“I Hate Christian Laettner” Review

This 30 for 30 or ESPN film, whichever name you prefer, looks at one of the most hated college athletes in the history of the game. It explores many different reasons why the hate for Christian Laettner was so serious. After all, he was just a kid, what did he ever really do to deserve the hate? The film talks to many different people including Christian Laettner himself, his family, Coach K, Coach K’s wife, past teammates, the Fab Five, opponents of his, and many different authors, reporters, etc who wrote books and stories about their hate. Many different perspectives were offered during this film which is what I’ve always loved most about documentaries- especially sports documentaries.

The first reason that they look at is that Laettner was perceived as a rich kid because he attended Duke University and a prep school before that. In reality, Laettner came from a middle class family. His mom was a teacher and his dad was a journalist. He couldn’t afford prep school but they offered a type of work study where he would work these dirty type jobs extremely early in the morning in exchange for his tuition. He only went to Duke because Coach K offered him a full scholarship. This alone gave me personally some new respect for the guy. He didn’t have anything handed to him, he worked for everything he had which is something worthy of respect.

Another reason why people hate Laettner is that he’s a white kid. Some people thought he might be racist or view black people differently since the only black guys on his basketball team were called “Uncle Tom” and things of that sort. Laettner was actually extremely tolerant of other races, maybe even was more against white people than black. His teammates bragged on how impressed they were with his style and his knowledge of hip-hop.

The third reason explored was that he was a bully who preyed on the weak. I actually laughed out loud because they used Kanye West interrupting Taylor Swift as the image for a bully. Yes, Laettner was an animal on the court and he was certainly a big trash talker. The way he carried himself and seemed to get away with so much stuff other players wouldn’t get away with was extremely disheartening and irritating. But he also seemed like a good teammate and actually a cool guy off the court. He just knew how to get under people’s skin.

After watching this documentary, I learned a lot about the background of this guy that got such a terrible reputation over the years. I think it’s sad how much people disliked him and how far some people took it. Like it’s actually ridiculous that his 12-year-old sister was called a whore just for being his sister. Like what did she ever do to deserve that? Sometimes the hatred people have isn’t rational and is fairly upsetting. Ultimately, people hated how good he was and I love that the documentary explored that. But I think it wasn’t just one sided, it also showed the reasons behind why people hate him by talking to the sources directly. Overall, it’s one of my favorite ESPN films.

Now and Then

Now and Then

As a kid, I remember watching the movie Now and Then. There’s one scene in particular that I remember clearly. It’s the one where two of the young girls have to get a bracelet that one of them dropped out of the sewer. That scene has always stayed with me for reasons I don’t really know. I remember other aspects of the movie like when the girls summon spirits at the cemetery. I also remember that one of the girls lost her mother and was still grieving over it. I watched the movie for the first time since I was a kid recently and it wasn’t the way I remembered it.

That’s the funny thing about time, sometimes things aren’t how we remembered them to be. Rewatching the movie made me question why I ever liked it in the first place. The movie doesn’t have a well developed plot. I get the sentiment of the movie but it’s rather pointless to have the girls as grownups at all. Much of the movie focuses on them as younger girls and so it doesn’t make sense why they don’t have balance between them as kids and adults. There’s really only two scenes with them in it and all plus Demi Moore narrating some of the movie.

The movie has some positive qualities that I didn’t recognize when I was younger. For example, I never really noticed the music besides the song My Girl since I’d heard that song other places. Now that I’m older, I love pretty much all of the songs. I loved the scene where one of the girls is an adult and singing I’ll Be There as she gets ready. It also fits considering the girls sang along to all of the songs they played when they were younger. I think it was overly cheesy that they recreated several things the four did when they were younger. They could’ve just did the Red Rover scene but instead they also included going back to the treehouse and playing truth or dare.

I think it’s strange how different things can be to us when we’re older. We see things from a new point of view that we hadn’t developed when we were younger. Now, I observe more than I once did. I notice things that go on and am a lot more critical of things. I think I see this movie through a new pair of eyes because I hold higher standards in regard to movies. I’m a bit of a snob and so I found a lot of flaws when I watched this movie again. I think it can be good to have a new point of view and to see things differently than you used to.

Serial Podcast Link Roundup

Serial has become an internet phenomenon since it was released earlier this fall. As a fan of the podcast since the beginning, it’s been hard for me not to share my opinions about the case. I’ve decided to provide my own sort of masterpost of links that I’ve found related to different aspects of the case. Some of these sources were linked up on Reddit, while others I discovered while searching on Google.

Stories about Jay:

Reddit pretty much exploded when The Intercept posted the first interview with Jay, the key witness who’s testimony was the only evidence that put Adnan behind bars for life. Note: Part two should be posted later on today which I will add to the list.

