Rick Garcia’s Best Picture

This year there were a lot of good films but nothing unforgettable. The cinematography was stunning in “Roma.” Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga were terrific in “A Star is Born,” but I’ve seen it before and this version did nothing to make me forget the others. “Vice” was all about Christian Bale. And why not? He hit it out of the park! “The Green Book” was a beautiful story. And I love Queen and Freddie Mercury, which is why I liked “Bohemian Rhapsody.“ John David Washington, who may be on the way to becoming a big star like his dad, helped carry “Black Klansman.” I also thought if ever there was a time to vote for a comic book movie this might be the year, with “Black Panther.” But those beautiful scenes and grand effects take away from any great performances by the actors. So….I’m going with the uniqueness of what many call “an actor’s movie.” In this case, the one featuring the terrific characters portrayed by Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone. That’s why I chose “The Favourite.”

Garcia’s Choice for Best Actor

This was an easy choice for me this year! Usually I can’t decide between one or two actors. Or I’ll wish they’d open up the category for more nominees in a given year.
But Christian Bale in “Vice” was tops! He really became former Vice President Dick Cheney in every sense possible.

Rick Garcia’s Prediction for Best Actress

While I loved Glenn Close’s understated— yet powerful— take in “The Wife” and am disappointed that Rosamund Pike was overlooked by the Academy for “A Private War”, I’m going with Olivia Colman for her quirky role in “The Favourite.”

Rick Garcia Asks: Where’s the Magic?

After coming off a Super Bowl and Two World Series in the last two years, L.A. sports teams seem to be in pretty good hands…for the most part. The Rams and Dodgers appear to be built to last. On the other hand, what’s up with the Lakers? The franchise that has won 16 world titles — 11 in Los Angeles– appears to be in disarray. As the 2018-2019 NBA trading deadline was approaching, the Lakers were a team of desperation. Their efforts to get New Orleans superstar Anthony Davis, to pair him with their own free agent superstar Lebron James, has been a public mess. Their anxiousness to have another championship team right away seems to have clouded the judgment of those making the decisions (Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka). It used to be they’d make great draft decisions, then build their teams around amazing young talent. Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant ring a bell? Then they’d sprinkle in some veteran free agents to fill in the roster. It worked more recently for Golden State. How about this for an idea? Draft better and quit trying to mortgage the future for the present. There’s nothing supernatural about it!

Disappointed, not devastated

My feelings were in check on Super Bowl Sunday. Not that I was “just happy to be there,” but just being real. While I truly feel the Los Angeles Rams had the better players overall, there is no way to feel comfortable when your team plays Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. I know it was one of the most boring games in Super Bowl history, but as long as my team was still in it at the end of the game, I was just fine with “boring.” At the end of the day, both teams employed the same “stop the run” strategy. And both teams did it well. The idea is to let the quarterback beat you and that’s just what Tom Brady did. Hats off to the New England Patriots. They are one of the greatest franchises in sports history. Their coach is one of the best to run a team. And their Quarterback, the greatest of all time (G-O-A-T). But what I take from this loss is that I truly believe Jared Goff can win a title. That Sean McVay is currently one of the best coaches in the NFL. And that the Rams are built to last and will again be in the big game. But I’m also hopeful. Hopeful that the Patriots’ time in the sun will eventually pass.

Robey-Coleman’s Response

I’m curious to see how Nickel Robey-Coleman responds on Sunday. The past two weeks he’s been talked about non stop for that No-Call in New Orleans. He’s also talked about Tom Brady’s age which won’t sit well with the G.O.A.T.

Garcia’s Take on Gurley’s Bounce Back

I think these two weeks off will be good for Todd Gurley. He had a rough NFC championship but I think he could bounce back nicely. Ultimately though, I believe that CJ Anderson will be a huge factor for the Rams.

Rick Garcia on LA Ram’s D-Line

A big advantage that the LA Rams might have is their defensive line. Aaron Donald is one of the best players in the league and Ndamukong Suh can’t be forgotten either. Hopefully the D-Line will give the Pats offense fits.

Rick Garcia Remembers Penny Marshall

Penny Marshall LOVED sports! One night I was covering Dodgers VS Giants. Barry Bonds was on a quest to break the single season home run record. I’d see Penny often at various sporting events in LA while I was covering the games. On this night at Dodger Stadium she invited me to sit with her. For 9 innings we chatted up a storm. Everything sports. She was an encyclopedia and so charming! I had a bit of a cold and the crowd was loud and so I started to lose my voice. Still, I had to go on the air for my nightly sportscast after the game. But my voice was completely gone in the first sentence. The weather guy had to step in and finish the sportscast.
It was sooo worth it! RIP Penny.

