Lancelot Links postsTuesday February 17, 2015
- A short history of how Franklin became the first black character in “Peanuts.”
- The comedy duo Key and Peele play a couple of inept FBI agents in TV's “Fargo,” and for a time they reminded me of Vladimir and Estragon from “Waiting for Godot.” But the morning after watching the final episode, it hit me: No, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. And apparently that was the intention of show creator Noah Hawley.
- The search above led to this choice bit from Key and Peele's show: the man who has to follow MLK's “I Have a Dream” speech.
- Much recommended: a video of the shot-by-shot techniques of Steven Spielberg's “Jaws.” But the titles people need help with their grammar, AKC.
- There's a kickstarter campaign for the documentary “Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time.” Fingers crossed.
- My friend Vinny posted this on a Facebook thread: Dave Barry's reaction to reading “Fifty Shades of Grey.” I haven't read Barry in years but the man's still got it.
- The T-Wolves' Zach LaVine wins the slam-dunk contest. As with the HR Derby, the fun is in the reaction of other players.
- Sure, it's fun that ESPN's David Schoenfield not only predicts the Mariners will be the sixth-best team this year but that the Yankees will be way down in 21st place. What I particularly like? How Schoenfield goes over his spring training predictions from last year, when he had the eventual World Champion Giants in 20th place and the AL champ KC Royals in 18th. Who did he get most wrong? The Texas Rangers, who were 23 games worse than he predicted. As for most right, that was the New York Yankees. He predicted they would go 84-78 and they went 84-78. Know hope.
- Long read of the week: In “The Last Trial: A great-grandmother, Auschwitz, and the arc of justice,” Elizabeth Kolbert not only writes about her great-grandmother, who died at Auschwitz, but about Oskar Groning, the so-called bookkeeper of Auschwitz, who, at the age of 93, is now on trial in Germany for war crimes. For all the horror? You feel an injustice is being done to Groning.
- Apparently “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief,” Alex Gibney's expose of L. Ron Hubbard's religious cult, is the must-see doc emerging from Sundance. Even though 160 HBO lawyers vetted the final product, which can lead to bland and awful, the doc still received standing ovations. It's based upon Lawrence Wright's book and will be broadcast on HBO in March.
- While comparing the Mets and Yankees in 2015, David Schoenfield predicts a losing season for the Bronx Bombers for the first time since 1992. Start spreading the news.
- That Moses Brown/Rhode Island principal who announced a Snow Day with a parody of “Let It Go” from “Frozen”? Very, very cool. No pun intended.
- How did Warner Bros. roll out “American Sniper” so successfully? Here's how.
- I love this bit from Andrew Sullivan's The Daily Dish on eggcorns—basically misunderstood words or malapropisms. Examples, here, include “Hair Hitler” and “self-defacating humor.” How do they differ from malapropisms? Not sure. But in the linked post they lead to a discussion of “the Undertoad” from “The World According to Garp.” We also get an excerpt from same. So beautifully written. I useed to re-read “Garp” every five years or so but haven't for maybe 15 years. Time.
- Jonah Keri from Grantland counts down Baseball's 10 Worst Contracts. The M's aren't mentioned—even among the dishonorable mentions—while the Texas Rangers have three of the top five. No. 1? That's a Yankee. Guess.
- What's it like to win an Oscar? The Guardian gets the straight scoop from Susan Sarandon, Ben Kingsley, Juliette Binoche and Alfonso Cuaron, among others.
- Long read: Wil S. Hylton on what lack of regulation has done to our food (particularly chicken, particularly chicken parts), and what Bill Marler, a Seattle lawyer, is doing to fight back.
Lancelot Links: Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl XLIX Edition
- Is Marshawn Lynch the hardest man to tackle in NFL history? Joe Posnanski goes there. (Or does he?)
- Mr. Lynch may annoy NFL officials and reporters, not to mention the opposition, but according to Grantland, everybody loves him.
- Tim Egan (Pac NW, NY Times writer) on the lesson learned from Obama's last two months and the Seahawks last game: It’s how you finish.
- Some call it Deflategate, some call is Ballghazi. But stats cruncher Warren Sharp asks the question: have the New England Patriots been deflating footballs in its favor since 2007? He crunches the numbers and comes up with “Holy crap!”
- The Daily Show weighs in on both Deflategate and the NFL's silly attempts to get Marshawn Lynch to talk. (Make sure you watch Patriots' booster John Hodgeman talk about the “score zone.”
- Conan O'Brien plays “Mortal Combat X” (as opposed to XLIX) with Marshawn and the Patriots' Rob Gronkowski. Love the moment the entrails come out and Marshawn just leaves. Also: “I feel your pain.”
- Via Jimmy Kimmel: Celebrities defend Tom Brady and the NE Patriots in Ballghazi.
- SNL tackles sexist Super Bowl ads. (Pretty funny.)
- The Seattle Times' Jerry Brewer asks, “Can the Hawks win two in a row when most Seattle teams haven't won one?”
- Want to relive two Sundays ago? From the onside kick to Jermaine Kearse.
