At this point, most everyone knows about the hilarity of FX’s show “The League.” The comedy loosely based around a group of friend’s fantasy football league is, when firing on all cylinders, the best non-”Curb Your Enthusiasm” comedy on television. But what you might not know is that one of the stars of the show, Mark Duplass, has also become my movie muse as of late. Via his Twitter account (@markduplass), I have been able to learn about a whole host of movies I knew nothing of before his recommendation. Duplass started a little over a month ago recommending one movie per day via his Twitter account, all of which are available on Netflix streaming. I am far from caught up, but via his recommendations, have seen a ton of movies that I would never otherwise see.
So that got me to thinking. With such a huge community of UK fans here, why not attempt to do the same thing in this forum. So what follows is the first installment in what I hope will be a semi-regular set of recommendations as to Twitter accounts, internet articles, books and movies that you might want to check out if you haven’t yet. I don’t claim that any are real secrets, but I love recommendations of others and in an attempt to write about something that does not involve Mitch Barnhart, Joker Phillips or Doron Lamb, it seems like a worthy idea. Feel free to comment on any of the suggestions below, or give your own for possible inclusion in future additions. The best suggestions (with commentary as to why) will be added to a reader list for the next edition. So without further ado:
As an initial matter, I am skipping over all UK-related accounts and focusing solely on those from other life paths. Four for today:
— @fivethirtyeight — As we get farther into this political season, the news is going to likely overwhelm us all and make everyone want to turn all pundits out of our lives. But sober analysis is still important and this account run by political analyst Nate Silver provides the best interpretation of the political news that I have found.
— @elkpga — You may not care about professional golf, and in reality until Tiger gets good again you shouldn’t. However funny and clever people in all walks of life should be celebrated. Former PGA golfer Steve Elkington is hilarious and worth following, regardless of how you feel about the sport.
— @thesurfreport — If you watch a lot, or for that matter any, television then this is a must-follow. The self-proclaimed tv “guru” reminds me of what is on television every night and gives good tidbits of things worth watching that you might not know exist.
— @mengus22 — No man on Earth tweets more than Mark Ennis. But there are also very few men who are more passionate about college sports and who add more insights to them (especially college football). He bleeds Cardinal red and will flood your timeline, but he also thinks man of the same things you do and writes in a witty, worthwhile style.
— @kentuckybadgirl — I was introduced to this Twitter account by (who else) Drew Franklin. I have never met Lauren (the former cast member on “Bad Girls Club”) and I am not sure if/when I will. But from afar, she entertains me a great deal. She lives a life on the edge and seems always one step from either monumental fun or a complete disaster.
— BIG FAN — Starring Patton Oswalt, this film is a bizarre look inside the world of sports fandom, specifically that borne by radio call-in shows. The main character calls into a sports talk show every night and develops rivalries with other fans that they think are for fun, but he believes are real. Bizarre and odd…but very entertaining.
— THE PERFECT CANDIDATE — Documentary that follows the 1994 Virginia Senate Race between Chuck Robb and Oliver North. For reasons that aren’t clear after the film, North allowed these filmmakers behind the scenes access to his campaign and what follows is the best on-camera look of what an American political campaign really looks like in the trenches that I have ever seen.
— NETWORK — Network was always one of those movies that I saw on Top 100 Movies of All Time lists but never bothered to actually watch. But last week I did, and it is one of the better satires I have ever seen. People in television are universally odd, a fact I have learned in the past couple of years. While this movie was made in 1976, the characters fit archetypes still in place today.
— IN THE BEDROOM — The most under-appreciated great movie of the 21st Century. Two parents deal with the murder of their son and in the process, make decisions that are hard to imagine. I can still remember the first time I saw this in the theater and how powerful it was to me. A MUST-SEE if you missed it the first time through.
— The Last American Hero is Junior Johnson — I can only dream to write this well. Tom Wolfe goes into Nascar country in 1965 and writes about driver Junior Johnson and his effect on stockcar fans. The picture he paints is the most vivid I have ever read and even though I first encountered it over a decade ago, it is still my favorite piece of sportswriting ever.
— The Perils of Pauline — Possibly the most brutal takedown of another person’s work that I have ever laid my eyes upon. A book reviewer named Renata Alder reviews a collection of movie reviews by a critic named Pauline Kael. To be fair, I had never heard of Kael or her reviews when I read this piece. But she was apparently the most famous movie critic of her day and in this book review, Adler eviscerates her as thoroughly as one could ever imagine. Before you ever write a piece critical of anyone else, read this to see how it can (and should) be done.
— The Man Who Crashed the World: I will freely admit that I know next to nothing about finance or how the nation’s economic system truly works. But when I can read something that I understand on the subject, I find it fascinating. Michael Lewis’s take on the collapse of AIG gives the best short take on why we had/have an economic crisis that I have yet found.
— COLUMBINE — You remember the event and how shocking it was to the country. But what you might not know is just how much of the coverage of the Columbine tragedy ended up being completely false. Following up what happened in Littleton, Colorado five years later, the author showcases how little we actually know about what happened that day.
— AMONG THE THUGS — One of my favorite all-time sports books details author Bill Buford’s attempt to learn about soccer hooligans. In an attempt to understand their behavior, he follows a group of English fans and ends up getting so wrapped up in their culture, that he finds himself acting as a thug as well. GREAT storytelling about a fan culture that even makes UK fans look tepid.
— THE KNOW IT ALL — An author attempts to read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica set from start to finish in a quest to learn everything there is to know. AJ Jacobs is hilarious and he takes what would seem to be the most boring project in existence and make it extremely entertaining. And it will remind you that at one point, we actually had something called an “encyclopedia” (do they still make those?).
That is all. I am interested in any comments/suggestions you have as well. And if not, just complain that there is no news about Patterson or Lucas and “hey, I thought this was a UK sports site!”