to see the new one. The original Rocky is head and shoulders the best of the series, but if you can’t get down with Rocky IV, then you’re just a complete asshole. Seeing that this new Creed movie is somewhat of a sequel of a reboot centered around that installment, I was especially amped.

For those keeping score at home, another reason I love of the Rocky series is that I’m half Italian, which means all the adults on one side of my family sort of/kind of/in some capacity/in a way think Rocky Balboa’s a real person. Or, at least, they treat it that way…

When I first heard that Creed II would involve the Dragos, my brain basically exploded into genius fragments. I even created my own spec plot, which reads as follows:

The year is 2025 and Rocky dies during his third Space Force deployment. America is still intwined in an intergalactic war with Russia over space oil. Putin and Trump realize that battling in space is futile and the best way to solve their dispute would be through a boxing bout, which pits both countries’ best —Adonis Creed and Victor Drago—against each other in a test of will. The first match is short, and ends with Ivan Drago’s son, Victor, killing Adonis in the ring. Russia begins its victory lap before realizing that Trump has another card up his sleeve.

What Russia didn’t know was that the Rocky they killed during the space war was not the actual Rocky, but a highly advanced robot built by NASA (played by Will Smith). Turns out, Rocky had been cryogenically frozen since the late 80s following his bout with Ivan Drago. The US had been preserving his remains just in case they would need him for a situation such as this. 

Just when Russia was embracing their monopoly on space oil, Trump throws his dick on the table and challenges Putin/the Dragos to one final fight for all the marbles. Not only would the winner of this bout gain control over all intergalactic oil, the wall would be up for grabs as well. Putin tentatively accepts, and Rocky (trained by Clubber Lang’s transexual daughter, Frank) takes down Victor Drago on the moon to not only save the United States’ potential for space oil, but more importantly, the Trump Wall, which is huge and big and great.

Turns out, the studio went in a different direction and I thought, although it wasn’t as good as my premise, it came out very well. 

Final Score: 8.9 Adrians out of 10

Planet Fitness Is Now on My Shit List And I’m Officially Fighting Two Fronts…

Here’s the deal: I’m not a confrontational person. I’m also not someone who likes to narcissistically flaunt their undertakings and/or tribulations on social media. I understand that people often have their own problems so I do my best to keep things pretty close to the vest. THAT SAID, I’m also a minister of conflict who feels obligated to voice his frustrations through the vehicle of WordPress rather than keeping things bottled up. 

As some of you may know, I’ve had my skirmishes with the likes of Comcast, the Foley Food Service vending machine company, and even a Canadian flock of turkeys back in college. In fact, I’m still amid battle with most of these douchebags except for the turkeys because they’re probably dead by now (I’m not sure what turkeys do outside Autumn and you can laugh if you want but I’m pretty sure I’m not alone here. Do they hibernate? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯)

Anyway, the most recent war I’ve waged is with Planet Fitness, otherwise known as “The Purple Gym,” otherwise known as “The Bernie Sanders Rally with Treadmills.” It’s the same place that serves pizza once a month, which is essentially like a rehabilitation clinic giving out shards of crystal meth in similar fashion.

All of that said, I don’t mind it. I’ve discussed this before, but even though I’m a world class athlete who does nothing but move plates, I don’t need to drop $60/month on some glorified roid house to get a pump. People act like you need to train at a facility like the one Drago did in Rocky IV to see results and it’s downright preposterous. All my friends call me a pussy for it because, evidently, they’re all training for the olympics or something even though half of them couldn’t run a 9-minute mile without gagging like some cheap, first-year prostitute with bird flu… but I digress.

For the last two months, I’ve had to jog outside in the frigid New England weather because I can no longer access for gym for some reason or another. Keep in mind, this is an actual series of events that have occurred. People often ask if I make this stuff up but I can’t. It’s impossible to manufacture such ludicrosity (I made that word up. Hey Merriam-Webster, I’m the captain now).

Here’s what has transpired in the last month, with Gym A, Gym B, and Gym C, and Gym D replacing the actual town names to preserve anonymity:

