Film Review: Lucas (1986)

Release Date: March 28th, 1986
Directed by: David Seltzer
Written by: David Seltzer
Music by: Dave Grusin
Cast: Corey Haim, Charlie Sheen, Kerri Green, Courtney Thorne-Smith, Winona Ryder, Tom Hodges, Guy Boyd, Jeremy Piven, Garrett M. Brown

Twentieth Century Fox, 100 Minutes

Review:

“You can’t ever make me quit, ever!” – Lucas

In the ’80s, coming of age teen movies, whether they be drama, comedy or both, were a dime a dozen. And while I can’t consider Lucas to be one of the better ones, it still has real heart and it’s damn near impossible to not feel for the kid, as he experiences his first heartbreak when the girl he loves, also his best friend, falls for the cool guy that is like a big brother to him.

I think that the story is something everyone can relate to regardless of gender or situation. At some point, we’ve all had to deal with heartbreak for the first time. And since this movie actually tells that story pretty well, it’s a pretty worthwhile picture.

Corey Haim was really young in this and it was only his second starring role. He showed great promise as a young actor, as did the rest of the cast, who also made this sort of hokey picture into a real human, emotional drama.

This is a strange film in that it does sort of get buried by its outdated ’80s cheese but the important stuff still gets through to the audience in an effective way.

There are certainly a dozen or more ’80s teen movies I’d recommend over this one but if you’ve seen the cream of the crop and never watched this one, it’s definitely worth your 100 minutes.

Rating: 6.75/10
Pairs well with: other coming of age high school movies of the ’80s.

Retro Relapse: In A Perfect World: The NFL With the EPL’s Structure

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2014.

The English Premier League and most of European soccer has been around longer than the National Football League in its modern form (post AFL). Being a long time soccer fan, I have always been a big fan of the way the Premier League and most European leagues handle their shit. The structure of the EPL is awesome.

The NFL could benefit greatly by adopting a similar system. I know this is a pipe dream and probably too big of a feat to accomplish at this point but imagine a league of twenty teams, the bottom three each year get relegated to a lower league while the top three in the lower league get promoted to the big time NFL.

There would then be multiple lower leagues, like in English soccer, where teams would move up and down depending upon where they finish. This would open the floodgates for expansion and allow a lot more markets the accessibility of having a professional football team. Even if your local team didn’t fare well and get into the top level NFL league, they could still fight for championships in lower levels. It’d be like the pandemonium we have with all the bowl games in college. Multiple playoffs in multiple levels of the sport would be pretty fucking awesome. And yes, I said playoffs but I’ll get more into that further down.

In the Premier League, schedule strength isn’t even an issue and the playing field is level and fair. The reason being, every team in the twenty team structure plays each other once at home and once on the road. Again, everyone plays everyone on home ground and enemy ground once.

Now could the NFL have a 38 game season? No, even though from a fan’s perspective, that’d be awesome. They could however, have a 19 game season and just play each team once. Who gets home game advantage can be determined in some diplomatic fair way by some dudes in suits making a lot more money than me. Additionally, you could make the season 21 weeks and give these guys two bye weeks to rest because honestly, I don’t think one bye week is enough now. I’d even be in favor of expanding it to three bye weeks in a 22 week season. Think of all the football!

Now in the Premier League, there are no playoffs. The team with the most points at the end of the season is the champion. I’d change that however and make a 6 team playoff. The top two ranked teams get a first round bye while teams ranked third through sixth meet in the first week of a three week playoff; the winners going on to play the two top teams in a final four situation and those winners of those games playing for the championship. It’s fair, it’s easy and it’s badass! I would actually implore the Premier League to adopt this same playoff system even if it gets the traditionalists in an uproar. Playoffs mean more games, more money and more excitement!

I’d say that the NFL should go to three leagues of twenty teams, making a total of sixty teams. That nearly doubles the professional squads that we have now and increases the amount of local tribalism. All these states and large cities that don’t have teams can now have them. And hell, maybe the teams that continually flounder in the NFL, like the Cleveland Browns, can go on to win championships and have success once being relegated to a lower league. I’m not saying that to be disrespectful to Cleveland because in college basketball for example, no one ever complained after winning the NIT. In fact, those teams rejoiced and felt accomplished. This also doesn’t mean that teams like the Browns can’t fight for their spot to stay in the top tier NFL. In fact, this might improve competition between all the teams.

