Brady Airs It Out and Reveals Airhead

DATELINE: Jump!

airhead brady

 

Tom Brady did not take a long walk off a short pier. He made a mad leap off a cliff. He wasn’t wearing a blindfold and being held at swordpoint by deranged Jets fans.

He seemed to take a leap of faith by his own accord.

We expect actions like this from Rob Gronkowski, but not from general studies major Tom.

Taking a leap of faith, Tom lost the faithful. Bill Belichick now must ponder the contract that forbids behavior unbecoming a man ready to leap into a black hole.

Stephen Hawking might not be able to bring Tom back from a quantum leap into the forty-foot drop of Costa Rica. Any injury might cost the Patriots plenty.

Maybe Giselle, his wife, wants to be a rich widow. She encouraged his jump. Of course, she already has more money than he.

Can it be that Tom is having a middle-aged crisis? He posted himself as Air Brady, but Airhead Brady might be more appropriate.

Has Tom turned into Paulie Shore? He seemed to quiver like a bowl of jelly before the leap into the abyss. That might be the last vestige of good sense going down the forty feet with him.

After Bill Belichick threw Darrelle Revis off a cliff a few weeks ago—and forced Vince Wilfork to walk a plank into the void known as Houston, Brady may be showing he wants to be part of the bunch. Yep, he’s gone bananas.

 

 

 

 

Indiana: Mountain or Molehill?

DATELINE:  Indiana Grows a Mountain

Dumb America Gov. Pence

We are always confusing our news stories. This week we seem more confused than usual.

Governor Mike Pence of Indiana has apparently locked himself in the cockpit and is ready to crash the state into the Alps. This kind of stuff used to happen only in a Mel Brooks movie.

You can bang on the door all you want. He isn’t listening, and he is hellbent on his religious right to take you down to his version of purgatory.

This is America, and that is America. There are now two Americas. In one you can find people who will defend murderous NFL players as having enough talent to make millions of dollars and you can find devout Christians who think God is on their side.

If someone finds Pence has been told to stay home today because a doctor has found he has an illness that makes him unfit to fly the ship of state, we would not be surprised.

Home to Indiana used to be a refrain that Lew Wallace and Booth Tarkington used to put the boyhood of Christ under a silver moon. Now it is the place where James Dean would be denied a gravesite.

Pence is fond of saying the people of Indiana would never discriminate against any other person. Neither did that copilot who thought he was God.

After a while, all the news seems to jumble into one mess. You can blow up kids watching a marathon. You can murder someone who talked to people you don’t like, and you can fly a plane into a mountain.

Pence is about ready to go tell it on a mountain.

Inflatable Ghost Army

DATELINE: MOVIE MASHUP

ghost army

 

Any movie with a bad title like Ghost Army might make you pass on it. That would be a mistake. This film is a documentary about one of the most top secret military units of World War II.

Yes, the United States Army had a unit for camouflage—which featured several components that included sonic, communication, and visual.

The trick that the Army wanted to perpetrate on the Nazis was to convince them there were more soldiers and tanks on the way than the United States had available.

Fortunately for filmmaker Rick Beyer, in 2013 many of the 1100 men who made up the unit are still with us to give their fascinating tale.

Artists, sound engineers, stage designers, were all needed and brought into the unit from Hollywood and Broadway. One of the members was actually fashion designer Bill Blass—a Beau Brummel even in war.

These men sketched, made watercolor images, and created other on site pictures while they also constructed rubber and inflatable tanks, gunnery positions, and even inflatable soldiers, for the benefit of Nazi air reconnaissance.

It is almost preposterous, but it worked, helping Einsenhower and Patton save thousands of American GIs. Yet, it was not all fun and games. During the Battle of the Bulge, the small unit was actually forced into combat and took casualties

This is one of the unknown tales of the great generation of World War II—and it had been classified for decades. Now, for us, the truth has been revealed—and we can celebrate these extraordinary citizen soldiers who did a remarkable job with artistic talents in the midst of modern warfare.

This one is worth your attention.

 

Bewitching & Bothered: Shayanna Testifies

DATELINE: HALLOWEEN SPECIAL

PATScat

Shayanna showed up looking less like a floozie than usual, and she answered questions in two sessions, once with jurors and once without for Judge Garsh alone.

