Winners & Losers Of 2010 (Part Four)

Winner:  Chicago Black Hawks

It had been nearly 50 years since this Original Six franchise last hoisted Lord Stanley’s silver cup.  In 2010, the drought finally ended.

After winning 52 of their 82 regular season games, The Hawks were more than ready for the post-season, their second consecutive trip after years of early vacations.  The Nashville Predators went down in six in round one.  Vancouver were also beaten in six in round two.  The Conference Final against The San Jose Sharks resulted in a sweep, four straight victories. 

Then came The Philadelphia Flyers in the final series.  The Hawks were hoping for a better result than their last Stanley Cup Final appearance in 1992.  (That year, they lost to The Pittsburgh Penguins.)  By the sixth and decisive game, it took an overtime goal by Patrick Kane to seal the deal.  As a result, The Chicago Black Hawks won their fourth Stanley Cup, their first since 1961.  Is a fifth on the way next year?

Loser:  Joaquin Phoenix

My friend was right.  It was all a scam.

During an infamous 2009 appearance on Late Show With David Letterman, this Oscar nominated thespian seemed off his rocker.  Showing up in a nice suit while wearing shades, the bearded, unkempt actor spoke little, chewed gum and just sat there as the host went to work on him. 

At the time, Phoenix was the subject of a documentary called I’m Still Here which reportedly details the start of his rap career (and a lot of self-destruction) after he announced his retirement from Hollywood.  Fans and the media were divided on what to make of it.  Some said it was all a hoax while others thought it was totally sincere.  The rest of us were entirely confused.  What was really going on?

Shortly after the film’s release this past September, the truth finally came out.  It was indeed a mockumentary, not reality.  Director Casey Affleck admitted as much in an interview with Roger Ebert.

So, was this elaborate plan to deceive the world successful?  Hardly.  Reviews were decidedly mixed.  Rotten Tomatoes gave it a rotten rating of 54%.  Financially, it was a total stiff.  I’m Still Here made less than $600,000 globally.  (It’s now available on DVD.)

As of this writing, it’s not certain what Phoenix’s next project will be.  But he will likely return to film acting in the near future.

Winner:  The Arcade Fire

This Montreal collective returned with yet another stellar album.   Released in the summer, “The Suburbs”, like Funeral and Neon Bible, their two previous releases, received glowing critical notices.  It was named Album Of The Year by Exclaim!, a Canadian publication, as well as Clash Magazine and Q Magazine, both based in Britain.  Entertainment Weekly named it the second best album of 2010, right behind Kanye West’s latest.  Billboard Magazine and NME also placed it in the runner-up position.  (Click here for Wikipedia’s list of the album’s end-of-year achievements.)   The track We Used To Wait was named the fifth best single by Rolling Stone which also slotted “The Suburbs” in the number 4 spot on its Top 30 Albums list.  It’s already gone Gold in the United Kingdom and has sold nearly 400,000 copies in the United States, a total that will likely go up in the coming weeks. 

Later in the year, the band played a two-song set on Saturday Night Live.  (The Suburbs was the best of the two performances.)  Then, came the Grammy nominations.  The band received its third consecutive Best Alternative Music Album nomination.  After two losses, the third time will be the charm.  Ready To Start was singled out in the Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals category. 

But the most important nomination was for Album Of The Year, a stunning achievement for a band that’s never had a Top 40 hit nor a Platinum selling album in America.  How phenomenal would it be for Canada and the music business if “The Suburbs” actually won?  A lad can only dream.

Loser:  Actors Accused Of Violent Crime

In 2005, Shelley Malil appeared in The 40-Year-Old Virgin, a blockbuster romantic comedy that kept him working steadily in Hollywood.  Three years later, he lost his mind.

In 2007, Malil got involved with Kendra Beebe, a single mom he met through the online personals.  It was not a happy relationship due to the Indian actor’s volatility and thievery.  In August 2008, he paid her a personal apologetic visit to return the items he stole from her only to find Beebe drinking wine with another man.  Irrationally enraged, he stabbed her 23 times with a kitchen knife.

Beebe suffered severe injuries but incredibly survived the terrifying ordeal.  Malil was arrested shortly thereafter for attempted murder, mayhem and burglary.  More charges were added after the initial apprehension.

By late 2010, the case was finally resolved when a jury convicted Malil of attempted premeditated murder and assault with a deadly weapon.  He’s been sentenced to life with the possibility of parole within the next 9 to 12 years.  For his part, he apologized to Beebe who, in turn, hopes he was sincere in his regret.

Then, there was the bizarre story of Michael Brea.  Best known for playing “Man In Restaurant” in an episode of Ugly Betty, the 31-year-old actor has been accused of murdering his mom with a three-foot sword.  He’s facing charges of second degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon.  The New York Daily News later interviewed Brea at Bellevue Hospital.  Based on his quotes, he appears to be suffering from extreme delusions.  Admitting his guilt, he claimed he was ordered by God to kill the Devil he believed was hiding inside his mother who he reportedly had a close relationship with.  Incredibly, his family is supporting him publicly while acknowledging the reality of his steep mental decline.  The case will likely go to trial next year.

Finally, there’s Amy Locane.  Nearly 20 years ago, she was on Melrose Place and co-starred with Brendan Fraser in the moving School Ties.  Now she’s facing jail time for not one but two alleged drunk driving incidents.

On a Sunday night in late June, the Miss Connections star and married mom of two young children hit one car on the passenger side as it was pulling into a driveway, according to The New Jersey Star-Ledger.  When the driver called for help, Locane fled the scene.  The driver followed her and later told police that the actress was “swerving and knocking down several mailboxes.”  (Locane later confessed to police she had several glasses of wine before getting into her SUV.)

The chase lasted 17 miles and ended in tragedy.  Locane struck another vehicle from behind killing a female passenger and seriously injuring her husband. 

Six months later, she was indicted on charges of second degree vehicular homicide and third degree assault by automobile.  If convicted without a plea arrangement, Locane faces a 5 to 10 year prison stint.  According to New Jersey law, she’ll have to serve at least 85% of  that sentence.

Three careers instantly derailed by either poor choices or severe mental illness.  How incredibly sad.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Friday, December 31, 2010
12:05 a.m.

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Published in: on December 31, 2010 at 12:06 am  Leave a Comment  

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