RIP Tony Soprano

James Gandolfini, the actor who portrayed mob boss Tony Soprano, died last week in Italy from a heart attack. The news to me, strangely, was terribly sad. I have certainly never had a reaction like that to someone I have never known or met dying. I have thought about it quite a bit trying to pin point the reason.

While thinking about it, I started re-watching The Sopranos, a show that honestly changed my life. Without out that show, I probably would not be where I am today…literally. During college, I had a lot of doubts about what I wanted to do and if the world of Television was a world I felt like joining and competing in. But when I saw the Sopranos (which wrapped up it’s last season while I was still in college) I knew that this was, indeed, what I wanted to do.

While rewatching the show for probably the 5th time in my life, I quickly discovered a key reason why I was so sad at James Gandolfini’s passing. There is a scene in the first episode where Big Pussy Bonpensiero explains to Christopher, after Christopher whacks a Polish guy named Emil, why the mob kills people and hides the body…it intimidates people without them actually knowing anything. Christopher asks Pussy what to do…and then check out this transcript:

Big Pussy: He disappears. He never comes home. They know, but they don’t know. They hope maybe he will turn up…if…

I think this whole scene all of a sudden creates a whole different meaning to the ending of the show. Remember, the show had a pretty controversial and surprising ending. It just sorta, well, ends. Cut to black. Keep the line that Pussy says in mind when you watch this clip, the last one of the Sopranos:

I always had hoped maybe they could bring this show back in movie form or something. That last episode, telling us not to stop believing over and over while sending us mixed signals. Is Tony dead? Did he die? Were the cameras just turned off and that was the last we got to see into his life?? What happened?!

The show left us in such a weird spot. We, like the people waiting for Emil to come home, know, but we don’t know. We think maybe he will turn up, if…And as long as James Gandolfini was alive, there were always rumors and possibilities. However, now that he is confirmed dead, so is the character of Tony Soprano. And that, is why I am so saddened.

So, rest in peace big guy…enjoy all the gabagool you can up there in the Bing.

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In Honor of James Gandolfini: The Toughest Guys In Sports

by Tommy Gimler of The Daily Upper Decker

I’m not Italian, I’m not in the mob, and I’m not a hard ass. But when James Gandolfini died from an apparent heart attack in Italy on Wednesday, I feel like a part of me died as well.

For six seasons Gandolfini played Tony Soprano, perhaps the toughest guy to ever grace the small screen. Yet what made him just as memorable was how he had to deal with problems outside of the family business that most of us can relate to. You know, like an uncle with dementia, fantasies about your therapist, and a wife who won’t let you bet on the fucking Jets.

So, to honor Gandolfini, The DUD has come up with this short list of the closest things the sports world has to Tony Soprano:

James Harrison – LB, Cincinnati Bengals

How tough is James Harrison? After Roger Goodell fined him over $200,000 in 2010 and 2011 for numerous vicious hits that knocked out a few receivers and quarterbacks, he informed the entire league that he was going to be tackling low from there on out. But even that couldn’t keep him from injuring opposing players, as the destroyed Eric Decker’s knee in a playoff loss to Jesus Christ and the Denver Broncos…

Dustin Pedroia – 2B, Boston Red Sox

After breaking his foot in 2010, Dustin Pedroia refused to just sit and let it heal. According to his Wikipedia page, he was so concerned about his fielding skills diminishing, that he would practice taking ground balls from his knees. Last year, he told turd manager Bobby Valentine through the media to go fuck himself. This season, Pedroia completely tore his UCL ligament in his thumb on Opening Day, yet he has played in every game except one. Even with the injury, Pedroia is hitting .312 with an OPB of .396, 4 home runs, 40 RBI, 46 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases…

Kobe Bryant – SG, Los Angeles Lakers

According to a 2011-12 survey of NBA general managers, just over 32% of them said the toughest player in the NBA was Kobe Bryant. We wouldn’t know because we don’t watch fixed sports. But when the next highest player on the list was Rajon Rondo at just 10.7%, we’ll take their word for it. All we know is that it sure as shit isn’t Andrew Bogut…

Zdeno Chara – D, Boston Bruins

Look at the size of this fucking guy. The Hockey News and Yahoo! Sports named Zdeno Chara the toughest player in the NHL last month even though at that time he had only been in 54 fights in 1,055 career games, including one in which he broke an opposing player’s jaw. But when you’re 6-foot-9 and 255 pounds, you don’t have to fight to get you’re point across. Especially when every player in the league has seen video of you do this:

RIP, James…

 

Check out more sports crudeness from The Daily Upper Decker here!

