Lancelot Links postsTuesday August 12, 2014
Kurosawa's fav Hitch
- In his memoir, “A Good Life,” Ben Bradlee recounts showing up for college baseball, hitting the dirt when the first pitch was coming straight for his head, then hearing the ump call it a strike. “That,” he writes, “was my introduction to the curve ball.” Alexei Ramirez? Meet Seattle's Yoervis Medina.
- Great foul ball moment.
- Do you have friends who think Adam Dunn is a Hall of Famer? You do? Ditch them immediately! Or have them read Joe Posnanski's latest.
- Artful Dodger Come Home? The Guardian reports on a cat that likes to ride the bus. Cue Replacements song. Or Jonathan Richman.
- A school lunch from 1943. 15 cents. I'm hungry already.
- Via Film Stage, here's a list of Akira Kurosawa's 100 favorite films. Chronologically. It starts with “Broken Blossoms” in 1919 and ends with “Han-Bi” in 1997. It's an eclectic, personal list. He limits himself to one film per director and his choices are .... interesting. His one John Ford film is “My Darling Clementine,” his one Hitchcock “The Birds,” his Scorsese “The King of Comedy,” his Kubrick “Barry Lyndon.” I don't think I've seen half the movies on it.
- My friend Jason has started a semi-annual screening series in Portland examining the issue of race in movies. It starts this fall and is called “Movies in Black & White.” You can follow the discussion on Twitter. Or show up in person.
- Prof. Justin Levitt of Loyola Law School has been tracking voter fraud allegations for years—not just prosecutions—and has found, since 2000, in all elections in the U.S., approximately 31 cases. Out of an estimated billion votes cast. And how many people are being turned away at the polls because of new voter ID laws? Thousands. Most of whom, one assumes, particularly based on the 31/1,000,000,000 number, are legitimate voters. The kind of fraud that voter ID laws are supposed to stop, he says, is very rare because it's extremely inefficient. Read about his findings in The Washington Post.
- Amy Davidson on the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Mo.
- Roane County Circuit Judge Russell E. Simmons Jr. has upheld Tennessee's gay marriage ban. Some people just like to be on the wrong side of history. Or the wrong side of Ted Olson and David Boies.
- The New York Times Public Editor is back from vacation and finally weighs in the Perlstein/Shirley contretemps. Verdict? Oops. I particularly like Jeffrey Toobin's line. Actually I particularly like the notion that the Times may be revisiting its policy on he said/she said journalism—particularly if it's of the “Opinions differ on the shape of the planet” variety.
- In 1965, the Beatles played in the home of the Twins: Met Stadium in Bloomington, Minn. This past week, nearly 50 years ago today, one of them, Paul Somethingorother, returned to play in the home of the Twins: Target Field in downtown Minneapolis. Jim Walsh celebrates.
- Walsh, the Studs Terkel of Minneapolis, also walks around the stadium and talks to folks. He snaps the smiles.
- Speaking of: Did you know Ron Howard is directing a documentary about the Beatles' touring years? Roughly 1960-1966. I'm there.
- 30 authors on movie adaptations of their work. I like Burgess' line on “A Clockwork Orange” and of course Vidal's on “Myra Breckenridge. Annie's Proulx's comment is touching. Most are as you expect: good films are praised, bad films are trashed. Although no author (Burgess, Nabokov, King) seems to like Stanley Kubrick's translations.
- For more than a decade, Rick Perlstein has been writing a comprehensive history of the rise of right-wing conservatism in the United States (Goldwater to Reagan, basically), and now, as the third edition, ”The Invisible Bridge: the Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan,“ is being published, he's being attacked by a few of those conservatives, who don't want a liberal like him anywhere near Reagan. Slate's Dave Wiegel breaks down the controversy. Would that my accusations of whomever I didn't like could make headlines.
- Paul Krugman also pushes back—not only against those conservatives, but against his own paper, the New York Times, which did it's usual he said/she said reporting on the matter. What did Krugman call it? ”'Opinions differ on shape of the planet' reporting." Brilliant.
- And here's the lawyer for Perlstein and Simon & Schuster, Elizabeth A. McNamara, responding to Shipley's lawyer.
- Sorry, Seattle: There will be more 8 p.m. parking meters. I hate these things. Not for the money but the inconvenience. But also for the money.
- Remember: the story isn't Ezequiel Carrera's great catch with the bases loaded in the Tiger-Yankees game earlier this week; it's Derek Jeter's reaction to the great catch. Because Jeter.
A whole lotta shaking goin' on.
- Dig if you will the picture: Scenes from “Purple Rain” then and now, via the Current in Minneapolis.
- This is great: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer on the value of reading literature, in general, and Proust in particular, in The New York Review of Books.
- Ken Levine, former comedy writer on “Cheers,” as well as (I believe) “The Tony Randall Show,” as well as (I'm pretty sure) a year as the Mariners color announcer, writes about “The comedy writing rule of 2s.”
- My friend Jim Walsh gives us 12 reasons he loved “Boyhood.” I'm particularly down with No. 7.
