Tag Archives: Aaron Sorkin

After two nights of the Republican Nat’l Convention, I’ve had lots of chuckles and horrified thoughts. A pretty funny spoof of the college football season. And a “West Wing” reunion is happening? YAY!

Some thoughts on the shit-show that has been the first two nights of the Republican National Convention:

You know, I have some progressive friends who are very unhappy Joe Biden is the Democratic nominee, because they know he’s a moderate who will never truly embrace progressive principles.

But man oh man, if you listen to two nights of speakers at the RNC, my fellow progressives have NOTHING to be worried about, because according to them, Joe Biden is just going to be a puppet of the Radical Left.

I heard that time and again, that Biden is going to dragged wildly to the left.
To the RNC people saying this, I say “Whoo-hoo! I hope you’re right!”

But I kind of doubt it.

— One of the RNC speakers Tuesday night, Pam Bondi, railed about nepotism when talking about Joe Biden and Hunter Biden.
As they spoke, the CNN chyron under the screen said “Upcoming speakers: Tiffany Trump, Eric Trump, and Melania Trump.”

You can’t make this stuff up, folks. You just can’t.

— I love that there actually is no Republican platform this year; it literally is just about supporting Trump in whatever he says or does. That’s never happened before.

— I heard Larry Kudlow say Donald Trump has “successfully fought the coronavirus.” We have lost more than 175,000 people to the virus in this country, thousands of whom wouldn’t have died if our President had taken it seriously. That’s quite a success.

I mean, the lies are incredible.

— Kimberly Guilfoyle, Donald Trump Jr.’s fiance, had maybe the most terrifying minute of any of the speakers. Watch this, and hide the children, please.

— Finally, my friend Lisa Guerrero on Twitter Tuesday night “Do they all go to the same hairstylist?”

*Next up today, I saw this on Twitter the other day and thought it was pretty funny. A Tennessee company called “ChattTennSports” made this spoof of the college football season, with actors playing the conferences. It helps if you know the Big 10 and PAC-12 have decided not to have a season.

Good acting all around!

**And finally today, I was so excited to hear this news on Tuesday: The cast of “The West Wing,” is going to have a reunion special this fall to promote voting in the 2020 election.

Martin Sheen, Allison Janney, Bradley Whitford and the rest will be doing a live performance of the episode “Hartsfield Landing” (for you fellow “West Wing” nuts, that’s the one where Bartlet plays chess against Sam and Toby, and Donna has to keep going outside to call a New Hampshire family before the primary) to encourage Americans to vote in the Presidential election.

Creator Aaron Sorkin will be back to write the special, so I know it’ll be fantastic, and it’s in support of the group When We All Vote, a non-profit chaired by Michelle Obama.

According to Entertainment Weekly,  “The special will also feature guest appearances, including a special message from Obama, among others, and additional cast and guests from “both the fields of public service and the arts” will be announced in the coming weeks, producers said.”

This sounds awesome. I’ve missed Bartlet, C.J., Toby, Sam, Josh, Donna, and all of them so much. It won’t be the same without Leo, though (sniff, sniff.)

“Molly’s Game” a cracklingly good movie with Jessica Chastain in control. A crazy finish in college hoops’ USC-Stanford game. And another judicial blow to ridiculous gerrymandering.

I know very little about poker, other than I used to play it badly in high school and college among my friends. I never understood the poker craze from about 15 years ago, when suddenly it was on TV all the time, nor could I understand in a million years the appeal of people sitting at home watching other people play cards. For hours! And listening to broadcasters analyze it.

Truly, I would’ve rather watched Newt Gingrich sing off-key nursery rhymes to children.

But I do know that poker is a very dramatic card game, and that there have been quite a few really good poker movies made (Rounders, anyone?), so I kind of figured that “Molly’s Game” would be good.

Throw in that Aaron Sorkin, who’s been way better writing movies than TV since “The West Wing” ended, was writing and directing it, and that Jessica Chastain was starring as the true-life heroine who hosted incredibly high-stakes poker games for celebrities before suffering a downfall, and “Molly’s Game” was almost certain to be great.

