At The Players’ Tribune, we’ve noticed that you can tell a lot about a person by their answer to four simple words: “What are you watching?” That’s why we’ve created Watchlist, a series where we ask our contributors to look inside their DVRs, DVD collections, iPads and whatever else — and share the movies and TV shows they count among their favorites.
Here, with his Watchlist, is Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle (and former superhero) Brandon Williams.
The Lion King
For my Watchlist, I wasn’t sure what the other movies would be, but I was certain that The Lion King would be my number one. See, I’m a big kid at heart. I love music and I love singing, so I’m always singing along at the top of my lungs. I just have total fun with it — I can do the dialogue of the whole thing, word-for-word. And I do. Every time. Sometimes in the car I get on my phone and pull up Disney songs, and as soon as ones from The Lion King come on, I’m just going crazy.
My first experience with The Lion King was when my mom got it for me on VHS. I literally watched it until — you know how sometimes if you watch the movie too much the tape actually gets skippy? Well, that’s exactly happened. Thank God for digital downloads now.
The movie takes a whole new meaning now that I’m a father to my own son. Best part about being a dad? You get to do the Simba lift. Which I do. All the time. As soon as I pick him up or I swing him around, I sing, “Naaaaaaaaants ingonyamaaaaaa!” He’s just turned three, but he’ll never get too big for the Simba lift.
And when he’s able to understand movies, we’ll be watching The Lion King together — more for me than him, but whatever.
The Fast and the Furious
I was in high school, still driving my mom’s car, when the first The Fast and the Furious movies came out. So you can believe what I was doing in her Pontiac Bonneville after I saw The Fast and the Furious, 2 Fast 2 Furious and Tokyo Drift. I was trying to do burnouts, hit corners really hard, and squeak the tires. She’d wonder why the gas was all gone whenever I got it back to her.
Now I drive a Jag, but my dream car is the 1970 Dodge Charger R/T that’s in The Fast and the Furious. One day, I will get a replica of that car. And I’ll play The Lion King soundtrack as soon as I get in. Then I can die and go to heaven, peacefully.
I love the car aspect to these movies — driving fast, exotics, and all that stuff. But as the series went on, you started seeing all these storylines develop and combine with each other, and actually feel for the characters. Like, Paul Walker was the coolest. You just love to see what he can get into next, first as an undercover cop, then teaming up with Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto.
When Paul Walker died while they were making Furious 7, I was devastated. In that last scene, I really cried. Like, I shed some “man” tears. I’ve got the whole series downstairs in my basement, and watch it nonstop. Any time I need to watch something fun or funny, or whatever, I go to those movies. I wish they wouldn’t make any more, though. I just don’t think you can do it without Paul Walker. And they ended the last one so well.
Confession: I never saw The Godfather until this summer. My teammate, Terrell Suggs, put me through some serious Godfather shaming. He was quoting lines from the movie and I’m like, Oh, ok, that’s nice, not really picking up on anything.
He just looked at me. “You’ve never seen The Godfather, bro?”
“Dude. Literally, take a weekend and just binge. And you will fall in love.”
So I did. I sat there and went Godfather crazy and watched all of them at once. In the morning, I cooked some pancakes, eggs and bacon, went down to my man cave and while I ate that, watched the first movie. Then I had a few bottles of water and Gatorade — gotta stay hydrated. Later, I made two amazing, giant sandwiches, went back downstairs and popped in number two. Finally, late-night, I ordered sushi and just went H.A.M. on a bunch of rolls and finished up The Godfather: Part III.
I was a changed man.
Things I’ve learned: Keep your friends close, and always listen to Terrell’s movie recs.
I first saw Goodfellas with my best friend, who is Italian-American and so into it. I mean, he had a movie poster autographed by Henry Hill. It’s funny, because his wife, we actually thought her grandpa was in the mob. He had a big, long Lincoln that could fit at least three bodies in the back seat, that slicked-over hairdo, and always wore suits. My friend and I used to joke around that grandpa was either a hitman or foot soldier. I would not mess with that dude.
But back to the movie. It’s great. Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci were phenomenal. Lots of action, and the storyline was amazing.
It’s been a while since I’ve seen it, but like The Godfather, it’s just one of those movies you can put on anytime, but especially if you’re hanging with your crew.
