Tag Archives: Andy Dalton

The “Fargo” season finale tonight has me super-excited. An eye-opening experiment involving the Quran and the Bible shows prejudice. And the Jets cruise while the NFC East doesn’t stink for once

FARGO -- Pictured: (l-r) Kirsten Dunst as Peggy Blumquist, Jesse Plemons as Ed Blumquist. CR: Chris Large/FX

Tonight is the season finale of the most shockingly great show on TV right now.

“Fargo” the movie was an all-time classic, and firmly in my Top 10. Then last season they brought “Fargo” back as a TV show, and it was fabulous. Billy Bob Thornton was one of the greatest villains I’ve ever seen, the writing was great, the acting superb, and it was fantastically violent.

My hopes for “Season 2” weren’t great, given that it was a new story, but with a stellar cast like Patrick Wilson, Jesse Plemons, Kirsten Dunst, Jean Smart and Ted Danson, I thought maybe it’d be decent.

And I’ve been blown away. I wrote about how good the early episodes of this season were a few weeks ago, The first nine episodes of this season have laid an amazing groundwork, telling the story of a 1979 feud between two Midwestern mob families thrown into a bloody war, and an (at-first) innocent Minnesota couple, Ed and Peggy Blumquist.

I don’t want to give anything away in case you haven’t seen it, so (SPOILER ALERT IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED THIS SEASON AND PLAN TO).

Last week’s episode was amazing. The bloody shootout at the motel, Hanzee’s betrayal of the Gerhardts, and Peggy’s immortal line “It’s just a flying saucer hon, let’s go,” has me primed for tonight’s finale.

So many great performances in this series, and the most shocking one to me has been Dunst, who I never thought was much of a thespian. What do I want from tonight? I hope Hank lives. I kinda want Ed and Peggy to somehow survive. And I really, really want at least one more scene from Karl Weathers (played greatly by Nick Offerman)

Seriously, “Fargo” has been sensational. The writing, the directing, all of it. Can’t wait to see how creator Noah Hawley finishes off this masterpiece of a season.

**Next up, this is one of the best experiments I’ve seen in a long time. I know it’s been done before, but this was done really well. With all the anti-Muslim rhetoric shooting around the U.S. and Europe these days, a Dutch group called Dit is Normaal decided to disguise a Bible as a Quran, and read verses to people on the street and asked them their thoughts.

Of course, most people reacted with disgust and making derogatory comments about Muslims. One highlight, at 2:09 of the video: “It bothers me that some people see these old writings as the absolute truth. (Paging Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz!)

Then the experimenters told them the truth. And the reactions were priceless.

No translation needed for the woman’s Dutch remark at 2:25, huh?

Just shows how that to some Christians, it’s always “other people’s” religious texts that are wrong and bigoted and intolerant.

Jets-Titans

**Finally today, it’s rare that I get to watch a stress-free New York Jets game from start to finish. But Sunday, my boys actually played a laugher. Sure, it was against the terrible Tennessee Titans, but hey, it still could’ve been dangerous for a Jets team that I’m still not convinced is all that good.

But Gang Green dominated from start to finish, leading 27-0 in the first half. Being that I was only paying half-attention to the game at times (I was at my fabulous step-dad’s 80th birthday bash), it seemed like every time I looked up the Jets were scoring again.

Ryan Fitzpatrick is the Jets’ best QB since Chad Pennington, Brandon Marshall may be having the best season of any Jets wideout ever (sorry, Keyshawn of 1998), and the defense is ferocious.

Jets are 8-5, Kansas City is 8-5, Steelers are 8-5. Only 2 of those 3 are getting in the playoffs. Last three weeks should be fun. This Jets team looks mighty dangerous at the moment.

Some other quick-hit NFL Week 14 thoughts:

— Holy cow, the NFC East went 2-1 Sunday, that’s a veritable onslaught of positivity! Nice to see the Iggles knock Buffalo out of playoff contention, and the ‘Skins escaped, too.

