Let me first start off by saying, “I’m only writing this article so I don’t get fined.”
With the culmination of the 2014 National Football League season just days away, the typical frenzy that happens in the days prior to the Super Bowl has been tempered somewhat in St. Louis. Given that the teams playing in Super Bowl XLIX make up 2/3 of a Rams fan’s evil triumvirate (with San Francisco being the missing member), it has been hard to find too much excitement from locals I have talked to. It also seems that most of the media hasn’t been as focused on the game, but instead on the controversy attached to the game. A quick Google search reveals over 17 million hits for “Deflategate”; even St. Louis Blues’ Vladimir Tarasenko, Brett Hull and Kelly Chase have teamed up with McBride and Sons to make a Defategate commercial (which is scheduled to air during the Super Bowl). The only brief reprieve from Deflategate was the Media Day appearance by Marshawn Lynch, who responded to every question asked (a total of 29 times): “I’m just here so I won’t get fined.” (Is it too late to trademark that and start selling t-shirts?) Ironically enough, Lynch, will still likely get fined for his appearance because he was wearing attire that was not approved by the NFL.
With all the distractions prior to the Super Bowl, many fans have not had a chance to consider how the teams stack up against one another. So here is some analysis that will hopefully give you some things to watch for on Sunday evening – in between all those much anticipated commercials, of course.
Super Bowl XLIX pits two well matched teams against each other as the defending Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks take on perennial Super Bowl contender New England Patriots. This is the 11th time since 1975 where the top seeds from each conference will play for the Lombardi Trophy (the NFC is 8-2 in the previous 10 match-ups, including last year’s Super Bowl, with Seattle defeating the Denver Broncos). Seattle is making their second straight Super Bowl appearance, and third overall (losing to Pittsburgh 21-10 in Super Bowl XL) while New England is appearing in their 8th, six of which have occurred since 2002 when the Patriots shocked the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI. Seattle comes into the game as the NFL’s best defense, ranking 1st in yards against per game, pass yards against, and points allowed, while sitting at 3rd in rushing yards against. They also have the top rushing attack in football, leading the league in total yards (2762), yards per attempt (5.3), and rushing touchdowns (20). But New England is no slouch either, with an offense that generated the 4th most points in the NFL this year (468) and the league’s 9th best passing attack. The New England defense ranks 8th in points allowed and is 9th against the run. New England’s turnover ratio (+12) is also 2nd best in the league. Both teams routinely get after the opposing quarterback, with Seattle creating QB pressure on 37.2% of passing plays, and New England right behind them, with 35.2%. (Note: QB pressure is defined as sacks, hits, or hurries on a quarterback according to Pro Football Focus).
The long missing Thom West joins us in the War Room this week for a dissection of The Boy Next Door, starring Jennifer Lopez and her cookies. Her sweet, sweet cookies. Unfortunately, Thom got the nod a little late so he was unable to catch the flick but he does his best to keep up.
We also discuss the floundering career of Johnny Depp and is the mantel of creepy in danger of passing from Joe to another cast member? Listen and all will be revealed.
It’s Reel Spoilers #79 – The Boy Next Door.
You’ve been warned.
Starring: Tom O’Keefe, Thom West, Joe Buttice, Kevin Brackett
Run-time: 1hr 31min
Originally written for the 1957 television broadcast starring Julie Andrews, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella finally made it’s Broadway debut in 2013. With a new book by Douglas Carter Beane, the classic tale gets some new updates – but still captures the magic of the story we know and love. The show is now playing at the Fabulous Fox Theatre in St. Louis through February 1.
Returning from her leading role on Broadway is Paige Faure as Ella, with the look and cadence that would have you thinking she really is Cinderella in real life. Although some details have changed, the story is still close to the one we know and love. Ella lives with her wicked stepmother (Beth Glover) and stepsisters: Charlotte (Aymee Garcia) and Gabrielle (Kaitlyn Davidson) – although the latter is much nicer to Ella than we’ve grown accustomed to. Right at the start, Ella has a meet-cute with Prince Topher (Andy Jones) as he rides through town. It is there we are also introduced to her friends Jean-Michel (David Andino), a zany revolutionary, and Marie (Kecia Lewis) – a crazy old woman who we later learn has more up her sleeve than meets the eye. Topher’s adviser Lord Chancellor Sebastian (Blake Hammond) convinces the prince that it is time to marry – and what better way to find a bride than to throw a magnificent ball? It’s all fairy godmothers and magical transformations from then on, as the classic tale comes to life.
The show consists of many of the musical numbers from the original 1957 production, as well as some additional songs from the Rodgers + Hammerstein catalog – cut from shows like South Pacific, Me and Juliet. The number “There’s Music in You” was added from the 1997 television version that starred Brandy, which actually came from the 1957 film Main Street to Broadway – where Rodgers and Hammerstein can be seen performing it. CINDERELLA is full of great music and performances, sure to have audiences mesmerized when combined with the direction of Mark Brokaw (The Lyons, After Miss Julie, The Constant Wife, Reckless, Cry-Baby) and choreography of Josh Rhodes (Company, The Film, Three Generations at the Kennedy Center, Sondheim: the Birthday Concert).
Enter for your chance to receive a pass for two to a special advance screening!
Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) was born under a night sky, with signs predicting that she was destined for great things. Now grown, Jupiter dreams of the stars but wakes up to the cold reality of a job cleaning other people’s houses and an endless run of bad breaks. Only when Caine (Channing Tatum), a genetically engineered ex-military hunter, arrives on Earth to track her down does Jupiter begin to glimpse the fate that has been waiting for her all along—her genetic signature marks her as next in line for an extraordinary inheritance that could alter the balance of the cosmos.
Cast: Channing Tatum, Mila Kunis, Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne, Douglas Booth
Director: Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski
For episode 78 we set our sights (get it?) on American Sniper. Clint Eastwood returns to the director’s chair (and we all know how much he loves chairs) to give us the story of the deadliest sniper in military history. But the real question is…can we make it through such a sensitive topic without saying something horribly offensive? Only time will tell.
Also, the return of Dan means we get a Video Recovery. So there’s that.
It’s Reel Spoilers #78 – American Sniper.
You’ve been warned.
Starring: Tom O’Keefe, Dan Graney, Joe Buttice, Kevin Brackett
Run-time: 1hr 26min