LOS ANGELES — Sixteen years ago, I and 198 of my Thornton Academy classmates did what thousands upon thousands of half-wits do every year: graduate high school. It rained all morning in Saco, Maine on that first Sunday in June but had basically cleared up by the time the scheduled 1pm start rolled around, however the decision to hold the ceremony indoors at Lynnell Gymnasium had already been made. Disappointed, and because I was such a big deal, I tried to talk our Headmaster and Assistant out of it with my go-to line of, “you can’t do this to me;” – it didn’t work. Even at 17, I thought I had Tywin Lannister’s heavy hand of influence.
Inside the gym where I became a local schoolboy hoops legend (in my own mind) it was rainforest damp, and while the nearly one thousand friends and family in attendance were packed in like Black Friday Wal-Mart shoppers, the festivities went off without a hitch. All I recall about our valedictorian Matthew McGinnis’ speech is that he wore a “Star Wars” pin or ribbon on his gown, and student speaker Jason Grantham did a bit that included a Webster’s definition of a word that’s now slipped my mind. I recollect a few other small details about that day: my cousin, Bridget, from Colorado, made an unexpected visit that week and joined us; I knew the first and last name of everyone I graduated with as we went down annual the Hug Line, despite not having regular interaction with probably half of them; our gowns were more fuchsia and purple than maroon; and we had dinner at the Olive Garden (hey, it’s Maine).
The one thing I can’t recall is who the other keynote speaker was on that day. Usually it’s a faculty member but the identity of this mystery person escapes me, to much frustration. I’m fascinated by speeches. Their tempo, content, and tone all intrigue me. Rudy Giuliani spoke at my college graduation and I can’t tell you a thing he said but it was heavy on 9/11. Billy Joel orated at my brother’s four years later and went on and on about doing what you love and loving what you do before forgetting what he was saying and busting out a song number. (He was probably inebriated.) Regardless, I figured it was my time to throw my hat in the graduation speech ring.
So, despite not being asked for the 16th consecutive year, I’m going to print below the speech I would’ve given this coming Sunday, June 8 to the 304th graduating class of the great Thornton Academy.
Greetings, friends and fellow Golden Trojans. It’s an honor to be speaking before you. I can remember sitting where you are some time ago and feeling both nerves at the upcoming next chapter of my life and relief that this part of my book is over.
Before I get started, if any of you out there have your phones on you and feel like live-tweeting my speech, have at it, just use the hashtag #BrockmanTAGradSpeech. I doubt I’ll do anything too crazy that’ll end up going viral, but you never know. Plus, I wanna be able to go back and see who exactly talked shit about my speech. Totally kidding. Sort of.
OK, graduates, congratulations on making it this far. I know it wasn’t easy. I don’t mean that facetiously either. Actually go ahead and give yourselves a hand … [starts clapping … raucous applause ensues] … Good, yeah, that was great. Now don’t get me wrong, being young is awesome, good job by you guys, but I would never want to be a kid these days. Never. Y’all got too much going on. I could never keep up. I can’t even read everything in my Twitter timeline. And while your unknown futures are exciting, your upcoming adventures filled with mystery and intrigue, I’m happy to let you live them and critique your mistakes on my blog from the cheap seats. The very cheap seats.
Now, while I could write a book about the things 33-year old me would tell a 17- and 18-year old me … actually, that’s a good idea, hold on a second … [pulls out iPhone … “Hey, Siri, yeah, no, I’m good, thanks for asking. Look, got a good idea for a book here … Things I would tell 17-year old me … oh, that’s sweet of you to say, glad you like it too … Remind me start working on this when I get back to LA tomorrow. Thanks. Love you, Siri.” … puts iPhone back in pocket] …
Sorry about that. So yeah, I would never want to be a kid these days. The pressure on you to be successful is immense, not to mention the rising cost of college tuition in an uncertain future job market, growing national debt and global warming, that type of crap. But with technological advances becoming what they are, you’ve also been robbed of so many of life’s simple pleasures. For example: sending and opening an actual hand-written letter from someone … when was the last time any of you did this with a classmate or even had a pen pal? When I was a kind I had pen pals. Now you just blindly text shorthand to one another or someone you meet online … How ’bout this: because of the easy access to internet porn, you’ll never know what’s it like to watch the scrambled XXX channel hoping to see an unfiltered nipple and the joy that ensues from that moment. It really was glorious; now you just SnapChat dick and boob pics to each other, probably in class!; … and finally, you’ll never know what it’s like to be so lost on a road trip that you have no choice but to ask the hillbilly-looking dude behind the counter at the barely functional gas station in the middle of the woods for directions back to the highway, and feel the stress of not knowing whether or not you might be reenacting a scene from Texas Chainsaw Massacre; now there’s Google Maps on your phone for that.
