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Showing posts from December, 2018

NFL: The 5 first-round rookie quarterbacks (thru week 17)

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The 2018 NFL regular season is complete and along with it closes the first chapter to four of the five quarterbacks selected in the first round of last April's draft. Back in September, one could have easily imagined the Baltimore Ravens and Lamar Jackson making it into the 2018 NFL playoffs.
Raise your hand if you knew Jackson would be the starting quarterback -- and not just some change-of-pace quarterback -- for the red-hot Ravens.
My magical internet glasses that allow me to see all of you would notice there are very little hands raised. But being the starting quarterback for the playoff bound Ravens is exactly where Jackson finds himself heading into 2019.
Jackson was the last of the five rookie quarterbacks selected in the 2018 NFL draft to get a start. The other four taken ahead of him -- Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen and Josh Rosen -- all started in at least 11 games but all will be watching as they playoffs open.
This is not to say each didn't have varying …

Christmas film favorites tournament: And the winner is...

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The message in A Christmas Story is loud and clear: If someone in the room is telling you "you'll shoot your eye out", it's probably best to listen. In the holiday film A Christmas Story, it's all about listening.
Ignoring all rhyme and reason from the women in the film -- a mother and a teacher -- and one Santa who most definitely smells like beef and cheese, Ralphie's father (Darren McGavin) decides to buy young Ralph Parker (Peter Billingsley) a Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas.
Lo and behold, Ralphie nearly shoots his eye out. Oh, the irony.
Of course, things go from bad to worse when Ralphie lies about nearly shooting his eye out, leading to a ruined turkey and the Bumpus' dogs getting the last laugh.
Merry Christmas to A Christmas Story, not only a holiday classic but also the winner of the 2018 '12 Days of Christmas holiday film tournament.
The 1983 film held on for a victory over the 1990 film Home Alone. After running neck-and-neck in the earl…

Christmas Letter 2018

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In a way, Christmas 2018 started for me way back in the month of August. It was then I officially learned I'd be working on a Christmas show for Alley Repertory Theater, the theater company I've worked with the past seven years.
Now, getting in the Christmas spirit year-round hasn't been much of a problem for me the past ten years or so. Between working on a youth novel set at Christmas and writing a screenplay centered around the holidays -- more on that later -- the holidays have lived in my brain on a continual 12-month basis.
2018 was to be no different as Alley Rep would be mounting a production called Jodi Sings Judy.
This Christmas extravaganza was to be based off an episode of the short-lived variety program The Judy Garland Show. In 1963, in the show's one-and-only Christmas special, Judy invites the TV cameras into her home to share the holiday with her family and her good friends as they all informally drop by.  Young Joe and Lorna adorably sing off-key son…

Christmas Films Favorite Tournament: To Christmas film or not to Christmas film

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The "12 Days of Christmas" holiday film continues as we've reached our final 16 holiday movies as voted on by you, the reader. One of the biggest questions floating around the internet these days regarding a holiday movie is this: what exactly constitutes a Christmas film?
The debate has been intensified over the years thanks to the movie Die Hard. Released in 1988 and starring Bruce Willis and Alan Rickman, the film follows John McClane (Willis) as he tries to take out German terrorist Hans Gruber (Rickman).
And it's set around the holidays at an office Christmas party. So, to many, it's very clearly a Christmas action film. Thirty years after its release, 20th Century Fox has entered their say into the debate:

Now, having a film set around the Christmas holiday is a pretty good start as to whether a film is a Christmas film. But how much of the story should actually revolve around the holiday to consider it such?
Take Meet Me in St. Louis for example. Widely r…

Christmas Favorites Tournament: A sleigh full of 'A Christmas Carol'

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A Christmas Carol is a timeless story enjoyed by multiple generations during the holiday season. Judging by the number of remakes in film this story has endured, Hollywood is pretty big on it as well. What's your favorite version of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens?
Is it the Albert Finney version, Scrooge, from 1970? Or maybe Bill Murray's take on the main character in 1988's Scrooged is more to your liking.
Could it be the animated classic Mickey's Christmas Carol from 1983? Or -- though it's not film -- maybe you simply like the Saved by the Bell Christmas episode in which the gang puts on a play version of A Christmas Carol in the center of a mall.

Finding a consensus on a favorite film adaptation might take years.
The original A Christmas Carol was written by Charles Dickens and published in December of 1843. Over the years, various iterations stretching across fiction and stage have appeared.
The film world is no different, with at least 21 films -- anima…

Christmas Favorites: A sugar-coated tournament of Christmas films

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Christmas and holiday films -- from big budget to animated -- hold special places in many a person's heart. So let's have a fun tournament to (not really) settle the debate of the best of all time.
Earlier in 2018, we took a look at the best summer movies of 1998. So I figured it was time to take a crack at the best Christmas movies, with you, the reader (or Twitter user) vote on the best one.
Now, before you starting shouting all of your favorite holiday films of all-time, let's take a breath for a moment. For the sake of time and not making this a tournament of 502 films, I have not included Hallmark or Lifetime movies from the last 20 years. These movies are plentiful, important to some, and staples for Christmas viewing to many others.
Instead, focus has been placed mostly on theatrical releases. Christmas classics like Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer and A Charlie Brown Christmas were placed in the tournament. One, because they are considered classics. And two, Chris…

Heisman Trophy 2018: Lack of love for Travis Etienne

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The 21st-century has not been kind to running backs in regards to winning the Heisman trophy. Since the year 2000, only two have received the prestigious award. Running back Travis Etienne might have had one the quietest dominating seasons of all time. Outside of the Clemson Tiger fan base, it seems little thought was given to Etienne as a possible Heisman winner.
Etienne, a sophomore, put together one of the better individual performances of 2018. He finished with 1463 yards and 21 touchdowns on the ground. Above average, yes, but punctuated even more by the fact Etienne averaged 8.3 yards per carry.
Five games in 2018 saw Etienne average ten yards or more per carry for Clemson (13-0). He had seven games in with over 100 yards, including once when it went over the 200-yard mark (203 vs Syracuse). Etienne had seven games with at least two rushing touchdowns, three of those in which he had three scores.
In the games Etienne failed to reach 100 yards he either had limited carries or --…

NFL: The 5 rookie quarterbacks (thru week 12)

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Week 12 is in the books so it's once again time to check-in with the five rookie quarterbacks taken in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. There's something intricately fun in watching the progress of a rookie quarterback in the NFL. The thrills, spills, and sometimes inexplicably bad play are all what make watching these quarterbacks can be great.
It's even more exciting in 2018 considering all five quarterbacks taken in the first round of last spring's draft have now started an NFL game. Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens was the last to complete this feat two weeks ago, starting and earning a victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.
With Patrick Mahomes lighting up scoreboards in his 2nd year and with young quarterbacks like Jared Goff and Mitch Trubisky -- with a sprinkle of Carson Wentz mixed in -- also playing well, it's easy to overlook the five rookie quarterbacks.
These five have battled through injuries, head coaching changes, and difficult schedules t…