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Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Stories Of A Generation – With Pope Francis’ On Netflix, Where The Pontiff Presents The Stories Of Remarkable People Over 70




Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Stories Of A Generation – With Pope Francis’ On Netflix, Where The Pontiff Presents The Stories Of Remarkable People Over 70

More than any of his recent predecessors, Pope Francis has done a good job at humanizing the position of pontiff. He’s humble, he has a sense of humor, and he tries to use his position to actively help those less fortunate. But we never thought he’d be the host of a Netflix docuseries, but the end of 2021 has made that notion a reality. 

Opening Shot: “VATICAN CITY.” Pope Francis walks into a room where a camera crew and lights are set up, greets everyone, and sits to be interviewed for the show.

The Gist: Stories Of A Generation – With Pope Francis is based on the current pontiff’s book Sharing The Wisdom of Time and produced by Stand By Me Productions. It’s a collection of segments where filmmakers under 30 talk to people over 70 about their extraordinary and inspiring lives.

The episodes are theme-based, and the first one is “Love.” As each story is told, the Pope talks about what he thinks love is about, whether it’s romantic love or love of a parent for a child. For instance, love is play; he feels that playing with your kids is where love is shown. A parent also just doesn’t become a parent when they have a child; they become a parent when they impart their influence on a child to help them grow and develop as a person.

Among those profiled is Martin Scorsese, who is in Oklahoma on a movie shoot (Killers Of The Flower Moon!). His 22-year-old daughter Francesca talks to him about how he met his current wife, Helen Morris, late in life, and how he regrets having work come before taking care of Francesca’s older half-sisters. Jane Goodall is also profiled; she talks about how her methods of communicating to chimpanzees were frowned upon by the scientific community, even though they were some of the most effective methods of the time.

Also profiled: Estela Barnes de Carlotto, whose oldest daughter was kidnapped by Argentinian pro-fascism supporters in the 1970s and killed after giving birth to a son who was taken; Vito Fiorino, who helped rescue refugees drowning off the coast of Lampedusa, Italy in 2013; and Cristina and Carlos Solis, who have found a bond late in life by embracing the tango.

Stories of a Generation - With Pope Francis
Photo: Netflix

What Shows Will It Remind You Of? It’s hard to pin down what Stories Of A Generation reminds us of. Yes, there have been documentaries about inspiring seniors — Young@Heart comes to mind — but none hosted by the Pope.

Our Take: Stories Of A Generation – With Pope Francis isn’t designed to be controversial, and it’s not designed to surprise. It’s designed purely to inspire. It does that job quite well. But what it really does is give Pope Francis as big a platform as we’ve seen to show his humanity, something that’s he’s tried to do since he ascended to the papacy in 2013.

Sure, his interstitials were full of observations that the more cynical among us (and we count ourselves in that category) may scoff at. “What does the Pope know about romantic love or about parenthood?” we asked ourselves. But priests the world over have been advising parents and couples for millennia, so their experience can be gleaned over decades of supporting parishioners. So if we take that at face value, the cynicism goes away a bit.

But in other segments, Francis talks about his grandmother, and how he used to tango all the time, and he talks about how Scorsese only wanted him to bless his wife when they met a few years ago, given that she was starting a physical decline that continues today. “This deserves more awards than his films, which are excellent,” he says. So… the Pope has seen Scorsese’s films? Did he watch The Last Temptation of Christ? Is he a Goodfellas fan? Just hearing him say he’s a fan of the director’s films makes us curious to see a docuseries about the Pope’s favorite movies.

The profiles themselves could have benefitted from being less segmented than they were; director Simona Ercolani decided to intercut between the segments throughout an episode rather than do one profile at a time. And while starting out of the gate with Scorsese might have been calculated to grab American audiences, his story wasn’t nearly as inspirational as de Carlotto, who started a group of mothers who went through the tragedies she did, or Fiorino, who considers some of the children he rescued to be family and keeps in close touch with them. We love Scorsese, too, but his work pales in importance compared to many of the others profiled in this series.

Sex and Skin: None. We did mention that the pope hosts this show, right?

Parting Shot: Francis teases the next episode, which is about “Dreams.” He calls a person who doesn’t dream “a sterile person. And sterility is fine for operating rooms, but not for life.”

Sleeper Star: Yes, we’re making Pope Francis the sleeper star, for the reasons we stated above. We’re still imagining him with a bowl of popcorn streaming all 3.5 hours of The Irishman in the Sistine Chapel.

Most Pilot-y Line: We might have wanted to hear from Scorsese’s other daughters, but we never got that chance.

Our Call: STREAM IT. Stories Of A Generation – With Pope Francis isn’t designed to blow you away with twists and turns, but the stories are inspirational, the cinematography is stunning, and the glimpses we get into the pontiff’s humanity are more than enough to watch show when you have a free hour here and there.

Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about food, entertainment, parenting and tech, but he doesn’t kid himself: he’s a TV junkie. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Salon,,, Fast Company and elsewhere.

Stream Stories Of A Generation – With Pope Francis On Netflix


Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death




Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death

Legendary NFL coach and broadcaster John Madden died Tuesday morning at 85, the NFL announced. News of the football icon’s passing hit Twitter on Tuesday evening, and athletes, coaches and broadcasters from across the sports world reacted.

Fellow broadcasting legend Dick Vitale, who is currently battling cancer, called Madden “the greatest analyst of all time of any sport” in his Twitter tribute.

Former Yankees pitcher and notable Raiders fan CC Sabathia said “your legacy will live forever.” Madden coached the then-Oakland Raiders from 1969-78, a couple of years before Sabathia, a Vallejo, California native, was born. Lakers star LeBron James had similar words about Madden’s lasting legacy, adding an infinity emoji.

Former tennis star and social justice activist Billie Jean King recalled meeting Madden as a “privilege.”

Radio voice of the Rangers Kenny Albert, a five-sport broadcaster who’s been with FOX Sports since its inception in 1994, shared a photo circa 26 years ago to remember Madden.

ESPN’s Bomani Jones took a bit of a shot at current color commentators, noting that Madden “set an unreachable standard.”

Frank Caliendo, who’s made a career out of impersonations, including one for Madden, said he was surprised how emotional he felt.

Several football players, and others, including Saints running back Mark Ingram II and former Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, credited Madden with being part of the reason why they love football.

Rams wide receiver and NFL MVP contender Cooper Kupp quote the late coach in his tribute: “The road to Easy Street goes through the sewer.”

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Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence




Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence

MINNEAPOLIS — The Knicks got back another body in rookie point guard Miles McBride, who was cleared from protocols Tuesday and rejoined the team in Minnesota.

But there is no longer any hype for the rookie’s return. Kemba Walker is back as the starting point guard and coming off winning Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors with four standout games, including his Christmas Day spectacular. The Knicks have gone 2-2 since Walker regained the starting job.

“It’s great,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He had a great week. He’s playing great basketball. The team winning helps him get recognized and he was a big part of driving that winning. It’s great for the team.’’

McBride was also spectacular in his last outing before getting COVID-19, when he played the entire second half Dec. 16 in Houston and seemingly earned a spot in the rotation. In fact, McBride had strung together two decent outings before he was ruled out. But things have changed since his emergence and McBride is likely back to being a bit player.

Without a practice, McBride wasn’t even expected to see time when the Knicks faced the Timberwolves to kick off a four-game road trip.

Miles McBride
NBAE via Getty Images

Of course, with Walker’s arthritic knee, anything is possible. The Knicks play Detroit on Wednesday in a back-to-back, so it’s uncertain whether Walker will complete both contests. In addition, Immanuel Quickley is out of COVID-19 protocols but Thibodeau wasn’t sure he was ready for meaningful minutes.

That left Walker against the depleted Timberwolves, who were missing their three top players (Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell), all because of COVID-19 .

Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker

When McBride got sidelined by the virus and Derrick Rose needed ankle surgery, Walker was resurrected by Thibodeau and it’s been a stunning comeback story.

Though Thibodeau has clear reservations about Walker based on his nine-game banishment due to his defensive malaise as an undersized point guard, he admitted after the Christmas Day triple-double against Atlanta that Walker is playing “much more aggressive.”

Walker’s triple-double that featured 10 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds was a lot different than his prior outing, when he scored 44 points against Washington.

“I thought his passing was terrific,’’ Thibodeau said before the Knicks resumed their schedule.

“Kemba had control of the game. The game tells you what to do. That’s what I loved about the way he played. I don’t think he forced anything. They puts size on him and were aggressive in their pick-and-roll coverage. He didn’t fight it. He attacked pressure the way you like to attack pressure. You don’t fight pressure with pressure. Don’t try to split it. Get rid of it, go to the backside. Let the game tell you what to do.’’

The Knicks coach is finally seeing all the elements of what Walker can do. Before his demotion, Walker was nothing more than a no-defense, 3-point shooter whose plus-minus was an abysmal minus-122.

Thibodeau was also concerned about his durability in sitting out two of the three back-to-back sets. The last load management game in Atlanta in late November triggered Thibodeau’s decision.

But now it’s only superlatives from Thibodeau in judging the last four games.

“Sometimes it’s going to be his shooting, sometimes it’s his penetration and getting in the paint to force a collapse and sometimes they’re being aggressive with their traps get rid of the ball quickly,’’ Thibodeau said. “The overall play, his rebounding. When your guards rebound, those are key to fast breaks. The more guard rebounding we get the better we can be. ‘’

The Knicks still have three players in protocols — centers Nerlens Noel and Jericho Sims and the newly infected Wayne Selden. Quickley and Kevin Knox were cleared on Christmas but were held out for conditioning.

