10 Reasons Why An Eagles Fan Will Enjoy 'Silver Linings Playbook'

10 Reasons Why An Eagles Fan Will Enjoy 'Silver Linings Playbook'

*Spoilers* This isn't an all out movie review but it definitely talks about lots of details in the movie. I saw a screening of Silver Linings Playbook last night before it hits theatres next week. I tried not to spoil any of the major plot lines, but if you don't like knowing anything about a movie before you see it, don't read this. I'd suggest clicking on this Jennifer Lawrence photo gallery instead.

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"Don't drink too much. Don't hit anybody. You'll be fine."

That's what Robert De Niro's character says to his son, Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper), when he drops him off to tailgate at the Linc for the big game against the New York Giants. Pretty spot on dialogue, but why wouldn't De Niro be going to the game as well you may be wondering as casual Eagles fan? As the story goes, De Niro's been banned from the stadium for cracking too many Cowboys' fans' skulls back in the day. Solid coverage.

It's a good example of the detail with which the main characters of Silver Linings Playbook feel authentic to Delaware County and the Philadelphia area. The book the movie is based on takes place in Collingswood, New Jersey, but the movie moves them within blocks of where I grew up near the Llanarch Diner on the Havertown/Upper Darby border.

[RELATED: VIDEO: See how De Niro learned his Philly accent from Cooper's uncle Ernie]

The movie opens up with Cooper in a mental institution, talking aloud practicing what he'll say to his wife who he hasn't seen in nine months because of some violent incident. He's telling himself/her that he's now a calmer, more peaceful person who uses the routine of Sunday dinner at his parents, watching an Eagles game as the center of a happy life. You can almost hear family members swearing at the TV as the Birds inevitably screw something up and taste the string in mom's braciole.

Silver Linings Playbook is not a movie about Eagles fans, but its very much a movie about people who happen to be diehard Eagles fans.

(If you think I liked Silver Linings just because Eagles fans are prominently featured, go read this 2006 blog post I did about Invincible.)

I've seen the movie described as a romantic comedy, but it's quite a bit darker than your typical rom-com (I'm kind of assuming here, not high on my list of types of movies I go see). The back and forth between laugh-out-loud moments and other scenes where you're literally covering your face in shock makes you feel like they dance the line between comedy and drama rather impressively.

De Niro played one of the best roles I can recall seeing him play in a long, long time. He had the crazy Italian dad from Delco on point. From the fact that he's OCD about how he watches the Birds every Sunday -- placing his TV remotes and houseguests in very specific places -- to the fact that he's a compulsive gambler running a small-time bookie operation, De Niro's character felt authentic. Tim Donaghy would approve.

I thought all of the depictions of Eagles fans were pretty damn on point. This being a Philly sports blog, I'm going to look in detil at how they handled the Philly sports angles. Here are ten things about the Eagles they did well in Silver Linings Playbook and two they may not have.

1.) One of the first things Cooper's dad (De Niro) talks to him about is how pissed off he was at DeSean Jackson dropping the ball on the one-yard line and negating a touchdown against the Cowboys. A fantastic nugget. Also, any male sports fan can relate to how De Niro's character and his son try to use sports as the starting point for a real father-son relationship.

2.) De Niro gives his Cowboys' fan friend some awesome razzing, questioning how a guy from Philly could be a fan of a team in Dallas. "What's more American than a cowboy?" his friend asks. De Niro trumps him with famous Philadelphian, Benjamin Franklin. Not the greatest answer, but the interplay between the frenemies here is straight from the streets of Delco.

3.) De Niro rocking the green cardigan sweater with the old school Eagles logo was pimp.

4.) De Niro has a closet full of Eagles games recorded on VHS.

5.) There's a scene at Cooper's therapist's office, an old Indian guy, in which Cooper is wondering if his choice of attire, an Eagles jersey, for a fancy Sunday dinner party was too informal. The shrink asks him which player's jersey he was rocking and after Cooper tells him a new No. 10 DeSean Jackson jersey, the shrink's response is hilarious. "DeSean's the man!" the therapist shouts in approval. This got tremendous laughter at the downtown Philly theatre. (Remember how much we drooled over DJacc in 2008?)

