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Imagine a season filled with as much controversy and social commentary as "The Enquirer." Then take a rather long nap expecting to wake up to a different ending.
A soap opera filled, star-studded, clipping-plagued season finally has some promising notes. Despite our performances in prior weeks -- combined with some loss of fortune -- highlights were made. Mike McMahon, or rather "Mah-Honey," as he is donned by his fellow teammates, put the offense back on track as we mustered the strength of 10,000 and defeated the St. Louis Rams. Now the week prior, we fought and we fought hard but there is nothing like winning. Winning is the food in the ballroom, it is the required rest you need from a sleepless night. And besides, we are trying to go for 8-8. One player who knows that and is showing his style is Ryan Moats. Once thought to be too small to carry the rock, his ingenious wheels were spinning and similar to the game against the Giants, the Rams were falling by the wayside. In my opinion, he is the man who should be considered for Offensive Rookie Of the Month. Standing at only 5-foot-10, he plays like the "Bus" himself, while gaining more and more yards, he is defeating more and more stereotypes.
You have done well young one.
And who's to say that the Eagles can't deal with stress?
Not only did we have Rev. Jesse Jackson think he could comment on football. And the president of the Philadelphia chapter of the NAACP thinks he is as sports-conscious as Jim Rome or John Madden, claiming Donovan McNabb to be a mediocre quarterback and one who plays the race card in deciding to throw the ball instead of run. I don't get it! Can't people just stick to their day jobs? What was the NAACP thinking of to allow this guy's comments to be published, let alone discussed?
Donovan, No. 5, is playing a sport in its purist form. He modified the offense so that the likes of so many others could be afforded the opportunity to even have a chance. I don't really know how else to put it, breaking stereotypes while running, walking, or throwing the ball -- leave my teammate to his calling. Pro-Bowl how many times? Playoffs how many times? Completed how many passes and well???
It's true, stress is bountiful yet there is a sense of relaxation. While not participating in the weekly activities, T.O. fancied us with his celebrity status, throwing an all-out bash in our coastal suburb of A.C. for his birthday, where many stars and athletes attended. Myself? Well, I had to work. But the buzz was out the next day. "Off the chain," is what people said. Apparently it was filled with your discreet individuals and they all were wearing their best outfits.
Alas, winter is here and the holidays have arrived. And if you are in New York or Philadelphia, the bus has not. Yes, the strikes do make life more practical. A coat was actually used, not for fashion purposes, but for warmth and some found creativity in the form of a bike with a laptop strapped to the back. Our holidays, all of them included, are for reflection and clarity. If you find some, let the person next to you know.
And with the holiday spirit, I leave you with one thought. "Strive to be" -- it's as important as eating breakfast in the morning.
Here's a movie that is well worth watching with some friends and loved ones during the holidays.
***** DHANI'S REEL REVIEW *****
Movie: "King Kong" (in theaters)
Studio: Universal Pictures
Director: Peter Jackson
Stars: Naomi Watts, Jack Black, Adrien Brody, Andy Serkis, Thomas Kretschmann
Ideal date: Anyone -- the teammate, the girlfriend, the cheerleader, the coach or the kids
"First Down": Moves the chains.
"Sacked": Lost yards. Not good.
"Fumble": Doesn't get any worse.
Ideal date: (1) Girlfriend (2) Cheerleader (3) Teammate (4) The kids (5) Coach
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• Complete NFL coverage
Many times you enter a theater not knowing what to expect. With "King Kong," everyone already knows how the story turns out. A beautiful lady gets captured by a giant gorilla with her memorable screams (and screams and screams), well, you know how it ends. At the movie theater, teammate Barry Gardner and I were wondering if there would be any real difference.
I don't care if it took three hours or 10 hours. Barry and I sat through the film and never moved. It was almost as if we were transfixed, caught in a time warp if you will, immersed and captivated by Peter Jackson's rendition and camera tricks.
Never mind the impeccable visual effects, life-size dinosaurs of vivid colors and a sunrise only to dream of -- the movie moved you through an array of emotions. The audience is swept into the '30s, captivated by a much-improved story line. A producer who refuses to be defeated catches the reflection of a young girl, whose hopes of Vaudeville are dashed because of a depleted economy. Taken by his pimp game and tenacious verbiage, she embarks on a journey only destiny could have planned. Motivated by the loving words of a magnetic soul, she is lost to the beast that takes her as a sacrifice, yet is never harmed. Instead, she is caught in a love triangle.
At times it's not even all of the imagery but the memory. King Kong was always this mega-creature to all of us, yet a myth because it was before our time. Its resurgence will give a new perspective to even the eldest teen.
