That’s Stupid: The NFL’s Fining Policy

I like to COMPLAIN about things, and I like to RANT, and so this is the first piece published under a tag in which I will COMPLAIN and RANT about things that I think are stupid all over the place. Who knows what I might say?

Sometimes I watch the NFL on weekends. It’s usually just to get worried about my fantasy football team (playoffs, baby), which is dumb because me watching these guys play isn’t going to change how they play, and I should probably just go and be productive while they’re doing it, but whatever. Either way, a few things caught my eye last week that developed in the days after, and just now I am writing about them. So I’ll keep this short because people have already probably formed their thoughts.

The first thing I saw on Sunday of note was Denver Bronco Emmanuel Sanders’ touchdown catch against the Tennessee Titans in the fourth quarter. After hauling it in, Sanders faced the fans, stared them down like he was a pitcher and they were the catcher, then wound up and delivered a fastball. The officials flagged him for unsportsmanlike conduct which like, okay, it’s stupid because…

WHY IS THIS A PENALTY HE IS LITERALLY HAVING FUN AND YOU ARE LITERALLY JUST KILLING THE FUN OF A SPORT THAT IS BASICALLY A PIECE OF ENTERTAINMENT SO WHY CAN’T WE JUST LET THE ENTERTAINERS FREAKIN ENTERTAIN US IN THE BEST WAY THEY CAN POSSIBLY KNOW HOW BY DOING SILLY ALBEIT STUPID LITTLE DANCES AFTER THEY SCORE TOUCHDOWNS THAT LITERALLY HARMS NO ONE BECAUSE THERE IS NO WAY SANDERS CHUCKED THAT BALL AT A HUMAN BEING WITH THE INTENTION OF HURTING SOMEONE.

Anyway, you can find the play in the YouTube video attached below (just skip to about 4:30 and play it from there to see Sanders’ TD and celebration):

(hit CONTINUE READING to see how stupid can layer up real good like ok) Continue reading “That’s Stupid: The NFL’s Fining Policy”

UNFILTERED THOUGHTS: ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ (2016)

What lies ahead is an unedited jumble of words, thrown onto a blank sheet of paper late at night after seeing a movie. Enjoy at your own risk.

Also, there may be a minor spoiler or two, but nothing really.

Halfway through Rogue One, a villainous Ben Mendhelson meets up with the biggest baddie of them all: Darth Vader. Ben gets a bit tedious, so Vader chokes him with the force and menacingly turns around to state (something along the lines of), “Be careful not to choke on your ambitions, director.”

INSERT GAGGING NOISE HERE.

Yeah, it’s a f***ing horrible line. But even worse is that this moment feels like a bizarro meta statement about this spinoff of the Star Wars franchise and The Force Awakens: that they haven’t really taken many chances since screwing up I, II and III; they play it safe, and they appease their already enormous audience rather than pissing them off again.

The problem is, some of us are not part of that audience. Some of us didn’t see A New Hope until they were already a cynical college sophomore who’d started to take film classes in order to get more cynical and poke more flaws in more things. And with that kind of formulaic, bland attitude, George Lucas and Co. promise not only to refuse to admit new fans to the Star Wars franchise during the Third Age, but also, in the process, send the franchise on a more dramatic downwards spiral than what Marvel is currently experiencing. But whatever. I’m super happy for everyone who applauded at this piece of garbage because at least they enjoyed it. Glad you got your money’s worth. Peasants.

(hit CONTINUE READING to continue listening to me be an a-hole)

Continue reading “UNFILTERED THOUGHTS: ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ (2016)”

UNFILTERED THOUGHTS: ‘La La Land’ (2016)

What lies ahead is an unedited jumble of words, thrown onto a blank sheet of paper late at night after seeing a movie. Enjoy at your own risk.

I just got home from seeing the film that will win Best Picture at the Academy Awards in two-and-a-half months time.

I don’t care that there are still several worthy films still to come (or, rather, films that think they’re worthy, like what I imagine Ben Affleck’s Live By Night thinks of itself, so it pushes for a limited release on Christmas 2016, but isn’t released wide until January 13, 2017, so it obviously cares but like, sorry, Ben, you already got your Oscar and you have yet to prove you deserve another one so moving on…). La La Land will win Best Picture. You can quote me. You can etch that quote into my grave stone if you want. There’s no way a film that is this dazzling and grand, while also playing to the Old Guard so well through its musical numbers and interest in exploring Hollywood culture itself doesn’t win.

It’s just too bad I think it’s only just a good movie.

