Listen to me on KTRS/St. Louis Mondays and Fridays, 3-6pm CT

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Bob Schieffer, "Overload"


Here's my conversation with Bob Schieffer, longtime CBS news anchor/reporter/analyst, about his new book, "Overload: Finding The Truth In Today's Deluge Of News." Among the questions I asked him:
  • Is our current situation proof that more information doesn’t equal better information?
  • Do you consider this a national security issue?
  • Do you know any reporter who made up a story and kept their job?
  • How did you handle it on "Face The Nation" when politicians lied straight to your face?
  • How bad do you believe Russia's role is in the creation and distribution of bogus news stories?
  • What do you think of Trump's attacks on the press?
  • Why can’t the media ignore Trump's tweets as if they were just the kind of nonsense your drunk uncle says at Thanksgiving?
  • Does it bother you that cable news outlets spend all day with panels of pundits, rather than reporting?
  • Is it the responsibility of Facebook and Twitter to reduce the distribution of bogus stories?
Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes!

Knuckleheads In The News® 10/16/17


This collection of Knuckleheads In The News® stories includes a fajita thief, a couple in a Porta-Potty, and a man in a ski mask. Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes!

Want more Knuckleheads In The News®Click here.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Worth A Link

Can you guess what state a woman who claims she was abducted by aliens is running for Congress from?

On My Monday Radio Show


I'll be back on KTRS today 3-6pm CT. Among my guests will be Bob Schieffer, talking about his book, "Overload: Finding The Truth In Today's Deluge Of News." Listen over the air, via the station's free app, or at ktrs.com.

Movie Review: "Marshall"


When it comes to playing real people on the big screen, Chadwick Boseman is three for three. He captured the stoic nature of Jackie Robinson in "42," unleashed the funk power of James Brown in "Get On Up," and now portrays Thurgood Marshall, a towering figure in American legal history, in "Marshall."

Unlike "Get On Up," "Marshall" doesn't try to tell the full story of the civil rights lawyer who became America's first black Supreme Court justice. Nor does it focus on the big cases he argued before that court, including the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board Of Education case that desegregated schools. Instead, the movie focuses on a case from early in his career, in 1941, when he was the only litigating attorney for the NAACP, which sent him to Bridgeport, Connecticut, to defend a black man charged with the rape and attempted murder of a wealthy white woman.

Because Marshall had not been admitted to the bar in Connecticut, he enlisted the help of a local attorney, Sam Friedman (Josh Gad), who didn't practice criminal law but agreed to make the introduction of Marshall to the court. But when the judge (James Cromwell) insisted that he remain quiet in the courtroom while Friedman acted as the criminal defense lawyer, Marshall had to figure out a way to make the case as a silent partner. Well, partner isn't the right word, because it was clear that Marshall was the lead lawyer with much more experience and legal savvy. As for Friedman, he was rightly wary of the publicity the case would bring because, even though this was Connecticut, there were still enough racists and anti-Semites around to make trouble for both of them.

"Marshall" has echoes of "To Kill A Mockingbird" in its white-woman-black-man sexual assault charge, and in the way it doesn't shy away from the racial hatred just outside the courthouse doors while the drama plays out inside. Veteran director/producer Reginald Hudlin gets good chemistry out of Boseman and Gad as the unlikely legal team. Gad manages to sublimate his silliness as Friedman, and Cromwell is as solid as ever as the judge. Sterling K. Brown is very good as Joseph Spell, the chauffeur and butler charged with the horrible crimes, and Kate Hudson does some of her best work in years as the woman who accuses him.

But the movie belongs to Boseman, who imbues Marshall with cockiness, fearlessness, and intelligence to create a strong portrait of a man who spent his life fighting for the underdog. My only small complaint is that the script takes time away from the legal proceedings to show us some of Marshall's personal life, which does nothing to further the story.

Still, I liked "Marshall" enough to give it an 8 out of 10.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Movie Review: "The Foreigner"


I went to a movie theater the other night and saw two movies with the same title, "The Foreigner." One of them is a Jackie Chan revenge movie, as he tries to find the men who planted a bomb that killed his innocent teenage daughter while she was shopping for a prom dress. The other movie called "The Foreigner" stars Pierce Brosnan as a former IRA member who is now an Irish Deputy Minister, trying to unravel a mystery about a group of killers who call themselves "The Authentic IRA."

