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.

NFL Notes: All-Pro safety Eric Berry to report to Chiefs Sunday

NFL Notes: All-Pro safety Eric Berry to report to Chiefs Sunday

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- All-Pro safety Eric Berry plans to report to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, giving him two weeks and one preseason game to prepare for the start of the regular season.

A person familiar with his plans told The Associated Press that Berry will join the team after its preseason game Saturday in Chicago. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Friday because he was not authorized to discuss Berry's plans publicly.

Berry was given the franchise tag early in the offseason but has not signed the deal, which means he could skip all of training camp without being fined. Once he signs the one-year contract, he will make just over $10.8 million, making him the league's highest-paid safety.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid and general manager John Dorsey have said all along they expect Berry to report ahead of the regular season, but it was never clear when that might happen.

Kansas City plays its first regular-season game Sept. 11 against San Diego.

"I think it's important to see what kind of shape he is in and then gradually bring him back into the football speed of things," Reid said Tuesday, when asked what Berry will need to do to get up to speed. "I don't think it's the end of the world if he doesn't play in the last preseason game (see full story).

Falcons: 1st-round pick Neal to have knee surgery
ATLANTA -- Atlanta Falcons rookie strong safety Keanu Neal, the team's first-round pick and a projected starter, will miss the beginning of the season with a knee injury.

Neal will have arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Monday and is expected to miss three to four weeks, according to the Falcons. Coach Dan Quinn said he is encouraged Neal avoided a more serious injury that could have kept him out longer.

"Hopefully it's a shorter-term injury where we're looking at two and hopefully the worst would be three games," Quinn said, adding that he knows Neal will work for a quick return because "he's kind of just built that way."

Wide receiver Julio Jones is expected to be limited in practice after leaving Thursday night's game in the second quarter with an ankle injury. Quinn said he the injury is not expected to threaten Jones' status for the regular season.

Neal hurt his knee in the first quarter of the Falcons' 17-6 preseason loss to the Miami Dolphins. He had to be helped off the field but walked to the locker room without assistance (see full story).

Ravens: Former Navy star Reynolds finds NFL life 'humbling'
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Keenan Reynolds' foray into the NFL has overwhelmingly altered his perspective of the game.

As a standout quarterback at Navy, Reynolds was revered in Annapolis. He ran for an NCAA-record 88 touchdowns, went 4-0 against Army and finished fifth in the 2015 Heisman Trophy balloting.

However, his prowess at running the triple option is of no help in his quest to make the Baltimore Ravens. Fighting for a job as a backup receiver and special teams contributor, Reynolds is just another rookie buried deep on the depth chart.

"It's very humbling," he acknowledged. "I'm just trying to make the best of it."

At Navy, Reynolds ran, handed off or threw the football. His job now is to catch it.

"I have a lot more respect for the position of wide receiver," he said, "especially after being a quarterback."

Chooch was 'a fireball,' says Ryan Howard, last of the '08 Phillies

Chooch was 'a fireball,' says Ryan Howard, last of the '08 Phillies

NEW YORK — Phillies players were greeted by a message from Carlos Ruiz when they entered the visiting clubhouse at Citi Field on Friday.

“I will miss all of you guys. Good luck the rest of the season. Love you all, Chooch! Gracias,” (see story).

Ruiz did not actually write those words on the whiteboard by the entry to the clubhouse, but they were his. He reached out to visiting clubhouse manager Tony Carullo and asked that the message be written in just that way.

Ruiz, 37, was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday, ending an 11-season run with the Phillies that included five NL East titles, a World Series championship, an All-Star Game, a slew of clutch hits, many words of praise from the pitching staff and a million calls of Choooooch from fans in the stands (see story).

“Everybody loved Chooch for a number of reasons,” manager Pete Mackanin said. “He’s the kind of guy you loved seeing every day, a hard-working, humble and appealing human being.

“I’d like to think when he’s done playing, the Phillies might have a place for him.”

Mackanin paused and laughed.

“As long as they don’t make him manager and he takes my job.”

Ruiz’s exit leaves Ryan Howard as the only member of the 2008 World Series championship team still with the club. Over the last few seasons, Howard has seen Jayson Werth, Shane Victorino, Jimmy Rollins, Cole Hamels and Chase Utley depart.

It’s a topic that Howard seems to have grown weary of talking about.

“I've had to hear about it every year,” he said. “It's again the same thing. You play with guys your entire career and now you see them in different uniforms. It's definitely going to be something to get used to but that's baseball. That's the business aspect of it. Teams make moves and that's what happens.”

Like the rest of the core of that team, Howard, 36, has been available for trade the last few seasons, but there has been no real interest because of his decline in performance and huge salary.

So he will play out the final six weeks of his contract and try to hook on elsewhere next season.

Howard saluted his former teammate, Ruiz.

“I'm trying to think of the right words,” he said.

“The thing about Chooch — he was the quarterback in a sense. The way he handled the pitching staff, the way he prepared himself for games with the pitchers, from the defensive standpoint knowing different situations, knowing what guy you want to beat you, what guy you don't want to beat you. Just the way he played the game, he was a fireball. He was a fireball out there. I'm definitely going to miss him. I hit him up yesterday a little bit after I found out. I was happy for him and wanted to wish him the best.

