Book it! (maybe)

I have engaged in a mixed metaphor by using a term sometimes used by UW announcer Matt Lepay to describe a three-point field goal.

Lepay doesn’t announce the Bucks; legendary announcer Eddie Doucette did, with a catchprhase for nearly everything …


… except a three (“Bango!” is for a slam dunk), perhaps because most of his time in Milwaukee came before the National Basketball Association added the three to its rules.

(I started with “Bango!,” not realizing Doucette used it for dunks and not threes, and then Mrs. Presteblog pointed out that almost no listeners even in the early 2000s would have any idea what “Bango!” was supposed to refer to, so I substituted “Bullseye!”, which has stuck.)

This long-winded preamble introduces this from Awful Announcing:

Sports Illustrated has been on the market for some time, and back in April we wrote about how Meredith was looking to sell SI for something like $150 million. Since then, there hasn’t been much movement on the sale front, although there was a fun stretch where Dan Gilbert and Tony Robbins were reportedly interested.

For a while, that lack of movement seemed to be a result of Meredith asking too much for SI. But according to a Reuters report from Carl O’Donnell and Liana B. Baker, Meredith’s patience might be paying off, as they’re apparently close to completing a deal. Not with an existing media company, but with a former NBA player.

Ulysses Lee “Junior” Bridgeman, a former U.S. basketball player who became a fast-food mogul, is in the lead to acquire Sports Illustrated magazine from U.S. media company Meredith Corp (MDP.N) for about $150 million, people familiar with the matter said on Friday.

The deal would be the result of a review that Meredith is carrying out in its portfolio, following its $1.84 billion acquisition of Time Inc last year. It has already sold off its Time and Fortune magazines and is exploring a sale of Money Magazine.

Bridgeman is in the final stages of negotiating a deal for Sports Illustrated after lining up acquisition financing, the sources added. If his effort is successful, a deal announcement could come by the end of the year, according to the sources.

Bridgeman is a former Indiana high school legend from East Chicago who went on to play at Louisville before a lengthy NBA career. After his playing days, he ended up going into an entirely different industry, becoming a restaurant franchise mogul. Bridgeman’s interest was first reported in October by the New York Post‘s Keith J. Kelly.

Considering Bridgeman is apparently willing to offer the asking price, it might be surprising that the deal hasn’t gone through yet, but as Reuters notes, it’s for a very simple reason: Bridgeman isn’t in media or publishing. That means a lack of infrastructure, which means the buyers will need a way to actually print the magazine, among other things.

One aspect of the deal still being hashed out in the negotiations is the outsourcing agreements related to printing and paper costs of the magazine, one of the sources said. These discussions are common when a buyer who does not own a media company purchases a magazine, the source added.

For example, when Marc and Lynne Benioff bought Time magazine for $190 million in cash in September, Meredith entered into a multiyear agreement with them to provide services such as subscription fulfillment, paper purchasing and printing.

If the deal goes through, it will be interesting to see how a new entrant to the world of media handles the Sports Illustrated brand going forward.

It would be great to see SI, which I have read since I was in high school (the first issue I received was the 1982 swimsuit issue) in the hands of an owner who can figure out a plausible yet profitable direction for the magazine. SI has taken its yearly swimsuit issue into its own brand (including models who don’t actually wear swimwear, or anything else), with no indication of financial success. is now covering the non-sport of “professional” wrestling and has delved into other areas that can’t really be called sports.

SI also now prints every other week instead of weekly. Perhaps that economic decision makes sense, but it tends to restrict covering events after the event, which was the ultimate downfall of Sport magazine and Inside Sports. Some of the greatest game stories have been written by SI writers over the years, but if the event took place two weeks ago, perhaps readers beyond fans of the participating teams have moved on. ESPN The Magazine also publishes every other week, but the magazine has a horrid and unreadable design, perhaps designed for people who don’t generally read. If you don’t cover news (as in what happened, as opposed to what you think is going to happen, failures in which created the infamous SI Cover Jinx), what’s the point of reading?