6.) The fight at the Linc tailgate -- This was the only real Eagles teaser we got in the trailer and I was very curious to see how/why this fight went down. I must say, they even got this pretty damn right. It shows the dichotomy between great Philadelphia fans -- which most of you who read this site probably would be categorized as enjoying a fun time at a tailgate with some cold beers -- contrasted with the dark side of sports fandom with ignorant, racists fans looking for trouble. Sometimes people get punched in the face.

7.) One of the major plot lines revolved around gambling on the Eagles-Cowboys game on December 27th, 2008. Any Eagles fan immediately knows how that one ends, but I liked how the last update they give you in the film before the drama goes down is the game tied at 3-3. Fake cliff hanger!

8.) Cooper's family and friends' reaction to the very formal and stuffy dance competition felt very authentic to how some diehard sports fans from Delco might actually react in such an unfamiliar setting

9.) Jennifer Lawrence in yoga pants doing Dancing with the Stars-type crawling maneuvers. Not remotely difficult to look at.


10.) There's a scene where Jennifer Lawrence unexpectedly recites where she was on days when the Eagles beat the Falcons 27-14, when the Phillies beat the Dodgers in the NLCS, when the Fightins beat Tampa in Game 4 of the World Series; It's frigging awesome. De Niro's reaction here is priceless.

Bonus: There is at least one Andy Reid-Timeout joke.

Two Minor Gripes: 1.) a detail that could have taken the Philly sports quotient up a notch: real game commentary. At a few instances in the movie when they're watching games, there is fake commentary from actual Eagles games that took place in reality. Using Eagles radio voice Merrill Reese would have been badass, but even some Fox TV commentary would have been better. We assume this to do with licensing issues. 2.) What was with the Cowboys fan guy later wearing a Giants shirt as well?

The fact that this wasn't a movie about being an Eagles fan helped the fact that the people in the movie just happened to be Eagles fans much more enjoyable. The characters felt real to me. Their relationships felt real. I might nitpick a few things here and there about the believability of some of the progressions in the love-story, but overall the movie told an enjoyable story.

But we all know how the 2008 Eagles season ends. Hollywood couldn't change that.

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See something Eagles-related we missed in Silver Linings? Got any questions about the film I may be able to answer in the comments, ask away.

Robert Covington, Sixers show 'swagger' without Joel Embiid in comeback win

Robert Covington, Sixers show 'swagger' without Joel Embiid in comeback win

BOX SCORE

The Sixers began the season looking lost without Joel Embiid. Now they are finding ways to win when he is not on the court. 

Embiid suffered a left knee contusion in the second half of Friday’s 93-92 win over the Trail Blazers (see story). He was sidelined for the decisive 8:50 of the game (see Instant Replay).

The Sixers trailed, 81-78, when he subbed out for the second time because of the injury, and outscored the Trail Blazers, 15-11, from that point on.

So how was this team that battled with inconsistency and reliance on Embiid able to pull out a comeback win punctuated in the final seconds? Ask the Sixers and they’ll give varying answers, a sign they are getting the job done in multiple ways and aren’t relying on just one key to success.

The most glaring difference was the hero of the game. Robert Covington drained two three-pointers in the final 40 seconds. His trey from Dario Saric with 38.2 remaining cut the Trail Blazers' lead to just one, 91-90. With 4.5 to go, he nailed the game-winning three from T.J. McConnell to give the Sixers their eighth victory in 10 games (see feature highlight).

“That’s resilient Cov,” Nerlens Noel said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a good shot or a bad shot; he’ll pull it in your face. That’s the confidence he has and that’s the confidence we need him to have. He steps up and makes two big shots like that, that’s enough said. He won us that game.”

Critics have called out Covington’s up-and-down performance from three all season. (They’ve made their feelings known with loud boos at home games.) Covington shot 5 for 12 behind the arc on the night but his 2 for 3 performance in the fourth was what mattered most. 

“I am a fighter, that’s what I have been my whole life,” he said. “Just because fans are booing me at one point doesn't mean anything. I just keep working. I am not going to let that deteriorate my game. It goes in one ear and out the other.”

Without Embiid in the game, the Sixers had to rely on a total team effort. After he went to the bench, the final points were scored by a combination of Covington, Gerald Henderson, Noel, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and McConnell.

