Since 2008, there have been two kinds of people in the world: those who insist The Wire is the greatest television series ever, and those who insist that it's totally at the top of their Netflix queue but they just haven’t had the time to get around to it yet. For over half a decade, TV’s Greatest Of All Time was safe. Sure, The Sopranos and Mad Men were in the conversation, but that conversation usually ended once David Simon’s trump card was introduced. Today, that conversation just got a whole lot dicier. Breaking Bad has ended, and in doing so, has forced us to reopen the discussion anew.
Two great shows, but there can only be one G.O.A.T. Let the breakdown begin.
Final Season: It's not so much that The Wire’s final season was bad, just not quite up to the unprecedented, almost impossibly high standard it had previously set for itself. Breaking Bad did what perhaps no other show ever has been able to accomplish, get better and better the closer it got to the end. Whichever side you ultimately come down on (or maybe you’re just more of a Good Wife kinda guy), it seems almost impossible to argue with the fact that if nothing else, Breaking Bad had the most riveting, astonishing, and altogether masterful final season in television history. While The Wire was stumbling to the finish line with invented serial killers and numbskull reporters, Breaking Bad seemed to raise the bar to ever staggering heights with every successive episode. (Although the high water mark for me has to be the antepenultimate "Ozymandias", which might be the most harrowing, devastatingly brilliant hour ever committed to the small screen.) Time and time again, we have seen great shows reduced to impotent shells of their former selves by not knowing when to pack it in (Lost, Dexter, 24). Breaking Bad stepped away exactly as any show could ever hope to, with us all wanting more.
The worst thing you can say about the finale is that it ended perhaps a little too neatly, or a little too predictably. (Just imagine the mind-blowing shock had we never received those flash-forwards to puzzle over for so many months. All in all, I say it was a worthwhile peak.) While "Felina" might not quite belong alongside the pantheonic conclusions of say Six Feet Under or The Shield, it might also be that after having raised the bar so incredibly high in the preceding handful of episodes nothing short of Citizen Kane: ABQ could have possibly lived up to our expectations. (Actually that probably would have sucked pretty bad. You’re telling me Heisenberg was just the name of his childhood sled?!!)
Speaking on the rest of the casts, it's almost mind-boggling how ridiculously deep these benches of talent were. Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, Dean Norris, Giancarlo Esposito, Jonathan Banks all got their Emmy nods or better. As for The Wire, the fact that this series did not receive so much as one nomination throughout its run is the single greatest travesty in anything, ever. Michael K. Williams’ Omar, Andre Royo’s Bubbles, Michael B. Jordan’s Wallace...just top notch up and down the line.
Direction, Cinematography, and Music: As one of the last shows to still be shot on film, Breaking Bad often looked as impressive as anything being churned out of Hollywood. Directors such as Michael Slovis, Rian Johnson and most notably Michelle MacLaren elevated the craft to a level heretofore unseen on the small screen. The dazzling cook sequences, inventive camera work (think Roomba cam), awesome time-lapse shots, and magnificent landscape panoramas were truly things of beauty. And then there’s Dave Porter’s scoring. Whether it was the slow, trepidatious beat in "Crawl Space", or the frenzied fury that accompanies Jessie’s attempted foray into arson, Porter was simply a virtuoso at taking an already tense situation and introducing just the right amount of sonic accompaniment to leave your heart positioned firmly in your throat. The Wire didn't suffer in these departments, it just was never really all that a part of the equation the way it was with its counterpart. Reality didn’t need to be heightened by fancy camera work or scoring, and that’s perhaps the point. Still, Bad wins this one running.
Epic Quotes: Man, so much to choose from. Do you like Heisenberg's "Say my name" or Marlo's "My name is my name!"? Jesse's "I’m the bad guy" or Omar's "I got the shotgun. You got the briefcase. It's all in the game though, right?" And then of course, we have the iconic “I am the one who knocks” monologue and the equally unforgettable "Where's Wallace at? Where the fuck is Wallace? Where's Wallace, String? STRING!"
- The Mannings (Archie, Peyton and Eli) In the world of sports, the quarterback is king. In the world of quarterbacks, the Mannings reign supreme. When you're a #2 pick, and #3 in your own family in terms of draft selection, you know you're dealing with one hell of a gene pool. Bear Bryant once called Archie the best college quarterback he'd ever seen, a patron saint at Ole Miss and an all-time Saint in Louisiana. Not bad pops, but where's the ring? Peyton and Eli are each Super Bowl MVPs, the former one of the top three or four players to every throw the pigskin. Love 'em or hate' em, there's just no arguing with success.
- The Hulls (Bobby, Dennis and Brett) The Golden Jet, Silver Jet, and Golden Brett. Only 18 players in the history of the NHL have scored more than 600 goals over the span of a career. Only 16 of those are not name Hull. Bobby and his son Brett were hockey royalty in their days, with slapshot prowess that is nearly unparalleled to this day. Silver Jet Dennis would never land a spot in the Hall like his brother and nephew, but 303 career goals and five All-Star nods ain't too shabby either.
- The Williams (Serena and Venus) Serena and Venus have amassed a ridiculous 48 combined Grand Slams, a number that would no doubt be even higher were they not having to constantly face off against one another (they have met in 8 Slam finals, including 4 straight). Both rising to the rank of #1 over the past decade, the Williams sisters are in a league of their own when it comes to women's tennis in the 21st century.
- The Gracies (Helio, Carlos, Royce, Rorion, Rickson, Rolls,....) The Gracies aren’t just a great sports family, they’re a certifiable dynasty. Brothers Helio and Carlos are regarded to be the creators of modern Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and on top of imparting this revolutionary martial arts style to the world, their tutelage created a virtual army of fighting Gracies. Carlos’ offspring alone included 13 children who rose to the rank of black belt. Among Helio’s numerous sons were the acclaimed Rickson, Relson, Royler, Royce, and Rorion. Rorion co-founded UFC and Royce helped bring it to the masses, winning three out of the first four UFC tournaments to go down as one of the most influential and dominant fighters in MMA history. All in all over 60 Gracies have achieved prominence in the field of mixed martial arts.
- The Sutters (Brian, Daryl, Duane, Rich, Ron, Brent, Brandon, and Brett) The six Sutter brothers played over 5000 combined games and captured six Stanley Cups throughout the 70's and 80's. Brent's son Brandon and Daryl's son Brett are currently members of the Carolina Hurricanes.
- The Howes (Gordie, Mark, Marty, and Vic) Nicknamed Mr. Hockey, Gordie Howe is of course regarded as one of the greatest hockey players to ever pick up a stick. However, his son Mark resides with him in the Hall, a prolific two-way defenseman who spent 16 years with the Whalers, Flyers, and Red Wings. Gordie's other son Marty and brother Vic also had significant careers in professional hockey.
- The Richards (Maurice and Henri) The first player to ever reach 500 goals, Maurice "Rocket" Richard was the heart of the Canadiens dynasty of the 40's and 50's, winning 8 Stanley Cups in that span. Henri "Pocket Rocket," 15 years Maurice's junior, would eventually join his brother in the Hall after 20 years of service to Montreal.
- The Dimaggios (Joe, Dom, and Vince) Joltin Joe's 56-game hit streak may be one of the most celebrated records in all of sports, but not many know that little brother Dom had a nifty little streak of his own, 34 games in 1949, which remains a Red Sox record. Along with Vince, the three brothers combined for 22 All-Star appearances over 34 years of service.
- The Waners (Paul and Lloyd) Nicknamed "Big and Little Poison," the Waner brothers patrolled the Pirates' outfield during much of the 20's and 30's. Paul would collect over 3,100 hits despite playing many of his games hungover. According to Casey Stengel, "he had to be a very graceful player, because he could slide without breaking the bottle on his hip." Both Waners would wind up in the Hall of Fame, boasting the most combined career hits by brothers with 5,611.
- The Espositos (Phil and Tony) A ten-time All-Star, Phil was one of the best centers to ever play the game, winning two Stanley Cups with the Bruins before retiring with 717 goals. Tony was a long time Blackhawk who revolutionized the goalie position with his development of the butterfly style, joining his brother in the Hall of Fame in 1988.
- The Sharpes (Shannon and Sterling) Sterling was a 6-time All-Pro wideout who brought in 65 touchdowns before a neck injury cut his career short, only two years before his Packers won the title in '96. Luckily for him, his brother Shannon bequeathed his first of three rings to his big bro. Shannon would go on to appear in 8 Pro Bowls and become the era's greatest tight end outside of Tony Gonzalez
- The Matthews (Clay Sr, Bruce, Clay Jr, Clay III, Kevin, Jake and Casey) Stay with me here because running down the exploits of the Matthews clan is enough to make your head spin. While Bruce might be the greatest offensive lineman of all-time, his brother Clay Jr was a four-time Pro-Bowler who played linebacker into his forties. Clay Jr's son Clay III is a defensive force for the Packers who has the potential to join his uncle in the Hall, while his other son Casey was an Oregon linebacker who you might remember forced a key fourth quarter fumble in the national championship game against Auburn and was just signed as an undrafted free agent by the Eagles. Bruce's son Jake is promising offensive tackle at Texas A&M and his other son Kevin is a young center for the Tennessee Titans. And of course there's Clay Sr, patriarch of the Matthews clan, who played four seasons for the Niners in the early fifties.
