Category Archives: Mount Rushmore Monday

Mt. Rushmore Mondays: Music

Feels like yesterday I was ranting to you all about why Mt. Rushmore is the undisputed G.O.A.T. of artwork. In fact, if there was a Mt. Rushmore of art, Mt. Rushmore would be on that Mt. Rushmore four times.

Anyway, three weeks later, here we are in week 4 of Mt. Rushmore Mondays. This week, if your looking for something to workout to, party to, set fire to the aux with, etc. you’ve come to the right place. As this week is the Mt. Rushmore of Music.

I’ll be doing this week a little different. Instead of writing about strictly modern figures and then giving little shoutouts to all-time Rushmores (like I did with week 2’s Mt. Rushmores of Movies), I’ll be doing the opposite. Writing about all-time Mt. Rushmores of Music, and throwing shoutouts to modern Rushmores of Music.

*Reminder: Each Mt. Rushmore is not just based off of talent and accomplishments, but also just as equally overall influence, impact, and star power.

Let’s get thing started…

Mt. Rushmore of Rock (group)

*Modern Mt. Rushmore: Radiohead, Coldplay, U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers

The Beatles

Lock of the century. John, Paul, George, and Ringo make up the most influential band of all-time, in any genre of music. From “A Day in the Life” to “Hey Jude” to “Come Together,” The Fab Four made iconic song after iconic song. They were the first real boy band, and became international sensations overnight. If they didn’t find their way on this list, it would be a joke.

Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin’s the father of heavy metal. They were pioneers of the sub-genre and created headbangers like “Stairway to Heaven,” which is regarded as one of the best songs of all-time. The English rock band just simply consisted of phenomenal musicians, and were undeniably great.

The Rolling Stones

Once The Beatles called it quits in 1970, the Stones took the claim as the world’s best rock band. The fact they are still making great music is just incredibly unbelievable. One might argue that their longevity could rank them closer to The Beatles than you might initially think.

Queen

Have you noticed the trend? Four spots on the Mt. Rushmore of Rock Bands, four English rock bands. It’s just that simple, the Brits know how to make good rock music and Queen is no exception. The only reason Queen wouldn’t belong on this list is because who knows if they should even be considered rock? Their sound is so unique and so experimental, and yet so, so great. And then there’s the sing-along factor. If “Bohemian Rhapsody” comes on the car radio and you don’t react like Wayne, Garth, and co., you should check your pulse.

Honorable Mentions: Pink Floyd, ACDC, Van Halen, The Who

 

Mt. Rushmore of Rock (solo)

Jimi Hendrix

While his band could’ve been included in the above Mt. Rushmore, I figured being given a solo spot is the respect Jimi Hendrix deserves. He is the best guitarist of all-time. Plain and simple. One could say he is the best instrumentalist (regardless of instrument) ever. There’s a reason he was the headline at Woodstock, aka the most famous music festival ever. It goes without saying he died WAY too young, and because of the drug-use he was a victim of his own superstardom.

Elvis Presley 

He’s the King of Rock and there honestly might not be a bigger individual musical figure in American history. Like the Beatles, Elvis was a cultural icon, and he really brought the genre of rock on the map even before the Fab Four. Another instance of being a victim of his own superstardom, Presley died sitting on the toilet because he was too busy taking a dump on his competition.

Bob Dylan

Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” is widely considered to be the best song of all-time. I mean the magazine that ranked it #1 is literally called Rolling Stone, but I won’t let that take away credit where credit is due. This song also inspired the name of one of the bands on the above Mt. Rushmore (I don’t need to tell you which one). There’s gotta be a spot on this Mt. Rushmore for the artist behind such a masterpiece.

Bruce Springsteen

If you’ve been keeping up each week, you’d know by now that I am from Jersey. And if I failed to include Jersey’s pride and joy on this Mt. Rushmore, I’d be forced to renounce my residency. I’d be exiled. The sounds of Brucie Bruce have been heard at American barbecues for years and he is still goin at it. Long live The Boss.

Honorable Mentions: Tom Petty, Eric Clapton

 

Mt. Rushmore of Hip-Hop (modern)

I know I said I wouldn’t write about any modern Mt. Rushmores, but it also just so happens that I lied. I know I should stay consistent, but ya know… it’s my blog.

Drake

Ever since he played that wheelchair kid from Degrassi, we all knew Drake was destined for hip-hop greatness. There might not be a rapper who makes such universally liked music, as he makes banger after banger. The guy is just a fuckin superstar.

Kanye West

If you keep telling people you are the best, eventually they will start to believe you. He might be the most outspoken music artist around right now and while the nonsense he says is sometimes almost always ridiculous, you gotta respect his success as a producer and a rapper, as well as a future political candidate (Kanye 2020).

Lil Wayne

Weezy has been doing it for a LONG time. In 1991, he signed with Cash Money Records at the age of 9, and he is still at the top of the rap game. His unique sound, charisma, creativity, and longevity make him one of the biggest and most influential rappers of our generation.

