What an incredible hockey game Wednesday night. 6-5, Blackhawks over Bruins in OT, in a game with more twists and turns than Space Mountain. The last 2 nights of sports is why we watch. So good…
“The Sopranos” was a television show that was like an epic movie in a lot of ways; every week there was so much drama and plot twists and brilliant acting that you were sometimes exhausted on Sunday nights, from all the concentration required and subtext searching.
At the center of it all was a heavyset character actor who was pretty unknown to most of the world before 2000. But James Gandolfini quickly became a huge star, and man, could he act.
Tony Soprano commanded every single scene he was in. You couldn’t take your eyes off him, particularly when he sat smoldering at some perceived (or real) slight.
Gandolfini was good in other roles, too; he was a brilliant villian in a small role in “True Romance,” and I really liked him in an HBO movie a few years ago.
But just like Carroll O’Connor will always be Archie Bunker and Sherman Helmsley will always be George Jefferson, Gandolfini will always be Tony, philandering husband of Carmela, and father to screwed-up kids Meadow and A.J. You rooted for him against your will, because you knew he wasn’t someone worth emulating. But still, you ended up rooting for him/.
The news Wednesday that Gandolfini had died at 51 just seemed so wrong. From all accounts his death came out of nowhere; he wasn’t sick or anything.
Rest in peace, James.
For a terrific piece about Gandolfini, check out TV critic Alan Sepinwall’s wonderful tribute here.
**I really don’t like making fun of CNN so often, since I used to really love the channel.
But when they do stuff like this (above), how can I NOT make fun of them?
Somewhere, Bernard Shaw is violently shaking in anger.
**Had a very fun Wednesday afternoon; went to Yankee Stadium with my father-in-law to see, for the first time in 32 years, Yankees-Dodgers in the Bronx.
And oh yeah, my childhood hero was managing the visiting team in the other dugout.
It was beyond strange for me seeing Donald Arthur Mattingly of Evansville, Ind. wearing the iconic blue and white of the Dodgers. I know he’s been manager there for three years and hasn’t played for the Yankees since 1995, but to be in Yankee Stadium and see my idol on the other side… just really surreal.
Happily, everything worked out well. Donnie Baseball got a big ovation from the crowd when he came out with the lineup card before the game, and the Yanks did the right thing by showing a video tribute to Mattingly’s career during the game.
After both, Mattingly tipped his cap and waved to the fans.
It’s hard for Yankees fans under 25 to appreciate this, but for Bombers fans like me who grew up in the 1980s and early 1990s, Mattingly was all we had. The team was horrendous, and there was little hope for the future.
But we had sweet-swinging No. 23, and he was a reason to watch.
So glad to see him back at the Stadium. I’d rather see him managing the Yankeees, but hey, I’ll take what I can get.