I’ve seen all the Iron Man movies, all the Thor‘s, and all the Captain America’s. I just love superheros. The Avengers has them all, and just puts everything together so beautifully. I’m a huge fan of the Marvel movies, really. I can’t wait until the next ones come out. Wonder Woman, Dead Pool, the new Spiderman. There’s a bunch more, too.
The crazy thing is, for one of my first jobs, me and my buddy worked at Six Flags. He was the Batman and I was the Green Lantern. So when we were in high school, we were actually superheroes. As a kid, I always played that game, “Which superpower would you have?” And for some reason — maybe because he’s big, strong and turns green when he gets mad — I’ve always loved the Hulk and wanted to be him.
I’m a Hulk fan no matter what, even when that terrible Hulk movie came out. You know, the ridiculous first one that had Hulk dogs and his dad tried to make himself a Hulk and then the baby had the traits? It was so far-fetched … but I still watched it so many times. Marvel finally came out with their own version and blew that one out of the water. It’s on my phone, so if I take long trips, I’m watching The Incredible Hulk. And especially before a game. I really do go into Hulk mode when I’m on the field. Well, actually the Hulk and the Juggernaut mixed together. I can run through you and at the same time, if you piss me off, I’m gonna be so much more powerful than the last time.
It’s crazy, because now people are saying, “Bye, Felicia!” and it’s like, do you even know this is from Friday? When you first watched Friday as a kid, you never thought you’d still be watching it twenty years later and everyone would be quoting this one line.
But it’s just a classic, classic movie. You can’t be black and not see Friday. It was the ultimate movie, especially growing up. It came out when I was six or seven, and you had Ice Cube, Chris Tucker and John Witherspoon, who were all just hilarious.
And now, after watching Straight Outta Compton, you realize Ice Cube was writing this not long after he was with N.W.A., and already doing his own stuff. I don’t think Will Smith had even been a major movie star yet. He was still Fresh Prince. So Ice Cube was definitely one of the first to explore outside of the rap game, being a director and doing movies, like 50 Cent.
I love other Quentin Tarantino movies, but Django Unchained is on a whole other level. First, it’s so funny and filled with these great one-liners. Samuel L. Jackson is hysterical, and Jamie Foxx and Leonardo DiCaprio are both amazing in it. The plot is solid. It’s got a little bit of everything.
But I can see how people would be afraid to laugh and think it’s risqué, which is just classic Tarantino. He’s over the top, above and beyond. When he makes a movie, he goes all in. I’m sure his budget is crazy, but whenever I see his movies, I wonder what is going on in his mind. Tarantino’s mindset when he makes these films has to be so off the charts. Like, what made you think of this?
Either way, not complaining. Keep ‘em coming.
This movie has so much action, it feels a like a total dude movie. But it’s also a total AMERICA! film, one of those military, hurrah movies. I actually had the chance to meet the Navy SEAL the movie is based on. He came to our facility and spoke to us. It was incredible.
My dad was in the military, my cousin’s husband is in the military, and one of my good friends from college is in the military, too. It’s crazy what they go through, and then to see this story? You can’t even believe that it actually happened.
It’s not like Zero Dark Thirty, where it starts slow and all the action comes at the end. Lone Survivor is just action upon action upon action. From the go, you’re sucked in.
Again, this is pure action. Pure. Action. These guys are coming together and fighting for what they believe in against an army of millions, and they are kicking butt and taking names. Actually, they’re kicking butt and not really caring what the names are.
There’s some romance and guys walking around with six-pack abs, so there’s something for everyone. And the graphics and animations are just so good and look so amazing — especially the beast and the blood spatters. Oh man! I love it.
It’s the type of movie you take a high school football team to go see the night before a game to get jacked up. It really resonates with players because you go out and leave everything on the field. You’re giving it everything you’ve got.
Of course, after that movie came out, you would just walk up to your friends and kick them, screaming “This is Sparta!” In fact, I still do that, so watch out.
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
For me, Ace Ventura is the number one comedy. Jim Carrey killed this. It’s hilarious. If he came out with another Ace Ventura (Jim, if you’re reading, DO IT), it would slay at the box office because the originals were so good.
And c’mon, everyone knows all those lines …
Another plus: It’s also a sports movie, because it’s about the Miami Dolphins’ mascot getting stolen and … hello! Dan Marino.
You’re gonna have tears from all the laughter. You can’t go wrong.