Not Exactly Invincible

Not Exactly Invincible

I have two theories on Invincible if you are not an Eagles fan.  You may really like this movie OR you will absolutely hate it.  You may really like it because you won't see all of the false truths.  You may really hate it because you don't give a rats ass about Philadelphia or the Eagles and without that the movie is pretty bland.  I obviously have a Philly bias so there were some fun parts to this movie which I could appreciate: the nostalgic talk of players like Tommy McDonald, Norm Van Brocklin, Steve Van Buren, etc.  In the scene when Vince Papale tells of how his father told the story over and over of Steve Van Buren making the big play(1) in 1948 to win the NFL Championship, I immediately thought of my Dad telling the story of being at the game where Wilbert Montgomery's run against Dallas in 1980 sent them to the Superbowl.  Someday I'll probably tell my kid I was in the first row at the 50 yard line for 4th and 26.  All sports fans can relate to parts of the movie like this.  Take all the nostalgia away and you are left with a pretty weak movie.

This is a Disney movie and it really shows.  It could have been a grittier look at Philadelphia in the '70s, showing how football is really a big deal in this city, of how Philly embraces the blue collar player.  But it wasn't.  It needed the authentic bums on the street corner feel that Rocky had, not the Disneyfied representation of South Philly with it's fake cheesesteak joint.  I wanted Paulie and Mickey and all we got were Tommy and Johnny.

Invincible is a movie which is loosely based on Vince Papale, whose story was an incredible one.  It's a movie worth checking out if you are from Philadelphia or an Eagles fan.  Just make sure you don't even come close to expecting Papale to go the distance with Creed.

The opening scene after the inial intro is a fun shot of a game at the Vet and much to the delight of me, the entire stadium was booing.

Some things that bothered me and a few things I liked:
-Marky Mark pours out the remainder of his beer after the end of an Eagles game as he sits in the 700 level.  This would obviously never happen in the 700 level.
-The view from the 700 level looked like you were sitting on the field.  I want those tickets.
-Since when did the Vet have a track on the field?  Obviously this was filmed at Franklin Field, but couldn't they have cut that out?
-When the fans trying out sang the fight song, they sang "fight Eagles fight, on the road to victory."  These two lines would never follow each other.  I found this to be a particularly painful scene hearing this get botched.
-The featured news reporter was played by actor Jack Kehler who most of you know as The Dude's landlord from The Big Lebowski.  I kept expecting to hear him ask us to come watch his cycle and give him notes.  -Papale's father was played by the angry mailman in Funny Farm.
-The Eagles did actually lose to Cinci in 1975 by a score of 31-0 but it wasn't the final game of the season, just the final home game.
-The whole love story sucked, as to be expected.  Who falls in love with a Giants fan?
-They definitely had some sweet old school Eagles gear in this movie.
-Of course they mention that Philly booed Santa Claus.
-Weak ending.

1-From Van Buren's signature game came on December 26, 1948. Playing in a blizzard for the NFL Championship against the Chicago Cardinals,
Van Buren scored the only touchdown of the game to give the Eagles
their first league title. They would win their second crown a year
later. In that game, Van Buren set a league record with 196 yards

2-Papale wasn't actually from South Philly, he was from Glenolden.

Okay, so it was pretty bad, like real bad, but I kind of still liked it.

In long-awaited NBA debut, Joel Embiid treats Sixers fans to a show

In long-awaited NBA debut, Joel Embiid treats Sixers fans to a show

The crowd erupted as Joel Embiid stepped to the free throw line. They chanted a phrase Embiid has been repeating for the past two years, a fitting welcome to his NBA debut.

“That was great,” Embiid said after the Sixers' 103-97 loss to the Thunder on Wednesday in the season opener (see Instant Replay). “That’s my motto, 'Trust the process.'”

After two years of rehabbing foot injuries, Embiid has his first regular-season game behind him. Embiid scored a team-high 20 points, shooting 6 for 16 from the field, 1 for 3 from long range and 7 for 8 from the line. He also recorded seven rebounds, two blocks, four turnovers and four fouls in over 22 minutes. 

“The beginning I was nervous, but once you make that first shot, it just goes away,” he said. “The fans were so into the game that it was fun. I love having fun.”

Sixers head coach Brett Brown enjoyed watching Embiid on the court as much as the big man liked being on it. Brown has seen the 7-foot-2 center grow and develop during his rehab. Finally, he was able to utilize his versatile skills in a real game setting.

