TV Review: Bloodline (2015-2017)



Bloodline is about a close knit family, one of whom is a “black sheep”, named the Rayburns and takes place down in Florida. There are the parents, Robert and Sally (Sissy Spacek), who own the Rayburn family inn which is a popular vacation spot in the keys of Florida. Then there are the four adult siblings: John (Kyle Chandler), Danny (Ben Mendelsohn), Meg, and Kevin. After a horrific boating accident that killed their sister Sarah when they were all young, Danny is blamed by his father for her death since he was out on the boat. He was beaten by his father to the point where he needed to go to the hospital, but Sally told her other children to lie about what happened and say Danny got hurt in a car accident. Danny was never able to forgive his family for this, and became an outcast over the years, until he returned home years later threatening to reveal the truth about that day.


I thought this series was very interesting because they do a compelling job of exploring an age old question: How far would you go for family? The Rayburns had no problem covering up the events surrounding their sister’s death and Danny’s beating. However, things start to get more complicated when Danny begins running a drug operation through the inn. The other siblings are forced to cover this up as well so the inn remains out of trouble. The biggest problem, however, occurs at the end of season 1 when John gets in a fight with Danny after he threatens his family and ends up killing him. Once again, the siblings do their best to cover this up, but things slowly fall apart as the lies keep piling on and the family begins to get exposed.


I think it can be tough to know what we would do if put in the situation of someone like John Rayburn. He is forced to choose between his brother and his family. He does what he thinks is right, but it continues to haunt him for the rest of his life. Even after all of the investigations are over and he comes out cleanly, he continues to have dreams and thoughts about Danny in his head. I think it goes to show that, no matter how much of an outcast and how bad someone might seem, there’s always going to be the family connection. It’s why this series is called Bloodline. Despite their differences and the bad things that every one of them has done, the Rayburns always tried their best to stand up for and support each other, even when crimes were committed and lives were at stake. What would you do if a family member committed a crime that you knew about? It’s a fascinating struggle between the moral and relational parts of our brain, and shows that a strong family bond can be among the most powerful of influences.


I was a little disappointed with how the series ended because I thought there were still more questions to be answered, but overall I really enjoyed the drama throughout the whole series. I thought every episode was gripping and it is one of the few shows where I did a lot of binge watching to find out what happened next. I would highly recommend watching Bloodline and give it an 8.5/10.

Let me know your thoughts on the show in the comments down below.


Posted in TV/Movies | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2017 NBA Finals Preview and Prediction


#2 Cleveland Cavaliers vs. #1 Golden State Warriors (-240)


What seemed like a predetermined outcome before the season has finally arrived. The Cavaliers will face the Warriors in the NBA Finals for a third consecutive year, with each team having won one of the previous two championships. There are plenty of story lines to watch for in these Finals. Cleveland will try to defend it’s title while Golden State seeks revenge after blowing a 3-1 lead last year. Kevin Durant is looking for his first championship in his first year with the Warriors, while Steph Curry is looking to avoid another disappointing Finals performance. Lebron is looking to even up his Finals record at 4-4 as he continues to chase the ghost of Jordan. With injuries and suspensions hovering around the last two Finals matchups, the rubber match may finally deliver the clean and hard fought matchup that NBA fans have been waiting for.


The Cavaliers are heading into the Finals as underdogs, so if they’re going to have a chance, their trio of All Stars will have to step up big time. The Warriors will no doubt give a lot of attention to Lebron while on defense, so Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love will have to consistently hit shots off of the open looks they will get as a result of Lebron double teams. Lebron will have to hit some jump shots as well, since players like Durant, Draymond Green, and Javale McGee will be there to protect the rim and keep Lebron from consistently driving to the hole. The key for the Warriors will be to play aggressive defense but not get into foul trouble early. The Cavs second unit will need to step up as well. Players like Richard Jefferson, Channing Frye, and JR Smith can provide a much needed spark off the bench and will have to keep pace with a very good Warriors bench if they want to be competitive for the entire game.


For the Warriors, the game plan is pretty simple: Get the ball to your best players and let them go to work. With a multitude of options, the Warriors are deadly on the offensive side of the ball. After leading the NBA in points during the regular season, they’ve put up even more in the playoffs and are outscoring teams by an NBA record 16 points per game en route to the first 12-0 start in NBA postseason history. Kevin Durant, one of the elite scorers in the game, has made the Warriors better on defense as well. Sharpshooters Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson have the ability to heat up from 3 at any point, and versatile big man Draymond Green can defend all positions on the floor. Then you add in bench players like Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, and Javale McGee, and you have a Warriors team that simply looks unstoppable.



Let me know your thoughts and predictions in the comments down below.



