The National Football League rules America. It’s the most popular sport in the United States. Grown men don the jersey of their favorite team every Sunday for 16 or more weeks, in hopes of them reaching the Super Bowl. While Kevin Costner’s latest film, Draft Day, isn’t the Super Bowl of sports movies, it’s pretty damn good.
Costner plays Sonny Weaver Jr., general manager of the Cleveland Browns. Weaver is a month removed from the death of his father, who was a legendary coach of the Browns. To make matters worse, Brown’s mother, played to perfection by Ellen Burstyn, resents the fact that Weaver had to fire his father, in a move that was best for the team. Costner’s romantic interest in the film is played by Jennifer Garner, a numbers crunching, front office executive for the Browns. Weaver must not only deal with his mother’s issues, but the issues of having the #1 draft pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. His Browns are on the clock and it’s a choice that will not only decide the fate of a team, but the city of Cleveland, as well as Weaver’s future as general manager.
I’m a sucker for a good mind-bender of a movie, and Oculus delivered in that department. Mike Flanagan’s low-budget horror film keeps viewers on the edge of their seats, despite a bit of a slow start.
The story centers around Tim (Brenton Thwaites) and Kaylie (Karen Gillan), two siblings who were witness to some pretty horrible actions by their father onto their mother 11 years earlier. It all started when their father put a mirror in his office. As the film goes on, we find out that the mirror has quite the horrid past, and can play some pretty tricky mind games on the owners of it. Tim was convicted as a child of killing his father and sent to a mental institution. Now 21 and cured, Tim is released and met by Kaylie, who has some plans up her sleeve to destroy the mirror that destroyed her family more than a decade earlier. What ensues is mind bending images, frightening images, and a butt load of suspense.
While watching the film, I found myself thinking back to Insidious, which was a big hit a few years back. Both films had a low-budget, relatively unknown cast, a relatively unknown director, and an original premise. Insidious worked so well that it spawned a sequel. While it’s unknown if Oculus will get the green light for a sequel, the door is definitely left open for one.
This shocking news comes just one day after Warrior, born Jim Brian Hellwig, was seen on WWE TV’s Monday Night Raw. Warrior had been inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on Saturday night. The Warrior speech at the Hall of Fame was seen as vindication by many wrestling fans, as Warrior had a tumultuous relationship with the WWE following his departure from the company in the 1996. Warrior and the company spent years embroiled in lawsuits following a DVD titled “Self-Destruction” portrayed the Warrior as an ego-maniac. Hellwig legally adopted the name Warrior in the late 90s, and spoke of embodying a warrior-like lifestyle of pushing his body to the limit. Warrior frequently spoke out against drug usage, referring to several past wrestler as weak-minded due to their abuse of substances.
WrestleMania weekend was everything I thought it would be. Fun, entertaining, and one hell of a long drive!
I embarked on the journey to New Orleans with three friends. We left Thursday night, stopped in Tunica, which was not a good idea. The slot machines did not treat me well, however, the rest of the weekend would prove to be much better. After a night in Tunica, we finished the drive to New Orleans on Friday. Once we arrived, we checked into our hotel, a La Quinta Inn, about 3 miles from downtown New Orleans. Once we got situated, we took a cab to the French Quarter. Having never been to New Orleans before, I was quite shocked at how big of a party Bourbon Street actually was. Bars lined the street for blocks, along with strip clubs and souvenir shops. Chants of “Yes, Yes, Yes” were heard frequently throughout the evening. It was pretty cool to see so many wrestling fans from literally all over the world. I spoke with people from all over the world, ranging from Houston, Texas to Scotland. The WWE is really a global phenomenon.After drinking the night away, Saturday morning came way to early. I got up early that morning to go the meet and greet of my childhood hero, Hulk Hogan. He was signing autographs and posing for pictures at the WrestleMania Axxess event at the very large New Orleans Convention Center. Due to begin at 8 A.M., Hogan actually arrived about 15 minutes early. After about a 20 minute wait, I got the chance I have been waiting 25 years for.
Hogan greeted me with a handshake and of course “Brother!” He signed my WWE title belt and we posed for a picture. Yes, I do believe we had a moment. After that brief, but most important encounter, I was off to find my friends and head for Wrestlecon.
With WrestleMania 30 less than a week away, it’s time to look at the state of the WWE heading into the SuperBowl of wrestling.
If Monday night’s Raw was any indication, WWE has done a fine job hyping 3 of the 8 scheduled matches. Unfortunately, that leaves 5 that may bore viewers.
The biggest disappointment this Mania season has to be the Undertake and Brock Lesnar feud. Quite frankly, it’s boring. Lesnar has no momentum behind him, and the Undertake looks old and brittle. To think that 2 or 3 years ago, this match could have been a hot ticket, is a shame. There isn’t anyone on the planet who thinks Lesnar will beat Taker. Why should they? Lesnar hasn’t shown himself as a legit threat to the streak. The only way he could get anything over on the Dead Man was by a sneak attack. I’m holding out hope that this is a brutal and physical match, but I will not be surprised if it’s a stinker.
Does anyone really care about the 30-man Battle Royal? It seems like it’s just filler to get guys into WrestleMania and earn a pay day. Stale characters like Big E and Alberto Del Rio can try as hard as they want to put on a solid match on Raw, but nothing matters unless their characters change. I look for a few surprises in the Battle Royal, but it will ultimately be a snooze-fest.