UniDiction 2011: Week 16 – Eagles vs. Cowboys and Week 15 Round-Up

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Again, the Eagles one, I won. Good deal.

Week 15 Round-Up

Throwback_7A little more uniform action in Week 15 than we’ve seen in a while. The Chargers wore their powder blue throwbacks, which are better than the normal Chargers uniforms, but like some of the other (loud) throwbacks (Bucs, I’m looking at you), they’re best as a “two games per year” sort of combo.

Red_red_2The Cardinals wore solid red again (three weeks in a row). Repeating myself, these look awful, though the red pants mean that the rare, trivia-riffic white over red combo may yet make an appearance.

 

Throwback_2Finally, the Rams, the team with a bajillion uniform combos (and that actually pretty much all of them, unlike the Titans), brought out their throwbacks last week. They’re nice, but loud enough that they’re best as a (say it with me) “twice a year kind of alternate.”

 

Week 16 UniDiction – Cowboys vs. Eagles

Of course, this game will be visual deja vu to week 8, as the Cowboys are a White at Home team. Of course, I hadn’t unveiled my snazzy new UniDiction format back then, so I’ll let the picture speak for itself. Even though I dislike (hate?) the Cowboys, I have to begrudgingly admit their uniforms are pretty nice.

Week16

Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that the Cowboys blue uniform set is almost completely incongruous with their normal white uniform set, and I’ll gladly point out the issues at great detail below.

Comparison

The Eagles will be in their best combo, green over white, which is a 22 point sort of uniform.

I’ll also point out that games like this are the reason it’s stupid that the Eagles chose not to wear an alternate jersey this year (whether black or last year’s throwback). It’s like they’re not interested in making money.

Predicted Score

Cowboys 18

Eagles 22

Merry Christmas! (for the record, I’m not above commentary on Santa Claus’ uniform if there’s a desire from the readership….ha!)

****

A pretty good-looking football game, as usual between these teams.

UniDiction 2011: Week 14 – Eagles vs. Dolphins and Week 13 Round-Up

Week14_match

I lost; the Eagles lost. It was an ugly game for every possible reason. Let’s just not talk about it.

Week 13 Round-Up

Throwback_4

 

The Buccaneers wore their Creamsicle throwbacks against the Panthers, which are ugly, but in that “so bad it’s good, but no more than twice a season, please” sort of way.

 

Blue_blue_1

Red_red_2In less positive news, both the Texans and Cardinals went monochrome in their respective games, navy over navy for the Texans and red over red for the Cardinals. Neither is a good look, but it means that the Cardinals may trot out their rare (though not particularly appealing) white over red combo now that their red pants are available this season.


 

White_green_4

Finally, for trivia lovers, the Redskins and Jets mixed it up by having the Redskins wear their maroon over white (instead of yellow) combo at home and the Jets in their, again, rare (and, again, unappealing) white over green.

Eagles vs. Dolphins UniDiction

Lots of details in the picture, but the main take-away is that the Dolphins are an “almost always” White at Home team. Every now and then, they pull out their orange alternates for home, night games, but the Eagles announced they’d be in green this week, so the Dolphins are in white. Though not rigidly defined, the Dolphins generally wear white pants with the white jersey for home games and break out aqua pants for away games when they wear White jerseys (meaning: almost any away games).

Check out the Dolphins Uniform history on the Gridiron Uniform Database, and notice the 1997 “tweaking” which changed the shade of Aqua and added the 90s-riffic drop-shadows on the numbers. Generally, their uniforms have been adjusted numerous times (striping and logo tweaks, mainly), but no significant changes since 1966. Pretty impressive for a design to last that long and still look good.

Week14

The Eagles are in their typical home combination, Green over White. I’ll omit the full break-down, but in short, it’s their best combo of the current uniform set, and worth, let’s say, 22 points (generally, the Midnight Green is simply too dark).

Dolphins – 21

Eagles – 22

****½

It’s actually going to be an unexpectedly great uniform match-up. Let’s hope the game is OK, too.

 

 

 

 

UniDiction 2011: Week 13 – Eagles vs. Seahawks and Week 12 Round-Up (new format!)

Week13_lead

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Well, I was wrong for last week’s game, too. 3-8. Of course, there was nothing right about the Eagles on-field performance, either.

There’s an all-new format for the UniDiction section which I think you’ll like, so let me know what you think in the comments.

Week 12 Round-Up

The Chargers wore their very nice Powder Blue throwbacks. I think the color’s odd enough that it shouldn’t necessarily be their primary uniform (and the Titans use light Blue, though in a very different way), but the Chargers normal uniforms are among the least notable in the league (neither good nor bad…they just…are), helmet with electricity on the sides notwithstanding, so file the “should the powder blues be the Chargers’ normal uniforms” under “let me think about it.” I covered the Thanksgiving uniform happenings in last week’s article.

Eagles vs Seahawks UniDiction (new format!)

Week13
click to enlarge

No full write-up for the Eagles this week because of the new format, but they’re in White over Midnight Green, and that looks awful and needs to be removed from their locker room. BUT, the Seahawks uniforms are awful.

Seahawks – 12

Eagles – 13 

Some random Seahawks uniform info:

Seahawks helmet logo in image above from Chris Creamer’s SportsLogos.net.

*

An awful uniform match-up this week.

UniDiction 2011: Week 9 – Eagles vs. Bears

This was cross-posted on Crossing Broad.

2011_week9
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Well, they may have blasted apart my uniform-generated spread (25-15),  but a win (real life: 34-7) is a win. I’m 3-4, the Eagles are 3-4. Not too shabby after a dicey start for both of us.

We had a surprisingly lively debate in the comments section for a review of the Marlins new logo on Tuesday, and the uniforms will be officially and fully unveiled on Friday 11/11, so check back next weekend for a full review. But, we’re hear to talk about the NFL today, so let’s start this footbal thing by looking at last week’s NFL uniform action with the help of the always-greatGridiron Uniform Database.

For Halloween (?), the Broncos wore their Orange alternates. I’m not a big fan, but they’re going with Orange as their primary color jersey color next year, so get used to it. Of course, the kicker is that they’re rumored to be changing uniforms completely next year with the arrival of the Nike contract, so it’s anyone’s guess what they’ll look like next year. Unfortunately (due to lack of being the home team and general non-funness in the NFL), none of the BengalsDolphins, nor Bears wore their Orange alternates. So close, yet so far.