And it was very, very good. If you’re a Sorkin-phile like me, you’ll love the script, though it’s not quite as good as his writing on “The Social Network” or “Steve Jobs.”

If you’re not familiar with the story, Chastain (who’s in 99 percent of the scenes of this movie, truly she carries the thing) plays Molly Bloom, a former Olympic-level skier who suffers a big crash and sees her athletic dreams evaporate in an instant. She eventually moves to L.A., gets a job as a personal assistant/slave for a Hollywood jerk, then finds happiness and opportunity when he asks her to organize a poker game.

Soon Molly is taking over the weekly game, enticing big rollers and actors to play, and raking in serious cash (in real life, people like Leo DiCaprio, Ben Affleck and Tobey Maguire were regular players).

But of course Molly doesn’t stay on top forever; a combination of Maguire’s dickish-ness (played beautifully by Michael Cera) and, without giving anything away, other sinister factors take her down, with the FBI getting involved.

Chastain is sensational in “Molly’s Game,” I haven’t seen too many of her movies (I think “Zero Dark Thirty” was the first flick I watched her in, she was great in that too), but she lights up the screen here. Kevin Costner is in the movie for about five minutes, total, until a fantastic, long scene at the end, and Idris Elba (shout-out to Stringer Bell!) is great as Molly’s lawyer.

There’s a lot of poker talk in the movie but you don’t really need to understand it all; what is easy to understand is how a beautiful, connected woman who knows how to play to men’s egos and insecurities can rise up to a powerful spot in their lives.

“Molly’s Game,” like most movies, is about 20 minutes too long. But the acting is phenomenal and it’s a compelling story. Plus, the ski footage is pretty amazing, too.

Definitely a film worth seeing.

**Next up today, it’s January and while I’ve been in full college basketball mode since November, I realize not everyone else is. So in my quest to start getting y’all ready for March Madness, check out this crazy finish from the Stanford-USC men’s game on Sunday.

With the score tied at 74 and less than five seconds left, USC’s Jordan McLaughlin made a spectacular drive to the basket and then sank a twisting layup which absolutely should’ve been the game-winning hoop.

Except, Stanford still had two seconds, and Daejon Davis, and well, this happened…

**Finally today, a pretty huge political story broke Tuesday night, and no, it’s not Donald Trump admitting he doesn’t know the words to “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Gerrymandering, that controversial practice states use to draw incredibly unfair and imbalanced district lines, so as to preserve majorities for their party, suffered another big blow. North Carolina, one of the worst gerrymander offenders, had its recent law struck down.

From this story: “A panel of three federal judges in North Carolina ruled on Tuesday that the state’s congressional map was unconstitutionally partisan, and ordered that it be re-drawn before the end of the month.

The court agreed that the map, which was originally drawn in 2011, was drawn to favor Republicans and thus violates the First Amendment, as well as the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause and the Election Clause. It’s the second time North Carolina’s congressional maps have been thrown out — in 2016, three federal judges ruled that state’s congressional districts were the result of an unconstitutional racial gerrymander.”

This is outstanding news for those of us who believe in fair elections, and fair representation. Between Wisconsin, North Carolina and Texas, those three states have been sliced and diced to death, all to favor the GOP. Of course I know the Democrats gerrymander, too, but not this blatantly.

2018 is going to be a great year, and this is one terrific start.


“Steve Jobs” a rip-roaring, crackling good time at the movies. Another disgraceful police brutality incident at a school in S.C. And GOP Debate III, the insanity continues!


(That World Series game last night, oh my God how fantastic was that! Too exhausted to write about it after it ended, but wow was that great.)

Sometimes, it’s like movies are made exactly for me.

Aaron Sorkin, my favorite Hollywood writer, pens a flick about Steve Jobs, one of the craziest and most brilliant thinkers of the 20th century? And it stars Kate Winslet, Michael Fassbender, Seth Rogen and Jeff Daniels?

Yeah, there was a 99 percent chance I was going to love this picture. The wife and I saw “Steve Jobs” Saturday night, and it was spectacular.

