Tag Archives: Kyle Chandler

“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.

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An excellent Emmys show rewards “FNL” and “Modern Family,” rightfully so. And a Jets laugher tops a crazy NFL day

Thoroughly enjoyed Sunday night’s Emmy Awards, hosted by the awesome Jane Lynch. Quite a few rambling thoughts after watching a telecast where some very deserving people were finally honored:
— Thought Jane Lynch did a great job as host. Kept things moving.
— I know people will complain that “Modern Family” won too much, but it is a fantastic and funny show. And Ty Burrell gave a great speech.
— Loved that the six nominees for best supporting actress in a comedy all came up on stage and stood there like it was a beauty pageant. Hilarious. And glad Sookie from “Gilmore Girls” won! Always liked her.
— Amy Poehler, we love you, but man, that dress was awful (see above). After much debate, I decided she looked like an extra from “Avatar” in that thing.
— Umm, Michael Bolton, in a pirate costume, with that hair??? Really not a good idea.

— COULD NOT be happier for “Friday Night Lights” getting two wins, including the awesome Kyle Chandler for his portrayal of Coach Taylor. So, so well deserved.
— The Charlie Sheen thing was weird. No reason he should’ve been up there at all. At least he was nice. But he is so undeserving of our attention.
— Lots of people I read tonight seem to have hated the “in Memoriam” montage being sung by those four guys (their group is The Canadian Tenors) but I really liked it. Thought all their voices were beautiful together.
— Finally, Ashton Kutcher. Painfully unfunny as usual. Who decided a long time ago that he had talent? Because I can’t see a damn bit of it.

**Ah, nice to have a breather of a win for my Jets every now and again.
The boys in green and white completely beat up the Jacksonville Jaguars and their inept quarterback, Luke McCown, on Sunday. Thirty-two to three, and I barely had any stressful moments. Except when Mark Sanchez threw those two awful interceptions.
Didn’t kill them today, but the next three weeks Jets face Oakland, Baltimore and New England. Sanchize has to play better. But I loved the defense today.
Few other NFL thoughts:
— What an insane game that Oakland-Buffalo contest was. Back and forth the whole fourth quarter, Bills score 35 points in the second half (35!) and win 38-35. If the Bills are for real, AFC East got a whole lot more interesting.
— More surprising than the Bills being 2-0 are the Redskins being 2-0. Rex Grossman fever, catch it!
— What a surprise: Michael Vick got hurt for the Eagles tonight. Oh well, I’m sure all Philly fans will be happy with Vince Young as their starter next week.
— Finally, another great reminder not to overreact to one game. The Ravens thump the Steelers last week, then fall flat against Tennessee. Pittsburgh looked terrible last week, then blanked Seattle. The NFL, where nothing is written in stone.

Schoolchildren as speed bumps. Seriously. And loving “Friday Night Lights” so far

This is one of those ideas that I’m not sure is either brilliant, or horribly misguided.

The city of Vancouver was unhappy that drivers seemed to be speeding through school zones, and ignoring the speed bumps as well.
So they’ve decided to unveil new “pavement paintings” on the city’s speed bumps near École Pauline Johnson Elementary School.

The 2-D image they’re using? A playing child.
That’s right, the image is designed to make it seem to the driver that as he’s driving closer and closer to the school zone, he’s about to ram into a child.

According to this story, the pavement painting appears to rise up as the driver gets closer to it, reaching full 3-D realism at around 100 feet. “Pavement Patty,” as the girl in the painting is known, is intended to “give drivers who travel at the street’s recommended 18 miles per hour (30 km per hour) enough time to stop” before running over the fake child, “acknowledging the spectacle before they continue to safely roll over her.”

Wow. I mean, wow. I guess this could convince people to drive slower. I think it also could mean a ton of drivers slam on their brakes and cause accidents because they think they’re about to hit an innocent child.
Curious to hear what you think; brilliant idea, or really misguided one?

**I mentioned last week that I was finally taking the plunge and starting to watch the show everyone has told me is so awesome, “Friday Night Lights,” from the beginning.

Six episodes in, I’m hooked. The music is fantastic, and it plays under just about every scene. The acting is excellent, particularly Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler. The football scenes? Yeah, there’s some Hollywood-ization there, but I’ve seen much worse.

So far I have to admit it’s as great as everyone has told me it is.  Really strong writing, and Minka Kelly is not bad to look at every episode.  Just sayin’.

On a related note, my best friend Clay has finally, after years of me nagging, begun to watch Season 1 of “The Wire.” I’ve told him he’s got to stick with it for at least 3-4 episodes, because it gets better every episode and you need to at least give it a chance.

After one episode, he called and reluctantly agreed it’s “interesting” and that he’ll keep watching.
It’s the best show in the history of television, I’ve told him. I hope he watches long enough to believe me.

And for you “Wire” fans out there, here’s a great clip: