Techno-thriller ‘Nerve’ will keep you on edge of seat

Techno-thriller ‘Nerve’ will keep you on edge of seat

Modern-day technology comes to life in Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman’s thriller Nerve. High school senior Vee Delmonico (Emma Roberts) is tired of living in the shadow of her best friend Sydney (Emily Meade). However, this all changes when Sydney introduces Vee to Nerve, an online reality game similar to truth or dare. Nerve is divided into two categories: watchers and players. Players are dared by the watchers to perform and film embarrassing or dangerous tasks. The only way out for the players is to succeed, bail or fail. Vee decides to try Nerve and is immediately dared to kiss a stranger. This dare leads her into an exciting partnership with fearless veteran player Ian (Dave Franco). Vee and Ian’s partnership quickly becomes popular among the watchers, but as their popularity increases, their dares only become harder. Soon, Vee and Ian find themselves in the top 10 of all Nerve players, thanks to a series of difficult dares, but it all quickly becomes too much for Vee. Freaked out by the intensity of the game, she reports the game to a police officer — going against the only rule Nerve enforces. Vee is now seen as a “snitch” to the watchers, and she is deemed a prisoner while all the money is taken out of her family’s bank account. The only way to win back her money and freedom is to win the entire game. Once she learns that Ian, too, is a prisoner, Vee sets out to win Nerve, but it may not be in the way the watchers expect. I am usually not a fan of thrillers...
X’s and O’s from a rookie quarterback coach: being coachable

X’s and O’s from a rookie quarterback coach: being coachable

As Coach Carpenter, one of my main responsibilities is “coaching up” the freshman players. The first day we were on the field with them, Coach Webb huddled up the skill players and asked, “Who here is a quarterback?” No one raised their hand. He kind of snickered to himself and said, “All right, well, who here would call themselves a quarterback.” Finally two guys raised their hands. Ian and Josh. In eighth grade the year before, Josh was the starting quarterback and Ian was the backup. Coach Winfree and I went through fundamentals with them — quick catch and throw, three step drops, basic follow throughs on release and how to grip the ball — basic things just to get those kids warmed up. After so much fundamental work, we went to work with the wide receiver groups. We had them throw slants, hitches and seams — simple routes that will be incorporated in their growth. Holy cow were we impressed with them. They were young with a lot of talent, but Coach Winfree called them “coachable.” I thought that was the perfect way to describe them. The act of being coachable is very important. If you aren’t coachable we can’t help you. Coachability is the willingness to be corrected and to act on that correction. It’s humility. It’s being able to realize that you need the guidance of others to be better. In a way, I have had to be coachable the past two months as well — primarily because of how raw of a coach I am. I’ve sat to the side watching these coaches coach up...
‘Ghostbusters’ blasts through backlash with remake better than original

‘Ghostbusters’ blasts through backlash with remake better than original

The controversy and backlash surrounding the female “Ghostbusters” reboot has been in the air since the first trailer dropped in March. After months of angry comments, extreme dislikes and waiting, we finally have the answer to the question, “Is the film actually any good?” In my opinion, yes. I actually think it improves on the original. Physicist Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) reunites with childhood friend Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy), and they team up with Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) and Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) to investigate paranormal activity in New York City. Of course, many doubters and the mayor of the city are against them, until a large device that amplifies the paranormal unleashes an apocalypse of ghosts. As a huge fan of all four of the leading ladies, I was hyped about this movie since it was announced, and I was not disappointed. While certainly paying homage to the original with its many Easter eggs and cameos, “Ghostbusters” was able to stand on its own as a film with its own unique plot and characters. While Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig and Leslie Jones were all fantastic, Kate McKinnon absolutely stole the show with her quirky, adorable, mad scientist characteristics. Almost everything she did was laugh-out-loud funny. I laughed out loud throughout most of the film, whereas I only chuckled a few times watching the original “Ghostbusters.” The secretary character was much more interesting in this version, and there were more ghosts to bust. Best of all, the bonds between the characters were much stronger. These ladies (and Chris Hemsworth) just work so well together, and it’s nice to see...
‘The Secret Life of Pets’ is tail-wagging good time