Top 5 Fictional Characters That Could Make Awesome Presidents!

With the election coming up, I figured it would be a fun exorcise to throw out some fictitious candidates from all over different mediums and see who you guys think would make a good president. Here are 5 candidates to mull over:

1. Tyrion Lannister – He might be a little person, but this guy has wit and brain power. He comes from a wealthy, famous family. He is able to handle money and could probably solve the debt crisis among other things. He might not be the best public speaker or handler of people, but he is exceptional in budgeting as well as military strategy. He is also not above asking for help and deferring to other, more knowledgeable, people. His running mate would be Bronn, who would serve as VP and be involved in the formation of a military.

Tyrion and Bronn

2. Tony Soprano – Now you might think that Tony Soprano would fail as a president because of his track record, but this guy can run an organization. He understands management practices and how to maintain and nurture connections. He ultimately just wants to do good business and put his family in the best possible position to succeed. Perhaps his background is a little shady, but he always seems to make the right choices…at least for his organization…which in this case would be the USA. Silvio Dante would be his running mate, who can keep Tony’s anger in check and also provide wise, outside the box council and take care of anyone that doesn’t agree with the new regime.

Tony and Silvio

3. Splinter – Sure he was born in Japan, but it was on a military base (or at least I am going to assume so for this argument). Splinter is wise, caring, calm and a wonderful father figure, which is just what this country needs. He would be an immediate calming influence in the political world, someone who doesn’t jump to conclusions and can hear out both sides of an argument before passing judgement. If he raised 4 mutant teenagers in the sewers of New York City, how hard could dealing with some old men sniveling over a gun law be for Splinter? Donatello would run beside his sensei and be a problem solver and spearhead a revolution in the way we view and use technology.

Donatello and Splinter

4. Gandalf – This dude has literally seen it all before. A war hero, he comes highly recommended for the job. He has declined being a leader many times, citing that he doesn’t want the spotlight, but this time he was finally talked into taking control. A man who is wise but still powerful, Gandalf would lead peace talks all over the world, and other countries will listen. He is also going to seek out all possible race relations, including those with elves and dwarves. But anyone that tries to spread darkness in the world, look out. Gandalf will end it swiftly and violently. Aragorn would be his VP. Many of you might think Aragorn would be the better figure head, but Aragorn is content with being with his family and helping behind the scenes instead of up on the podium.

Aragorn and Gandalf

5. Jack Shepard – A medical mind and natural leader, this candidate is looking to further our sciences. When he speaks, people tend to listen. He is an attractive man but tends to shy away from that to put the betterment of the group ahead of personal satisfaction. He does his best with the information presented to him and makes informed choices. He surrounds himself with experts that he has spirited debates with, but also listens to. Perhaps a little stubborn at times, but also quick to apologize. Schooling is important to him and kids will be educated far better than they are now. There will be medical advances taking place as well as other sciences. John Locke, some would say Jack’s polar opposite, will help bring balance to Jack’s campaign and hopefully win the faith based vote for him. It remains to be seen if Jack and John can coexist.

Shephard and Locke

Other candidates to consider:

Andy Dufrane/Red – Help organize our budgets as well as cut down on the imprisoned.

Greg House/Cuddy – Truly objective look at the issues in the oval office and someone that would never cater to a political party.

President Roselyn/Admiral Adama – They steered the last remaining humans to safety from the evil Cylons. I don’t see why they couldn’t do it again.

Professor Charles Xavier/Beast – Think of what they could do for human/mutant relations!

Palpatine/Darth Vader – Sure they failed to stop some terrorists from blowing up a huge building with small, flying ships that ended thousands of lives…but hey, they deserve a second chance right? Oh…wait…

So what do you think? Who would you vote for? Any other candidates you want to throw into the mix?

Top 5 Fan Favorite TV Characters!

A week ago, I asked you guys to vote on who your favorite TV characters were. You can find that post here. Collegehumor.com has tallied all the votes and you can now look at the results of America’s choices. That link can be found here for the top 25.

Now, not everyone agrees with that out come. I, for one, do not. Although voting in that format of picking one over another until you get your best choice is tedious and often times impossible, now we can open up the format and you can include anyone one you want. So, here is my list of top 5 favorite TV characters:

(This list, by the way, is incredibly tough to do and is sort of like “what is your favorite song?”…it shifts. So these are my “sort of, I am pretty sure these are my five in no order, but they might not be my five tomorrow or even in a few hours” list of TV Characters!)

