Movie Reviews: The Last Boy Scout

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The Last Boyscout directed by Tony Scott

This movie was a disappointment when it came out. People wanted Die Hard, but Shane Black’s script was more like Lethal Weapon. In a way, you would have almost thought Richard Donner directed the film the way it was shot and scored.

Even as a kid, I was disappointed with it. Bruce Willis played a stereotype of a detective. Boozy with personal problems of all orders. He basically acted like he just didn’t give a damn about anything. Life had already churned him inside and out.

Twenty years later, I understand. Some athletes sometimes have drug problems, even star quarterbacks. Cops have a shit ton of problems ranging the entire spectrum. Maybe people had it all wrong.

This was a case of art reflecting life.

Football is a business that doesn’t truly give a shit about the players. It takes a ton of legal action and scientific research to get the business to admit that it is a brutal sport that takes physical and long lasting tolls on human beings. It is big business not only because of fandom, tv marketing potential, but because of the gambling that goes alongside it. Just go to a sports book in Las Vegas and you can see why. Billions are wagered legally and illegally. And now, we even have the online “fantasy” versions with draft kings and yahoo getting in on the deal.

Twenty years ago, the sport seemed a little more pure. This was the era of Joe Montana, Dan Marino, Troy Aikman, Steve Young, and Warren Moon. These were icons and role models unlike today, with Tom Brady and deflategate, Peyton Manning and steroid/stem cell accusations, and Big Ben and sexual assault allegations.

And then, Colin K and disgracing the national anthem and flag in a selfish act. Send me hate mail, I don’t care. Just because a few people agree with you doesn’t mean it is right. Instead of using a platform for good and work towards actually causing positive change in america, he speaks of obvious issues America has. Yes, there is freedom of speech, however, in the eyes of many he has zero class. Riddle me this, where was Colin K speaking of social injustice and donating money to charity when he had a platform as the Superbowl to talk? Why does he only have “courage” to speak when he is benched? Funny that a guy who’s trademark dance is kissing his bicep really stands for anything but himself.

Where are the boyscouts today? America sure needs them.

Back to the movie. It’s decent. Go check it out again.

Movie Reviews: Any Given Sunday

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Any Given Sunday directed by Oliver Stone

I saw this movie when I was in High School. I had seen the previews that advertised it as the most intense movie about football ever made. I went in with my father and was blasted with the story of Willie Beamen and his coach, Tony D’Amato of the Miami Sharks. This really wasn’t I expected, despite being an Oliver Stone film. I walked out in a little dazed, to be honest.

You see, the vast majority of sport films on the professional level are a comedy of some sort: Major League, The Replacements, Bull Durham, and The Longest Yard. Many times, the team stinks at the beginning, but through a diverse group of eccentric characters they come together and overcome their obstacles to win at the end. It’s a trope, but America loves tropes.

This wasn’t that movie.

It was about the sacrifices of professional football through he lens of those coming into the league and those on the way out. It showed the limits of what people pushed themselves to in order to achieve what they wanted, on the field, in their personal lives, and professional ambitions.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t quite appreciate the film when I first watched it. I said, “hey, what the heck, I can’t quite believe this is pro ball because the uniforms are different.” Now, I understand the NFL is protective as hell over their brand and only allow it to be used in fake fairy tale stories. I didn’t understand the big deal about Cameron Diaz wanting to move the team. Now, shit, that has been the NFL ever since with the constant moves and threats of moves for stadium deals. I didn’t understand Al Pacino’s message, which I have come to understand wasn’t to Willie Beamen, it was to the viewer. And most of all, I didn’t understand all the fast cuts Oliver Stone used to interweave players of a bygone era. Now, I’ve come to understand and appreciate he was trying to say the players today forget the sacrifices of the mangled football player of the past who grew the sport to the moneymaking venture today.

The movie was ahead of it’s time.

I’ll argue this. If the NFL would have a allowed them to use a real NFL team, this would be considered the greatest sports movie ever made (competing with The Natural, Remember the Titans, Miracle). The casting is good. The directing is great. The story is relevant (talking about concussions 15 years before anyone else was putting the issue out front).

And it gives one of the greatest sports speeches of all time with Al Pacino’s story of fighting for inches. I feel like I want to put on a helmet and get some plays in after watching that scene each time.

Movie Rating: 7/10 Pantheon Cups

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Game Reviews: Techmo Bowl (NES)

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It didn’t get more real that this in 1989 in which Techmo Bowl, the first NFLPA licensed game, was released. This was around the same time I began rooting for my team, the Washington Redskins.

Except in this game, I separated loyalty from awesomeness and seldom played with them.

Out of the 12 teams, there was only two real choices in a game that offered two pass plays and two run plays each time, in which I would only use master half of them: The off-tackle run, and the all go pass.

The team I would pick would be the Chicago Bears. Why? Because it had the best player in the game, Walter Payton. He was fast as hell and could rarely be stopped. If he got out in the open, watch out because he was going to take it to the house (and make a ton of players miss) For the pass play, I would roll back and off to the side and throw a bomb down the sideline every time, without seeing the receiver at all. The game had this little highlighted flag at the edge of the screen that told you approximately where the receiver was and you had to have faith to let your players make a play.

That’s what playmakers do.

On the season mode, I would beat it pretty easily. I think I beat the game with half the teams, including the Washington Redskins just to see if I could do it.

The real rivalry, was when I played my father. He used the only team that could really rival the Bears, the Raiders. You see, if you couldn’t play Techmo Bowl with Walter Payton, you would play with Bo Jackson. He was fast a hell too.

I don’t remember the final tally of who won the most. Most of the games would come down to the final possession, or one rare interception from one of my throws … because I’m sure even my father figured out that I ran only two plays in my offensive playbook. It was essentially a 50/50 guess each time.

It was awesome and fun, and I hope to find another copy of it someday.

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