Revisiting Brink: Andy Brinker Did The Right Thing By Joining Team X-Bladz


When you woke up this morning, did you say to yourself, “Today I’m gonna talk or today I’m gonna skate?” That question is at the very heart of the Disney Channel Orginal Movie, Brink! Disney+ is not just for kids. It’s not only saving parents thanks to Frozen 2, but it’s saving young adults like me who want to relive their favorite movies of their childhood since Disney+ carries Disney Channel Orginal Movies.

The Luck of the Irish, Smart House, Zenon, and Johnny Tsunami are all towards the top for me, but Brink! will always be in the number one spot. I’m assuming if you’re reading this (it’s too late) article, you’ve seen Brink! before, but just in case, here’s a simple summary. Erik Von Detten is Andy “Brink” Brinker, a high school inline skater whose system of beliefs revolves around “soul skating.” Brink and his three friends (Jordy, Peter, and Gabriella) believe in soul skating, which means they skate for enjoyment and for fun, not for money. When Brink’s family runs into financial trouble, Brink betrays his friends and joins their rivals, Team X-Bladz, a sponsored skating team where skaters receive payment for their performance. The team is led by Val, an egotistical, cheating douchebag who is a GREAT villain.

Last weekend, I revisited Brink! for the first time in years thanks to Disney+. Don’t worry, the movie still holds up over 20 years later. However, I had one huge takeaway and it’s something that 8-year-old me would hate.

My Take: Brink made the right move when he joined Team X-Bladz.

There, I said it. Brink had to do what was best for his family. The fact that Jordy, Peter, and Gabriella kicked Brink off his own team was mind-boggling. They never let him truly explain his actions. Brink could have committed murder and the trio would have stuck with him, but Brink decides to make some money for his family and he’s Benedict Arnold.

Did Brink betray his friends’ trust? Yes. Should Brink have been honest with his friends from the beginning? Of course. Did he make the wrong decision by joining Team X-Bladz? Absolutely not. Brink’s family was in financial trouble. His mom, a real estate agent, was struggling to sell houses and his dad, a construction worker, was on disability and there’s no guarantee he’d get his job back. Brink did not join Team X-Bladz to bond with Val. He joined because he wanted to make some money for his family. If you ask me, that’s very admirable for a high school student.

Brink didn’t join Team X-Bladz for free. He was making $200 a week. TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS A WEEK. Find me a better paying job for a high schooler who inline skates. I don’t even think inline skaters make that much in 2020. Who the hell was sponsoring Team X-Bladz? Bill Gates? Who thought it was a good idea to pay teenagers money to skate for a living? Regardless, $200 a week is not going to pay the mortgage, but it can supply Brink’s family with groceries and other small purchases. $200 a week leads to $800 a month, which leads to $2400 every three months and $9,600 per year. That’s pretty damn good for a teenager in 1998.

A lot of kids want to be professional athletes when they grow up. What’s better than getting paid to play a sport? Using that mindset, wouldn’t Brink want to be paid to continue his inline skating career? I doubt that he was going to study biology in college. What Peter and the gang didn’t understand was when Brink went to Team X-Bladz, it opened the door for their entry as well. Brink would eventually become the leader since Val sucks and would have run into trouble with the law. I’d bet my life savings that Val would get lost in a pyramid scheme or a pump-and-dump security fraud. Once that happened, Andy could have made an ultimatum to Team X-Bladz. His friends are allowed to join or Brink walks away. Do you think X-Bladx would let the Tony Hawk of inline skating walk away from their team? Not a chance. Imagine Team Pup n Suds joined Team X-Bladz to form one super team. They would never lose a competition. In this scenario, everyone in Brink’s crew would get paid to skate. The soul skating mantra would still be alive, but they’d be making money doing what they love.

Brink made the right decision to join Team X-Bladz. However, he didn’t execute his plan properly. Once Peter, Jordy, and Gabriella joined Team X-Bladz, all would have been well with the world. Don’t hate Andy for making money. Soul skating doesn’t pay the bills.

Did Andy Brinker make the right decision by joining Team X-Bladz? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @danny_giro.

The Lion King Review: Visuals Shine In Nostalgic Remake

The Lion King

In Field of Dreams, Terrance Mann, played by James Earl Jones, who voices Mufasa in The Lion King, gave a passionate speech about the power of nostalgia when Ray was about to sell his farm. Mann said, “Ray, people will come, Ray. They’ll come to Iowa for reasons they can’t even fathom. They will turn up your driveway, not knowing for sure why they’re doing it. They’ll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past. ‘Of course, we won’t mind if you look around,’ you’ll say. ‘It’s only twenty dollars per person.’ They’ll pass over the money without even thinking about it. For it is money they have and peace they lack.”

Nostalgia is a powerful concept. Channel it correctly and people will react without even thinking. As Mann said, “They’ll pass over the money without even thinking about it.” That is exactly how I feel about the live-action version of The Lion King. There could have been zero well-known actors in the new remake and yet people would still rush to the theaters to see Simba become King.

The summer box office may be down from 2018, but the studio that continues to make money at an alarming place is Disney. The Disney machine keeps on churning out box office success after box office success. This year, Disney has the four highest-grossing films domestically (Avengers: Endgame, Captain Marvel, Toy Story 4, and Aladdin). It’s safe to say that The Lion King will join those films in a short amount of time.

