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Movie Beat: Kate McKinnon a highlight of “Office Christmas Party”
Dec 10, 2016 | 82 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
© Paramount
© Paramount

Rated R for crude sexual content and language throughout, drug use and graphic nudity

Screenplay by Justin Malen, Laura Solon and Dan Mazer, story by Jon Lucas, Scott Moore and Timothy Dowling  

Directed by Josh Gordon and Will Speck

Starring Jason Bateman, Olivia Munn, T.J. Miller, Jennifer Aniston, Kate McKinnon, Courtney B. Vance and more


I think Hollywood has finally found “Bad Santa’s” good twin.

Of course, whether that’s a good thing depends on whether you prefer to hang out with the good twin or the evil twin. Either way, “Office Christmas Party” is definitely the other half of some raunchy Christmas movie equation I hadn’t known existed, balancing a healthy dose of debauchery with some genuinely good intentions and the sort of hopeful, healing and redemptive arc that Christmas movies are known for. If you ignore the various private parts, it’s actually sort of sweet.

The plot follows a well-meaning but whimsically troublemaking branch manager who has to save his branch from several Christmas layoffs ordered by his sister, the company’s CEO. In order to do that, he and his loyal employees have to land a big client before his sister lands in London. To do that, they decide to throw a killer Christmas party.

The party is the excuse the movie uses to jam in the raunchiness expected in these sort of films, which has the odd effect of corralling it to a certain extent. Yes, the movie does offer a far more detailed look at naked people than I was at all prepared for, but the majority of the debauchery happens in a confined space between people who are very drunk. It’s a justification and a limit to the debauchery, all at once.

(The one exception to this is Kate McKinnon’s HR manager, who is clearly having fun here but feels like she wandered in from a slightly wilder movie. Rather than make me long for that mythical movie, it just gave her that small, extra edge of funny in this one.)

Other aspects of “Office Christmas Party,” however, are exactly what you’d expect to find in any Christmas movie. The scrappy group saving the day against impossible odds. People getting second chances. Family overcoming their differences to come together in the spirit of the season. Despite the setting, many of the tropes are played absolutely straight, which is hardly the most revolutionary filmmaking but ends up surprisingly satisfying to appreciators of the Christmas film genre.

If you’re a “Bad Santa” fan, of course, the movie is probably unbearably tame and therefore uninteresting. If you’re a Hallmark fan, it’s still probably far too wild for you and it’s probably best that you stay away. One of the eternal complaints about anything mid-road is that it’s not committed enough to one extreme or another, and instead comes off as a watered-down version of either.

For some people, though, the best things are found in that balance. If you’re one of those people, you may want to give “Office Christmas Party” a try.

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WX boys aiming to take next step on the hardwoods
Dec 10, 2016 | 26 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Coming off a region championship and a run to the 4A state semifinals, hopes are high surrounding the Woods Cross boys basketball program.

And why shouldn’t there be optimism? The Wildcats went 19-5 a year ago and 10-2 in Region 5. Plus, the team welcomes back leading scorer Trevin Knell, who poured in 21.2 points per game a year ago, as well as third-leading scorer Cameron Allen, who chipped in 10.9 points an outing. 

But don’t tell head coach Kasey Walkenhurst that duplicating last season’s showing is going to be automatic. He’s been around long enough to know each practice and game requires dedication and effort.

“The only way we know to keep the momentum coming off a region championship is to get in the gym and go to work,” he said. “No one is going to hand us another region championship; we have to earn every win. A big challenge we face to repeat is to stay focused on the next game and never look ahead to an opponent. With that target on our back, we are going to get everyone’s best every night, and we must rise to the challenge.”

Walkenhurst said he will lean on his eight seniors for leadership and production. Shooting guard Knell, who signed to play for California, is a known commodity and will draw each opponent’s most tenacious defender. He also said power forward Allen “won’t back down to anyone.” Senior point guard Amadeus Peterson will direct the offense.

As they did last season, the Wildcats figure to beat teams with their excellent three-point shooting and efficiency.

“The strengths of this team is our ability to shoot from the perimeter and the pace at which we can put pressure on the defense at all times,” Walkenhurst said.

The Wildcats opened this season with a 70-59 win over Viewmont, hitting eight three-pointers on the next. Knell drilled six of those long-range shots and tallied 32 points on the night. Senior Trevor Trost added 13 points. However, the Wildcats also allowed 15 three-pointers to Viewmont, something that concerns Walkenhurst.

“This team must make defense a priority and not try to outscore opponents,” he said. “We have the tools to play very good defensively, but we must buy into making it important.”

Last season was successfully overall, though it did end on a sour note with a 70-42 blowout loss to Olympus in the state tournament semifinals. Not surprisingly, Walkenhurst has set the team’s sights on reaching the highest prize. He’s also pleased the team has achieved victories not reflected on the scoreboard.

“The goals for this team are very high,” he said. “We would to compete for another region championship and make a run for a state championship. Success in all sports is different for everyone. Of course, winning makes seasons look successful, but that isn’t always the case. As long as we come together as a team and love each other and be truly happy for each other’s successes, then the wins will come. We are already very successful off the court with a team GPA of 3.85 and will have four Academic All-State guys.”

Woods Cross will play in the Tarkanian Classic in Las Vegas, Nevada, Dec. 16–20. It is one of the top high school basketball tournaments in the country and features some of the best teams in the U.S.

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New season brings new hope for Bountiful boys
Dec 10, 2016 | 84 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print

BOUNTIFUL--Last year’s Bountiful boys basketball team had a tough act to follow. This season, the Braves hope to get back to their winning ways.

After winning the Class 4A crown in 2014 (going 22-6 overall and 10-0 in region games) and in 2013 (by going 26-1 overall and 10-0 in league play), the Braves struggled through last year’s rebuilding season. Bountiful missed the playoffs last season for the first time since 2003 while breaking in a new lineup. 

This season, Bountiful returns a number of contributors from last season, headlined by sophomore Brig Willard. As a freshman, Willard averaged 10.4 points per game to go along with 3.5 rebounds and nearly two assists an outing. He’ll be joined by Cooper Ohlson, Ethan Roundy, and Jadon Chism as returners from last year’s 10-13 squad. 

Seniors Christian Bennett and Cooper Parkinson played sparingly last season but will be counted on for more offense and defense this year as the Braves look to bounce back from their first losing record in 13 years. 

Juniors Garrett Buchanan and Camden Jones and senior Davis Stobble are newcomers to the varsity squad and could lend support off the bench. 

Bountiful will spend the non-region season participating in a trio of tournaments that will serve to help prepare the team for the rigors of Region 5. The Braves took part in the Charger Tournament Dec. 1 and 2. On Dec. 8–10, Bountiful is part of the Utah Elite 8 lineup. Then, on Dec. 16–20, Bountiful heads to Las Vegas to play in the prestigious Tarkanian Classic, a tournament that regularly draws some of the top programs in the Western U.S. and across the country. 

Bountiful finishes up the non-region slate Jan. 3 at home against Viewmont. The first Region 5 game is set for Jan. 6 against Highland. The Braves must finish in the top four in region standings to return to the state tournament. 

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Hit the slopes on the new ski bus
by Becky Ginos
Dec 10, 2016 | 183 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ski bus service from Layton to Snowbasin will begin Dec. 17.
Ski bus service from Layton to Snowbasin will begin Dec. 17.

LAYTON—Pray for snow – then get on the bus. Getting to the slopes will be even easier this ski season as Davis County, Layton City and UTA have teamed up to bring bus service to Snowbasin resort.

“This is the first time bus service has been offered in Davis County,” said Randy Cook, tourism and events manager for the county. “Snowbasin is an iconic resort and a previous site of the 2002 Winter Olympics. Skiing continues to be a growing industry for tourism in Utah. We wanted to create some promotion to have people come up and take advantage of the great snow the resort has.”

The service begins Dec. 17 and runs through April 2, 2017. It leaves the Layton FrontRunner Station in the morning and makes its way to the Layton Hills Mall, the Davis Conference Center, seven Layton area hotels, on to where Antelope Drive meets Hwy 89 Park & Ride; the South Weber Park & Ride then up the canyon to Snowbasin. These are the main stops but there are a few others mixed in along the route.

“People can come in from Salt Lake with their skis, get off FrontRunner and boom, get on the ski bus,” said Cook. “The times are coordinated so there isn’t a long wait.”

“The bus times are set with 10 minutes to spare getting on and off FrontRunner,” said Eddy Cumins UTA Regional General Manger of Mt. Ogden Business Unit. “These are specially equipped ski buses that are set up to hold skis and snowboards. They’re designed for this type of work. There will be a lot of capacity for everyone to ride.”

Cook said completion of roadwork on Antelope Drive and Proposition 1 funds helped bring the ski bus idea to fruition.

“It’s much, much easier for people coming in to ski to go right up,” he said. “With the passing of Prop 1 it gives us funds to offset the operating costs. Before that it was hard to find the funds to make it happen. This particular project qualifies because it falls under transportation and clean air.”

There is already a ski bus to Snowbasin from Ogden but General Manager John Loomis is happy to see the bus implemented in Davis County. 

”Having this service gives us the opportunity to do any number of things,” said Loomis. “It helps take cars off the road and gives us cleaner air along the Wasatch Front. Also, if kids aren’t of driving age, their parents can put them on the bus to come on up. It’s a win-win for everybody, not to mention what it does for Layton City and the county. We’re glad to do our part.”

The price to ride the bus is $4.50 each way, Cumins said. “But Snowbasin is offering season ticket holders a bus pass.”

Cook said participating hotels along the route are also providing room/ski packages for their guests. “This helps keep rooms filled during a slow season for the hotels,” he said. “Our promotion is geared to the out of state travelers primarily in California and the pacific northwest. We want to provide some options for them to stay in Davis County so it becomes their base camp for skiing and other family activities.”

The buses will make a complete run (up and back) twice a day on non-peak days and four times a day on peak days which are weekends and holidays including the week of Dec. 17 – 31, Cumins said. 

“Our other bus (Ogden) has had significant ridership so this is a natural progression,” he said. “It will be good to have Davis County on board. It’s a huge benefit for both visitors and Davis County residents.”

Loomis said although Snowbasin has a good shuttle system, the ski bus makes it convenient to navigate the resort.

“This will offer much easier access to and from the resort,” he said. “Skiers will be dropped right at the front so they don’t have to deal with parking.”

For a complete bus schedule visit and look for 677 Layton Snowbasin Ski Service.

“We’re really excited to see this happen,” said Cook. “We’ve wanted this to come to Davis County for a long time. We started the ball rolling last year and we’re excited to be a partner.”

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VISITORS to the Heritage Museum of Layton. The museum is currently seeking clothing, particularly from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, for a new permanent exhibit.  
Photo by Louise R. Shaw | Davis Clipper
VISITORS to the Heritage Museum of Layton. The museum is currently seeking clothing, particularly from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, for a new permanent exhibit. Photo by Louise R. Shaw | Davis Clipper
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