Welcome back to the exciting conclusion of the 2022 Sammy Awards!! If you missed out on Part 1 or Part 2 please go back & check them out. Let’s give one more big round of applause for our host, comedian Jim Gaffigan!!!!
After more delightful stories from our host it’s time to greet the next presenter. Once upon a time he finished as the runner-up in the Heisman Trophy voting, then played in the NFL for five years. He segued into acting, with roles in a handful of movies no one has ever heard of, but made an impact on television, most notably portraying a cop for five years on Hill Street Blues. Please give a warm welcome to Ed Marinaro!! And the nominees are:
Being the Ricardos
I know who Lucille Ball is, but I’m just a skosh too young to be a fan. Nevertheless, I enjoy a good biopic. I’ve never quite understood the appeal of Nicole Kidman…she’s not that attractive and has never been the reason I watched any movie. Despite an Oscar nomination for Best Actress I feel like Kidman is miscast, and the plot about Ball being an accused Communist is a total dud. I fell asleep in the middle of the film.
The Tender Bar
Here’s what I assume happened. Director George Clooney read the book this movie is based on & liked it. He decided he wanted to adapt it into a film, and because he’s George Clooney the green light was given, no questions asked. Clooney cast his buddy Ben Affleck in a pivotal role, and because Affleck is a much better actor than anyone gives him credit for he knocks it out of the park. As far as the story goes, it’s a coming-of-age tale about a kid growing up in the 70’s with his single mother, maternal grandparents, & a tavern owner uncle who fills the shoes left mostly empty by a deadbeat Dad. It’s well-written with solid performances, but honestly not that compelling or memorable.
I’m a sucker for any movie starring a dog…or atleast I used to be. Since my Rocco passed a few years ago such fare is a bit tougher to watch, but I headed to the cineplex to check out this one, starring Channing Tatum as an injured soldier tasked with driving an unruly dog to his master’s funeral. It’s cute, occasionally funny, sporadically poignant, & makes a perfunctory attempt at being thoughtful. It has become a fairly common cinematic theme in recent years…films that can’t decide whether to be straight up comedy or inspirational & heartwarming, so they straddle the line between both and end up not really achieving either goal.
Top Gun: Maverick
I’ve never really felt the need…the need for speed. I’m built for comfort and drive like my Grandma. Anyway, I digress. The original Top Gun is an 80’s time capsule film for Gen-X, with its iconic soundtrack, remarkable supporting cast (Anthony Edwards, Val Kilmer, Meg Ryan, Tim Robbins), and megastar status of Tom Cruise, who was already box office gold when the movie hit theaters and has remained in close proximity to the spotlight for nearly four decades. Why didn’t they do an immediate sequel to the highest grossing film of 1986?? I’m sure the answer is available with some fairly painless research, but I’m not that energetic. Better questions would be “is 35 years later too late??”, or “at 59 years old is Tom Cruise too old to be an action star??”. Ehhhh…I’d answer “perhaps” to both queries. The belated sequel finds Maverick still holding on as a test pilot, having never advanced in rank like one would expect. He’s called back to Top Gun to train an elite group of young pilots for a dangerous mission, but no one seems to really want him there, especially the grown son of Maverick’s late wingman Goose. Maverick fulfills its dual mission as popcorn cinema & stirring nostalgia. I suppose it would have made more logical sense a decade ago, but that’s a small nit to pick.
Is it an Elvis biopic…or the story of Col. Tom Parker?? It’s kind of both. We get a perfunctory glimpse of young Presley’s modest childhood in Mississippi & his fascination with blues & gospel music, then skip quickly to his early days as a singer, which is when Parker becomes enamored & decides to make the lad a star. Most folks know how the rest of the story goes. I had low expectations going into the movie because I’m not a fan of director Baz Luhrmann’s unique & flamboyant style, but his ostentatiousness works quite well in this case. Obviously the music is fantastic…that’s a given. I fully expect Austin Butler to receive an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Elvis Presley, and you either like or hate Tom Hanks’ interpretation of Col. Parker. I don’t hate it & think Hanks will be Oscar nominated for the seventh time.