Posted in NBA, Sports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thank you Isaiah Thomas for one of the most Legendary Seasons in Celtics’ History


Nobody in the world could have predicted the type of season that Boston Celtics’ point guard Isaiah Thomas had this year…except for Thomas himself. The 60th and final pick of the 2011 NBA draft has been doubted his entire life, and that’s exactly what has made him into an All Star and the best player on the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference. Even as Thomas was well on his way to a historic season this year, the doubters were always there in full force. Everyone kept saying he reached his ceiling, and that there was no way he would be able to keep up the pace he was playing at. Again and again, IT proved the doubters wrong and it led to one of the most legendary seasons in the history of the storied franchise that is the Boston Celtics.

IT king in the fourth

Isaiah Thomas averaged 28.9 points per game, 5.9 assists, 2.7 rebounds, and a 26.6 PER during the regular season. However, the numbers don’t tell the whole story. Thomas was unbelievably clutch throughout the entire season, average 9.8 points per game in the fourth quarter to lead the Eastern Conference, including a 29 point fourth quarter explosion against Miami in December to break Larry Bird’s franchise record for points in a quarter. Thomas also set a career high in that same game with 52 points, which was the fourth highest total by a Celtic in franchise history. However, Thomas took it to another level in January. He averaged 32.9 PPG, the third highest monthly total in franchise history behind Paul Pierce and Larry Bird, and 6.9 assists en route to being named Easter Conference player of the month. That same months, the Celtics went 10-4 to take over first place in their division and Thomas was named to his second straight All-Star game.


However, IT4 wasn’t done yet. In February, Thomas broke John Havlicek’s franchise record of 40 straight 20 point games, finishing with 43 consecutive 20 point games before the streak was snapped against Atlanta on February 27th. In March, Thomas became just the third player in Celtics history to hit 200 threes in a season, and the sixth player in franchise history to score 2000 points in a season. The Boston Celtics finished the regular season as the #1 seed in the East for the first time since 2008, largely due to the play of Isaiah Thomas. That wasn’t enough to satisfy IT however. Criticisms of his recent playoff performances and the Celtics not being able to get out of the first round in the last two years provided plenty of motivation.

Despite learning of the tragic news of his sister’s death right before the playoffs, Thomas led the Celtics to a 4-2 series win over the Bulls in the first round. He then attended his sister’s funeral after Game 6 and came back to put up 33 points and 9 assists in Game 1 against the Wizards. He topped that with a mind-blowing 53 points, second highest in Celtics postseason history, in a Game 2 overtime win. The Celtics would go on to win the series in 7 games to reach their first Eastern Conference Finals since 2012. In Game 2, Thomas injured his hip which ended his season, but it will go down as one of the greatest in Celtics history.

From all of Celtics nation, thank you Isaiah Thomas for an incredible and inspirational season of basketball.


Posted in NBA, Sports | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reaction to HBO’s Bernie Madoff Documentary: The Wizard of Lies (2017)

The Wizard of Lies is HBO’s newest documentary which takes a look at Bernie Madoff and the biggest financial fraud scheme in recorded history. The film starts Robert De Niro as Bernie Madoff and Michelle Pfeiffer as his wife. The powerful documentary takes a look at the impact of a $65 billion dollar ponzi scheme on not just all of the victims who invested, but also on Madoff’s friends, family, and loved ones.


The following definition from Investopedia describes exactly what a ponzi scheme is:

A Ponzi scheme is an investment fraud where clients are promised a large profit at little to no risk. Companies that engage in a Ponzi scheme focus all of their energy into attracting new clients to make investments. This new income is used to pay original investors their returns, marked as a profit from a legitimate transaction. Ponzi schemes rely on a constant flow of new investments to continue to provide returns to older investors. When this flow runs out, the scheme falls apart.

Something I found interesting during this film is exactly how long this had been going on. Madoff started his company in 1960, and although he admitted to not having traded since 1996, many people believe the fraud may have been going on all the way back to the early 1980s or late 1970s. It took all the way until 2008, when one of worst stock market crashes in the country’s history happened, for the scheme to finally be exposed due to investors demands to withdraw money when there wasn’t enough money coming in to satisfy these demands.


One of my biggest takeaways from this documentary can be summed up by a quote by one of Madoff’s sons when being questions by the FBI. When the FBI asks him how he didn’t know about his father’s crime, he angrily responds “How did I not know?! You’re the FBI. How the fuck did you not know?!” This is in fact a very valid question. As evil as the entire scheme was, the government’s incompetence to conduct multiple botched investigations and ignore obvious evidence and warnings signs over a decades long stretch may have been just as bad. The SEC conducted multiple investigations over the years into Madoff’s company and failed to find anything.

Financial analyst Harry Markopolos pointed out in 1999 that it was impossible for Madoff’s company to generate the returns it was claiming. He said it took him five minutes to the conclude the numbers didn’t add up. Instead, he was repeatedly ignored by the SEC offices in both Boston and New York for ten years until the scheme finally unraveled. Madoff himself admitted that he was essentially banking on the incompetence of the government to keep his scheme alive, which really says all you need to know about the leaders of our country.