The Texans wore their rare Red alternate over White pants combo (the Red jerseys are usually seen as part of a “Red Out” with Red pants), which is a great look, even better than their unfairly-overlooked-on-best-of-modern-uniform-lists Blue over White combo.

Sporting their Blue over Yellow throwbacks, the Rams showed that their “heritage” look is as interesting as their current uniform, though had they chosen to wear their standard uniforms, there’s a chance we could’ve seen Gold pants vs. Gold pants, as the Saints showed up in White over Gold (their best White jersey combo).

Rounding out the throwbacks/alternates were the Panthers in their Blue alternates for the second week in a row. The less that’s said about those 90s disasters, the better.

And, finally, in terms of trivia, the Redskins wore their new-for-2010 White jersey over Yellow pants combo against the Bills, creating a bit of an “old school” type match-up.

Writing these articles has shown me that there’s much less diversity in the NFL schedule than I expected, with inexplicable* repeat opponents such as the 49ers, Cardinals, Falcons, and Bears (*note: I am fully aware that NFL scheduling is actually rather scientific, thank you very much, but how often do I really want to write-up the Cardinals uniforms?). Because the Eagles played the Bears last year (though in Chicago), I’ll borrow from the 2010 write-up as needed.

As a quick primer on the Bears uniforms, their standard color jersey combination is Navy over White. For their White jersey, they usually pair it with Navy pants. An Orange alternate appears every now and then (always with White pants). In recent history, they’ve worn White over White (the double set of stripes on each leg is against the uniform rules, so he has probably fined) as well as Navy over Navy as well as a Throwback in 2010 in place of the Orange alternates.

The Bears have one of the classic “This is the NFL”-type uniforms, so let’s find out how they’ll do against the Eagles.

The UniDiction

Either 2, 3, 6, or 7 points awarded for each category (safety, field goal, touchdown, touchdown+point after, of course)

Helmet

Eagles: 7 — Same as always.  Definitely one of the best helmet designs in the league.  I’m a sucker for “functional” helmet designs, and the wings fit the bill.

Bears: 6 — In terms of design details, the wishbone “C” logo has just enough going for it to not look like a plain letter cop-out.  But, they really need something to break up the two halves of the helmet.  Maybe a White or Orange stripe (or a combination of those).  The helmet is just slightly a bit more “old” than “classic.”

Jersey

Eagles: 6 — When fans think of the “post-Cunningham” Eagles, they’re picturing the Midnight Green jerseys.  A unique, bold color, with detailed strokes on the numbers, and nice use of logos on the sleeves and collar. I’ll remove a point due to the use of drop shadows.

Bears: 6 — This is a classic NFL template. No yokes (Titans), framing features (Jaguars, Cardinals), drop-shadows (Eagles). Orange stroke around Navy fill on the typography makes the letters and numbers visually interesting, and the Blue-Orange-Blue stripes on the shoulders keeps them from looking like an unfinished field of White (Colts and Giants, I’m looking at you). Nothing I’d change on these except that Navy Blue looks Black-ish (like the Eagles “Midnight Green”) in poor lighting, such as a night game. Like this week.

Pants + Socks

Eagles: 6 — The White pants provide nice contrast with the solid green of the jersey, and instead of plain white, the thick Black ad Green stripes (with the pencil thin grey stripe) on the side of the pants gives them a slightly modern touch.  Black over White socks also break up the White from the pants. I wouldn’t mind if they swapped the Black socks for Green, though.

Bears: 3 — Again, a classic design with an Orange-White-Orange sandwich stripe and no frills. Here’s what isn’t so clear about the uniform’s details. Why are the stripes spaced on the jersey and socks, but flush on the pants? Also, the Navy and Orange jerseys and Navy socks (which are paired with White pants) use triple stripes of the same color with strokes, while the White jerseys and socks use spaced Navy-Orange-Navy. Consistency people!

Intangibles

Eagles: 6 — Obviously the best combo from the current uniform set. The Green needs to be a few shades lighter (if they wouldn’t do a straight return to Kelly Green) for it to really work in the poor lighting of a night game, though.

Bears: 6 — Well, I normally complain when the Eagles wear Green pants due to how dark they are, so the Bears in Navy pants are definitely not any better here, especially for a night game, even if they have bold, obvious stripes on the side (unlike the Eagles with Graphite and Black). But, Bears fans, these are still nice uniforms. For “classic” uniforms, I prefer the Packers in Green over Yellow, but the Bears in any combo (except Navy over Navy) give them a run for the money. If they show up in White over White (they probably won’t), bump this to a full 7 for outside-the-box thinking.

Final Score

Eagles 25

Bears 21

This will be one of the better-looking Eagles games this year.

****½

 

UniDiction 2011: Week 8 – Eagles vs. Cowboys

Main
Follow me on twitter (@dancfuller) for uniform updates during Sunday’s games. If you have any questions or want to have a uniform-related argument, whether fact-based or opinion-oriented, just send something @ me. 

OK, let’s all agree that it was good to see the Eagles win one. But can we also agree that the Redskins looked a whole lot better in losing than the Eagles did in winning? I’ll take the UniDiction loss (2-4, same as the Eagles, by the way), but I won’t back down about the Redskins Maroon over Yellow being up there as probably the best combo in the NFL and the Eagles White over Green… just making me mad.

Coming out of the bye week, there are two big weekends of uniform-related happenings to catch-up with. Week 6 saw the Packers in their nerdy “throwing back to a time before NFL uniforms looked like, you know, NFL uniforms” uniforms, the Cowboys in their very rare Blue over (true) Silver combo — yes, I’m proud of the work I put in to this graphic — and leading in to two topics that might shock uniform traditionalists, the Falcons wore their 60’s-inspired throwbacks and the Bengals wore their Orange alternates.  Of course I like the Falcons throwbacks; they have a distinct air of “classic NFL uniform,” but they’re so much better than their standard overly-modern uniforms that if they’re not going to wear the throwbacks full-time, I actually wouldn’t mind them wearing the forgotten Black jersey from the current set instead. Sure, maybe not in Black over Black, but Black over White is a good look. The Bengals paired their Orange jersey with their White pants, and know what? I actually think it’s a good look. I’m not as much of a fan of when they wear the Orange alternate over Black pants, but the goofy details of the White jersey (the inexplicable Orange shoulder yoke) and Black jersey (Orange shoulder highlights) are missing or mitigated on the Orange jersey. Let’s cut-out the White side panel, and it’s actually a pretty nice uniform. Sure, the tiger stripes may be an acquired taste, but it’s a unique feature which makes sense given the team name.