— One day they’re going to do an autopsy on Rob Gronkowski and prove definitively that he’s not human. Guy is just freaking indestructible.

— Andy Dalton’s injury is huge for the Bengals. They ain’t winning anything with A.J. McCarron at QB.

— The Panthers are going 16-0. And there isn’t a soul in America who placed that wager in Vegas back in September.

— Johnny Football lives! It’s just like the Browns to screw up their clear shot at the No. 1 pick by winning some games here in December like they did Sunday.

A great Saturday in Westchester Co., walking for a great cause and then picking pumpkins with the little guy. Insane finishes all over NFL Week 5. And why I can’t wait for Hillary vs. Bernie tomorrow night

WalkwayoverHudson.FOJ

Had a fabulous weekend slightly upstate, one of those perfect autumn weekends when you realize why James Taylor writes all those songs about fall in the Northeast.

Saturday the Lewis family went to two great events (well, one event and one outing): In the morning we attended the Friends of Jaclyn 3rd Annual Pediatric Brain Tumor Awareness Angel Walk, done over the Walkway over the Hudson pedestrian bridge in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. (pictured above)

I’ve written about my love and support for FOJ before; they’re the grassroots organization that pairs up pediatric brain tumor patients across the U.S. with college sports teams who “adopt” them, and greatly improve their quality of life, and lift their spirits.

I write stories for their website each week and have really come to so respect and appreciate what they do. Saturday’s walk honored those who have passed away from the insidious disease, and there were singers, bagpipers, and hundreds of family members, athletes and coaches there to pay tribute to those who still fight, and those who’ve passed. There was an incredibly beautiful moment at the end, when doves were released to commemorate those who’ve died. (Have you ever actually seen how beautiful a flock of doves are when they fly in formation? It took my breath away.)

After that we took the little guy to his first Harvest Festival, where he got to play with a whole heap o’ pumpkins, go on a hayride (it was a little bouncy for his liking, but still fun) and look at some farm animals from behind some chicken-wire fencing.

He was a little baffled by the whole scene, as to be expected, and some of the pumpkins were bigger than he was. But it was a great time (and cider donuts too!)

Just a terrific fall weekend all-around.

JAYCUTLER

**My weekly quick-hit NFL thoughts on a day the Jets rested, the Eagles finally woke up, and we saw a ton of great finishes:

— The NFL RedZone channel is crack cocaine, and Sunday at 3:30 I stepped up to the pipe, thank you very much. It just so happened that my boy’s nap time coincided with the last half hour of the 1 p.m. games, so I got to see the fantastic Redskins-Falcons finish (oh Kirk Cousins, from hero to zero so quickly), the great Browns comeback win over the Ravens (I know they stink, but once again, the Browns are so fun to watch), a terrific Jay Cutler throw and comeback, and the Bengals thrilling win over Seattle.

All that happened in like a half hour. And it was glorious.

— The Bengals impressed me the most; Cincinnati might really truly be for real this year. Seattle had the game won, on the road, in the fourth. Andy Dalton, I know, no one believes in him because of his playoff failures. But maybe he’s maturing into a winner? Maybe?

— It’s sad watching Brandon Weeden play QB in the NFL. It just is.

— A not-so-bold prediction: The Philadelphia Eagles will win the NFC East. They’re the best of a terrible division, and Sam Bradford will get better every week.

**Finally today, I’ve refrained for the most part at writing about the three-ring circus that is the GOP presidential field, because frankly there’s just so much crazy going on there that I don’t even know where to start, and because I know most people aren’t even paying attention to the 2016 race yet, and because I’m finding the infighting among the crazies (Carson, Trump, Cruz, etc) so hilarious, and because there’s a perfectly electable candidate who’s the only GOP candidate Dems like me are scared of (Marco Rubio) and no one in the Republican primary electorate seems to like him.