  • I used to belong to Gym A because it was near my work. This, on Planet Fitness, means that Gym A is my “home gym.” Anyway, shortly after I left that job, I visited Gym B (the one in my hometown) but was informed my account had “insufficient funds” and I could not work out there until this problem was resolved. Once I relayed that information is not correct, the desk guy told me it’s possible they have the wrong card on file and that I should update it on their online portal.
  • I head to the online portal and incorrectly type in my password roughly 5 times. I resolve to reset my password but failed to receive an email offer. After attempting this several times, I was eventually shown an error screen informing me that there was no account registered to the email I was punching in (which is quite puzzling, considering that I receive roughly 40 newsletter/promotional emails from Planet Fitness at that account a month).
  • I then decided to call customer support and was informed that representatives cannot access account information by phone; only an actual gym can access that information. 
  • I then head back to Gym B, only to be informed that, since my account has “insufficient funds,” only my home gym (Gym A) can access my information.
  • Considering Gym A is roughly 1.5 hours from my house, I call to see if there is another gym in their franchise—a series of Planet Fitnesses owned by the same person or something—closer to my house that I could resolve this issue at. Luckily, they say there is. Insert Gym C.
  • I head down to Gym C to resolve the issue and—would you look at that—it turns out they have the wrong card on file. Shortly after, they update my card information but inform me I cannot change my home gym at Gym C from Gym A to Gym B until the payment clears.
  • A day goes by and I notice the two monthly fees (as well as overdue fees) are withdrawn from my account. I then call back Gym C to change home gyms, only to hear that there are still insufficient funds relating to Gym A, in particular, that can only be resolved by them. Until this is resolved, I cannot change home gyms; consequently, I cannot work out near my house either.
  • I call up Gym A and ask for some clarification regarding why I still have insufficient funds when Planet Fitness withdrew two months worth of fees (along with overdue charges). They inform me the computers are down but I could try and call another Gym within their franchise. Insert Gym D.
  • Gym D tells me to try customer phone support…

So yeah, this is where we’re at. When I say I don’t make this stuff up, I don’t. People ask me why I’m so angry all the time and now, hopefully, you have a sense of why. 

Side Note: I’ve decided to rewatch and review every Harry Potter movie. Not sure why I’m throwing this in the tail end of the blog but whatever, stay posted…

I’m Not Going Down Without A Fight…

Okay, so it’s been a wild last couple days but we’re back on the blog bandwagon. Today’s blog is going to be somewhat all over the place but that shouldn’t be anything new if you’re a frequent visitor. Anyway, here we go…

For the record, I used to work as a copywriter for a used car dealership is western, MA. I have since left that job and have since also realized that finding a new job sucks. Anyway, I picked up a warehouse gig in the meantime for handjob money and the environment is dangerously close to prison. The ATM (average teeth per mouth) in that place is borderline deplorable but that’s neither here nor there. The big issue deals with their vending machine policy…

Evidently, company policy entitles each employee to a 15-minute break. In other words, you get five minutes to walk out to your car, five minutes to reevaluate life in the driver’s seat, and five minutes to walk back. If you choose to ignore the walk to your car—and consequent 5 minutes of introspection—in favor of the trip to the break room, you’re afforded a decent amount of time to grab a snack from the vending machine.

Sadly, this is the highlight of my day. I spent the first four hours literally looking forward to the moment where I get to choose between Apple nut trail-mix or original. It’s a hell of a ride.

Side Note: Is there anyone worse than the person who brags about bringing their own trail mix? It’s nauseating. Anytime I buy a bag of Planters, there’s always someone in the dining hall that feels the need to deliver a 5-minute soliloquy on why they implement the assortment of dried fruit and nuts that they do. Like Donna, no one gives a fuck you sometimes “cheat” and add Reese’s Pieces. You’re not Anthony Bourdain. You threw a bunch of pistachios in a bag. Shut the fuck up and go back to the Sudoku you’ve been working on since Monday…

Anyway, that was the route I took today. I walked up to the vending machine, inserted my dollar, and began typing in the selection for Skittles by accident. Quickly, I averted chaos and pushed in the refund button, but there was no refund to be had…

Normally, I would just bend over, take this unfortunate event up the ass, and be on my way; however, given everything I’ve described above, this was not something I was about to just let slide.

The woman behind me nearly shrieked at the incident. This woman acted like the vending machine just raped my dog for God’s sake, but I wasn’t at all turned off by her zest because I could tell we were on the same team here. She informed me I should head to HR before break was up (so 2 minutes).

I head to HR and the dude at the counter tells me there’s nothing they can do and I should call the vending machine company. Like what, dude? Call the vending machine company? What the fuck is the vending machine company going to do? Mail me trail mix? Send me a check for 85 cents?

Anyway, I got the name of the vending machine company—Foley Food Service—and gave them a call. Evidently, they don’t work on Tuesdays between the hours of 9AM and 5PM so I sent them an email. The email reads as follows:

Foley Food Service,

My name is Joe Romano and I am doing my best to hide the steam barreling from my ears right now. People often speak of corporate greed/corruption but I have yet to experience it so violently first-hand. 

Earlier today, during one of my shifts at ********’s warehouses in *********, MA, I was taken advantage of. 

There are few things I look forward to more in life than my daily 11:10 AM trail mix break… however, things went unspeakably awry this morning.

Long story short, your super duper high-tech machine ate my dollar.

When I brought this to the attention of my HR staff, they informed this was none of their jurisdiction and directed me to your contact information.

For the record, this isn’t really about me at all. This isn’t about monetary compensation. Hell, this isn’t even about trail mix at this point.