Week 7 saw the Vikings excellent throwbacks (which should be the normal uniforms, of course) and the Panthers in their “I Love the 90s” Electric Blue (er, “Carolina Blue”) alternates. The Panthers are rarely on TV in the Philadelphia era, so my guess is few readers even know those alternates exist, so let me devote an additional sentence to just how unfortunate those jerseys are. The Panthers alternates are woefully ugly. Noted. Moving on. (Sadly, they wore them today against the Vikings, so that’s two weekends in a row).

Against the Cowboys, there aren’t many unknowns going into the game; the Eagles chose not to wear their White jerseys to try to invoke the Cowboys’ “Blue Jersey Curse,” so it’s Green over White vs. White over Silver. As a divisional rival, I’ve already written-up this match-up twice(Cowboys are “White at Home,” so it’s the same uniform match-up whether at Dallas or in Philadelphia — for trivia’s sake, the Cowboys have a rather nice throwback, but it won’t be seen this weekend), so I’ll borrow liberally from my previous efforts.

And, in the interest of completeness, the Cowboys rarely seen (though worn two weeks ago) Blue jerseys are an interesting item, not just a color-swapped version of the White over Silver uniforms. Check out this graphic I made detailing all of the mismatched items. You’d think that in the age of HD the Cowboys would at least address the Silver mismatch issue (at least making the helmets match one of the pants; it’s not like they wear the “true” Silver pants from the Blue jersey set all that often), but I guess it’s not too important down there in Texas. BUT, choosing Navy Blue or Royal Blue would at least be nice.

Comparison
The Cowboys uniforms are a tough nut to crack; as an Eagles fan I feel as if I must hate them, but they’re actually pretty nice. They’re “classic” without looking too plain (Colts and Giants, that’s you) or old-for-old’s-sake (Packers throwbacks).

The (slightly anti-Cowboys biased) UniDiction is after the jump.

The UniDiction

Either 2, 3, 6, or 7 points awarded for each category (safety, field goal, touchdown, touchdown+point after, of course)

Helmet

Eagles: 7 — Same as always.  Definitely one of the best helmet designs in the league.  I’m a sucker for “functional” helmet designs.

Cowboys: 6 — It’s iconic and, oddly, rather understated element considering just how prevalent it is in the US. One point is removed because the shade of Silver doesn’t match the Silver pants… either of them. (note: for color professionals out there, please spare me the “it’s difficult to match colors on different substrates, especially shades of grey or silver when metal fleck is a component.”  I know, but they’ve had 40+ years to get it right!

Jersey

Eagles: 6 — When fans think of the “post-Cunningham” Eagles, they’re picturing the Midnight Green jerseys.  A unique, bold color, with detailed strokes on the numbers, and nice use of logos on the sleeves and collar. I’ll remove a point due to the use of drop shadows.

Cowboys: 3 — There are few things Eagles fans hate more than the sight of a Cowboys jersey, especially if it’s White.  Objectively, it’s a 6 (the shoulder stripes break up the plain-ness of it, though the Black strokes on the sleeve stripes don’t match the stroke-less numbers), but subjectively, we’re giving it a 3, because it’s, you know, the Cowboys.

Pants + Socks

Eagles: 6 — The White pants provide nice contrast with the solid green of the jersey, and instead of plain white, the thick Black ad Green stripes (with the pencil thin grey stripe) on the side of the pants gives them a slightly modern touch.  Black over White socks also break up the White from the pants

Cowboys: 3 — OK, Cowboys.  Get your colors figured out, and we’ll talk.

Intangibles (no Pink adjustment this week – it looks like most teams have really dialed it back this week. It’s still October, so I bet there’s a lot more to this story which will never get reported. Pink was shamelessly poured over everything for the first two weeks of October, and now it’s practically missing. I mean, I’m not missing it, but something’s up. It could be that this is the fifth Sunday in October, and it was designed as a four week marketing program, but, again, that story will likely never be told.)

Eagles: 6 — OK, it’s the best combo of their current uniform set, but it’d be fun to see them wear their White jerseys at home (preferably with White pants… but beggars can’t be choosers), forcing the Cowboys to wear Navy over (true) Silver.

Cowboys: 3 — Out of bringing some professional journalism to this article, I’ll say “these are nice uniforms, here are three points.” Yeah, I feel dirty doing that, but I’m being fair. I may have offered a few more points if they were in their Navy over Silver combination (obscurity=points, people), but the Eagles chose not to force the Cowboys to wear them. Naturally, I’ll blame the Cowboys for that.

Final Score

Eagles 25

Cowboys 15

[rate  4.0]

A pretty good looking game. With the Cowboys in plain colors, a brighter shade of Green (say, Kelly Green) on the Eagles would really stand out…oh, well.

UniDiction 2011: Week 1 – Eagles vs. Rams

Uni2011-1

Look for me on Twitter (@dancfuller) where I’ll likely have a few uniform-related updates during today’s games.

And we’re back. After three forays into Phillies throwbacks, we find ourselves back in the UniDiction wheelhouse… football uniforms.

For catching up’s sake, the Eagles had no uniform-related news this off-season. No throwbacks like last year (boo) or 2007 (count your blessings), so it’s likely we’ll see the Black jerseys at some point, likely around Halloween (maybe against the Cowboys on October 30, though they may wear White to invoke the Blue Jersey Curse) or late November. For non-Eagles news, the Bills have an all-new uniform set, getting rid of their CFL/XFL-inspired disasters (quick review: they’re great, but why no Blue pants?), and the Giants supposedly have throwbacks to the 80s era, but they’ve yet to be announced. There have been rumblings about the Giants adopting throwbacks since they eliminated their Red alternates after the 2007 season but still no (official) confirmation in that direction.

The (potentially) big news which will likely amount to very little is that 2011 is the last season of the Reebok uniform contract, and Nike gets the NFL in 2012. And, gosh, if they did this to Oregon, what will they do to my team?! Relax, it’s the NFL, not a bunch of loosely affiliated colleges trying to appeal to 16 and 17 year old recruits. Maybe some of the teams with that dreaded-for-marketing purposes combination of modern-yet-stale designs and recent futility (Broncos, Seahawks – who’ve hinted at re-designs for next year) will go the re-design route. Though there’s always the risk of a team following the 2009 Jaguars and fixing something that wasn’t broken because it will be easier to re-define the corporate brand in terms of PMS numbers and visual identity than actually creating a “tradition of winning”, don’t expect any crazy Nike NCAA silliness like “Stealth Numbers” (hint: I actually like the effect), team-branded glovescamouflage, dye sublimation (think: anything with a gradient), or the like on an NFL team near you, especially not the Eagles, who have well-liked modern uniforms as well as a whole bunch of winning seasons within easy memory.

