*NFL WILDCARD WEEKEND RECAP (2021 Season)

Well, we are just two weeks away from the official reveal of our brand new team name and logo. So I’m dreading Wednesday 2-2-22 — Washington as an organization doesn’t have a good track record of smooth transitions and public relations with their fans. Additionally, we have the upcoming release of RG3s tell-all book, which will most likely include all kinds of dirt and damming accusations. I sense more controversies are on the horizon for Washington.  

In any case, we need to figure out what to do with Brandon Scherff ASAP before the draft. Also, J.D. McKissic should be a top priority. I liked how Bobby McCain finished the season, so we should try to bring him back. Landon Collins should also be brought back; he was coming into his own in this new hybrid position. 

Sam Cosmi and John Bates were the best contributors from the 2021 draft class. Unfortunately, Third-rounders Benjamin St-Jude and Dyami Brown were injured for most of the season and barely played to make a proper assessment of them. I hope in 2022; we see players like Shaka Toney, Curtis Samuel, Jamin Davis, and Sammis Reyes become more significant contributors. 

The coaching staff, scouts, and our two GMs are assessing the young QBs coming out in this year’s draft. It seems like they are all talented prospects and not first-year starters, but with the 11th pick in the 2022 draft, we should probably not use it on a young developmental QB. 

Anyhow, Dallas and Philly lost in the first round of the playoffs, so I’m pleased about that. Happy to see these two delusional fan bases be miserable. 

49ERS 23 — COWBOYS 17

The 49ers put up a big lead and never looked back. And despite all the shaky QB play from Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco still managed to overcome a late-game surge from Dallas. San Francisco is a dangerous team, but their secondary continues to be suspect. Next up, San Francisco visits Green Bay. Advantage, Green Bay Packers (but I’m rooting for San Francisco). 

The Cowboys can whine all day long about not getting a chance for a final Hail-Mary play while blaming the refs for their ineptitude. But, the fact is that Dallas had been living on borrow time all season long, and they finally got exposed for what they are. Next season, Dallas will take a dramatic drop to third-best in the NFC EAST. 

LA RAMS 34 — CARDINALS 11

This was a dominating win for LA; they looked formidable against their top-division rival. Next up, LA visits Tampa Bay. Advantage, LA Rams.

The Cardinals were riding high early in the season, but injuries and the absence of playmakers brought this team down. Next season, Arizona has to address depth issues and find a better running game, complimentary to Kyler Murray. 

BILLS 47 — PATRIOTS 17

Josh Allen was terrific, throwing 5 TDs for over 300 yards and zero picks. Their running game looked rejuvenated with Devin Singletary, who finished with 95 total yards and 2 TDs. The Bills should be considered favorites to go all the way. Next up, Buffalo has an epic matchup with Patrick Mahomes at Kansas City. Advantage, Kansas City Chiefs, but Buffalo will give them a run for their money. 

New England backed into the playoffs with a rookie QB and got exposed by their division rival. So with Brian Flores leaving Miami, Belicheater will continue to be number 2 behind Buffalo in the AFC EAST. 

CHIEFS 42 — STEELERS 21

Patrick Mahomes was sensational, throwing for over 400 yards with 5 TDs and 1 pick. The Chiefs, on paper, were supposed to beat this inconsistent Pittsburgh team. Next up, Kansas City hosts a dynamic Buffalo team. Advantage Kansas City Chiefs.

This was probably Big Ben’s final game in the NFL. During the offseason, the Steelers have lots of work figuring out what to do at QB in 2022. Haskins is definitely the answer, and Pittsburgh is not known for going after free agent QBs. But Deshaun Watson, Russell Wilson, Cam Newton, Derek Carr, Marcus Mariota, Mitch Trubisky, and Ryan Fitzpatrick might be looking for a new team.

BENGALS 26 — RAIDERS 16

Cincinnati is a legit contender this season. However, stopping Derrick Henry next week will be their ultimate test. Next up, Cincinnati visits a well-rested Tennessee team. Advantage, Tennessee Titans.

The Raiders overcame a lot this season. It was remarkable and impressive that they got this far. But, unfortunately, Mike Mayock was fired, and the future of Rich Bisaccia is up in the air. So, next season, Vegas needs to figure out if Derek Carr fits their plans and find a GM and head coach.

BUCCANEERS 31 — EAGLES 15

Tampa Bay was supposed to beat this overrated Philadelphia team, and they did just that. The Buccaneers without Antonio Brown are still in good shape to be a contender. Next up, Tampa Bay hosts the LA Rams. Advantage, LA Rams.

Philadelphia was not a good playoff team and benefited by winning games against Covid affected teams and lucked into the playoffs. Next season, Philly needs to build up around Jalen Hurts, who is clearly their future.

*NFL WEEK 18 RECAP (2021 Season)

Finally, all the misery and agony of this crappy season have ended. We finished this underwhelming season at 7-10 — and with many questions surrounding the future of this yet to be renamed, football team.

The new name will be announced in 3 weeks. But in the meantime, there will be lots of moving and shaking leading up to the unveiling of the new name. 

First, the QB situation has to be addressed pronto; Taylor Heinicke will not be the starter next season; that’s all I know for sure. We should draft a young QB and develop him — Matt Corral piques my interest. 

I, for one, I’m not interested in Jimmy G (he gets hurt way too much), Mitch Trubisky is a backup, and we are better off with Heinicke than with Trubisky. Cam Newton wants to go to a contender — I think Washington should be considered a contender, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up here. Marcus Mariota might be a possibility, but I am unsure about his contract situation. But he kinda intrigues me. 

Unfortunately, Russell Wilson, Derek Carr, and Deshaun Watson will cost way too much. So, I say no to them. 

However, if Ryan Fitzpatrick is 100% and we draft one of those young QBs coming out in this upcoming draft, then we should revisit 2021s QB plan. So we go with Fitzpatrick starting, Heinicke backs him, and a young rookie QB watches and learns. 

Happy that Charles Leno was signed for the next few years: he was one of the bright spots out of this season’s free-agent signings. But, as a top priority, we need to figure out a way to re-sign Brandon Scherff. He said in his exit interview that he wanted to stay. Also, we need to go out and find a middle linebacker, which will most likely happen during free agency.

In any case, this off-season will not be boring for Washington, that’s for sure. 

WFT 22 — NY GIANTS 7

COWBOYS 51 — EAGLES 26

The Cowboys beat up on backups, so this score means nothing. However, Dallas is in for a rude awakening come playoff weekend. Next week, Dallas hosts San Francisco. Advantage, San Francisco 49ers.

The Eagles rested their starters as they looked into the playoffs. Next week, Philadelphia visits Tampa Bay. Advantage, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

CHIEFS 28 — BRONCOS 24

Kansas City struggled to win this game, but Denver, a division rival, always gives them a tough game. Next week, Kansas City hosts Pittsburgh. Advantage, Kansas City Chiefs.

Vic Fangio was fired soon after their game ended. Significant changes are coming to Denver; they need to find a legit starting QB and a big-time head coach. Drew Lock has played well at times, but at best, he is a quality backup. 

49ERS 27 — LA RAMS 24

San Francisco has now beaten the Rams 6 straight times. It is safe to say that Kyle Shanahan has his former Washington protege’s number. The 49ers clinched the final NFC playoff spot — they will be a dangerous team in the playoffs. Next week, San Francisco visits Dallas. Advantage, San Francisco 49ers. 

I don’t put too much stock in this loss. San Francisco has had the edge over LA for a while now. The Rams, however, still won the NFC WEST and will host a playoff game. Next week, LA hosts Arizona. Advantage, LA Rams. 

RAIDERS 35 — LA CHARGERS 32

This was a thrilling game that went into the last few seconds of overtime. Notably, this Vegas team has solid momentum heading into the playoffs. Next week, Vegas visits Cincinnati. Advantage, Las Vegas Raiders.

Justin Herbert was right on the money multiple times on 4th down, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a crucial missed field goal by Dustin Hopkins and some questionable coaching calls from Brandon Staley. The LA Chargers missed the playoffs by losing this game in overtime, but no reason to panic; the Chargers will be back in the playoffs next season.

