In Defense of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice


Imagine the following: a popular movie genre is categorized by smart but formulaic films, enjoyable and entertaining while also going out of their way to explain everything explicitly to the viewer and not engage any level of mystery or metaphysical questions. Another film comes along in this genre and while Read more

The Bachelor 2016: Finale Recap!


  (Written by @JeremyWilson412. For more coverage of this season's The Bachelor, go here) Another season has come and gone, and one thing was clear from start to finish: America loves Ben. Admit it, you love Ben. It doesn’t matter if you are a single girl, a married woman, or a Read more

Ranking the Batman Cinematic Legacy: The 9 Films featuring the Dark Knight


We’re three weeks from the latest cinematic incarnation of Batman, brought to us this time by action film director Zack Snyder. I would be lying if I didn’t express a certain amount of apprehension for “Batman V Superman: The Dawn of Justice.” Snyder is known for his bombastic sense Read more

The Bachelor 2016: Fantasy Suite (I love you!) (Oh, I also love you!)


  (Written by @JeremyWilson412. For more on this season’s The Bachelor, go here… and by here, I mean the link that is embedded in the word “here” used prior to that use of here. If you click on any of the here’s that aren’t in a different color, then you’ll Read more

2016 Oscars Hot Takes


OK…I’m going to try to make this as short and sweet as possible so that I can close the book on the 2016 Academy Awards. A couple quick notes before we dive in: I love Chris Rock but I thought his material was just okay. I both wanted and expected a Read more

Second Annual Groucho Movie Awards


Welcome back, movie nerds! Last year I started a new tradition of hosting my own annual movie awards that I deemed "The Grouchos". This name is obviously meant to be an homage to Groucho Marx, and is doubly fitting because I tend to get snarky when it comes to Read more

Sports

#OBY (Others Before Yourself)

Posted on by Jay Salato in Basketball, Bright Spots, Featured, Sports | 2 Comments

First, you had the “Rockabilly Smack You Silly Chicken Chili.” Then, there was “Salato’s Garlicky Potato and Roasted Tomato Soup.” Finally, I brought the “Classic Chicken Noodle Soup with ‘Tis the Season’ Spices.” Those were the three soups I created to win Franklin Road Academy’s First Annual “Souper Bowl,” presented by the Heart to Heart Program. However, this story is not the “Souper Bowl,” and it’s certainly not about me. Let me explain.

Franklin Road Academy (FRA), where I work as a French teacher and a basketball coach, is a special place. It is special for many reasons, but my favorite thing that makes the school unique is the way that we celebrate each other’s differences. Exhibit A: The Heart To Heart Program. This program, led by David Dawson, offers the full educational opportunity of FRA to students with Down syndrome. Yes, the full experience. This includes inclusion in academic classes and extracurricular activities.

Through my role as assistant varsity basketball coach, I have gotten to know one of the Heart to Heart students very well. Enter Robert Lewis. Robert is an amazing young man who has served as a manager on a variety of FRA sports teams, and he is every team’s biggest fan. As he found out on Friday night, everyone feels the same way about Robert.

On Friday, February 5, it was Senior Night for our basketball team. A common tradition on Senior Night is to start all of your seniors, and if you have a senior manager, you let them dress out in full Panther regalia. Per the protocol, Coach John Pierce, FRA head boys’ basketball coach and college basketball’s all-time leading scorer (but again, this story is not about him either), explained to the five seniors that they would be starting. This came as a shock to no one. Likewise, Coach Pierce told both managers, Joshua Larkin (who, in fairness, has become more like an assistant coach) and Robert “Money” Lewis, that they would be dressing out for the varsity game. There were no guarantees of playing time, but they would be given a uniform.

After practice on Thursday, “Coach” Joshua Larkin told Coach Pierce, “If only one of us can get into the game, I want it to be Robert.” The first, but not the last, instance of #OBY, a hashtag that has overtaken the FRA community, which stands for “Others Before Yourself.” Likewise, sophomore Kendall Bell, who has been dressing out for varsity games, gave up his uniform so that Robert and Joshua could both dress out for the varsity game. #OBY. When we were lacking one pair of red shoelaces (yes, this was also a “Red Out” for the American Heart Association), the boys made sure that Robert had a pair. #OBY. When senior Kenny Cooper was presented with the honor of being FRA’s all-time leading scorer at halftime of the game, he asked me, “Coach, do I have to go out there? Can’t I just go to the locker room with my team?” #OBY.

