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I am admittedly very late to the party, but I started binging Yellowstone this week and I no longer care about anything else. If you’ve never heard of the TV show Yellowstone, you’re probably not alone. It’s on the Paramount network, which isn’t the most accessible or popular channel. It’s also very easy to lose track of new TV shows when there are so many new shows being thrown at you on a daily basis. None of that should matter anymore, because I can guarantee Yellowstone will be your new favorite show.
Yellowstone follows the life and story of ranching family patriarch John Dutton, played by Oscar and Emmy winner Kevin Costner. He’s incredible as the centerpiece of the show, but what makes the show great is the depth of the ensemble cast. My personal favorite so far (I’ve watched the first 2 seasons) is Rip, played by a grizzled Cole Hauser. When he first popped on the screen in episode 1, I recognized the actor but couldn’t quite remember why. After a little IMDB digging I realized it was from the 2019 Nic Cage classic Running with the Devil. I would never hold it against another actor for being cringeworthy in a Nic Cag movie (it’s almost impossible not to be) but it no longer matters because Cole Hauser is a MAN among men in this role.
The rest of the cast is equally as good: Luke Grimes (Fifty Shades of Grey), Kelly Reilly (True Detective S2), and Wes Bentley (The Hunger Games, American Horror Story) play Kayce, Beth, and Jamie Dutton. Along with Rip, they’re John’s main backup for helping to fend off the two legged and four legged creatures encroaching on the massive amount of land owned by the Dutton’s.
The casting is top notch, and although the plots couldn’t be any more different, the character makeups remind me a lot of Modern Family. If you listen to our podcast, every episode we talk about which movies and TV shows we’re currently watching. One of my favorite parts of Modern Family is how fully formed the characters are from episode 1. You feel like you know each character individually and they also fit into the ensemble seamlessly which allows you to focus on immersing yourself in the storylines. There are no false notes, and Yellowstone does that with it’s characters equally as well.
The plot itself and particularly the ‘solve everything with punching’ character traits reminds me a lot of Sons of Anarchy. Kayce Dutton has the look and personality of Jax Teller, while his sister Beth is a younger, possibly more ferocious Jemma. The positive difference between the two for me is Costner vs Ron Perlman’s Clay. Costner’s John Dutton is ruthless and conniving when needs to be, but he’s such a great actor and has enough sympathetic traits (his illness, his love for his grandson) that you root for him without hesitation. Costner’s main foes through the first two seasons (Dan Jenkins played by X-Men supervillain Danny Huston and Thomas Rainwater played by Taylor Sheridan favorite Gil Birmingham) are really only “villains” because of how much you root for Costner. Their motives are completely understandable and it makes for a compelling drama when you have two equally relatable sides doing battle.
The Taylor Sheridan Effect
A huge reason for the success of the show is the creator/executive producer/writer/director Taylor Sheridan. Dating back to 2015, Sheridan has written Sicario, Hell or High Water and Wind River, three of the top notch action/thrillers of the last 5+ years. On Yellowstone, he is the co-creator, executive producer, has written 30 of the episodes and directed 9 of them. The guy just knows how to make a great, compelling drama. As soon as I saw his name pop up in the credits during episode 1 I knew I was going to love this show and 20 episodes later I have yet to be disappointed.
Tell Me Right Now How I Can Watch It
Hopefully I’ve done a solid job of describing why you should watch it, but now you need to know how. Paramount isn’t the most accessible network, and I’ve been watching via Peacock TV. Obviously there’s a monthly cost for the streaming service, but you’re going to pay regardless of how you watch. At this point, your only job this Easter weekend is to watch Yellowstone. Be warned: you won’t want to do anything else until you’ve watched all the episodes.
It’s officially Oscars season, baby! We’re back to write about the 93rd Academy Awards which will be held on April 25th, 2021, which makes it the latest date in the history of the show. Last year’s show was held on February 9, so it’s been almost 14 months since we’ve last had a taste of movie madness. And what a LONG 14 months it has been. The COVID pandemic has affected every aspect of our lives, and this year’s Oscars telecast will certainly reflect that. There is a bright side to the late date: the eligibility deadline was extended to February 28, 2021, which allowed films like Judas and the Black Messiah, Minari, and Nomadland to qualify. All three of those movies took advantage of the extended deadline and were nominated for Best Picture.