The truly tragic part of this documentary, aside from all of the victims who lost their life savings, was the impact on Madoff’s family who trusted Bernie and had no knowledge of any wrongdoing. The family had to endure the wrath of the public eye simply because of their associations with Bernie Madoff. Things got so bad that one of Madoff’s sons committed suicide just two years after the scandal became public. In the film, Ruth Madoff tells Bernie how she has no skills, no friends, that she needs him because she would have nothing else without him. It is truly tragic that those with the Madoff family name will forever unfairly be associated with the unthinkable crimes that Bernie Madoff committed.

madoff jail

The last thing I found interesting about this documentary was at the very end when he was being interviewed in jail. He mentions to the interviewer that he was upset because he came across an article comparing him to serial killer Ted Bundy. He says there is no comparison because he never killed anyone like Bundy did. Then the film ends as he asks the woman interviewing him “Do you think I am a sociopath?” The camera slowly zooms in on his face before fading out to credits with no response from the interviewer. I think this is a powerful scene and a great ending because it really does make you think: Is the crime Madoff committed actually as bad as what a serial killer has done? Sure, Madoff didn’t kill anyone directly, but he ruined thousands upon thousands of lives and left a lifetime’s worth of damage behind him. For that reason, you can make the case that he is one of the most evil men to ever live.

Thanks to everyone for reading this blog. Please let me know what your thoughts and comments are in the comments down below.


Posted in Miscellaneous, TV/Movies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2017 NBA Eastern Conference Finals Preview and Prediction


#2 Cleveland Cavaliers vs. #1 Boston Celtics (+375)


The Boston Celtics will open up the Eastern Conference Finals at home against the Cavaliers as big underdogs despite being the #1 seed in the East. The Cavaliers are coming off back to back sweeps to start the playoffs, while the Celtics had two long, grueling series, including a Game 7, to get this far. Cleveland is trying to reach the NBA Finals for a third straight year, while the Celtics are making their first conference finals appearance since 2012 against Lebron’s Miami Heat.

NBA: Boston Celtics at Cleveland Cavaliers

One of the keys to this series will the point guard battle. Both players are known for their elite scoring abilities but both have been mediocre on defense. It will be interesting to see how the Celtics match up against Kyrie, because Avery Bradley may end up being the one doing the majority of defending. The starting lineups for the Celtics in this series will also be key, since the Celtics cannot afford to get off to slow starts or give up big runs like they did in the previous round against Washington. They need to find a lineup that works and stick with it for consistency. Meanwhile, the Cavs Big 3 will likely do the majority of the damage against the Celtics. Boston has struggled with rebounding and will really have to lock down the boards against guys like Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson, and even Lebron.


Talent-wise, the Celtics are way overmatched, so if they are going to have a chance in this series it will come down to coaching. As mentioned earlier, the starting lineups will be key in this series. Bench play will be important too. If the Celtics get off to a slow start, it will be crucial for the bench to provide the spark that gets them back in the game rather than put them in a deeper hole. However, at the end of the day I think Cleveland is too good of a team to lose this series even without home court advantage. Cavaliers in 5.

Let me know what your thoughts on the series are in the comments down below.



Posted in NBA, Sports | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2017 NBA Western Conference Finals Preview and Prediction


#2 San Antonio Spurs vs. #1 Golden State Warriors (-1600)

spurs warriors

What if I told you a team that won 61 games in the regular season and finished with the 2nd best record in the entire NBA opened as a monumental 16 to 1 underdog in the Western Conference Finals? That is the task facing the San Antonio Spurs, who will take on the mighty Golden State Warriors for a berth in the NBA Finals. These two teams last met in the playoffs in 2013 when the Spurs beat the Warriors in 6 in the Western Conference Semifinals. Both of these teams have made the playoffs each year since then, but it took four years before we finally get the rematch.


The key to this series will be the two men pictured above. Kevin Durant came to the Warriors to win a championship, and he has been arguably their best player over the regular season and certainly in the postseason. KD’s defensive presence has a been key in helping the Warriors cruise to an 8-0 start in the playoffs this year. Meanwhile, MVP candidate Kawhi Leonard has been even better in the playoffs, averaging 28 PPG, 8 RPG, and 5 APG while carrying the Spurs past a tough Rockets game without Tony Parker. One of the best defender’s in the league will have to find a way to slow the formidable Golden State offense.


