12 Angry Men

I’ve been selected for jury duty once in my life. While I shan’t reveal any details here, mainly because most of them elude me at this point, I do remember feeling the weight of responsibility in making my decision. If the parties involved decided that they wanted me to sit in on their jury, I felt that I owed it to them to carefully consider all the arguments and ensure that I had my facts straight. Plus they gave me free food. What kind of monster would I be if I didn’t hold up my end of the bargain?

So imagine my surprise during my first viewing of 12 Angry Men when a young man will be sentenced to die if the jury reaches a guilty verdict, and yet some of the jurors just want to hurry up and vote so they can get out of there. If Henry Fonda’s juror was as shocked as I was, he hid it well, merely suggesting that it’s worth talking about the trial because he has “reasonable doubt.” A few of these other men are annoyed and don’t see the point in discussing anything. The kid is guilty and that’s that. Fonda remains steadfast in his belief and the jurors have no choice but to reluctantly oblige him. The seeds have been planted for 90+ plus minutes of required viewing for anyone curious about the filmmaking process, and the importance of dialogue, camerawork and body language.

And I suppose I should mention we’re going to get into some spoilers here, so if you are lucky enough to have the chance to see 12 Angry Men for the first time, do yourself a huge favor and go check it out before you read this. I promise you won’t regret it.

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The Dark Knight

Everyone remembers seeing The Dark Knight at the theater. Whether you were eagerly anticipating its release or aren’t the biggest fan of Batman or movies but got dragged to the premier with your friends anyway, you were there. It was one of those event films that transcended the typical movie-going experience. And while Christopher Nolan has made equally engaging films before and since, this is the one that he’s best known for. Fresh off of its 10th Anniversary, how has The Dark Knight continued to stand out in the ever-crowded field of superhero movies?

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Is Case Keenum a One-Hit Wonder?

A lot has been made of the Broncos’ acquisition of quarterback Case Keenum. Does it represent a sizable upgrade over the three different starters that Denver trotted out last year? Or was it the offensive skill players and top-ranked defense that made the Vikings so successful in 2017, and Keenum was just along for the ride? The Broncos’ ability to rebound from their disastrous 5-11 season likely hinges on the answer.

The good news is that I’m not too concerned whether or not the Broncos will be better off with Keenum this season, and you shouldn’t be either. My cat would probably be an upgrade over Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler and Paxton Lynch. The real question is did Case Keenum actually emerge in 2017 as a legitimate starting quarterback in the NFL, or was his performance just an aberration? Will the real Case Keenum please stand up?

Alright, that was more than just one question, but you get it. I’d normally say that if your first good season as a professional quarterback doesn’t come until you’ve been doing it for six years, there should rightfully be some skepticism over whether or not it was a fluke. Of course, it isn’t always a one-off performance. Sometimes you have a case like Steve Young…

  • Started in the USFL
  • Had a failed stint as Tampa Bay’s starter
  • Was traded to the 49ers as Joe Montana’s backup, where he didn’t become the starter and post a quality season until his eighth year as a pro

…or like Kurt Warner…

  • Undrafted by the NFL and got a job bagging groceries
  • Moved on to the Arena League and made a name for himself
  • Was then signed by the Rams, but the Greatest Show on Turf didn’t arrive until Warner’s sixth year as a pro quarterback

…but those are few and far between. Then there’s a guy like Nick Foles, who everyone thought was a one-year wonder until he was hoisting the Lombardi Trophy just five months ago, and he was in the same draft class as Keenum.

All of that is fairly inconsequential, of course, because we’re talking about Keenum’s career and his current situation. I’m sure many English majors have gone on to be successful writers after not doing anything with their degree for a few years, but I can’t sit here and say, “Well, it worked out for those guys, so I’m just going to eat Pringles on my couch and wait for someone to recognize my talent.” The point is that just because Keenum hasn’t been a good quarterback since he first stepped onto an NFL field, that doesn’t mean that his accomplishments are fleeting and that there aren’t more on the way. It also doesn’t guarantee that he’s following in the footsteps of Young and Warner.

Which is why I’ve decided to take an in-depth look at Keenum’s football career. Not just his stats or performance, mind you, but also the quality of his team and the presence of any factors that might have hindered his opportunity to win games. That will hopefully shed some light on what we can expect from Keenum’s first season with the Broncos. There may even be more self-deprecation, as I continuously remind myself that I have a useless degree and that I need to write a whole hell of a lot more than I currently do if I ever want to make it my profession. See, we’re off to a rousing start!

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Ranking a Decade of Marvel Movies: The Also Rans

We did it people. By giving Marvel our hard earned cash to see almost 20 movies over the last decade, featuring all the superheroes that we love and several that we had no clue existed, we aided and abetted the creation of an unstoppable juggernaut. With Avengers: Infinity War being released in a few short days after a decade of building towards Thanos’ showdown with the galaxy’s mightiest heroes, that train is not slowing down anytime soon.

