The doink heard round the world

I’m rarely right about anything, and on Sunday afternoon, I couldn’t even partake in my favorite pastime—watching football for hours without moving once or saying a word—without a struggle. Because I made the millennial move of cutting the cord and can never seem to pick up NBC in Conrad with a digital antenna. I spent a good chunk of the Bears-Eagles game frantically attempting to figure out a streaming option, and with about 10 minutes to play, I got the NFL app downloaded on Kellie’s phone and used screen sharing to get it on my new TV.


But I had a premonition of sorts, and the end of the memorable contest turned about exactly as I thought it would.


There’s no way Parkey makes this, I thought. He’s going to hit the upright.


Of course, anyone who’s watched the Monsters of the Midway this season knows this wasn’t a particularly risky take. Cody Parkey has hit the uprights more than any other kicker ever (hey Vikes fans, remember Blair Walsh against Seattle?), and the Bears, like that other Chicago sports team that plays north of Soldier Field and finally won a World Series, are on the verge of joining the ranks of the eternally cursed—if nothing else, though, at least the ’85 team gave us Chris Farley’s Bill Brasky and ‘Da Bears.’


The Eagles, with Nick Foles, are once again a team of destiny a la the Eli Manning Giants in 2007 and 2010, and any Philly fan who isn’t ready to move on from Carson Wentz needs a head check. Even after a 12-4 season, the rise of the next great franchise quarterback in Mitch Trubisky and the acquisition of superstar defender Khalil Mack, at the end of the day, the Bears couldn’t escape the fact that they were the Bears.


Here in the Midwest, it’s just another exhibit in the grand pantheon of our endless sports misery, from Cleveland (LeBron’s gone again, and the city’s best hope is now—the BROWNS?!?) to Minnesota (I’m marrying a Vikings fan, and her standard response is ‘I don’t watch them. They suck’) to Chicago (2016 Cubs! Really, who cares about the rest?) to Kansas City (we haven’t blown a 28 point lead in this year’s playoffs!—yet) to Detroit (that contract for Matt Stafford is really paying off, and even the Red Wings stink) and last but not least, to St. Louis, where the Cardinals actually fired a manager and the Rams—well, oh yeah, never mind.  


To my Bears friends, I offer my sincerest condolences, and I’m sure it won’t be long until I join you in mourning because the Chiefs defense couldn’t stop the Little Giants or a Pop Warner team if their season depended on it. It’s been a great run, Mahomes. Please don’t get hurt.


Chicago has a bright future, but that’s no solace after losing in such an infuriating fashion. They’ve got a defensive identity, they’ve got a signal caller and they’ve got a young star at running back. Now if only they can find a guy who can land his kicks between the uprights instead of on them.


2019 is a year—a new one, at that—and a new year brings new things. I’m hoping self-improvement is among them, but I’ve learned not to make guarantees or promises: at the end of the day, I still love Chinese, pizza, Mexican, barbecue and all the other things you’re not supposed to eat when you want to lose 50 pounds.


Now that it’s awards season, I’ve had movies and television on the brain, and I’m at least cautiously optimistic that this will be a better year than the last one on the entertainment front. Anyway, here are a few shows and films I’m excited to see in 2019, and you can send your own lists, suggestions and angry responses to the usual place. Here’s to getting in shape!


1. The Irishman- It occurred to me the other day that Martin Scorsese has made at least one movie considered to be among the best of the decade in each of the last five dating back to the Carter administration. In the ‘70s, it was “Taxi Driver,” in the ’80s, “Raging Bull,” in the ‘90s, “Goodfellas,” in the ‘00s, “The Departed,” and in the ‘10s, “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

The 76-year-old has a chance to put on an exclamation point on that list with his latest, starring Robert De Niro (who would’ve guessed?), Joe Pesci (another shocker), Al Pacino and Harvey Keitel—a literal murderer’s row, considering the topic of the film—in a look at the disappearance of legendary mobbed up union boss Jimmy Hoffa and the hitman who may have taken him out.

Scorsese is never boring, and he’s right in his wheelhouse with “The Irishman.” Whether it’s award fodder or not, it will most certainly be entertaining, and it begs the question: can Marty crank out another classic in the 2020’s as he closes in on 80 years old? I wouldn’t put it past him.


2. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood- Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Pacino (again) and Margot Robbie in a movie about Sharon Tate’s murder and the Manson Family cult directed by Quentin Tarantino? Yeah, I’m sold.

We’ll have to wait until July for this blockbuster, and if it even remotely lives up to its potential, it’ll be worth it. Big budget, all-star movies by great directors have failed before (“Heaven’s Gate,” anyone?), but it’s hard to imagine a letdown here.


3. Beach Bum- Some movies are massive epics about the great existential questions of our time, and others just look like a lot of fun. “Beach Bum,” starring Matthew McConaughey as a Californiafied version of his Texas slacker hero David Wooderson in “Dazed and Confused,” falls into the latter category, and with Jonah Hill, Snoop Dogg and Zac Efron listed in the supporting cast, it should be a romp.

What are the odds he drops an “Alright, alright, alright?” I’ll set them at two-to-one.

4. Against All Enemies- Although I’m relatively new to this area and can’t claim native status, the short life and strange death of Marshalltown native Jean Seberg—a true victim of the “Deep State”—has always intrigued me.


It’s coming to the big screen in 2019, and it’ll be fascinating to see how they deal with the rumors and incessant FBI agitating that allegedly drove her to suicide in France, along with her well documented support of the Sac and Fox Tribes of the Meskwaki Settlement and—more infamously—the Black Panthers.


I’m not sure what to make of the choice to cast Kristen Stewart of “Twilight” fame in the lead role, but I’ll have to hold out judgment. After all, Matthew McConaughey spent a decade making bad romantic comedies, but he’s still managed to revive his career in a delightful way. Anything is possible.


5. True Detective (Season 3)- The first season of the HBO hit show took a tried and true format (the odd couple investigating team) and turned it into gold with memorable performances from McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, and the second season… Well, the second season was an unmitigated disaster.


Season three, which premieres this Sunday, looks like a return to form with Mahersala Ali of “The Green Book” and “Moonlight” playing Detective Wayne Hays and a new rural setting in northwestern Arkansas around Fayetteville.


I’m still holding out hope that they’ll make a season in Iowa, but until they do, this will suffice. Just keep Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn as far away from this installment as you can. Please.