Mal Reynolds

Place on College Humor Poll: 24

Malcom Reynolds is the man. The show Firefly was awesome. And if I had to make a top 5 of the characters from that show, Mal would barely beat out Jayne. But a man that sort of has honor but also has no problem shooting people in the face is alright with me. I know people still want to see this show come back, but perhaps the way it is now will make it more famous than it ever would be otherwise. Malcom Reynolds can be Nathan Fillion’s defining role, and like Collegehumor said, that is just fine by us.

 

 Place on College Humor Poll: Unranked

Tony Soprano might not be the “best” in terms of funny or exciting, but man does following his life make for a great show. And even though he might not have the slapping knee humor of Barney Stinson, Tony can rattle of some wonderful jokes. He is also a total bad ass. Tony does what is right (by his family, not really morally) almost every single time. Despite being in the mob, the case study of “how to be a great manager” could have at least 3 chapters in it devoted to this guy. Thank you Tony!

 

The DoctorPlace on College Humor Poll: 12

The Doctor is a character that changes over time. I suppose you would have to in order to look that good at 900 years old…just ask Yoda. But every single time he changes, he is always silly and quirky but also has an extreme sense of love and honor. Of course, if you cross that, he won’t hesitate in destroying you. Basically, if you ever meet him and get the chance to travel with him, be prepared to do a TON of running and probably never see your family again…or just politely decline and tell him that his bow-tie is “cool”.

 

Tyrion LannisterPlace on the College Humor Poll: 8

Tyrion Lannister is new to the TV world, only being around for 2 seasons of show, but already has become a household name. His quick wit, amazing plans, and fearlessness in slapping his boy king nephew has taken the hearts of everyone that watches the show. I think we, as people who want to be good for the most part, want to like the Starks as a family, but the Lannisters are just so much more fun! Tyrion might not win a sword fight any time soon (which doesn’t seem to matter when you have people to fight for you like Bronn…and, well, the other guy from…shit, spoilers!), but it is a good bet he will be around for a long while with that brain of his. (P)imp’in ain’t easy!

HousePlace on College Humor Poll: 7

Dr. Gregory House is a total asshole. But he also DOES have a heart. He just will never show it. He has an extreme devotion to truth and not to your dying cousin. Sorry. One is way more important to him than the other. In one episode, he tells a story of how a janitor saved a girl from dying when doctors couldn’t and when the doctors offered the janitor a job, he declined. He said the janitor didn’t want riches or fame, he was just happy knowing that he was right. I think that sums up House pretty well. “I can be a dick because I am right and you are wrong.”

 

So there is my quick list of five. Sorry to Admiral Adama, Hank Moody, George Costanza, Barney Stinson, Jesse Pinkman, and COUNTLESS others that have made me laugh, choke up, swear, cheer, and inspire me! Hopefully TV will just keep getting better and better! (Seriously, can we cancel Honey boo-boo yet?)

Who makes your top 5? Do you agree with the College Humor list? Who would you add to the list if you could? Who doesn’t deserve to even be on the damn list!? Discuss in the comments below!

 

 

Top 5 TV Shows You Would Love To See Come Back!

Don’t you just wish you could get one more season, or in some cases, more than one season overall for that awesome show you loved?! Some shows (like Lost or House) ended on their terms, but some shows were perhaps cut a little short leaving us wanting more. What are the top 5 shows you wish would return?

5. Deadwood – This spot could have gone to any number of shows. I thought of every childhood show I loved, The West Wing, Studio 60, Six Feet Under, Battlestar Galactica, etc, but then I gave it to Deadwood for one reason: Al Swearengen. Is that enough for you to understand? No? Well Swearengen is one of my favorite characters of all time. Dude is the epitomy of bad ass. He is the foul mouthed brothel owner that simply does not care about you or the horse you rode in on. Alas, when you make a show about a town that burns down, you have an expiration date. Sort of like making a movie about the Titanic. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t love to see more of Al Swearengen.

4. Party Down – Seriously, this show was stopped way too soon. Again, a show that might have been before it’s time, it was a show that lost actors to other roles. Jayne Lynch left for Glee and Adam Scott left for Park’s and Recreation, which is too bad since this show was better than both of those shows! There is at least a little hope for this show making a comeback, at least in the form of a movie. Evidence here.