I know that from an economics standpoint, that it might not seem feasible for smaller markets to have a professional football team but if British soccer can have stadiums for dozens upon dozens of teams in their much smaller nation, America can get this done. Besides, not every stadium has to be Cowboys Stadium. Smaller markets can have smaller venues but it’d still be awesome. Hell, rent out some college fields.

This may all seem like a crazy idea and it probably is but I think that it’d improve the sport, breed more competition, create a lot more revenue, give more opportunity to players and give the fans so much more than what they have now. I wish I had a time machine and a shit ton of money so I could go back to the 1920s, buy a team and pressure the league into taking shape like this at its early stage.

Book Review: ‘Think Like a Warrior: The Five Inner Beliefs That Make You Unstoppable’ by Darrin Donnelly

I really liked Darrin Donnelly’s Relentless Optimism and thought that it was a book that I really needed to read, as it helped me get through some shit and it was more focused on having an optimistic mindset, which was something I was struggling with as of late.

That being said, I wanted to read some of his other stuff, so I went back and gave this a shot, as it is actually the first of the five books in Donnelly’s Sports for the Soul series.

It’s pretty darn good for what it is and I enjoyed it and found it helpful. It didn’t quite connect with me like the other book did but that one was more geared towards what I was looking for.

This one still has some solid, sagely advice and a good example of how to apply certain techniques and mindsets.

Frankly, Donnelly just has a good way with words and an even better way at weaving his thoughts and ideas into a story that is easy to digest and understand. 

Rating: 8/10
Pairs well with: The other four books in Darrin Donnelly’s Sports for the Soul series.

Documentary Review: Namath (2012)

Also known as: Namath: From Beaver Falls to Broadway (complete title)
Release Date: January 28th, 2012
Written by: Ousie Shapiro
Music by: David Robidoux
Cast: Joe Namath, Liev Schreiber (narrator)

NFL Films, HBO, 86 Minutes

Review:

Joe Namath played before my time but growing up, he was always a former NFL great that older generations always told me about. He had a mystique about him and was a real legend on and off the field.

Once ESPN Classic came into existence and I was really into watching NFL Films productions in my teen years, I really got to see and understand why people loved him. And frankly, I loved him too. He had style and a panache that was unparalleled for the time. In high school, I owned a Namath throwback jersey.

Joe Namath also had that moment where he predicted and guaranteed a Superbowl win when his New York Jets were 17 point underdogs to the Baltimore Colts. But he won and that prediction became as legendary as Babe Ruth pointing to the stands to call his most famous homerun.

In the years since, Joe Namath has had alcohol problems that were made pretty apparent to the public. He’s since gotten help and is living a much better, booze free life but the partying playboy went through rough patches.

This documentary was a really entertaining watch for fans of the game and the man. It doesn’t shy away from Namath’s demons and Joe even goes into depth talking about them and why they existed in the first place. But the real focus of the documentary is on the man’s life, not just his personal faults.

I thought that this was fair and it let Namath clear the air and genuinely express his remorse for certain actions. It also showed how cool Suzy Kolber is in how she handled the situation that involved her because she knew Joe was in a really bad place, at the time.

I love old school football. This documentary just cemented that further and it made me really respect Joe Namath more so than I did already.

Rating: 7/10
Pairs well with: other documetnaries about the NFL, most notably ESPN 30 For 30 films and HBO documentaries.

The Pro Bowl Is Bullshit

*The Bullshit Series started on an older blog but I wanted to bring these articles back here, as I have new installments for the series that I want to release over time. The series focuses on things that I think are bullshit… like filet mignon, Zubaz pants, the Pro Bowl and diets.

*Written in 2016.

I don’t write enough articles in my “bullshit” series, I know. But here is a new one! Because I have to talk about the biggest bullshit in sports, the Pro Bowl.

I love the Pro Bowl like a germaphobic neat freak loves explosive, uncontrollable diarrhea from a naked hobo hiding in their kitchen pantry.

From what I hear, the popular opinion agrees with me. Then again, this stupid fucking game still generates decent enough ratings so maybe I’m insane and everyone else is lying to me. I guess that’s what the comments section is for.

Anyway, I turned the Pro Bowl on late yesterday, as I was watching the superior NHL All-Star Game, which saw the all-star journey of John Scott come to a fitting and amazing conclusion. The NHL also gave us a fast-paced 3-on-3 tournament with teams broken down by division. The NHL got away from that shitty fantasy draft bullshit for their All-Star Game. The NFL still does that fantasy draft bullshit and it sucks giraffe cock.