Honestly, I had so much fun at this film, and not just because it was a rare date night without the little guy for us.
Sorkin’s script was so sharp and funny and witty, it was like he’d totally forgotten how badly he’d screwed up “The Newsroom” and was channeling the best of his “The West Wing” writing.
The acting, led by Fassbender’s brilliant, frenetic turn as Jobs, was uniformly terrific, with Rogen surprising the hell out of me with the depth of his performance as Steve Wozniak, Jobs’ co-creator of Apple who got shunned to the side as Jobs’ star rose.

The movie shows Jobs as a complicated, often cruel, often whimsical guy, who had a knack for knowing what the customer wanted most times, but stubbornly refusing to yield to basic common consumer sense at others.

I came away from the movie not feeling sympathy for Jobs, but rather, being amazed he was able to accomplish what he did, with so many crippling flaws.

It’s a truly fantastic movie, with great insights into a man few understood. Go see it.

**Next up, you may have seen this video Tuesday, yet another despicable act by a law enforcement officer. This one thankfully didn’t result in a murder, but is distasteful for other reasons. Monday at Spring Valley High School in Columbia, S.C., a female student was assaulted and manhandled by Richland County sheriff’s deputy Ben Fields, one of the two officers who works at the school.

The girl was allegedly not obeying the teacher’s orders, and was asked to leave. Fields then ordered the girl to get up, before he yanked her wrist, wraped his arm around her neck, and FLIPS her (and her desk) onto the ground. Fields then drags her out of the overturned desk, throws her across the room, and jumps on top of her while instructing her to put her hands behind her back. At no point does the girl appear to put up a physical fight.

To say this was an incredible overreaction and a wanton abuse of power is an understatement. Incredibly, I saw some people on Facebook defending Mr. Fields Tuesday.

As my friend and e-migo, Dr. Rebecca M. said to me as we discussed this: “People are arguing that security needed to be called for a student not participating, so that learning could happen. If you think learning is going to happen after students witnessed THAT, congrats you have passed the sociopath test.”


**Finally today, great night for obssessive channel-switchers like me: We’ve got World Series Game 2 (last night was a hell of a game in what ought to be a fabulous Series, I’m picking Royals in 7) and we’ve got Episode 3 of the long-running series “Which 2016 Republican presidential candidate can say the most crazy shit and still get the nomination?”

Yes friends, we’ve got the third GOP debate tonight on CNBC at 8 p.m, starring new front-runner Dr. Ben Carson, who likes to use Nazi Germany references when talking about U.S. legislation; The Man Called Trump, as the great Charlie Pierce calls him, Marco Rubio, who is the only candidate who actually scares me in a general, but can’t seem to get any traction; and W.’s brother, who is running the worst campaign this side of Lincoln Chafee.

One of these days I’ve got to live-blog or live-Tweet these GOP debates, because they’re so batshit crazy, filled with so many far-right ideas and racist, homophobic and xenophobic comments that my head spins.

Couple things to look for tonight: This is the first debate since Carson has surged into the lead, so look for Trump and others to attack him; also, look for Rubio and Bush to really take on Trump some more, now that there’s finally been some denting in his armor.

I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Kasich continue his theme of “sanity,” in a desperate appeal to seem different from the rest. This debate is supposed to focus on the economy, I’ve read, so with the U.S. economy humming along and the Affordable Care Act a big success in every way, can’t wait to see how they blame Obama.

Get your popcorn, this one ought to be a whole lotta fun.

A fantastic oral history of “The West Wing.” Monks with mad dance skills. And the Rangers win another epic Game 7


If you gave me truth serum (or threw Wonder Woman’s lasso thingie around me) and asked me what my favorite TV show of all time was, I’d say it’s a tie between “The West Wing” and “The Wire,” and would be unable to choose a favorite (and yes, my 5 favorite sitcoms and 5 favorite dramas are definitely blog posts you’ll be seeing on this site sometime soon).

“The West Wing” was, for me, a perfect show: It was funny, it was brilliantly written, it had tremendous heart, and it moved me emotionally like few shows ever have.
I miss it very much, and still watch the reruns with my wife on DVD when we’re in the mood for some snappy patter.

