The Week in Silver: Purple Pride Edition

3gensAs everyone who knows me knows, we’re a split family sports-wise. I’m from Minnesota, my wife is from Philadelphia. We live in Philadelphia, so it’s mostly all about the Philly teams in our house, and our two sons follow the local teams (Phillies and Eagles, mostly) most closely. But I try to instill some Minnesota love too, especially when we go there.

That’s mostly been the Twins- I’d been to Target Field every year since it opened in 2010, until this year, which I’d say is the right year to skip. But I haven’t historically pushed the Vikings quite as hard, for a variety of reasons, many of them having to do with their best player turning out to have physically abused his child who was the same age as Noah when it happened and Jonah now, and the team backing him every step of the way, including giving him additional money and years.

Still, I always appreciated that the Vikings, led by Brett Favre, had won a blowout playoff victory against the Cowboys on January 17, 2010, two days after Noah’s 11-week-premature birth, even if they’ve yet to win another playoff game since. And with our August visit this year for my mother’s 65th birthday (happy birthday, mom!) coinciding with the preseason, we thought we’d check out the brand new U.S. Bank Stadium- especially after two years of the kids wanting to drive by the construction site every time we were in town.

We had a great time at the game, we saw a win, and the boys cheered while wearing their Teddy Bridgewater and Harrison Smith jerseys, which stood out among a wildly eclectic blend of jerseys at the game (a ton of Jared Allen, a surprising amount of Tommy Kramer, some big mistakes like Christian Ponder and Donovan McNabb (the shirt I was wearing), and even (ugh) lots of Adrian Peterson. I didn’t see, thankfully, any Darren Sharper. It was a great time, and I thought maybe I’ve finally instilled some Purple Pride in my boys after all.

And then today, as our plane was landing… we got the news that Teddy Bridgewater obliterated his knee in practice and is out for the season. So now my boys REALLY know what it’s like to root for the Vikings.

Here’s a tweetstorm with my U.S. Bank Stadium thoughts:

And the links this week:

– At Splice Today, I reviewed Southside With You

– At Broad Street Review, I reviewed Amy Schumer’s new book, The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo. I also attended her book signing, which was off the record, though I can say that the two ladies in front of me in line spent 25 minutes talking about The Night Of. episodes that I haven’t watched yet, before one shared her revolutionary plan to give up drinking wine, “except for on weekends.”

– At the Farm Dog Productions blog, I wrote about When Harry Met Sally…, which showed here in Philadelphia last week.

– At Blasting News:

Why Hillary Clinton was wrong to give that “alt-right” speech.

The weird story of that “poll,” from a Canadian energy interest, that showed Trump leading in Pennsylvania.

Why I don’t think there will be a Trump News Channel.

– At Screenrant:

Ray Romano and Chris O’Dowd will star in the Get Shorty TV series, so e.g., i.e., fuck you.

The Angry Birds Movie is getting a sequel.

You can get special 3D glasses for “Rogue One.”

A look at a video essay on why Heath Ledger’s Joker was the best Batman villain.

Jack Ryan will fight ISIS in the new Amazon series.

Tommy Lee Jones almost got The Rock’s part in Fast Five:

And a new look at the most honorable man to ever host The Apprentice, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

As always, follow me on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

The Week in Silver: “Going Into Boston” Edition

2dogsThe family and I took a trip up to Boston over the weekend and had a great time visiting friends and family. But on second thought, since we didn’t actually set foot in the city of Boston itself, did we really go to Boston at all?

We spent most of this particular trip in Lexington, Newton and various other Western suburbs, not making to any particular attraction in the city of Boston on this particular trip. Yet, we referred to the trip, for the weeks leading up to it, as “the Boston trip,” and even called people while up there and said “we’re in Boston.”

This used to happen in high school and college; on several occasions I would go visit camp friends in “Chicago,” but actually spend the entire trip in Buffalo Grove, Skokie and Evanston, without ever actually setting foot in the Windy City itself.

I’m sure nobody minds, and I don’t regret anything about any of those visits. But next time we’re up in “Boston”? We’ll make sure we make it to Fenway, the Aquarium and/or Newbury Street.

On to the links:

Big one this week, as my very first piece for Tablet magazine was published. It’s an article 30 years in the making, about the history of the Jewish summer camp sport known as ga-ga. I had a blast interviewing everyone from old camp friends to random people in camp Facebook groups- and am happy to have definitively debunked the whole “Sacha Baron Cohen was a teenaged ga-ga champion” urban legend.

