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.

*

"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.

*

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.

Today's Lineup: Tommy Joseph, Andres Blanco in to help avoid sweep vs. Cubs

052816-salisbury-post-webbestvideo3_1920x1080_694933571725.jpg

Today's Lineup: Tommy Joseph, Andres Blanco in to help avoid sweep vs. Cubs

Seeking to avoid being swept for the first time since their opening series in Cincinnati, the Phillies on Sunday afternoon will ask Tommy Joseph to provide a much needed spark.

Joseph, 24, sat out Saturday's 4-1 loss to the MLB-best Cubs with Chicago trotting out right-handed pitcher Kyle Hendricks, who crafted a five-hit, one-run complete game masterpiece.

It will be Joseph's fifth game against a righty this week, as manager Pete Mackanin's platoon at first base with Ryan Howard seemingly is coming to an end. Joseph will bat fifth.

With the Phillies averaging 3.22 runs per game, second-worst in baseball, and owning a run differential of minus-38, playing Joseph more is one of a few moves Mackanin can make.

Take into account Howard's average dipped to .154 after an 0 for 4, two-strikeout game Saturday, the decision to give Joseph more at-bats makes sense. It has for a while now.

Plus, Joseph has enjoyed success during his time up with the Phillies. The first baseman is hitting .290 with two home runs and four RBIs. He is, however, hitting just .211 with seven of his 10 strikeouts in 19 at-bats against righties. He'll face a good one in John Lackey (4-2, 3.32) on Sunday.

Mackanin has also decided to start Andres Blanco at second base against Chicago, which has proved to be too much for the Phils through the first two games. Blanco, 32, will bat third against Lackey, who he has never faced in his career. The utility man is hitting .281 with one long ball and eight RBIs in 35 games this season.

In other lineup news, the Cubs will start Villanova product Matt Szczur in left field in the series finale, giving Jorge Soler the day off. During his junior baseball season at 'Nova in 2010, Szczur took time off to donate bone marrow that helped saved a young girl in Ukraine. (Read more on Szczur here from CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury.) Szczur is hitting .375 with two homers and 12 RBIs in 40 at-bats this season with Chicago.

Here are today's full lineups:

Phillies
1. Odubel Herrera, CF
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Andres Blanco, 2B
4. Maikel Franco, 3B
5. Tommy Joseph, 1B
6. Cameron Rupp, C
7. Tyler Goeddel, LF
8. Vince Velasquez, P
9. Peter Bourjos, RF

Cubs
1. Dexter Fowler, CF
2. Jayson Heyward, RF
3. Kris Bryant, 3B
4. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
5. Ben Zobrist, 2B
6. Miguel Montero, C
7. Addison Russell, SS
8. Matt Szczur, LF
9. John Lackey, P

For more on today's game, read Steven Tyding's game notes.

Chase Utley owns the New York Mets, according to Wikipedia

052816-salisbury-post-webbestvideo3_1920x1080_694933571725.jpg

Chase Utley owns the New York Mets, according to Wikipedia

The New York Mets' majority owner, Fred Wilpon, has a reported net worth of $500 million.

But on Saturday night, the Mets were not owned by a suit who made their profits off real estate development.

No, the Mets were owned by former Phillies second baseman and current Los Angelers Dodger Chase Utley.

At least according to the Mets' Wikipedia page.

Utley, who has become one of the greatest villians in New York sports of recent memory, made his return to Citi Field this weekend after breaking Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada's leg with a hard, controversial slide into second base successfully breaking up a double play during the postseason. On Friday night, the 37-year-old delivered a three-run game-tying double in the ninth inning, athough the Dodgers fell to New York, 6-5, after Curtis Granderson hit a walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth.

But on Saturday night, Utley's legend grew even stronger in the Dodger's 9-1 win. Utley was thrown at — and missed — by Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard, who was subsequently ejected from the ballgame, in the third inning. In his next at-bat during a scoreless game, Utley took New York reliever Logan Verrett deep to give L.A. a 1-0 lead.