TITANS 28 — TEXANS 25

The Titans clinched the AFC SOUTH and the number 1 seed. They are getting Derrick Henry back in time for their first playoff game in two weeks. Next up, Tennessee has a first-round bye.

Houston has lots of work in the offseason. First, they need to figure out the Deshaun Watson situation and address the future of head coach David Culley. Then, if they fire Culley, Houston should go out and get Brian Flores. But I think Cullen should get another year. I like what Lovie Smith is doing on the defensive side. 

VIKINGS 31 — BEARS 17

Mike Zimmer and GM Rick Spielman were fired, signaling a complete overhaul in football philosophy and operations moving forward. 

Matt Nagy was also fired, and now Chicago becomes a fascinating destination for a new head coach willing to develop Justin Fields.

DOLPHINS 33 — PATRIOTS 24

Brian Flores getting fired was probably the most shocking casualty of Black Monday. Instead of getting rid of the GM, Miami owner Stephen Ross and his clown ownership group decided to move away from the best coach they’ve had since Jimmy Johnson. I’m sure Brian Flores will not be unemployed for long.

New England lost, but they are still playoff bound. However, the Patriots are not a very good team and will likely be one and done in the playoffs. Next week, New England visits Buffalo. Advantage, Buffalo Bills.

BILLS 27 — NY JETS 10

The Bills won the AFC EAST for the 2nd year in a row and have a favorable matchup for their first playoff game. Next week, Buffalo hosts New England. Advantage, Buffalo Bills.

Zack Wilson will become a pretty good QB for NY, and coach Robert Saleh is the right fit for this team. The Jets have to build around Wilson and continue to build through the draft. And now, with Flores gone from Miami, the Jets have a pretty good chance to climb up in their division.

SEAHAWKS 38 — CARDINALS 30

Seattle finished the season with a win but underdelivered on expectations. As a result, the future of Russell Wilson will now be a topic of speculation during the off-season. Houston, Denver, Washington, Miami, and even Cleveland might be possible destinations for Wilson. 

Arizona is limping into the playoffs and, by losing this game, missed the opportunity to wrap up their division title and a home game. Next week, Arizona visits LA. Advantage, LA Rams.

BUCCANEERS 41 — PANTHERS 17

The Bucs put a beat down on division rival Carolina — while locking up the number 2 seed in the NFC. Tampa Bay needed to win this game and roll into the playoffs with some rhythm. Next week, Tampa Bay hosts Philadelphia. Advantage, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Panthers are a disaster, and the way Cam Newton has been treated is beyond reprehensible. The Panthers will continue to sink further if Matt Rhule isn’t fired. Cam and Christian McCaffrey need to get the hell out of Carolina ASAP. 

STEELERS 16 — RAVENS 13

The Steelers needed to win this game and a Raiders win to clinch a playoff spot. And now, Big Ben gets one more playoff game before officially retiring. Next week, Pittsburgh visits Kansas City. Advantage, Kansas City Chiefs.

The Ravens are all about Lamar Jackson or nothing. And with Lamar injured, their post-season chances went bye-bye. Next season Baltimore needs to acquire better weapons and improve their depth.

BROWNS 21 — BENGALS 16

The Browns were Super Bowl favorites at the start of the 2021 season but failed to grab a wildcard spot finishing at 8-9. So naturally, questions surrounding the future of Baker Mayfield will dominate talking points during the off-season. 

The Bengals didn’t play Joe Burrow and most of their starters. Instead, they played backups as they prepared and rested up for their upcoming playoff game. Next week, Cincinnati hosts Las Vegas. Advantage, Las Vegas Raiders. 

LIONS 37 — PACKERS 30

The Lions secured the number 2 pick in the 2022 NFL draft and will continue to build around Jared Goff. 

Green Bay didn’t need this game; they already had clinched their division and the number 1 seed throughout the NFC. Next week, Green Bay has a first-round bye. 

JAGUARS 26 — COLTS 11

The Jaguars played spoiler and helped eliminate the Colts from playoff contention. As a result, Jacksonville will again pick first in the upcoming NFL draft. 

The Colts had the biggest stinker of week 18. They were supposed to destroy Jacksonville on paper, but instead, they were blown out and embarrassed. The off-season will be awkward for Indy.

SAINTS 30 — FALCONS 20

New Orleans missed the playoffs and now will have to figure out what to do at QB or maybe add better depth behind Winston. Unfortunately, Tyson Hill and Trevor Siemian may not be the answer.

The Falcons showed signs of life towards the second half of the season. However, an aging Matt Ryan might become expandable next season or soon after.

*NFL WEEK 17 RECAP (2021 Season)

And just like that, our playoff hopes came tumbling down. Look, losing sucks, but we, Washington fans, should hold our heads high — There were many moving parts here; Losing our starting QB Ryan Fitzpatrick on week 1 and having a massive Covid outbreak where close to 30 players and 7 coaches tested positive and could not be on the field was our undoing. Plus, all of this happening right in the middle of our playoff hunt was a kill-shot for Washington. But despite all of that, Washington was still in the thick of things.

Montez Sweat did not play due to a horrible family tragedy to make things worse. So our defense went without one of our top defensive weapons. 

I was impressed by how the secondary continues to show up, Kendall Fuller, Bobby McCain, and Cam Curl are legit starters, and we should continue to build solid depth around them. And even William Jackson III was coming into his own before getting injured.

Next week, we finish up against the NY Giants, and we’ll have an excellent chance to end the season strong — and to evaluate some key players and potential free agents heading into 2022. 

It was announced that 2-2-22 is the official launching date of the NEW team name and logo — Names like Commanders, Hogs, Red Hogs and Admirals lead the list of favorite names. I’m leaning towards Hogs, Red Hogs, or Commanders. In any case, I’m holding my breath ‘till 2.2.22

WFT 16 — EAGLES 20

COWBOYS 22 — CARDINALS 25

Kyler Murray looked phenomenal again, making Dallas and their overrated defense look inefficient. The Cardinals can win their division in week 18 with a win and Rams loss. Next week, Arizona visits Seattle. Advantage, Arizona Cardinals. 

Dallas got exposed yet again; they only manage to put up big wins against injury and covid riddled teams. Kyler Murray showed why Dallas would most likely be a 1 and done playoff team. Next week, Dallas visits Philadelphia. Advantage, Philadelphia Eagles. 

NY GIANTS 3 — BEARS 29

All Chicago needed to win this game was 2 first-quarter TDs and a bunch of field goals to annihilate NY. Unfortunately, the Bears are eliminated from playoff contention and are now playing for Matt Nagy’s job. Next week, Chicago visits Minnesota. Advantage Minnesota Vikings.

The Giants are doubling down on keeping Joe Judge as their head coach in 2022 — Big mistake; it will come down to haunt them. Next week, NY hosts Washington. Advantage, The Washington Football Team

BENGALS 34 — CHIEFS 21

RAIDERS 23 — COLTS 20

The Raiders are now 1 win away from clinching the final AFC wildcard spot. This is a remarkable achievement for a team that experienced many off-the-field issues. Next up, LAS Vegas hosts the LA Chargers. Advantage, Las Vegas Raiders.

The Colts took a tumble here to lock up a playoff spot. Indy now has to win their next game and get some help. Next week, Indianapolis visits Jacksonville. Advantage, Indianapolis Colts.

49ERS 23 — TEXANS 7

The 49ers are putting together some wins despite having inconsistency at the QB position. Still, San Francisco needs to win on week 18 or hope for a New Orleans loss to make the playoffs. Next up, San Francisco visits the LA Rams. Advantage, LA Rams. 

Houston’s 2 game winning streak came to an end, and with the regular season coming to an end, their main focus should be on figuring out the Deshaun Watson situation. Next up, Houston hosts Tennessee. Advantage, Tennessee Titans.

LA RAMS 20 — RAVENS 19

The Rams are rolling into the post-season in a 5 game winning streak. To clinch the division, LA needs to win on week 18 or hope for a Cardinals loss. Next week, LA hosts San Francisco. Advantage, LA Rams.

