THE AUTHOR

Ian Casselberry is a freelance writer, currently based in Asheville, NC. He is an editor at The Comeback and Awful Announcing

Previously, he has been a contributing writer for Yahoo! Sports' Big League Stew, MLive.com and SB Nation. In addition, he was a lead baseball writer for Bleacher Report. 

You can also find him on Twitter and Facebook, where he craves your attention.

He still plans to write that novel someday. 

("Pearls Before Swine" © 2005 Stephan Pastis)
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Sunday
Apr162017

The last 10 films I've seen 

Does summer begin in March? That seems to be the case at the movies with four releases that feel like summer blockbusters. Ghost in the Shell, which I surprisingly have not seen, was a significant flop. Maybe it would have done better in the summer? Probably not. But Wolverine, King Kong and Power Rangers movies all feel like something you'd see in theaters during June or July. 

Inspired by the fun feature that Film Comment killed in its magazine, here are the last 10 films I've seen as of April 13, 2017.

Gifted - Marc Webb, 2017
Trainspotting - Danny Boyle, 1997
Going in Style - Zach Braff, 2017
Power Rangers - Dean Israelite, 2017
Kong: Skull Island - Jordan Vogt-Roberts, 2017
Logan - James Mangold, 2017
The Wrestler - Darren Aronofsky, 2008
A Cure For Wellness - Gore Verbinski, 2017
The Great Wall - Yimou Zhang, 2017

For a guy fortunate enough to get paid for writing about movies, I probably didn't do a good enough job of it in February by whiffing on The Great Wall and A Cure For Wellness. Neither was a very good movie, but both were worth writing about. Hopefully, I got better at that in March. 

Monday
Feb132017

The last 10 films I've seen 

How hard is it to post recurring lists of the movies I've seen? Difficult enough, apparently. I can see why I may have zoned out during the summer, one of the worst I can remember at the movies, especially since I started writing about movies — even as a hobby. 

But as far as the rest of the year, when most of the awards contenders hit theaters? I have no good excuse, other than just forgetting about it. And there were plenty of movies I enjoyed like Moonlight, Manchester by the Sea and Hell or High Water, each of which were on my best of 2016 list

Film Comment appears to have stopped their "Last 10 Films I've Seen," which was easily my favorite feature each month. Maybe too many people were just looking at that list and skipping the rest of the magazine. But I'll do what I can to keep it alive! These are the last 10 movies I've seen of Feb. 12, 2017

John Wick: Chapter 2 - Chad Stahelski, 2017
Crimson Peak - Guillermo Del Toro, 2015
The LEGO Batman Movie - Chris McKay, 2017
John Wick - Chad Stahelski and David Leitch, 2014
Unbreakable - M. Night Shyamalan, 2000
Split - M. Night Shyamalan, 2017
Patriots Day - Peter Berg, 2016
Live By Night - Ben Affleck, 2016
A Monster Calls - J.A. Bayona, 2016
Hidden Figures - Theodore Melfi, 2016

One of the frustrating things about not living in a major media market, especially at the end of the year, is not getting a look at some films until they open nationwide. If I'd had a chance to see A Monster Calls or Patriots Day when film critics and writers in larger cities got to, I'm rather certain I would have included them on my best movies of the year list. Patriots Day probably would have been in my top three. Alas...

Sunday
Aug072016

The week's writes and reads, 08-07-16

So how everyone's been doing? How's your summer gone so far? Enjoyed your trips and vacations? The searing heat throughout the country? 

Yet again, we try to blow out the cobwebs, open the windows and let some fresh air into this blog and website. Back in April, I was promoted to more of a lead editor role at The Comeback, overseeing our longer feature content. It's been fun and fulfilling, but I'm a lot busier on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, that's kind of affected my writing output (especially with baseball), and also left me too fried to remember posting even a weekly writing/reading update here at The Casselbloggy. 

But now that we're beginning August and the summer is sort of winding down (a reality that was always depressing as a kid), I'm going to try yet again to keep this thing somewhat active — and hopefully with more than just weekly updates of what I wrote and read each week.

Really, I should start a newsletter, right? That's the thing to do these days. Although do you need one more newsletter in your email inbox? And really, something needs to update this site. 