Presty the DJ for Dec. 11

The number one album today in 1961 was Elvis Presley’s “Blue Hawaii” …

… while the number one single was a polite request:

Today in 1968, filming began for the Rolling Stones movie “Rock and Roll Circus,” featuring, in addition to the group, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, The Who, Eric Clapton and Jethro Tull, plus clowns and acrobats.

The film was released in 1996. (That is not a typo.)

Continue reading “Presty the DJ for Dec. 11”

The Beer Party, or Grand Old Pilsner

J. Christian Adams:

GOP strategists have been warning that the sky is falling, that a demographic calamity is coming.  Young voters and voters to be, we are told, have no reason to vote Republican.

A fix to attract young voters might be sitting right in front of them, if congressional Republicans have the creativity to pop it open.

One of the sorriest sights I have ever seen in a bar occurred on the eve of the Gulf War in the fall of 1990.  Soldiers from the nearby Army base were celebrating their final days in the states before being deployed to Saudi Arabia where they would eventually smash Saddam Hussein’s army in Kuwait.

The young soldiers were lined up at the bar.  Instead of beer, they were sipping sodas because they weren’t old enough.

It was a sad, pathetic sight. Soldiers who would soon ship out to war celebrating their final hours in the United States, and they were drinking Sprite.

If the Republicans want to attract young voters, then lead the charge to repeal the National Minimum Age Drinking Age Act that Democrats in Congress passed in 1984.

Loudly repeal the mandate and allow states to lower their drinking age to 18 from 21 without federal penalty.

Appeal to young voters with beer and bourbon.

The National Minimum Drinking Age Act forced states to change their state laws or else forfeit federal highway money.  The federal mandate that required states to raise the drinking age to 21 was chiefly sponsored by Senator Frank Lautenberg, a Democrat from New Jersey.

As far as I am concerned, if you are old enough to fight and die for America, you are old enough to drink a beer.

We can debate the pros and cons of the federal mandate as a question of social behavioral engineering.  You might say that the federal mandate reduces drunk driving, and I will respond that so could complete prohibition of the sort we had from 1920 to 1933.  You might note the opposition of Mothers Against Drunk Driving to my idea, and I would argue that the drinking age of 21 pushes younger adults into irresponsible behavior, including binge drinking.

If a state wants to keep the drinking age at 21 years old, let the citizens of that state – including the 18-year-old voters – decide the question at the ballot box.  Just get Washington, D.C., off their backs.

This is a question of both federalism and morality.

Washington, D.C., should not be deciding how old you have to be before you can drink a Miller Lite.  As a matter of constitutional division of power, the Twenty-first Amendment to the Constitution gives states almost complete power over alcohol.  States have the power to legislate themselves dry, or to eliminate the drinking age altogether, notwithstanding the federal mandate.

This is also a question of morality.  A nation cannot expect the youngest generation to bear the burden of service, but not extend the full measure of citizenship to them.

If you can be drafted, you should be able to order a draft.

President Ronald Reagan was originally opposed to the federal mandate of a drinking age of 21 but came to sign the bill because he decided reducing teen driving mortality was more important.

Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.

In the first few years after the drinking age became effective, teen driving deaths actually increased.  It wasn’t until the 1990s that teen driving deaths dropped dramatically, and by then, any number of alternative causes contributed to the improvement.  In other countries that did not raising the drinking age, teen driving deaths also nevertheless declined.

Improvements in safety, education, and technology may have played a bigger role in reducing highway deaths than federal mandates did.

But do young people want the federal drinking age mandate to go away?

This is the same age group that never endured the federally mandated 55 miles per hour speed limit.  Today’s 19-year-olds never experienced creeping along a wide open interstate highway at 59 miles per hour, scanning for state troopers.