For uniform enthusiasts, the biggest news is perhaps the “opening” of the Gridiron Uniform Database. A simply amazing website you never knew you were missing until now. If you’ve ever gotten into an argument with someone who SWEARS the Packers had a Yellow alternate (they haven’t worn yellow jerseys since 1954) because he saw them available online (likely from a counterfeiter) or with “that guy,” who says the Saints never wore a Gold jersey in a game (they did, once in 2002), here is your argument ender. “You just got GUD’d!” Hmm, maybe not the next “Let’s Go Eat,” but it’s… something. Prepping for this season, I’m not sure how I did without the GUD last season (answer: with some inaccuracy about obscure combinations for the Falcons and Titans), but expect lots of links to their content . A great, great resource.

Speaking of resources, I’ve put together a publicly accessible image gallery for NFL uniforms, sorted by team. There’s not much metadata other than filenames which include the jersey and pants colors, but if you need to see photographs of the Titans in the rare White over White combo (against the Eagles in 2002, no less), it may be the only place where the pictures are collected as such.

And finally, the UniDictions will be a little different this year. Previously, I churned out the prediction between 11:30AM and game time on game day. Why? Because in the interest of accuracy, I wanted to review what the teams would be actually wearing. Unfortunately, though the Eagles announce their uniform picks the Tuesday before a game, few other teams do this. For teams like the Giants and Cowboys, there’s no mystery as to what they will be wearing (heck, I wrote the December 2010 UniDictions for those games in China. Really!), but teams often have not just multiple jerseys but multiple pants options, too. Even staying within the division, the Redskins have three pants (the new-for-2010 yellow pants are still awesome, don’t worry). So, when the Eagles are home in the latter part of the season and the Green jersey is guaranteed, the Redskins could legitimately show up in one of three different combinations. In the interest of easing my Sunday mornings, this season’s UniDictions will be more general than last year’s, taking into account the opponents’ jersey and pants combinations as a whole.

This brings us to the Rams. The Eagles are visiting and announced they’re in White over Green. It’s unlikely the Rams would waste their throwbacks on the non-divisional-rival Eagles game, so they’ll be in Navy Blue jerseys, but, like the Redskins, they’ve got three pants to choose from. Which will they wear?

The UniDiction

Remember, this is scored like football. 7,6,3,2, or 1 point. And, as we retroactively learned last year, to make sense with UniDiction score, the real-game score wraps back to zero every 28 points, so 59-28 is the same as 3-28. Yeah. It’s scientific.

Helmet

Eagles – 6 points. Metallic “Midnight” Green is second only to Kelly Green in the hearts of Philadelphia football fans, and the wings are the kind of “functional” detail that really adds a lot of character to a helmet, much more than simply dumping the logo up there.

Rams – 7 points. Unfortunately, when one thinks of “functional” helmet designs, the Rams’ horns are thought of, even before the Eagles, so they get the full 7 points, too.

Jersey

Eagles – 3 points. I’ve put a lot of thought into it in the off-season, but while the White jersey might have grown on me, it’s still not the Eagles best look. The trim and logo/wordmark usage is the throat and sleeves is executed just right. It’s appreciated that the only “modern” silliness is a drop-shadow on the numbers instead of useless panels, yokes, and armpit highlighting features, but… White just isn’t one of the Eagles’ colors. Combined with the Green pants, it’s not a good look.

Rams – 3 points. Like the Eagles, the Rams have a “modern-ish” jersey, but they weren’t able to avoid one of the more gimmicky “modern” features: the shoulder hoop. Oddly, this feature is echoed on the White jersey, but it’s used more as a visual break for the contrast-color “sleeves.” Odd and rather bush league (read: CFL) for the White jerseys. Initially, I thought it was meant to evoke their old jerseys where the shoulder/sleeve included the ram horn, but it doesn’t appear that way. The White stroke around the Gold numbers is a nice touch, though. I’ll also point out that their shade of Blue is just that much too dark, and doesn’t pop as much as it should.

Pants and Socks

Eagles – 2 points. In a vacuum where the Eagles pants exist in complete naiveté with respect to the final “look,” the Green pants are harmless. Black/White/Grey stripes all “go” with Midnight Green. Seems like a pretty nice pair of trousers. Until you see them on TV when it’s not a bright day, and they’re just a muddled, dark mess. Dark base material, two of three stripes are dark. No, thank you. This gives me an idea for a future article where I mock up some Midnight Green pants with a wide, White stripe. Don’t worry, I’ll include Black or Dark Grey stripes, too.  I also think the socks should be Green instead of Black. Sue me.

Rams – 6 points. Here’s where it gets tricky. The Rams have 3 different pants they actively wear. Interestingly, they’re not just color swaps of each other. The Gold pants are a solid “field of Gold,” (holy Gold pants overload in that picture) with no stripes, logos, or any type of accents, while the Blue pants and White pants look like simple color swaps, not unlike Mortal Kombat’s Sub-Zero and Scorpion. Oddly, they actually aren’t. The Blue pants’ striping actually goes White-Gold-Blue-Gold-White, and the White pants are a simpler Blue-Gold-Blue. Using a contrasting color for that super-wide stripe, as on the White pants, definitely looks better than hiding the center stripe in the base color of the pants. So, big thumbs-up for the White pants, indifferent but appreciating the use of the color for the Gold pants, and “meh” for the Blue pants.

Intangibles

Eagles – 3 points. At least they still look respectable in a rather unfortunate uniform combination, something some teams can’t say. I’ve moved from “not feeling it” to outright “a little pitchy dog” “I don’t like this” for the White over Green combination, so until/unless the pre-season White over White combination shows up in the regular season (like last year against the Jaguars), the Eagles aren’t going to have a lot of (sartorial) success per my system in their White jersey this season.

Rams – 6 points. If the Rams choose to wear their Blue over Blue clownsuits, I’ll regret granting so many points, but the Rams’ signature look is the unique Blue over Gold, so expect to see that on Sunday afternoon. If they choose the rarer Blue over White, the Eagles are really looking for some hurt, because that is a really, really sharp look. Yes, I realize I sound like a grandmother using that terminology… but I’ll stand by it.

