Tag Archives: Anne Hathaway

“Modern Love” an outstanding Amazon show, with awesome cast and sweet stories. A climate change protest delays Harvard-Yale game, fascinatingly. And the Jets stay hot, Ryan Tannehill is unstoppable, and more NFL thoughts

Very rarely do I come across shows like “Modern Love,” the new Amazon streaming series that is adapted from the wildly popular New York Times column that lets New Yorkers tell their unique love stories.

It has a different cast in each of its eight episodes, and the episodes vary wildly in tone. You watch the third episode (my personal favorite), starring Anne Hathaway, and then watch the seventh one, featuring a gay couple looking to hire a surrogate mother, and they’re completely different in almost every way, save for the New York backgrounds.

But the one thing they all have in common: a great heart, and lots of love. I really, really loved this show. It brought together a bunch of A-list actors like Hathaway, Tina Fey, John Slattery, and Catherine Keener, and gave them wonderful material to work with.

One episode (my wife’s favorite) deals with a single woman and her long-term friendship with the doorman at her building. Another follows a couple on a second date, when a broken glass gets lodged in one of their arms and we see the extent of true devotion.

There are serious issues dealt with, and funny issues, and not every episode is perfect (the Fey/Slattery one, oddly considering how great they both are, was maybe our least favorite.)

The power of love courses through each one of “Modern Love”‘s stories, and I found myself wanting more each time. The final episode does something great that I won’t spoil, but is very very satisfying.

Each episode is 30 minutes each, so you can easily binge the whole thing like we did in a week or two.

If you’re looking to feel renewed, about love and life, I highly highly recommend it.

**Next up, this was something very strange and possibly fabulous that happened Saturday: Harvard and Yale, besides being probably the two most prestigious universities in America, have had a long and storied football rivalry, going back more than 100 years.

They’ve played many famous games, including one in 1968 that saw a miracle comeback by Harvard, scoring 16 points in the final 42 seconds of the game, leading to the classic headline in the Harvard Crimson newspaper, “Harvard beats Yale, 29-29.”

Anyway, Saturday’s game turned out to be fabulous, too, with Yale rallying and winning in double overtime, but that’s not why I’m writing about it. At halftime, more than 150 students from both schools stormed the field and disrupted the game for more than hour, nearly causing it to finish in darkness since the Yale Bowl has no lights.

The students were protesting both school’s holdings in the fossil fuel industry, as well as urging the U.S. government to cancel Puerto Rico’s massive debt.

It may be because I’m a liberal who agrees with these positions, but I think it’s great what these students did. Nothing gets more attention in college than a football game, and no game at these two schools gets more attention than Harvard.

So this was a chance to get maximum attention for a cause. Will it work? I have no idea. But whether it’s student groups getting offensive statues taken down from campus, or the names of racists taken off buildings, college kids have been getting results when making protests like this for years.

I say good on them. It’s just a football game, after all.

**Now of course all that said, I’m now going to spend a couple hundred words talking about football games. (Hypocrisy, thy name is Michael Lewis. What can I tell you.)

First I have to start with the stunning, shocking, and downright mystifying 34-3 win by my New York Jets over the previously thought to be pretty good Oakland Raiders.

In the cold and rain of MetLife Stadium (and I can’t for the life of me understand how thousands of fans sat out there in this weather, it was awful here on Sunday), the Jets just destroyed the 6-4 Raiders. Sam Darnold looked awesome, the defense was stifling, and Le’Veon Bell even looked pretty good.

So now my previously-pathetic team is 4-7, with two winnable games upcoming against the putrid Bengals and woeful Dolphins, and it wouldn’t seem so crazy to start dreaming about them being 6-7 and in the playoff hunt in a few weeks.

Except, it’s the Jets, so I know they’ll lose one of these games (hey, they already know how to lose to Miami, they just did it a few weeks ago) so there’s no need to stupidly waste time about saving this season.

Still, nice to see Darnold finally improving and looking like a franchise QB.

In other news from the league where they play for pay…

— I hate the Patriots but man they are really freaking good this year. Tom Brady is basically throwing to high school receivers and they’re hardly scoring the last few weeks but they keep on winning thanks to a ridiculously good defense. I think only Baltimore has a legit shot of stopping a fourth straight Patriots Super Bowl appearance in the AFC.

