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Showing posts from October, 2016

2016 Broncos Season, Week Eight

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The Broncos earned a measure of revenge, besting the Chargers on Sunday.

Week Eight: Broncos 27, San Diego Chargers 16
Season Record: 6-2 (4-1 Home)
Key Play: In the fourth quarter, with the Broncos leading 27-16 and the Chargers facing fourth and goal at the two yard line, Phillip Rivers dropped back to pass and it was broken up by Lorenzo Doss, preserving the eight point lead. The Broncos held on to win.

Recap: Sometimes you have to win ugly games, and the Broncos certainly did that on Sunday. Trevor Siemian struggled, much more than it shows in the box score. He was lucky not to have a few passes picked off, and he was woefully inaccurate on some deep passes. In addition, at times the defense struggled to contain the Chargers' offense, including on a 98-yard drive in the third quarter. But you play to win the game, and the Broncos won to move to 6-2 and remain in a first place tie with the Raiders — who they play on Sunday. The fact that Kubiak was critical of the offense after th…

Halloween Viewing List

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Halloween is a fun time to curl up with a scary movie and a chocolate bar. Since Halloween is again upon us, here's a few suggestions for your evening!

The Birds, 1963
About: I re-watched much of this Saturday night, and it reminded me that filmmaking used to be different. This is an Alfred Hitchcock classic about a few people that begin to be attacked by birds on the coast of California. It's a slow burn, about developing characters and story, setting the tension slowly. It's from an era where filmmaking was about setting the scene more than throwing the gore out there. I remember when I first saw "The Birds." I lived in Morro Bay, California, a place where we had plenty of Seagulls. The idea they might just drop down out of the sky and peck me to death was deeply unsettling. It still is in this Hitchcock masterpiece.

Halloween, 1979
About: This film has been oft sequeled and re-made, but nothing compares to the original. John Carpenter really defined our modern co…

Adoration

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"Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; His greatness no one can fathom." — Psalm 145:3

In our new series, we're looking at prayer. Specifically at the ACTS formula, Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication. Each week we're tackling a new letter. The first of which was Adoration.

On Sunday we looked at Psalm 145, a Psalm of David, which gets at the heart of Adoration. In her message, Katie described Adoration as "Deep delight in God." I thought about how perfect that description is, and I thought about how often I give that when going to God in prayer.

Prayer is a time when we connect and build our relationship with God. But often we think of it differently, or at least we act differently. We go to God with our list of wants and needs, almost like going to the store to shop. How often have you stopped in front of Wal-Mart to revel in its glory? We wouldn't. That's absurd, to be honest, but that's what makes our prayer life diff…

Upcoming Releases — November

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Here's a look at all the new releases headed our way in November!

Friday, November 4:
Dr. Strange — This is the latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it's a bit different than the others. This one focuses on a different plane of existence. Directed by Scott Derrickson and starring Benedict Cumberbatch, it's one of the most anticipated films of the year.

Hacksaw Ridge — This is the latest film from Mel Gibson. It's about a soldier who refuses to carry a weapon or kill. It's drawn some good reviews and looks like it could be inspirational.

Trolls — A family-friendly entry for November. This one centers on the popular kids toy come alive and features the voices of Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake.

Friday, November 11:
Arrival — Starring Amy Adams, this thriller comes from the director of "Sicario." It's about the arrival of aliens, and what it might mean for humanity. It should be one of the best of the month.

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Wal…

Now Playing

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Here's a look at the new movie I saw this week.

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
Starring: Tom Cruise, Cobie Smulders, and Danika Yarosh
Synopsis: A few years ago, Tom Cruise took the starring role in the film “Jack Reacher.” Based on the novels by Lee Child, the film was about a former Navy cop who investigated crimes on his own and seemed to kick a lot of butt. It was released just days before Christmas in 2012 and probably slipped from most people’s minds. I remember seeing the film, but it didn’t make a huge impression. Yet, nearly four years later, Cruise is back as Reacher in another adaptation from the Child books. And, surprisingly, I thought this was a better, more compelling film. It seemed to fit Cruise’s talents, and it had a nice assembled cast around him. Cruise is great at creating these kind of film properties. One of his most successful has been “Mission Impossible,” which has featured different actors and directors over the past 20 years but remains a bankable film fran…

NFL Picks, Week Eight

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It's time for week eight, which kicks off tonight as the Tennessee Titans host the Jacksonville Jaguars. Lindsay surged to the lead again, but I remain undaunted. Lindsay's picks are in brackets.