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/12/29/exclusive-interview-jay-wilds-star-witness-adnan-syed-serial-case-pt-1/

http://gawker.com/jay-from-serial-speaks-gives-new-timeline-of-hae-min-l-1676148300

http://m.dailytelegraph.com.au/entertainment/serial-podcast-witness-jay-wilds-breaks-silence-youve-got-to-help-me-or-im-going-to-tell-the-cops-about-you/story-fni0b7jg-1227170153928

http://www.esquire.com/blogs/culture/things-we-learned-serial-jay-interview

http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2015/01/01/jay_from_serial_interview_in_the_intercept_part_3_wilds_discusses_reddit.html

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/12/30/exclusive-jay-part-2/

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/12/31/jay-speaks-part-3/

http://observer.com/2014/12/heres-how-the-intercept-landed-serials-star-witness-for-his-first-interview/

http://mashable.com/2015/01/01/jay-serial-stories/?utm_cid=mash-com-fb-main-link

Parodies:

http://entertainthis.usatoday.com/2014/12/23/serial-parody/

http://reductress.com/post/after-serial-police-departments-replace-staff-with-female-npr-hosts/

Law Blogs- Provides well researched and credible information from sources that know what they are talking about in terms of the law aspect of the case.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/evidenceprof/2014/12/ive-posted-24-entriessarah-koenigsserial-podcast-which-deals-withthe-1999-prosecution-of-17-year-old-adnan-syed-for-murderin.html

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/evidenceprof/2014/12/ive-posted-25-entriessarah-koenigsserial-podcast-which-deals-withthe-1999-prosecution-of-17-year-old-adnan-syed-for-murderin.html

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/evidenceprof/2015/01/the-serial-podcast-what-if-neither-of-them-did-it-marylands-new-dna-standard.html

http://www.lawblogs.net/go/law-practice-management-lessons-learned-from-serials-m-cristina-gutierrez

http://viewfromll2.com/2014/12/29/serial-the-maryland-court-of-special-appeals-unpublished-decision-denying-adnans-appeal-in-2003/

Hae Min Lee

http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1999-03-12/news/9903120122_1_min-lee-lacrosse-woodlawn

http://flavorwire.com/493304/what-do-we-really-know-about-hae-min-lee-serials-beautiful-dead-korean-girl

http://www.dailydot.com/geek/serial-hae-min-lee-scholarship-fund/

http://vagendamagazine.com/2014/12/it-starts-with-a-body-why-its-important-to-keep-questioning-the-serial-podcast/

http://www.shakesville.com/2014/12/serial.html

http://thinkprogress.org/culture/2014/11/20/3595208/the-ethics-of-serial/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-life/11304281/Serial-podcast-How-a-schoolgirls-murder-became-entertainment.html

http://obviweretheladies.com/2014/12/19/we-shouldnt-forget-the-truth-about-serial/

Adnan Syed

http://mashable.com/2014/12/01/adnan-syed-appeal-serial/

http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1999-03-01/news/9903010074_1_min-lee-young-lee-woodlawn

https://pdf.yt/d/PUUcby-AZWfEhcuW

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jan/01/serial-adnan-syed-exonerated-new-trial

http://m.usmagazine.com/entertainment/news/adnan-syed-convict-featured-in-serial-podcast-getting-appeal-case-2014312

Rabia Chaudry – family friend who first brought the case to Sarah Koenig.

She keeps the blog “Split The Moon” where she frequently blogs about Adnan and his case. It’d be difficult to list all of them, I just listed several that provide a lot of interesting information.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/crime/blog/bs-md-syed-murder-case-20141010-story.html#page=2

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/splitthemoon/2014/10/life-plus-30-murder-lies-the-anatomy-of-a-wrongful-conviction/

http://www.splitthemoon.com/where-it-all-began/#more-311

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/splitthemoon/2014/10/not-totally-loosey-goosey/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/24/rabia-chaudry-serial_n_6377442.html

Sarah Koenig

http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/sarah-koenig-on-serial-20141024?page=3

http://www.vulture.com/2014/10/serials-sarah-koenig-on-her-hit-podcast.html

http://time.com/3541264/serial-this-american-life-sarah-koenig/

http://www.npr.org/blogs/monkeysee/2014/12/18/371636304/sarah-koenig-on-serial-i-think-something-went-wrong-with-this-case

There’s tons and tons more I could post but I decided to stay away from the specific evidence that was in the case. These are just some articles that example the general aspect of the case and the hype surrounding the podcast itself. This will be updated some, let me know if I’ve left any imperative links off.

