Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Coach Fired For Being Too Good

Sometimes, you can be too good.

Last week, the Covenant School's girl's basketball team beat Dallas Academy in a 100-0 blowout. Shortly after the win, school officials posted a public apology to Dallas Academy for needlessly running the score up against a team whom they obviously outmatched. In his own defense, team coach Micah Grimes posted his own "apology," claiming that he wasn't sorry that Dallas Academy got beat and that his girls played with "honor" and "integrity." For this he was fired.

Ya know, this kinda reminds me of the time back in 2003, when some reporter twat asked Geno Auriemma what he going to say to keep his team from losing after getting knocked out of the Big East tournament. Auriemma responded with something to the effect of "We just lost a game after 70 straight wins. What could I possibly say?" Auriemma had to apologize for that, even though he was right and UConn would win the national championship that year and would go on to win another 15 straight games on their way to another championship the following year.

Isn't this why we hire coaches: to win? I don't see anyone complaining when, despite being the lowest form of sportsmanship, Greg Popovich breaks out the Hack-a-Shaq defense whenever the Spurs play Phoenix. Why? Because he's consistently one of the best coaches in the NBA and he wins championships (four in 10 years). I don't see anyone in the Spurs organization apologizing for Popovich using one of the shittiest defensive tactics known to man.

Of course, the Spurs have never beat anyone 100-0. Maybe that's the straw that breaks the camel's back.

Friday, January 23, 2009

And the Nominees Are...

So, here's the Oscar thing again:

Performance by an actor in a leading role
With the exception of Brad Pitt, who really shouldn't be here, there's a lot of good guys in this category. But I think it's a foregone conclusion that Mickey Rourke will win this. It's nice to see perpetual "That Guy" Richard Jenkins get nominated, though.

Performance by an actor in a supporting role
I'd love to see Robert Downey, Jr. win this, as that shit was hilarious, but this category is haunted by an extremely popular ghost.

Performance by an actress in a leading role
This is probably the one category that's a complete toss-up. If you look at all the other award shows and presentations up until now, I think every one of these actresses has won something for these roles. This one is going to come down to votes. There may even be a recount.

Performance by an actress in a supporting role
For my money, it's between Penelope Cruz and Marisa Tomei, with the edge to Cruz because Tomei has already won once. That being said, neither will probably win.

Best animated feature film of the year
Wall-E makes the other two look like flip-book animation.

Achievement in costume design
Every year, there's that one movie that gets nominated for everything, even in categories that it doesn't deserve to, just because everyone seems to think it's the greatest movie ever. I'm surprised that Benjamin Button wasn't nominated for Best Foreign Film as well.

Achievement in sound editing and sound mixing
Two years ago, I postulated a conspiracy theory about the winners of these two categories which turned out to be true. I'd bet my money the same way this year.

Achievement in film editing
I don't understand why Dark Knight and Benjamin Button are nominated here, as both of those movies needed a reel or two edited out of them.

Achievement in makeup
I wouldn't be able to understand anything but Hellboy winning this.

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)
So...we're back to three songs again? Will there be a year when there's only two? Or maybe six?

Achievement in visual effects
Again with Benjamin Button. If that beats Iron Man, I'll break your TV (because why would I break mine?).

Adapted screenplay
If there was ever a category about which I could care less, this is it.

Original screenplay
Although it will most certainly lose, In Bruges was the best out of all those movies. In my mind, at least.

Achievement in directing
David Fincher. Not that he deserves it, but he's who will win it.

Best motion picture of the year
It will be Benjamin Button. It is not a good movie and doesn't merit an Oscar, but since Forrest Gump won an Oscar, and Benjamin Button is a less-clever version of that, it will win the Oscar. That, and because Oscar voters are typically stupid and vote for exactly what you would think they would vote for. And I think they're stupid enough to vote for this.

I'd also like to point out the complete drubbing of Clint Eastwood. One of the most respected and prolific directors, whose films have been nominated 19 times (including three Best Pictures) and won seven Oscars in the past five years, puts out two movies in '08 and gets a whopping three nominations. Gran Torino, the weaker of the two, is at least twice as good as Benjamin Button.

The Academy is nothing if not fickle. At least they had the common sense to only give The Dark Knight seven nominations.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Lost: Now 25% More Goofy!

In case you missed the season premiere of Lost last night, I just wanted to inform you that it's become the goofiest show in the history of television. Goofier than The Prisoner, goofier than Small Wonder, even goofier than Woops!, a sitcom about nuclear holocaust. Nope, Lost takes the cake.

First, we're led to believe that the show takes place in the present, with occasional flashbacks to reveal the backgrounds of the characters. Then, we learn that the whole show has been a flashback, with occasional flashes into present day. Now, the show is occurring in (at least) two different time periods: one in the present and one two years ago.

That doesn't even take into account all the other crazy shit that has happened on the show. When Hurley briefly summed up the first four seasons to his mother during the second of last night's episodes, it made me realize how preposterous this show actually is. I've seen every episode and actually understand what's going on, and I'm still confused as hell.

Still, it's a sign of good TV that even though a show is as perpetually goofy as Lost is, I can't wait for the next episode to air. We'll see what craziness happens next week.

Monday, January 19, 2009

At Least The 3-D Was Better

3-D filmmaking has been around for a long time. It first gained popularity in the '50s as one of the gimmicks used by studios to get people away from television and back into theatres. It fell out of popularity, but made a comeback in the '80s as a way to make crappy horror and action movies seem better before disappearing again. It's back in full effect now, with movies in 3-D coming out all the time.

