James Caan: The Heartwarming Tough Guy

Until today, I never reflected on my relationship with James Caan. The charismatic actor always gave me “tough guy” vibes. I wouldn’t expect anything less from the son of Jewish immigrants born in the Bronx and raised in Queens.

So when I read that Caan sadly passed away at the age of 82, I started to think about his career, and the more I revisited his filmography, the sadder I was knowing the world lost a terrific actor. I did not know Caan personally so I can only speak about his performances. However, so many positive tributes have poured in about Caan, the man, and how much people loved working with him.

Every tribute to Caan will start with his role as Sonny Corleone in The Godfather. You’ll hear no negative remarks from me about Caan’s performance as Vito Corleone’s eldest son. Caan is a lightning rod throughout the film, bringing the necessary chaotic, machismo energy required to play the don-in-waiting. Al Pacino’s performance as Michael Corleone in The Godfather Part II is arguably the pinnacle of acting, but Caan’s performance is better than Pacino’s in the first film. When he sees Connie with the bruises on her face, Sonny goes from enraged maniac to sympathetic brother in a matter of seconds, convincing the audience that he might show remorse towards Carlo, when in fact, he beats the life out of him. Caan is so committed and believable as an older brother who would kill to protect his family.

Caan’s other iconic roles in the 1970s that struck a chord with me are Brian’s Song and Rollerball. For the former, Caan played Brian Piccolo, a halfback for the Bears whose life ended at 26 from cancer. Caan wasn’t the tough guy anymore. Caan played Piccolo with such grace and vulnerability that it became known as a “movie that will make every guy cry.”

In Rollerball, Caan starred as Jonathan E., the superstar of the violent and deadly game known as Rollerball. The film was simply ahead of its time, brutally foreshadowing a world dominated by corporate greed and global capitalism. Caan is the perfect actor to give the middle finger to “the man” and represent individualism.

Skip ahead to 1981 when Caan ends up starring in Michael Mann’s directorial debut, Thief. For my money, Thief is on the Mount Rushmore of Caan performances. It’s the best representation of the heartwarming tough guy I used in the title. Caan is an enigmatic thief, but he’s a criminal with morals and a code of ethics that make him easy to root for. In one scene, he’s pistol-whipping a henchman. In another scene, he’s pouring his heart out at an adoption agency, trying to convince the state to grant him a child. Caan’s vulnerability is unmatched.

Unfortunately, Caan took a 5-year hiatus in the 1980s to coach his children’s sports teams to combat his depression over the death of his sister and his cocaine use. Luckily for us, Caan returned to acting and starred in 1990’s Misery. Almost every big name in Hollywood turned down the role of Paul Sheldon, who is brutally tortured and confined to a bed throughout most of the movie. But not Caan, who became the perfect foil to Kathy Bates’s Annie Wilkes.

Skip to 1996 when Caan appeared in four movies:

  • North Star, a movie I have never seen
  • Bottle Rocket, Wes Anderson’s directorial debut
  • Eraser, where he plays the adversary to Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • Bulletproof, where he struck up a personal and professional friendship with Adam Sandler

That’s a hell of a year.

The last iconic role of Caan came in 2003 when he played Walter Hobbs in Elf, the mean-spirited book publisher, and father to Buddy (Will Ferrell). To think there is an entire generation of people who know Caan strictly for Elf and not any of the roles mentioned above is a testament to his impact in Hollywood.

There are plenty of roles I didn’t mention, which speaks to Caan’s longevity and versatility. At the end of the day, Caan is one of the most talented performers of the last 60 years. It’s not hyperbole to say he is one of one. May he rest in peace.

What is your favorite James Caan performance? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet me, at @danny_giro.

NBA: Kevin Durant Wants Out And More Free Agency Thoughts

Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets / NBA

We’re not even 24 hours into NBA Free Agency, and the drama is at an all-time high. Kevin Durant dropped an atomic bomb on the NBA community by requesting a trade out of Brooklyn. The Knicks somehow signed Jalen Brunson a week ago. The Pacers traded Malcolm Brogdon to the Celtics for a bag of peanuts.

The NBA is more dramatic than the hallways of a high school. Here are my somewhat organized thoughts on NBA Free Agency so far what has transpired so far.

Kevin Durant Wants Out Of Brooklyn

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller describing the last two seasons for the Brooklyn Nets.

