by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

and I don’t even know what this is, but…

Starting Five

Buffalo Stampedes Cowboys*

*The judges will also accept “You Gotta Bill-eve”

The Dallas Cowboys just pulled off the rare feat of losing to two AFC East teams in the span of five days. Just a few days after falling 13-9 to the Patriots in New England, the lads with the stars on their helmets (shouldn’t that make them the “Sheriffs?”) fell to the Buffalo Bills 26-15 in Jerry World.

Dallas is now 6-6, or .500.

Buffalo is 9-3, or .750.

The Bills almost certainly won’t catch the Patriots (10-1) and so they probably won’t be a wildcard and therefore will not host a playoff game in their western New York home, but it would be nice.

The Buffalo Bills versus Dallas made for one of those rarest of match-ups yesterday, by the way: two 1980s TV shows going up against one another. Dabney Coleman against Larry Hagman, who ya got?


*The judges will not accept “Get a Leg Up”

Ole Miss trailed 21-14 in Starkville. The Rebels faced a 4th-and-24 from their own 14-yard line with 0:50 remaining. Then quarterback Matt Corral, who’d been the starter at the beginning of the season, lost his job, and then come back in the Egg Bowl to reclaim it, hit Braylon Sanders with a 57-yard strike. A beauty.

Ten whole plays later Corral found Elijah Moore for a two-yard touchdown pass but before Ole Miss could have a serious discuss about whether or not to go for two or overtime, Moore mimicked peeing like a dog in the end zone—it was National Dog Show day, after all—which cost the Rebels 15 yards.

The resulting 35-yard PAT sailed wide right. Ole Miss loses 21-20. There’s no cure for stupid.

Rule No. 1 Strikes Again

Free solo climber Brad Gobright has fallen to his death while pursuing his craft in Mexico. Gobright, 31, was actually abseiling with a partner when something popped and both men fell. Gobright fell about 1,000 feet to his death while the partner, Aidan Jacobson, crashed through shrubbery and landed on a ledge and survived.

El Portrero Chico

Abseiling is where two climbers rappel from opposite ends of the same rope, using each other’s bodies as counterweights. The pair were climbing El Portrero Chico in northern Mexico.

Gobright once held the world speed record for free solo’ing the nose of El Capitan. He was no weekend climber.

Doctor, Doctor

In Ohio, legislators introduce a bill requiring doctors to “reimplant an ectopic pregnancy” into a woman’s uterus or face charges of “abortion murder.” The problem is that the procedure that legislators would require to perform does not exist in medical science. Seems like kind of a big problem, no?

Five Films: 1965*

*We toyed with the idea of skipping ahead to 1966 just to see Susie B.’s head explode because she’d wonder if we had done 1965 on Thanksgiving Day and she’d somehow missed it, or if we’d simply forgotten what year we were on, but mostly because it has musicals (or, one major one) and this would absolutely infuriate her that we’d bypassed it. In the end, we just could not be this cruel. But we were tempted…

“I can’t be yours. We’re communists. Nothing belongs to anyone.”
  1. The Sound Of Music: Like West Side Story, a perfect film (and the better of the two Nazi-inspired musicals of this decade). The Austrian Alps make a terrific backdrop for the best collection of tunes ever to appear in one movie. Contrary take: a nun in the novitiate turns her back on God for wealth and a hot dude. 2. Doctor Zhivago: Do David Lean and Sir Alec Guinness have something they’d like to tell us? This is Guinness’ third appearance in a Lean epic, all as a character with a different nationality: British, Arab and Russian. Of course, it’s Omar Shariff’s film while Julie Christie is impossibly fetching. We finally watched this for the first time last winter—you have to see it in a hibernal setting—and while it’s tragic and sad, just like Russia, it’s a film that stays with you. And as long as it may be, it’s still shorter than reading a Russian novel. Worth noting: Shariff was not even nominated for Best Actor and while Christie beat out Julie Andrews for Best Actress, it was not for her work in this film but in Darling. Weird. 3. Here is where it gets sticky because we haven’t seen a lot of the supposed best films from this year, but of the remaining ones we have, here’s how we rank ’em: 3. A Charlie Brown Christmas: Could you get away with an animated child character quoting directly from the Gospel according to Luke these days or is the War on Thanksgiving already lost? 4. Thunderball: When Netflix put all the James Bond films on its service (with the exception of “You Only Live Twice”), we were down with seeing all of the Sixties movies. This one has the most sophisticated underwater gang fight ever filmed. What a climax. 5. Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! : The definitive Russ Meyer film and one of our favorite movie titles. And yes, Susie B., I nearly put “How To Stuff A Wild Bikini” and “Beach Blanket Bingo” in a two-way tie here, but ultimately chose against it.

Music 101

It Won’t Be Wrong

We’ve become infatuated with the songs we’ve discovered from watching “Echo In The Canyon” on Netflix the other night. The Byrds released their massive breakthrough album Turn! Turn! Turn! on December 6, 1965, and this was the album’s second song after the legendary title track. The song’s producer was Terry Melcher, who occupied the house that Charles Manson would later target for an August, 1969, murder spree because it was Melcher who would blow off Manson’s attempt to be taken seriously as a musician. That handsome dude in the middle of this video playing the maracas who looks more as if he should be playing tight end for the Dallas Cowboys is Gene Clark, who would write many of the band’s hits and also have an affair with Michelle Phillips—one of her suitors that hubby John would grow tired of having to deal with. And yes, on the far right that’s David Crosby. The dude with the cool specs is Roger McGuinn, who was always the cornerstone of the band.

Above, the soundtrack version featuring Jakob Dylan and Fiona Apple.

Remote Patrol


Ohio State at Michigan

Noon Fox

This one should be fun from Ann Arbor. The Buckeyes were recently elevated by the Sel Com to No. 1 in the nation. The Wolverines have won their last four games by a combined score of 166-45. It’s gonna be closer than you think in the Big House.


by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Joel Embiid finished 0-11 from the field on Monday evening and finished with 0 points, unlike another former seven-footer from a Philadelphia NBA franchise, who once put up 100.

Starting Five


At Cameron Indoor Stadium, Stephen F. Austin comes in and becomes the first non-conference school to beat Duke on their home court since 2000. And wow, the manner in which they did it. Watch:

“Nathan Bain, this is your life!”

Love it.

I wish the camera had just panned to the student section as soon as this layup fell. Maybe it did. We weren’t watching. Now I know how otherwise disinterested fans feel when Notre Dame loses a football game.

Duke becomes the third No. 1 hoops team to fall this month.

