Lancelot Links postsSaturday March 26, 2011
- Over at The Art of the Title Sequence, they have a cool “Brief History of Title Design” by Ian Albinson: “Intolerance” to “King King” to “Modern Times” to “My Man Godfrey” to film noir and Saul Bass, to Bond and Pink Panther, to Scorsese sandwiched between blockbusters. Short shrift to older films? What's missing? I say this as someone who tends to miss title design.
- And yet, for some reason, 11 years ago, The Seattle Times sent me to review this.
- Alex Eylar has created a mashup called “Supercut - Spoiler Alert,” in which he gives away the spoilers, more or less (they're not obvious, being out of context), from more than 70 films. We watch a surprising number of movie stars (Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, Jean Reno) getting shot in the head. My favorite section, though, is the one related to our deep-seeded fear of falling: everyone from Jimmy Stewart to Alan Rickman to Ian McKellan to King Kong to those frogs in “Magnolia.”
- Of course, in the way of the Web, that led to this: the “Get out of There” mashup. Question: Are these kinds of mashups, where we get the same line, the same scene, over and over and over again, ultimately a greater critique of Hollywood than anything Pauline Kael ever wrote?'
- Jeff Wells gets naked with Angie Dickinson.
- Josh Wilker is predicting each team's 2011 baseball season by reading into a random card from that team. It's one of the small joys of spring for me. (In a spring in which I need joys, small or otherwise.) The close-up of Lou Piniella on his '76 Yankees card? “The big fat face of the Yankees will be all up in your grill.” That '81 Pops Stargell card? “The 2011 Pittsburgh Pirates will once again cause their fans to ponder seemingly unbridgeable distances, but I also see a little yellow spark of hope.” Wilker is also quite poignant on Larry Hisle (Twins), Bill Freehan (Tigers), and Barry Foote (Phillies). And probably wrong about the meaning of Barry Foote.
- BTW, his book, “Cardboard Gods,” a must-read, and reviewed by me here, with comment from his brother Ian here, is now out in paperback. Buy it already. Read it. You'll thank me.
- Here's some bad new about Barry Bonds. The second government witness against him is childhood friend and former business manager Steve Hoskins, who, in 2003, recorded trainer Greg Anderson talking about giving Bonds shots, how it was undetectable, how it was the same stuff Marion Jones used.
- Here's some good news about Harmon Killebrew.
- First Avenue South in front of Safeco Field in downtown Seattle has a new honorary name: Dave Niehaus Way. I think we need more than honorary, Seattle.
- The first reason to like Buck Showalter is his lack of faith in rookie pitcher Mariano Rivera in Game 5 of the 1995 ALDS. Here's the second reason.
- You're kidding me. New footage of the Bambino, the Georgia Peach, and the Big Train? How cool is that? I think I'm most blown away by Walter Johnson's pitching motion.
- You're kidding me. New footage of the Bambino and the Iron Horse barnstorming in '27? Have they found any new footage of Cool Papa Bell yet? Cy Young? Abner Doubleday? William Shakespeare?
- Christy DeSmith admits she can be taken in by pomp and circumstance but has questions for Tim Pawlenty and his slickly produced videos.
- Love the Bobcats over at oatmeal.com. Makes me wonder: What bad behavior would our cat, Jellybean, be demonstrating at work? Stealing people's chairs? Watching them eat? Yakking away and complaining when they're trying to work? “Power naps”?
- Oatmeal.com also has a good strip on Pres. Obama meeting the technology gurus.
- Wisconsin Republicans keep getting crazier and crazier.
- Zack Snyder says he's going to show us a Superman we haven't met before. Another way of saying “reboot.” He also wants to create a more “realistic” setting for the Man of Steel. As with Snyder's “300,” “Watchmen” and now “Sucker Punch”? To quote Han Solo: “I've got a bad feeling about this.”
The absurd, insulting realism of Zack Snyder. Yes, Abbie Cornish, you should be hooded and hiding in the background.
- In Rob Neyer's old ESPN.com slot, Jon Weisman wonders “Where Have All the Game 7s Gone?”—which I wrote about two and a half years ago, in an open letter to Bud Selig, but whatever. It's still worthy of discussion. More than ever, I guess, since it's been three more years since we've had that Game 7. Unfortunately, Jon's penultimate sentence is unworthy: “This year marks the 10th anniversary of Arizona’s bottom-of-the-ninth walk-off title, and quite arguably, we haven’t had a more memorable World Series game since.” Quite arguably? Not even arguably but quite arguably? Lord. Just say it, Jon. Game 7, bottom of the 9th, the hometeam goes from defeat to victory against the best closer the game has ever seen. I don't think there's anything arguably about it.
