Welcome back, Bro Jackson listeners. This week I sat down with one of our basketball connoisseurs and die-hard Knicks fan Jared Mintz, to talk about Phil Jackson, the hapless Knicks, and even a little Lakers talk. Hope you enjoy.
Welcome back, Bro Jackson listeners. This week I sat down with one of our basketball connoisseurs and die-hard Knicks fan Jared Mintz, to talk about Phil Jackson, the hapless Knicks, and even a little Lakers talk. Hope you enjoy.
Oh boy, party planner. You COMPLETELY forgot to plan this week’s party and it’s coming up TONIGHT. If you’re going to plan this party right, you have a what? A NEED FOR SPEED. See what I did there? Let’s plan this.
Video Game – Create a selection of game meats, the wilder the better
Speedish Meatpauls – Tiny chunks of ground beef, chosen quickly and consumed in a flash
Dominic Souper – Spicy and chunky, and all souped up
Tobey Beef - High quality steak that tastes like revenge
The Prawnarch – a super intelligent shrimp
Dominic Grouper – Prepare this fish by frying it on the hood of a car
Imogen Fruits – For dessert, try this unnecessary token British dish
Drink once anytime any of the following things happen:
SOCIAL: When Aaron Paul inevitably calls someone “bitch,” everyone drinks for 10 seconds
On Wednesday evening, my life took a turn for the better. The seemingly year-long rumors that Phil Jackson had a deal in place to become the President of the New York Knicks came to fruition.
Since last Friday, the Knicks fanbase has been on the fence about this idea. Not exactly 50/50, but a large portion thinks this is amazing for the Knicks because of Jackson’s successful career as an NBA head coach, and a large portion thinks this is a money grab for the 13-time NBA champion, and that his ego will not mesh with owner James Dolan’s despite rumors that Dolan is willing to fork over autonomy of power to Jackson.
I don’t want to waste much time on details, but here’s what we know about Jackson: He was the coach of the Chicago Bulls in the 90′s when they won six championships built around Michael Jordan. He was also the coach of the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2000′s when they won three rings with Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant, and then another two built around Bryant and Pau Gasol. His longtime girlfriend, Jeannie Buss, is one of the presidents of the Lakers organization, and is the daughter of long-time Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss.
Since her father passed down ownership to son Jim, Jackson’s relationship with the organization has been rocky, despite rumors that he’s wanted to return in some capacity. So there was the “is Phil using the Knicks for leverage against the Lakers?” angle to this, which as a Knicks fan, I’m choosing to ignore here.
Anyway, Jackson’s apparently been itching to get back into the NBA – whether it’s for the money, the return to the spotlight, or because he thoroughly enjoys teaching the game of basketball/life–and even served as a consultant for the Detroit Pistons last summer. Jackson vouched for Maurice Cheeks to be hired as the Pistons coach, and Cheeks was fired 50 games into the season. So maybe his consultant career got off to a bad start.
Now here’s what we know about the Knicks: They’re terrible and are in desperate need of a savior. Their owner can’t get out of his own way and has put trust in the wrong people since taking the club over in 1999. The team has lost over 100 games more than they’ve won in this span, as they’ve watched basketball minds like Tom Thibodeau, Jeff Van Gundy, and Steve Clifford leave the organization to win elsewhere.
They’ve also been in win-now mode for seemingly the better part of the last decade, but with Carmelo Anthony–unquestionably the best player and biggest star the team has had since Patrick Ewing–set to opt out of his contract this summer, it looks like they may be forced to finally rebuild.
This is one of the biggest reasons that Jackson is being brought in. The Knicks don’t do “rebuild.”
Jackson is being brought in to keep Anthony happy, to show the fans that the owner who is constantly labeled as meddling–proof is in the pudding, sorry JD–wants to win, and to rub some of that championship magic on an organization that hasn’t seen a championship in 41 years and counting.
Now I understand why some Knicks fans are concerned that Jackson doesn’t have any front office experience, it’s going to be a lot of work to improve this roster and maybe that’s not the best opportunity for a first time personnel decision maker. But I’m looking at it differently.
I don’t think Jackson’s going to be making all of the decisions that NBA GM’s make, I think he’s going to do the thing that the organization needs the most, keep the owner’s ego in check.