It wouldn’t be the Oscars without the speculation behind who is going to take home the major awards. The betting lines are fresh off the press so let’s take a look at some of the contenders and their odds to win.
Nomadland is a MONSTER favorite to win the top prize (more about that movie below in our writeups) with The Trial of the Chicago 7 and Minari sitting at a distant 2nd and 3rd. Nomadland director Chloe Zhao is also a big favorite to take home the Best Director award, but star and 2018 winner Frances McDormand currently trails Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman) and Andra Day (The United States vs. Billie Holiday) for Best Actress. In the Best Actor category, we have our biggest favorite of the night as it looks like the late, great Chadwick Boseman will receive a posthumous Oscar for his role in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
Since talking movies is what we do best, lets take an in depth look at all the Best Picture nominees and give out our picks for some of the other major categories.
Sound of Metal
Synopsis: A heavy-metal drummer’s life is thrown into freefall when he begins to lose his hearing.
I watched Sound of Metal the day it started streaming on Amazon Prime and was absolutely blown away. I’d only known Riz Ahmed from the HBO mini series The Night Of so I wasn’t sure what to expect of him as a heavy-metal drummer who grapples with hearing loss. I’m happy to report that he is incredible. The movie as a whole is a marvel, and it’s one of the best movies I’ve seen in the last few years.
Writer/director Darius Marder delicately handles the freefall of Ruben’s (Riz Ahmed) life after his hearing loss diagnosis but he never asks you to feel sorry for him. Because of that, you empathize with the character and all of the decisions he makes, regardless of how crazy or self destructive they are. It was also refreshing to see a movie about a disability handled with this much care. Deafness isn’t something you see a lot of in Hollywood, but Marder deserves a ton of credit for his honest and heartbreaking depiction of it in this movie.
There are three excellent performances throughout: Riz Ahmed as Ruben, Olivia Cooke as Lou and Paul Raci as Joe. It came as no surprise that Ahmed and Raci were nominated for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, respectively. It’s also no surprise that the movie was nominated for Best Sound, as the sound team did an incredible job showing the audience glimpses of what life would be like as our hearing was deteriorating. I don’t think the movie will win Best Picture, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they came away with a few golden statues in either of the acting categories or Best Sound. Available to stream on Amazon Prime.
Judas and the Black Messiah
Synopsis: Bill O’Neal infiltrates the Black Panther Party per FBI Agent Mitchell and J. Edgar Hoover. As Party Chairman Fred Hampton ascends, falling for a fellow revolutionary en route, a battle wages for O’Neal’s soul.
Thanks to the partnership between WB and HBO, I was able to watch Judas and the Black Messiah from the comfort of my couch. It turns out it didn’t matter where I watched it, because it is fantastic. The movie is filled with powerhouse performances: Daniel Kaluuya and LaKeith Stanfield will get most of the love as Fred Hampton and Bill O’Neal, but Jesse Plemons, Martin Sheen and Dominque Fishback were all great as well. Movies based on real life stories can sometimes fizzle out because you already know how it ends, but this film is so captivating and tragic that it doesn’t matter. I would watch Kaluuya and Stanfield ties their own shoes for two hours, so put them in a movie with a great script, director and supporting cast and you have movie magic. I don’t think this will win Best Picture, but with 6 total nominations (including Best Actor and Best Supporting for Kaluuya and Stanfield) I do believe they’ll walk away with at least one golden statue.
Synopsis: After losing everything in the Great Recession, a woman embarks on a journey through the American West, living as a van-dwelling modern-day nomad.
