Saturday, September 30, 2017

Ranking all 21 Super NES Classic Edition Mini-Console Games!

Trying to figure out which game on the new retro-console you should play first? Our comprehensive rankings will tell you EVERYTHING you need to know about every game included on the system.


By: Jimbo X
JimboXAmerican@gmail.com
@JimboX

Because last year's NES revival console sold a whole bunch of units and some people still don't know how emulators work, Nintendo has decided to release a Super NES microconsole that comes pre-installed with 21 titles from the 16-bit era. Now, seeing as how Nintendo has decided to intentionally short change retailers, the end result is an inevitable (albeit wholly artificial) supply deficit, which gives the illusion that the product is a hot seller. And I don't know, maybe there ARE a bunch of people out there willing to pay $80 for a glorified plug-and-play unit, but to me, the whole thing comes off as an extremely desperate cash-grab. I mean, the fact that a re-release of a console that came out 30 years ago is more popular than the company's CURRENT home console pretty much tells you everything you need to know there.

Of course, it IS going to sell like hot cakes, primarily because people (especially Nintendo fans) are dumber than a bag of plastic rocks. But assuming you're going to be part of the herd that opts to pay $80-plus dollars for the unit instead of just playing them on in-browser emulators for free like any non-retard, you might be wondering which of the 21 titles included on the system you should play first (or avoid outright.) Well, being the sage '90s soul I am, I've already played all the games on the system and can tell you clear as day which games are groovy, which games are meh, and which ones are overrated tripe. As such, I've decided to do all you young whipper-snappers a favor and list all 21 games on the machine in order from least entertaining/noteworthy to most entertaining/noteworthy, with each entry summing up the game so even if you don't agree with my opinion you'll at least have a good idea of what the game is like before you hop head first into it. 

So, without further adieu, who's ready to get this party started? Well, I don't care, we're starting it anyway, so cram it.

Like Crystal Pepsi, it sounded like a good idea at the time ...

#021
Star Fox

I'll just come out and say it - Star Fox was hardly anything more than a glorified tech demo for the Super FX chip (which, as apparent by the abysmal failure of Stunt Race FX and Dirt Trax FX, proved once and for all that vainglorious "cutting edge" tech didn't account for shit when the core gameplay was so boring.) The polygonal graphics look downright fugly today, and to be perfectly honest, they were hardly state of the art even when the game was first released - go ahead, check out the Atari Lynx backlog, which was doing Star Fox quality semi-3D visuals on a freakin' handheld half a decade before this game hit the market. For crying aloud, this isn't event he best polygonal space shooter on the SNES, with Electro Brain's Vortex totally blowing this overhyped and overrated Nintendo offering out of the water in terms of aesthetics and overall gameplay. Simply put, this is a game that was never that impressive to begin with and it sure as hell hasn't aged any better; if you're looking for a truly phenomenal 16-bit polygonal shooter, looks like you should have picked up a Sega CD and the criminally underappreciated Silpheed instead. 

#020
Kirby's Dream Course

It's basically just another mini-golf/billiards simulator, except worse than most of the stuff that was floating around the 16-bit sphere of influence at the time of its release. The level design is redundant and strains your eyes, the physics are uneven, the music is irritating (unless you like in-house grocery store ambiance, I suppose) and, perhaps worst of all, the pace of gameplay is just agonizingly slow. On top of that, the multiplayer mode is a huge disappointment, with extremely stilted gameplay and a tempo so sluggish, you'll probably need to do a bump of Adderall to stay up long enough for your second turn. If you want to play a truly fun, fast and frenetic mini-golf sim, I'd suggest you try Krazy Ace Miniature Golf on the Lynx or Putt & Putter on the Game Gear - hell, I'd even take EA's Zany Golf over this snoozer of an SNES offering. 

#019
F-Zero

This was a game meant to showcase the power of Mode 7, and in some regards, it does a decent job - particularly, when it comes to scaling and draw-in effects. Alas, I still consider this a vastly overrated game, marred by boring level design (for fuck's sake, they practically RECYCLE the same course over and over again!), unimpressive visuals (even-for-its-time) and the backbreaker, a stilted sense of speed. You can squeeze some entertainment out of it, but there's no denying there are far better racing games on the SNES, from its spiritual and technical successor Mario Kart to Top Gear 2 (which is probably the all-around best racer on the Super Nintendo ... and it still probably wouldn't have cracked the top ten racers on the Genesis.) F-Zero's not a terrible game, but it's not a terribly immersive or enjoyable one either - but hey, at least it ain't Uniracers, eh? 

#018
Super Punch-Out!!

Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! was one of my favorite games on the NES - hell, it might STILL be the best boxing video game ever made, now that I think about it. Considering the lofty standards set by its precursor, Super Punch-Out!! can't be considered anything less than a major disappointment, even if its core gameplay is technically solid. Sure, the sprites are huge and well detailed, but the animations are crappy and the pace of the gameplay is just monotonously slow (and what the fuck is up with the character design? Why is there a motherfucker throwing spin kicks at you in a goddamn boxing game?) You might get a weekend's worth of entertainment out of the experience, but that's about it - if you want a real 16-bit boxing game, I'd suggest Boxing Legends of the Ring (one of the few SNES sports games that absolutely outclasses its Genesis counterpart) or Greatest Heavyweights on the Genesis - which, if nothing else, is an absolute must-play just for having the single greatest roster of real-life fighters ever assembled for a video game. 

#017
Donkey Kong Country

As soon as Rare jumped ship to Microsoft, Nintards immediately started rewriting history to mask their butthurt, and since 2001 Donkey Kong Country - one of the highest-rated and best-selling SNES games of all-time - has been retroactively castigated as an overhyped, overrated chunk of gorilla dookie. All in all, though, I don't think this is that bad of a platformer, even if the level design and overall challenge level is a bit lacking. Oddly enough, I think the graphics (the thing everybody and their mama criticizes the game for these days) actually hold up a lot better than most people give it credit for, and the controls are far more fluid than most hop and boppers on the SNES. I think it's safe to say the second DKC country was better, but from a historical standpoint, this is far more important; if you didn't grow up playing "Snow Barrel Blast" over and over again as kid, you probably owe it to yourself to see what all the retroactive hullabaloo was about at least once. 

Hmm ... monkeys eating watermelon, on what appears to be a giant mound of cotton. I wonder what Nintendo was trying to insinuate here?