Thanks for checking in. And I hope I can include some writing here, especially with the presidential campaign having about three months to go. For now, here's what I wrote and enjoyed reading this week.

WRITTEN:

Monday
The Night Of episode 4 recap: The Art of War - The Comeback
Big 12 expansion not so appealing to ESPN and Fox Sports as TV partners - Awful Announcing

Tuesday
Being Bret Bielema moving from digital video series to ESPNU - Awful Announcing

Wednesday
Hawk Harrelson and Steve Stone talk it out, all is good on White Sox telecasts - Awful Announcing
IOC gives media web tool to report press freedom violations in Rio - Awful Announcing

Thursday
Mr. Robot season 2, episode 5 recap: The if/then moment - The Comeback
ESPN usage of Olympics video footage restricted until NBC daily coverage ends - Awful Announcing

Friday
Suicide Squad wastes great concept by being a two-hour trailer, not a movie - The Comeback
Darren Rovell signs new contract with ESPN, had talks with CNBC - Awful Announcing
UFC champ Tyron Woodley joining cast of Spider-Man: Homecoming - Awful Annoucning

Saturday
ESPN's 2016 college football theme is "Collider" by X Ambassadors and Tom Morello - Awful Announcing

READ:

** I think I already knew this, but cargo shorts are frowned upon? This is a staple of my wardrobe for three-quarters of the year, living in North Carolina. "Socially acceptable sweatpants"! [Wall Street Journal]

** Kim Masters always does great work with her investigative features. No one is likely surprised by this piece on the Suicide Squad production, filled with corporate fear and interference. [The Hollywood Reporter]

** This is a really cool multimedia piece on Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte and a technique in the freestyle that's been a key to his success. [New York Times]

** So how bad a week did Donald Trump have? So bad. [NPR]

** Amanda Waller (played by Viola Davis) may be the best character in Suicide Squad. So how was she created? Here's her DC Comics history. [Vulture]

** I was not a fan of Jason Bourne, but Devindra Hardawar highlights another problematic aspect of the movie: It gets tech totally wrong. [Engadget]

** This might be because I live around a lot of old people, but I hear a lot about knee, back and hip surgeries that didn't work. The back ones, especially, probably weren't necessary. [New York Times]

Wednesday
Jun292016

The last 10 films I've seen 

Is it too early to say I've seen what could be my pick for best movie of the year? I'd be surprised if The Lobster is not at least in my top three. It might be too weird for a lot of people, but this is one of the most clever commentaries on modern relationships and coupling ever put on screen. Kind of amazing it got made, though Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz may have had something to do with that. 

Just like Film Comment does each month with two directors, these are the last 10 films I saw as of June 26, 2016.

Weiner - Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg, 2016
Free State of Jones - Gary Ross, 2016
The Shallows - Jaume Collet-Serra, 2016
Independence Day: Resurgence - Roland Emmerich, 2016
Central Intelligence - Rawson Marshall Thurber, 2016
The Lobster - Yorgos Lanthimos, 2016
Begin Again - John Carney, 2013
X-Men: Apocalypse - Bryan Singer, 2016
The Meddler - Lorene Scafaria, 2016
The Nice Guys - Shane Black, 2016

Weiner will probably also be on that year-end top 10 list, and I'm mad at myself for not writing a review about it. What a squandered opportunity for a politician who had a chance to be a rock star in the Democratic party. Shoulda kept it in your pants, Congressman. 

I also wish I'd have written a review on The Nice Guys, which was one of my most anticipated movies of the year but felt like a letdown to me. Maybe I was expecting too much, but I was disappointed. 

Saturday
May212016

The last 10 films I've seen 

What a weird time for movies. Is there such a thing as the "summer season" anymore, now that blockbusters like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice are opening in March? Captain America: Civil War was soon to follow in May. As a movie (and comic book superhero movie) fan, I'm not complaining. There are so many of these things now that they need to be spread around the calendar.

Inspired by Film Comment's monthly lists, here are the last 10 films I've seen (with links to reviews I wrote), as of May 21, 2016. 