Kendrick Lamar

He’s the youngest rapper on this Mt. Rushmore, but don’t let his younger age fool you. He might be the smartest song-writer and lyricist in the game right now. His album Damn just recently won him the Pulitzer Prize for Music, and since gaining popularity, Lamar has come out with great song after great song.

Honorable Mentions: Chance the Rapper, J. Cole, Big Sean

 

Mt. Rushmore of Hip-Hop (all-time)

*Modern Mt. Rushmore: Drake, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Kendrick Lamar

Eminem

Marshall Mathers easily could have found himself on the Modern Mt. Rushmore, as well, as he is still making popular music, but he deserves a spot up here with the ALL-TIME greats.  There’s really no one like him, and not just because he’s white. I’ve never heard a better lyricist, his range of subjects is so broad, and above all, he tells a story in his raps. He’d never spit the senseless bullshit you’d hear from someone like 21 Savage (I mean c’mon, the only thing “Bank Account” does is show me 21 can, in fact, count to 8). Em is in my eyes the G.O.A.T., and a total lock on this list.

Tupac

Ask anyone. Tupac is always considered one of the greatest and most influential rappers of all time. His lyrics were brilliantly written and his voice was so powerful that his message was heard loud and clear. If he wasn’t killed at the young age of 25, who knows how much more he could have accomplished? R.I.P.

The Notorious B.I.G.

It always seems like Biggie and Tupac always get brought up in the same conversation, which is a shame, because they were both their own extraordinary hip-hop artist. Like the first two members of this list, Biggie was such a great lyricist and story-teller. With his distinct sound and unique look (yes, he was rather heavy), one might’ve called Biggie the face of rap in his heyday. He might have also been killed at 24 (R.I.P.), but don’t worry, he will never stop loving it when you call him Big Papa.

Jay-Z

Like Eminem, Jay-Z could’ve been considered for the modern Mt. Rushmore, but his impact on the rap game earns him the respect along with the all-time greats. He’s a great rapper, as well as a great businessman. His $900M estimated net worth makes him the richest hip-hop artists in the world.

Honorable Mentions: Dr. Dre, Nas, Snoop Dogg

 

Mt. Rushmore of Pop

*Modern Mt. Rushmore: Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Beyonce

Madonna

Her 300+ million records sold make her the best-selling female recording artist of all-time, and quite simply, she’s the “Queen of Pop”. She did not shy away from controversy, but her incredible music made her an cultural icon, as well as an influence on many pop artists of today.

Michael Jackson

Every Queen needs a King. While Madonna is known as the “Queen of Pop,” Michael Jackson is known as the “King of Pop.” Whether he was making hit songs like “Thriller,” moonwalking into the record books, or holding his infant baby over a hotel balcony, MJ was a global figure for years, and his highly publicized life/music career made him one of the best known artists of all-time.

Prince

The Mt. Rushmore of Pop basically has its own royal family. First a Queen. Then a King. And now a Prince. Despite the controversy he found himself in and his unpronounceable name-change, was a total star. No one will ever be as electric and flamboyant on stage as he was.

Whitney Houston

Like Madonna, Whitney has also been considered the “Queen of Pop,” but for the sake of consistency, she will be this Mt. Rushmore’s Princess. Not to downplay her greatness, though. “I Will Always Love You” is the best-selling single by a woman in American history. Thanks to her powerful voice, she also became simply known as “The Voice.”

Honorable Mentions: Mariah Carey, Britney Spears, Janet Jackson

 

This blog post might’ve been the hardest of the 4 so far. There are so many genres and sub-genres with so many significant figures in music history that I couldn’t have possibly wrote about all of them. So in a last-second effort to show respect to as many music artists that weren’t included in any modern lists, all-time lists, or honorable mentions as possible, here’s the first ever Mt. Rushmore Lightning Round.

  Elton John      |  Marvin Gaye  |   Bob Marley    |   Frank Sinatra

Aretha Franklin |   Ray Charles  |           Adele           |   Stevie Wonder

[ PUBLIC ENEMY POSTER ]

Wu-Tang Clan    |       N.W.A.         |    Run-D.M.C.    |   Public Enemy

 

4 weeks down. 1 to go. I hope you’ve enjoyed our time together, because next week we are closing April with the biggest, baddest Mt. Rushmore Monday yet (or maybe not, we’ll see how I’m feelin when I write it). There will be a wide range of topics covered, but before then, make sure to catch up on past Mondays. Last week’s Mt. Rushmores are here: https://belowthebeltsports.com/2018/04/17/mt-rushmore-mondays-television/

Looking forward to next Monday April 30th: Mt. Rushmores of *Miscellaneous*

Mt. Rushmore Mondays: Television

We’ve reached the Wednesday of Mt. Rushmore Mondays. After this and we are over the hump. Two down. Three to go. After last Monday’s fun with movies, we move onto movies’ little cousin: Television. We’ll be taking a look at the very best of TV dramas, sitcoms, characters, etc. Anything you either schedule your week around or binge on Netflix. Look no further.