But for me, it’s time to start talking politics because tomorrow night we get the first major event of the Democratic season, the first debate. How will Hillary hold up under what I’m sure will be tough questions about emails and other topics from her, umm, colorful past? Can my original pick for this nomination, Martin O’Malley, finally do or say something to get some attention and some traction?

And most importantly, what I’m SO looking forward to seeing, is Bernie Sanders thundering away at Hillary and her sudden shift to the left. He has all kinds of material he can use against her, including her sudden shift against the Trans Pacific trade deal just announced last week, and her sudden interest in racial justice issues, and against big money in politics (she and her husband have been swimming in it for decades.)

It’s ridiculous that there will be only six Democratic debates this cycle (as of now), as Hillary pal Debbie Wasserman Schultz, head of the DNC, clearly set this up to give HRC as smooth a path as possible.

So it’s imperative that Bernie seize this moment and really show he’s a legitimate, credible alternative to her.

Get your popcorn ready. CNN, 8:30 p.m. Should be fun.

A fantastic way to introduce yourself to strangers. Canada mourns two of its own. Jim Carrey hilarious on “SNL.” And the NFL’s best team plays in Arizona

Cocktailblog

One of the things I hate, and I admit to doing it as much as anyone, is when you go to a party or a conference and start chatting up strangers, within seconds you’re automatically asking them “So, what do you do for a living?”

And no matter how they answer, you’re automatically, even subconsciously, placing that stranger into a category or box in your mind.

It works just the same when you’re introducing a friend of yours to others at a party; by you saying “Oh, she’s in finance,” or “he’s a construction worker,” it’s automatically limiting others’ thoughts of them.

A woman named Cadence Turpin, at storylineblog.com, has a pretty terrific solution to this problem. In this piece, she writes about her frustration with this practice, and her solution:

“What if instead of introducing your friend as Jennifer the nurse, you started introducing her as Jennifer, one of most thoughtful people you know, or Jennifer the friend who helped you move in when you didn’t know a soul in this city.

Introducing your friends for who they are rather than focusing on what they do will remind them they are loved before and beyond their titles. It’s an easy way to remind them that you see them for their hearts instead of their accomplishments.”

Fabulous idea. I definitely think I’ll start trying it. Recognizing people for what they mean to you, or what their best qualities are, defines them way more than a job label does.

**It was a terrible week for Canada last week, as a tragic pair of incidents, so far unrelated, ended up in the deaths of two innocent people. Corporal Nathan Cirillo and Officer Patrice Vincent were murder victims in a country that just doesn’t see stuff like this happen, and the fact that this was so shocking illustrates the difference between our two nations.

Anyway, nothing united Canadians like hockey, and I thought this was a beautiful ceremony the Ottawa Senators put together Saturday night. The most moving part was the “O Canada” rendition (starting at 5:15 of the above video).

Really, really moving.

**Next, had to throw this in today’s blog because it was so damn funny: Jim Carrey, hosting “Saturday Night Live,” spoofing the Matthew McConnaughey Lincoln commercials.

The second one, starting at 1:20, is by far the funniest and my favorite.

**And finally, some NFL thoughts as I thank the good Lord above that I didn’t watch the first half of the Jets-Bills game, therefore missing Geno Smith’s three interceptions in the first quarter…

— The best team in the NFL after Week 8 is … the Arizona Cardinals. Yep, I’m as shocked as you. That was a hell of a game they won over the Eagles Sunday, surviving when a possible game-winning TD pass for Philly on the last play didn’t quite get completed. Arizona is getting great QB play from Carson Palmer (OK, decent QB play), they’ve got young stars like John Brown and Andre Ellington on offense, and oh yeah, that Larry Fitzgerald dude can still play a little. They’re a fun team to watch.

— The Bengals really pulled one out of their arse their, huh? Nothing like a 4th down QB sneak for a TD.