Repealing the 55 mph federal speed limit mandate was one of the first things the new Republican Congress did in 1995.  It was also wildly popular and Republicans got the credit.

If Republicans want to appeal to young voters, appeal to their desire for freedom.  Go ahead, laugh if you want.  I’m aware of what is happening on campus and in the classroom.

But I still can’t shake the image of American warriors sipping sodas before they smashed Saddam.  Some things just aren’t right, and Republicans should gamble that young Americans will agree.

As someone who miraculously survived the 18-year-old drinking age without getting killed and with a child now in the armed services, I agree 100 percent with this. The national drinking age is probably the worst thing Reagan ever signed off on, with the unintended consequences of promoting binge drinking, which is considerably harmful. It created a new class of criminals — adult underage drinkers. A look at the police blotter from any college-town newspaper will prove that the 21-year-old drinking age has not stopped drinking by those who are not 21 yet.

News of former and would-be employers

Readers know that the first newspaper job I ever had was a part-time sportswriting job in college.

Nearly all of my career I’ve worked in non-daily publications, except for 7½ months at the Beaver Dam Daily Citizen. The guy who hired me was Jeff Hovind, the editor. So this news from the Wisconsin Newspaper Association is sad to me:

Jeff Hovind, a Milwaukee native and former Wisconsin newspaper publisher and owner, died Thursday, Oct. 25 in Lincoln City, Oregon. He was 62.

After earning his journalism degree at UW-Eau Claire, Hovind started his career at the (Beaver Dam) Daily Citizen as a reporter and editor. He went on to serve as publisher of The (Waukesha) Freeman before purchasing the Merrill Courier.

Hovind, who moved with his wife Susan to Oregon in 2015, is remembered by colleagues for his journalistic passion.

“Jeff cared very much about local journalism and was a champion for open government,” said Bill Yorth, publisher and editor-in-chief for The Freeman. “I learned a lot from him. I always admired his dedication to the paper and to our profession.”

The Daily Citizen was, shall we say, an interesting place to work. Ninety minutes into my first day there someone tried to drive into the building. The driver was a job applicant who had a car whose engine would die when the car was taken out of Park, so she would gun the engine before shifting. Unfortunately for the building she shifted into Drive instead of Reverse, and the car jumped the parking lot curb and smacked into a floor-to-ceiling plate-glass window next to the ad manager’s desk. Fortunately for him the ad manager was out sick that day, but on my first day the newspaper was its own front-page news.

One early afternoon after that day’s paper was done I was sitting at my desk when I got an anonymous phone call with the ridiculous story that two eighth-grade girls had just gotten back from a bus trip to Mexico that resulted from their successfully claiming that they were the children of migrant farm workers who had left them in Wisconsin after the harvest season ended. Then when I started calling around I found out that the story may have been ridiculous, but it was true. One of the two apparently looked vaguely Hispanic, the other took Spanish class, and between the two of them they had convinced a Greyhound Bus terminal clerk and a police sergeant to put them on a bus to El Paso (where one of them had an aunt), whereupon they walked to the border into Mexico, came back and requested a ride home.

The Citizen was the most bureaucratic small business I had ever seen, and ever have seen since then. Somehow I got roped into the company’s Safety Committee, which meant I had to attend meetings with the publisher’s wife. Said publisher owned a late-1970s large Mercedes-Benz sedan, and as it turned out a few other management types, including Jeff, also owned Mercedes sedans, which appeared to me as the Cult of Mercedes.

One project I the education reporter worked on was an eight-day-long series about sex education in area schools. After the series the Citizen received a letter claiming that I was a liberal, which I imagine readers should find amusing. One thing I learned at the Daily Citizen was what we called The Fay Rule, named for one of our typesetters: If we put a name in a headline but Fay didn’t know who it was, the name had to be removed.

