Yeah yeah—I know I’m a day late with this. Why? Because I do what I want!
Super Bowl XLXICIVIII 44 was one of the best games I’ve seen in a Super Bowl in a while. Since 2000 I only remember 3 games clearly: the Patriots upsetting the Rams in 2002, the Giants upsetting the Patriots in 2008, and now the Saints upsetting the Colts in 2010. Upsets are always exciting, but this year there was the added element of the Saints being “America’s team”. Everyone was rooting for the Saints. I actually felt kind of bad for the Colts because if they won they would have been the dream crushers. Nobody likes a dream crusher. And at the end when Drew Brees was holding his baby son? Even men were going Awwwww.
There’s a lot to watch during a Super Bowl–the game, the opening, the halftime show, the commercials. Of course I was watching it all, and of course I was judging everything. And since I am judgy and since Peyton Manning, originator of the Manning Face, was playing in this game, I will be ranking everything on a scale from 1 Manning Face to 10 Manning Faces. 10 Manning Faces is bad. That’s like an apocalypse of tears and frowns.
Definitely a lackluster start. First, Queen Latifah came out to sing “America the Beautiful”. Good choice on the vocalist, TERRIBLE choice on the arrangement. The song was so slow. Poor Latifah was trying to speed it up but the children’s choir behind her was like, “No! This is how we learned it!” So she had to sing it like a funeral dirge. It was the most depressing rendition of “America the Beautiful” I have ever heard. Then came Carrie Underwood to sing the national anthem. Again, I’m fine with this choice. Underwood is a good singer, capable of belting it out over the noise of a stadium. I always like people who don’t have to sing to a backing track.
But what the fuck was she wearing.
It was like…something from a Graceland garage sale…or something “inspired by Michael Jackson”. It was awful. And her hair! What was that hair? That hair was atrocious. She looked so tacky, so cheap, like such an afterthought! Like, “Oh yeah, and we have to get an outfit for Carrie Underwood. Here, this castoff from Xanadu will work.” I was second-hand embarrassed for the poor girl.
Overall rating: 7 Manning Faces
Looking over my notes from the game, all I see is Sean Peyton’s big balls written several times. Sean Peyton has the biggest balls in pro football. If the Saints had lost, we would probably be talking about what a reckless, idiotic coach he is, but the Saints won, thanks largely to Peyton’s consistent desire to keep Manning off the field. Onside kicks, going for it on fourth-and-short—everything was about, “Let’s just not let Manning touch this ball.” And when Manning finally did get on the field, you could see that he was putting too much pressure on himself to win it single-handedly. And Manning did what all quarterbacks do in that situation—he spazzed and threw an interception. It took great performances by Saints’ QB Brees, their special teams—especially kicker Garrett Hartley—and the defense to get the job done, but driving the whole thing was Sean Peyton and his giant brass balls. He coached that game like someone was going to burn his house down if he lost.
Random observations on the game: It was loud. Deafening. Did the crowd have tambourines? I can’t remember a louder Super Bowl. I counted 8 Manning Faces, but you know there were easily triple that number, the camera just didn’t catch them all. We even got one Epic Manning Face that involved tears. Play action shouldn’t count as a pass play. It’s a run play. Joseph Addai gains 10 yards every time he touches a football. That was a very lax referee squad. They let a lot of holding calls slide, which I’m thankful for. Unless it directly impacts the play, don’t call holding. I hate it when refs flag a defensive end for holding when he was 15 yards from the action. Let’s keep the pace moving, yeah?
Overall rating: 2 Manning Faces
Man the commercials sucked this year. I get it—the economy is down and companies aren’t spending as much. That’s cool, but it doesn’t mean your commercials have to blow. There was also a serious lack of originality on display. Remember when Super Bowl commercials would make you laugh so hard you peed a little? Yeah, not so much anymore. Now it reeks of desperation and tryhardery. They’re just trying too hard. And was it necessary for every commercial to involve animals?
The Best: My favorite commercial of the night was Audi’s “Green Police”. The Cops-style ad was the only one that made me laugh all the way through. I’m kind of chuckling just thinking about it. The E-Trade babies delivered as per usual, but I didn’t think this year’s batch of ads were as strong as last year’s. Nothing will beat last year’s, “I want to punch the economy in the face” line. Although the little girl baby saying, “Is that milkaholic Lindsay there?” cracked me up, mostly because it made me think of useless Lindsay Lohan. I did like the Snickers ad with Betty White, even though it wasn’t very original, just because Betty White is so cute. She’s like everyone’s grandma. And I liked the Doritos ad with the ninja-Doritos-monster-guy. That was my favorite of the Doritos ads.