Jackson’s biggest strength is personality management. Although Jordan, Shaq and Kobe are undoubtedly all-time greats, they were players who didn’t win before they worked with Jackson. Yes the implementation of the triangle offense and the ability to add the right pieces around the franchise players made a big difference on both teams Jackson coached to championships, but the ability to keep these star players focused, and to get them on the same page is Jackson’s lasting impact on the NBA.
Of course the Knicks don’t have those problems, which isn’t to say they’re an ego free club, but they don’t have championship level talent. They do however, have a ton of cap space coming to them over the next few seasons, and the biggest reason to not come to the Knicks has been that they’re terribly run from an organizational standpoint.
LeBron James wanted to go to Miami to be a part of Pat Riley’s vision. Veterans want to go to San Antonio to play for a winner. The last few years have made it seem like the only reasons to go to the Knicks have been the limelight and the business/social opportunities.
Jackson changes this immediately by being the person in power, not Dolan.
And that’s another thing: I keep reading about Jackson’s ability to manage egos but have seen nothing about the biggest ego on the team, Dolan. I think that the true measure of Jackson’s success will be how he manages Dolan and his impulses. I don’t know that he’ll be able to, not even Donnie Walsh was able to, but his track record has to make Knicks fans confident that he can get through to the most hard-headed personalities in basketball. Why can’t he help Dolan turn this ship around?
And if he can’t, what’s the worst thing that’ll happen? He’ll leave at the first chance he can for a gig in L.A., and MAYBE he’ll write a book telling us something we didn’t know about how backwards Dolan runs his toy basketball team.
The alternative to that is that Dolan kicked CAA to the curb and decided to confide in someone else. Jackson could once again emerge as a successful basketball mind and help return the Knicks to glory, and continue to build on an incredible legacy.
Or Knicks fans are granted short term happiness by being sold an idea of someone who can do a job that they’re not cut out to do, and the team continues to stink. At least Dolan tried something different, right?
If you’re a Knicks fan I don’t understand why you have any problem with this. The money spent on Jackson doesn’t impact the cap, they currently have a business operations guy running their talent operations, and Jackson has been the single most successful person from a winning standpoint in the NBA over the last three decades. Who cares how Dolan is portrayed, period. If you’re a Knicks fan you should care about one thing and one thing only, and that’s long-term success.
Who better to lead that charge than Jackson?
I think Jackson has enough connections around the league and is enough of a visionary that he should be able to fill the front office with other great basketball minds. I keep hearing Steve Kerr’s name in reference to the Knicks coaching job but what if Kerr winds up becoming the GM?
Howard Beck sort of stole my thunder by dropping a great article while I was putting mine together. He shares my way of thinking towards this situation and made a great point:
“The sharpest basketball minds find a way to channel their genius in whatever role they find. And Jackson is not seeking a traditional daily general manager job.”
I understand the concern that he wouldn’t make a great GM, especially not if he’s not going to be around the organization on a daily basis, but I can’t think of anyone other than Jerry West off the top of my head that I would rather have mentoring and guiding my basketball organization.
Jackson knows how to win, and he knows how to lead. Those are two staples that have been blatantly missing from the Knicks front office for far too long.
Bro Jackson’s resident literary expert counts down his personal Top 100 list of greatest books. He’s not even including Dr. Seuss. Check out No. 100 here, No. 99 here, No. 98 here, No. 97 here, No. 96 here, No. 95 here, No. 94 here, No. 93 here, No. 92 here, No. 91 here, and No. 90 here.
The British have a special sense of humor. Anyone who has ever watched Monty Python can attest to this. It’s this twisted, tongue-in-cheek, acerbic satire. They did this in comedies like “Blackadder,” where they tackled sex and sophomoric humor byway of Dr. Johnson; in “Keeping Up Appearances,” where they investigated the dullness of domesticity; and in “Fawlty Towers,” where racism is somehow a ball of beautiful puns.
The delivery and even the language is nuanced and perhaps there’s something to that Jerry Seinfeld American Express commercial. A person simply needs to be privy to the lingo and they’re in on the jokes.
But perhaps that’s not true, because when I read Kingsley Amis’ novel “Lucky Jim” the laughs came in bunches like Dirk Diggler after a dinner of celery stalks. 1 And I’m not some British arsehole in the least.
The Guardian points out that ”None of his novels look particularly kindly upon his fellow man, but “Lucky Jim,” his first, is driven by a particularly epic disdain for the idiocies, pedantries, mindless rules, and unpleasant personal habits with which humanity is cursed.”
“Lucky Jim” falls into the genre of “campus novels,” which I didn’t even realize was a thing until I started researching this article. Jim Dixon is a medieval history professor, lured into the profession because he dubbed it the simplest way to become a professor. He spends his time scratching his way to mid-level and encouraging young girls to take his classes. Fearful of losing his tenure and wanting to secure his position in London society, he happens upon a series of funny interactions with the pedants around him.
Dixon is courting a young lady, Margaret Peel, who is coming off a failed suicide attempt and is forcing Dixon to be celibate. The crux of the novel occurs at a weekend retreat at the home of his superior’s home, Professor Welch. Dixon sees it as a way to impress and advance his career. When he gets soused and goes Keith Moon on the extra bedroom, hijinks ensue. It is here, too, that Dixon meets Christine Callaghan, a young Londoner and girlfriend of Professor Welch’s son, Bertrand. The novel leads up to Dixon’s speech on “Merrie England,” that “essential Englishness” perhaps best found in not just this novel but the comedies I mentioned above. Of course before the speech Dixon tips back a little booze to relax himself and though alcohol seems to be the impetus for all of his troubles, it makes it no less entertaining.
“How wrong people always were when they said: ‘It’s better to know the worst than go on not knowing either way.’ No; they had it exactly the wrong way round. Tell me the truth, doctor, I’d sooner know. But only if the truth is what I want to hear.”
It is this repetition that makes the humor all the more cutting. Like a Coen Brothers movie, Amis seems to punch the horse until it is dead and when it’s good and dead, he takes a shovel to its head. The characters along the way are somewhat stereotypical, for Welch is an absent-minded pedantic dickhead who is a monster for not realizing his faults—in other words, every professor I had at college in the English literature department. But it’s the writing and comedy which carry this novel and the reason it stands out in my mind.
“It’s odd, and useful, to remember that when he was writing ‘Lucky Jim,’ Amis was not yet completely through with the Communist Party. Yet one sees also the first symptoms of his famous turn toward the conservative world view. He shows a fine disdain for the new college system, where, as one of his more sympathetic characters puts it, ‘All right, we’ll lower the pass mark to twenty percent and give you the quantity you want, but for God’s sake don’t start complaining in two years’ time that your schools are full of teachers who couldn’t pass the General Certificate themselves, let alone teach anyone else to pass it.’” — From Christopher Hitchens’ review in The Atlantic.
As Hitchens wrote, “If you can picture Bertie or Jeeves being capable of actual malice, and simultaneously imagine Evelyn Waugh forgetting about original sin, you have the combination of innocence and experience that makes this short romp so imperishable.”
I think “short romp” sums up this novel perfectly. It’s a satire in its own way, but stripped down its little more than a comedic novel. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Too often critics get tied down with terms instead of enjoying a book for what it is. Amis is masterful in this work and “Waugh forgetting about original sin” should also be lauded for a perfect descriptor. Amis’ humor—or humour—is straight forward, a jab right to your gob, whereas Waugh seems to approach his readers quietly, subtly. Having just finished “Handful of Dust,” which I’ll probably talk about briefly this Monday, Waugh is fresh on my mind.
When considering comic novels, the conversation is incomplete unless we examine guys like Mark Twain, Joseph Heller, and Kurt Vonnegut. I recognize the fact that all of these guys are my favorites and several of their books will appear in this worthless list. And I feel comfortable with linking Amis in among them and as him being the first to appear here on the countdown.
His son, Martin Amis, has made a career out of the same sort of satirizing style. I have little experience outside of “Lucky Jim” with the Amis family, but it seems like a good jumping off point. And if you’re still not convinced that this book is worth reading, at least remember that he wrote one of the best descriptions of a hangover ever:
“A dusty thudding in his head made the scene before him beat like a pulse. His mouth had been used as a latrine by some small creature of the night, and then as its mausoleum. During the night, too, he’d somehow been on a cross-country run and then been expertly beaten up by secret police. He felt bad.”
