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The '99 FIFA Women's World Cup named IOC VP ANITA DEFRANTZ to the Women's World Cup Board of Directors (Women's World Cup)....WRIGHT WALTERS resigned as Southern Conference Commissioner. He has headed the conference for the past six-and-a-half years (NEWS & RECORD, 1/8). ...MICHAEL CRAWFORD will handle Marketing & PR for the Kelley Racing team for the '98 IRL season (Kelley Racing).
Lions LB REGGIE BROWN, almost paralyzed last month in a game against the Jets, gives his first in-depth interview on Sunday's "Dateline NBC" (N.Y. POST, 1/9)....Cavs Owner GORDON GUND is profiled by LEIGH MONTVILLE in SI. Cavs legal counsel RICHARD WATSON, on Gund: "He's a hero every day. You know why he's a hero? Because he doesn't have to be a hero. He doesn't have to do everything he does to feed his family and educate his children. He could stay home and have someone read books to him every day. He does all this because he wants to do it" (SI, 1/12)....DEAN SCHOENEWALD, who runs TN-based Mascot Mania, has signed with the William Morris Agency to develop a sitcom and a movie based on mascot school (SI, 1/12)....WPVA pro LIZ MASAKAYAN presented a motivational speech and conducted a volleyball clinic for approximately 200 middle and high school students yesterday at Hempstead H.S. on Long Island, N.Y., as part of the "Meet a Champion" youth sports clinic program developed by CIBC Oppenheimer Corp. and the Women's Sports Foundation (WPVA).
"Firestorm," the Twentieth Century Fox release starring HOWIE LONG in his first leading role, opens nationally today. The film has generally received poor reviews and reaction to Long's performance is decidedly mixed. THE GOOD: In Boston, Jay Carr writes Long "has as good a chance as anybody to step into" the post-Schwarzenegger and Stallone action gap. Long is "in great shape, never lets a lot of acting get in the way, and projects a cartoony nice-guy quality. In short, a highly likable and salable package" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/9). In Dallas, Jane Sumner writes that Long "won't win any acting awards, but the affable hunk is appealing -- like an old fashioned serial hero" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 1/9). In Hollywood, David Hunter writes Long "deserves more" than "Firestorm," as he is "in command" but there is no story "to ignite his charisma" (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 1/9). In L.A., Kevin Thomas calls Long "engaging" (L.A. TIMES, 1/9). In Providence, Michael Janusonis writes "[w]ith better material Long could fulfill the destiny that 20th Century Fox has mapped out for him as America's next action hero, a replacement" for the "aging" Schwarzenegger and Stallone (PROVIDENCE JOURNAL BULLETIN, 1/9). THE MIXED: USA TODAY's Susan Wiloszczyna writes Long is "being honed as a good-guy leading man. ... Now if he ever developed a solid screen persona, he might really be something" (USA TODAY, 1/9). Header over TAMPA TRIBUNE review: "Long Fits Role, But Acting Limited" (1/9). THE UGLY: In Hartford, Malcolm Johnson writes Long "delivers a deadly reading that cannot even be described as a performance. ... When Long opens his mouth, 'Firestorm' comes to a thudding halt" (HARTFORD COURANT, 1/9). In N.Y., Stephen Holden writes that while Long has the "steroid- buffed look of an action hero ... his expressionless face and monotone delivery make even [Schwarzenegger] at his most robotic seem like a hypersensitive crybaby" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/9). Also in N.Y., Michael Medved calls Long's performance "puerile," adding Long "muddies and muddles even those rare sequences that have begun to generate some cinematic momentum" (N.Y. POST, 1/9). In Washington, Stephen Hunter writes Long is "amiable enough" but that he's "almost a complete zero as a screen presence" (WASHINGTON POST, 1/9). In Minnesota, Jeff Strickler writes Long gives a "C-plus performance in a C-plus movie" (STAR TRIBUNE, 1/9).