So you can imagine how thrilled I was when I saw this on the Web Tuesday: The Hollywood Reporter did a pretty lengthy oral history of the show, interviewing Aaron Sorkin and Tommy Schlamme (the creators) and almost all the major actors, including Rob Lowe, Allison Janney and Bradley Whitford.
Some of my favorite nuggets from the piece (and I highly recommend reading all of it): Eugene Levy and CCH Pounder were almost cast as Toby and C.J.; Sidney Poitier was the first choice for President Bartlet (and wow, would that have been a different show), and Bradley Whitford (Josh) had no idea he would be the one shot at the end of Season 1 until the day they shot the scene.

Really great stuff.  And now, one of my all-time favorite scenes, from when Bartlet greets one of his Cabinet secretaries who has to stay behind in case the Capitol blows up during the State of the Union:

**Next up, nothing much out of the ordinary to see here, just some Buddhist monks dancing awesomely in NYC to Beastie Boys music:

Rangers Penguins Hockey

**And finally, the New York Rangers. The NEW YORK RANGERS!
I’m exhausted after watching that game, pacing around the apartment, screaming. I don’t know what to say, except:
— Henrik Lundqvist is the best big-game goalie in hockey, and I’m so glad he’s a Ranger.
— Brian Boyle and Brad Richards, two Rangers who get all kinds of crap from the fans, both with huge goals Tuesday.
— This run to the Conference Finals (4 wins away from playing for the Cup) is so completely unexpected. They had no business winning this series over the more talented Penguins, no business at all.
— And Sidney Crosby, who scored ONE goal in this series: Can you imagine if he played a sport more American fans cared about, what the hailstorm of criticism raining down upon his helmet would be today? Wow. The Blueshirts totally shut him down.

Shocked. I’m shocked the Rangers are still around. Eight more wins.

A TV blog: Why “Weeds” is limping toward the finish line, and I’m giving up on “The Newsroom.” And an interesting study about who gives to charity

Time for one of my occasional TV rants as I wait for the return of the best show currently on TV, “Homeland” on Showtime on Sept. 30. (Seriously folks, this show is worth the price of Showtime alone. It’s fantastic and I keep trying to convert people; my latest conquest is my mother and stepfather, who are halfway through Season 1 and are totally riveted.)

So I’ve been hot and cold on “Weeds” for a few seasons now. The first four seasons of the show were fantastic, dark and hilarious. Then it drifted for two years, getting silly and even more implausible then ever before. Last year the writers brought it back to brilliance, and I had high hopes for the final season, season 8, currently airing.
But man, after a strong first few episodes, “Weeds” has stunk lately. The Jennifer Jason Leigh character, Nancy’s sister, is so unlikeable and stupid you just don’t feel bad when things happen to her. They’ve totally tried to have it both ways with Nancy; after her shooting, she supposedly wants to “change her ways,” and live better and not sell drugs anymore and be a good person.

Only two episodes later, she’s sleeping with a doctor so he’ll buy the pills she’s hawking as a pharmaceutical rep. Totally inconsistent with any human behavior.
Plus, they’ve made Andy an even more aimless fool than before, and Kevin Nealon’s Doug, well, he’s been an awful character for years.

Just frustrating to see “Weeds” go out like this, when it was once so irreverent and brilliant.

And now a few words about “The Newsroom.”

I’ve officially given up. Aaron Sorkin, I don’t know who has inhabited your body and made you write this drivel, where people in your shows do and act and say such incredibly stupid things, and we’re supposed to like them anyway. I know I sound like a broken record, but I’ve never met a woman, anywhere, who would act like your female characters do.

And I dislike Jeff Daniels’ character, Will, more each week. Picking MacKenzie’s ex-boyfriend to write a story about him in last week’s episode was the last straw; he’s just an ass.

I know the season’s not over yet, but I’m done. What an incredible waste of time and talent “The Newsroom” has become. Just sad.

**Finally today, I thought this story I heard on NPR was illuminating. A new study in the Chronicle of Philanthropy found that on the whole, people with lower incomes donate to charity a much bigger share of their income than those in the upper income class.

