21

April

Last Day At Lambeau Premieres: Kris Burke’s Review

"Last Day At Lambeau" premiered on April 18 at the 2012 Wisconsin Film Festival in Madison, WI

It’s been nearly four years, but the memories came rushing back like they were yesterday.

That sums up what was going through my head while viewing “Last Day At Lambeau” at the Wisconsin Film Festival on April 18 at Monona Terrace in Madison. It’s a film I honestly have been looking forward to seeing since the first teaser hit the internet months ago.

To give a brief synopsis of the film, it documents the fall of Brett Favre through the eyes of a Packer fan. Director Michael Neelsen grew up in Wisconsin and was raised a Packer fan and idolized Favre like so many Wisconsin youth at the time. It’s this same personal attachment to Favre that the director had that makes the film so powerful.

The film truly had it all. At the beginning, brief highlights of Favre’s time as a Packer are shown and then the film delves right into Favre’s final game at Lambeau as a member of the Packers—the 2008 NFC Championship Game against the New York Giants.

We all know how that game ended. Favre’s final pass was intercepted and the Giants won the NFC title in overtime, slamming shut the doors on the Packers’ Cinderella season and Favre’s career in green and gold.

What the film showed at this point was something I never really considered, mainly due to my disgust (which still lingers to this day) over the loss: Cheesehead TV’s Brian Carriveau points out a photo surveying the field from behind Favre on that fateful play—every receiver had some kind of cushion as Favre dropped back….except the one he tried to throw to.

The film also raised a valid point many of us didn’t realize at the time, perhaps blinded by the good thoughts of Favre’s early career. Favre was becoming an increasingly bad quarterback in cold weather. With the NFC title game in sub-zero temperatures, perhaps it really shouldn’t be that surprising that the Packers lost.

We know what happens next. Any Packer fan old enough at the time remembers how the whole Favre retirement and then un-retirement saga played out in that spring and summer.

16

April

Last Day at Lambeau: Kris Burke’s Review Preview

Last Day at Lambeau Film

Last Day at Lambeau Premieres April 18, 2012, Wisconsin Film Festival

The man’s been retired for over a full year now and yet we can’t stop talking about him.

I speak, of course, of one Brett Lorenzo Favre.  With him finally (hopefully) settled into his post-football life, most would think eventually he’d fade from the spotlight.

That hasn’t been the case.  He was rumored multiple times this past season as a mid-season replacement for an injured starter whether it was in Houston, Kansas City or Miami.  Whether not he is officially on Twitter has even become a hot point for debate.  It seems like there is no escaping Favre even when he isn’t (supposedly) actively seeking the spotlight.

Which brings me to filmmaker Michael Neelsen’s new film “Last Day at Lambeau.”  The film chronicles Favre’s divorce from the Green Bay Packers and its aftermath, and it is currently a topic of discussion amongst Packer fans all over the internet.

Our own Al Bracco received an advance copy of the film and already shared his thoughts.  I have yet to see the film, but I will be attending its ‘world premiere’ this Wednesday at the Wisconsin Film Festival on the UW campus in Madison.

I will be sharing my thoughts in a review after I see the film, but I thought I’d get my thoughts on the whole Favre saga on paper before seeing “Last Day at Lambeau” and explain what I hope to gain from it.  In my review, we’ll see if my view of things change but here’s where I stand at the present time.

My views likely will vary a bit from Al’s.  When Favre became the Packers starting quarterback, I was nine years old.  Like a lot of boys, I spent time with friends playing football either at recess or in the backyard.  Up until that point, the Packers were beyond awful.  My earliest Packer memories are of Lindy Infante as the head coach and they were bad (the 1989 season doesn’t register as I was six years old, sorry).

Most boys would pretend they were someone when playing football.  For me, it was John Elway up to that point.  The Packers were pathetic and everyone else was crazy for Elway, Joe Montana or Randal Cunningham. It just wasn’t “cool” to a lot of kids to be a Packer fan at that point.

8

April

Surviving Sunday: Packers News, Notes and Links for the Football Deprived

Surviving Sundays With No Packers Football

Surviving Sundays With No Packers Football

This news about Aaron Rodgers being in the final eight to make the cover of the new Madden video game upset me. No, it didn’t make me angry because I believe in some silly Madden curse and worry about Rodgers breaking his leg or turning into Mark Sanchez, it angered me because Madden isn’t as fun for me as it used to be. I don’t want the QB for my favorite NFL team as the poster boy for a video game that never really does anything to improve year in and year out besides make roster updates.

Before I get to Packers news and links, allow me to pontificate a bit on this topic:

Maybe it’s because I’m 30 years old and growing out of mashing buttons on a controller, but I need more depth in my video games than what Madden offers. Yes, the bells and whistles of Madden are nice and I still buy it every year, but I always feel empty after playing it. The game looks like football. It sounds like football. It’s supposed to be football. But it doesn’t feel like football.