- Speaking of: What's the gap between Mariano Rivera and the active pitcher with the second-most saves? What was the no. 1 song in the nation when Mariano was born? How many saves does Mariano have since Rob Nenn, who's the same age, retired? Joel Sherman at the NY Post has your answers.
- Fun piece by Craig Calcaterra on the greatest living player for each franchise. He's got my teams, the Twins and Mariners, right, but I wouldn't give it to Nolan Ryan in Texas (Pudge instead) nor Joe Morgan in Cincinnati (Bench). Would probably go Berra over Jeter, too. Hey, that's three catchers, isn't it? I'm consistent anyway. Not enough to choose George Mitterwald or anything, of course...
- TNR's James Downie on “What Caused Glenn Beck's Decline?” I love the use of the past tense in the title but unfortunately the present continuous is probably more apt.
- Great quote of the day from Paul Carr. Must reading for writers and editors (and readers) everywhere.
- Apparently I'm on shaky ground. Literally.
- Fun bit from Simon Pegg and Nick Frost doing z-grade C3PO and R2D2. Pegg has Anthony Daniels down.
- Lord. They're already rebooting “Daredevil,” with David Slade (“Twilight: Eclipse”; “Hard Candy”) set to direct. Well, can't be worse than the first one, can it?
- I referenced this last week but in case you missed it here it is again: In his year-early, March 2010 predictions for the January 2011 Oscar nominees, IndieWire's Peter Knegt correctly predicts only one of the best actor nominees (Colin Firth), one of the best supporting actor nominees (Geoffrey Rush), none of the supporting actress nominees, but four of the five best actress nominees. He only misses Jennifer Lawrence for “Winter's Bone.” So is the pool simply smaller for best actress? (Yes, it is.) Are these actresses more consistent? Did he just get lucky here and unlucky elsewhere?
- I like Jeff Wells' comments on “The Rookie”—the Dennis Quaid real-life story of a high school pitching coach who becomes, at 36, a reliever for the Tampa Bay Rays. It's one of those, “You know, that wasn't a bad movie” movies. Any others come to mind? Movies that are never in the big discussioins but are pretty good. “The Dead Zone”? “Unbreakable”? “About a Boy”? Or are some of those too good for this category?
Greatest living Twin.
- After watching him as a talking head in Robert Stone's doc, “Owald's Ghost,” I began to miss Norman Mailer all over again and sought him on the Web. Came across Joseph Mantegna's documentary, “Norman Mailer: The American.” Anyone know if it's playing anywhere anytime soon? SIFF maybe?
- Also came across that great interivew Norman gave to Charlie Rose two months before the war in Iraq. Norman got everything so right and Charlie got everything so wrong—and was so vehement in his so wrongness. That particular discussion starts at about 22:40.
- Also this: the amusing sucker-punches of Muhammad Ali.
- “Jews and Baseball” finally comes to Seattle, as part of the Seattle Jewish Film Festival this month. I've got tickets, with Patricia and Paige, for the March 13th screening. I'm hoping for something that approaches the quality of “The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg.”
- Why wait for the end of the year for top 10 lists? Andrew O'Hehir's “The Movie List” ranks films as the year progresses. His 2011 list already has 33 films on it (poor bastard). Makes me want to see “Poetry,” and “Putty Hill,” and “Of Gods and Men.” Meanwhile, “I am Number Four” is apparently ill-named. It's No. 33. And dropping.
- A guy named Bill, guesting in Rob Neyer's former slot at ESPN.com, takes down people who still don't get “Moneyball.” He says it exactly right. “Moneyball” isn't about OBP or closers or how well the Oakland A's have done since 2006. It's about small-market survival. It's about finding what is undervalued and buying it and finding what is overvalued and selling it. OBP was once undervalued; now it's not. Now you find something else to survive. (Psst: Pitches per at-bat.)
- What's the right-wing is obsessed with these days? Salon's Alex Pareene keeps track and mocks so you don't have to.
- Hendrik Hertzberg writes on the decline and fall of labor in America. is it also the decline and fall of democracy?
- This is pretty cool: a 26-year-old sells 100,000+ copies of her nine self-published books per month. Amanda Hocking. Anyone read her?
- The Cesars took place the night before the Oscars. Best picture? “Of Gods and Men” (see above). Best director? Roman Polanski for “The Ghost Writer.” Best foreign film? “The Social Network.” Richard Brody's got le scoop.