“Ball movement,” head coach Brett Brown said. “We had 25 assists out of 36 made baskets. It’s not like we’re going to give the ball to Damian Lillard (guard for the Blazers). That’s not who we are. Whatever we do, it has to be done by committee, by a group, by a team. It’s even more exposed when Joel isn’t in the game. They did that. Unlikely people ended up with the ball sometimes in unlikely spots. … You have to move the ball. That’s what the team has learned without Joel.” 

Several of the players on the court in critical moments were from the second unit. Since Brown locked in on his rotation, the reserves don’t have a drop-off in confidence from the starters. 

“It’s the mentality,” Covington said. “Everybody has that swagger about us right now because once Joel comes out, the next person steps in and fills that void. It’s a matter of that contagious feeling that trickles into the second unit that’s making us that much more valuable.”

Then there's always defense, the foundation of any solid NBA team and a focal point for the Sixers. Noel saw that as the difference-maker when subbing in and out. The Trail Blazers scored just two points in the final 1:56. 

"The second unit goes there and does a great job guarding the yard, not letting up easy baskets," Noel said. "The offensive side is fluid motion. Guys get shots, pick-and-roll, it opens up open threes for guys, driving lines, pump fakes, it’s a great unity."

Embiid liked what he saw from a distance. He will not travel with the team to their game on Saturday against the Hawks in Atlanta. 

"I’m just happy we’ve been closing out games, and the main thing I’m really happy [about] is they’ve been able to do it without me," he said. "That’s going to give us a lot of confidence when I’m missing back-to-backs. My teammates are going to have more confidence to come in and play the same way."

Joel Embiid feels 'great' after injury scare to left knee

Joel Embiid feels 'great' after injury scare to left knee

Of the nearly 20,000 people in the Wells Fargo Center on Friday night, Joel Embiid was seemingly the least concerned when he came down and injured his left knee. 

Fans held their breath and the Sixers looked on anxiously as the standout big man got up in visible discomfort and limped off the court (see highlights). Embiid, however, wasn’t worried. 

“I knew it was OK. I just landed the wrong way,” he said after the Sixers' 93-92 win over the Trail Blazers (see Instant Replay). “I’m great. The knee’s fine. They did an MRI and stuff, everything looked good.”

Embiid ran off the court on his own, was diagnosed with a left knee contusion and was cleared to return to the game. He aggravated his knee again driving to the basket and this time, the team held him out to be careful.

“The review is that he hyperextended his left knee,” head coach Brett Brown said. “There was a minor tweak again, and for precautionary reasons only, the doctors did not allow him to return. There will be more information given as we know it. But quickly, that's what we know.”

Embiid understood the team’s decision to sideline him for the final 8:50 while the Sixers went on a comeback run (see feature highlight). He still finished the game with an 18-point, 10-rebound double-double, five assists and four blocks in only 22 minutes.

“Obviously those guys, the front office, they care about my future, so they just shut it down,” Embiid said. “But I was fine.”

Embiid will not travel to Atlanta for Saturday’s game against the Hawks (pre-scheduled rest). He expects to be available for Tuesday’s home matchup against the Clippers. 

"You know how tough he is," Nerlens Noel said. "If it isn’t anything serious, he’ll be right back. At the end of the game, he was telling me was he was feeling great and there was no pain. He wanted to come back in the game … he’s a trooper. He always gives it his all and always plays hard."

Injuries to any player are worrisome, especially a franchise centerpiece with two years of rehab (foot) behind him. The Sixers have been methodical and cautious with his playing time. Embiid is on a 28-minute restriction and can play in only one game of a back-to-back series. 

The same player who is so closely watched, though, also plays with sky-high energy that doesn’t have a brake pedal. 

“You're concerned,” Brown said of seeing Embiid get injured. “It's clear to all of us that he plays with such reckless abandon. I think that we're all going to be seeing this and feeling this regularly. From flying into stands to stalking somebody in the open court to block a shot to the collision he often is in trying to draw fouls. That's just who he is. 

“I think that as he just plays more basketball and continues to grow, to not necessarily avoid those situations, just to perhaps manage them a little bit more. Right now, he's just a young guy that's just playing that doesn't know what he doesn't know and has a fearless approach underneath all that attitude.”

Fearless is an accurate description considering Embiid's trouble-free reaction to the awkward way his leg bent (he hadn’t seen a replay). 

“I kind of had that in college, too,” he said. “I think I’m flexible, so it’s supposed to happen.”