“O” and 1

Remember when Clemson, fresh off a 59-7 beatdown of Boston College and having been ranked in the Top 4 in both the AP and Coaches’ Polls the week before, somehow fell to 5th in the first week of the CFB Playoff Rankings?

Well, it happened again last night as LSU, No. 1 the past two weeks and having destroyed “Our Kansas”, as Herbie put it last night, 56-20, fell to No. 2 behind THE Ohio State University.

As Jesse Palmer put it so plainly and succinctly, nobody wants to be No. 2 (or No. 3) because that most likely means you’ll be playing Clemson in the semi.

So how close will that game up in Ann Arbor be this Saturday?

Saving Paris

You’re probably not gonna catch a Marvel film here any time soon

In a heel-turn move that only Amazon-putting-up-a-brick-and-mortar-bookstore can appreciate, Netflix signed a long-term lease at one of New York City’s most beloved movie houses, The Paris (on 58th Street, just across from the Plaza Hotel) so that it would not close. The Paris opened in 1948.

The move also allows Netflix to screen its own Oscar-hopeful films first (they must be released on the big screen for a certain period of time to gain Oscar eligibility) without having to work with an outside distributor before putting them onto the streaming site.

Great. Now will someone buy The Oak Bar (inside the Plaza Hotel, where Cary Grant was having a drink just before the bad guys kidnapped him in North By Northwest...I’m NOT Richard Thornhill) and reopen that? Pretty please.

Sun and Moons

We remember when “blowing sunshine up your ass” had an entirely different meaning…

Five Films: 1964

  1. My Fair Lady: The story of Pygmalion set to music with an enchanting Audrey Hepburn (wasn’t she always?) in a role that Julie Andrews originated on Broadway. See it again if you haven’t in years and notice the subtle digs at the working-class lot in “With A Little Bit O’ Luck” 2. The Train: Burt Lancaster stars in this black-and-white World War II drama that we only saw for the first time last year and loved. There’s a famous scene in the middle of the film in which Lancaster did his own stunt and it’s pretty impressive. One of, if not THE, greatest athletes to ever be a veritable Hollywood star (who didn’t come in as a known athlete first). 3. Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb. Peter Sellers, George C. Scott and Slim Pickens in the blackest comedy ever made to that point. “Gentlemen, you can’t fight here: This is the war room!” 4. Mary Poppins: Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews and the boundless imagination of animators. It won’t be Andrews’ best role as a governess, but it was the one for which she won the Oscar for Best Actress. In her acceptance speech she thanked the producers of My Fair Lady for snubbing her, which gave her the opportunity to do this film. Audrey H., by the way, was not even nominated in that category. Hollywood had the knives out. 5. Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte: Bette Davis, Joan Crawford and Olivia de Havilland in an incredible southern Gothic tale of intrigue and forfeited romance and murder. Another film we only saw in the past year but were wowed by.

Okay, so yeah, we left some Susie B-worthy films off the list and will acknowledge them here: Goldfinger, The Night Of The Iguana, A Hard Day’s Night, all came quite close. We’ve never seen The Umbrellas of Chambourg nor, Kurt, have we watched Mutiny On The Bounty in its entirety (we do love that Marlon Brando scrapped the director midway through the film over creative differences and finished it as the director himself, which is Peak Irony as far as we’re concerned).


by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Starting Five


Last year’s hot NFL team, the Los Angeles Rams, hosted this year’s hot NFL team, the Baltimore Ravens, in the L.A. Coliseum last night. It wasn’t close. The Baltimore Birds slammed the Rams 45-6 and viewers left sure of two things: 1. Lamar Jackson was the steal of the 2018 NFL draft (the 32nd and final pick of the first round) and 2. nobody wants to hear Booger McFarland compare the Ravens to The Wire ever again.

Jackson, who was the fifth quarterback chosen in the 2018 draft, has thus far been undeniably the best. Last night he threw five touchdown passes and while he’s not the most prolific passer in the league this season by a long shot, he is third in passer rating and he’s also the only quarterback in the top 10 in the NFL in rushing.

Mark Ingram, who scored twice last night, is one of three Heisman Trophy winners on the Raven roster

The Ravens are 9-2. Right now it’s between Lamar and Christian McCaffrey (another deserving Heisman Trophy winner who, unlike Lamar, was overlooked for the award) for NFL MVP this season. McCaffrey leads the league in rushing yardage.

McCaffrey’s middle name is Jackson, by the way. Jackson’s middle name is not McCaffrey.

Seoul Mates*

*The judges will also accept “Crazy Rich and Poor Asians”

The movie you should see right now? Parasite, a film out of South Korea written and directed by Bong Joon-ho. See, there’s a poor family (above), the Kims, and a wealthy family, the Parks. When the Kim son lands a job as a tutor for the Park’s daughter, he soon figures out a way to land his three other family members jobs at the Park home (art therapy teacher, driver, housekeeper) without the Parks ever realizing they are all members of the same family.

So far, so funny. Then the story takes a turn for the hearse.

To say more would be wrong. You’ll really enjoy this film, but you’ll have to read the subtitles. This will most likely win the Best Foreign Film Oscar in a few months. It’s downright entertaining and suspenseful and while it may have a lesson or two to provide about class structure, you’re too busy being entertained to feel as if anyone’s preaching.

The Enemy Of My Enemy Is My Fiend

If you’re wondering what Fox News’ Tucker Carlson is doing here, it’s quite simple. First, he’s attempting to normalize the footsie being played between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin although it’s quite curious since right up until the moment Trump began entreating the Russians to look into Hillary’s e-mails in 2016 the Russkies were America’s sworn Cold War adversary.

Second, what he’s also doing is demonstrating that the Democrats and “libtards” are a far greater threat to the America he loves than Russia is. Which is how much of the Trump GOP actually feels.

Sure, it’s queer to listen to the same people who would’ve bashed Obama 24-7 for doing anything even close to what Trump has been alleged of doing both in regards to cozying up to Russia and to attempting to extort Ukraine suddenly say, “I’m rooting for the Russians.” But that is where we are.

Yesterday I had a thought: What happens when the “real Americans” (who watch Fox) are outnumbered by the unreal Americans? Well, that day is coming and you see, the Fox’ies are trying to prep America for it. How? By manipulating elections, by loading the federal courts with federal judges, by attempting to keep the Senate a red majority and, lastly, by gas lighting Americans into thinking that the Constitution no longer matters as much as what the President believes; that he is a king and that his rule is inviolate.

That’s what all of this is about: holding onto white power in a nation that is increasingly, week by week, not white. Nothing more than that.