It’s cool, though, you’ll have new, more badass experiences and someday you’ll be in my shoes reminiscing about these simpler times. And so here I am, where past speakers, I know, have stood on similar gorgeous spring days here in Sunny Saco … by the way, how awesome is this stadium? Quick straw poll: Raise your hand if some of your favorite memories as a Thornton Academy student have taken place right here on the turf of Hill Stadium? [raises own hand] … my hand is raised … yeah, I’m right there with you guys … so awesome … So past speakers have come up here and given generic speeches that have included famous quotes and cliches, some got slightly original and rattled off Top 10 lists. I know others have sung with a guitar and played songs over the loud speaker, and even dressed up.
I’m not going to do any of those things. No, I’m not. What I am going to do is name drop. Because if I’ve learned anything living in Los Angeles the last five years it’s that this generation, your generation, loves celebrity news and taking what these chemically-enhanced narcissists say as gospel.
Before I do that, however, I’m going to post a selfie on Instagram. Who wants to be in my selfie? … [runs into front row and gathers as many kids as humanly possible for a graduation selfie … walks back to podium and posts picture] … OK, I’m sure you all have your phones on you right now, so retweet and like that bitch. @ChrisBrockman. Get on it.
Now, my job as a sports television and podcast producer has given me the opportunity to rub elbows with some of Hollywood’s more accomplished members. I’ve listened to stories and even asked a question or two, so I’ve heard tales I would have otherwise not been privy to. I’ve walked Red Carpets, and been to movie and TV premieres, and even had a cameo on a cable sitcom. I even got high with Snoop Dogg once … well, I didn’t actually smoke with him, but when we shook hands the contact high was so strong I felt like I was floating, so I imagine that’s what smoking with Snoop Dogg would be like … Such, I think I’ve gained a little perspective and peeked a tad behind the curtain of this celebrity world and have a sense of what it takes to be successful in their business. The lessons behind these stories are applicable for all professions, whether you want to be a teacher or doctor, lawyer or retail store manager. So from those conversations I want to share some of what I’ve learned.
From acclaimed film director Ron Shelton, who wrote and directed “White Men Can’t Jump” and “Bull Durham” and “Tin Cup,” among other hits … he said you have to change the energy in the room. Shelton was telling a story about how Susan Sarandon came to him and other studio executives to audition for a key role in “Bull Durham,” and when she walked into the room the energy shifted. She controlled everything about that meeting from the get-go and it was all because she came in confident, looked smashing yet professional, and in turn she got the part which helped rejuvenate her career.
I sat four feet away from Academy Award winner Kevin Costner as he told a story about one afternoon when he was on his way leaving the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank. A young woman was screaming his name as he walked to his car. He was well ahead of her and tried to play it off like he didn’t hear her shouting, “Mr. Costner! Mr. Costner!” He kept walking towards as if she was a bird singing in the trees, but she didn’t relent. “Mr. Costner! Mr. Costner!’ Until finally, he stopped and turned around and asked her how he could help her. See, “Dances With Wolves” had just been released and was being recognized as this great cinematic achievement and if you haven’t seen it, there’s this scene where Kevin and his wife in the film are reunited and they share this epic kiss. A real movie kiss. You know what those are, right? Where you just… uh! … go for it, and you leave it all out there and roll around in the dirt and don’t care because she’s your woman and you’re her man and your love is one that cannot be contained by rational measures… so this young woman tells Costner that her husband is a soldier overseas and he’s been missing and she doesn’t know if she’ll ever see him again, and all she thinks about is that scene because she dreams of the day when he’ll return and she can have that movie scene kiss and reunion with him… and Costner is floored. And he gets her information and has the actual film from that scene clipped off and framed and sent to her as a gift as a reminder to never give up hope. And from that I learned that sometimes you need to stop and listen to people you aren’t familiar, and maybe you don’t want to listen to, because you never know if what they might say could change your life. And clearly Coster’s life was changed at that moment because nearly 25 years later he remembers every last detail of that story.
Jerry Ferrara … you may know him as Turtle from “Entourage” … he’s become a regular on our show and from our conversations with him you can feel his ambition and drive as a kid from a small neighborhood in Brooklyn. A kid with big dreams who struggled for a long while, like most do who move to Los Angeles to become actors, before getting the break of a lifetime on one of the trend-setting shows of the last decade. Now he’s starring in Kevin Hart movies and owns a chain of sandwich shops in Southern California. And every time we talk I think about his journey and how he’s always thinking about his goals for tomorrow, remembering and honoring the past, all the while being completely present in the moment which he’s living. Keep your future in mind, respect your past, but always be present in the now because what you do now affects tomorrow and becomes your past.