Even Barry was stunned and said, "It took me back to when I first saw 'King Kong' as a child except this time, it became my reality. I don't know if it was because it was in color or maybe the action, the love or the loss, but whatever it was, it stuck."
Franchise player:First, Barry and I had to argue who was the star. Should we name the beautiful girl complete with sad eyes and a warm heart, or did King Kong overshadow her? I kicked it with Barry one night in NYC (where the ladies love him). And after hearing him reflect on the tremendous job performed by MISS (Ann Darrow played by Naomi Watts) in the movie I can see why.
"It was the way she followed her heart, and by allowing her soul to be her guiding force, she was able to move me," he said.
Only a man with James Bond-like tendencies could say something similar. Me? I don't know what he was talking about. She didn't have anything on King Kong. First of all, the movie is not called the blond-haired angel with a gift to tame wild beasts. Its called "King Kong."
He became my franchise player when he fought the triceratops and juggled Ann at the same time. Throughout the movie his range kept me -- being able to go from one island to the next and still get the girl. I'm very impressed.
Player in a contract year: Actor Jack Black caught us a bit off-guard with a nontraditional role from his previous movies. But sticking to the script playing Carl Denham, he did a good job.
After all, anyone who will do anything to sell a ticket, including letting his friends die, has to be closely reviewed. Yet his wit and fortitude later made us wonder. Not only did he keep us on our toes he still found a way to make his movie, lug a half-ton gorilla onto an already sinking ship, and convince thousands of people that two chains and an iron belt would keep a gorilla from his girl. Mike Tyson could have gotten out of that, what do you think King Kong did?
There wasn't one person that Barry and I thought did a terrible job. If anything, whoever thought of a coy relationship between a shipmate and a stowaway was a good idea needs to be fired. It made no sense and never had a distinct place in the movie.
"How come I can't come with you?" the stowaway says to the shipmate. Here they are contemplating if the young man could use a gun to protect himself, while searching for the young damsel in distress. He's a grown man and he doesn't need another one trying to tell him what to do. I'm still befuddled by their chemistry. Peter messed up, he should have looked at the script a bit closer and used his director's power to erase them.
And we have some points for you to ponder while sitting on the bench:
1. We bet you never even would think about going to the bathroom even halfway through the movie.
2. When you walk out of the movies, we just want to know if you ever saw that lovely lady take a trip to the hospital? We know that is a bit far-fetched, but how about a speck of dirt on her face or even a slight rip in her dress? Come on, it just doesn't make any sense how a girl who was dragged through the jungle and climbs to the top of the empire state building gets out without a bruise. Only in Hollywood would that happen.
3. A bit like "Titanic"? Hmm if you didn't think so, you might want to watch the end again. First it's a man, now it's an ape, what's next, a man in a space suit with a "Vote for Pedro" shirt?
No one person deserves more respect than Peter Jackson. This year has been filled with remakes and none has been more amazing than "King Kong." My last review of "Aeon Flux" was not a good one. "Guess Who" was horrible (Bernie Mac couldn't do a lead role if Russell Simmons asked him), "AeonFlux" was horrible (Charlize Theron in her nightie couldn't sell the movie) and there is no telling what other remakes went straight to DVD.
However, I'm praising the work of Mr. Jackson. Every cinematic cut was well-timed. The script, except for the two random shipmates, was on point. Utilizing new technology to revamp an incredibly basic film as well as create a new world filled with oversized spiders, left every viewer to question how safe they are.
Barry, while still mesmerized by the leading lady's radiant glow, thought the movie was carried out by the actors and the writers. But the director completes the picture -- the film is his blood and veins. It's his vision and his direction that keeps a major motion picture on track. Much like Jack Black and his endless efforts to be at the forefront, Peter Jackson has permanently etched his name among our generation.
There is something to be said about insects and not only spiders, but also all types of animals, that dwell within the walls of our houses. There are cockroaches that crawl beneath tables at fancy restaurants and worms that litter the street after a surging storm. Don't forget the giant horsefly that chased you on your annual fishing trip and simply would not leave you alone.
The photographic effects of watching the crew get dismembered by alien-like, gargantuan earthworms left us with a bitter taste in our mouths. Completely not necessary, but the effects of the "Big Mama" creatures were substantial. I suppose all of the animals of the world were getting back at us -- maybe next time when you go to crush an ant, you might think twice.
Dhani Jones is also the host of "Timeless," returning for its second season in February on ESPN2. Currently, he's our resident movie critic reviewing what's out on the silver screen.
Off the field, he's a renaissance man. The Philadelphia Eagles linebacker looks more like an artist and intellect than an athlete. His hobbies include his poetry, music, studying Islam, painting and photography. People magazine rated the pro as one of this year's sexiest bachelors.
More information about Dhani can be found at dhani55.com.