Tag Archives: basketball

Movie Review – The Way Back (2020)

Booze and hoops.  Booze and hopes.

BQB here with a review of the Ben Affleck drama, “The Way Back.”

 

It’s a story we’ve seen again and again in a film.  A curmudgeonly coach takes on a new team.  He’s doubtful at first but as he gets to know the kids, he learns they are winners and just need someone to guide them.  He provides that guidance and in doing so, finds his own redemption.

That essences is here, and yet…not.  This isn’t the Bad News Bears.  There’s no humor and there’s no schmaltz.  Alcoholism has gripped Affleck’s Jack Cunningham in its icy hand and it is not letting go without a knock down, drag out fight.  From the booze he hides in his office to the cases upon cases that fill his fridge, Jack is a rummy through and through.  We see how this disease weighs him down, tearing his life apart, destroying his relationship with his family and making it nearly impossible for him to find any real meaning.

There’s no overnight miracle here.  Coaching the kids helps and Jack finds he isn’t as useless on the court as he is in most areas of life.  But there’s no happy, feel good moment where Jack pours out the hooch, quits cold turkey and becomes the greatest coach of all time.  As any recovering addict will tell you, fighting that monkey on your back is a daily grind, and this film shows that grind in all its gross glory.

This film might have also been about Affleck exercising his own demons.  Affleck has spoken publicly about his own battle with alcohol.  Jack has to come to grips with his divorce and estrangement from his wife, and Affleck has said publicly that he regrets his divorce Jennifer Garner.  In fact, coping with regret is a big part of the film – accepting what we cannot change, learning how to improve upon our mistakes where we can, learning how to not tear ourselves apart over the proverbial spilt milk where we can’t.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.  It’s a decent film.  Not something I’d watch over and over.  Not something that’s Oscar bound.  Affleck exercises his dramatic chops and it might give you some food to thought if you’re battling your own demons.  Other than that, I wouldn’t call it a good or bad movie, just somewhere in the middle.

 

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The Plight of Watching 3D Movies for People With Glasses – A BQB Special Report

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Lousy norms with their perfect vision.

Nerds.

Thanks to the rise of the Internet, social media and the overall acceptance to let your nerdy freak flag fly, they’re a rising demographic.

And no, hot attractive person who watched half of Star Wars once then texted all your friends with “O-M-G I am such a nerd” I’m not talking about you.

I’m not saying all nerds have glasses, but a vast majority of them do. It goes with the territory.

I’m sure my story is similar to that of many a geek, dweeb and/or poindexter.

There I was minding my own business. I start having a hard time seeing what the teacher is writing on the board. I mention it in passing to the parents, my little brain unaware of what that means. They get me tested. I end up with spectacles for the rest of my days, which didn’t seem all that terrible when I was a little kid but alas, they were no fun as I got older.

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Bookshelf Q. Battler – Blogger for 3.5 Readers/Glasses Wearer

PROBLEM KIDS WITH GLASSES FACE – Other dumb kids think they’re funny and want to grab your glasses and try them on.  Oh sure, dumb kids and why not grab that other kid’s crutch while you’re at it. Hey, go push that kid out of his wheelchair and go for a ride. Let’s just nab everyone’s medical devices and have a grand old time.

Shit. Kids are stupid.

PROBLEM ADULTS WITH GLASSES FACE – Some may argue our romantic prospects go on the decline once we put on our specs. This could be a chicken or the egg scenario. There are a lot of people who won’t go for people with glasses but there aren’t so many that the bespectacled have to live in caves by themselves forever. Part of the plight of the glasses wearer is that it becomes harder to get involved in sports and stuff so we end up reading and studying and becoming interested in comic books and superheroes and shit to pass our time. Some of us even start blogs and write for the benefit of 3.5 readers. Thus, the gateway to nerd-dom opens.

But I’m not here to talk about all that.

I want to talk about why it sucks as a nerd to go to a 3D movie.

As a World Renowned Poindexter, I have had a hard time ever since movie theaters started bringing back the 3-D movie craze.

Movie theaters, I get it. With people able to stream films on their televisions, laptops, tablets, phones, and coffee maker screens, you need to come up with new ways to keep putting butts in seats.

And honestly, I hope you continue to do so, because the last thing I want to see happen is for movie theaters to go the way of the dodo.

I don’t know about the rest of you bespectacled nerds, but when I go to a 3D movie, I have a problem.

Case in point. Last night I went to see Captain America: Civil War.  I spent half the movie trying to line up the 3-D glasses to fit over my regular glasses.

It’s a logistical nightmare. My peepers are trying to keep track of all of these costumed schmucks running around at warp speed and my eyeballs need to look through one set of lenses that help me see and another set of lenses that help me see in 3-D.

When both lenses don’t match up, my eyes end up sort of seeing some parts of the movie in 3-D and then other parts look blurry.