#016
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island

This game contains what is far and away the WORST design choice in the history of video gaming - THAT SCREAMING FUCKIN' MARIO BABY. It may seem like a petty, trivial annoyance, but that shrieking sound is so irritating that I had to play the game with the sound turned off, and every time I think about Yoshi's Island all I can think about is how loathsome THAT constant squalling is. Even with that factored out of the equation, though, I've always considered this game - considered by some Miyamoto nuthuggers as the best platformer of all-time - to be an immensely overrated title. The visuals are unappealing and there are just too many unnecessary tweaks to the tried-and-true Mario formula (for example, why the fuck do I have to use a golf-swing meter to fire projectiles?), not to mention level design that feels totally out of place in the SMB mythos ("Touch Fluffy, Get Dizzy?" - more like "Go Fuck, Yourself."). That said, I do consider it worth playing through at least once - primarily, so you can see the monkeys that shoot watermelons at you and realize just how goddamn racist the Big N has always been.

#015
Star Fox 2

As overrated as the original Star Fox is, I've always though this unreleased sequel (thankfully, it got to retail in the E.U. and was dumped in the ROM files a long time ago) is actually quite a bit underrated. The graphics here are much improved, with a cleaner interface and far more manageable controls. There are more characters to choose from and unlike the original, you can actually get out of your fighter jet and amble around on the ground in some wacky ass mech-looking things. Granted, it's still a game that's all about the action, but it does have a much greater adventure-based component than its forerunner. The lock-on targeting still needs some work and I'd be lying if I said the polygonal graphics don't occasionally get ass-ugly, but on the whole this is a vastly superior sequel in just about every way you can think of. Sure, it doesn't hold a candle to something like Soul Star on the Sega CD, but it's still worth going out of your way to experience - and if you're a Yank with a moral qualm against in-browser emulation, thanks to the Super NES Classic you can FINALLY get your mitts on this long-lost miniature gem.

#014
Kirby Superstar

As a collection of glorified mini-games, the diversity of Kirby Superstar - in tandem with a great multiplayer mode - definitely gives it longer legs than you'd assume. The meat and potatoes of the game, of course, are the standard, platform-based games - Spring Breeze (which is really just a re-do of the first Kirby game), The Great Cave Offensive (essentially, the easiest MetroidVania game ever designed) and the practically feature-length sized Milky Way Wishes, which sees the titular cream puff traversing his (her? its?) way across nine planets, complete with a fucking out-of-nowhere genre-shift SHMUP finale. The rest of the mini-games run the gamut from fairly fun (Revenge of Meta Knight and The Arena) to meh (Gourmet Race) to "seriously, fuck this shit" (Dyna Blade.) Still, you'll definitely get a lot of replay out of the game's two multiplayer events - although anybody who insists Samurai Kirby is objectively better than Megaton Punch is legally retarded.

#013
Street Fighter II Turbo

Yes, Super Street Fighter II is the superior iteration of the game on the SNES (which, interestingly enough, is included in the Japanese version of the mini-console) and I've always preferred Street Fighter II: Championship Edition on the Genesis to this version. Still, it's fucking Street Fighter II and it's excellent and fast as fuck and still immersive and enjoyable all these years later. You autistic little whipper-snappers can't appreciate it today, but way back when being able to play as the four boss characters from the original felt utterly sublime and I can't tell you how much fun I had picking M. Bison and positively fucking up every kid in the neighborhood (so much so that they started calling me "Psycho Crusher" at school.) Of course, it's a game that has some acute balancing problems (Dhalsim and Vega had such ridiculous range we had to ban them from competition, Oddjob-style) but it's still a ridiculously fun pick-up-and-play ass-walloper. Alas, I'd much preferred to see the sequel included on the console - or even better, a version of the SNES port of Street Fighter Alpha 2 *without* those fun-murdering cartridge load times...

Bet you didn't know you could do that, did you motherfucker?

#012
Super Mario World

I tend to go back and forth on this one. On one hand, the game is just retardedly easy and all of the secret stuff you're supposed to unlock is ultimately pretty uneventful (the multi-colored Yoshis, the ho-hum Star Road levels, all of the Forest of Illusion claptrap, all your enemies turning into pumpkins, etc.) That, and I was ultra disappointed they didn't carry on with the absurdist theme of Super Mario Bros. 3, with the titular plumber donning all sorts of weird-ass costumes and gaining out-there power-ups (which is probably why I unironically prefer Kid Chameleon on the Genesis to this one.) Regardless, the original SNES pack-in is undeniably a well put-together game, with great graphics, memorable music, interesting character design and quite a few excellent levels (especially the ghost houses ... by the way, did you know it's actually possible to kill the King Boos by sliding into them?) That, and for some reason, I've always ADORED riding around on those giant groundhogs ... and no, I still can't give you an honest answer why, either.

#011
Super Mario Kart

I'm surprised just how well this game has stood up over the years. The gameplay is about as basic as it gets, and it's not like the tracks are amazing feats of level design or anything like that. Still, there's just something so inherently satisfying about shooting turtle shells at people, especially when it's liable to send them careening off Rainbow Road into the pitch black, existential nothingness below. The multiplayer here is just fantastic, and even now people tend to sleep on just how addictive and entertaining "battle mode" is. In hindsight, this pioneering arcade racer isn't just one of the best genre offerings on the SNES, it might still be the best overall game in the long, long-running series. 

#010
Super Ghouls 'N Ghosts

While I've always slightly preferred the game we got on the Genesis, this is still a fantastic little side-scroller. It's hard as shit, the music is great, the pastel graphics are wonderful and the level design is fucking ace. Sure, some of the stages are just meant to showcase the SNES' rotational effects (boy, did early software adapters have a hard-on for milking the Mode 7 chip for all its worth there), but all in all this thing is just a tremendous platformer, complete with two of the most satisfying gameplay components of any early SNES game - that awesome double jump (which the entire game, ultimately, is built around) and the ability to power charge your attacks, a'la Mega Man 4 and Super R-Type. While it can be fairly frustrating, it's still an absolute hoot to play almost 30 years down the road; hell, it's such a fun little ride that, this time, you don't even mind the game forcing you to beat it twice to see the real ending!

#009
Mega Man X

I didn't enjoy the X series as much as the original series, but this is still a really fun action-platformer with tons of replay value. The sprites are fuckin' works of art, the music is outstanding, the level design is superb, the boss fights are fun as hell (even if I'm still a little iffy about naming all of your foes after animals instead of just calling them "insert-gimmick-here-Man") and golly gee, is it a blast being able to bounce off the walls like Batman in that one NES game. Even if the last couple of bosses were preposterously hard, being able to power slide and charge-shot the hell out of everything in 16-bit was positively thrilling, and you'd have to be one jaded asshole (or somebody really, really bad at platformers) to deny this one its inherent greatness. That said, I still think Mega Man x3 is an even better game, and it would've been cool to finally get our hands (legally) on Mega Man & Bass. You know, not that I'd complain too much about getting to replay this game or anything like that ...

Now that is a lot of COCK.