Again, due to the likely age of our readers (aka you guys), we’ll be focusing on much more modern television. Don’t worry. You don’t have to know who Mary Tyler Moore or Archie Bunker is to read this blog post. Nothing from the ’70s. But you should brush up on your ’90s television, though. Because you’re crazy if you aren’t expecting Seinfeld to be included in this Mt. Rushmore Monday.

*Spoiler Alert: Write-ups may contain some spoilers. So if you are not caught up on certain shows, you may want to refrain from reading about why they belong on each Mt. Rushmore.

*Reminder: Each Mt. Rushmore is not just based off of talent and accomplishments, but also just as equally overall influence and impact.

Shall we…?

Mt. Rushmore of TV Sitcoms (modern)

The Office (2005 – 2013)

Except for when Dwight is being Dwight and Michael is being Michael, The Office isn’t a laugh-out-loud comedy. What it is is a brilliant portrayal of the subtle, relatable humors of everyday life at an ordinary workplace. You learn to love the characters and all their relationships. Pam says it best in the final scene of the series, “There’s a lot of beauty in ordinary things. Isn’t that kinda the point?”

Seinfeld (1989 – 1999)

Kinda like The OfficeSeinfeld is so great because it shows the subtle humors of everyday, relatable life. The dynamic between the four best friends is hilarious. They are all just so ignorant and selfish, and Kramer especially is one of the funniest characters in TV history.  The fact they still get so much money from re-runs says enough.

Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000 – 2011; 2017 – Present)

Curb is the most cringeworthy show, and it is so funny because of it. What makes it so great is that Larry David the character is literally Larry David the person. They are the same people. When they came back for a 9th season, they did not disappoint. The last season was as Larry David as ever.

Friends (1994 – 2004)

Friends served as one of the most popular TV shows for a long time, as well as an introduction for 6 upcoming stars to the world. Aniston, Cox, Kudrow, LeBlanc, Perry, and Schwimmer were all so great and had so much chemistry that Friends has to have a spot on this Mt. Rushmore.

Honorable Mentions: The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, Modern Family

 

Mt. Rushmore of TV Dramas (modern)

Game of Thrones (2011 – Present)

To anyone who refuses to watch GOT because of its dragons and magic: I was once you. Young. Naive. Ignorant. Now I realize GOT is far and beyond the best show currently on television. It is so deep with so many well-developed characters and storylines. And with the constant threat that anyone could die at anytime, there really is no other show like it.

The Sopranos (1999 – 2007)

The Sopranos has become iconic. With so many great TV dramas on today, it almost seems like The Sopranos was the very first of its kind. In an age well before binge watching, the characters and stories were so great it made the week-long wait unbearable. And as an added plus: the series takes place in the greatest state in the U.S. of A. and my homestate, New Jersey.

Breaking Bad (2008 – 2013)

Kudos to AMC for rolling the dice with Breaking Bad, which is the only network television (and non-HBO) show on this Mt. Rushmore. Premium channels like HBO and Showtime turned down Vince Gilligan’s pitch. Lucky for AMC, which stumbled on their best show ever, and maybe the best all-time.

The Wire (2002 – 2008)

As Omar Little said, “You come at the king, you best not miss.” And according to the people who believe The Wire is the best show of all-time (and many do), all shows have missed. The show was so gritty and so real.

Honorable Mentions: Mad Men, The Walking Dead, Stranger Things

 

Mt. Rushmore of Adult Cartoons (modern)

Family Guy (1998 – Present)

Seth MacFarlane is honestly a comedic talent we should cherish. He voices so many characters and makes you laugh in so many different ways. With Family Guy‘s hilarious cutaways, raunchy jokes, and mindless humor, it’s usually a go-to when simply throwing on a show, and has, in my opinion, one-upped its yellow-skinned counterparts.

The Simpsons (1989 – Present)

Speaking of yellow-skinned, enter: The SimpsonsFamily Guy might be better (at least in my opinion), but The Simpsons is the O.G. mindless adult cartoon about a working class family with a stupid father, wife, teenage son, teenage daughter, infant child, and dog. The Simpsons has also been doing it for SO long, being the longest-running American sitcom.

Rick and Morty (2013 – Present)

Rick and Morty might not have the years that the others have, but there is something so different and revolutionary about it. With its drunken improv/method acting and mind-blowing Sci-Fi concepts, Rick and Morty is so funny and so smart. It is so much more than a mindless comedy, and has a bright future if Harmon and Roiland can keep up and think of new, brilliant concepts. To put it simply: Wubba lubba dub dub.

South Park (1997 – Present)

Probably the most offensive show on this Mt. Rushmore, South Park honestly just doesn’t give a fuck. Trey Parker and Matt Stone somehow take sensitive topics such as the Holocaust, racial tension, and homosexuality and are able to make a hit show for 20+ years.

Honorable Mentions: Beavis & Butthead, Robot Chicken

 

Mt. Rushmore of Kid Cartoons (modern)

SpongeBob SquarePants (1999 – Present)

Do I really need to explain this one? It’s freakin SpongeBob. C’mon. The animated sea sponge has become an international icon. The show is ageless, too. If you’re a kid, you love it. If you’re an adult, it is still so charming and funny, with the occasional hidden dirty joke, that you just can’t not love it, too.