- The Barrys (Rick and sons Scooter, John, Brent, and Drew) NBA legend Rick Barry had four sons who all ascended to the ranks of professional basketball.
- The Klitschkos (Wladamir and Vitali) When it comes to the heavyweight division nowadays, there are the Klitschko brothers, and then there's everyone else. The Ukranian man-beasts are positively unrivaled over the last generation, combining for a record of 104-5 with 88 knockouts. Vitali is the current WBC heavyweight champion, while Wlad holds the WBA Super, IBF, WBO Super, and IBO crowns.
- The Alous/Rojas (Felipe, Matty, Jesus, Moises, Mel Rojas, and Mel Rojas Jr) Brothers Felipe, Matty, and Jesus combined to form the first and only all-brother outfield for the mid-60's Giants. A generation later, Felipe's son Moises would outdo them all en route to six All-Star appearances and two Silver Slugger awards. Even Felipe's nephew Mel had a solid decade-long pitching career that spanned the 1990's and Mel Jr is carrying the family into a third generation with his recent selection by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2010 draft.
- The Deans (Dizzy and Paul) In 1934, Dizzy famously proclaimed "Me an' Paul are gunna win 45 games." They would win 49, with Dizzy contributing a mind-boggling 30. That same year, the duo would go on to win two games apiece in the World Series for the Cardinals' "Gashouse Gang", combining for 28 strikeouts and a 1.43 ERA to overtake the Tigers in seven. Sadly, both brothers had their careers cut short by injury, but though Dizzy had only four healthy years in the Show, his overwhelming dominance was enough to get a ticket to the Hall in 1953.
- The Millers (Reggie, Cheryl, and Darrell) We all know Reggie as one of the greatest pure shooters of the past generation, but sister Cheryl could give him a run for his money. A three-time Naismith college player of the year, she led her Trojans to two championships and owns just about every record in USC's books. When Reggie got his Hall of Fame bid in 2012, he joined his sister whose likeness has resided in Springfield for over fifteen years. Even more, the third Miller child Darrell spent four years at catcher and outfield with the California Angels.
- The Mazzolas (Valentino, Sandro, and Ferruccio) Legends of Italian soccer, Valentino and his son Sandro were two of the most complete midfielders of the first half of the 20th Century. Between them, they would lead their respective teams to a combined 8 league-titles.
- The Browners (Ross, Jim, Joey, Keith, Keith Jr and Ross' son Max Starks) Joey was a 6-time Pro Bowl strong safety for the Vikings who was named to the 1980 All-Decade team. Brother Ross was a two-time All-American for Notre Dame who was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame and played 11 seasons in the NFL at defensive end. His son Max is currently a offensive tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers who has contributed to their two recent Super Bowl victories. Keith had an four year stint in the NFL and his son Keith Jr is following in his father's footsteps at defensive end, currently with the Houston Texans.
- The Perrys (Gaylord, Jim, and Chris) Hall of Fame hurler Gaylord was said to have approached Vaseline about doing an endorsement due to his widely known habit of doctoring baseballs. In fact, Gene Tenace, long time catcher of the prolific pitcher, once remarked that at times he would have to walk the ball back to the mound as it was so greasy he couldn't even through it back. Still, a Hall bid was hard to deny, as Gaylord accumulated 314 wins and 3,534 strikeouts over his 22 year career. Brother Jim won a Cy Young and 215 games in his 17-year career while Jim's son Chris was a successful golfer on the PGA tour.
- The Bonds (Bobby and Barry) Only two players in MLB history have gone 30 and 30 five or more times. One is named Barry Bonds. The other is his father.
- The Niekros (Phil, Joe, and Lance) Masters at the art of the knuckleball, Phil and Joe's 539 combined wins makes for the most successful brother combination in baseball history. Joe's son Lance also spent limited time with the Giants as a first baseman.
- The Geoffrions (Howie Morenz, Bernie, Dan, and Blake) The first four-generation NHL family. Patriarch Howie Morenz was a three-time league MVP, an original inductee to the Hockey Hall of Fame, and named by the Canadian Press the best ice hocey player of the first half of the 20th century. Morenz was the father-in-law of Boom Boom Geoffrion, an 11-time all-star credited by many as being the inventor or at the very least an early innovator of the slap shot. His son Dan played five seasons of professional hockey before siring Blake Geoffrion, who currently plays for the Canadiens, as well as Sebastian and Brice, both hockey players at Alabama Huntsville.
- The Barbers (Tiki and Ronde) Tiki was the football version of Nomar Garciaparra, a top notch player who for whatever reason prevented his team from winning a championship until immediately after his exit. However maligned, with 10,000+ rushing and 5000+ receiving yards (one of three in NFL history alongside Marcus Allen and Marshall Faulk), his place in the Giants pantheon is indisputable. Lining up on the other side of the ball was identical twin, Ronde, who accomplished quite the combo of his own as the only player in NFL history with 25+ sacks and 40 interceptions over a career.
- The Griffeys (George Kenneth Sr, Ken Jr, and Craig) Ken Sr was an integral member of Cincinnati Big Red Machine, hitting .336 in 1976 en route to their second title in as many years. Fourteen years later, he would sign with the Seattle Mariners, joining his son who had a year earlier been called up from the minors. On September 14th, 1990, the father-son tandem would hit back-to-back home runs in a moment right out of a Disney movie. Junior would of course blossom into one of the greatest, most exciting players of his era. Younger brother Craig even played in the Mariners farm system, but never made it to the big leagues.
- The Laudrups (Brian and Michael) Soccer siblings for the ages, Brian collected a record four Danish Footballer of the Year Awards from 1989-1997 while his brother piled up four straight La Liga championships with Barcelona en route to being named the greatest Danish player of all time by the Danish Football Association in 2006.
- The Alomars (Sandy, Roberto, and Sandy Jr.) Roberto just entered the Hall as one of the greatest second baseman of all-time. A tough act to measure up to, Sandy Jr still held his own, winning Rookie of the Year and going to six All-Star games as a catcher. Their father Sandy Sr was a mediocre hitter best known for his defense at second base and subsequent coaching career. Sandy had the pleasure of coaching his two sons on the 1989 Padres.
- The Nevilles (Gary, Phil, Tracy and Neville) Yes, you read that right. The Patriarch of the Neville clan is indeed named Neville Neville, and was a well known cricketer in the 1980's. Gary and Phil played together on Man U for over a decade, winning 6 Premier League titles (Gary would win two more after Phil departed to captain Everton). They concurrently compiled a combined 144 caps with the English national team. Moreover, their sister Tracy was a long serving netball player for England, compiling 74 caps in her own right.
- The Spinks (Michael, Leon, Cory, Leon Calvin, and Darrell) Michael went undefeated in his first 31 professional fights to become the undisputed light-heavyweight champion of the world, and later the heavyweight champion with his defeat of Larry Holmes. Mike's only loss would be his final fight, a knockout by the surging Mike Tyson in 1988. He is enshrined in both the International and World Boxing Hall of Fames. His brother "Neon Leon" is best known for upsetting Muhammad Ali to become the WBC/WBA heavyweight champion of the world in 1978. Born just five days later, Leon's son Cory would go on to become the undisputed Welterweight Champion in 2003. Two other sons, Leon Calvin and Darrell, also had brief professional careers.
- The Bells (Gus, Buddy, David, Mike) A rare three-generation baseball family. Grandfather Gus was a four-time All-Star currently enshrined in the Reds' Hall of Fame, while his son Buddy racked up 2,514 hits and six Gold Gloves with the Rangers. Son David had a solid 11 year career at third base for six different teams while his brother Mike was the black sheep of the family, appearing on the 2007 Mitchell report despite only managing to hit a mere two career dingers in his less-than-illustrious 1-year professional career
- The Alis (Muhammad, Laila, Rudy, and Ibn) Muhammad is of course the greatest heavyweight of all time. However, his daughter Laila is gunning to be the greatest female, boasting a 24-0 record with 21 knockouts. Muhammad's brother Rudy also found success as a professional heavyweight, as did Rudy's son Ibn.
- The Nessers (Al, Frank, Fred, John, Phil, Ray and Ted) The seven Nesser brothers composed the most famous football family in the country in the early 1900s, all playing for a Columbus Panhandles team that would eventually contribute to the formation of the modern day NFL. Legendary Notre Dame coach Knute Rockne once said of them, "Getting hit by a Nesser brother is like falling off a moving train."
- The Martinezes (Pedro and Ramon) A dominant force in his day, Pedro put up mesmerizing numbers during a time when steroid-use was wreaking havoc on ERAs everywhere. However, ever in the shadow of his younger brother, Ramon was one of the more underrated hurlers of the early 90's, eventually boasting a 135-88 career record with a 3.67 ERA.
