With Super Bowl LII just days away, the talking heads are breaking down every little piece of film and statistic they can get their hands on – but not us, we’re just having fun while we pass the time. That’s why we thought we’d put the city of Boston’s entertainment up against Philadelphia’s, as a sort of appetizer to this Sunday’s rematch between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles. This match is seven rounds, winner takes all.
Which city do you think is better when it comes to entertainment?
ACTION HERO: MARK WAHLBERG VERSUS SYLVESTER STALLONE
He might have started his career as both a Calvin Klein model and a rapper, but Wahlberg has morphed into one of the biggest – and most profitable – action stars in Hollywood. Much of his success came from starring in the 1997 film Boogie Nights. Since then, he’s gone on to star in many blockbusters and critically acclaimed films like The Departed and Lone Survivor but it’s films like Shooter and 2 Guns that amp up the violence and the cheesiness – two things we love. Over the years, Wahlberg has also proven he can be just as funny as he is badass, in films like Ted and The Other Guys. Not to mention, he has his own fast-food chain, Wahlburgers, with an accompanying reality show.
While we know that Stallone isn’t technically from the City of Brotherly Love, he’s played one of its most iconic characters, Rocky Balboa, in like 58 movies and counting – and he’s a diehard Philadelphia Eagles fan to boot. Besides the Italian Stallion, Stallone has played some pretty recognizable action movie characters, from John Rambo to Judge Dredd but there have also been some easily forgettable characters, such as Marion Cobretti in Cobra and Lt. Raymond Tango in Tango and Cash. We’ll still argue that his best film is Copland but we seem to be in the minority when it comes to that opinion. If you’re judging by an awesomely bad rating, he wins, but otherwise Wahlberg’s catalog is more impressive.
ROUND: WAHLBERG (BOSTON)
DIRECTOR: ROB ZOMBIE VERSUS M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN
Zombie seems to release the same kind of horror genre films over and over again. They’re enjoyable, don’t get us wrong, but that’s about it. Having said that, his 2007 remake of Halloween was amazing but, other than that film, he really hasn’t made anything that’s left a permanent imprint on popular culture. The man definitely knows music, though, as the soundtracks are almost always on point.
Shyamalan, who was born in India and raised in the Philadelphia suburbs, could have never made another film after The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable and we’d be completely content. He recently managed to follow those two amazing pieces of film up with Split, which was critically acclaimed and did well at the box office. Sure, Shyamalan had several stinkers along the way – cough, cough, The Happening, cough, cough – but don’t let those fool you, the man is a great Hollywood director. And he easily wins this round.
ROUND: SHYAMALAN (PHILADELPHIA)
HEARTTHROB: MATT DAMON VERSUS BRADLEY COOPER
It all really started for Damon about two decades ago when he starred in the 1997 classic film Good Will Hunting and, from there, he’s done a wide variety of blockbuster films. He’s done family films like We Bought A Zoo, kickass films like the Jason Bourne series, critically-acclaimed films like The Martian – where he even showed his butt – and just about everything in between. Along the way, Damon has morphed into a Hollywood sex symbol and was even named People Magazine’s ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ in 2007. Damon has come a long way from that thick Boston-accented man all of those years ago.
Cooper’s big break came in the 2005 film Wedding Crashers and he has gone on to star in everything from American Sniper to The A-Team to The Hangover. He can often be spotted at Eagles games and even did a film that focused on the Philadelphia sports fan – Silver Linings Playbook. He’s also no slouch in the looks department, is even fluent in French and was also named People Magazine’s ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ in 2011. Like Damon, he pretty much hit the genetic lottery – his films aren’t quite as good, however.
ROUND: DAMON (BOSTON)
MOVIE STAR: BEN AFFLECK VERSUS WILL SMITH
In west Philadelphia born and raised is where Smith spent his early days rapping with DJ Jazzy Jeff but it wasn’t until starring in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air that his career skyrocketed. The late 1990s were about as good as it gets for Smith, starring in blockbuster after blockbuster and they seemed to come almost every summer. It started with the 1995 film Bad Boys and was followed up the next year with Independence Day and then the next year Men In Black and then Enemy of the State. Within those four years, he was the biggest name on the planet. The hits might not come quite as easily these days but Smith has managed to be in his fair share of recent summer blockbusters, regardless of success.