I want to do more in a football video game than just find a few plays that typically work and try to exploit the game’s artificial intelligence. I need player ratings to actually matter, even ratings for interior offensive linemen and backup linebackers. I need an opponent that realistically reacts to my playcalling, allowing me to set up future play calls or adjust on the fly to my opponent’s new strategy. I need realistic statistics and results, not every game ending 45-41 and defensive ends totaling 30 sacks per season.

To be fair, Madden has gotten better in these areas over the last five years. But it’s nowhere near perfect. Perfection may never be achieved, at least in my jaded eyes, but there are football games that come close, much closer than Madden, anyway.

The top two for my money are Front Office Football and Action PC Football. Before explaining why, I need to warn you that both are text-based simulations. This means there are no fancy HD graphics and theater-quality sound effects that make you feel like you’re in an NFL stadium. No button-mashing is required to complete passes or recover a fumble, either. Yet both games feel much more like football than any version of Madden I’ve played.

7

April

CheeseheadRadio News 04-05-12: Last Day at Lambeau

Weekly Green Bay Packers News from Twitter and other Sources by Al Bracco and Jayme Joers (As heard on Cheesehead Radio – 04/05/12 ).

To listen to the show, click on the play button below:

Listen to internet radio with Cheesehead Radio on Blog Talk Radio

Al:  Well, it looks like someone bought Ted Thompson a new alarm clock. While Ted normally spends this time of year sleeping through the free agency alarm, this year he has been wide awake and paying attention. As a result, there are three new Packers in town. Center Jeff Saturday was the first to sign on the dotted line, as Ted brought him in to replace Scott Wells while at the same time, saving almost $2million per year.

Jayme: Next up was defensive lineman Dan Muir. The former Packers undrafted free agent was with the Colts the last four years and signed a 1 year deal with Green Bay for $700,000.  Then in perhaps the most surprising move, The Packers signed defensive lineman Tony Hargrove, who was brought in at $825,000 for the year. Considering Pat Lee got $680,000 from the Raiders, Ted did very well here.

Al: Nick Collins met with his doctors on Monday to discuss the results of a barrage of tests he underwent the week before. Nothing has been discussed publicly except to say that Collins will be meeting with the Packers next week and that according to his agent, Collins “looks and feels great.”

Jayme:  Could Donald Driver mania soon be sweeping across the country? After three weeks on Dancing with the Stars, Quickie and his partner, Peta Murgatroyd have seen both their popularity and their scores rising each week. After being in danger of getting voted off the first week with a score of 21, they have improved with scores of 24 and 26, and have been getting rave reviews from judges and fans alike.

Al:  I can’t help to marvel at the NFL marketing machine. These geniuses can make even the most insignificant happenings something fans salivate over. By leaking info and spacing out announcements, they keep NFL fans aching for news all offseason. This week it was the new uniforms and then the preseason schedule they teased fans with. Speaking of the Packers preseason schedule, they will be going all AFC, starting with San Diego in a nationally televised game and followed by the Browns, the Bengals and the Chiefs.

3

April

Last Day at Lambeau: A Film Review

Last Day at Lambeau Film

Last Day at Lambeau Premieres April 18, 2012, Wisconsin Film Festival

When I first heard about the film project called “Last Day at Lambeau,” my initial reaction was, WHY? Why re-open Packers fans’ wounds when the scars have been healing so nicely? After watching the film, I learned the answer to that question (but we’ll get to that a bit later).

I received an advance press copy of the film in the mail last week. I resisted the temptation to watch it right away, instead deciding to wait for the weekend, when I would have more time to devote to it and watch it more than once, if needed (I watched it twice).

Saturday night came along and the time to watch had arrived. I popped the DVD into my DVD player with a certain level of trepidation. I didn’t really need to go back there, and was sure I knew everything there was to know about the events of that offseason.  I was wrong on both counts.

The name of the film is quite catchy, but doesn’t give the film justice, as this documentary covers the entire period from Favre’s last game as a Packer to his last season with the Vikings (specifically, his final game at Lambeau).

The film makes heavy use of interviews with media members, bloggers and fans in Green Bay who lived and breathed the situation. For someone who doesn’t live in Wisconsin, it helped to give me, for the first time, a true feeling for what it must have been like. Only now can I begin to truly comprehend thn emotional toll these events took on the citizens of Green Bay.

The film opens with some conversations with young autograph seekers outside of Lambeau Field, showing off their collections of cards and items players had given them. It sets the tone for the adulation these players receive in Green Bay, but soon after that, we are painfully re-living Favre’s last completion as a Packer – to Corey Webster of the Giants. And then all hell broke loose.

What follows is a detailed chronological examination of the Brett Favre retirement saga, in the poignant and reflective words of local media members, juxtaposed with the emotional reaction of fans.