Tag Archives: John Goodman

The most thin-skinned famous person ever is about to become President, and I’m terrified. Bill Walton is a national treasure. And “The Front Page” a great night at the theater


OK, so there was a HUGE amount of information that broke last night about Donald Trump, the Russians, some really sordid sex behavior, and about 14 other things. I have said on this blog numerous times that I don’t like to “knee-jerk” react to things, and quite honestly there’s way too much to digest to write a coherent post right now. So I’m just going to take one small piece of the Donald Trump pie, something I’ve been thinking about for a while, and look at at that today.

“Golden showers,” my goodness. And we thought the Ken Starr report on Bill Clinton was salacious…

OK, on with the show.

When I was a college sportswriter at the University of Delaware, the football team was coached by a man named Tubby Raymond.

Tubby was a fun guy to be around (guys named ‘Tubby” usually are), a real rascal and a pretty good coach, too. He always had our Blue Hens in the Division I-AA playoffs, gave great quotes to us media, and generally comported himself well. (Tubby was getting up there in years when I covered him and his memory was fading; to this day I’m convinced they announced which players were sitting next to him at the weekly press luncheon because otherwise he wouldn’t recognize who was with him.)

But if you ever dared to question his strategy or decision-making, Tubby’s face turned red. He sometimes exploded or mocked the question, and seemed to take great offense at any suggestion that what he did or said wasn’t right. He was, still to this day, the most thin-skinned “celebrity” I’d ever seen, and I always wondered that if us, the little Delaware press corps, got him upset with his questions, what would happen if Tubby ever coached in a bigger city? He’d implode, that’s what.

I was thinking about Tubby the other night because once again, the man who in just a few days will be the leader of the free world couldn’t handle being criticized by an actor.

The easiest thing to predict in the entire world was that after Meryl Streep criticized Trump at the Golden Globes, that he would lash out on Twitter and attack her back.
This fits his entire pattern of behavior. He’s gotten mad at Vanity Fair magazine for a review of his restaurant that was negative. He just last week criticized Arnold Schwarzenegger for not getting as high ratings as The Donald did on “The Apprentice.”

There is no slight too small, no alleged critique too tiny, for this small man to fire back at. He is the most thin-skinned celebrity in the history of the world, and he’s about to have the nuclear codes.

Of all the things that scare me about a President Trump, the idea that an offhand remark by a world leader about him, or to him, will start a nuclear war.

God save us all. Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post wrote about this idea yesterday, his column is excellent.

**Next up, I thought about writing a long screed about Barack Obama, who gave a farewell speech last night that was moving, heartfelt and smart, and contrasting him in a thousand ways with the guy about to inherit the big chair in the Oval Office.

But there’ll be time for that next week; I don’t want the stench of Trump to mix with the appreciation of Obama. So instead, I present a true American treasure, Mr. Bill Walton.

Because they can, ESPN didn’t just show the exhilarating college football championship game on one channel Monday night; they gave viewers about 10 different types of coverage to watch, including one featuring Walton and other non-football people watching the Alabama-Clemson tilt sitting around talking.

Walton, dressed as Uncle Sam (of course) has some great questions and comments, especially when he asks what city Clemson is in.

God I love Bill Walton.


**Finally today, my wife and I don’t get to the theater that much despite, you know, living less than a mile from Broadway, but when I heard there was a play about newspaper reporters from the 1930s being revived and coming here, I immediately knew I’d be seeing it.

So last Friday night we saw “The Front Page,” based on Ben Hecht’s play about one night in a Chicago-area courthouse press room, when a bunch of tabloid scribes are waiting around for a scheduled hanging of a convicted murderer.

I was pretty certain I would love the play, which starred a huge number of major actors, including Nathan Lane, John Slattery, John Goodman, and Holland Taylor. And it was sensational.

The rapid-fire dialogue made Aaron Sorkin’s characters seem like they had slow Southern drawls; the acting, especially by Slattery and Lane (who really is a force of nature as a soul-less, no morals editor) was superb, and it was pretty damn hilarious, too.

It was a long, long show (2:45, with two intermissions) and honestly sometimes so many people were cross-talking on stage that I missed some of the great one-liners.

But there were so many actors working at the top of their craft, and having so much fun (John Goodman always looks like he’s having a good time, doesn’t he?) that I didn’t mind. With newspapers in such bad shape these days, and me being a dyed-in-the-wool ink-stained wretch, it was fun to step back into a time when reporters were true characters, had very few scruples, and what they wrote really mattered.

“The Front Page” is only going to be on Broadway for a few months, but if you’re here anytime soon, I highly, highly recommend seeing it.

Why I may be done with “Homeland.” Dogs love sledding; snowmen, not so much. And “Llewyn Davis” a typical Coen flick


You know how some athletes have one incredible season in their careers, and spend the rest of their time trying to live up to that year, only to fall short?