Households with incomes of $50,000-$75,000 donate on average 7.6 percent of their discretionary income. That’s compared with about four percent for those with incomes of $200,000 or more.
The people who ran the study said that religious giving is a big part of the discrepancy; every gives at church, and all that.

But they also found high-income people who live in economically diverse neighborhoods give more on average than high-income people who live in wealthier neighborhoods.
I’d like to think the reasons for the discrepancy is deeper than that. I don’t think wealthy people are a bunch of greedy bastards who don’t care about the underprivileged; not at all. There are tons of millionaires and billionaires who give generously.

No, I think the disparity may come from this, and this is just my five-cent spitballing opinion:Maybe people with lower incomes know how much a little charity can help, and know the difference a few dollars can make. Maybe they were once in that situation and were helped, and maybe they feel the tug of obligation just a little bit more.

Who knows. Either way, it’s a very interesting story.

“The Newsroom” was a train wreck; but “Episodes” comes back strong. Lochte and Phelps kick ass again. And the woman suing a Little Leaguer for a bad throw.

Good news and bad news from my TV watching Sunday night.
First, the bad: Man, that was one sorry, confusing, ridiculous mess of an episode of “The Newsroom” last night. The few parts of the premiere that were problematic blew up big-time in Episode 2, and so many new problems developed.

First of all, even for me, a veteran of Aaron Sorkin’s rapid-fire dialogue, those scenes moved way too fast last night. Second, and a major problem, is the completely idiotic storyline of McKenzie and the emailing issues. Who the hell, first of all, uses an asterisk in email anymore?
And could that have been any more predictable, that she would soon write something awful and send it to the entire company?  And then Will’s reaction to it was over the top and public.
Third, they have made both Will and McKenzie, the two leads, very unsympathetic characters, and Maggie, Sorkin’s cute, plucky heroine (think Donna in “The West Wing”) is too ditsy and crazy to be likable by the audience (and come on, Sorkin, she dated the governor’s press aide in college? You can do better than that.)

I’m worried for this show. The premise is great and the cast’s terrific, but that was pretty awful. I hope the next show gets back on track.

Happily, though, Sunday night also brought back the return of “Episodes” and “Weeds,” both on Showtime. Can’t discuss “Weeds” yet because I haven’t watched it, but “Episodes”  is a show I have repeatedly touted and will continue to tout until all you people watch it.

Matt LeBlanc plays a version of himself, starring in an awful sitcom translated from England by two hilarious British writers. Season 1 was terrific, with the season finale last year being laugh-out-loud hilarious in several parts. Season 2 got started off strong as well, with a lot of different plot developments resulting from the season finale.

I really hope they don’t keep Beverly and Shawn apart for long, because so much of the first season’s greatness was their comic timing. But sadly it looks like they won’t be a couple for much longer.
Watch this show, please. You won’t regret it.

**Now on to the swimming. If you didn’t watch any of the U.S. Olympic Trials over the past few nights, you missed some great stuff. The two greatest swimmers in the world, Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte, went head-to-head four times in finals. Phelps won three of ’em, but all were close. These two are so far ahead of every other American swimmer it’s not even funny; can’t wait to see them battle in London.
Also, 17-year-old Missy Franklin is so fast and seems so sweet outside the pool; I love that a guaranteed Olympian swam for her high school team this year.
And Dara Torres, age 45, is competing tonight to make her 6th Olympic team. No words to describe how inspirational that woman is.

**Finally today, proof that America may not have the craziest citizens in the world, but we’re in the top 5: A woman in New Jersey is suing a Little Leaguer for $150,000 for accidentally hitting her with an overthrow during a game two years ago.
As the kid’s father said, incredulously: “They’re little kids. A lot of them don’t know how to throw.”

I hope the judge throws the suit out, then throws her in jail for wasting the court’s time. Disgusting.

Despite what you’ve heard, “The Newsroom” is damn good. Colbert on immigration. Ryan Lochte fires the first salvo.