#008
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

A lot of people think this is the best Super Nintendo game ever, but I don't think it's even the best top-down action-adventure game on the system. Hell, it might not even crack my top five list for that matter, and there's at least one other game within that particular subgenre on this very mini-console that I firmly believe out Zeldas this game. Of course, that's not to say A Link to the Past is a bad game, it's indeed a fantastic little outing with plenty of memorable moments, some supremely entertaining boss fights and plenty of great dungeon crawling action. Still, it has some pretty boring fetch quests in it (specifically, the one where you have to use the magic mirror to travel to magical furry land) and the final showdown against Ganon (or Ganondorf, or Ganondorf Goes Fishing, whatever the fuck he's called) is a bit underwhelming. Regardless, this is a very well made, highly-polished, supremely satisfying first party game that will keep you entertained for many, many hours. It's a great game, no doubt, but there's no way I'd call it the absolute best the SNES ... or even this micro-console ... had to offer. 

#007
Super Metroid

I've read more than one top 100 countdown that posited this as not only the best SNES game ever, but some that heralded it as the best video game ever on any platform. As the case with A Link to the Past, I think Super Metroid is unquestionably a great game, but objectively, I just can't call it THAT great. The atmosphere (although I still laugh my ass off whenever I read that one Sydlexia commentator say it's "as adult" as any video game ought to be) is tremendous and the boss fights are fun as fuck, but it's still a game that relies way too much on backtracking, with an intentionally slow pace that may have felt extremely moody and cinematic back in '94, but today feels super artificial and super telegraphed. That, and I can't be the only person who thinks the controls in this game feel pretty clunky, especially during the platforming sequences, am I? Those slights aside, the game as a whole is nonetheless a terrific title overall ... but again, anybody who vaunts it as the G.O.A.T., I am afraid, is supremely overrating it. 

#006
Secret of Mana

Here's a brazen Zelda imitator that - much like Crystalis on the NES and Crusader of Centy on the Sega Genesis - manages to do its source inspiration one better. I mean, do I really have to explain why it's awesome to play Zelda with TWO OTHER players by your side? Storyline-wise, there isn't a whole lot here you haven't experienced before, but the tremendous multiplayer mode makes this a super memorable experience, regardless. That, and the presentation ain't too shabby, neither; the sprites are beautiful, the level design is tremendous (with dungeons I consider vastly superior to the ones in A Link to the Past), the music is catchy and the "action grid" battle system really takes things to another level. Although its unreleased-in-the-U.S. sequel Seiken Densetsu III is an even better game, I really can't complain about being able to play this one again ... and in beautiful high definition, to boot.

#005
Super Castlevania IV

It's amazing really - as good as this game is, it's only the third best Castlevania game of the 16-bit era. While I personally believe this one lags a bit behind Bloodlines on the Genesis and Rondo of Blood on the PC Engine CD, SC IV is nonetheless a fantastic entry in the venerable franchise and one of the absolute best pure action games on the SNES. The level structure is just about perfect, allowing for an almost equal amount of exploration and straight-forward action-platforming. Although the game reeks of linear, NES-era awesomeness, the title also throws in some neat new tricks, including rotating stages and a new whip mechanic that almost makes the game feel like an unofficial sequel to Bionic Commando. If absolutely nothing else, you have to play this one just for the ambiance - with such vibrant visuals and hauntingly beautiful music, few titles on the SNES feel as idiosyncratically atmospheric as this one.

It's a good thing that giant Gamera wannabe's only weakness just happens to glow bright red right at your character's eye level, huh?

#004
Contra III: The Alien Wars

The best two-player action game on the SNES? Yeah, I can't think of anything else in the Super Nintendo library that comes close to matching the intense, multiplayer thrill of this superlative blast-a-thon. Although the game is barely 30 minutes long, there's just so much diversity - and good old fashioned challenge - that you'll want to revisit the title again and again. In one stage you're travelling left to right in classical sidescroller formation, and the next you're knee deep in a top-down shooter with a rotating camera perspective, and in the next, you're hanging on for dear life in on a helicopter while a million billion heat-seeking missiles try to blow you to kingdom come. The ingenuity of the boss fights alone is reason to revere this Konami classic; next to Gunstar Heroes (and, naturally, Contra: Hard Corps) on the Genesis, I struggle to think of a more invigorating and electrifying 16-bit action experience.

#003
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars

Who'd thunk the best Mario game of the 16-bit era not only wouldn't be a classical platformer, but it wouldn't even be DEVELOPED by Nintendo? Such is the case of Super Mario RPG, the outstanding genre-bender from Square that stands out as probably the last truly great title released on the SNES before the Nintendo 64 came along. Sure, compared to most of the "harder" RPGs on the Super Nintendo this one is pretty damn easy (and short), but it makes up for the lack of challenge with beautiful visuals, outstanding music, fun as fuck combat, a ton of side quests and one of the best (and funniest) stories you'll find on any SNES RPG. And let's go on ahead and face it, kids: Smithy is a WAY better villain than Bowser ever was

#002
Final Fantasy III

Here's the thing about the Super Nintendo. Objectively, the Genesis had it beat in EVERY genre you can think of - platformers, sports games, racing games, action games, puzzle games, strategy games, fighting games, SHMUPs, etc. - except role-playing games, and since the Internet gaming community is largely populated by RPG dorks who could never figure out the technical complexities of Madden NFL '94 or Super Monaco GP in a million years (nor master the manual dexterity necessary to excel at action masterpieces a'la Gunstar Heroes or M.U.S.H.A.) OF COURSE those fucks are going to think the Super Nintendo was the best thing since blow jobs were invented while the Genesis was hot trash. That said, there's no way I can call Final Fantasy III anything but a 16-bit masterpiece. Indeed, next to Chrono Trigger, I'd consider it the most holistically excellent RPG epic of the console generation, and considering just how many fantastic genre releases came out during the timeframe, that's certainly no small compliment. If you've already played it, you already know how great it is; and for those of you who have never experienced it the way the gods of gaming intended you - with a real SNES pad in your hands and a bowl of cheese puffs well within reach - boy, are you in store for a treat

#001
Earthbound

The weirdest, quirkiest, most surreal and oddly endearing game Nintendo has ever made, and - in my humblest o' opinions - the absolute best it ever cranked out for the Super NES. Superficially, yeah, Earthbound is just another RPG, with all of the usual RPG tropes and menu-based battle systems, but its story is so good, its character development so well-done and its atmosphere is so unique that it keeps you hooked from the very moment you name your character something really offensive, like CUNT_LIPS or ASS_FACE. There are just so many memorable moments from this game, and they all strike an almost perfect balance between being WTF and nostalgically comforting. The music in the Happy Happy Village cult. The first time you encounter a zombie in Threed. The part where Poo Mu is psychically vivisected by that ghost. And of course, there's the concluding boss fight against Giygas, which even now is considered one of the most memorable final battles in video game history. This is just an outstanding game from start to scratch, with a plot that's basically what would happen if Stephen King during his drug-addiction days was asked to script Pokemon. You don't even really have to like RPGs to get into this one; just as long as you have a penchant for great storytelling - no matter how neo-Dadaist - you definitely won't regret sinking your time and efforts into everything the title has to offer.

