Monthly Archives: April 2022

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Sports – 2022 NFL Draft

Category : Sports

Football is almost here!  It’s just a matter of time before the season begins.  The first step was Free Agency, and now the Draft!  This Thursday @ 8:00 pm the 1st Round of the Draft will be on in prime time and I’ll be glued to the television.  This is a very interesting draft class and it’s hard to predict who each team will pick, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun trying.  So, based on the opinions of experts and my own uneducated musings here it is, Olie’s 2022 Mock Draft:

 

1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Travon Walker, DL from Georgia

2. Detroit Lions – Aidan Hutchinson, DL from Michigan

3. Houston Texans – Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE from Oregon

4. New York Jets – Ickey Ekwonu, OL from NC State

5. New York Giants – Evan Neal, OL from Alabama

6. Carolina Panthers –Kenny Pickett, QB from Pitt

7. New York Giants – Sauce Gardner, CB from Cincinnati

8. Atlanta Falcons – Garrett Wilson, WR from OSU

9. Seattle Seahawks – Malik Willis, QB from Liberty

10. New York Jets – Drake London, WR from USC

11. Washington Commanders – Kyle Hamilton, S from Notre Dame

12. Minnesota Vikings –Derek Stingley, CB from LSU

13. Houston Texans – Jermain Johnson, DL from Florida St

14. Baltimore Ravens – Charles Cross, OL from Mississippi St

15. Philadelphia Eagles – Jameson Williams, WR from Alabama

16. New Orleans Saints – Trevor Penning, OL from Northern Iowa

17. Los Angeles Chargers – Kenyon Green, OL from Texas A&M

18. Philadelphia Eagles – Jordan Davis, DL from Georgia

19. New Orleans Saints – Chris Olave, WR from OSU

20. Pittsburgh Steelers – Tyler Linderbaum,  OL from Iowa

21. New England Patriots – Devin Lloyd, LB from Utah

22. Green Bay Packers – Treylon Burks, WR from Arkansas

23. Arizona Cardinals – David Ojabo, EDGE from Michigan

24. Dallas Cowboys – Zion Johnson, OL from Boston College

25. Buffalo Bills – Kyler Gordon, CB from Washington

26. Tennessee Titans – Bernhard Raimann, OL from Central Michigan

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Trent McDuffie, CB from Washington

28. Green Bay Packers – Nakobe Dean, LB from Georgia

29. Kansas City Chiefs – Kaiir Elam, CB from Florida

30. Kansas City Chiefs – Jahan Dotson, WR from Penn St

31. Cincinnati Bengals – Dax Hill, S from Michigan

32. Detroit Lions – Desmond Ridder, QB from Cincinnati


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Movie Review – Barbarella

Category : Movie Review

Director: Roger Vadim

Starring: Jane Fonda, John Phillip Law, Milo O’Shea

Year: 1968

One of the most audacious, salacious, and scandalous films of our time, Barbarella is not just a cult classic, but also an icon of the era that both shocks and awes.  From the first scene, that monumental zero-G disrobing, audiences understand that they better buckle up, because they’re in for a wild ride, and that there’s no telling what (or who) might come next.  This is what makes Barbarella so insanely memorable and remarkable; the stream-of-consciousness activity, dialogue, and plot, muddling our minds until we really couldn’t guess where the story will take us, or who our heroine might encounter.  Somehow I might be in love with this movie, more than I love this movie, which makes no sense, but this is definitely a film that doesn’t give a damn if sense was made or not.

Barbarella is a space adventurer many, many years in the future, during a time when all the known worlds are at peace, have tranquility, and have put aside silly notions like war, sex, hate, passion, and violence.  But her newest mission will teach her that there are still those among the stars who practice the baser ways of the past, and that there are still dangers out beyond the reaches of civilized space.  A scientist named Durand Durand has gone missing on a distant world, and he has taken with him the Positronic Ray, an invention that could bring evil and death back into the galaxy.  Barbarella’s mission is to find Durand Durand, locate his weapon, and ensure peace, but the cultures and characters she meets along the way will show her that she still has so much to learn about human interactions and failings.

