Saving Mr. Banks

I have been accused on more than one occasion of being just a big kid. Of not taking anything seriously and suffering from Peter Pan syndrome. My wife finds it adorable at times. Others, not so much.  But Disneyland is one of our favorite places to visit.  In college, I even had a season pass.  Back then, it was only $99 for the year!  When we just went it was something like a gajillion for a 3 day pass.  I don’t know if this is blasphemous to say, but I actually enjoy California Adventure better as a park than Disneyland.  The rides are better in Disneyland, but the park is better in CA.  Where was I?  Oh right!

Being nothing but a big kid, I was more than happy to go see Saving Mr. Banks as a fan of ALMOST all things Disney. This movie is about Walt Disney‘s ordeal to get the book Mary Poppins made into a movie. Full disclosure, I had no idea it was a book.  But then again, I’m a big dumb dumb and if it’s not a book about history, or a novel written by Sidney Sheldon, I’m usually not interested.

More than just getting the movie made, as I learned, it’s really the story of P.L. Travers, the author of the book, dealing with her childhood and accepting herself for who she is.  As the movie starts, It certainly seems as though shes just a really horrible person.  How someone as terrible as her could write a lovely story like Mary Poppins seems ridiculous to me.  As the film goes along, I really felt sorry for her.  Without giving too much away, it continues to show what a tough life it was for people back around the turn of the 20th century.  A simple life, but a really hard life.  Her father was a wonderfully loving father, but like many of us, a man with demons.  Demons that were difficult to overcome.

I had no idea of the story behind the movie when I stepped into the theater. I figured this would be a simple Disney puff piece about what a wonderful movie they made back in the 1960s.  Don’t get me wrong, there was a lot of that.  My good buddy Matt, who hates all things Disney would hate this movie.  Too much “look at us, we are Disney, we do wonderful things!  I’m Walt!  I love making people happy!”  He’s not big on giant corporations, no matter if they built the happiest place on Earth.  I swear, he’s not the downer he seems to be.

I guess I didn’t pay close enough attention to the previews for this movie because I assumed it was simply a Tom Hanks movie.  There are a million big named people in this film, led by Emma Thompson‘s amazing portrayal of Travers.  It really was once of those outstanding performances that makes you wonder if anyone else could have possibly done as well.  She was incredible.  Not only was Hanks overshadowed by Thompson, but he wasn’t even the 2nd best acting job in the film.  Colin Farrell‘s Travers Goff (P.L.’s father) was really well done.  Rounding out a great cast was Bradley Whitford, Jason Schwartzman, B.J. Novak, and Paul Giamatti.  I had no idea any of these people were in the movie.  They all brought their A game.

If like me, you’re a sucker for Disneyland, old Disney movies and nostalgia, go see it.  If like my friend Matt, you hate Disney, you’ll hate this movie. But, if you hate Disney, you probably didn’t need to read this to know you were going to hate this movie.  So why the hell did you read this in the first place?

Saturday Night Live

I love Saturday Night Live.  I am so glad that DVR’s were invented because I don’t wanna stay up and watch the whole thing anymore.  I like being able to fast forward through the garbage sketches (most of them) and the musical guests I hate (also most of them).  Last night was the last show of 2013. Thankfully, it was NOT the last show for Seth Meyers.  See?

But the year end show certainly did go out with a bang.

The show was hosted by Jimmy Fallon with musical guest Justin Timberlake. I have decided that JT is my favorite SNL host of recent memory. Maybe ever. No, he wasn’t the host and I know, I know, over 35 years and I pick JT as the best host ever? He wasn’t even the host for my favorite episode ever.  Honestly, I remember nothing about that episode anymore.  I was on a fraternity trip that weekend up at Lake Tahoe.  But Chris Farley host, Mighty Mighty Bosstones musical guest = best episode ever.

As a teenager in the 90s I’m very partial to the cast of that time period. The Schmitt’s Gay beer commercial is still one of my favorites. But what Timberlake does with The Lonely Island was as unforgettable as anything SNL has ever done.

Mostly this season has been, in my opinion, a train wreck.  Which is too bad because I really like a lot of the cast members.  Vanessa Bayer and Kate McKinnon are great.  I am quickly falling in love with Cecily Strong.  She was a great choice to take over the Weekend Update chair.

Speaking of Weekend Update, Bobby Moynihan‘s Drunk Uncle is fantastic.  Taran Killam‘s Jebidiah Atkinson is amazing.  The problem is, Weekend Update is always the best part of SNL.  Neither of these characters showed up this week, but it didn’t matter.  This episode was strong.

Putting Fallon and JT together to end the year was genius. Yes, they didn’t break much new ground. Old favorites like the Barry Gibb talk show were brought out, but around the holidays what’s better than old friends stopping by?  JT as Jimmy on Celebrity Family Feud?  Yes please!

The digital short that they did had nothing to do with Justin and it was amazing.  I made a couple of my friends watch it earlier today.  Now I’m making everyone else watch it.  Well done, ladies.  Well done.

Fantasy Football: Rebuttal

Yesterday, Eric trumpeted his (thus far) successful fantasy football campaign, while noting my team’s disappointing results. Numbers don’t lie, and by all accounts this was one of my worst fantasy seasons in the 8 years I’ve been in the league. (In case you were wondering, 2009’s Team Stimulus Package is by far my worst showing with a 3-11 record; meaning that my team was about as successful as its namesake was in reviving the economy. Buh-zing!) However, Eric left out one crucial, little detail in his recap of the 2013 fantasy football campaign: he drafted my team! That’s right folks, I entrusted Eric with the most important day of the fantasy football season because I was out of the country, and this is how he repaid that show of faith. (Sidenote: when it comes to asking your friend to do you a solid and look out for your best interest, this is probably in the top three of all time requests; right up there with asking your buddy to give your drunk, hot girlfriend a ride home or asking a friend to be your kid’s godfather. That’s how important the fantasy draft is.)