Oh, the joys of virtual transablism...

And there you have it, folks - all 21 games on that newfangled microconsole ranked for you. You gotta give Nintendo some credit here, because this is just a fabulous line-up. I'd consider at least 15 of them to be very solid, absolute must-plays with about eight of them representing among the absolute best genre titles the 16-bit era had to offer. Needless to say, there's a lot of variety here and you're no doubt going to get a lot of replay value out of the set list - as great as the NES microconsole was, there's no question this one absolutely reams it out the ass in terms of quantity and quality.

I alluded to the Japanese version of the mini-console earlier, and if you're curious what games are included in that one, the short list is Super Street Fighter II (the best version of SFII ever, for sure), Panel de Pon (a.k.a., Tetris Attack, the best puzzle game on the SNES), Super Soccer (a meh sports sim), The Legend of the Mystical Ninja (a revered side-scroller in some circles, but I've always thought it was pretty overrated) and Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem (which is pretty good, but nowhere near as good as Thracia 776, which might be one of the top ten Super Famicom games ever.) But it's kind of a decent tradeoff, since us Westerners got Super Castlevania IV and Earthbound and the Japs didn't. Take that, tojos!

As far as omissions, there's a couple of obvious big ones, like Chrono Trigger, Championship Soccer '94 (i.e., the rare Americanized port of Sensible Soccer) and Secret of Evermore, but really, there are so many great games on the Super Nintendo that the Big N could easily release a second microconsole next year with stuff like U.N. SquadronSpace Megaforce and E.V.O.: The Search for Eden. And honestly, I'd rather see a micro-console loaded with more obscure SNES and Super Famicom games than a Nintendo 64 re-release. But we'll just have to wait and see if Nintendo follows my lead (which they totally should if they want to make some more moolah.)

Still, I really can't recommend anyone go out and purchase it. It's a good greatest hits compilation, for sure, but even with Nintendo really cracking down on the SNES emulating sites lately, it's still preposterously easy to play all of the games on this list for free anytime you want on the Web. I mean, shit, they could have at least included a cartridge slot on the system so you could play real SNES and SFC games, like some of the crappy Genesis micro-consoles do. And let's face it, considering we're living in the world of 2TB laptops, this system should have 200-something games on it instead of barely two dozen titles. Hell, you can fit the ENTIRE SNES game library on one thumb drive, so there's no excuse for Nintendo to short change us this bad ... especially when they're marketing the shit at $79.99.

So all that to say, if you do buy it, it has enough quality games to keep you entertained for a couple of months, but there's nothing on here you couldn't get for free already. But hey, it is your money - if you want to squander it on an overpriced plastic tchotchke, don't you dare say I didn't try to save you from delayed buyer's remorse.

Friday, September 29, 2017

DOUBLE REVIEW: 'Mother!' / 'Kingsman: The Golden Circle'

When pretentious, arthouse pseudo-surrealism goes head-to-head with big budget, ultra-violent popcorn action awesomeness...


By: Jimbo X
JimboXAmerican@gmail.com
@JimboX

Alright, I'm sick of fucking around - I want someone to tell me where all my underwear goes right now.

This has been a phenomenon that has puzzled me my entire life. Even when I was a kid I kept wondering why there seemed to be fewer and fewer tighty whities in the laundry each month. It followed me through high school, college and now, as a 30-something-adult, the underwear enigma has only gotten more bamboozling. 

Around Christmastime, I bought a 12-pack of boxers. I vividly recall stuffing them in my undergarment drawers and literally just looking at them for five minutes, because I was so happy to have a full assortment of underwear again. That meant I could go almost an entire fortnight without having to do laundry, and when you hate doing laundry as much as I do, that's the household chore equivalent of getting blow jobbed by Taylor Swift

Well, it's been about ten months since I bought the $18.99 12-pack of Hanes stretch-fit, extra comfy medium-sized boxers. The other day I checked my drawer, and you know how many pairs of underwear were in there? Three

Where the hell did the other nine pairs of underwear go? It's not like I run around leaving them in odd places like I was Johnny Underwear-Seed or anything like that. If I'm not actively wearing them, there's only so many places they could be; in the clothes hamper, the washer/dryer or crumpled up on the bedroom floor of my latest romantic conquest. Yet somehow, those damn things keep disappearing.

It's the exact opposite problem I have with my socks. Somehow, my sock drawer KEEPS expanding, despite the fact I haven't bought any new socks in like three years. Come to think of it, I have the same problem with my utensils; the volume of forks keeps mysteriously going down, while the volume of spoons keeps mysteriously going up. It's such a maddening phenomenon that I can only imagine my forks turning into the kitchenware equivalent of racists, muttering among themselves about how much better the utensil drawer was before all those "damn scoopers" started taking over the place. 

I've never been one for conspiracy chatter, but this thing has been going on for so long with seemingly no logical explanation that I have no choice but to wonder if there's some sort of PSYOPS shit going on. Is there someone coming into my house while I'm at work and manually removing my underwear and dropping off more socks while he's there? Is there some kind of garment Bermuda Triangle in-between my washing machine and dryer, that only affects boxers? Do the things just fucking disintegrate if you don't wrap them around your ass and ballsack at least once per week?

I've no earthly clue, folks. And you know what the worst thing about the underwear enigma is? It's when you're taking a shower and you get out of the tub sopping wet and you open up your underwear drawer and there's nothing in there except dust bunnies and pennies from 1983. Which means you have no chance but to rummage through the dirty clothes hamper and fish out an already worn pair of underwear to cover your genitals while you're washing and drying the rest of your boxers. And it's scientifically impossible to have a productive day if you're wearing dirty old underwear - you can literally feel yesterday's butthole residue and nut sack sweat rubbing against you, and when that's the case you can't focus on shit

There has to be some sort of feasible, scientific explanation for this. Somewhere, there's an entire cache of my missing boxers, all piled up like Cambodian war crime skeletons, if only I knew were to look. Rest assured, the next time I pick up my economy-sized bag of underwear, I'm going to be watching those fuckers like a hawk - and as soon as I find who (or what) has been thieving 'em from me, me and my crusty ass drawers are going to stomp a mudhole in something.

Not since The Fappening have we seen JLaw under such intense emotional distress...

