This column will be dedicated to my late Father – Manny Meyer. He was a devout movie buff. When we moved up to Virginia Beach from Florida when I was 13, one of the first things my Father discovered was the Naro Cinema. My Father and I used to trek to the Naro Cinema on Colley Avenue in Norfolk almost every week to see either a film Noir or foreign film that was playing. In fact, he was such a film buff that he and some of his friends formed the Tidewater Film Society. A group of 20 – 40 “interesting” people would get together in an old building off Granby Street and would show old silent films. I was introduced to the works of Buster Keaton, W.C. Fields, Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd and many others. That lasted for just a couple of years; but it was certainly an education. Up until the time of my father’s premature death from Cancer, we would watch a movie together every week. My wife and I try to continue that tradition. I am proud to say that I too was bitten by the movie bug. Each issue, we will have reviews of movies or television programs in his honor. Our reviews will not be long and full of plot spoilers. Instead, we believe in a brief and to the point critique.
A great show that now airs on HBO each Sunday evening is called Ballers. This show has been on HBO for three years. If my father were still alive, he would have loved this series. It is about a former NFL football player who retires and becomes a financial planner for pro-athletes. The character, Spencer Strasmore, played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, is extremely compelling. He is a former football super star that is struggling with his own personal demons and coming to grips with the next chapter of his life.
Ballers gives you an intricate insight into the NFL and its players. It goes into details about injuries, financial management (or lack thereof) and the pressures of being an NFL player. It even gives you an in-depth look at the operations of a typical NFL team. You will find numerous cameos of famous players and coaches. It takes place (most of the time) in Miami, Florida, where I was born. The Rock’s character is a former star of the University of Miami and the Miami Dolphins (another reason I love this show).
Trivia Fact: in real life, the Rock actually played football for the University of Miami. This season deals with a new venture in Southern California, where the Rock is a partner in an X games network with Russell Brand, who plays an eccentric television producer. They are not afraid to tackle race, drugs and the day to day hypocrisy of Hollywood. It is truly entertaining. You can just dial in and enjoy the show; however, I would recommend binge-watching the previous seasons in order to grasp the complexities of the Rock’s character.