Looney Tunes (forever)

At first, I didn’t know if I should include the Looney Tunes because they’ve been around since 1930. But then I quickly remembered how relevant they still were even when most of us were growing up. Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and the whole gang are iconic. I really believe the catchphrase, “What’s up, dock?” is one that will always be remembered.

Pokémon (1998 – Present)

If you told me your childhood wasn’t filled with Pokémon Gameboy games, cards, and toys, I’d call you a liar. Every kid I knew growing up spent years duking it out for the 8 gym badges, looking to become the very best that ever was. And the TV show and movies were wildly fantastic, as well. Similar to SpongeBob, Pikachu has become an international icon.

Rugrats (1990 – 2006)

“I am Reptar! Hear me roar!” If you didn’t fuck with the trials of Tommy Pickles and Chuckie Finster growing up, I simply don’t fuck with you. Rugrats was a go-to cartoon for little kids. These cute toddlers went on some wild adventures that we were lucky to be a part of.

Honorable Mentions: Avatar: The Last Airbender, Jimmy Neutron, Fairly Odd Parents

 

Mt. Rushmore of TV Protagonists (modern)

Walter White (Bryan Cranston) – Breaking Bad

I can confidently say that Walter White has the greatest character arc of any TV character ever. Look at where he starts: an innocent, family-oriented high school chemistry teacher with a boring life. And look at where he ends up: a brilliant, badass meth kingpin that will do anything to get what he wants. From Mr. White to Heisenberg. Two completely different characters, yet the arc seems totally natural and organic.

Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) – The Sopranos

Kinda like Heisenberg, Tony is just a terrible guy. Murderer. Thief. Brilliantly evil. Yet we still root for him. He really paved the way for TV anti-heroes, such as Walter White, Don Draper, Omar Little. Tony’s the OG Italian Mafia boss, and he does Jersey proud.

Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) – Game of Thrones

Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen, while total beasts right now, started the series off a little slow (in my opinion). Tyrion, however, has been a top character since episode one. There’s so much to like about him: he’s so small and so drunk, while also so smart and so funny. In the most popular show currently on television, he’s probably the most likable character. He’s been through hell and back, and is front and center in probably my favorite scene in TV history (below).

Michael Scott (Steve Carell) – The Office

He might be the only character from a TV comedy on this list, but that really doesn’t matter. There might not be a more quotable character in TV history. “I. Declare. BANKRUPTCY!!” “Dwight, you ignorant slut.” “I’m not superstitious, but I’m a little stitious.” And of course, “That’s what she said.” Michael Scott was just an absolute legend, and The Office wasn’t the same after he left.

Honorable Mentions: Daenerys Targaryen, Don Draper, Eleven, Dwight Schrute

 

Mt. Rushmore of TV Antagonists (modern)

Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) – Game of Thrones

Cersei is just a ruthless bitch, but you have to respect her willingness to do anything it takes to stay on the throne. The only thing keeping her human was her love for her three children, but as each of them died one-by-one, Cersei became more and more of a monster. The last time we saw her she was the undisputed Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, with a dogfight with Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen coming in season 8.

Gustavo “Gus” Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) – Breaking BadBetter Call Saul

On the surface: a model Albuquerque citizen and business owner. Under the facade: a cold-blooded drug kingpin using his industrial laundromat and Los Pollos Hermanos chicken chain as a front for the largest drug-trafficking syndicate in the Western hemisphere. Before Heisenberg finally put and end to their perpetual cat-and-mouse game, Gus was always one step ahead of Walt.

Al Swearengen (Ian McShane) – Deadwood

Like Gus, Al was a ruthless businessman willing to stop at nothing to keep his power of Deadwood, South Dakota. Regarded as one of the best shows ever to be cancelled too soon, Deadwood rode McShane’s sadistic Swearengen for 3 strong seasons. For the sake of the show’s fans and anyone planning on watching, hopefully the rumblings of HBO producing two Deadwood TV-movies to wrap up the series are true.

Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson) – Game of Thrones

Fitting for one member of this Mt. Rushmore to birth another. Cersei’s youngest two children might’ve been sweet and innocent, but her oldest was the devil in the flesh. What sets Joffrey aside from the rest of this Mount is that while the others were cruel for the sake of gaining power, Joffrey was cruel for the sake of being cruel. He loved nothing more than to see his inferiors suffer. This little fucker might be the most hated character in TV history.

Honorable Mentions: Ramsay Snow/Bolton, Ben Linus, Stringer Bell

Halfway through April, we’re down to the home stretch. If you’d like to recap before next week, here’s the link to last week’s Mt. Rushmores:

Mt. Rushmore Mondays: Movies

Looking forward to next Monday April 23rd: Mt. Rushmores of Music

Mt. Rushmore Mondays: Movies

Here we are! Week 2! Last week we took care of the Mt. Rushmores of each major sports league, and today we’ll take a look at the Mt. Rushmores of Hollywood. I’m talkin’ filmmakers. Actors. Actresses. Comedy actors. Heroes. Villains. You name it, I got it (except not actually because the blog post can only be so long).