Wilder Wilding

Nobody pays too much attention to traditional boxing any more, not even to heavyweight fights. On Saturday night, however, Deontay Wilder did Burgess Meredith’s Rocky quote proud: “He’ll knock you into tomorrow, Rock!”

On Saturday night the 6’7″ Tuscaloosa native KO’d Luis Ortiz in the final seconds of the 7th round with a punch that literally knocked all the sweat beads into the fourth row. It was like watching one of those magical bird migration patterns in slo-mo.

In 2015 Wilder, 34, became the first American heavyweight boxing champion after a nine year interregnum for the Yanks at that weight class. He is 42-0-1 in his career with with 41 of those wins by knockout. Twenty of those 41 knockouts have taken place in the first round.

The only person Wilder beat but failed to knock out was Tyson Fury, which is too perfect a name when you consider the last great American heavyweight previous to Wilder. Here’s what the announcer said at the end of Saturday’s fight, moments after the knockout: “There is a reason why he’s the baddest man on the planet!”


Five Films: 1963

  1. The Great Escape: Another great World War II manly man film starring Steve McQueen, James Garner and Charles Bronson, among others. A simply unforgettable WW2 flick. 2. Tom Jones: A deserving Best Picture starring Albert Finney that is a rollicking adventure with great good fun and a charming and bawdy leading man. It doesn’t get the same attention as a lot of “classics,” but no one ever saw this film without enjoying themselves 3. The Birds: In a year that also featured Bye, Bye Birdie, this film with Tippi Hedren and Rod Taylor gets the aviary nod. 4. The Pink Panther: The film that started it all. Peter Sellers was supposed to be more of a supporting player with David Niven’s jewel thief the star, but as he began stealing every scene director Blake Edwards was shrewd enough to recognize what audiences would respond to. If you’re too young to have seen the Pink Panther series, make it a point to see them (“The Return of…” is our favorite). 5. From Russia With Love: Some people consider this James Bond film, the second, to be the best of the Sean Connery era. There’s a sound argument to be made for this and, no, none of it takes place in Russia.

Remote Patrol

Echo In The Canyon


We caught this very good and entertaining documentary last night. It’s all about the Laurel Canyon music scene of the mid-1960s that brought The Byrds, the Mamas and the Papas and the Buffalo Springfield into the foreground. Jakob Dylan, whose pop had a thing or two to do with it all starting out, developed this project and conducts all the interviews.

Dylan, give him this, is a terrific host. Notice how quiet he is as his subjects talk, allowing them to fill the blank spaces, which creates a far better interview. Being the son of one of the all-time rock gods, he’s not nervous or anxious in the presence of Roger McGuinn, Michelle Phillips, Brian Wilson, Steven Stills, David Crosby, Jackson Browne or even Tom Petty, whose contribution to this project will bring a smile to your face.

This was a labor of love and what Dylan has done here is laid down a historical document that, while not approaching Ken Burns-doc status, will be viewed for a long time after all of these legends are part of the dirt. A hilarious moment that we rolled back twice to re-watch: as different subjects opine as to why David Crosby was booted from The Byrds, we shift to Dylan interviewing Crosby with the gorgeous Santa Monica mountains in the background. “That’s not the reason I was kicked out of the Byrds,” says Crosby, who then turns directly to the camera and says, “The reason I was kicked out of The Byrds was because I was an asshole.”

How can you not love a man like that?


by John Walters

Starting Five

Richard Spencer

Casualty Of War

Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer is the latest casualty in the never-ending battle between Donald Trump and Integrity. Last week Trump pardoned Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher, who had been convicted of bringing discredit to the armed forces and acquitted of a separate murder charge (you can never mind for a moment the idea of charging special-ops military types with murder).

Anyway, Gallagher’s case became a cause celebre on Fox News, which then made it a cause for Trump to take up, and Gallagher received a presidential pardon (take yet another bow, bin Laden). Gallagher was one of three military service members Trump pardoned, against the strongest wishes of the Pentagon, which expressed concern that “such a move could damage the integrity of the military judicial system, the ability of military commanders to ensure good order and discipline, and the confidence of US allies and partners who host US troops.”

Gallagher and wife

Trump didn’t care, saying he would never permit the Navy to revoke Gallagher’s membership in the SEALs. Which will probably stoke, at the very least, some friendly ire going forward.

Spencer attempted a diplomatic move, asking the White House to be allowed to publicly proceed with a review of Gallagher while privately assuring it that they’d let Gallagher remain. In other words, let’s put on a dog-and-pony show so it looks as if we’ve still got integrity, but you’ll get our way in the end, Donald. When Secretary of Defense Mark Esper learned of Spencer’s covert maneuver, he asked for his resignation for going “outside the chain of command.”

Another win for Fox and Fiends.

That’s Hall, Folks

Do not, under any circumstances, show us your scar

Strongman Eddie Hall was lifting weights, because that’s what strongmen do, when in his words, as he recently told The Mirror

I piled a load of heavy weights on a leg-press machine and then heard a loud thud. It had come crashing down and the weights had landed on my penis. I nearly bled to death,’

‘It was bad. The worst ever. I didn’t cry for help though. I just lifted them off, drove myself to hospital and got stitched up. I was back training soon enough.’

There’s a lot we find hard to swallow about this tale, but do we really want to ask more incisive questions? I don’t think so.

OK, Bloomberg

Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, a self-made billionaire from New York who doesn’t have to cater to the whims of Fox News because he already owns his own cable news outlet, has officially entered the presidential race as a Democratic candidate.

This is great news in 2016. If Bloomberg had entered as a Republican. Now? We’re not so sure.

“I’m running for president to defeat Donald Trump and rebuild America,” Bloomberg, 77, wrote on his website. “We cannot afford four more years of President Trump’s reckless and unethical actions.”

He would be the oldest president to serve if elected, though he’s still a year younger than Bernie.

Native America First

This was a clever skit from this weekend’s SNL that sort of let up at the last moment and didn’t go for the kill. Still, perhaps it opened a few eyes.

Also, there was a joke from “Weekend Update” that was too good to ignore. The setup, from Colin Jost, was that Nazi paraphernalia belonging to Adolf Hitler and Evan Braun was put up for auction. The problem, noted Jost, was that “it looked as if everyone was bidding at once.”

It isn’t often that you write a joke and know, beyond a doubt, that it would be impossible to be improved upon. This was one of those moments.