Hocus Pocus 2
1993’s Hocus Pocus was a box office flop, but in recent years it has evolved into a family friendly Halloween cult classic. The sequel is surprisingly decent, with a similar vibe as its predecessor. It starts out a little slow, but once The Sanderson Sisters are back on the scene business picks up exponentially. The only nit to be picked is that the filmmakers couldn’t find some way to include any of the other original cast members, which is certainly a missed opportunity.
I lowered my expectations. I scoffed at casting the guy from Twilight as The Caped Crusader. But I’ll be damned if it didn’t exceed the low bar I’d set. It’s a very atmospheric film…less hellbent on the “realism” of the Dark Knight movies, but grittier than the Tim Burton/Joel Schumacher efforts that put Gotham City back in the spotlight three decades ago. Setting the action at a time when several key characters…Batman, Riddler, Joker, Jim Gordon, Catwoman…are (in the story) yet to become the deeply established icons we know they will be gives them room to grow & breathe. There is significant potential for a long running series if all the major players agree to remain involved.
I’m a rom-com guy, I really am. Some of my most favorite movies (When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle) are romantic comedies. I just can’t buy into this one though, as much as part of me really wants to do so. Owen Wilson & J-Lo are undeniably charming leads, but the premise is so preposterous (pop singer marries random dude in the middle of a concert) that the whole film doesn’t quite click for me. It comes close. I don’t hate it, but it misses the mark.
A Christmas Story Christmas
It’s a bit tedious at first, but by the end recaptures just a hint of the magic of the perennial Christmas classic. The recast of the mother doesn’t work for me, but it was nice to see several other original cast members. It’s a little too focused on callbacks to the first film, although I understand that. I just would’ve preferred a more original story versus obsequious fan service to its predecessor.
and the Sammy goes to…..
Top Gun: Maverick. This was a tough choice. Nostalgia was big in 2022, but Maverick did it with panache. The story made sense, the cinematic experience was unparalleled, and as much grief as a lot of people (including yours truly) likes to give Tom Cruise, the truth is that he’s good at what he does. Maverick is popcorn cinema at its best, and there’s not a damn thing wrong with that.
Ed Marinaro wanted to present the next award, but the NFL warned us about him, so security has intervened.
At the young age of 22 our next presenter has built quite a following on social media. We normally mock “influencers”, but that’s because so many have so little to offer. However, a former leftist radical “woman of color” who saw the error of her ways and now allows the masses access to her unique point of view via viral videos is an “influencer” worthy of attention & respect. She’s smart, she’s fun, and she has tremendous potential to be a significant voice to an entire generation that has been led down the wrong path & lied to by too many people entrusted with guiding them in the right direction. Please give a warm welcome to Amala Ekpunobi!! And the nominees are:
GlugGlug Award for Favorite Water Cooler Topic
Can someone please explain to me how this woman is still employed?? As an actress she used to be entertaining, but as a talk show host she’s an ignorant, mean spirited blowhard. Last January Goldberg actually opined on The View that The Holocaust was “not about race”. Not even ABC could ignore the negative reaction, and she was suspended from the show. It wasn’t the first idiotic thing Goldberg has said, and it won’t be the last. Heck, she reiterated her Holocaust comments not long ago, but no action was taken. The hatemongers at Disney seem to welcome inflammatory rhetoric, as long as the offender shares the “correct” sociopolitical beliefs.
It’s supposed to taste like space. I don’t know. Just give me a Pepsi.
Wordle captured the attention of the masses last year, becoming an online sensation as folks shared their results daily on social media. The game involves six attempts to guess a five-letter word, with the only clues being green tiles when you have the right letter in the right space, and yellow tiles when you have the right letter in the wrong space. I had a 200 word streak going before deciding to retire after about seven months of daily wordplay.
Johnny Depp & Amber Heard
I’ve never really understood the hype around Johnny Depp. He’s a decent actor that’s been in some reasonably entertaining films, but that’s about as far as it goes. Anyway, last spring Depp & his former girlfriend Amber Heard (ostensibly an actress herself) faced off in court for reasons unclear to me. It was as if the American public was once again chasing an elusive high we haven’t felt since the OJ Simpson trial nearly three decades ago. From what I gathered (because it was impossible to totally ignore) neither Depp or Heard came off all that well. Who cares?? Read a freakin’ book folks.
