God’s Own Country: Forsaken and for Rent

DATELINE: Intelligent Human Drama

 god's grubby country

If you want a movie that combines Brokeback Mountain with Far from the Madding Crowd, you have fallen into the sheep dip of God’s Own Country.

In case you’re wondering, God’s country is in the Northumberland section of Scotland where sheep are sheep, and men are men.

Johnny (Josh O’Connor) is an uptight, hard-drinking, unhappy young man living with his handicapped father and aging mother on a remote sheep farm in cold, desolate, and in a kind of run-down in the dumps setting.  He spends time at the local pub and local urban area and meets a fair share of attractive men, but he is miserable.

He falls down on his homestead duties—and his father brings in a Romanian gypsy-type (but don’t call him that). It’s hate at first sight, until one of those cold, desolate outings to the outback where outing becomes all the rage.

This is actually a fascinating little film, way beyond the ground-breaking of Brokeback and unlikely to be made in America where sheepskin is only for college diplomas.

Actor Josh O’Connor has a rough-hewn attractiveness, and Alec Secareanu is smoldering. They really carry the movie, as the cast is tiny and the lack of population doesn’t make for much company.

When the affair consummates, it enflames, but the drama is far more subdued and intelligent. At least we don’t have to listen to disco dolly music and fashionistas with witty repartee.

This movie is by director and writer Francis Lee and comes from a world of whence he knows. Though the characters seem to think they are in God’s beautiful country, they clearly need to take a trip to the tropics.

In terms of gay films for a gay audience, this slice of life with calves being yanked out of a mother cow, and lambs being yanked out of ewes may be too much for city slickers. It’s nature’s way, apparently, when out in the country.  It will be too much muck for some viewers.

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DATELINE: Penknife Mightier than the Sword

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PATRIOTS PLAY POLITICAL FOOTBALL 2017

Now available, The Loser’s Edition.

Normally we compile a book of annual snide comments about the winner of the Super Bowl, but this year we change horses in the fourth quarter.

Now you can trace the sour grapes of Malcolm Butler up to the sacking by Coach Belichick in the final hours!

Now you can see the complete reviews and reactions to Tom Brady’s reality TV series and all its deadly fallout!

Now you can learn how Trump has poisoned the Patriot well of victory!

Now you can find the fake news about Gronk’s Hollywood career!

Now you cannot find much about Julian Edelman, but he still shows up on the pages now and then!

Now you can see how the Yalta Peace Talks between Kraft, Belichick, and Brady really came about and really went nowhere!

Now available on Amazon, cheap price, cheap words, cheap ideas!

Recommended for smart readers always!

 

 

Hollywood Beckons Gronk

 DATELINE: Retirement Among the Movie Legends

say it ain't so

Those who have read our Gronk commentaries over the past few years know that we have advocated a Hollywood trade for the big lug. He has a face and a personality and a body that won’t quit, which is enough to become a film star.

Now we hear that Rock Dwayne Johnson and Rocky Sylvester Stallone have told Gronk to go west to the land of swimming pools and movie stars. You can die hard on the screen. Gronk hits his marks and learned a complex playbook from Belichick. He can certainly memorize a few monosyllabic lines and hit the bad guy in the nose.

He can make $10m in one movie and a few commercials without breaking a sweat.

On the other hand, though we love watching him as a Patriots star, know that CTE and a concussion are the end of the line sooner than later. We want the best for Gronk, and we cringe every time we see him hit on the field.

We want to tell him that John Wayne played football too, but he made his mark in adventure movies. Gronk has a flexible face, and he could be in comedy, adventure, westerns, or sci-fi as the good guy, the comic relief, or the imposingly big villain.

We know that Foxboro is not exactly Beverly Hills where movie stars, swimming pools, and big bucks in the sunshine can be had, but we’d urge him to consider how well he’d do in movieland.

We’ve seen Gronk interact with Bieber, Kyrie Irving, David Ortiz, and myriad others on the screen. We’ve heard him read Chinese war lord Sun Tzu’s philosophy, and we know that James Bond could use him as the next opponent.

We love Gronk. Movies are his calling card—and small-screen series too. Maybe Westworld needs a new automaton.

Go west, young Gronk. Go west.

 

Timely Episode 5 for Tom Brady

DATELINE:  An Affair to Remember

brady back

On the day of the ignominious Super Bowl that will live in infamy as the Last Hurrah of so many coaches, Tom Brady chose to release #5 of his Tom Versus Time vanity project.

What Brady never fully understood about his six-part documentary series is that all is vanity when his speaks about his personal philosophy like he was Henry David Thoreau facing a lockup for failure to pay taxes in Brookline.