3. The Sopranos – Maybe it ended on a weird note and I honestly believe that Tony Soprano was shot and killed, but do they have to take that away from us?! What if he wasn’t? I know there wouldn’t be much of a show without Tony, but there is no closure for the family either! AND WHY COULDN’T MEADOW JUST PARK THAT DAMN CAR!? This was a show that left us with some many questions they should make one more season just to let us know!

2. Seinfeld – Maybe everyone is a little older. Maybe the actors are finding other interests or just huge racists, but I would wager the 76 million households that watched the Finale would probably tune in to see a reunion as well. In the meantime, we will have to get our fix on the endless repeats that can be found at almost any time of the day and with some Curb Your Enthusiasm.

1. Firefly – Obviously. If you haven’t seen this show yet, please do yourself a favor. A show that was utterly screwed up by FOX by airing episodes out of order, this show was perhaps before it’s time. Were it aired now, in a culture much more accepting of “geeks and nerds”, it might have thrived. This is the show that everyone hopes might make a comeback some day, and with the success of Joss Whedon and the Avengers, who knows? Maybe someday? We can at least hope for it!

 

What are some shows you want to see return?!

Top 5 Favorite Characters from The Sopranos!

Today’s list is dealing with the Sopranos, and your top 5 favorite characters of the show other than Tony Soprano. The show, during its run, was the most successful cable show ever and consider the best TV show of all time by several people, including the NY Post. It follows the life of Tony Soprano, a New Jersey mob boss and his struggles with everything from his job and wife, to his faith and over bearing mother. If you have not seen it, I highly recommend it.

Today’s guest lister is Ted Schuster. Ted thought of and sent in this list on his own, and I am glad he did. I went to high school with Ted and he is one of the biggest fans of the series I know. With a cast of well over 200 people, it has a ton of characters to choose from. Let us start with Ted’s list:

1. John Sacramoni: Johnny is the master of sounding like he’s on the brink of blowing up, but holding back his anger just enough to speak in calm, measured tones. Of course, he blows up from time to time too. Whether it’s his dying devotion to the success of the Esplanade project or his unconditional love for his wife Ginny, John is a dedicated man. The indignity of being forcibly taken away from his daughter’s wedding is shackles was too much for poor John to bear.

Allies: Paulie Gultieri, Tony Soprano, Ginny Sack

Foes: Carmine Jr., Ralph Cifaretto, Tony Blundetto

Quote: “Power sharing….what’s this, the FUCKING U.N. NOW?!”

2. Artie Bucco: Artie is a bit of a tragic character, and also a bit of a schmuck. Artie has a thankless job as go-to restaurateur for a mob family that always stays after hours and never pays on time. He grew up with Tony and envies his boyhood friend’s fast-paced lifestyle. Between committing arson and running up month’s worth of tabs without paying, Tony is not the most considerate friend at times. However the main reason Artie makes this list is when early in season 6, he grows tired of being taken advantage of. What ensues is him standing up to Tony, flipping out on his employees, and beating the crap out of Benny Fazio.

Allies: Carmela Soprano, Tony Soprano, Rosalind Aprile

Foes: Benny Fazio, Gabrielle Dante

Quote: “You know better than the New Jersey Zagat? ‘Artie Bucco, warm and convivial host’.”

3. Ralph Cifaretto: Similar to Richie Aprile and Tony Blundetto, Ralphie is introduced to the fold mid- series as a troublemaker. In a series full of sociopaths, Ralphie is arguably the biggest. Whether it’s his mistreatment of the Bada Bing employees, his sanctioning a hit on his own son-in-law, or his unique relationship with Tony’s sister Janice, Ralph is one twisted, depraved individual. However, he is also a solid earner for Tony and a worthy leader of the ever-critical Esplanade.

Allies: Eugene Pontecorvo, Vito Spatafore

Foes: Johnny Sack, Paulie Gualtieri

Quote: “Why was I born handsome instead of rich?”

4. Carmine Luperrtazzi, Jr.: Carmine Jr had big shoes to fill after the passing of his father, and he never seemed cut out for the life as boss. After losing a power struggle with Johnny Sack, Carmine follows his passion of producing movies, first DVD’s for the South Beach Strumpet Series, and later Chris’s passion project Cleaver. He also maintains a role as liaison between New York and New Jersey, called upon from time to time to ease tensions. Although many characters on the show use words incorrectly, nobody does it more frequently or with more self-assuredness than Little Carmine.