Rams 22

Eagles 14 

…uh-oh

Thanks to The Gridiron Uniform Database, here’s a list of graphics showing all their combinations, year by year.

And in order of preference, some real pictures:

Blue over White

Throwback

Blue over Gold

White over Gold

White over White

White over Blue

Blue over Blue

How to be a Uniform Snob Part 2: Phillies vs. Padres (Throwbacks!)

2003 throwbacks

From 2003 against the Pirates in solid yellow—ladies and gentlemen: your 1970s!

The pictures with formal write-ups of the uniforms in question are from Bill Henderson’s excellent MLB Game Worn Jerseys of the Double-Knit Era. Buy it here. If you’re even remotely interested in the rest of this entry, this will be the best $25 you’ll spend all baseball season. AND, he’s from the Philadelphia/Delaware County area, so his Phillies chapter is made with special care. (That’s actually a joke, I think. Each team gets an amazingly thorough treatment throughout. Yes, even the Diamondbacks.)

Check out Kyle’s throwback-tastic write-up from earlier today for what he considers the Phillies’ best logo. I disagree, but I like his enthusiasm. Also, notice that he’s talking about a specific logo, not the uniforms of the 70s/80s in general.

It’s 80s night at Citizen’s Bank Park tonight, and even though they’ve had “70s night” and “80s night” promotions for the last few years, they’ll actually be trotting out throwbacks for one of the games. For those who were always disappointed that their recent “70s nights” never included the players dressing like the team of the 70s, consider this vindication for those times when you tuned in, only to see a few “retro” graphics on the broadcast but nothing else of note except for the ballgirls wearing something like this

This is the the third Phillies throwback game of the season (the Negro League throwbacks write-up and the write-up for the more-or-less “away” version of tonight’s uniforms). Of course, Uni-Watch has their write-up today (scroll down to the Phillies logo) and they’re so gosh-darn thorough that even if I would’ve come up with these points on my own (I was working on it, I swear!), they pretty much covered everything already. I’ll recap here and add some more sizzle (snark?).

In terms of impressing boring (I wasn’t sure which word to strike-thru) your friends, subtly work these factoids into a response every time someone says, “they should wear these uniforms all the time,” or “it’s so cool they’re wearing the uniforms from the 80s. These should be the new alternates.”

1)      The 1984 uniform (the “target” for this 80s promotion) included a zipper on the front; the change to buttons happened with the 1987 jersey. I’m sure this is just chalked up to Majestic’s current templates not having this feature… and, anyway, as a player, I’d cringe every time I did a head first slide with a zipper all along my torso.

2)      The players won’t “look” like 1984 players because they’ll be wearing the pants at shoe height or lower, the jerseys (and pants) will likely be extra-baggy, and no stirrups will be in sight (some players will actually wear them, but it’s unlikely to catch-on with more than a few guys).

3)      There will probably be a Majestic logo on the uniform somewhere (check the sleeves). The 1984 uniform was made by Wilson. Yep, someone keeps track of this (from the great MLB Game Worn Jerseys of the Double-Knit Era).

4)      New Era might put the “batterman” logo on the back of the hats. Judging by MLB Shop, the “on-field” hats will have it, but the “authentic” MLB Shop product does not always match what the players wear. There was some confusion about the “on-field” vs. MLB Shop hats the Mariners wore a couple of weekends ago. So just because it’s on MLB Shop and “authentic”… your mileage may vary. Also, the “P” logo on the hat is noticeably larger than it actually was on hats from the era.

5)      Will they pay for the correct helmets (see the picture above)? Or will they just don their normal (and clashing bright red against maroon) batting helmets. It’s on the Phillies to pay for these themselves, so let’s see how cheap they are (or hopefully aren’t).

The Padres will be wearing their 1984 uniform which is one of those wonderful “only in the 70s/early 80s” looks. A brown pull-over jersey with yellow and orange highlight details, yellow sanitaries with brown stirrups (though it’s doubtful that the yellow sanitaries, much less brown stirrups will be visible). Of special note is that they wore white pants as part of their road uniform, which isn’t something seen anymore. Teams sometimes wear their normal pants with throwback jerseys (check out the catcher’s pants in this picture), but I’m not sure the Padres normal grey + navy pants will work with the “colors of autumn” palette of the jersey and hat.

Fingers Speaking of the hat, the geometry of the paneling is meant to evoke a church bell. The interesting detail here is that that geometry is rather unique among other teams, so each manufacturer had its own take in the “right” way to make the hat, so you’ll see noticeable variation among time periods and manufacturers (even back when they weren’t throwbacks). Check out fellow uniform-enthusiast Paul Carr’s exhaustive (in a good way) search into tracking down these variations on The Ballcap Blog. Oh yeah, it’s a four part (ongoing?) series. One, two, three, four. (note: Padres fans, I’m not sure if the hat to the right accurately conveys the exact 1984 style — my guess is that it doesn’t)

I’ll give the edge to the Phillies. I like that uniform era, where “racetrack” stripes along the shoulders and up the sides were more common, and even though the powder blues don’t really do much for me, in whole, it’s still a good look. Some people harp on the fact that the Phillies are rather staid in their uniform options – with a simple home/away strategy from 1992–2007, then home/away/alternate since then – and how they need to add a solid red jersey (derisively called “softball tops” by some), but this conservative approach makes these throwback games more notable and really makes the special uniforms stand-out.

For the record, I’m still going to request that the Phillies break out the ’89-91 road grey jersey. It’s got the maroon/burgundy, funky “p,” but ditches the powder blue.

How to Be Uniform Snob: Phillies vs. Braves (1974 Throwbacks)

This is crosspost from Crossing Broad.

Quick note: some of the pictures are from Uniwatch’s write-up of last year’s Phillies-Brewers throwback game as well as the excellent “MLB Game Worn Jerseys of the Double Knit Era” by Bill Henderson.

Well then, other than the fact the Phillies got the “L,” that went pretty well, don’t you think? For the second part of their UniTastic series, both the Braves and the Phillies are throwing back to 1974. That’s right, the Powder Blues and whatever disco-tastic getup the Braves rocked back then.

But, what’s that? These teams already threw back to 1974?! Yep. In 2002. Today’s game will look something like this.

I get a lot of questions like this: “How can I be a uniform snob, too?” Thankfully, “turn back the clock” baseball games really offer the best way to let your snob flag fly.