— Wild game in New Orleans, where God clearly has a sense of humor when he allowed the NFL officials to overturn a non-pass interference call in Carolina’s favor with the game tied at 31 and the Panthers driving inside the Saints 10. Because the football gods didn’t want a riot in the Bayou, New Orleans ended up winning.
But this challenge thing on pass interference calls has been such a joke; hardly any get overturned, even blatantly obvious ones. 

— My friend Buddy S. is a swell guy and I love him, so I had to feel for him a little bit Sunday night. Buddy is a Dolphins fan, so not only has he had to suffer thru a miserable season, not only does he have to watch ex-Jets coach Adam Gase finally start winning with my Jets, but now he’s got to see the former QB of the future for the Dolphins, Ryan Tannehill (that’s him, above), play like Joe Montana the past month for Tennessee.

Tannehill, who was wildly erratic and injury-prone with Miami, has been incredible given a second chance to start. He accounted for four touchdowns Sunday in the Titans’ 42-20 demolition of Jacksonville. Ryan Tannehill, who knew???

— The Redskins won. No, seriously, they did. I checked a few different websites to make sure it was real. But after nine straight losses, they actually won.

— The Bills are 8-3 and the only team they’ve beaten who’s even moderately good is Tennessee. Strangest 8-3 I’ve ever seen. They’re about to play the Ravens, Steelers and Patriots though, so we’ll see how good they really are.

 

A sea otter is a slam-dunking king. The incredible surfing dog. And the greatest cheerleader shot you’ll ever see

annehathaway.lesmiz

A short blog today, filled with fun and bizarre stuff to take you into the weekend capped by the Oscars Sunday night. For the record, my quickie Oscar picks (this is who I think will win, not who I want to win:)
— 
Best Picture: “Lincoln” (in a nail-biter over “Argo”)
— Best Actor: Daniel-Day Lewis (no relation to me, if you were wondering). But Joaquin Phoenix was amazing in “The Master.”
— Best Actress: Jessica Chastain (I’m calling the upset here over Jennifer Lawrence)
— Best Supporting Actor: Toughest category to call, but I’m going with Tommy Lee Jones for “Lincoln”
— Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway, Les Miz. She was awesome, if only in the movie for 30 minutes)
— Best Director: Mr. Spielberg.

We start today’s trio of amazing videos with something you may have seen this week; it’s a sea otter named Eddie who lives at the Oregon Zoo. And he’s like the LeBron James of otters, apparently; check out how good he is at dunking.

Of course, no one’s playing defense on Eddie; let’s see him do that shit when a dolphin is playing him man-to-man.

**Next up, we have Surfing Bulldog Tillman and his amazing talent. I think that’s all I need to say about this video, except look how good Tillman is in the snow, too! All-weather surfer.

**And finally, this happened Thursday night: A female cheerleader at William Carey College made this ridiculous shot at halftime. From halfcourt on the flip like that? Impossibly awesome.

“Les Miz” filled with singing and singing and singing. Tarantino’s Mom and Wilt Chamberlain? And Apollo Robbins, the world’s bet pickpocket

Les Miserables

Even though I’ve never seen the Broadway show, I always loved the music of “Les Miserables,” especially the haunting song “I Dreamed a Dream.”

So when my beloved asked if I’d see the new movie with her last weekend, I said “sure, what could be better than nearly three hours of Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe, hanging out in 19th century France, singing their hearts out on the big screen?”

OK, so that’s not exactly what I said. But I went, with the hopes that I’d like the movie and get swept up in its grandeur.

And for about the first 45 minutes, I did. I loved Anne Hathaway’s performance, and I was getting interested in the mano-a-mano battle between ex-criminal Jean Valjean (Jackman) and the nefarious policeman, Inspector Javert (Crowe).

But then the singing, and the movie, just went in wildly different directions and I had trouble keeping up, and the more I tried to keep up, the more confused I got. The movie felt like five different stories all at once; there was the Fantine and her daughter stuff, then the Javert-Valjean stuff, then there was a whole new set of characters fighting in another battle against the French government, and then (spoiler alert) we get a dramatic death scene from Valjean, and it just had me dizzy.

