Thursday, August 28, 2014

LOCAL GOLF - Dewsweeeper Golf Course Review - Manikiki

Course:  Manikiki  (MetroParks)

Location: Willoughby

Directions:  Off of I-90, easy access from 90 and I-271.   30 Min from Cleveland, 45 from Akron

Dewsweepers Tee Time Was:  7AM

Manikiki Website

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One of the really nice stops we have on the Dewsweeper Tour is this amazing, historical golf course now in the MetroParks, Manikiki.   This is terrific, beautiful golf.  And make no mistake, this is tough golf as well.  Manakiki is an old course that at one time was private course designed by the incredible golf course designer Donald Ross. Professional events were once played here, and so did some of the games great players in the 50's and 60's.   This is not a long course,  about 6,200 yards but very tough.

This is nestled in hills and trees and winds its way around and flows nicely from first hole to last.  Manakiki is not a long golf course but do not let that fool you.  This is tree lined, with plenty of protective sand traps, some water, and tons of sloping fairways that make second shots very challenging. There are few flat lies on many fairways.  The greens are fantastic with great speed, and true rolls.  As where they are mostly flat as compared to the fairways, the greens are tough.  And today the pin placements were difficult. 

Joe Red continued to do what he has been doing. Getting off to slower starts, but finding it more and more as the round wears on.  Red shot a 48 on the front, but rebounded very well by tossing in a birdie on 12, (of which we were treated to hard to watch celebration dance)  and a bunch of pars to steady the ship shooting a nice 42 on the back.  His play got better and better the further we got into the round.  good recovery.

Tex had a tough time off the tee today, and that has not been a problem lately, but we all have those rounds.  Here, you must drive the ball well as the second shots are tough enough, as this is a second shot course.  We've all been there, and today was his turn.  But, he putted the ball well, and that's not small feat here.  He hung in there posting and even 100.  He won't be the only one that shoots that here. This is a tough course.

Beef blistered that front mixing in a nice bunch of pars, along with a birdie on 5, and shot a 39 on the front. Well done.  The back caught up to Beef though. After a great par on the brutal number 10, a couple of  doubles found their way on the card and string of bogeys too, giving him 45 on the back, 84 on the day.  Pretty good on this course, although he was in a place to shoot a bit better, but it's tough out there.

I birdied the first hole for the second straight week, and that was fun. Then took a ridiculous double on 2, and a even sillier triple on 8 giving me 44 on the front.  5 over on just 2 holes!  Then the back was better as I played a bit more consistently firing a 41 giving me 85 total.  I too could have shot better, but let a low number slip away.  2, 3-putts, and those two goofs in the front.  But this is tough and these thing happen.

Course highlights?  Number 2, nice uphill par 4, 350 yards.   Numbers 6 through 10.  Great holes that can destroy your round if you're not careful.  Especially number 10, brutal par 4, thin, uphill, tree lined, very difficult.  8 is no bargain either, 375, par 4, thin, tough fairway, brutal driving hole, very professional difficulty, both holes.  And the fantastic number 18, one of the most beautiful holes you will ever play.  Downhill, uphill par 4 going back to the clubhouse.

Manakiki is tough, but fair.  This is not beginners golf, so this may not be the best place to be introduced to the game. But if your game is fairly good, and you don't mind an drive to a wonderful golf destination, this is totally worth it.  This is one the best courses we play all year.

Scores

Beef  -  84
Wynn  -  85
Joe Red  -  90
Tex  -  100

Next week we tee it up and make our Dewsweeper debut at The Dales Course at Tamoshanter in Canton!

Here are some other courses we have played are reviewed recently.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

MOVIE REVIEW - When The Game Stands Tall

The new high school football bio-pic, When The Game Stands Tall is out this week and sadly it fumbles.  You know when you see a ton of hype before a movie on TV? That usually means there is trouble - and there is.

Let's defend it up front first though.   This is a great real story, that focuses somewhat on a really amazing man and football coach, Bob Ladouceur at De La Salle High School in Oakland, California.  He deserves a much better movie than this, and that is the shame of this whole thing. This falls under the category of "big chance missed."  This ends up being formula.


Ladouceur has been the head football coach at this high school for over 30 years.  De La Salle has won 151 games in a row which is the longest winning streak in any organized sport ever.  The streak comes to an end, plus the coach has a heart attack, and one of the teams most popular players is killed in a senseless shooting.  How will these young men adapt and cope with all this at once?  That is the story they put out there for you to think you will see.  And you will. But sadly, they missed the boat.