Right from the get-go, he tells the audience he is tyring to find the deeper purpose of life and and live it in the episode called “The Spiritual Game,” which likely amused Zen-Buddhists everywhere.

Alas, Tom Brady comes across as self-centered in his egocentric universe. He is looking for miracles and magic and finds them only in pro sports. He has had a 27-year affair with football, and his wife approves.

The insights begin 8 weeks before the season in Costa Rica where Brady goes to surf, learning “not to fight Mother Nature.” His Argeninian wife loves it there, and it is tropical and quite in contrast to the coldest game he has ever played in during December.

Narrative jumps over 15 weeks in a flash, and Tom admits life goes by fast: but really, this fast?

Tom knows he is a public figure and withholds paying attention to those distractions. He cannot waste his precious energy on media trivia, except to make a documentary.

“I’m gonna determine what’s important for me,” he tells his fans. Clearly, everything else comes in second to self-importance.

Tom and Patriots lost Super Bowl LII—and the final episode has been withheld to deal with that ugly fact.

Tom Versus the World, episode 4

DATELINE:  Tom’s Camaraderie

 TB & daughter Brady’s little girl

Tom Brady uses “The Social Game,” episode four of his series Tom Versus Time to show his social feelings for teammates like Julie Edelman and Danny Amendola.

They belong to the elite caste: those who are officially part of the Brady posse.

Brady jokes that Edeman pumps up to qualify for naked magazine covers.

Edelman breaks the rules as usual and looks into the camera to tell us he is in an eight year argument with Brady about lifting weights. Alex Guerrero, head guru of the posse, believes that longevity is the key for Tom, and Julian wants only a few more years. Ironically, Edelman hurt himself in preseason and has not played all year.

However, Tom takes two players (Danny Amendola and Julian) with him to the Big Sky resort in Montana, where he goes usually. Brady insists he goes to the resort for some fun, but the main focus is training, obsessive constant training.

All this is interspersed with dangerous riding on ATV and motorcycles. It is also a time filled with f-this and f-that for all your moral prudes.

Brady notes that after five or six weeks of the season people are feeling it, and there are weird reactions: like those who say they have Brady fatigue, or that the Pats are doomed to fall.

In the meantime, Guerrero gives Brady a painful muscle massage on his legs. Theirs is a peculiar relationship. As is his insistence that his son Jack kiss him on the lips. It must be hangover from all those Robert Kraft kisses.

Brady admits he loves the social relationships with his players. His inner circle is clearly an all-male world of camaraderie. He said he loves his teammates, and a coach once told him he wanted to look into his eyes and see the same goals. He is against fear and insults, and that may explain his fury at the insults against his daughter by Boston radio personality.

Brady has also met with the WEEI people and may return to their airwaves.  He shows his great adoration for his daughter in this episode, which may explain the anger he expressed when she was vilified.

Yet, in all this bonding in all aspects of his life from teammates to children, Tom Brady never loses his focus. He does not have Brady fatigue.

Tom Brady’s New Back-Up Arrives

DATELINE:  Bledsoe to the Rescue

 brady's glove+ brady's backup = brady mirror

 When the New England Patriots quarterback shows up at a press conference wearing a catcher’s mitt, you know Tom Brady has turned into Tom-tom Thumb.

Yup, Tom Brady wore garish red gloves to his press conference this week—and refused to talk about why he had to wear his golf gloves indoors.

Nor would he confirm whether x-rays revealed he was an X-man.

If you own the Patriots, you may want to call in the reserves, the cavalry, or anyone who can help.

With all the drama and Theater of the Absurd and Tom Brady standing up in front of the press indoors wearing red gloves like he was serving dinner at a picnic, people are in a panic.

So, it is only natural that owner Robert Kraft went to an extreme to find “player insurance” in the form of former Patriot quarterback Drew Bledsoe. Drew drew the short straw to return to Boston for the game against the Jags under the pretext of being an honorary captain.

Drew Bledsoe once was the mentor to Tom Brady until Tom replaced him at about 20 years ago.

Bledsoe admitted that he has a few plays left left “in the tank.” Living in Oregon in a winery he owns, Drew may have seen one too many grapes, sour and otherwise.

We can’t tell you how relieved we are to hear that 45-year-old Drew Bledsoe can still play.  Brady told everyone he will play at that age too, just not this week.

Drew has reached the age Brady expects to toss footballs down the road.

Though good-looking Drew may allegedly be coming to Foxborough just a flip a coin for the pregame, Bledsoe could step in in a pinch if Tom’s catcher’s mitt just isn’t comfortable enough to toss for a couple touchdowns.

