Marshawn Lynch: A History

Compression, concision, velocity are my three watch words. And you could say that’s true of Marshawn as well.

Lynch: A History is a documentary about American Football player Marshawn Lynch.

I learned about it from Austin Kleon’s tweets this morning. I’d been aware of Lynch and his refusal to speak to the media, which I had never realized was part of the contract professional athletes sign. One day he stopped talking to them. Stopped giving interviews. Stopped playing into the professional sports game of things like we played hard out there or we didn’t do enough tonight to get the win. There’s so much utter nonsense about the interviews after games.

The team either won or they lost. There’s not a lot of deep thought that needs to go into why. They were outscored or they outscored the opponent. Done. Why do we need this “analysis” after the game? Why talk to the tired, sore and frustrated/pleased athletes after they performed for us?

It’s streaming on Kanopy, (likely available free through your local library), so I watched it this evening. Making a film about a man, but without the man himself must have been a challenge. When filmmaker (author and professor) David Shields approached Lynch he was told no, but they wouldn’t stop him from makin it. So the result is a video collage.

The result is almost jazz-like: pulling together more than 700 video clips and a handful of literary quotes, “Lynch: A History” forms a collage around the athlete that spirals out with greater and greater aims. The movie jumps quickly, sans narrator or an overt guiding hand, and yet it tugs its viewers through time, linking sports to mythology to biography to history and back.

Watching the film is like riding on Lynch’s shoulder as he twists and spins his way through blockers and kicks into high speed. It’s a frenetic ride that goes hard for 84 minutes without stopping to breathe. The collage is about race and athletes. The insistence that entertainment and politics should be separate by a vocal minority and how athletes (often black men) are told to Shut Up And Entertain.


With 700 clips, I hadn’t even considered the fair use implications of making this film. There would have been no way to get clearance (or afford it) to make this film, so as Shields had his lawyer on speed dial brevity was key. Use as little of a clip as possible. This exercise in artistic restriction shaped the film into the bruising ride it became. This film is an amazing balancing act.

And then a third thing for us — just sort of boringly but crucially — was just sort of fair-use considerations. I had my intellectual property lawyer on speed dial and he explained to us over and over again that it’s crucial that all clips be as brief as possible, and that they all be making a commentary, and that the cultural commentary be legible to so-called average viewer.


Two things I was curious about that while the film didn’t answer, subsequent stories about the film did.

Has Marshawn Lynch seen the film?

A couple of months ago I sent a vimeo link of the film to Marshawn’s entertainment agent, at the agent’s request, and now I asked Marshawn if he had watched it and what he thought; he said, “I wanted to hate on you, but I couldn’t, ’cause you did a good job with it.”

What’s up with the Skittles?

“You’re not just dating Skittles,” Waggoner told Lynch. “You love Skittles.”
“We intimate,” replied Lynch. “We done became one.”

His love started young.

It was during his prep years that his mother, Delisa Lynch, began giving him “power pills” — or Skittles — during games to keep his stomach settled.

I wish Lynch: A History would have gone deeper but without his participation, there was little chance of that. It’s an interesting project and a fascinating piece of art. I’m glad to have watched it and tells a story that needs telling.

Uncut Gems needs cutting.

Uncut Gems movie poster

I was skeptical about seeing this movie because it starred Adam Sandler. I took a chance on it because it wasn’t an Adam Sandler Movie. It had high scores on Letterboxd and I had seen a couple of people I follow online mention it was enjoyable.

I could say something about the plot. But it was unmemorable. Man makes series of extremely poor decisions. Outcome is as expected. I didn’t hate this movie for any of the reasons I was prepared to.

The Sound Mixing.

What happened? When mixing sound, the point is not to layer sounds upon sound upon sound and call it done.

When you have a room full of shouting people, layering all of those shouts and then adding music from your old Atari on top of that isn’t a good idea. It was so loud and discordant and painful to endure.

At one point there’s a fountain. You’ve seen fountains before, yes? They’re found outside office buildings as this one was. When you walk near it as the water flows through it, does it sound like a roaring ocean sweeping away everyone in the street? Perhaps you’ve awaiting The Rock’s appearance landing a Chinook on the corner? No? Then why did you make the fountain sound as if Sharknado was around the corner?

The best part though had to be a scene where our hero is hiding in a closet texting his love interest. And we are to believe the DING DING is not audible across the room. I’m pretty sure the people in the next theater over heard those texts coming in.

I don’t know exactly what it was about the sound (other than the volume turned up to 11) but I felt anxious the entire time. I spent the entire film fidgeting and crawling out of my skin. It was a painful, uncomfortable experience to sit through this film.

There were many shots in the film that… went… on… way… too… long… for no good reason. Here’s Adam Sandler walking away. There he goes… There’s a car driving down the road. Why? We needed to make this movie hit 2 hours 15 minutes. When it could have been 75-90 without losing anything.

Plot: Meh

Sound: OMG NO!

I have never enjoyed the silent elevator ride back to the lobby and silent walk across the street into the misty night after this aural assault.

Car Crash. Ending your day.

Tonight I heard a sound that I thought was something blowing around (it’s been extremely windy here with gusts up to 50 MPH). I thought it was a trash can blowing over. Or something blowing down the road.

I looked out the front window and saw something very different.

Car upside down on the road.

I saw the car with a side smashed in at first. The other car was hidden behind some bushes. When I saw it, I called 911 while another person was already with the driver speaking to her.

The 911 Operator said the call was being reported. The guy speaking to the driver’s wife was on the phone with 911 already.

Once the Operator told me she had the call and dispatched people I hung up.

Thankfully, there are two fire departments very close by and there were police cars here in moments with the fire trucks and ambulance not far behind.

Fire truck parked in my yard.

The driver was able to walk and talk. Besides being shaken and in shock seemed mostly fine. Other than having a bad Thanksgiving.

Be safe out there everyone.

30 Days of Fitness: Halfway There

After 15 days of workouts, I really hit a wall tonight. I took a short nap after work. After that it was watching old episodes of Gold Rush (I really enjoy watching people succeed… and fail… at mining for gold based on their decision-making and experience.

Then the Capitals played a game like I felt. Lethargic. Exhausted. Uninspired. That’s also how I’d describe my efforts at Upper Fix tonight. It’s the easiest of the Fixes from Beachbody. I can do arms. I can’t do push-ups or planks. But I can do the weight work.

My arms are tired and I’ll wake up sore tomorrow but it’s day 15. And that’s 15 days of workouts this month. I keep saying it because it continues to feel good. It’s nice to hit the halfway point in this month and to have met the goal of working out everyday.

The mix of Yoga and 21 Day Fix has proved to remain a good option. Clean Eatz kitchen has made dinner an issue I no longer think about at all. It’s sorted. Its cheap. It’s low calorie and it’s the best decision we made this month.

Normally, after mortgage, we are about broke the first two weeks of the month. Every month. This is the first month in a long time I didn’t need to have my wife write me a check to cover our expenses (mostly food and gas) for the first half of the month. That’s a couple hundred dollars we saved.

It’s been a very successful month for both finances and fitness. Which has been the ongoing struggle where if one goes well, the other didn’t. Here’s to another 15 days of working out and eating well.

The best ad you’ll see this year

An advertisement for a car that will have you sobbing halfway through.

This is a masterful bit of advertising. The cover image gives away what it’s for but ignore that. Who cares about this car?

Go on the emotional journey in this ad. It’s 2 minutes 10 seconds of masterful storytelling.