The real amazing story is of Ladouceur.  He is an incredible football coach that in today's world is a total throwback.  He believes deeply that his role in this world is to prepare young men for life with football as the catalyst and not the main focus.  Many of the kids he coaches are from horrible backgrounds in blighted areas of Oakland.  His priorities are profound and somehow he successfully transfers this to kids who would seem reluctant to absorb such a message.  

The sad part is that the script is so bad that they fail to really convey that to us until the very end.  The written dialogue is very bad, even clunky at times. The story wanders into areas that it doesn't belong time and time again.  This needed a better write, and a much sharper focus.  And maybe the biggest flub is that for a movie about a guy that honestly believes and preaches that his whole focus truly is NOT football -  there is a whole lot of football in this movie.  Seemingly endless football scenes that make us grow weary. But, you have to have them for fans to go.

Ironically, the ending credits are where were really learn how great a guy he is.  Wonderful footage of the actual coach preaching his beliefs in great candor. Then an amazing endorsement from NFL legend John Madden calling Ladouceur the greatest football coach at any level in the country.  ANY level.  Sad that the movie makers didn't catch on till it's too late.

There are some nice elements to this, and there are a few emotive parts that keep you engaged, but it's not what it should have been.  This has been compared to Remember The Titans, but it's not as good. This also was badly cast in it's major roles, Titans has Denzel Washington, this does not.  This needed some star power, and has none.   

When The Game Stands Tall.  Bob Ladouceur is an inspiration and an incredible man. He deserves better than this.  Hope to see a documentary on him sometime.  We could really get to know him.

MOVIE REVIEW - If I Stay

The new teen-drama, If I Stay opened up over the weekend to a decent box office take, but to very mild, if not unkind reviews.

This has a whole lot going against it right from the get-go.  I am almost astonished that this was thrown into theaters in mid-August.  Everything about this movie screams late October in its feel and look.  Being honest, this is a downer of a movie that will not be everyone's cup of tea. So it may have been wiser to wait till we all were feeling a bit more sentimental and reflective before releasing this on us.  And as good as this book may have been, this is an awkward adaptation to a movie.

This is the story of a teen cello-prodigy, Mia (Chloe Grace Moretz).   She is the eldest child of a "hippie" mom and dad in Portland, Oregon.  As where the young parents are free spirits and basically grown flower children, Mia is a very reserved if not outright conservative young woman who is immensely dedicated to her musical craft.  She lives with her parents and her little brother, Teddy.  And on one fateful day, the other three are killed in a terrible car crash.

Mia is still alive and fighting for her life. This movie is then told as she is on life support, and we flashback to the months leading up to this moment.  Mia's relationship with her family, and the first love of her life, her boyfriend, Adam (Jamie Blackley).  Adam is a bit older than Mia and is the front man in his own rock band.  So clearly we are getting the opposites attract thing here, as well as a bit of just typical sullen teen romance. 

Mia has applied to Julliard, auditioned for them, and she is waiting on her acceptance or rejection letter to arrive at the time of the accident.  She and Adam are having the all too common relationship problems that teens in love do, so this run of life changing events has that as a backdrop. Will this make them stronger, or will this be the end of not only the relationship, but will Mia even live?

This is a pretty heavy movie with little wiggle room for any room to breathe normally.   This deals with heavy matter and you need to know this as you enter the theater.  This has little to no levity, and that is not simply not eveybody's cup of tea.  This will be very appealing to the young romantics out there who can't get enough of forbidden, or ill-advised love in movies.  This has elements of originality that make it somewhat fresh.  I mean, how many movies have you seen that deal with a teen cellist?  And by the way, the solo cello playing you hear and see in this movie, is simply fantastic.

But this has a few real problems.  In no real order, it feels very long at times, and draggy in others. Also the lip-synching and the pretend rock music playing scenes are agonizing to watch.  Complete over acting, and really lousy original songs from Adam's up and coming rock band are insulting.  This was a chance to make a better movie.  Instead of 80 second versions of really bad and cliche' songs, maybe full versions of really good ones.  Those scenes would have been so much better, instead they are laughable.

Also, some weak writing and limited character development is an issue as well.  And at the end, one of the really big scenes where all the worlds come together in flashback form?. There's a chance to create something really special musically and visually, they blow it, and make it average at best.