I use Amazon Music myself. At any rate, last January Spotify came under fire for Joe Rogan’s podcast because he was allegedly disseminating Covid 19 misinformation (i.e. the truth). To their credit the platform declined to remove Rogan’s show, so a bunch of over-the-hill musicians who haven’t been relevant in decades (Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, & Nils Lofgren to name a few) decided to boycott Spotify. To my knowledge Spotify found the strength to soldier on, and Rogan’s podcast is as popular as ever. You showed them Neil Young!! Way to go!! Keep up the good work!! 🙄
Will Smith & Chris Rock at The Oscars
It was the Slap Heard ‘Round the World. I haven’t watched The Academy Awards in many years, and 2022 was no exception. But as I was working on other things that night I began to see stories & comments pop up on social media about The Fresh Prince bitch slapping the SNL alum. Needless to say it got my attention, and I quickly caught up with what was going on. Nearly a year later I still can’t believe that actually happened!!
They tried. The fear mongers attempted to sell us on another deadly disease that would lead to more power & control for them over us, but thankfully we’ve wised up just a bit.
For God’s sake why won’t this piece of dung go away?? He changes his name every five minutes. He inserts himself into politics. We are all way too familiar with his personal life. He says outrageous things on social media & in interviews. Bro…your wife ditched you for a mediocre comedian who looks like a homeless guy!! Look in the mirror. Search your soul. But please do it out of the public eye cause we’re done with your shenanigans.
Twenty years ago the romance of marginally talented singer Jennifer Lopez & deceptively capable actor Ben Affleck captured the hearts of a nation. But they broke up & moved on to other lovers (in her case…several others). Good news though!! In 2022 they reunited and got married!! Hope really does spring eternal, especially if you’re ridiculously good looking, super wealthy, & really famous.
and the Sammy goes to…..
Chris Rock. Only Rock receives the award, because we don’t reward violence here. He deserves a trophy for dealing with the situation in a calm, professional manner. How many would have fought back and started a melee on live television?? I bet the vast majority of us would have reacted that way. I understand that some conspiracy theorists think it was all a setup, perhaps even planned by the powers-that-be to ignite interest in The Academy Awards, which has had poor TV ratings & been bleeding viewership for several years. I’m not buying that. Was it compelling television?? Sure. Hell, we’re still talking about it nearly a year later, right?? But I think it was very real. My issue is that the folks in charge should’ve called an audible and NOT handed an Oscar to Will Smith that same night. The optics were horrendously bad.
To present our last award of the evening we’d like to welcome an actor & social media star who had parts in movies like Casino, Once Upon a Time in America, and Nixon. He has received two Academy Award nominations, and now has finally made it to the Sammy stage. In recent years he has become an outcast in Hollywood because of his sociopolitical views, but we are happy to welcome him with open arms. Please get up on your feet for James Woods!! And the nominees are!!
Biggest News Story
Russia doing Russian things. Are we surprised?? The situation has actually been ongoing for awhile, but escalated last February when Russia full on invaded Ukraine. Since then Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has become a folk hero & the United States has sent hundreds of billions of dollars (of OUR money) to support the underdogs in this fight. Our “leaders” are more concerned with border security in Ukraine than they are America.
The Clot Shot
Otherwise healthy 20/30/40-somethings dropping dead has become all too common. World class athletes keeling over isn’t normal. Big Pharma is making billions of dollars but is somehow insulated from legal consequences. We have a “vaccine” that doesn’t cure what it allegedly was invented to cure, and the argument that it minimizes symptoms & prevents the illness from being deadly doesn’t hold water since we all know fully vaxxed & boostered people who died anyway. Something is rotten about all of it, especially the media & our government running cover for the whole deal. I’m much more scared of the “cure” than the disease.
What a disappointment. I don’t understand how anyone with common sense & critical thinking skills can look at what’s been happening the past two years and think the status quo is good. Conservatives should’ve practically swept both houses of Congress. Instead, Democrats held onto the Senate while Republicans barely gained a small majority in the House of Representatives. I understand that Dr. Oz wasn’t the best candidate, but what in the hell were Pennsylvania voters thinking by voting for a recovering stroke victim unable to string together a coherent sentence, who dresses like a homeless beggar, and clearly isn’t physically or mentally capable of holding public office?? The “red wave” so many of my Republican friends were excited about became an underwhelming red trickle, and I think a little self-reflection is in order to figure out exactly why.
