Listen to me on KTRS/St. Louis every Friday, 3-6pm CT

Friday, January 20, 2017

KTRS Friday


I'll be back on my 3-6pm CT show at KTRS today. In the first hour, I'll talk with Andy Dehnart of Reality Blurred about some new reality shows coming soon to a TV near you. In the second hour, Colin Jeffrey and I will review "Split," "The Founder," and other movie/showbiz news. In the third hour, you'll have a chance to prove you've been paying attention by playing my Harris Challenge, and I'll have a brand new batch of Knuckleheads In The News®, too.

Listen over the air, via the station's free smartphone app or via KTRS.com.

Best Thing I've Read Today

Rob Long, a screenwriter and TV producer, on why Hollywood should already know how to handle Trump:

I’m a Republican (sort of), so maybe I’m predisposed to look on the bright side of any Republican administration, even one that’s run by a Democrat. But it seems to me that if there’s any community that knows how to deal with irrational, misinformed narcissists with way too much power, it’s us.

President Donald J. Trump is the insane director you hired so you could get the actor you wanted, and you’re just waiting and hoping that the footage you’re seeing from the location can somehow, in editing, get stitched together into something usable. President Trump is the movie star you need to get the money for the project, but the movie star has decided to rewrite the script over the weekend, and the reports you’re getting back about the new pages are alarming. President Trump is the actor starring in your series who is going to make your life miserable for the next four years. President Trump is what you get when you put the talent in charge.
Read Long's full piece here.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Seinfeld On The Move


I'm not surprised that Netflix has picked up Jerry Seinfeld's "Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee." Reports say he'll do 24 new episodes for them starting this fall, and Netflix also gets the rights to stream the previous 59 he did for Crackle.

Sony has tried to create an in-demand streaming service with Crackle, but no one has noticed. Go ahead -- name one series or movie you've ever watched on Crackle (or Snap or Pop, for that matter). Its content is almost entirely populated by movies that have run a thousand times on cable channels, with a couple of originals thrown in -- including something that stars Charlie Sheen, thus making it unplayable in my home.

In fact, no one knew Seinfeld's "Comedians" series was on Crackle in the first place, because there was no reason to visit that service's website when you could (and still can) get Seinfeld's series by going to ComediansInCarsGettingCoffee.com.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The American People

Several times in his farewell address last week, President Obama gave credit for the advances we're seen in the last eight years -- and what can be accomplished in the future -- to "The American People." Check out these excerpts from the transcript:

Change only happens when ordinary people get involved, get engaged, and come together to demand it...

We, the people, through the instrument of our democracy, can form a more perfect union...

You were the change. You answered people’s hopes, and because of you, by almost every measure, America is a better, stronger place than it was when we started...

I am asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about change – but in yours.
Those are fine sentiments, but it's also giving Americans more praise than they deserve. As we've seen time and again, "the power of the people" is a myth. The truth is that "the people" have fewer representatives in Washington, DC, than any major industry has lobbyists. It wasn't "the people" who saved the American auto industry from financial catastrophe. It wasn't "the people" who helped 20 million of us get health insurance. It wasn't "the people" who legalized same-sex marriage in all fifty states. All of those were accomplished by your federal government, Mr. President, not by a public referendum.

What else is there to say about the American people? Aside from the fact that "the people" have fallen for a lying billionaire con-man as our next CEO, they're the ones who, in large percentages:
  • Use "password" as their password;
  • Do not believe in evolution;
  • Are convinced that voter fraud is rampant, despite no evidence that it's even a small problem;
  • Aren't sure that human-caused climate change is real;
  • Are convinced the government wants to take their guns away;
  • Give Congress an approval rating in single digits yet re-elect over 90% of incumbents;
  • Think abstinence-only sex education is effective, despite all evidence to the contrary;
  • Believe homeopathic remedies are the same as actual medicine;
  • Accept health advice from Gwyneth Paltrow, who once recommended women steam their vaginas;
  • Think the best way to cook hot dogs is to boil them.
In other words, Mr. President, you're giving The American People way too much credit for making our country better.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Movie Review: Live By Night


Several times in the last few decades, I've said I didn't need to see another mobster movie. After "The Godfather" saga and "Goodfellas," what else was there to tell? Then came "Donnie Brasco." Then "The Departed." Then "American Gangster." They all pulled me back in.