Let me note that this tongue-in-cheek guide is a bit spoiled by the fact that this combination has been seen before, so there’s a good chance it’ll be a repeat of the 2002 game. Of course, that was nine years ago, so maybe it won’t be so cut-and-dry.

  1. Are the players wearing stirrups? Everyone wore them in 1974, few wear them today (or they just wear solid color socks without the sanitaries showing through.)
  2. Are the players wearing the old uniforms in the new style (the extra baggy, extra long pants look of the last ten years)? Note: the answer to this question is almost always “yes,” so make a comment about it not looking “right,” players’ comfort be damned.
  3. Did the teams spring for matching batting helmets? In 2002 the Phillies did, in 2010 they didn’t.
  4. Do the big details match? Traditional belted pants or Sansabelt? Pullover or buttons? (or for the 70s Phillies, zipper?) Are they wearing their normal pants because they’re “close enough” – see the Braves catcher above in Throwback jersey, normal pants.
  5. Are the little details correct? No Majestic logo on the sleeves? No MLB logo on the back of the hats?
  6. Do the tiny details match? Let me lift this quote from the UniWatch Blog (one of the “weekend writers,” Phil Hecken, analyzing the throwbacks worn last year against the Brewers:
    The Phillies, for the most part, got it right. They went with button-down jerseys (so, 1972-3, if we’re talking the period they were representing), but didn’t spring for the retro helmets. OK, it’s a one-off, no big deal. They wore period-correct caps in dark red (almost burgundy). Well done there. It’s tough to tell, but it appears they went with the closed loop logo on the jerseys, more closely approximating the 1987-1988 jersey. Meh. And they elected to go not only with NOB, but they again went with the 1987-88 radially arched nameplates. OK. Not a big deal, to be sure, but how difficult would it have been to get those details correct.
  7. Finally (and unexpectedly, after all the other analysis), how does the match-up, you know, look?

My quick take: It’ll be a fun match-up to watch. The powder blue Phillies uniforms are seen all-around Citizens Bank Park at each game, and they show up every few years in throwback games (and twice in the last two), so we’re a bit accustomed to them. I like the 89-91 away uniforms more (swap grey for powder blue, and the whole thing immediately looks much less “1970s”), but it seems fans prefer the powder blues.

The Braves 1974 uniforms are actually pretty neat – even more “disco-y” than the Phillies, being that they’re made from a template which is out of use. Raglan sleeves still show up, but not with the sleeves in a different color than the body of the jersey. Funky. So, if yesterday’s uniforms were described as “understated” and “classic,” today’s could be defined as “pass the coke.”

For completeness’ sake, let me point out that the 1974 Braves away jersey was the opposite of the home jersey (White sleeves, Blue body). Ahh, the 1970s.

****

It’s always good to see some uniform variety.

Uniform Analysis: Phillies vs. Braves (Negro League Throwbacks)

This is crosspost from Crossing Broad.

I usually stick to NFL uniforms and snide remarks in the comments, but the Phillies have a …UniTastic weekend series against the Braves, wearing Negro League throwbacks on Saturday and 1974 throwbacks on Sunday, so here’s a quick run-down and review for Saturday’s game. Some comments about Sunday’s game later.

Unfortunately, I don’t have much background on the Negro Leagues, much less their uniforms, so this is more of a seat-of-the-pants review than anything grounded in facts and history.

That said, on to the uniforms.

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The Phillies are wearing the uniforms of the Philadelphia Stars. You may have seen this logo floating around, but it doesn’t actually appear on the uniform. The uniform itself is plain, but has some nice details beyond just the novelty of them being throwbacks. Example, the old timey typeface of the arched wordmark and the numbers just gives the feeling of “old school uniform,” the simple, thin, and effective, red piping around the neck, connecting to the arm is a timeless feature which makes them look like a sports uniform instead of a shirt. The 1980s Mets and Indians (among other teams) experimented with this look, but the thin stroke does much more with less than the gaudy patches on those uniforms. Black (navy?) stroke around the lettering is a nice touch to increase contrast. The hat logo is extremely plain; it’s better than the Black Crackers hat, but it’s too plain to leave an impression.

 

 

 

 

A neat detail is that someone finally realized that “Philadelphia” has way too many letters to comfortably fit on a shirt and maintain readability, so they said “screw it” and abbreviated it to “Phila.” Genius. Really. For another example of the letter-overload hassle check out this prototype from the 1992 Phillies uniform refresh.

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Special Note: The slide detailing the prototype is from the guide “MLB Game Worn Jerseys of the Double-Knit Era” by Bill Henderson (who happens to be from the Philadelphia area). He’s hosting a “Phillies Uniform History” discussion on May 26 in Philadelphia. If you’ve read this far into this entry, consider it a “must attend.”

 


 

HqshkThe Brave’s Black Crackers uniforms, again, look like “classic” baseball without the old timey feel. It’s interesting to see that the letters and numbers get drop shadows instead of strokes (as drop shadows are generally considered a more modern look). Vertically arching the “ATLANTA” copy (contrast to the horizontal arching on “Phila. Stars”) gives a dynamic look considering it’s just a plain sans serif typeface with a drop-shadow. Unfortunately, the “A” logo, while unique is simply ugly and does not mesh with the typefaces used for the letters and numbers.

Closing out the review of the jersey, the most interesting detail is the piping down the placket is just like what the Braves have used since 1987. (well, maybe not “just like” – I can’t tell if it’s the same dark-red-dark pattern on both the Black Crackers and Braves uniforms because of the limited resolution of the single [thanks MLB!] picture released). The Braves also used this design in the 1930s, per this picture of Babe Ruth.

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, I’ll group the pants/socks discussion together. Most uniform aficionados are probably going bonkers (in a good
way) because the league (likely) compelled all player to wear stirrups. The Phillies are wearing solid red (not unlike what you see onOswalt), but the Braves are wearing Navy blue stirrups with spaced White-Red-White stripes. Very cool. BUT, the best part of these uniforms are the off-color pants pocket flaps. We reward attention to detail, and those are awesome.

Fullscreen capture 5142011 15413 PM.bmp

In terms of the game aesthetically, it looks good, but it’s not the most interesting combination if only because both teams are wearing uniforms where the primary color is Red with a dark accent color (either Navy or Black), but part of the appeal of baseball is the unholy number of games in the season, so even if they’re not the most interesting uniforms ever, it’s good to see variety on the Phillies (who have a pretty staid uniform “system”: one home/one away/one alternate) and it’s always good to point out and keep in mind that not all that long ago, the US still saw segregation to the degree that a whole portion of the population was not considered fit for the MLB for no reason other than skin color.