For those interested, her fashion statement was early Halloween with a black top and orange and black skirt that looked like the jack o’lantern was left in the hallway.

When she strode past Hernandez, she said something to him without looking at him. Bad lip readers said it was, “Love you,” and others thought she said, “F-you.”

Ms Jenkins had little to say, not recalling much. She did find a gun in one of the kitchen drawers once—but he removed it the next day. It was a big gun as she recalled.

And the day after the murder she asked him if he killed Odin, and Hernandez said, “No,” which ended that conversation. These two really communicated well (if we are to believe either one).

She also admitted that Hernandez was drunk on the night Odin was killed. When prosecutors asked her about her sister (sitting with the victim’s family), Shayanna offered they were “estranged.”

The best time was when Shayanna’s harridan attorney jumped up to berate the prosecution for their meticulous questioning, or as she said, “dragging it out.” She almost won membership in the Ninja lawyer corps with this act.

When she threatened not to bring Shayanna back, Judge Garsh had her hackles raised. Shayanna will be back for another day.

 

 

The Theory of Something Special

DATELINE: MOVIE MASHUP

 Redmayne

We generally anticipate one or two movies per year. And, our disappointment often is palpable.

This year we eagerly awaited The Theory of Everything, figuring it would be all things to movie theorists.

A biographical picture about an egghead British scientist hardly seems like the stuff of thrilling movies, especially when the scientist is suffering from an incurable condition called ALS.

This true story about Stephen Hawking, the cosmologist, is magnificent.

Yes, we offer an unqualified, non-sarcastic, thoroughly humble opinion. Eddie Redmayne is utterly convincing in playing the iconic Hawking. We are mesmerized at his ability to play the young man on the verge of having ALS symptoms. He grows more extraordinary in each passing stage. His Oscar may be one of the more deserving in recent years.

From his stumbles and awkwardness, to his humor and sweetness, Hawking has an interest in a dedicated and lovely young lady (Felicity Jones also impressive). She marries a man with a two-year death sentence.

Hawking defies the laws of the universe. His survival is some kind of example of quantum physics. He thrives, despite the disadvantages.

This character drama also carries the burden of intelligent people who actually speak and apply science everywhere. Hawking wins the girl of his dreams by explaining the similarities between Tide detergent and black holes.

You may actually learn something about the universe, the human heart, and how to live, from this movie. Well, that certainly takes us where we seldom have gone before in a movie review….

Better quit while we are ahead.

 

 

Waiting on the Witness for the Prosecution

DATELINE: BAD MELODRAMA

2 witches

Another cousin testified for the prosecution against Aaron Hernandez. This sister of Tanya Singleton might as well have been on the payroll of the former Patriot. As a matter of fact, she probably is.

She couldn’t remember much, but what she did recall was different than what the prosecutors expected. She contended she suffered every trauma in the book that made her memory faulty—unless she could make the other two accomplices look bad.

We couldn’t remember her name after fifteen minutes because her moment of fame had passed. And, she left the courtroom with the wink and nod to her cousin. She did a job as scripted by the Patriot killer.

The prosecution wanted her to testify that Hernandez promised Tanya he would set up a couple of accounts for her children for $100,00—but he never got around to it.

Her pointless questioning became a moot delay as everyone anticipated that tomorrow the big fireworks would explode.

Shayanna Jenkins, the invisible woman at the trial lately, will show up in the morning as the star witness for the prosecution. If Agatha Christie had planned this, it could not be more fraught with suspense and irony.

No one knows what the idiotic prosecution actually plans and what they will actually reap. So far they seem oblivious and easy pickings for the legal Ninjas that are on the defense team.

If you want a climax—and heaven knows Aaron has probably had few lately—Shayanna will provide it tomorrow.

For Whom the Bell Claps Among Patriots Clappers

DATELINE: CLAP ON, CLAP OFF

Belichick

Darrelle Revis sounds like the Master of Ceremonies from Cabaret.

He sings the refrain, “Money makes the world go round, world go round…” and he ends with shaking his crotch clapper to the sound of a tinkle.

Yes, not a day after Bob “Don’t Call Me Cheap” Kraft let fans know the New England Patriots really, really wanted Revis to stay in New England, Revis took issue with that contention. They did not offer him the money. Bob Kraft frequently stiffs those his loves.