Considering Below The Belt’s audience is primarily Millennial readers, my Mt. Rushmores of Hollywood will consist of much more modern selections, as opposed to all-time. I’d be remiss not to throw a shoutout and at least include my all-time Mt. Rushmores for some categories, but I will only go into detail for the modern Mt. Rushmores.

*Reminder: Each Mt. Rushmore is not just based off of talent and accomplishments, but also just as equally overall influence, impact, and star power.

Anyway, Let’s get into things…

Mt. Rushmore of Hollywood Filmmakers (modern)

*All-time Mt. Rushmore: Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Speilberg, John Ford, and Stanley Kubrick.

Steven Spielberg

Spielberg is the only member of both of my Hollywood Mt. Rushmores (modern and all-time). His wide range of films make him probably the most versatile director in history. He can make Oscar-nominated movies such as The Post (2017), Saving Private Ryan (1998), and Schindler’s List (1994), as well as make popcorn movies like Jaws (1975), Jurassic Park (1993), and Ready Player One (2018). Spielberg truly is a visionary.

Martin Scorsese

Honestly, Scorsese is just a flat-out beast. Taxi Driver (1976), Goodfellas (1990), The Departed (2006), The Wolf of Wall Street (2013). The list goes on. Films of his have won a total of 20 Academy Awards, as well as 81 total nominations. The standard he has set for his crime thrillers is unprecedented.

Quentin Tarantino

There is only one Quentin Tarantino. His violent, bloody, nonlinear film style is so unique that you could identify a Tarantino film within just the first few shots. From his directorial debut, Reservoir Dogs (1992), to his most recent release, The Hateful Eight (2015), Tarantino has come out with classic after classic.

George Lucas

While Lucas hasn’t come out with the wide range of films the other guys on this list have, no filmmaker can create a film franchise quite like he can. George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars, as well as Indiana Jones, is worth an estimated $5.1 billion thanks to the following these iconic franchises have garnered, which warrants a spot on this Mt. alone.

Honorable Mentions: James Cameron, Christopher Nolan

 

Mt. Rushmore of Hollywood Actors (modern)

*All-time Mt. Rushmore: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart

Daniel Day-Lewis

DDL is a just a walking Academy Award. Having won three awards for Best Actor in a Leading Role (the most ever), he might as well paint himself gold and change his name to Oscar. He never acted in as many films as most, but when he did, he was nominated. Unfortunately, Day-Lewis’s time on the big screen has come to an end, retiring from acting after his role in Phantom Thread (2017), which might I add earned him another Oscar nomination.

Tom Hanks

I mean, c’mon. It’s Tom Hanks. He’s America’s Dad. Easy decision here. There might not be a more versatile actor, with Hanks taking roles as a mentally challenged war veteran and ping pong specialist, a cowboy action figure, a confused Eastern European, and a man whose best friend is a volley ball. Just like DDL, Hanks, a 2-time Oscar-winner, could’ve been considered for the all-time Mt. Rushmore of Actors, as well.

Robert De Niro

De Niro is a longtime friend and collaborator with Scorsese. This dynamic duo has led to multiple award nominations and wins for the actor, including for his roles in Taxi Driver (1976) and Raging Bull (1980). This man will have you asking, “Are you talkin’ to me?” Add all-time great The Godfather Part II (1974) and the family classic Fockers comedies to the discussion, and I give you the one they call Bobby D.

Jack Nicholson

Heeeeeere’s Johnny! (Sorry… I had to)… Nicholson can clearly play a mean psycho, evidence by his role in The Shining (1980), as well as one of the O.G. Jokers in Batman (1989). He’s been doing it for over half a century, and with his 12 Oscar nominations, he’s the most nominated male actor in Academy history.

Honorable Mentions: Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert Downey Jr., Denzel Washington, Samuel L. Jackson

 

Mt. Rushmore of Hollywood Actresses (modern)

*All-time Mt. Rushmore: Meryl Streep, Katharine Hepburn, Ingrid Bergman, Bette Davis

Meryl Streep

The year is 2100. Meryl Streep is nominated for her 100th Oscar. Now let’s look back to the year 2018, when Streep was nominated for her 21st Academy Award (9 more than the next most nominations) for her role in The Post (2017). At this point, it’s obligatory. The year Meryl Streep isn’t nominated for an Oscar is the year she dies.

Natalie Portman

Whether she’s winning an Oscar for playing a ballerina or rapping about drunk driving on Saturday Night Live, Natalie will always have my heart. She’ll have you on the edge of your seat in V for Vendetta (2005), covering your eyes in Black Swan (2010), laughing your ass off on SNL, and questioning reality in the last 10 minutes of Annihilation (2018). The latter is honestly the most mind-fucking shit I’ve ever watched.

Kate Winslet

Known for her role as Rose in Titanic (1997), Winslet has been nominated for 7 Oscars. While minuscule compared to Streep, her total of nominations is still a very impressive number. Despite not allowing Leo to safely float on the door alongside her, she’s earned a spot on this Mt. Rushmore.