There are few moments more iconic, few roles more cinematically important, few films so lasting and gigantic, than the ridiculous escapades of the lovely space explorer Barbarella.  It’s such a silly movie, and it might seem grandiose and absurd to categorize it this way, but watching it back, reliving its scenes, hearing its iconic lines, seeing Jane Fonda inhabiting this exquisite creature, there’s nothing you can do but be in awe of what these filmmakers were able to accomplish and give to us.  This bonkers base is what later creativity used as a springboard, and we should all thank it for being so bizarre and experimental, because it definitely birthed more of the same.  Fonda is so sexy, the music is so Mod, the sci-fi is so stupid, and there are a millions lines to quote because they’re so one-of-a-kind (because why would anyone else say that?!); this film is special in one of the most unique ways a film can be special.  Barbarella is marvelously mad, and that’s good enough for me.

My rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

 


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Movie Review – The Ice Pirates

Category : Movie Review

Director: Stewart Raffill

Starring: Robert Urich, Michael D. Roberts, Mary Crosby

Anjelica Huston, Ron Perlman, Jeremy West, Bruce Vilanch

Year: 1984

Well …huh.  I guess you should say hello to Barbarella, History of the World, Errol Flynn, Mel Brooks, the Crusades, Westerns, swashbucklers, pirates, sci-fi, pretty much everything you’ve ever seen, because Ice Pirates has it all, absolutely every piece stolen.  This is one of the most bizarre, confusing, hilarious, all-over-the-place movies you will ever see; just when you think you’ve gotten tired of it, it’ll amaze you with something you thought was simply too dumb to try.  Really, this film is too dumb to exist, but here it is anyway, and you will definitely laugh out loud, even while you tell your family that you just watched the worst moving picture in history.

In the future, humanity will fight for resources, one more than any other; water.  Most is controlled on one planet by one power, the Templars, who do not give it freely.  So, bandits have emerged to steal the huge blocks of frozen water from the Templar cargo ships, and these ice pirates are a thorn in the side of their totalitarian control.  One charismatic rogue, Jason, comes across a princess while he’s thieving, and finds himself part of an adventure to find a hidden world where water is abundant.  He & his mates go on the run from the Templars, whose robot army is nigh unstoppable, and will follow them into all corners of the known galaxy.

Wow there’s a lot to digest here.  First, this is one of the worst things you will ever see, that’s a given.  It’s actors you know romping around doing nothing recognizable, with a frantic pace that makes your head spin, and a plot that must have taken five seconds to write.  This is bad, bonkers, batshit, whatever you want to call it, and there’s simply no excuse for its existence or its theft from other movies.  But somehow it gets stranger; there is a scene at the end, the climax, that you will have to see to believe, it’s that off the wall.  You’ve seen weird before, but Ice Pirates pushes all boundaries, until it takes the proverbial cake, jams it in its own mouth, and chokes us all.

My rating: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

 


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Movie Review – Flight of the Navigator

Category : Movie Review

Director: Randal Kleiser

Starring: Joey Kramer, Paul Reubens, Sarah Jessica Parker

Year: 1986

We who love movies also tend to love John Hughes, and can probably rattle off a list of his films by heart; directing Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Ferris Bueller, Plane Trains & Automobiles, She’s Having a Baby, Uncle Buck, Curly Sue, and writing National Lampoon’s Vacation, Mr. Mom, Pretty in Pink, The Great Outdoors, Christmas Vacation, Home Alone, Dutch, Beethoven.  The 80s & early 90s belonged to Hughes, but there was another director pumping out the hits at the time, films that would become period classics, a director who gets far less attention, and that would be Randal Kleiser.  The Boy in the Plastic Bubble, Grease, The Blue Lagoon, Grandview USA, Flight of the Navigator, Big Top Pee-wee, White Fang, Honey I Blew up the Kid; Kleiser’s successes reach back into the late 70s and then mirror Hughes’ timeline.  He’s a director to know, respect, and appreciate, as is this 80s family sci-fi flick that I dare you not to love.

