Category Archives: TV/Entertainment

ESPN’s Fab 5 Documentary is a Winner

Michigan's Fab 5

ESPN is known for over-hyping sporting events, but typically not for over-hyping their own shows or films. I was surprised to see how many trailers the network was showing for last night’s documentary on Michigan’s Fab 5 — the legendary Michigan men’s basketball team comprised of star freshmen recruits Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King, and Ray Jackson. After tuning in last night, this documentary was definitely a winner (unlike the Fab 5) — another big win for ESPN’s film team after their 30 for 30 series.

The story begins with the formation of this super recruiting class, who ultimately loses both the 1992 and 1993 NCAA national championship games in dramatic fashion. While the group was not successful in bringing an NCAA championship to Michigan, they are almost solely responsible for bringing hip-hop culture, baggy shorts, and a street style of play to mainstream college basketball. Video of these guys is just awesome to watch as well — young Chris Webber in particular was a beast. Of the 5, all but Ray Jackson would reach the NBA with Howard, Webber, and Rose going on to illustrious NBA careers. Juwan Howard is still in the league (a member of the Miami Heat) while Rose ended his career averaging 14 ppg to Webbers 20 ppg. Not too shabby.

The most intriguing aspect of this documentary to me was the Fab 5’s viewpoint of their rival Duke Blue Devils, led by Grant Hill and Christian Laettner, who they refer to as “bitches.” Hill’s privileged upbringing acted as motivation for a young Jalen Rose, who came from a much rougher background. A young cocky Rose provides classic commentary throughout the film, which couples perfectly with Howard’s “we’re going to shock the world!” clip from the 1992 NCAA tournament. This documentary single-handedly made me a Jalen Rose fan (nice bling, FYI). His trash talking is nothing short of phenomenal.

If you’ve got a couple of hours between tournament games this month, you’ve got to check this one out.

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Charlie Sheen Exposed!

Charlie Sheen

I apologize for the National Enquirer-esque headline, but it turns out that we’ve all been deceived. Charlie Sheen isn’t who we thought he is. No, he’s not Charlie Sheen the cocaine and stripper loving party animal bizarre-o we’ve gotten to know so well this past couple of weeks.

He is Carlos Irwin Estevez!

Kills some of the glamour, doesn’t it? Turns out Carlos borrowed Sheen from his father, who adopted it as a screen name long ago. The man has been living a lie ever since. Did you also know that Chuck/Carlos has been a major proponent of the 9/11 Truth Movement, stating in 2006 that the collapse of the twin towers looked awfully like controlled demolition to him? In 2009 he even appealed to Barak Obama, asking him to open up an investigation into the matter.

Only one Carlos. So little time. So much winning still to do.

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Baraka — Planet Earth, for the More Bizarre

Baraka

I recently checked out Ron Fricke’s Baraka, a Planet Earthesque film shot across 24 countries. This is one of those movies that you need to watch on Blu-Ray, and generally appeals to people that like movies that are “good to look at.” The movie focuses on landscapes, animals, humans, and industry — basically anything amazing to look at across the globe — using slowed down and sped up photography for effect. The movie alternates between scenes of chaos and tranquility, all the while coupling music from around the globe to the images on the screen. You see some pretty weird tribal types doing some really bizarre rituals, let me tell you. This film should be required viewing for the leaders of every country, as it does have a slight cross-cultural agenda, albeit an effective one — it certainly opened my eyes to a lot of the nonsense going on across this planet of ours. Much of this film focuses on northern Asian cultures, which is unfortunate in my eyes as I have about as much interest in northern Asian cultures as I do in eating low-fat, plain rice cakes. Otherwise, this movie is pretty astounding and certainly worth a watch — especially if you are a Discovery Channel type.

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The Fighter — What You’ve Heard is What You Get

The Fighter Mark Wahlberg Amy Adams

I’ve developed an uncanny ability to see a movie trailer and immediately know if it’s something I’m interested in seeing. Maybe I just know my own tastes. Regardless, The Fighter was one of those movies that I immediately knew that I wanted to see. It took me far too long to actually get to the theater, but once I did, the movie lived up to everything I’d heard about it: The underlying reviews seemed to be, “An awesome movie, but Christian Bale’s performance is what makes it.” Yup — that’d couldn’t be more spot on.

