Happy Birthday Jodie Foster!

Today, we are starting a new daily segment on These Terrible Times.

Each day, we will recognize a celebrity birthday of the day and induct said person into our Hall Of Fame with an enduring portrait to last eternity.

That’s right! A Daily Celebrity Birthday Hall Of Fame Portrait!

And Ms. Foster, being a November 19th baby, gets to be the first inductee!


Jodie Foster

Movie Review – Bohemian Rhapsody

Bohemian Rhapsody – Brace yourselves; the Queen fans are likely to respond in force! Bohemian Rhapsody is a movie where the music makes the movie. In all honesty, it’s a pretty mediocre movie outside of the outstanding lead performance by Rami Malek as lead singer Freddie Mercury and a fantastic recreation of their 1985 Live Aid performance which serves as film’s finale. Technically, there’s really nothing wrong with the film. The camera work is solid and the concert set pieces are energetic enough. However, something is lost in the overall aesthetic. The first glaring problem is the play-it-safe screenplay. It is riddled with rock star movie cliche and cheesy, generic dialogue. With Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor serving as co-executive producers, they have glossed over the darker moments of Mercury’s life and done everything they can to project a squeaky clean image of the band. Anyone who knows their musical history knows this wasn’t the case, but the script even has songs played in wrong eras for dramatic effect. The strength of musical bio-pics such as Ray and Straight Outta Compton were the fact that the audience got to see the depravity the protagonists fell to and how they overcame these obstacles. Human error adds humanity to the person. Here, the tribute and hero worship aspect of the subject overwhelms the dynamic, complex character Mercury certainly was and there are scenes that feel cartoon-ish at times. You never, ever see Mercury partaking in drugs; you just get in the allusions to drugs on a corner table. You never see Freddie dancing in the gay club he’s walking through; he’s like a ghost among the revelers. It’s very likely director Bryan Singer had to pull teeth from May and Taylor just to get in the one gay kiss scene in the film. And yet, they’ll show Mercury leering at a truck driver as he enters a truck stop men’s bathroom. It comes across as silly and laughable. In fact, most of the first half of the film feels more like caricature than true acting. Second, the ensemble cast around Malek just isn’t that good. They are average actors with no depth whatsoever to their characters. At times, it felt like watching a cheap VH1 musical production. We get no motivations, no background info on the rest of the band, no dirt so to speak…And finally, the dramatic cues. Some of them are pretty annoying. Every time a new song is introduced, it’s some epic revelation. The music swells up. It’s almost as if you have cue cards telling you its time to jam. Anyone could just put on Queen’s music and you’d get the same rush without all the fake tantrums, studio meltdowns and incredibly boring “personal” conversations. The movie is not a total loss however. A film full of constant Queen tunes is never a bad thing and it’s the songs that keep things moving forward. Also, actor Rami Malek, mostly known from the USA Network show Mr. Robot, gives the best performance of his career to date. He absolutely nails Freddie Mercury from the passion to the mannerisms and the overall look. Malek is a magnet in every scene he’s in. And the final recreation of Queen’s Live Aid performance is absolutely breathtaking. One only wishes that energy was sustained through the rest of the feature. Bohemian Rhapsody is more a nice tribute to one of the greatest lead men in rock and roll history but its certainly not an objective one. Fans of the band will likely lap it up, but if you want musical cinema, the current “A Star Is Born” is the far better production overall.

11/18/18 – Image Of The Day

Twenty-five years ago today, on November 18th, 1993, the rock band Nirvana recorded their classic Unplugged In New York album. Filmed before a live audience and using only acoustic instruments, the band ripped through a number of their hits as well as several classic covers. The album would be released a year later and go on to become one of the most popular MTV Unplugged recordings.

In The Ivy League, The Bird Is Not The Word

In one last college football note, in yesterday’s annual Harvard vs. Yale rivalry, a penalty was called on the Harvard running back after he scored a touchdown and then appeared to flip off the Yale defender shadowing him. The referee threw the flag on the obscene act, taking the touchdown off the board.

In the end though, it didn’t matter. Harvard defeated Yale 45-27.

Still, not a smart move by this Ivy League genius…

Weekend Football News And Notes

As the college football regular season approaches its end, the top ranked teams for the most part held form this weekend. Meanwhile in the NFL, the top contenders started making their moves for playoff spots in today’s early games.

In the best college football game of the day, the #10 Ohio State Buckeyes survived a game Maryland squad who took OSU to overtime, only to lose on a failed 2 point conversion attempt. The high scoring affair ended up in a 52-51 victory for the Buckeyes, which kept their Big 10 title hopes as well as national playoff hopes alive. Next week, they play the annual rivalry game against the #4 Michigan Wolverines who won their game against Indiana 31-20.

The game which was supposed to be the match-up of the day, but which was anything but was the #3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish versus the #12 Syracuse Orange Men from Yankee Stadium in New York. Only one squad showed up to play though and the Irish trounced the Orange 36-3.

The only top 10 team to lose yesterday in the college ranks was #9 West Virginia who were stunned by unranked Oklahoma State 45-41, ending any chance the Mountaineers had of making the National College Playoff.

Elsewhere, #1 Alabama crushed the Citadel 50-17 despite being tied with the underdog 10-10 at the half. #2 Clemson dispatched Duke 35-6, and #11 Central Florida continued the longest winning streak in the nation by defeating #24 Cincinnati 38-13. Central Florida improved their record to 10-0 this year after last year’s undefeated season. Still, they are seen as a long shot to reach the National Playoff.

And two BREAKING NEWS notes on the college football front:

1) Former LSU head coach Les Miles who won the national championship with that school in 2007 has signed with the Kansas Jayhawks to become their next football head coach.

2) Army has landed in the top 25 rankings for the first time since 1996 with their 9-2 record. They will next play in the annual Army-Navy game at 3pm on December 8th.

Turning to today’s NFL action, all of the early games were relatively close with the exception of the Indianapolis Colts – Tennessee Titans match-up where the Colts easily won 38-10.

The Houston Texans pulled out a late victory on the road against the Washington Redskins with a 23-21 win. In that game, Washington starting quarterback Alex Smith went down with a gruesome broken leg injury and is lost for the season. Backup Colt McCoy did an adequate job covering for Smith, but the Texans would still eek out the win.

Similarly, the Pittsburgh Steelers won on a last minute quarterback run by Ben Roethlisberger to steal a victory on the road against the Jacksonville Jaguars 20-16.

Other scores:

Dallas Cowboys 22 – Atlanta Falcons 19

Detroit Lions 20 – Carolina Panthers 19

New York Giants 38 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers 35

Baltimore Ravens 24 – Cincinnati Bengals 21

Today’s NFL afternoon games include the Philadelphia Eagles at the red hot New Orleans Saints, the Los Angeles Chargers hosting the Denver Broncos and the Oakland Raiders at the Arizona Cardinals.

The Sunday Night Game is a big divisional match with the Minnesota Vikings visiting the Chicago Bears.

And the Monday Night Game pits two of the best teams in the league this year with the 9-1 Kansas City Chiefs visiting the 9-1 Los Angeles Rams. The game was originally was supposed to be played in Mexico City, but due to poor field conditions, the game was moved back to Los Angeles earlier this week.