I like Moretz though.   I am a fan of hers and it seems certain that eventually the projects will catch up to her appeal and talent.  She is a fresh face on screen, and there are better movies up ahead for her, including a real chance with Denzel Washington in The Equalizier in a couple weeks.

Kudos though to veteran actor Stacey Keach, who plays Mia's grandfather in a small but central role.  He holds court, and shows everyone on set how to act. Well done and good to see him back on the big screen.

If I Stay Moretz is good, movie is mediocre at best.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

DVD - What's New Streaming and on DVD August 26

This week there are a few new choices for you to stream or shove in the DVD machine.   The next few weeks will have far more than this week, as the early summer movies will make their way out.

Keep in mind, we only feature major movies here, and not straight to DVD or TV shows making their way to DVD.  I will link you back to my original review (where applicable) to give you all the info you need to make the best decision before you rent, buy, or hit pay on your remote

New This Week

Blended -

Adam Sandler and this time he drug along Drew Barrymore again for more terrible comedy.  BTW - Comedies are supposed to be funny.

Belle -

This got marginal theater play, but was reviewed quite well. A timed piece about race and royalty. 

Jersey Shore Massacre -

I have no idea that this is, but the title is so bad, it must be terrible.


scott@wqmx.com

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

LOCAL GOLF - Dewsweepers Golf Course Review - Thunderbird Hills North

Course:  Thunderbird Hills North

Location:  Huron, Ohio

Directions:  Right on Rt. 2  - about 30 minutes west of Cleveland, 60 from Akron

Dewsweepers Tee Time Was:  642

Thunderbird Hills Website

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The Thunderbird Hills 36 hole complex is one of the real fun stops on the Dewsweeper Tour. We played and reviewed the newer South Course a few weeks ago, and this week we teed it up on the heritage North Course.  We love both of these 18's and they are very different.

The North Course is a tree lined mature golf course checking in at about 6,500 yards.  It has rolling fairways, wonderful greens, with few water hazards, and no sand.  But the the rough can be challenging especially when wet or damp. This is a course that plays uphill, and down, with undulated fairway lies, and relatively flat, but very nice greens.  This place, along with The South, is always in really nice shape and the pace of play is terrific.  This is worth a few minute drive.

We had a slight delay this week as some rain moved through early, but the course soaked it up well, and the course played really nicely. As much rain we we got, the greens still rolled pretty fast, and extremely well. 

It was fun to watch Joe Red play today. After he got off to a slow start, he simply hit the ball better and better as the round wore on.  After a few tough holes culminating on number 6, he then found his stroke and was piping the ball down the middle, and making good shots overall. He found the consistency that has been with him the past few weeks, and settled down and played good golf.  After a tough start shooting a 47 on the front, with all of the damage early, he threw down a 41 on the back for an 88 on the day. Not bad after stumbling out of the blocks.

Tex conversely got off to a good start and was playing some pretty good golf.  Driving the ball well, and making solid second shots.   Tex also has 8, 1 putts on the day, including a streak of 5 in a row on the front.  Also 11 putts on the front - sizzling!  But he like many started to find trouble on holes 9, 10, 11, 12.  A really rough stretch on this course, and the scoring got away from him.  But as you'll learn later, this is a tough stretch.  After Tex tossed down a solid 44 on the front, he found 53 on the back.  Mostly because of two really brutal holes. 10, and 12.  97 on the day. 

Beef's game is getting better all the time too. Beef had the highlight of the day, if not the season on #6, a short par 4.  After a bomb drive, he chipped in an eagle from about 50 yards (2).  He also had a beautiful 30 foot downhill daddy gagger putt on number 11 for a great birdie. Those helped erase a couple of tough holes, and helped him shoot a very nice 41/41 for 82 on the day. A solid round here.

I got off to a hot start. I birdied the first 2 holes, and was on my way.   I shot a fun 36 on the front, even par.  My first even round of the year.  On the back I fired a 43, for 79 on the day.  My big problem was like Tex, number 10.   I finished 7 over on the day, 4 on that one single hole for a brutal 8!  Then a horrible 3 putt on 11.  But I got hot and parred 5 of the last 6, and saved my round. 