That’s kind of how I feel about “Homeland,” which was once my favorite show on TV and in two short years has become a show whose season I was glad to see end on Sunday night.

I will continue to argue forever that Season 1 of “Homeland” was among the best seasons of any TV show, ever. The acting was brilliant, the plot exciting, the writing terrific, and the drama and tension of the last few episodes were amazing. I think I said on the blog then that “Homeland” had the potential to be one of the greatest shows of all time.

But like Brady Anderson of the Orioles chasing that 50-homer season, “Homeland” never maintained those heights. Season 2 was pretty good, but then its ludicrous plot twists that were SO far removed from any reality started to kill its buzz.

And then this season, it sank even further. Sadly it seems that with so many plot ideas to choose from, the writers decided that Brody and Carrie’s neverending love was the one to focus on (that, and Dana Brody’s adventures).

(SPOILER ALERT HERE, READ NO FURTHER IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN SUNDAY’S EPISODE) Things got so insanely out of control that to buy into the latest plot, that Saul and the CIA could have ex-Marine and ex-heroin junkie Brody infiltrate the Iran National Guard and kill the top general, you had to pretty much turn off your brain.

When it actually worked (sort of), and Brody just walked out of Akbari’s office Sunday and made it all the way to the front gates before anyone noticed that, um, the General was dead, I just laughed out loud and turned to my wife and said “Even for this show, that’s ridiculous.”

I will say that “Homeland” did finally do the right thing and kill off Brody, and they seem to be setting up for a fresh start next year with Saul out of the CIA, Carrie in Turkey with her new Brody baby love child, and who knows what else.

But I’m honestly not sure I’ll watch Season 4. The creators and writers have taken this show so far off the rails, and there’s so much great TV on right now (like “Masters of Sex,” plus at some point I’m legally required to start watching “Breaking Bad, right?) that I don’t know if “Homeland” is still worth my time.

Maybe I’ll feel differently in nine months or whenever it’s back. But right now, I’m like Saul: Happy to sail off into the sunset.

**And now, three minutes of dogs sledding through the snow. And treating snowmen like they treat fire hydrants (it gets really good around the 2:00 mark)



**Finally today, another short movie review from a flick I saw over the weekend. I’m a big Coen Brothers fan, as I’ve said on here before, even when they make inscrutably bad movies (I defy anyone to tell me “A Serious Man” was a good film), they’re always interesting.

“Inside Llewyn Davis” is not a bad movie; it’s pretty good, actually. Not one of their best, but definitely in the upper echelon.

It’s about the New York City folk scene in the early 1960s, before Bob Dylan and Joan Baez made folk music mainstream and popular. Llewyn Davis has nowhere near the talent of Dylan, and the movie basically follows him through a week of his life.

Davis is a pretty unlikable character, like many Coen creations, and he seems to treat everyone he meets badly, from former lover Jane (Carey Mulligan), his older friends the Garfeins (whose cat is basically a co-star of the movie), to Mr. Roland Turner (John Goodman), an old musician who steals the few scenes he’s in.

The movie is really dark, and Davis keeps running into obstacles that block his success, many of his own making.

Like in “O Brother Where Art Thou?” the music in “Llewyn Davis” is the best thing in it; Oscar Issac’s Davis has a beautiful voice, and a lot of the songs have deeper meanings connected to the plot.

So if you’re a Coen fan like me, you’ll like this. If not, eh, steer clear. It’s definitely as weird as their other flicks.

“Flight” is a compelling movie, but I’m not sure it was good. “Homeland” makes my head spin. And Tyler Hicks’ amazing photos of Gaza

Sometimes you go to a movie and as the credits role, you can’t stop smiling at how good it was, and you don’t want to get up and ruin the moment.
Othertimes you go to a movie and it’s so disappointing that you want to run out of the theater the minute it’s finished.
And then there are times like I experienced last weekend, after “Flight.” I sat there kind of dumbfounded, trying to decide in my own head whether I liked it or not, and whether it was any good.

There were lots of good parts; if you have seen it already you’d probably agree. Denzel Washington was terrific as pilot Whip Whitaker, the plane in a storm sequence in the beginning was beautifully shot, and John Goodman, well, he’s just jolly good fun whenever he’s on screen these days. I thought the way they showed Whip’s inner demons, his wild mood swings thanks to alcohol, and his troubled relationship with his son were all spot-on.

But there were some really strange holes in the plot, and odd decisions made, too. Like what the point was of the redhead Nicole, other than to give Whip someone to play off of? She disappears halfway through the movie and isn’t missed one bit?
And the whole final scene with the NTSB lady Ellen Block just played out really oddly to me, like nobody knew exactly where she was going with her line of questioning, including Ellen Block herself.