The funniest thing that happened was relatively late in my stay there. I was hired as the education reporter to replace another reporter who was moving to the police and courts beat. She then decided to leave, and she hosted a going-away party at her house in Watertown. The only person from the newsroom not at the party was the associate editor, who was legendary in the newsroom for speaking in clichés. Jeff brought a karaoke machine, and so over the course of several drinks each we composed The Tom Song, whose lyrics consisted completely of Tomspeak. Since we didn’t want him to feel left out, we called him around 10:45 p.m. and sang The Tom Song to him. On the other hand, the next day Tom was the only person in the newsroom who wasn’t hung over.

Jeff and his wife took me to lunch the next day and he seemed envious that I was getting into the world of newspaper ownership. (I should have told him it was overrated.) So I’m glad he got the publishing opportunity.

One of the Citizen’s competitors was the Watertown Daily Times, with which I interviewed twice, but the Times decided it was never time to hire me. Another competitor of the non-daily was the Dodge County Independent News in Juneau, which when I worked for the Daily Citizen was owned by Scott Fitzgerald, later to become state Senate Majority Leader. (Cue “It’s a Small World.”) Watertown is on the border of Dodge and Jefferson counties, which means that the Daily Times’ daily competition was the Daily Citizen to the north and the Daily Jefferson County Union in Fort Atkinson.

How do I wrap up every newspaper except the Citizen here? With this news:

Adams Publishing Group announced December 3, 2018 they have purchased the assets of the Watertown (WI) Daily Times and Dodge County Independent News from James M. Clifford. The Watertown Daily Times is published Monday through Friday and the Dodge County Independent News weekly. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Members of the Clifford family have owned the Watertown Daily Times since 1919. James Clifford, chairman of the company said that this was a difficult day for the family but felt the Times would be in a stronger position to compete in a challenging and fast changing competitive environment if it were part of a larger group. Clifford went on to say, “My family and I have enjoyed being stewards of this important community institution the past 99 years. We believe we have selected a new owner that will carry on in the best interests of Watertown, the readers of the Daily Times and our wonderful employees.”

Clifford’s son, Kevin is the fourth generation of the Clifford family to have worked at the company and currently serves as the Editor and Publisher. Both James and Kevin Clifford have served in leadership roles in a number of state and national newspaper organizations. …

Adams Publishing Group announced December 3, 2018 they have purchased the assets of the Daily Jefferson County Union and the affiliated Hometown News Limited Partnership from W.D. Hoard & Sons Company. The Daily Jefferson County Union and the affiliated Hometown News Limited Partnership publish 13 community newspapers and shoppers, stretching across parts of six counties in south central Wisconsin.

Brian Knox, president of W. D. Hoard & Sons Company, will continue to operate its other businesses including the Hoard’s Dairyman magazine, a magazine aimed at the dairy industry with world-wide distribution, other agricultural publications, a dairy farm, recently launched cheese products and other businesses.

The Daily Jefferson County Union was founded in 1870 by William Dempster Hoard. The Knox family eventually acquired the company from the Hoard family. Brian Knox, the second generation of the Knox family and current publisher, has been with the newspaper for the past 41 years.

Hometown News publishes the Sun Prairie Star, a twice-weekly newspaper, plus eight weekly newspapers: Milton Courier, Cambridge News/Deerfield Independent, Lake Mills Leader, Herald-Independent/McFarland Thistle (covering Monona, Cottage Grove and McFarland), Waterloo/Marshall Courier, Waunakee Tribune, DeForest Times-Tribune and the Lodi Enterprise/Poynette Press.

Knox said in a statement that his family’s interests are refocusing on other sectors of the company. “148 plus years ago this company was founded on community journalism. When I became publisher, almost all of the 37 daily papers in the state were independently owned, either as single papers or in small groups. Now there are fewer dailies and just a handful of independents left. One of the reasons for this is that in the 41 years I have been publisher, the industry has had to technologically re-invent the way we do business every three or four years to continue on. We have done this successfully and even our circulation numbers have fought the industry trend and grown the last few years. But the reality is that we’ve reached the point where we need to be much bigger to spread those costs and to take advantage of rapidly changing technologies.”