Another one I’m proud of: An essay for CSNPhilly on why there was nothing at all wrong with Phillies fans cheering for Chase Utely.

At Splice Today, I reviewed the two best movies of August: Hell or High Water and War Dogs 

Another new outlet: I’m going to be doing weekly local-in-Philly pop culture pieces for Farm Dog Productions. Here’s the first, previewing last week’s showing of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

For Blasting News:

Why Trump and Breitbart deserve each other

No, Hillary Clinton’s rally crowds aren’t small

Why Rudy Giuliani didn’t “forget” 9/11, what he actually said was much worse

Why I don’t buy that there will ever be a Trump News Channel

And at Screenrant:

– Amy Schumer implied that her Comedy Central show is ending, but clarified the next day that it’s merely going on hiatus.

– Trailer for the new season of You’re the Worst:

– Ah-nuld is the new host of Celebrity Apprentice, and I’ve got a feeling I’ll like him more than the previous guy, whatshisname.

– On the dispute between a group of animators who worked on Sausage Party and the filmmakers, and an update the following day.

– Jim from The Office is the new Jack Ryan.

– Jon Snow speaks (and speaks again)

Game of Thrones Season 7 casting call.

Follow me on Twitter at @StephenSilver, and see all writing archives at the top of this page. ‘Til next time…

The Week in Silver: Fall is Better Than Summer Edition

My son hones his golf game

My son hones his golf game

Here’s an unpopular opinion: Fall is a better season than summer.

Sure, summer is the time of sunshine, of water parks and well-weathered vacations. But what about the fair-skinned among us? I sunburn easily. My time on the beach usually needs to be limited to about two hours. And the sun makes me tired.

The fall, though? It has so many advantages. One can go outside without an overcoat, but also without burns or coma-inducing heat. Football’s underway. Baseball’s into the pennant race/playoff phase. The movies are better than they are in the summer. And when it’s election year, fall means we’re just a little closer to it mercifully being over.

Sure, there are things about summer that I like. Seeing the joy on my kids’ faces at camp, on the beach and on Boardwalk rides is one of my favorite things. There’s nothing like food at the Jersey Shore.

Aside from that? I’m ready for fall, how about you?

On to this week’s links:

At Splice Today, I first reviewed the comedy documentary Can We Take a Joke- which yielded a very nice email from one of its subjects, Jim Norton- and also Sausage Party.

At Blasting News:

– The disgusting tabloid attack on Malia Obama

– The stupidest defenses of Trump’s “Second Amendment People” comment

– Why Putin’s fans on the left and right are all being played for fools:

And at Mapquest’s Parachute, I looked at the best places to watch college football in Philadelphia.

At Screenrant:

A Redditor threatens to sue over Suicide Squad

A list of the ten best non-baseball uses of baseball bats in TV and movies.

Margot Robbie and mimosas

A look at Jack Reacher, Round 2:

Hodor’s death scene in other languages

The end of free Hulu

The casting of Ocean’s 8

Much more to come this week, including my debuts with two new outlets. As always follow me on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

 

The Week in Silver: The Only Living Boys in New York Edition

timessquareLast weekend we headed up to New York City, taking our two sons into the city for a day for the first time for both of them (they’re 4 and 6.) It went pretty well, all things considered: Times Square, Ray’s Pizza, the M&M Store, Statue of Liberty, and Central Park, they enjoyed it all. Tourist stuff all, yes, but they’re little kids- I wasn’t going to take them to a punk show on the Bowery or anything like that.

Aside from a layover or two, I didn’t set foot in New York City until I was 18 years old and already in college. But I quickly fell for the place and moved there after graduation. I lived in New York from 2000 to 2005, arriving at age 22 and leaving at 27, and one thing that’s always fascinated me about the experience is that I never had any conception of either being a kid in New York, or having one. Being a kid who takes the subway to school, or walks by newsstands daily with nudie mags? I couldn’t even imagine it.

Then there’s the idea of parenting in New York City. Remember the Louie episode where his daughter suddenly gets off at the subway stop and he’s still on the train? That was my nightmare scenario for just about every minute we were on the subway- no, it didn’t actually happen, but… how many times a day, in New York City, does that happen? And how do you reunite with your kid?

jonsubway

I left NYC in 2005 when I happened to meet my future wife who lived in Philadelphia, although really I’d decided about a year earlier that it was time to bring that part of my life to a close. Why? I missed having a car and driving to work. I wanted to live somewhere that was a city and not a world capital. And I wanted to live somewhere besides tiny apartments, and figured that wasn’t happening anytime soon if I stayed in the Big Apple.

