Winners and Losers, 2016

Well, as John Oliver rightly noted, 2016 was not a good year. And while I’ll do my best to keep updating this space, regular readers (if there is such a thing) can vouch that I’ve been lacking in posts; mostly because it feels like the world is falling apart. (I say this not as a wholly political statement; for instance, Alan Thicke and Florence Henderson and George Michael have passed while I’ve been working on this draft. Update: Carrie Fisher, too.) But with that said, entertainment is often a good way to express discontent with the current political and social climate, and can often serve as a distraction from, well, our impending doom. So enough prologue: I humbly submit the winners and losers of the entertainment world that were on my radar in 2016.

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De Niro v. Hoffman: Battle of the Best


As my family is wont to do, this past weekend we got into a discussion about who the greater actor is, Dustin Hoffman or Robert De Niro. My parents were adamant that Hoffman is superior, while my brother and I were steadfast that you’ve gotta go with Bob, end of story. My argument essentially boiled down to two main factors: De Niro’s peak was better than Hoffman’s, and his longevity (before schlock like “Rocky and Bullwinkle”) surpassed Hoffman’s.

One of my favorite baseball writers, Jay Jaffe, developed a score system called JAWS. Very simply (perhaps inelegantly) put, JAWS looks at a baseball player’s career WAR (Wins Above Replacement), as well as his peak seven seasons. What Jaffe is interested in is the player’s total career, as well as the standout seasons that made the player great. While I’m not a statistician or well-versed in sabermetrics, I’m going to (very loosely) apply his methodology to, again, show, that De Niro surpasses Hoffman. Now, I know that some people may choose Rotten Tomatoes scores, Oscar nominations, and the like to award “points” to each actor, and deduct said “points” for box-office flops or just bad performances. This is my blog. I’m not coming up with a fancy system. I’m just coming up with proof to show I’m right, by comparing the two actors’ IMDB resumes. Without further ado, De Niro v. Hoffman Continue reading