by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

The best Shark Week promo we’ve seen…

Starting Five

CNN’s The Movies

It was my good friend at Sports Illustrated, Mark Beech, who first got me interested in old films. Back in the late 1990s and early 00s, when we were both single, Beech loved to talk about the movie on TCM he’d stayed home to watch the night before. I’m like, Here you are living in the epicenter of Bachelor Heaven and you’re living the lifestyle of Aunt Bee?

But he gradually pulled me in. It was due to Beech that I first saw Casablanca. I was in my mid-thirties. Then he’d find hidden old gems such as the original Wicker Man (way creepier than the Nic Cage version). Before long I was hooked and the next stage was that we created an annual one-day film festival, to be held in my apartment on the bleakest day of winter. We named it the Johndance Film Festival and in our greatest year probably had about 10 people attend. Everyone chose one film and we did our best to see all of them. A few that made the bill over the years: The Maltese Falcon, The Third Man, Nobody’s Fool, An Affair To Remember, Night of the Hunter, etc.

Anyway, needless to say that I was looking forward to CNN’s six-part series, The Movies, that launched three Sundays ago. Tom Hanks’ production company was to be behind it. I got a bad feeling right off when the first installment was “The Eighties.” I thought, Uh-oh, they don’t trust contemporary audiences to appreciate films made before they were born (and they may be correct, but still, for hardcore film buffs, disappointing).

The next two installments have been “The Nineties” and “The 2000s” and now, CNN must feel, if you’re still hooked, maybe they can serve you your vegetables and you won’t feign a tummy ache: “The Seventies,” “The Sixties” and, “The Golden Age” (all films before 1960).

If that’s not disappointing enough, the series feels like a cursory survey course. The tweet above pretty much describes the format and, oh yeah, every comment by every person interviewed is glowing and positive. For me the last straw was them showing a scene from Bridesmaids in which Maya Rudolph and Kristen Witt discuss men waving their d***s in their faces during sex and afterward Rudolph says, “I was really proud of that scene.”

It’s not that CNN’s “The Movies” is bad. It’s just that, like movie popcorn, you ingest it easily but there’s no feeling of sustenance. There’s no depth. No theme. Nothing edifying. And it feels as if just about every famous person sat down for the interviews either out of affection for Hanks or because he or she knew their film was going to be given a lovefest.

It’s not bad at all. It’s just that maybe it has attempted to cover too much material and when there is a not critical counterpunch (you’re going to tell us how this century has become the century of the movie franchise, why not explain why: unadventurous studio heads who are part of publicly owned media conglomerates and the safe $$$$), it feels empty.

The Ten Commandments

Watching the Yankee game yesterday and pinstriped pitcher James Paxton walks the Rockies’ leadoff hitter. Worse, it was their No. 8 batter. The Rockies go on to score four runs that inning. I’m thinking, You never, ever, ever do that. Ever! Never walk the leadoff batter.

Then it occurred to me that that should be a baseball commandment. And that maybe every sport needs its own Ten Commandments. So I’m starting a list now and soliciting suggestions.

Baseball Commandment No. 5: Thou Shalt Not Walk The Leadoff Hitter.

Back in the day Rick Reilly would think of a nugget like this and turn it into his “Point After” column, spend a few hours writing it, and that would be his work for the week. He’d pocket a handsome paycheck for the effort, too. What a time to have been alive.

Garbage Time

Remember, I dunno, how long ago was it—2009 to 2016—when Barry Obama was president and a certain segment of the population was perennially unhappy and critical? One of them even used the word “garbage” to describe it.

Fox’s Chris Wallace does, and yesterday morning he hung White House Goebbels Stephen Miller with his boss’ own words. Maybe Miller figured that since he’d be appearing on Fox News that this would be a lay-up. No such luck.


Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald was asked about declining attendance in college football last week and as his response, he held up his smart phone. And while our phones are not the sole reason for sparser stadium crowds, and while his answer may have launched a thousand “Get Off My Lawn!” jeers from millennials, everything Fitz says here is dead-on.

Posted just this a.m. and exactly what Fitz was talking about

We’re all guilty. I am. Smart phones are the great 21st-century addiction, and the irony is that devices that have exponentially increased our capacity for communicating with those not in our immediate vicinity have, in only a decade or so, conditioned us not to communicate with those IN our immediate vicinity. No one is present any more. Smart phones, more than lap tops, are the devices that may ultimately foretell the end of community, and that’s the first step to the end of society. The Matrix is real, Neo.

Shane Asylum

Golf is surely the most dad bod-friendly sport

What would you prefer as your big takeaway from the 2019 British Open in Portrush, Northern Ireland? That Gaelic favorite son Rory McIlroy shot a quadruple bogey on the very first hole and failed to make the cut? That not-as-favorite and not-as-slim countryman Shane Lowry won going away? Or that Brooks Koepka, who finished in a tie for fourth place, ended up in the top four in all four majors in 2019 without winning any of them?

