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USMNT vs Panty Ma

Lletget out for a while...definitely reduces the pace if they have to go with Jermaine Jones.

Got a feeling they are going to draw this one.

Gambling conflicts of interest??!?!?

No idea what you talkin' about!

Raiders’ move to Las Vegas approved

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The Raiders are moving to Las Vegas.

NFL owners today approved the move of the team from Oakland (where they’re playing in a rickety old stadium) to Las Vegas (where taxpayers will foot a large portion of the bill for a shiny new stadium). According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the vote was 31-1, with only the Dolphins objecting.

They won’t become the Las Vegas Raiders immediately, as the team plans to continue playing in Oakland at least for the 2017 season and probably for 2018 as well, while the new stadium is built. That will create an awkward situation where the home fans are cheering for a team that is about to pack up and leave.

But that has happened before in the NFL, and it will now happen again, and the reason is always the same: money. Raiders owner Mark Davis can make more green in Vegas than he could in Oakland, and so the Silver and Black is moving.

Welcome to another edition of Fedya's “Movies to Tivo” Thread, for the week of March 27-April 2, 2017. Wisconsin's basketball season is over, which means for Wisconsinoids there's no real sports until Packer minicamps. (You could become a soccer fan, of course.) So why not enjoy some good movies instead? Once again, I've used my good taste to select a series of films I know all of you will like, spanning some 70 years. As always, all times are in Eastern, unless otherwise mentioned.

 

I know you're all interested in college sports, and now that Wisconsin have failed you have to get your fix elsewhere. This week's college sports movie is The Freshman, which will be on TCM at 7:15 AM Monday. Harold Lloyd is really too old for the part of the Speedy, the college freshman who has a rather unrealistic view of what college life is going to be like. He wants to be the big man on campus, but good luck with that since he doesn't really have any qualities to make him that, unlike Chet, the football hero. (Back then, college football was the thing, not the professional game.) Speedy has a whole bunch of miscues, including one at the big college dance when his new suit isn't quite ready. And when he wants to be on the football team, he's only good enough to be the waterboy. But injuries happen, and you know he's going to get the chance to play in the big game. And of course he's going to become the hero and get the girl (Jobyna Ralston). The establishing shots of the football stadium are of UC-Berkeley's then-new stadium. More than a few silent fans consider this an even better Lloyd movie than Safety Last!

 

A few weeks ago on FXM Retro I recommended The House on Skull Mountain; this week it's The Legend of Hell House, airing at 11:55 AM Monday and 7:30 AM Tuesday. “Hell House” is so called because the previous owner was a notorious serial killer, and it's thought that his ghost haunts the house. Not only that, but the last time an investigation was made, only one person survived. The new owner hires that man (Roddy McDowell), a medium (Pamela Franklin), and a married couple of scientists (Clive Revill and Gayle Hunnicutt) to do the new investigation into what's really going on in the house. Lured partly by curiosity and partly by big money, they accept. Of course, things don't go according to plan. Our scientist doesn't believe in the supernatural, but what starts happening in the house just might change his mind. McDowall really only wanted the money, but maybe he was also just lucky to survive the last time. Reminiscent of The Haunting, this one does pretty well on its smaller budget and deserves to be remembered more than it is.

 

Some people like operatic singing. I don't know who those people are, but for them, I've got the movie for them this week: That Midnight Kiss, at 2:30 AM Tuesday on TCM. The opera singers here are Kathryn Grayson (already in MGM's stable, so she's the star here), and newcomer Mario Lanza. Indeed, their characters are also based on Grayson being the established star and Lanza the newcomer. Grayson plays Prudence, who has been grromed for opera stardom by Grandma Abigail (Ethel Barrymore) and just returned from training in Europe. Grandma is sponsoring a new vehicle for Prudence, complete with bringing in conductor to the stars Jose Iturbi. However, Prudence doesn't care for Grandma's pick of a leading man (Thomas Gomez), instead being taken with newcomer Johnny (Mario Lanza). The problem is, Johnny isn't a professional singer, he's a trucker. And it doesn't help that when Prudence goes to Johnny's job, she finds another woman and thinks Johnny's in love with that woman.

 

I've recommended The Three Faces of Eve (on TCM at 8:00 PM Tuesday) before; a similar movie with a much lower budget is Lizzie, which TCM is showing at 12:30 AM Wednesday. Elizabeth (Eleanor Parker) is a museum worker by day who lives with her nasty alcoholic aunt Morgan (Joan Blondell). What neither of them knows is that at night, Elizabeth goes into the tramp routine, going to dive bars, drinking and picking up men. The next day, Elizabeth has no idea that she's done any of this. So her neighbor (played by the movie's director, low-budget Czech immigrant Hugo Haas) suggests she seek professional help. The good doctor (Richard Boone) determines that Elizabeth has multiple personality disorder, or whatever the heck it's called these days. But why – they can't fix the problem until they find out why the patient has it. Johnny Mathis plays a singer at the nightclub, while a young Marion Ross plays one of Elizabeth's coworkers.