Do I regret leaving? Not for one day- things have turned out pretty well for me in Pennsylvania. But I appreciate that I live so close to New York, have occasional business-related reasons to return often, and can wander around, visit my old haunts (the ones that are still there, anyway) and have some idea of what I’m doing and where I’m going.

I’m also looking forward to sharing certain NYC adventures with my boys as they get older- especially of the baseball, theatrical and culinary varieties. But even so, I’m going to hold them extra-close on the subway, because that Louie scenario still scares the shit out of me.

On to this week’s writings:

At Splice Today, I reviewed Suicide Squad (with a brief aside on Don’t Think Twice.)

At Screenrant, I look at that very movie’s box office performance, what ever became of The Joker, and that insane petition to shut down Rotten Tomatoes. I also looked at Nine Lives’ silly, cat-pun-filled commercial, Michael Jordan’s pick to replace himself in Space Jam 2, the Game of Thrones election that lets GoT copy politics for once instead of the other way around, a first look at Amazon’s The Tick, and finally, a eulogy of The Big Lebowski himself, David Huddleston. Did you know he was Grandpa Arnold on The Wonder Years?

At Blasting News, I look at the disgusting smear campaign aimed at Khizr Khan by Trump surrogates, why I feel sorry (not really) for Trump’s campaign staffers and why, despite nonsense about Trump having Twitter followers, Hillary Clinton is very clearly winning.

And at Parachute, a road trip through the Phillies’ minor league affiliates.

Three big things are coming up this week, so stay tuned for those at my Twitter feed, @StephenSilver.

Clapping for two presidents

The Week in Silver: Turning 38 at the DNC Edition

I celebrated my 38th birthday this week, and marked the occasion by hanging around the Democratic National Convention for much of the week.

I was sadly denied a credential for the convention itself, but was able to spend two days in the city both covering the protests and ancillary events around the convention. And… I loved it. I hadn’t done political reporting in awhile and remembered that I really enjoy it.

Highlights of the week: I met, and was “interviewed” by- Triumph the Insult Comic Dog and his puppeteer, Robert Smigel. I saw all manner of protests on behalf of various causes- with Bernie Sanders and marijuana by far the two most popular. And on Tuesday, I ended up about five feet away from Bernie Sanders himself, who happened to be walking down Arch Street with a small entourage. At that point that small cell of Christian fanatics I had seen the day before seized on him, with one even yelling at him to renounce Judaism.

And then, Friday, I attended a rally for Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine at Temple University. This was a much different vibe from the Bill Clinton rally I covered back in the spring, in which the former president and a heckler yelled at each other; the whole room was with her, with the except of one heckler who called Hillary a murderer. Afterward I got to meet Kaine briefly.

Anyway, on to this week’s links:

– At Broad Street Review, I reviewed the “Politicalfest” exhibit around the convention.

– At Splice Today, I wrote about the protests on the first day.

Then, I reviewed “Jason Bourne” and “Bad Moms”

– At Blasting News, I went in on out-of-town reporters complaining about Philly.

I also took a look at a politician who doesn’t often get his due, Howard Dean:

And why the DNC’s Bradley Cooper controversy was stupid.

– And at Screenrant:

An update on Creed 2.

– A new edit of Arrested Development’s Netflix season.

– The death of Project Greenlight.

– The biggest buzz about of Comic-Con.

– The Bourne trilogy in 90 seconds.

– How the Millennium Falcon almost killed Harrison Ford.

As always, follow me on Twitter, and check out my Facebook page for my videos from the DNC.

The Week in Silver: “Okay, So You’re Brad Pitt” Edition

I’ve decided to start doing weekly roundups of all my published writing here each Friday; if all goes well perhaps I’ll turn it into a newsletter or something.

I plan to be loitering around the DNC and various ancillary events in Philadelphia throughout next week, so if you’re in town reach out and let me know.

Speaking of which, my favorite news story of the week involves two of my favorite journalists in town, both of whom I know slightly: Fox 29’s Steve Keeley confuses Phillymag’s Dan McQuade with a movie star:

Anyway, on to the links:

At Splice Today, because I didn’t see Star Trek Beyond yet, I review three movies: Cafe Society, Equity and Captain Fantastic. Stay tuned next week for Jason Bourne, Bad Moms and Can We Take a Joke? You can read all of my movie reviews at Rotten Tomatoes. 

