Everything is Awesome!

About 18 months ago, I did a guest spot (as it were) on a late night radio show co-hosted by my friend, Richard. Richard's friend Kent, a student at TCU, had access to the school's airwaves and the Kent and Richard show had been doing pretty well for several weeks. I came in to provide some support one night, we all had a blast talking, and I was hooked. There's a certain rush that you get from knowing that your voice is being heard, even if the audience is six college stoners who don't know how to change the station and some of your relatives. I came back to sit in for Richard a couple months later and Kent and I talked exclusively about movies for three hours. During breaks, we kicked around the idea of doing a movie podcast together. Richard and I had talked about doing a podcast of one type or another in the past but Kent actually knew HOW to do a podcast and how to get it out to the people so he was the perfect partner and show host. Within a few weeks, we had all acquired headphones and mikes and were sitting in Kent's apartment recording the first episode of the Mad About Movies podcast. MAM

Over the course of 2013, our understanding of the medium got better and better as did the quality of the shows. We started recording remotely from our respective homes over Skype and the quality was actually (significantly) better than it was when we sat in the same room. We learned which films brought in listeners and which ones were better left for side discussions. We developed a structure for each episode that has served us well. And possibly most importantly, we all took it very seriously: we recorded at the same time each week whenever possible, we made time to see the movies we were going to talk about (not always an easy task when life is busy and the movie is R.I.P.D.), and we did our best to be present. Of the 60 episodes we put out in 2013, I missed one when Cooper was born and a second when sick baby week hit and Richard I believe missed three episodes in total. In essence, we treated it like a second job; a fun job, but a job nonetheless. This effort has paid off in that our numbers (downloads and plays) have been significantly higher than we could have ever expected. Nothing out of this world but still, quite good.

There's a sentiment in our world that if you work hard enough at something, you'll succeed but that's not always the case. Sometimes, in some particular fields, you need to know someone with pull or you need to catch a break. I dedicated my writing exclusively to movie reviews for the better part of three years and frankly, I think much of my content was better than writers at big media outlets but I never caught a break or got my work into the hands of someone with the right connection. Such is life, no big deal. But Mad About Movies caught a BIG break a few weeks ago and it's finally paying off.

The story goes that Kent had to get in touch with an iTunes representative in order to fix an issue that had popped up with another podcast that he did for the Dallas Cowboys. In the midst of his conversation with this rep, he asked what the requirements were to have a podcast featured. The rep asked some questions, put our podcast through some observations, and ultimately told Kent that if he'd get her some artwork, iTunes would find a place for us as a featured show. They even let us suggest a time period during which they would advertise us. We chose the day after the Oscars and they acquiesced. So Sunday evening, right after the Oscars ended, we recorded a recap episode, made it live, and waited.

On Monday afternoon, Kent texted Richard and I, "CONGRATS FELLAS!" with the following screenshot:

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That's our gorgeous logo on the front page of iTunes' podcast page. We were stoked. Honestly, even after a full year, it's kind of trip to know that my voice can be heard on iTunes so having our show featured so prominently was ridiculous. I was happy with just this.

Then the fun really started.

On Tuesday, I awoke to a text alerting me that Mad About Movies had climbed to number 26 on the TV and Film podcast charts. By the time I had a chance to check it myself, we'd jumped to 22.

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I couldn't believe it. I know we're good at what we're doing but even still, this jump in the ratings, so to speak, (we had previously been ranked nowhere near the top 100 in the category) was insane. What a great run, I thought. Then a friend of mine and a loyal listener of the show sent me the following screenshot:

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This was huge not only because we'd jumped another handful of spots but because it also put us within reach of Filmcast, one of the two MAJOR movie podcasts the world has to offer along with Filmspotting (more on them in a moment). To be on the same level as Filmcast felt like an unbelievable achievement. We hovered around in the 14-20 range for a few hours and I figured this was where we were going to settle in for a few days.

And then we cracked the top 10:

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In bumping Filmcast down a peg, we vaulted into the top 10 and put ourselves behind only one pure movie podcast (Filmspotting) as everything else in front of us is either a TV show, a pop culture show, or a niche show (like John August's screenwriting show, Scriptnotes, which is OUTSTANDING). I really and truly thought this was the end of it. Filmspotting is the big boy on the block. They've been doing podcasts since the inception of podcasts and they are incredibly good at what they do.

