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 new 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.
Kicking things off with Watchlist No. 1 is Cardinals wide receiver (and armchair detective) Michael Floyd.
Law & Order: SVU
SVU is my go-to, definitely, but I’m a big fan of really all crime-solving TV shows. Law & Order, Forensic Files, First 48 — if there’s a crime, and it’s getting solved, I’m in. You know how everyone has their, like, TV comfort food — that first thing they’ll pop on, without even thinking? That’s mine.
I just like the whole rhythm of it: the crime; the investigation; the evidence; the people who could be involved, and how they interrogate them; the suspects who turn out to be innocent; and then, finally, the twist, which leads to catching who’s guilty at the end. Every episode has specific beats. There’s a flow to it.
And people might think that once you’ve watched an episode, and have seen the crime solved, that you can’t re-watch that episode. But it actually couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve seen every SVU episode multiple times. It doesn’t matter. It’s always like you’re watching it for the first time.
My favorite character on SVU is Olivia Benson. She has a really interesting, fleshed-out back story, which I like. Certain things have happened to her — and when she sees something in a case that reminds her of her past, she gets really into it, really personally involved. Overall, she’s just smart and tough and good at her job. Sometimes, to solve a case, she has to take matters into her own hands. Not everyone likes it. But usually it works out.
When I want to laugh, it’s no contest — I’ll put on Martin. Martin is the funniest show ever, period. Sometimes they’ll have marathons of it on, and I’ll watch the whole thing. Honestly, there should be a Martin Channel.
And I just love Martin Lawrence in general. Bad Boys, Bad Boys 2 and Blue Streak are all classics. The way he made the transition into action, while still keeping it hilarious, and still keeping his core appeal — that’s something few actors can do.
As far as something new I’m getting into, I’d say Ballers is pretty good. The Rock is doing a good job, playing an interesting character, making it work. And with the way he’s exploded lately, in all media, and being a huge movie star, it’s cool to see him on TV.
Some of Ballers is not always accurate, to be honest. They go overboard sometimes. Just the way, you know, they’ll be down in Miami, having a good time, over and over, every night. Guys in the league have a good time, definitely — but it’s usually for a celebration, a holiday or something. You don’t see a lot of guys doing that on a weekday, and especially not during the season.
As for the athlete performances on Ballers: I would just say that, as a whole, you know, acting is a gift. So it’s not the best, us athletes, our acting. But for them to get the gig is pretty cool. Let me put this diplomatically: they’re very good at football.
Shooter is a movie from one of my favorite genres: M.W.G.I.D. — Mark Wahlberg Getting It Done. What’s “It”? Don’t worry about that. It’s done.
The Land Before Time
It’s kind of corny, but let’s do a throwback. I must have watched The Land Before Time 100 times back in the day. It’s a movie that really shows you a little of what life was like when dinosaurs were on the land. But at the same time, the dinosaurs are basically kids — and so, in a way, they still do normal kid-things, and get into kid-adventures. So it’s like a dinosaur movie and a kids movie, rolled into one. And when you’re a little kid, that’s a tough combination to beat.
Not too many people know about it because it’s from a few years ago, but one of my favorite movies is The Hurricane. It’s based on a true story: Denzel Washington plays Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, a boxer in the 1960s — a time in our country when the Civil Rights Movement was happening, and racism was huge. And just as Hurricane was coming up as a boxer, they placed a murder on him that he didn’t commit. And race played a big part of it. At the end, after 20 years in prison, it’s found that he’s not guilty, and he gets out of prison. So in a way it’s a happy ending, but at the same time, it’s bittersweet. It ruined his whole life.
And one thing about The Hurricane is that it still resonates today. You could easily compare that movie to our current state as a country. You see stuff like that happening, even now, all the time. And you see that racism hasn’t gone away. You want to think, watching something like The Hurricane, “Okay, this is an older movie, it’s set in a different time and place from 2015.” But in many ways it isn’t. And that’s a powerful reminder of how difficult racism is to get rid of, and how much work still has to be done.