Five Films: 1962

  1. Lawrence Of Arabia: Peter O’Toole in a career-highlight performance, with Omar Shariff and the stunning landscapes of Jordan and Morocco. Nominated for 10 Oscars, it won seven including Best Picture and Best Director for David Lean. A true epic. 2. The Longest Day: Dramatic re-telling of D-Day with the greatest cast of manly man actors ever assembled: John Wayne, Sean Connery, Robert Mitchum, Henry Fonda, Eddie Albert, Richard Burton and Robert Ryan, just to name a few. Also told from the German perspective, which makes it that much more fascinating. 3. The Music Man: Robert Preston, Shirley Jones and some of the more charming songs ever put on film. That little boy? Yep, it’s Ron Howard. 4. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance: Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne in one of the tighter Westerns, from a story aspect, ever made. 5. The Manchurian Candidate: A Cold War superpower and enemy of this nation hatches a plot to install a hand-picked puppet as president of the United States. Ha! Like that could ever happen.


by John Walters

Tweet Me Right


Starting Five

My Fiona

The impeachment inquiry has not been short on heroic figures the past week—Marie Yovanovitch, Lt. Col. Vindman and Bill Taylor, to name just a few—but yesterday Dr. Fiona Hill, a British coal miner’s daughter, took the oath and proceeded to be the best possible witness anyone could unearth. In an impeachment inquiry, her character and testimony were simply unimpeachable.

By this stage you’d have to be an idiot to not believe that President Trump was prompting a “quid pro quo” situation from newly elected President Zelensky. And you’d have to be hopelessly naive to not understand that this entire scheme was cooked up by Russian security, the very country that stood the most to gain by it.

Look: either Ukraine does not get the $400 million in aid and thus makes Russia’s fight against it that much easier, or it does for bending the knee to Trump, which possibly helps swing the 2020 election for Trump which is an even bigger win for Putin. It’s a very shrewd plan, comrade.

But we have plenty of idiots in this country at the moment, and most of them vote Republican.

I hate to be a pessimist, but this administration has sort of drilled it into me. As easy as it is to see that Trump is guilty; as similarly easy as it is to infer that this is probably just another day at the office for this man who in this instance just happened to be caught; this will all come down to the fact that there are currently 53 Republicans in the 100-person U.S. Senate and at least 40% of them are going to need to vote to impeach.

That seems like quite a stretch. Yes, Trump’s name will be added to the short list of presidents whom the House of Representatives voted to impeach (Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton; Nixon resigned before it came to a vote) and that will be one more stain on his legacy. But he’ll probably not be ousted from office.

Meanwhile, a huge sector of America believes it’s okay to cheat out in the open, to side with Russia over fellow Americans, simply because it’s more important to be in power than to obey the Constitution. Sad.

Wholly Toledo

The foul here was actually called on T.J. Gibbs of Notre Dame, the player off the ball, and not John Mooney, the player who had it.

The Fighting Irish hoops team moved to 5-1 last night (this is the most transparently soft schedule this side of the Baylor football team) with a comeback win versus Toledo. You have to see a few of the plays here (note time and score):

Finally, the Rockets were held scoreless in overtime until this final play, which did not affect the game’s outcome, but still…

Mad Max Musk

Yesterday Tesla founder Elon Musk unveiled the perfect pickup for these dystopian times. The electric “Cybertruck” is a trapezoid on wheels and features a bullet-proof metal alloy: now if Musk could only design a hoodie made of the same material so I could go shopping at Wal-Mart.

The vehicle seats five and can haul all of your groceries from Trader Joe’s and more. It sells from anywhere between $39,900 and $69,000 and can go from 250 to 500 miles before needing a battery recharge. Or, in other words, you’ll need to drain your kidneys before it drains its battery.

Get Uppity

Exsqueeze me, Richard Jefferson? I wonder if the Fox News producer has already booked Clay Travis for a segment to discuss this. Jefferson is talking about Luka Doncic, by the way, the Eastern European player who, along with Giannis, is one of the NBA’s top two players under the age of 25.

Meanwhile, it was interesting to see Tony Kornheiser (white, Jewish) pose the following question to his old friend Michael Wilbon (black, obstinate) on Pardon The Interruption yesterday as regards the Myles Garrett allegation: “If it had been a black quarterback and he had said it, would Myles Garrett have reacted the same way?”

Wilbon: “No, because [then] it wouldn’t have been a racial slur.”


Five Films: 1961

  1. West Side Story If you’re looking for the perfect film, this is it: romance, drama, comedy, tragedy, suspense, war (on an urban front) and racism. The New York City depicted in films from the 30s, 40s and 50s almost never showed Gotham City’s seamy underbelly, and even when it did it was about (white) crooks and gangsters. Not only is this musical update of Romeo & Juliet entertaining, with physically demanding dance sequences and unforgettable songs, but it’s also a harbinger for the racial turbulence that would envelop the coming decade. Won 10 Oscars, including Best Picture. One more reason we love this: none of the male leads were, or became, big stars. The story was the star. 2. Judgment at Nuremberg A compelling courtroom drama based on the war crimes trial of the Nazis. Maximilian Schell as the German defense attorney Hans Rolfe gives one of the most powerful performances I’ve ever seen. He deservedly won a Best Actor Oscar; the black-and-white film was nominated for 11 Oscars, winning two. 3. The Hustler Classic Paul Newman as a pool hustler who wants to make it into the big time by taking on Minnesota Fats (Jackie Gleason). Methinks whoever made Rounders saw this film first. 4. Breakfast At Tiffany’s A somewhat watered-down version of Truman Capote’s novel, in which the male character is no longer gay. Mickey Rooney is somehow Chinese. Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly is the most delicate courtesan you’ll ever meet. Somewhat overrated as a film as compared to its prominence in people’s minds, but he title song, “Moon River,” Is pure perfection. If you can, watch with George Costanza. 5. The Guns Of Navarone A World War II story starring Gregory Peck that a later James Bond film, You Only Live Twice, will borrow heavily from.


by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Our favorite sandwich, the Tuna Tagovailoa

Starting Five

“We Followed The President’s Orders”

On his third try with an impeachment inquiry, Gordon Sondland comes off as mostly relaxed and fingers Donald Trump, Rudy Giulani and Mike Pompeo. He also notes that he and the president communicate with “a lot of four-letter words.”

This was the most damning testimony yet, since the White House had no idea that Sondland would be a hostile witness to them when the sun rose.

and this…

Quid Pro Quoteworthy

On the day that the White House learned that someone had blown the whistle on its Ukraine ploy, Donald Trump got on the horn with Gordon Sondland, was “very angry,” and spoke the words into the phone (for his exculpatory record) that he wrote down yesterday. This was for a quick briefing with the press.

