Week 4: Steve Smith is Gone and Matango AKA Attack of the Mushroom People

Written by :
Published on : October 6, 2016

 

Welcome back to Roger Pretzel’s Haunted Dungeon. In this spooky sanctum, I’ve poured over all the replay tape to come up with my favorite NFL play of the week. Then it’s straight back to the projector to unspool a film you may have not been aware of…

 

The lights have dimmed, the wolves have ceased howling, and the mummies have been wrapped.

 

Week 4: Steve Smith Sr. Knocks Over David Amerson For Lightning Quick TD

 

This was one of the week’s big ones, but I had to chime in too since Sr has always been one of my favorite receivers and I’m gonna miss him when his inevitable retirement comes. Small, but sturdy and with alacrity to spare, Smith, shows that he’s 37-years-ageless with this 50-plus yard catch for TD off the play action pass.

 

Flacco throws a bullet here that Smith has to extend on, but the coverage ain’t there so once old 89 gets possession, he wastes no time giving Oakland CB David Amerson the unkindest cut by shoving him down to the turf with his shoulder as the poor guy struggles to make a tackle. You can almost hear that authoritative “sit down” that we all imagine in our heads.

 

Hard to blame Safety Reggie Nelson for the total half-hearted whiff on the tackle attempt because Dad’s off to races on a play that cut more than half the field, lasted mere seconds, and resulted in a score.

 

That is the quickness right there.

 

Week 4: Matango AKA Attack of the Mushroom People

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Director: Ishiro Honda
Released: 1963

 

Earlier this season we talked about the great George A. Romero and how his legacy will always revolve around the flesh-eating undead zombie trope he pioneered. Ishiro Honda’s career is marked in much the same way with being the grandfather of Japan’s most important (my opinion) export: Godzilla. While the original Gojira (1954) is a lot darker and more violent than many of us remember, Honda basically spent the rest of his prolific career at the Toho studios churning out a long line of less serious, but no less destructive or fun Kaiju movies, including some of the genre’s greatest classics like Mothra (1961), Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964), and Destroy All Monsters (1968).

 

But amongst all the slumbering reptilians asleep under the ocean, aliens, and his very own bizarre rendition of Frankenstein’s monster, one of Honda’s strangest cinematic fever dreams would sometimes be retitled as Attack of the Mushroom People.

 

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When a gang of pampered city-slickers become stuck on an eerie rock that even birds seem to avoid, this “Gilligan’s Island” from hell is a very slow build where the danger of sexual assault against the women castaways mounts uncomfortably and the diminishing food supply is a cold hard truth. Thankfully (for the viewer!) this island is covered in all manner of wildly proliferating fungi, and when one member of the party succumbs to the hunger in his belly it’s inevitable that things start to take a turn for the monstrous.

 

This is going to be one of the best looking pictures we screen in the dungeon this season, with lots of great production design that includes an entire derelict wrecked ship and of course the many vividly colored examples of the island’s eerie fungal flora. And while as previously mentioned, this is a very slow build, there is indeed an actual payoff of “Mushroom People” in a way that is satisfying to horror fans that want a little bit more than pure psychology to dictate their frights. The strong sense of craftsmanship, partially thanks to this actually having been made at a major studio also carries over to the photography and most importantly to the genuinely creepy sound design with unnatural and jarring sonic stunts that complement the nightmare island presented onscreen.

 

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Take a nibble on these toadstools with the trailer here:
 

 

 

Or get fully weird with the entire picture for free!
 

 

 


NFL Quarter Season Awards

Written by :
Published on : October 4, 2016

 

 

The 2016 NFL season is a quarter of the way through. Some teams have started slowly, others have flashed brilliance, but all are looking to improve. Let’s glance around the league and hand out some hardware for standout performances both good and bad. These are your 2016 NFL Quarter Season Awards. Or the Quarties as the kids call em.

 

Rookie Award

For the youngbloods who have gone above and beyond their draft status expectations and helped their team in a major way. And the winners are-

 

NFC: QB Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles

Many rooks have done well in the NFC this season but none more than Wentz. He is 66 of 102 in attempts for 64% completion percentage. 769 passing yards, 5 TD’s and ZERO turnovers. Beyond a taking a few unnecessary hits, he has played mistake free and has his Eagles 3-0 after their bye week. The future is bright in Philly.

 

AFC: QB Jacoby Brissett, New England Patriots

 

He’s only played a few games but this third round pick looked like a pro in his first start. Give Bill Belichick his credit for getting the kid ready but he played with poise and confidence. Oh yeah they beat a solid Houston Texans team 27-0. The Texans were undefeated before that. He lost his second start to the Bills but continues to grow plus there isn’t another AFC rookie that really deserves it.

 

Ageless Wonder Award

In football, 30 is considered old. That’s tough to type because I’m 31. But once you crack that milestone, father time really starts catching up. A few amazing athletes laugh in the face of time and keep kicking ass well past their management created expiration dates. This award is for them.

 

NFC: WR Steve Smith Sr., Baltimore Ravens

Steve is ancient in football years at 37 but through 4 games he leads the team in catches, yards and targets. His 281 receiving yards just edges out another oldie but goodie, Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals. Larry is only 33 and sits at 280 yards. It’s amazing these guys refuse to slow down. I hope Smith can keep up his pace and crack 1,000 yards on the year.