- The McEnroes (John and Patrick) Brothers John and Patrick won a combined 192 tennis titles and each ascended to at least a top three doubles ranking.
- The Bryans (Dan and Mike) Together, the Bryan twins have won 11 Grand Slam tennis titles, spending over 200 weeks ranked at #1 to be named the doubles team of the decade for 2000-2009.
- The Fielders (Cecil and Prince) The Fielders are the only father-son combination to each hit 50 home runs in a season.
- The Johnsons (Jimmy, Rafer, and Jennifer) Rafer won Olympic gold as a decathlete at the 1960 Rome games. Brother Jimmy is a Pro Football Hall of Famer who played 16 seasons with the 49ers. Rafer's daughter Jennifer won silver at the 1999 Beach Volleyball World Championship in Marseille.
- The Maldinis (Cesare and Paolo) Renowned for their service to AC Milan, they are one of three father-son pairs to have each hoisted a European Cup/Champions League trophy. In 1998, the Italian World Cup squad was both coached and captained by a Maldini.
- The Sislers (George, Dave and Dick) A titan in his day, "Gentleman George" Sisler hit a ridiculous .420 in 1922 en route to 2,812 career hits and a career .340 AVG. Despite a mediocre seven-year career, son Dick would go down in history for hitting a 10th-inning walk-off home run that would help win his Phillies their first pennant in 35 years. His younger brother Dave was once deemed "Yankee Killer" for going 5-0 against them in a 4-year stint as a reliever for the Boston Red Sox in the late fifties.
- The Delahantys (Ed, Jim, Joe, Frank, and Tom) Hall of Famer Ed Delahanty was known as one of the great power hitters of the late 1800's (of course this meant leading the league with 13 home runs, but still...) His four brothers also had stints in the majors.
- The Rivers (Doc, uncle Jim Brewer, cousins Ken Singleton and Byron Irvin, and children Austin, Jeremiah, and Callie) Before capturing banner #17 as coach of the Celtics, Doc played point alongside Dominique Wilkins, where he would average nearly 11 points and 6 assists a game. Jim and Byron served nine and three years respectively in the NBA, and Doc's cousin Ken Singleton spent the majority of his career playing right field for the Orioles, where he would go to three All-Star games and win a World Series in 1983. Doc's son Austin may prove to outdo them all, recently selected with the 10th pick by the New Orleans Hornets after a stellar career at Duke. Jeremiah played hoops for Georgetown while Callie is thought to be one of the best college volleyball players in the country.
- The Ripkens (Cal, Cal Jr, Billy) Cal Sr spent 36 years in the Orioles organization as manager, base coach, player, and scout. Like Papa Alomar, he coached his two sons in 1987, the first father to ever do so. Though Billy had a largely unremarkable career, Cal Jr's was about as remarkable as they come, starting an unfathomable 2,632 consecutive games and going to all but 2 All-Star games in his 21-year career.
- The Sedins (Henrik and Daniel) After Vancouver secured both the 2nd and 3rd overall picks in the 1999 NHL draft, they scooped up the Sedin duo, who would bring them five division titles over the past decade The Swedish identical twins won gold at the 2006 Turin Olympics and are 1st and 4th in all-time points for the Canucks.
- The Mayweathers (Floyd Sr, Roger, Jeff, and Floyd Jr) Floyd Sr's two brothers each won professional featherweight titles, while he himself was a welterweight contender for much of the 70's and 80's. His training was of course integral to the development of the undefeated, eight-time world title winning prima donna Floyd Jr.
- The Chavezes (Julio Cesar, Julio Jr, and Omar) A prolific Mexican boxing family. Julio Cesar Chavez was a six-time world champion across three weight divisions over a 25 year career, widely considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters ever at his peak in the 1980’s. Julio retired holding the record for most title fight victories with 31 and the longest undefeated streak in boxing history at 13 years, accumulating an astounding 89 wins before taking his first loss in 1994. Julio planted the boxing seed in his two sons Omar and Julio Jr at an early age, ceremonially inviting them into the ring before each of his fights. Sure enough, both have followed in their father's footsteps with resounding success, undefeated in a combined 72 contests with Julio Jr currently holding the WBC Middleweight championship belt.
- The Van Arsdales (Dick and Tom) Identical twins Dick and Tom Van Arsdale had nearly as identical basketball careers. Both played hoops at Indiana, both played on the NBA All-Rookie team in 1966, both were 3-time All-Stars, and both retired in 1977 after 12 years in the league.
- The Bibbys (Henry, Mike, and Jim) Henry and his son Mike Bibby each had careers in the NBA while Henry's brother Jim won a World Series with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1979.
- The Robinsons (Jackie and Mack) Though we all are well-versed in the illustrious career of Jackie Robinson, brother Mack had his own feat of courageousness, competing in the historic, racially-charged 1936 Berlin Olympics and capturing silver in the men's 200 meters by finishing .4 seconds behind Jesse Owens.
- The Uptons (BJ and Justin) Selected #1 and #2 respectively, Justin and big bro BJ are the highest drafted siblings in baseball history. Now teammates in Atlanta, the jury is still out on just how good these two will get.
- The Molinas (Bengie, Jose, and Yadier) The only three brothers in MLB history to each win a World Series.
The Haistons (Sam, Jerry, Johnny, Jerry Jr, and Scott) The Hairstons hold the modern day record with five family members to play at the major league level.
The Gasols (Pau & Marc)
The Longs (Howie, Chris, and Kyle)
The Halls (Gary Sr and Jr)
The Bryants (Joe and Kobe) Father of Kobe, Joe Bryant was selected in the first round of the 1975 draft, going on to score over 5,000 points in 8 seasons in the NBA and spend seven years dominating the hardwood in Italy.
The Niedermeyers (Rob and Scott and cousin Jason Strudwick)
The Boones (Ray, Bob, Aaron, and Bret) The first family to send three generations of players to the MLB All-Star game.
The Grieses (Bob and Brian) Bob was Hall of Fame Quarterback for the Miami Dolphins who won two Super Bowls including the legendary undefeated '72 season. Brian is a former Rose Bowl MVP, Super Bowl Champ, and 1-time Pro Bowler.
The Hamms (Paul and Morgan) Twins brothers who each medaled in Olympic gymnastics.
The Madduxes (Greg and Mike) Mike was a journeyman pitcher who played 15 years in the bigs, a career vastly overshadowed by the magnificence of brother Greg, an unparalleled control pitcher who at one point would capture four consecutive Cy Young awards during which he would post a mind-boggling 1.98 ERA.
The Charletons (Jack and Bobby)
The Tatupus (Mosi and Lofa) A former classmate of President Obama at Punahou high school, Mosi made a name for himself as a special teams wizard for the New England Patriots, where he was named to both the 1970s and 1980s Patriots All-Decade teams. His son Lofa was a three-time Pro Bowl linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks.
The Bretts (George, Ken, Bobby and John) Ken played 14 years for 10 different teams, and most notably remains to this day the youngest player to ever pitch in a World Series, coming into game 4 of the 1967 Fall Classic at 19 years and 3 weeks. Brothers Bobby and John played minor league ball while George of course was a 13-time All-Star, first-ballot Hall of Fame third baseman who is one of four players in MLB history to finish with 3000 hits, 300 home runs, and a .300 average.
The Mahres (Steve and Phil)
Billie Jean Moffitt King and Randy Moffitt While tennis great Billie Jean is known as one of the pioneering female athletes of her time, few know that her younger brother Randy made a living as a Major League reliever, compiling 96 saves with the Giants, Astros, and Blue Jays.
The Williams (Dominique and Gerald)
The Golics (Mike and Bob) Both defensive tackles and Notre Dame alums, Mike spent nine mediocre years in the NFL while brother Bob was a three-time Pro Bowler, two-time All-American wrestler, and one-time RA on Saved By the Bell: The College Years.
The Jones (Thomas and Julius) Only brothers to each rush for 1000 yards in the same season (2006).
The Leiters (Al and Mark) Mark had a mediocre 11-year career in the MLB posting a 4.57 ERA and 65 wins. Al was a 3-time champion, two-time All-Star who won 162 games and struck out over 1900 batters over an 18 year career.
The Baers (Max and Buddy) Though most recall Max Baer as the man upset by Jimmy Braddock in the movie Cinderella Man, both he and his brother Buddy are listed in Ring Magazine's top 100 punchers of all time.
The Bryans (Bob and Mike)
The Grants (Horace and Harvey)
The Stottlemyres (Mel, Mel Jr, and Todd) With 3,158 K's, the Stottlemyres have collected the most strikeouts of any father-son combination.
The Hernandezes (Livan and Orlando)
The Schofield/Werths (Dick, Ducky, Jayson, Dennis, and Kim) Whatever this family lacks in athletic dominance, they make up for in financial dominance, as Jayson hit paydirt in 2011 with one of the most ridiculously lucrative contracts in baseball history. Dicky, Duck, and Dennis each retired with sub-.230 career averages (Jayson's grandfather, uncle, and stepfather respectively), but 45 years of combined MLB service within one family is pretty hard to ignore. Jayson's mother Kim competed at the Olympic trials in long jump and the 100m.