I suppose I should add that the newspapers mentioned two paragraphs ago were all competitors once upon a time too.


Presty the DJ for Dec. 10

Today in 1959, the four members of the Platters, who had been arrested in Cincinnati Aug. 10 on drug and prostitution charges, were acquitted.

Still, unlike perhaps today, the acquittal didn’t undo the damage the charges caused to the group’s career.

Continue reading “Presty the DJ for Dec. 10”

Presty the DJ for Dec. 9

Imagine having the opportunity to see Johnny Cash, with Elvis Presley his opening act, in concert at a high school. The concert was at Arkansas High School in Swifton, Ark., today in 1955.

Today in 1961, the Beatles played a concert at the Palais Ballroom in Aldershot, Great Britain. Because the local newspaper wouldn’t accept the promoter’s check for advertising, the concert wasn’t publicized, and attendance totaled 18.

After the concert, the Beatles reportedly were ordered out of town by local police due to their rowdiness.

That, however, doesn’t compare to what happened in New Haven, Conn., today in 1967. Before the Doors concert in the New Haven Arena, a policeman discovered singer Jim Morrison making out in a backstage shower with an 18-year-old girl.

The officer, unaware that he had discovered the lead singer of the concert, told Morrison and the woman to leave. After an argument, in which Morrison told the officer to “eat it,” the officer sprayed Morrison and his new friend with Mace. The concert was delayed one hour while Morrison recovered.

Halfway through the first set, Morrison decided to express his opinion about the New Haven police, daring them to arrest him. They did, on charges of inciting a riot, public obscenity and decency. The charges were later dropped for lack of evidence.

Continue reading “Presty the DJ for Dec. 9”

Presty the DJ for Dec. 8

Today in 1940, the first NFL championship game was broadcast nationally on Mutual radio. Before long, Mutual announcer Red Barber probably wondered why they’d bothered.

Today in 1963, Frank Sinatra Jr. was kidnapped from a Lake Tahoe hotel. He was released two days later after his father paid $240,000 ransom. The kidnappers were arrested and sentenced to prison.

The top selling 8-track today in 1971:

Continue reading “Presty the DJ for Dec. 8”

The way out

Bill Huber:

Three days after being fired as the Green Bay Packers’ coach, Mike McCarthy was allowed to return to Lambeau Field to say good-bye.

“He spoke to the team yesterday and that was good,” team President/CEO Mark Murphy told WTMJ Radio in Milwaukee on Thursday. “I think Mike wanted some closure with the players and some of the other coaches to be able to thank them and say good-bye to them, as well.”

McCarthy was fired after Sunday’s 20-17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Murphy had already decided to fire McCarthy, who was in his 13th season on the job, but the listless effort at home against a two-win team spurred Murphy into action.

Joe Philbin, McCarthy’s longtime friend and colleague, was elevated from offensive coordinator to interim head coach for the final four games.

“Mike came by the office, I think Tuesday we all saw him as a staff, which was great,” Philbin said before Thursday’s practice. “Then we talked, and he wanted an opportunity to speak with the team. I was 100 percent, fully supportive of, and he did a fantastic job talking to the team. Not just about football and winning football games, but his passion. His passion for the game, his love for the players was clearly evident. I’m sure it was emotional for him and everybody in the room. It was awesome. I thought he did a great job.”

Philbin left the Packers to become Miami’s coach in 2012. He posted a 24-28 record before being fired four games into the 2015 season. Dan Campbell finished the season. Philbin wasn’t given a chance to say good-bye; he didn’t want that to be the case for McCarthy.

