We're Closed!

February 28, 2010 | Comments (3) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Ain't nothing to see here! Go check out our new blog.

Exile on Clark Street.

Thanks to all our readers over the years and keep on reading over at our new place.

New Site Launch on Monday

February 25, 2010 | Comments (3) | by T.R.

Remember kids, TMS is re-launching on Monday as Exile on Clark Street. Mark your calendars. In the meantime, we apologize as we purge some of the "less-than-appropriate" material from our vaults!

War Criminal: Pay-Per-View Porn

February 25, 2010 | Comments (4) | by Adam Blank

A while back, I was drunk and flipping through the channel guide deep into the cable channels I knew I didn't have. Truth be told, I was actually looking for a WWE pay-per-view that I was thinking about purchasing. I eventually found it and was going to order it before I noticed that it cost a ridiculous $55. "Fuck that," I said. I have way better things to do with my money than watch aging wrestlers I vaguely remember from my childhood grab each other's decaying bodies and try to lay on top of each other for the pinfall. So, in a completely unrelated maneuver, I paged down a few clicks and ordered some filthy hardcore pornography.

Why did I order pay-per-view porn when I had a perfectly fine internet connection? Well, I was really really drunk. Also, the title of the porno implied that young Asian girls would be doing some sick shit while wearing schoolgirl outfits. Plus, the money I saved from not ordering a wrestling PPV meant I could get porn & order a pizza later and still come out ahead. In short, I had nothing to lose.

Modern cable porn isn't like it was back when I was a barely-pubescent little fucker; hitting the A/B switch on the old cable box to keep the scrambled porn image on the screen a few seconds longer so I could listen to softcore starlets moan and maybe see a scrambled nipple if I craned my neck to the side & the gods looked upon my sinful acts with favor. Oh no, this pay-per-view stuff was FOR REAL hardcore porn with full penetration you actually get to see. It seemed as nothing was left to the imagination. They showed cocks, pubic hair, gaping pussies...even the much-sought-after Asian chick's asshole was up for grabs. It was as if my normally Mayberry-esque cable suddenly had its very own Red Light District and Barney Fife was giving me the tour after doing poppers while Andy was watching Otis. All was well & good for a while. But, as the first scene ended, I noticed something a tad disturbing... There was absolutely no male ejaculation! As the moment of the moneyshot approached, the scene faded to black, much like how sex in a 40's movie was implied by a slow pan to the window while a couple kissed near a bed.

I forgave the first scene of it's omission and continued watching. But when the next Moment of Truth rolled around, the same fucking thing happened! It was at this instant that I felt cheated out of my $12. Really, cable? Ejaculations aren't any more over the top than all the spitting on cocks that happens in modern porno, or the nasty gagging blowjob scenes filled with spittle & mucous. If that shit ever happened to me in the course of lovemaking, I would call it a fucking night right then & there. Why, oh why do they spit so much in all modern porn? Who likes this??? I would never spit on a girl's pussy unless she asked me to, and even then I'm sure my latent Catholicism would rise up to prevent me from enjoying the act of depravity. And, Catholic shame or not, I certainly wouldn't lap up my own loogie a moment later. That's not sanitary. But my pay-per-view porno had no problem with these aberrations. I decided to look the other way. Figuratively, of course. This was 30 something minutes into the movie and I had completed my dirty deed 25 minutes prior (sadly, I finished during the opening credit montage). I watched the remaining 85 minutes of the movie like an Anthropologist studying chimps. Sexy, Asian chimps.

To make a long story short, the remaining scenes cut out their "endings" too. What a bunch of bullshit! It isn't that I need a dude ejaculating to let me know a porn scene is over. I'm no rookie here; I knew where the scene was headed. But without that last filthy moment of closure, I might as well have been looking at still pictures for 100 minutes. And I certainly wouldn't pay $12 for fuckin' pictures. I'm not going to mince words here: a porn scene just isn't complete without male ejaculation. Sure, we can get political and say that the whole damn system is wrong, but you can't change it. It's nature. It's science. It's what non-lesbian porn has taught us since the beginning of time: Male ejaculation = end of scene. Female ejaculation = fetish video. And if the scene has 2 or more men, the last one to finish gets to lock up. That's just how it goes.

A porn scene ending without a cumshot is sort of like reading a bedtime story to a child and leaving out the "Happily Ever After" part. Sure, maybe your child will assume the best for the Prince & Princess, but without being explicitly told that the story is over, your child is most likely pining for closure. And we all know that there's no better closure than a huge facial.

Why Andre Dawson was a Badass

February 22, 2010 | Comments (4) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

When YouTube first emerged onto the scene there were very few things I wanted to see posted more than video of the Eric Show beanball to Andre Dawson. I remember watching this game as a kid. It was one of the most unbelievable moments I ever saw. Well finally someone posted it.

Things of note that I remembered from that incident.
  • Rick Sutcliffe going apeshit and being one of the first guys out of the dugout.
  • After laying on the ground for a while, Dawson finally comes to and goes ballistic as he takes off after Show on the field.
  • After getting Show to retreat into the dugout, Dawson attempts to go down into the Padres dugout after him.
The following inning, Greg Maddux beans Benito Santiago in the back and gets ejected. Rick Sutcliffe shared his take on Maddux in that game in an article he wrote last year for ESPN discussing beanballs.
The one incident that I remember most is from 1987, when Padres pitcher Eric Show hit Dawson in the face. I wasn't pitching that day, actually a young Greg Maddux was, but I'd had a feeling that the Padres might be out to get Hawk. I even said something to him about it, telling him I didn't have a good feeling. He had hit two home runs the night before and another in his first at-bat of the game. Then, in the third inning, Show drilled him in the eye with a fastball. People may remember that I charged the mound from the dugout when that happened.