I’d also just like to point out that Eric was right before me in the draft order. Now, I’m not sayin’ that having his picks right before mine in a snake-style draft (meaning half of my picks were before his) would in any way influence his decisions about who he drafted for me…I’m just sayin’. It’s important to have all the information out on the table. Given all of this, however, I think the only conclusion that a “reasonable” person can come to is that my 9 losses were completely Eric’s fault.

When you consider the team that Eric drafted for me, which included the likes of–wait for it–Ronnie Hillman (7th round, really Eric?), Cecil Shorts, Lance “I wish I got thrown to” Moore, Josh Freeman (does he even play in the NFL anymore?), and Ryan “I’m not Calvin Johnson” Boyles, it’s a wonder I was able to get any wins at all. Any success my team had was strictly the result of savvy waiver wire pickups and my guile as a manager. Alas, however, no matter how much lipstick I slapped on this pig, I couldn’t turn it into a prom queen.

So there you have it. Lesson learned. Add “letting someone else in the same league as you draft your team” to the long list of classic fantasy football blunders. It probably belongs somewhere between “starting Peyton Manning when he’s playing in New England” and “drafting Darren McFadden in the first five rounds.”

As for you, Eric, I hope you win it all (I mean, after 10+ years of running this league, you’re probably due one championship, right?) Just know that I’m gonna spend the off-season preparing… planning… waiting. Cape Fear style:

Fantasy Football

So Phil and I have talked a little about our league this year.  Not much since the draft.  Just a lot about how Phil hates Tom Brady.  Totally rational hate.  I hate Brady as well.  I’m a Raider fan.  The Tuck Rule game will haunt me till the day I die.

Well, our regular season is over, and Phil…didn’t do so well.  Ended up with the 2nd worst record in the league at 5-9.  However, he was the 4th highest scoring team in a 12 team league.  So that’s not bad.  He got screwed by the schedule.  He was also the 4th highest score against.  He will be set up nicely for next year if he does what I say with his keepers.  I beat him both times we played this year.  Which gives me the edge 6-2 all time.  Yeah we keep stats in our league.  Every stat you can think of.

Today was week 1 of our playoffs.  I made the playoffs at 9-5.  The 2nd seed.  The 1st seed ended up 12-1-1.  He was the highest scoring team in our leagues history.  I went up against the 3rd highest scoring team in league history.  Very daunting.  The only reason I made the playoffs is because I had the lowest score against.  Thank you schedule maker!  (That’s our friend Ryan).

As of right now, im down 114.8-105.5.  I have my favorite player, Matt Stafford going tomorrow night.  He has been on my team 3 straight years, and spoiler alert, I’m keeping him next year.  Based on our scoring, I need 130 yards passing and a touchdown for the win.  Should be okay.  But I’m not getting excited till I see it.  Stranger things have happened.  Keep your fingers crossed.

Wonder Woman

I am a total fanboy.  Well, with certain things.  Star Wars?  You betcha.  Superhero movies?  Check!  Especially DC movies.  Marvel is hit or miss.  Obviously I loved The Avengers.  But I’ve never seen an X-Men movie.  Or anything related to the X-Men, so no Wolverine movies.  Television shows?  Yeah, Arrow is amazing.  But, Green Arrow is my favorite superhero period.  The only actual comic books I own are Green Arrow, so I’m a bit biased.  However, I am NOT one of these crazy fanboys who goes apes**t over casting and screams from the rooftops about how awful a movie is going to be based on who is playing which character.  Unless of course, it’s Ben Affleck as Batman.  That’s going to be AMAZING!!!!  I love me some Affleck.

So to add to that, today it was announced that in the Batman Vs. Superman movie (or whatever they’re going to call it), Wonder Woman has been cast!!  I’ll be honest, I had no idea who Gal Gadot was.  Turns out she’s been in a few Fast and Furious movies.  Which is odd because I’ve seen them.  I still didn’t recognize her name.  My bad, Gal.  Comments on different sites have varied.  Some are thrilled, some are, as they were with Affleck, pissed.  I fall somewhere in between.

On the one hand, she is very beautiful and has the classic look of Diana Prince.  On the other hand, she’s only 5’9″.  Now, obviously there are ways around that.  I mean, Tom Cruise is only 3′ tall.  But Wonder Woman is an Amazon.  She’s not supposed to be average height.   Still though, I think it’s going to take a lot of working out and bulking up to fill out bullet proof bracelets.

I don’t know that there was an actress out there who would have excited me had they been cast.  Wonder Woman is a character that is hard to portray.  Especially since she was so perfectly done by Linda Carter in the 1970s.  I am keeping an open mind, and will obviously see the movie.  I am more excited than I was after Man of Steel.  Which blew.

I am curious to see how Zack Snyder handles all these superheros in the film.  I wasn’t anticipating it being a full Justice League movie.  Does she have a small part that leads into Justice League?  Or her own movie?  I am hooked.  Damn it, they got me.  The DC trifecta in one film.  I was not excited about Warner Brothers jumping the gun on an ensemble movie.  But I will be there opening night.  Ugh.  I am such a sucker!!

There are a number of fan made videos on Youtube.  I’ve included one I like made by Rainfall Films below.  It has nothing to do with the movie, or Gal.  It was just something I came across that I was fond of.  When done correctly, Wonder Woman is a fantastic character.  When done poorly, well, its the 2011 pilot that NBC turned down.