Frances McDormand 

Honestly, Frances McDormand scares the shit out of me. She’s a a two-time Oscar winner and a total badass. Franny Mac is the definition of a strong, independent female, and after watching her go nuts during her acceptance speech for winning Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performance in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017), she is not the type of person you’d want to fuck with.

Honorable Mentions: Cate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman, Halle Berry

 

Mt. Rushmore of Comedy Actors (modern)

*All-time Mt. Rushmore: Charlie Chaplin, John Belushi, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase

Will Ferrell

There probably isn’t an actor who has played as many iconic roles in comedies as Will Ferrell has. Ricky Bobby. Buddy the Elf. Ron Burgundy. Chazz Michael Michaels. I personally believe Elf (2003) is the funniest Christmas movie of all-time, and Step Brothers (2008) is one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen. He is completely shameless. Will is a complete and total lock on this Mount of Modern Comedic Rushmores.

Jim Carrey

Despite flying under the radar the last few years, this Mt. would not be complete without Jim Carrey. His ridiculous delivery and antics are gut-wrenching. The only thing left up to question is which of his roles is your favorite? Truman? Ace? Bruce? He’s got so many top-notch characters that you really can’t go wrong. I am still of the notion that the below scene from Bruce Almighty (2003) with Carrey and Steve Carell might be one of the funniest scenes ever.

Steve Carell

Did I attach the above scene to perfectly segue into our next head on the Mt. Rushmore of Modern Comedy Actors? Yes. Am I ashamed of it? Absolutely not. Steve Carell is most known for his role as Michael Scott on TV, but that shouldn’t downplay his comedic genius in movies. The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005) is probably his top movie he played a lead role in, with the supporting role as Brick Tamland alongside the first actor on this list in Anchorman (2004) probably being his funniest character.

Seth Rogen

He hasn’t been around for quite as long as the other guys on this list, but I don’t know if anyone is as brilliantly funny as Seth Rogen. He’s written and starred in so many laugh-out-loud comedies that he’s become, in my opinion, the face of comedy in 2018. His movies are so funny that he can’t help but laugh along with you on screen, which in turn only makes you laugh more.

Honorable Mentions: Adam Sandler, Steve Martin, Sacha Baron Cohen

 

Mt. Rushmore of Movie Characters (modern)

*All-time: Indiana Jones, James Bond, Vito Corleone, Rocky Balboa

Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks) – Forrest Gump (1994)

Personally, my favorite movie character from my favorite movie. He’s an icon. Everyone knows Forrest. Despite his low IQ, the warm-hearted Gump left his mark on the real events of American history, from the Vietnam War to Watergate.

Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) – Fight Club (1999)

You’ve probably never seen a cooler movie character than Tyler Durden. As he puts it himself, “I look like you wanna look, I fuck like you wanna fuck, I am smart, capable, and most importantly, I am free in all the ways that you are not.” C’mon. So fuckin’ cool.

Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski – The Big Lebowski (1998)

All he wants to do is replace his urine-soaked rug. So innocent. So nonchalant. So stupid. From his sweater to his hair to the way he simply goes about his day, everything about The Dude looks comfortable. He is so subtly funny, and if you disagree… “Yea, well… ya know, that’s just like uuhhh… your opinion, man.”

Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) – Marvel Cinematic Universe

The first movie of the MCU is arguably the best movie of the MCU, thanks to the origin story of how billionaire Tony Stark became Iron Man. Just simply cool like Durden, in very similar but also very different ways. He’s rich. He lives the lavish lifestyle. He’s brilliant. He survived captivity. Oh yeah, and he fucks whoever he wants.

Honorable Mentions: Harry Potter, Marty McFly, Captain Jack Sparrow

 

Mt. Rushmore of Movie Villains (modern)

*All-time: Norman Bates, The Wicked Witch of the West, Annie Wilkes, Nurse Ratched

Darth Vader – Star Wars francise

He’s the most distinguishable movie character in the most popular movie franchise of all-time. Even if you’ve never watched any of the Star Wars movies, you know who shocked the world when he said, “Luke, I am your father.” If you’ve ever heard of what a movie is, you’ve heard of Darth Vader.

Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) – The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

“Hello, Clarice,” gives me chills every time. Because of this Oscar-winning performance, Anthony Hopkins will always be remembered as Dr. Hannibal the cannibal. He’s also the one behind one of my favorite movie lines ever: “I’m having an old friend for dinner.”

The Joker (Heath Ledger) – The Dark Knight (2008)

A lot of people have played The Joker over the years. Nicholson’s aforementioned performance is a classic. Jared Leto’s is forgettable. Unfortunately for Leto though, he had to follow the most recent portrayal in The Dark Knight (2008) by the late Heath Ledger. Heath is universally known as the best Joker, with his fantastic, posthumously Oscar-winning performance. The Joker was a psycho and he knew it. Ledger, a method actor, became the character to prepare for the role, and quite literally died as the Joker.

Loki (Tom Hiddleston) – Marvel Cinematic Universe

One of the few criticisms of the MCU is that its villains are forgettable and just get killed off after one movie. The exception to this criticism is Loki. Thor’s adopted brother is smart, devious, and will stop at nothing to get what he wants. You love him one moment and he breaks your heart the next. He is easily the best, most well-developed villain in the only movie franchise that comes close to Star Wars.