Speaking of perplexing bullshit, our first movie of the week is none other than Darren Aronofsky's latest all-star, big-budget, safe-for-mass-consumption mindfuck, Mother!  No, that exclamation point isn't there because I'm excited, it's because it's in the formal title, like Punch-Out!! and Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! At this point, we just ought to be happy he didn't throw in a hashtag and and a couple of tildes for maximum pretentious asshole points

Now, old Darren's a pretty talented director. He book-ended the 2000s with two of the decade's best flicks - the world's greatest anti-drug PSA and a biopic on the fate of every pro 'rassler in the 1980s ever - and with Black Swan he gave us all an Argento-lite horror flick our girlfriends could enjoy and we could surreptitiously jack it to later. His latest flick is a bit different, though, because it's one of those metaphorical movies, where everything is supposed to be some sort of sly commentary on global warming or Christianity or something. This is Darren's attempt at making a straight horror version of a Luis Bunuel film a'la The Exterminating Angel, but at best it comes off as a little more than a really low-grade imitation of Lars Von Trier's lesser work - in fact, you could even call the whole movie an extremely neutered, unacknowledged remake of Antichrist and you wouldn't be that far off from accurately describing it. 

So it's about Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem living in this big old house out in the middle of nowhere. He's a famous poet and she just walks around all day, painting the walls different colors and drinking this magical Metamucil formula, wondering why he never wants to jump her bones. Then one day Ed Harris walks through the door and Javier lets him sleep in a spare room and JLaw automatically dislikes him because he won't stop smoking in the house and then his wife shows up and she's played by Michelle Pffeifer and she's got so much botulism living under her face it looks like her cheeks are gonna' explode at any minute. Anyway, she keeps getting drunk on spiked lemonade and asking JLaw why she don't wear sexy underwear and then her hitherto unacknowledged sons show up and have an ECW rasslin' match right then and there on the kitchen floor and one of 'em gets impaled with a glass vase and then Javier decides "what the hell, let's just hold the wake at our place," and then all of these mourners gather in the kitchen and Jennifer gets called "an arrogant cunt" and she has to stop this black dude from having sex with an Asian woman in her bedroom then she starts seeing the floorboards bleed and she uncovers a hidden furnace next to the dryer. And after they fuck up the plumbing, she finally convinces everybody to vamoose, and then she and Javier do the nasty and she wakes up the next morning just knowing she's preggers, and this is enough inspiration for Javier to finish his next book, and we skip ahead about nine months and the book gets published and now, hundreds of people are flocking to the house to see Javier because they think his writing's just that dandy.

And here's where the movie starts getting really weird. Before long, there aren't just hundreds of people showing up at the house, there are thousands, and it's only a matter of time until they start stealing every piece of furniture in the place as souvenirs. You see, now people are worshiping Javier as some kind of cult leader, and he actually likes all the attention, but of course his wife starts having contractions and she's trying to get out of there but all of a sudden a SWAT team vs. Antifa battle royale breaks out in the living room and all of these refugees behind barbed wire fences magically appear next to the dishwasher and by the time she finally does have the baby, her kid get stolen and crowd-surfed around in the basement, up until the point the starving Javier-worshipers decide to have a very impromptu snack.

And without giving away the ending, let's just say things aren't resolved peaceably after JLaw gets kicked in the face 800 times by people calling her a "cocktease" and she fortuitously finds a Zippo lighter right next to a 9,000 gallon drum of kerosene. 

We've got 500 dead bodies. Two breasts (but you'll miss 'em if you blink.) One exploding house. One baby eating ritual. One heart in a toilet. Gratuitous biblical references. One exploding head. Kung fu. Mace fu. Glass shard fu. And the thing more or less responsible for the movie existing in the first place, really oblique pro-environmentalist subtext fu.

Starring Jennifer Lawrence as the mother earth stand-in who has to keep telling people to get off her sink because it ain't screwed into the wall yet; Javier Bardem as the God analogue with a severe case of writer's block; Ed Harris as the Adam-equivalent who smokes like a chimney and has more puking scenes than dialogue; Michelle Pffeifer as the Eve-expy that keeps asking everybody embarrassing questions about their sex lives; and Kristen Wiig as the book publisher broad who I think is supposed to be St. Paul, or an unemployed Ghostbuster, or something.

Written and directed by Darren Aronofsky, who really should've known better than to try and merge The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie with Melancholia and then expect anybody in middle America to have any clue what the hell he was getting at.

I give it two and a half stars out of four. Jimbo says check it out, but don't blame me if you can't make sense out of a damn thing that happens in the movie.

Now, I don't know if they meant for the movie to be Rygar vs. Earnest Evans, but goddamn, I am so glad that it came out that way.

Now, if you're looking for a GREAT movie that doesn't even bother with feminist subtext or climate change allegories or offhanded allusions to L'Age d'Or, you need to get your keister down to the local cineplex and check out Kingsman: The Golden Circle pronto. This is one of those rare sequels that's every bit as good as the original - hell, I think this one might be even better than the first movie, and I already thought that was one of the best comic book adaptations of the last 25 or so years. 

Now, right off the bat you can tell it's going to be a great movie because this fruit basket named Glenn Kenny (who, as an aside, looks like the kind of guy who has several missing children locked in his basement) over at the corpse of Roger Ebert's old website gave it zero stars. Not because it's a poorly made movie, but because he didn't like the movie's violence, there are fake Fox News report sprinkled throughout it and the fact the first movie featured Barack Obama's head exploding and a couple of jokes about anal sex. But mostly, he's just mad they didn't include an expy of Donald Trump in *this* movie and make his head explode, too, and he's really mad the movie wasn't a two-hour long ode to multiculturalism featuring a white woman and a black man fighting the evil masculine heterosexual honky hegemony like every other goddamn Hollywood action movie nowadays. Of course, just like Tipper Gore's old parental advisory sticker warnings on rap and metal CDs back in the day, what Kenny did was accidentally bestow the latest Kingsman movie with the most glowing recommendation imaginable for the average American moviegoer. I mean, if some hippie-dippie, John Wayne Gacy-looking liberal shrimp dweeb abhors it, it must be doing something right, ain't it? 

And I assure you, The Golden Circle gets a LOT of things right. Less than two minutes into the movie and we've already got a full-tilt car chase going on, complete with perhaps the first ever kung fu scene in movie history featuring two guys who pretty much remain seated the whole damn time. And just like its predecessor, this movie nobly adheres to the number one rule of degenerate cinema film-making: anybody can die at any time. And doing us one better, The Golden Circle adds a new wrinkle and introduces a plot mechanism where anybody can be resurrected from the dead at any minute, too - including Colin Firth, who we all thought was dead after getting shot in the right eye socket at point blank range in the first movie. Now, I ain't going to give away how he came back to life, but trust me - if you're a fan of old school video games like Contra and Mega Man, you'll DEFINITELY wanna' put this on your "must-view" list.