Here’s the thing: someone who has never committed armed robbery never makes it a point to say, “I want no armed robbery.” You wouldn’t think to deny something that A) you’ve never done and B) no one has ever accused you of doing, particularly to the person who is not even the one doing the accusing.

It’s All About Auburn

Derrick Brown is a full-growed monster and the second-best defensive player in college football behind Chase Young

There’s a very good chance that whatever happens with the College Football Playoff will have a lot to do with how your favorite team fared against Auburn. The Tigers will have played an incredibly difficult schedule this season, having faced playoff hopefuls Oregon (win), LSU (loss), Georgia (loss) and Alabama (Nov. 30).

Personally, we think Auburn will be favored at home and will beat Alabama next week. If they don’t the Tide will have one loss, all season, to LSU.

LSU and Georgia will almost certainly meet in the SEC CG, and if Bama does beat Auburn and Georgia loses to LSU, then Bama will have one loss and the Dawgs, too. And while it seems silly to punish Georgia for playing an extra game against the nation’s best team, we’ve seen this film before. Besides, would the committee really want to set a second LSU-Georgia matchup for later in the month? But then again, would it want to set up a second LSU-Alabama matchup?

Of course, if Georgia beats LSU, then Georgia and LSU are in, presumably at Nos. 3 and 4, respectively (behind Ohio State and Clemson).

Now, if LSU beats Georgia and Alabama beats Auburn, then you’ve potentially got a 1-loss Bama versus a 1-loss Oregon but against the common opponent, Bama has the W.

This is why, if you are a fan of not seeing two SEC teams in the playoff, you’ll want to root for Utah. Whose loss would be against a worse team (USC) than Bama’s or Oregon’s, but don’t ask us to explain that logic.

What about Oklahoma? Their best showing would be having beaten the same Baylor team, who’s really beaten no one great, twice. As much as we’d love to see Jalen Hurts and the Sooners in the playoff, it seems unlikely.

Silencing Stephen A.

Another week, another smart and virtuous black man shutting Stephen A. Smith up on live TV. Kudos to Howard Bryant for telling it like it is.

RIP, Barney

Sending out a fond farewell to Barney McCallum, one of the three co-founders of the sport of Pickleball, who died yesterday at the age of 93.

From his bio in the Pickleball Hall of Fame:

One of the 3 original founders of the game of pickleball and a partner in Pickleball, Inc. the 1st company to provide pickleball equipment which was incorporated in 1968. Barney was the driving force of the business. He figured out where to buy wood for paddles and how to cut them. He helped create the rules of the game and was the proponent in developing the NVZ line rules and the double bounce. He created the $29.50 retail kit that started the explosive growth of the game. Barney said “the greatest thing about pickleball is the balance between offense and defense”.

Five Films: 1960

  1. Psycho Alfred Hitchcock was considered washed up when he scored with his most impactful thriller, thanks in no small part to Tony Perkins’ memorable performance. Something to remember before you next see this: there’s a whole lot of movie before the shower scene. Janet Leigh was a bad girl, carrying on an affair and then embezzling thousands of dollars (that sunk to the bottom of that pond with her) from the very bank where she worked. Was Hitchcock being something of a prude and moralist? Her sin did her in? 2. The Apartment Jack Lemmon, an engaging Shirley MacLaine and a callous Fred MacMurray in a Best Picture winner that was the first real accurate portrayal of the Mad Men era. Funny and bittersweet and it all takes place in New York, New York 3. Spartacus The Norma Rae of the sandals epic era. “I am Spartacus!” 4. The Magnificent Seven A Western reimagining of Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 classic Seven Samurai. Seven gunfighters are hired to protect a besieged Mexican village and five of them are Yul Brynner, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Lee Marvin and Steve McQueen. Blessed with musical score to top all others for Westerns. 5. Cimarron Glenn Ford stars as an idealistic rancher during the Oklahoma land rush. Very reminiscent of other sweeping and across-the-decades American coming-of-age as a country films such as Gone With The Wind and Giant.


by John Walters

Starting Five

Strike Depose

Big day in Impeachtree City yesterday as Jennifer Williams and Mr.—sorry—Lt. Col. Vindnam appeared before the subcommittee. Williams, an assistant to Vice President Mike Pence, was giving off this Kim Raver vibe:

Whereas Vindman was always at least three steps ahead of whatever Republican congressman attempted to come after him:


House Call

So, as soon as we type the item above news breaks that Gordon Sondland, Donald Trump’s hand-picked toadie to be in Eastern Europe (officially: Ambassador to European Union, of which Ukraine is not a part) based on a $1 million donation to the Trump campaign, is about to give it all up. His opening statement is 19 pages long and he’s going to say, without equivocation, that this was all Trump, Pompeo and Giuliani and that as to the question of quid pro quo, “the answer is ‘yes.'”

Luka What He’s Doing

You may recall us advocating here back in May and June of 2018 that our Phoenix Suns, who had the No. 1 overall pick, should select this kid from Europe named Luka Doncic. It looked as if he had the potential to be the next Larry Bird or LeBron.

Now, we were quite sensitive to the potential brushback: middle-aged white guy pining for the GWH (Great White Hope) of that year’s draft. Was that it or did we just see in him someone with whom we would’ve like to play: great outside shooter, great passer, creative on offense?

Well, the Suns selected a center, DeAndre Ayton, who just happened to (briefly) attend the same college as its owner, and that center, while good, is currently sitting out 25 games for PED use. The Kings took Marvin Bagley, a one-and-done phenom from Duke who has missed the first month of this season with a fractured thumb.

Ayton (16.3 ppg and 10.6 rpg as a rookie) is definitely far from a bust. And Bagley had a decent rookie season (14.9 and 7.6) as well. Both stand 6’11.”

Doncic, 6’7″, has looked nothing short of a future Hall of Famer. This season he is fourth in the NBA in scoring (29.5 ppg) and second behind only LeBron in assists (9.3). On Monday night versus San Antonio he put up a 40-point triple-double of 42 points, 12 boards and 11 assists. The only player in NBA history to post a 40-point triple double younger than Doncic? LeBron James.

Ayton can be an All-Star. Bagley is still a bit of a mystery. Doncic has the chance to be a transformational player, a legend. Not unlike Dirk Nowitzki, with whom he shared the court for one season.

So you know: Ayton is 21. Bagley and Doncic are 20. These dudes are gonna be around a good long while.