The Hurricane is a good example of the kind of sports movie I like. I like sports movies that are, you know, more than sports movies. That are about something bigger. That are about life, in a way.
Ali, with Will Smith, is another example of that. You know how some teams, or players, like to motivate themselves before a game by watching a video? For me, I’ll put on the last scene of Ali. That’s the “Rumble in the Jungle” scene — where Ali, even though he’s the older fighter, knocks out George Foreman and regains the Heavyweight Championship. And the ending is Ali, triumphant, raising his gloves in slow motion.
Will Smith does a great job with it. You can see on his face, just, all of the history, all of the different things that led up to that moment: his athleticism, his charisma, his leadership, his drive. It makes me feel ready to go out and play. It makes me want to compete.
And it’s cool, because after I saw the movie, I got obsessed with that scene, and I went on YouTube to watch the actual fight. And it’s identical. They nailed it. So to see it really happened that way just gets me even more motivated.
Hitch / Focus
Will Smith, as an actor, can do it all. I’ve already mentioned Bad Boys and Ali. But to me he’s good in everything. In Hitch, even though it’s a comedy, he is able to bring that signature smoothness and cool. It’s impressive. More recently, in Focus, which is a totally different movie, he shows he’s still got it. He’s as cool as ever.
Enemy of the State
And then — Enemy of the State, man, that’s another excellent Will Smith movie. Enemy of the State is crazy. That movie came out in 1998. And if you watch it now, you realize how much it was ahead of its time. All of the different uses of the Internet, that underground kind of stuff, tapping people’s phone, and the little gadgets they use to monitor everyone — all of that CIA / NSA stuff, which is in the news in 2015, is in this movie from the ‘90s. It’s wild. They’ll, like, be looking for someone, and they’ll find them immediately — and it will be because of some satellite in the sky, sending some signal, and connecting with, you know, a random thing in someone’s shoe. It’s crazy. It’s like watching the future.
The Devil Wears Prada
This one isn’t in my usual lane, but listen: I’ve seen The Devil Wears Prada multiple times. It’s a great movie. I like it for a bunch of reasons, but most of all because I can relate to the relationships between a lot of the characters in it.
It’s a movie that shows what it’s like to be on the go all the time. Anne Hathaway’s character has a job that she wants, but at the same time, it’s a job that, you know, interrupts certain relationships in her life. Her relationships with her boyfriend, with her friends, and so on, all change — because she’s just always on the go. And I can relate, because I’ve experienced that with my own friends from college.
I’m sure most people experience that. Just in the way that you used to be so close during school, but then some of your friends get demanding jobs, and you get a demanding job, and they’re all ongoing, all the time, and you don’t really get to talk as much. And things are going great, but, at the same time, you can lose contact a little. Anne Hathaway’s character goes through that, but in a way that isn’t overdone. She just gets so caught up in her job, and the life of the fashion industry, that for a while she loses touch with some people.
Her relationship with Meryl Streep’s character is also great. At first you think Meryl Streep will be a villain in the movie, but it turns out that she isn’t one at all. She just has to put up a sort of front, as an authority figure — a certain look she has to put out there to people, to do her job.
And their relationship, to me — in a lot of ways, it’s like having a new coach. A new coach wants to be really tough on you in the beginning. But as time passes, and you form your relationship with them, a level of trust evolves. And then you start to develop an understanding.
My second year in the league, I had Bruce Arians as a new head coach. And, you know, his offense was really tough for me at first. It’s an offense where you’re always on the go. It doesn’t matter how far you’re going downfield — you’ve gotta be up for the next play. So it was really challenging in the beginning, and took getting used to.
But then as I got to know Coach Arians, and got more comfortable in his offense, and developed that understanding — all of a sudden things started to click more, and kind of settled down. Settled in. And now he’s one of my favorite coaches I’ve ever had. Does that make Coach my Meryl Streep? Yeah, let’s go with that. I guess it does.