Older Than Dirt: Tom Brady & James Harrison

 DATELINE:  Old Folks Find a Home

 older than dirt Nearly 8 Decades of Life Experience

Knowing the Patriots may have to face the Steelers sometime down the road in those playoffs, diabolical Bill Svengali Belichick has found another Trilby.

James Harrison, one-time monster of the midway, was jettisoned by the hapless front office of the Steelers after an illustrious career.

There was only one way to go up: he called the Patriots.

Now together again for the first time, Tom and James are so old they actually remember the last century.

When James Harrison shows up in Foxboro with a calling card that states he wants to win a Super Bowl. Tom gives him an Annie Oakley for the Playoffs.

One-time adversary of Tom Brady, it did not take long for Harrison, age 39, to bond with someone of his own generation, Brady, age 40.

Both are workaholics and, despite never engaging in the TB12 Method, James Harrison does look remarkably youthful.

He and Brady posed happily with Harrison making note, “Finally…a teammate that’s older than me.”

In NFL terms, these guys are older than dirt. Only Adam Vinatieri, Tom’s one-time big brother, is still playing. Tom never thinks that Colts uniform looks quite right on Adam whom he calls “Grandpaw Walton.”

We presume everyone will feel Harrison was meant for Patriot colors. Orange towels are so gauche.

As often happens at the end of a season, the Patriots find someone who makes two or three key plays in a big game and helps everyone find a duck boat for their trip down Memory Lane and Boylston Street.

Are we jumping the gun? No, because the man who might sack Brady will now have his cross-hairs on Big Ben, for whom the bell now tolls.

Is This the End of Tom Brady?

DATELINE: One Bad Game Spoils the Barrel of Apples

botox forever

 We don’t want to be the last ones on the bandwagon. So, here goes….

On Monday night against in Miami Dolphins, the fans of Tom Brady had their first ugly glimpse into the future. The crystal ball may be more cracked than a mirror in Brady’s den.

The TB12 Method has failed us!

If you wondered what an aging Tom Brady looks like in terms of football success, you saw it first hand in the catastrophic loss to the Dolphins on Monday night. It looked a bit like Death on Miami Beach. He could not convert a third down and his passes never reached their mark.

Back in the day when Brett Favre started to go sour, we believe something similar happened.

Is anyone thinking that Brady can age overnight like a ripe melon? At what point does the milk in your refrigerator actually begin to curdle?

Have we reached the curdling point of Brady?

In case you’re wondering about what happens when the Belichick Empire falls, Jimmy G is on the other side of the country on the West Coast, winning games there for the foreseeable future. The man sitting next to Brady is aging Brian Hoyer who couldn’t cut it as a starter on other teams. And, the future is Tom, whether he has lost the directions to the Fountain of Youth, or not.

If age has suddenly caught up with Brady and his magic elixir has run out, the season will be going downhill rapidly. We should remember that even the unsinkable Titanic went down in two hours.

 

 

Jaylen Brown’s 3-D Vision

DATELINE: Celtics Find Clark Kent in Green Lantern

clark kent

Don the Goggles!  He doesn’t need a cape. And you can no longer spit in his eye.

Jaylen Brown may have had an eye infection from his contact lenses this week. However, his solution is not just sterilized: it’s made of plexiglass.

Yes, Jaylen has found his personality. He will henceforth wear goggles. This gives him an edge as an all-star and Celtics legend.

The man who wouldn’t be photographed in glasses will now appear in wrap-around goggles. Brown insists he can see better than ever. In fact, the goggles give him “3-D vision,” in his own words.

Heavens, and we thought all of us had 3-D vision, born with at least one superhuman quality.

This new asset of Jaylen may not be confused with X-ray vision or infra-red vision, or other superhero attributes.

Whatever, Jaylen played like Superman in his new regalia. If Kyrie can wear a clear mask, then Jaylen does one better than superstars of yore in basketball.

Yes, Brown has channeled his inner Kareem Abdul Jabbar.

In his new personae as The Celtics Green Lantern, it would seem that Brown may look more like Sponge Bob than Kareem. He may have more ability to see than Madame Acardi facing Blithe Spirit.

Whether the goggles give him a true extra set of eyes remains to be seen.

Move over, Clark Kent. The intellectual Brown now appears to be smarter than Smart and flashier than Beyonce.