Then we jumped those guys, too:

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Not going to lie, this made me bounce around the house like a little kid on red food dye. This just didn't seem possible. But still, more. At this point we became more aware of the overall podcasting chart. When we first looked, we were sitting somewhere in the 250 range. Suddenly, however, we jumped up into the 160s:

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Then that overall ranking started to rise about the same time that we jumped into the top 5 on the TV and Film chart. Top 5, y'all. Ahead of Filmspotting, ahead of Filmcast, ahead of a number of well-funded shows, many of which I actually listen to myself. We hung around the 120s overall and between 4 and 6 on the TV and Film chart for a while and this REALLY felt like the end. There was no way we were passing up NPR, the True Detective pod, or stinking Grantland, which is pushed HEAVILY by its ESPN affiliation. And yet:

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BOOM. Top 3, ahead of Grantland. (By the way, Bill Simmons, if you're reading this, we will start working for you TOMORROW. Shoot me an email, man.) At this point I was just laughing maniacally because seriously, what else am I going to do? This is just insane. Eventually, Grantland jumped back in front of us and at the time of this writing, we sit at number 4. But while our place on the TV and Film chart took a small hit, we've risen on the overall charts to 103 and expect to crack the top 100 podcasts available on iTunes sometime this weekend.

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The vast majority of my communication over the last three days has been spent texting, "WHAAAAATTTTT???" and "BOOOOOOM" and "HOLY CRAP!!!" with Richard and Kent as we watch the show climb the charts. I'm starting to feel like The Wonders watching "That Thing You Do" become a national sensation. (By the way, if you haven't seen That Thing You Do and/or you don't love it, you need to get on the bandwagon because I love that movie and I'd like to reference it way more. Get on that.) Now, eventually, this will end. I'm not delusional enough to think that we will be assured a place among the podcasting elite for the long term once the iTunes feature goes down and once these other shows pump out more content. But we're on the map now and even if our stock plummets tomorrow, we'll always have this one glorious week. So thanks to any and all of you who have listened and if you haven't yet, now's as good a time as any to start. Help us out by telling a friend, downloading the pod, and leaving a 5 star review on iTunes. Don't let those corporate stooges at Grantland knock us back down the ladder! (Once again, Mr. Simmons, we will join your side IMMEDIATELY.)

And if you don't know how this whole thing works, here you go. (Note: The best thing about podcasts is that they're free. Most of the apps are free and the shows themselves are free.)

1.) Download a podcast app. There are lots but if you're on an iPhone, the native Podcast app is the easiest to use. If you're on Android, I recommend Stitcher. If you don't have a smart phone, I recommend getting a smart phone.

2.) Search "Mad About Movies" in the podcast store.

3.) Click "subscribe".

That's it. Each episode is automatically downloaded to your podcast app for your listening pleasure. You can also do this on your computer through the iTunes store or you can head directly to the Mad About Movies website and listen there.

We're having a blast in our climb to the top (or more likely, the middle) and we hope you'll be a part of our success.

I may start a That Thing You Do podcast next, Brian

EDITOR'S NOTE: This morning when I woke up, we had jumped to number 73 overall and number 2 on TV and Film charts. I don't know what's happening.

Farewell to Roger Ebert

By now you have no doubt heard about the death of legendary film critic Roger Ebert. After a long, valiant battle with cancer, Ebert finally succumbed to his illness (somewhat abruptly) at the age of 70. There are many better, more eloquent farewells making the rounds on the Internet and I will link to some that have caught my attention at the end of this post. But I would be embarrassingly remiss if I didn’t add a small, insignificant entry into the outpouring of reflection that has broken out over the last 24 hours. So let me start off by saying that, for me, Roger Ebert WAS film criticism and if it wasn’t for him, The Soap Box Office would not exist.

There is a moment in the life of every film critic, whether professional or horrifically amateur, in which he or she suddenly understands that movies can be more than just simple entertainment. For me that moment came during my first viewing of The Shawshank Redemption. I was probably 13 years old and it was the first film that I understood to be truly significant. That is a story for another day but I bring it up now because it was also the moment when Roger Ebert came into my life. Before that revelation, I went to see the movies my parents allowed me to see and I didn’t spend much, if any time, considering the merits of films that weren’t the kid-to-pre-teen-oriented blockbusters that rolled through every couple of weeks. Shawshank changed all that as it opened me up to a world I hadn’t been aware of before, a world where somewhere between three and seven new films came to theaters every week and while some of them were the big movies I was used to seeing previews for, some were completely unknown to anyone within my general sphere of influence. With the Internet still in its infancy, however, (and I’m not sure if we even had dial up at that point), there weren’t a whole lot of outlets for film discovery. But there was At the Movies.