Alright, the plot this time around? Taron Egerston's Eggsy character is still the U.K.'s top secret agent, but this international drug trafficking outfit in Cambodia hacks the agency database and next thing you know, we've got rockets raining down all over the English countryside, and let's just say there's going to be a lot of open positions at Kingsman, LLC come Monday morning. So he and tech wizard Merlin (Mark Strong) wind up teaming up with the U.S. equivalent of the Kingsman operation, which just so happens to be an undercover project Jack Daniels runs on the side. So we meet everybody on their team - Channing Tatum (who is only in the movie for about ten minutes), Halle Berry (her codename is "Ginger Ale") and Jeff Bridges, who plays the head honcho of the operation - and it ain't long beafore Eggsy is teaming up with this guy named Whiskey who has a laser powered bull rope and beating up a whole bunch of saloon patrons who use the word "faggot" and getting into shootouts in the Italian mountains with about 100 or so assassins all wearing plastic Hazmat suits. 

Oh, and the bad guy this time around is Julianne Moore, who lives in a 1950s-theme restaurant in Pol Pot's backyard, and her big scheme is to make weed, cocaine and crystal meth legal worldwide by tainting the planet's ecstasy and opium supply with a virus that makes people's veins bulge out of their face and start dancing until their eyeballs explode. And we know she's really evil, not because she makes new recruits eat hamburgers made out of the goons they're replacing, but because she kidnapped Elton John and makes him perform "Saturday Night's Alright (for Fighting)" over and over again.

Of course, there's a lot of twists and turns in this one, so I can't say too much more without spoiling the movie. But I will say this: by the end of the movie, the whole thing turns into a syncretism of Metal Gear Solid, Bioshock and Frank Miller's great comic Give Me Liberty, complete with an unauthorized cameo by the dude from Bionic Commando and not just one but two cast members getting ground up in an industrial sausage mixer, just like a big budget version of The Story of Ricky

We've got 108 dead bodies. No breasts. One car chase, with three fireballs. Three dead robots. Five kung fu scenes. One barroom brawl. Five major explosions. Legs roll. Arms roll. Torsos roll. Heads roll. Multiple exploding eyeballs. Gratuitous John Denver. Smelting fu. Meat grinder fu. Heroin fu. Laser-powered bull rope fu. Vaginal nanobot fu. Bowling ball fu. And the thing that makes the movie truly significant, the first ever recorded instance of Elton John fu in motion picture history.

Starring Taron Egerton as Eggsy, the dashing leading man who marries the Swedish princess he butt fucked at the end of the last movie and now has to save from Ebola after she smokes a spliff; Colin Firth as Harry, the veteran super spy who has spent the last two years thinking he was a butterfly expert in a padded room and has to overcome really bad depth perception once his memory is recovered; Julianne Moore as the international drug queenpin with the demeanor of QVC hostess who has a nasty habit of turning insubordinates into Hamburger Helper; Mark Strong as Merlin, the techno-wizard who gets to ditch the NASA computer terminal and kick a little ass himself this go-at-it; and Pedro Pascal as Whiskey, the rogue American super spy who may or may not be trying to sabotage the mission to find a cure for bong-borne Hantavirus. 

Co-written by Jane Goldman (who also co-wrote Kick Ass and the first X-Men: First Class movie) and directed by Matthew Vaughn, who probably deserves an Oscar of some kind for coming up with dialogue like "you look like some faggot looking for an eye-fucking" and getting Elton John to scream "you fucking bitch!" with conviction while being repeatedly shocked by an electric dog collar. 

I came real close to giving this one the Full Monty, but it drags on for about ten minutes longer than it probably should've and lays on the pro-drug legalization shtick a tad too thick for my liking. Still, this is easily one of the best movies you'll see this year. I give it three and a half stars out of four - Jimbo says definitely check it out.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

2017 NFL Power Rankings (Week Three - SPECIAL PROTEST EDITION!)

ESPN and Sports Illustrated can eat shit - these are the only pro football rankings anybody needs.


By: Jimbo X
JimboXAmerican@gmail.com
@JimboX

This Week's Episode:
"The Nothing Makes Any Sense League"


NOTE: In a display of solidarity with the 200 or so NFL players who participated in the weekend's anti-Trump protests during the national anthem, I decided to write this week's column on one knee. And then, in a further display of solidarity with the proud, valiant constituents of the National Football League Players Association, I then drove drunk, slapped my wife and refused to pay child support.  - THNX, MGMT

THE ELITES

#01
Kansas City Chiefs (3-0)
Season Point Differential: +36

At this point, KC running back Kareem Hunt isn't just the frontrunner for offensive rookie of the year, he's probably the odds on favorite for MVP of the whole damn League. His impressive play continued in the Chiefs' 24-10 win over the Chargers, where he had 172 yards and 1 TD on 17 carries. Just three games into his NFL career and he already has 401 rushing yards and is tied with Todd Gurley for most touchdowns on the season with six. And unsurprisingly, K.C. leads the League in rushing yards per game, averaging 162 on the ground every contest.

#02
Atlanta Falcons (3-0)
Season Point Differential: +21

Despite the screwjob finish, the Falcons nonetheless managed to eke out a win against the Lions Sunday, "beating" Detroit 30-26. Our entry on the Lions will go more in-depth on those particular circumstances, but offensively, at least, the Falcons continue to perform quite well; Matt Ryan went 24 for 35 for 294 yards, two TDs and (very uncharacteristically) three interceptions, while running back Davonta Freeman rushed for 106 yards and one score on 21 carries. Oh, and Julio Jones did alright, too, concluding the game with 91 reception yards on seven catches.

#03
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-1)
Season Point Differential: +38

I'm starting to see a pattern with the Jaguars. In week one they blew out the Texans, and in week two they got blown out by the Titans. So considering last Sunday's game in London against the Ravens was on an odd-numbered week, of course Jacksonville was going to win 44-7. Blake Bortles looked great with four TD passes and 244 yards, but Sacksonville's D looked even better, holding Joe Flacco and their patented no-name offense to just 52 passing yards. Which, naturally, probably means the Jags are going to get butt-fucked out of existence by the Jets this weekend, because apparently that's how the world works now.

#04
Los Angeles Rams (2-1)
Season Point Differential: +32

Sure, their home stadium might only be at half capacity, but the L.A. Rams are playing at full force. In their narrow 41-39 Thursday night win over the lowly, lowly 49ers, Jared Goff went 22 for 28 for 292 yards and three passing touchdowns, while Todd Gurley carried the rock 28 times for 113 yards and two scores. Still, not all is right in Rams-World; I mean, these motherfuckers did let Brian Hoyer throw 332 yards against them ...

#05
Detroit Lions (2-1)
Season Point Differential: +22

With eight seconds left on the clock, Golden Tate bounced into the end zone to give Detroit what appeared to be a game winning TD. Alas, further review revealed that Tate had his knee down a couple of inches shy of the end zone edge, and since there is a mandatory ten second run-off after touchdown reviews, the clock was reset to zero and Detroit lost the fucking game 30-26. Well, considering all of the attempts to interject "reality" into the product, the multitudes of screw job finishes and half empty stadiums over the weekend, maybe the NFL is secretly being booked by Vince Russo these days? 