Baltimore is clinging to life, and they have to win week 18 and hope for a bunch of scenarios to go their way. Next week, Baltimore Hosts Pittsburgh. Advantage, Pittsburgh Steelers.

PACKERS 37 — VIKINGS 10

Having cliched the NFC North and the number 1 seed, Green Bay is feeling pretty good about their playoff chances. Next up, Green Bay visits Detroit. Advantage, Green Bay Packers.

Anti-vaxxer Kirk Cousins tested positive for Covid and could not play in this game, which ended up costing Minnesota a chance to make the playoffs. So maybe it is time to revisit where cousins and Zimmer fit in Minnesota’s future. Next up, Minnesota hosts Chicago. Advantage, Chicago Bears.

BILLS 29 — FALCONS 15

Buffalo continues to surge and is one win away from clinching their division. Next week, Buffalo hosts the NY Jets. Advantage, Buffalo Bills

Atlanta had a slim chance at a wildcard spot, but they are now officially eliminated from contention. Nevertheless, The Falcons can play spoiler on week 18 against their division rival. Next week, Atlanta hosts New Orleans. Advantage, New Orleans Saints.

BUCCANNEERS 28 — NY JETS 24

Antonio Brown stole the show with his antics and clownish behavior. However, Tampa Bay seems to be in good shape heading into the playoff without AB. Next up, Tampa Bay hosts Carolina. Advantage, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

The Jets are playing hard and showing flashes of tough and gritty football. Their offseason moves will be crucial for their chance to improve and contend in 2022. Next up, NY hosts Buffalo. Advantage, Buffalo Bills.

TITANS 34 — DOLPHINS 3

Tennessee is 1 win away from clinching the number 1 seed in the AFC. The Titans have proven to be a dangerous team, despite not having Derrick Henry. Next week, Tennessee visits Houston. Advantage, Tennessee Titans. 

Sadly, Miami playoff hopes came to an end here. It was impressive how Miami went from a 1-7 hole to start the season to a 7 game winning streak; nevertheless, it was a deep hole to crawl from. Next week, Miami plays spoiler hosting New England. Advantage, Miami Dolphins.

SEAHAWKS 51 — LIONS 29

After a disappointing 2021 season, Seattle is respectfully trying to finish up the season. But questions regarding Russell Wilson’s future will be a hot topic during the offseason. Next up, Seattle hosts Arizona. Advantage, Arizona Cardinals.

The Lions have some pieces in place for 2022 and a solid head coach in Dan Campbell. I’m curious to see what kind of offseason moves Detroit makes. Next up, Detroit hosts Green Bay. Advantage, Green Bay Packers.

LA CHARGERS 34 — BRONCOS 7

The Chargers are 1 win away from securing a playoff spot, but they have to beat divisional rival Vegas, a team they already beat on week 4. Next week, LA visits LAs Vegas. Advantage, Las Vegas Raiders.

Denver is now focused on rebuilding; first, they need to address the QB position and build around a new QB, wisely using all the accumulated draft capital. The Broncos have cleared enough cap room to go after a top-lever QB like Russell Wilson or Aaron Rodgers. Also, Vic Fangio’s future is another question Denver must address soon. Next week, Denver hosts Kansas City. Advantage, Kansas City Chiefs.

SAINTS 18 — PANTHERS 10

The Saints are rallying back into playoff contention and need to win on week 18 and hope for a loss by San Francisco. Next up, New Orleans visits Atlanta. Advantage, New Orleans Saints.

Carolina is a mess right now; Matt Rule is a hack and needs to go. Cam Newton showed that he can still get things done but needs more talent around him. Newton should go to a contender or a better-coached team. Next up, Carolina visits Tampa Bay. Advantage, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

PATRIOTS 50 — JAGUARS 10

New England clinched a playoff spot with this one-sided win. However, they can still win the division by winning on week 18 and a Buffalo loss. Next week, New England visits Miami. Advantage, Miami Dolphins.

Jacksonville’s first order of business in 2022 is to find an experienced NFL head coach to build around Trevor Lawrence. Next week, Jacksonville hosts Indianapolis. Advantage, Indianapolis Colts.

STEELERS 26 — BROWNS 14

It was Big Ben’s final regular-season game at home. Pittsburgh’s playoff chances are slim, but they still need to win on week 18 and hope for Jacksonville to beat Indy — not very likely. Next week, Pittsburgh visits Baltimore. Advantage, Pittsburgh Steelers.

Cleveland was a Super Bowl favorite heading into the season, and now they are eliminated from the playoffs and with the possibility of partying ways with Baker Mayfield. Next week, Cleveland visits Cincinnati. Advantage, Cincinnati Bengals.

*MOVIE RECAP: 8-BIT CHRISTMAS

I’m a sucker for nostalgia-driven movies and TV shows, especially 70s, 80s, and 90s stuff. So this movie is right on my side of the street.  

8-Bit Christmas is based on a book of the same name by Kevin Jakubowski, who also wrote the screenplay. It follows a father, Jake Doyle (Neil Patrick Harris), telling his young daughter, Annie (Sophia Reid-Gantzert), a story about his obsessive quest to get his hands on a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) during the 1988 Christmas season. 

The story is set around a working-class family in the suburbs of Chicago. Young Jake Doyle (Winslow Fegley) tells his parents that he wants a Nintendo for Christmas. But, unfortunately, his parents feel that video games are bad for kids. As a result, young Jake, along with his group of misfit friends, has to develop a plan to convince his parents to buy him an NES or find a way to get one on his own.

Jake and his group of friends are a hilarious and diverse bunch. Most notably, Jeff, the liar (Max Malas) who makes up wild stories and cannot stop lying about anything and everything. In addition, little Conor Stump (Jacob Laval) is a scene-stealer, this young actor was remarkable in the HBO limited series The Plot Against America (2020), and he is great here again. 

The egotistical Timmy Keane (Chandler Dean) is hysterical as the richest kid in the neighborhood who owns the only NES in town. Timmy makes all the kids jump through insane hurdles while selecting only a handful of them for the privilege of playing Nintendo with him. Also, the school bully Jagorsk (Cyrus Arnold) is pretty notable.

As the town parents come together to push for the banning of video games in their community, the kids have to pool all of their resources together and figure out creative ways to get a Nintendo console for Christmas. And at the same time, setting themselves free from Timmy Keane’s tyrannical hold on the one and only Nintendo in town. 

The adults hold their own amongst the little scene stealers here. Steve Zahn (John Doyle) delivers a convincing and heartfelt performance. Jake’s mother, Kathy Doyle (June Diane Raphael), is solid, and her comedic timing is excellent. David Cross is brilliant as this shady but lovable dealer of black market goods. 

Yes, the premise is similar to A Christmas Story (1983), and it borrows some elements from other similar holiday movies. However, it still manages to feel fresh and original. All of the nostalgic throwbacks hit on the mark — Like the infamy of the NES Power Glove, the scarcity and popularity of Cabbage Patch dolls, and other 80s pop culture stuff. But, it all comes together nicely.

Personally, I related to this movie in many ways. First, it rang true to me because for a short time, I was the only kid in my neighborhood who owned an NES, and my friends would come over and play with me. But I wasn’t a little prick about it like Timmy Keane was. Second, Nintendo dominated the late 80s and early 90s — Games like Mega-Man, Mario Bros, Duck Hunt, Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out, Tetris, and The Legend of Zelda, among many others, were the obsession of kids from my generation as well as mine. So all of that resonated with me.

8-Bit Christmas is a fun and charming holiday movie, one of the best in recent years, and it belongs amongst the classics. It’s a good throwback to the 80s in the spirit of the Goonies and Stranger Things. It hit home for me; it brought back many memories growing up. I will definitely be adding this movie to my favorite holiday movies list.

Three out of Five Popcorn Bags 🍿🍿🍿

8-Bit Christmas (2021). Streaming on HBO MAX

*NFL WEEK 16 RECAP (2021 Season)

To say that I walked away from this game irritated and pissed off would be an understatement. This was the worst loss against Dallas in Washington’s history — it was the most horrific performance I’ve seen from Washington in almost 30 years of closely and faithfully watching this team. So yes, it was the worst game I have ever seen, 

The first thing to note is that we came into this game with a massive disadvantage and only 5 days removed from our loss to Philly. The NFL schedule has been playing against Washington for a while now. We are also dealing with the aftermath of players coming out of Covid protocols. Plus, crucial playmakers are not available to play.