Shortly after my Shawshank epiphany, I became aware of a late-night program that focused entirely on two men debated, talked about, and even fought over movies of all shapes and sizes. It was a little slice of heaven that became must-see TV for me at a time when I hardly watched any TV that wasn’t Boy Meets World or sports-related. I didn’t get to watch it every week (and for the life of me I can’t remember if it was broadcast on Saturday nights or Sunday nights) but any chance I got I soaked up the immense power of At the Movies. The chemistry that Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel had was the sort of thing that even the best romantic comedies can only dream of creating. They respected each other but at times you weren’t sure that they actually liked each other. It was a complicated relationship that at times got personal but never lost sight of the thing they both loved so deeply: the cinema. Both Ebert and Siskel were unequivocally passionate about film and would hold to their varied opinions about a given film to the very end. There have been a thousand talking heads/debate shows to come down the chute in recent years, particularly in the sports world, but none have been nearly as natural as At the Movies was because none of them displayed genuine passion the way that show did.

The impact of this was tremendous for me and about a billion other movie fans because that passion rubbed off on us in a manner similar to a wildfire. Ebert (Siskel, too, but since I always leaned toward Ebert’s side of things, his influence was greater) taught me that it was not only acceptable to think critically when it came to pop culture entries but that it was important to do so. That’s not something that I’d ever been exposed to. I was taught to think critically about the important things in life (school, faith, etc.) but to apply that mentality to movies, sports, music, etc. was a new concept to me (or at least I was only then able to grasp it). I watched At the Movies and was vindicated in my child-like understanding of that Shawshank was good and Anaconda was bad, while simultaneously exposing myself to a wide world of new films that never would have piqued my interest previously. I suddenly and desperately needed to see White Squall for some reason and there were plenty of other movies that came along in the coming years that fit the same bill: they weren’t the sort of blockbusters I had drooled over before and they weren’t the movies my friends wanted to see but I had a great desire to digest as many films as I possibly could.

Soon thereafter I started doing everything I could to get my hands on Ebert’s written work. I found one of his collections of reviews in the library and read them all, the Internet evolved and some of his work could be found online, etc. and through his writing, Ebert became even more appealing to me. In the infancy of my new fascination, I sought out the reviews written by local critics in our newspapers and immediately soured on the idea because they never liked ANY of the movies that I liked. At 14 or 15 years old, my movie taste may not have been as developed as it is now but I could still tell that these critics were not interested in granting the possibility that a big budget film could be just as good as a tiny indie film if they were both crafted correctly. Ebert never shied away from major films and his reviews often coincided with my own opinions. And on the occasion that we disagreed, Ebert’s reasoning was laid out in such a knowledgeable yet unpretentious way that I could accept his ruling even if I couldn’t come around to his side of the argument.

That is, of course, one of the major reasons people like myself flocked to Ebert over the hoard of voices that clogged the criticism game even before the advent of blogs and digital news outlets. If you go back and read an Ebert review from 1975, a review from 1998, and a review from 2010, you’ll hear virtually the same voice presented in the same manner: always intelligent but never condescending, derivative, or pretentious and moreover, everything Ebert ever wrote was deeply personal. He contended that criticism at its very core was personal and subjective and to pretend otherwise was foolish. Ebert’s reviews were his views and as such his own life got mixed into the batter. And above all else, he loved film. A fellow blogger noted on Twitter that while many critics require a film to earn a good rating, Ebert always seemed to start with a five star review and go from there. That’s where the aforementioned passion comes into play and that’s a big part of what I, and many like me, have tried to do with our own “careers.”

Since the beginning of my film criticism career (I have dabbled in the medium for a decade now to varying degrees of non-success), these were the principals I have lived by:

1.) Express my own love for film (whether the film I’m currently reviewing or the medium in general) and try to spread that affinity on to others; 2.) Write from a personal perspective; 3.) Present everything in the most straight-forward, honest manner possible without venturing into the Land of Pretension or pseudo-intellectualism.