I thought the performances were really good, especially Hathaway and Crowe, and the music was terrific, but I got really lost in the story, and that killed the enjoyment for me.

But if you saw the musical, I’m sure you’ll love the movie, and as I looked around the theater at the end, many people were dabbing at their eyes with tissues.

I was the only one shaking his head going, “What the heck just happened?”

And now, a few minutes with the world’s greatest pickpocket, Apollo Robbins. I was just reading about him on Andrew Sullivan’s blog, and found this video of him. Pretty terrifying and pretty awesome, watching him work.

I’d hate to be sitting next to him on a train though, you know?

**Finally, from the category of “headlines I never thought I’d see,” comes this from one of the great movie directors of our time: Apparently Quentin Tarantino was giving an interview on NPR last week, talking about his new movie “Django Unchained” (which sounds amazing; I can’t wait to see it) and he got to talking about how he was influenced by African-American culture as a kid.

And then he told NPR that his mom dated Wilt Chamberlain in the ’70s, and that she probably was one of the 20,000 women Wilt claimed to have had, in the words of Sheldon Cooper, “coitus” with.

I mean, wow. Tarantino, as a kid, seeing Wilt with his Mom? No wonder he’s got such a vivid imagination. Reality must’ve freaked him out quite a bit.

A wonderful story of charity in wake of Sandy tragedy. “Homeland” has Brody all kinds of pissed off. And a small town in Md. enjoys a baseball miracle

There are so many awful stories we’ve heard about Hurricane Sandy: People losing their houses, their businesses, their lives, everything they’ve ever worked for.

But if you look hard enough, even in tragedy you can see extreme acts of kindness. Like this one:

A 19-year-old college student named Zoe Everett found out while at school that both her parents had been killed in the storm when a tree hit the truck they were driving.
Amazingly, her two younger siblings who were in the car survived, as did a third sibling who wasn’t with the family at the time of the accident.

Zoe immediately decided to drop out of school and raise her brothers and sister, and she wrote a short message asking for a little help on a website called WishUponAHero.com.

Zoe was hoping to raise $5,000 to help with groceries and other supplies.

“I now have two goals: Caring for and being guardian of my three younger siblings and keeping my family in the house we grew up in,” she wrote. “I love them more than they could ever fathom and I am ready and willing to put any amount of weight on my shoulders to lessen the load on theirs.”

Through the generosity of strangers who read her post, $56,000 was raised, and the messages of support poured in.

Think of stories like this one (click through to see what people wrote to Zoe) the next time you think the whole world is rotten, full of nothing but selfish, uncaring people.


**The writers and directors of “Homeland” seem to have lost their way a little bit, the past few episodes.
I really liked a lot of Sunday night’s show, especially (as always) the scenes with Carrie and Brody. (It’s awesome how you can’t tell in any scene whether Carrie is really in love with Brody or just playing on him. God, Claire Danes is awesome).

I also thought it was fascinating watching Brody wrestle with who he wished he could be, who he is now, and how he can change who he’ll be in the future.

But the whole tie-in of the Finn-Dana storyline to real-world events really seemed forced and silly to me. First of all, why would his kid being in a hit-and-run be such a huge deal to Walden? He’s not even officially running for President yet, as far as we know.
And second, how is it that Brody seems to have so much power over his “double agent” duties? Couldn’t they basically throw him in jail for the rest of his life at any moment? Yet they seem to be trying real hard to place him.
Still, Sunday night had some great moments; Saul and the female prisoner Eileen were great together; I so wish “Homeland” would use Mandy Patinkin more.

But there are starting to be a lot of glaring holes in the plot, like: Wouldn’t the fact that 6 CIA agents were assassinated lead to some kind of major retaliation or investigation by the government, and wouldn’t Brody’s “deal” have to be revealed to a lot of other people?

“Homeland,” I love you too much to see you go downhill. I’m hoping the next few episodes can hook me back in, like last week’s did.