I’m officially concerned about the O-line depth — I thought it was solid, but I was wrong; Heinicke wasn’t well protected the entire time he was in the game — He was under constant distress and pressure.

With player absences in mind, not having players on offense like Brandon Scherff, JD McKissic, Logan Thomas, Chase Roullier, Tyler Larsen, and so on — has magnified all the offensive struggles. On top of all that, Antonio Gibson is visibly not 100% from the toe injury he has been battling. And Jaret Patterson has not been able to become the complementary RB that JD McKissic is. 

Nevertheless, Dyami Brown had his best game of the season and finally flashed his potential. Also, John Bates had 2 tough receptions and showed grit and determination. Those two were the bright spots in this game. 

The defense was in worse shape than the offense; it was depleted of talented playmakers like Landon Collins, William Jackson III, Cole Holcomb, Jamim Davis, Jon Bostic, Daniel Wise, and of course, Chase young.

And to make things even worse, we all saw the sideline altercation between Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne. Nobody knows for sure what really happened or what was said, but I hope it was all about holding each other accountable and not some nonsense — hopefully, this incident doesn’t turn into a bigger mess in the off-season.

Heading into the week 17 matchup against division rival Philadelphia, Washington finds itself at the risk of losing a wildcard spot in the playoffs if they lose this game. They have to get more starters back on offense and defense and find ways to contain Jalen Hurts to have a fighting chance. Beating Philly is the ultimate goal.

WFT 14 — COWBOYS 56

EAGLES 34 — NY GIANTS 10

The Eagles are the beneficiaries of back-to-back games with teams depleted of starters and playmakers. And of course, sports media is falling over to crown them as the most dangerous team in the wildcard race. But it is all nonsense; Philly will be exposed on Sunday. Next week, Philly visits Washington. Advantage, The Washington Football team.

The Giants are a disaster, and Joe Juge, Gettleman, and Daniel Jones have got to go during the offseason. Next week, NY visits Chicago. Advantage, Chicago Bears.

DOLPHINS 20 — SAINTS 3

The Dolphins went from 1-7 and entirely written off by sports media to winning 7 straight games and are now 8-7 with a chance to make the playoffs. A remarkable coaching job by Brian Flores. Next up, Miami visits Tennessee. Advantage, Miami Dolphins.

New Orleans became the latest Covid victim, with about 20 players on the list. To make the playoffs, the saints at 7-8 and with 2 division games left will have to win out and get some playmakers back in the active roster. Next up, New Orleans hosts a healthier 5-10 Carolina team. Advantage, Carolina Panthers. 

CHIEFS 36 — STEELERS 10

The Chiefs won the AFC WEST division and are now focused on improving their playoff seed position and getting back some key players in time for the playoffs. Next week, Kansas City visits Cincinnati. Advantage, Kansas City Chiefs.

The Steelers lost a crucial opportunity to make their lives a little easier heading into the last 2 weeks of the season. As a result, they now have to win out and get some help to get into the playoffs, which is not very likely. Next week, Pittsburgh hosts Cleveland. Advantage, Cleveland Browns.

BILLS 33 — PATRIOTS 21

The Bills are officially back on top of the AFC EAST and in complete command to win back-to-back division titles. Josh Allen looked unstoppable and should be in consideration for league MVP. Next week, Buffalo hosts Atlanta. Advantage, Buffalo Bills

New England has lost 2 games in a row, and their division hopes are slipping away. Next week, New England hosts Jacksonville. Advantage, New England Patriots

LA RAMS 30 — VIKINGS 23

The Rams clinched a playoff spot and took first place in their division. And with two weeks left, the division title will probably come down to week 18. Next up, LA visits Baltimore. Advantage, LA Rams.

The Vikings are now considered a long shot to make the playoffs after this loss. Plus, there is talk about Zimmer’s potential firing. Next up, Minnesota visits Green Bay. Advantage, Green Bay Packers.

TITANS 20 — 49ERS 17

The Titans showed they can still beat anybody even without Derrick Henry. At 10-6, they need to win out and hope Indy will lose their next game and the AFC SOUTH title is theirs again. Next up, Tennessee hosts red-hot Miami. Advantage, Miami Dolphins.

The time has come for San Francisco to move on from Jimmy G. — inconsistent QB play has been the crutch for this team for a while now, and it is time to see what Trey Lance can do. Next up, San Francisco hosts Houston. Advantage, San Francisco 49ers. 

PACKERS 24 — BROWNS 22

The Packers won the NFC NORTH and are now a win away from securing the top seed in the NFC playoffs. Next week, Green Bay hosts desperate Minnesota. Advantage, Green Bay Packers.

With this loss, the Browns took another major setback and now have to win their last 2 divisional games to get into the post-season. The future of Baker Mayfield will be a significant topic of discussion and speculation if Cleveland fails to make the playoffs. Next week, Cleveland visits Pittsburgh. Advantage, Cleveland Browns.

RAIDERS 17 — BRONCOS 13

The Raiders continue to outlive the diagnosis of their demise — and with 2 back to back wins, they are still pretty much alive for a wildcard spot. Next up, Vegas visits Indianapolis. Advantage, Indianapolis Colts

The Broncos are pretty much on life support now and with 2 divisional games left, the likelihood of Denver clinching a playoff spot is almost unlikely. Next up, Denver visits LA. Advantage, LA Chargers.

BEARS 25 — SEAHAWKS 24

The Bears are eliminated from any playoff contention and are trying to finish the season respectfully and save Matt Nagy’s job. Next week, Chicago hosts the NY Giants. Advantage, Chicago Bears

The Seahawks are finishing their disappointing 2021 season, looking towards regrouping and improving in 2022. However, the future of Russell Wilson will be a subject of much discussion in the off-season. Next week, Seattle hosts Detroit. Advantage, Seattle Seahawks.

COLTS 22 — CARDINALS 16

Indy has become the most dangerous team in the AFC, powered by Jonathan Taylor’s seemingly unstoppable running play. The Colts are one win away from clinching a playoff berth, but the bad news is that unvaccinated Carson Wentz just tested positive for Covid and will most likely be out of their upcoming week 17 game. Next up, Indy hosts Las Vegas Raiders. Advantage, Indianapolis Colts. 

The Cardinals have lost 3 straight games, and their hold on the NFC WEST is practically gone. Nevertheless, Arizona has already clinched a playoff spot, and with two games left, they can improve their seed position with some wins. Next up, Arizona visits Dallas. Advantage, Arizona Cardinals. 

TEXANS 41 — LA CHARGERS 29

The Texans shocked everyone here and showed they have the building blocks for something more competitive next season. Next week, Houston visits San Francisco. Advantage, San Francisco 49ers.

The Chargers are on the brink of elimination, but if they win out and get some help, they might just sneak in. Next week, LA hosts Denver. Advantage, LA Chargers.

BUCCANEERS 32 — PANTHERS 6

Tampa Bay clinched their division title and are now focused on improving their NFC playoff seeding. Next up, Tampa Bay visits the NY Jets. Advantage, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Carolina needs to get rid of Matt Rule, Sam Darnold and start over, as simple as that. Next up, Carolina visits New Orleans. Advantage, Carolina Panthers.

BENGALS 41 — RAVENS 21

Cincinnati has pulled away from the rest of their division, but winning the AFC NORTH will come down to many different scenarios. Next week, Cincinnati visits Kansas city. Advantage, Kansas City Chiefs.

Baltimore has lost 4 straight games, and the playoffs are starting to slip away. The Ravens have to win out and get some help along the way. Next week, Baltimore Hosts LA. Advantage, LA Rams. 

FALCONS 20 — LIONS 16

The Falcons have come alive as of late and, at 7-8 are still in the hunt for a wildcard spot. Next up, Atlanta visits Buffalo. Advantage, Buffalo Bills.

Detroit is just playing out their regular season schedule and looking into 2022 and the upcoming NFL Draft. Next up, Detroit visits Seattle. Advantage, Seattle Seahawks.