Read This Item, Ya Jagoff

For us, it took attending college in the Midwest, just two hours east of Chicago, in order to become familiar with the term “jagoff.” One of our best friends used it the way my dad would use “bum.” Anyway, that same friend sent along this article on Monday from Chicago Magazine titled “The Effortless, Midwestern Elegance of ‘Jagoff’.”

Who knew there was such history behind the term? It’s a fun read.

Five Films: 1959

Lee Remick
  1. North By Northwest Cary Grant as the original Mad Man in a case of mistaken identity that takes us from the Oak Room Bar in the Plaza Hotel (currently dormant, which is the greatest crime imaginable) to the face of Mount Rushmore. The plane-on-the-plain scene is still one of cinema’s most suspenseful. Eva-Marie Saint is a delight. As Dr. Seuss would ask, “Could you, would you, on a train?” 2. Ben-Hur Charlton Heston reverts back to being Jewish, and is once again doing the riches-to-bondage-to-enlightenment deal. Best Picture winner 3. Anatomy Of A Murder Never gets the accolades of many films from this era, but Jimmy Stewart and Georg C. Scott are fantastic as dueling attorneys in this courtroom drama and Lee Remick is, once again, a crime in tight outfits 4. Some Like It Hot I’m sure some of our readers would want this to be No. 1. We liked it and Marilyn Monroe is a wonderful comedienne, even if she drove her director and co-stars crazy 5. House On Haunted Hill A bunch of strangers can win a bunch of money if they promise to stay in a haunted house until sunrise. We were but kids when we saw this and it FREAKED US OUT. Not one of the five best films of the year, but one of our five favorites. With Vincent Price, the godfather of ghoul.


by John Walters

Tweet Me Right


Starting Five

The Me Tua Movement

We’re not going to re-litigate the Tua Tagovailoa “Why Was He Even In There?” debate here. We’ve already had our say at The Athletic and people whose opinions we respect (Fowler, Herbie, Corso) all agree with us. The fact that Nick Saban is the best college football coach of this generation does not mean that he’s always right. And just because people say “If he had to do it again, he wouldn’t change a thing” doesn’t mean he’s right. Only that he’s stubborn.

But let’s move on. Here are some sobering facts about Tua: He’ll turn 22 in March and he’s probably about 5’11 to 6 feet tall. He’s already had tightrope surgery on both ankles and now also hip displacement surgery. If he was ever going to be the next Russell Wilson or Kyler Murray, I’d think that the ceiling on his potential has to have been quite lowered. Whether you want to say he’s injury-prone or simply that it’s the way he plays football, he’s already suffered three major injuries while playing behind one of the most talented offensive lines in college football against competition that is undoubtedly not as fast or aggressive as what he’d be facing in the NFL.

I truly hope for his sake that he does not try and come back in time for the 2020 NFL season. I hope he gives his body a full year to rehab. Knowing him and his family’s makeup, particularly his father, I don’t see that happening. But I hope.

Meanwhile, if I were an NFL team, there’s no way on Earth I’d expend a first-round draft pick on him. Too many questions, in terms of his long-term durability. Great kid, great athlete, uncannily accurate passer. But at his height he’s only an NFL starter if he can prove elusive, and I just don’t think he’s going to be so after all of these surgeries at such a young age.

So Alabama’s new starting quarterback the rest of the season is Mac Jones. And do you know who his backup is? A freshman named Taulia Tagovailoa.

The Golden State Killer

This will soon be an 8-part HBO series, too.

In our never-ending quest to be freaked out as we read late at night alone in our apartment, Michelle McNamara’s true-crime bestseller I’ll Be Gone In The Dark is definitely one of those tomes that will make you get out of bed and re-confirm that all the doors (or, “door”) are locked and that no one is hiding in the closets (that’s because they’re hiding in the tub!).

If you haven’t read the book or don’t know the story, McNamara was the wife of comedian Patton Oswalt (and also a Chicago-reared Notre Dame alum). She became obsessed with true crime as a teen through a personal event (which she relates in the book) and spent the last 12 or so years of her life tracking the elusive “East Area Rapist” and “Original Night Stalker,” whom she re-dubbed the Golden State Killer.

Oswalt and McNamara

As infamous as the Zodiac may have been, this elusive criminal murdered more than 10 people and raped more than 50 during a crime spree that ran between 1976-1986 from Sacramento, where it all originated, to as far south as Dana Point and Irvine in Orange County.

The GSK’s final victim may have been, indirectly, McNamara herself. She died in her sleep, only 46 years old, in April of 2016 with her book only half-completed. She’d been on a cocktail of Xanax, Adderall and fentanyl and had unhealthy sleeping hours and an undiagnosed heart condition. Oswalt hired two researchers to finish the book—she was an outstanding writer—and two years later, in April of 2018 and thanks to DNA evidence, the suspect, Joseph James DeAngelo, then 72 years old, was apprehended.

What’s interesting to us is that for all the thousands of man-hours that McNamara and detectives spent on this case, for the theories about his ethnicity or his possible job(s) and lots of other factors, he really fit none of them. While his case has yet to go to trial, the DNA evidence is very, very strong. And yet this man was married and raised a family. Bizarre.

It’s a very fast and compelling read. But again, you may want to double-check the locks on your doors. Real-life monsters do exist.

The Longest Yardstick

In the little we’ve been able to see about the Colin Kaepernick deal, we were surprised to see as many big names in sports media (Screamin’ A., Rick Reilly, both PTI guys and Pablo Torre) at least partially blame him for what went down last weekend with the NFL. Last night we texted back and forth with another sports media personality (won’t name them) who, like us, is somewhat confounded by their level of obtuseness.

Now you know that the term “obtuse” was famously used in The Shawshank Redemption, but it’s two other prison films, both from the 1970s, that resonate with us in relation to this situation: The Longest Yard and The Jericho Mile. In one our protagonist is an NFL quarterback and in the other an Olympic miler hopeful. In both they are dealing with a powerful and corrupt establishment (in the former it’s the prison guards and in the latter it’s the white prison gang, led by Brian Dennehy) who continue to put demands on them in order to show who’s in control as our athlete simply wants to participate as an athlete. Anyway, I found both comparisons useful.

Granted, I’m sure it wasn’t the most diplomatic of decisions to wear a “KUNTA KINTE” t-shirt to the event (I laughed, though). But when people argue that “he doesn’t really want to play football,” it’s such a cop-out. He’s been keeping himself in excellent shape for more than 1,000 days waiting for an opportunity. And then the NFL provides this bogus one and he still jumps at the chance. And then they change the game (with that surprise waiver with the new language, plus the condition that no media be allowed in so that the NFL can control the message) at the last minute and he balks and somehow this is his fault?