When things go from this…

to this…

in the span of two seasons, the word “roller coaster” does not do it any justice. Circus? Disappointment? The word I’ve settled on is failure. The Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving partnership failed. Both star players pushed for James Harden, and the Nets mortgaged their future to create a “big three.” On paper, it was a genius move. However, Harden wanted out after one season, and now both Kyrie and KD want out.

Is Kyrie the main reason behind both Harden and KD’s exits? Perhaps. Did getting swept by the Celtics make matters worse? I think so. Whatever the reason might be, Owner Joe Tsai and GM Sean Marks did everything in their power to accommodate KD, but now they’re left with their pants on the ground as one of the greatest players to ever play this game wants out with four years remaining on the contract. That, my friends, is not good!

So where does Durant end up? Phoenix is the logical answer because they could send Deandre Ayton, Mikal Bridges, and a boatload of draft picks and pick swaps to Brooklyn. You can never count out Pat Riley and the Heat. The man who has been spot-on about every Nets rumor, Brian Windhorst, said teams need to watch out for the Utah Jazz.

I’m interested to see if the Nets move KD or Kyrie first, and then convince the remaining member to stay. This will be an interesting weekend, to say the least.

Jalen Brunson Becomes A Knick

It wouldn’t be a Dan Girolamo article (yes, I referred to myself in the third-person) if I failed to mention the New York Knicks. Jalen Brunson agreed to a 4 year, $104 million contract with the Knicks.

To my Knicks fans, do not take out your frustration with the front office on Jalen Brunson. Make no mistake about it, Brunson is a good player. To save your mental health, I will not include the list of Knicks’ starting point guards over the last 15 years. It’s not good. Brunson will be the best option at point guard for the Knicks for well over a decade. For being only 6’1″, Brunson is very crafty in the lane while shooting over 37% from behind the arc. Now that he’s the true number one point guard, he should be able to average around 20 points and 6 assists.

Brunson is only a piece. The team-friendly deal puts the Knicks in a good situation for the future. They need to make more moves, but Brunson is a nice piece.

Good Moves

– Malcolm Brogdon to the Celtics – ROBBERY.

– Kyle Anderson to the Timberwolves – This league! The new rivalry between the Grizzlies and Wolves is getting spicy!

– Joker signs the supermax – Not enough money.

– Zach LaVine re-signs with the Bulls – Personal pick. I can’t quit Lavine.

– Bobby Portis re-signs with the Bucks – Good for morale.

– Victor Oladpio re-signs with the Heat – Take the flyer on the “bet on yourself” player.

Bad Moves

– Royce O’Neale to the Nets for a first-round pick – What the hell?

– PJ Tucker to the Sixers – Good for this year, but how about in two years?

– Mitchell Robinson re-signs with the Knicks – I love Mitch. He earned this deal. However, I’m not crazy about $60 million. Was $48 million not an option?

– Lonnie Walker IV to the Lakers – Your guess is as good as mine.

– Juancho waived by the Jazz – Fuck this.

To Be Determined

– Dejounte to the Hawks while the Spurs openly tank – Only time will tell.

Enjoy the best soap opera on television, the NBA offseason! I’ll leave you with this masterclass segment from Windy.

What is your biggest NBA Free Agency storyline? Leave your answers in the comments below.

Breaking Down What The New York Knicks Should Do In The NBA Draft

RJ Barrett of the New York Knicks.

With the 11th pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, the New York Knicks select…

That’s what we’re going to find out during tonight’s draft. After last summer’s free-agent debacle and a disappointing 37-win season, the Knicks must shake things up. The time to be bold is now. With plenty of future first-round picks and young players, the Knicks have the pieces to make a major move.

Will they? One can only hope.

Here are my best options ahead of tonight’s draft.

Option 1: Trade Up For Jaden Ivey

This is the home run scenario for the Knicks. It’s also their best option in terms of the direction of the team. The Knicks desperately need an elite guard who can create his shot and get others involved in the offense. Look at how the Celtics could not get into their sets at the end of the games in the NBA Finals. It’s one of the reasons why the Warriors won the title. Take Boston’s offensive inefficiencies at the end of games and multiply it by 10. That will give you the Knick’s late-game offense, which ranked 28th in fourth-quarter points per game.

Ivey solves a lot of the team’s problems. He’s a 6’4″ guard with a 6’9″ wingspan who has an explosive first step and can finish at the rim. The Knicks have never had that. Ivey averaged 17.2 ppg with percentage splits of 46/36/74. I’m calling him “Big Baby Ja Morant.” The Knicks are dying for a point guard after the Kemba Walker disaster. Do whatever it takes to trade up and take Ivey.