NY JETS 26 — JAGUARS 26

It seems like the NY Jets have finally found a franchise QB and a solid head coach — the future looks promising in NY. Next week, NY hosts Tampa Bay. Advantage, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (rooting for NY). 

The Jaguars are in the market for a new head coach, and the list of candidates includes names like former Eagles and Super Bowl winner Doug Pederson and Tampa Bay’s OC Byron Leftwich, amongst many others. Jacksonville needs to find someone with legit NFL experience to groom Trevor Lawrence and not some college hack like Urban Meyer. Next week, Jacksonville visits New England. Advantage, New England Patriots (rooting for Jacksonville).

*TV SERIES RECAP: ONLY MURDERS IN THE BUILDING

First, I have to get something off my chest. I think that it should not be allowed for streaming platforms to release episodes of their shows on a week-to-week basis…… Okay, there I said it.

After watching the first two episodes, I really wanted to binge the fuck out of this series in one or two sittings, but I made the mistake of starting this series right smack in the middle of its initial week-to-week release back in September. As a result, I had to suffer and wait every week for a new episode to drop.

Anyhow, this is a charming murder-crime mystery type of show with lots of whimsical comedy. Two great comedy legends, Steve Martin and Martin Short reunite for some brilliant stuff here. The chemistry between Steve Martin and Martin Short has always been pure fire, case in point, the Father of the Bride series, Three Amigos, Broadway shows, and a few other things along the way.

The story takes place at the Arconia apartment building, an upscale NYC co-op in the Upper West Side. Steve Martin is Charles Haden-Savage, an actor best known for playing a TV detective in the 90s. Charles lives alone; he seems lonely and bored. Martin Short is Oliver Putnam, a washed-up broadway director, and producer— Oliver is struggling to keep up with his UWS lifestyle and is in desperate need of money. Also, Selena Gomez joins our legendary duo as Mabel Mora, a mysterious young girl living in the same building.

The central premise here surrounds the murder of Tim Kono (Julian Cihi), a resident of the Arconia who is found dead in his apartment. The circumstances of his murder are highly suspicious. At the same time, Charles, Oliver, and Mabel share an interest and passion for true crime podcasts, and they decide to join forces to solve the murder of their fellow neighbor.

Armed with a handful of clues, the three of them start their own investigation and their own podcast chronicling their investigation. There are layers and layers of intrigue sprinkled throughout the entire 10 episodes of the first season.

Sometimes, the performances are a bit over the top — somewhat typical of Martin and Short, but it all works nicely. Surprisingly, Selena Gomez steps into this already established chemistry and holds her own. The generational gap between them is what drives things here. There is a sense of sadness and loneliness from these three characters — which pulls them towards each other.

The Arconia building is a crucial component of the series; it is a character by itself with many moving parts. The building residents are also important characters; they are all pretty weird and eccentric. Nathan Lane is outstanding here; his scenes with Martin and Short are remarkable. Sting playing a fictionalized version of himself is hilarious.

I liked how the show focused on the recent growth of true-crime podcast culture and made it part of the actual amateur crime-solving storyline. Even the Hardy Boys young adult mystery series is featured prominently in the show.

Only Murders in the Building is a delightful and entertaining show. It is a very New York-driven show, especially if you live in NYC. It is diverse, progressive, and although exaggerated at times, it still comes off as realistic enough. You can’t help rooting for these characters and their delusional detective skills. I cannot wait for season 2 — spoiler alert, the final episode sets up next season’s murder mystery. It is definitely one of the best and most satisfying shows of 2021.

Four out of Five Popcorn Bags 🍿🍿🍿🍿

Only Murders in the Building (2021). Streaming on HULU.

*NFL WEEK 15 RECAP (2021 Season)

Okay, here is the thing, Covid won this game, more so than Philly did. So Washington has all the right in the world to make all the excuses they want for losing this game. 

Washington had 23 players on the Covid reserve list by the middle of last week. We lost our top 2 QBs Taylor Henicke and Kyle Allen — Our best O-lineman Brandon Scherff. Plus, we also had defensive players, Jonathan Allen, Casey Toohill, Montez Sweat, Kendall Fuller, Cam Curl, Matt Ioannidis, Tim Settle, and James Smith-Williams. And more players were added to the Covid reserve list by the end of last week.

And on top of all that, we had players out due to injuries, like JD McKissic, Logan Thomas, and Chase Young. These last 2 are gone for the year, but Mckissic should come back soon.

Thankfully, a few vaccinated players could clear protocols and play Tuesday, but it wasn’t enough to overcome all the missing players. 

To make matters worse, we had no QB, so we ended up signing Garret Gilbert from New England’s practice squad. And we had to rely on a bunch of practice squad players and backups to start this game. This was all insane stuff, to say the least. 

However, once the game got going, Washington looked solid, we were up 10-3 in the 1st quarter, and things were looking promising. But then, things began to fall apart. First, Philly ran right through and all over our defense — we looked inept at stopping the run. The zone-read plays were particularly the most hurtful. 

Midway through the game, we lost Landon Collins and William Jackson III to injuries, leaving Bobby McCain the only legit starter in the secondary. 

Ultimately, we lost this game, getting screwed by the unfair NFL schedule and by Covid. Nevertheless, there is a silver lining here. — The Eagles barely won by 1 score and a field goal against a bunch of backups and non-starters. We would destroy this team at full strength. 

Next up, Washington has to get healthy and get as many starters back as possible. We rematch Dallas at their place on Sunday evening. Unfortunately, we find ourselves once again with a short week to prepare and play this game. The good news is that Taylor Heinicke has been cleared to return to practice. Still, there are plenty of questions about who will have a chance to come back from the Covid list and who will end up playing on Sunday. 

The most important thing is to protect our QB better than we did the first time we played Dallas. Heinicke cannot get roughed up as he did in week 14. If we lose this game, our playoff chances are essentially over. Washington has to BEAT DALLAS!!!

WFT 17 —27 

COWBOYS 21 — NY GIANTS 6

The Cowboys got another lucky break and put a beating on the pretty awful NY Giants. Dak continues to struggle, but his defense bails him out in game after game this season. Next week, Dallas, on a short week, hosts Washington. Advantage, Washington Football Team.

The NY Giants are a total and complete disaster — and they are just about done for the year. I expect many firings here at the end of the regular season. Next week, NY visits Philly. Advantage, Philadelphia Eagles, but rooting for NY. 

LA RAMS 20 — SEAHAWKS 10

The Rams have won 3 games in a row, and 2 of those games were divisional games, which has elevated LA into 2nd place behind Arizona. Next up, LA visits Minnesota. Advantage, LA Rams.

The Seahawks are essentially out of the playoff race, but they could still win out the last 3 games of the season and finish with some pride. Next up, Seattle hosts Chicago. Advantage, Seattle Seahawks.

CHIEFS 34 — LA CHARGERS 28

Kansas City has climbed up to 10-4 and is again looking like contenders. They are one win away from clinching their division. Next week, Kansas City hosts Pittsburg. Advantage, Kansas City Chiefs.

The Chargers took a major setback with this loss but are still pretty much running for a playoff spot. Next week, LA visits Houston. Advantage, LA Chargers.

DOLPHINS 31 — NY JETS 24

Miami has now won 6 straight games and is closing in on a playoff spot. Their last 3 games are against playoff teams, including a week 18 rematch with New England. Next up, Miami visits New Orleans. Advantage, Miami Dolphins. 

The NY Jets at 3-11 are just playing out the NFL schedule and assessing personal for 2022. Next up, NY hosts Jacksonville. Advantage, NY Jets.

VIKINGS 17 — BEARS 9

Minnesota suffered to get this win. Kirk Cousins struggled but managed to throw 2 TDs that sealed the deal here. Next week, Minnesota hosts their old division rival, Matt Stafford. Advantage, LA Rams

The Bears are officially eliminated from playoff contention. But they should feel hopeful in what they have with Justin Fields — he looks like the real deal. Next week, Chicago visits Seattle. Advantage, Seattle Seahawks. 