Seriously don’t get it.

As Dan LeBatard said yesterday, and I’m paraphrasing, “After all of this, now the NFL wants him to kneel.” And he won’t.

I doubt Kaep will ever take another snap in the NFL. I’m more than certain that for a league that values his position more than any, he’s better than at least the players currently on rosters. What else needs to be asked?

Never Throw Wood

I believe previously in this space I’ve told you about our charming resident homeless fella, Carl. He resides daily on the median at Broadway and 79th Street, a handsome and lean African-American male who stands about 6’3″ or so. And I believe I shared how in the past year or so he’s taken on a female companion, whom a few of us have dubbed “Mrs. Carl.”

So imagine my surprise this weekend when our esteemed and highly local publication, the West Side Rag*, reported that a “Homeless Women Threw Wood At A 70 Year-Old Woman” and hit her in the head. If you read the story—and check out our local precinct’s Twitter feed for the mug shot—you’ll learn that the elderly woman attempted to intervene during one of Carl and Mrs. Carl’s many domestic disputes (a domestic dispute minus a domicile, but whatevs) and that Mrs. Carl then allegedly “threw wood” at her.

(*The West Side Rag is also reporting that a coyote was spotted in Central Park on Saturday evening. Photo included. I love it.)

In the story, the block of wood is shown and, “only in New York, kids,” the word “DONATE” is etched onto it.

The police note that they’ve charged Mrs. Carl with “felony assault.” The elderly woman is doing fine, by the way. At first I worried about the ramifications of all this, and then I thought, It’s late November and it’s getting cold: Mrs. Carl just threw wood into a situation where she’s going to get a bed, shelter, and three square meals a day. Who’s the criminal genius now?

Five Films: 1958

Let the record show that this is not the same Allison Hayes who covers Notre Dame and Big Ten football. She can’t be more than 5’7″, 5’8″ tops.
  1. Touch Of Evil Charlton Heston, Jewish just two years ago, is now half-Mexican. What range! Janet Leigh runs into trouble alone in a motel room in the desert (for the first, but not last, time). Orson Welles is little seen but sinister 2. Auntie Mame Susie B. probably wanted Gigi here, but any movie that gives us “Upsen Downs” and “Life’s a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death” is above that in our rankings 3. Gigi Finally saw this last year. He’s rich and handsome. She’s young and beautiful. And the theme song is a pedophile’s anthem. What’s not to love? 4. Vertigo Creepy Jimmy Stewart loses his girlfriend and then wants to start all over with a brunette version. With the city of San Francisco in a major supporting role. 5. The Blob Because young and earnest Steve McQueen as a teen is just so winning, although if we were ranking by title or movie poster nothing beats Attack Of The 50-Foot Woman.

Predicting Susie B’s pickings of nit: Where’s South Pacific? Or A Night To Remember? Never seen ’em, though I’ve seen the musical live and I’ve seen Titanic, so I’m sort of aware of both stories.


by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

To think of how much Michael Bay would have spent to get this as the opening shot of a movie…

Starting Five

Colin’s Cowed Herd

We’re not going to delve into all of the details of Colin Kaepernick’s Saturday workout in Atlanta. We do find it ironic that in a city where les than two centuries ago black men were put on stage and auctioned off to the highest bidder that a man was told by the NFL to be at a certain place at a certain time, and given all of two hours to decide whether or not that suited him (just four days before the stated event), and that still he showed up only to be presented with a waiver to be signed that would grant the league indemnity against him should he file any future lawsuit concerning collusion.

It’s difficult not to think that this is the only reason the NFL went ahead with this charade.

A couple of other reasons: 1. Roger Goodell’s new business partner, Shawn Carter (you may know him as Jay-Z) was feeling push back from the community about being a sellout, which he is, so he foolishly thought that this dog-and-pony show would take the heat off. 2. A few teams may actually be interested in Kaepernick but they were afraid, as individual franchises, as to how their fan bases would react, so they reasoned that there’s strength in numbers. If the entire league attends a Kaepernick workout, then no one franchise is more woke than the others.

Kap moved the workout from the Falcons facility to a high school field when he realized the NFL wasn’t going to give media the access he wanted them to have, including video footage. He doesn’t trust them. And why should he? And they don’t trust that the man who wears a Kunta Kinte T-shirt (“Roots,” kids; look it up) to an open tryout is going to be a good Stepin Fetchit. Which he won’t.

I don’t think Kap will ever appear in another NFL game. But he will be remembered long after most current players are dead and buried.

Seems Like Old Times

LeBron and Kobe shared a laugh at last night’s game seated next to a dude who thought cargo shorts would be a good look for the front row

Yes, the NBA season is not even a month old yet, but if you look at the standings you’ll note that the Boston Celtics (10-2) and Los Angeles Lakers (11-2) have the best records in the East and West, respectively. If Commissioner Silver had known it was gonna be like this, he’d have scheduled these two to meet on Christmas day.

Oh, by the way, guess who has the NBA’s worst record (and it’s about to get even worse with the injury to D’Angelo Russell)? That’s right, Susie B., the Golden State Warriors (2-12).

Finally, we’ll note that we’re all still awaiting for the debut of the most anticipated player in years, Zion Williamson.

Google Flat-Earth

We had to laugh at this CNN headline this morning: “The flat-Earth conspiracy is spreading around the globe.” Of course, if the Earth were actually flat, wouldn’t it be spreading across the globe?

I’m actually thankful for flat-Earthers. They remind me that as dumb as you think human beings might be, many are actually far dumber. Most of us fail to appreciate just how little sense many human beings have: if they can’t see it with their own eyes, they simply don’t believe it (unless it has to do with religion, and then they’ll believe anything).

That’s My Domer!

We’ll leave aside the argument as to whether Indianapolis Colt (and former Notre Dame) guard Quenton Nelson, moonlighting as a fullback, actually scored a touchdown here. The keg stand end zone celebration is epic. It’s really the only thing the NFL does better than college football, allow celebrations of this type.

Five Films: 1957

  1. The Bridge On The River Kwai The first of David Lean’s three epic masterpieces, and of the three, the tightest story from beginning to end. Sir Alec Guinness and William Holden are brilliant in the tale of a Japanese POW camp in Burma (or about) populated with British soldiers where the mission is to build a bridge only to blow it up. “Madness!” Just like war. Deserving winner of the Best Picture Oscar 2. An Affair To Remember The best opening banter scene in film-dom (or at least right up there with The Thin Man series) and we’ve had a crush on Deborah Kerr from the first time we saw it. 3. 12 Angry Men A study in the power of persuasion and reason, of using humility and intellect to sway the minds of men, starring Henry Fonda. The first of two films on today’s list that is a must-see for any student of the political landscape of the past four years. 4. Sweet Smell Of Success Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis star in a film about (yet another) sleazy journalist. 5. A Face In The Crowd Starring Andy Griffith as a country bumpkin with charisma and a minister’s power of rhetoric who is transformed into a media celebrity and then a demagogue. One envisions a young Donald Trump taking notes. Also starring a young Lee Remick, who in those days was a carnal princess 5.