But it hasn’t all been the smoothest journey through this shared universe. There are more than a few stops along the way that, if not for having the Marvel Studios banner safeguarding them from irrelevance, would’ve been immediately cast out and forgotten. I suppose that’s understandable. When you have 18 at-bats, you’re probably not going to knock it out of the park each time. Part three of this post will feature the eight Marvel films that I consider to be home runs, so by baseball standards the MCU has been more than cleaning up at the plate.

However, we still have to talk about the times when they struck out, grounded into a double play or popped out to the catcher (which as a former little leaguer, I always hated more than striking out). To be clear, I’m not referring to this first group of films as “The Also Rans” because I think they suck. While there will be a couple of rants and plenty of criticism, you can still watch most of these movies and be entertained. I just never feel a strong desire to do so outside of taking on another marathon of all the MCU films (which is getting very long, by the way) and one of them just happens to be the next one on the list.

But since these are my opinions and I may very well just be a cynical bastard, I’m including some feedback from both Kevin and my girlfriend, Natalie. If I’m being too hard on any of these films, they’ll let you know about it.

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An Open Letter to Broncos Country

Hello everyone,

How are you all holding up this season? I know it’s been tough. We aren’t used to seeing our team wallow among the dregs of the NFL, or being eliminated from the playoffs less than halfway through December. That’s on top of the eight-game losing streak the Broncos endured, the one time they were shutout by the Chargers and the fact that they are still winless on the road so far this year. Misery, misery, misery, everywhere we look this season.

Everyone has their own way of coping with this level of losing. Some take to Facebook to openly complain about how much they hate Vance Joseph and how John Elway is long overdue to be fired. Others simply tune the games out and find something better to do on Sunday afternoons, like go for a walk or tend to some household chores (or literally almost anything else). And there are evens “fans” who have stopped supporting the Broncos altogether and have jumped on another team’s bandwagon, such as the Eagles or Rams. To those people, I say good riddance. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out and don’t bother coming back when the Broncos turn things around.

But in case you didn’t notice, the Broncos actually won a game on Sunday, in dominant fashion I might add. This may have felt like sweet relief to you, if you’re tired of watching your team fall flat on their faces every week and want them to end the season on a high note. Or maybe you were completely frustrated because you have embraced the tank and the Broncos are so bad that they can’t even figure out how to get that right. Either line of thinking is alright by me, because it’s your team and your free to support them however you wish.

That being said, it got me thinking about how that was the kind of performance we’re used to seeing from the Broncos, and that one bad season doesn’t change the fact that we are lucky to be fans of a team that has enjoyed so much success over the years.

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How to Fix the Denver Broncos

It’s been a long season for Broncos fans. Less than two years removed from watching our team win its third Super Bowl at Levi’s Stadium, it’s become a chore to even sit through an entire game. Vance Joseph was adamant in his belief before the season that these Broncos weren’t broken and just needed a reboot, not an entire rebuild. As loss after loss has piled up, it’s abundantly clear that he couldn’t have been more wrong in his assertion.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Outside of a few early wins, the Broncos are in the midst of their longest stretch of futility since Josh McDaniels was fist-pumping and screaming at players on the sideline. They’ve already matched their worst losing streak in 50 years and are almost assured to finish the season near the bottom of the league. There is a silver lining that comes with that (you know, embrace the tank!), but while having a good draft pick will be nice, writing these recaps every week has become rather depressing. Watching the Broncos most recent display of vomit-inducing football is bad enough without having to relive it again.

Then this morning, Scotty Payne of Mile High Report posted an article about how the Broncos can reset their organization and get back to their winning ways, which inspired me to more or less do the same thing for my weekly recap. It sounded like a lot more fun than revisiting the rampant ugliness that is Broncos football.

I’ll offer some of my own thoughts on a few of Scotty’s ideas (hopefully he doesn’t unfollow me on Twitter) and present some that I’ve seen from a couple other guys in the Denver media (or “local bloggers,” as Mike Klis would call them). They are good ideas and they need to be shared as much as possible.

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Broncos Outbungle Bengals in Sixth Straight Loss

It’s official. Pick up your Bud Light and cheers. The 2017 Broncos are getting an extended tour of the Pit of Misery. Dilly dilly!

Was it not that long ago when Peyton Manning told the world that, “I’m going to drink a lot of Bud Light tonight,” to celebrate his team’s victory in Super Bowl 50? Now we’re reduced to making jokes involving Bud’s most recent advertising campaign because it helps distract us from how miserable this season has been. What else can you do to mask the pain of your team losing to the lowly Bengals? I guess you could join me in embracing the tank, but if you’re not down for that then I don’t know what else to tell you.

This week’s poor excuse for a game was preceded by John Elway, the architect of this disaster, calling his team “soft” in public. Some players took that comment as constructive criticism while others took it personally, but regardless of whether or not such a comment was warranted, Elway isn’t wrong.

When you drop six games in a row, that’s the reputation that you earn as a team and everyone is to blame. The coaches, the players, John Elway, everyone.

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