- Sports Illustrated wanted Richard Sherman on its cover but he opted for the Legion of Boom. Here's the Q&A.
- Finally, some regular season stats via ESPN: Patriots were 9th in the NFL in passing yards and 18th in rushing yards. On D, they were 17th and 9th against the pass and against the rush. And the Seahawks? Not great on the pass: 27th in the NFL. But they were 1st in offensive rushing yards, 3rd in defensive rushing yards, and 1st in defensive passing yards. #GoHawks!
Seattle lit up over the Hawks. Saw this last night coming home from the Olympic peninsula.
Another American war movie? Nope, a Danish one: “A War” by Tobias Lindholm, the director of “A Hijacking,” and concerning Danish troops in Afghanistan. It's No. 18 on IndieWire's list but higher up on mine.
- IndieWire has a list of the 20 most anticipated foreign films of 2015. We'll see how many wind up in Seattle. No. 7, “Erran,” because it's Jacques Audiard. Much more so than their No. 1, “Flashmob,” by Michael Haneke. (WARNING: Lots of ads on the site make scrolling difficult.)
- Related: FilmStage has the 25 most anticipated movies at Sundance. Interestingly, none are the same movies. (WARNING: ditto.)
- David Simon is making an HBO miniseries about a battle over low-income housing in 1980s Yonkers, starring Oscar Isaac. He expects no one to watch. I'm there.
- I've always been fascinated with statues. Specifically: Who we choose to honor this way and why, and where. But never “And how big.” But French photographer Fabrice Foullet is interested in this last, and has created a series, Colesses, on the biggest statues in the world.
- What your friends with cancer want you to know.
- Via my father: A sharp review of “The Theory of Everything,” the Stephen Hawking biopic, by Stephen Bachman, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2011.
- Via Adam: People reading books on subways. I like the woman in the hajib reading Tobias Wolff's “Barracks Thief.” Everyone else likes the Strunk & White dude.
- Nicholas Kristof on the early death of his high school buddy and the empathy gap in America. For me, that gap is tied to this question: What causes success? The FOX-News answer is hard work, which means that anyone who isn't successful (including, one can argue, most of FOX News' viewers) just didn't work hard enough and thus are undeserving of our empathy. But that answer ignores so much.
- Speaking of the empathy gap: The New York Times reports that the political network overseen by the Koch brothers plans to spend $900 million in the next election, putting them on par, moneywise, with the Republican party and the Democratic party. Thank you, Justice Kennedy.
- Long read of the week: Jill LePore (again) on attempts to archive this unruly, forever disappearing beast of the Internet. Follow-up: Do we blame Tim Berners-Lee?
- Warren Sharp gets into the New England Patriots deflation scandal “Ballghazi” by looking at the team's prevention-of-fumble ratio. Guess what? It's nearly impossible.
- Josh Wilker of “Cardboard Gods” fame is posting again. Here's one on the immortality of Mario Mendoza. Wilker also has a book coming out in May on newfound father. I'm already there.
- We have a new commissioner of Major League Baseball! Yay! And on his first day in office, he mentions banning defensive shifts! Wait, what?
- From Tim Egan: With Obama, and the Seahawks last Sunday, it's how you finish.
Lancelot Links: Special Oscar Nominations Edition
Nicest surprise? Marion Cotillard getting the call for “Deux Jours, Une Nuit.”
- Michael C. at Film Experience asks a good question: Why Wes, Why Now?
- Mark Harris at Grantland asks a different question: Why Not Selma? And no, he says, it's not that reason.
- Jeff Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere tells the other Oscar pundits, “Told ya so!” over Marion Cotillard's nomination.
- Don't forget to vote for your choice for best director.
- Same site: Nathaniel on his five stages of grief via the noms. Mostly, it's about “Selma.” I particularly like stage 2.
- “Life Itself” was one of the big snubs but Chaz Ebert, Roger's widow, who was also rooting on Ana DuVarnay for best director, is magnanimous.
- Director Phil Lord, whose “The LEGO Movie” was shockingly absent from best animated feature, gets a laugh out of it.
- Meanwhile “Force Majeure” director Ruben Ostlund, and his producer Erik Hemmendorf, are a little more emotional about being snubbed.
- Speaking of emotional, Sasha Stone of Awards Daily is a little so in her piece “Just Make Us Look Good,” playing the race and gender cards rather quickly and chastising the Academy for tepid choices as if it were new. She also needs an editor. (I know: pot, kettle.)
- Did you know there's a #OscarsSoWhite hashtag on Twitter? A lot of outrage out there. Misdirected I think. #OscarsSoOscar would be more apt. And if you're going to complain that the 20 nominees in acting are white, give us an idea (beyond David Oyelowo) who should replace whom.
- More and more, I'm in agreement with Hollywood Elsewhere's Jeff Wells on the subject. Well, a bit. “Mississippi Burning” still burns me. I've read too much about the civil rights movement and J. Edgar Hoover to go and make heroes of the FBI in Mississippi in 1964. Seriously: fuck that.
- Related: all the movies and filmmakers and artists and artisans that didn't get the nom I thought they deserved. Ah, but all of those that did.