Canadian Freedom Convoy
In January 2022 over a thousand vehicles formed convoys from several points in Canada to protest Covid 19 restrictions that threatened the livelihoods of truck drivers, which in turn affected the supply chain in Canada & the United States. They traveled thru multiple Canadian provinces before converging on the capital city of Ottawa. Sadly, the protesters didn’t accomplish their mission, as the maniacal dictatorships in Canada & America united to squash the rebellion. Hundreds were arrested, and eventually the media stopped talking about it.
Roe v. Wade
I never thought it would happen, but it did. Should the landmark 1973 decision have been overturned?? It’s a discussion full of nuance, which isn’t something we’re very good at in modern America. Too many of us look at things thru the prism of black/white, right/wrong, right/left. We prefer a “one size fits all” solution, but the truth is life is rarely that easy. We like to deal in absolutes, but almost everything has grey areas.
It ebbs & flows. Everyone stops talking about it for awhile, then something happens and the histrionics begin anew. On May 24, 2022 an 18 year old former student went into a grade school in Uvalde, TX and killed 19 kids & two teachers. School staff had inadvertently left an outside door open allowing easy access, and it was later proven thru video footage that law enforcement lacked urgency in their response (and that’s being kind). What is the right way to deal with these kinds of tragedies?? Well, we’re back to the whole black & white, cut & dried thing. On one hand, no one…and I mean absolutely no normal, sane person…thinks mass shootings are okay. However, on the flip side, some folks need to read The Constitution. Not just read it, but comprehend it. Emotional responses to these shootings, especially when children are involved, are completely understandable. That being said, if we let the powers-that-be continue to chip away at our rights soon we won’t have any. It’s another complex issue made more difficult by deceitful media & self-serving, traitorous politicians.
I can’t believe we’re still talking about “The Insurrection”. As stated a year ago, it should have never happened, it was a bad idea, and it was an exercise in futility. That being said, it’s been blown way out of proportion. There has likely been a traffic accident within a ten mile radius of your house in the past month with more loss of life. Unfortunately, the Democrat controlled Congress couldn’t let it go. They have been hellbent & determined to put President Trump in prison, and used the debacle as an excuse to spit on The Constitution, because that’s what Democrats do. For seemingly endless months in 2022 they conducted Congressional hearings, mostly out of spite. I don’t know what they hoped to accomplish, but most Americans would prefer they get back to work addressing legitimate issues that affect average citizens on a daily basis. That’s what a representative government is supposed to do.
I hated economics in school. I’m not a numbers guy. However, it doesn’t take a PhD to know that we’re paying double or even triple what we paid for things like gas, food, appliances, clothes, etc. than we did two years ago. The Biden Administration tries to gaslight the American people by blaming everything else but their misguided policies & woke agenda that bows at the altar of climate change & identity politics, and sends hundreds of billions of dollars to Ukraine. Sadly their strategy seems to work.
Twitter & Elon Musk
Billionaire Elon Musk began flirting with the idea of buying social media giant Twitter last January, and after many stops & starts he actually did the deal in October. The acquisition was quite a saga, but the aftermath has been even more sensational, though you won’t hear much about it from your legacy news outlets. Musk has exposed just how corrupt social media has become, showing us that the Second Amendment isn’t the only part of The Constitution under attack. It is alarming to realize just how much social media has framed & controlled public discourse on topics like elections & Covid 19. Alarming, but hardly surprising. Newspapers & television have been doing the same thing for decades…controlling the narrative, steering things in the direction the power brokers want them to go. Elon Musk, like President Trump before him, simply shined a spotlight on just how dirty those entities are and how much they truly influence nearly everything. You’ve read 1984, but you didn’t realize you were living it…until now.