The Gronkowskis (Rob, Chris, and Dan)
The Wards (Daryl and Gary)
Marat Safin and Dinara Safina
The Wilsons (Mookie and Preston)
The Szczerbiaks (Walt and Wally) Walt won 3 Euroleague titles with Real Madrid
The Winslows (Kellen and Kellen II)
The Hasselbecks (Matt, Tim and Don)
The Staals (Eric, Marc, Jordan, and Jared)
The Laroches (Adam, Andy and Dave)
The Motas (Manny, Andy, and Jose)
The Aarons (Hank and Tommie) The Aarons hold the distinction of having hit the most combined home runs by a pair of brothers. Tommie chipped in with 13.
The Noahs (Yannick and Joakim)
Santonio Holmes and Fred Taylor (Cousins)
The O'Bannions (Charles and Fred)
The Giles (Brian and Marcus)
The Matthews (Gary and Gary Jr)
The Baileys (Champ and Boss)
Old and Young Tom Morris
The Vicks (Michael and Marcus, Aaron Brooks is a cousin)
The Simms (Chris and Phil)
The Drews (JD, Stephen and Tim)
The Giambis (Jason and Jeremy)
The Weavers (Jered and Jeff)
The Lopezes (Robin and Brook)
The Younts (Robin and Larry) Larry is the only player to be credited with pitching a game without actually facing a batter. Summoned to pitch in the 9th inning of a 4-1 game against the Braves in 1971, Larry took several warm up tosses before elbow pain forced him to exit. He would never return to a major league mound.
Baseball is a game of legends, larger-than-life stars ever ingrained in our public psyche. However, all too often, the off-the-field personalities get lost in the shuffle, dwarfed in the eyes of history by the Babe Ruths and Jackie Robinsons of the world. Here then is the Mount Rushmore of those other legends, the pioneers and innovators that built baseball into the game it is today.
1) Alexander Cartwright, Jr.-- In truth, there is no big bang of baseball, no moment when the inspiration for what would become the American Pastime was beamed down from the heavens. For centuries, men had played cricket, rounders, and other various contests featuring bat and ball. However, if you're going to point to one man who truly set the wheels of baseball in motion, that man is Alexander Cartwright. Cartwright was a bank teller and volunteer firefighter who for many years had played various ball games around the parks of New York City. Though many of these games roughly resembled what we now know as modern baseball, Cartwright showed up one day with some new found inspiration. As his friend Duncan Curry recalls of that Spring afternoon in 1845, "Cartwright came to the field...with his plans drawn up on a paper.... He had laid out a diamond shaped field with canvas bags filled with sand or sawdust for bases at three of the points and an iron plate for home base. He had arranged for a catcher, a pitcher, three basemen, a short fielder and three outfielders. His plan met with much good-natured derision, but he was so persistent in having us try his new game that we finally consented more to humor him than with any thought of it becoming a reality." Cartwright would proceed to codify a set of accepted rules and engineer what is widely accepted today as the first organized baseball game between his Knickerbockers and the New York Club at the Elysian Fields in Hoboken, New Jersey, June 19th, 1846. Three years later, lured by the California gold craze, Cartwright began trekking westward, along which he would spread the gospel of baseball. Barely twenty years following that day in Hoboken, there were thought to be over a thousand organized baseball clubs scattered across the country.
Note: Though many think of Abner Doubleday as the creator of baseball, history has all but proven this to be myth. In 1907, The Mills Commission, appointed to determine the origin of baseball, concluded that "the first scheme for playing baseball, according to the best evidence obtainable to date, was devised by Abner Doubleday at Cooperstown, New York, in 1839." However, Doubleday never claimed this distinction in any of his writings, and it was even determined that at the date of the alleged invention, Doubleday was a cadet at West Point, his family having moved away from Cooperstown a year prior. Adding further doubt is the fact that the primary testimony on behalf of Doubleday lay with a man named Abner Graves, who after shooting his wife two years later wound up spending the rest of his life in an insane asylum. So yea, not the most credible of witnesses. On June 3, 1953, Alexander Cartwright was officially declared by Congress to be the inventor of modern baseball.
2) Henry Chadwick-- Often the best way of conferring legitimacy upon something is simply by committing it to paper. A British-born journalist in the mid-nineteenth century, Chadwick was one of the first to cover the infant game in print, writing up game summaries for the New York Clipper. In it, Chadwick originated the box score, giving birth to a national obsession with baseball statistics and records that persists to this day. He also penned the "Base Ball Manual" and "Beadle's Dime Base Ball Player," guide books in which he described rules, techniques, and star players of the game. The American Pastime was on its way.
3) Harry Frazee-- History has not been kind to Mr. Frazee. The infamous former owner of the fledgling Boston Red Sox will forever be linked to the disastrous transaction that sent Babe Ruth to the Yankees, damning the Sox to nearly a century of futility. However, that may not be the only raw deal Frazee got. In truth, and this is coming from a die-hard Red Sox fan, Frazee had his hands tied, making a move that almost any other owner in his position would have made. For starters, Ruth was the ultimate diva of his day, a drunk, a womanizer, a hothead (at one point throwing a punch at an umpire), an egomaniac, and the farthest thing from a team player. During the 1919 season, Ruth refused to continue pitching, continually undermined his manager, and even went 'Manny being Manny' on his teammates by pulling himself out of the last few games of the season. That year, the Sox would finish sixth (in the two years following his departure, they would actually climb a spot to fifth). After that season, Ruth demanded that his salary be doubled, an unheard-of figure that Frazee simply could not pay. Ruth then proclaimed that he wouldn't play until his demands were met, all but forcing Frazee to negotiate a trade. Due to an ongoing dispute with American League president Ban Johnson, Frazee was effectively banned from dealing with any team but the White Sox and Yankees, two teams that also defied Johnson's corrupt reign. (Johnson's hatred of Frazee in part stemmed from his belief that Frazee was Jewish, violating an unwritten rule within the game to keep Jews out of the ranks of ownership. Frazee was in fact Presbyterian.) It's hard to fathom that the only other offer on the table would actually have been more catastrophic than the one that ultimately transpired, but that's exactly the case. The White Sox offered up superstar "Shoeless" Joe Jackson and cash, an intriguing offer were it not for the fact that just months later, Jackson would be suspended for life for his role in the Black Sox scandal. At the time, the Ruth transaction was actually seen by many as being favorable for the Red Sox. In subsequent years, numerous inaccuracies were perpetuated about the Sox owner, many of which were motivated by the ongoing belief in his Jewishness and the notion that a cash-strapped Frazee selfishly sold Ruth to finance his landmark play No, No, Nanette. (which actually didn't come out until six years later) As we all know, Ruth would go on to transform the Yankees into a dynasty while the Red Sox would go titleless for 86 years. Whatever blame Frazee deserves, the impact of his decision upon the future course of the game is impossible to deny. For more on Frazee's misplaced maligning, check out the illuminating Glenn Stout piece 'A Curse Born of Hate.'
4) Kennesaw Mountain Landis-- When in 1921, baseball decided that it was finally necessary to bring in a commissioner, the game was reeling from the revelations of a fixed World Series. That commissioner was Kennesaw Mountain Landis. Upon the appointment, The Sporting News summarized Kennesaw's stated mission: "to clean out the crookedness and the gambling responsible for it and keep the sport above reproach...he would have no mercy on any man in baseball, be he magnate or player, whose conduct was not strictly honest...The Judge will be the absolute ruler of the game." During his time in office, Landis did indeed rule with an iron fist, at once banishing the eight guilty players who had conspired to throw the World Series in the infamous Black Sox scandal. The ruling that was ultimately established-- 'Any player, umpire, club or league official or employee who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor had a duty to perform shall be declared permanently ineligible'-- would go on to be the damning assertion used against Pete Rose several decades later.
Under his reign, Landis also helped usher in the live ball era. From 1903-1921, small ball had been the order of the day, as a series of factors contributed to an unprecedented decline in offense. Among them was the common practice of leaving baseballs in play for much of the game until they were brown with dirt, making it harder for batters to pick up while in flight. Balls also became softer with repeated usage, resulting in a greater difficulty to drive with power over the course of the game. Upon assuming power, Landis immediately legislated that balls be removed from play at the first sign of wear, causing an immediate uptick in offense as batters could not only see pitches better, but when they did, it would travel further on contact. Landis also outlawed the spitball, further shifting advantage away from the pitcher. From 1903-1919, the league-wide ERA had been 2.80. In the decade that followed, it had jumped to 4.00. Upon his death in 1944, Landis had transformed the game, restoring both its excitement and integrity.