Before the game, management had told Maddux that if he didn't get the win he'd be sent down. Knowing that, as I was getting ejected for fighting, I told him to go out and get through the fifth inning to get that win he needed before thinking about retaliating. He wasn't hearing any of that. I reminded him that he needed to get that win or else he was going back to the minors. He told me he didn't care if he got another win in his whole career. And the very next inning with the lead and two out and no one on base Maddux got payback by hitting Benito Santiago in the back as hard as he could. That tells you what kind of teammate Maddux was even starting out. He got sent down the next day, but his teammates knew what kind of guy he was. People might not expect it from a mild-mannered guy like him, but he would protect his hitters as much as any pitcher I ever played with.
Awesome, so not only did that incident lead to one of the most memorable bench-clearing brawls I've ever witnessed, but it essentially gave a young Maddux his first opportunity to earn respect from his teammates.

Pitchers and Catchers Report Today

February 17, 2010 | Comments (2) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

The new season is upon us. Get excited.

TMS Shirts Final Closeout!

February 16, 2010 | Comments (3) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

In the not-quite four year span of Thunder Matt's Saloon I've been pretty low key with plugging the Thunder Matt's T-Shirt Store, figuring folks were coming here to read our writing not to get an annoying sales pitch.

Well, with less than two weeks left before we shut the lights off here and move to our new blog I'd figure this was a better time than any to finally give you an annoying sales pitch.

With the TMS Era coming to a close, the shirts at the TMS Store will be officially retired as I begin work on creating new shirts for Exile on Clark Street. This is your last chance to buy a piece of TMS nostalgia. Here are the shirts you can still get your hands on.

Centaur Approved and Purveyors of Esoterica - These are the two newest designs I created. Both of them are pretty sweet. I mean who doesn't want a shirt with a centaur on it? The only thing that is guaranteed to get you laid more is the long sleeved wolf shirt.

8-Bit Gridiron Glory and JO Sampson - Here's two shirts featuring our favorite running backs. One is the greatest video game athlete of all time, the other has served as a TMS guest correspondent over the years. Both look great on a shirt. DOUBLE LEGIT!!!!

Thunder Matt's Saloon and Ast-Raped in '88 - The Thunder Matt's Saloon shirt took on various forms over the years to match our most current site design. This is the final edition. Ast-Raped in '88 is our best-selling shirt of all-time. I find that impressive and horrifying at the same time. Note: the Rick Astley post pre-dates the RickRoll internet meme.

What About Beecake? and Tommy Buzanis - Sadly the comments to this post have been lost. What started with some cheap shots by Daft Funk at Billy Boyd turned into a barrage of angry comments and hate mail from his Fan Club. This shirt immortalizes one such angry fan's comment, referencing Boyd's band, Beecake back in Scotland. And thus "What About Beecake?" became the ultimate rhetorical question in TMS-lore. Speaking of TMS-lore, no character casts a bigger shadow than Mr. Tommy Buzanis. This shirt features an oft-uttered phrase from everyone's favorite steak-eating, fake-tanning, alcoholic divorcee.

So hurry and order now. All profits will help me buy a bootleg copy of "New Moon" on DVD.

The 2010 Chicago Cubs, Pay More for a Crappier Product!

February 15, 2010 | Comments (2) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

So individual game tickets go on sale this Friday at 10am. Next to family birthdays and my anniversary, this is one of the single most important days of the year for me. I take a day off work for this. The exhilaration of getting in to buy tickets from the virtual waiting room is an immense high for me. Yes, I know how pathetic that may sound.

So imagine my dismay when I read this article on Cubs.com.
Starting Monday, February 15th at 10am CT, fans will have first access to all Chicago Cubs 2010 regular season home games by going to Cubs.com and paying a 20% premium on the face value of the ticket.
Are you kidding me? Never mind a bleacher seat on a platinum date costs $54, and that's before getting punched in the face with taxes and fees, but now you can buy them earlier for $64.80. Nearly $65 for a general admission seat. The article does say there is a limit on how many seats will be available for pre-sale, so schmucks like me can still have the opportunity to be gouged at the normal face value on Friday.

What's more frustrating is that if you recall this piece that came out back in early December, Cubs president Crane Kenney had this little gem.
"This isn't the year to go crazy on ticket price increases," Kenney said.
I'm curious what "going crazy" is then if he doesn't consider selling a bulk of the tickets at 20% over face value a bit insane. Perhaps to Crane "crazy" meant selling an internal organ or your first born child for tickets.

Also from that December article was this snippet about the Ricketts plans for investing in the team.
What helps the team now is that the new owners, the Ricketts family, plan on investing all profits into the Cubs, which wasn't the case when the Tribune Co. was the owner.
Well that's a relief. So next season we should expect players with actual talent to be purchased with all the profits? I'll remember that when the Cubs sign yet another mediocre second basemen or right fielder next offseason.

So thanks Cubs management for finding a new way to screw the fans. I guess you guys are at least a little more straightforward this time about scalping your own tickets.

The Final Dark Days of Thunder Matt's Saloon

February 11, 2010 | Comments (8) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

It's gotten quiet in the Saloon lately. Real quiet.

Not only have we hardly been writing about the Cubs, we've hardly been not writing about the Cubs which was are M.O. for the last couple years. This I'm sure has led to the question from all four of you still reading our site. Is TMS dead?

The answer is: almost.

The lights at Thunder Matt's Saloon will be going out for good on February 28. On March 1 we will begin a new era as we open a new and improved Cubs blog called Exile on Clark Street.

