Monthly Archives: July 2006

Rod on Film

Check out this excellent look at what it means to be a film critic, by former critic turned “Crunchy Con,” Rod Dreher. Best part:

“I’ll never forget how staggered I was to watch an audience filled with most of the major film critics in North America giving a film festival standing ovation to that sicko Todd Solondz’ film “Happiness,” which, among other things, featured a grown man’s attempt to drug and anally rape a child played for comedy. (I seem to recall that some reviews later appreciatively noted the skill with which the director manipulated the viewer into rooting for the rapist to succeed.)”

I must not be like most critics, because I hated that film, too.

The Buck Stops Here

What an amazing speech by an amazing man, today in Cooperstown. The 94-year-old Negro Leagues legend Buck O’Neil, who was inexplicably left out of this year’s 17-person Negro Leagues Hall of Fame class, nonetheless gave the opening remarks at the ceremony– looking great for his age- and delivered a moving and eloquent speech. It can be heard in its entirety on the Hall of Fame website.
And it’s still hard to believe that it’s been five years since I sat on that same lawn and saw Kirby Puckett go into the Hall. It’s even harder to believe that he’s gone.

He’s Not An Anti-Semite? You Sure?

News Item: Mel Gibson Arrested for Drunken Driving, Goes on Anti-Semitic Tirade, Calls Female Police Officer “Sugar Tits.”
All in one shot, he’s done more to embarrass himself more in one night than Tom Cruise has in the last two years put together.
What has to happen for the Michael Medveds of the world to be convinced Mel’s not a fan of the Jews? Does he have to go into a Jewish center and shoot people?

Bye Bye, Bobby

After a year in which in which he was, at various times, rumored to be traded for such players as Manny Ramirez, Mark Prior, Miguel Tejada, Alex Rodriguez, Derek Lowe, Mark Mulder and who knows who else, outfielder Bobby Abreu has finally been traded by the Phillies. He’s headed to the Yankees, along with Cory Lidle, for a relief pitcher and three prospects.
The reaction in Philly before the trade? “Abreu sucks! Trade him!” The reaction in Philly after the trade? “How’d they get so little for him?” That, and, “what happened at Eagles training camp today?”

Spirit Journey Formation Anniversary, Or, 28 on the 28th

Today’s my 28th birthday, and looking back and forward I must say I have much to be happy about. I’m blessed enough to be getting married to a wonderful woman, I have great friends and a wonderful family (my own and in-laws), and I’m finally doing what I’ve always wanted to be doing, career-wise (And I have an announcement in that regard that I’ll be making early next week).
I’ll be marking a year in Philadelphia next Tuesday, and I can safely say it’s one of the best moves I’ve ever made. Thanks to everyone reading for making the past year so special for me.

Barkley Defends Donovan

During an interview with Donovan McNabb on Howard Eskin’s WIP show on Wednesday, who should call in but Charles Barkley. Sir Charles proceeded to chide the Philadelphia fans for their rough treatment of McNabb, who has done just about nothing but succeed in his short amount of time in town. Because if anyone knows what it’s like to be a superstar athlete who’s mistreated by ungrateful Philadelphia fans, it’s Charles.
I can’t find the transcript anywhere, but the interview is available in podcast form here. Barkley called up just in time; right beforehand Eskin had been saying that McNabb looked “sexy” prior to his recent weight loss.

Oliver Stone’s “World Trade Center”

I saw it tonight, and the verdict is that aside from a handful of really horrible directorial missteps, it’s an excellent and powerful film. The terrorism footage, before and during, is harrowing, and it really captured the few-days-after-9/11-in-New-York feeling perfectly. The third act of the film, especially, is exemplary. And no, there’s nothing objectionable in it politically, except for a montage of reactions from around the world to the attacks (where were the cheering Palestinians?)
Things I didn’t like: a ludicrous scene where Jesus appears to the two trapped cops, and another in which Nicholas Cage and Maria Bello have a pretend-conversation while he’s trapped. There’s also horrible musical choices throughout (especially that awful “female wail” motif that I was hoping had died with “Kingdom of Heaven.”) That, and nearly every main actor’s New York accent appears and disappears virtually at will (Maggie Gyllenhaal especially).
By the way, the planned Q&A with Oliver Stone never materialized, but Maria Bello was at the screening, as was the real-life cop played by Cage in the movie.

Savage vs. Casey

The world’s two most prominent opponents of Rick Santorum appear to have clashed.
Dan Savage, author of Savage Love and the man who forever made the Pennsylvania senator’s name synonymous with a certain frothy mixture, attempted to direct a campaign contribution towards Bob Casey, Santorum’s opponent in this year’s Senate race. But the Casey campaign said “thanks, but no thanks”– apparently not wishing to be associated with someone as ribald as Savage. Dan was told to redirect his $2100 contribution to Philadelphians Against Santorum, a grassroots organization.
This comes a day after I heard a negative radio ad by Santorum accusing Casey of- you guessed it- running a negative campaign.