Tag Archives: Anna Kendrick

The most powerful and stunning commercial of the year. I take in Duke basketball at MSG and am really excited. And Corden and Kendrick make more TV magic

It takes so much. It takes so much to really shock people anymore, especially with a short public service commercial intended to help change minds on an issue that seems so intractable.

This is the most powerful ad I’ve seen in a long, long time. I don’t want to tell you what it’s about, because I don’t want to blunt the force of it.

Just please take a few minutes and watch until the end. Just an amazing, amazing ad.

It was put out by a group called Sandy Hook Promise, and its devastating message will hopefully sink in. The students who are being ignored are the ones who need our help the most.

**Next up today, you people should know by now that I love, love, love me some Anna Kendrick (definitely on my Ross Gellar-approved “laminated” list of celebrities my wife will let me be with should, you know, the opportunity arise), and I do love some James Corden and Billy Eichner, so there was no way I’d miss this little musical number they did on Corden’s show last week.

Really funny and great.

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**Finally today, I went to Madison Square Garden Tuesday night to watch my beloved Duke men’s basketball team play Florida. I saw the Duke-Kansas game at MSG a few weeks ago, but the Blue Devils were very shorthanded in that one, three of the stud freshmen who are supposed to lead Duke back to the Final Four were all hurt. (Gotta say, though, that the atmosphere at MSG that night, with Duke-Kansas and Kentucky-Michigan St. playing a doubleheader, was the best environment for hoops I’ve ever seen at MSG. Crowd was nuts.)

Tuesday night Duke finally had most of its freshmen playing, and … man, was I impressed. Florida is a legit Top 20 team, and Duke had to play really well to beat them, by 10, 74-64.

It was only the second college game for superstar freshman Jayson Tatum, and man oh man was he great. He started slow but came on strong in the second half, scoring 16 points. Guy is 6-9, can shoot, dribble, rebound and score in traffic. He dominated stretches of the game, and he’s not even in game shape yet. He’s going to be so much fun to watch this season.

This Duke team, with the freshmen like Tatum, Marques Bolden and hopefully Harry Giles healthy, could be all kinds of scary. I know everyone reading this probably hates Duke, but as a Duke fan I”m extremely excited for the rest of the year.

Could be national title No. 6 for Coach K.

Good News Friday: NHL players score, fans get puppies! Ben Folds Five and Fraggle Rock’s awesome video. And a high school wrestler lets himself get pinned by a boy with Downs Syndrome

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And a Happy Friday to you out there on the InterWebs. Me and the family are headed to South Jersey for the weekend with friends, which means we are legally required to listen to Bruce Springsteen for the ride down (we probably would anyway even if it wasn’t the law).

Hope you have a great weekend, let’s start today’s GNF with two things we all agree are awesome: Hockey players and puppies.

Last week in Ottawa, a Senators fan help up a sign for star Bobby Ryan that read “Bobby Dad said if you score we get a puppy.” And of course, Ryan scored later in the game.

Then a day later in Columbus, the above sign was held up, and boy, is that Dad going to be mad at Cam Atkinson (No. 13). Dude scored not once, not twice, but THREE times that night! I don’t know if this means that the family is getting three puppies, or three families will each get a puppy, or what.

But now #puppygoal is a Thing on Twitter and this will probably catch on and that’s awesome and the only down side I see are the tears of some 9-year-old girl when Ovechkin or Kane doesn’t score on the night they’re supposed to and she then has to live a canine-free life.

But hey, puppies in Ottawa and Columbus, two of you are about to get new homes!

**Next up, I love my wife. I like to make her happy and usually honor her requests. So when she sent me this video and told me it had to be in this week’s Good News Friday, I said “sure!” Because, again, I love my wife.

Then I watched it, and it’s pretty funny. Ben Folds Five, the cast of “Fraggle Rock,” and the gorgeous and talented Anna Kendrick (I may have mentioned this before, but she’s on my Top-3 list of “celebrities I’m allowed to sleep with” should the opportunity ever arise. And yes, Ross Gellar, my list is laminated.)

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**Finally today, this is beautiful and heartwarming. A high school wrestler named Deven Schuko of Norton High in Mass. was undefeated this season, going 27-0. Until last week, when he allowed himself to be pinned by Andrew Howland of Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High. Howland suffers from Downs Syndrome, and has been an honorary member of the Dighton-Rehoboth team. He’d wanted the chance to wrestle, and when Schuko’s coach asked if anyone would be willing to take Howland on, Schuko volunteered.

Watch the video of the match here.

“If I had to lose to someone, I’d like to lose to Andy,” Schuko told WCVB-TV. “It was a win-win in my book. He won, I won.”
Good on ya, Deven Schuko. Compassion and heart are much-needed in the sports world, always.

“Pitch Perfect 2” almost as awesome as the first one. An amazing hockey goal that you never see. And the bus driver who told a kid she was going to hell.

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Game 6: Rangers 7, Lightning 3. Five 3rd period goals. Yeah, we all saw that coming. Game 7, Friday night, at MSG. I may not sleep till then …

For our 2nd wedding anniversary on Monday, my wife and I did what all couples do on their anniversary:
Dropped the baby off at the grandparents on Long Island, went to a Jewish deli for some delicious meats, and then watched the sequel to an awesome movie about college a capella singers.