The Lion King is the latest Disney animated film to receive the live-action* treatment. Directed by Jon Favreau (The Jungle Book, Iron Man), it’s the first Disney live-action film to have no human characters. That being said, the visuals are absolutely stunning. The visual effects are groundbreaking and so lifelike that it’s a masterclass in technical precision. Watching animals speak didn’t always work. At times, the sound did not match with the animal’s facial movements. However, sometimes you don’t have to critically analyze the jaws and mouths of computer-generated animals. At the end of the day, animals talking is pretty cool to witness onscreen. Five-year-old me and twenty-six-year-old me were very entertained.

*There is an argument to be made that this version of The Lion King is not live-action because of its lack of human characters. Every character was built on a computer so, therefore, it’s still an animated film.

Once the sun rises and the first note of “The Circle of Life” is heard, the nostalgia strings are violently pulled inside anyone who has ever seen the film. The main plot in 2019 remains the same as it did in 1994. Simba, who after the murder of his father, Mufasa, by his uncle, Scar, must return to the Pride Lands and claim his role as King. The 2019 version of The Lion King stays almost exactly to script as 1994 original, which is not always a good thing. Most viewers are going to be satisfied with the plot remaining the same (which is where I fall), but there was a missed chance to develop a few more characters besides Nala.

Although The Lion King lacked some originality, the star power of the cast was extraordinary. Highlighted by Donald Glover as Adult Simba, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter as Adult Nala, and James Earl Jones returning as Mufasa, the cast was an eclectic collection of stars across all mediums.

For the most part, every actor did an acceptable to a slightly above average job, but the two standouts were Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen as Timon and Pumbaa. The comedic duo had the most chemistry between characters in the film and perfectly played off of each other. It can’t be understated how charming they were especially Eichner. Following up Nathan Lane, who voiced Timon in the 1994 version, was no easy task, but Eichner gave an admirable new twist to the character. Who knew he had a great voice?

Speaking of voices, what can’t be denied is the music of Elton John and Tim Rice still holds up 25 years later. “Circle of Life,” “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King,” “Be Prepared (most underrated song of the film),” “Hakuna Matata,” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” all still draw huge reactions from the crowd. Plus, having accomplished singers and performers like Donald Glover and Beyoncé to sing familiar anthems is a cheat code.

Despite the similar plot, The Lion King‘s visuals and music carry this live-action film that will win over audiences and become an immediate box office triumph.

What are your thoughts on The Lion King? Leave them in the comments or tweet at us, @Unafraidshow.

Ice Cube Plans First Minority Owned Sports Media Company From Disney Sale

Ice Cube Disney Regional Sports Networks

Win it “for the culture!” That is exactly what Ice Cube said he plans to do with perhaps his biggest venture to date. Ice Cube is the co-founder of the Big 3, a professional three-on-three basketball league. Through his role with the Big 3, he could change the landscape of sports media. Ice Cube has assembled an all-star team to bid for and to create content for 21 of the regional sports networks (RSNs) that Walt Disney Company (Disney) is required to sale. If Ice Cube and his team are successful, a minority-owned sports media platform would be born. The birth of such a platform would be a major win for the culture.

Disney was Forced to Sale the RSNs

Last year, Disney came to terms in a deal to acquire 21st Century Fox (Fox). To finalize the deal, Disney was forced to sale 22 of Fox’s regional sports networks. Disney was forced to sale the RSNs so that they would not have a monopoly on sports media as Disney already owns ESPN. Enter Ice Cube and the Big 3. Last fall, Ice Cube and the Big 3 entered the bidding war for the networks. Ice Cube teamed up with LL Cool J, Magic Johson, Snoop Dogg, Serena Williams, Carolyn Rafaelian, and a host of others to buy and create content for 21 of the networks. The twenty-second network, the YES Network, is being sold separately.

Ice Cube’s Sports Media Company Would Be The First of It’s Kind

In a Twitter post regarding the bid, Ice Cube stated: “I’m trying to shatter the glass ceiling so we can all fly!!!”

If Ice Cube and his all-star cast are successful that is exactly what will happen. Glass ceilings will be shattered and the culture will surely fly. There will be minority-owned major sports networks centered around diverse stories told from diverse perspectives. The platform could tell stories that are often overlooked in mainstream media. The Big 3 and its partners want to create a sports network that provides fresh and interesting content. They want to target the younger generation. In fact, Serena Williams stated that she became involved because it is important to have diverse voices to deliver content to young people.

Having diverse voices is essential so that all sides of a story are given adequate consideration and publicity. Imagine a network where Colin Kaepernick is able to effectively convey the reasons he took a knee free from purposeful mischaracterizations. Imagine a network where the unavoidable intersection between sports and politics is celebrated and not deemed a distraction. A minority-owned sports network that allows such programming is needed and would be a major win for the culture.

Creating Such a Platform is no Easy Feat

Ice Cube has put together an impressive team in his bid for the RSNs. However, the bid has still been met with obstacles. Specifically, Ice Cube and the Big 3 have had an issue with Charter Communications (Charter). They allege that Charter has attempted to thwart the Big 3’s bid for the RSNs. As a result, the Big 3 has asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to investigate the sale.

In addition to Big 3’s issue with Charter, the still fairly new basketball startup is up against some major players in this bidding war. It is reported that Sinclair Broadcasting may be the top bidder. Even with all of the obstacles, Ice Cube and his team are still trying to acquire the RSNs. It remains to be seen whether they will be successful. One thing is for sure. The simple fact that Ice Cube and Big 3 are even viable contenders for the networks is a big deal and if they do acquire the RSNs it will be a major win for the culture.