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Is Football Worth it ?

January 8, 2016

Filed under: Movie Review — Tags: , , , , , , , — admin @ 9:08 pm

Like many Sundays over many years, I watched professional football last weekend. I will probably watch more until my New England Patriots are no longer in the NFL playoffs. My wife is quite surprised that I continue to watch, since we had been to see Will Smith in “Concussion” the day before.

Will Smith, right,  and the real-life Dr. Bennet Omalu

Will Smith, right, and the real-life Dr. Bennet Omalu

Make no mistake, Will Smith does a great job in his portrayal of Dr. Bennet Omalu, the pathologist who brought the dangers of playing football to the forefront and exposed the NFL for what it is – a business, making profits at the expense of its players.

The movie has been portrayed as being too one-sided and heavy handed, but the reality is that the NFL has been heavy handed and one-sided in it’s attitude for much longer.

In fact my wife and I had first-hand knowledge of the NFL attitude several years ago when we attempted to approach the York family, which owns the San Francisco 49ers,  about providing psychological consulting to help retired athletes deal with the problems of brain damage caused by repeated hits to the head. Dismissively, John York rejected the idea out of hand saying the NFL was handling the issue just fine.

The movie and the thousands of former players who sued the NFL, have proven him wrong.

You cannot see the movie without having second thoughts about allowing your son to play football.

If you are a fan, you can’t help but leave conflicted. Should I continue to watch football and support the mistreatment of the athletes or should I show my displeasure by quitting cold turkey.

The reality is, if you believe Dr. Omalu’s research, there is no middle ground. Better helmets are not the answer – they do not prevent concussions.

Better concussion treatment is not the answer because research has shown that it is the repeated blows to the head that seems to cause CTE.

Football is ingrained in the American way of life. I don’t know how many former players will have to commit suicide before we confront the reality of its impact on the athletes and I don’t know how many tragic stories of broken bodies and minds will convince Americans that we are watching gladiators just like the ancient Romans.

I think it’s a cop out to say that the athletes know the risks and want to play anyway, so it’s ok for us to watch.

I wish I had the answers, but I don’t. But I think that the movie should be seen by everyone, to enjoy Will Smith’s performance, and gain a better understanding of the fate that awaits many NFL players.

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My “Force Awakens”

December 24, 2015

Filed under: Movie Review — Tags: , , , — admin @ 4:53 am

Last week I included 6 links to newspaper reviews of the new Star Wars sequel. All of them pretty much praise the new flick. This week my wife and I saw the movie, so I can write my own review. The movie looks like it will make a billion dollars for Disney, so one bad review probably won’t hurt.

John Boyega-the latest Star Wras hero

John Boyega-the latest Star Wars ‘hero to be’

While it’s entertaining, “The Force Awakens” has several problems. First, is the gulf in acting talent between the old stars (Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher) and some of the newcomers, second is the believability of the script and third is the dialogue.

Luckily, in my dreams the night after seeing the movie, I had some ideas.

In my version, Harrison Ford, is trying to organize a read-through of script changes, attempting to fix some of the issues that I criticize in my review. Of course I take over the part of Finn –the rebellious storm trooper played by John Boyega.

The real -life rehearsal takes place as I’m trying to type my critique for my blog on an old Smith Corona typewriter that I recently loaned to a friend who wanted real “typewriter typeface” for her holiday cards. Remember it’s a dream sequence.

No one says any of this had to make sense, which is my main complaint about “The Force Awakens” – there are just too many plot twists that are not believable. The trick in creating great science fiction is that the viewer (or reader) suspends reality, but there are no obvious incongruities that force you to question the new reality.

For example, the evil First Order, can make a battle planet, but they can’t seem to neutralize four rebel characters roaming their new high-tech weapon? I know the plot line has been used before in a galaxy far far away, but this time it was just too contrived.

The joy of the older Star Wars episodes was that they presented an escape from reality that was at least semi-believable. The new version is not, and the dialogue is often tortured – to the point of being painful. Boyega is, by far, the least capable actor, and since the conclusion leaves his fate up in the air, we can hope that he does not recover, and a new “new star” is born.

There are a number of other examples in the same vein, but it would just be piling on to mention them. Let’s hope my new version gets made and this review becomes unnecessary.



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