Yep, it’s no longer a dirty little secret: I loved “Pitch Perfect,” the original.

I didn’t love it nearly as much as my wife, because it’s become maybe her favorite movie ever, one we’ve seen at least 10-15 times. But I loved it a lot, because it had Anna Kendrick singing and dancing (she’s a major celebrity crush of mine, ever since “Up in the Air”), it had Rebel Wilson being hilarious, it was funny, it had a ton of ’80s music, and it was just so damn fun. I loved Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins as the a capella competition broadcasters the best (“The Menstrual Cycles, John”), and was thrilled to hear Banks was directing this one.

So how was the sequel? Pretty darn good. Not as good as the original, but few sequels are. This one had a pretty silly storyline (thanks to a wardrobe malfunction by “Fat Amy,” the Barden Bellas are banned from defending their national title, and threatened with being disbanded unless they win the World Championship), but the movie worked on a lot of levels.

First, Kendrick continues to be awesome, in real life (did you see her sing-off with James Corden on his new CBS show?) and in movies. Wilson is a brilliant physical comedian, and she has the best scene in the movie, which involves a canoe and a Pat Benetar song.

The Bellas’ rivals, a German supergroup called Das Sound Machine (below) are over the top goofy and cartoonish villains, but it works because the writing is so sharp. Seriously, there were a bunch of one-liners so funny that half the theater laughed out loud.

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The big new addition to the cast, Hailee Steinfeld from “True Grit,” didn’t do much for me, but she does seem to have a good voice. The Riff-Off this time is beyond bizarre, so bizarre that I don’t want to describe it in case you have plans to see the flick.

And the ending, well, the ending you can see coming from a mile away. And yet we still left the theater happy.

Is “Pitch Perfect 2” an all-time classic? No. But it’s great fun if you like singing, dancing, and comedy.

It’s already made a ton of money at the box office, so you can be sure there’ll be a “Pitch Perfect 3.”

Which is fine by me.

**Next up today, it’s not often you see a hockey goal from an angle like this. Monday night, the Chicago Blackhawks staged an improbable rally from two goals down with two minutes left, thanks to Jonathan Toews, who’s basically the Derek Jeter of the NHL. Captain Clutch’s first goal was a rocket shot from in front, no shame in that getting by the goalie.

But the second goal? Insane angle. Check it out, starting about :30 in.

**Finally today, here’s a feel-good story for you (read that in sarcasm font): A bus driver in Missouri was fired last week after an 11-year-old girl reported that the driver told her she was gay and would burn in hell.

Yep, 11-year-old Maurissa Rushing said that she was playing a game on the bus with a friend of hers that saw the girls touching each others arms a few times.

Apparently this was unacceptable to the bus driver, who has not been named, because after dropping off the other students, she allegedly told Maurissa and her friends that they were gay and “gonna burn in hell real bad,” Maurissa told a Kansas City TV station. “I didn’t expect it to happen.”

The driver has been fired, and the family is considering a lawsuit.

Used to be you had to be worried about being bullied by other kids on the school bus. Now, I guess it’s the drivers who are the real bullies. What an awful thing to say to a little kid.

 

 

The beginning of the end for DADT. And Oscar nominees are out. Yay!

“I can not escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy that forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens” — Admiral Mike Mullen

It’s a rare day when I can look at Congress and say “Well OK then, today they made a difference, and today they matter.”

But as I watched and read about the brave and honest testimony of the highest-ranking member of the U.S. military command, talk about the foolishness and just plain wrongness of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, I realized that today was such a huge day in our country.

Here we have a man who’s spent his whole career with soldiers, saying that is indefensible for America to keep hard-working gay and lesbian men and women out of the military.

All those Republican bigots and homophobes, all these years, have been saying that we should leave such a matter “to the generals,” because they know what’s best.

Well today, we had the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Defense Secretary, unveil a plan to finally repeal the hideous “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law.

It may not happen overnight (and I think it’s crap that it’ll take a year-long “study” before the law is killed), but pretty soon, and not a moment too soon, gay Americans, who love this country as much as anyone else, will be allowed to help defend it.

That, my friends, is progress.

**Big Academy Awards fan here. Huge. Unlike the Grammys, where I have no interest and hardly have heard of most of the nominees, I love movies and try to see a lot of them ever year.

So I was excited the Oscar nominees came out today, and it seems like the voters did a pretty good job. I was very excited to see four movies I saw this year and loved (“Up,” “Inglorious Basterds,” “Avatar,” and “Up in the Air, my pick for best picture) nominated for the top award. I’d love it for “Basterds” to win, just to hear Tarantino make a crazy speech. I love that guy.

I think if Christoph Waltz, the SS military officer in “Basterds” doesn’t win supporting actor, there should be a criminal investigation. I’m stunned that an actress as limited as Sandra Bullock was nominated for best actress, but I hear she’s great in “The Blind Side.” (And hey, the other Michael Lewis wrote the book it was based on).

I think best actor has to be George Clooney or Jeff Bridges; best actress is wide-open; Helen Mirren or Meryl Streep are always worthy picks, but maybe Bullock or Gabby Sidibe (the woman from “Precious”) has a chance.

Finally, was thrilled to see Anna Kendrick get picked for best supporting actress; she was outstanding in “Up in the Air.”

Overall, I don’t see any major screwups with the nominees, but what do I know? I’m a guy who still loves “Side Out.”