NFL Picks, Week Eight:
Titans Over Jaguars (Jaguars)
Bengals Over Redskins (Redskins)
Patriots Over Bills (Patriots)
Jets Over Browns (Jets)
Lions Over Texans (Lions)
Chiefs Over Colts (Chiefs)
Buccaneers Over Raiders (Raiders)
Seahawks Over Saints (Seahawks)
Panthers Over Cardinals (Cardinals)
Broncos Over Chargers (Broncos)
Falcons Over Packers (Packers)
Cowboys Over Eagles (Cowboys)
Vikings Over Bears (Vikings)

Last Week: 7–8
Lindsay: 10-5

Season: 59–48
Lindsay: 61-46

NFL Picks Spread, Week Eight:
Jaguars +3.5 Over Titans
Bengals -2.5 Over Redskins
Patriots -6.5 Over Bills
Jets -3.5 Over Browns
Lions +2.5 Over Texans
Chiefs -2.5 Over Colts
Buccaneers -.5 Over Raiders
Seahawks -3.5 Over Saints
Panthers -2.5 Over Cardinals
Broncos -5.5 Over Chargers
Falcons -2.5 Over Packers
Eagles +4.5 O…

Faith in Film, Man of Steel

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Tonight we continue our look at cultural interpretations of God with "Man of Steel." I'm sure you're wondering what a superhero film has to do with God. Well, quite a lot actually.

It begins with the origin of Superman, one of the oldest superheroes in the American cannon. Superheroes are America's cultural mythology, and as such they reflect things about us, including the faith and beliefs of their creators.

Superman was born in 1932 in Cleveland, Ohio, the product of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. They were two Jewish men living in the great depression. When you think about their background and what was happening in their lives, and you consider the person of Superman, a picture starts to take shape. He not only embodied the best of American ideals, like Truth, Justice and the American way. But if you look at his powers, Superman embodies another ideal.

He is all powerful, dedicated to saving humanity, and unafraid to clash with governments. He comes as an orph…

Fall TV Roundup, Week Seven

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October is nearly over, and so is the phased roll out of new network shows this fall. But the new shows keep on coming. So far, the diamonds are hard to find in the rough.

Monday Nights:
Man With A Plan, Mondays at 8:30 p.m. on CBS (Premiered October 24)
About: This is the latest CBS sitcom, this one starring Matt LeBlanc as a family man suddenly thrust into the spotlight at home. If that sounds familiar, it's eerily similar to "Kevin Can Wait," CBS' other new Monday sitcom. The main difference is LeBlanc is father to three younger kids, he's a contractor, and he's got to play Mr. Mom when his wife goes back to work. The Kevin James starer is about a retired cop trying to fill his days and re-engage in family. But both rely on a similar formula, and make sense being paired together on Monday nights. This is the kind of counter programming that can compete with football. That being said, I had a tepid response to the pilot for "Man With a Plan." I'…

2016 Broncos Season, Week Seven

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After two losses in five days, the Broncos took 11 days to prepare for the return of Brock Osweiler Monday night. It was time well spent.

Week Seven: Denver Broncos 27, Houston Texans 9
Season Record: 5-2 (3-1 Home)
Key Play: In the third quarter, with the Broncos leading 14-9, the Texans were driving. Alfred Blue carried the ball and fumbled, which was recovered by Todd Davis. The Broncos took the ball down for a touchdown following the fumble, giving them a 21-9 lead and putting the game out of reach.

Recap: ESPN had some fun marketing this game, using a catchy Third Eye Blind song and making the ads all about Brock and John Elway. It turned out to be apt. The Broncos have had this one circled on their calendar for months, and the team delivered. The offense looked robust, and the defense squelched any progress that the Texans tried to make. Sure, the defense didn't get a sack of Osweiler, and that's a bummer. But Brock couldn't move the ball, and the Texans offense looked …

Crossing a Line

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"Some me just want to watch the world burn." — Alfred, "The Dark Knight"

SPOILERS BELOW:


"The Walking Dead" returned for its seventh season on Sunday, and it was a hotly anticipated episode. When the sixth season ended in March, our heroes were in a pickle. Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), a serious villain from the comics, had arrived and planned on taking at least one of the group out. But as the camera went to black, we didn't know who.