After watching Nomadland, I was texting with Adam (1/3 of the Average Nobodies podcast) and we both agreed that this movie was made to be nominated for Oscars. Similar to The Artist in 2011 and The Revenant in 2015, Oscar voters love a good arthouse flick (add in a bear mauling and you’re really in business). I did enjoy the movie and Frances McDormand was her usual ornery wonderful self as Fern, but it was my least favorite out of the films that were nominated.
The movie is GORGEOUS, and it’s a visual delight to watch Fern journey through the American West. I do believe the Directing and Cinematography nominations for Chloe Zhao and Joshua James Richards are well deserved, but there’s not a whole lot that happens in this movie. I understand there are those who can relate to the personal and professional loss brought on by The Great Recession, so perhaps I’m just too young to really connect with this film. It’s certainly not a bad movie, but I can’t wrap my head around it being a monster favorite for Best Picture. Available to stream on Hulu.
The Trial of the Chicago 7
Synopsis: The story of 7 people on trial stemming from various charges surrounding the uprising at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois.
Death, taxes, Aaron Sorkin writing great ensemble dramas. Those are the three things we can always rely on. Whether it’s A Few Good Men, The West Wing, The Newsroom, or The Trial of the Chicago 7, Sorkin knows how to write captivating dialogue. Throw in politics and a court case and you’re golden. I absolutely love Sorkin’s writing, and he picked the perfect cast of characters for his second directorial feature. Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baren Cohen, Jeremy Strong, John Caroll Lynch, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Mark Rylance, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Frank Langella; in less capable hands, some of these performances suffer because of the depth of the cast, but not with Sorkin.
It doesn’t hurt that the real story of the trial and the events leading up to it still resonate today. You’d think that 50+ years of experience would allow for the police to handle peaceful protestors differently, but the scenes unfolding on the nightly news are eerily similar to what we saw during the summer of ’68. As much as I enjoyed this movie, I don’t think it wins Best Picture. I do think Sorkin double dips and wins Best Original Screenplay, just as he did at the Golden Globes. Available to stream on Netflix.
Synopsis: A Korean American family moves to an Arkansas farm in search of its own American dream. Amidst the challenges of this new life in the strange and rugged Ozarks, they discover the undeniable resilience of family and what really makes a home.
I absolutely adored Minari, and the movie took on a special significance with the horrifying increases in Asian-American violence in the United States. The story is told from the perspective of a Korean family moving from California to Arkansas in search of their own version of the American dream. It’s an incredibly moving film with great performances throughout, especially from Alan S. Kim, Young Yuh-jung and Will Patton (I’m a huge homer for Steven Yeun and he was also great in this). Although the acting is impeccable, the true star of the movie is the story. The American dream can be whatever we want it to be: a house on wheels, a farm, or something as simple as your family sleeping together on the floor. Minari showed us that love can overcome even the toughest of obstacles, and underscored the sacrifices so many people and families make in search of their dreams. Also, Glenn is nominated for an Oscar!
Synopsis: 1930s Hollywood is reevaluated through the eyes of scathing wit and alcoholic screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz as he races to finish “Citizen Kane.
When I first saw the trailer for Mank, I experienced the same feeling I described above when watching Nomadland: this movie was made for Awards season. You honestly couldn’t write a better script for the Oscars: a movie about the creation of one of the most popular movies of all time, ending with that movie winning an Oscar? As Tom Hardy’s Max Rockatansky says in Mad Max: Fury Road: “that’s bait”. While it’d be easy to write this movie off as simple Oscar bait, it’s clearly so much more. This was David Fincher’s love letter to 1930s Hollywood, and you’d need a psychopathic perfectionist like Fincher to be able to pull something like this off.
I really dug everything about this movie. The way each scene was introduced as if we were reading the script. The black and white. The pace of a Broadway musical. Fincher allowed the viewers inside the minds of those lucky and tortured enough to create Hollywood magic. Gary Oldman was fantastic as the tormented, quick witted Herman Mankiewicz. At first glance it might seem weird to cast the 63 year old Oldman as a young 40s Mank, but Mank was a world weary 40 year old due to his unstoppable alcoholism. Nomadland seems like the shoo-in for Best Picture, but I’m glad that Fincher and Oldman’s performances weren’t overlooked.