#06
Denver Broncos (2-1)
Season Point Differential: +18

A week after throttling the Cowboys by 17 points, the Broncos came crashing back to reality with a 26-16 loss to the Bills. Trevor Siemian went 24 for 40 for 259 yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions, with receivers Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and Bennie Fowler III each getting at least 50 yards on the day. And at least the Broncos kept the pressure up, sacking Tyrod Taylor four times and walloping him after the pass eight more.

#07
Oakland Raiders (2-1)
Season Point Differential: +18

The less said about this game, the better. Apparently too busy thinking about what to do during the national anthem that they forgot to prepare for a football game, the Raiders g0t shellacked 27-10 by the Washington Redskins on prime time television. Perhaps spiteful that their quarterback was the only person who stood up for "The Star Spangled Banner," the Raiders' highly touted offensive line enigmatically collapsed, and Derek Carr got sacked four times and lobbed two interceptions, completing the game with just 118 yards and one TD pass. Oh, and Marshawn didn't do shit, racking up only 18 yards rushing. You can relive the misery anytime you want right here, but I really wouldn't recommend it.

#08
Tennessee Titans (2-1)
Season Point Differential: +17

The run game was the difference maker in the Titans' 33-27 win over the Seahawks Sunday. With 115 yards and one touchdown on 14 carries, Tennessee back DeMarco Murray had almost twice as many yards as the entire combined Seahawks backfield; complemented by Derrick Henry's 54-yard, 13 carry day, Tennessee ultimately outyarded Seattle on the ground by a 195-69 margin.

We now live in a country where standing during the National Anthem is considered "controversial." Thanks a lot, Obama.

THE PLAYOFF HOPEFULS

#09
Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1)
Season Point Differential: +14

Perhaps a little bit disoriented and discombobulated by all that protest nonsense, the Steelers wound up dropping a 23-17 shocker loss to the Bears over the weekend. Big Ben went 22 for 39 for 235 yards and one TD, with top receiver Antonio Brown recording 110 yards and one touchodown on ten catches. But they also royally screwed the pooch in terms of their run game, chalking up a paltry 70 on their own end while allowing Chicago to rack up 220.

#10
Buffalo Bills (2-1)
Season Point Differential: +13

So, uh, are the Bills good now? T-Mobile went 20 for 26 for 213 yards and two TDs in his team's 26-16 win over the Broncos Sunday, and Buffalo's defense managed to record two INTs off Trevor Siemian. Of course, the Bills being the Bills, I'm fairly certain this is just build-up to monumental heartbreak a little bit later down the road, so yeah, don't get too excited there, Buffalo faithful

#11
Washington Redskins (2-1)
Season Point Differential: +11

The Redskins positively butt-fucked the Raiders last Sunday night, besting Oakland 27-10. Kirk Cousins finished the game 25 for 30 for 365 yards and three touchdowns, with top receiver Chris Thompson accumulating 150 yards and one TD on six catches. And the defense made a joke out of the Raiders' highly coveted O-line, sacking Derek Carr four times for a cumulative loss of 22 yards.

#12
Minnesota Vikings (2-1)
Season Point Differential: +10

The Vikes rebounded in a big way this past Sunday, besting the Bucs 34-17 in a contest that saw CASE KEENUM of all people go 25 for 33 for 369 yards. Also putting in great showings in the contest for Minnesota? Top back Dalvin Cook (27 carries, 97 yards, 1 TD) and wideout Stefon Diggs, who finished the contest with 173 yards and two touchdowns on eight receptions. 

#13
Philadelphia Eagles (2-1)
Season Point Differential: +9

It was a close one, but the Eagles nonetheless managed to stave off the luckless Giants en route to a 27-24 victory over the weekend. Carson Wentz went 21 for 31 for 176 yards and one TD, with the Eagles' running back committee outpacing the G-Men by a ludicrous 193 yard-to-49 yard margin. But yeah, about that secondary letting Eli Manning throw 366 yards on the day ...

#14
Carolina Panthers (2-1)
Season Point Differential: +5

Well, raise your hand if you thought the formerly win-less Saints were going to thump the Panthers 34-13 over the weekend. Cam Newton, in particular, had a really bad showing, going 17 for 26 for 167 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions. Oh, and he fumbled the ball twice, had six passes deflected and ate dirt behind the line of scrimmage four times for a cumulative negative 28-yard loss. So yeah, all that to say ... glad to see you're feeling more like yourself, Cam!

#15
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1)
Season Point Differential: +5

After looking fucking fab last week, Jameis Winston and pals sucked out loud against the Vikes on Sunday, losing to Minnesota by a 17-point margin. In the 34-17 loss, the Bucs' QB went 28 for 40 for 328 yards, two TDs and three interceptions. And hoo boy, did Tampa Bay blow it on both sides of the rushing game. The final ground yardage numbers at the end of the game? Minnesota, 125, Tampa Bay, just 26.

#16
New England Patriots (2-1)
Season Point Differential: +4

Alright, let's talk statistics. I'm seeing a lot of other power rankings out there that have the Patriots listed either number one or number two, so what are they doing ranked at the halfway point on my countdown, you might be asking yourself? Well, the stats don't lie, homey: Tom Brady might be doing his part to ensure the Pats lead the League in passing offense, but by that same token? They're also ranked DEAD FUCKING LAST in total defense, allowing their opponents to average a whopping 461 yards against 'em per game. Sorry - even with Tom Terrific lobbing four  or five TD passes every contest, having a D that atrocious isn't something you can turn a blind eye to.

Damn ... Axel Foley has gotten fat.

THE MIDDLE OF THE PACK

#17
Dallas Cowboys (2-1)
Season Point Differential: +2

Three games into the NFL season and we still have no idea which Cowboys team is going to show up. The 'Boys rebounded from last week's 17-point bruising from the Broncos with a 28-17 win over the Cardinals last Monday evening, with Dak Prescott lobbing the rock for 183 yards and two touchdowns on 13 completions. Ezekiel Elliot also looked solid, gaining 80 yards on the ground plus a TD via 22 carries, but that pass defense could use some work: there's no reason for Carson Palmer's old ass to be recording 325 yards a game, doing anything.

#18
Green Bay Packers (2-1)
Season Point Differential: 0

It took some overtime play, but the Packers did manage to avoid the major upset against Cincinnati. In the 27-24 win, Aaron Rodgers went 28 for 42 for 313 yards, three touchdowns and one interception, with Geronimo Allison (yep. that's the name his parents came up with, despite having nine months to mull it over) racking up 122 yards on six receptions. The Packers might want to work on their O-line, though; letting your QB get sacked six times a game ain't exactly a recipe for another Super Bowl run.

