Category Archives: football

Silver Linings Playbook

Silver Linings Playbook ~ You might have noticed its been quite a while since I posted about any movies currently in theaters. Well, it’s been a while since I’ve been out to a movie. Tonight, after dinner with good friends we haven’t seen in a while, we decided to hit a flick last minute. I wanted Die Hard or The Hobbit, but the ladies settled on multiple Oscar nom rom com drama Silver Linings Playbook.

What a pleasant surprise. I didn’t know all that much about it beyond the noms for best picture, best actor Bradley Cooper, best actress Jennifer Lawrence, best supportings Robert DeNiro and Jacki Weaver, and best director David O. Russell. Surprisingly all of the noms are well deserved, some might not win, but all well deserved.

Based on the book “The Silver Linings Playbook” by local teacher turned novelist Matthew Quick. That alone lends credibility to the locale of the flick – Philadelphia, as well as the passion for Eagles football so important to the story. That story has bi-polar Patrick (Cooper) trying to repair his life and get his wife back, even though she’s moved on while he was in a mental hospital. Enter Tiffany (Lawrence) widowed and equally flawed, trying to get him back on his feet.

Cooper and Lawrence are no strangers to Oscar, and recently she has gained serious genre cred as Catniss and young Mystique. I think Jennifer Lawrence’s best years are ahead of her, and right now she’s better than most other actresses her age. I loved her here. DeNiro and Weaver are just as good as Cooper’s parents. The whole film is full of terrific performances, including Julia Stiles, Shea Whigham of “Boardwalk Empire,” Anupam Kher, and believe it or not, a completely non-annoying Chris Tucker.

This was a great flick, I definitely see a couple (at least) Oscars coming its way this weekend, but let’s face it. It’s no Die Hard. 😉

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Avengers Assemble!

Apparently the Superbowl was last night. Some folks were excited about the commercials. Some folks were excited about Madonna. Rumor has it there was even a pretty good football game last night. I didn’t notice, especially seeing how neither the Philadelphia Eagles nor the Dallas Cowboys were involved. But I watched last night’s Super Bowl too, but for none of the above – I watched it for The Avengers!

Yeah, baby! I absolutely can not wait until May fourth! Avengers Assemble!

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Rachel Ray’s Roasted Thick Potato Chips

The End of an Era

Yesterday WYSP-FM changed their format and call letters to all sports and WIP-FM. I’m not a big sports fan other than Wings lacrosse and sometimes the Philadelphia Eagles or Dallas Cowboys (you know where to send the hate mail), I think it’s unfair for me to ask why we need another sports station in Philly, but there it is, ya know? It’s not the first time WYSP has changed formats, but never so drastic a change before.

I grew up with WYSP, from when I first became aware of FM radio in the mid-seventies to when I fell away from terrestrial radio a few years back and discovered the more eclectic satellite radio. In the radio wasteland of Philadelphia, WYSP was always the cooler, hipper choice when compared to direct rival WMMR and distant competitor WIOQ. I envisioned stoned ex-hippies at the former and future NPR listeners at the latter, whereas WYSP listeners seemed like either myself, or folks I wanted to hang out with. WYSP always had the new, newer and newest music and trends.

WYSP was originally the FM version of AM pop/rock station WIBG, and its call letters stood for “Your Station in Philadelphia.” It started rocking in the early 1970s and quickly became WMMR’s biggest competition. As I mentioned, WYSP always seemed to have newer music and harder rock than WMMR. Those that listened could usually tell the difference with hearing a DJ or a station ID. WYSP was the first place I heard DEVO, Adam and the Ants, the Sex Pistols, Joan Armatrading, and even Rick Springfield.

When WYSP had news, it was cool news, same with the talk. I remember the Source days with Cyndy Drue, the Dr. Demento show and the Comedy Hour on Sunday nights. I remember the engineer who did the dead-on Mr. Rogers imitation and recorded versions of “Cat Scratch Fever” and “Iron Man.” I remember Ask Anita. I remember listening to “Innerview” with Jim Ladd, as he talked with Roger Waters about what “The Wall” was really about, and when he interviewed Ray Manzarek telling apocryphal tales of the late Jim Morrison. I remember learning of John Lennon’s death from WYSP.

I remember the Howard Stern years, along with the Opie and Anthony years. I remember the two weeks after 9/11 when WYSP was all talk, taking calls from listeners twenty-four hours a day and letting them vent, grieve or just talk. This is not as sad as that, but it like losing a lifetime friend. Even if I haven’t seen you in a while, you were a friend. I will miss you, WYSP, and so will all of Philadelphia and the surrounding area. Goodbye, old friend…

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French Fry Diary 176: Wendy’s New Fries

Quickies 8-31-2010

Batman: Under the Red Hood ~ This direct-to-DVD animated film from DC Comics follows the story of the second Robin who was murdered by the Joker and then mysteriously returns from the dead years later as Batman’s adversary the Red Hood. I didn’t actually read the comics this was based on so it was all new for me, and as I am not much of a Bat-fan these days, surprisingly good. I especially loved the fight early on with Batman and Nightwing vs. Amazo. Even though it’s not Mark Hamill doing the voice, the Joker is exceptionally scary here. Great stuff. Not for kids, but recommended.