5) Mel Allen and Red Barber- Baseball on the radio would make its debut in the summer of 1921, as a man named Harold Arlin called the Pirates-Phillies match to an almost non-existent audience. However, it would be over a decade more before baseball received its true airwave ambassadors in Allen and Barber. Known and beloved primarily as the voices of the Yankees and Dodgers respectively, Melvin Israel and William Barber were the first truly iconic broadcasters in American sports history. Initially concerned that radio would discourage people from actually showing up to the park, owners soon found the medium to be an unparalleled promotional tool for their sport (not to mention a great way to generate additional income). By the 1940's, Barber's presence was so ubiquitous in Brooklyn, The Daily News mused "A person could cover the length of the beach of Coney Island and never lose his voice." Perfectly suited to the pace and nature of the game, radio was instrumental in broadening the game's reach and appeal, expanding fan bases and turning local stars into national heroes.
6) Branch Rickey-- There is perhaps no man more responsible for changing the complexion, both literally and figuratively, of the modern game more than that of Branch Rickey. When Rickey was named the general manager of the St Louis Cardinals in 1925, minor league teams operated independently of big league clubs, auctioning off their top prospects to the highest bidder. Rickey decided to buck the system, buying his own minor league clubs through which he could develop talent and directly funnel players to his major league franchise. It took only a single year as GM before the Cards captured their first World Series, and in time the homegrown talent of Pepper Martin, Stan Musial, and Dizzy Dean would take three more pennants for the Gashouse Gang between 1928-1932. By 1940, Rickey's farm had steadily expanded into an empire, claiming ownership of an astounding 32 teams while maintaining working agreements with 8 others. Rickey moved on to the Dodgers in 1942, where he would continue his prowess in developing young talent, producing such stars as Duke Snider and Gil Hodges from within the organization. However, his most important achievement was the signing of Jackie Robinson from the Negro League's Kansas City Monarchs in 1945. Upon his major league debut two years later, Robinson would bring a pennant to Brooklyn, opening up the doors to full-fledged racial integration in the years to come. Dickey soon left for Pittsburgh, where he would once again shake the baseball establishment with the drafting and promotion of baseball's first Hispanic player in Roberto Clemente. When he ultimately retired in 1955, Rickey had introduced the modern farm system, racially integrated the game, popularized the use of the batting helmet and batting cage, and created the first spring training facility. Moreover, he was perhaps the earliest proponent of what we now call sabermetrics, valuing such indicators as on-base percentage over average to further his advantage over the competition. A maverick in the truest sense, Branch Rickey remains the most influential figure in the history of baseball, if not the entire sports world.
7) Walter O'Malley--You're in a room with Hitler, Stalin, and Walter O'Malley and have a gun with only two bullets. What do you do? Shoot O'Malley twice. To many 1950's Booklynites, the Dodgers were everything. In one fell swoop, O'Malley ripped it all away, unapologetically moving the team to Los Angeles following the 1957 season. The vitriol knew no bounds as the Dodgers' owner become public enemy #1 to a city reeling in grief. Harsh as it was, O'Malley's infamous decision would mark a pivotal moment in the course of baseball history, as professional baseball was finally introduced to the West Coast. America's pastime had for half a century been concentrated predominantly in the Northeast, with the westernmost team being St. Louis at the time of O'Malley's ascendancy. The first domino to fall had been the Boston Braves, who in 1953 relocated to Milwaukee. However, it was not until the Dodgers split town that the game truly underwent a tidal shift. O'Malley knew that to make baseball a reality in the West he would have to recruit a partner, and so inserted himself as key player in facilitating the Giants move to San Francisco as well. The entire complexion of American baseball had changed, as O'Malley's Dodgers helped make baseball a truly national game.
8) Marvin Miller--Today, the Major League Baseball Players Association is the most powerful union in all of sports, and no man deserves more thanks for that fact than Marvin Miller. Elected head of the MLBPA in 1966, Miller soon made his impact felt, negotiating the first collective bargaining agreement with owners, increasing minimum salaries, introducing the all-important independent arbitration practice, and eventually ushering in the age of free agency with the invalidation of the reserve clause. Under the reserve clause, players had been effectively married to their initial club, with that club retaining their rights from year to year not so unlike a piece of property. To make matters worse, those players unhappy with their compensation were forced to settle their disputes with the commissioner, who, as having been hired by the owners, was naturally biased in his rulings. In 1974, after Cardinals' outfielder Curt Flood brought the issue of the reserve clause's inherent unfairness to the forefront, Miller encouraged pitchers Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally to refrain from signing a contract for the following year and instead enter arbitration. Peter Seitz, the arbiter, ruled that the players had no legal ties to remain with their clubs and were free to pursue other offers. The reserve clause had effectively been abolished and the era of free agency had begun. During Marvin's tenure, which stretched from 1966-1982, the average player's salary rose from $19,000 to $241,000. His work signified a colossal shift in the balance of power between athlete and owner, an impact enjoyed every time a player signs on the dotted line to this day.
9) George Steinbrenner-- Before there was Jerry Jones, before there was Mark Cuban, there was George Steinbrenner. Loud, irreverent, controversial, and hyper-controlling (changing managers 20 times in his first 23 years as Yankees owner), George Steinbrenner was the archetype for the larger-than-life sports owner. Buying the Yankees for a measly $8.7 million in 1973, he turned them into a $1.6 billion franchise, the gold standard for sporting excellence the world over. Today, ballplayers earn more than the GDP of small countries, and perhaps no man is more responsible than the Boss. With it came unprecedented market inequality, as the Yankees payroll grew to such exorbitant levels that it literally sextupled that of the smallest market teams. Contracts are now bloated to the point of absurdity (see: Werth, Jason and Rodriguez, Alex) as owners from around the league struggle to keep up with the Evil Empire.
10) Bud Selig-- Sadly, when all is said and done, Bud Selig will go down first and foremost as the man that presided over the Steroid Era, baseball's black eye. However, to pin him solely as "The Steroid Commissioner" is to overlook the vast amount of good Selig was actually able to accomplish for the sport. Assuming the role of acting commissioner in 1992, the former Milwaukee Brewers owner's first act was to realign the divisions and institute a wild card, expanding the postseason roster to eight teams. Achieving permanent status in 1998, Selig would go on to make a series of other important changes, including the introduction of revenue sharing and interleague play, the expansion of instant replay, and the creation of the World Baseball Classic. He also presided over a 400% explosion in league revenue and brought baseball to both Arizona and Tampa Bay. Time will tell just how favorably future generations look upon his legacy, but one thing is for certain: Uncle Bud left baseball in a vastly different place from how he found it.
Warning: consider this your spoiler alert to end all spoiler alerts. Read on at your own peril. (But seriously, if you haven't seen any one of these movies, just shame on you. Honestly now...)
- The shower scene. Done aaaaaand done. -Psycho
- Fredo breaks Michael's heart; pays dearly -The Godfather II
- Tony Montana introduces Sosa's men to his little friend; meets a few dozen of their own -Scarface (1983)
- The wood chipper.... -Fargo
- Daniel Plainview drinks Eli's milkshake; bludgeons him to death with a bowling pin -There Will Be Blood
- Vader conquers his dark side; gives Palpatine the shaft (or vice versa) -Return of the Jedi
- Serial bank robbers discover that karma is a bitch -Bonnie and Clyde
- David Mills "becomes wrath" -Se7en
- After futile attempts to hang, rack, and dismember the Scottish warrior, William Wallace finally finds freeeeedooommm!!!! -Braveheart
- Hannibal Lector escapes his cell; borrows a face for the ride -Silence of the Lambs
- And you will know my name is the LORD when I lay my vengeance upon thee" -Pulp Fiction
- Travis Bickle reaches his breaking point; murders Sport and his two bodyguards in the bloodbath of a finale -Taxi Driver
- Willard terminates Kurtz with extreme prejudice (ie. a machete); gives him a true taste of "the horror..." -Apocalypse Now
- Bambi's mother gets capped by "man" -Bambi
- Scorpio asks himself one question; finds his luck to be lacking -Dirty Harry
- Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid finally reach the end of the line; go out guns a blazing -Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
- Smiegol strangles Diegol; gives himself the worst birthday present ever -Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
- Tommy and Jimmy go to town on Billy Batts; load him into Henry's trunk for eventual disposal -Goodfellas
- "...Howard Beale, the first known instance of a man who was killed because he had lousy ratings" -Network
- Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes -The Godfather
- A raincoat-donning Patrick Bateman axe-murders his colleague to the "clear, crisp sound" of Huey Lewis and The News -American Psycho
- Drago breaks Apollo-Rocky IV
- Holly Martins shoots his old mate Lime; puts an end to a truly epic sewer chase -The Third Man
- Mola Ram rips out his sacrificial victim's beating heart; lowers the poor bastard into lava pit. Kali maaaaa..... -Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
- Kaizer Soze cleans house. And like that, he's gone... -The Usual Suspects
- "Put your mouth on the curb..." -American History X
- Bill killed... -Kill Bill 2
- Raymond shakes his mother's spell; commits matri, step-patricide -The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
- The Joker makes a pencil "disappear" -The Dark Knight
- Charlie gets hung out to dry -On The Waterfront
- McClane wishes Hans happy trails. Yippie-ki-yay indeed... -Die Hard
- Leonard gets sniped; plunges off Mount Rushmore -North By Northwest
- Carla Jean Moss (presumably) finds out just how much one can lose on a coin toss -No Country For Old Men
- Death by paint... -Goldfinger
- The Moe Greene special -The Godfather
- Hal opts not to open the pod bay doors after all -2001: A Space Odyssey
- The McManus brothers dispose of nine Russian crime bosses in Nomeni Patri Et Fili Spiritus Sancti -The Boondock Saints
- Leonard Shelby murders in reverse -Memento
- Vizzini pulls the old switcheroo, dies anyway -The Princess Bride
- William Munny goes postal on Little Bill, henchmen; respectfully declines his offer for a rendezvous in hell -Unforgiven
Exodus (2014) Directed by Ridley Scott and starring Aaron Paul, Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, Sigourney Weaver, Ben Kingsley, and John Turturro.