So what would it take? If I had to guess, the starting point is No. 11, another first-round pick, a future first-round pick swap, one of Obi/Quickley/Grimes, and one of Noel/Burks/Kemba. I would call that trade into the league office right now. I love Obi, Quickley, and Grimes, but they do not have the dynamic playmaking ability that Ivey possesses. If the Kings don’t select Ivey, then Leon should call the Pistons at No. 5, the Pacers at No. 6, and so on and so forth until he’s drafted. Make the move.

Option 2: Draft AJ Griffin, Mark Williams, Or Johnny Davis

The NBA is dominated by wings. It’s the most highly-coveted position in the league. AJ Griffin is the prototypical 3-and-D wing out of Duke. I watched almost every Duke game this year, and Griffin’s continuously hit big shots from behind the arc in the game’s biggest moments. Griffin shot an impressive 44% from three. Despite the injury history, Griffin is a more than capable defender at 6’6″ with over a 7-foot wingspan. Griffin would fit right in with Thibs.

With Mitchell Robinson hitting free agency, it’s unknown whether the team will resign him or not despite the team leaning towards a reunion according to Marc Stein. I like Mitch, but do I want to give him $15 million per year? Not really. If the team wants to find his replacement or a second center to pair with Mitch, Mark Williams is the right option. In the last game of the 2020-2021 season, Williams put up 23 points and 19 rebounds, which were well above his season averages. That game was the springboard Williams needed as the 7’0″ shined this past season at Duke. Williams is a true rim protector in every sense of the word. He runs the floor well, can hold his own on switches, and shot a respectable 72% from the free-throw line.

Johnny Davis is more of a playmaking wing than he is a 3-and-D (30% from 3). This would be my least favorite selection out of the three, but he still fills a need. The Big Ten Player of the Year can hit tough shots, especially from the midrange area. He was Wisconsin’s only threat on offense so that’s why some of the percentages might be down. However, Davis could step right in and contribute for the Knicks off the bench.

If Bennedict Mathurin somehow falls to 11, then he’s the home run pick.

Option 3: Trade Back

This is the option I don’t want to happen. The Knicks need to clear cap space in order to make a run at a player like Jalen Brunson. I could see where there’s a scenario they trade back in the draft but attach a player like Burks/Noel/Kemba/Fournier to shed salary. I’m all for shedding salary, but the team needs to make this pick at No. 11 if they can’t trade up.

Hopefully, Woj or Shams doesn’t spoil the pick for you! Do the right thing tonight, Knicks. Please.

What are your thoughts on tonight’s draft? Tweet me, at @danny_giro.

Can Top Gun: Maverick Be A Major Player At The Oscars?

Tom Cruise fixing a bike in Top Gun Maverick

Tom Cruise and Paramount believed in Top Gun: Maverick so much that they refused to sell the film to a streaming service during the pandemic. In my best LeBron James voice, the studio delayed the film’s release date not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, but six times before settling on May 2022. After its record-setting opening weekend this past Memorial Day, the gamble paid off.

Top Gun: Maverick registered the highest Memorial Day opening of all time with $160.5 million over four days. This also became Cruise’s biggest opening weekend ever, and his first opening over $100 million, which is unfathomable considering he’s Ethan Hunt in the Mission Impossible franchise.

I saw Maverick, and it rules. As a fan of the original, Maverick raises the stakes while still hitting all of the nostalgic notes. So much has been said about the practical effects and rightfully so. In a world of CGI, knowing that Cruise and the actors rode in these planes and filmed their genuine reactions is refreshing to see. Cruise is fantastic, Miles Teller is great, Jennifer Connelly is perfect, and Glen Powell is ready for stardom. It’s the perfect summer blockbuster that every age group will enjoy.

With a strong opening weekend and reception from both critics and fans including an A+ CinemaScore, expectations have changed for Top Gun: Maverick. The film will make a lot of money, probably north of $700 million. But with critics behind it, can Top Gun: Maverick be a major player at the Oscars?

Mark this down. The date is June 3, and I can say without a shadow of a doubt that Top Gun: Maverick will be nominated for multiple Oscars. Run to your bookie or nearest casino and bet a small fortune on Maverick receiving more than one Oscar nomination.