Here’s a bigger name for you … Billy Bob Thornton … how many out there are watching “Fargo?” Intense ass show, right? So Billy Bob came in a few years ago and was wearing the most ridiculous pair of snakeskin cowboy boots I’ve ever seen. Right off a movie set probably. So when he sat down and I was checking the cameras, I told him, “good thing I didn’t wear my boots today, that would’ve been pretty embarrassing for you,” like a wiseass. Seriously, who did I think I was talking to Billy Bob Thornton like that? But lucky for me he laughed or else that would’ve been a mighty uncomfortable interview … so anyway, he’s telling us about this small independent film he was working on and what he was in to promote, a film he wrote and directed, and after the interview was over, off camera, he told us that to get films like that made he had to say “yes” to bigger, commercial films he wouldn’t normally have any interest in like “Armageddon.” One for them, one for him. Saying “yes” to things you normally wouldn’t do or have interest in doing is important, it takes out of your comfort zone and expands your senses and skills in all arenas. Don’t take it to extremes like Jim Carrey in that terrible movie “Yes Man,” you remember that? But allow yourself to step outside your skin from time to time and try something new. It was very LA of me, but I dated an actress once who was into vegan food and all that healthy LA bullshit and every time we’d go someplace new I’d look at the menu and not understand what was on it, and I’d say to her, “what am I supposed to order here?” That was really outside my northeast eating habits but it made me think about what I ate and how I consumed specific foods and in the last 5 years since I’ve moved there from Maine, I’ve lost 30 pounds and more importantly, kept it off. So say YES and expand your horizons.
Finally, hop hop legend Nas came in and told of his life growing up in the rap game in New York, and how he had to overcome the bevy of obstacles in his way to become one of the most successful artists of his generation. He also had a funny story about playing street football with his friends. He had wanted to play pro football but one of this boys, this kid named Mo Rooney, hit him so hard up against a parked car, and knocked him out. He then realized he would never have the size or strength to make it as an NFLer, so he turned his efforts 100-percent to music and the rest, as they say, is history. The lesson I took away from his tales was simple: no matter the circumstances, always believe in yourself and you will survive … no matter how bleak things look, tomorrow the sun will come up and you get a fresh start to make it how you wish.
And if any of this advice didn’t resonate, you could always do what Sports Illustrated model Chrissy Teigen told me, and that’s get yourself cast in a music video and seduce the artist until he becomes your husband.
The future is yours, new graduates, and whether you choose to extend your education immediately or become a sucker like the rest of us and join the work force, go forth and strive for greatness. But remember, your happiness in this world isn’t guaranteed, just your pursuit of it is. And I have no doubt you’ll post all the details for the world to see on some social media app that hasn’t even been invented yet.
Lastly, lemme pull out my phone real quick and see what you guys had to say about the speech … [scrolls Twitter] … OK, nothing too bad. You’ll be all right in this world after all.
[raucous applause … followed by standing ovation and me posing for pictures and signing autographs as I walk off stage …]
LOS ANGELES — For the first time in the last 3 years, I am not at the Academy Awards (#StraightUpBrag), so I figured I’d roll over to Berger’s place and bust out a running diary for this year’s show. Ellen DeGeneres is the host, a much safer choice compared to last year when apparently Seth MacFarlane offended everyone, but we’ll see who ends up stealing the show. I’m not expecting many surprises in terms of who the actual winners are, but you never know. OK, let’s get to it!
5:29pm PST – Since I wasn’t at the Red Carpet this year for The Eisen Podcast, figured I’d do a running diary since I can actually watch the show. Berger cares about this stuff as much as I do so hopefully we’ll have some good commentary throughout. We’re a minute away. I’m guessing it’s gonna be another long ass show. Berger thinks 3 hours and 24 minutes. I’m definitely taking the over.
5:30 – Ellen walks out and immediately goes in with a “raining in LA joke… Thank you for your prayers.” Predictable, and everyone laughed. UGH, that’s the problem with Ellen, she’s so safe and everyone loves her. But seriously, it was touch-and-go with the rain here, people. She’s not wrong about that.
5:32 – The June Squibb being old and can’t understand anything bit was funny. And is Ellen wearing velvet? Berger immediately breaks out into Seinfeld velvet lines. This is why we’re friends.
5:33 – Ellen should just quit now after that Liza Minelli male impersonator joke. That was hilarious.
5:35 – “Did Julia Roberts always have that many teeth?” Valid question by Berger. … Julia is loving this Ellen monologue. Jesus stop laughing, this is not that funny. “She’s hammered!” That’s the only explanation I’m accepting.
5:37 – Jennifer Lawrence is mostly perfect, right down to stumbling while getting out of her car. But I wouldn’t have cut my hair if I was her.
5:39 – How does Jonah Hill have a better seat than Marty Scorsese? And everyone brings their mom to this show, huh? Not gonna lie, I would bring BrockmanMary, too.