Honorable Mentions: Hans Gruber, Hans Landa, Keyser Söze

 

That about wraps it up. Week 2 of Mt. Rushmore Mondays is in the books. If you missed last Monday’s edition, the link is here: https://belowthebeltsports.com/2018/04/03/mt-rushmore-mondays-sports/

Again, if you agree or disagree, feel free to comment.

Looking forward to next Monday April 16th: Mt. Rushmores of Television

Mt. Rushmore Mondays: Sports

What is the greatest piece of art ever? I’ve asked this question to some of my friends before, and their responses largely consisted of da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling, van Gogh’s Starry Night, etc. All brilliant masterpieces. All the wrong answer. There is one glaring omission from my friends’ responses that happens to be the one, true correct answer: Mount Rushmore. When asked the prior question, the fact anyone could say anything other than the granite-faced sculpture carved into the Black Hills of South Dakota is actually laughable. And anyone that disagrees is an abject fool. Not only does it depict our great nation’s four founding fathers, but the sheer size and accuracy of the presidents depicted absolutely blows my mind. Think about it. The 60-feet height of each head is unprecedented. The striking resemblance to the real life presidents is uncanny. Sculptor Gutzon Borglum found a giant cliff and just decided to carve four U.S. presidents into the side of it. Where the fuck did he start? The top? The bottom? Washington’s nose? The idea of the whole thing is unfathomable.

Anyway, I’m not here to argue history’s greatest piece of art because there is no argument. So before you comment, “But the Renaissance masterpiece that was the Mona Lisa is still the most recognizable and visited artwork today,” let me segue into the reason I’m actually writing this article. No stranger to sports debate, Mt. Rushmore commonly provokes the discussion of who belongs carved into the Black Hills of basketball, football, baseball, etc. Thinking about this, I later began thinking about the Mt. Rushmores of other aspects of culture, such as Hollywood, music, drinking, etc. And THEN, I had the idea of Mount Rushmore Mondays. Starting today with sports, each Monday of April I will post a new slate of Mt. Rushmores. The best of the best of the best aspects of American culture.

Here’s the lineup:

Week 1 (Mon. 4/2): Sports

Week 2 (Mon. 4/9): Movies

Week 3 (Mon. 4/16): Television

Week 4 (Mon. 4/23): Music

Week 5 (Mon. 4/30): Miscellaneous

Why Mondays, you may ask? Well, alliteration… obviously.

*NOTE: The Mt. Rushmores aren’t purely based on who was the best or most accomplished, but also very much based on overall influence and impact. I also won’t be making an NHL Mt. Rushmore for this week due to my lack of knowledge of the sport.

So without further ado…

Mt. Rushmore Monday Week 1: Sports

Mt. Rushmore of the MLB

Babe Ruth

The Sultan of Swat is a lock on this list. Fueled by beer and hotdogs in an era when nobody would hit many more than 10 home runs in a given season, Ruth’s 714 career dingers made him the first real home run hitter in baseball’s history. From his “called shot” to the “Curse of the Bambino,” Ruth left his mark on the history of baseball and all of sports.

Jackie Robinson

How can the man who broke the color barrier not be on this Mount? His number 42 is retired across baseball for crying out loud. Jackie was great. Was he the best player of all-time? No. But what he did for baseball is something that changed the landscape of sports for the rest of history.

Hank Aaron

As the great Vin Scully said when Aaron hit number 715 to break the Babe’s homer run record, “A black man is getting a standing ovation in the Deep South for breaking a record of an all-time baseball idol.” This was not to be taken lightly. It was a great moment for Aaron, a great moment for baseball, and a great moment for the country. There’s gotta be a spot on this Mount for Hammerin’ Hank, the REAL Home Run King.

Cy Young

The “Pitcher of the Year” award is literally named after him. That should say it all. Cy’s 511 career wins rank first all-time, almost 100 wins more than #2, and is one of the few unbreakable records in sports.

Honorable Mentions: Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente, Cal Ripken Jr.

Mt. Rushmore of the NBA

Michael Jordan

I mean, what is there to say. Even after a career in which he went 6 for 6 in the NBA Finals and defeated the MonStars alongside Bugs Bunny, Air Jordan went on to build a billion dollar shoe empire. If anyone asks who you think is the G.O.A.T., the safe answer is always MJ. Next question.

LeBron James

He’s really the only one who has come close to reaching MJ’s greatness. The way King James can score, pass, rebound, and defend all five positions is something out of 2K create-a-player. 15 years into his historic career and he is still having his way with the NBA, looking to add ring #4 to his collection. I don’t think there will be another player that can play this great for this long ever again.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Six rings. The NBA’s all-time leading scorer. A 19-time all-star. Kareem’s resume speaks for itself. He also was the one behind the most unstoppable shot in history, the skyhook. Before MJ, Kareem was considered the best of all-time. Not to mention his double life as airline pilot Roger Murdock.