Will the bespectacled Brown take the permanent role of superhero with the brown eyes under glass?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trump, Moore Chased by Frankenstein Monster

 

Old Applegate’s Treasure & Two Brothers

DATELINE:  Oak Island Inspiration?

 best boys

Tommy Kirk & Tim Considine as Hardy Boys

With The Curse of Oak Island not far from our thoughts, we certainly never expected a 60-year old TV series from Walt Disney to rival the Lagina Brothers. However, there is much parallel in the boys’ adventure notion of the Hardy brothers inspiring the Lagina boys.

The long-forgotten show is The Mystery of the Applegate Treasure, which had been serialized into ten-minute chunks on the old Mickey Mouse Club show.

We can certainly tell you that there is far more action on the old TV show as the young Hardy Boy detectives use their skills to locate a lost pirate treasure on the old Applegate estate.

The 3000 gold dubloons and pieces of 8 are mentioned as being worth thousands (in 1956 dollars), but today they would be worth a History channel bonanza.

The Hardy boys do the Laginas one better by bringing in a girl detective to liven up the action. The Laginas have no women in their war room powwows, but Frank and Joe Hardy have Iola. True enough, Joe throttles her now and then and is somewhat short-tempered and abusive, but it was a different time.

All the kid protagonists do battle with some interesting adult characters: standouts include Florenz Ames as the irascible and slightly nuts Silas Applegate, Robert Foulk as the handyman, and Arthur Shields (Barry Fitzgerald’s brother no less) as the mysterious villain interloper.

Only old Dan Blankenship trumps them all on Oak Island.

Auntie Gertrude Hardy is there, stalwart and obtuse, to take on anyone who crosses her boys. She even takes on her brother, Fenton, the Hardy boys’ father.

You could not ask for a more charming TV show about treasure hunting and boyhood adventure.

 

 

 

Jaylen Brown as the Green Lantern

DATELINE:  14 Ducks in a Row

Green Lantern

While everyone thinks of Kyrie Irving as the Masked Marvel, Jaylen Brown has escaped notice as the chess-playing version of the Green Lantern.

In the early match-up between the evil Empire of the Golden State Warriors and the Boston Celtics, Kyrie Irving shed his mask when the game looked bleakest. It was reminiscent of Superman removing his Clark Kent disguise to help propel the Celtics from a 17-point deficit.

However, he could not work alone he needed help from Jaylen Brown. Playing under unpleasant circumstances, reminiscent of what Isaiah Thomas in last year’s playoffs, Brown turned on his Green Lantern powers. Perhaps he looks skyward to the banners from where all Celtics gain their magical powers.

It’s more than possible that he drew upon the spirit of his recently passed friend. He almost did not play, in deference to the sudden death of a close friend. Whatever the motivational issues, Brown turned into the Green Lantern and transformed into a champion before our eyes. He has become now in his second year the Guardian of the Celtic Universe.

Oh, his deputy may be the Robin Second Banana, named Tatum, but the sudden emergence of Brown as the Green embodiment may be a bigger revelation that the expected superhero status of Kyrie Eleison Irving.

With a 14th victory in a row, and the Celtic record at 19, you need not look any further: such starts mean a team seldom falters in March. The lead will be too insurmountable.

In one game in November, coming from behind, vanquishing the World Champs, these new Celtics have stepped into the realm of Celtics Past.

Best and Worst in Boston Sports History!

DATELINE:  Great Rivalry about to be Born

                         Jayson  Curry

                                                    Jayson Tatum & Steph Curry

Are we talking a new major rivalry? Boston and New England has had its fair share of giants in sports history. We have seen loyal opposition, and red coats.

In Boston, some fans believe it is happening again.

We are looking at something special on the famous Garden parquet floor under the green banners.

We can remember Bird & Magic. We know about Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio. Recently there was Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. Some oldsters even remember Bobby Orr & Brad Park. How can we forget Thurman Munson and Carlton Fisk?

We aren’t sure if David wore a Boston jersey when he took on Goliath on the Boston Common.

Yes, Yankees and Red Sox. Lakers and Celtics. Patriots and Broncos. Bruins and Rangers.

Tonight, we add Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics for this generation. We hope Steph Curry and Kyrie Irving can elevate us to sports Nirvana, even if Kyrie looks like the Masked Marvel for this game.

No doubt about it, the thought of a new Boston rivalry makes us giddy.

Throw in Kevin Durant, the man who didn’t like Green shorts. Throw in Jason Tatum, a phenom teenager who is the new Larry Bird.

We cannot emphasize that hyperbole is an understatement in anticipation of this benchmark game in legendary lore.

Yes, Charles Dickens said it best: it was the best of times; it was the worst of times. We had Trump; we had Brady. We had black lives mattering; we had white supremacist dolts. The times are a mess.