Music 101


Hardly an inspired choice after this simmering summer weekend—outdoor bars in NYC were closed because who wanted to sit outside? Martha and the Vandellas were the original Motown girl group, and this 1963 song, fittingly released in July, soared up to No. 4 on the Billboard charts. Linda Ronstadt’s 1975 remake hit No. 5.

Remote Patrol

Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee

It couldn’t have been easy for Jerry Seinfeld to persuade the notoriously reclusive Eddie Murphy to leave his mansion, but considering that the two of them appeared on the same bill at a Chinese restaurant in north Jersey in 1976, Eddie must have felt he could trust him. Stick around for a film insight by Eddie and also, near the end, Jerry sort of explains why he does this series.

8 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

  1. I am with Pat Fitzgerald on the more general point that cell phones/social media have changed the way we experience life, but is it really the primary reason attendance has dropped, or even a significant factor? Seems like a cop-out.

    The actual reasons are obvious: TV timeouts and clock stoppage rules make attending a game in person a four-hour commitment (and a lot less fun), not including travel time; the cost of a day at the game, including tix, parking, etc.; the not-infrequent subpar opponents (Northwestern hosts UNLV and UMass this year); the fact that only about 6-8 teams enter each season with a reasonable shot to win the title. And don’t forget the two points that have made a certain percentage of people more hesitant to support college football financially: 1) greater awareness of how truly dangerous the sport is; and 2) increased acknowledgment that college football is a multi-billion dollar industry enriching colleges and coaches on the backs of poorly compensated students.

  2. My theory on why Jerry does his Cars/Coffee series: Tax write offs. Jerry can put his huge car collection to a “business” purpose by using them in his series. Just a theory.


    Well, well, well! It seems Team Deathstar is showing cracks! The 2 mountain stages over the weekend provoked huge changes within the peloton & this race’s final podium, while not “wide open”, is up for grabs among the current top 6 riders! Ala-Panache is still in the Yellow Jersey but he cracked yesterday in the final 1-3K & lost some time. Meanwhile, Team Deathstar could not take advantage as their lead guy (Geraint Thomas) was also dropped (2nd time in 2 days for him but he is still sitting 2nd overall). Another French guy (Pinot) won Saturday’s stage & took much time on all except Ala-Panache & then attacked again on Sunday, took 2nd on that stage & most importantly took time on ALL the other contenders so now he sits in 4th overall, a mere 15 seconds behind Geraint. Pinot is one of the 5 GC contenders that lost 1:40 in last week’s Stage 10 to crosswinds & is now the poster boy for “riding angry” as he appears to be the strongest guy in the entire race!

    This Thursday, Friday & Saturday are “jaunts” thru the Alps & at this point, any of the top 6 could win it all, let alone stand on the final podium in Paris. If Ala-Panache cracks again, he could hemorrhage time & lose 5-10 minutes or more & fall completely out of podium contention. If Pinot attacks again & Geraint can’t keep up, Team Ineos will lose the Tour. Of course, the guy currently sitting 3rd, Kruijswik, COULD prove stronger than Pinot on 1 or 2 of those days & get the Yellow jersey for himself. I’m telling you, for all cycling fans (well, maybe not Ineos fans), this is the most EXCITING TOUR in ages! And the French are going crazy as they have TWO riders that have a good chance at winning it all!

    Who do *I* think will win? As exciting as Ala-Panache has been, I don’t think he’ll make it thru the Alps in yellow. Geraint has shown weakness on TWO days in the mountains & his team is the weakest I’ve seen them look since 2014. (Which is SHOCKING by the way!) Of course, Geraint could “suddenly find his legs” & ride away from everyone on one or more stages in the Alps, but my money (figure of speech only!) is on either Pinot or Kruijswik at this point.

    Meanwhile, in South Korea – our girl Katie lost the 400 Free! Big upset! I don’t think she’d lost that race in a major competition before. And in an upset just as big – Swede Sarah Sjostrom lost the 200 Butterfly this morning. I believe both of these women are the “rebounding” type & won’t let these losses completely derail them for the rest of the World Championships. Some good news for Team USA is that our men won the 4×100 Free relay & one of those swimmers, cutie Caeleb Dressel, won his 2nd Gold this morning in the 50 Butterfly. Remember this name as he’s touted as the next multi-winning alpha to ‘replace’ Michael (he won 7 Golds in the last WC, although with 2 more relays than existed in Michael’s era). He’s easy to spot – he has a full-sleeve tattoo on his left arm & he’s usually touching the wall 1st. Plus, he’s, er , super hot. 🙂

    • Whoops, Sarah Sjostrom lost in the 100 Fly, not the 200. I was trying to watch AND get ready for work this morning! 🙂

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