I'm sure that may lead to a couple folks drudging up our failed blog Pomp Culture. Yes, we tried to ditch the whole idea of being a Cubs blog and it didn't quite work out. I assure you this will be different. For one, we will still be a Cubs blog, and two, um....I have no two.

The main purpose for Exile is that we're going to refocus our efforts on bringing more Cubs coverage yet still maintain the strange esoterica that made TMS popular for a small group of folks. In order to do that we're joining forces with two other Cubs blogs that do a great job keeping up with the latest happenings with the ball club. College of Idiots and Wasting Away in Wrigleyville will be partnering up with us for this new blogging venture.

We're pretty excited for this new site as we get back into gear for the upcoming season. For a sneak peek here's a look at the new site's header.

Hats off to Ginger Russ for the sweet design.

Anyway, my main point is business at the Saloon is definitely slow and coming to an inevitable halt, but I assure all of you to stay tuned as we get ready to launch Exile on Clark Street on March 1st.

Hi Guys! I'm Still Alive!

February 10, 2010 | Comments (2) | by Ginger Russ

Al Molinaro also agrees that the new Google Buzz and Facebook layout are stupid.


TMS Fantasy Baseball Player Rankings 2010

February 08, 2010 | Comments (2) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Alright, here is the full set of rankings for all positions. As with previous years, these rankings are for standard 5x5 scoring leagues.

Updated: 2/22/2010


1. Joe Mauer, MIN
John Baker, FLA
2. Brian McCann, ATL
Carlos Ruiz, PHI
3. Victor Martinez, CLE
Ramon Hernandez, CIN
4. Matt Wieters, BAL
Kelly Shoppach, TB
5. Miguel Montero, ARI
Miguel Olivo, COL
6. Jorge Posada, NYY
Rod Barajas, FA
7. Russell Martin, LAD
Buster Posey, SF
8. Mike Napoli, ANA
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, TEX
9. Kurt Suzuki, OAK
Jeff Clement, PIT
10. Geovany Soto, CHC
Ivan Rodriguez, WAS
11. Bengie Molina, SF
Dioner Navarro, TB
12. Ryan Doumit, PIT
Jesus Flores, WAS
13. Yadier Molina, STL
John Buck, TOR
14. A.J. Pierzynski, CHW
Gerald Laird, DET
15. Chris Iannetta, COL
Carlos Santana, CLE

On the edge of the radar: Nick Hundley SD, J.R. Towles HOU, Alex Avila DET, Taylor Teagarden TEX, Chris Snyder ARI, Gregg Zaun MIL, Yorvit Torrealba SD


1. Albert Pujols, STL
Adam Dunn, WAS
2. Prince Fielder, MIL
Carlos Pena, TB
3. Miguel Cabrera, DET
Billy Butler, KC
4. Mark Teixeira, NYY
Michael Cuddyer, MIN
5. Ryan Howard, PHI
Jose Lopez, SEA
6. Adrian Gonzalez, SD
James Loney, LAD
7. Mark Reynolds, ARI
Jorge Cantu, FLA
8. Justin Morneau, MIN
Chris Davis, TEX
9. Kevin Youkilis, BOS
Todd Helton, COL
10. Joey Votto, CIN
Adam LaRoche, ARI
11. Pablo Sandoval, SF
Paul Konerko, CHW
12. Kendry Morales, ANA
Garrett Jones, PIT
13. Victor Martinez, CLE
Nick Swisher, NYY
14. Lance Berkman, HOU
Nick Johnson, NYY
15. Derrek Lee, CHC
Martin Prado, ATL

On the edge of the radar: Aubrey Huff SF, Mark DeRosa SF, Russell Branyan CLE


1. Chase Utley, PHI
Martin Prado, ATL
2. Ian Kinsler, TEX
Clint Barmes, COL
3. Dustin Pedroia, BOS
Kelly Johnson, ARI
4. Brian Roberts, BAL
Orlando Hudson, MIN
5. Robinson Cano, NYY
Casey McGehee, MIL
6. Aaron Hill, TOR
Felipe Lopez, FA
7. Brandon Phillips, CIN
Mark Ellis, OAK
8. Ben Zobrist, TB
Akinori Iwamura, PIT
9. Dan Uggla, FLA
Scott Sizemore, DET
10. Jose Lopez, SEA
Luis Castillo, NYM
11. Howie Kendrick, ANA
Kazuo Matsui, HOU
12. Asdrubal Cabrera, CLE
Freddy Sanchez, SF
13. Ian Stewart, COL
Maicer Izturis, ANA
14. Rickie Weeks, MIL
Alberto Callaspo, KC
15. Placido Polanco, PHI
Skip Schumaker, STL

On the edge of the radar: Adam Kennedy OAK, Chris Getz CHW, Luis Valbuena CLE, Ronnie Belliard LAD, Eric Young COL


1. Alex Rodriguez, NYY
Chris Davis, TEX
2. Evan Longoria, TB
Mark DeRosa, SF
3. David Wright, NYM
Alex Gordon, KC
4. Mark Reynolds, ARI
Jhonny Peralta, CLE
5. Ryan Zimmerman, WAS
Casey Blake, LAD
6. Kevin Youkilis, BOS
Martin Prado, ATL
7. Pablo Sandoval, SF
Kevin Kouzmanoff, OAK
8. Aramis Ramirez, CHC
Chase Headley, SD
9. Chone Figgins, SEA
Casey McGehee, MIL
10. Michael Young, TEX
Edwin Encarnacion, TOR
11. Gordon Beckham, CHW
Mark Teahen, CHW
12. Chipper Jones, ATL
Scott Rolen, CIN
13. Jorge Cantu, FLA
Garrett Atkins, BAL
14. Adrian Beltre, BOS
Mike Lowell, BOS
15. Ian Stewart, COL
Brandon Wood, ANA