We pray that the worst of times will transform this sports moment into the best of times during one little basketball game, Golden State Warriors versus the Boston Celtics. Yummy.

 

 

Brady’s Former Bunch

DATELINE:  Back-ups to Tom

 

Sunday was a football day without much interest unless you like to sing the National Anthem while everyone stands.

Of most interest to us, three of Tom Brady’s former backups were the starting football games for other teams.

We suspect Tom was caught up in the NFL Red Zone, trying to keep tabs on his former acolytes. They range in age to young pup to old-timer. Brady was their senior, going back to the beginning.

The most successful of these QBs was the most recent of these. We speak of Jacoby Brissette, now the starting quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts. He is a temporary replacement and back up for Andrew luck, but probably looks like he deserves to be the starter.

Alas, the curse of Tom Brady is to always be the back up.

Also playing against each other were Matt Cassel, the man who took Tom Brady’s place during the one season Tom was injured. And Brian Hoyer who has kicked around for some time and is now starting for the San Francisco Deplorable 49ers. He replaces that unemployed Kapernaeck kneeler.

It’s nice to know there is life after Tom. However, for Tom, life begins at 40, whereas for the rest, it will end in the NFL much sooner.

These former Patriots form a trio that should give Jimmy Garrapolo some sense of confidence that one day he too shall start a game somewhere in the NFL.

However, if we saw anything from the fate of three Brady back ups, it was that it is a difficult task to follow in the footsteps of Tom Brady. After studying him for years, these quarterbacks still cannot ambulate like the greatest of all-time.

They are about as memorable as the trio Nat King Cole dumped when he went solo.

Sad to say, Cassel, Brissette, and Hoyer, may have already had their day in the sun. Alas, their day in the sun was a day in the shadow of Tom.

Silver Skies: Old Stars Return 

DATELINE: Yesteryear

George Hamilton

Hamilton with director Rodriguez
 

If you want an opportunity to see a bunch of your favorite 1960 stars, Silver Skies is the movie for you. It’s the tale of our group of elderly people living in an apartment complex for a come face-to-face with eviction when their homes are converted to condos.

 
Looking marvelous, George Hamilton does not look anywhere near his age, but the biting irony of this character: he is the only one of the residents with Alzheimer’s. Former mobster actor, Alex Rocco has turned into a softer grandfather figure.
The women stars include Barbara Bain, formerly of Mission impossible. There is Valerie Perrine, like Hamilton, extremely youthful still. And, in a major role, Marietta Hartley, best known for her TV commercials with James Garner.

Even Dick Van Patten shows up for a cameo.

Though this film is billed as a family drama, that is entirely deceptive from writer director Rosemary Rodriguez. The film is quite dark and bleak at times, dealing with elderly abuse and sexual issues among senior citizens.

The old residents and stars try to organize to fight back against greedy forces that have no respect for old age. For fans, this may be a glorious last chance to see those old familiar faces at again in the limelight. There’s no professional like an old professional.

Set in Sherman Oaks, California, where many former Hollywood types reside, the characters are all basically small time workers in the movie industry. It doesn’t really save them from the ravages of old age.
The film is ultimately done in by a saccharine ending under the credits. It is interesting to see a film entirely directed to the senior audience.

Humor from Heaven: Brady’s New Book

DATELINE:  Up Close to Botox

botox forever

Just when you think there’s nothing funny to say about the New England Patriots with the new season beginning, like manna from heaven, Tom Brady gives us his new book.

Filled with bon mots but no bonbons, the book drops like the gentle rain from heaven. It’s nearly 300 Nietzchean pages long with lots of pictures. This is enough to sustain a good satirist for a year.

For those who thought Tom Brady was illiterate, how wrong you are. He admits to being a good solid B student in school. However, he had no interest in academics. His major in college was General Studies, who he thought was a Confederate Civil War hero.

How is this different from any other student?

Tom admits he never had time to read while he was in school because he had another passion: sports. Now that he’s a professional athlete he still has no time to read books, but he has time to hire somebody to write one. Hence, this book.

We do learn that there are athletes in the locker room who know how to read. Tom tells us that one of his teammates told him that ‘success’ comes before ‘work’ only in the dictionary. We looked it up. It’s true.

We also learn how Tom’s Godfather is the inimitable Willie McGinnest, no Al Pacino for sure. Tom doesn’t say Willie put any horse heads in anyone’s bed, but the Godfather did give Tom an introduction to his trainer. So, now we know where to place the blame.

This is only the beginning. As soon as the book is available on our Kindle reader we will be ordering a copy. It’s worth it’s weight in gold dust.