Man Dates: December 2011 Edition
Man Dates is your monthly guide to all that's happening in the world — sports, movies, music, TV, video games ... everything a man needs to stay current and entertained in this world full of options.
December is here, which means that many of you will undoubtedly spend the next couple of weekends doing any of the following things: Decorating your houses and apartments all holiday-like, shopping for presents, drinking whiskey to stay warm, watching football, and counting down the days until New Year's, the only time it's actually acceptable to enjoy watching Ryan Seacrest on TV. You know who you are...
So if you can find time in between all of that to enjoy yourself, hey, more power to you. Here's some good stuff to try and take advantage of: Football, movies, video games, CD releases, hell, even some NBA action — it's all here.
Best NFL matchups
Week 13 - Bengals at Steelers; Falcons at Texans; Lions at Saints
Week 14 - Texans at Bengals; Bears at Broncos; Raiders at Packers; Giants at Cowboys
Week 15 - Lions at Raiders; Patriots at Broncos; Steelers at 49ers
Week 16 - Giants at Jets; Eagles at Cowboys; Bears at Packers; Falcons at Saints
Best College Football matchups
December only means one thing in the college football world: Bowl Games. But we don't know who's playing who and where yet. But no matter where everyone ends up, just know that it was slightly rigged in some way and that the team that deserves to be No. 1 probably won't end up being No. 1. This is college football.
Check ESPN next week for the rundown of bowl-game matchups. I'm sure someone at IHJJR, probably Will, is going to post a good synposis.
It's basically Oscar seasons, so your choices in film are much better in December. Enjoy it while it lasts, because January is good for just one thing at the cinemas: Crap.
Dec. 2 - Shame
Michael Fassbender (Magneto from X-Men: First Class) and Carey Mulligan (Drive, Wall Street 2) explore sex addition in Steve McQueen's follow-up to Hunger. Earned an NC-17 rating for nudity. Lots and lots of nudity. Seriously, don't bring your mom to this one.
Dec. 9 - The Sitter
The film buff in me wants to tell all of you to see Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, the new espionage thriller starring Gary Oldman and Colin Firth. Everyone I've talked to says it's legitimately a great film. But, it's, well, very methodical, very European. So, instead, go see The Sitter, starring Jonah Hill in his first role being directed by David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express). It can't be as bad as its trailer makes it look. Oh, and this was in no way an attempt at reverse-psychology.
Dec. 16 - Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
You know, I want to hate Guy Ritchie's Sherlock reboot, but I don't. Truth told, I actually really enjoy the style he lends to the story and I like seeing turn-of-the-century London through his eyes. I like what Robert Downey, Jr., does with the character. And I like how it's more action-based than investigation-based. So, naturally, I don't want to kill myself for recommending it.
There are so many GREAT movies coming out Dec. 23, I can't pick just one. i just can't. So here's a helpful tool to determine which one you should see:
I'm a big action-movie fan: Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol
Say what you will about Tom Cruise, but the man knows how to play one character really well. And this time around, he's joined by some top-notch co-stars and one helluva director in Brad Bird (Iron Giant, The Incredibles, Ratatouille).
I'm into dark stuff and I love to read: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
I never read a single one of the books, but I'll be first in line to see David Fincher's first installment of the celebrated and wildly read Stieg Larsson trilogy. Great director, great actors (Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Max von Sydow), fantastic premise. It's an emo cinephile's dream come true.
I'm a child/child at heart: The Adventures of Tintin
I want to see this one, too. One of two Steven Spielberg films this December, Tintin is sure to delight its older fans and probably make some new ones, too.
I like to cry in movies: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
The Oscar-bait adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer's 9/11 novel. I loved the book, but I'm a little on-the-fence about the movie. It looks like it stays true to the source, but you never know. And it's not exactly a get-you-in-the-holiday-spirit kind of film, even if it does star Tom Hanks.
Dec. 30 - War Horse
The other Spielberg film, this one's based on a Tony Award-winning Broadway show about a horse serving in the British Army during WWI. This one might sound like a snoozer, but it's actually one of the better stories put to film this season. Check it out!
Dec. 6: Amy Winehouse - Lionness: Hidden Treasures (R&B); Chevelle - Hats Off to the Bull (rock); Dia Frampton - Red (indie pop); Korn - The Path of Totality (rock-rap); Robin Thicke - Love After War (R&B/pop); T-Pain - rEVOLEr (rap); The Black Keys - El Camino (blues-rock); The Roots - Undun (hip-hop)
Dec. 13: Anthony Hamilton - Back to Love (R&B); Charlotte Gainsbourg - Stage Whisper (indie pop); Juvenile - Rejuvenation (rap); Naughty By Nature - Anthem Inc. (rap); Nero - Welcome Reality (electronica)
Dec. 20: Common - The Dream, The Believer (hip-hop); Young Jeezy - Thug Motivation 103: Hustlerz Ambition (rap)
Dec. 10: UFC 140
Featuring Jones vs. Machida, Mir vs. Nogueira, Ortiz vs. Nogueira, Patrick vs. Ebersole and Hominick vs. Jung
Dec. 20: Hanukkah begins for all my Jewish brethren.
You may now commense wishing you were Christian, if you haven't already. Light a candle, eat a latke, get a present. It's the same every year, isn't it?
Dec. 24: Christmas Eve
Stock the tree. Leave out the cookies and milk. Make the egg nog with extra Jack Daniels — you know you'll need it.
Dec. 25: Christmas Day
Open all the presents. Get fat on food. Watch the Macy's Parade. Ignore everyone asking you annoying questions like when you're going to get a new job, or when you're going to have a baby, or have you seen your father's medication. Oh, the holidays...
Dec. 30: UFC 141
Seriously, how many of these things do you people have?? This one features Lesnar vs. Overeem, Diaz vs. Cerrone, Fitch vs. Hendricks, Matyushenko vs. Gustafsson, Phan vs. Hettes.
Harry writes about baseball, football and fantasy sports for I Hate JJ Redick. He also compiles the Man Dates column, highlighting the best in popular culture for the upcoming month. He once saw JJ Redick in a movie theater and heckled him until JJ ducked out like a wimp. You can follow him on Twitter at @hrkaplowitz. To enjoy Harry's non-sports side, visit his blog.