Tag Archives: Brad Pitt

The Oscar nominees bring some surprises. Obama’s State of the Union leaves me uninspired. And Federer-Nadal at the Aussie Open, set your DVR.

Tuesday was almost a national holiday for me, with two of my favorite topics (movies and politics) taking center stage.
First, the Oscar nominations came out. Was a little surprised “Bridesmaids” didn’t get a Best Picture nod. Was more than a little surprised the excellent Leo DiCaprio didn’t get a nomination for Best Actor for “J. Edgar.” He was phenomenal in that.
Happy to see “Midnight in Paris,” do well for Woody Allen, though I don’t see it winning anything. Would love to see Melissa McCarthy win just so someone from “Gilmore Girls” wins an Oscar. (I bet Michel is somewhere quietly fuming).

Overall, I think the Academy did a pretty good job. I’ve got some movies to see between now and Feb. 26. First up: “Moneyball.”

**Watched the State of the Union with great anticipation Tuesday night. I was ready for some fire and brimstone out of Mr. Barack Obama.
And what I got was … meh. A so-so speech, I thought, with enough tax credit proposals to choke a horse and very few of what I thought are “do-able” this year in Congress.
A couple things I didn’t like, followed by a couple things I liked:
— Really got rubbed the wrong way by all of Obama’s “America is awesome, yeah!” rhetoric. Reminded me WAY too much of the last guy we had in office, some fella named W. Why do our presidents have to treat us like we’re high school kids at a pep rally?
— A couple of Obama’s challenges really puzzled me. Requiring states to make kids stay in high school until they’re 18? I know I’m new in the education game but I can guarantee 99 percent of high school teachers out there would groan at that proposal. Because as I saw this fall while quasi-student teaching, there are quite a few 17-year-0ld freshmen out there with no interest in doing anything but being disruptive.
And Obama threatening colleges to keep tuition low? How, exactly, is he going to get them to do that?

— I did like his proposal to have AG Eric Holder investigate illegal lending and packaging of risky mortgages that helped get us into the housing crisis. Course, I’m still pissed he didn’t let Holder investigate John Yoo and Dick Cheney, among others, for war crimes a few years ago, but hey, I’m not one to hold a grudge.
— I’m glad Obama started and ended with bin Laden and how much he’s gotten accomplished overseas. He did end the war in Iraq, as promised.
— And I really liked Obama’s combative tone toward Republicans. Enough of this stalling and delaying bullshit, he seemed to say. I’m going to keep reminding Americans for the next nine months that’s it’s you guys who are stopping my bills and ideas that could help Americans get jobs and pay lower taxes.
My man Pearlman had the line of the night, I thought:  “John Boehner: Has any man who has done less for the rights of minorities done more to intentionally darken his own skin?”
Still, I wanted more from Obama. I’m sure a lot of my liberal friends (like my Mom, who loved the speech) will disagree with me. But it felt like a lot of Obama pandering to everyone he could in the speech, and that’s not the guy I voted for.

**Finally, the greatest individual rivalry in sports resumes in the wee hours of the morning tonight, about 3:30 a.m.
Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer play in the semifinals of the Australian Open.I don’t expect you to stay up and watch, even a hardcore tennis lunatic like me is going to watch it on DVR.
Like a rare delicacy or a trip to your favorite city, every Federer-Nadal match should be treasured and warmly embraced, since we may not have many of them left. These two class acts, whose primes have almost overlapped, have battled through some of the most classic matches in tennis history.
I have no idea who’ll win this one. Federer is playing outstandingly well so far this tournament, and seems completely relaxed. Rafa has had to work hard in his last couple of matches and, as usual, is battling injuries.

I of course am pulling for my man Federer, but I hope it’s a five-set classic.  When Federer and Nadal meet, that’s not usually too much to ask for.

Advertisements

The athlete arrested for not pulling his pants up. The “Moneyball” trailer: Oy. And Mr. Belding, drunk, singing the anthem

A story that made me shake my head leads off today.

A University of New Mexico football player named Deshan Marmon was arrested while on a US Airways flight Wednesday.
His offense? Wearing his pants around his ankles, and then allegedly refusing to pull them up.
Seriously dude? You’re going to wear your pants around your ankles on AN AIRPLANE????
I don’t see any possible defense here. I really don’t.
Of course, this story gives me reason to show my favorite “American Idol” moment ever. Deshan, listen to the words to this song, and do as they say, for the good of America!

**So I thought it was a terrible idea when I heard that the brilliant book “Moneyball,” written by my namesake Michael Lewis, was going to be made into a movie.

It’s just not a movie kind of book. It’s a terrific story of how the Oakland A’s, led by Billy Beane, their general manager, began to revolutionize baseball by using advanced statistical analysis, and instead of going after superstars it couldn’t afford, developing prospects from within.
The book was roundly mocked by the “old guard” at the time, because baseball people are slower to change than molasses. But it was a NY Times bestseller and was a fantastic read.
Not surprisingly, the movie has had problems getting made. They’re now on their third director and third script, but I’ll be darned if it doesn’t look like it’s a real movie now.
Starring Brad Pitt.
Here’s the just-released trailer; gotta say, it looks like a bit of a mess and quite far from what the book was. They’re making it look like a cross between “Hoosiers” and “Field of Dreams” and well, I don’t know what else.
But hey, maybe it’s better than this…

Vodpod videos no longer available.

**Finally, my love for “Saved by The Bell” is equal to that of most of my generation. We laughed with Zack and Screech, we swooned over the beautiful Kelly Kapowski, and we enjoyed the witty repartee between Jesse Spano and A.C. Slater.
But Mr. Belding, well … he took the cake. Always there for the kids of Bayside, with a stern talking-to or a shoulder to lean on, he was a rock.

OK, that’s all crap. “Saved by the Bell” was bad TV but we loved it. And Belding was not exactly Laurence Olivier, you know what I mean?
Anyway, Dennis Haskins (aka Mr. Belding) may have hit a new low this week. He threw out the first pitch at a minor-league baseball game, and then slurred his way through “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”
Oh Richard Belding, if only your brother Rod had been there to save you…

That “inglorious basterd” Tarantino made a great flick

 inglourious-basterds1

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.