My Favorite Song from La La Land

I pretty much planned on playing this on Monday morning as a tribute to La La Land winning best picture. But since the Academy went all politically correct and picked a movie which made Will and Jada Smith feel better after what they perceived as a snub last year–I’ll play it now. In retrospect what the academy should gave done was give Denzel Washington Best Actor and then gone ahead and given La La Land Best Picture. But there was the Trump world anger and Jada Smith so I’m assuming the Academy thought this the more prudent path. I hate to pile on Moonlight, but it’s the worst Best Picture winner in my lifetime.

Howard Stern pretty much sees it my way. Howard and I are pretty much seeing things the same of late. We both think Trump is a poser and Moonlight sucked. I wish I could do his show and plug my blog.

A Somewhat Big Game in OKC Tonight

I didn’t do a recap per se on the Sunday evening game as so much was going on in the world of movies. But I did watch the replay on Fox afterwards as OKC beat the New Orleans Pelicans by a 118-110 score in what was a fairly entertaining game to watch… if even on a delayed basis.

Victor Oladipo missed his second straight game, but it didn’t matter as Russell Westbrook was once again excellent and in this one as he got some substantial help from Steven Adams, Enes Kanter, Alex Abrines, and Andre Roberson.

But of course, when it mattered most in the fourth quarter it was Russell Westbrook leading his team and making the plays which cemented a much needed win for the Thunder as they improved to 34-25 on the season.

The play which will forever be remembered was the Westbrook dunk over Demarcus Cousins, the and one, the fouling out of Cousins, and in essence the dagger. A great play which in reality is a microcosm of Russell Westbrook’s season so far.

Enes Kanter was back to himself and scored 20 points off the bench which is what the Thunder need from Kanter on a regular basis. Steven Adams was solid. Alex Abrines kicked in some three point production once again and Andre Roberson was a perfect 3-3 from beyond the arc. By my count, Andre hasn’t missed a three point shot since the All-Star break.

The surging Utah Jazz come to Oklahoma City tonight as one of the hottest teams in the NBA, the No. 4 seed in the West, and the leader of the Northwest Division. The Thunder are in second place in the Northwest and three games behind the Jazz. It’s a big game for Oklahoma City if they want to win the division and aspire for a No. 4 seed in the West when all is said and done. I would think it will be a playoff-like setting tonight in the Peake, no doubt.

Utah, along with the Houston Rockets, has been one of the league’s most improved teams this season under coach Quinn Snyder. In essence, this game potentially will provide a two game swing in the standings as OKC will either be two or four games back when all is aid and done after tonight.

Should be a great game and one which might give us some markers on what the remainder of this Thunder season might have in store for us.

Oh, baby.

A Bad Night at the Oscars

Donald Trump might have had a deplorable smile on his face as he watched the ending of these Oscars and it wouldn’t be just for the reason of the confusion on the presentation of the Best Picture award. But more to the point, what we witnessed last night was political correctness to the ultimate degree claiming the Best Picture Award via the low budget film Moonlight.

Let me be clear before I go further, this was not a great year for movies. There was not one epic classic film in the mix. It was a field of flawed finalists—kind of like our recent election. Seems fitting, doesn’t it?

I saw Moonlight first on my list of Oscar finalist lists and it was completely and totally unimpressive. It was a depressing film about the plight of young black males in this country told through the voice of its main character—a young black male by the name of Sheron who is raised by his drug addicted mother. Granted—this film does give a hardcore realistic look at the black male situation as we see it in the politically charged year of 2017, but the story never moves, the writing is predictable, the performances were in no way inspiring or even overly interesting. When I walked out of the theatre I felt like I had wasted two hours of my life.

The main character Sheron isn’t all that compelling even though he’s both black and gay and turns out to be a drug dealer like his absent father. I couldn’t discover a silver lining message in the movie unless it’s that more black fathers throughout this country need to become responsible fathers or else the cycle of Sherons will continue to repeat itself regardless of what governmental programs are put in place. I hate to sound so callous, but as a country we’ve been having this national discussion since LBJ and nothing has really changed.

I in no way found this to be a story of self discovery or of one’s mission found in life, but rather a politically correct film which won the best picture award in the Year of Trump/Bannon. It just really wasn’t that good of a story and the writing at best was mediocre.

Over the years, I’ve seen some brilliant movies highlighting black actors with a black societal theme. This clearly is not in the club of these great movies. Sidney Poitier was exceptional in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and it rates in my top five movies of all-time. The epic film Twelve Years a Slave left me motionless in a theatre just several years ago. I literally sat in a darkened theatre with tears rolling off my face as the story and performances were of such strength.