On the edge of the radar: Brandon Inge DET, Andy LaRoche PIT, Brett Wallace TOR, David Freese STL, Troy Glaus ATL, Mat Gamel MIL


1. Hanley Ramirez, FLA
Jhonny Peralta, CLE
2. Troy Tulowitzki, COL
Marco Scutaro, BOS
3. Jose Reyes, NYM
Alcides Escobar, MIL
4. Jimmy Rollins, PHI
Everth Cabrera, SD
5. Derek Jeter, NYY
Erick Aybar, ANA
6. Jason Bartlett, TB
J.J. Hardy, MIN
7. Alexei Ramirez, CHW
Maicer Izturis, ANA
8. Asdrubal Cabrera, CLE
Cristian Guzman, WAS
9. Yunel Escobar, ATL
Ian Desmond, WAS
10. Elvis Andrus, TEX
Edgar Renteria, SF
11. Stephen Drew, ARI
Luis Valbuena, CLE
12. Miguel Tejada, BAL
Cliff Pennington, OAK
13. Rafael Furcal, LAD
Brendan Ryan, STL
14. Ryan Theriot, CHC
Juan Uribe, SF
15. Orlando Cabrera, CIN
Jack Wilson, SEA

On the edge of the radar: Mike Aviles KC, Emilio Bonifacio FLA, Yuniesky Betancourt KC, Willie Bloomquist KC, Julio Lugo STL, Alex Gonzalez TOR


1. Ryan Braun, MIL
Raul Ibanez, PHI
2. Matt Kemp, LAD
Alex Rios, CHW
3. Carl Crawford, TB
Alfonso Soriano, CHC
4. Matt Holliday, STL
Denard Span, MIN
5. Jacoby Ellsbury, BOS
Michael Bourn, HOU
6. Justin Upton, ARI
Carlos Beltran, NYM
7. Grady Sizemore, CLE
Jay Bruce, CIN
8. Jayson Werth, PHI
Nyjer Morgan, WAS
9. Ichiro Suzuki, SEA
Carlos Gonzalez, COL
10. Curtis Granderson, NYY
Jason Kubel, MIN
11. Jason Bay, NYM
Johnny Damon, DET
12. Adam Lind, TOR
Brad Hawpe, COL
13. Nick Markakis, BAL
Michael Cuddyer, MIN
14. Andre Ethier, LAD
Julio Borbon, TEX
15. B.J. Upton, TB
Ryan Ludwick, STL
16. Carlos Lee, HOU
Chris Coghlan, FLA
17. Manny Ramirez, LAD
Vladimir Guerrero, TEX
18. Bobby Abreu, ANA
Corey Hart, MIL
19. Nelson Cruz, TEX
Rajai Davis, OAK
20. Josh Hamilton, TEX
Vernon Wells, TOR
21. Shane Victorino, PHI
Franklin Gutierrez, SEA
22. Shin-Soo Choo, CLE
Nolan Reimold, BAL
23. Ben Zobrist, TB
Juan Pierre, CHW
24. Torii Hunter, ANA
Dexter Fowler, COL
25. Hunter Pence, HOU
Juan Rivera, ANA
26. Adam Jones, BAL
Cody Ross, FLA
27. Adam Dunn, WAS
Mark DeRosa, SF
28. Andrew McCutchen, PIT
Garrett Jones, PIT
29. Carlos Quentin, CHW
Drew Stubbs, CIN
30. Nate McLouth, ATL
Jermaine Dye, FA

On the edge of the radar: Nick Swisher NYY, J.D. Drew BOS, Brett Gardner NYY, Lastings Milledge PIT, Delmon Young MIN, Kyle Blanks SD, Magglio Ordonez DET, Colby Rasmus STL, Chris Young ARI, Travis Snider TOR, David DeJesus KC, Cameron Maybin FLA, Josh Willingham WAS


1. Tim Lincecum, SF
Carlos Zambrano, CHC
2. Roy Halladay, PHI
Scott Kazmir, ANA
3. Zack Greinke, KC
Ted Lilly, CHC
4. Felix Hernandez, SEA
Edwin Jackson, ARI
5. CC Sabathia, NYY
Clay Buchholz, BOS
6. Dan Haren, ARI
David Price, TB
7. Justin Verlander, DET
Tim Hudson, ATL
8. Adam Wainwright, STL
Mark Buehrle, CHW
9. Johan Santana, NYM
Randy Wolf, MIL
10. Jon Lester, BOS
Jorge De La Rosa, COL
11. Chris Carpenter, STL
Kevin Slowey, MIN
12. Cliff Lee, SEA
Daisuke Matsuzaka, BOS
13. Josh Johnson, FLA
Rick Porcello, DET
14. Josh Beckett, BOS
Aaron Harang, CIN
15. Javier Vazquez, NYY
Hiroki Kuroda, LAD
16. Cole Hamels, PHI
Johnny Cueto, CIN
17. Yovani Gallardo, MIL
Ben Sheets, OAK
18. Matt Cain, SF
Jeff Niemann, TB
19. Tommy Hanson, ATL
Jonathan Sanchez, SF
20. Ubaldo Jimenez, COL
Derek Lowe, ATL
21. Wandy Rodriguez, HOU
Joe Blanton, PHI
22. Jake Peavy, CHW
Wade Davis, TB
23. Clayton Kershaw, LAD
J.A. Happ, PHI
24. Ricky Nolasco, FLA
Joba Chamberlain, NYY
25. Chad Billingsley, LAD
Ervin Santana, ANA
26. John Lackey, BOS
Joel Pineiro, ANA
27. Jered Weaver, ANA
Andy Pettitte, NYY
28. Matt Garza, TB
Bronson Arroyo, CIN
29. Jair Jurrjens, ATL
Francisco Liriano, MIN
30. James Shields, TB
Scott Feldman, TEX
31. Scott Baker, MIN
Chris Young, SD
32. Brandon Webb, ARI
Joe Saunders, ANA
33. A.J. Burnett, NYY
John Maine, NYM
34. Roy Oswalt, HOU
Erik Bedard, SEA
35. Ryan Dempster, CHC
Randy Wells, CHC
36. John Danks, CHW
Stephen Strasburg, WAS
37. Brett Anderson, OAK
Phil Hughes, NYY
38. Max Scherzer, DET
Mat Latos, SD
39. Gavin Floyd, CHW
Gil Meche, KC
40. Rich Harden, TEX
Brian Matusz, BAL