I can’t remember the last TV show debut I was as excited about as “The Newsroom.”
For one thing, I couldn’t avoid hearing about it; HBO promoted the holy hell out of the new one-hour drama, on commercials, on billboards around New York City, on social media, everywhere.
But really, the biggest reason I was pumped? Aaron Sorkin, the brilliant if a little crazy creator/writer. He made one of the greatest shows of all time with “The West Wing,” two other pretty damn good shows in “Sports Night” and “Studio 60” (which I know a lot of people hated but I loved), and has written the brilliant “The Social Network” and “A Few Good Men.”

I would watch anything Aaron Sorkin has written. He has a gift for words and speaking patterns like few others ever have, and he always shoots for the highest of heights.

Before I watched Sunday’s premiere, I read several negative reviews of the new show. It’s too preachy, they said. It doesn’t get cable news close to accurately. The characters aren’t likeable. Yada, yada, yada.

Yes, the first half-hour was a bit sanctimonious and smug. Jeff Daniels’ Will is eminently obnoxious, and Sorkin’s writing was quite a bit over the top here in setting the scene.
But about halfway through the episode, the show started to cook. Sam Waterston is fabulous as a “I don’t give a damn anymore” network news head. Emily Mortimer is a worthy foil for Daniels as his new producer (and, since it’s a Sorkin show, his former love interest. The man loves nothing more than workplace romance).
And yeah, it’s very easy in hindsight to see the way this newsroom decided to cover the Deepwater Horizon spill as a serious event immediately as the correct way.
But as I continually said to myself as I read reviews that said “this isn’t what really happens:” It’s a TV show, people! It’s entertainment. If Sorkin showed what digging and gathering on a story like this really looks like, 90 percent of the audience would be bored.

Anyway, it’s not as good as his other work yet. But “The Newsroom” has definite potential, and cracklingly good writing. Can’t wait to see it again next Sunday.

(And for Sorkin zealots like me, check out this amazing video of how often he re-uses certain dialogue with his characters.

**The major Supreme Court ruling Monday on Arizona’s wildly overreaching anti-immigration law was a good thing; most of the law was struck down as being way too stringent and unenforceable (though I loved Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer still trying to claim her side won here).

After reading about the ruling for a while, I got tired and went looking for something much more enjoyable: This Stephen Colbert take on immigration. Much funnier.

**Finally, since I used to cover Ryan Lochte for a living (I worked for his hometown paper in Daytona Beach, Fla.), I still am very interested in the incredible upward arc of his career.
He’s been beating the greatest swimmer of all-time, Michael Phelps, for about two years now, and Monday night at the U.S. Olympic Trials he did it again, besting Phelps in the 400 IM.
No, it doesn’t mean as much as the Olympics. But this is the first step in what will be an awesome duel in the pool in London in about a month.

Mike Tyson picks the Oscars. Another scary Rolling Stone expose. And a great live TV interview with a drunk guy

Follow me on Twitter here.

The Oscars are Sunday, and as usual I’m excited. I’m very bad about picking the winners, though I did see 5 of the 10 Best Picture Nominees this year (saw “The Social Network” Friday. Excellent. Aaron Sorkin is one of my writing heroes, and he did not disappoint. Still hoping “True Grit” wins, though I know it’s a longshot).
Really, though, every year at this time I know you’re thinking what I’m thinking: Who did former heavyweight champion and all-time lunatic Mike Tyson like this year at the cinema?
Well, wonder no more. We have our answer. Iron Mike, you’re the new Roger Ebert, my friend (this clip definitely NSFW):

Vodpod videos no longer available.

**I’ve become somewhat immune to some of the sleazy tactics employed by our government since this “War on Terror that will never, ever end” started.
But this pissed the hell out of me. Rolling Stone, which still does some sensational journalism, has an incredible story up describing how one U.S. Lt. General, William Caldwell, manipulated his “psychological operations” team to scare visiting politicians and dignitaries into increasing funding for the war.
Michael Hastings, who wrote this story, has a sterling reputation, and Gen. David Petraeus says he’s looking into it.
How disgusting.  That U.S. commanders would order soldiers to use tactics used previously only on the enemy against Americans, all to scare up more support and funding, is horrendous.
Then again, we’re a country that still tortures people, so maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised.
How’s that “closing Guantanamo” thing going, Mr. President? Remember that 2008 promise?