Quote: This alteration you had with him…..you’re at the precipice Tony, of an enormous crossroad.

Allies: Rusty Millio, Lorraine Calluzzo

Foes: Johnny Sack

5. Silvio Dante: As Tony’s point man, Silvio’s job is to make Tony’s life easier. When Tony is in a pinch, he knows who to call. Whether it’s Jimmy Altiere, Sal Bonpensiero, or Adriana La Cerva, Silvio is a trusted hitman with distaste for rats. Tony consults him more than anybody else, and occasionally Silvio will be forced to dispense advice that the boss doesn’t want to hear. Present for the entirety of the series, Silvio is a classic character and one of the favorites of my friend JR, purveyor of this blog. Why he and Patsy didn’t have firepower more readily accessible that fateful day at the Bing, I’ll never understand.

Quote: “You know, Vito called me “skip” the other day. Slip of the tongue, no doubt. But I noticed he

didn’t correct himself.”

Allies: Tony Soprano

Foes: Fat Dom Gomiello

Good list Ted. I am going to reverse here and do my list 5 to 1. Here is mine to go along with yours:

5. Johnny Sacrimoni – Johnny Sac, much like what Ted said, was a total hot head but most of the time kept it bottled up. He was a ruthless mobster, but ultimately consumed by vengeance and the need to be the Boss of New York was his downfall. But Johnny Sac also, for as tough as he was, was a loving man. One of the more memorable scenes was him crying at his daughter’s wedding which made him look weak in the eyes of his fellow mates. He also was excepting of his very obese wife and had a very touching moment where he said as much. Good work Johnny!

Johnny Sack

4. Corrado “Junior” Soprano – Junior was the brother of Tony’s father, Johnny. Perhaps he wasn’t respected enough, or didn’t deserve it, but he never was the true boss of the New Jersey family. A constant butt of a lot of Tony’s jokes, Junior eventually tried to have Tony killed and ultimately ended up shooting Tony himself. Junior, defined but his huge glasses, could never actually see what was going on. He, himself though, was a pretty funny man. He was responsible for some of the funniest parts in the show.

Uncle June

3. Christopher Moltisanti – Chrissy Chrissy Chrissy! You just wanted to root for him. He was a drug addict, cheater, girlfriend beater (and killer, sort of) and all around shit head. But he tried to clean up and tried to get his act together and just never quite could. Every time you thought he might figure it out and put it all together, he messed up. Due to his relationship with Tony, he was given time and again more chances to clean up. Christopher was the ultimate tragedy of the show. And when he finally did meet his end, did you even see it coming?!

Christopher Moltisanti

2. Meadow Soprano – Tony’s oldest child and only daughter. Meadow is the one woman in the show that gets out of the mob life. She is the only person that will stand up to Tony. Meadow is also on this list because it is with Meadow, not really Tony’s wife Carmella, that we see Tony show any sort of true love and affection for. A lot of the moments between Tony and Meadow are heartwarming and touching. Tony is also a little over protective of Meadow, as evidence of the (very racist) reasons he doesn’t want her dating a black friend and the dude he curb stomps for hitting on her. Meadow is also the one that (inadvertently) puts a death warrant out for Vito, gets an old rat killed in New England on a college trip and gets a dudes face curb stomped. But all of this doesn’t compare to what Meadow truly represents on the show. She is not a feminist; she instead breaks her gender role completely. Where her brother AJ mopes around and lives in Tony’s comforts, Meadow gets out of the mob world completely and goes to college. She works hard to get where she is, and although she enjoys going home to do laundry, she refuses to accept things Tony gets through his illegal dealings. Good for you Meadow, you are the woman!

Meadow Soprano

1. Silvio Dante – Perhaps the most inadvertently funny person on the show, whenever the soft spoken Silvio opens his mouth, solid gold comes out. Silvio is Tony’s most trust friend and advisor. Most of the time Silvio is the one that provides guidance to Tony and often is the calm, soothing approach to issues that contrasts so well with Tony’s impulsiveness. Silvio is also the most trusted assassin’s Tony has. His offing Adriana was cold and heartless. But he never raised his voice or even acted like he cared about what he was doing. The one time Silvio loses his temper is at a poker game. JUST LEAVE THE CHEESE WHERE IT IS! (I would repost the same clip Ted chose to use here if I could. Classic scene.)

Silvio Dante

Alright guys, think of your top 5 favorite characters from the Sopranos and post them down below in the comments. If you don’t, you might be getting a visit from Silvio…