‘The Secret Life of Pets’ is tail-wagging good time

Some might think Katie should have let sleeping dogs lie (. . . or in her case, one sleeping dog lie). Max (Louis C.K.) and Katie (Ellie Kemper) are best friends. Katie got Max when he was just a puppy, so they’ve been together almost all of Max’s life. Max dutifully waits for her to come home from work every day, and she always greets him with a big hug when she comes home before they eat dinner and stare off into the scenic, brightly-lit New York City skyline together. One day, though, Katie messes up the idyllic life they have; she brings home, to their small New York apartment, a “brother” for Max — Duke (Eric Stonestreet), a gigantic mutt from the shelter who doesn’t have a family. Max, of course, doesn’t take to this new family member well. Viewers can see Max’s perspective; Duke is a “threat,” taking over Max’s life — eating his food and sleeping in his bed.  On the other hand, Duke was eager to join a new family and is just getting accustomed to his new life. Eventually, the two new brothers get lost in NYC together and meet up with Snowball (Kevin Hart), a bunny with a posse of misfit pets trying to lead a revolution against mankind. There’s a host of likable characters, including Max’s friends — Chloe, (the cat who could not care less, voiced by Lake Bell), Tiberius (the hawk who’s just learning how to make friends rather than eat them, voiced by Albert Brooks — aka Marlin in Finding Nemo), and Gidget (the soap-opera-watching, crazy-in-love French pup leading the rescue mission, voiced...
X’s and O’s from a rookie quarterback coach: my coaching philosophy

X’s and O’s from a rookie quarterback coach: my coaching philosophy

A few years ago, my buddy Anse Rigby made me a pallet guitar that now sits by my fireplace. On the back he wrote: “Pat, continue to praise the Lord with your incredible talent! You rock.” – Anse. Thanks, Anse, you rock, too. Underneath, he wrote a proverb that I had never heard of before. It was Proverbs 27:17. It reads, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” I have been Coach Carpenter or Coach Pat, depending on who you talk to, for about a month now at Franklin High School. When I first got the idea about wanting to coach, my professor at Mississippi State in 2013 told me that I needed to develop a coaching philosophy. My philosophy, I thought, was simple: I want to run a vertical passing attack benefiting from play action off a strong power run game.  Simple, right? Well. After being around the coaches and players at Franklin High School for the past month, I have decided this. I want to have two philosophies. The aforementioned philosophy is my X and O plan, but I decided that I needed a coaching philosophy with the players and, mostly, with myself. That philosophy can be summed up into a few words: Proverbs 27:17. One thing I think our society has forgotten is how to build people up. When people fail, we laugh. We mock them. We make memes with Michael Jordan crying on their face. We don’t challenge others to be better. Instead, we are so involved with ourselves that we aren’t coachable ourselves. This morning, one of the coaches said something  that was simple, yet...
‘The BFG’ is soporific family-friendly fantasy

‘The BFG’ is soporific family-friendly fantasy

Although it wasn’t quite “grizzling or horrigust,” The BFG just might be categorized as a “grunicous” (as BFG would say) film to sit through for anyone who’s graduated from elementary school. Moviegoers can’t help but to expect an E.T.-like film upon hearing Steven Spielberg was directing another story about a child developing a friendship with a fantastical being, but The BFG (The Big-Friendly Giant) falls short of the storytelling magic E.T. possesses that we’ve come to expect from Spielberg. The film focuses on Sophie, an orphan, who is snatched by a giant from her bed. The tale continues with an unlikely, yet lovable friendship between Sophie and the giant, whom she dubs “BFG.” BFG isn’t the only giant in the world, though; there are several other giants, who have terrifying names, “Bloodbottler” and “Maidmasher,” for example, who eat children such as Sophie. The rest of the story tells Sophie’s and BFG’s quest to end the terror the other giants inflict upon “human beans,” and even BFG himself. BFG is not entirely without merit. The budding young star, Ruby Barnhill, delivers an admirable performance as Sophie, the orphan who travels to Giant Country. Mark Rylance also provides a wonderful voice performance as the title character. The CGI in the film is striking as well; however, this year’s The Jungle Book’s imagery is much more so. With today’s CGI possibilities, it seems that the scenery could have so much more depth  — “Giant Country” is dull and lacking compared to the intricate and detailed jungle in The Jungle Book. Despite Barnhill and Rylance’s performances, older filmgoers may begin to suffer from boredom...