I did not have a chance to check out a new restaurant this week, so I wanted to delve back into my oh-so-controversial food rankings. Here are my top three French fry spots among chain restaurants — the kings of the French fry fiefdom.


Talk about the comeback French fry of the year. I used to despise Wendy’s French fries; they always resonated as a limp, starchy mess soaked in nauseating grease. Now, Wendy’s provides one of the freshest French fries on the market. The rustic, hand-cut presentation adds a welcomed authentic touch, while the crispy texture and generous salt seasoning pack a sinful savoriness.


I rarely stop at the golden arches. When I do, it is almost exclusively for McDonald’s French fries. They fit the dictionary definition of crispiness, radiating a golden brown glow similar to shining sun rays. I also love the perfect shape of McDonald’s fries. When they arrive fresh from the fryer (I acknowledge this is far from a guarantee), the fries’ thin, yet crisp texture becomes addicting to indulge in. It always helps too when you drown your product in handfuls of salt.

Five Guys

The true king of the French fry kingdom is Five Guys, and it is not just because they bombard patrons with an enormous serving size. Five Guys, to me, resonates with the most rustic, homemade qualities. There is an unevenness to the product that is strangely appealing. Some fries capture that signature crunch; others are more starchy while still retraining that French fry appeal. They are perfectly seasoned and make for a wonderfully unhealthy treat.

On Streaming: “American Underdog”

From bagging groceries to winning the Super Bowl, Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner’s improbable journey toward superstardom radiates with instant Hollywood appeal. In the hands of faith-based directors, Jon and Andrew Erwin, Warner’s fairy tale story gets a decidedly earnest treatment in “American Underdog.”

I can sense many already groaning at the thought of two maudlin subgenres — crowdpleasing sports films and preachy faith-based features — congealing into one project. Like the resilient quarterback himself, “American Underdog” overcomes its familiar framework in a triumphant feel-good feature.

Set between Warner’s college years and his NFL debut, “Underdog” could have easily opted for a highlight reel of the quarterback’s plethora of achievements. Instead, the Erwins, alongside “Friday Night Lights” screenwriter David Aaron Cohen, center their sights on the arduous battles the quarterback endured in pursuit of his dreams.
This choice creates a narrative that unfolds with introspection and refreshing patience. Along with filming football scenes with an effective stylistic pop, the Erwins skillfully entrenches audiences in the day-to-day struggles facing Kurt and his single-mother girlfriend, Brenda, displaying genuine hardships without intensifying them with overly cinematic gimmicks. Without familiar elements — like overproduced score choices and melodramatic speeches — the directors retain a naturalistic sensibility accompanied by the warm flourishes of time-honored sports movies.

The slow-burn approach allows “Underdog” to earn in its feel-good pursuits even as audiences can predict the incoming rah-rah cheers. I also give Cohen credit for incorporating religious undertones with genuine success. Removing the preachiness of other tiresome religious films in favor of quieter, character-driven beats helps create a narrative that intimately toils with the characters’ self-doubt amidst impossible odds. Whether you’re faithful or not, “American Underdog” keenly analyzes how tenants of family, belief and perseverance inspired the Warners in every step of their journey.

“Underdog’s” well-matched stars also help to elevate the material. Zachary Levi possesses the smolder and charisma of an NFL star, but it’s the simmering conviction and dramatic gravity he imbues into Warner’s persona that truly stands out. Thankfully, the film pairs the quarterback’s journey on equal footing with his girlfriend and eventual wife, Brenda. Anna Paquin encapsulates the joys and frustrations of her caretaker role while offering some of the film’s most emotionally affecting moments.

Does the film avoid oversentimental cliches? Certainly not (the personal stakes dissipate in the final third as Warner reaches the NFL). Still, “American Underdog” delivers a true story worthy of its Hall of Fame subject.