The two categories where I know the film will receive nominations are Best Film Editing and Best Sound. Between the seamless cuts to conversations between the pilots in the fighter jets and invigorating action sequences, this film looks spectacular. It’s a shoo-in for an editing nomination. If Maverick receives an editing nomination, a sound nomination will follow because those two categories go hand and hand. At the last five ceremonies, the film that won editing also won sound. That list includes Dune, Sound of Metal, Ford v Ferrari, Bohemian Rhapsody, and Dunkirk.

Maverick should also be a major player in both Best Visual Effects and Best Orginal Song categories. Why the film should receive a visual effects nomination needs no further explanation from me if you’ve seen the film. For an original song, Lady Gaga’s “Hold My Hand” will be a frontrunner in the category. Top Gun won in this same category with “Take My Breath Away.” If the sequel receives nominations in those four aforementioned categories, it will be the same number of nominations that the original received at the 1987 ceremony*.

*Top Gun received four Oscar nominations – Best Film Editing, Best Orginal Song, Best Sound, and Best Sound Effects Editing. In 2022, Best Sound is all one category.

The other categories are a bit trickier. Music is essential to Top Gun: Maverick, which is why the film could land in the Best Orginal Score category. I’m a bit cautious to say it’s a slam dunk because a lot of the music was previously used in the original film. However, having a team of composers that includes previous winners Hans Zimmer and Gaga might be enough name recognition to sway voters. Cinematography is also a possibility, but that category is always stacked to the brim. Having Claudio Miranda, who won the Oscar for 2012’s Life of Pi, as the cinematographer helps its case.

I don’t expect Maverick to compete in any of the acting categories. However, if Paramount wants me to lead the campaign around Powell for Best Supporting Actor, my DMs are open. The film probably won’t see any nominations in the screenplay or directing categories though Kosinski’s direction is excellent.

With all of those categories out of the way, let’s get to the reason why you’re reading this article. Can Top Gun: Maverick receive a Best Picture nomination? Yes. Is it possible? Absolutely. I haven’t met one person who has a bad thing to say about this movie. From critics to your friend’s mother, this film is the definition of a “crowd-pleaser.” It’s going to make a killing at the box office and will be a topic of conversation throughout the summer. Once the film hits Paramount+, it will gain even more viewers as it stays in the lexicon throughout the rest of 2022.

With 10 spots for Best Picture, the Oscars typically saves one spot for a blockbuster of some sort. Dunkirk, Black Panther, A Star Is Born, Bohemian Rhapsody, Ford v Ferrari, and Dune are popcorn films that received Best Picture nominations. Specifically, Ford v Ferrari is the film that Top Gun: Maverick should use as a template for its campaign. Lean into the “big dad energy” and appeal to male voters. Focus on the technical aspects of the film first, and then sell it as a huge cinematic achievement that deserves a Best Picture nomination. Is the category big enough to fit both Maverick and Avatar 2? Only time will tell.

If Top Gun: Maverick wants a Best Picture nomination, it will be on the back of Cruise. Is he willing to campaign this winter? He’s the world’s busiest man. Will he want to attend critical screenings and luncheons? I’m not sure, but if there’s one man who knows how to go on a worldwide PR tour, it’s our last true movie star.

Go see Top Gun: Maverick. You won’t be disappointed.

What are your thoughts on this film? Tweet me, at @danny_giro.

This Is Us Season 6 Episode 18 Recap: Us

Still from This Is Us Season 6

With the conclusion of the Season 6 finale, This Is Us has come to an end. What a journey it has been. I’m going to keep the recap brief because I have some other thoughts I want to get off my chest.

This Is Us Season 6 Episode 18 Recap: Us

Last night’s series finale included a mix of happy and somber moments. In the past, the adolescent Big Three spent a lazy Saturday with Jack and Rebecca. In the future, the Big Three beautifully celebrated the life of Rebecca Pearson at her funeral. Randall might run for President, but more importantly, Deja is going to name her son after Randall’s father, William. The Big Three promised to never drift away from each other, and they recited the “Big Three chant” one last time. Finally, Rebecca and Jack shared a heartfelt moment in the bed of the train as the Pearson patriarch promised his wife that she will forever be a part of her children’s lives.

I apologize for the short recap, but my mind continues to contemplate the tragedy in Uvalde, Texas. Many people like myself use television as a vehicle for escapism. However, it’s hard to watch a tight-knit family onscreen and not think about all of the parents who sent their young children to school, believing they would come home safely at the end of the day. It breaks my damn heart thinking about it.