So when I tuned in, the scorecard at the bottom didn’t read NFC and AFC, it read Rice and Irvin. What the fuck is that?!

Now I know that this format has been used before yesterday but I hate it. It is stupid as fuck. I really want to see the NFC duke it out with the AFC to determine which is the most talented conference in American football. When I watch the MLB All-Star Game, I want to see the AL against the NL, not Team Dunderfuck against Team Shitpickle. It’s supposed to be a braggin’ rights contest between leagues or conferences, not a real life version of DraftKingz with teams picked by old dudes, one of which is really unlikable.

Everyone knows how awful it is when your buddy talks about his fantasy team in a league you’re not even in. Well, that’s what this is, except it is on television and is backed by millions of dollars that could probably be used much better – like maybe, helping out overly concussed old men with their mountainous medical bills.

But again, people watch this bullshit. People even watched the two-hour long draft special on ESPN a few nights ago. Because I guess anything related to football is better than watching an actual game in any other sport. ‘Mericuh loves its football like it loves its reality television, Chipotle and obsessing over dickbag celebrities. Why’d I bring Chipotle into this? Because fuck Chipotle!

Back on topic!

The Pro Bowl is a waste of everyone’s time except the NFL’s bankers. Is it even really worth risking injury to a player when the conferences aren’t even fighting each other over who is better? What is the goddamned point, here?

I guess the MVP gets that cool trophy but is there just the one? Does he have to give it to the new MVP next year? Does he hand it back after the game? Does Michael Irvin hold on to it? Fuck Michael Irvin! Or maybe Roger Goddell takes it home and pretends it’s a large robot vagina?

But what’s the team get? I guess they get to keep their ugly as fuck Pro Bowl jerseys. But then the NFL probably takes those back and then auctions them off.

The National Football League has become a circus. The Pro Bowl is the NFL at its most circus-y, even more so than the Superbowl because at least that’s a game that means something.

I’d be more interested in a Pro Bowl that went back to the NFC vs. AFC format and was also held after the Superbowl, as it should be. And I like the Hawaii thing but maybe it isn’t working because I’ve heard livelier crowds at Blues Clues On Ice.

Maybe the game would be better with landmines, booby traps and pits full of alligators but then the prima donnas would complain about potential injury over a pointless game. Wait… that’s already an issue. So then yeah, we might as well embrace the booby traps.

Look, I don’t know how to fix the Pro Bowl, really. So maybe just kill the damned thing.

I was surprised I was actually able to get through twenty minutes of it last night before throwing on the Royal Rumble. Yeah, the Royal fucking Rumble… the start of WrestleMania season! Which gets overshadowed by a stupid game with no stakes and no point. And people call wrestling fake!

Documentary Review: The Four Year Plan (2011)

Release Date: November 16th, 2011 (IDFA Festival – Netherlands)
Directed by: Mat Hodgson
Music by: Rob Lord

Ad Hoc Films, 99 Minutes

Review:

*Written in 2014.

The Four Year Plan is another soccer documentary in a long series of soccer documentaries that I’ve been watching the last week or so. It follows the Queens Park Rangers (or QPR) as they are faced with relegation, new ownership and their fight to get promoted back into the Premier League.

This film was done almost guerrilla style, as the cameras were left rolling seemingly at all times. We get looks into the locker room, the boardroom and every other realm that involves running and managing a soccer team. The footage was top quality and was edited together nicely, providing the viewer with an engaging story of failure turned to perseverance.

Giving good perspective into the business side of things is what I found most interesting in this film because there isn’t a lot that I have seen in my lifetime that shows the behind the scenes meetings of British soccer with so much transparency. I’m obviously aware that they didn’t show their most secret meetings and sessions but you still got to go deeper into this world than you would expect.

In the end, it was a good sports documentary that gave serious insight into the world of British soccer, which most Americans don’t have access to. The action parts of the film were also well presented and gave it a good balance between the sport and the business.

Rating: 7.75/10
Pairs well with: One Night In Turin, Hillsborough, Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos and ESPN’s 30 For 30: Soccer Stories series.

Ranking All 30 Second Series Episodes of ESPN’s 30 For 30

*Written in 2015.

Luckily for us, ESPN decided to do another set of thirty films to expand this series. Now that this series has also reached 30 films and we got the soccer spin-off series, I’m hoping we get a third generation.

But for now, here are the 30 films of the second series ranked. And to be honest, all of these are really good.