That’s it, really. Love or hate my views on a film, any film, I hope my appreciation for cinema comes across in a personal, “regular guy” way and that the door is left open for conversation. That’s what I strive for, anyway, and I learned all of that from Roger Ebert.

I never had the occasion to meet Ebert personally or to interact with him online as many of my writing and blogging colleagues have. (By literally all accounts he was one of the most genuinely kind people the world has ever had to offer and he went out of his way on tens of thousands of occasions to lend a helping hand or encouraging word to fans, critics, and aspiring writers the world wide.) Nevertheless, the impact he had on my life is no less profound and in a strange way he is a not-so-insignificant part of what made me the person I am today and he certainly is the reason I have devoted so much time to the hobby of film criticism. He was a pioneer, a legend, and a true believer in his craft and for that influence on my life, I will be forever grateful.

Thank you, Roger. You will be greatly and heartbreakingly missed. The balcony is now closed.

Paste Magazine collected a number of responses from celebrities to the news of Ebert's death.

Will Leitch of Deadspin talks about his long history with Ebert.

Richard Roeper, who replaced Gene Siskel on At the Movies, wrote about Ebert's place on the Mount Rushmore of movie critics.

Dana Stevens of Slate shows us the letter Ebert wrote her when she was a child. This is one of the more touching tributes I have seen yet.

And if you've never read the Esquire piece written about Ebert back in 2010, it's worth your time as well.

Sweat the Small Stuff or Why "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" is Just the Worst

Last year, in conjunction with the massive youth sports league I run through my church, I started a small mentoring program that provides me with an opportunity to work individually with a few of the kids who come through the doors. We go to movies, eat at CiCi's (only the finest foods, of course), and talk about life and stuff. I've got a core group of 5th-7th graders that take part in these events on a regular basis and over the last few months, we've developed quite a rapport. One of the topics we always discuss, in addition to sports, spirituality, and YouTube videos we all dig (“Guy on a Buffalo” is quickly gaining steam in popularity), is movies. These kids are genuinely interested in what I’ve seen lately, what my favorite movies are, and what my opinion is on just about every film they’ve ever heard of. This is due in no small part to this blog and the fact that they haven’t quite figured out yet that virtually everyone has a blog or has had one at some point or another. Unlike the masses of hypothetical Internet readers, they actually care about my opinions, which is both empowering and sobering at the same time. If there was a market for film criticism aimed at 12 year olds I would be to that field what Dave Grohl is to the Foo Fighters.

This relationship, however, presents two problems.

1.) I always have to be aware of my audience. The Shawshank Redemption is unquestionably the greatest movie of all-time (no, I said it’s unquestionable so there’s really no need to debate this) but it’s not exactly a family friendly movie that I can encourage a group of impressionable boys to seek out on Video on Demand. I mean, obviously I told them to go watch The Hangover but Shawshank is a little out of their range at this point.
2.) It can be hard to know when to burst their bubbles and when to swallow down my hardened opinion and let them learn their own lessons over time.

Most of the time when one of them expresses a ridiculous opinion or makes a totally indefensible statement, I let it slide. At most, I might poke a little fun in the direction of whoever made the statement and say, “At your high school graduation, I’m going to remind everyone that you once said The Tooth Fairy was your favorite movie.” (This is an actual statement from one of these kids. Don’t judge him too harshly.) Sometimes, however, I feel it is my duty as both a would-be film critic and someone they look up to (not to mention a decent human being in general) to provide a little guidance and hopefully keep them from making a horrible life choice, like holding the opinion that Cars 2 is the best Pixar movie.

One of these situations presented itself tonight.

On our way home from a baseball game, my truck jam-packed with five teens/pre-teens and my friend Jason, the movie topic was inevitably broached. First we discussed Batman as Jason and I explained the concept of multiple franchises within one universe. (To sum up: Adam West Batman, Michael Keaton/Tim Burton Batman, and Christopher Nolan Dark Knight Batman are all Batman but the differences are vast.) I was afraid this might have blown their minds but instead it led to a discussion of other films which have seen a revamp, reboot, or years-later sequels/prequels. Then one of the kids brought up the Indiana Jones series and hinted that The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was his favorite from the franchise. At this point, I very nearly ran my truck into a traffic barrier.