This Is Us meant a great deal to many families. I’ll never forget when my father told me to watch this interesting show about a family that spans multiple timelines back in September 2016. This is when broadcast TV was searching for another hit drama outside of Grey’s Anatomy, NCIS, and the Dick Wolf universe. I gave the pilot a shot. The reveal of Kevin and Kate being twins with Randall as their adopted brother (who shared the same birthday) was enough for me to stick around. My patience was rewarded with the show’s 16th episode titled, “Memphis,” which is the best the series has to offer.

Over the years, the show preached about the importance of family and sticking together even when times get tough. The lesson I will take away revolves around the speeches about time from Randall and moments from Jack. Randall discussed time and how we all wish to slow time down, especially during the big events.

When teaching the boys to shave, Jack talked about how during the first half of our lives, we wish to be older. Then, the script flips. As you get older, you wish to be younger. Kate understands the concept of enjoying the present, and Jack hopes that Randall and Kevin will come to appreciate these strange things one day, too.

So as I sit here and reflect on the tragic events that occurred yesterday, I think about time and moments. I’m the first one to laugh at Internet users who post quotes about living in the moment and carpet diem. Perhaps I need to start living my life by those inspirational quotes. I’m at the point in my life where I want to be younger and remember all of the little things in life.

I apologize for rambling so I’ll end with this. This Is Us might be a television show, but the lessons about living in the moment and enjoying time in the world will stick with me for the rest of my life. I can’t promise I’ll even abide by those teachings every single day, but there’s no shame in trying. Hug your parents and siblings a little tighter today.

Thank you, This Is Us. Stay safe.

What are your thoughts on this episode? Tweet me, at @danny_giro.

This Is Us Season 6 Episode 17 Recap: The Train

Kevin and Randall sit bedside in a scene from This Is Us.

Rebecca has finally arrived at her destination on the train known as life. While the Pearson family says goodbye to Rebecca, fans should start saying their goodbyes to This Is Us.

This Is Us Season 6 Episode 17 Recap: The Train

After years of teasing the flash-forward, the show finally arrives at Kevin’s house as the Pearson family began their final goodbyes to Rebecca. One by one, every member of the extended family said their heartfelt goodbyes to the Pearson family matriarch. Annie thanks her for the inspiring words about her size. Toby praises her for always believing in him. Beth tells her to rest easy, saying it’s her turn to take care of Randall.

Kevin and Randall are waiting for Kate, who is flying back from London after a business trip. The nurse believes Rebecca will not last through the night. It’s a race against time for Kate. More on this later. Meanwhile, Rebecca is on a train, waiting for someone to arrive. First to greet Rebecca is William, who invites her to the bar cart. Although Rebecca is waiting for someone, she agrees to go for a walk. As they move from cart to cart, Rebecca sees the Pearson family at different stages in their lives – childhood, teenage years, and adulthood.

Rebecca reaches the bar, and much to our surprise, Dr. K is the bartender! Dr. K offers to make her a drink with lemons, a flashback to his famous saying, but Rebecca elects for a vesper, a drink her father would have gotten on a fancy train like this. Dr. K injects his soothing presence into the scene once again, praising Rebecca for her toughness and attitude. Rebecca sees different versions of Randall and Kevin in the cart, but Kate is noticeably missing since she is still not back from London. Dr. K lets Rebecca continue her journey with William on the train.

Back in the house, an adult Deja tells Randall that she’s pregnant. However, she’s hesitant to tell the father. Who is the father of Deja’s child? It’s none other than Malik, who shares his enthusiasm with Deja over the pregnancy later that night. The Pearsons then gather in the living room as they listen to Joni Mitchell and share their fondest memories of Rebecca. The night ends with Kevin and Randall the last ones standing as they head to Rebecca’s bedroom. As the boys talk, Rebecca continues to see her sons on the train. Unfortunately, Kate is still missing.

Before Rebecca reaches the caboose, the show takes us to the hospital the night of the housefire and Jack’s death. There is a family that got into a car accident, and their little boy, Marcus, is fighting for his life in surgery. Jack and Marcus’s father trade stories over coffee. When Marcus’s father worries that his son won’t make it, Jack shares the same advice that Dr. K gave him the night of the Big Three’s birth. Take the sourest lemon that life has to offer, and turn it into something resembling lemonade. That becomes the motto for Marcus’s family as Marcus goes on to develop medicine to combat Alzheimer’s.