“I can't say this loud enough,” Brown said. “For the city to be rewarded with a player that we all understand has unique gifts, special gifts, for him to go through all the things he has been through and play like he did on opening night, the city deserves it. Most importantly, he deserves it.”

Now that Embiid has been cleared to play, he would like to do so for longer periods of time. He began the preseason at 12 minutes and was increased to 20 in segmented spurts for opening night. Even though he exceeded that limit by over two minutes, Embiid is itching to be cleared to play more extensively. 

“It sucks,” Embiid said. “I feel like I could have played more but you know you’ve got to trust the process, got to trust those guys. If I have my minute restriction at 20 minutes, I guess I’m going to go with that. But obviously I want to play more and more and I think it can help the team better. But they have a plan for me and I’ve got to follow it.”

Embiid has maintained he wants to be a clutch player. Brown looked to him toward the end of the game as the Thunder pulled ahead late in the final quarter. He drained a fadeaway jumper to tie the game at 97 apiece with 50.7 to go. 

Later trailing by four with 10 seconds left, the Sixers went to Embiid. While he was whistled for an offensive foul, Brown was glad to have a go-to unlike in years past. 

“You have a target,” Brown said. “We tried to get the ball to him a lot. … By and large, to have somebody like Joel, where the mystery is solved like, 'What do you do?' You get him the ball as much as you can.”

The more the Sixers found Embiid, the more the Thunder had to try to defend him. Thunder head coach Billy Donovan knew what his team was going up against. He watched Embiid as a high schooler and coached against him during his tenure at Florida. 

“He’s gifted and skilled,” Donovan said. “It was probably our guys' first time seeing him … I knew the talent, the gifts. The one thing with him is, he’s got great footwork. He’s hard to guard because he’s herky-jerky. He moves. He’s got a lot of [Hakeem] Olajuwon to him.”

Opening night had been two years in the making. Even though the Sixers didn't win, the significance of the evening didn't disappoint. 

"I thought this moment was going to be special," Embiid said, "and it was just great."

Best of NBA: Davis' 50 points not enough in Pelicans' loss to Nuggets

Best of NBA: Davis' 50 points not enough in Pelicans' loss to Nuggets

NEW ORLEANS -- Jusuf Nurkic scored 23 points, Will Barton added 22, and the Denver Nuggets survived a dominant performance by Anthony Davis to defeat the New Orleans Pelicans 107-102 in both teams' regular season opener Wednesday night.

Davis had 50 points, 16 rebounds, seven steals, five assists and four blocks. His production helped New Orleans trim a deficit as large as 14 late in the second quarter down to two points in the waning minutes. He simply didn't have enough help.

The rest of the Pelicans combined to shoot 21 of 58. Tim Frazier scored 15 for the Pelicans. E'Twaun Moore added 10 points, but missed a 3-point attempt that could have tied it with 24 seconds left.

Danilo Gallinari scored 15 for Denver and Wilson Chandler added 12 points (see full recap).

Celtics top Nets in Horford's home debut
BOSTON -- Isaiah Thomas had 25 points and nine assists, Jae Crowder added 21 points and Al Horford pitched in 11 in his Boston debut on Wednesday night as the Celtics survived a late scare to beat the Brooklyn Nets 122-117 in their season opener.

Bojan Bogdanovic scored 21 for Brooklyn, including a 3-pointer to make it 120-117 with 47 seconds left after the Nets erased most of a 23-point deficit against the Boston bench. But he missed one with a chance to tie it after Joe Harris intercepted Thomas' cross-court pass, and the Celtics were able to hold on.

Justin Hamilton came off the bench to score 19 points and grab 10 rebounds for the Nets in coach Kenny Atkinson's debut (see full recap).

Turner's opening act leads Pacers past Mavs in OT
INDIANAPOLIS -- Myles Turner scored 30 points, tied his career high with 16 rebounds and made a 3-pointer with 1:18 left in overtime to start an 8-0 run that allowed the Indiana Pacers to close out a 130-121 victory Wednesday night over the Dallas Mavericks.

Three-time All-Star Paul George added 25 points, including another 3 with 55 seconds left to seal Indiana's fifth season-opening win in six years.

Deron Williams scored 25 points, while J.J. Barea and Dirk Nowitzki each added 22 as the Mavs lost their fifth straight in the series. They still haven't won in Indianapolis since February 2014.

Dallas didn't tie the score or take a lead until the fourth quarter, yet still forced overtime when Harrison Barnes' open 3-pointer made it 115-all with 2.3 seconds left.

Turner could have won it with a long buzzer-beating 3, but it bounced off the back of the rim (see full recap).