As Bill Belichick would say about not paying your bill at the restaurant and walking out, “No big deal.”

In the real world, if you want to ring the bell, you better pay the clapper boy.

The Patriots have repeatedly let players walk and let Bill Belichick prove he is better at finding new, cheaper talent than anyone else in the NFL. Alas, for years the Pats had nothing like Revis in their defensive secondary. It looked bad there, but Belichick never saw a clapper worth keeping.

And now he has sent packing the Super Bowl winning chemistry. Perhaps he knows there is no next Super Bowl for three or four years anyhow. Perhaps he is given whatever money he saves on contracts.

Perhaps Bill Belichick is a man without a clapper.

Money makes the world go round, Bill. Yes, it does. Pay the man is an expression that respect nowadays comes in the form of a paycheck. Players are not fans. They do play out of love of some logo concept. They play for the team that will give them money to win.

We can clap about that one.

Birds Do It

DATELINE: MOVIE MASHUP

 byebye birdie

Michael Keaton’s tour de force in Birdman is vaguely reminiscent of Ronald Colman in A Double Life, more than Bette Davis in All About Eve.

Actors and their roles for $200 might put you in jeopardy. Keaton used to be Batman, but the insider joke of this movie is that actors playing superheroes retain some magical superpowers. We thoroughly enjoy Keaton flying, but apparently superheroes cannot write a good script, nor a good Broadway play.

Hollywood always loves a take down of off-Broadway, or nearer. This is the Sweet Smell of Success from the other side of show biz.

Making a movie that delineates a conflict between pretentious talky drivel and action heroic noise makes Hollywood a happy place. They can pat themselves on the back for having their cake and eating it too.

There are some wonderful actors giving smashing performances here: Naomi Watts, Lindsay Duncan, and Edward Norton. None of these is unexpected. This is not unexpected in a film that has a subtitle of The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance.

In-jokes abound—references to other superhero actors—and how the characters and actors may start to become the same kettle of fish. Snide cracks about Robert Downey, Jr., and George Clooney don’t make a script, but they add up to moments.

This is a film of moments shot in a pretentious long shot that looks like one take. It’s illusion and Hitchcock did it better 60 years ago.

Not quite a movie, definitely not a play, not a think piece, and not a superhero action movie, this film probably will leave everyone a bit dissatisfied.

 

In Like Kline; Move Over, Flynn

DATELINE: MOVIE MASHUP

In like flynn

To play Errol Flynn in a movie, it takes a 67 year old actor to act out the final year of the 50 year old Flynn. Kevin Kline is nothing short of brilliant in the role—roguish and charming as we expect Flynn was. He is also just bloated, tired, aged, and worn out enough to play the role perfectly.

As biopics go, The Last of Robin Hood won us over.

The great star is so irresponsible and self-destructive, you want to shake him into sensibility, but he went about his decadent life, living each moment as if it were his last. Kline brings so true pathos to the decline.

 

Dakota Fanning is the young, underaged Beverly Aadland whom Flynn meets when she is fifteen and looks older. As he says, he’s too old for her, but she is not too young for him. His sense of moral irony always had the better of him.

 

Matching Kevin Kline is another surprisingly hard-boiled performance from Susan Sarandon as Flo, Bev’s mother. As a peg-legged stage mother, she is largely responsible for preparing her daughter for life in the fast lane. There is no Hollywood glamour in Sarandon—and she even comes across in a late Bette Davis mode in scenes.

 

One of the many incidents, out of chronology and used for dramatic effect, is the offer of the role of Humbert Humbert to Flynn by Stanley Kubrick. But, if Kubrick won’t take Beverly as Lolita, the fire of Flynn’s loins, then he won’t do the film.

 

Suffice it to say, Kubrick did it with other actors. He dismissed Aadland as “too old.”

 

We were prepared to dislike this film, but the performances warmed us up—and Flynn’s charming, sad story held us in the grip of man who needed true friends, not users and hangers-on.

 

 

 

David Ortiz All Wet After DeHydrating

DATELINE: Dry Humor

clay

We’ve been told in no uncertain terms to lay off David Ortiz. The Big Papi had to sit out a game in the hot Florida sun because it dehydrated him.