I couldn’t let that one slide. It’s one thing to love Tooth Fairy or to sing along with Miley Cyrus songs at a baseball game. These are the trappings of youth, the errors of younger souls that will be corrected later in life when they discover witty rhetoric, the films of Christopher Nolan, and the Beastie Boys. But it somehow felt important that I convey to these kids that it was not okay to hold any affection whatsoever for Crystal Skull, let alone to think it better than the original trilogy.

My friend and I both reacted immediately with similar statements to the effect of, “That movie is so bad that we have to pretend it doesn’t exist in order to keep from getting angry about it on a daily basis” (in not so many words). The collective response was, “What’s so bad about that movie?” My friend and I struggled with how to answer, partly because we didn’t want to make any of the kids feel bad for liking a terrible movie (and hey, they probably haven’t even seen Raiders of the Lost Ark so how can they properly judge Crystal Skull?) and partly because the verbiage needed to truly describe the wretchedness of that movie would be both inappropriate for kids and probably over their heads, anyway. My friend and I both struggled for words until I made the following analogy:

“Imagine that you’re 8 years old and you have a favorite toy that you absolutely love. And you play with that toy every day and take it with you everywhere you go. And then imagine that one day, your brother forcibly takes that toy from you, breaks it over his knee, throws it on the ground, and then spits on it while laughing maniacally. And then when you ask your brother why he did that, he responds by telling you that the toy is better broken, that it’s supposed to be broken, and that you didn’t really appreciate the toy before the way he does now. And then, while you sit and cry because your brother broke your toy, your brother then proceeds to walk around your room breaking the rest of your toys. That’s why Crystal Skull is that bad. Because they took a film franchise we all loved and broke it forever.”

I could lie and tell you that all of the kids fully grasped what I said and we all took a pact to never again speak of Crystal Skull. In truth, I’m not sure they all completely understood what I mean. But if even one of them now has the correct opinion that Crystal Skull is an abomination, then I feel like I’ve made the world a slightly better place. And really, isn’t that what working with kids is all about? Whether you’re a parent, a teacher, or a coach, the idea is to impart a bit of important knowledge to the kids in a way that they won’t forget, to make them better, smarter, and more well-rounded individuals and if the world is improved in the process then that’s all the better.

Basically what I’m saying is, when working with kids, you should sweat the small stuff, that it’s important to remember the little things and the way the little things build upon each other. Getting that group of kids to understand that Crystal Skull is a crime against humanity or that KE$HA is the worst thing to happen to music since hairspray in the ‘80s may not be the equivalent of teaching them the core concepts of algebra or revealing to them the vast mysteries of the universe, but those small, seemingly insignificant bits of knowledge may very well be the foundations for greater things as these kids mature and become the people they’re intended to be. Keep up the good work, parents, employees, and volunteers and make sure you tell your kids just how bad Crystal Skullreally is. Because really, the 6.4 rating it has on IMDB is just embarrassing.

NOTE: Thank you, dear reader(s), for allowing a brief break from our regularly scheduled, surprisingly mediocre film coverage. We'll get back to the standard stuff that no one reads tomorrow.

What I Remember About 9/11

There have been thousands of 9/11 tributes written and published over the last few days. If truth be told I don't feel equipped to write a poignant piece of remembrance or to sum up the feelings of a nation on such an infamous and historic anniversary. That's not my thing, really. I write stupid movie reviews and occasionally sports rants and stretching beyond that isn't my strength. But to let a day like this slip by without at least writing something...well, that's not my thing, either. Today I simply offer you a few personal memories about 9/11/01 and invite you to do the same.

I remember where I was when I heard. I was a freshman in college at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas. My roommate and I were both running late for chapel and as we were heading down the stairs of our dorm, another student said something in passing about "the plane crash." We both went back to our room and saw the first newsflashes.

I remember chapel being a mess. No one knew what was going on or how to act. For possibly the first time in my life I wanted to watch the news and keep up with what was happening but Harding in its infinite wisdom decided it was more important to continue on with chapel and the day's classes. I am still a bit angry by this institutional choice to try to make that day as normal as possible. Because it wasn't normal and we shouldn't have pretended it was.