’Tis the Season

It was the fall of 1978. I was making the 60 mile drive from Lancaster to Westwood with my then-girlfriend. In those days, an hour drive to the “big city” for dinner and a movie was a big deal of a date for a 17-year old. Unfortunately, as we looked up what was playing in the movie section of the L.A. Times (no Fandango back then), we were disappointed to see nothing of interest. Then I stumbled upon a small picture of a pumpkin with a huge knife stuck in it. It was an ad for a movie called “Halloween.” Being a big fan of the horror genre, I was taken. We grabbed our popcorn and Dr. Peppers, and for the next hour and forty-one minutes, were horrified. What a sleeper that flick turned out to be! It would spawn so many terrific slasher movies for years to come.

Well, 40 years later, I plopped down in my seat for the 2018 version of the flick with one of my dearest friends and our wives, which I know had to painful for them considering “A Star is Born” was showing next door. This newest rendition of John Carpenter’s spooky franchise did not disappoint. There is less slashing and almost no sex. (Remember in previous versions, every young couple who tried to sneak off for a romp usually got butchered, a common formula for that type of movie at that time. Gee, I wonder what the message was?? I know I looked over my shoulder for years!)
Anyway, the movie is as frightening as ever, with a terrific performance by Jamie Lee Curtis, plenty of those bone-chilling scenes that appear out of the background, and Carpenter’s classic theme music. You’ll be hearing it a lot as the spooky holiday approaches.

Halloween. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!

Lest we Forget

My dad fought gallantly in the 1940s in the second World War. He was “in theatre” with Patton’s Army. Made his way through Europe carrying a Browning Automatic Rifle, at that time considered one of this country’s fiercest weapons. He helped liberate POW camps and eventually, he and his fellow comrades helped bring an end to Germany’s attempted conquest of the world. My father’s work wasn’t done; immediately following the war he was stationed as a guard outside the famous Nuremberg Trials. If anyone ever deserved his country’s help during a time of need, it is my dad. So when we went to hear an attorney speak about helping veterans receive VA benefits recently, it gave this 92-year-old proud Latino hope that– as his and my mom’s health quickly deteriorate– his country could make things more comfortable for him. We set up a follow-up appointment with the attorney at a cost of around $600. She spent more than the agreed-upon hour going over some of the details of filling out a VA application for benefits. It was complicated and overwhelming for both my dad and me, but I’m realizing now that was perhaps the intention of this attorney. Figuring we wouldn’t be able to get through the reams of paperwork, I asked the attorney what they would charge to fill out the application. What I got was an email response offering to prepare my parents’ will, health directives, power of attorney and a few other items that my parents do not need help with. The price $9,500. I explained that we didn’t need help with any of those items, but that I was curious what the price would be for help only with the VA application. I was told the attorney couldn’t help us with our request and that we should seek help from a local Veterans Service organization. In other words, my dad’s needs weren’t lucrative enough for this attorney. It was clear to me that her office was hoping to “up-sell” us and perhaps other unsuspecting clients who were duped into thinking her office was there to help veterans. Sadly, I’m hearing more and more that being taken advantage of in this way isn’t an uncommon problem for vets.

We did take that attorney’s advice and found a local veterans service organization. Hopefully, they will be able to give my dad the support he deserves, and– more importantly– restore his faith in those he courageously defended so many decades ago.

Courage Comes in all Sizes

It’s been about a decade that I’ve attended the Michael Hoefflin Foundation’s “Evening Under the Stars.” Usually I’ve worked the event as emcee. But this year from my seat as a “civilian,” I was especially struck by the many stories parents told of life with their cancer-stricken children. Over the years, I’ve delivered gift baskets during the holidays to some of the less fortunate families who struggle to afford the gas to take their children to doctor’s appointments. I always come away in tears, grateful for my family’s good luck. But for some reason, it really hit me on this recent night. As difficult as life can be for these parents, I’m reminded at how amazingly strong the children are. When I spend time with these smiling, happy kids, they seem wise beyond their years. Their strength during these moments is the glue that keeps families together. It’s why when I start feeling sad about their plight, I’ll choose to be inspired by their courage. Please check out mhf.org. Perhaps you can help some amazing people and be inspired like me.

Trick or Treat

I was lumbering up the long, steep steps of the famous L.A. Memorial Coliseum when a feeling of happiness overtook me. Not because the Los Angeles Rams had just defeated the Arizona Cardinals 34-0, but because I had tickets to the game at all. I’ve always worked hard to make my family as comfortable as possible, but a couple of years ago I did something just for ME! It was totally selfish on my part to buy season tickets to the Rams, as I was really the only person in my family who cared anything at all about the football team. And they were truly awful when I first bought the tickets.  I am in no way suggesting spending one’s hard-earned dough on season tickets. But as one who wanted to be the next Roman Gabriel and play quarterback for the Rams one day, I guess having a seat for every one of their home games for the past three years has been the next best thing!