RAIDERS 16 — BROWNS 14

The Raiders refused to go down quietly into the night. And this win keeps them pretty much alive for a post-season spot. Next up, Las Vegas has a massive divisional game hosting Denver. Advantage, Las Vegas Raiders. 

This was a vital game with playoff implications, and Cleveland needed to be at full-strength to have a shot at winning. However, Covid sidelined Baker Mayfield, Jarvis Landry, and Jadeveon Clowney — and they missed them dearly. As a result, the Browns are in danger of missing the playoffs altogether. Next up, Cleveland visits Green Bay. Advantage, Green Bay Packers. 

COLTS 27 — PATRIOTS 17

Jonathan Taylor is by far the best running back in the NFL; he rushed 29 times for 170 yards and 1 TD to completely dominate New England. The Colts are looking like a dangerous playoff team. Next week, Indianapolis visits Arizona. Advantage, Indianapolis Colts.

The Patriots looked inept at stopping Jonathan Taylor from running all over them, and New England’s winning streak came to an end. Next week, New England has a crucial rematch hosting Buffalo. Advantage, Buffalo Bills.

TEXANS 30 — JAGUARS 16

Houston completed the sweep of Jacksonville this season and improved to 3-11. The Texans should not take too long until they are competitive again. Next up, Houston hosts Justin Herbert and company. advantage, LA Chargers

I never liked Urban Meyer; he always struck me like a piece of work — and lived up to it this season. I was surprised that he was fired during the season; I thought he would be gone for sure after week 18. The Jaguars need to go out and hire an NFL-caliber coach — someone with actual NFL experience. Next up, Trevor Lawrence visits fellow first-rounder Zach Wilson. Advantage, NY Jets. 

PACKERS 31 — RAVENS 30

The Packers clinched the NFC North Division title, and now it is all about improving their position in the NFC playoffs. Next week, Green Bay hosts Cleveland. Advantage, Green Bay Packers.

Harbaugh keeps trying to take chances right out of Riverboat Ron’s playbook, and it cost Baltimore the game. You have Justin Tucker in your roster; Arguably, the clutchest kicker in NFL history — it is a no-brainer; send out your kicker John Harbaugh! and get the points. With no Lamar Jackson, Tyler Huntley played very well; I was impressed. The Ravens are just about out of the playoff race. Nevertheless, I still think that the AFC North will probably come down to the last week of the regular season. Next Week, Baltimore has a must-win game at Cincinnati. Advantage, Cincinnati Bengals.

BILLS 31 — PANTHERS 14

Buffalo’s running game finally woke up with Devin Singletary rushing 22 times for 86 yards and 1 TD. Josh Allen had an effective game distributing the ball to 6 different receiving targets and using his legs when needed. The Bills have snapped their two-game losing streak and are still alive in the playoff hunt. Next week, Buffalo rematches New England. Advantage, Buffalo Bills.

Cam Newton continues to be Carolina’s best option at QB, and with 3 games left in the regular season, the chatter about replacing him with Sam Darnold is pure nonsense. Matt Rule is essentially scapegoating Newton to distract from his failures as a head coach. Next week, Carolina hosts Tampa Bay. Advantage, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (rooting for Carolina). 

SAINTS 9 — BUCCANEERS 0

The Saints own Tom Brady and made him look terrible here. New Orleans is now right back in the hunt for a playoff spot in the NFC. Next up, New Orleans host Miami. Advantage, Miami Dolphins.

It brings me so much joy watching whiny-ass, overrated, fake GOAT Tom Brady take a loss, especially a shutout loss to their division rival. The Buccaneers have been crystal clear about their intentions to repeat as Super Bowl champs. However, it seems highly unlikely. Next up, Tampa Bay visits Carolina. Advantage, Tampa Bay Buccaneers ( but I’m rooting for Carolina)

LIONS 30 — CARDINALS 12

Detroit shocked the NFL world here, beating arguably one of the best teams in the NFL. Jared Goff had his best game of the season, throwing for over 200 yards with 3 TDs and zero picks. Unfortunately, the celebration was short-lived, as Goff was added to the Covid list. Next week, Detroit visits Atlanta. Advantage, Alanta Falcons.

The Cardinals missed a huge opportunity to clinch a playoff spot with a win. Now they have to win their next game and get help from other teams. Next week, Arizona hosts Indianapolis. Advantage, Indianapolis Colts. 

STEELERS 19 — TITANS 13

Pittsburgh’s defense showed up big-time here and kept them into this tightly close game deep in the 4th quarter. The Steelers are still alive in the playoff hunt but have a tough climb. Next week, Pittsburgh visits Kansas City. Advantage, Kansas City Chiefs.

The Titans, with this loss, missed the opportunity to take the lead as the AFC top-seeded team. Next week, Tennessee hosts San Francisco. Advantage, San Francisco 49ers. 

BENGALS 15 — BRONCOS 10 

The Bengals pulled out the tight win here and put themselves on the top of the AFC North division. But to clinch the division, they will have to win out their last 3 games in the schedule. Next up, Cincinnati hosts a crucial divisional game against Baltimore. Advantage, Cincinnati Bengals. 

It was scary seeing Teddy Bridgewater leave the game on a stretcher and go straight to the hospital. Thankfully, he seems to be okay. At 7-7, things are looking pretty tough for Denver and their playoff hopes are dimming. Their last 3 games are against divisional opponents, which will make things very interesting in the AFC West. Next up, Denver visits Las Vegas. Advantage, Las Vegas Raiders

*MOVIE RECAP: MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN

Here is another film I completely missed when it was initially released back in 2019. and it took me this long to finally watch it.

Motherless Brooklyn was a passion project for Edward Norton that took almost two decades to bring to life. Norton directed this movie and wrote the adaptation — a loose adaption that is, from the Jonathan Lethem 1999 novel of the same name.

The story is set in 1950s NYC, during a time when the city was run by a non-elected official Moses Randolph (Alec Baldwin). This character was inspired by real-life New York city planner Robert Moses who from 1930-1968 had uncontested authoritarian power over NYC and NY state—and made every significant decision about infrastructure in New York. Like where the roads went, where bridges were built, which buildings were torn down to make way for developing projects, and so on. Moses used shady tactics masquerading as “community improvement” programs to displace poor and minority communities. Using “Slum Clearing” programs to condemn whole sections of the city—evict everyone who lived there and turn those empty neighborhoods over to his private developers to build whatever he wanted.

The housing policies created and enforced by Moses were based on racist principles. Even today, in our current timeline, there is a direct connection in most of the gentrification policies and practices plaguing Black and minority communities throughout New York City with some of the same methods that Moses implemented.

and by the way…. Moses was also responsible for the Dodgers leaving Brooklyn. 

All of that makes for a pretty compelling story; however, the movie suffers from the plot’s ambitiousness.

Lionel (Edward Norton) is a private detective who witnesses his boss Frank (Bruce Willis) getting murdered. Frank was Lionel’s mentor, a father figure, and closest friend. Lionel suffers from Tourette syndrome, which made life pretty tough for Lionel, considering this movie is set during a time when doctors had not yet diagnosed the condition by name. Norton’s portrayal of Lionel’s Tourette syndrome outbursts reminded me of how he delivered similar outbursts in the movie The Score (2003).

As Lionel digs deeper, he discovers more dark truths about conspiracies and sinister plots involving high-level officials in city government. The story moves pretty slow, but it works because it allows the audience to follow along with Lionel’s detective work, discovering things at the same time as Lionel does.

They tried hard to recreate the look and vibe of New York city of the 50s, but I never really felt like I was in the era while watching it. Many of the location settings felt contemporary and did not capture the essence of the 50s. The soundtrack, however, is terrific, and the Cinematography by Dick Pope is remarkable.

The all-star ensemble cast is incredible. Alec Baldwin delivers a powerful performance; his lines and dialogue are some of this movie’s best moments. Willem Dafoe (Paul Randolph) is brilliant, adding some background to the Moses Randolph character. There is a memorable scene at a diner between Dafoe and Norton that stands out to me.

I always enjoy watching Bobby Cannavale (Tony) in this type of role, but I felt like his character needed more screen time. The late great Michael k. Williams (Trumpet Man) is solid as usual. Coincidentally, both Cannavale and Williams were two of my favorites on Boardwalk Empire.