You did it. You finally got that cute girl over to your house for a movie date. You cleaned your bathroom, you lit that one candle that you have, and you bought a nice bottle of wine. The stage is set for a date that is sure to be the beginning of a beautiful relationship. You settle in, turn the movie on, and wait for the perfect moment to swing an arm around her shoulders and let her breathe in that sweet Old Spice musk, and then?
A scene of explicit sexual content which may or may not include violence fills the screen, and both of you are so uncomfortable that you barely talk to each other, nevermind touch.
Sadly, this happens all too often – it’s hard to tell what movies are okay for the first couple dates and which you should save till you’re past the “nice underwear” point of a relationship. While everyone’s mileage varies, there are some movies you should definitely stay away from if you are in the initial blossom of a relationship.
I have a few suggestions, as well as alternatives that will surely get her to stick around long enough to at least use your bathroom before she leaves.
Oh, look, this is recently available on Netflix and features Ryan Gosling. Ladies Love Cool Gosling, right? There was a whole meme inventing a personality about how great and cool he is to ladies. This is foolproof! Wrong. Despite the appeal of lingering shots of The Gos, it’s hard to bounce back from a movie that opens with many, many, manymanymany murdered prostitutes. Sure, I feel confident that The Gos will ultimately prevail and stare stoically into the distance, but in the meantime, I am incredibly uncomfortable and probably won’t want to have physical contact with you.
“Drive” While equally brutal, its violence isn’t so fueled by revenge on underage hookers. It’s also equally as beautiful but infinitely more tender. Or you can just seal the deal and go full “Notebook,” but honestly, sometimes? Women see right through that.
This will be a lark. We’ll watch this silly sex romp about craaaaaazy showgirls and laugh and laugh. We’ll just mock how awful and stilted the acting is and not consider this movie a commentary on sex as a commodity and a weapon. It’s not going to be awkward at all when we watch Jessie from “Saved by the Bell” grind a dude to climax. This was really fun. Really. It didn’t make me think you wanted to watch mainstream porn in front of me. At. All.
“The Room.” We’re pretty sure it’s okay to laugh at that, right?
Cool movie if you want to talk about all your ice pick fantasies and/or crotch shots and/or use this as a mainstream segue to figure out if she might be into adding another lady to the equation. Probably not so cool if you don’t want to both start thinking about whether or not there’s an ice pick in the apartment and what either of you plan to do with it (and adding another lady to the equation, which she will not be into until LONG after she stops wearing “nice underwear”).
Hey, “Hunger Games: Catching Fire” just came out on DVD/OnDemand.
Hey! Spike Lee made a new version of the South Korean “Oldboy” with Josh Brolin? Dope. Josh Brolin is sure to impress your date–you can casually mention that you’d really like to see “Labor Day” eventually too when it comes out on Netflix or RedBox or something because you’re sensitive and agoraphobic Kate Winslet is the best kind of Kate Winslet. But in the meantime, why not watch new “Oldboy”? What could go wrong with a harrowing tale of a man held hostage for years who turns into killing-people-with-a-hammer machine? Probably just the fact that he ends up doing something so horrifying, YOU WILL NOT RECOVER FROM IT. Just trust me on this one, bros. Unless you want your date to freak out and request a DNA test before going on another date, just steer clear.
“Goonies.” Undeniably Brolin’s best work. Unless you feel like watching “True Grit.” Just watch “Goonies.”
Though not many people may have seen this one, let me recommend it for a night when you feel like watching a movie on your own. It has all the elements to impress a lady: a foreign film! Antonio Banderas! Elements of societal dissatisfaction with the female form driving men to play God via plastic surgery! We could talk about this for hours! We could, but I don’t want to watch it with a dude I might like. 1 Without spoiling the plot twist (because it’s an interesting movie and you should probably watch it. On your own.) , I’ll just let you know that there’s rape–and that makes the consensual sex even more awful to watch. Not something to pick if you want to, you know, make a woman feel safe around you.