"Live By Night" isn't in that pantheon of great mob movies, but it's pretty good.

Based on a novel by Dennis Lehane ("Mystic River," "Gone Baby Gone," "Shutter Island," "Moonlight Mile"), "Live By Night" takes place in the 1920s during Prohibition. It was written, directed, produced by and stars Ben Affleck as Joe Coughlin, who came home from World War One and got involved in some illegal activities despite being the son of a police captain (Brendan Gleeson). Joe also started dating Emma Gould (Sienna Miller), who happens to be the mistress of Irish mob boss Albert White. That's the sort of romantic triangle that is destined to lead to trouble -- and it does.

There’s some blackmail and double-crossing before Joe is forced to run a bootlegging operation in Tampa on behalf of White's rival, Italian mob boss Maso Pescatore. Things go so well that he eventually expands the operation to include gambling and drugs while falling for a Cuban businesswoman (Zoe Saldana) and befriending the sheriff (Chris Cooper), whose daughter (Elle Fanning) he's trying to protect. Oh, and the KKK is involved, as well.

If that plot sounds dense, it is, because Lehane's book can only be considered epic. It covers a couple of decades, and Affleck has to squeeze it into a couple of hours, which means lots of exposition and some time jumps. Some of it doesn't work, but most of it does. He gets very good performances out of a wonderful cast, and the cinematography -- particularly one shot of a boat cruising through the water at sunset -- is absolutely beautiful.

"Live By Night" pulled me back into the world of mobsters and made me change my mind yet again. I give it a 7.5 out of 10.

Best Thing I've Read Today

Ken Levine on the Rams' lack of popularity in Los Angeles...

Last year the Rams returned… with all the fanfare of a cheating husband slipping into bed quietly so his wife doesn’t wake up. For the first four or five months there were no billboards, no commercials, nothing. Their first few games drew well out of nostalgia, but once it was clear they were terrible the fans stopped going. I’m not sure even Rams fans knew what radio station they are on. You don’t see any Rams bumper stickers around town. No one wears Rams jerseys or helmets in the street. It wasn’t so much a triumphant return as your old Uncle Lester returning after twenty years to borrow more money.

And now comes word that the San Diego Chargers are returning to Los Angeles. Wooo hoo! This announcement has generated the same level of excitement as a new tattoo parlor opening on your corner.
Read Levine's full piece here.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Watered Down Football


If you want to know when the downfall of America began, you might want to timestamp the date a few years ago when NFL players stopped holding their own water bottles while taking a few sips on the sidelines.

Every team in the league -- and probably in college football, too, although I pay no attention to it -- has employees whose job it is to squirt water through the players' face masks when they come off the team. In some instances (like the photo above), the players have lifted up their helmets yet still need a designated water squirter.

Have you ever had someone squirt water into your mouth? It's not nearly as satisfying as controlling the flow by squeezing the bottle yourself -- but more importantly, are these heavily-muscled professional athletes incapable of lifting their own water bottles? Does the league have some sort of equipment manager internship program that these water boys must participate in before they advance to cleat organizer or jersey washer? Does their training regimen consist of watching that awful Adam Sandler movie?

During the Green Bay/Dallas game last night, I spotted one of the water boys wearing an earpiece, as if he's a Secret Service agent. Is there really a separate radio frequency for that job? What kind of communication must he be privy to? Perhaps there's someone up in the coaches' booth shouting in his ear, "Jenkins, get over to the linebackers and get them hydrated!!"

Worth A Link

  • Lenore Skenazy on a dad given unduly harsh punishment for making his 8-year-old son walk home.
  • RFK Jr. is not a "vaccine skeptic." It's worse -- like Trump, he's anti-vaccine.
  • Appropriate for our times: these professors want to teach college students about bullshit.