“That’s the Green Bay Packer way, right? This is a first-class organization all the way around. I think it’s been that way for 100 seasons, I would guess. I’m not that old, but I’m guessing it’s been like that for a long time. We do things the right way around here. Mark and Russ (Ball, the executive vice president of football operations) and Brian (Gutekunst, the general manager) were all totally supportive, they think that was the right thing to do, as did I. Hopefully it will help.”

About McCarthy’s firing WTMJ says:

Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy told WTMJ it was a difficult decision, but one he felt needed to be made.

“The way the season had played out, I just felt that we needed a change,” says Murphy. “It wasn’t anything particularly that [McCarthy] did wrong, I just felt that the message had become stale and we needed a new voice.”

Murphy added that he intended to make a change at the end of the season, so he felt it would be better for everyone to do so now rather than wait.

I’m sure in our cynical age no one will believe this:

The worst in the worst

Steven Zeitchik:

Maybe you came to her in “Mechanic: Resurrection.” It could have been “Good Luck Chuck” that gave you your first taste. Or perhaps it was “Valentine’s Day” that hooked you; you’re a romantic that way.

Whatever your access point, if you’ve watched a Jessica Alba movie at pretty much any point in her career, you’ve seen a chain of critical badness unprecedented in the modern era, according to a new report.

Alba leads the rare Hollywood list that nobody wants to be on: actors in the worst-reviewed movies of the past 20 years.

The report, whose results were compiled by the London-based SEO firm Verve on behalf of British comparison-research site Go Compare, aims to offer statistical evidence of something we all sense: there are some actors who just seem to turn out one bust after another. (You can see its results here.)

The report saw Alba average a Metacritic score of 39.0 for the movies she starred in during the preceding two decades. That’s only slightly better than the male performer with the worst-reviewed movies of the modern era: Mike Epps.

The New York native and former comedian averaged just a 38.3 score, a numeric representation of what many people who watched “Resident Evil: Extinction” or “The Hangover Part III,” both Epps-starrers, felt upon seeing those films. (Metacritic is the popular review site that assigns mathematical values first to a critic’s review and then to a movie as a whole.)

I must report that “The Hangover: Part III” is one of the few movies from this piece that I’ve actually seen. Not that I tried to see it — it was on a college basketball team bus ride. That was how I saw its predecessor; this one was, if I remember correctly, set around a wedding in Southeast Asia. If you’ve seen any one of them, you’ve seen all of them.

Epps narrowly edged out longtime character actor Kevin Pollak – average Metacritic score: 38.5 percent — for the top spot.

In fact, only 5 percent of the movies starring Epps, Pollak and Alba were given overall positive reviews. You’d have a higher chance of going on an undersea dive with James Cameron. Verve defined positive reviews as any movie that had a Metacritic score of at least 60 percent.

“You’d think these actors would have a hard time getting work making one badly reviewed movie after another,” said Verve’s James Barnes, who helped conduct the study. “But this shows how hard it is for producers to find veteran actors. And that critics aren’t the end all and be all of casting decisions.”

To conduct the study, Verve looked at every actor who’s had at least 20 live-action roles in the past 20 years. To eliminate bit-parters and day-players, the group included only those who had were billed in the top 10 of a film according to IMDB. Then it crunched their Metacritic scores to come up with an average, landing on Epps on the male side and Alba on the female.

And if you think “well, I’m safe, I like the other Jessica born in the 1980′s,” rest not comfortably: Jessica Biel finished in second behind Alba, thanks to such non-Smithsonian-esque work as “The A-Team,” “I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry” and “Powder Blue.” You’d have been better off rallying behind Jessica Rabbit.

And while Biel did manage to crack the 40 percent threshold – her average Metacritic score was 41.6 percent – she has a lower percentage of outright positive movies than anyone on the list with just 4 percent.

Rounding out the list of males were a few performers who’ve starred in some not-exactly-stellar romantic comedies or action movies over the years: Josh Duhamel, Robin Williams and Gerard Butler.