**I don’t think I need to say anything more about this video, found on SI.com’s Extra Mustard, than this:  Man’s house burns down. So he gets interviewed on live TV. Also, the man is wildly drunk:

That “inglorious basterd” Tarantino made a great flick


OK, first things first. The U.S. Open has started; I’m blogging it daily for my newspaper; here’s the link for my thoughts on Day 1: Pretty routine day, Venus Williams nearly went down, and Andre Agassi gave a great speech.

Also very psyched for the “Rescue Me” season finale Tuesday night; I have no idea what will happen except that I’m sure some characters will almost die, Tommy will survive, and there’ll be lots of sex and violence. How could anyone not love this show?

And could someone please explain to me what the hell is going on with the Kansas City Chiefs? New coach Todd Haley fires the offensive coordinator in the preseason.  He can’t be that stupid as to panic over a team’s preseason results, can he?

Well, it is the Chiefs. Boy it stinks to be a Kansas City sports fan these days.

And oh yeah, last month you may remember I was bellyaching that there were no creative basebell nicknames left. “The Splendid Splinter,” “Joltin’ Joe,” “The Human Rain Delay,” all those were fabulous.

Well, thanks to my sportswriting god Joe Posnanski, I have found a new great one. Royals soft-tossing minor leaguer pitcher Chris Hayes has acquired the nickname “Disco.”

Why? Because he throws in the 70s.

Perfect. I so hope he makes The Show.

OK, now on to the “Siskel and Ebert” portion of our blog; saw two really good movies over the weekend; will save the other one for tomorrow because quite frankly, I’m not sure you all have time to read 1,500 word blog posts.

Quentin Tarantino, to me, has been like that long-lost friend you see every once in a while, have an awesome time with, and then when they leave you’re like “Why don’t we spend more time together?” Only time goes by and you forget about the friend for a while.

When I actually take the time to watch a Tarantino movie, I’m wildly entertained. “True Romance?” Brilliant. “Pulp Fiction,” well, if you don’t think it was great, than we’re probably not going to get along. “Jackie Brown” was also solid.

But I don’t know why, but I tend to miss a lot of Tarantino’s movies. Still haven’t seen “Kill Bill” in either of his volumes, and I’ve missed some of Tarantino’s other flicks, too.

But I am extraordinarily pleased I wandered to the cinema (I always loved that word, “cinema,” sounds so old-fashioned) Saturday to see “Inglorious Basterds.”

You know how there are some movies where at the end you’re like “I spent 9 bucks for that?” Well, let me tell you, you get your money’s worth here. The story, which I’m sure you know by now, is about a group of ass-kicking Jews in World War II, led by, of course, Brad Pitt, who try to kill as many Nazis as they can.

(Let’s pause for a moment. You know, you just don’t get to write the phrase “ass-kicking Jews” very often. Reminds me of that great scene in “The West Wing” where after Toby and Sam are in a bar fight, Toby calls back to Washington and talks to Will Bailey, who already knows about the brawl.

“It’s big news in Washington?” Toby asks.

“Are you kidding?” Will replies. “A Jew won a bar fight. It’s big news everywhere.”

(God, I love Aaron Sorkin. But I digress.)

 Along the way in Tarantino’s film, we meet some superbly drawn characters; Tarantino is fabulous at giving his characters dimension. There’s Pitt, who I only love in his comedic performances, as the non-Jew leader looking to scalp Nazis. There’s a beautiful Jewish woman, Shoshanna,  who escaped and now plots revenge.

Every actor is fabulous in this movie, but the absolute standout is the German SS Colonel Landa, who mesmerizes you every time he’s on screen. If this guy (Christoph Waltz) doesn’t get an Oscar nomination out of this, I’ll be pissed.

Now of course the movie is totally fiction, and the ending is truly mind-bending in its improbability. But that’s the point of movies, isn’t it, to show us a world we can’t imagine?

Four stars for this movie from me. It’s not as good as “Pulp Fiction,” but to me this is Quentin’s second-best film.

Again, it’s a movie with Jews kicking ass for two hours. When do you ever get to see that?

Certainly not at my high school when I was growing up, that I can assure you.