In the movie Bale plays the older brother of Mark Wahlberg’s character. He’s a washed up, crack-addicted, sometimes-when-he’s- not-high boxing trainer. He looks the part and acts the part so well you wonder if they actually had him smoking crack before shooting each scene. I’ve never particularly liked Bale, but this movie changed my mind. The movie’s leading lady, Amy Adams, is also a great touch. She manages to play a sexy yet tough Lowell broad while adding some humor to the film. All of that said, Mark Wahlberg is the man as usual. I give this movie an “A” — you should definitely check it out if you haven’t already.

That said, I can’t help but notice the number of awesome Boston/Massachusetts based movies to come out in recent years — The Departed, The Town, The Fighter coupled with oldies like Mystic River and Good Will Hunting. While I love all of these movies, the depiction of neighborhoods (namely Southie, Charlestown, Lowell, etc) is pretty funny. Half of the country must picture Boston as an extremely white, blue-collar city where everybody’s cousin sells coke and every broad is sitting on the couch smoking camels just waiting to pop another delinquent child. I live next to Charlestown and I can assure you that this portrayal, while partially true, is only half of the picture. What can I say, I guess America loves blue-collar white people.

Oh yea, so the BCS National Championship game was last night. It was a close one, but still it was boringgggggggg. College football is massively overrated.

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Californication Returns with 4th Season

Californication Season 4 Addison Timlin

The best show on television is back. Californication returned with the premier episode of the fourth season last night — for those of you who don’t already watch tune in Sunday nights at 9:00pm EST on Showtime.

This is the best show on television, hands down. It’s hedonistic, wildly inappropriate, and quite juvenile — yet it’s fantastically written, acted, and with the season three finale easily became one of the most legitimate shows on TV. Showtime has struck gold with this one.

For those of you who watch already, Hank has finally managed to get himself in way over his head. The season premier also introduces a young new actress, Addison Timlin, who is nothing short of gorgeous. With football nearing an end, you should now have a date with your couch every Sunday night for a few more months.

Yes, this show is good enough that it warrants a post over the first round of the NFL playoffs. That said, this is a sports blog, so I’ll give you my ten second run down of the weekend’s events.

1) Michael Vick’s flashy season ended yesterday with an interception — I’m sure that few are weeping on his behalf. That said, he had to make a big play to get into the end zone and went down swinging. A disappointing loss for Vick and Eagles nation, for sure. While the Packers scare the hell out of me, as a Pats fan I’d rather play them than the Eagles. The Packers are a bit more predictable.

2) The Jets beat the Colts, eliminating Peyton Manning, which is awesome. The Jets will no doubt be fired up for their rematch with the Pats — who knows what Rex Ryan will be spewing before this game kicks off. Of course I think the Pats will handle their business and beat the Jets, but I’d expect the Jets to bring it. This game is not in the bag.

3) The Baltimore Ravens looked scary good. Please keep them away from me.

Now go watch Californication if you haven’t already.

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Danny MacAskill “Way Back Home” Street Riding Short Film

Danny MacAskill’s new short film “Way Back Home”……

Let me start by saying that I’m not into BMX riding, street trial riding, or most other endeavours dubbed as “X-gameish.” Redbull sponsors all kinds of wild stuff these days, but this video took me by surprise — it’s by far one of the coolest videos I’ve come across.

The more you watch it, the more you are amazed by the stunts Danny MacAskill is pulling off — absolutely incredible. But don’t watch this video for the tricks. The video is beautifully produced, capturing the landscapes of Scotland from Edinburgh up though the Highlands. Edinburgh is amongst my favorite places I’ve ever been, and the highlands are certainly the most naturally spectacular. This video captures all that. With the music thrown in, it just all works.

A pleasant surprise for sure.

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Ken Burns’ “Baseball: The Tenth Inning” Airs Tonight

Baseball the Tenth Inning Ken Burns

Monday night football is over, and in my book, there is no must watch TV currently on Tuesday nights — tonight aside. Ken Burns’ documentary Baseball: The Tenth Inning airs tonight at 8pm EST on PBS. The series boasts two slogans — “No matter what happens off the field it’s still a beautiful game” and “A new look at the athletes, culture, and business of the game.” For any baseball fan, this is absolutely must watch TV.

I was lucky enough to receive Ken Burns’ 9-part series Baseball for Christmas when I was 11 or 12 years old. That series, which documents the history of the game from its inception until the early 1990’s, easily taught me more about the history of the game than any single source. You couldn’t possibly learn more about the game in 10 hours. This next installment focuses largely on the steroid ERA, but will most certainly also contain the story of the 2004 Red Sox. The series has instant credibility for me, especially given the fact that Ken Griffey Jr. was given the cover of the DVD. Check it out — I’m sure it will provide plenty of talking points.

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