Tag Archives: Tim Robbins

The “Serial” podcast is a must-listen to. “Shawshank” turns 20, and Andy Dufresne is still fantastic. And maybe the best NFL catch ever by Odell Beckham Jr., and other football thoughts


So I don’t know if you people are as into podcasts as I am, but if you are, I just about demand you start listening to “Serial,” if you’re not already.

It’s so addictive it ought to have an FDA warning on it. A spinoff from the wildly popular “This American Life,” “Serial” follows one Baltimore murder case from 15 years ago with a new episode every week, tackling a different aspect of the case.

The host, Sarah Koenig, is fantastic, walking you through all the twists and turns of the story of convicted killer Adnan Sayed, interviewing him, the friends and family of Hae Min Lee (the teenage victim, Adnan’s ex-girlfriend), and doing such a thorough investigative job that every week, I go back and forth as to whether Adnan really did kill her.

The podcast has blown up huge all across the world, becoming the No.1 download on iTunes; high school teachers are using “Serial” as part of their curriculum, and it may lead to the actual case being re-opened, since there seems to be more than  enough reasonable doubt about Adnan’s guilt (but like I said, that’s how I feel today; after the next show I may feel differently).

Seriously, it’s the best thing I’ve heard in a long, long time. Check it out on the “Serial” site here, or download it on iTunes. There have been nine episodes so far, but they’re each only about 35 minutes, so you could totally binge-listen and catch up.

**Two decades ago, a little movie based on a Stephen King book about life in a New England prison in the 1950s was released to very little fanfare. Nobody had any idea it would become a classic, one of the most beloved movies of all time.
“The Shawshank Redemption” blew me away the first time I saw it. And the second time, and third time, and every time I catch it on cable, which seems to be every week or two. It’s a near-perfect film, written, directed and acted so beautifully, by every person in it.
On its 20th anniversary last week, Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman and director Frank Darabont got together to discuss the movie’s meaning.
I went through a bunch of scenes before picking the above iconic one to put here; truly, this movie gives me goosebumps every time.
“Get busy livin’, or get busy dying.”


**OK, nothing that happened in the NFL Sunday, and there was a lot of great stuff happening, was as amazing as this: Odell Beckham Jr. of the New York Giants made one of the three greatest catches I’ve ever seen (one of the other ones was by a Giant, David Tyree, in the Super Bowl).
How does a human arm stretch like that? Is he Elastic Man? What an incredible talent.
Some on the Web Sunday night were calling it the greatest catch ever; not sure about that; the Tyree catch in the Super Bowl had bigger stakes. But man, this sure was sensational.

Odell Beckham Jr. Yet another fantastic rookie receiver in the NFL not drafted by the New York Jets. Sigh.

— Because I apparently love suffering when it comes to my NFL teams, I’ve been watching the Cleveland Browns a lot this year. They are wildly dramatic and entertaining to pay attention to, but boy, being a Cleveland fan has to be as brutal as rooting for my Jets.
Sunday they had a nine-point lead in the fourth quarter against Atlanta, had several chances to put the game away, saw Brian Hoyer throw two horrendous interceptions, then rallied to win after falling behind with a field goal as time expired.
Whew. Browns are 7-4, but I don’t know how. Nice to see Josh Gordon back on the field.

— Very cool touchdown celebration by Indy’s T.Y. Hilton Sunday; his wife delivered their first child earlier in the morning, and this is how he paid tribute:

— Would anyone be surprised if the Seahawks end up winning the NFC West after all? I know they’re still two games back of Arizona with four to play, but Drew Stanton is not an NFL starting quarterback, and he’s all the Cardinals have got for the rest of the year.

— Finally, seeing that damn Rob Lowe DirectTV commercial 14 more times Sunday is making me retroactively hate every character he ever played, including Sam Seborn. Enough, DirectTV, we get the message!

My little blog gets some love. My little brother’s prom. And remembering the first-ever reality TV family

**Housekeeping note: I am very excited to announce that World Wide of Stuff has its first advertiser! The nice people at Comcast Cable have given me a few bucks to put a link to their site on my blogroll. Now I’m not going to start shilling or anything, but if you happen to need a new cable company, there’s the link on the right. Thanks.

I’ve written before about my little brother Matt, who I met eight years ago through the New York Big Brothers/Big Sisters program. He’s a great kid who I love, and he’s now a high school senior so of course last week, he went to his first prom.
That’s him and his girlfriend in the photo above. He said he had a great time, and ate “the best roast beef I ever had,” end quote. I’m really proud of the man he’s become, though it still freaks me out that the little boy I used to know is now 18.

**Finally, long before the Osbournes or MTV’s Real World, there was a true reality-TV family. Back in 1973 PBS aired a documentary called “An American Family,” culled from six months of footage gained from inside the house of the Loud family, of California.
It was the first time anyone had ever done something like this, and of course it had to be awkward and weird for the family.  As the producers hoped, there was lots of action; the Loud’s gay son was entertaining, and the Loud parents got divorced during the filming.
HBO just premiered a movie about the experiment, called “Cinema Verite,” and it was really, really good. Diane Lane, Tim Robbins and James Gandolfini are in it, so you knew it wouldn’t stink.  The kid from “Almost Famous,” Patrick Fugit, was also really good in it.
Obviously HBO dramatized some stuff, and it’s weird seeing Gandolfini with a beard. But it’s really, really good, and I recommend you check it out.
Of course, knowing what we know now, considering how awful most reality TV is, maybe we shouldn’t be celebrating the Louds.
Yep, there’s a straight line from the Louds to Jersey Shore.
God help us all.