Marilyn and I continued our New Year's Eve tradition that we have held, with few exceptions, since 1990 (when we went to see "Home Alone"), by taking in an early movie yesterday afternoon.
The movie this year was the much anticipated movie, "Concussion" starring Will Smith as Dr. Bennet Omalu, the Nigerian born pathologist who, while working in the Allegheny County Coroner's office and performing the autopsy on former Pittsburgh Steeler Mike Webster, began his research that led to the discovery of the condition Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).
If you are a football fan, you are well aware of the Pandora's Box that this discovery opened in the world of the NFL in particular and football in general, so I won't go into all of that here. What I will comment upon is the absolutely terrific performance of Will Smith in the role. He should receive a nomination for a Best Actor Academy Award.
Another noteworthy performance in this movie comes from Alec Baldwin as Dr. Julian Bailes. He could be worthy of a Supporting Actor nomination here.
If you are from the Pittsburgh area, you will get a kick out of the portrayal of Dr. Cyril Wecht by Albert Brooks. The movie does take some dramatic liberties by tying Wecht's legal difficulties to Omalu's research, but as someone once said about another film, "it's a movie, not a documentary". And speaking of Pittsburgh, the movie offers some fabulous views and scenes of the Pittsburgh - Heinz Field, Mt. Washington, the Hill District, the Coroner's Office on Ross Street, even a scene on Wexford Run road, not very far from my own home!
One thing for sure, the NFL does not come out looking good in this movie. I doubt very much that Roger Goodell or Dan and Art Rooney have paid to see this one. Also, one very prominent Pittsburgh area neurosurgeon, who still stands on the Steelers sideline during games, I believe, also comes off looking, well, shall we say, not so good. I won't put his name here, but if you are from Pittsburgh, you will recognize it.
Very good movie, and a tour de force for Will Smith. Worth seeing just for his performance alone.
Oh, and speaking of that New Year's Eve tradition of ours, we did indeed stop at the drive-through for a bucket of Kentucky fried Chicken after the movie.