At Mapquest’s Parachute, a look at the sports stadiums along the Delaware River- including a pretty gorgeous shot I took at the Philadelphia Union match last weekend:

At Blasting News, I wrote several pieces about the slow descent into madness that was the Republican National Convention

– Why you shouldn’t believe “shock polls” and Hillary is actually winning

– Why the theme of the first night was “be very afraid”

– Why the RNC didn’t mention the one true GOP triumph of the last couple of years

– And why “being un-PC” is no excuse for calling for the death of a rival political candidate.

Over at Screenrant, I was busy this week:

– I eulogized the great Garry Marshall:

– Ahead of the 10th anniversary of the movie, 15 things you may not know about Miami Vice:

Game of Thrones Season 7 will have 7 episodes.

– Bojack Horseman got a fourth season on Netflix:

– There will be more Powerpuff Girls, too.

Law & Order: SVU is making a Making a Murderer-inspired episode.

– The trailer for a new documentary about Leonard Nimoy.

– Star Trek 4 will not recast Anton Yelchin. 

The Emoji Movie has cast T.J. Miller:

As always, follow me on Twitter at @StephenSilver. 

prince

My Thoughts on Prince

 

I already wrote an obituary for Prince at Screen Rant; you can read that here. Below, just a few disconnected thoughts on the death of the Purple One:

Ever since Prince passed away on Thursday, I’ve discovered that a lot of my Minneapolis friends have Prince stories. They once ran into him somewhere, he randomly popped onstage at a club they were at, or maybe they saw him at an early club gig before Prince was Prince.

I really don’t, though. I never saw him in person or in concert or came in any way close to meeting him. My father represented someone with a legal case that tangentially involved him, the details of which I don’t remember, but he never met him either. Hell, I’ve never even been inside First Avenue.

But I’ve always loved Prince’s music, going back as far as I can remember. He was a staple of the radio, and MTV, both of which I followed obsessively as a kid. And of course, there was always the Minnesota pride angle of it. I’ve written before that in the early ‘80s the Replacements/Husker Du music revolution was going on a few miles from my house, but I was too young to know about it and didn’t even discover the music until I was in my 20s and living in New York. But Prince was different. I appreciated his music, and his larger-than-life persona, even from a very young age.

Which isn’t to say that I totally got it. Even as I saw Prince perform in assless chaps on the Video Music Awards, and listened to the album (“Lovesexy”) where he was naked on the cover, the pure sexuality of his music was certainly not something I grasped when I was that young. Neither was the pure complexity of the songs and genre combinations.

The songs are all great. The public persona, like no one else in history. “Purple Rain” is one of the best music movies of all time- and a clear influence on so many others since- and goes in the Minnesota Movie Holy Trinity along with the Coens’ “Fargo” and “A Serious Man” (Whatever #4 is, it’s a steep drop. “Grumpy Old Men”? “Jingle All the Way”? “Drop Dead Gorgeous”?)

For some reason I always really loved the “Diamonds and Pearls” album, especially the title track. And I’ve always dreamed of writing a book about a financial scandal at a synagogue, called “Thieves in the Temple.” And yes, that Chris Rock joke about how “the only black people in Minnesota are Prince and Kirby Puckett” is funny but highly inaccurate, even now that Prince and Kirby are both gone.

Then there was at the strange fall of 2009. For years I had always joked that Prince should buy the Minnesota Vikings. He was a Minneapolis native, with plenty of money, who favored wearing purple, the NFL wanted more minorities in the ownership ranks and he couldn’t possibly be worse than the Headrick Ten, Red McCombs or the Wilfs. That never happened, but that year, when the Vikings had a contending team with Brett Favre at quarterback, Prince- long a fixture at Timberwolves games but never Vikings ones- started appearing at every game, always on TV. He even wrote the team a new fight song.

Sure, the song (“Purple and Gold”) was terrible, the team never used it again, the Vikings lost yet another NFC Championship Game, and Prince was never seen at a Vikings game after that. But it was one of the team’s most exciting runs ever, made more special for me as my first son Noah was born in the middle of it.

I’ve watched and read the tributes, and listened to the songs on every radio station, just like when Michael Jackson died seven years ago. So I’m especially happy to be heading back to Minnesota on Saturday for Passover- say, is that block party outside First Avenue still going on?