On the edge of the radar: Brett Myers HOU, Barry Zito SF, Kevin Correia SD, Colby Lewis TEX, Ricky Romero TOR, Homer Bailey CIN, Justin Masterson CLE, Chris Tillman BAL, Gio Gonzalez OAK, Trevor Cahill OAK, Neftali Feliz TEX, Jason Marquis WAS, Jon Garland SD, Brad Penny STL, Derek Holland TEX, Kevin Millwood BAL, Paul Maholm PIT, Jeremy Bonderman DET, Pedro Martinez FA, Aaron Cook COL, Nick Blackburn MIN, Ryan Rowland-Smith SEA, Brad Bergesen BAL, John Lannan WAS, Zach Duke PIT, Madison Bumgarner SF, Brandon Morrow TOR, Jeremy Guthrie BAL, Jarrod Washburn DET, Carl Pavano MIN, Ross Ohlendorf PIT


1. Jonathan Broxton, LAD
Frank Francisco, TEX
2. Joe Nathan, MIN
Chad Qualls, ARI
3. Mariano Rivera, NYY
Kerry Wood, CLE
4. Jonathan Papelbon, BOS
Mike Gonzalez, BAL
5. Francisco Rodriguez, NYM
Brad Lidge, PHI
6. Heath Bell, SD
Leo Nunez, FLA
7. Joakim Soria, KC
Matt Capps, WAS
8. Andrew Bailey, OAK
Octavio Dotel, PIT
9. Brian Wilson, SF
Brandon Lyon, HOU
10. Huston Street, COL
Matt Thornton, CHW
11. Francisco Cordero, CIN
Jason Frasor, TOR
12. Jose Valverde, DET
Phil Hughes, NYY
13. Carlos Marmol, CHC
Neftali Feliz, TEX
14. Trevor Hoffman, MIL
J.P. Howell, TB
15. David Aardsma, SEA
Matt Lindstrom, HOU
16. Brian Fuentes, ANA
Kevin Gregg, TOR
17. Rafael Soriano, TB
Ryan Madson, PHI
18. Billy Wagner, ATL
Scott Downs, TOR
19. Bobby Jenks, CHW
Jim Johnson, BAL
20. Ryan Franklin, STL
Michael Wuertz, OAK

On the edge of the radar: Luke Gregerson SD, C.J. Wilson TEX, Fernando Rodney ANA, Chris Perez CLE, Mike MacDougal FLA, Joel Hanrahan PIT, Juan Gutierrez ARI, Todd Coffey MIL, Daniel Bard BOS, Mike Adams SD

Thunder Matt's Saloon: Best of Movies 2009

February 05, 2010 | Comments (1) | by Chaim Witz

Hot on the heels (no) of our critically acclaimed and tepidly anticipated Best Of Music Lists comes this year's (last year's?) Best of Movies List. Since only a select few of us even get the chance to see more than a few films (non-porno) each year, these lists are sad and limp, like The Hundley that time he ran out of Cialis.

So without further ado, here's a hastily cobbled together list of movies for you to mock, ignore and bury at the bottom of your Netflix queue. Lights, camera, Jews!

Chaim Witz

Up in the Air – A pitch perfect adult dramedy that didn’t really excel in one particular area, but stuck with me for weeks after I saw it. Probably because I was worried about getting fired, but that's neither here nor there.

2. (500) Days of Summer – Always a sucker for a twee indie comedy with a hipster soundtrack, I fell head over heels and out of my skinny jeans for this rom com. The Hall and Oates montage probably bumped it up 2 or 3 spots on this list.

3. The Hangover – A Zach Galifiankis nerd from way back (“I liked him way before G-Force”), I had a feeling I’d love this movie as soon as I saw the poster. Classic instincts!

4. The Hurt Locker - Clunky title aside, this was one of the most intense experiences I’ve had at the movies in quite some time. I pooped my pants more times than Milton Bradley with men on base.

5. Away We Go - Probably hit home due to the fact that, like the pseudo hipster couple in the movie, Mrs. Witz and I just recently had our first child and, like said couple, also have no idea what we're doing. We saw this one right after we found out that our lives would be forever changed (for the better mind you)...I even got the idea for my Dad Beard from Jim from The Office. Maya Rudolph turns in one of the more underrated and affecting performances of the year.

6. Moon - I'm naturally predispositioned to like movies that take place in the jungle, space or a post-apocalyptic landscape. That said, I loved this space yarn. Sam Rockwell lends his considerable talents to this film that either steals from or pays homage to, 2001 Space Odyssey.