We hesitated to point out that old people all suffer from this because the body thermostat loses its effectiveness after a certain age. We just didn’t know that age was 39.

In our day, being 39 was thought to be a symbol of youth’s last glimmer. If 39 is the new 50, then Jack Benny has lost his funniest joke. And, the Red Sox have found it.

Some people questioned how a man who sits in the dugout during the game, under shade and next to the watercooler can possibly overheat.

Some people have wondered how a man whose entire career has avoided hot grass and sun-drenched playing fields could suddenly fail to avoid those.

Others are questioning the rigorous spring training regimen that Dudley Do-Right Farrell has imposed on his out of shape roster.

You might say that Ortiz should have spent the winter in Boston, shoveling out his car every day. He’d be far more sympathetic to the hot Florida sun.

But, a cadre of voters for including Big Papi in the Hall of Fame have accused us of cruelty and injustice. It’s almost as if we have taken umbrage at Deval Patrick for wanting $7500 a day to promote the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. How dare we deny a man his livelihood? How dare we attack an icon for being iconic?

Hey, we’d probably vote to convict Aaron Hernandez too. Call us callous.

 

Kisses for the Defendant, Kiss Off for the Victim

DATELINE: Fairness, Thy Name is Court Guard

2 witches

The Wicked Witch of Capri is at it again. Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble. The mother of Aaron Hernandez asked a court guard if she could reach out and touch her son.

She needed a chance to give him a little encouragement. After all, he is going down the river on a rapid rail, to mix our metaphors as per usual.

This is usually forbidden, but the guard is apparently another sympathizer from the Patriot fandom. He gave Mother Macree a chance to reach over the banister and kiss the hand that killed Odin Lloyd. It brought a tear to the eye of the killer.

It did not sit well with the mother of the dead man. She was told not to shed a tear in the courtroom lest she prejudice the jury. Her son will never be available for a kiss.

She followed the guard to the hall and told him just as much. The guard seemed unapologetic. Fans have their role even in murder trials, and apparently it is the same role as a guard paid by the county of Bristol.

The prosecutors did not see this travesty, nor did the affable Judge Garsh. She would have allowed a lei to be placed around Hernandez’s neck. It is so preferable to a noose.

We suspect the offending officer of the court will not even be reprimanded. He has a government job and all due protection under the laws of political patronage. Cronyism in Massachusetts lives.

We were offended again, not that it matters in a trial that is offensive in every way.

When the Red Faced Hernandez Goes Be-Bopping Along

 DATELINE: ANGER

aarona-rod

We can sing that tune in a bunch of notes.

You may well ask yourself why the prosecutors of Aaron Hernandez would put someone on the stand to say that Hernandez looked angry and red-faced.

We’ve seen enough Perry Mason reruns to know the judge generally throws that stuff out. You can’t know how another person feels. Yet, Judge Garsh who has ruled in favor of Hernandez every step of the way let this one slide.

Perhaps she, like us, wanted to see the lawyers rip this witness apart. And, they did.

The witness did not know Hernandez. The witness never saw him angry—or saw him in any emotional state because he did not know Hernandez.

We would surely counter that we have seen the be-bopping body language of Hernandez often enough to see his arrogance. If he isn’t swaying his shoulders and bouncing off his feet, then he is upset.

Even so, we couldn’t tell you he was in a murderous mood, or just in one of his usual lovers’ spat sensibilities.

Drama queens may show all kinds of irritation—and may even demand that the victim’s head be chopped off. That does not make them much more than a fey boy in a hissy fit.

To hear the description that Odin Lloyd was chasing Hernandez and begging for forgiveness makes us think the quarrel of boyfriends seems indeed a reasonable theory.

Two nights later Hernandez put on his best Nike sneakers, loaded up his Glock, and called in his minions for a murder that would make John E. Dupont and Robert Durst brothers under the skin to Hernandez.

Harrowing Foxcatcher

DATELINE: Combustible Chemistry

foxtrot

 

Bennett Miller continues his string of true stories told in compelling fashion. If you thought he could not repeat Capote or Moneyball, you would be wrong. Foxcatcher is a no-holds barred tale of no holes bared.

This time he tackles the murder committed by one of the wealthiest men in America, John E. DuPont, of his Olympic wrestling coach Dave Schultz.