Still, if you haven’t seen it, I tentatively recommend “Flight.” If nothing else, you get to see John Goodman in two or three hilarious scenes, which is worth the $13 ticket price.

**What another heart-racing, pulse-pounding, what-are-they-gonna-do-next episode of “Homeland.”
I swear, each hour of this show has me scratching my head in confusion, awe, and sheer joy at how good of a show this is.
This week brought lots of questions, including…
— The biggest hole in believability this week was that the CIA was utterly and totally convinced that Nasir would be dumb enough to actually be directly involved in the “homecoming explosion” mission, and that he’d actually be in one of the cars in the parking lot. Why would Nazir take such a risk, when he’s not even sure he can trust our hero Nick Brody anymore? Just seemed like a silly assumption by the CIA.

— So Quinn, after all this time, is actually an assassin hired by a rogue former CIA Agent named Daradell, and he was two seconds from killing Brody in that limo? And who is that baby mama policewoman? And is Quinn going to get back at Saul, now that he knows it was him who interrogated the baby mama? So many fascinating questions around Quinn. He’s become a very interesting character.

So many great things about this episode, including Brody still leaving us guessing as to which side he’s on. I’m even willing to put aside the ridiculousness of Jessica deciding to shtup Mike while her kids are in the next room and they may be killed at any moment. Come on, she can’t be that horny.

Three episodes left, and I have absolutely no idea what will happen. Which I love.

**Finally, I’ve written before about my admiration for my one-time co-worker and current incredible New York Times photographer Tyler Hicks. The man is fearless and brave and a remarkable storyteller with his images, and he was at it again last week in Gaza. Check out this slideshow of images from the awful fighting, and read his thoughts about how he deals with seeing so much devastation every day.


“Argo” as good as the hype says it is. Halloween lights, Gangnam style. And ESPN’s “Benji” a doc worth your time.

It’s pretty rare that a movie puts you literally on the edge of your seat in the final 15 minutes, and you really don’t know how it’s going to end.
Even more rare when it’s based on a true story.
But I saw “Argo” over the weekend, and it was pretty freaking fabulous. There are so many movies you see after hearing good reviews, and they’re just OK.

But “Argo” lives up to they hype it’s gotten. The script is terrific, the acting and cast are splendid (Ben Affleck’s the star, but John Goodman, Alan Arkin, Bryan Cranston and a sadly-underused Kyle Chandler are all first-rate), and the plot is too incredible to make up: During the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, a CIA team concocts a story to rescue six U.S. citizens who had escaped on the first day of the crisis and have been hiding in the Canadian embassy.

Their plan? Pretend to be a film crew scouting locations in Iran.
The movie (and the reality) sets this up brilliantly, creating a fake studio, fake script, and fake business cards for the hostages.

Ben Affleck, who’s turning out to be a hell of a director, is the CIA agent who’s the mastermind behind the plan. He does a great job as a director here letting the plot unspool slowly, and giving each of the six hostages a distinct identity.

The final 20 minutes, as the plan unfurls and the hostages go to the airport, is just a terrific piece of filmmaking. I highly, highly recommend you go see this movie.

All three of the flicks Affleck has directed have been stellar. Who knew Banky’s roommate from “Chasing Amy” was this good?

**I have tried as hard as I could to avoid the Gangnam-style craze, because I frankly don’t get why people think it’s so funny and cool. But a few things have slipped through my radar, and this seemed pretty darn cool.

Psy’s famous song set to Halloween light decorations. Kind of mesmerizing if you watch it closely…

**Finally, ESPN’s “30 for 30” documentary series, which I wrote about extensively last year, is once again proving to be must-see TV. The first few episodes this year, especially the Ben Johnson 1988 Olympics one (*9.79, it’s called) have been terrific.

But Tuesday night’s was just beautiful and heartbreaking. It’s called “Benji,” and it’s about a former high school basketball star named Ben Wilson, who in 1984 was the No. 1 player in the nation. Out of Chicago’s famous Simeon High program, Wilson was a 6-foot-8 kid who could shoot, pass, and defend as well as anybody. (“He was Magic Johnson with a jump shot,” someone said in the film.)

He had survived and avoided the gangs and street life of Chicago until one day in November of 1984, when on the eve of his senior season, he was killed in a mugging attempt by two teenage hoodlums.

The movie takes you back to that time in Chicago, and shows you Wilson’s impact still today (NBA star Derrick Rose wore his uniform No. in high school, and Fab Five member Juwan Howard chose No. 25 when he got to college).

It’s a really well-researched and well-done movie, with the benefit of one of the convicted killers telling his side of the story as well.

It’s on again tonight at 9 p.m. on ESPN. Skip the World Series for 90 minutes; this is definitely worth it.