The Color Purple was a magnificent movie. Forest Whitaker’s performance in The Last King of Scotland is one of the greatest performances I’ve ever seen in any movie. Likewise, Jamie Fox’s depiction of Ray Charles was simply brilliant. And who could ever forget the racially charged A Time to Kill as Jake Brigance saves Carl Hailey’s life with a closing summation for the ages. Unfortunately, there was nothing brilliant, magnificent, or even interesting in the movie Moonlight, but rather a win for political correctness.

A bad night for the Oscars.

Here’s a breakdown of the movie. Maybe this story should have been told under the genre of a documentary and it would have served a better purpose. Or maybe in book form with it being told as a journal in the first person narrative of Sheron it would come off better for me. But as a two hour feature film–not so much.

My Oscar Picks

I’m ready for my Oscar picks given the fact I’ve watched what I thought were the two best movies of the year in the past twenty-four hours. Given that this was not a great overall year for movies, I’m going with my sleeper underdog favorite as Best Picture of the Year, plus I’m pegging the performance by Jeff Bridges as my Best Actor of the Year. The movie is Hell or High Water and it had me from the opening scene to the classic ending scene.

Jeff Bridges was absolutely stunning portraying a Texas State Ranger who with his Hispanic partner are chasing two West Texas bank robbers on a robbing spree. If you haven’t seen it… it’s a must see with great writing, outstanding performances, uncanny direction, and a perfect ending which leaves you with a good feeling in your heart.

Getting the T-bone and baked potato scene. Classic.

My second favorite movie believe it or not was the musical love story…La La Land. Other than the cheesy opening scene, I genuinely enjoyed this movie. I thought Ryan Gossling and Emma Stone were both exceptional in a movie which in a way reminded me of The Fabulous Baker Boys. If not for Jeff Bridges’ performance, I’d be pegging Ryan Gossling for Best Actor. Emma Stone does get my nod for Best Actress though. A very good movie with an extremely interesting ending which would be a great date movie.

Rounding out my Top Five Pictures I’d go #3 Lion, #4 Fences, and #5 Manchester by the Sea. Lion was very good and a must see as well. Both Fences and Manchester had some great performances, but overall both movies kind of disappointed me. Watch at your own risk.

I know, I know….I’m not the Hollywood type. Just a dude in Oklahoma who didn’t get an official Oscar vote, and most of the experts say Hell or High Water doesn’t have a chance, but it’s my best picture of the year.

Thank you, Jeff Bridges. Bravo. You made my day, sir.

Pre Mood Music for the Oscar’s

They should all just get drunk, rap to this before the ceremony, and save themselves and all of us of from the anguish we know is going to be shared with the world on Sunday evening. But it’s not just Hollywood. It’s everywhere in this country. In every state, even the red ones. The disgust and utter embarrassment that this happened in this country isn’t just a Hollywood thing. It’s quite frankly a global thing because around the world we were always perceived as being the voice which stood against every thing this clown embraces. Now–we’re that polar opposite voice for the time being.

Move over, Meryl Streep. This is more to the point.

Thunder Cruise by Feeble Lakers to Begin Stretch Run

It was a fun night at Chesapeake Energy Arena as the OKC Thunder did pretty much what they wanted to with the abysmal Los Angeles Lakers enroute to a 110-93 cakewalk win. Russell Westbrook was sublime in registering his 28th triple double of the season, but this one was different. This one was a signature to the complete versatility Westbrook possesses as a player. It read… 17 points, 18 rebounds, and 17 assists and the ability to do whatever he wanted to do on this particular night whenever he wanted to do it. It was vintage Westbrook as he dueled Oscar Robertson from the past and James Harden in the present for a season of basketball immortality of sorts.

OKC’s two new additions–Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott played and had some positive moments which give some hope for the remaining 24 regular season games and beyond.

But the storylines on this night beyond Westbrook were the utterly fabulous nights both Alex Abrines and Andre Roberson had on the same night. Abrines got the first start of his NBA career when it was decided Victor Oladipo couldn’t play because of back spasms…really. Does anyone think Russell Westbrook would miss a game due to a back spasm? Not.

Anyway, Abrines started and didn’t disappoint as he scored 19 points and was a key 5-11 shooting threes. This is what OKC has been craving from Abrines and on this night the rookie delivered the goods as his points created the space which made this an easy win for the Thunder.

Usually shooting challenged Andre Roberson was even better as he scored a career high 19 points on a 8-9, 3-3 shooting night and made Sam Presti extremely grateful his didn’t trade Roberson on the trade deadline. It was a nice evening for Roberson who genuinely seems like a great young man who just usually can’t make baskets–otherwise he’s a very nice player.

Steven Adams had a solid game. Domas Sabonis had a nice second half after struggling in the first half and showed some confidence in his game which had been lacking of late. Good for him and Abrines as it was White Euro Night in OKC. If only Steven Bannon had been sitting next to Clay Bennett and the crowd could have thrown shit at Draymond Green it would have been the perfect touch in New Confederacy outlier Oklahoma City.