Amidst the hoopla of Senior Night, the “Red Out,” and the 1,000-Point-Club recognition, there was also a basketball game to be played. By the middle of the first quarter, it was clear that the Panthers were ready to play. Senior Spence Jones assisted fellow senior George Somers on the first bucket of the game, and mere minutes later, a Kenny Cooper dunk extended the early lead to 16-3. When asked later about their early energy, a senior responded, “It was important to us to get Joshua and Robert into the game.” #OBY.

By the middle of the fourth quarter, the Panthers had a comfortable lead. The decision of whether to put Joshua and Robert in the game rested in the hands of Coach Pierce. With 1:40 left in the game, Joshua Larkin entered the game. And finally, amid chants of “Money Robert,” with 1:10 left to play, two fan favorites, George Somers and Robert Lewis entered the game as well. At this time, their opponent, University School of Nashville (USN), countered with an equally special substitution. Matthew Lewis, Robert’s younger brother, came into the game for USN. It was, as Twitter later proclaimed via hashtag, #BrotherGuardingBrother.

On FRA’s first possession, Robert took a shot from the corner. The crowd held their collective breath…an air ball. Despite the result, the crowd clapped in support. It was still a special moment, even if Robert didn’t score. After a USN three-pointer, FRA got the ball back with under twenty seconds to play. It was clear that this would be their last possession. Some players and fans were yelling, “Get the ball to Joshua!” Others were yelling, “Get the ball to Robert!” In a move seen by few, Joshua Larkin, on the wing, pointed and gestured for Kyle Crudele, the point guard, to dribble towards Robert. Another example of #OBY. Crudele did, and he passed the ball to George Somers, who shoveled the ball to Robert Lewis, in the corner again. What happened next was pure magic…

Robert took the final shot of the game, and as it left his hands, it looked good…

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Growing Up with Peyton

Posted on by Joseph Williams in Featured, Football, Sports | Leave a comment

peytonwave

A few weeks ago, I never thought I’d see Peyton Manning take another snap, much less throw another pass or another touchdown.

Much less win another playoff game.

Much less defeat Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and the New England Patriots to win another AFC Championship. (Unbelievably, after all the drama, Peyton will end his career 3-2 against Brady & Belichick’s Patriots in the playoffs.)

Much less get one final start in Super Bowl 50.

You’ll have to excuse me for starting and stopping this blogpost numerous times over the last few weeks and for, honestly, not really even knowing where to start as I type right now.

You’ll have to excuse me for skipping any Super Bowl parties you’ve invited me to. I have to watch this one at home in my Peyton jersey with my son, in his Peyton jersey. It’s safe to say Palmer will wear one of my old Peyton jerseys as well. (For my son’s first Halloween in 2014, my son wore his Broncos Peyton jersey, my wife wore my old Tennessee Peyton jersey, and I wore one of my old Colts Peyton jerseys.)

You’ll have to excuse me for any emotional outbursts I’ve made in the last few weeks if you asked me about Peyton.

The fact of the matter is this: when Peyton inevitably hangs up his cleats after Super Bowl 50, I’m not sure I’ll ever cheer as hard for another athlete for the rest of my life.

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Cubs, Cardinals, and Destiny

Posted on by Joseph Williams in Baseball, Featured, Sports | Leave a comment

BackToTheFuture_61e00esi_6r7g7h98

Sometimes, you reach a point in time where fate steps in and you just have to recognize destiny’s dominion when it arrives. And that’s why, despite eliminating my favorite team from the playoffs, I now have to root for the Chicago Cubs. I’m sure that once they win the climb to the championship peak, I can return to rooting against them, not unlike the 2004 Boston Red Sox. But now that my Cardinals and Braves are eliminated, I’m a Cubs fan for the next month.

Why?

Well, it’s important to know that I grew up a Braves and Cardinals fan. I could see every Braves game on TBS and I’m a fourth generation Cardinals fan who grew up in Memphis. The closest major league ballpark was St. Louis and we got the AAA Memphis Redbirds when I was in middle school. All in on the St. Louis Cardinals… while they are a baseball force (this is the first time they haven’t been to the NLCS in the last five years), they’re still an eternal underdog as their 11 World Titles is still less than half of the Yankees’ total.