It’s about the resiliency of the human spirit. It’s about not screwing over the little guy. It’s about life.

As I said, I’m not sending this email for me. I’m sending it for every doe-eyed kid in middle America with a dream, for every Joe six-pack out there looking for a break, and for every boy and girl on this spinning sphere of ours with the naive perspective that the American dream is predicated on meritocracy rather than the monopolization of the vending machine industry.

Understandably, this may seem unreasonable or a tad superfluous; however, I think that it’s actually you who should feel so.

What I’m requesting is a refund, either by direct deposit or check. I’ll accept either.

If this request is not observed, I can confidently say it will be the LAST time I use one of your vending machines, as I am IRATE right now.

Do the right thing…

Thank You,
 

Joe

Now, I’m assuming most of you are thinking I’m taking this a little too seriously, but let me ask you a question: Where does it stop?

Am I just supposed to sit back and allow this bullshit to happen? If the vending machine companies can get away with this, what’s going to stop them doing more? Do I look like an asshole? Then why was I treated like one…?

Stay posted…

Fried-Ay: Black Friday, Condoleezza Rice, and Omelet Controversies

So it’s officially the day after Thanksgiving, which means it’s Black Friday, which means it’s Friday, which means it’s Fried-ay, which means it’s time for me to aimlessly hammer away at my Macbook Pro until genius rears its head. Before I do that though, it’s tradition that I explain what my Fried-ay blogs are before I actually get into them…

So yeah, Black Friday is just all-around one of the worst looks for our society. Point blank: if you camped out in 20 degree weather last night in front of a Radioshack or Circuit City than you’re an idiot; if you did so in front of a Best Buy or maybe a Walmart, then you’re still an idiot but I guess not as big of one.

Still though, I just can’t look into the eyes of a Black Friday shopper with even the slightest degree of respect. Our society is sophisticated enough to literally put a man on the moon but we can’t refrain ourselves from tearing an ACL in an attempt to save 15% off a fucking microwave.

The argument I often hear is that, “Well, it’s worth it if you’re buying something big,” which I assume would be a TV or something. That said, if you’re buying a 200″ curved smart 4k TV than I’m assuming you’re well off financially, which begs the question: Why the hell are you risking amputation to save a few bucks? The whole thing makes no sense.

Yesterday was Thanksgiving and my buddies and I conducted our annual Turkey Bowl football game at the fields in our town. It’s normally cold but yesterday was close to 4 degrees outside. For the record, our team was down at halftime and no one gave us a chance. They stopped looking in the rearview after halftime which, coincidentally, was when I decided to slam down on the gas. We went up two scores on a pump and go that got the opposing cornerback to bite harder than a shitfaced crocodile and that’s all she wrote. Better luck next year…

Earlier in the week, rumors began circulating about Condoleezza Rice being interviewed for the Browns head coach position and even football feminists were like, “Wait… what?”

Now, a lot of people were going bananas on Twitter about it—some argued that it was ridiculous and some argued that women shouldn’t be able to coach on that level and blah blah blah. Now, I don’t have a problem with an NFL team hiring a former Secretary of State with zero coaching experience; I do, however, have a problem with the Brows doing it because they’re coming directly off a stint with HBO. I can live with Condoleezza Rice coaching but I can’t live with Condoleezza Rice coaching and not being featured on Hard Knocks.

My buddy ordered an “omelet” last Sunday at some upscale breakfast place. The reason I put omelet in quotations was because he ordered his omelet with “broccoli, bacon, and no cheese.” Debate ensued…

For starters, nobody orders an omelet with no cheese; secondly, does that even mean it’s still an omelet? My contention was that the cheese is what constitutes the omelet. Without the cheese, you’re just ordering eggs with broccoli and bacon.

His argument was that the fact the bacon and cheddar are “wrapped” in egg is what makes it an omelet, which is asinine. Without the cheese, there’s no cohesion. For instance, I could order eggs with broccoli/bacon and drape my eggs over the two sides, but no one of planet earth would call that an omelet.

Furthermore, if I ordered an omelet, the first question I always hear is “with what?” The cheese is assumed when you say omelet; otherwise, you would just order “eggs.” That’s just my take so feel free to debate me on this. I’ll win, but at least you can say you tried…

Are We Just Going To Keep Pretending Drew Brees Isn’t A Top 2 All-Time Quarterback?

Okay, so it’s Monday and we’re officially back after a weekend of football… with more football. If you’re looking to guzzle down box scores and game recaps than you can navigate elsewhere (on this site obviously) because I’m not in the business of objectivity; I’m in the business of boiling hot takes so, without further adieu, here goes nothing…

Real Talk: Drew Brees has to be the most underrated athlete of all time. Last night, he extended his MVP campaign to the tune of yet another 300+ yd/4 TD/0 int performance and I think it’s time we start reevaluating the pantheon of NFL arms.