5:40 – OK, time for some awards. Anne Hathaway is out to present Best Supporting Actor. We can all agree she’s the worst, right? And it’s gotta be Jared Leto, yes? It’s the rule. Dress up like a woman/man, get the statue. They don’t break rules in Hollywood.
5:42 – Leto wins it. And Tyler Perry with the great seats next to Jennifer Garner. “The only reason I’m watching this show is for this speech.” Leto tells Ellen he loves her first. Upset of the night.
5:44 – Neck tattoo guy turns out to be Leto’s brother. “To all the dreamers out there!” Hooray for dreamers! Nice of him to mention those who’ve lost battle to AIDS. Very well done speech. Hard to top that one tonight.
5:47 – Jim Carrey out for the next awards and wow, that’s a blue suit. Lotta blue suits tonight. Lot going on with Jim’s hair, too… and he’s breaking out the weird faces. Sweet. He’s never changed… LSD joke and director cuts to U2. Was that on purpose?
5:51 – Kerry Washington comes out and damn, she’s huge! That little Nnamdi inside her is ready for the Draft. She’s here to introduce Pharrell singing some song titled “Happy.” Wait, so Jim Carrey didn’t even give out an award? What was that for then? I’m so confused. This is an awards show still, right?
5:53 – “Is there any big event that Pharrell hasn’t performed at in the last two years? When did he bcome Quincy Jones?” It’s a good point. Where’s he showing up to next? 5:1 he’s at the NFL Draft.
5:55 – Berger has these peanut butter filled pretzel bites which are basically heaven in your mouth. I just crushed 6 like it was nothing. I might eat the whole container in the next 3 hours.
5:57 – Sam Jackson walks out sans Kangol hat (also a huge upset) with Naomi Watts. “Shes in my top 5 tonight, look at her. She looks Incredible.” And Berger’s DirecTV DVR alert comes up that 2 things are abut to record at once. True Dectective and Wicked Tuna. Yeah, the tuna’s getting canceled. Oh, and they’re handing out costume design which goes to “Great Gatsby,” and Catherine Martin, which is the third win for this woman apparently and she’s also nominated in another category tonight. That seems selfish.
6:00 – HOW DID BAD GRANDPA NOT WIN FOR BEST MAKEUP?!?!??!!!!?? “Is that the same woman from the Kimmel bit before the show?” Dallas Buyers Club won, by the way. Making Jared Leto look like a hot chick takes a lot of makeup.
6:02 – Harrison Ford comes out and immediately quotes Marlon Brando. That’s the best moment of the night so far. Harry introduced as “Oscar nominated” so we look it up and it’s true, he’s never won an Oscar OR Golden Globe. He wasn’t even nominated for The Fugitive?! That’s incredible. What a joke. And he’s teasing “American Hustle,” “Dallas Buyers Club” and “Wolf of Wall Street,” the first 3 of the 9 Best Picture noms.
6:05 – Channing Tatum out next. If you painted him gold he’d look like the Oscar statue. Not for nothing, but the best part of last year’s show was post-Oscars when Tatum and Jamie Foxx were on Jimmy Kimmel playing on the piano. That was downright hilarious.
6:07 – Something funny to do during big events is seeing what ELSE is on TV. Right now we have the Fab Five 30 for 30, the Bassmasters Classic and the “Rockford Files” leading the clubhouse at the moment. Clearly I’m not mentioning “True Detective,” which I’ll be watching later tonight. Life is a flat circle of time.
6:09 – Spike has “Return of the Jedi” on, “Anchorman” too, and “The Skulls.” Some great counter programming right now, people.
6:11 – Who is this old broad with bad plastic surgery on stage with Matthew McConaughey?! Man, he’s really handsome. And why is he rubbing her back? That’s creepy. Apparently, it’s Kim Novak who was in “Vertigo.” They’re presenting animated short. We could’ve got MMc a better category.
6:17 – Sally Field walks out… “She looks unfucking believable. She has to be like 70!?” She’s 67, but I’m feeling you, Berger. And “Frozen” won for best animated feature in the least surprising victory of the night.
6:19 – Not sure I understand the point of this montage. Is it supposed to be about heroes or something? “42” was not a good movie by any stretch and it’s mixed in with all these iconic, Academy Award-winning performances. Strange.
6:21 – “Emma Watson! Holy shitballs!” Yeah, she’s out with Joseph Gordan-Levitt to present visual effects… “Emma Watson gets an achievement in visual effects!” Wait, so you’re telling me Johnny Depp wasn’t really walking across a moving train in “The Lone Ranger?!” I feel so cheated, but only because I paid $12 to see that piece of garbage. “Gravity” wins. No shock. Best visual experience in a theater I’ve had in a long time.