I really wanted to like this movie, and in a way, I kinda did. But I came out feeling a bit underwhelmed. Many things work pretty well here, and a few things did not work for me.

In any case, Motherless Brooklyn is an entertaining and ambitious film that merits some attention.

Three out of Five Popcorn Bags 🍿🍿🍿

Motherless Brooklyn (2019).

*MOVIE RECAP: DUNE — Part One

Embarrassingly enough, I went into this movie not having read the book. My knowledge of Frank Herbert’s Dune can be best summarized to a simple cliff notes overview of the story. And my other familiarity with the novel is that I used to sell hundreds of copies per year, back when I was a bookseller slash bookstore manager. It was a constant bestseller, so I always kept it in stock.

At the same time, I have to admit that I’m a bit biased when it comes to this movie. Full disclaimer, a few weeks before the official cast of Dune was announced, I got the chance to meet and exchange words with Timothee Chalamet briefly — Oscar Isaac made the introduction. Yes, THAT Oscar Isaac.

All told, I have been dealing with Mr. Isaac for a while now through my day job. He is a normal and down-to-earth dude — extremely likable and personable. Unlike some of those entitled Hollywood types, acting pretentious and asking to be treated special…ahem, Jeremy Strong…. I had an awkward conversation with Jeremy Strong on the phone once. But that is another story for a different time.

Anyhow, meeting Timothee Chalamet was a pretty awesome experience, and even though it was a brief encounter, it was a pretty memorable encounter; He shook my hand and said, “Hi, it is cool to meet you”….It made my day, week, month, and so on… and I haven’t shut up about it ever since.

So yes, it was my own personal “Hollywood moment.” One of many unique Hollywood moments — meeting celebrities is one of the cool perks of working in New York City.

Ok, about the movie. 

So this movie is officially named DUNE: Part One — because it is based on the first half of Frank Herbert’s 1965 Dune novel. And I assume that the next Dune movie will be based on the second half of the book — unless they decide to turn the entire first book into a trilogy, which I doubt.

I read in different pieces that Frank Herbert was heavily influenced by the 1926 book Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E Lawrence — which was the basis for the epic 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia directed by David Lean……One of my favorite films of all time.

In any case, the story of Dune takes place on a desert planet called Arrakis. The native people of this planet are called the Fremen — The Fremen are nomadic, Arab-looking tribes. They are ruled and oppressed by Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgard) of the House Harkonnen; He is like a feudalistic planetary overlord of sorts.

The other power player here is the House of Atreides; Rule by Duke Leto Atreides (my boy, Oscar Isaac). Duke Leto’s young son Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet), heir to House Atreides.

The Emperor and supreme ruler of the known universe assigns Duke Leto to replace House Harkonnen as overlords of Arrakis and all of the “spice” mining operations there. Spice is a precious asset; it is the equivalent to oil in terms of power for fuel — You need this Spice for interstellar travel.

And here is where the fuckery starts…

There is a conspiracy between the Emperor and House Harkonnen to wipe out House Atreides from existence. So not long after arriving in Arrakis, there is a surprise attack by the combined forces of the Emperor and House Harkonnen to kill off House Atreides.

Young Paul Atreides and his mother, Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), escape, and the journey between boy and mother begin.

What pleasantly surprised me the most here was the solid screenwriting — primarily in how the knots and bolts of the story are explained to the audience. Mainly the opening scenes and the introduction of the Houses and the whole space mining concept, plus how the movie’s beginning gave us a quick background to the never-ending conflict between the ruling overlords and the Fremen. All of that was written and directed brilliantly, and it was very engaging.

Not having read the book, I was impressed with this adaptation because they did not try to force-feed the entire first book into one movie. Instead, they opted to split the books into parts and thus remain faithful to the source material. Therefore, it doesn’t feel like it was dumb down for the audience like some other adaptations out there.

Brilliant screenwriting work from Denis Villeneuve and his writing partners, Jon Spaihts (Prometheus, Passenger) and Eric Roth (Munich, The Good Shepherd, Forrest Gump, and The Insider).

Dune, the novel, is a complex and spectacular story that many consider unfilmable. But director Denis Villeneuve has created an exceptional experience here, adding a visual depth and dimension that I’m sure the book does not have — Villeneuve’s filmography is extraordinary with films like Blade Runner 2049 (2017) and The Arrival (2016), among others. So I’m not surprised by this achievement.

The scope and scale of this movie are epic and breathtaking. The combination of location shooting and special effects is outstanding. Bringing this world to life both digitally and physically is remarkable. The natural environment and the power of the desert felt real, which is something CGI or green screens cannot truly capture.

The atmospheric elements and the middle eastern imagery are well done. There is also a sense of spirituality and mysticism slowly being developed, which I’m sure will be further explored in upcoming films. On top of all that, Hans Zimmer’s score is superb.

The performances are excellent. Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Jason Momoa, Javier Bardem, Dave Bautista, Zendaya, Stellan Skarsgard, and David Dastmalchia are all fantastic. There is an air of Marlon Brando from Apocalypse Now to Stellan Skarsgard’s character — No CGI, only prosthetics for Skarsgard — pretty cool.

Additionally, Rebecca Ferguson is noteworthy here; Lady Jessica is at the epicenter of the story, and Ferguson conveys such a powerful presence in every scene that she is in.

But objectively, Timothee Chalamet is the heart and soul here; he is perfect for this role. At first, he seems flat, stoic, and almost emotionless. But as the story evolves, you see him maturing and embracing his messianic destiny. There is a sense of vulnerability from Chalamet’s performance that merits praise.

And sure, this is another white savior story; however, it gets a pass from me, mainly because the source material is over 55 years old. My other issue is that they did not make time early enough in the story to explain to the audience about the whole aspect of sword-fighting with shields and how those personal shield devices can protect you. I hope there will be a director’s cut available at some point addressing some of the technology, like the whole thing with the lack of computers and Artificial Intelligence in this world.

Lastly, I find it interesting how they went out of their way to exaggerate Zendaya’s contribution here. The advertising was misleading — she was all over the promotion materials, hyping up her performance. Yet, she was in the movie for roughly 10 minutes, but it is evident that she will play a significant role in the second part.

All in all, Dune: Part One is a major cinematic achievement. Here is an adaptation that Hollywood got right, and I have not been this excited about a sci/fi slash fantasy series since the original Lord of the Rings trilogy back in the early 2000s.

Four out of Five Popcorn Bags 🍿🍿🍿🍿

DUNE: Part One (2021).

*NFL WEEK 14 RECAP (2021 Season)

Ok, here is the thing, Dallas got lucky in this game, simple as that. They caught Washington with an insane amount of starters out of this game. Some due to Covid protocols and some to injuries. On the other hand, Dallas came in almost at full strength.

Nevertheless, Washington had a lot of issues getting their offense going. The running game was non-existent; all running backs struggled to get some traction on the ground. The Offensive line had a hard time providing holes and dealing with Micah parsons and the constant pressure from Dallas. Adding to the lackluster running game was the absence of JD McKissic; he was ruled out before the game. 

Also, the O-line could not protect the QB like in the previous 4 weeks. Taylor Heinicke was under distress for most of the game; he was inaccurate, and his ball placement was way off — it seems like the pressure from Dallas got to him mentally. Heinicke ended up leaving the game to a knee injury and was replaced by Kyle Allen.

Allen played well for the most part, mostly because I don’t think Dallas had a game plan for him. Still, the offense was not as effective as during the winning streak. 

Curtis Samuel played but did not contribute much in this game. He has been slowly getting back into action from a groin injury that kept him out for most of the regular season. Terry McLaurin was shut out and eventually was ruled out for the remainder of the game due to a concussion. Not having TE Logan Thomas was crucial, and his absence will be felt during this last stretch of the regular season. Thomas has a torn ACL and is not expected to return until the 2022 season.

The defense held its own and kept this game from getting out of hand, but missing Casey Toohill and Montez Sweat made a difference. 