It gets better. Coming to bat with the bases loaded and a 2-0 lead in the seventh, Utley entered the batter's box serenaded with boos from the Mets' faithful only to hit a grand slam. You can watch it all right here.

Owning the Mets is nothing new for Utley, however. The second baseman has 33 home runs, 113 RBIs and a .283 average in his career against New York. We love Utley in Philadelphia because he plays the game hard, was a key member of the Phillies' 2008 World Series team and he kills the Mets. Remember this one from 2007?

What will Utley do as an encore on Sunday Night Baseball? We will all be watching because some of us won't be able to catch Game of Thrones live because we work.

Remember, no spoilers. And plus, Utley owning the Mets is a better storyline than any TV show can give us.

Phillies-Cubs 5 things: Getting Vince Velasquez back on track

052816-salisbury-post-webbestvideo3_1920x1080_694933571725.jpg

Phillies-Cubs 5 things: Getting Vince Velasquez back on track

Phillies (26-23) at Cubs (33-14)
2:20 p.m. on CSN

The Phillies have lost back-to-back games to the MLB-best Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field and on Sunday afternoon, they'll look to salvage a victory in the series finale.

Here are five things to get you ready for the ballgame:

1. Avoiding a sweep
Phillies fans had losing shoved down their throats for long stretches last season. This season has been much different … at least until the last three series.

With Saturday's loss, the Phils have lost three consecutive series for the first time in 2016 and will look to avoid their first sweep since their opening series in Cincinnati. The 4-1 victory by the Cubs was the Phillies' fourth loss in five games. They haven't lost five of six since September 2015. 

Meanwhile, the Cubs have won four straight games after losing eight of 12 games in mid-May. A win Sunday would give Chicago its fourth win streak of at least four games already in 2016. 

If that doesn't underline how tough a task the Phillies have ahead of them, Sunday's starter will do the trick.

2. Solving Lackey
John Lackey doesn't have the pizzazz of a Jake Arrieta or Jon Lester, but the veteran righty has been a consistent force in the Cubs' rotation. Coming over from the rival Cardinals in free agency, Lackey has a 4-2 record with a 3.38 ERA in nine starts in 2016.

However, the underlying numbers have been even better. He's completed six innings in all but one start and has seven quality starts. He has 61 strikeouts compared to just 13 walks and 45 hits in 61⅓ innings. 

Lackey has been a workhorse for the Cubs and has struck out at least five batters in each of his last four starts. 

The good news for Phillies fans? Despite Lackey's solid numbers, the Cubs have lost four of his nine starts.

3. Getting back on track
At 23 years old, it's tough to expect Vince Velasquez to be an ace all season, even if he may fill that role at some point in the not-so-distant future. 

So Velasquez's relatively minor struggles over his last few starts shouldn't worry fans as a sign of things to come. In Detroit, the flamethrowing righty could only complete four innings while giving up three home runs. While he struck out 10 and gave up no runs the start before against Miami, he failed to get past the fifth inning.

Those two starts came after consecutive outings where Velasquez gave up four runs in six innings. His last quality start came May 1, although it's tough to call his game against the Marlins anything but impressive.

While he's faced some strong lineups like the Mets and Nationals, the Cubs are a force Velasquez hasn't dealt with quite yet. He has no career numbers against the Cubs' probable starters, a group that has combined to be one of baseball's top offenses in 2016.

4. Who's on first?
Ryan Howard's final season in Philadelphia has been a grind to say the least. The veteran first baseman has just six hits in 58 at-bats in May and has just a .154 batting average this year. Howard's eight home runs have been a bright spot, but he doesn't have a homer since May 11.

Howard has three hits (two home runs) in 16 career at-bats against Lackey. But with right-handed first baseman Tommy Joseph excelling in his first big-league action, manager Pete Mackanin may turn to the rookie Sunday, as Howard tries to end his slump.

5. This and that
• Obubel Herrera is 3 for 4 in his only career appearances against Lackey. Maikel Franco is 2 for 3 against the righty.

• The Phillies are 3-0 in the final game of road trips this year … and 3-0 in the final game of homestands, too. 

• The Cubs have not swept the Phillies in Chicago since 1995.