The Hobbit: There and Back Again (2014) Thorin and Company have reached Lake-town and it is time for the hobbit Bilbo Baggins to fulfill his contract with the dwarves. The party must complete the journey to Lonely Mountain and burglar Baggins must seek out the Secret Door that will give them access to the hoard of the dragon Smaug. If Bilbo and the others are able to gain the treasure, will they be able to keep it? And will they discover what has become of the wizard Gandalf?
Noah (2014) Directed by Darren Aronofsky and starring Russell Crowe, Emma Watson, Anthony Hopkins, and Douglas Booth. The Biblical Noah suffers visions of apocalyptic deluge, and takes measures to protect his family from the coming flood.
Anchorman: The Legend Continues (2013) Directed by Adam McKay and starring Will Ferrell, Steve Carrell, Paul Rudd, and Christina Applegate. The continuing adventures of San Diego news anchor Ron Burgundy.
Legacy of Secrecy (???) Written and directed by David O. Russell. Starring Leonardo Dicaprio and Robert De Niro. A JFK conspiracy thriller.
Silence (2015) Directed by Martin Scorsese. Starring Andrew Garfield and Ken Watanabe. In the 17th century, two Jesuit priests face violence and persecution when they travel to Japan to locate their mentor and to spread the gospel of Christianity.
The Humbling (???) Directed by Barry Levinson, written by Buck Henry (The Graduate), and starring Al Pacino. A story set on a farm in upstate New York and centered on the sexual (and otherwise) relationship between aged, suicidal actor and a younger woman.
Everest (2014) Directed by Doug Limon (Bourne series) and starring Tom Hardy. British mountain climber George Mallory makes multiple attempts to scale Mt. Everest throughout the 1920s.
The Kind One (???) Directed by Ridley Scott and starring Casey Affleck. The film is set in the 1930s Los Angeles and follows Danny Landon, an amnesiac who works for a violent mobster (a.k.a. "The Kind One"), while he falls in love with this man's girlfriend.
Reykjavik (2014) Starring Christoph Waltz, Frank Langella and Michael Douglas. A dramatization of the 1986 Reykjavik summit between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev.
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) Directed by Wes Anderson and starring Ralph Fiennes, Bill Murray, Jude Law, Ed Norton and Owen Wilson. The trials and tribulations of Mr. Gustave, who serves as a hotel's perfectly composed concierge.
Robocop (2014) Starring Joel Kinnaman, Samuel L Jackson, Gary Oldman, and Michael Keaton. In a crime-ridden city, a fatally wounded cop returns to the force as a powerful cyborg with submerged memories haunting him.
Gone Girl (2015) Directed by David Fincher and starring Ben Affleck, Neil Patrick Harris, and Rosamund Pike. A woman mysteriously disappears on the day of her wedding anniversary.
Imagine (???) Starring Al Pacino, Jennifer Garner, Michael Caine, and Annette Bening. An old letter written to him by John Lennon and Yoko Ono inspires an aging musician to live life differently, and he sets out to reconnect with his biological son.
Godzilla (2014) Written by Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption). Starring Brian Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, and Aaron Johnson.
Dumb and Dumber To (2014) Written and directed by the Farrelly Brothers. Starring Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, and Jennifer Lawrence. Twenty years after the dimwits set out on their first adventure, they head out in search of one of their long lost children in the hope of gaining a new kidney.
Paradise Lost (2014) Starring Benicio Del Toro and John Hutcherson. In Colombia, a young surfer meets the woman of his dreams - and then meets her uncle, Pablo Escobar.
Birdman (2014) Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu (21 Grams, Babel). Starring Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, Michael Keaton, and Zack Galifianakis. A washed up actor who once played an iconic superhero must overcome his ego and family trouble as he prepares to mount a Broadway play in a bid to reclaim past glory.
Rosewater (2014) Written and directed by Jon Stewart. A journalist is detained in Iran for more than 100 days and brutally interrogated in prison.
Hamdan v. Rumsfeld (???) Produced by George Clooney and written by Aaron Sorkin. A thriller set against the backdrop of the war on terror, The Challenge tells the inside story of a historic Supreme Court showdown. At its center are a Navy JAG and a young constitutional law professor who, in the aftermath of 9/11, find themselves defending their nation in the unlikeliest of ways: by suing the president of the United States on behalf of an accused terrorist in order to prevent the American government from breaking the law and violating the Constitution.
The Irishman (???) Directed by Martin Scorsese. Starring Robert Deniro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci. A mob hit man recalls his possible involvement with the slaying of Jimmy Hoffa.
Zoolander 2 (2014) Starring Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, and Jonah Hill.
Untitled Sherlock Holmes Project (???) Starring Will Ferrell and Sacha Baron Cohen and produced by Judd Apatow. A humorous take on Arthur Conan Doyle's classic mysteries featuring Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson
Hands of Stone (2014) Starring Robert De Niro and Edgar Ramirez. The legendary Roberto Duran and his equally legendary trainer Ray Arcel change each other's lives.
The Revenant (???) Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu. Centering on 1820's story of a frontiersman, Hugh Glass, on a path of vengeance against those who left him for dead after a bear mauling.
Oldboy (2013) Directed by Spike Lee and starring Samuel L Jackson and Josh Brolin. An everyday man has only five days and limited resources to discover why he was imprisoned in a nondescript room for 15 years without any explanation.
Alejandro González Iñárritu. Starring Sean Penn. A father lives a double life as a counterfeiter, bank robber, and con man in order to provide for his daughter.
The Comedian (???) Directed by Sean Penn. Starring Robert De Niro and Kristen Wiig. A look at the life of an aging insult comic.
True Crimes (???) Direct by Roman Polanski and starring Christoph Waltz. A murder investigation of a slain businessman turns to clues found in an author's book about an eerily similar crime.
Candy Store (2015) Starring Robert De Niro, Christoph Waltz, and Jason Clarke. An undercover agent begins a new life as a beat cop in Brooklyn, but finds that his past life comes back to haunt him.
Knight of Cups (2013) Written and directed by Terrence Malick and starring Christian Bale, Natalie Portman and Cate Blanchett. A man is in search of love and truth.
God's Pocket (2014) Directed by John Slattery (Mad Men). Starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Christina Hendricks, and John Turturro. A guy named Mickey gets in over his head when he tries to cover-up the accidental death of his stepson.
The General (???) Directed by Darren Aronofsky. A gritty look at the story of George Washington.
Happy Valley (???) Directed by Brian De Palma and starring Al Pacino. The story of disgraced college football coach Joe Paterno.
Kill Bill Volume 3 (???) Directed by Quentin Tarantino. Starring Uma Thurman.
Sinatra (???) Directed by Martin Scorsese. The life story of legendary singer and actor Franck Sinatra.
Star Wars: Episode VII (2015) Directed by JJ Abrams.
The Power Broker (???) HBO Movie. Directed by Oliver Stone. Based on the book by the same name, the film will tell the story of how Robert Moses reshaped the face of New York.
Memphis (???) Directed by Paul Greengrass. Starring Forest Whitaker. A look at the final days surrounding Dr. Martin Luther King Jr in April 1968.
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2013) Starring Chris Pine, Keira Knightley, and Kevin Costner. Jack Ryan, as a young covert CIA analyst, uncovers a Russian plot to crash the U.S. economy with a terrorist attack.
1) The Notorious BIG- Ready to Die -(1994) Around the years '87-'88, a young crack dealer named Christopher Wallace began entertaining local passersby by rapping into a beat-up amp on the street corners around Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Six years later, he was the biggest rapper in the world. Three years after that, he was dead. During the short flash that was his career, only one album was to be released, a top-to-bottom classic with the eerily prophetic title 'Ready to Die'. This album has it all. Sick beats, brilliant lyrics, crazy flows, and that intoxicating voice of Biggie Smalls. Key Tracks: Warning, Juicy, Ready to Die.
2) Nas- Illmatic --(1994) Five months prior to Ready to Die, this 20-year-old Queensbridge native paired with producers Large Professor, DJ Premier, Pete Rock, and Q-Tip and burst onto the scene with what would be his masterpiece. Calling the album Illmatic after his incarcerated friend Illmatic Ice, Nas originally wanted the cover to feature himself with Jesus in a headlock. Key Tracks: N.Y. State of Mind, Life's a Bitch, One Love.