Promising Young Woman
Synopsis: Nothing in Cassie’s life is what it appears to be — she’s wickedly smart, tantalizingly cunning, and she’s living a secret double life by night. Now, an unexpected encounter is about to give Cassie a chance to right the wrongs from the past.
There’s a line towards the end of Promising Young Woman that summed up the entire movie for me: “You might be surprised to hear that gentlemen are sometimes the worst”. Cassandra (played ridiculously well by Carey Mulligan) is handcuffing Al Monroe (Christopher Lowell) to the bed at his own bachelor party and slowly explaining her sinister plan to him. It might have something to do with my specific taste in movies and TV, but the casting of all the male actors was spot on and relates back to that quote. When I think of actors like Adam Brody, Sam Richardson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and Christopher Lowell, I don’t think of assaulters or abusers. I think of The OC, The League, Veep, Superbad, and GLOW. Those actors who are typically cast in more lighthearted roles allow you to let your guard down when you see them on screen, and I have to assume that’s the point here.
Carey Mulligan is fantastic as Cassandra, a woman with a tragic past who refuses to move past it until she feels everyone involved pays an appropriate price. The supporting cast is also fantastic, with Alison Brie, Gabriel Oliva, Laverne Cox and Connie Britton joining the above mentioned actors. The soundtrack was spot on, and I have to imagine this is the first movie nominated for the Best Picture Oscar featuring a scene with ‘Stars Are Blind’ by Paris Hilton. In addition to Best Picture, Promising Young Woman was also nominated for Best Director (Emerald Fennell), Best Actress (Carey Mulligan), Best Film Editing and Best Original Screenplay.
Synopsis: A man refuses all assistance from his daughter as he ages. As he tries to make sense of his changing circumstances, he begins to doubt his loved ones, his own mind and even the fabric of his reality.
The Father is an absolute masterclass in acting, and it’s truly incredible that Sir Anthony Hopkins is still at the top of his game at 83 years old. I read this New Yorker profile on Hopkins before I watched the movie, and I have to imagine his mindset on performing helped him nail this role in which he rightfully earned his 6th (!) Oscar nomination. The movie is told from the perspective of Hopkins character (who is also named Anthony) as he struggles with memory loss. It’s very disorienting in a Twilight Zone-y way, but also makes the story and performances that much more powerful. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Olivia Colman’s performance as Anthony’s daughter Anne. It’s no longer a coincidence that everything Colman is in is great, and her performance in this movie was heartbreaking. Hopkins is a distant second behind Chadwick Boseman for Best Actor but he would be my pick to take home the golden statue this year.
Best Picture Nominees (Ranked)
- Sound of Metal
- Judas and the Black Messiah
- The Father
- The Trial of the Chicago 7
- Promising Young Woman
Our picks for some of the other major categories:
Ryan – Anthony Hopkins
Matt – Riz Ahmed
Ryan – Frances McDormand
Matt – Carey Mulligan
Best Supporting Actor
Ryan – Daniel Kaluuya
Matt – Leslie Odom Jr.
Best Supporting Actress
Ryan – Youn Yuh-jung
Matt – Olivia Coleman
Ryan – Chloe Zhao
Matt – David Fincher
Best Documentary Feature
Ryan – Time
Matt – My Octopus Teacher
Best Original Score
Ryan – Minari
Matt – Soul
Thanks for reading and we hope you enjoy the show on April 25th!
-The Average Nobodies
For the first time since 1955, Busch has unveiled a new flavor of beer: Busch Light Apple.
What do we think? I love Busch beer (particularly Busch Light) more than the common human, but I can’t imagine picking up a 12er or 30 pack of Busch Light Apple just yet. If you’re a fan of flavored beer maybe this will be your new summer or fall brew, but I’ve never been a fan of messing with perfection. Busch Light is perfection, and even though the crowd went wild in that video, I’m going to have to wait and see what the masses think before testing these out. Now if you’ll excuse me, an ice cold Busch Light is calling my name.
Ok, it’s been a while. Let’s see if this thing is still on.
A YouTuber going by the name “Ricky Downes III” has reached the pinnacle of art. Peanut butter and chocolate, spaghetti and meatballs, lamb and tuna fish: they all take a backset to Hamilton and The Muppets.
Groundbreaking. Marvelous. Is Beaker the best pick for John Laurens? Probably not. Did Mr. Downes lose the impressions every once in a while? Definitely, but i’d still rather live in a world where art like this exists.
Bravo, Mr. Downes.
Around the holidays, there’s nothing that brings people together quite like talking politics. On Wednesday night, the House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald Trump. Because we’re all living in hell, everyone with a Facebook or Twitter account decided to post what their interpretation of that meant. The media gladly played along with headlines such as this:
While that’s technically true, there’s so much more to it than just saying he’s been impeached and moving on to the next cute dog video. Most people seem to think this infographic has been helpful:
That might be helpful for some people, but here’s what everyone is really thinking:
I’d be happy to. Since ‘President Trump’ tends to be a divisive term, I’ve replaced it with ‘Daddy’ moving forward.
What You Need To Know
Back in July, Daddy was on a call with the President of Ukraine discussing promised military aid. During the call, Daddy asked the President if he could announce an investigation into Joe Biden and his son Hunter, labeling it as a ‘favor’. The former just so happens to be one of the main Democratic candidates for President next year. Why would Daddy ask this?
If that call and request for an investigation into a political opponent were kept secret, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Unfortunately for Daddy, there was a whistle blower who reacted to the call like:
Once the details of the call were whistle blown (?), Democrats and Republicans had different reactions. The Democrats, who have long been looking for a way to take down Daddy, were elated:
The Republicans, who hitched their wagon to Daddy, were not as happy:
Once impeachment talks started to heat up, Daddy went straight to Twitter to set the record straight. In other words:
To make things worse for Daddy, he allegedly tried to obstruct the ongoing investigation into the Ukraine call. I have to imagine staff and allies tried to persuade him to keep quiet, to which he responded:
Armed with two articles of impeachment, the Democrats were ready to bring the case to the House of Representatives. A debate regarding the legality of the articles would ensue with each side stating their points:
Nancy Pelosi made her argument. The Republicans reacted accordingly:
The Republicans made their argument, including an interesting comparison of the proceedings to Jesus’s treason trial and the reasonableness of Pontius Pilate. Only question remained:
After all the debating, the House voted to impeach Daddy and move the trial to the Senate. But wait, there’s more! The Democrats may hold off on bringing the articles to the Senate citing the Senate Majority Leader’s statement that he would coordinate the trial with the White House counsel. The Democrats had only one response:
Daddy, on the other hand, was very happy about McConnell’s statement:
The saga continues. While this entire process has us feeling like this:
I know we’ll all be happy when we can finally say:
This is something I should be used to…something that should brush off my shoulder, roll off my back, keep moving without missing a beat. I didn’t think the Buccaneers still had the power to destroy me. Boy was I wrong.
Picture my Sunday afternoon like this: Bruce Arians is Pennywise, living down in the sewers, leading idiot fans (like myself) to their deaths with the idea of a 2-1 start on top of the NFC South.
I’m stuffing my face with hot dogs and chips as the Bucs play a nearly perfect first half of football. I’m feeling good, great even. Then I hear a whisper from out in the street. My windows were open yesterday during the games, it was nice out. It’s PennyBruce, he’s calling from the storm drain.
I look down into the sewer with wanting eyes. “This is it! Jameis has found his rhythm….The Bucs have changed…Maybe they’ll talk about us on SportsCenter this week…Mike Evans’ prime won’t be squandered!”
“Come closer Matt! Have you seen Shaq Barrett? He’s awesome!”, the clown brags–It doesn’t matter, I’ve already taken the bait.
Next thing I know I’m being dragged into the sewers. Jameis throws a pick, my arm gets bitten off. “3 and out, 3 and out, 3 and out”, the demented clown starts to chant. I’ve lost the will to live by the time Daniel Jones runs it in to put them ahead.
