Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

More reading materials

April 5, 2010

Will see if I can remember these all… no promises.

11. Dave Barry’s Money Secrets by, you guessed it, Dave Barry.

Every so often, I get an itch for a good Dave Barry book. They’re lightweight reading, generally a lot of fun, and just pleasant all around. “Money Secrets” can’t hold a candle to “Dave Barry Slept Here”, which is on the short list of books that ALWAYS crack me up. But it’s still a fun book. If you like Dave’s irreverent humor, you’ll dig it.

12. The Card by Michael O’Keefe and Terri Thompson

A confession here: I was a terrific baseball card nerd as a kid. I still have a few cards left over, but fortunately, I left the hobby at least mostly behind. This book talks about a particular card– a 1910 T-206 Honus Wagner card, which is apparently in the best condition of the few such cards in existence. This is the card that people have paid literally millions of dollars for now. The book goes on to look at the massive amounts of fraud and unethical card doctoring which occur in the hobby. The long and short of it is that cards aren’t worth much anymore unless they are professionally graded. But the grading companies appear to be somewhat crooked, and some people get around them. It’s an interesting story if you like to read about baseball cards and/or consumer fraud. If not, just skip on.

13. The Ultimate Book of Sports Movies by Ray Didinger and Glen Macnow.

Just what is says. This book ranks and discusses the top 100 sports movies. Think of your favorites– they’re all here, along with a few you’ve probably forgotten, a few you’ll wish you had forgotten, and a few that sound worth checking out. By way of a complaint, Rudy is WAAAAAY too low at 50-somethingeth. You don’t need to be a sports nerd to enjoy the book– but being a movie nerd probably would help.

14. Bluegrass by William Van Meter

Van Meter’s book is a chronicle of the murder, investigation and associated trial in the Katie Autry killing. Autry, a freshman student at my alma mater of Western Kentucky University, was raped, beaten, and set on fire in her dorm room. The book focuses on Autry and on the two suspects in her murder– Stephen Soules and Lucas Goodrum, one of whom is in prison for life, and one of whom walked free. Van Meter doesn’t unveil any novel theories of the crime, or even point fingers, so much as he raises possibilities, and writes of three young lives that intertwined in a hideous moment. I won’t say I enjoyed it, but it was a careful and thoughtful book, and is one worth reading.

Total Books: 13.7/50 (counting 1st book, which was mostly read in 2009, and two books in progress, mentioned below)
Total Pages:
Last count 3,770
Dave Barry– 240
The Card– 256
Sports Movies– 352
Bluegrass– 240
Two more in progress– one at 140 pages in, the other at 75.
TOTAL: 5,073

Pace needed to meet goals of 50 books/20,000 pages: 12.9 books/5,151 pages.

So there we are: almost a full book ahead, but still about 80 pages behind. One of the two in progress is a nice 600 plus page monster, which should help balance these out.

Stay tuned.

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The Wrestler

January 26, 2009

Yesterday, the wife and I journeyed to Nashville to see “The Wrestler” on its opening weekend. While my review will be somewhat biased by the fact that I had to sit in the second row and proceeded to get more than a little motion sick (lots of hand-held cameras), I thought I’d provide some attempt at commentary. (I should give a spoiler alert here– don’t read if you don’t want to know).

Mickey Rourke stars as “Randy the Ram” Robinson, a washed-up former big shot pro wrestler. Randy now plays the small town circuit, slamming and bleeding for a modest sized room full of nostalgic fans, who remember who he was, rather than who he is. After one particularly gruesome match (and yes, this IS gruesome), Randy has a heart attack and is told that he can no longer wrestle.

In a search to find some meaning in his life, Randy tries to form a relationship with a stripper, Cassidy, played by Marisa Tomei. Cassidy alternates between letting the Ram into her off-stage persona a bit and pushing him back. On her advice, Randy tries to reconnect with his bitter daughter. He also gets a job working in a grocery store deli, dispensing meats, slaws and salads with a good-timing wise-cracking manner which makes Randy a lot more likeable than he otherwise is.

The other side of Randy comes through when, in a bar, a woman asks him if he “wants to party”. We next see him snort speed/coke/something and having sex with this woman in the bar’s bathroom. He blows off a scheduled dinner with his daughter when he oversleeps after his “partying”. Angered when a customer recognizes him, Randy slices up his hand at the deli and rips apart the store in an angry spree. In a last meeting with his daughter, she tearfully tells him, and rightly so, that he is a f*** up.

Randy decides to return for another wrestling match, a rematch from a 1985 bout which helped to make him a wrestling legend. Cassidy has a moment of clarity and leaves her strip club, running to the match, urging Randy not to wrestle because of his heart problems. Randy declines, enters the ring and makes a dramatic speech indicating that “you people [the fans] are my family” and that the only people who will tell him when to quit are the fans. He undertakes his bout. Toward the end, he begins having chest pains. He wheels to look one more time to see if Cassidy is still there and watching, but she is gone. Despite pleas from his opponent to end the match, Randy teeteringly climbs to the top rope, where he prepares to launch his signature move “The Ram Jam”, with tears in his eyes, as he knows that this will likely end his life. He launches the move and the screen goes black.

I can’t say I enjoyed The Wrestler, but I felt that it was a very well-made and worthwhile film. The reviews I read seem to see Randy the Ram as a hero, a man true to his art above all else. I didn’t see it that way. I saw Randy, in his daughter’s words, as a f*** up, a human caution case about the danger of falling in love with a false sense of celebrity. If Randy the Ram had put half the intensity and energy into his relationship with his daughter or his wise-cracking deli work that he did into wrestling, he would have survived, maybe, in a limited sense, even prospered. It is appropriate that Springsteen’s “The Wrestler” was commissioned for and ends this film. In “Devils and Dust”, The Boss asked “What if what you do to survive kills the things you love?” This time around, he seems to be asking “What if you spend all your love on a thing that kills you?”. There is a battered nobility to Randy the Ram, but more than that, there was just an abiding emptiness. The Wrestler is profound. I don’t know if I can recommend it to everyone. There is a lot of blood, there is a lot of bare breast, and there is a large void in this film where meaningful human relationship never fits for Randy the Ram. But that’s the point. And if you need to see it, I hope you do.

Joe

Fake movie trailers?

July 16, 2008

Yesterday night, in the midst of some web surfing, my wife thought she had found the trailer for the forthcoming Harry Potter movie (November sometime). I say thought because after watching three or four different ones, we realized that none of these trailers were actual trailers. For whatever reason, these trailers were created by fans and were posted as allegedly authentic. Granted, you take what you get with youtube, but come on. I don’t really understand why anybody would bother creating fake authentic movie trailers. Any explanations, anybody?

The good news is that another faction of people have figured out a much better use for fake movie trailers– making trailers that would remake horror movies as comedies, or comedies as dramas, etc etc. Here are a few I enjoyed, to give you a little insight into the genre:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRQBg41bgiE — A very different take on “The Shining”.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=atHWASn_ygo — This one is “Office Space”. Sort of.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDj7zOKc_0E — “Dumb and Dumber”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2T5_0AGdFic — “Mary Poppins”

Enjoy it; more restaurant listings comming soon.

Joe