Lancelot Links postsThursday October 22, 2015
- What's The Red Drum Getaway? The place where Alfred Hitchcock's Jimmy Stewart meets all of Stanley Kubrick. Question: Does this little video, so expertly rendered, indicate the future direction of movies? Where no new stars are needed? Where we can just put old stars and characters into new stories? I get the feeling we're not far off from that day.†
- Jonathan Chait says Marco Rubio's ideas about climate change and energy are terrifyingly stupid. Shocked, shocked.†
- Post-Democratic debate, Paul Krugman asks “What's the matter with Denmark?” His answer: Not much. OK, well,†this.†
- Last year, Rany Jazayerli fell in love with the 2014 Kansas City Royals and didn't think another team could take their place. But in some respect, one team has: the 2015 Kansas City Royals.†
- I like this opening to Michael Schulman's New Yorker piece†presaging the documentary, “Tab Hunter: Confidential”:†“Imagine an alternative universe in which being gay in nineteen-fifties America was not just tolerated but celebrated. The hottest couple in Hollywood would undoubtedly be Tab Hunter and Anthony Perkins.” The rest is fascinating, too. I want to see it.†
- Larry David, the patron saint of curmudgeons, killed it as Sen. Bernie Sanders on SNL.†
- Would you have sex with Paul Rudd? Billy on the Street asks half of Manhattan.
- Why do young men go on mass shootings? Or join al Qaeda? Bill Maher says it isn't because of bad parents or video games or rock 'n' roll music. He thinks they just need to get laid.
- Malcolm Gladwell has a more in-depth answer in the latest New Yorker: Yes, some were traumatized as children; yes, some are psychotic; yes, some are psychopaths. But research is suggesting kids are doing it because other kids do it. (Plus they need to get laid; getting laid always helps.)
- A new book compares the lives of two 1920s film actresses, Marlene Dietrich and Leni Riefenstahl, and the different paths they took.†
- Nice†New York Times Q&A with Steven Spielberg: on “Bridge of Spies,” “Lincoln” and looking back at old movies with Clint Eastwood.†
Marlene during the war, entertaining U.S. troops (in this case, the 17th Airborne) as part of USO shows. Riefenstahl took a different path.†
Lancelot Links Flips Its Bat
- The most important article you'll read this year was in the New York Times last Sunday: 158 families have contributed almost half of the contributions to the 2016 presidential campaign, and most of it to Republicans. Who are these families? They tend to come from the financial sector and from energy. They're new money and secretive. They know each other but not us. Thank you, Justice Kennedy.†
- After the first Democratic debate, most people felt the way the Times editorial board felt: Thank god the grown-ups have arrived.
- There's been a lot of good writing on the 7th inning of Game 5 of the ALDS between Toronto and Texas but nothing better than Joe Posnanski's conversation with Michael Schur. Read it and weep with laughter.†
- So who's going to win the ALCS between the Toronto Blue Jays and Kansas City Royals? To Josh Wilker, it's all in the cards. (P.S. Vada Pinson is one of my all-time favorite baseball names.)
- John Amos on working on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” (thumbs up), “Good Times” (and why he left), and “Roots” (and what he thinks of the reboot).†
- A former CIA agent who's worked at Fox News as an analyst since 2002 has been arrested ... for lying about being a former CIA agent.
- Nathaniel posterizes Steven Spileberg's 21st century films and asks us to rank them. Me: Munich, Lincoln, Catch Me If You Can, Minority Report, Tin Tin, A.I., War of the Worlds, The Terminal, War Horse, Indiana Jones and the Yadda Yadda. I was surprised I'd seen them all. But it is Steven Spielberg.†
- Joey Poz on how the Kansas City Royals went from Charlie Brown to Snoopy in a few short years.†
“Iíve said this so many times to people who call baseball boring: Sure: Baseball IS boring. Then it isnít. Thatís the magic of it.” — Joe Posnanski
Lancelot Links Brings Back Sung Woo
- Dear Baseball Hall of Fame: Don't make Joe Posnanski angry. You won't like him when he's angry.†
- Dear Yankee fans: Your tears of unfathomable sadness (after your one-and-out postseason) are delicious. Alright, so this was actually a classy post.
- But it's Roger Angell who has the metaphor for the Yankees' season; and it's from the 1937 classic “Lost Horizon.”
- Dear Rick Moranis: Please make movies again. Or TV shows. Or at least resurrect the forerunner of YouTube, Gerry Todd. Which you can now see on YouTube.
- Speaking of YouTube (and Vimeo): Nathaniel Rogers over at Film Experience has assembled the trailers for all 81 (minus one) best foreign-language film contenders. What can we fathom of the world from the 80? Among other things: War and its consequences, cultural barriers and how to overcome them, man's cruelty and women's beauty. And God's a jerk. And I'm only up to the D's.†
- OK, this 30-for-30 short on Sung Woo, the biggest Royals fan in Asia, is just joyous. Also fascinating, in terms of cultural mores.