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising - Nicholas Stoller, 2016
The Hurt Locker - Kathryn Bigelow, 2008
Money Monster - Jodie Foster, 2016
Sing Street - John Carney, 2016
Captain America: Civil War- Joe and Anthony Russo, 2016
Everybody Wants Some - Richard Linklater, 2016
Hologram for the King - Tom Tykwer, 2016
Purple Rain - Albert Magnoli, 1984
The Jungle Book - Jon Favreau, 2016
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - Zack Snyder, 2016

A bittersweet event in theaters was the re-release of Purple Rain. While it was fun to see — and hear — on the big screen, the occasion only occurred because of Prince's surprising death. I was grateful for the opportunity to write about it, though. 

Looking back at the past couple months, I'm surprised I didn't write a review for Sing Street, a movie I absolutely loved. Dropped the ball there. Go see it if you have a chance. You have no soul or memory of adolescence if you don't like that movie. 

Sunday
Apr172016

The week's writes and reads, 04-17-16 

With The People v. O.J. Simpson over, I was asked to recap and review Ken Burns' Jackie Robinson documentary for Awful Announcing, which I loved doing. (Even if staying up to watch four hours of TV and trying to get those responses written for the morning was kind of a grind. Hey, it was only for this week.)

Speaking of O.J. Simpson, one of my radio appearances this week was on TSN 1260 in Edmonton to talk about ESPN's upcoming O.J.: Made in America documentary and look back at The People v. O.J. Simpson. Happy to be on the O.J. beat. 

I guess my Jackie Robinson articles can count as my baseball writing for the week, since editing work has kept me writing much about the 2016 MLB season since it began. I'm hoping to change that this upcoming week, especially since I'm on the radio to talk about baseball. In addition to my spots on ESPN Asheville, I made these three appearances this week. 

Marty & Miller Show, 1700 KGBB, Des Moines - Tuesday (04-12, Hour 3, 19:09 mark)
The Dave Jamieson Show, TSN 1260, Edmonton - Tuesday (33:04 mark)
The Huddle with Greg McKinney, ESPN Upstate, Greenville, SC - Thursday (14:40 mark) 

And here are the links to my writing and articles I thought were notable from the past week. Thank you, as always, for checking in!

WRITTEN:

Sunday
Sportswriter David Walsh's story shows media dilemma in Lance Armstrong film The Program - Awful Announcing

Monday
Pete Rose really will write anything on a baseball, apologizes for shooting JFK - Awful Announcing
ESPN's Adam Schefter says he has no regrets over Greg Hardy interview - Awful Announcing
Political ads are coming to Fox Sports regional baseball telecasts near you - Awful Announcing
Watch: New Suicide Squad trailer has more Harley Quinn, Joker and... Batman? - The Comeback

Tuesday
In Part 1, Ken Burns' Jackie Robinson film defines the man, not the baseball icon - Awful Announcing
Dancing With the Stars, week 4: Antonio Brown breaks through, Doug Flutie in danger - The Comeback

Wednesday
In Part 2, Ken Burns' Jackie Robinson film focuses on battle for equality - Awful Announcing
Watch: Doctor Strange teaser trailer takes Marvel movies to dark, mysterious place - The Comeback

Thursday
Wizards fans think Ted Leonsis didn't go far enough in firing Randy Wittman - The Comeback
What a joker! Jared Leto sent anal beads, used condoms to Suicide Squad cast - The Comeback
New Spider-Man film titled Spider-Man: Homecoming, eyes Michael Keaton for villain - The Comeback

Friday
The Jungle Book is a delight, with spectacular visuals and great voice work - The Comeback

READ:

-- Stephen King argues against more protective netting at baseball games. Maybe I'd feel differently if I had great dugout seats, but I'm in favor of more netting to protect fans in the stands. [Boston Globe]

-- How does NPR survive (and appease affiliate stations) in the age of podcasts, when so much audio programming can be heard online and through mobile devices on demand? [Slate]

-- With every baseball team embracing analytics, where is the new advantage to be found? Is it in health, recovery and injury prevention? [Sports Illustrated]

-- Italy and France are having a tiff over pasta carbonara. I wish I could have a dog in this fight. Mmm... carbs. [New Yorker]

-- Pasta is apparently a theme this week. A pastafarian wedding, anyone? Maybe I just need a plate of spaghetti or Pad See Ew. [NPR]

-- Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski became a TV phenomenon in 2014. Are they boosting figure skating's popularity? [SB Nation]

-- Some of David Foster Wallace's best writing was about tennis. [New Yorker]

Thursday
Mar172016

The last 10 films I've seen

I'm trying to keep something current on this here website, even if it's just a list of movies I've watched recently (inspired by Film Comment's regular feature at the beginning of each month's magazine).