I never rooted against the Cubs though if they weren’t playing the Cards or Braves. Why would I? They were eternal underdogs. Steve Bartman. The Curse of the Billy Goat. The World Series drought. Perpetually at the bottom of the NL Central.

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The joke was so good that Robert Zemeckis classically had the Cubs winning the World Series in 2015 when Marty McFly visited in my favorite childhood film, Back to the Future Part II.

The future is crazy! Flying cars, fax machines everywhere, hover boards… AND THE CUBS WIN THE SERIES!

It used to be a joke to me. Of course the Cardinals would end this fairy tale. They were the best team in baseball.

Then the Cubs beat them in 4 games. The home run derby at Wrigley happened… Jake Arrieta happened.

Maybe Robert Zemeckis was a prophet… or maybe time travel is real and the trick’s on us… or maybe… the stars are aligning for the Cubbies.

I’m sad that the Cardinals couldn’t get one championship closer to the Yankees. But how does anyone without a team left in it not root for the cubs?

Imagine if Theo Epstein was able to lead the Red Sox to a World Series win, breaking the Curse of the Bambino and, a decade later, leads the Cubs to a World Series win, breaking the Curse of the Billy Goat?!?!?

That’s unreal. That’s historic.

Maybe Back to the Future Part II was right all along.

We’ll find out soon.

Monday Morning Mailbag: Jurassic World, Cavs-Warriors, & More

Posted on by Joseph Williams in Baseball, Basketball, Entertainment, Featured, Golf, Movie Reviews, Politics, Sports, Television | Leave a comment

Jurassic-World-Chris-Pratt

Wise Guise Warriors… I’m back! A lot has been happening in the world since I last posted. I got lots of questions about all sorts of topics in addition to many things I’ve wanted to blog about but haven’t had time. So, without further ado, here’s a Monday Morning Mailbag to cover most of the topics you wanted to hear about, most of the topics I wanted to write about, and some.

Jeff from Jefferson City, MO: Have you seen Jurassic World yet? How do you rank it compared to other modern-day summer blockbusters in addition to the original three Jurassic Park films?

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Need To Know: The Memphis Grizzlies And The NBA Playoffs Scenarios

Posted on by Clayton Martin in Basketball, Featured, Sports | Leave a comment

Memphis Grizzlies Growl Towels

Alright folks, it’s time to buckle up for the NBA Playoffs! That means it’s time for new Growl Towels, drum lines down Beale Street, and finding new reasons to hate every other player on every other team in the NBA. As you surely know by this point, all of the seed positioning is still up in the air. And it’s SUPER confusing because there are so many moving parts. However, I’ve tried to compile everything you need to know (with a lot of help from Matt Moore of CBSSports.com) and break down exactly what you need to root for and against happening tonight.

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Masters 2015: From Tiger to Rory

Posted on by Joseph Williams in Featured, Golf, Sports | Leave a comment

2015-MastersSm

In 2012, in the fledgling months of The Wise Guise, I participated in a preview of The Masters. I wrote about my favorite parts of attending The Masters live and provided predictions for the Top 10 golfers to be in the Top 10 on the back nine on Sunday, when it’s well known The Masters truly begins every year.

I encourage you to check out that original post in addition to my reflections on Bubba Watson, The Masters, and life on the Monday after last year. But spring is here, college basketball ends, Opening Day wraps up, the NBA and NHL approach the postseason, and yet another Masters weekend approaches. I’d like to offer a few thoughts and reflections before we lay on the couch and let the sounds of Jim Nantz, that theme song, Butler Cabin, the roaring crowds, and the tradition unlike any other wash over us.

Nike’s newest ad, entitled Ripple, provides the perfect preview for The Masters in 2015.

Some say it simply serves as a tribute to Tiger Woods and the impact he had on the current #1 golfer in the world pursuing a career grand slam and his very own Rory Slam. Sure. That’s how they sold it to Tiger.

But for those of us who grew up with Tiger like Rory but have not been busy winning our own major championships, we see the ad for what it really is. It’s about an end of an era and the passing of a torch.

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