If you haven’t seen this yet, President Obama got highly emotional while outlining new executive orders about gun control Tuesday. He was firm, he was resolute, and most of all he showed why so many of us care about this man: Because he’s deeply, deeply hurt by his inability to do anything to stop the scourge of gun violence in America. This is exactly what you want to see in a President.
After reading and seeing so much about the concussion and brain damage issue in football over the last 10 years, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t learn anything new by seeing the movie “Concussion.”
And I was right, I didn’t learn much new when I saw the movie last week (though it was kinda cool seeing Alec Baldwin play a real-life doctor, Julian Bailes, who I once interviewed).
Still, I wanted to see “Concussion” because it was an important, necessary film about a true hero, Dr. Bennet Omalu, who discovered CTE in the brains of several dead NFL players and was roundly rejected and mocked by those in power who should’ve most cared about what he discovered.
“Concussion” isn’t a bad movie; it’s actually pretty decent, probably 2.5 stars in my book. The good? Will Smith was fantastic, as was most of the rest of the cast (David Morse as Steelers legend Mike Webster was particularly great), and I thought the story told was clear, easy to digest for those who knew nothing about this issue and just were coming to a Will Smith movie. The ending is also terrific, rousing and informative.
But the bad? Lots to choose from. For one thing, the movie was dramatically over-simplified, not really getting the players’ side of the issue, current players I mean, into the story.
I also thought there were several characters we knew nothing about who suddenly were thrust into the story: For example, Omalu and Bailes have a heated conversation with a Dr. Maroon at one point, a five-minute scene where Maroon is very skeptical of Omalu’s linking football with brain disease. But we’re never told who Maroon is, why he’s so adamantly against the CTE research. There’s also a young African-American well-dressed guy in a lot of NFL executive meetings who has a bunch of lines, but we’re never told who he is, either.
Then there was the criminal misrepresentation of ex-NFLer, and CTE sufferer, Dave Duerson. His family has been very public in complaining about how the now-deceased Duerson was shown, and 99 times out of 100, I give the filmmaker license to fictionalize certain things, and I don’t care too much. But this was truly horrendous, libelous stuff that director Peter Landesman did to Duerson’s legacy. (My boy Jeff Pearlman wrote a great blog post about this.)
Anyway, “Concussion” is an important movie, and I’m glad it’s out there. I just wish it had been a little better.
**Next up today, this was one of those moments that makes me remember why I love sports so much. Monday night, late into the wee hours of the morning, there was an amazing college basketball game played. No. 1 Kansas and No. 2 Oklahoma staged a three-OT classic that I watched parts of Monday night, then had to go bed on and watched the rest Tuesday morning.
It was a fantastic, fantastic game, filled with clutch shots, fabulous defense, and a crowd at Kansas’ Phog Allen Fieldhouse as loud as you can imagine.
But as great as the game was, it’s not what I’ll remember. It’s what happened about 10-15 minutes afterwards that’ll stick with me. Oklahoma star guard Buddy Hield had just finished a sensational performance, scoring 46 points, the most ever by a visiting player at Kansas. He was exhausted, he was upset about losing, and he’d just finished a postgame interview with ESPN.
Then, as he got up to walk away, dozens of Kansas fans still in the stands stood up and gave him a standing ovation. This is the star of your team’s rival, a guy you booed for the last three hours.
But greatness is greatness, and the Jayhawks fans realized how special it was what Hield had just done. So they saluted, proudly.
Great, great sportsmanship. I love college sports when stuff like this happens.
**Finally today, I may be biased in thinking this is awesome because I’m an ex-newspaper scribe, but I love this story. The Boston Globe had been having major delivery truck issues last week with their new service, with hundreds and hundreds of subscribers complaining that they never got their papers.
So last Saturday night, every reporter, editor, photographer and other newsroom staffers at the paper decided to do something about it: They went and delivered the papers themselves.
Yep, reporters loaded up trucks and drove around the greater Boston area dropping off Sunday’s paper. Was it a bit of a publicity stunt? Sure. But it still shows the dedication of journalists.
I love it! Nothing like “delivering” your own front-page story.