- Brody also has a nice, short, sharp piece that not only references everyone's favorite actressexual but gives another reason, a pretty profound reason, why the Academy didn't honor “The Social Network.”
- My friend Joe Day alerted me to this bit from Jimmy Kimmel's show, a takeoff of “The King's Speech” called “The President's Speech.” It gave me my biggest laugh of the week.
- I've had my differences with Patrick Goldstein in the past but I liked his “Oscars: Most embarrassing moments” post. Particularly his last most embarrassing moment.
- I referenced it in my live-blog of the Oscars, but now you can see for yourself: best speech of the night, Luke Mathey winning live-action short for “God of Love.”
- Finally, here's a clip of Jodie Foster opening la troissixieme ceremonie de Cesars le samedi soir dernier. Nice French, Jodie! Yale education, kids.
- Someday I should do a “worst of the worst best-picture winner lists,” but even writing that makes me sleepy. I thought of it, however, when a Facebook friend posted Barry Koltnow's worst best-picture winner list from the Orange County Register, approvingly, and ... what can I say? Mr. Koltnow objects to “No Country,” “Rain Man,” and “The Hurt Locker” but not “Crash” and “The Greatest Show on Earth”? His argument against “The Hurt Locker” is particularly lame and could apply to 90% of best picture winners. Plus, yes, travesty on “Shakespeare in Love” over “Saving Private Ryan,” but, in hindsight, the latter shouldn't have won, either, since that was the year one of the greatest movies ever made was nominated. Maybe that's how you should lay it out: what won; what, given the year and guild awards, should've won; and what, in hindsight, really deserved it.
- Speaking of “Crash”: Apparently if it wasn't for Scientology, Paul Haggis might not have gotten where he got and “Crash” never would've won best picture. Another reason to hate Scientology. And, yes, I know a posted a link to Lawrence Wright's piece a few weeks back but I only now just finished it. In the magazine it goes from pages 84 to 111. Oof.
- In this video from Time Magazine, Jesse Eisenberg of “The Social Network” (and “Adventureland” and “The Squid and the Whale” and “Roger Dodger”—nice career so far, kid) talks up seeing Michael Shannon in my friend Craig's Wright's play, “Mistakes were Made.”
- Studios and theater chains should be careful about where they play the trailer for Terrence Malick's “Tree of Life.” Whenever I see it, I lose all interest in the movie I'm about to watch.
- Coming down a bit in quality: The second “Thor” trailer is better than the first. But does this mean the focus of the movie has changed? Or simply the focus of the trailer?
- An organization calling itself the Internationial Cinephile Society picked their best movies of 2010, and their best was my best: “Un Prophete.” Their second-best, “Carlos,” is not in my Top 10; I was actually disappointed in it. So apparently I'm not quite international, not quite cinephile. But stay tuned.
- Pacino to play Matisse? “L'expression, pour moi, ne réside pas dans la passion qui éclatera sur un visage. Elle est DANS TOUTE LA DISPOSITION DE MON TABLEAU!!!”
- My friend Jerry Grillo recounts meeting Stan “the Man” Musial, who was recently awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and whose stats are even better than I thought. Three-time MVP, three-time runner-up MVP. Led the league in hitting seven times, in OBP and slugging six times, in OPS seven times. Retired with 3,630 hits—at the time second only to Ty Cobb, and all these years later still fourth. Has anyone checked George Will's numbers? 3630 hits: 1815 at home, 1815 on the road? Beautiful if true. Touch 'em all, Stan. And Jerry.
- My friend Andy Engelson recounts his recent family trip to Bali. Hate. Him.
- Michael Lind over at Salon.com lists off the reasons why Glenn Beck-bashing is counterproductive. Makes sense. On the other hand, the mainstream media ignores Rush Limbaugh for years at a time and he's only gotten stronger. These guys are weeds; he doesn't need mainstream media light to grow.
- Is this the book that may bring Sarah Palin down? Please please please please. P.S. Thanks for nothing, Bill Kristol.
- Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, amid much protest, is currently attempting to neuter public unions. Paul Kruman says it's about power, not money.
- So how did Gov. Walker get into office? According to Mother Jones, with the help of the Koch brothers of Kansas, who are also infamously attempting to undermine Pres. Obama. The billionaire brothers were the second-biggest contributers to Walker's campaign ($43K), plus they contributed $1 million to the Republican Governors' Association, which spent $65K on Walker, plus they spent millions attacking Walker's opponent. “What's the matter with Wisconsin?” now has the same answer as “What's the matter with Kansas?”