For me, screen size is part of the problem. I have gone to 3D movies in large IMAX style theaters and there’s less of a problem. I’m not sure why, but when you have more screen to look at, it works out for me.

But at my local East Randomtown normal sized theater, I usually just avoid the 3D showing. I don’t know the exact science of it but an average sized screen plus 3D glasses plus an action movie where there are lots of people running around like jackasses makes for a not so great viewing experience for a glasses wearing nerd like me.

Unfortunately, I was preoccupied during the non-3D showing or else I would have gone to that one.

It’s not that I want 3D movies to go away just for the benefit of nerds with glasses.

Rather, I’d like to see the movie industry cater a bit more to their nerdy fans.

Because let’s face it, movie industry representatives. Nerds with glasses account for a high percentage of your movie sales:

  • It’s not like we have much of a social life so you can count on us to be there opening night for the latest movie about costumed assholes fighting other costumed assholes.
  • We live for movies about costumed assholes fighting other costumed assholes. We’ll talk about them on social media, blogs etc. so you get a lot of free advertising from us.
  • Sure, beautiful non-glasses wearing people watch movies too, but they’re too busy having fun parasailing, surfing, skiing, climbing mountains, running across beaches, banging hot chicks, flying F15 fighter jets and doing all of the other awesome things that I assume people with perfect 20/20 vision do while we nerds are struggling to watch movies about costumed assholes as we try to line up our regular glasses with our 3D glasses.

BQB, I’m a corporate shill for the movie theater industry and I just came across your blog by accident. I’m not sure I’ll do anything to help you glasses wearing nerds enjoy 3D movies more because if it is one thing you nerds have shown, you’ll all crawl on your bellies through a pit of fire just to watch movies about costumed assholes fighting other costumed assholes.

But, for the sake of argument, suppose I cared. What can I, a corporate goon, do to help make you glasses wearing nerds happy?

Thank you. I’m glad you asked, corporate goon.

When I was a boy growing up in the 1980s, one thing I used to do when I wasn’t busy worrying about the Soviets conquering America and confiscating all our toilet paper, I watched a lot of basketball.

There was a player by the name of Kareem Abdul Jabbar.  Perhaps you’ve heard of him? He played a copilot in that hilarious Airplane movie.

Today, he’s a) still alive and b) a novelist.

Here he is during his heyday with the LA Lakers:

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Notice anything?

Yup. Kareem was a nerd. But he refused to allow his vision problems keep him from becoming one of America’s favorite dunk masters and he owed it all to those fabulous goggles seen above.

That’s right. He had goggles set to his eyeglass prescription.

  • They were large so wherever he looked, he could still see well, even in his peripheral vision. Today, glasses keep getting smaller and smaller and when society calls for us nerds to sacrifice larger specs for fashionable petite specs, we also lose more ability to see out of the corners of our eyes.
  • They were made out of a durable material, so if Larry Bird accidentally bonked him in the face with a basketball, he didn’t have to worry about his glasses shattering and cutting his eyes up.

BQB it’s the corporate goon again. I get impatient when points aren’t made within 3.5 seconds.

Sorry corporate goon.

Here’s my point.  Stop being all like, “Well f%&k those nerds if they want to watch 3D movies in comfort then they should have not been born with genetic predispositions to vision problems like the rest of us norms.”

Help us out.  Take goggles like the ones Kareem wore and put 3D material in the lenses.

Have 3D goggles available for nerds at the theater. We’ll be happier. We’ll go to 3D movies more. We’ll spend more at your movie theaters because as nerds, we tend to drown our sorrows about being lonely and dateless with movies about costumed assholes fighting other costumed assholes and we usually buy a lot of soda and candy to zit up our faces and perpetuate our nerd-dom while we do.

Hell, if I had the scientific and/or engineering know-how, I’d develop these myself through a kickstarter or some shit and make a mint on 3D goggles nerds can take to the movies themselves.

Anyway, thanks for listening 3.5 readers. And you corporate goons, get to work on this.

For I guarantee the first movie theater that starts putting out 3D goggles will enjoy increased profits from nerds the world over.

Stop catering to the norms. The norms will get around to watching your movies eventually. They usually go the second or third week when they can fit your movie into their busy schedules of having perfect lives.

We nerds are your base and if Meghan Trainor has taught us anything, it’s all about the base.

No, I’m not saying we’re similar to a chubby singer’s butt. Just get to work and make the damn 3D goggles already!

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Movie Review – Trainwreck (2015)

A hard partying, traditional lifestyle loathing gal is forced to face her fear of commitment when she meets a man worth committing to.

Bookshelf Q. Battler here with a review of Amy Schumer’s comedy Trainwreck.

SPOILERS ahead that will totally wreck your good time if you haven’t seen it yet.

Trainwreck – Movieclips Trailers

3.5 Readers, let me start with this:

I LOVE AMY SCHUMER.