–Remember all those morons about four weeks ago saying Tom Brady was done? Yeah, about that…

— Loved having an NFL game at 9:30 a.m. Sunday. Before my kid was born, no way I’d have been up at that hour, but now I’m wide awake by 7:30 and was into the Falcons-Lions tilt from London. Oh, Falcons, you really do find new ways to lose all the time.

 

“Saving Mr. Banks:” Good, but way too dark. An epic Chiefs collapse, and more NFL thoughts. And a “funny old white guy” dancing video.

SavingMrBanks-2013-1

So in my continued quest to see the huge number of quality movies released in the last few weeks (seriously, why does every good movie have to get released in December? I mean, I know why, but I just wish the quality was spread out), my wife and I caught “Saving Mr. Banks” this weekend.

And what I kept thinking as I watched this pretty good, but could’ve been great, flick, was this: I have totally been sold a bill of goods on this one.

I’m not naive in the ways of Hollywood marketing. I understand that sometimes the promotions and PR people at movie studios have to “sell” a movie a certain way, to appeal to as large an audience as possible. But man, you could NOT mislead potential filmgoers any more than the “Saving Mr. Banks” people did. All the trailers, all the commercials, tout this puppy as a feel-good, light, crowd-pleasing movie about Walt Disney’s quest to convince a stuffy British author to allow her fabulous “Mary Poppins” series to be made into a film.

And yet, this is SO not what the movie is. I mean, yes, that is the premise, but the movie is SO much darker, and so much grimmer and mirth-less (is that a word?) than I expected.

First, the stuff I liked: Emma Thompson plays Travers brilliantly, acerbic and hilarious in her awful treatment of others. Tom Hanks is Tom Hanks, charming and graceful. And Paul Giamatti is always a delight, and here you’re reminded of how good an actor he is.

But this movie had problems. Biggest among them was the huge amount of flashbacks to Travers’ childhood, and how every single thing in the movie was symbolic of something else. There must’ve been 25 flashback scenes, no joke, when a half-dozen would’ve conveyed the same point: Travers has some scars from her childhood relationship with her parents. We get it.

I also thought they made some of the supporting players a little too cartoonish, and the movie went on 15-20 minutes too long.

Still, the acting of Hanks and Thompson is so good, that in the end I recommend seeing it if you haven’t yet.
But do NOT go in thinking it’s going to be a light comedy. Bring a flashlight, there’s some darkness up there on the screen.

**Next up, these videos always crack me up, when an athletic team made up mostly of young black men get their stodgy old white coach to dance in the locker room after a big win.

Missouri football coach Gary Pinkel, you get down with your bad self…

49ers-cold-01052014

**Finally, what a terrific sports weekend it was. Three of four NFL playoff games were stellar (thanks for showing up, Andy Dalton), I saw a few awesome college hoops games (my Dukies got upset at Notre Dame and looked really weak inside, but I’m not panicking yet), and even my Rangers got a big-time win.

Some thoughts from the gridiron action:
— Life as a Kansas City Chiefs fan: Not fun. To blow a 38-10 second-half lead is unthinkable. But Andrew Luck and the Colts were fantastic in the final 2 quarters, they got a big-time break on that fumble/touchdown by Luck, and KC’s defense, in the words of Bart Scott, couldn’t stop a nosebleed. Just an all-time brutal loss. Poor Chiefs fans; we Jets feel your pain (my favorite reaction was from e-migo Matt R., who Tweeted me: “Gonna go watch “Schindler’s List” to try to cheer up.”)

— Eagles should have won Saturday night; they’re the better team. But good for Drew Brees to finally shut up his critics about his record in outdoor playoff games.

— Man that was fun, watching Green Bay and San Fran beat the snot out of each other in sub-zero Lambeau. Those players going sleeve-less? Insane. Mucho respect to Frank Gore and the Niners for pulling out that win.

–Next weekend could give us two classic games: I think Carolina-San Francisco will be terrific, and Indy-New England will be lots of fun. I see Denver and Seattle easily winning their games, though.