Williams, you ask? Robin Williams? Didn’t the late actor win an Oscar for “Good Will Hunting” and was nominated three other times? Yes, the very same. But also the actor who, sadly, scored a Razzie hat trick, for “Jakob the Liar,” “Bicentennial Man” and “Death to Smoochy.” All of the nominations from that ignoble prize came in the 2000′s, within the field of study, while many of the Oscar-decorated works fell before it.

On the actress side, Heather Graham, Radha Mitchell and Kathy Bates took slots three to five. Bates would seem a surprise in her own right: she’s been nominated for an Oscar on three occasions, and even won best actress, for “Misery.” But in recent years she also has acted in a host of…less estimable fare. “You May Not Kiss The Bride.” “The Great Gilly Hopkins.” “P.S. I Love You.”

P.S. Butler was also in that film.

P.P.S. Bates, like Alba and Biel, was in “Valentine’s Day.”

And Butler and Biel themselves co-starred in “Playing for Keeps,” a soccer romantic dramedy with a Metacritic score of 27. Badness is a community.

If you’re wondering, why Alba? Really, why? Well, her movies make it so. She has just a single film, among the dozens she’s made, that was reviewed positively by critics. That was “Sin City,” in 2005. And she has a whole bunch under the low water-mark of 35, including some lesser-remembered fare like “Some kind of Beautiful,” “Idle Hands,” Meet Bill” and “The Love Guru.”

Another movie I’ve seen from this piece is “Idle Hands.” I thought it was reasonably clever, particularly Seth Green as a talking corpse. It’s not “Gone with the Wind,” but it was at least entertaining, particularly this scene:

The lesson is that, while working may be good for the bank account and the acting muscles, it can really drag your average down. (Barnes acknowledged that, since there are generally more badly reviewed movies than good ones, the survey can be punitive to those who work more.)

See Shatner, William.

Of course, an actor can give a good performance in a bad movie too — sometimes their performance looks better in a bad movie, rising above the tripe that surrounds

The study also underlined a gender gap: on the top-15 list of actresses are well-regarded performers including Amanda Seyfried, Dakota Fanning and Jennifer Aniston. That speaks to how hard it can be even for talented actresses to get good roles, Barnes said, and also to the fact that there are more roles for men in general, which allowed A-list male names to be sheltered in ways top females were not.

That said, plenty of men considered at the top of their field don’t fare so well either. “I have to say, I was surprised Robert De Niro wasn’t in the top 15,” said Barnes of the actor who has been known to take a “Dirty Grandpa” or “The Intern” in and around his seven Oscar-nominated turns.

As it turns out, De Niro isn’t on that top-15 list but still doesn’t do great — he finishes in 27th. Ahead of him on are other award-decorated performers with a reputation for making…ecumenical choices: Nicolas Cage in 17th, Bruce Willis in 18th.

And since you’re about to ask: Adam Sandler finishes high (or is it low). He lands in sixth place with a score of 40.1.

Of course for every 10 bad movies, there’s a good one raising the stock of a performer. That’s why Verve also looked at the highest-rated actors: Carey Mulligan and Sally Hawkins were tops among women with 72.8 and 69.2 Metacritic scores, no surprise to those who’ve watched them turn out one award-worthy performance after another, from “An Education” to “The Shape of Water.”

The highest-ranked men? Adam Driver and Leonardo DiCaprio, with 71.7 and 69.3.

So the lesson of all this might be: see the movies with those actors. Or that before accepting a role, Jessica Alba and Mike Epps should make sure Adam Driver and Carey Mulligan are reading the scripts too.

Presty the DJ for Dec. 7

The number one British album today in 1963 will be at number one for 21 weeks — “Meet the Beatles”:

The number one single here today in 1963 certainly was not a traditional pop song:

Today in 1967, Otis Redding recorded a song before heading on a concert tour that included Madison:

Continue reading “Presty the DJ for Dec. 7”

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