Hot Tub Time Machine ~ This really wasn’t as bad as it sounded when I first heard of it, in fact this was a pleasant surprise. Yes, the title, and the previews pretty much give it away, but this flick has a heart, and a funnybone. Anyone who loved all those 1980s movies like Better Off Dead or Just One of the Guys or anything by John Hughes will get a kick out of this. Might be a bit rough for kids, lots of sex and drugs, but still a good romp. Fun, nostalgia and John Cusack. You can’t beat that.

Big Fan ~ You might think of Patton Oswalt as just a comedian, but he’s not. He’s also a very good actor. His semi-dramatic peripheral role in “United States of Tara” is only the tip of the iceberg. I just saw him in Big Fan and he is a tour de force portraying a lonely middle-aged guy obsessed with New York Giants football and sports radio. We know these guys, and this is an intimate and chilling look into their world. This is a hell of a movie. Recommended.

The Road ~ Based on the book by Cormac McCarthy, this post-apocalyptic drama stars Viggo Mortenson and briefly Robert Duvall, Guy Pearce and Charlize Theron. It’s about a father’s quest to show his son the ocean by traveling across the country dodging psychos and cannibals in a world without sunlight. It’s visually intriguing, but very little else, and at some points, downright boring. Read the book, and only see the movie if it’s on free TV and there’s not much else on.

Igor ~ Anything with John Cusack’s name on it is worth checking out in my opinion. He has rarely let me down. This overlooked computer-animated flick about the hunchbacked assistants to mad scientists, called Igors, is quite a gem. A bit predictable in some places and unexpectedly outrageous in others is definitely worth a look. Good for the kids, and the adults as well.

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The Blind Side

The Blind Side ~ This is easily one of Sandra Bullock’s best performances and obviously, with an Oscar for her trouble, one of her most acknowledged. And that last part is a shame because Sandra is always excellent. Exept of course for Miss Congeniality 2 and picking Jesse James, but I can forgive her for those mistakes.

I’ll say up front that I didn’t care for her Southern accent in The Blind Side, but the rest of it makes up for it. It’s an Oscar film, and it got Sandra her first (and it shouldn’t be her last), so I can overlook the overworked accent. The accent would have fit Julia Roberts well, so thank God she turned this part down. It’s really nice of Julia to turn down all the good roles the last year or so. I wonder when she’ll be firing her agent?

The story, that of a young athlete from the wrong side of the tracks taken in by an upper class family and eventually makes it to the NFL, is a true one, an uplifting and positive one. And if it seems clichéd, it can’t be helped – it’s based on a true story.

The cast is top notch, not just Sandra, but Quinton Aaron, Tim McGraw and Kathy Bates are all in excellent form. The Blind Side is must see.

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Merlin Olsen Dies

Merlin Olsen passed away yesterday of mesothelioma. He was only 69.

THe NFL Hall of Famer was one of the greatest defensive linesmen of our time when he played for the Los Angeles Rams as part of the ‘fearsome foursome,’ and then embarked on a successful television career.

Besides commercials and commenatating on football games, he had long-running roles in “Little House on the Prairie” and “Father Murphy.” He’ll be missed.

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Those Poor Eagles Fans

Perhaps I should reword that title as I’m an Eagles fan too, but perhaps it’s also better to distance myself from the subject this time. Philadelphia Eagles football fans are masochists. On my recent Disney Cruise of the Western Caribbean many pitiful Eagles fans gathered in the Diversions sports bar onboard to watch the Sunday game against the Washington Redskins.

It was quite a event for a people watcher like me who only usually gets to observe one or two family members or friends watch the Eagles. This was a small group of strangers brought together by a common denominator – misery, um, I mean, loyalty to a local sports team.

There were several games being viewed at Diversions that day, a different one on each of many TV screens. The biggest screen, well over ten feet across, and the one with the sound up, was Indianapolis and Houston. This was an exciting game and the one most folks were there to see, and there was much applause, high-fiving and hooting and jumping up and down. The Colts were apparently playing real football. There was much joy and celebration.

As I said, that was a great game, but still the Eagles game had its viewers as well scattered around one silent TV screen. Philadelphia fans had a whole different pattern of behavior. They would punch the furniture, curse under their breath, grab their heads in frustration, and even pull out their own hair. Repeatedly this happened for over two hours.

When the Indianapolis game was over and the Eagles game was at a 24-24 tie with three minutes left, the bar moved it to the big screen. Even in the hope of the fans there was a subtle feeling of desperation. We had been here before. Eventually after a field goal and running out the clock, the Eagles did win. And that’s a good thing, hey, I could watch the Eagles lose at home.

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The Chicken Wave