6:24 – “Gravity” has made $700 million worldwide. “So have I.” That’s amazing. And not sure what this song is that Zac Efron just introduced. Why is he even there? Do people still think he’s a movie star? His face looks fat, too. Yes, I am just jealous.
6:30 – Good job by Kate Hudson for not getting outrageous-looking breast implants. They’re classy and probably didn’t cost as much. And Jason Sudeikis is a handsome man, but I definitely would’ve hated that guy in college. Without question.
6:32 – They’re presenting Live Action Short Film… and “Helium” wins. “When I inhale helium it usually turns into a live action short film, too.” Well played, sir.
6:36 – Ellen walking down the aisle and mentions ordering pizza and if anyone would want any. Yeah, that’s what these people wearing ridiculously expensive gowns and tuxedos want, greasy-ass pizza. Wait, preggo Kerry Washington gives a fist pump. She’s excited at the thought of pie. But pregnant people don’t think rationally. Someone help her out.
6:37 – What’s going on with Bradley Cooper’s hair? And every woman just said, “I just want him to speak french to me. Who cares what his hair looks like?” “20 Feet From Stardom” wins for best doc feature. Very cool idea. Definitely going to check that out… and Tina Turner’s Hollywood Blvd. lookalike just started singing and is now getting a standing ovation. That was bizarre.
6:40 – Frank Underwood just strolled out and addressed the crowd. That was awesome. Kevin Spacey is a boss… WHOA. Angela Lansbury is 88? “Ya, I’ve been watching a fair amount of ‘Murder She Wrote’ recently.” It’s too bad Kevin Spacey is such an amazing actor, he’d would’ve been an amazing late night talk show host or stand up comic. I’d watch him do impressions all night. He should actually host the Oscars.
6:48 – Jeez, where the hell has Ewan McGregor been? He’s looking like an extra from “Dallas Buyers Club.” Also, the side balcony squads are 3-for-3 in Oscars tonight after “The Great Beauty” just took home Foreign Language Film… and I think this Italian director just thanked Diego Maradona and Mike Napoli. That was weird.
6:51- Why is Tyler Perry there?! “He is the richest person at the Oscars.” Well OK then. He’s out to showcase the next 3 Best Picture noms: “Nebraska,” “Her” and “Gravity.”
6:55 – Brad Pitt, looking like he’s about to film the Macklemore biopic, comes out to introduce U2 singing “Ordinary Love,” which is my new favorite song. It’s incredible, even though I cant stand Bono. Even though I want to be The Edge. I’m nearly convinced he’s the coolest guy alive right now. It’s a constant conundrum of mine.
6:57 – “Why is he on the ground?” I stopped trying to explain Bono a long, long time ago.
7:03 – Ellen is now in the aisle next to Meryl Streep talking about tweeting about a picture of the two of them. She wants to make it the most RT’d photo in Twitter’s history. OK, wait, Brad Pitt is walking over. Now Julia Roberts wants in. Jesus, everyone is getting in on this now. Jennifer Lawrence just said she wanted to grab a boob if the picture wants to get retweeted that many times. Wow, this is incredible. Who is that guy in the flat top?! “I’ve never tweeted before!” -Meryl Streep. Jesus, what a mess. Bradley Cooper actually ends up taking the photo. Can’t wait to see how this turns out. And no way am I giving this an RT.
7:06 – Holy shit, I would absolutely watch a sex tape with Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron. Great Caesar’s Ghost they are two perfect humans.
7:09 – Ellen broke Twitter. This picture stunt has taken it down. That’s unbelievable. Wonder how many RTs that photo is gonna get. I’ll admit it was a pretty cool 2014 moment but I’m just curious with all these stunts how people would react if it was Seth doing them.
7:11 – Two-time Best Supporting Actor and Quentin Tarantino mouthpiece Christoph Waltz out to present Supporting Actress… real categories! Should be a good one.
7:14 – “12 Years A Slave” actress Lupita Y’ongo wins, as she should. Absolutely amazing performance by her. “Lupita and Liza, the hug of the night.” … her and her date have matching flat tops. No big deal. I ask Berger if he thinks Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence have had sex: “yes.” And that’s that.
7:21 – Ellen is really taking this pizza bit to the next level as some dude just walked on stage with three pies… Julia Roberts and Spacey immediately raise their hands that they want some… is this a real guy? I’m so confused. Brad Pitt is handing out plates. What the hell is going on? Isn’t this supposed to be a dignified awards show? This should be a Golden Globes bit. Leo’s no dummy, he’s not eating the pie. Don’t wanna get grease on that navy tux.
7:24 – What the hell was that spaceship thing that lady was talking about? Are they making a sequel to “Flight of the Navigator?”
