On Dec. 31, 2008, Oscar Grant was a young African-American man trying to get his life together while living in Oakland.
A former drug user and dealer, and admitted cheater on his girlfriend and the mother of his daughter, Grant was trying to find his way toward the right path.
That New Year’s Eve of 2008 he and his friends went out to celebrate, and took the Bay Area subway (BART) back from the evening’s festivities.
Shortly after midnight, he was shot and killed by a transit officer.
Grant had no weapon, didn’t threaten the officer at all, and his murder was captured on video live, while it happened.
It was an outrageous crime; I remember the riots it sparked in California right after it happened. As bad a case of police brutality, and white-on-black crime, as you can imagine.
The last day of Grant’s life is the subject of the incredible new film, “Fruitvale Station,” opening nationwide this weekend. One of the things that makes the movie so absorbing is that from the very opening moments, you know how the day’s going to end.
And yet, when the shooting is re-created, me and the rest of the audience gasped.
I saw the movie last week when it opened here in New York City, and I can’t say enough good things about it.
Michael B. Jordan, who was in two of my all-time favorite TV shows (he was Wallace in Season 1 of “The Wire” and was Vince in Seasons 4-5 of “Friday Night Lights”) is terrific as Oscar, showing his faults but also giving us a reason to root for him. Charm oozes out of Jordan.
Octavia Spencer is also great as Oscar’s mother, and the supporting cast is strong as well. Ryan Coogler, the director, doesn’t try to whitewash Grant’s blemishes, but paints him as a human being.
And no matter what Grant had done in his life, he sure as hell didn’t deserve to be shot in the back at 2 a.m. from close range.
It was a horrific situation, made worse when the officer who shot Grant got only two years in prison (the officer, Johannes Mehserle, claimed he meant to reach for his taser and got his weapon instead; the movie makes that seem at least a tiny bit plausible).
Of course, a movie like this coming out now is bound to bring out the Trayvon Martin comparisons; hell, I wish all the people who think racism is almost dead in America would watch “Fruitvale Station.”
It’s an important, beautifully-made film, that I hope gets some Oscar consideration this year. Go see it.
Men, I’m about to tell you about a wonderful invention that would’ve made the lives of boys SO much easier in our teens and 20s.
It’s called the Clap-off Bra, and it’s modeled on that great old product from the 1980s, the Clapper, which was a doohickey where if you clapped your hands twice, the lights would go off (I always wanted one!)
This is the same concept, but with bras. It’s designed by a guy named Randy Sarafan, who, according to this story, “says he was inspired by the high-tech bras he’d heard about in Syria” (because you know, in Syria right now they don’t have much else to worry about but getting a woman naked).
Does this insane product really work? Well, here’s a quick video above… Man, the amount of time we men have fumbled with bras; think about what we could’ve been doing with our time if we’d have had this clapper thing?
**Finally today, if this isn’t the baseball injury of the decade, I don’t know what is.
At a summer collegiate baseball game in Hannibal, Mo. , the Hannibal Cavemen hired three skydivers to parachute onto the field after the national anthem. Happens all the time at minor league parks.
But what doesn’t normally happen? One of the skydivers kicked Cavemen infielder Mattingly Romanin (named after Donnie Baseball, I presume) in the head on his way down, giving the kid a concussion and knocking him out for the rest of the summer.
I mean, I watched that three times and I still can’t believe it.
My favorite quote of this story: “Romanin recalled his immediate response: “Wow, really? That just happened?”