Enes Kanter played his first game since breaking his own arm on a chair and pretty much looked like a player who’s going to need a few games rounding back into game time playing shape as he went 2-12 and didn’t seem to have his legs or his timing. But still, it’s nice to have him back spear heading the bench unit.

OKC improves to 33-25 and is now only a half game back of the Memphis Grizzlies for 6th place and three games back of the Utah Jazz for 4th place in the West.

All in all, it was a very positive night for the Thunder as with their new roster they started the task of overhauling the Utah Jazz for the 4th seed in the West and white supremacy in the NBA’s Northwest Division with twenty-four games left in the regular season.

The New Orleans Pelicans are in town on Sunday night with their new star DeMarcus Cousins making his OKC debut wearing a Pelicans jersey. It’s a home game OKC needs to win as they host the Utah Jazz on Tuesday in what is suddenly a big game for the Thunder.

Boehner on the Republican Healthcare Plan

I want to take a break from Trump for a bit because in reality what’s getting ready to happen isn’t a Dem vs. the Trump thing, but more of the status quo of the GOP trying to come to terms with Trump on health care, the tax reform bill, the cost to build the wall, infrastructure, Russia/ Putin, free trade vs. protectionism, and other matters. The Dems have no say in this. They simply don’t have the votes. So what we’re getting ready to see is if the Republican party within itself can agree on something other than just voting ‘no’.

I think it’s pretty much pointless to be frothing at the mouth just about now. Instead, I’d take a step back, keep close notes, and see if the Republican party can be a party of governance instead of one which just panders to crony capitalism. If you were paying attention between 2001-2009, you might have a good idea where this is probably headed. But again, beating your head against a wall isn’t going to do any good. If all these people marching and venting at town hall meetings had simply voted we wouldn’t be having this national meltdown right down.

Read, keep notes, observe, quit getting your news off social media—and above all cast a vote nurtured with knowledge.

So–here’s former GOP Speaker of the House John Boehner talking healthcare reform circa February 23, 2017.

This is great and me laugh amidst Rome burning in the throes of ‘deconstruction’.

Thunder Land Gibson, McDermott from the Bulls

I’d say a pretty good day for the Thunder because they made their team better in two specific areas. In Taj Gibson, they added a physical forward who can score, rebound, defend–and add some much needed toughness on this basketball team. Suffice it to say, the days of somebody like ZaZa Pachulia cheap shotting Russell Westbrook are done. I would assume Billy Donovan will start Gibson and move Sabonis to the bench unit. By putting Adams and Gibson together–OKC will have a very formidable, physical combo who won’t be taking shit from anybody. Adams, Gibson, Kanter, Sabonis, and Collison give the Thunder an excellent group of big men. But again, Gibson gives this team some needed vet toughness on both ends of the floor. By far, Gibson is the best player of the five players involved in the trade between the Thunder and Bulls.

OKC also landed Doug McDermott and a second round pick. In McDermott, the Thunder will add another pure scorer and an excellent three point shooter. McDermott’s role is simple, give Russell Westbrook someone he can kick the ball to and score the ball. McDermott and Alex Abrines now give the Thunder two bona fide three point shooters who combined need to start making around six threes a game for the Thunder to elevate their overall offensive game.

Leaving the Thunder are Cam Payne, Anthony Morrow, and Joff Lauvergne. Payne struggled mightily this season and quite honestly was borderline unplayable at times. Maybe he can find himself in Chicago. Morrow will leave as an extremely popular player, but this was his last year under contract so it’s not a shock he’s leaving. Lauvergne had some nice games, but just basically becomes expendable with Gibson and Enes Kanter soon to rejoin the team.

A good day for Sam Presti. He did two things which should make this team better immediately and give Westbrook some much needed help.

NBA Trade Deadline Today

The NBA trade deadline is upon us today and I hope Sam Presti has some sort of nuance trade planned to get Russell Westbrook some help this season on the offensive end of the floor. Taj Gibson’s name is coming up a bit with —so we’ll have to see how that might play out. Russell Westbrook needs some help, and I would assume Russell and his agent want to see a sign that Sam Presti is serious about making this a better ball club heading into the stretch run and into this summer’s draft in which OKC still has their first round pick.

We’ll just have to see if Presti can get something of value for either Roberson, Payne, or Kanter. As bad as OKC’s three point shooting has been, I’d think Abrines and Anthony Morrow are staying put. I’m not sure if Kyle Singler or Josh Huestis are even tradeable. And, of course, Nick Collison is absolute royalty and none of us would ever want Nick to be traded unless he requested it.

I’m not a trade guru at all, but the trade I’d love to see is Kanter going to the Milwaukee Bucks for Khris Middleton. The spelling is correct with the K btw.