Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Friday Night Lights II, Movie and Book Reviews

The infamous Friday Night Lights of West Texas is coming to a fast end, as the high school football games advance further into the state playoffs.  The final end comes with the best teams in each class meeting for the coveted State Championship of each class.  While my teams have all advanced into the play offs they did meet their maker this past week and will now trade in the pads for the soft shoe round ball game of basketball.  My home town team lost last week and then my East Texas favorite lost this week.  But, this East Texas team was special in that one of my grand sons played for it and was I proud of how this team played and the contribution that grandson, Dylon shared with his team mates.  They came from a very bad year in 2013 to a championship year in 2014, so they are to be commended for the legacy they are leaving and the challenge they are offering to their younger classmates.  High school football is still pure even though the equipment, training, coaching, facilities and players speed and size has advanced, it is still good football.  Friday night lights came from the fact that during the regular season you can see the lights from many miles away in pancake flat West Texas so you never need a map to find the stadium.  Then there was a TV movie made called “Friday Night Lights” and when I was ask if I watch it, my reply is simply, no, I lived it!!  My days were back in the mid to latter good ole days of the ’50’s when we played on grass/dirt fields, were not allowed hydration liquids, just had received the first shipment of plastic helmets as opposed to leather, and grown men walked the side lines screaming at their team to “whup up” on the opposing team.  This was called chain gang watching of the game and this rowdy group of grown men actually walked up and down the fence line betting and drinking their favorite beverage. At times there were even raw fist fights when the tension got to be too much to bare!  Oh for the good ole days!!

Movie Reviews:  

“23 Blast”, ***, Speaking of high school football this movie is a true story about a high school football player who has an eye infection that causes him to go blind.  Of course he is the best looking, and star player of the team.  But, his coach feels he can be an inspiration to the team by playing center .  So, a way is figured out on how he can play and he does!  A very good feel good movie and well worth the full ticket price.  Rated PG-13 some teen drinking.  

“Fury”, ****, This a World War II movie telling the story of the last days of the war in the eyes and actions of a US Army tank platoon.  The battle-hardened army sergeant is played by Brad Pitt and his performance is rock solid.  This movie was especially interesting to me since I was in the Armor Branch of the US Army during my active duty days. While I did miss WW II, I did appreciate the tank scenes and the action of the tank crew.  Very well done movie and I expect it to have some nominations for Academy Awards.  Rated R for strong sequences of war violence, some grisely images, and language throughout.  

“Gone Girl”, ****, This is a very good movie staring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike as a married couple from hell.  When she disappears from home and the search begins for her the suspense really starts.  But, there is the back story going on as to what really happened to her, and then the conclusion!  This has all forms of cross stories and possible conclusions, but you will never guess the actual climax at the end of the movie. Rated R for a scene of bloody violence, some strong sexual content/nudity and language.

“The Judge”, ****, Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall will probably get some Academy recognition for their performance of father and son legal professionals.  Duvall is “the Judge” who is a living legend in his city, and when he goes on trial for murder, son Downey wants to serve as his attorney.  Since they are estranged and haven’t seen each other for years all of the previous ghosts in the family come to light in the story.  Very well done movie.  Rated R for language including some sexual references.

“Nightcrawler”, ****, This one is very different and a well done movie.  Jake Gyllenhaal delivers one of his best performances playing a very smart person but no job.  He then discovers the sleazy profession of taking bloody photos of accident victims at the scene, then selling them to the local TV news stations.   With a cheap camera and no code of ethics, he starts to deliver very bloody photos.  Along the way he attracts the attention of TV-news veteran Nina(played by actress Rene Russo).  A gruesome movie but a little different.  Rated R for violence including graphic images, and language. 

“Interstellar”, ****, While it would seem that this movie was flimed on one of the bad days of wind and dust in West Texas it was interesting to see how it all came together.  While I feel that it was way too long and some fine points were not revealed, it was a well directed movie with some awesome space scenes.  Bottom line is simple, earthlings must find another planet to live on since the current one is going to hell in a hand basket.  So, a venture into deep space by engineer/astronaut Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway, demands patience by the viewing audience.  In some ways it requires a scientist mind to really enjoy.  Go see with this in mind and be sure to buy a large coke and extra large popcorn, since it goes on forever.  Rated PG-13 for some intense perilous action and brief strong language.  

Book Revues:

“Still Foolin’ Em”, *****, written by Billy Crystal.  A very fun book, i.e. “where I’ve been, where I’m going, and where the hell are my keys?”  This is about aging and the senior life, and how Mr. Crystal feels about it after turning 65 himself.  “This book is kickass funny and truly unique.  A Hollywood autobiography with only one wife, no rehab, a loving family, and loyal friends.” --Robin Williams.

“700 Sundays”, *****,  Billy Crystal writes about heroes, laughter, family and he takes us home.  700 Sundays is about the number of Sundays he was able to spend with his father before he died.

“The 7 MInd Sets”, *, Scott Shickler and Jeff Aller, Not much makes sense in this book based on groundbreaking research.  A bunch of mumbo jumbo in my opinion.  

“Spartan Up”, ***,  written by Joe De Sena the founder of the Spartan mud obstacle race company.  This book will probably only be read by actual mud obstacle racers which number close to 3 million in the world(estimated at this time) and approximately 500 events.  He writes of the Spartan philosophy and is adamant to say that the Spartan way of life is the only way.  Since I have met Joe in person I would say the attitude and tone of the book resembles the real man.  

“ Geronimo”, ****, Mike Leach writes about the great Apache native American Indian Geronimo.  It covers the leadership strategies of this great leader and really goes into the correlation of his leadership traits and how they can be used in leadership roles today.  Since Leach is also the former football head coach at Texas Tech it was interesting to read what a football guy has to say about this native American warrior.

“Forty Seasons”, *****, Written by Howard Buffet concerning the need for improved productive farming operations in the world to help feed the many starving children of the globe.  Of course most of these children are in under developed countries and he directs his  goals toward those countries, more than any other.  A very informative read and yes Howard is the oldest son of Warren Buffet.

EA, SH.....:)!



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