The Voice Finale Predictions

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Last night on The Voice, the four finalists sang three songs each: a song picked by their coach, their first original song picked by their coach, and a duet with their coach. This made Adam a busy man considering three out of the four finalists are on his team. This season has arguably been the most competitive and has had the best singers yet. These are my rankings of each performance by the categories and each will end with who I believe the winner of that round is and my prediction for who will win the competition.

The first round I’m going to touch on is the artist singing a duet with their coach.
Ranked from worst to best:
4. Craig Wayne Boyd and Blake Shelton

The duo obviously had fun onstage with a country song they both feel comfortable with and thoroughly enjoy. But I felt as if it didn’t showcase either voices enough. The music was pretty loud and it was difficult to hear them actually sing.

3. Matt McAndrew and Adam Levine

Matt could make any song sound good. He’s tremendously talented and Adam obviously loves and respects him as an artist. But it definitely put me off that Adam chose to sing a song from Begin Again, a movie that he was in. It just seemed narcissistic to me.

2. Chris Jamison and Adam Levine

Robin Thicke’s “Lost Without U” was fitting for both of the guys upper register. They both did a really nice job with harmonizing even though I’m sure that wasn’t easy to do since they have practically identical voices.

1. Damien and Adam Levine

Elton John’s classic song, “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” was an amazing choice for Damien. It was great for Adam’s voice as well but most importantly, it gave Damien the opportunity to shine which is what the song should be doing. None of the other artists did this as well as Damien.

Round one goes to: Damien

Round Two: Cover Songs
4. Damien singing “A Song For You”

This is a beautiful song but it felt too safe for Damien. It felt a little karaoke to me which is an extremely rare side of Damien.

3. Matt singing “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”

This is such a classic song but I’m not sure it was right for Matt. It was too high for him and they didn’t change the pitch of it. The song started out gentle and beautiful but the ending note was just clearly off pitch. My dad and I were both prepared to declare Matt the winner but that final note set us back.

2. Craig Wayne Boyd, “In Pictures”

I didn’t know either popular songs that Craig sang last night. But I knew that this was a good song for him as an artist. The sentimental value for him was very present. And him simply sitting down and singing the words out gave it that much more meaning which I really respected and hope to see more of from him.

1. Chris Jamison, “Cry Me A River”

I wasn’t sure what to think when I found out he was taking on JT. I was pleasantly pleased with his take on Justin though. I think Chris did the best this round because it was the closest to what kind of artist he wants to represent. Of course, it’s not a good idea to try to BE Justin Timberlake but it’s up to Chris to make his unique artistry that sets him apart. I was impressed with his vocals alone, his voice can often be forgotten when he works the crowd and moves around but his voice is very much there.

Round goes to: Chris Jamison

Round Three: Original Songs
4. My Baby’s Got A Smile On Her Face by Craig Wayne Boyd

I’m not a big country fan, every country song I love is because it tells a story. I love when Craig sings the classic songs like Johnny Cash’s “Walk The Line” he completely rearranged it and made it his own. I just feel like this song has zero substance. Blake made it known in the video footage that this is a song that he’s had in his back pocket for years but I think he’s had it in his back pocket for a reason.

3. Velvet by Chris Jamison

This article, especially the part that touches on Chris’s original song is hilariously accurate. “Weren’t we just singing about Jesus last week?” It made me uncomfortable to hear the words, “She rides like a dream and damn that velvet looks good on me” on live TV. Like is that even socially acceptable? I love Chris and he’s definitely got sex appeal but his take on “When I Was Your Man” last week is more of what I want to see from him. A song that showcases his beautiful voice.

2. Damien, “Soldier”

This Max Martin produced song was the perfect fit for Damien. I don’t think Damien is going to win it but I think this was an inspirational song that was one of the most fitting in terms of his voice and just being able to have a quality moment when he needs it the most.

1. Matt McAndrew, “Wasted Love”

I had a feeling going into the show that Matt’s song would be the strongest. This is because Matt is arguably the most original artist out of the finalists. He’s an artist because he’s written many songs and even when he covers songs, he puts his own spin on things. This was The Voice’s version of when Phillip Phillips was lucky enough to be given the original song “Home” on American Idol which ultimately helped him win the competition. I think this could happen to Matt.

Round Goes To: Matt

Predicted Winner: Matt
It’s a little unfair that Matt already has an album out and has been performing for awhile. The same goes for Craig and maybe Damien a little bit too. Chris should be the winner based on the less experience of all the finalists. But it’s not about that, this show has helped Matt form connections that could give him the big break he’s been looking for. I also think he’s been the most consistent contestant this season and I really hope he becomes successful.