Odd and more than peculiar, the billionaire dabbled in sports, thinking of himself as a leader of men and role model for athletes.

Steve Carrell, done up in prosthetics like he is Johnny Depp, plays the Eagle—a big nosed jock sniffer who befriends a dumb jock played by Channing Tatum.

If you think looking at Channing’s body in tight wrestling garb is fun, you’d be on Team Foxcatcher. The movie is fraught with scenes that end just as something overt seems to happen. Indeed, the homosexually charged relationship between DuPont and Mark Schultz is eyebrow raising. Something is definitely between the lines, or after the cuts.

The two have ultimately a falling out (read: lovers’ quarrel) when DuPont calls him an ape and never thinks twice about apologizing.

Eventually, the foxtrot turns into sour grapes. DuPont seemingly blames Schultz’s older brother for alienation of affection. The performances here are all first-rate, including a surprise by Vanessa Redgrave as the ancient matriarch DuPont.

If you enjoy character drama that requires your active participation in connecting the dots, Bennett Miller always aims to satisfy, though you will have to draw your own conclusion about the intense scorn displayed by Tatum’s wrestler.

Home, Home, Homesman on the Range

DATELINE: Insane Women Out West

Homely Homesman 

The Homesman restores some faith in the Western after several so-so recent efforts. The reason probably has to do with the tale coming from Glendon Swarthout whose heyday of classic novels into movies was back in the ‘60s.

 

You could also credit Tommy Lee Jones for bringing the story to film as star, writer, and director. Swarthout, once again, was way ahead of his time with a feminist Western. But, this isn’t one of those women shooting guns and wearing badges fantasy.

This film takes the concept of that old silent Lillian Gish movie, The Wind, about pioneer women living on the prairie—driven mad by the loneliness, insensitive husbands, and the oppressive culture.

Hilary Swank plays a plain Jane spinster desperate to find a man to help her. She wants a business partner but proposes marriage all too often. Though every man thinks she is too homely, she is better looking than all the other options. So, that had us scratching our head.

She is headstrong and takes on a role no men will perform by taking three insane women eastward to escape their plight. She provides comfort and strength to these pathetic victims of a cruel west.

Yes, Swank is to behold. When she puts the make on old Tommy, we weren’t sure where this was going—but it went where we never suspected.

The film has more than a few surprising and delightful cameos—from John Lithgow as a minister to James Spader as a hotelier in the middle of nowhere to Meryl Streep as an angelic humanitarian.

These great actors are a bit wasted in the roles they play for five minutes. But, they add gravitas to the surroundings, though we cannot look at Spader as anything other than Red Reddington with his blacklist. Indeed, he seems most anachronistic hereabouts.

It’s a small quirky Western, set in the days when the West was on the other side of the Mississippi River. But, as friends often point out, if it has horses, it’s a Western.

 

 

 

Gronk & Edelman Up a Tree

DATELINE: HUMORESQUE

Rondo&CoachRelaxing

There’s trouble in Paradise. Public spats used to be the purview of Burton and Taylor and Bogie and Bacall.

Yep, our two favorite Patriots are now up a tree throwing a hissy fit.

Now public spats are the stuff of new legends–Gronk and Jules. The two Pats are no longer patting each other’s rumps. It seems they are traveling in Los Angeles on different planes of being. It’s bad karma after a Super Duper Bowl party.

Once inseparable Vegas types who left the rumors swirling of what happened in Vegas staying in Vegas, they now are a couple of LA-LA boys whose Sunsets Boulevards are crossing Wilshire and Vine, heading to the LaBrea Tar Pits.

Gronk and Jules are putting up their dukes on Twitter for a few choice words about how “I invite your fake ass out,” only to be met with a tightwad bad date.

Going Dutch has its advantages, but Dutch on the Downlow may be too high a price for Gronk. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, or a slot receiver taking on his tightest end.

We haven’t seen such fireworks since James Franco and Seth McFarland made a movie together.

Gronk and Jules can surely make a pretty picture.

We begin to wonder who will be named in the divorce suit for alienation of affection.

As for now, Julian Edelman is trying to shame his living end as a power play. When you are half the man size of Gronk, you have to play every card.

Alas, the best part of this LA trip will be played off camera and out of the reach of Twitter.