1. Survive and Advance
2. Of Miracles and Men
3. Requiem for the Big East
4. Ghosts of Ole Miss
5. No Más
6. I Hate Christian Laettner
7. Big Shot
8. Bad Boys
9. You Don’t Know Bo
10. Benji
11. Hawaiian: The Legend of Eddie Aikau
12. Brothers In Exile
13. The U Part 2
14. Bernie and Ernie
15. Free Spirits
16. Angry Sky
17. Rand University
18. This is What They Want
19. When the Garden was Eden
20. Sole Man
21. The Price of Gold
22. Brian and the Boz
23. The Day the Series Stopped
24. Slaying the Badger
25. Broke
26. 9.79*
27. There’s No Place Like Home
28. Playing for the Mob
29. Elway to Marino
30. Youngstown Boys

Ranking All 30 Original Episodes of ESPN’s 30 For 30

*Written in 2014.

1. The 16th Man
2. The Two Escobars
3. Muhammad and Larry
4. Little Big Men
5. Once Brothers
6. Straight Outta L.A.
7. Kings Ransom
8. Small Potatoes: Who Killed the USFL?
9. Silly Little Game
10. Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The New York Knicks
11. June 17, 1994
12. Guru of Go
13. The U
14. Four Days In October
15. Pony Excess
16. Without Bias
17. Fernando Nation
18. One Night In Vegas
19. The Band That Wouldn’t Die
20. No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson
21. Marion Jones: Press Pause
22. Jordan Rides the Bus
23. The Best That Never Ways
24. The Birth of Big Air
25. Into the Wind
26. Unmatched
27. The Legend of Jimmy The Greek
28. Run Ricky Run
29. Tim Richmond: To the Limit
30. The House of Steinbrenner

Documentary Review: Kicking It (2008)

Release Date: January, 2008 (Sundance)
Directed by: Susan Koch, Jeff Werner
Written by: Susan Koch
Music by: Barry Cole
Narrated by: Colin Farrell

Liberation Entertainment, ESPN, Netflix, 98 Minutes

Review:

*Written in 2014.

In my string of soccer films that I’ve been watching to curb my World Cup fever when the games are over at night, I came across Kicking It. This film is hosted and narrated by Colin Farrell and is about the Homeless World Cup.

For those who don’t know, the Homeless World Cup is like the regular World Cup, as it takes soccer teams from various nations and pits them against one another in a big tournament.

The difference is, this is street soccer and the players are homeless. This concept was created to help rehabilitate homeless people throughout the world and it has had much success. Many players kick drugs and alcohol, find a sense of self worth and belonging and go on to better their situations.

Kicking It follows several players from various countries on their quest to play in the Homeless World Cup in South Africa. It told some pretty powerful stories and had you cheering for all these people because you wanted them to succeed. Unfortunately, like the regular World Cup, only one team can win. The fact of the matter is that almost everyone who participated in the tournament walked away a winner regardless.

The film was inspirational and it helped remind the viewer that even when someone has fallen or done bad things, it doesn’t mean that they can’t redeem themselves and make their own quality life. That was the real message of the film and it came through with gusto.

Rating: 7/10
Pairs well with: The ESPN Soccer Stories documentary series.

Documentary Review: 1:1 Thierry Henry (2011)

Release Date: November 13th, 2011 (Austria)
Directed by: Verena Soltiz
Written by: Verena Soltiz
Music by: Kawaski Nelson

Golden Girls Filmproduktion, 52 Minutes

Review:

*Written in 2014.

Thierry Henry has accomplished more in his career than the vast majority of soccer players will ever achieve. He lead France to the top of the World Cup mountain in 1998 and won several championships in a career that has seen him play for some of soccer’s greatest franchises: Juventus (Serie A), Arsenal (Premier League) and Barcelona (La Liga). He currently plays for the New York Red Bulls in the MLS.

The short film 1:1 Thierry Henry follows Henry as he moves to America and becomes a member of the New York Red Bulls. It is a well edited and well put together piece that does a good job of covering Henry’s past accomplishments in detail.

It also goes on to show his initial stretch as a member of the Red Bulls and the early challenges he faced, such as his first MLS All-Star Game against Manchester United, as well as his big homecoming to Arsenal, who hosted the New York Red Bulls in London.

This is definitely a short film worth a peek if you’re familiar with Thierry Henry or you just dig soccer.

Rating: 6.5/10
Pairs well with: Other soccer/football documentaries like One Night In Turin and the ESPN 30 For 30 soccer stuff.