 

AFC: RB DeAngelo Williams, Pittsburgh Steelers

 

33-years-old and doing work. With Le’Veon Bell suspended (again) the first 3 games of the season, the starting running back job went to Williams. He made the most of his time racking up 258 rushing yards, 2 TD’s and zero fumbles in 3 full starts. That’s good for 86 yards a game. Not bad for over the hill. DeAngelo also managed a rushing TD in game 4 with Bell back in action.

 

MVP

This is the award for the best player in the league. Not the best player on the best team. But the single most elite performer playing the game.

 

NFC: QB Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

Matty Ice is killing it right now. Easily the best stats of any quarterback in the league. His 4 starts have seen him rack up crazy video game numbers. 1473 passing yards, 11 TD’s and only 2 INT’s. 368 yards per game is nice but it’s the over 70% completion percentage and few turnovers that have the Falcons flying high at 3-1 and first in the NFC South.

 

AFC: RB Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns

 

The team is 0-4 but at no fault of Crowell. He is running hard. His 394 rushing yards on only 61 attempts is good for 6.4 yards per carry. Which is epic. Crowell also has scored in 3 of 4 games. Maybe if the Browns want to win then they should feed Isaiah the ball. He hasn’t had more than 18 attempts in a game.

 

The Worst

Like the MVP but in reverse. The Anti-christ of playing well. The bottom of the barrel. Pray your name isn’t listed below.

 

NFC: WR Golden Tate, Detroit Lions

Tate used to be a huge part of the Lions’ offense. He posted career years playing with Matt Stafford but is off to a dreadful start. He hasn’t topped 41 yards in any game and only has 14 catches and zero TD’s. He is on pace for 56 catches. For reference, he had 99 and 90 catches the last two years. And he is dropping the ball and running the wrong routes. What happened to this guy?

 

AFC: QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets

 

Fitz is only completing 55% of his passes and has 4 TD’s and 10 INT’s. There is nothing else to say about this. He should have never trimmed his beard.

 

The Best

This is for the best units in the league.

 

NFC: Minnesota Vikings Defense

The hands down, greatest D in the league. They average only 9.5 points allowed per game. They swarm on tackles and have playmakers at every level. This unit is the main reason the Vikings are 4-0. If they keep playing like this then a Super Bowl appearance doesn’t seem out of the question.

 

AFC: Denver Broncos Defense

This crew is giving up 16 points a game but is once again leading the way in the AFC West. This franchise is undefeated in 2016 trying prove they don’t need Peyton Manning to be dominate. It honestly doesn’t matter who is under center as long as Von Miller and company keep up their intensity.

 

 

That’s it for the Quarties. Congratulations to the winners. Unless you won the Worst award. Better luck over the next weeks. Till then, champagne kisses and caviar cars.

 

Glitz.

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Review ‘n Brew: Week 3

Written by :
Published on : October 2, 2015

 

 

In this little corner Roger Pretzel will review his favorite play of the week along with a thoughtful review of what beverage he was imbibing at the time.

 

 

Week 3: Steve Smith Sr. Makes Big Catch, Breaks Tackles, Takes it to the House

 

VIDEO: HERE

 

Old man Steve Smith certainly lives up to his “senior” suffix, but damned if he’s still not one of the most fun receivers in the league to watch. A gutsy move by the Ravens offense to go for it on 4th and 5 leads to Smith pivoting back and saving the drive for a first down. But Senior wasn’t done yet: he then twists away from Reggie Nelson, pushes past an Emmanuel Lamur hit, evades a diving tackle from George Iloka, and guns it past Dre Kirkpatrick who can only manage to bring down Smith past the pylon. No way Kirkpatrick was gonna catch gramps when he’s got his blood up like that. Later on in the game the cameras showed Smith getting some IV treatment on the sidelines, because he’s more machine than man now. It’s a shame that this play of the week came on a losing effort, and it’s even more of a shame that Smith has announced his retirement at the end of the season.

 

Week 3: Bartles and Jaymes – Various Flavors

 

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Woo-wee! After that much excitement I needed to wet my whistle, so naturally I reached for a peach flavored malt beverage cooler made by the biggest names in the biz: Bartles and Jaymes. Ah, that sweet and fruity drank was just the thing to get my Sunday off the ground. Pretty soon a bunch of guys in board shorts and white blazers showed up along with a bunch of girls in bikini tops, cut off jeans, and flip-flops. My living room started to get a little crowded. A guy wearing sunglasses and a puka shell necklace handed me another B & J, this time it was a “Classic Original” bursting with flavor!

 

B and J classic

 

There was only one thing I could do to take this impromptu party to the next level. I picked up my trusty saxophone and let out a huge bellowing note. Cocaine exploded everywhere out of the instrument’s horn-end and the crowd went nuts.

 

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Next thing I knew, I was sharing an “Exotic Berry” flavor B & J with a guy named Larry Sapperstein who claimed to be a lawyer. Sure enough he was a lawyer, because he gave me a business card that said so. I learned a lot about offshore bank accounts in the Cayman Islands.

 

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As I watched the sun dip below the ocean horizon on the beach, I had a nightcap of “Orange Sunset” flavoring and passed out.

 

I woke up on my living room floor with a terrible headache. The couch and carpet were littered with empty Bartles and Jaymes bottles and my wife was really mad at me. There was no evidence of a party. I don’t even own a saxophone. I sheepishly cleaned up the bottles. It had all been a dream. Or was it? Later on I found Larry Sapperstein’s business card in the pocket of my swim trunks. Stranger things have happened when the B & J gets unleashed.

 

 


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