January 2012 Archives

Sports and Politics

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 23:  U.S. President B...

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Tim Thomas is *right* off my Christmas list now. The Bruins had a White House ceremony today, and I loved President Obama's speech. He's probably not much of a hockey fan (basketball fans usually aren't) but he is a gracious speaker and seemed to be having fun, right down to saying he knows everyone was "wicked happy" to be there. Then he rattled off the championships from the area and said "enough already Boston!". He had some fun with it, going so far as to call Marchand by his "Little Ball Of Hate" nickname, and it was really cool. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves tremendously.

Goalie Tim Thomas, NHL Hockey player for the B...

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Except Tim Thomas, who boycotted the event because he feels that government is "out of control". What an idiot. As some have said, it's his "right" to not go if he doesn't want to. But it is also *my* right to call him out for a selfish boob, who stood up his teammates for a big occasion to make a political, selfish point. To show him how it is done, I'm sure that if/when his teammates are asked about it, they will all defend his "right" and back him up, just like he should have done when they went to the White House. Put out a statement afterwards if you must, but, as Kevin Paul Dupont said, "Win as team. Lose as team. When team is honored, attend as a teammate."

Teams are funny things. I *love* being a member of a team. And it really has to be a sports team - business can try to coopt the team ethic, but you have to have black and white wins and losses to really pull a team together. It's been a while since I've been on a real team, but once a year, I pull together a group of the guys I play hockey with and we enter a team into a local tournament. And it is an intense 3 to 4 games, played over just a couple days. So much so, that I am usually too burned out to play goal come our regular morning skate.

And I love it. Even just for that short period of time, the "team" pulls together. Some are just friends of friends, so we just see once a year for this tournament, but it doesn't take long for the team to gel and we have a blast. And as a goalie, I am a unique kind of teammate. Probably akin to a pitcher in baseball or a kicker(!) in football, from the outside we get more share of the blame and more credit than we deserve. But the teammates just know how it works, and how the dynamic works and they would never ever say anything bad to me as a teammate, no matter how much I screwed up. And that's the thing with goalies, pitchers, kickers and the like - when you screw up, it is usually pretty major and pretty obvious. And your teammates recognize this, knowing that they'll screw up and you'll bail them out and vice versa, despite how it might look on the outside. And I really dig that kind of responsibility and ownership.

Boston Bruins

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So the Bruins will have Thomas' back but I pretty sure they also wish, deep down inside, that he had just gone along with the flow and hadn't been, as my teammates will sometimes rib me, a "fuckin' goalie". Because we are different, let me tell you!
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Movie Review: Inglorious Basterds

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Inglourious Basterds

Image by sdfbss via Flickr

Spoilers abound ahead - hard to write a critical review without disclosing the action and the ending...

"Inglorious Basterds" is a story of a guerrilla operation, run by Brad Pitt and a motley collection of Jewish fighters in World War 2. They wreak havoc upon the Nazis, showing no mercy, and, in a typically Tarantino fashion, graphically in some cases, including the brutal baseball bat beating (too many b's?) of a Nazi officer who refuses to divulge the location of another patrol. It also follows the story of a Jewish girl who escaped a brutal murdering of her family at a French farm house. She escapes to Paris and runs a movie theater(!). There she accidentally befriends a Nazi officer who is sort of a German Audie Murphy, who supposedly single-handedly cuts down over 100 Allied soldiers from a church steeple. He then stars in a movie based upon his exploits and the Nazi high command wants to debut the movie in her movie theater. All the German high brass, from Hitler on down, attend, drawing the attention of the Allied high command, who promptly begin plotting an attack on the theater. Can they pull it off and end World War 2 in one blow?

Cover of "The Shot"

Cover of The Shot

As you can see from the synopsis, it has a big problem it shares with other historical retellings, like "Day Of The Jackal" (about an assassination attempt on DeGaulle) and Philip Kerr's "The Shot" (a reimagining of the Kennedy assassination) - you know what really happened, so you know the ending. Well, this was true in the case of Jackal. In "The Shot", Kerr does manage to escape the historical ending straight jacket, but only just barely. In the case of "Basterds", Tarantino shows amazing chutzpah and just totally ignores real history and proclaims a successful attack that kills them all! How totally bizarre and unexplainable.

Another problem with "Basterds" is that really, not much happens, at least for the first 90 minutes or more of a 250 minute film. There is no real story building, just a few episodes that paint in the background of the two major stores, but in such broad strokes to make it kind of boring and uninteresting, despite the graphic violence.

English: SS Colonel Hans Landa in the movie In...

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But Christoph Waltz is absolutely mesmerizing as Col. Hans Landa, the Nazi agent in charge of ferreting out Jews, and then the Basterds. The opening scene, where he interviews a French farmer who is harboring his Jewish neighbors is nearly unbearable in its suspense and its graphic, explosive finale. And he continues to amaze in the rest of the movie.

Brad Pitt is just fine as the scene chewing leader of the Basterds. Mélanie Laurent was enchanting as the bitter Jewish survivor who plots the destruction of the German high command. Her ending was just so over the top Tarantino-esque as to be amazing.

But all in all, a 2.5 or maybe 3 out of 5 star movie. I just wasn't invested in the characters or the story, and I still don't understand the ending.

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This page is an archive of entries from January 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

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