“Puss in Boots.” Have you SEEN IT? It is SO CUTE. Yeah, it drags a little bit for a short animated movie, but it’s REALLY CUTE. Especially the one cat that is like, “OOooooooooooooOOOOO” all the time. Hey, save your heavy conversations about the implications of men controlling women’s bodies through plastic surgery for your third date.
This is an undeniably excellent film, but there is a right time and a right place for it and an early date is the wrong place and the wrong time. Plus, there is no way you’re going to feel like a star … like a big bright shining star … if you have to sit next to a new lady friend while watching it.
“The Hours.” Celebrate the agency of women and impress her to no end by sitting through this full movie without making a single snide comment.
It’s a safe bet to assume a movie that kicks off with a graphic sex scene intercut with a baby falling to his death isn’t going to really make a girl feel warm and fuzzy, but somehow, “Antichrist” only seems to get worse from there. Unless you’re trying to feel out a mate with literal ball-crushing potential, save this for your own time.
A good rule to always remember when picking a date movie is: a girl typically 2 won’t want to make out with you if she feels nauseous. And sewing someone’s mouth to their active anus always makes me nauseous.
“Young Frankenstein.” The quintessential mad scientist movie.
WHY ARE YOU WATCHING THIS ON A DATE? DON’T YOU KNOW THE CENTRAL CONFLICT IS A GANG RAPE? WHAT ARE YOU DOING? THERE IS NOTHING THAT WILL MAKE THIS A COMFORTABLE VIEWING EXPERIENCE.
Oh my God, literally anything else. Watch “Deliverance.” Take that back. Don’t watch “Human Centipede.”
The beginning of the Andy Lau vehicle “Firestorm” makes a bid for action movie immortality. It opens with a couple of men being released from prison then picks up with an armored car heist in which a vehicle is suspended from a crane. The villains, a ruthless bunch with a penchant for large scale firefights out in the open, are intercepted by a group of cops led by Inspector Liu (Lau) who pursues them through a car chase and then into a building where his judo skills and other talents as a policeman are put on display. Liu is a disciplined, by the book cop, he is well groomed, reactionary and a gifted practitioner of judo. Think Jason Bourne as a cop. Lau also brings a natural swagger and ease to the role, owning the character immediately.
But as perfect as Lau is in the role, and I admire the aplomb with which he throws himself into the job with every subsequent action scene, the film has a few moments of desperation that do irreparable damage for me as a viewer.
After consistently failing to capture the robbers despite having moles infiltrate the gang and plant evidence, Liu steps over the line to cover up his dirty dealings. However, it feels like such an unnecessarily malicious turn for Liu that it’s unbelievable. It negates the ability to root for a character that I once believed to be unflappable and principled. It’s not the character can’t have this sort of turn, but the film doesn’t even seem to believe in it (it even offers up a course correction and then doesn’t take advantage of it). I’m frustrated by the decision to double down.
On top of this error in storytelling judgement, the film is slower than it should be when not engaged with action. Some of the characters have interesting enough lives outside of being good or bad, that the ground should have been more fertile. One of the robbers deals with impending fatherhood and trying to make others believe he walks the straight and narrow while yet another has a severely autistic daughter. Who these men are outside of being criminals definitely paints them as human but all of this drama oddly and inexplicably slows the film down.
When all is said and done, the action sequences are the film’s real meal ticket and they never drop the ball. The sequences are, to a singularity, crafted so well that the flaws evident in the rest of the enterprise can nearly be forgiven.
In the early going the film makes inventive use of a crane, a fence stuck between two buildings, and the cramped quarters of a stairwell. Most of what follows are gradually escalating sequences of vehicular mayhem, including a scene where a man survives being garroted in a car by throwing his assailant into the front seat. The film also comes to use back alleys with real flair during its car chases. Still, the finale impresses most of all: when an overturned car careens down a city block before slamming into a guard rail, you’re flabbergasted … but that’s only the beginning. The escalation in that sequence is always surprising; it’s a symphony of well placed explosions that act as punctuation to an already impressively choreographed and massive firefight. Yet it only continues to escalate from there.
If you like expansive action set-pieces and can forgive some questionable CGI then “Firestorm” might be just the ticket for you. I haven’t seen a movie with this much spunk in a long time. While the whole picture doesn’t quite gel, it works exceptionally well as an action film.