1. We are two days from Super Bowl XLI, and I have to say that I am strangely unexcited about the game. First, I am just not optimistic that we will have a compelling football game (something quite common in this ultimate game although less so in recent years). Having watched the two two teams play over the past several weeks, I just can't see the Bears winning. Part of me says a good defense always wins (see Tampa in 2002), but I am just so unimpressed with the Bears. Even though they crushed the Saints in the Championship game, I just thought that for a team with such a big lead, they did not look very good. The Saints played an awful, sloppy game, but I saw nothing so impressive about the Bears. And, Rex Grossman is the obvious x factor. Sure Manning could choke, the Colts defense could be exploited, or Devon Hester could run wild, but I don't see it happening.
2. If, however, I am wrong (shock of shocks), the monkey remains firmly on Peyton Manning's back. Sure, he played a great game against his old nemesis, the Pats, but the stigma is for not winning the Super Bowl, not in not making it. Heck, Dan Marino is now often seen as slightly surpassed by Elway because Marino never won one (after losing in his second season) while Elway final did, winning the last two years of his storied career. Manning will always remain in Brady's shadow (and the other all time greats') unless he can win at least one.
3. Just to get you excited for upcoming movie reviews, Mrs. Bartender and I are going to see Dreamgirls tonight and, babysitter permitting, Babel tomorrow.
4. Just to beat on a familiar drum, The Office continues to amuse me to no end. Last night's episode, which involved Jim, in lieu of hiring a male stripper for a bachelorette party hiring a Benjamin Franklin historical reenactor, had several laugh out loud moments. The supporting cast--Kevin, Angela, Phyllis, and Stanley are always great (where was Oscar?). And Meredith had a line last night that had Mrs. Bartender falling out of her seat.
5. I've also been watching Rome and Extras on HBO. The former is a typical excellent HBO drama (although there is not a ton of suspense regarding who will die and which side will prevail). Exceedingly well acted and very entertaining. Sorry to see it go after this season, but I can see why it is so pricey. (I don't know what I'm going to do with The Sopranos, Rome, and Deadwood all finished by this summer.)
Extras is even funnier than last season, but there are some (many) cringe worth moments. I guess the biggest criticism of Ricky Gervais is that his characters lack a certain realism, e.g., David Brent could never have lasted as an office manager for as long as he did and why does Andy keep his awful agent around (as well as Maggie who causes nothing but problems). One of the things I love about the American Office (here I go again) is that Michael Scott is (at times) competent and a very good salesman (as is Dwight), but Gervais' characters lack that reality. Nonetheless, I laugh.