It hasn’t been the greatest summer for Hollywood. The box office is down about 20% from this time last year, and while there have been a few exceptions (X-men: Days of Future Past and Dawn of the Planet of Apes) most of the big winners financially have been pretty mediocre/bad movies (Amazing Spider Man 2, Maleficent, Transformers: Age of Extinction, and Lucy). Marvel Studios, usually a big player in the summer-movie scene, released its only film of the season yesterday in Guardians of the Galaxy. The movie was a considerable gamble for the studio, but after watching it, I’d have to say that it is one of the most pleasantly surprising films of the summer.
The first Marvel movie without a well-established hero (most of these characters have only been around since 2008), the film features a group of criminals who team up to prevent a powerful space orb from landing into the hands of Ronan, the genocidal-alien-bad-guy. Many of the movie’s funniest moments come from the human member of the group, Starlord (played by Chris Pratt), who was abducted by aliens as a child in 1988. This allows him to spew a variety of hilarious pop-cultural references ranging from Kevin Bacon to The Maltese Falcon, and gives the film a cool soundtrack featuring classic hits like “I Want You Back” by the Jackson Five and “Escape” by Rupert Holmes. Guardians is self-aware, the characters are great (particularly Groot, the humanoid tree voiced by Vin Diesel) and is a worthwhile trip to the movies in a summer that hasn’t featured so many.
On to the news:
Tony Barbee joins UK’s Staff
The University officially announced today that Tony Barbee will be joining the staff as “special assistant to the head coach.” Barbee played for Calipari at UMass, was an assistant at Memphis, and was the head coach at UTepp and Auburn, before being fired by the latter this March. He takes the place of Rod Strickland, who left to coach at the University of South Florida earlier this year. Glad to have you, coach.
Stoops speaks at final pre-season luncheon
Coach Stoops spoke about the team today for the final time during “talking season” at the annual Kentucky Football Kickoff Luncheon in Lexington. Stoops believes the squad is “much improved,” especially physically:
“You hear me talk about it all the time: recruit, recruit, recruit – and develop. We can’t just bring talented players into our program and stop there. We have to develop them in all areas of their lives. This team is much improved. Really, I think you’re going to see the biggest dividends in the physical improvement.”
We’re looking forward to seeing those results. Practice starts Monday.
Coach K comments on Demarcus Cousins
Several people have reported that Mason Plumlee is likely to make the Team USA roster over Demarcus Cousins. The two played tonight in a scrimmage (still occurring at the time of this post) that will hopefully make an impression on the staff. Coack K did have this to say about Demarcus:
“In DeMarcus’ case, the style we play lends itself to what Anthony does or even what Plumlee is doing,” Krzyzewski said. “DeMarcus’ game is different, so he has an adjustment to make and he’s trying to make it. He’s been attentive and [he’s] tried — diving on the floor for loose balls. They all have to adapt and it’s a different way of playing defense — ‘how do you play defense with all these athletes, and how do you help out?’ We [will] have to see in games — these exhibition games — how that will wash out. We haven’t made a decision and we won’t for a while, but we will definitely take a long look at the bigs.”
Is he setting us up for the let-down? No official decision has been made yet, but if Coach K decides to screw over Boogie.. look out.
Antoine Walker will be at the annual alumni game
The 3-time NBA All-Star, and former NCAA/ NBA champion Antoine Walker announced that he will be returning to Lexington for this year’s alumni game via Twitter:
— Antoine Walker (@WalkerAntoine8) August 1, 2014
This year’s contest will feature several former Cats against several former non-Cats. More details will be released soon, but if the past few years have been any indication, it will be a fun event and a great chance to see several of our former Wildcats in action.
Finally, KSR would like to send well-wishes to Aaron Jackson (pictured below), who is currently in UK’s ICU fighting a rare blood disease. Aaron is a huge Kentucky fan, and was able to get Jodie Meeks to help him participate in “the cold water challenge” a couple of months ago. Sending our thoughts and prayers your way, big guy.