“Chooch, he was always very, very positive. Always trying to help guys out, trying to pick guys up when he can and it carried over onto the field. That was his mentality.”

The Phillies acquired veteran backup catcher A.J. Ellis, minor-league pitcher Tommy Bergjans and a player to be named later for Ruiz (see story). Ellis is due to join the team Saturday. In the meantime, the Phillies added prospect Jorge Alfaro from Double A (see story). He will be the backup catcher Friday night, then return to a talent-rich Reading club that has the best record in minor-league baseball and a date with the Eastern League playoffs.

Jordan Matthews sticks up for beleaguered Eagles wide receivers

Jordan Matthews sticks up for beleaguered Eagles wide receivers

Jordan Matthews is probably the only Eagles wide receiver you feel remotely good about right now.

Nelson Agholor and Josh Huff are draft picks who haven’t accomplished much yet. Rueben Randle and Chris Givens are veteran offseason pickups who’ve shown little this preseason (see story). Dorial Green-Beckham is a former second-round pick whose first team gave up on him after just one year.

It’s not a group that inspires a whole lot of confidence right now. 

Potential? Sure. But opening day is 16 days away, there’s only one preseason game left for the starters to play, Sam Bradford has two guys to throw to — Matthews and Zach Ertz — and potential is a scary word at this point.

Matthews isn’t a superstar at this point. He’s a solid pro who seems to be getting better. His 1,862 yards are 10th most in NFL history after two seasons. 

But compared to the Eagles’ other receivers, he’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

He's got credibility and because of that the 24-year-old Matthews has become a spokesman for the entire group. And this past week, two games into the preseason, he found himself in the position of having to defend this entire beleaguered bunch of wide receivers the Eagles have put together.

“The funniest thing is last year [the receivers] played extremely well in the preseason, got into the season, didn’t play well, and everybody’s like, 'Preseason doesn’t matter,'" Matthews said.

"Then the first preseason game we don’t play well, everybody’s like, 'The preseason matters, you guys suck!' Hold on … I thought it didn’t matter. You know what I’m saying?”

What he's saying is it's too early to write this group off. Maybe Huff and Agholor and Randle and Givens — or whichever among them makes the team — will turn it on once the regular season begins.

But going into the Colts game Saturday evening at Lucas Oil Stadium, the numbers are not pretty.

Huff and Randle both have three catches for 13 yards. Agholor has two catches for 30 yards. Givens is 0 for 0.

Matthews hasn’t played yet in the preseason because of a knee injury, and the next four receivers have a combined 56 receiving yards in two preseason games.

Paul Turner, an undrafted rookie, leads the group with nine catches for 78 yards. 

Improvement? Matthews sees it.

“I take this approach,” Matthews said this week. “Every rep counts. And so if every rep counts, what are we trying to do? We’re trying to do better the next rep, and I felt like guys took steps forward for the next rep. And that’s the main thing you always want to see, that improvement.

“I understand it’s the NFL, I understand obviously people are going to say you get paid a lot of money to do one thing, but I’ll tell you what, I know the guys in that room, they want to do well. None of those guys went into that game wanting to mess up or not put their best foot forward.”

Probably no recent draft pick has infuriated Eagles fans as much as Agholor. Well, other than maybe Marcus Smith and Danny Watkins. And Lane Johnson maybe.

But it’s tough for some to be patient with Agholor when Jeremy Maclin had 773 yards as a rookie, DeSean Jackson had 912 and Matthews had 872.

Heck, even Reggie Brown (571 yards) and undrafted Hank Baskett (464) were factors as rookie wideouts.

Agholor’s 283 yards last season rank tied for 27th out of 32 wide receivers drafted in the first round over the past 10 years.

But he has a big-time supporter in Matthews.

“I felt like the jump he made from the first game to the second game [was significant]," Matthews said "Even the stuff you don’t see. Blocking? [Darren] Sproles caught a short pass and Nelson turned his route around … he ran a great route, got open, turned around, blocked and probably sprung Sproles for another 10, 15 yards.

“He had another bubble situation where he had to block for Josh and he did. Definitely better than the first game, and that’s what you want to see. That’s the biggest thing. And it gets lost in the shuffle.”

That Sproles play, a 21-yard gain, was called back because of a penalty on rookie guard Isaac Seumalo.

But Matthews is passionate when he talks about how Agholor’s lack of production as a rookie doesn’t mean anything moving forward.

“I don’t know if y’all know this, but I love Jordy Nelson (Packers Pro Bowl receiver),” Matthews said. “I love him. One of my favorite receivers. Jordy Nelson didn’t have 1,000 yards till Year 4.

“Let’s put it in perspective. Guys get better. And I feel like that’s what I want to see from my group. Are guys getting better?

“There’s two things that I really look for from my group — attitude and effort. And do Nelson and Chris and Josh and those guys bring great attitude and effort?

“Yes. That’s what I want to see, and I feel that’s what we’ve shown.”