7. Inglorious Basterds – Allowing for a few Tarantino egotistical asides, this beautifully shot film is the Brad Pitt Nazi Movie that the world has waited for since he burst onto the scene shirtless in Thelma and Louise.

8. Avatar – It’s like they brought that Eiffel 65 song to life on the silver screen!

9. Star Trek – I hate nerds, but I loved this decidedly less nerdy version of Pocket Protectors in Space.

10. Adventureland – Reinforces my inkling that I should have been a carnie.

11. Drag Me To Hell – This movie was “grossly” entertaining! WOCKA WOCKA WOCKA!

12. Youth In Revolt - Technically this came out in 2010, but technically I'm a heterosexual as well.

Honorable Mention: Nice try assholes!

The Road - Post apocalyptic shenanigans, Oprah approved.

District 9 – A (relatively) thinking man’s Predator

Whip It – I hugged Drew Barrymore

Tyson – Face tattoo!

I Love You Man – I hate the band Rush, or this may have ranked higher.


Crazy Heart – Jeff Bridges is great though.

Watchmen – Blue penis!

Last House on the Left – Pretty scary when you watch it at a bed in breakfast on the lake.

Up – Not as good as Wall E or Ratatouille.

Fantastic Mr. Fox – Wanted to love it, just liked it. Seems like it would get better with repeat viewings.

Minor Disappointments, Like Me

Bruno, Public Enemies, Funny People, Paranormal Activity, The Men Who Stare At Goats, Sherlock Holmes, IN the Loop

Worst Movies of the Year

Miss March, My Life in Ruins, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Time Traveler’s Wife, Couples Retreat

White Chili

Up in the Air - Having lost a job in 2009 with a lot of other people, watching a movie about a guy whose job it is to fire people for a living was an interesting experience for me. It's not why I ranked it at the top of my list, but it did provide a personal touch. Clooney does an excellent job in this timely and very well-told story by a young Jason Reitman, who also gave us Juno and Thank You For Smoking. Great job.

The Hurt Locker - I'm pretty sure that my asshole didn't unpucker for the duration of this movie. Holy crap was this intense. It starts off with the line "war is a drug", and goes off in a white knuckle bomb-diffusing rally from there. It was nice to see how excellent attention to how the subtleties of a scene are filmed goes so much further than just having a couple of huge CGI robots fire their missiles to knock the asses of some other huge CGI robots through the Eiffel Tower.

Avatar - The acting is not Oscar worthy and the story is essentially Dances With Wolves meets Fern Gully. Having said that, this was the most fun I've
had at the movies that I can remember. I'm not a fan of the recent 3D fad with movies and I was worried that Cameron would unnecessarily have a spear fly into the audience or something. Not the case. It was very tastefully done. So much so that I'm worried about what the movie will be like without it. The special effects are tremendous and the last battle scene (which lasts for about 45 minutes) knocked my dick so far in the dirt that I have a new girlfriend in China to introduce to the folks. Go see it.

Up - All I knew going into this movie was an old guy had a house suspended with balloons. I wasn't sure how that translated into a feature-length film but Pixar hadn't given me a reason to doubt them. They still haven't. A word of warning: the first 20 minutes or so rivals Bambi for a sad beginning and had the woman in the seat next to me b
alling uncontrollably. I, on the other hand, just had something in my eye.

The Hangover - Funniest movie of the year. People will be quoting this one for years to come. Each subsequent viewing has made me want to go back to Vegas that much more. I sure hope they don't ruin it with a sequel. I just have one question. Is this the real Caesar's Palace?

Star Trek - JJ Abrams did a fantastic job with creating a new adaptation of the series. He certainly did his homework evidenced by enlisting a superb cast and keeping true to the smallest of details. He may have gone a bit overboard with the lens flares but for the most part the special effects were excellent. Also, Tyler Perry!

Watchmen - I think a lot of people saw this without having read the graphic novel and came out of the theater wondering just what the hell they saw. I read through it first and appreciated the attention to detail the producers of the film paid. The casting was perfect, the soundtrack was very appropriate and even a change to the original story was done in such a way that many fans have said was an improvement. I think this one got a bad rap and certainly didn't live up to the huge hype.

Funny People - I expected this to be unexpected, and enjoyed the result. This is not a typical Sandler funny face/voice experience. I liked how Sandler was able to actually do a bit of acting and portray a man having to deal with some very real problems. He also used his character to poke a bit of fun at the caliber of movies he has been known to churn out. The movie tends to run a bit long and could have probably been a bit better had they shaved off 20 minutes. Nobody likes those bushy films from the 70s.

Tyson - Say what you will about Iron Mike, this documentary was very well done. Not only did I learn quite a bit, Tyson came across as humble and honest about a great many things. If you have any interest in the sport of boxing, this is a must. Leave any preconceived notions you may have at the door and I think you'll enjoy this.

Inglorious Basterds - Better than I thought it would be. The opening scene is very well done and Christopher Waltz plays an excellent villain who clearly is in love with his job and himself. It would have been nice if the war actually played out like this.

Worst of the Year

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen - I'm not normally one to declare such superlatives as my favorite band or least favorite melon (C'mon, Honeydew right?) but this movie may be the worst movie I've ever seen. The only hope is that it is, in fact
, actually an art commentary piece in which case Michael Bay might be the smartest human being who has ever lived.

The Hundley

Best to worst:

Sugar - Totally changed the way I look at drugs in baseball and how I view Latin baseball immigrants.

It Might Get Loud - Guitar porn of the highest order.