Here’s the twist. At the hospital the night of Jack’s death, both Jack and Marcus were seen by the same doctor. The doctor left Jack, who was in stable condition, to help an unconscious Marcus in the operating room. Marcus survives, but Jack dies. Had the doctor not left to help Marcus, Jack would have survived.

Finally, Rebecca reaches the caboose of the train, which is an empty room with a bed. She refuses to go in because someone still hasn’t arrived. That special someone is Kate, who comes rushing into the house and sits with Rebecca at her bedside. When Rebecca tells William about her sadness, he says that if something is sad when it ends, it must’ve been pretty wonderful. I agree, William.

Rebecca finally accepts her fate. She gets in bed, turns around, and sees Jack laying next to her. Reunited at last.

Next week, we all say goodbye to this show. See you then.

What are your thoughts on this episode? Tweet me, at @danny_giro.

This Is Us Season 6 Episode 16 Review: Family Meeting

The Big Three sitting next to Rebecca on This Is Us

I want to get into the recap, but all I can think about is “the song.” If you watch This Is Us, you know what song I’m talking about. I’ll get to it shortly.

This Is Us Season 6 Episode 16: “Family Meeting”

As the show gets better, things become sadder. Last week, we said goodbye to Miguel. This week, it’s time to start saying goodbye to Rebecca. But first, there are some important decisions to be made.

It’s been approximately 7 days since Miguel’s death, and Rebecca doesn’t remember as she calls out for him at night. Randall, Kate, and Kevin call a family meeting as they must decide on how to care for Rebecca during her final years. Beth, Sophie, and Philip head to the cabin as the Big Three are left to discuss their mother’s future over some delicious Chinese food.

In a typical fashion, an overprotective Randall believes Rebecca should move in with his family in Philadelphia. They flashback to a time when Rebecca thanked Randall for protecting Kate at a party where Kevin and Kate got drunk. Obviously, Kevin does not agree with Randall, saying that he built the house for Rebecca at her request. Kevin is not wrong. Rebecca did ask him to do this! The two brothers want to make their decision without Kate’s input, who is technically Rebecca’s guardian.

Rebecca interrupts their conversation to say she wants to go for a walk. She even did her makeup for the occasion. I’m not a fashion expert, but I’ve seen five-year-olds apply makeup better than Rebecca. But it’s not her fault! When Kate escorts her on a walk, both Kevin and Randall agree that Rebecca is not “magic” anymore. However, they still don’t agree on what to do.

We interrupt this break to joke with the Big Three Spouses – Beth, Sophie, and Philip – who joke in the cabin about what their significant others are saying. Was this a backdoor pilot for the spinoff?

Back to the family meeting. When it’s finally time to talk, Kate tells her brothers that they need to look at Rebecca like she’s their mother, not a woman with an illness. They need to see Rebecca again. She still has the magic. It’s just a little hidden at the moment. The boys share a nice and quiet moment with their mother and sister.

Finally, it’s decision time. Kate tells the family that Rebecca will be moving back to LA to be closer to her. Before she can even finish, Kevin pulls a “not so fast my friend.” Inspired by his time with Rebecca the day prior, Kevin steps up and says he will move in with Rebecca in the house he built for her. Sophie is game as are Madison and Isaac, who will relocate to the East Coast with the kids as well. Everything is all fine and dandy until…

The song.

This goddamn song! When accompanied by a montage, this song will always mess with my emotions. I still think about the time the show used it to show the crockpot starting the fire that killed Jack. So rude!

It’s a great song by the way. Now, the end is here as the goodbyes begin next week. See you then.

What are your thoughts on this episode? Tweet me, at @danny_giro.

NBA Playoffs: 3 Biggest Questions Right Now

Luka Doncic flexing in a game for the Dallas Mavericks.

I don’t want to brag, but I’m locked into these NBA Playoffs. My wallet may beg to differ, but I haven’t missed a game. The league is so damn talented right now. There are emerging stars left and right. On any night, so many guys can give you 20 points a game. 

Here are the three biggest questions I have right now. Two of them are fair while one is out of leftfield. That’s baseball, Suzyn.

3. What Happens To Duncan Robinson This Offseason?

I’m fully aware that I’m the only person outside of Miami who cares about this question considering the Heat are going to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals, and have a good shot of returning to the NBA Finals. That being said, what happened to Duncan Robinson? Two years ago, the sharpshooting Robinson was the Heat’s starting shooting guard, averaging 13.5 ppg and 44.6% from three. Now, Robinson is glued to the bench as Max Strus, Gabe Vincent, and Victor Oladipo receive Duncan’s minutes.