No matter. The Knicks go as Kemba goes.

“He’s much more aggressive,’’ Thibodeau said. “That was the challenge. At the beginning of the year he and Evan were two new starters. Sometimes guys are trying to fit in. he’s being very aggressive which is the way we want him to play. Not deferring at all. When he and Julius [Randle] are aggressive like that our team is different.’’

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Bar raises dramatically for Zach Wilson in matchup with Tom Brady, Buccaneers




Zach Wilson and Tom Brady

When Zach Wilson stares across the MetLife Stadium field at the opposite sideline this Sunday, it won’t be Trevor Lawrence he’ll be looking at as his game-day counterpart.

Lawrence, drafted by Jacksonville one spot before the Jets selected Wilson at No. 2 overall last April, is a contemporary.

This Sunday at MetLife, the Jets rookie quarterback won’t be staring at a contemporary on the other sideline. He’ll be staring at the GOAT.

Tom Brady.

The bar raises dramatically for Wilson and the Jets, who are coming off of their feel-good, get-well win over the woeful Jaguars and Lawrence this past Sunday.

Brady and Buccaneers, who are 11-4, NFC South division champions and seeking to repeat as Super Bowl champions, play the Jets, who are 4-11 and seeking more signs of development from their rookie quarterback.

To say this is a step up in competition for Wilson and the Jets going from Lawrence and the Jags to Brady and the Bucs is as obvious as pointing out that Tampa Bay receiver Antonio Brown has had a few off-the-field incidents during his otherwise stellar NFL career.

There hasn’t been a lot to keep the interest of the Jets fan this season — other than watching Wilson’s development. That took an unfortunate pause for the four games Wilson missed with a knee injury, but he’s been back for five games and has looked like a better quarterback, throwing only two interceptions in those games (none in the last three) since returning from his injury.

The problem, though, is that Wilson hasn’t been producing enough touchdowns, throwing for three of them and rushing for four others in the past five games.

Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg; AP

Baby steps, though.

Wilson was the better quarterback this past Sunday when matched up with Lawrence, who threw for more yards than Wilson did, but Wilson ran for 91 yards, including his electric 52-yard scoring jaunt, and made key throws when he needed them.

Wilson will not win Sunday’s game against Brady and the Bucs throwing for the 102 yards he had against the Jaguars. He and the Jets will need more.

Consider this: Brady enters the game having thrown 37 TD passes and for 4,580 yards this season and averages a league-high 305.2 passing yards per game.

Then this: The Buccaneers average 29.5 points per game this season, second most in the NFL.

And this: Wilson doesn’t have a single 300-yard passing game, averages 183 passing yards per game and has thrown seven TD passes in 11 games.

Seven TD passes is a pedestrian two-game total for Brady.

Wilson and the Jets are playing with house money anyway in what always has been a developmental season, so Sunday against Brady should, at its very least, be a great measuring-stick learning experience for Wilson, who’s studied Brady on tape.

Wilson revealed this month that he watched film of Brady before the Jets played the Eagles on Dec. 5 in an effort to pick up tips on how Brady worked against the Eagles defense when he played them earlier in the season.

“I thought it was really cool to see kind of how he went through his whole process, how he navigated the pocket, different things like that,” Wilson said at the time.

On Sunday, Wilson gets to see that process up close as Brady tries to dissect a Jets defense that has yielded 29.9 points per game this season, the most in the NFL.

That puts an added onus on Wilson to produce on the other side of the ball, because he knows Brady is going to get his. Wilson will likely need to produce four TDs — any way he can — for the Jets to simply remain competitive with the Super Bowl champs.

That’s a lot to ask of a 22-year-old kid who’s produced just 11 TDs in his 11 starts, up against Brady, who’s thrown 618 TD passes and for 83,784 yards in his remarkable career.

It, too, is a lot to ask playing against an aggressive Tampa Bay defense that’s ranked No. 9 in the NFL in points allowed (20.8 per game) and is led by former Jets head coach Todd Bowles, who’d surely like to send a holiday message to his former employer.

If you don’t think Bowles will be blitzing the bejesus out of Wilson, then you probably think Antonio Brown is a living saint.

The good news for the Jets is that Wilson has shown incremental improvements, particularly when it comes to his decision-making and quicker releases on his throws.

“He’s coming along, he’s getting more comfortable, he’s calmer back there,’’ Jets coach Robert Saleh said Monday. “He’s in a great headspace and it’s going to be fun to watch him grow, continue to grow.’’

A big part of that growth will take place this Sunday as he watches the GOAT operate from the opposite sideline at MetLife.

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