- All of which is a good reminder to buy Phil Dray's book “There is Power in a Union: The Epic Story of Labor In America.” (Extra: Here's Phil on “The Daily Show” last October.)
- A ditty by the same name from Billy Bragg.
- Finally, really enjoying Bright Eyes' new album, particularly “Ladder Song,” in these early, crappy months of 2011. Sample:
No one knows where the ladder goes
You're going to lose what you love the most
You're not alone in anything
You're not unique in dying
- Go west, young ballplayer! Dave Allen at The Baseball Analysts has graphed the U.S. birthplace of ballplayers in five eras. The first map (heavily Northeast) is almost the mirror image of the last (heavily Southwest).
- The original lyric sheet for Bob Dylan's “The Times They Are A-Changin'” sold for nearly half a million dollars to a hedge fund manager. Harry's Music parses the irony.
- Some smart, chicken-or-egg talk about world cinema and U.S. audiences from Salon's Andrew O'Hehir before his equally smart review of “Carancho,” a film he thinks can entice U.S. audiences with two word: “sexy” and “bloody.”
- Also on Salon, Bob Calhoun counts down the top 10 stunts of Judo Gene Lebell, a judo champ and Hollywood stunt man. Be sure to check out no. 1, an old episode of “Ironsides,” for the early work of Bruce Lee. Holy crap. Not a wasted movement. Everything is so clean.
- Speaking of stunts: Remember Danny MacAskill? The cyclist who did insane shit around Edinburgh? Well, he's taken to the Scottish countryside now in his new viddy “Way Back Home.” And he's gotten better.
- Five favorite movies with Elton John. The man, or the Sir, has got good taste. He also says smart things about each one.
- Five favorite books about movies with Darren Aronofsky. I've read three. Didn't even know about the Vogler, which seems right up my alley. Anyone read it?
- At the end of this snippet of February reviews, Joe Morgenstern tells us the story of how Lionel Logue, the hero-therapist of “The King's Speech,” helped, in a sense, create FOX-News.
- Roger Ebert has 13 smart questions from watching 11 1/2 minutes of Glenn Beck. I only made it to minute 7, and then just barely.
- Related: I can't stop reading Alex Pareene.
- From the “About Time” Dept.: Shirley Sherrod is suing Andrew Breitbart for defamation and general idiocy. OK, just for defamation. But I know a lot of lawyers, the super variety even, who would handle her case pro bono.
- Someday I'll have to post about my ideal search engine (something with a greater respect for original content, and chronology, and which can distinguish between sites that are linked to positively (“I love this!”) and negatively (“Look at this idiot!”)), but in the meantime here's another good piece by The New York Times on a search-engine snafu: How did J.C. Penney become the no. 1 Google result for everything from “dresses” to “bedding” to “area rugs”? And just in time for the holidays? Short answer: it wasn't legit.
- Finally, in this review of the latest attempt at a J.D. Salinger bio, Jay McInerney has both the best first sentence I've read in a while (“J. D. Salinger spent the first third of his life trying to get noticed and the rest of it trying to disappear”), and the best second paragraph I've read in a while (not reproducing it here; give the Times some love and click on the link). I read poor Ian Hamilton's attempt at a bio in the '80s so doubt I'll read Kenneth Slawenski's. I guess I'm waiting for definitive. At the same time, though I knew Salinger fought in World War II, I didn't know he was a one-man “Band of Brothers.” From McInerney:
For this reader, the great achievement of Slawenski’s biography is its evocation of the horror of Salinger’s wartime experience. Despite Salinger’s reticence, Slawenski admirably retraces his movements and recreates the savage battles, the grueling marches and frozen bivouacs of Salinger’s war. It’s hard to think of an American writer who had more combat experience. He landed on Utah Beach on D-Day. Slawenski reports that of the 3,080 members of Salinger’s regiment who landed with him on June 6, 1944, only 1,130 survived three weeks later. Then, when the 12th Infantry Regiment tried to take the swampy, labyrinthine Hürtgen Forest, in what proved to be a huge military blunder, the statistics were even more horrific. After reinforcement, “of the original 3,080 regimental soldiers who went into Hürtgen, only 563 were left.” Salinger escaped the deadly quagmire of Hürtgen just in time to fight in the Battle of the Bulge, and shortly thereafter, in 1945, participated in the liberation of Dachau. “You could live a lifetime,” he later told his daughter, “and never really get the smell of burning flesh out of your nose.”
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