But those movies are 2-D movies that have been "ported" to 3-D, movies like Polar Express and Nightmare Before Christmas. Movies that are actually made to be shown in 3-D, with shit jumping out of the screen, are as rare as a good horror movie, so it's rather ironic that the newest "true" 3-D movie is a crappy remake of the crappy '80s horror movie My Bloody Valentine.

I'm somewhat of a 3-D neophyte, having only previously seen one movie in 3-D, that being Spy Kids 3-D. But that was only half in 3-D, and the 3-D was so bad that it gave The Girl an aneurysm-level headache. (I've also seen the partially-3-D movie The Mask in an unusual 3-D TV broadcast which was particularly brutal, and while I own a pair of 3-D glasses from Hondo, I've never actually seen that movie, in 3-D or any other format.)

Having seen My Bloody Valentine 3-D, I can safely say 3-D technology has advanced leaps and bounds in five years. Gone are the blue and red-lensed glasses that create the 3-D image, but make everything look blue and red. Gone are the two projectors needed to simulate 3-D. Gone are the side effects of headaches and distorted images from not staring directly at the screen. My Bloody Valentine 3-D has almost View-Master-like 3-D effects. All the colors look like what they're supposed to. The glasses are more like Ray-Bans than the cheap pieces of cardboard and cellophane they used to be. The 3-D was so great that it's a damn shame the movie was so awful. In fact, if you plan on seeing My Bloody Valentine 2-D, I'll tell you to skip it, as watching a perfectly awful 3-D movie in 2-D is a waste of your time. (You'd better skip it on video as well, unless they perfect 3-D home video by then.) The 3-D in Spy Kids 3-D may have sucked, but at least the movie had the decency to be remotely entertaining.

If this is the direction that 3-D filmmaking is going, I suspect this won't be my last 3-D experience. However, if the movies are all this stupid, I may have to reevaluate my position.

I went this long without enjoying 3-D; I can go even longer.

P.S. I now remember that I saw Captain EO during a trip to Epcot back in '83, and that was in 3-D. Twenty five years ago, and that 3-D was better than Spy Kids 3-D.

Cardinals Advance To Least-Watched Super Bowl Ever

By some strange twist of fate, the Arizona Cardinals, one of the lowliest franchises in the history of football, will be playing the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl 43.

I'm not sure of the terms of the contract that Kurt Warner signed with Satan, but I would have thought that winning two MVPs and a Super Bowl with the Rams would have been enough to make God cry, but apparently I'm wrong.

And I'm not sure what the television-viewing fanbase of the Pittsburgh Steelers is, but I can't see it being enough to keep this from being the least-watched Super Bowl ever, 'cause you know there aren't any Cardinals' fans, and why would anyone else watch this (other than for the commercials)?

We'll see if I'm proved wrong in two weeks.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Number Six Goes To The Big House In The Sky

Patrick McGoohan, star of Danger Man and star, writer, director and co-creator of the seminal '60s show The Prisoner, has died at age 80.

This will go unnoticed by the general public, seeing as McGoohan's most high-profile role in America was King Edward Longshanks in Braveheart, but fans of The Prisoner will mourn the passing of the last remaining link to the show's strange plot and inner meaning. That, and he always seemed like a pretty classy guy.

We'll miss ya, Pat.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

And Your New Hall Of Famers Are...

Rickey Henderson, who had enough stats for two Hall of Famers, and Jim Rice, who gets elected in the 11th hour of his eligibility.

Henderson was a no-brainer in his first year of eligibility. Sure, he's the all-time leader in runs, #2 in walks, probably the best lead-off hitter ever, but what he's known for is the stolen base. Here's a guy who put the single-season standard so high that it takes most guys two or three seasons to get that many. (Just for reference, last year, there were only five TEAMS that managed to accumulate more steals than Henderson had by himself in 1982.) He was nearly untouchable on the basepaths, with an 80% steal rating. After setting the all-time steal record with 939, he tacked on another 500 just for good measure. In fact, the only reason it took so long for Henderson to get elected was that he refused to retire.

Jim Rice, on the other hand, has always been a harder sell. Looking at his stat totals is nothing impressive; he's not in the top 50 of any of the major statistical categories. But what you need to keep in mind is that Rice only played 16 years. If you tack another five years of stats on there, he's got 500 homers, he's got 1800 RBI, maybe even 3000 hits. To see Rice's stats for what they are, you need to look at the seasonal level. This is where you see that Rice hit for power and average, that he was top 10 in nearly every stat category during his career. If you ask pitchers from that era who the most dangerous hitter was, the unanimous answer tends to be "Jim Rice." In fact, if Rice had a better relationship with the press, which hated him and just so happens to vote for Hall of Famers, he might've been in by now. But they finally cut him a break and let the poor man in.

Congrats to everyone. It's been a long time coming for both of you.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

"Brewers Sign Pitcher Not Named Sabathia"

Today, in a move to keep themselves in playoff form, the Brewers signed relief pitcher Trevor Hoffman, baseball's all-time saves leader. This, of course, after letting CC Sabathia go to the Yankees, who already have every other player and might as well have that one too.

Much like the Brewers' signing of Eric Gagne three years ago, this would have been a great signing around the turn of the century. At 41, Hoffman is on the downside of his career, and, barring a steroid-fueled breakout, he'll be good for about 30 saves: exactly what you'd get from any guy who you let pitch the last inning of any win.

For the honor of having the all-time save leader on their team, the Brewers had to give up Sabathia, whom I have no problem calling the best pitcher in the NL last year. Sure, he only pitched 17 games, but I defy you to find another pitcher who had a better 17-game streak than Sabathia. This, they'll give up for a guy who...well, there's a lot of closers out there.

Oh well. If nothing else, the Brewers can now play "Hell's Bells" when they bring in their closer without feeling like ripoffs.