November 24, 2017

The Astounding Fantasy Practitioner: Week 6

I imagine Sundays in my household go a lot like Sundays for many married couples. I get to watch whatever early game action my heart desires, but by the time the afternoon games start, my wife is giving me the Is this all you’re doing today? look. Sometimes she comes right out and says, “Is this all you’re doing today?” because she likes getting straight to the point in matters such as these.

It’s a tough position from which to argue, that of a man entering his sixth hour of football coverage on the day. Typically, I’ll watch a bit of the afternoon games – like half of the first quarter – and unless there’s something truly compelling, and usually there is not, I’ll acquiesce and either do something more productive or turn the television to something more inclusive.

This Sunday it was The Prestige.  Now, before I continue, I need to establish something with you, my beloved, devoted readership. In 2006, Hollywood released two high profile movies about magic. I do not know why. One movie about magic seems plenty for a single year. In fact, one movie about magic should probably last a good five years, yet 2006 saw two, which, like all truly great magic tricks, is a head scratcher for the ages.

Anyway, The Prestige was one of these films. The other was The Illusionist.

In the ten years since these movies hit theaters, I’ve been taking a bit of a straw poll regarding which one is better. On one hand, you have the story of two magicians so thoroughly bent on besting each other that they destroy their own lives in a series of escalating and heartbreaking decisions that leaves much in the way of collateral damage. Fear, love, obsession, death… this movie has it all. It has David F*cking Bowie as Nikola Tesla, for Christ’s sake, not to mention a series of twists that leaves I see dead people in the dust. It’s a Christopher Nolan film that sits right in the middle of the Dark Knight trilogy, along with Inception, so it’s basically the moviemaking equivalent of Jordan ’96-’98.

On the other hand, you have a dumb, one-dimensional love story starring Ed Norton and Jessica Biel. (Which, first of all, no.) Paul Giamatti is in this thing but veers dangerously close to Insufferable Paul Giamatti, probably because his character is an insufferable, singularly focused idiot cop. The movie is about “real” magic. As in, this movie tells us magic is a real thing, and Edward Norton can do it. Cool.

I generally like all the people cast in this movie, but the thing is a piece of junk. The director is someone named “Neil Burger” who is also responsible for Bradley Cooper’s Limitless and the-girl-who-is-not-Jennifer-Lawrence’s Divergent. In keeping with our basketball analogy from earlier, this is the equivalent of Karl Malone ’96-’98.

This is all to say that my poll seeks to delineate between those who enjoy good movies and those who think magic = love. That’s right, I’m probably not ruining anything by saying that in the end, the power of magic (love???) conquers all in The Illusionist, and not a single thing was lost along the way other than the two hours you spent watching this trite, basic wreckage.

There’s nothing worse than that kid who didn’t “take effect” when, as children, you played make believe war games – Damn it, Keith. I shot you in the back. You’ve got to lie on the ground for at least 30 seconds, man! – and I hate movies that see its protagonists end up completely unchanged for their experiences save for receiving everything they’ve ever wanted at the expense of no one or nothing of consequence.

So what does any of this have to do with fantasy football? I don’t know, probably nothing. Actually, absolutely nothing. I’m talking about Paul Giamatti in a movie about magic from 2006. The only thing less fantasy relevant is Tim Tebow. The point is, sometimes you have to let a little of the outside world into your Sunday, and you know what, you’ll be better for it.

Those losses won’t sting as much. Opening your fantasy app to a 20-point day from Brandin Cooks will be even more exciting. I mean, I can’t really relate because I win all my games by at least 30 points, and 20-point days are kind of the floor for most of my players, but that doesn’t mean I can’t use my imagination to think about how this philosophy can benefit the average fantasy player.

I don’t want to leave you completely empty handed in terms of fantasy relevant material, however, so here are some (really) quick hitters:

  • Cameron Meredith appears to be a thing. I haven’t seen him play, but I hear he has really long arms. Definitely should be owned in all points-per-sleeve-inch leagues.
  • I remember when Dez Bryant was the WR you wanted above all else, and this was like, a year and a half ago.
  • I’m in two leagues, and both of my opponents played Justin Forsett this week. Thank you?
  • I hereby coin the name Hunter Hurst Henry.
  • “Add Kenny Britt.” – Tweets from 2010

The Laura Hall from Whose Line Is It Anyway? Underappreciated National Treasure Award

Terrelle Pryor. At this point, I think everyone has arrived to the Terrelle Pryor party, but let’s take a minute to remember the last two-plus years for this guy, bouncing around the NFL on practice squads, literally not knowing how to catch. Now look at him, his team’s best receiver. I mean, it’s the Browns, and two receivers who are probably better are hurt and high at the moment, respectively, but it’s obvious Pryor is well into the top half of NFL receivers at the moment. For a guy any team could have signed off the street last year, that’s pretty… pretty… pretty good.

Astounding Fantasy Practitioner 7 Articles

Staff Writer

In 1938 Los Angeles, The Astounding Fantasy Practitioner (AFP) found a rocket pack hidden in a bi-plane cockpit. He used the pack to rescue his friend Malcolm, who was drunkenly piloting a bi-plane. This is not the plot summary of The Rocketeer, so don’t bother checking. AFP is the resident fantasy football expert at The Tailgate Society. He’s won every fantasy football contest in which he’s ever participated by at least 30 points. He can bench press more than you. His dad can beat up your dad.

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