Each of these plots would probably have made a pretty good movie on their own. The problem is that they're mashed together into one confusing story that might have Chan listed first above the title -- because that will help "The Foreigner" do huge box office in China, where much of the movie's financing came from because he's still that nation's #1 movie star -- but doesn't give him much to do. He has a few exciting action sequences that prove he can still fight and move at age 63, but I'd bet that he's now using a double for a lot of the shots rather than doing all his own stunts, as he used to. Aside from those few scenes, Chan doesn't have much more to do than sit there and look morose, the way a lot of fathers would after losing their young daughter, or use his special skills to track down his prey. If you go expecting lots of action and amazing stunts with Chan taking on Brosnan, you may leave the theater underwhelmed.

As for the second-billed Brosnan, he projects power without lifting a single fist, commanding every scene he's in. With an Irish accent dripping from his lips, he plays the Deputy Minister as a true politician -- saying whatever it takes to get information and reaction from everyone he talks to. We're not quite sure what his motives are, but they're clearly not as innocent as he wants us to believe from the get-go. While Chan works his end of the plot mostly alone, Brosnan is constantly surrounded by stereotypical characters straddling the good guy/bad guy line.

Director Martin Campbell is an action-movie pro, having worked with Brosnan on the 1995 Bond movie, "Goldeneye," as well as his successor Daniel Craig a decade later on "Casino Royale." So is writer David Marconi, who worked on "Live Free Or Die Hard" and "Enemy Of The State."

I just wish that they'd split "The Foreigner" into two tales told separately by opening up the Brosnan story in one and letting Jackie Chan do more of his thing in the other. The mash-up we get instead is okay, but not as good as it could have been.

I give "The Foreigner" a 5 out of 10.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Alan Sepinwall, "Breaking Bad 101"


Last year, I talked with critics Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz about “TV: The Book,” in which they ranked the greatest TV shows of all time. Deservedly, “Breaking Bad” was near the top, and now Alan has published “Breaking Bad 101: The Complete Critical Companion.”

It’s full of the episode recaps he wrote during the five years the show aired on AMC, plus some insight from showrunner Vince Gilligan, stars Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, and Anna Gunn, and many others. If you’ve never seen "Breaking Bad," you can read each chapter after watching the corresponding episode (or after binge-watching a bunch of them). If you’ve already watched the whole series, Alan’s recaps will not only remind you of what you watched, but also fill in some holes of things you missed.

In our conversation we touched on:
  • What Vince Gilligan told him about the pace of the show and its attention to detail;
  • How the look of the show influenced those that followed;
  • The backlash against Skyler White and the actress who played her, Anna Gunn;
  • How Aaron Paul's Jesse Pinkman was going to be killed off in the first season;
  • How the show's writers had to improvise new plot lines and characters as they went;
  • Whether Walter White was a hero or a villain;
  • The brilliance of Giancarlo Esposito's Gus Fring.
Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes!

Previously on Harris Online...

Showbiz Show 10/13/17


This week on the showbiz segment of my show, Max and I discussed the impact of the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault, harassment, and rape charges on the women who were his victims and the movies still in the pipeline from his company. Then we reviewed "Marshall," "Happy Death Day," "The Foreigner," and other movie/showbiz stuff.

Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes!

Harris Challenge 10/13/17

This week's Harris Challenge -- the most fun you can have with your radio on! -- includes trivia categories about The Supreme Court, the TV Academy Hall Of Fame, and Things That Happened On Friday The 13th.

Listen and play along, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes!

Want more Harris Challenges? Click here.

Knuckleheads In The News® 10/13/17


This collection of Knuckleheads In The News® stories includes a foamy fill-up, a time-traveling drunk, and a guy who Googled "how to rob a bank." Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes!

Want more Knuckleheads In The News®Click here.

Friday, October 13, 2017

On My Friday Radio Show


I'll be back on KTRS today 3-6pm CT.

In the first hour, I'll talk with Alan Sepinwall about his book, "Breaking Bad 101: The Complete Critical Companion."

In the second hour, Max and I will review the new movies "Marshall," "Happy Death Day," and "The Foreigner," plus other showbiz stuff.

In the third hour, you'll have a chance to play my topical trivia game The Harris Challenge, and I'll have a new batch of Knuckleheads In The News®, too.

Listen over the air, via the station's free app, or at ktrs.com.