500 Days of Summer - Easily the best comedy of the last 3 years that I can watch with my wife.

Taken - Lots of action + Liam Neeson + sex trafficking = enjoyable x 2!!

Star Trek - This prequel is infinitely better than what the Star Wars franchise did, and with about 300% less hype.

Inglorious Basterds - Oh really, Tarantino is affiliated? Shoddy plot and odd and uncomfortable cameos aside (Office guy, Mike Myers), a solid film, especially the performance by Christoph Waltz.

Tyson - Even though 50% of it is probably untrue, this is a captivating documentary. DVD 'extras' are a must-see here as well.

The Hangover - More Zach Galifianakis, please

9 (The Tim Burton one) - Special effects skeet!

A Christmas Carol 3D - Special effects skeet AND a timeless story!

Sherlock Holmes - Who knew Sherlie was into MMA? And where the fuck was the tweed coat and Sherlock cap?

District 9 - A reach, but decent. Lead actor reminds me of Murray from Flight of the Conchords.

Brothers - Shame on you, Jim Sheridan. I expected WAY more

The Watchmen - When will I learn not to expect anything of a book-to-movie film?

My Bloody Valentine - Worst one I saw in '09, fo sho

Daft Funk

There's no greater testament to how strong 2009's movies were overall than looking at the list of films I enjoyed immensely but still couldn't squeeze into my list. Whether you like pitch-black comedy (Observe and Report, World's Greatest Dad), off-beat documentaries (It Might Get Loud, Tyson, Anvil!) or a warm and fuzzy tale of political murder and revenge in Northern Ireland (Five Minutes of Heaven), there are many many fantastic films from last year that didn't make it onto any end of year lists. There just wasn't enough room. That's what she said.

Here are my top 20 movies of the year in alphabetical order. Why 20? Because I traded Chip Wesley a bottle of 10 High for his list. Why alphabetical? Just to mess with you, specifically. Yeah you. I'm watching you as you read this. I do like what you've done with your hair today...

1. (500) Days Of Summer - This movie is proof that if you take a generic romantic comedy and put a different spin on the way you tell the story, you can make a movie that stands out from the pack. Yes, it centers around the mythical MPDG, but Joseph Gordon Levitt joining the UCLA marching band for a musical number set to Hall and Oates can overcome just about anything.

2. A Serious Man - I bestow the honor of the 2009 "Arcturus Goreo Award" on this film. Much like the mythical cookie, the movie is bookended by a beginning and finish that are a bit bizarre, but the center is full of delicious Cohen Brothers frosting. Better make sure that cookie is kosher when viewing this film.

3. Assassination of a High School President - One very important thing I learned this year is that just because a movie goes straight to DVD doesn't mean it isn't good. As far as high school mysteries go, it's not as cerebral as Rian Johnson's excellent Brick, but it's not going to completely confuse you either. Plus there's a naked girl. And Bruce Willis. You're out of excuses.

4. Away We Go - I was pleasantly surprised by this movie. It made me look forward to having kids one day. Then I went to the mall on a Sunday afternoon and I'm back to normal again.

5. Bad Lieutenant - It seems like Nicholas Cage got all the "bad" acting out of his system early in the year with Knowing because what he does in this movie is nothing short of brilliant. Full of one-liners, dancing souls, iguanas and fat Val Kilmer, this will most likely go down as my favorite Nicholas Cage movie of all time. And this is coming from someone who watches Raising Arizona and Face/Off on a regular basis.

6. Black Dynamite - Black Dynamite kung-fu fights RICHARD NIXON! If that's not enough to get you to add this blaxploitation throwback to your Netflix cue, you're on the wrong website.

7. Bronson - Michael Peterson is a real-life British criminal who has spent most of his entire life in solitary confinement for a number of crimes. If you had Guy Richie drop 4 hits of acid and direct a film about him, it would be this movie. The absolute insanity in this film reminded me of the first time I saw Fight Club. Easily one of the top 3 movies I saw in 2009.

8. Cold Souls - Paul Giamatti playing Paul Giamatti. Soul extraction services. Russian soul trafficking. The best movie Charlie Kaufmann wishes he wrote.

9. District 9 - The only complaint I have about this movie is that it switches from faux documentary to straight up action flick without much explanation. I wish it would have stayed one or the other. But that's me being seriously picky to try and find something I didn't care for in this movie. FOOK!

10. House of the Devil/Drag Me To Hell - Both of these films reminded me that, in a world full of Hostels and Friday the 13th remakes, fun and scary movies are still being made. While Drag Me To Hell pushes on the gas for the entire film, house of the Devil takes about 2/3 of the movie just setting up the Hitchcockian tension. But when you get to the payoff, you'll be crying for your mother.

11 - In The Loop - The Office meets the Bush White House. Sure, a lot of the characters are stock, but in a movie with so many characters and so much going on, there isn't a lot of depth that they can be given. Nothing beats seeing James Gandolfini telling someone he looks "like squeezed dick". I still don't know if I get that, but it made me laugh.

12. Inglorious Basterds - In a watershed year for war movies, Basterds is easily the most fun and balls-to-the-wall crazy. Who cares if the ending isn't what really happened in WWII? Ah wahnt mah scalps!

13. Moon - Much like how the movies listed at #10 made me feel better about the state of horror movies, films like Moon let me sleep better knowing that thought provoking sci-fi movies are still alive and well. While I feel like the "reveal" of the film happened too soon, that is but a small complaint in a movie carried by Sam Rockwell. And Sam Rockwell. Heh heh...I said "moon" and "reveal". Sounds like high school all over again.

