I read Entertainment Weekly. I've read it for ten years, and maybe last year was the first time I was truly surprised by it. After two issues commemorating 2007, the oversight was complete, and not until I saw American Gangster again last night did I finally decide to voice my frustration. Josh Brolin had the best year of his career last year. I hope to god I'm not actually the only person to say this. He co-starred in four exceptional films throughout the year. Maybe some of the roles overlapped a bit (Gangster, for instance, and In te Valley of Ellah), but clearly casting directors finally discovered him. Robert Rodriguez had him in his half of Grindhouse, the first of the films to hit theaters, and his last was one of the most acclaimed movies of the year, No Country for Old Men. Take a bow, Josh, you've earned it. Here's to better years still.
Okay, so that was the part theoretical readers who don't like pro wrestling were safe to read. Here's the rest. Recently I bought a pair of DVDs from PPVs WWE and TNA put on in the fall, No Mercy and No Surrender respectively. Apart from the similarity in titles and staging dates, each event also put its biggest stars through incredible nights that should make the cards some of the most fabled in wrestling history. Randy Orton, having to replace an injurd John Cena at the top of the Raw brand, had to prove once and for all that he'd stepped out of the shadow of Evolution mentor Triple H, while Kurt Angle finally defined his role in TNA.
Orton had basically been sandbagged since 2004, when he was quickly put atop Raw in his first heavyweight championship reign. The backlash from it affected his career for years, and once Batista and Cena established themselves as the successors of Triple H, The Rock, Steve Austin, and Brock Lesnar, his opportunity for another try seemed like a far distant chance. So when the window opened, it was only natural that WWE quietly make it the biggest night of his career. Of course, the truth is, he still has a long way to go to reestablish the trust in his future that was so easily dashed four years ago. Just because John Cena ain't around now doesn't mean management won't want Cena right back in the title scene when he returns. This means for the first time in twenty years, Macho Man is going to have to make his stand against Hulk Hogan, a real challenge to an established authority as brand standard-bearer.
Angle, meanwhile, turned out to not be the savior of TNA as far as making it a truly viable competitor to WWE in terms of ratings. But the one thing he did and he was supposed to was finally give the company the legitimacy it had long strived for. As a competitor, Angle has what it takes to make the whole thing work, as he was made to demonstrate that night. He may even have what it takes to finally bring A.J. Styles to a level where he'll be a main event threat and true icon, rather than aspiring savant, as he has to this point.
There's always more to see in the ring.