On top of all the injuries, we have also lost our star DT Jonathan Allen to Covid protocols. This absence sucks and will be rough for the defense. Plus, there was news about a positive Omicron test from a tier 3 employee. According to NFL covid policies, Tier 3 employees are not supposed to come into contact with tier 1 employees (players and coaches). But we will see how things develop in terms of more positive tests.

All in all, we still have 4 games left, and all of those 4 games are within the division. Washington has got to win out and lock in a playoff spot. Next up, we play Philly. The Eagles are 6-7, and I’m sure they will love nothing more than to play spoiler and overtake us in the playoff hunt. We have to beat Philly!

WFT 20 — COWBOYS 27

NY GIANTS 21 — LA CHARGERS 37

The LA Chargers have put together solid back-to-back wins and set up a must-see divisional matchup against Mahomes and company. The Chargers are 8-5, and they have 3 divisional games left in the regular season, so winning the AFC WEST is within reach. Next up, LA hosts Kansas city. Advantage, Kansas City Chiefs

I never thought I would say this, but I actually feel sorry for fans of the NY Giants. This team is a complete mess, and deservingly so. Their clown ownership has been getting on my nerves for years. Plus, Joe Judge is not NFL head coaching material; he is a position coach at best. Next up, NY hosts Dallas. Advantage, Dallas Cowboys (but I hope NY wins)

VIKINGS 36 — STEELERS 28

Minnesota was comfortably leading 29 – 0 late in the 3rd quarter and looked like the game was over. I briefly turned away from the game, and when I came back to it, Pittsburgh had cut the lead, and the game was 20 to 29. The Vikings’ defense continues to underperform from week to week— they allowed Big Ben to make some crucial plays and make this game closer than it should have been. Next up, Minnesota visits division rival Chicago. Advantage, Minnesota Vikings.

The Steelers are the most inconsistent team in the NFL, and at times they seem to be dysfunctional and undisciplined. At 6-6-1, Pittsburgh has to win out and get some help to make the playoffs. Next up, Pittsburgh hosts Tennessee. Advantage, Tennessee Titans.

CHIEFS 48 — RAIDERS 9

Kansas City has now won 6 games in a row, setting up a crucial matchup against the LA Chargers on week 18. The Chiefs are playing better defense, making all the difference this late in the season. Next week, Kansas City visits the LA Chargers. Advantage, Kansas City Chiefs.

The Raiders are such a mess right now, which is insane considering all the talent assembled on all sides of the ball. However, it is safe to say that significant changes are coming to Vegas next season. Next week, Las Vegas visits Cleveland. Advantage, Cleveland Browns (but I hope Vegas wins).

49ERS 26 — BENGALS 23

San Francisco is having a late-season surge, and they have a legit chance to make the playoffs, but injuries continue to haunt them. Next week, San Francisco hosts Atlanta. Advantage, San Francisco 49ers

The Bengals took this game into overtime but couldn’t hang on and neutralize Jimmy G from torching them in OT. As a result, Cincinnati has lost 2 games in a row, and they are at risk of falling out of the playoff race. Next week, Cincinnati visits Denver. Advantage, Denver Broncos.

BROWNS 24 — RAVENS 22

Cleveland caught a huge break when Lamar Jackson left the game injured. This win saved Cleveland’s season, and with 3 divisional games remaining, they could still win the AFC NORTH division. Next up, Cleveland hosts the Las Vegas Raiders. Advantage, Cleveland Browns.

The Ravens without Lamar Jackson are a completely different team, and their post-season hopes rest in Lamar’s health. Next up, Baltimore Host Green bay. Advantage, Green Bay Packers.

TITANS 20 — JAGUARS 9

ok, let’s not overreact here — Tennessee beat and shut out the worst team in the NFL. The score should have been higher. The Titans have 3 regular-season games in a row left in the schedule against playoff-contending teams, and by week 18, we will have a better idea of how good this Tennessee team is. Next week, Tennessee visits up and down Pittsburgh. Advantage, Tennessee Titans.

Urban Meyer sucks, simple as that. He has got to go, and Jacksonville needs to find a real NFL-caliber coach, not some College hack of a coach who never had any pro-football experience. I don’t care how much he won at the college level — the NFL is the big league, and not everyone is cut out to coach there. Next week, Jacksonville hosts Houston, another mess of a team. Advantage, Houston Texans.

SEAHAWKS 33 — TEXANS 13

Seattle is rebounding nicely after getting beat down by my Washington Football team on week 12 and have now put together 2 solid wins. At 5-8, Seattle is not entirely out of the wildcard race, but they will have to win out and get some help to grab a playoff spot. Next week, Seattle visits LA. Advantage, La Rams.

The Texans are just playing out the schedule, hoping to land a good draft spot for the 2022 NFL draft. A complete and deep rebuild is in order for Houston. Next week, Houston visits Jacksonville. Advantage, Houston Texans.

BUCCANEERS 33 — BILLS 27

Tom Brady still owns Buffalo. It got dicey in the 4th quarter for Tampa Bay as Buffalo tied the game and took them to overtime. But Brady threw a 58-yard pass to Breshad Perriman to seal the deal. Next up, Tampa Bay host New Orleans. Advantage, New Orleans Saints (they own Tom Brady during the regular season).

Tough loss for Buffalo; they needed this win badly to remain relevant in the AFC playoff hunt. The good thing is that 3 out of the 4 games remaining in the regular season schedule are against losing teams. Next up, Buffalo hosts Carolina. Advantage, Buffalo Bills.

PACKERS 45 — BEARS 30 

The Packers played from behind for most of this game, but once the 3rd quarter came around, Green Bay opened up a can of whoop-ass all over Chicago and never looked back. Next week, Green Bay visits Baltimore. Advantage, Green Bay packers. 

Chicago has to continue to build around Justin Fields; he can be both dynamic and mistake-prone, so adding better pieces to compliment him will be crucial for his development. Next week, Chicago hosts Minnesota on Monday Night football. Advantage, Minnesota Vikings.

SAINTS 30 — NY JETS 9

Field goals and rushing TDs were the keys to victory here for New Orleans. They ended their 5-game losing streak and, at 6-7, still have a chance to get into the playoffs. Next up, New Orleans visits their arch-rival Tampa Bay. Advantage, New Orleans Saints.

The NY Jets have been officially eliminated from playoff contention, and they can now just play out their schedule and look to build towards next season. I have a feeling the NY Jets will be much improved come 2022. Next up, NY visits Miami. Advantage, Miami Dolphins.

FALCONS 29 — PANTHERS 21

Atlanta has some fight still left in them, and as nuts, as it sounds, they are still alive in the NFC playoff race. Next week, Atlanta visits San Francisco, a massive game for both teams with playoff implications. Advantage, San Francisco 49ers.

The Panthers are a disaster under Matt Rhule, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a change is made at the end of the season. Cam Newton is not really the issue here; the firing of Offensive Coordinator Joe Brady was just an excuse but not the solution. Next week, Carolina visits Buffalo. Advantage, Buffalo Bills.

BRONCOS 28 — LIONS 10

Denver looked formidable, beating up on the 1 win Detroit Lions. The Broncos seemed inspired to win this game — I’m sure the sudden passing of Demaryius Thomas played a factor here. Next up, Denver hosts Cincinnati. Advantage, Cincinnati Bengals.

Even though they are not the worst team in the 2021 NFL season, Detroit will probably end up with the number 1 pick in the 2022 Draft. The Lions have building blocks available to improve in 2022. Next up, Detroit hosts Arizona. Advantage, Arizona Cardinals.

LA RAMS 30 — CARDINALS 23

This was a must-win for LA — The Rams delivered a dominant primetime performance on Monday Night Football. Matthew Stafford threw for 287 yards with 3 TDs and zero picks. Cooper Kupp had 13 catches for 12 yards and 1 TD — safe to say Kupp is the best wide receiver in the NFL this season. The Rams defense was exceptional, pressuring and keeping Kyler Murray at bay for most of the game. Next week, LA hosts Seattle. Advantage, LA Rams.

The Cardinals missed a huge opportunity to sweep LA, but no big deal, no reason to panic; at 10-3, Arizona is still one game away from clinching the NFC WEST. Next week, Arizona visits Detroit. Advantage, Arizona Cardinals.

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