 

StarzEncore Westerns is showing more of those quickie B movies John Wayne did back in the 30s before Stagecoach made him a star. This week, it's Texas Terror, which will be on at 4:57 AM Wednesday. Wayne plays John Higgins, a Texas sheriff. Well, ex-sheriff, since he was chasing a gang and got in a chase for a bunch of outlaws that ended up at his best friend's cabin, and then that best friend getting shot and Higgins thinking he did it. (And that said best friend was part of the robbery.) So he becomes a prospector and then takes a ranch foreman's job when that opens up. The problem is, the ranch is owned by pretty Bess Matthews (Lucille Browne), who just happens to be the kid sister of Higgins' best friend whom he shot. Well, of course, he really didn't shoot the best friend as will become clear at the end of the movie but you could probably figure this out since this is a B western with clear themes. Higgins will get a chance to save the ranch, and win the girl at the end. Gabby Hayes, before he took the nickname Gabby, plays the man who becomes sheriff after Higgins resigns.

 

TCM is showing a bunch of movies directed by Archie Mayo on Thursday morning and afternoon. I might have mentioned Ever in My Heart when it was on close to two years ago, but I don't think it's been on since and it's an interesting movie. Barbara Stanwyck plays Mary, who lives in one of those small college towns circa 1910 and is more or less being pursued by cousin Jeff (Ralph Bellamy). But Jeff studies in Europe, and brings back German chemistry professor Hugo (Otto Kruger). Mary and Hugo fall in love, get married and have a kid, and live happily ever after. Or at least, until World War I comes along. Anti-German sentiment starts to run high, and sure enough that sentiment turns on Hugo who is no longer able to get a job, and even Mary and their kid! Hugo eventually decides that if America is going to turn its back on him, he might as well turn his back on America, and go back to Germany to fight for them. It's at this point that the movie really starts to strain all credulity, but with Barbara Stanwyck in the lead role, she's good enough to make it work.

 

TCM's lineup for Thursday night is independent black movie makers. I woudn't call the night “race films” since most of the movies are more recent, but the night does end with a couple of movies from the “race film” era, including 1940s filmmaker Spencer Williams' Go Down, Death! At 4:15 AM Friday. Williams himself plays Big Jim, who owns a local bar which is the popular joint for the local black community. Or, it was the popular joint. Recently, new preacher Jasper (played by a real-life preacher, Samuel James) has come to town starting to preach the good news and turning the local black folk away from a life of sin. So Big Jim gets the idea to set up Rev. Jasper by luring him to meet a bunch of women with loose reputations and photographing them in compromising positions. Of course, there's a problem in that Jim's mother is a supporter of Jasper, and when she tries to get the pictures from Jim, a fight ensues that winds up with Jim accidentally killing his mother! Can Jim be redeemed?

 

A movie you might have seen before is Groundhog Day, which will be on multiple times across the Starz/Encore family of channels, including at 12:48 AM and 9:50 PM Saturday on Stars Kids and Family. Bill Murray plays Phil Connors, a big-city weatherman who draws the short straw of going out to Punxsatawney, PA, to cover the Groundhog Day ceremony when the town fathers pull poor Punxsatawney Phil out of his den and expose him to daylight to see whether the groundhog sees his shadow and there will be six more weeks of winter. He doesn't like the idea, and makes no bones about it, being an egotistical jerk. But a blizzard hits the town, and Phil awakens the next morning to find not only that he can't get out of town, but that it's February 2! Wait a second: February 2 is Groundhog Day, and this should be February 3. No; poor Phil is forced to relive the same day over and over. So he decides to try not to make it exactly the same day, learning to play the piano and other skills, and ultimately learning more about himself along the way.

 

Before Woody Allen got tedious with movies like Annie Hall, he actually made some pretty good movies like Sleeper, which will be on TCM at 8:00 PM Saturday. Allen plays Miles Monroe, a man who died back in the early 1970s but was cryogenically frozen. Scientists in the future have figured out how to cure the medical problems people like Monroe had, so they revive him 200 years later. Miles wakes up to find a totalitarian America very different from the one he left behind, and of course a whole lot of future shock. (Well, the future as seen from the 1970s. Part of the fun of movies like this is seeing what the past thought our future would look like.) The government finds out about him and begins to pursue him, forcing him on the run disguised as a robot. Along the way, Miles meets Luna (Diane Keaton) and falls in love with her. And then he finds out that the people who revived him did so because they figured he as a complete newcomer was the only person who could take down the dictator.

 

It's always nice to see Fox movies showing up on TCM. This week, it's one of the Fox docudramas, Call Northside 777, at noon Sunday. James Stewart plays McNeal, a Chicago newspaperman who is given the job of doing a human-interest story by his editor (Lee J. Cobb). It seems a janitrix has placed a classified ad offering a substantial sum for information leading to the exoneration of her son Frank (Richard Conte). McNeal investigates the ad and finds that, maybe, there's something that's not quite right. And so he begins to investigate further. Frank was sent to prison for killing a cop, but there may have been a witness who never came forward. Who is Wanda Skutnik, and what does she have to do with the case? And why do the police seem to be stonewalling McNeal? The finale is a bit unrealistic, as I don't think it's possible to enlarge a photo that much and they didn't need to do it anyway. But it's another darn good Fox docudrama.

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