- Long read of the week: Margaret Talbot's†profile of Sen. Bernie Sanders in The New Yorker. I might just have to vote for the man.†
Lancelot Links Goes to 'Jaws 19'
- Jeff Wells has a nice quick write-up on Michael Shannon, who's in two movies getting awards attention this fall.†
- A day before the last day of the regular season, Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals pitched one of the great games in baseball history: a no-hitter in which he struck out 17 and walked nobody. Only an error in the 5th prevented a perfect game. It's Scherzer's second no-hitter of the season and only five other pitchers have ever done that. Scherzer's no-nos came against the Pirates on June 20th and the Mets October 3rd, and both teams are playoff-bound. Has†that ever happened? No. David Schoenfield crunches the numbers.†
- Nice piece by Kostya Kennedy on all the have-nots of baseball making the postseason this year. Not that I was exactly unaware.
- John Oliver on guns and mental health. But mostly mental health. Good last line.†
- I realized this years ago but it's nice to see someone†hold Kate Winslet's “Titanic” character responsible for the death of Jack.†
- E.J. Dionne applauds Pres. Obama turning the word “politicize” back on its do-nothing users.†
- Neil deGrasse Tyson tells Reddit users the 8 essential books every intelligent person should read†and Maria Popova objects that there's no women on the list. Really? I'd just be happy if people (including me) read these books. She adds, “Tyson's selections remain indispensable despite their chromosomal lopsidedness.” So there's that.
- 2015 is the year Marty McFly landed in “Back to the Future II,” so we've been getting various cultural reminders throughout the year. Here's a good one: a trailer to the movie in a background marquee: “Jaws 19” (“This time, it's†really personal.”) The faux trailer is great, but do you know what remains unstated in H. Perry Horton's synopsis? By the time “BTTFII” was released in 1990, the Jaws series was up to “Jaws IV.” And there it's remained. There hasn't been a “Jaws” sequel since. In a way, the piece made me nostalgic for a time in which Hollywood kept making “Jaws” sequels I never went to see. Cf. Holden's last line in “The Catcher in the Rye.”
- Long read of the week: William Finnegan on Univision's Jorge Ramos†and his recent run-in with Donald Trump. Check out the Ann Coulter parts. But I would've ended the piece one sentence earlier.†
A “Back to the Future” sequel mocking Hollywood sequels. Now it all feels so nostalgic.†
Lancelot Links Chokes Bryce Harper
- So over the weekend the (recent) closer from the Washington Nationals, Jonathan Papelbon, called out the star of the Washington Nationals (and the best player in baseball) Bryce Harper for not running hard enough on an eighth-inning pop out. He kept at him. Harper said come get some. And Papelbon went for his throat. Literally. So teammates separated them.
- I first read Tyler Kepner on it, and he put a lot of blame on manager Matt Williams for allowing Papelbon to go out in the ninth and pitch. He thinks he should've sent a signal to the rest of the team.†
- Joe Posnanski said much the same thing in his inimitable fashionómeaning with humor and sadness. He talked about when it's right to do this kind of thing and when it's wrong. He felt the Nats demonstrated the really, really wrong way to do it.†
- Then former pitcher, and decent writer, C.J. Nitkowski weighed in with quotes from other players ... who backed Papelbon.†
- Then Washington Post sportswriter Adam Kilgore weighed in, saying it was SO Papelbon's fault, don't even THINK it wasn't. Plus Harper†did run out that pop-up.
- And Posnanski offers a further (rather classy) follow-up to Nitkowski's column. I'm sure there will be more to come.†
- Elsehwere, meaning the Pacific Northwest, the Seattle Mariners, who have now been absent from the postseason longer than any team in baseball (14 years and counting), have hired a new general manager: Jerry Dipoto, 47, who apparently resigned as GM of the Angels earlier this year because he favored analytics. More later on our new GM.
- Grantland's Alex Pappademas has a great piece on why the new “Muppets” suck. Then he goes further: “We are a terrible, dispirited society and we finally have the terrible, dispirited Muppets we deserve.” Fun!†(Quibble: While I think Alan Moore critiqued the suphero-as-vigilante, I think Frank Miller bought into it from the get-go.)
- Nicholas Dawidoff (the heir apparent?) writes of another lost Red Sox season in The New Yorker. I question the “another.” The BoSox are tied with the San Francisco Giants for most titles this century (three) and won it all as recently as 2013. Twins fans? Haven't been, or won it all, since 1991. Mariners fans? Never won it all. Never been. How do you like them apples, Bahstan?
- Kevin McCarthy, another heir apparent, who shares a name with the star of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” apparently has loose lips. Essentially he's saying: Look how we torpedoed Hilary with Benghazi! Classy. †
- A lot of reporters are giving John Boehner a pass as he heads off into the sunset. Not Jeffrey Toobin.
- How is America like the worst girlfriend in the world? Louis CK explains.