3) Dr. Dre- The Chronic --(1992) Fresh off of his split with supergroup NWA, Dre took it solo and ended up creating perhaps the best produced rap album of all time. The Chronic would introduce Parliament-laced G-funk to the mainstream and made Snoop Dogg, Warren G, and Nate Dogg stars before they'd ever even released albums of their own. Key Tracks: Nuthin' but a "G" Thang, F*ck wit Dre Day, Let Me Ride.
4) Jay-Z - Reasonable Doubt --(1996) In 1996, Jay-Z blew audiences away with his debut effort and first release on label Roc-A-Fella records. Sean Carter had been known as "Jazzy", a nickname that developed into his stage name Jay-Z as an homage to his musical mentor Jaz-O and to the J-Z subway lines that stop by Marcy Avenue. Jaz-O had given Jay-Z his first break by recruiting him on the 1989 song
"Hawaiian Sophie." Two decades later, Jigga is a true hip hop tycoon. Key Tracks: Dead Presidents, Brooklyn's Finest, Can't Knock the Hustle.
5) Public Enemy-It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back --(1988) Channeling the black anger and urban tension so in need of an outlet, Nation of Millions was one of the first truly socially conscious hip hop albums. Key Tracks: Bring the Noise, Don't Believe the Hype, Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos.
6) The Wu-Tang Clan- Enter The Wu-Tang Clan - 36 Chambers --(1993) In 1993, Ghostface Killah and RZA decided to create a hip hop group whose ethos would be a blend of "Eastern philosophy picked up from kung-fu movies, watered-down Nation of Islam preaching picked up on the New York streets, and comic books." Recruiting the best rappers they could find, RZA set out to produce an album layered with eerie beats, martial-arts movie clips and soul music samples. To decide who appeared on each song, he forced the Wu-Tang rappers to battle with each other. The album's title originates from the 1978 martial arts film 'The 36th Chamber of Shaolin'. Key Tracks: C.R.E.A.M, Protect Ya Neck, Bring Da Ruckus.
7) NWA- Straight Outta Compton --(1988) This debut studio album pioneered gangsta rap and scared a whole lotta white people in the process. Instrumental in shifting power to the West Coast, Straight Outta Compton became the first album to reach platinum status without any airplay support or major tours. Key Tracks: Straight Outta Compton, Express Yourself, F*ck The Police.
8) A Tribe Called Quest- The Low End Theory --(1991) Fusing hip hop and jazz, childhood friends Q-Tip and Phife Dawg and high school mate Ali Shaheed Muhammad created an unique brand of intelligent, socially conscious music. Low End features contributions from jazz great Ron Carter on upright bass. Key Tracks: Excursions, Jazz (We've Got), Scenario.
9) Snoop Doggy Dogg- Doggystyle --(1993) Following the success of The Chronic, Doggystyle debuted at number one and sold over 800,000 copies in its first week, the record for a new artist. Key Tracks: Gin and Juice, Who Am I (Whats My Name)?, Lodi Dodi.
10) Raekwon- Only Built 4 Cuban Linx --(1995) Raekwon brought producer RZA and Ghostface Killah along for his solo debut, an album widely regarded as the pioneer of Mafioso rap, a genre later perfected by Biggie and Jay-Z (It was also the first hip hop album to name drop Cristal). It's title suggests that the music was as tough as Cuban link chain jewelry. Key Tracks: Criminology, Glaciers of Ice, Rainy Dayz.
11) Outkast- Aquemini --(1998) Outcast's third studio album took its name from a combination of the duo's astrological signs (Aquarius for Big Boi and Gemini for André 3000). The synthesizer-laden, distinctively Atlanta sounding record took only 2 months to go platinum. Key Tracks: SpottieOttieDopaliscious, Rosa Parks, Return of the "G".
12) The Fugees-The Score --(1996) The second and final album of super-group Wycelf Jean, Lauren Hill and Pras. 18 million sold. Key Tracks: Killing Me Softy, Fu-Gee-La, Ready or Not.
13) 2Pac- All Eyez On Me --(1996) All Eyez was released after Suge Knight, CEO of Death Row Records and baddest mofo on planet earth, bailed 2Pac out of jail in exchange for signing to his label. Arriving in studio to begin work hours after being released, Pac would lay down what would become his crowning achievement. Key Tracks: 2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted, California Love, Ambitionz Az a Ridah.
14) Afrika Bambaataa & the Soulsonic Force- Planet Rock: The Album--(1986) Respectfully known as the "Grandfather" for his monumental impact on the early development of hip hop, Bambaataa recently became one of the first hop hop artists to be nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Representing Zulu Nation, he released the seminal Planet Rock over two decades ago as a collection of previous singles that had up until then never appeared on an album. Key Tracks: Planet Rock, Looking For the Perfect Beat, Renegades of Funk.
15) Boogie Down Productions-Criminal Minded --(1987) With Criminal Minded, KRS-One and BDP laid the groundwork for gangsta rap, as it was the first album to feature gun-toting MCs on its cover and crime narratives within its tracks. Their hardcore lyrics would become all too real after DJ Scott La Rock was shot and killed a mere five months after this seminal release. Key Tracks: The Bridge is Over, Criminal Minded, South Bronx.
16) Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five- The Message --(1982) Releasing their debut album on upstart Sugarhill Records, DJ Grandmaster Flash and MCs Melle Mel, Kidd Creole, Cowboy, Mr. Ness/Scorpio, and Rahiem essentially wrote the rule book on turntablism, break-beat deejaying, and rapping. The title track was the first hip hop song to integrate socially and politically conscious lyrics. Key Tracks: The Message, Scorpio, She's Nasty.
17) Eric B. & Rakim-Paid In Full ---(1987) After Rakim responded to Eric B.'s search for "New York's top MC," the duo got to work after Rakim's friend and roommate Marley Marl permitted them use of his home studio. They would end up creating one of the most influential rap albums ever for its use of samples, internal rhyme, complex lyricism, and laid back flow. Key Tracks: Eric B. Is President, I Know You Got Soul, Paid in Full.
18) Dr. Dre-Chronic 2001 --(2001) Almost a decade after releasing his landmark album The Chronic, Dre took back to the studio to begin work on his long-anticipated follow up. Dre did not mince words about his motivations: "For the last couple of years, there's been a lot of talk out on the streets about whether or not I can still hold my own, whether or not I'm still good at producing. That was the ultimate motivation for me. Magazines, word of mouth and rap tabloids were saying I didn't have it any more. What more do I need to do? How many platinum records have I made? O.K., here's the album -- now what do you have to say?" Point made... Key Tracks: Forgot About Dre, The Next Episode, What's The Difference.
19) The Notorious BIG-Life After Death --(1997)-This double album released posthumously featured guest artists 112, Jay-Z, Lil Kim, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, R. Kelly, The LOX, Kelly Price, and Puff Daddy. Considered a seminal mafioso rap album, it is one of three hip hop albums to ever be certified diamond (10 million US sold). Key Tracks: Notorious Thugs, Hypnotize, Ten Crack Commandments.
20) Run D.M.C.- Run DMC--(1984) Run DMC's debut effort was the first hip-hop album to ever receive a 5-mic rating from The Source. Key Tracks: Rock Box, It's Like That, Sucker M.C.'s
21) Beastie Boys- Licensed To Ill ---(1986)-Some fast facts: It is the first rap LP to top the Billboard 200 chart. It is Columbia Records' fastest selling debut record to date. Kerry King of Slayer made an appearance on the album playing lead guitar on "No Sleep 'Till Brooklyn". The '3MTA3' on the cover image of the plane spells 'EATME' when viewed in a mirror. The original title for the album was Don't Be a Faggot but Columbia Records refused to release the album and pressured Russell Simmons into having the Beastie Boys to come up with another name. Key Tracks: Fight for Your Right, No Sleep Til Brooklyn, She's Crafty.
22) 2Pac- Me Against The World --(1995) Recorded in a matter of weeks before Pac was to go to prison on sexual assault charges, MATW would make the embattled rapper the first and only artist to ever have a number one album while serving a prison sentence. Key Tracks: Dear Mama, Me Against the World, Outlaw.
23) Eminem- The Marshall Mathers LP --(2000) Em's third studio album was gritty, angry, and brutally honest, lashing out against critics and illustrating the troubles that his new found fame had induced. The album sold more than 1.79 million copies in its first week in the US alone, making it the fastest selling solo album ever. Key Tracks: Stan, The Way I Am, The Real Slim Shady?
24) Ice Cube- AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted --(1990) Primarily produced by The Bomb Squad, AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted made use of several tracks Cube had originally written for NWA before their acrimonious split. Taking on the American justice system, race relations, poverty, and drug addiction in South Central, L.A., Cube produced an instant classic that is as powerful today as it was two decades ago. Key Tracks: AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted, Endangered Species, Who's the Mack?.
25) Jay-Z- The Blueprint--Despite the bad fortune of being released on September 11, 2001, The Blueprint sold over 426,000 copies in its opening week, becoming Jay-Z's fourth consecutive album to reach number one on the Billboard 200 chart. Produced by Kanye West and Just Blaze, it was reportedly cut in two weeks, with Jay-Z allegedly writing the lyrics in two days. Key Tracks: Izzo (H.O.V.A.), Renegade, Girls, Girls, Girls.
