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Reality check: why Avatar wasn’t really all that great

"I'm flying Jack, I'm flying!" ...oh wait, wrong James Cameron movie.

"I'm flying Jack, I'm flying!" ...oh wait, wrong James Cameron movie.

Back in December of 2009 (Christmas Day, actually. See how dedicated I am to this blog and my readers?) I wrote about my five favorite movies in 2009. My list, you may remember, wasn’t exactly conventional: I included movies like 2012 and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen instead of some of the more conventional favorites. (And I’ll still defend those choices as good movies, or at least better than everyone gives them credit for.)

One of those conventional favorites, released for the first time a week before I wrote the post, was James Cameron’s Avatar. It made (and topped) many people’s best movies of 2009 list, and it eventually became the highest grossing movie of all time. This weekend, it was rereleased in theaters with an extra eight (no really, eight!) minutes of special, never-before-seen-but-just-as-green-and-blue footage.

Let’s stop kidding ourselves. Despite its sales, despite its hype, and despite the fact that sequels are already in the works, Avatar wasn’t really that great. Read on to find out why.

Why fantasy football is the greatest thing ever

Chris Johnson wasn't the NFL MVP last year, but he was the MVP of a lot of fantasy football leagues. And really, that's what's important.

Chris Johnson wasn't the NFL MVP last year, but he was the MVP of a lot of fantasy football leagues. And really, that's what's important.

We all have that one friend who’s a stat geek. (Heck, it may even be you. Heck, it might even be me.) He’s good with math, obsessive over numbers, watches SportsCenter like its his job, and generally spends way too much time rationalizing and analyzing human performance and rattling off condescending tidbits like “Tom Brady didn’t have a good game last week? That’s typical; while he normally plays well against the Titans against a left-handed quarterback and a tight end who wears a number divisible by 6, he’s actually only a 15% passer in games called by Jim Nantz on second Sundays of a month.” Twenty years ago we made fun of people like this: math-nerd-wannabe-jocks who were missing the point of sports.

Today though, you’ll find these guys dominating fantasy football leagues (clearly indicating, by the way, that I’m definitely not a stat geek. At least not a very good one.) A child of the Internet revolution and the World Wide Web, fantasy football has blossomed into a billion dollar industry which is now mainstream. Last year the Indians had a fantasy league, the cast of The Office had a fantasy league, and while I’m guessing Barack Obama wasn’t in a league himself, I wouldn’t put it past his staffers. The point is, nearly everyone with even the slightest interest in football (and sometimes, not even then) are in a fantasy football league.

Why is everyone (including this guy) so into this phenomenon? I take a look, after the break.

Optimizing your morning cup o’ joe

Mmmmmm, coffee...

Mmmmmm, coffee...

I’ve written a post about this before, but hey, it’s been two years, I’ve gained some new readers and I’ve made a couple changes and refined my coffee process. So I’m posting my guide to a great cup of coffee again, with some George Lucas-esque revisions.

Freedom means love without condition

On September 11, 2001, four airliners crashed into the World Trade Center, Pentagon and a rural field in Pennsylvania. The coordinated terrorist attack resulted in the collapse of the twin towers of the World Trade Center, irreparably changing the skyline of New York and the world forever. Within hours of the attack, Muslim extremists were suspected, and by less than a month later, the FBI released the names and photos of the attackers: Muslim extremists, working for Osama bin Laden.

A bold prediction

Manny Acta hasn’t had a lot to smile about this season. The Indians, after winning their final two games this weekend against Toronto, are on pace for 68 wins, meaning they’re on pace to finish the season 68-94. In the year the Indians won the Central Division (a mere three seasons ago), they had 96 wins. Sounds grim, right? Maybe, maybe not. I’m about to make a prediction. It’s a prediction so bold, so out there, so crazy that you’ll have to click the jump link to see what it is.