- In “Boyhood,” the father, played by Ethan Hawke, gives his son, played by Ellar Coltrane, a CD he compiled of post-Beatles Beatles songs: John, George, Ringo, Wings. Apparently it was a concept that started with Hawke, rather than writer-director Richard Linklater, but I particularly dug it because *I* always wanted to do it. That's how you get a new Beatles album, I always thought: Put the solo releases of the Beatles in one album. Apparently Hawke thought the same. Here's the playlist. The letter's not bad, either.
- Speaking of: Last month, Nathan Heller gave us a nice profile on Richard Linklater in The New Yorker. I finally got around to it. So should you.
- The Devault-Graves Agency in Memphis is publishing the first J.D. Salinger book in 50 years. Well, “book.” It's three of Salinger's early stories: two written before WWII, one during. My thoughts on them here.
- You know that famous shot of Sophia Loren eyeing Jayne Mansfield's boobs in a low-cut dress? It wasn't boob envy. There are other, better photos from that evening. Sophia is at turns stunned, disbelieving, amused. My favorite is the last: Sophia cracking up. Because ... what else do you do?
- Remember “End of Watch” from 2012 starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena? It made my top 10 list that year. No. 2, to be exact. Well, its writer-director, David Ayer, after a brief dalliance with Schwarzenegger, is back with a World War II movie starring Brad Pitt. Fingers crossed.
- Jeff Bridges throws out the first pitch at a Dodgers game. In classic “Dude” fashion, he bowls it.
- Long read of the week: Evan Osnos' excellent New Yorker profile, “The Evolution of Joe Biden.” Will the vice president run for president in 2016? Despite a life-long urge to hold the position, not to mention a fear of retirement, not to mention all that hasn't been done, you get the feeling ... no. He's probably a better man for it, too.
- It's worth reading every word of Tim Egan's post about the sheer legal and political idiocy of John Boehner's lawsuit against Pres. Obama. Make them pay, folks. Because right now it looks like they'll be rewarded instead.
- First we had a documentary on Jodorowsky's unmade “Dune.” Now a documentary on Tim Burton's unmade “Superman” movie from the 1990s starring Nicolas Cage? How many other documentaries from other unmade sci-fi/fantasy movies can we make? Maybe we should just not make sci-fi/fantasy movies so we can make the documentaries about the movies that were never made. Why not? The movie itself usually disappoints, while the unmade movie holds the chance at being glorious.
- Indiewire presents: The History of Sex on Film in Infographic Form. Not very graphic or informative, unfortunately. I.e., there's not much there I didn't know.
- My friend Jerry Grillo breaks down the actors who played Babe Ruth and asks “Who was the best?”
- This past week the Baseball Hall of Fame (in Cooperstown) changed its voting rules so that eligible players who don't make the 75% cut but do get at least 5% of the vote from the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) can only remain on the ballot for 10 years instead of 15 years. Why the change? Joe Posnanski ruminates over four theories. (Hint: It has less to do with the players than with the BBWAA.)
- No one has been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame with 100% of the vote—not Babe Ruth (95.13%), Ted Williams (93.38%), Willie Mays (94.68%) or Hank Aaron (97.83%)—but Tom Seaver, who has received the highest voting percentage ever (98.84%), thinks that the first unanimous Hall of Famer should be ... Derek Jeter. Right. Not Ken Griffey Jr. or Randy Johnson or Pedro Martinez; Derek Effin' Jeter. Because the poor guy just doesn't get enough attention. I barely knew he was at the All-Star Game earlier this month, for example.
- With all due respect to Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas, Roger Angell is my Hall of Famer.
According to Jerry Grillo (and most of us concur), here's the actor who played Babe Ruth best.
Luis Tiant with me and my brother, Chris, on Camera Day at Met Stadium, 1970. Should Tiant have gone into the Hall? Why didn't he? (Photo by Bob Lundegaard)
- The Hollywood Reporter writes about the domestic box office slump that I've been writing about for weeks. But, you know, with quotes from studio execs. So it's important.
- Some interesting criticism of “Boyhood,” some of which echoes mine—although I found the main character, Mason, too cool for school while others (Mark Judge anyway) think he's socially awkward. Judge's “Sideways” comparison, too, I think is B.S.: We identify with many aspects of Mason's upbringing not because we're critics but because we're human beings. As for Eve's three flaws of the film? Yes to 1, no to 2, and yes to 3. Again, my review here. And again: go see it. Because you'll enjoy it.
- Speaking of: John Hartl talks with “Boyhood”'s director Richard Linklater. The film is now playing in Seattle. At the Harvard Exit. At 12, 1, 3:30, 4:30, 7, 8 and 10:10.
- The Open Carry Texas folks held a rally last Saturday at Dealey Plaza—the site of the JFK assassination. No words.
- “Just a $3 increase will make a living wage ...” Kristen Bell as Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins in this Funny-or-Die viddy. Nice pipes. Good message.
- Via Hollywood Elsewhere and TCM, Clint Eastwood on James Garner.
- Why didn't Luis Tiant make the Hall of Fame? David Shoenfield thinks it was the timing.
- Read your Paul Krugman. Doctor's orders. Yesterday, he talked up California's comeback with some pointed words for the GOP. Not to mention Kansas.
- Your long read of the week: Rachel Aviv's excellent piece on cheating on standardized tests in Atlanta. The culprits? Teachers. And they're the heroes.