Every team would love to have a 6’7″ shooting guard who shoots over 40% from three. However, do teams want Robinson in year two of a 5 year, 90-million-dollar contract? If he’s getting healthy DNP’s in the playoffs, the Heat have to explore trade options for Robinson this offseason.

2. Will Hunting Become The New Normal?

If you’re a bad defender in the NBA, then there’s nowhere to hide especially in the NBA Playoffs. If the opposing team is smart, they will run pick and roll with whomever the worst defender is guarding, get the switch, and attack at will. It’s like a shark that smells blood in the water. Look no further than Game 2 between the Suns and Mavericks. Despite just under three minutes of matchup time, Chris Paul scored 9 points against Luka and the Suns scored 18 points. He’s also put Dwight Powell through the wringer, scoring 14 points against the Mavericks’ big man in just under two minutes of matchup time.

No one, and I mean no one, on the Suns can guard Luka. He will score over 30 points again in Game 3. However, Kidd is right when saying Doncic will have to participate more on defense. That can only happen if he’s not exhausted from the offensive burden he carries the entire game. Will the real Jalen Brunson please stand up and help Luka out? If that doesn’t happen, get the broomsticks.

1. Will Giannis Antetokounmpo Become A God And Enter The Top 15?

Giannis Antetokunmpo put on a godlike performance in last year’s NBA Finals, rallying the Bucks from an 0-2 deficit to win the series, 4-2, behind series averages of 35.2 ppg, 13.2 rpb, and 5.0 assists. The cherry on top of a historic run had to be his 50-point performance in the series-clinching victory.

Giannis is already one of the 75 greatest players to play in the NBA. He also happens to be the best player in the NBA. Furthermore, The Athletic had Giannis as the 24th greatest player in NBA history. At this time, top-25 is where the Greek Freak belongs. However, if Giannis can go back-to-back, where will he stand with the all-time greats?

If Giannis wins the title this year, it will be without the Bucks’s second-best player. Khris Middleton, for a portion of the playoffs. I’m also assuming he will win Finals MVP if the Bucks win a title. There will be no Igudola over Curry if the Bucks win. So if those two things happen, here are what Giannis’s accomplishments would look like:

  • 2x NBA Championships and 2x Finals MVPs
  • 2x regular-season MVPs
  • 3x All-NBA First Team (will be four after this season)
  • 2x All-NBA Second Team
  • 1x DPOY
  • 3x All-NBA Defensive First Team (will be four after this season)
  • 1x All-NBA Defensive Second Team
  • 1x NBA MIP
  • Member of the 75th Anniversary team

Giannis will have accomplished all of this by the young age of 27. That is an insane resume. Giannis easily slides into the Top 20 with those numbers, but if it’s another historic final where he dominates, it will be hard to keep him outside of the Top 15.

Here’s to an exciting NBA Playoffs. Hopefully, we get a Game 7 in one of these series.

If you agree or disagree with my assessment, leave your thoughts in the comments or tweet me, @danny_giro.

This Is Us Season 6 Episode 15 Recap: Miguel

Miguel and Rebecca take a walk in the house in a scene from This Is Us.

After waiting six seasons, Miguel finally stepped into the spotlight on This Is Us. Hopefully, tissues were nearby.

This Is Us Season 6 Episode 15 Recap: “Miguel”

Every television show has an unsung hero. It’s the supporting character who’s perfect in their role, but when called upon to be in the spotlight, they deliver. On The Office, it was Kevin Malone. On Ted Lasso, it’s Higgins. On This Is Us, it’s Miguel. It’s always been, Miguel.

The episode starts with Miguel’s childhood in Puerto Rico. Led by Miguel’s father, the entire Rivas family moves to Pennsylvania. Miguel’s father finds work as a landscaper. When a young Miguel uses the bathroom in one of the homes, he stumbles upon the owner of the home and discusses Roberto Clemente and the Pittsburgh Pirates. When Miguel says he’ll sit anywhere in the stadium to watch Clemente, the man stresses that where you sit is all that matters, a lesson that stuck with Miguel for the entirety of his life.

We skip ahead to Miguel’s early days as an adult. Miguel lands the construction job because he changes his name to “Mike Rivers”. After all, “Miguel Rivas” never received a callback. On Christmas Eve, Miguel spars with his father over the choices in his life: a new car, straighter hair, and his willingness to pay for a nurse for his aunt. His father expresses his disappointment in Miguel, feeling as if he’s forgotten where he came from. An upset Miguel leaves in tears.