As it opened Sunday, we found out. And it was not one, but two heroes claimed, as Abraham and Glen met a grim fate. It was the darkest, most violent episode in the history of a show that has never shied away from graphic content. And it's an episode that has many fans asking if the show crossed a line.

I had a very strong reaction to the episode, and that's that I was deeply unsettled by it. In fact, I was unsettled to the point that I wondered if I was done with the show. I think, in part, that's due to th…

The Power of Prayer

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"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people." — Ephesians 6:18

Prayer is important, and a vital part of being a Christian. Being a Christian is about a relationship with Jesus Christ, and prayer is how we build and express that relationship. But, often, we don't think of it that way.

We started a new series today, "These Things I Pray," that looks at prayer using the Psalms as a guidebook. I love this quote above from Tim because it speaks to one of the fundamental problems we have with prayer, which is we don't think about it as part of our relationship, but frequently think about it as a way of getting what we want or need from God, like he's a 7/11 clerk.

Earlier this semester I looked at the film "Evan Almighty" with my class. One of the great things about that film is the idea it presents about prayer, and our response to …

Hope in Loss

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" Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us." — Romans 5:3-5

Time and again, we see people wrestle with the idea of a loving and benevolent God, and the suffering we see in the world. That's often the subject of films made by Christians and non-Christians alike. I contend it's the biggest theological issue that Christians and non-Christians wrestle with, and it's one for which there are no easy answers.

The truth is we don't fully understand God's plan. As the Apostle Paul says, "We see through a glass darkly." Again, that's usually not the comforting answer that those who endure pain and suffering are seeking. But that's not to say there isn't comfort found in the Scriptures.

I've been…

Now Playing

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Here's a look at the new movie I saw this week.

The Accountant
Starring: Ben Affleck, JK Simmons, Anna Kendrick, John Lithgow, and Jon Bernthal
Synopsis: Ben Affleck is a somewhat under rated actor. He hasn’t always been in the greatest projects, but his talent often makes up for deficiencies in the script. Take for example “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” which debuted this Spring. While the story was often underwhelming, his take as a grizzled, older Batman was one of the most compelling things in the film. The story for “The Accountant” is better. It’s a more fascinating production and story, but it’s still Affleck’s ability to slide into a complex character that really helps make it work. This isn’t the movie you might expect, but it’s a story that pulls you in and keeps you hooked to the end. There’s not a lot to be said about the plot that won’t give the story away, so I’ll leave it at that. I’ll say that the film has a bit deeper mystery than what the trailer makes it se…

NFL Picks, Week Seven

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Week six was kind to me, as I took a one pick lead, jumping out in front for the first time this season. But I'm sure it's not over. Lindsay and I are locked in a see-saw battle to this point. As always, Lindsay's picks are in brackets.

NFL Picks, Week Seven:
Packers Over Bears (Packers)
Giants Over Rams (Giants)
Bills Over Dolphins (Dolphins)
Bengals Over Browns (Bengals)
Redskins Over Lions (Redskins)
Titans Over Colts (Colts)
Chiefs Over Saints (Chiefs)
Raiders Over Jaguars (Raiders)
Vikings Over Eagles (Vikings)
Ravens Over Jets (Ravens)
Falcons Over Chargers (Chargers)
49ers Over Buccaneers (49ers)
Patriots Over Steelers (Patriots)
Seahawks Over Cardinals (Seahawks)
Broncos Over Texans (Broncos)

Last Week: 10–5
Lindsay: 7-8

Season: 52–40
Lindsay: 51-41

NFL Picks Spread, Week Seven:
Bears +9.5 Over Packers
Giants -2.5 Over Rams
Bills -2.5 Over Dolphins
Browns +9.5 Over Bengals
Redskins +1.5 Over Lions
Titans -2.5 Over Colts
Saints +6.5 Over Chiefs
Raiders +.5 Over Jaguars
V…

Faith in Film — The Invention of Lying

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"The Invention of Lying" is a 2009 comedy from Ricky Gervais. It's an amusing movie, but not one that was particularly widely seen at the time. But it taps into something fascinating, especially when it comes to a view of God. And, naturally, it comes from an avowed atheist.