14. Star Trek - I hated all Star Trek television shows and avoided all but one of the movies before this summer's "reboot" of sorts. I don't care if it had plotholes you could drive the Enterprise through or that everything was too shiny. I had a blast watching this movie. It needed more Eric Bana though. Then again, I think that about 95% of the movies I see.

15. Sugar/Big Fan - Just like 500 Days of Summer showed how romantic comedies can be done in new and exciting ways, Big Fan and Sugar were refreshing alternatives to the washed up, inspirational sports movies Disney vomits out every year. Want an ultra-real tale of what it's really like to be a Dominican player trying to break into the major leagues? Want to see what happens to the biggest NY Giants fan in the world when he gets attacked by his favorite player? Snap these two movies up and thank me later. With money.

16. Taken - Story? Why would you need story when Liam Neeson can kick ass all across Europe for an hour and a half?

17. The Hangover - I can't tell whether this movies was insanely funny or if the quality of comedies these days are so poor that The Hangover stood out more than usual. Either way, it's the most quotable comedy to come along since Anchorman. Classic!

18. The Hurt Locker - Alphabetical order or not, this was by far the best movie I saw all year. Just thinking about this movie again weeks later makes my hands sweat. Aside from an odd side-story involving a young Iraqi kid, this movie will Stranglehold you with its tension for 2 hours. Yes, that means this movie is Nugent Approved.

19. The Messenger - The second best movie about the Iraq war of 2009? Forget the emolicious Brothers and watch the underrated Woody Harrelson and the even-more underrated Ben Foster go door to door telling families that their loved ones have been killed in war. And Steve Buscemi has a supporting role, so you've got that going for you. Which is nice.

20. Up In The Air - Fantastic acting and directing make this movie a lot better than I would have thought. It really did come out at the perfect time and is the first movie to really take a close look at the economy we live in right now. My one complaint? Not enough Jason Bateman. Not enough Patrick Bateman either. Not quite blonde, are we? More of a dirty blonde...

Special Awards:

Most Disappointing: Bruno - I loved Borat. This movie...just wasn't funny. "Oh, you're dressed in a leather harness and humping the security guard at the zoo. Then what?"

Worst Ending: Knowing - Wait, so were they aliens or angels? Scientologists? An emo band? Just give me the answer!

Most Boring: Public Enemies - Never has there been a movie with so many actors I enjoy and a director I love that made me wish it was over so I could leave.

Best Use of Fake Genetalia (Make and Female): Antichrist - I still can't tell if this movie was genius or the worst thing I've ever seen. And I don't want to watch it again to find out because...well...I'm not a fan of multiple counts of genital mutilation.

Chip Wesley

1. New Moon
2. New Moon
3. New Moon
4. Taylor Lautner on SNL
5. Leaked trailer for Twilight: Eclipse on Access Hollywood
6. New Moon
7. New Moon
8. Robert Pattinson Pepsi Commercial
9. Wilford Brimley's Diabetes Dancemix
10. Waiting in line for New Moon with other New Moon fans, discussing our hopes, dreams and favorite/least favorite teachers.

Chip Wesley's REAL List (Even gayer than the fake one!)

Alright, so I don't see enough movies to have a formal best of list and I've been told I can't list New Moon 10 times. So instead here's a list of every movie I saw that was released in 2009, good or bad.

I Love You, Man - Paul Rudd and Jason Segal have some quotable lines and any movie with Lou Ferigno gets my approval. Grade: B

Monsters vs. Aliens - Having kids now, this is the type of flick in my wheelhouse any more. Overally pretty good. Some pop culture references will become dated over time. Grade: B-

Adventureland - Chaim Witz and I nearly had a limp-wristed slapfight over this one. He likes this movie while I hated it. The overall story was good but the acting sucked ass. Eisenberg and Stewart were a horrible couple and Ryan Reynolds' performance had "I'm mailing this in, just give me my paycheck" written all over it. A decent movie fallen victim to bad casting. Grade: C-

17 Again - Cheesy, dumb, mindless. Those are what I expected going in, and that's what I got out of it. I'll grade this better than Adventureland simply because my low expectations didn't lead me to disappointment. That and an outtake where Jim Gaffigan says "I have diarrhea," after saying his scripted line. Grade: C

X-Men Origins: Wolverine - Better than X-Men 3 but not as good as X-Men. Watching will.i.am get killed by a mutant was a plus at least. Grade: B-

Star Trek - J.J. Abrams reboots the franchise for a new generation. This ain't your nerdy basement-dwelling uncle's Star Trek! I've never been a fan of the series but after seeing Abrams version I'm on board for this one. Grade: B+

Up - Pixar once again doesn't disappoint. Then again have they ever disappointed? If you don't count that time Owen Wilson was a talking car, then no, no they haven't. Grade: A-

The Hangover - One of the best comedies in years and finally a chance for mainstream audiences to see the brilliance of Zack Galiafinakis. Grade: A

Food, Inc.
- Serious eye-opening documentary about our national food supply. In the end it really just made me feel shittier about myself when I eat quarter pounders. Grade: B+

The Proposal
- Mediocre romantic comedy that could've been slightly better if Sandra Bullock was remotely likable in it. Grade: C-

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - Way better than the book! (NOTE: I haven't read the book) Grade: B

The Ugly Truth
- Cliche and formulaic comedy that gets bonus points for being raunchier than expected. Katherine Heigl, will you please just show your tits already? No one believes a sex scene where you wear your bra the whole time. Grade: C

It Might Get Loud
- Jack White, Jimmy Page and The Edge talk about their life as a guitarist. Great film if you love rock music, or any of the bands these three have played in. Watching it made me want to listen to all my Zeppelin albums again. Grade: B