#19
Baltimore Ravens (2-1)
Season Point Differential: -3

So what was the catalyst for the Ravens' 44-7 loss to the Jaguars in London? Jet lag? Food poisoning? Was the entire team so distraught over Donald Trump's criticisms that they were left literally shaking and unable to play pro football? Either way, giving up 244 passing yards to Blake goddamn Bortles is unforgivable, as is the piss poor quarterbacking from both Joe Flacco (8 for 18 for 28 yards and two INTs) and Ryan Mallett (six for nine for 36 yards and one utterly meaningless TD.)

#20
New Orleans Saints (1-2)
Season Point Differential: -5

Well, Drew Brees had a great day against Carolina in the Saints' 34-13 victory. He lobbed the rock for 220 yards and three touchdowns, in the process completing 22 out of 29 passes. And because I really can't think of anything to say about the rest of the game, I'll just list the top rusher and receiver and their stats: Mark Ingram (56 yards and one TD on 14 carries) and Michael Thomas (87 yards and one touchdown on seven receptions.)

#21
Seattle Seahawks (1-2)
Season Point Differential: -11

Neither the Titans or the Seahawks decided to show up for the national anthem performance, and from the looks of it, the Seahawks decided to not show up for the game itself either. Sure, sure, Russell Wilson did lob the rock for 373 yards and four touchdowns, but he also fumbled the ball away twice and went a mediocre 29 for 49 on pass attempts. Coupled with a lethargic run game, it's no surprise Seattle wound up dropping the game 33-27, really.

#22
Miami Dolphins (1-1)
Season Point Differential: -19

The Fins got poached by the formerly win-less Jets last Sunday, losing 20-6 in a fairly lifeless performance. Jay Cutler reverted to his true self in the outing, going 26 for 44 for 220 yards and a 1-to-1 TD-to-INT ratio. And the run game was practically non-existent; at the final horn, the Dolphins only had 30 rushing yards on the day, with top back Jay Ajayi only recording 16 yards on 11 carries. 

#23
New York Jets (1-2)
Season Point Differential: -20

Holy shit, not only did the Jets actually WIN a game over the weekend, they won convincingly over AFC East rivals Miami 20-6. Josh McCown went 18 for 23 for 249 yards and one TD pass, while New York's running back corps racked up 103 total yards on 34 carries. Leading all receivers in the game was Robby Anderson, who racked up 95 yards and one TD on only three catches.

#24
Arizona Cardinals (1-2)
Season Point Differential: -20

The Cards kept it kinda sorta close against Dallas on Monday night, but they still wound up dropping the contest 28-17. Carson Palmer went 29 for 48 for 325 yards and two touchdowns, but he also got sacked six times for a cumulative loss of 42 yards. And the run game was not even close to being productive; at the final horn, the Cardinals could only muster 49 yards on the ground, with no rushing touchdowns.

...says the man making billions of dollars off black people giving each other brain damage.

ANXIOUSLY AWAITING THE DRAFT

#25
Houston Texans (1-2)
Season Point Differential: -21

Well, the Texans came dangerously close to upsetting the Pats over the weekend, but alas, New England still managed to outdo 'em 36-33. Deshaun Watson did pretty good in the loss, finishing the game with 301 yards and a two-to-two TD-to-INT ratio, and Houston's running back committee impressively outran New England's rushers by a 125-to-59 yard margin. Alas, there is something seriously amiss about this team's defense: even if they did sack Tom Brady five times over the course of the game, that doesn't really make up for letting him toss FIVE touchdown passes and rack up 378 yards in the air. 

#26
Chicago Bears (1-2)
Season Point Differential: -22

Don't ask me how, but the Bears were somehow able to beat the Steelers 23-17 Sunday, this despite QB Mike Glennon finishing the game 15 for 22 for only 101 yards. Oh, wait, I remember how they won: because Jordan Howard had 138 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries, while the Bears' second most productive running back (Tarik Cohen) STILL had eight more rushing yards than the entire Pittsburgh running back committee. 

#27
Indianapolis Colts (1-2)
Season Point Differential: -37

Well, somebody had to win Sunday's battle of 0-2 teams when the Colts clashed with the Browns, and Indianapolis found themselves walking out of the contest with the W. In the narrow 31-28 victory, Jacoby "Whisker Biscuit" Brissett went 17 for 24 for 243 yards and one TD, while receiver T.Y. Hilton finished the game with 153 yards and one touchdown on seven catches. And because the Gods of the Gridiron really love us, the Colts' next game will be a prime time Sunday night contest against the Seahawks, which will undoubtedly seek to rewrite the dictionary entry on what "ugly" looks like

#28
Los Angeles Chargers (0-3)
Season Point Differential: -19

It's not exactly a title they should embrace, but the Chargers remain the best team without a win in pro football. Alas, their 24-10 loss to the Chiefs was their worst loss of the season thus far, with Phillip Rivers going 20 for 40 for 237 yards, zero touchdowns and three interceptions. But on the bright side? At least L.A.'s defenders managed to sack Alex Smith five times, I suppose.

#29
Cleveland Browns (0-3)
Season Point Differential: -20

It's official - the Cleveland Browns are Charlie Brown. Yet again, the team everybody forgets is technically an expansion squad from 1999 lost a heartbreaker, their latest coming in the form of a 31-28 loss to Indianapolis. I reckon head coach Hue Jackson is mighty nervous right about now; odds are, this upcoming Sunday's game against the also-winless Bengals is likely to be a "loser leaves town" match ...
#30
San Francisco 49ers (0-3)
Season Point Differential: -25

Well, the Niners at least attempted  a comeback against the Rams last Thursday night. In the 41-39 loss, Brian Hoyer went 23 for 37 for 332 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, while back Carlos Hyde scored two touchdowns and finished the game with 84 yards on the day. And the defense did sorta kinda go after the QB, registering seven hits and five deflections, so there is that, I guess. 

#31
Cincinnati Bengals (0-3)
Season Point Differential: -27

The Bengals came very, very close to beating the Packers, but they ultimately hunched the pooch and lost the affair 27-24 in overtime. The sad thing is Andy Dalton actually had his best performance of the season thus far in the failing bid, going 21 for 27 for 212 yards and two touchdowns, with top wideout A.J. Green chalking up 111 yards and one TD on 10 catches. The good news for Cincy? Since they're taking on the Browns next week, there's a guarantee at least somebody will be exiting the game with positive integers on the left side of the win-loss column. Unless there's a tie, which, let's face it, is probably a 50-50 likelihood. 

#32
New York Giants (0-3)
Season Point Differential: -33

Well, here we are. Following Sunday's heartbreaking 27-24 loss to the Eagles, the New York Football Giants are still sans a W. Sure, Eli Manning had more than 350 passing yards and OBJ had two really neat-looking touchdowns and Sterling Shepherd had 133 receiving yards on the day, but for whatever reason, this team just couldn't seal the deal down the stretch. Will the team's luck change this Sunday against the Buccaneers? Well, if it doesn't, expect some heads to start rolling at the Giants' executive offices ...