Apart from the two superstars, the supporting cast and bench is where the Warriors will have a massive advantage in this series. Stephen Curry is putting up 27 points and 6 assists per game as he aims to prove people wrong who criticized him during last year’s mediocre yet injury-riddled playoffs. Along with Klay Thompson, the Warriors backcourt will have a big advantage against a Tony Parker-less backcourt that will have to start some combination of Dejounte Murray, Patty Mills, and Jonathan Simmons. This means LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol will have to step up in the front court against Draymond Green and Zaza Pachulia. The fourth member of the Warriors “Big 4” has a been a triple double threat once again in these playoffs and rounds out a historically good starting 5 for the Warriors.


As if having a dominant starting starting lineup wasn’t enough, the Warriors also have a big advantage in this series with their bench. Shaun Livingston and 2015 NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala both provide a huge spark off the bench for the Warriors. Backup center Javale McGee has also been a nice pickup for the Warriors this season as well. Manu Ginobili, Patty Mills, and the rest of the Spurs second unit will have their hands full this series with the Warriors second unit. As a result, this could lead to some interesting lineups this series. Coach Gregg Popovich will have to find a way to throw out optimal lineups and show the Warriors as many different looks as possible if he wants to have a chance in this series. With Warriors coach Steve Kerr sidelined, coaching may be the Spurs only advantage.


The bottom line for this series, unless major injuries occur, is that the San Antonio Spurs have absolutely no chance to beat the Golden State Warriors. This Warriors team is on a mission to get revenge against the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals, and they have way too much talent not to do so. The Spurs may win a game because they are the Spurs and have the best coach in the NBA, but that’s about it. Warriors defeat Spurs in 5.

Let me know your prediction for this series in the comments down below.



Posted in NBA, Sports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2017 NBA Conference Semifinals Preview and Predictions


#4 Washington Wizards vs. #1 Boston Celtics

Washington Wizards v Boston Celtics

I will admit that I am writing this preview after the conclusion of Game 1. However, as someone who was there in TD Garden to watch them play, I can promise you that my thoughts and predictions on this game remain the same. This series will produce arguably the best back court matchups in Round 2 as John Wall and Bradley Beal’s dynamic scoring will match up against Avery Bradley’s stifling defense and the NBA’s 3rd leading scorer Isaiah Thomas. I think the Wizards big man Marcin Gortat will be a big X factor in this series. The Celtics have had rebounding problems all season and if Gortat starts to collect offensive rebounds and kicks them out for Bradley Beal threes, the Wizards could have an advantage down low. It will also be an interesting coaching matchup with Brad Stevens, who struggled in Round 1 vs. Chicago, against playoff veteran Scott Brooks. Celtics win a hard fought 7 game series.


#3 Toronto Raptors at #2 Cleveland Cavaliers


In a rematch of the 2016 Eastern Conference Finals, Kyle Lowry and Demar Derozan face off against Lebron James and Kyrie Irving as the Raptors battle the Cavaliers. Cleveland won last year’s series in 6 before eventually winning the NBA title, but Raptors have a different look than last year. Toronto acquired both Serge Ibaka and PJ Tucker during the season to boost their defense. Demar Derozan has been a star on the offensive end with 27 PPG and the NBA’s fifth leading scorer. However, Lebron James is having another great season and the Cavs are rounding back into form after a mediocre regular season. I think series will end up looking similar to what happened last year in the Eastern Conference Finals. Toronto will win a couple games at home, but ultimately Cleveland overwhelms them and wins in 6.



#5 Utah Jazz at #1 Golden State Warriors

NBA: Utah Jazz at Golden State Warriors

One of these teams will be much more well-rested than the other. Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, and the Golden State Warriors had the opportunity for a long rest after sweeping away the Portland Trail Blazers. Meanwhile, Gordon Hayward and the Utah Jazz just capped off a long seven game series against the Clippers. The Jazz have the opportunity to give the Warriors some trouble with their defense, anchored by big man Rudy. However, even Joe Johnson’s resurgence won’t be enough to give the Jazz any hope in this series. The Warriors Big 4 will be overwhelm the inexperienced Jazz, and Golden State will cruise to a sweep in this series.


#3 Houston Rockets at #2 San Antonio Spurs

rockets spurs

The battle of Texas may be the best series of the 2nd round as the second and third best teams in the NBA face off against each other. MVP candidate James Harden leads Mike D’Antoni’s hire powered offense while fellow MVP candidate Kahwi Leonard heads up Gregg Popovich’s Spurs. This should prove to be an interesting series with two veteran teams and two veteran coaches who have been there in the playoffs before. San Antonio stumbled in this spot last year while falling to the Thunder, and the Rockets failed to make it to the second round. James Harden struggled at times against the Thunder in the first round, but had enough around him to help out. Meanwhile, Kahwi Leonard played out of his mind against the Grizzlies and has been on a tear since March. I think the Spurs have the better team and Houston cannot defend Kawhi. While the Rockets may shoot themselves to a couple of victories, San Antonio wins the series in 6 games.

Let me know your thoughts and predictions in the comments down below.


Posted in NBA, Sports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment