Phil // Tag

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10 Aug

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11 Jul

“Until we accept the fact that life itself is founded in mystery,
we shall learn nothing.”
— Henry Miller

Phil (Greg Kinnear) is a depressed middle-aged dentist who is still
feeling lonely and sorry for himself after a recent divorce. His attempt to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge is interrupted by some young people passing by who shout that he should just do it. The only reasons he has to go on are a teenage daughter (Megan Charpentier) he wants to connect with and a brother (Jay Duplass) who genuinely cares about him.

“Without mysteries, life would be very dull indeed.
What would be left to strive for if everything were known?”
— Charles de Lint

Like many other middle-aged Americans. Phil is disappointed with his life. When Mr. Fisk (Bradley Whitford), a new patient, comes in and shares his optimistic philosophy of life, the dentist wonders why he can’t achieve the same inner calm. He decides to follow Fisk around to figure out his secrets to happiness. He notices him interacting with his neighbors and enjoying an evening out with his family. Then on a country road, he sees him get out of his car and walk into a forest. Following him, Phil discovers that this man with the seemingly perfect life has hung himself.

“I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma,
a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt
to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.”
— Umberto Eco

Now Phil is really confused! He becomes convinced that if he can just figure out why Fisk killed himself, he can make more sense out of his own life. His obsession with finding answers leads to some outrageous behavior.

Gregg Linnear does double duty as director and the sad lead character who goes on a quest for meaning. The drama becomes somewhat silly when Phil gains access to Fisk’s widow Alicia (Emily Mortimer) by assuming the identity of Spiros, her husband’s friend from years earlier when he was visiting Greece.

Kinnear, always able to convey a depth of emotions, manages to keep the story focused on the spiritual practice of mystery, which is always generous in its embrace.



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16 Jun

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – After last year’s U.S. Open debacle at Shinnecock Hills, where Phil Mickelson received a two-stroke penalty for purposely hitting a moving ball on a green, the five-time major winner had been conspicuously quiet so far this week on the subject of Pebble Beach’s course setup. 

That changed after his third-round 75.

Despite yet again playing himself out of a shot at the only major title that has eluded him during his hall-of-fame career, Mickelson couldn’t have been more complimentary of the USGA on Saturday.

“I’ve got to hand it to the USGA for doing a great setup. It’s the best I’ve ever seen. And it’s identifying the best players. It’s making the players the story,” Mickelson said. “I think the biggest thing was pin placements, instead of putting them right on the edges, they were in good spots, rewarding great shots. I can’t say enough great things about how this week has gone so far. And I’m appreciative to the effort they’ve put in and for the opportunity that I had this week.”


U.S. Open: Full-field scores | Full coverage


It was a refreshing about-face for Mickelson, who hasn’t been shy about his disdain for typical U.S. Open course setups, bashing the USGA as recently as a couple of weeks ago.

“I just think that you’ve got to give credit when they do a good job like this. They’ve done a great job,” he added. “There have been many times where one or two yards difference in hole location would have made a world of difference, given the conditions being so tough. And this week they’ve done a good job in doing that.”

After entering Moving Day at 1 under and in position to make a weekend charge, Mickelson could only muster one birdie on his front nine before he struggling coming home, culminating his round with triple-bogey 8 on the 18th hole.

“I’ll come out tomorrow and play as well as I can. But today was the day I needed to go low. I played well enough to do it. I had many opportunities. Didn’t putt well. Didn’t get them to go in. I left them short the whole time. And then I finished poorly,” he said. “For the most part I really enjoyed this week. I’ve had a lot of fun testing my game, testing myself mentally, my physical game. And it’s been a fun challenge.”

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