Magic Johnson

If his career wasn’t shortened due to his battle with HIV, who knows how much more Earvin Johnson could’ve done with his career? He really only played until he was 31 (aside from a 32-game comeback at age 36) and he still won 5 rings. The fact he is even still alive is unbelievable. Truly the greatest passer in NBA history, Magic deserves a spot in this Fab Four.

Honorable MentionsShaquille O’Neal, Larry Bird, Kobe Bryant

Mt. Rushmore of the NFL (QBs only)

It’s a QB-driven league, so QBs deservedly get their own Mt. Rushmore.

Tom Brady

I hate the man, but I have to recognize his greatness. Most wins (223) as a QB. Most Super Bowl wins (5) and appearances (8) as a QB. 40-years-old and he’s still at the top of the NFL. Brady has been the face of the NFL (and Uggs) for the past several years, and really is the G.O.A.T.

Joe Montana

Before Brady, Montana was widely considered to be the best QB of all-time. His 4 rings were the most ever for a QB at the time and he’s the man who threw the ball that became known as “The Catch” in the 1981 NFC Championship Game. And according to a few S.C.L.S.U. Mud Dog fans, he was the best tackler until Bobby Boucher stepped on the gridiron.

John Elway

Before Elway was the Super Bowl-winning GM for the Broncos, he was the Super Bowl-winning QB for the Broncos. After years of falling short of the Lombardi Trophy, Elway finally found his two rings in the last two seasons of his career. Just as Montana had “The Catch,” Elway had his fixture in NFL lore with “The Drive” in the 1986 AFC Championship Game.

Peyton Manning

The only knock on Peyton’s legacy is his lack of post-season success, and he’s still got two rings. The eldest Manning brother is the greatest regular season QB in NFL history. He’s the record holder for most passing yards in a season and career, most passing touchdowns in a season and career, and shares the record for 7 TD passes in a single game. Just don’t let him around your kids…

Honorable Mentions: Brett Favre, Dan Marino, Johnny Unitas

Mt. Rushmore of the NFL (non-QBs only)

While the NFL is a QB-driven league, the non-QBs deserve love, as well.

Jim Brown

The oldest player on this list might be the most deserving. Probably the greatest ball carrier in NFL history, Jim Brown made the Pro Bowl every season he played, was a 3-time NFL MVP, and won a Super Bowl with the Browns (Yes! The Browns were actually good!).

Jerry Rice

If Montana gets his spot on the Mt. Rushmore of QBs, it’s only fitting that Rice gets his spot on this Rushmore. He’s a 12-time All-Pro and is the all-time leader in receptions, touchdown receptions, and receiving yards. What more needs to be said?

Walter Payton

The late, great “Sweetness” wasn’t just one of the best players in NFL history (which he was), but he also left his mark on the world through his efforts to spread awareness for organ donations and his charity work, which continues through the Walter and Connie Payton Foundation. There’s a reason why the NFL Man of the Year award was named after him.

Lawrence Taylor

I can’t forget about defense. Many say Taylor’s the best defensive player in NFL history, and he has the resume to back it up. Two Super Bowl championships, 10 All-Pro appearances, and an NFL MVP (one of just two defensive players to ever win the award) later, the original L.T. will forever be remembered for terrorizing opposing offenses.

 Honorable Mentions: Barry Sanders, Deion Sanders, Adrian Peterson

Mt. Rushmore of Coaches

Bill Belichick

Just as Tom Brady is the greatest QB of all time, Belichick is the greatest head coach of all time. They go hand-in-hand. After winning 2 Super Bowls as a defensive coordinator with the NY Giants, he’s gone on to win a record 5 Super Bowls (and counting) as the head coach for the Brady and the Patriots. He’s truly a football genius.

Phil Jackson

We’ll forgive Jackson for his unremarkable playing career and embarrassing job as Knicks president. Thanks to an NBA coaching record 11 titles, the “Zen Master” will be remembered for his innovative triangle offense that helped bring 6 Larry O’Brien Trophies to Chicago and 5 to Los Angeles.

Mike Krzyzewski

While we may never know why his last name is pronounced the way it is, we will always know Coach K as likely the best coach in NCAA basketball history. Since taking over the reins as Duke head coach in 1980, he’s won 5 national championships and is officially the only coach to win over 1,000 games (s/o to the O.G. Jim BAE-heim). Coach K has also won three Olympic gold medals as the head coach for USA Men’s Basketball.

Vince Lombardi

At the conclusion of the most viewed television event each year, a lucky team walks away with the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Just that should tell you the impact the head coach for the Green Bay Packers had on the game of football. Before the NFL-AFL merger, Lombardi won 5 NFL Championships in 7 years. After the merger, he won the first 2 Super Bowls. I don’t really think I need to say much more.

Honorable Mentions: Pat Summit, Gregg Poppovich, Joe Torre

I hope you enjoyed reading Week 1 of Mt. Rushmore Mondays. If you agree or disagree with my selections thus far, we welcome any and all comments. Just know, I likely won’t care at all.

Looking forward to next Monday April 9th: Mt. Rushmores of Movies