I let the other side take me as the field goal attempt soars far outside the right post. I wish I could tell you it was painful, but it wasn’t—I was numb. I had seen this story before.
I slump back on my couch.
Death, taxes and the Buccaneers blowing a second half lead.
Maybe I’ll be back later this week with a more positive outlook. Maybe I won’t.
It’s almost September, which means two things: the NFL season is right on our heels and college football is even closer. As a graduate of URI, college football is a foreign language to me. For reference, during my Junior year the Rams won their opening game and then proceeded to lose their final 10 games. They opened my senior year by losing their first two games and finished that two year stretch with an superb record of 6-16. That incredibly sad story brings me to the University of South Carolina Gamecocks.
I’m an adopted fan of the Gamecocks thanks to my wife’s undying allegiance to her Alma Mater, so let’s take a look at their 2019 season.
In the latest Coaches/AP polls, the SEC has an impressive 6 teams in the top 25, including four (Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Florida) in the top 10. The Gamecocks have a very tough schedule as they will play against four of those 6 teams (at Georgia and Texas A&M, at home against Alabama and Florida) while also battling the current #1 Team That Shall Not Be Named to finish off the season.
If the Gamecocks lose all five of those games to their ranked opponents, they would finish 7-5 in the regular season for the second straight year. The 2018 Gamecocks were detrimentally consistent, trading wins and losses for the first six weeks before beating Tennessee and Ole Miss in consecutive games. They went on to trade wins and losses the rest of the way, ending the season with a 28-0 loss to Virginia in the prestigious Belk Bowl.
One huge advantage for the Gamecocks this year is that I will not be attending a home game. The Cock’s are 0-3 when I attend a game and it’s gotten to the point where my friends are starting to rethink inviting me down to a game ever again. Beyond that, the key to the Gamecocks offense will be a consistent rushing attack and far fewer turnovers for QB Jake Bentley.
In the Belk Bowl loss to Virginia, the Gamecocks rushed for less than 50 yards while Bentley completed 43% of his passes, threw zero touchdowns and 2 interceptions. That’s…not great. Bentley will be back for his senior year where you have to believe he’ll improve upon his SEC leading 14 interceptions from last year. A big part of that improvement will take place off the field, as Bentley explained a few days ago.
Another improvement on the offensive side could come from right down the road in South Carolina. Tavien Feaster transferred to the Gamecocks from the The Team That Shall Be Named and has added some much needed depth to the running back position alongside Rico Dowdle and Mon Denson. While it’s too early to predict who will be the lead back, adding Feaster should ensure that another Belk Bowl performance doesn’t happen, which should at least keep the Gamecocks in most games this year.
Regardless of how well Bentley and the offense do, the defense will need to make some stops to keep the Gamecocks afloat. Most preseason reports are glowing for the front four of the Gamecocks, and they’ll need to put a lot of pressure on opposing QB’s to help out their secondary. The Gamecocks forced 6 interceptions last year, but half of those were by cornerback Rashad Fenton who graduated last spring. Turnovers and constant pressure will be the key for Will Muschamp’s defense, especially against the top seeded teams. If the defense can force teams into turnovers, Bentley and the improved rushing attack might give the Gamecocks a season to remember.
Everyone loves their team in August, but how will they look in December and January? The “cautiosly optimistic” Gamecock prediction I received from handsome Gamecock fan Tom Coughlin was 9-3. If you don’t believe in your team, who will? If the Cock’s go 9-3, they would have to upset two of their five ranked opponents (Alabama, Georgia, A&M, Florida and The Team That Shall Not Be Named) and beat Kentucky for the first time since 2013. Can it happen? I hope so. Will it happen? Time will tell.
My prediction with this ridiculously tough schedule is the Gamecocks win all the games they’re supposed to, finally vanquish Kentucky but fall to all the ranked teams. Not a bold prediction, but a 7-5 season where your five loses are all to ranked teams (including the preseason 1-3) would be a huge win for South Carolina.