David Freeman is a typical American kid from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, spending time with his family on the 4th of July, thinking about fireworks and girls and training his dog; dude’s living his best life.  But when he goes into the woods to walk his little brother home and falls down a ravine, the world changes around him while he’s knocked out.  Walking back to his house, he finds that it’s no longer 1978, but rather 1986, and his family doesn’t live there any more.  They’ve spent the last 8 years trying to find their son, the boy who vanishes, and now he pops up out of nowhere, not having aged a day.  At the same exact time, a craft that looks like it came from another world becomes tangled in power lines, and somehow David is connected to this spaceship, and it calls to him, though he doesn’t understand why.  He & the ship are about to embark on an awesome adventure, through time and space, while building a friendship that will last forever.

I watched this movie so much as a kid, it’s ridiculous. My sister & I would watch it over & over again, saying “compliance!” repeatedly, and generally wishing we too could go on an adventure with an alien spaceship because it looked so cool.  It’s just such a fun story, so simple & so short, full of wonder and excitement and joy, with just enough of a dark edge that you can kinda spook yourself out a little if you want to.  I was surprised by how small a package this tale comes wrapped in, but really, that’s all that is necessary; we get the point and the entertain value very quickly and easily, it’s not a problem that it’s on 80 minutes long.  Kleiser is such an underrated director, he was so impactful, and it’s nice to revisit his films; they are very strong, especially when considered as time capsules or at least fitting snugly into their era.  My kids loved this goofy little gem of a movie just as much as I did, and I hope it lives on forever in the hearts of those who want it to stay.

My rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

 


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Movie Review – Turning Red

Category : Movie Review

Director: Domee Shi

Starring: Rosalie Chiang, Sandra Oh

Year: 2022

Pixar’s latest is in line with Disney/Pixar’s new mission; include everyone.  But instead of doing that through the use of animals, make believe, or more-generic characters, so that all can feel included in the story, their idea was to make hyper-focused stories about under-represented groups, therefor letting others into a world that has, so far, been very closed off.  With Turning Red, at least, I feel like that mission backfired, with a detailed tale that only really relates to the director’s exact life: Chinese family, moving to Toronto, raised by an over-bearing mother, learning to love expression & herself, growing up & out with difficulty.  So, while I don’t agree that this film can’t be relatable because, well, it’s not about me, I do think that’s it’s still too intentionally specific.  And, unfortunately, it’s also a bit of a mess.

Meilin’s family runs a traditional Chinese temple in Toronto, welcoming visitors to share in the ancient traditions, and honoring their ancestors through keeping their memories alive.  Meilin loves her home, her family, and her life, but her mother’s strict & constant attention starts to weigh more heavily as she grows older.  She begins to chafe under the constant pressure to be perfect and to act normal, when all she wants to do is have a little fun, be a little expressive, and start liking boys, drawing boys, daydreaming about boys, and generally becoming a pre-teen space cadet.  But when her mother pushes her too far, Meilin wakes up as a little bit of a monster; no, for real.  When she loses control of her emotions, she now turns into a large red panda, which is about to be a big problem at school, at home, and everywhere she wants to go.

First, it’s too dismissive to say “well this movie isn’t about me so I can’t understand it.”  Also, that’s not true, people enjoy movies that are not about them all the time, using that excuse at a specific moment is just covering up how you really feel about the film.  Also, it’s OK not to relate to every piece of art, that’s normal, it’s OK not to love it because you can’t dive into it the way others can.  Turning Red has pulled that reaction out of some people, and I do understand that, because the movie is, in my opinion, too honed in on one human’s true story, but that’s also not fair unless you’re willing to say the same of every film that isn’t about your exact life, which you clearly are not.

Moving on, and judging the film simply as a film, Turning Red is just a little too muddled and confused to be a top-tier addition to Pixar; it needed help in many ways to become great.  The morals and lessons were all mixed up with the growing up and the living large, like too many pieces of advice given all at once; one at a time, people.  Also, the animation was awful (more Wallace & Gromit than Inside Out), there is too much time spent as an animal, too much action spent on the boy band, this could have been a series, not a film; again, just too all over the place.  Meilin’s friends were golden, the pop obsession was spot on, the honesty about puberty was refreshing; this movie had nice parts, it simply was a bundle of loose threads, not yet a finely-woven tapestry.  Shi’s Bao is so much better, sweeter, simpler, and has so much more depth; watch that too, it’s like 9 minutes long and blows this out of the water, as does Mitchells vs Machines, which you should probably just watch instead, since it’s unarguably superior.

My rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – All the Old Knives

Category : Movie Review

Director: Janus Metz

Starring: Chris Pine, Thandiwe Newton

Year: 2022

Direct from Amazon comes a modern espionage thriller with Chris Pine at the helm, and if that’s not enough to catch your attention I don’t know what is.  Although the finished product isn’t perfect, the ingredients fed into All the Old Knives do result in something palatable, if perhaps something we’ve tasted a few times before.  This is American embassy/CIA operative/who’s the mole? drama that we’ve come across plenty of times, but, really, with Chris Pine showing his stuff (and some skin), and with Thandiwe Netwon delivering the best of her career, you could do worse.

Eight years ago, a terrorist situation in Vienna came to a heartbreaking end, with American agents watching from the sidelines and mourning their inability to stop the carnage.  They had their ear to the ground, they were in touch with their informants, it seemed like they had the inside track, but somehow civilians ended up dead, and no one really understood what went wrong.  Fast forward to a key player dying, some new information being discovered, and Henry is back on the case, tracking down the potential insider, who will be dead by the end of his chase.

All the Old Knives is like Spy Game, A Most Wanted Man, and Allied, but not quite as good as any of those cool, well-made, spy-centered thrill rides.  Pine brings his A-game, Newton has never been better, their love story takes charge, and the rest of the cast is solid: Lawrence Fishburne, Jonathan Pryce, King Alfred from Last Kingdom.  But, unfortunately, the film is too choppy for its own good, too reliant on playing upon the established genre, too on-the-nose, in a way.  Also, I don’t think we really need more movies about jihadists, it doesn’t quite sit right, and I think the writers could have come up with something more …appropriate? original? I don’t know.  Still, the end had be sunk back into the story, after it lost me in the middle, had me right back caring what happened even if I wasn’t surprised who it was happening to.  A strong showing for Amazon, but a weakly written film, All the Old Knives is a nice watch but not an overly excellent adventure.

My rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

 


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Movie Review – The Rental

Category : Movie Review

Director: Dave Franco

Starring: Dan Stevens, Sheila Vand, Alison Brie, Jeremy Allen White

Year: 2020

The Rental is a first-time director’s attempt at breathing new life into an old genre, but unfortunately the breath was stale.  This twisted take on what we’ve seen a thousand times before tries to be fresh, but only reminds us of how the style has been done better before, rather than announcing a new generation and where that will take us now.  Dave Franco is a horrible, horrible actor; will he be at the same level directing, or is this just a bout a growing pain that we, unfortunately, had to suffer through as well?

Two couples head out for the weekend to a rental property on the coast, in an effort to get away from their jobs and to celebrate where there work will take them in the future.  Charlie & Michelle are a married couple, the other couple is Josh & Mina, with Josh being Charlie’s brother & Mina being Charlie’s associate.  Well the big house is awesome, the hot tub is running, they brought plenty of booze, but things get real weird real fast when infidelity rears its ugly head and hidden spy cameras pop up in inconvenient places.

It’s a bit like 13 Cameras, but better, but at the same time not.  It’s a familiar genre, blending modern tech with old school horror, and that’s all well & good, if you can do it well & good.  Franco couldn’t; his script, written with Joe Swanberg of improv fame, was lame & stunted & unnatural, which is not the way to put audiences at ease.  We needed better writing, a better mood, and more time given to let us sink into the normal lives of these people, and the bizarre events that swept them away.  As it was, The Rental feels cheap and recycled, with little to liven the party.

My rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

 


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Sports – NFL 2022 Old Faces New Places

Category : Sports

The 2022 NFL season is almost here. Before we start predicting who will win what, let’s take a look at the new places that some old faces have landed during the offseason. Here are some free agents and traded players in fresh locations that might change the future of their new clubs:

 

Von Miller – LB – Buffalo Bills

Tyreek Hill – WR – Miami Dolphins

DeVante Parker – WR – New England Patriots

CJ Uzomah – TE – New York Jets

Marcus Williams – CB – Baltimore Ravens

La’el Collins – OT – Cincinnati Bengals

Deshaun Watson – QB – Cleveland Browns

Mitch Trubisky – QB – Pittsburgh Steelers

No one at all – Who would want to – Houston Texans

Matt Ryan – QB – Indianapolis Colts

Zay Jones – WR – Jacksonville Jaguars

Robert Woods – WR – Tennessee Titans

Russell Wilson – QB – Denver Broncos

Juju Smith-Schuster – WR – Kansas City Chiefs

Devante Adams – WR – Las Vegas Raiders

Khalil Mack – LB – Los Angeles Chargers

No moves – Very boring – Dallas Cowboys

Mark Glowinski – OG – New York Giants

Zach Pascal – WR – Philadelphia Eagles

Carson Wentz – QB – Washington Football Team

Absolutely fine – With being mediocre  – Chicago Bears

DJ Chark – WR – Detroit Lions

Jarran Reed – DT – Green Bay Packers

Za’Darius Smith – LB – Minnesota Vikings

Marcus Mariota – QB – Atlanta Falcons

Xavier Woods – S – Carolina Panthers

Andy Dalton – QB – New Orleans Saints

Shaq Mason – OG – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Will Hernandez – OG – Arizona Cardinals

Allen Robinson – WR – Los Angeles Rams

George Odum – S – San Francisco 49ers

Noah Fant – TE – Seattle Seahawks


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Movie Review – Death on the Nile

Category : Movie Review

Director: Kenneth Branagh

Starring: Kenneth Branagh, Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer

Year: 2022

Maybe Branagh was busy making an actual good movie that he cared about, Belfast, and didn’t have time to invest in making Death on the Nile a success.  Or, maybe more likely, since Murder on the Orient Express was pretty bad, this movie never had a chance in hell.  It’s a Christie mystery, it’s a decadent showcase, it’s a ton of celebrities; we knew what we were getting into when we sat down to watch this film, but maybe we didn’t know exactly how banal it was going to ultimately be.  Kenneth should stick to honest cinema, not this bombast, because it simply doesn’t suit him.

World famous detective Hercule Poirot is on the case again, this time seemingly at random.  He finds himself in Egypt, finds himself invited to a wedding party, finds himself on a stern wheeler headed down the Nile, and then finds himself solving a murder, as an insanely rich person bites the dust and any one of the revelers could be the murderer.  Like a bloodhound on a trail, Poirot takes to the scent, but this time his own failings as a man, his own regrets as a lover, may cloud his judgement and get more than one wealthy aristocrat killed.

First off, I didn’t like Orient, and I’d say that Nile is perhaps slightly better, but not by much.  It’s a little less dumb and forgettable, a little more stylized and beautiful, but that’s where the positives end, really.  They don’t continue with the cast: Branagh, Gadot, Hammer, Letitia Wright, Emma Mackey, Tom Bateman, Annette Bening, Rose Leslie, Russell Brand.  Although, Mackey does shine a bit, she’s the best part, while Bening’s acting and everyone’s fake accents sink the whole boat.  Meanwhile, Gadot wins the medal for Least Believable As A Human; she’s got to be the worst actress working, and it’s just so sad.  She should never be on a screen again, she’s that terrible, but the film didn’t shine despite her, that’s for sure.  It was hectic and pointless, the CGI looked abysmal, and in the end I didn’t care what happened to anyone.  Also, and this is big, because I NEVER try to guess the ending; the ending was so obvious it was insulting.  Maybe Branagh assumed we read/remembered the book, because that’s how it seemed, like he didn’t care to hide the twist because he thought we already knew.  Either way, there’s simply not enough to enjoy and way too much gone wrong, making Death on the Nile like a snake to the heart; cliched and poisonous.

My rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

 


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Sports – 2022 MLB Predictions

Category : Sports

With free agency over, spring training behind us, and no one having any real idea how any of the clubs will actually perform, I think it’s time to make some picks.  So here they are, my 2022 MLB Way Too Under Educated Predictions:

AL East – New York Yankees

AL Central – Chicago White Sox

AL West – Seattle Mariners

NL East – Philadelphia Phillies

NL Central – St. Louis Cardinals

NL West – Los Angeles Dodgers

AL Wild Cards

NL Wild Cards

World Series