Affleck is currently Batman – a role that’s constantly viewed under a microscope and nitpicked. It’s a long way from his first big role, alongside his friend Matt Damon, in Good Will Hunting, but Affleck has been in plenty of films over the last two decades, from Armageddon, to Daredevil, to The Town – which he also directed and it’s probably the best thing he’s done to date. Affleck has made movie companies plenty of money but, in the end, he just doesn’t have the same gravitas and star power as Smith. It could be because of all the flops in the early 2000s. We still haven’t forgotten about Gigli, Ben.
ROUND: SMITH (PHILADELPHIA)
TELEVISION COMEDY STAR: STEVE CARELL VERSUS TINA FEY
Sure, both have become film stars but it was their beginnings we remember so fondly.
For almost seven seasons, Carrell played Michael Scott, the manager of a Dunder Mifflin Paper Co. branch in rural Pennsylvania on The Office. A little misguided and bumbling at times, Scott had a heart of gold and was the prototypical boss but, when it came to selling paper, he really knew his stuff. While Carrell left before the show came to an end, he was perhaps the biggest reason for the show’s success and definitely eclipsed Ricky Gervais – his British counterpart for which the show was a spinoff. Carell is probably still best recognized for his amazing portrayal of Scott which, we believe, is one of the most complex characters to ever grace the small screen.
On 30 Rock, Fey played Liz Lemon, the head showrunner for an NBC sketch comedy series. Airing for seven seasons, the series was loosely based on Saturday Night Live and featured a solid supporting cast of well known actors and comedians such as Alec Baldwin and Tracy Morgan. Lemon was smooth and witty, could solve a problem quickly, and made no bones about being from Philadelphia – much like Fey in real life. However, the character of Lemon and the series, while funny, didn’t really do anything to leave a lasting mark on television and has simply faded away like many TV comedies.
ROUND: CARELL (BOSTON)
STANDUP COMEDIAN: BILL BURR VERSUS KEVIN HART
For more than two decades, Burr has been making people laugh with his anger-fueled standup specials, calling out almost everyone and keeping it real. His popularity began to rise in 2004, when he was a regular on Chappelle’s Show, which he followed up with a short stint on Breaking Bad. Burr is currently one of the hottest tickets in standup comedy and his weekly podcast, the Monday Morning Podcast, only further proves why the thick-accented Boston native is one of the funniest people out there.
Back in 2015, Hart became one of the first standup comedian’s to sell out a football stadium, when he packed more than 55,000 into Lincoln Financial Field and filmed it for his standup special. Only in the last few years has Hart become a film superstar – thanks in part to teaming up with Dwayne Johnson – but he’s long been honing his skills as a comedian, touring the country excessively. Hart’s earlier standup has been much funnier than his more recent specials but, still, he’s nowhere near Burr’s level.
ROUND: BURR (BOSTON)
CURRENT MUSIC: DROPKICK MURPHYS VERSUS THE ROOTS
This one really depends heavily on personal opinion.
Founded in 1996, Dropkick Murphys helped launch their own genre of music by melding the sound of punk rock with its own Irish Boston roots. Nine albums – and almost 22 years – later, the boys from Beantown have had one record certified gold, 2005’s The Warrior’s Code, while the band’s last four albums all reached 20 or higher on the charts. Dropkick Murphys are a Boston staple – much to the exhaustion of some locals – and have had their anthems represent the city’s various sports team and have even played at past sports parades. Not to mention, the band does a ton of charity work.
Much like its Boston counterpart, The Roots are a Philadelphia staple – and a late night staple. Formed in 1987, The Roots became the house band for Late Night at Jimmy Fallon in 2009 and made the transition over to The Tonight Show when Jimmy Fallon switched to the coveted spot in 2014. To describe The Roots can sometimes be challenging as the band is a mix of hip-hop, R&B and jazz. The band has won three Grammy Awards, including Best R&B album in 2011 for ‘Wake Up’, their collaborative effort with John Legend. Every year, The Roots run a festival in Philadelphia and sometimes can be heard at important sporting events, like halftime of last week’s NFC Championship at Lincoln Financial Field. This might just be the easiest choice on this list – The Roots.
ROUND: THE ROOTS (PHILADELPHIA)
If you tally up the winners here, Boston has the edge in seven rounds.
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