 

 

 

 

 

**** Kind of plain, but a good looking baseball game.

The Empty Bookshelf Guide to the 2010 Oscars

This won’t be a guide to all of the awards, but we’ll get through all of the important ones. I’m structuring this as an “Empty Bookshelf Guide” and selectively using the royal “we,” though I’ve not consulted with the Junior Staff for their opinions.

The format will be listing the ten Best Picture nominees, and being that the majority of the nominees for the “big” awards are culled from the Best Picture list, we’ll weave through the other categories and touch on those where appropriate.

In no particular order…

Toy Story 3
I saw this after hearing many peers (mid to late 20s) breathlessly explain how this was “the most emotional movie in the history of ever.” It wasn’t, and it’s not. I’ll award it points for being ostensibly a kids movie which presented a moment where the characters are resigned to their fates and have lots of time to realize that it’s going to happen, but points are deducted because the movie doesn’t follow through with it. That’s manipulative, not emotional, fellow 20-somethings.

The Kids are All Right
This movie is perfectly….fine, but it had no business being nominated and serves to show why so many people outside of California hate California. No, not because of the same-sex parents (which, by the way, is completely not what the movie is about and has little to do with the plot other than it enabling the “kids meet their sperm donor father” plot), but because of the darn “localvore,” organic-this, organic-that California silliness. Think the tone of American Beauty, but less fun. Also, what the heck is going on with the title? The Who song is “The Kids are Alright” which makes some sense and would fit movie (in terms of a title). Spelling it “all right” implies something like, “The Kids are All Correct” – I don’t think that makes sense. There are two kids in the movie, so that would mean, “both of the kids are correct.” Hmm, that still doesn’t really jibe with the movie. Both Mark Ruffalo and Annette Bening were nominated, but try to describe these characters in more than three words, and you’ll find that there wasn’t much material for them to work with and make memorable characters.

Inception
Remember when everyone was like, “The Dark Knight should have been nominated – I mean, it would never win, but it should’ve been nominated?” Inception. Great movie. Nominated. Won’t win. (for such a “smart” story, it was slightly reliant on guns in the third act – blech, I hate using lingo). Also, for you folks arguing/discussing the ending of the movie and whether it’s “real.” Just stop. The whole point of the ending was that it was ambiguous. Speaking of which, Inception had, far and away, the Best Original Screenplay.

The King’s Speech
See? The title’s a double-entendre! Seriously, though, this is a tough one. The movie made speech therapy interesting (sorry for any speech therapists who are reading), and sent me to Wikipedia to read more about that odd time in the British Monarchy, BUT….but, there were better movies that came out in 2010. Honestly, there’s not one thing I’d change in the movie (other than maybe having Guy Pearce play his character from Ravenous instead of a prince, but I digress), but it was just too staid, too safe, and didn’t surprise me (other than the “making the development of modern speech therapy more interesting” thing). In terms of acting for accolades, speech impediments and British Royalty both seem like low-hanging fruit, but darn it, Colin Firth should win for Best Actor.

The Fighter
I generally avoid boxing movies – there’s just something about the false romanticism applied to boxing that grates on my nerves, so this one of the ten movies I was least looking forward to seeing. So, it was a pleasant surprise that it almost avoided any sort of the phony, down-on-his-luck BS that accompanies stories like this. Christian Bale should win Best Supporting Actor. In principle, he’s a bit too much of a capital-A “Actor” for my tastes, but darn it, if you told me he wasn’t the same person who plays Bruce Wayne, I’d believe you (of course I’m ignoring the significant physical change and just going by cadence, body language, and tics). Now, Wikipedia says he stayed in character even when the cameras weren’t rolling, and that’s enough to make me want to slap someone. In terms of the movie, unfortunately it relied too much on the main character being a complete dolt about how much his family was holding him back, so even though it was (closely) based on a true story, that took me out of it. “Bartender with a heart of gold” is bit tougher to pull off than “prostitute with a heart of gold,” but both are in the realm of “awards-bait,” but Amy Adams should win best supporting actress (and they didn’t “uglify” her to really pull on the award strings, so that counts for something).

Black Swan
This is the best movie of 2010 and maybe the best movie of the decade (whether the 2000s or the 2010s). There, I said it. See my comments above about “the development of modern speech therapy” and replace that with “ballet.” The screenplay and direction combine to hit notes of hard drama, suspense, sexy thriller, sports-drama (underdogs and all that), psychological horror, stuff-jumping-out-at-you horror, as well as the risky “movie within the movie.” Visually unique, maybe it’s not for everyone; here’s a negative review where I’d actually agree with him about pretty much every point, EXCEPT that my conclusion would be that it all worked. The last few shots (when she’s at the top of the “mountain” on the stage then jumps as the music hits the false crescendo until the fade to white) are perfect filmmaking. Every detail is perfect. The music (seriously the song has two finale crescendos which strike wildly disparate moods, yet are both…perfect. Those crazy Russians), the disconcerting push-pull as she appears to float onto the waiting mattress, her eyes, the audience which can’t contain its cheers which continue through to the end titles. Natalie Portman (who the Internet has apparently always thought can’t act?) should and will win the Best Actress award, but I see the Best Picture trophy going to a safer pick. Darren Aronofsky should be a shoe-in for Best Director, and Black Swan should also win for editing. Also, give it the Best Cinematography award, too. Sure, you’re thinking True Grit (“ooh, sweeping vistas!” says my dad) or The Social Network (“they shot so much in low light – think of the types of lenses they needed to use!” says the movie nerd [note: “nerd,” not “geek”]), but this is an artistic award, not a technical one, and the only truly unique “sweeping vistas” I’ve seen were in The Fall. It’s easy to make a sunset look artistic.

Soapbox warning: for you internet folks out there complaining that Clint Mansell was not eligible for the Soundtrack award, listen to his “arrangement” of the most dramatic and compelling scene of the movie with the most complementary music (the final scene), then compare it to Tchaikovsky’s original. Go on. I’ll wait. Yeah, adding two measures of glorified vamping to give the director room for another shot before the big finish doesn’t mean that the Academy’s rules are old-fashioned, and it was a travesty he was not DQ’d. Sorry, internet.