And oh yeah, more proof “Homeland” is on the pop-culture map: Check out this pretty good spoof on last week’s Saturday Night Live:

**Finally, this story knocked me out when I read it in Sports Illustrated last week, but they didn’t put the story online until this week so I waited to blog about it. Chris Ballard, a terribly gifted writer, has the story of a high school baseball team in Williamsport, Md., who, in the span of three years, saw a famous alumni in the big leagues, and the star pitcher of the 2012 team, die in tragic car accidents.

How the team and the town came together under a coach still in his 20’s is one of the best stories I’ve read in a long, long time.

Check it out here.

Anne Hathaway channels her inner Lil’ Wayne. Discovering the tapas craze. And a crazy brawl between Georgetown and China

Not a huge fan of Anne Hathaway, the actress. But as a person, she seems like all kinds of fun.
She’s a celebrity who never seems to take herself too seriously, and realizes laughing at yourself is a very important quality in life.
So here’s Hathaway with a pretty funny rap song about being stalked by paparazzi. Enjoy.

**This was a crazy, scary brawl Thursday between the Georgetown basketball team and a pro team in China. Lots of American college teams play overseas games in August, as a way to get ready for the upcoming season. But man, this was some serious fighting on a basketball court. Watch the madness, especially when the Chinese player at :25 starts whaling away at a Georgetown guy on the floor.

**Ate at a tapas restaurant for the first time Thursday. Apparently it’s been a craze, all over America people are opening up places where you eat small portions of unusual food like bacon-wrapped dates and lamb meatballs and interesting cheeses.
Have to say, I really liked it. Small portions, everybody shares at the table, and most of the food was excellent. Really enjoyed the dates (hey, anything bacon-wrapped is good by me) and these potato croquette thingies were delicious, too.
I think I’ll be going back.

Oscar thoughts. Two baseball stories to get you thinkin’ spring. And a “Wonder Years” moment.

Man, that was not a good Oscars telecast.
Not in the least. Not in any way, shape or form. I hate to pile on, but really, it wasn’t good. James Franco, great actor. Anne Hathaway, good actress, and she was all kinds of enthusiastic, but she and Franco were totally not up for the job of hosting the Academy Awards.
I said it on Twitter and I’ll say it again: I don’t think James Franco and Anne Hathaway are famous enough to host the Oscars. They’re nice little movie stars, sure, but the Oscars demands bigger.
Besides the hosts being bad, there were a lot of other good stuff I noticed:

**Loved the few minutes we got of Billy Crystal. Made me wish he was the host again. Like, right then and there.
**Great to see Melissa Leo win, then drop an F-bomb during her speech. Ah, the joy of 7-second delay.
**I thought Jennifer Hudson, Marisa Tomei, and Helena Bonham Carter looked the most amazing.
**I loved the ending, maybe the best part of the show, with the cute fifth-graders singing on stage. Staten Island, representing.
** Thought the speeches from “The King’s Speech” guy and from Natalie Portman were the best and most heartfelt.
**SO happy to see one of my writing gods, Aaron Sorkin, win for “The Social Network.” He is eleven kinds of brilliant.
**Why the hell did Lena Horne get to bat last in the death montage, and not Dennis Hopper? Bad job, Academy.
**Finally, I remain angry that “True Grit,” the best movie of the year, got bubkes. But I’ll get over it.

**A brief interlude from “The Wonder Years.” Caught the end of this episode Sunday night after the Oscars. One of the best endings in the history of a show that gave us so, so many great moments:

**Spring training has kicked off in the past week in Florida and Arizona; it used to get me all pumped up. Now, not so much. But two very cool baseball-related stories I read/heard this week.
First, the death of Ernie Tyler brought a couple of wonderful tributes. Who’s Ernie Tyler? One of the many behind the scenes people who make baseball run; he was the attendant for the umpires for the Baltimore Orioles for 3,769 consecutive home games, from 1960-2007.  His streak only ended when Cal Ripken, that other ironman, asked him to be present at Cal’s Hall of Fame induction.
Sounds like, from this obit and this one, that Ernie was a beautiful man.

**Then there was this delightful story, heard on NPR’s “Only a Game,” about Justine Siegal, the first woman to ever throw batting practice to major league hitters. One more tiny barrier falls; why shouldn’t women who are good enough be allowed to pitch to men, even if it’s only spring training?
Siegal is actually quite an advocate for women in baseball; check out her “Only A Game” interview here: