Monthly Archives: December 2007

Looking Back at Last Year’s Predictions

I published 20 predictions for 2007 in my year-end North Star column last year; let’s take a look at how I did:
-The first year of the Democratic-controlled Congress will be marked mostly by rampant gridlock and partisanship, with next to no major pieces of legislation emerging.
RIGHT. Not that that was the hardest thing in the world to predict.
-There will be an assassination attempt made on a major American political figure, with a controversy to follow about whether YouTube can legally host the footage.
RIGHT on the first part, WRONG on the second- the attempt on Dick Cheney’s life in Afghanistan sure counts, though he wasn’t exactly standing near the guy who tried to kill him.
– Hillary Clinton will shock everyone by announcing that shes not running for president and Al Gore will step into the void. However, Barack Obama will remain the Democratic frontrunner into 2008, after Bill Clinton endorses him over his own former vice president.
WRONG, WRONG, PROBABLY WRONG (depending on which poll you believe), and WRONG
– The question of who emerges as the conservative Republican alternative to John McCain will remain unresolved as the year ends, with Mitt Romney, Sam Brownback and Newt Gingrich all enjoying brief honeymoons as the favorite of the right-wing blogger and activist crowds, before being deemed insufficiently anti-immigration and/or anti-gay. Early on, Rudy Giuliani will decide not to run, instead endorsing McCain.
RIGHT about the uncertainty, WRONG about Rudy not running, Gingrich running, and Brownback having a honeymoon.
– Scooter Libbys trial, as well as various hearings held in Congress, will result in numerous shocking revelations about Bush Administration wrongdoing over the past six years. However, Democrats will choose not to pursue impeachment and Libby will be acquitted.
RIGHT about the revelations, RIGHT about no impeachment, WRONG about the acquittal (should’ve said commutation.)
– Barry Bonds will be indicted on perjury and obstruction charges, leading to a suspension from baseball that prevents him from breaking Hank Aarons career home run record during 2007. New revelations about steroids in sports will continue to roll in, including the exposure of at least one major star who had never previously been mentioned in connection with performance-enhancing drugs.
RIGHT about the indictment, the revelations, and the major stars, WRONG about Bonds not breaking the record.
– While reconstruction in New Orleans remains sluggish, the city will get a temporary morale boost when the Saints defeat the San Diego Chargers to win Super Bowl XLI. In addition, New Orleans is awarded a future Super Bowl.
WRONG about both Super Bowls, but right about the sluggishness.
– In Americas other tragic crater, 2007 will finally see the start of some development at Ground Zero.
RIGHT, but just barely.
– A significant breakthrough will be made in the fight against AIDS.
WRONG (as far as I know.)
– Saddam Husseins death, while welcome, will do nothing whatsoever to pacify the situation in Iraq, which will remain a disaster, despite changes in course and late 2007 will see the start of a phased U.S. withdrawal.
WRONG, and WRONG.
– In spite of the previous item, or perhaps because of it, President Bushs approval rating will never again exceed 40 percent.
RIGHT.
– The U.S. will once again enjoy an entire year with no domestic terror attacks, although several cities around the world will not be so lucky. Osama Bin Laden will not be captured, but rumors of his death will spread multiple times.
RIGHT, and RIGHT.
– Fidel Castro will die, but the transition to liberal democracy in Cuba will be less than instantaneous.
WRONG.
– The newspaper industry in the United States will continue to suffer, with even more venerable papers going on the block. The New York Times Co. will sell the Boston Globe to a group led by Jack Welch, while the Tribune Co. will be dissolved, with David Geffen and Ron Burkle teaming up to buy The Los Angeles Times, a private equity firm purchasing the Chicago Tribune, and a group led by Jerry Colangelo purchasing the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field for over $1 billion.
RIGHT about the suffering and Tribune Co. sale, but WRONG about who bought it.
– The Cubs, however, will still fail to win the World Series.
RIGHT.
– Ehud Olmerts Kadima government in Israel will fall by the end of the year, but neither Labor nor Likud will be able to form a stable government either.
Shockingly, WRONG.
– Gordon Brown will replace Tony Blair as British prime minister after Blairs resignation, but conventional wisdom will soon emerge that Brown will lose the next election to David Cameron and the Tories.
RIGHT
– Dreamgirls wins the Academy Award for Best Picture, with Eddie Murphy and Jennifer Hudson both taking acting prizes and Listen winning for Best Original Song. Martin Scorsese, however, finally takes the Best Director statue for The Departed.
WRONG, except for Hudson’s win and Scorsese’s Best Director.
– David Letterman will announce definitive plans to retire in 2010, with Jon Stewart named as his successor.
WRONG
– And news organizations, finally, will stop running pictures and footage of Paris Hilton.
WRONG, though she did lose her inheritance.

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Film Critic Quote of the Week

Choire Sicha, who I guess is still the editor of Gawker:

“There’s such a glaring omission on nearly all the “best of 2007” movies lists. Why will no one understand that Quentin Tarantino’s “Death Proof” was one of the bestest, smartest, coolest, entertainingest movies of the year? Because it so was. (If it weren’t for that darned “No Country For Old Men,” it might have been the best.)”

It made my top ten, if it makes Choire feel any better.
Speaking of which, the IndieWire poll– which used to be the Village Voice poll- came out over the holiday, and “There Will Be Blood” is the winner, followed by “Zodiac” and “No Country For Old Men.” I was pleasantly surprised to see “Southland Tales” at #18; “Grindhouse” was #30.

Film Critic Quote of the Week

Matt Zoller Seitz, reviewing “National Treasure 2” in the New York Times:

To acquire the cleverly named Book of Secrets, Ben plots to kidnap the current president (Bruce Greenwood) and blah, blah, blah purple monkey dishwasher.
Like its predecessor, National Treasure, this sequel amounts to a bunch of crossword puzzle answers stitched together with explosions, chases and displays of intuitive reasoning that the Twin Peaks F.B.I. agent Dale Cooper would reject as too right-brained.

I’m telling you, MZS should have the first chair at the NYT, not the fourth.