Over the last couple decades, whenever anyone discusses their all-time quarterback list, names like Brady, Montana, Manning, and even Rodgers get thrown around like a cheap prostitute before Brees even gets a mention.

Now, I’m not here to argue he’s the GOAT—that designation’s pretty clear unless you spent your formative years inhaling paint fumes—but the dude’s already steamrolled his way to the most yardage in league history and, if everything goes according to plan, he’ll eclipse Manning for the touchdown record after all’s said and done as well.

Understandably, statistics don’t tell the entire story because conversations like this are heavily predicated on hardware. That said, if Brees continues on this pace and manages to win another Lombardi trophy this season, is crowning him second-in-command even an argument?

I mean, with a win this upcoming February, it’ll give him two. That puts him one ring above Rodgers, as well as Manning and Papa John—who both deserve equally no credit for 2016. Not to mention, he has a winning postseason record that, with a Super Bowl win this season, would improve to 10-6.

Furthermore, he’s only missed 8 workdays in 18 years. Pair that with the fact New Orleans’ defense over that time would struggle to impede my D2, intramural flag football team from breaching the goal line and you have yourself a pretty convincing argument.

As I mentioned, all of this is contingent upon Brees winning another ring but that’s just what next level journalists like myself do—deliver manufactured narratives predicated on manufactured circumstances. Make sure to thank me for my service…

Anyway, I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least touch upon tonight’s MNF matchup, where the Chiefs will travel to LA to take on the Rams in a battle of 9-1s. On paper, this is probably the best MNF game in roughly a decade.

Normally at this point of the year, the NFL force-feeds us nothing but primetime pillow fights, and although I understand the committee finalizes the schedule in advance, there’s no reasonable justification for why I’ve had to watch Eli Manning trot out of the tunnel after 8 PM so much this year.

That said, I really can’t complain. Football’s football. It’s like pizza in that there are good slices and bad slices, but when push comes to shove, it’s still tomato sauce, dough, and processed cheese…

Side Note: as if there isn’t enough incentive to watch the game already, we also have a potential redemption storyline concerning Sergio Dipp, ESPN Deportes’ sideline correspondent who absolutely CRUSHED his MNF debut last year. This game was supposed to take place in Mexico City and I’m not sure how the relocation will effect the broadcast; nevertheless, look for Dipp to come out with steam barreling from his ears in a big spot tonight.

Is Tom Brady Actually Worse Than Nathan Peterman? The Answer May Surprise You…

So it’s Thursday afternoon and, after a longgg BYE weekend for my beloved Patriots (as well as a longgg clunker against the Titans in Week 10), I’m basically shaking as I type this. It’s withdrawal week in the NFL but I’d be remiss if I didn’t touch upon that track meet ESPN aired on Monday Night.

On Monday night, we basically bore witness to the new NFL. Moving forward, we’ll start to notice the pro game looking A LOT more like a Big Ten matchup… and I love it.

When it comes down to it, scoring is exciting. Scoring is what puts asses in the seats. I have a few friends who insist they love “defensive” games. Umm, no you don’t, dude. You just like to say you like “defensive” games because you think it makes you sound like a better, more sophisticated fan.

Anyway, back to the Pats…

I’m not necessarily having football withdrawals, but going two-three weeks without seeing the Patriots actually look like the Patriots is enough to leave me glossey-eyed over a toilet. Brady hasn’t been Brady and I’m starting to get nervous.

For the record, this happens every year; however, this year feels “different”—a contention that, for the record, I suggest every year. Understandably, the Pats haven’t looked great, but as a journalist, the unrelenting inclination to overreact to something in real time while extending that narrative through the vehicle of WordPress is something that pumps through my veins. If I don’t have hot takes, I have nothing…

So here it goes: Brady’s lost a step. I’m not going to dump a shitload of stats on you because the Titans game ended over a week ago and I’m sure you’ve already read/seen all of them. One statistic, however, is too alarming to avoid: Brady is currently holding down a 59.6 passer rating against the blitz, which is good for DEAD LAST in the league…

In other words, Brady is playing below what I call the “Peterman Line.”

Any individual who is unfavorably ranked against Nathan Peterman in a given statistical category is considered to be playing “below the Peterman Line,” which is a monumental cause for concern.

Playing below the Peterman Line against the blitz not only means you’ve been virtually inept when it comes to reading/adapting to various pass-rushing schemes, it means that a parking meter could most likely do your job better. In other words, playing below the Peterman Line means you’re playing just above the unemployment line, which begs the question: Is Nathan Peterman in fact better than Tom Brady?

And the answer to that question may surprise you, but it’s no. He’s technically better in that specific statistic, however, that statistic was pried from half of one season. Brady’s played for nearly two decades. Peterman poops himself. Peace…