26) Big L- Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous --(1995) Like Biggie's Ready to Die, Lifestylez was the only studio album to be dropped prior to it's author's murder. The tremendously underrated LP introduced up-and-comers Jay-Z and Cam'ron. Key Tracks: Put It On, M.V.P., Street Struck.
27) Mobb Deep- The Infamous...--(1995) This rap duo is the third act on this list to hail from Queensbridge. Key Tracks: Shook Ones Pt. II, Temperature's Rising, Survival of the Fittest.
28) LL Cool J- Radio --(1985) This first full length album release on Def Jam Records was primarily produced by co-founder Rick Rubin. Key Tracks: I Can't Live Without My Radio, Rock the Bells, I Need a Beat.
29) Outkast- ATLiens --(1996) "It's deep. So deep that listening to 'ATLiens' you might feel like drowning, but the smooth vocals of Big Boi and the earthy flows of Andre always push you back up to the surface. They are players in the truest sense of the word; not just playing for ends but playing to win in the ultimate battle of life over death, good over bad, and righteousness over evil." --Steve Juon, RapReviews. Key Tracks: ATLiens, Wheelz of Steel, Two Dope Boyz (In a Cadillac).
30) Run DMC- Raising Hell --(1986) One of the most important rap albums ever for its success in taking the infant the genre mainstream, Raising Hell silenced critics who had deemed hip hop a passing fad. It made its biggest mark with Walk This Way, a collaboration with Aerosmith that became the first hip hop video in heavy rotation on MTV. Key Tracks: Its Tricky, Walk This Way, My Adidas.
31) Bone Thugs N Harmony- E. Eternal 1999 --(1995) Released four months after executive producer Eazy-E's death, Eternal spawned the landmark single "Tha Crossroads", which won a Grammy, went double-platinum, and tied The Beatles' 32-year-old record (1964's "Can't Buy Me Love") for the fastest rising single on the pop charts. Key Tracks: The Crossroads, 1st of tha Month, East 1999.
32) Black Star- Mos Def and Talib Kweli Are Black Star- (1998) The sole album from this power duo, the hyper-intelligent Black Star moniker is a nod to the Black Star Line, an early 20th-century African-American shipping line incorporated by Marcus Garvey. Key Tracks: Definition, Brown Skin Lady, Respiration.
33) Nas- Stillmatic --(2001) Nas harkened back to his Illmatic days with his fifth release, 2001's Stillmatic, which instantly earned the ever sought 5 mic rating from The Source. Highlighting the achievement was Nas' bitter rebuke of Jay-Z with the "Ether", a scathing counterattack that portrayed his rival as both a plagiarist and sell-out. Key Tracks: Got Ur Self A..., One Mic, Ether.
34) GZA- Liquid Swords --(1995) GZA's second solo album is up alongside Cuban Linx as the best of the Wu-Tang solo efforts. Key Tracks: Duel of the Iron Mic, Liquid Swords, Shadowboxin'.
35) Lauryn Hill- The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill --(1998) After breaking out with The Fugees, Hill released her solo debut in 1998, a fusion of hip hop, soul, reggae, R&B, and gospel. The album garnered ten nominations at the 41st Grammy Awards, winning five, including Best New Artist and Album of the Year. Key Tracks: Doo Wop (That Thing), To Zion, Everything Is Everything.
36) Mos Def- Black On Both Sides --(1999) Mos Def's debut solo album post-Blackstar featured live instrumentation and socially-conscious lyrics. Key Tracks: Ms. Fat Booty, Brooklyn, Mathematics.
37) Wu-Tang Clan- Wu-Tang Forever --(1997) The long-awaited follow-up to 36 Chambers, Forever showcased their trademark stream-of-consciousness style of rap. Key Tracks: Triumph, Visionz, As High As Wu-Tang Get.
38) Jay-Z- The Black Album --(2003) J's 8th studio album was promoted as his last, though he would obviously renege on that pronouncement not long after. This epic has been mixed with everything from the Beatles and Grateful Dead to Linkin Park and Prince. Key Tracks: What More Can I Say, Dirt off Your Shoulder, 99 Problems.
39) Cypress Hill- Black Sunday --(1993) This stoner opus marked the first time a Latino group would go platinum. They would later be banned from Saturday Night Live after Muggs smoked a joint on-air and the band trashed their instruments while playing their second single "I Ain't Goin' Out Like That". Key Tracks: Insane In The Brain, Hits From The Bong, I Ain't Goin' Out Like That.
40) Gang Starr- Moment of Truth--(1998) The fifth studio album from DJ Premier and the late great Guru (Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal), Moment of Truth was the high water mark within a brilliant, nearly two decade-long career. Key Tracks: You Know My Steez, Brooklyn Trooper, Moment of Truth.
41) De La Soul- 3 Feet High and Rising--(1989) Produced by Prince Paul, the album takes its title from a Johnny Cash song called "Five Feet High and Rising". Key Tracks: Me Myself and I, Buddy, Eye Know.
42) Eminem- The Slim Shady LP --(1999)-For a kid in 6th grade, I remember exactly where I was when I first heard Eminem introduce himself to the world. This was something unlike anybody I'd ever heard; raw, revealing, humorous, and at the same time brutally violent. The album erupted a firestorm of opposition, as parental groups balked at lyrics that discussed everything from drugging a fifteen-year-old girl to disposing of Em's dead wife's corpse. Key Tracks: Guilty Conscience, My Name Is, '97 Bonnie & Clyde.
43) Beastie Boys- Paul's Boutique --(1989) Incorporating production by the Dust Brothers, the album makes use of samples from 105 different songs. The sampling was uncleared, which was one of the last albums to do so before the landmark Grand Upright Music, Ltd. v. Warner Bros. Records Inc. case against Biz Markie that forced artists to obtain the rights to any song from which they sampled. Key Tracks: Hey Ladies, Shake Your Rump, The Sounds of Science.
44) Big Pun-Capital Punishment--(1998) As The Source put it, "Capital Punishment is all about execution." To be sure, Pun positively killed it in this debut effort, his spitfire rhyming skills asserting him as one of the most promising figures in hip hop before a heart attack killed him just two short years later. Key Tracks: Still Not a Player, Twinz (Deep Cover 98), You Came Up.
45) EPMD- Strictly Business --(1988) This landmark effort from Eric Sermon and Parish Smith unearthed samples from within a genre to which few other rappers of the era were paying much attention. Contained within its tracks are cuts from ZZ Top, Steve Miller Band, and Eric Clapton. Key Tracks: It's My Thing, Strictly Business, You Gots to Chill.
46) The Roots- Things Fall Apart --(1999) The Roots' fourth studio offering turned out to be their commercial breakthrough. During recording, the group laid down an astonishing 145 songs, which they later whittled down to the 14 that appear on the album. Key Tracks: Adrenaline!, The Next Movement, Act Too (The Love of My Life).
47) Wyclef Jean- The Carnival --(1997) Wyclef kicked off his solo debut with an electric record that combined hip hop, reggae, folk, disco, soul, Son Cubano and Haitian music. As a tribute to his homeland, the final three songs are sung in Haitian Creole. Key Tracks: Gone Till November, We Trying to Stay Alive, Guantanamera
48) Jurassic 5- Quality Control-- (2000) The major label debut of Chali 2na and company played a central role in the development of the alternative rap scene that was burgeoning around the turn of the century. Key Tracks: Quality Control, The Influence, World of Entertainment (W.O.E. is Me)
49) Puff Daddy & the Family- No Way Out --(1997) Originally titled 'Hell Up In Harlem' until the The Notorious B.I.G.'s death, the album topped the album charts in the US with 561,000 units sold in its first week of release. It would go on to win the 1998 Grammy Award for Best Rap Album. Key Tracks: Victory, Been Around the World, It's All about the Benjamins.
50) Busta Rhymes- When Disaster Strikes... --(1997) Busta's second solo effort reached #3 on the Billboard 200. Key Tracks: Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See, Dangerous, Turn It Up.
Pete Rock and CL Smooth- Mecca and the Soul Brother, Method Man-Tical, Outcast-Stankonia, Nas-I Am..., LL Cool J-Mama Said Knock You Out, Beastie Boys-Check Your Head, Notorious BIG-Born Again, Run DMC-King Of Rock, Ice T-O.G. Original Gangster, Missy Eliot-Supa Dupa Fly, A Tribe Called Quest-Midnight Marauders, Salt N Pepa- Blacks Magic, Kurtis Blow-Kurtis Blow, Big Daddy Kane-Its a Big Daddy Thing, Eric B. & Rakim-Follow the Leader, Gang Starr-Daily Operation, Common-Like Water for Chocolate, KRS One-KRS One, Kanye West-The College Dropout, 50 Cent-Get Rich or Die Tryin', Eminem- The Eminem Show, Nas-It Was Written, Public Enemy-Fear of A Black Planet, DMX- Its Dark and Hell is Hot.
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