Male or Female, I think she’s the funniest comedian out there right now.

Her Comedy Central show, Inside Amy Schumer, regularly leaves me in stitches.  In particular, two sketches she put out this season have caused her stock to rise:

  • Last F*&kable Day – Amy has a picnic with Julia Louis Dreyfus, Tina Fey and Patricia Arquette and hilariously discuss how the media puts an expiration date of female actresses, leaving them unable to play anything other than frumpy mother types whereas male actors are left to play leading men until a ripe old age.  (“Remember how Sally Field played Tom Hanks’ love interest in Punchline and then five minutes later she was his mom in Forrest Gump?”)
  • Twelve Angry Men Inside Amy Schumer – In a parody of the classic jury deliberation film, twelve men deliberate whether or not Amy is hot enough to be allowed on TV, thus pointing out how women are often judged more on their looks than what actual talents and qualities they have to offer.

But before you rush to label her some kind of radical feminist, keep in mind she’s an equal opportunist when it comes to dishing the dirt, and in this reviewer’s eyes, there’s no better sign of a great comic than pulling no punches.

In other words, while she’s been great at pointing out difficulties women go through, she also gets men have it tough at times as well.  Thus, there’s the sketch where she dons the guise of a karate sensei and educates men on how to verbally spar with their angry girlfriends (“She will be unable to defy the authority of therapy and Oprah”)  or the sketch where women walk through the “Museum of Boyfriend Outfits” and react to various bad outfits worn by boyfriends as if they were some of history’s greatest atrocities. (In other words, sometimes women judge men a bit too harshly as well).

In short, she’s great.  I’m a big fan.  A big, big fan.

That’s why it’s hard for me to say answer this question:

Is this a good movie?

Answer:  It depends.

If you’re going because you love her TV show and were hoping this movie was going to be Amy’s big break to knock it out of the park, then you might be disappointed.

At least I was.

I judge comedies based on one question:

Did it make me laugh?

Answer:  Only a few times, and mostly at characters other than Amy’s.

Laughter is the most honest of emotional reactions.  Either something tickles your funny bone or it doesn’t.

For the most part, this didn’t.

Everyone’s sense of humor is different.  You might disagree and love it.

Colin Quinn doesn’t disappoint as Amy’s dad, Gordon, the womanizing commitment phobe whose bad example sets Amy up for a lifetime of cheap one-night stands and avoidance of any real intimacy.

Surprisingly, NBA superstar LeBron James steals the show.

Often times, sports star cameos in movies are flat.  Athletes aren’t trained in the theatrical arts, after all.  But LeBron, who plays himself as the friend of sports doctor Aaron (Amy’s love interest), turned in a funny performance that left me feeling like he was comfortable in front of a camera.

Hell, if this basketball thing ever stops working for him, he has a second career waiting for him as a thespian.

But while Colin and LeBron provided me with some chuckles, Amy just didn’t razzle my dazzle in this one.

Am I being too hard on her?  Maybe.  Maybe it’s just because her show is so great that I was expecting to roll in the aisles for this movie.  Maybe I built it up too much in my head.

Or maybe gut busting laughter wasn’t what the film was meant to be about, because if your goal in seeing it is to take in a sweet romance (albeit with R rated debauchery mixed in), it does actually deliver.

The theme that ties the movie together?  People today are so interested in petty nonsense that doesn’t matter.  Looks.  Status. Fashion.

Amy works at a stereotypically fluff magazine where she and her co-workers write catty articles that judge people all day.

But as the story points out, if you’re too focused on getting drunk and random hook-ups, then you might let someone who’d bring a lot of joy into your life pass you by.

There’s been a bunch of movies where the man is the one who needs to tone down his playboy lifestyle in order to let a special lady into his heart.  Here, Amy puts a modern twist on that old rom-com trope by being the woman who needs to decide whether meaningless trysts are worth passing up a good life with a wonderful man who’d do anything for her.

For me, the scene that makes the movie work comes when Amy’s nephew asks his aunt whether or not she likes Aaron.  Amy stumbles, says yes, but then starts to go into a longwinded explanation as to why that’s not enough, but the kid just interrupts with a, “Why don’t you invite him over?”

TRANSLATION:  So many potentially great relationships hid the skids when people talk themselves into dumping people they like for silly, superficial reasons.

If two people like each other and get along, they need to hold onto each other for dear life, because those kinds of relationships are hard to find.  If passed up, they rarely, if ever, come along again, at least not anytime soon.

STATUS:  C- Comedy.  B+ Love Story.  Amy and Bill get a chance to display their acting chops.  Not the knockout I hoped it would be, but don’t feel too bad for Amy.  Her mug’s all over the place these days.

Not shelf-worthy but worth a rental.

(But for the record, few people in the entertainment industry have done more to champion the idea that people shouldn’t be judged based on their looks than Amy Schumer, so on that note, A+)

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