(hit CONTINUE READING to read about some problems, and also some good stuff) Continue reading “UNFILTERED THOUGHTS: ‘La La Land’ (2016)”

Writing for PopMatters

To Anyone Who Reads This Blog:

While I plan to continue writing on this, my personal blog, I was recently brought on to the PopMatters staff to write film reviews and features. My first article for them, a review of Mike Birbiglia’s Don’t Think Twice (2016), was published this morning. You can check it out here if interested.

Thanks for reading!!

–Kyle

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You– yes, you! You should go check out PopMatters.com

BOARDING THE TRAIN: Marvel releases ‘Thor’ mockumentary

Earlier today, Marvel Studios released a mockumentary that explains what Thor (Chris Hemsworth) was up to during Captain America: Civil War. The Norse God, along with The Incredible Hulk (also known as Bruce Banner, and played by Mark Ruffalo) were noticeably absent from the film.

This is not an important release because it made me realize I have to buy a Civil War DVD (in fact, I do not and I will not, as I was mixed on that film) but it does show that Marvel’s newest indie director Taika Waititi—a director I rather like, thanks to What We Do In The Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople—has a firm grasp on the comedic elements that make Thor so palatable. It also proves that Hemsworth’s comedic chops will work just fine here; he played a similar dimwit in Ghostbusters, and was one of the film’s few worthwhile bits.

It is because of this video (look below) that I am firmly on board the hype train for Thor: Ragnarok. Taika, you have my heart completely. Don’t break it.

REVIEW: ‘Don’t Think Twice’ (2016)

Mike Birbiglia’s second effort finds the comedian exploring existential crises and selfishness, with results that may not always be pleasing, but are throughly stimulating throughout.

Attending a college in the middle of Bumblef***, Ohio proved problematic when I became a film major. The closest town’s theater was difficult to access without a personal vehicle, but I managed to convince my parents to let me keep the family mini-van on campus sophomore year. When the nearby cinema, which only screened the most widely released projects, didn’t suffice, my friends and I looked elsewhere––one of them happened to be obsessed with stand-up comedian Mike Birbiglia when his debut film, Sleepwalk With Me, was released. We stuffed into my Honda Odyssey, and made the more than 50-mile drive to Columbus. Though a memorable night, I returned six hours later with mixed feelings about the movie––as a 19-year-old, it was difficult to relate to Birbiglia’s middle-aged crises, but I respected the authenticity and relished his dark humor.

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Nearly four years later, I consequently approached my screening of his sophomore effort, Don’t Think Twice, with mild anxiety. The film follows six improv artists in New York City, known together as The Commune, who desire to perform on the late-night show Weekend Live (a continuous jab at Saturday Night Live). When one is finally cast, each member suffers through a character-driven crisis, causing the group to fracture and threatening its existence altogether. The film stars Birbiglia himself, as well as Keegan-Michael Key (Keanu, Key and Peele) and Gillian Jacobs (Community, Girls). Chris Gethard, Kate Micucci and Tami Sagher round out the ensemble.

(hit the JUMP for some thoughts on film itself…) Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Don’t Think Twice’ (2016)”

REVIEW: ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ (2016)

Though it is certainly the most impressive stop-motion animation achievement ever, Laika Entertainment’s latest release fails to reach its full potential because of piecemeal storytelling and a hazy emotional core.

I love animated films. They offer a boundless potential to bring to life foreign worlds that are immediately recognizable and relatable once on screen. They permit filmmakers to showcase emotionally turbulent childhoods without the challenge of navigating a human child’s psychology to procure a believable performance. They attract otherwise unimaginable casts thanks to their ease on the actors’ schedules. They can be works of staggering visual wonder.

The above are a few of the many reasons why the poster for Kubo and the Two Strings was enough to make me groundlessly excited for this film. It appeared that Studio Ghibli greatly influenced this effort from Laika Entertainment, based on the evident Japanese culture. The stop-motion animators drew heavily from the Pixar well for their previous films (Coraline, Paranorman, and The Boxtrolls­­)––I am not opposed to this in the slightest, but do believe Ghibli produces better work more consistently.

The poster also made me aware of the film’s voice cast, which includes some of my favorite working performers, such as Charlize Theron, Ralph Fiennes, Rooney Mara and Matthew McConaughey––the white washing here is evident, but the assembly of that group of actors is a tour de force in itself. If that cast were in a live-action film, it would be the early favorite to win Best Picture and the Palme d’Or.

And to top it all off, the protagonist wears an eye patch without any indication why! Tantalizing!

I believe I have made the point that my enthusiasm was uncontrollable, and perhaps premature, so I’ll move on to a review that seeps with disappointment. Don’t mistake me, though: Kubo‘s a good movie. But at the end of the day, it is just Laika taking a step sideways rather than a step forward. Allow me to explain.

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Kubo finds two unconventional friends in a samurai beetle and kung fu monkey

(hit the JUMP to get that explanation I promised) Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ (2016)”