7:26 – “Are they going to give out any awards on this awards show? It’s like that scene from ‘Jurassic Park,’ ‘you plan on actually having dinosaurs in your dinosaur park, yes?” … and we just made an “A Few Good Men” joke. We are on fire… classy of Bill Murray to just shout out to Harold Ramis during the cinematography category.
7:29 – Anna Kendrick comes out and I think I see a nipple. Either way, shout out to her for being from Portland, Maine. Represent… and yes, “Gravity” just won another technical award, this time for Editing. “We get it, ‘Gravity’ was cool looking.” It really was.
7:32 – That Ellen photo is at 433,000 RTs right now and going up infinitely every second. “Let’s call a spade a spade, it’s a pretty amazing photo.” Yes, it really is… and I think Whoopi Goldberg, wearing the wicked witch socks from “Wizard of Oz,” just said Pink’s real name in an effort to tell America she hangs out with Pink. Really strange. Has anyone ever won an Oscar and then gotten really weird like she has? Nic Cage, I guess.
7:38 – Pink just absolutely destroyed “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” in the Oz tribute wearing an amazing ruby red dress. That was fantastic. Director cuts to John Travolta and Kelly Preston. “Kelly Preston, I can’t say it enough.” Berger is a fan.
7:42 – Ellen comes out wearing a fairy costume. Right, because of the Oz thing. This is not funny.
7:43 – Jennifer Garner is incredibly stunning tonight and is joined by Benedict Cumberbatch, who is an absolute boss. He has to be the next James Bond right? “He should come out with a line of candy, Cumberbatch Kids” … and Catherine Martin wins her second Oscar of the night for production design. She’s got 5 now, if you’re scoring at home. So greedy.
7:47 – Another semi-pointless montage. Not sure what this one was for, but it was kind of awesome. I think it was for movie badasses. Also, that Ellen pic now up to 736,000 RTs. Americans are morons.
7:52 – Glenn Close out to introduce the In Memoriam piece. Who’s the hammer? We vote Shirley Temple… kicks off with James Gandolfini… wow, that was tough… goosebumps during this thing…
7:58 – Ends with Philip Seymour Hoffman, fitting, he was an Academy Award winner… and Bette Midler comes out to sing … “WIND BENEATH MY WINGS?!??!” Definitely didn’t see that coming.
8:05 – Whoa, Goldie Hahn needs to cut back on the plastic surgery. Who wins in a Plastic Surgery Off: Goldie or Kim Novak? She’s introducing the last three Best Picture noms: “Philomena,” “Captain Phillips” and “12 Years A Slave,” which is my pick to win the whole thing.
8:08 – Ellen’s photo is now at 1.2 million RTs, which is officially the most RT’d tweet of all-time… and how come no one ever calls out John Travolta on all his wigs? We’re just gonna let that slide, along with Harry Ford’s earring? Guess so.
8:09 – What did Travolta just say?! There’s no chance that’s her real name… Apparently it’s Idina Menzel. Wow, that was a butcher job… people are going nuts on Twitter.
8:11 – I’m pretty sure Jamie Foxx is doing a beatbox of Chariots of Fire right now during this award for costume design or something. You think that was in the prompter?
8:14 – Holy smokes, Robert Lopez just completed the EGOT, made famous by Tracy Morgan on “30 Rock” for winning for best song in “Frozen.” This guy has to get the necklace now, right? Or at least walk around with an F U shirt. I probably would.
8:23 – Ellen is now passing around one of Pharrell’s hats for a tip for the pizza guy. This bit has officially jumped the shark. Do you think these stars actually carry cash? … Robert DeNiro and Penelope Cruz out for Best Adapted Screenplay… John Ridley has to win for “12 Years a Slave,” right?
8:25 – Indeed he did. Whoa, purple dress on his Asian gf/wife/side piece? Wasn’t ready for that… Man, some good speeches tonight. Really liked his. Well done… OK, off to Original Screen play … this one is tough.. “American Hustle,” “Her,” “Blue Jasmine,” “Nebraska,” “Dallas Buyers Club”…
8:27 – Going to say “Her” wins because of how unique it was, and I really enjoyed that film … booyah! Spike Jonze everyone. Wow, you could tell me any age for him and I’d believe you. Amazing that he used to direct Beastie Boys videos and now he’s won an Academy Award. Shows you anything is truly possible.
8:32 – Best Director already! Has this show flown by or not? I can’t tell. It’s been 3 hours so probably not. Ok, here we go… and it’s Alfonso Cuaron for “Gravity”… how many statues is that for Gravity now? “They’ve won all the dumb ones.” Well. So there.
8:42 – Daniel Day-Lewis out to present Best Actress. I forgot it’s been a whole year since he transformed into Abraham Lincoln. Funny tweet just now saying DDL prepared four years for this introduction… So it’s been Cate Blanchett leading this category since the summer, let’s see if she can go wire-to-wire.