Course highlights?  Number 7 a really tough par 4, long and doggy right, 405 yards.  Number 9, tough from every angle par 5, with a tiny green. Number 10 (the hardest par 4 we play all year).  400 tough drive to a raised high green, over mush to a blind pin on a huge green. BRUTAL HOLE (we were collectively 10 over on that hole).  Number 12 another tough par 5 with all kinds of trouble.  Number 13, a very tough driving par 4 400 yards to a raised green.  But there are three par 4's that make this able to score on.  Number 4, 6, and number 17 all drivable and both are there for scoring. But the key to this hole is the tough stretch from 7 through 13.  You must survive those holes in the middle.

This is a really fun place to play where you can score if you mange the course well and make good decisions.  The course is always nice, and the facilities are really strong. Service is terrific, and rates are very good.  And they do have a rewards card system that rewards repeated play.

Thunderbird Hills North. Great golf. Fine place to play, worth the drive. Play all 36!!

This week the tour rolls on and we head to Willoughby to play the fantastic Manakiki in the MetroParks.  Another one of the highlights of the tour.

Here are other courses The Dewsweepers have played and reviewed recently.

Scores 

Wynn  -  79
Beef  -  82
Joe Red  -  88
Tex  -  97




Tuesday, August 19, 2014

MOVIE REVIEW - The Giver

Here comes a great example of a really good and successful book that school kids love becoming a movie. And shouldn't have.

This 1993 book has been, and is a favorite of many. But this is a great example of a movie that gets lost in translation  - big time.   Sometimes the mind can simply paint a better picture than Hollywood, and that's certainly the case here.  Although this really didn't, and won't fine a gigantic audience, it will find a dedicated one as loyalties can run deep when remembering a favorite book.

This is in the future. After "The Ruin."   Society has been reborn by the Elders, and now "sameness" is the way of life.  Everyone is exactly equal and live the exact same life, in the exact same house, and clothes.  And all memories of the past are erased from society. Daily injections are given to make everyone numb, and without emotion.  There is no disagreement, no conflict, or drama, music or anything really great.  Everyone dresses the same.  No feelings, no sex, no love.  Families are arranged, including raising children not born by the raising parents.  In short, life really stinks.

The only wrinkle is, that one person is chosen to store all of the memories of the past in their mind, and he must keep to himself.  Why? I'm not really sure why, since the Elders are so bent on making sure that no one ever knows about it.  But  The Giver (Jeff Bridges) is that man. And his job is to transfer and share all of the memories of the worlds past to his new and younger protege' Jonus (Brenton Thwaites).   But can someone who knows nothing except "sameness" and literal total equality handle the fact the world was once a far more conflicted and complicated place?  And what will he do with all that secret info?  Will he attempt to share it with the world and restore the beauty once known?

First off, this is boring for the most part. And it is a bit disturbing to see in front of you what actual and literal total equality would look like.  This is filmed in a black and white, and gray settings, with large CG sets and backdrops. This is yet another look at a horrible and gloomy future, that will make anyone want to not have children  - starting today.

But in its defense, this may actually be far more relevant today than when it was written 20 years ago. With the NSA scandal, and all of our privacy seemingly under siege by various government agencies and foreign governments, it does strike a uncomfortable chord within.  This shows what happens when all privacy is lost, and and or surrendered to the government, and what they then choose to do with it. And that's an eye opener for sure.

But in the end, it still may be better to view this in your minds eye while reading the book, as opposed to watching it play out on the big screen.   In addition to Bridges, Katie Holmes stars, Taylor Swift with a small part, and somehow they managed convince Meryl Streep to do this as the Head Elder.  But even if you put makeup on a frog, it's still a frog. And big stars can not save this.   

The Giver.  Some things should just be left alone, like this book.


DVD - New to Streaming and DVD This Week August 19

Short list this week of new DVD and streaming choices for you.  Both will look great on your home theater system.  And both are relatively tame except for the very young.

Keep in mind we only feature major motion pictures here and not TV series making it's way to DVD, games, or straight to video releases.  Where applicable, I will link you back to my original review from the box office run, to help you make an informed decision before you commit time and money into the movie.

New This Week

The Amazing Spiderman 2

We simply can not seem to get enough Spiderman, no matter who is starring in it or directing.  Could look very nice on your huge screen and surround sound for an evening of fun.

The Quiet Ones

Strange and out there spooky movie that had a moment of tow that can jolt.  Not fabulous, but not a wash out either.


scott@wqmx.com