Miguel heads to the bar to meet Jack and Rebecca. Weirdly enough, Rebecca is not too kind to Miguel. Being the good guy that he is, Jack forces Miguel and Rebecca to talk and settle their differences. Future scenes at the bar highlight their budding friendship as well as Miguel’s courtship of his wife, Shelly, which unfortunately ends in divorce as their two kids witness the turmoil in their failed marriage.

Miguel tries to do the right thing and moves to Houston to be closer to his kids even if that means leaving behind a heartbroken Rebecca. After his father dies, Miguel admits to his mother that he’s lost in life. His mother reassures Miguel that he will find love soon enough. Lo and behold, that love is Rebecca, who he reconnects with on Facebook in 2008. When the two friends meet up, their connection is seamless. They kiss, make love, and begin a relationship together in Pittsburgh. At this point, I bet most fans gave a fist pump to celebrate this new union. You know who didn’t approve of this relationship? A twentysomething Kevin, who voiced his displeasure on Thanksgiving at the cabin.

That concludes the happier part of the recap. Now, it’s time to go to the present where things become much sadder. Well, it’s bittersweet, but sad nonetheless as Rebecca’s Alzheimer’s worsens. Miguel borrows Jack’s Super Dad cape, and cares for Rebecca 24/7. Miguel is the first thing she sees in the morning and the last thing she sees at night. Between physical therapy, medicine consumption, and memory exercises, Miguel starts to wear down both physically and mentally, culminating with a bruised lower body after slipping on ice. Jack would be proud of Miguel. That’s for damn sure.

Thankfully, the Big Three step in and give Miguel the break that he so desperately deserves. They hire full-time care for Rebecca, which allows Miguel to receive the necessary treatment he needs both physically and mentally.

Cue Billy Joel. Let’s get sad.

The final montage covers Miguel’s final years. His health begins to deteriorate despite stepping back as Rebecca’s primary caregiver. His heart weakens along with the rest of the body. The writing is on the wall. Knowing Miguel’s time is limited, Kevin visits Miguel’s son, informing him about his dad’s illness. It’s here where Kevin finally sympathizes with Miguel and appreciates what he did for his entire family after Jack’s death. Kevin urges Miguel’s son to make things right with Miguel while he still has the chance. Thankfully, Miguel’s son listens to Kevin’s advice and spends time with his dying father.

I wrote this at the end of my recap last week. I was right. Sadly, Miguel dies. His ashes are spread at his two homes: Pennsylvania and Puerto Rico.

When the show finally ends at the end of the month, “Miguel” could crack the Top 10 list for best This Is Us episodes. Though not as good as “Memphis,” the best episode in the series, “Miguel” finally gave an unselfish character the tribute he so desperately deserved. “Miguel” reminded viewers like me that This Is Us can still reach back and throw a 99mph fastball. Go be with Jack, Miguel. Here’s to the final three episodes.

What are your thoughts on this episode? Tweet me, at @danny_giro.

The New York Giants Finally Did The Right Thing On Draft Night

Kayvon Thibodeaux posing for a picture

Draft night for New York Giants has been a “house of horrors” during the Dave Gettleman regime. After watching Gettleman six feet under, good things have not happened on draft night for the New York Giants. When Gettleman referred to the data analysts as “computer folks,” it was time for him to leave the draft room and head to the golf course.

With the fifth and seventh picks, the Giants were in a prime position to significantly improve at two important positions. In my opinion, the five most important positions are quarterback, offensive tackle, edge rusher, defensive back, and wide receiver. Going into tonight, tackle, edge rusher, and defensive back were a high priority.

I’m in foreign territory. I’m about to compliment the Giants. With their first two selections, the Giants selected DE Kayvon Thibodeaux and OL Evan Neal. Two words: home run.

Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll absolutely crushed the first round. Thibs is a monster on the edge and will be a nice running mate with Azeez Ojulari. Neal will start Day 1 at the right tackle position with Andrew Thomas at left tackle. That’s four promising players at two key positions. This is a smart regime, something that cannot be said about the last few years in New York. I’m so happy right now. I don’t know how to feel because I haven’t felt this positive about the Giants since 2016.

There’s still a lot of work left to do, but fans should enjoy this victory for the night. Now, let’s start the “Malik Willis to the G-Men in Round 2” discussion.

Agree or disagree? Let us know in the comments or tweet me, @danny_giro.