8:43 – Yeah she did. I like Cate’s dress… and good use of exacerbates.
8:48 – Jennifer Lawrence out to present Best Actor… all she’s thinking right now is, “don’t trip, don’t trip, don’t trip.” And all I really want her to do is trip… whoa, she just scolded someone for laughing… what was that? She realizes this isn’t about her, right? I think in the course of a few hours I’m losing interest…
8:50 – OK, who ya got? Leo was really awesome in “Wolf of Wall Street” but for some reason you get the feeling like he’s never gonna win one of these, though I often think about what type of acceptance speech he would give. Speaking of, I know everyone wants Matthew McConaughey to win and believe me, no one loves MMC like I do, but I just think Chiwetel Ejiofor was so fantstic in “12 Years A Slave” and deserves it. We’ll see…”it’s either AIDS or slavery, so some oppressed people will be really happy.”
8:52 – Effin’A’, McConaughey for the win. Fantastic tux. Gave us the “all right, all right, all right,” too … he nailed it. Wow. That was awesome… and he’s his own hero. Just wow.
8:55 – Final award of the night. Best Picture, and who else but Will Smith out to present… wearing… whatever that is… and we’ve hit the 3:25 mark, the over wins… Like I said, I’m predicting “12 Years A Slave”…
8:57 – WINNER. Seriously, if you haven’t seen it, just a fantastic (yet disturbing) film. Really well done.
OK, that’s gonna do it for me and Berger. Thanks for reading. Hope you were entertained. My next running diary will most likely be the 1st Round of the 2014 NFL Draft. So you have some time to prepare yourselves. Oh, and the final RT count on the Ellen photo as we go off the air is 1.73 million. Simply amazing.
LOS ANGELES — There aren’t two more iconic figures in their respective sports than Derek Jeter and Ray Lewis. Consistent staples in a business overrun by constant changes, where players trade hats and jerseys like children exchange … what do kids trade these days? It’s not baseball cards anymore, is it? Emoji messages? STDs?
Jeter and Lewis are legends, and that’s an understatement. First-ballot Hall of Famers, who five years after their retirement will be rightfully celebrated in Cooperstown and Canton. And the best part about the festivities is there won’t be a debate as to what cap or jersey the two will be recognized in. For this generation of sports fans, you can’t think of the Yankees without the dignitary of the dugout, or the Ravens without the gargantuan of the gridiron, coming to mind. Literal faces of their respective franchises.
Both were taken from their teams and sports fans over the weekend in the form of potential career-ending injuries; Jeter with a broken ankle and Lewis in the form of torn triceps muscles. Jeter, already hobbled in the post season, suffered his injury in extra innings of Game 1 of the ALCS diving for a Jhonny Peralta groundball which proved to be the game-winner for the Tigers. Lewis, who was declared lost for the year on Monday, meanwhile, went to the infirmary doing what he’s always done: chasing down a would-be touchdown maker.
The duo are the last of their breed. Superstar athletes who’ve played their entire career with one franchise and did so at the highest possible level; the championship stratosphere. Jeter was the backbone of five Yankees World Series titles; Lewis was the MVP of Super Bowl XXXV, the Ravens 35-7 victory over the Giants.
While some have said Lewis’ play has slipped in recent years, he’s still been the unquestioned leader of a perennially top-ranked defense, and showed no signs of slowing down this season. He was on a 152-tackle pace at the time of his injury, which would’ve been his highest since 2003.
Jeter had a spectacular 2012 season in leading the Yankees to another AL East division crown. He played in all but 3 games while going to bat the most times in his most career; his 216 hits were his most since 1999. Jeter was 9-for-27 in the postseason at the time of his injury.
On the field, with a combined 35 years of professional experience in two cities, Jeter and Lewis share adjectives that define their playing style: warrior, leader, charismatic, gamer, clutch. They’re quintessential plays are also quick to come to mind: Jeter’s postseason flip against Oakland, diving into the stands against Boston, a home run for his 3,000th hit, the jump throw and his arms raised in victory; Lewis’ pregame dance, the rousing sideline speeches, punishing hits, his Super Bowl interception and playoff sacks of Tom Brady.
Off the field, their lives couldn’t be more different. Jeter’s bachelorhood is the stuff of legends, the idolization of wannabe teens and playboys everywhere (even A-Rod). The New York penthouse apartment, wooing of Hollywood’s biggest stars and of course, the gift basket. Lewis has several children, is big in his South Florida community and preaches in his spare time. His transformation from potential inmate to pillar of faith and inner strength is what personal redemption is all about.