I remember wanting to watch the news for the first time ever. I can't remember the exact time line but by the time I got out of my first class (which was a complete disaster; the professor cried through the whole class, making Art Appreciation an even bigger waste of time than normal), I'm pretty sure we knew it was a terrorist attack and both of the towers had fallen. I generally hate the news and don't really keep up with world events but on that day I couldn't think of anything else. I skipped class for the rest of the day (along with EVERYONE ELSE) in order to keep up.

I remember the scene in the school's student center. It wasn't completely silent but it was pretty close. Huge groups settled in around the televisions and by the time the lunch hours rolled around, the place was packed. Eventually my roommate and I headed back to our dorm to watch the news in a smaller group.

I remember President Bush's speech. I've never given a rip about politics and I do not exercise my right to vote not because of some belief or principle but because of general apathy. Even still, the speech that Bush delivered was incredible. He was calm and collected but he was firm and compassionate, the symbol of strength that all of us, regardless of political believe, needed to see. I cried a little.

I remember not knowing what in the world to do or how to act. No one trains you for you should react to a terrorist attack. How long do you have to be sad and when is it acceptable to start going back to normal? That's where a lot of the rest of this list comes in.

I remember Conan O'Brien's first show. A lot of people remember David Letterman's first show back after 9/11 but I've always been a loyal Conan guy. At that time, I did two things every weekday without fail: I took a nap and I watched Conan. During his run at NBC, Conan had a number of episodes that showed what a truly professional, thoughtful, and caring person he really is (the Black Out ep, his final ep on the Tonight Show, etc.) but no moment was more significant than his opening monologue on September 18. He gave an incredible speech while at the same time staying true to who he was which made it so much more impactful. He wasn't putting on a show but rather speaking from the heart. And at the end he told us it was okay to laugh a little despite the terrible events of the past week. I cried some but then I laughed. It was a turning point for a lot of people in my generation.

I remember football coming back. The NFL took the week of 9/11 off, obviously, but they came back the following weekend to play a game. A great deal was made about "showing the terrorists that they can't disrupt our lives" and if that works for you, fine. But for me, football coming back was a further step in the process of recovery and more importantly, it was an incredible and moving distraction. We needed sport more than ever before in my lifetime.

I remember Saturday Night Live. I wasn't the faithful SNL watcher then that I am now but that episode was a much watch. At the beginning Paul Simon played his famous song "The Boxer" surrounded by some of New York City's finest and after it, Lorne Michaels turned to Rudy Giuliani and simply asked, "Can we be funny?" to which Rudy replied, "Why start now?" Quite honestly, the episode was, in fact, not funny but it didn't matter. Much like what Conan did on his show, Lorne and his crew made it clear that while we would always remember what happened, it was alright to begin the process of moving on.

I remember the video for Ryan Adams' "New York New York." I had barely heard of Ryan Adams at that time but when his video came on vh1 late one night while I was studying, I was glued to the screen. Shot only days before 9/11, it is one of the last pieces of film to feature the Twin Towers before their destruction. One of my favorite songs from an artist who's become on of my favorites, "New York New York" was a touching tribute.

I remember President Bush's first pitch in the World Series. Like every one else who isn't from New York and has a lick of sense, I hate the Yankees and I actively rooted against the Yanks in the 2001 World Series. But when President Bush stepped out before Game 3 of the series to throw out the opening pitch...total goosebumps. And then he NAILED the pitch. Say what you will about W but to throw a strike under that kind of pressure with a massive bullet proof vest strapped to his chest...that's impressive.

I remember chapel a few days after the attacks. I'll be honest when I say I really disliked chapel for the majority of my time at Harding. I had a lot of issues with what took place and the number of times I wanted to scratch my eyes out FAR outnumbered the times I actually had a meaningful experience. But a few days after the attacks, our service was led by a guy who was in the Reserves and whose unit had been called up to go to Afghanistan. He would ship out within a few days. I do not remember his name nor what he said but I remember the gist of his presentation was a call to hold dear the freedoms we have in this country and to know that those freedoms are worth fighting for. And he, too, told us to return to normalcy as best we could. It was important to hear that message from Conan and to see it displayed by the NFL and MLB but it was equally important to hear it from a service man, a guy who would very soon be manning the front lines of battle and had more right than others to demand that we continue our solemn behaviors. That was a key for me and I believe many others.

Thanks for allowing me a departure from the generic movie reviews and news that you occasionally browse through when you have nothing better to do. I promise we'll get back to our regularly scheduled, mediocre programming tomorrow.