Farewell Queen Elizabeth
Elizabeth Windsor Mountbatten was crowned Queen of the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, & Northern Ireland) at the age of 25 after the death of her father, King George VI. Queen Elizabeth II reigned until her death at the age of 96 this past September. The United States gained our independence from England more than two centuries ago, so I couldn’t possibly care less about the British monarchy, but it is a noteworthy story.
and the Sammy goes to…..
Roe v. Wade. In the wake of the stunning reversal on the case I saw posts from otherwise intelligent individuals pushing the narrative that women would now be imprisoned for having a miscarriage. That’s the kind of insanity that this whole thing inspired. It is probably healthy for us to have the discussion, but hopefully we’ve gotten much of the crazy filtered out of it by now. All that (most) opponents of Roe v. Wade ever wanted was for young women perfectly capable of carrying a child to go thru with the pregnancy, and then once the child is born to either raise it themselves or put it in the hands of someone willing & able, through legal channels like adoption. I don’t believe that is too much to ask in most cases. Having said that, there are so many layers to the debate that it is important to have meaningful, intelligent discourse. Those arguments are likely more productive at the state & local level, which is the actual point of overturning Roe v. Wade. Debate at the state & local level allows you & me to have a voice, which we really don’t when it comes to federal law or court decisions that become law. Abortion didn’t suddenly become illegal in 2022…it just became more challenging. Is that good or bad?? That’s a great question.
legendary Pittsburgh Steelers running back Franco Harris…Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II…Boston Celtics Hall-of-Famer Bill Russell…historian & writer David McCullough (Truman, Mornings on Horseback, John Adams)…renowned actress & singer Olivia Newton-John (Grease)…iconic sports broadcaster Vin Scully…actor & beloved hunker downer Leslie Jordan…MLB Hall-of-Fame pitcher Gaylord Perry…former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev…soccer legend Pele…comedians Gilbert Gottfried, Judy Tenuta, & Louis Anderson…pro wrestlers Antonio Inoki, Scott Hall, Rocky King, Sara Lee, commentator Don West, and referees Tim White & Dave Hebner…television producer Burt Metcalfe (MASH)…former Philadelphia Phillies executive Lee Thomas & former San Francisco 49ers GM John McVay…actresses Maggie Peterson (The Andy Griffith Show), Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek), Angela Lansbury (Murder She Wrote), Kirstie Alley (Cheers, Summer School), Kathryn Hays (As the World Turns), Liz Sheridan (ALF, Seinfeld), Estelle Harris (Seinfeld), Farrah Forke (Wings), Barrie Youngfellow (It’s a Living), Marnie Schulenburg (As the World Turns), Anne Heche (Another World), Virginia Patton (It’s A Wonderful Life), Louise Fletcher (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest), Rita Gardner (The Wedding Singer), and Sonya Eddy (General Hospital, Seinfeld)…sports reporters & ESPN personalities John Clayton & Hank Goldberg and CNN sportscaster Fred Hickman…former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane, and former U.S Senator Orrin Hatch (Utah)…retired boxer Earnie Shavers…songwriters Jerry Allison (That’ll Be the Day, Peggy Sue) & Lenny Lipton (Puff the Magic Dragon)…Hall of Fame golfer Kathy Whitworth…journalists Barbara Walters (ABC), Bernard Shaw (CNN) and Bill Plante (CBS)…NFL players Dwayne Haskins (Washington Redskins, Pittsburgh Steelers) & Jaylon Ferguson (Baltimore Ravens)…talent manager George Shapiro (managed Andy Kaufman & Jerry Seinfeld)…film directors Peter Bogdanovich (The Last Picture Show, What’s Up Doc?), Ivan Reitman (Stripes, Twins, Kindergarten Cop, Draft Day), & television director Marvin Chomsky (Star Trek, Wild Wild West, Roots)…football coaches Dan Reeves (Denver Broncos), Greg Robinson (Syracuse Orangemen, Denver Broncos), Stan Parrish (Marshall Thundering Herd, Kansas St. Wildcats, Ball St. Cardinals), Gary Moeller (Michigan Wolverines), Gary Gaines (Permian Panthers, made famous in the book Friday Night Lights), Ernie Zampese (Dallas Cowboys), Frank Cignetti (West Virginia Mountaineers), Mike Leach (Texas Tech Red Raiders, Washington St. Cougars, Mississippi St. Bulldogs), and Vince Dooley (Georgia Bulldogs)…country music broadcasting legend Ralph Emery (Nashville Now)…model & businesswoman Ivana Trump…baseball writer Roger Angell…political commentators Bob Beckel & Mark Shields…famed animator & TV producer Jules Bass (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman)…boxing referee Mills Lane…dancer & TV personality Twitch (The Ellen DeGeneres Show)…Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI…former football players Ross Browner (Cincinnati Bengals), Daryle Lamonica (Oakland Raiders), Gino Cappelletti (New England Patriots), Marion Barber III (Dallas Cowboys), Robert Alexander (LA Rams), Tony Siragusa (Baltimore Ravens), Charles Johnson (Pittsburgh Steelers), Gavin Escobar (Dallas Cowboys), Jim Sweeney (Pittsburgh Steelers), and Ronnie Hillman (Denver Broncos)…actors Sidney Poitier (In the Heat of the Night, Look Who’s Coming to Dinner), Bob Saget (Full House, America’s Funniest Home Videos), James Caan (The Godfather, Elf), Ray Liotta (Field of Dreams, Goodfellas), John Aniston (Days of Our Lives), Howard Hesseman (WKRP in Cincinnati, Head of the Class, One Day at a Time), William Hurt (The Big Chill, Broadcast News), Jerry VerDorn (Guiding Light, One Life to Live), Paul Sorvino (Goodfellas, The Firm), Fred Ward (Tremors, The Right Stuff), Dwayne Hickman (Dobie Gillis), Peter Robbins (original voice of Charlie Brown), Bo Hopkins & Mike Hagerty (character actors who appeared in a plethora of TV shows & movies), Morgan Stevens (The Waltons, Melrose Place), Conrad Janis (Mork & Mindy), Mitchell Ryan (Lethal Weapon, Dharma & Greg), Emilio Delgado (Sesame Street), David Birney (St. Elsewhere), Charles Siebert (Trapper John MD), Phillip Baker Hall (best known for an hilarious appearance on Seinfeld), Tony Sirico (Goodfellas, The Sopranos), Jason David Frank (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers), Taurean Blacque (Hill Street Blues), David Warner (Titanic, A Christmas Carol ), Tony Dow (Leave it to Beaver), Roger E. Mosley (Magnum P.I.), Joe E. Tata (Beverly Hills 90210), Robert Lupone (All My Children, One Life to Live), Robert Clary (Hogan’s Heroes, Days of Our Lives), Robbie Coltrane (the Harry Potter film series), Clarence Gilyard (Die Hard, Walker: Texas Ranger, Matlock), Quinn Redeker (Days of Our Lives, The Young & Restless), and Kevin Conroy (Search for Tomorrow, Batman: The Animated Series)…basketball coaches Joe B. Hall (Kentucky Wildcats), Bill Fitch (Houston Rockets, Boston Celtics), Gene Shue (Washington Bullets), Pete Carril (Princeton Tigers), and Paul Silas (Charlotte Bobcats)…writer & pundit PJ O’Rourke…The Improv founder Budd Friedman…musicians Meat Loaf (aka Marvin Lee Aday), Loretta Lynn, Mickey Gilley, Naomi Judd (The Judds), Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters), CW McCall, Bobby Rydell, Jim Seals (Seals & Crofts), Ramsey Lewis, Coolio, Aaron Carter, Irene Cara (Flashdance, Fame), Jeff Cook (Alabama), Christine McVie (Fleetwood Mac), Anita Pointer (The Pointer Sisters), and Jerry Lee Lewis…baseball players Gerald Williams (New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves), Ralph Terry (New York Yankees), David West (Minnesota Twins, Philadelphia Phillies), and Tom Browning (Cincinnati Reds)…comic book artist Neal Adams (DC Comics)…infamous attorney Ken Starr…NFL Hall of Famers Len Dawson (Kansas City Chiefs), Hugh McElhenny (San Francisco 49ers), Ray Guy (Oakland Raiders), and Don Maynard (NY Jets)…NHL Hall of Famer Guy Lafleur, NBA Hall of Famer Bob Lanier, and MLB Hall of Famers Maury Wills & Bruce Sutter