True Grit
Along with The Fighter, I wasn’t looking forward to watching this, but it was a pleasant surprise. It kept its “Coen Brothers-ish” tone under control for the most part which kept me happy, but they couldn’t let a few of their beloved “American Eccentrics” stop the movie dead in its tracks (specifically
the “doctor” with the bear skin); “hey character actor – how about you stare at the main characters and say things in a weird syntax with an even weirder, non-placeable but eminently ‘American’ accent while we roll the cameras until we get a take we like.” Also, what’s more Coen-ish than a precocious 14 year old girl with a passion for lawyering (and revenge)? BUT, my main concern was that Jeff Bridges was going to turn his role into a vanity project with the huge leeway afforded by the character’s accent (and wanting to separate the role from John Wayne’s original take on it) and tear up the scenery. I was pleasantly surprised that once I accepted his growling accent after five minutes of it, I was on-board and for such a broadly drawn character, and I actually enjoyed watching him. Hailee Steinfeld didn’t so much act as successfully spit out the typically Coens-ish dialogue (that’s not a knock on her), and enjoyable to watch or not, she wasn’t a supporting actress, she was the whole F’N show, so out of principle I won’t even consider her for that award.

The Social Network
Keeping up the theme of “making something not-interesting interesting for two hours,” The Social Network worked. I was less enamored than many others (Mark goes to California, his best friend is royally screwed, the movie abruptly ends). Aaron Sorkin avoids his typical speechifying, and provides the Best Adapted Screenplay, which is why the movie is so enjoyable, and actually could be the reason that Jesse Eisenberg won’t be stuck playing “think ‘Michael Cera,’ but with darker hair” roles until he’s 35. Like other David Fincher movies, there’s a lot of crazy special effects/camera tricks going on which don’t call attention to themselves (the crew race was filmed with no one in the stands, and famously quoted by people who have the internet, the twin jerks were played by one guy.) Speaking of the twin jerks, the fact that they’re entitled jerks but that you still get a sense that they were unceremoniously screwed by Zuckerberg hints at the strength of the screenplay, actors, and director. Also, because True Grit was not eligible for Best Soundtrack (and TRON Legacy wasn’t nominated to provide some competition), Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross should get an Oscar to match their Golden Globe. (special note: I’m still undecided about the TRON Legacy soundtrack. I agree with this review more than I disagree with it. The album is a little too “safe” and doesn’t stand out as anything other than a post-Batman Begins soundtrack.)

Winter’s Bone
I knew nothing about this movie when I saw it other than its poster. Naturally, I assumed it was about kids hunting for treasure while it was cold outside. With a canoe. Wow, that was not what the movie was about. At all. Unless a deadbeat dad is considered “treasure” in the sadder parts of Arkansas! Ha! Poverty Humor! Speaking of poverty, the movie was more enjoyable than this critic implies [special note: he uses the awesome and awesomely made-up word “yokelocracy” (and if you saw the movie you’d understand how precisely appropriate his word is)], but I agree with his point that the movie is glorified “poverty porn.” Maybe it was written/based on some intensely researched and nuanced perspective of the greater Ozarks, but if I were to be tasked with “write a three paragraph description of the meth-addled South,” I don’t think it’d be too different from what we see up on the screen. Like “The Kids are All Right,” [alternatively titled: “Both Children are Correct”] it won’t win and has no business winning, but they needed ten nominees to make up for not nominating “The Dark Knight” two years ago.

127 Hours
Coming off of “Slumdog Millionaire,” and one of my top 5 movies, “Sunshine” (well, the first two-thirds and the final 3 minutes of it), Danny Boyle had an opportunity to establish himself, but he didn’t trust his sound team enough. Let me explain. This movie should really be titled, “he cuts his own damn arm off with a dull blade,” so, of course, that’s the critical moment. It makes the movie. Sound people in Hollywood were drooling for this contract; what exactly is the sound of a dull blade cutting through ligament, tendon, flesh, muscle, bone, and marrow? Well, they came up with it (did they ever), and instead of letting the sounds speak for themselves (hmm – I guess that’s an oddly literal figurative expression in this case) Boyle kept the camera in a series of tight shots of the cutting process, when the risky move would have been to re-establish the precariousness of the situation with a shot showing the entire canyon, then letting that sickly sound establish that the cut had been successful. Risk = reward, and Boyle didn’t trust his sound team with that risk. It needed only to be visually OR aurally shocking; both were too much.

So, some wrap-up to cover all of my bases…

Other than Natalie Portman, I don’t think Black Swan will win anything, so generally, where I circled Black Swan, transfer it to The King’s Speech.

Best Picture Nominee I liked and appreciated as a “good” movie, but would actively avoid watching in the future (also called the Schindler’s List award): Winter’s Bone.

Safe pick for the Best Picture Nominee I would recommend to my mom (who doesn’t like violence, excessive swearing, excessive sex, excessive volume, and is a constant risk for falling asleep any time after 9:00PM): The King’s Speech.

Risky pick for the Best Picture Nominee I would recommend to my mom (but wouldn’t want to be in the same room or reachable by telephone after): Black Swan.

Best Picture Nominee I would not want to watch with my mom in the same room: Black Swan.

Best Picture Nominee I’d flip past on TBS during another show’s commercial break, then watch until well after the original commercial break ended, causing me to miss my show: True Grit

Best Picture Nominee I’ll watch out-of-order in 5 minute chunks on FX over the course of two months: The Fighter.

Best Picture Nominee which needs a sequel or spin-off (degree of difficulty, low): Toy Story 3.

Best Picture Nominee which needs a sequel or spin-off (degree of difficulty, cash-in): The King’s Speech.

Best Picture Nominee which needs a sequel or spin-off (degree of difficulty, high): True Grit (maybe about Matt Damon’s character?)

Movie which could easily get a spin-off or sequel but shouldn’t: Inception.

Movie which should’ve taken the place of either “Both Children are Correct” or Winter’s Bone: Blue Valentine.

Best Picture Nominee about which I wrongly underestimated before I saw it: The Fighter.

Best Picture Nominee to recommend to people who don’t usually like ‘Best Picture Nominee-type movies’ (degree of difficulty, The Departed): The Social Network.

Best Picture Nominee to recommend to people who don’t usually like ‘Best Picture Nominee-type movies’ (degree of difficulty, The English Patient): Winter’s Bone.

****½

Four-and-a-half stars – It was a pretty good year for movies.