The Worst: The “Boost Mobile Shuffle” hands down. This ad blew massive chunks. It was embarrassing, awkward, and not funny. It looked like a total cash-in, and I have never been so glad for 30 seconds to be over than when that commercial ended. The Bud Light ads were especially weak this year, and even Budweiser’s traditional ad featuring the Clydesdales wasn’t very good. And I hated the string of ads featuring men in no pants from Career Builder, Dockers, and Dove For Men. We get it—men in modern day America feel castrated by our consumer culture. Chuck Palahniuk and David Fincher covered that already, more than a decade ago.
Random observations on commercials: I wish GoDaddy.com would stop trying to convince me Danica Patrick is sexy. I admire her accomplishments in the racing world, but please. She is not sexy. If you want a sexy female racecar driver, give Milka Duno a call. Best line of the night went to Teleflora and its talking box of flowers for, “Who sends flowers in a box? That’s what cigarettes and dead people come in.” The “My Generation” remix by Will.i.am for Flo TV was pretty neat. CarMax wins “Best use of a meme” for their dramatically staring animal ads. Miller High Life’s “Little man on the big game” was a neat idea. Emerald Nuts retains their utterly bizarre approach to advertising.
Overall rating: 6 Manning Faces
Halftime – The Who
Ever since The Wardrobe Malfunction of 2004, the Super Bowl has been getting aged white rockers (the one exception being Prince in 2007), and this year was no different. Except the aged white rockers were The Who, which fucking rocks. They played a twelve-minute medley featuring “Pinball Wizard”, “Teenage Wasteland”, “Who Are You”, and “Won’t Get Fooled Again”. They used the famous synth line from “Teenage Wasteland” to tie it all together. This was my favorite halftime show in recent memory. The Who brought energy and songs the crowd could sing along to, which is really all that matters. Opinion on this halftime show seems to be divided—a lot of people berated The Who for being old, which is like yelling at a kitten for being fluffy. Some things can’t be helped. Compared to lackluster performances from Bruce Springsteen and Prince, and almost embarrassing showings by Tom Petty and The Rolling Stones, The Who looked pretty good. They were into it, the crowd was into it—that’s all that matters.
Random observations on halftime: Roger Daltry sounded about as good as can be expected, and Pete Townshend still can’t sing but he did windmill arms the whole time, which is WIN. The drummer (turns out he’s Ringo Starr’s son) has a mullet. My notes said, I hope he’s being ironic. “Pinball Wizard” was a gutsy call for the opening song in the medley. Sean Peyton’s big balls must have influenced Daltry’s set list. Roger Daltry is a sexy beast.
Overall rating: 3 Manning Faces
There were a lot of movie trailers this year. I don’t remember so many trailers in past Super Bowls. Do they always run this many? Everyone made a big deal about The Last Airbender running a TV spot during the Super Bowl this year, but given all the other movies that advertised, was it really that special? Let’s break down the movie ads.
The Last Airbender
M. Night Shyamalan’s bid to remain relevant. I have not enjoyed Shyamalan’s movies since Unbreakable. He’s been increasingly disappointing over the years. The Last Airbender is supposed to fix that. It does represent something of a shift, as it is an action-oriented, potential franchise, summer blockbuster, not yet anothe faux-horror movie with a TWIST!! However, based on this ad, I am not interested in this movie. I don’t know what it’s about, and it kinda looks like a video game. Turns out is based on a cartoon television series. Still not interested.
This looks badass. Am a sucker for the heavy metal music that accompanies the action-heavy trailer. Russell Crowe appears to be back in shape. Sold.
Not interested. I love Anthony Hopkins and Emily Blunt; however, Universal kicked the movie from the holiday season 2009 to February 2010. If you know anything about movies, you know that February is traditionally a graveyard where studios go to dump the movies they’ve murdered. The Wolfman looks like one of those body dumps.
It’s Martin Scorsese and his modern muse Leonardo DiCaprio. It has to be reasonably good, right? I bet everyone dies. That’s how Scorsese/DiCaprio movies go. Everyone always dies.
Alice in Wonderland
I was terribly disappointed in this trailer. It’s the creative team from Pirates of the Caribbean, so I was expecting something kinda cool, but what I got was excruciatingly lame. I don’t care how ripped Jake Gyllenhaal got–the bad British accent (since when are Persians English?) and that hair ruin it.
Overall rating: 5 Manning Faces