I'm sure you're asking yourself what we can learn of a view from God from a Gervais comedy. The man is famous for not believing in God. In fact, once when closing an awards show he was hosted, Gervais said, "I thank God for making me an atheist." He's also famously never married his long-time partner because of his religious beliefs — or rather lack thereof.

And in this film, the idea of God — more specifically who God is — plays a big part. Mark Bellison (Gervais) is a lonely man living in a world where all people know is brutal honesty. That takes a toll on him. But when he discovers he has the ability to lie, it changes his world.

One night, when comforting his dying mother,…

Fall TV Roundup, Week Six

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The saturation of new shows is reaching a tipping point this fall, but they keep on coming. Each week I look at the pilot and second episode of new shows this fall. Don't see a new show below? Check previous weeks.

Tuesday Nights:
American Housewife, Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. on ABC (Premiered October 11)
About: This is the latest family comedy from ABC. Originally titled "The Second Fattest Housewife in Connecticut," this show was wisely re-titled. It stars Katy Mixon, and it's meant to fit into the mold for ABC family comedies. It sort of does that. But the pilot spent a lot of time focused on stereotypes in Bridgeport, Connecticut and Mixon's character's weight. There was a bit of fat shaming here which didn't work, especially since I gather that the show is supposed to be aimed at being comforting for plus size people. Also, the jokes were too few and too extreme. ABC has a comedy brand, and it works for them. It doesn't usually work for me. Thus, "…

Draft Strategies Experiment, Five Weeks in

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Earlier this off-season I wondered which draft strategy was the greatest. Some advocate zero wide receivers to focus on running backs. Some advocate zero running backs to grab the best receivers. Some choose to focus on dominating positions like tight end and quarterback first. Others just want to take the best player available.
I drafted a team in four different leagues, each using one of these strategies. For control, they were identical 10-team, PPR leagues. My commitment has been to aggressively manage each squad during the season, as I would any team, to see where advantages lie.
Through the first five weeks of competition, here’s where each team sits.
Draft Strategy: Zero RB Team Name: Soft Tissue Issues Pick Number: One Original Roster: QB: Cam Newton, Matthew Stafford RB: Danny Woodhead, Arian Foster, Theo Riddick, Charles Sims, CJ Prosise WR: Antonio Brown, Alshon Jeffrey, Mike Evans, Eric Decker, Donte Moncrief TE: Delanie Walker, Will Tye D/ST: Seahawks K: Justin Tucker
Current Roster: Q…

The Depth of 'Westworld'

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“Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.” — Dr. Ian Malcolm, "Jurassic Park"

"Westworld" is the latest drama series to debut on HBO, and it's a series the network has spent years developing. Based on the 1973 film from Michael Crichton, and produced by Jonathan Nolan and his wife, Lisa Joy, the series debuted on October 2. It carried with it the weight of critical and fan expectation.

HBO has struggled of late. That seems funny to say about a network that just cleaned up at the Emmys, but it's the truth. HBO's bench is shallower than its ever been. "Game of Thrones" is the best show on TV, but it has two seasons and 13 episodes left. "VEEP" and "Silicon Valley" are great comedies, but they're getting older. And HBO's big hopes for the future haven't materialized.

"Vinyl," the series from Martin Scorsese, was cancelled. "Tru…

2016 Broncos Season, Week Six

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The Broncos played their second game in five days and took their second loss in five days...

Week Six: San Diego Chargers 21, Denver Broncos 13
Season Record: 4-2 (2-1 Home)
Key Play: In the fourth quarter, trailing 21-10, CJ Anderson took a short dump off pass and ran for nearly 30 yards and a touchdown that would have cut the lead to five points. But the play was called back due to a holding penalty. The Broncos saw Demaryius Thomas fumble a few plays later, ending the drive with no points.

Recap: I tried to find a picture of the Broncos' offensive line holding for the post, but the one above is the closest I've gotten. Thursday night football games are often rough affairs, and last night's game was no different. The Broncos came into the game without coach Gary Kubiak, and it's clear there was an impact. The team was flat on Sunday, and in a short week without their coach they seemed flat again on Thursday night. And it was the second straight poor game for the offensi…