Phenomenal players and better men. The debate will rage in the coming weeks and into their sports offseasons as to what their futures hold. “Should they retire?” is the question you’ll see on NFL and MLB Networks, on ESPN and in magazines and online articles. I told anyone who would listen I thought Peyton Manning should’ve retired this past summer rather than risk further injury to his neck by playing another football season, but the case for Jeter and Lewis are different. Surely, a broken foot will heal and doesn’t affect the shortstop’s ability to hit a baseball, such torn triceps can be repaired and won’t slow the linebacker’s path to the running back.
Do I think they should come back? Both are playing at a high level, so sure, give it one last go. Major League Baseball and the National Football League are better with those two men in them, competing, representing all they have to offer. But don’t drag it out. Announce at the beginning this is it, a la Chipper Jones and let the fans pay their respects throughout the season. Then walk away gracefully. Like icons.
LOS ANGELES — This week, another professional athlete joined the not-so exclusive, moronic but ever-growing club of celebrity DUIers; you know, the ones too dumb to call a cab, limo, school bus, agent, bicycle, hipster with a skateboard, groupie, team mascot, SOMEONE to drive them home after a night of boozing.
Justin Blackmon, newly drafted of the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Adonis-like wide receiver from Oklahoma St., recently blew a .24 (three times rhe legal limit) while driving home early last Sunday morning in Oklahoma from wherever he thought was a better place to drink than his couch. It’s Blackmon’s second arrest in the last 20 months and puts the spotlight on himself and a team in much need of a turn in the right direction after an abysmal 5-11 campaign in 2011 for all the wrong reasons. Blackmon was (and still is) supposed to be the new focal point of the Jags’ passing attack with whomever new head coach Mike Mularkey decides to trot out there at quarterback for Week 1 at Minnesota.
The Jaguars, as @AndrewPerloff of the Dan Patrick Show predicted they would on this week’s Rich Eisen Podcast, have a chance to make the playoffs in the AFC South with the Texans weaker, the Colts starting a rookie QB and Titans doing little to improve themselves this offseason. Unfortunately, it all hinges on who wins that starting QB job. It could be Blaine Gabbert, who couldn’t start in my flag football league after his performance last season, or perhaps former Dolphins starter Chad Henne, who’s coming off a season-ending injury a year ago. No matter who it is, they’re going to need Blackmon, as well as Maurice Jones-Drew, who took a beating last year and still managed to lead the NFL in rushing by over 200 yards (and he’s one of my fantasy team’s keepers next year. Cha-ching!)
Blackmon has a chance to be an immediate impact receiver but not if he keeps doing bonehead things off the field. He’ll find himself Charles Rogers’d in no time. For this latest incident he could be fined, though he’s yet to even sign his rookie contract, but it sounds like he won’t be subject to the league’s personal conduct policy. We’ll see.
But this goes to the larger point with celebrities and athletes (we sort of expect this behavior from rock stars, right? how preposterous is that?); why do they routinely get behind the wheel intoxicated when they clearly have the means to avoid situations such as these? Seriously, how stupid are these people? How many before them need to get arrested and have their reputations ruined before someone wisely decides an alternative means? I’m not saying that there aren’t some who probably do this; there might be many and we only hear about the doofuses, but come on. Former NFLer Leonard Little killed someone doing it, then went out and did it AGAIN. Same with ex-MLBer Jim Leyritz.
Just in the last month, actress Amanda Bynes got busted TWICE! And she even Tweeted to President Obama to have the arresting officer fired. Charlie Sheen. Lindsay Lohan. And on and on. That’s what’s wrong with these people; the sense of entitlement. It’s the only explanation on why it keeps happening. Look, Joe Shmoes get hammered at their local watering hole, do drugs, whatever and then drive home all the time, all over the country. It’s reckless, irresponsible and beyond dangerous. But they can’t afford car services or have “people” and “handlers” to see to their every need to ensure it doesn’t happen. So why does it?
The guise of invincibility that’s come from years and years and being told how great you are and how everything is taken care of and nothing wrong will ever happen has these people believing it, that’s why. Look, if I was one of those guys and my life was pearls and caviar for me from a very young age, once I got to be somewhat of an adult I’d pretty much do whatever the fuck I wanted, too. But I hope I’d have the wherewithal to not drive myself anywhere while and after I did it. I don’t even drink and I’d have someone drive me all over creation, even when I was bored. My gym is literally a half mile from my house and I’d call a service to take me there.
It’s hilarious to me when the public gets shocked Ashton Kutcher had sex with some 20-something, that Allen Iverson is broke and Axl Rose flips out at a show. Why do we think virtually all of celebrity relationships are dysfunctional and fail, or they go broke when their playing days or acting days or rocker days are over or have substance abuse problems? They think the party never ends and nothing sticks to them. They are never told “no” because those who should be doing the telling are invested in their success.
Only John Gotti was the Teflon Don but even he went to jail. And died there. Unfortunately, I don’t think even that will slow this culture down.