Doing weekly reviews for ESPN Asheville (1310 and 970 AM, and 97.3 FM locally) every Wednesday will at least keep me going to the movies regularly. And helping with a little content here. 

With that, here are the last 10 films I've seen (with links to reviews I wrote), as of March 15, 2016. 

The Program - Stephen Frears, 2016 
Guardians of the Galaxy - James Gunn, 2014 
10 Cloverfield Lane - Dan Trachtenberg, 2016
Triple 9 - John Hillcoat, 2016
Eddie the Eagle - Dexter Fletcher, 2016
The Witch - Robert Eggers, 2016
Race - Stephen Hopkins, 2016
Deadpool - Tim Miller, 2016
Hail, Caesar! - Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, 2016
The Finest Hours - Craig Gillespie, 2016

Not much "recreational" movie watching this time around, as almost everything I watched was for a review, other than another viewing of Guardians of the Galaxy while cruising Starz on cable. And we're getting to the time of year when I'll be watching baseball in the evenings, so that might be the case for a few months. 

Sunday
Feb212016

The week's writes and reads, 02-21-16

This past week was probably one of the slowest on the sports calendar. Maybe most of us should have just taken a vacation, rather than try to wring water from a stone. But it was also the week baseball players began to report for spring training, so with little else to talk about, that got a few radio stations and podcasts calling me up.

That includes my debut on ESPN Upstate, the ESPN Radio affiliate in Greenville, S.C. I don't know if that will result in a regular gig or not (and might depend on how much people want to talk about the Atlanta Braves), but it's always fun to talk to someone new, especially when it's practically a local show. Here are some audio links, if you'd like to listen:

Marty & Miller Show, 1700 KGBB, Des Moines - Tuesday (02-16, Hour 2, 37:20 mark)
Maximus & The Bartender, XERSradio.com - Tuesday (59.55 mark)
The Huddle with Greg McKinney, ESPN Upstate, Greenville, SC - Friday 

And these are the links for this week's notable writing and reading. My thanks to you for stopping by! 

WRITTEN:

Monday
Better Call Saul and the 10 best spinoffs in TV history - The Comeback
Peyton Manning is highly in demand by networks wanting him for analyst role - Awful Announcing
Holly Rowe details surgery and treatment for cancer, eyes return at end of February - Awful Announcing
LeBron James endorsement on Twitter worth $165,000 in value - Awful Announcing

Wednesday
The People v. O.J. Simpson recap: The best defense money can buy - The Comeback

Thursday
Serial recap: Where were you gonna go, Bowe? - The Comeback

Friday
Race pays tribute to Jesse Owens legend, but story takes on too much - The Comeback
The Witch unnerves with quiet terror, but could bore those looking for scares - The Comeback

READ:

-- Sylvester Stallone will probably be the best moment of the 2016 Oscars, if — when — he wins Best Supporting Actor and gets a great victory lap for his career. [NY Times]

-- "How does TMZ get this stuff?" The deep network of sources the tabloid site has built up, largely with generous payouts for tips and leaks, is impressive. "Everybody rats everybody else out." [New Yorker]

-- During a time when we see as divided politically as ever, the friendship between Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg could teach us some lessons about respecting one another's views. [Washington Post]

-- I've been a longtime fan of John Dickerson for his work at Slate, which has always been thoughtful, insightful and witty. Glad to see him get his moment as host of CBS' Face the Nation during this election. [NY Times]

-- Don Van Natta and Seth Wickersham have been doing great work for ESPN, the latest example being this account of the Rams moving back to Los Angeles. [ESPN The Magazine]

-- I go back and forth on Matt Taibbi, respecting his boldness and aggressiveness while also cringing because he seems to enjoy being a jerk. But he has some great points about fans and media caring about sports more than politics and current events. [The Cauldron]