Note: One of my favorite things about poring over annual film lists for this item is discovering connections to things I never knew. For example, in 1957 there was a film titled What’s Opera, Doc? and now I’m wondering what came first, this or the Bugs Bunny catchphrase (“What’s up, Doc?”). Also, this is the year that gave us Zero Hour, starring Dana Andrews, which is basically the playing-it-straight template for the 1980 comedy classic Airplane!

Music 101


The catalog of Mesa, Arizona’s, Jimmy Eat World is not very deep, but the songs at the surface are incredible. The energy and angst of youth personified. The best Phoenix area-based band this side of Gin Blossoms and Roger Clyne.

Remote Patrol

The Crown

Season 3, Netflix

We have yet to view it, but we’re including this as a public service to Phyllis, who loves the show. Pardon me for a moment (Mom, it’s a different actress playing Queen Elizabeth this season, but you may recall her from the series Broadchurch and from that dreadful film I took you to see last Christmas about the weird queen from another era; remember, you have the Netflix on your lap top and the password is already entered; just click; enjoy!)


by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Starting Five

Brown Out

What is the purpose of all this football and why does it have to always extend into the time when 60 Minutes is supposed to start? a non-sports-viewing friend wondered recently.

“Football,” I replied, “is simply the surrogate to man’s primal need to defend his turf or to acquire someone else’s, which all goes back to being able to eat and then find a suitable mate so as to sustain the species. It’s truly a small sacrifice on your part if 60 Minutes begins 11 minutes late.”

When we talk about football, or all sports, what we are doing is using it as a prism to discuss human behavior or values. Mary Cain’s editorial last week about being trained by Alberto Salazar was not primarily about her Olympic aspirations; Colin Kaepernick’s workout this Saturday is not primarily about which team he will sign with. And last night’s Steelers-Browns game is hardly about who won or lost.

“This is something that will follow him the rest of his career,” former NFL offensive lineman Damien Woody told Scott Van Pelt on the midnight SportsCenter last night. “It’s criminal.”

What Woody was referring to, if you had already gone to sleep, was the play above in the final seconds of the Browns-Steelers contest in Cleveland. Myles Garrett of Cleveland went from trying to take down Pittsburgh’s Mason Rudolph as he released a screen pass to trying to take off his head.

What exactly was going on there? Garrett will likely be suspended the remainder of the season. His teammate, Larry Ogunjobi, along with Pittsburgh’s Maurkice Pouncey, will also be suspended, albeit for a shorter period of time.

How Do You Solve A Problem Like Marie Yo’

Pizzazzgate moves to Day 3 of the public hearings as former U.S. ambassador to the Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and guy-who-overheard-Gordon-Sondland’s-phone-call David Holmes are set to provide testimony. Today, as compared to yesterday, is an LSU-Bama and Penn State-Minnesota Saturday afternoon as compared to a Clemson-N.C State and Notre Dame-Duke Saturday night.

California Shootin’

Two students, one a boy and another a girl, are murdered at Saugus High School in the far northeastern reaches of San Fernando Valley yesterday in California. By a classmate on his 16th birthday. Yet another school shooting.

Three off-duty police officers had just dropped off their kids at the school and rushed back when they heard the shots and saw students fleeing. The suspect had already turned the gun on himself by the time they entered the quad, but did administer first aid.

This morning on CNBC Andrew Ross Sorkin discussed legislation being brought forth, legislation that his campaign of articles in The New York Times helped bring about, that would have banks track irregular movements of money in relation to gun purchases. Of course Joe Kernen pushed back and called this Sorkin’s—he used these words— “pet cause.”

You could see Sorkin’s hair on fire. I”ve never seen him so exasperated on TV. If the clip comes up somewhere, I’ll post it. So far, no.


A piece worth reading from The New York Times on how calling Tom Hanks an “Everyman” is something of a disservice. His starring role as Fred Rogers opens this weekend.

Genius Bar (Who’s At Least A Decade Away From A Bar)

This is Laurent Simons of Belgium. He’s nine years old and about to graduate Eindhoven University of Technology with a degree in electrical engineering. He also has a cool haircut. But he couldn’t make the basketball team.

We always notice that these prepubescent academic prodigies never major in liberal studies. Just an observation.

Five Films: 1956

The closing shot to end all closing shots, an elegy to the Wild West
  1. The Searchers If this isn’t the best Western (it is), it’s certainly the best John Wayne Western. It’s also the most scenically arresting one. The scene that always gets me: the terror on the women’s faces inside the cabin when they realized they’re surrounded by Indians and there’s no escape 2. The Ten Commandments Jesus may be the more important biblical figure (unless you’re Jewish), but Moses is definitely the biblical behemoth of cinema thanks to Charlton Heston’s portrayal (and who looked more Jewish than Charlton Heston?). That’s Edward G. Robinson as the devious slave trader and Anne Baxter—the same woman who played Eve in All About Eve—as the seductive Egyptian princess. 3. Invasion Of The Body Snatchers One of the smartest allegories ever made; again, it’s set in the midst of the McCarthy era. It’s just as timely today, if not more so (I thought I knew those people) 4. Giant Before there was There Will Be Blood, there was this grandiose epic starring a beguiling Elizabeth Taylor, a stoic Rock Hudson and an unharnessed James Dean (the film was released after his death). It doesn’t quite measure up to its Gone With The Wind-y aspirations, but still a must-see. 5. High Society Have you heard/It’s in the stars/Next July we collide with Mars. For the party scene alone and this duet between Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby, this makes the list. Grace Kelly in her latest “I’m in love with my father” role (he’s 56, she’s 27) as we’re supposed to believe she’s already divorced from the Crusty Crooner and is now about to be won over by him again (this is The Philadelphia Story re-set as a musical in Newport, Rhode Island).

Just missed: Forbidden Planet Leslie Nielsen as the commander of a ship that lands on a planet with a lone survivor from a previous mission. It’s the forerunner for Star Trek, basically, and it’s fun to see Lt. Frank Drebin in his serious leading man days.