Tag Archives: Kate Winslet

“Carnage” totally worth your time at the movies. Who’s a bigger fraud, the Jets or the Giants? And a 4-year-old’s reaction to “Empire Strikes Back.”

I have a general rule in life that I never see the movie adaptation of a book I’ve read and liked.

Because nine times out of 10 when I’ve done that in the past, the movie has stunk, and I end up getting mad because it’s not as good as the book, and the movie’s terribleness almost ruins the memory of how good the book was. Happened to me with “The Firm,” happened with “Presumed Innocent,” and many others before I passed my self-rule.

But until Friday I don’t think I’d ever seen the movie of a play I’d loved. But then I saw the new flick “Carnage,” starring Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, John C. Reilly, and Christoph Waltz. And it was superb. Brilliant. Phenomenal. Almost the equal of the Broadway play it’s based on “God of Carnage,” that I saw a few years ago with James Gandolfini and Jeff Daniels.

The very simple plot is this: Two 11-year-old schoolboys get into a fight on the playground, with one knocking two of the other boy’s teeth out with a stick. The parents of both boys then get together to discuss what should be done about it.
That’s it. That’s the whole movie. Four people in an apartment, talking. But it’s so much more than that. The writing is cracklingly good, with Foster and Waltz both giving amazing performances as well. The emotions that each of the quartet goes through, and as well drawn as each character is, is truly something special to behold.

It’s funny, it’s dark, and it’s pretty entertaining for a movie that’s set all in one place. Reilly has the best one-liners, and Winslet is her usual fabulous self, but all four are terrific. Go see it when it’s playing near you (supposed to get nationwide release in early January).

**Since I moved back to NY I always enjoy listening to WFAN on Mondays to see which team’s fans, the Jets or the Giants, are the most bitter and miserable. It’s rare that they both play equally awful on the same week, but yep, the Jets and Giants tried to outdo each other in the “pathetic” category Sunday.

My Jets were horrendous. Down 21-0 before you could even say “Mark Gastineau,” they self-destructed on defense, offense, everywhere. Santonio Holmes cost ’em at least seven points, then acted like a 4-year-old moron with his idiotic TD celebration when he finally did catch the ball.

Mark Sanchez wasn’t good, the defense was non-existent, and it’s remarkable how many blowout losses my boys have had this year; the coaching preparation has been highly lacking. I don’t think this team deserves to make the playoffs, but I have a funny feeling the green and white will get in, again.

Fortunately for NY football fans, the Jets and Giants play each other this Saturday, so somebody’s fans will have a Merry Christmas.

I sure as hell hope it’s me.

Couple other quick-hit NFL thoughts today:
 0-13 Indy finally wins. 13-0 Green Bay loses to a Kansas City team that stinks. Two more reasons I never gamble on the NFL.
— I gotta start watching Detroit Lions games every week. They always play thrilling, down-to-the wire finishes. Man that Calvin Johnson is phenomenal.
— It’s gotta suck to be a Buffalo Bills fan. Seven straight losses, after a 5-2 start.
— Finally, here’s hoping Tebow-mania dies down a little this week. Funny what happens when he plays a really good team.

**Finally, this is just superb. A father filmed his 4-year-old son watching “The Empire Strikes Back” for the first time, right at the part where Vader gives his “Luke, I am your father” speech. Kid’s face is priceless:

Stauffer update, “The Reader,” torture and an African baseball player: A grab-bag post

Mets Padres Baseballthe-reader_l








Yes, I may have set the record for longest blog headline there. What do you want from me; I’ve got lots of things on my mind that I wanted to blog about today.

Let’s get right to it, dear readers of mine, for whom I am grateful (believe me, I realize there aren’t that many of you yet, so I appreciate all of you!)

  ***So if you’ve been reading me for the past month, you know two of my favorite athletes right now, and two really good guys you should root for, are San Diego Padres pitcher Tim Stauffer and basketball player/author Lance Allred.  Both are having outstanding months. Stauffer, despite getting no run support for the pathetic Padres, has continued to pitch terrifically for the Padres as he tries to establish himself as a big-leaguer. He’s got a 1-4 record, but a sparkling 2.90 ERA. He threw five innings of one-run ball against the Mets Sunday.

As for my main man Lance, the 6-foot-11 deaf Fundamentalist Mormon who I wrote about here, he just signed a contract to play for Napoli of the Italian League. That’s one of the better leagues in Europe, and plus, who wouldn’t want to hang out in Italy for nine months? Big props to Lance.

     ***You know sometimes when you hear so much abuot a movie and a performance and you build it up in your mind, and then you actually see it and you’re like, “Eh.” That’s kind of how I felt the other night after seeing “The Reader.” It was good, no doubt, but it wasn’t SO sensational. Kate Winslet was, of course, fantastic. She’s truly an amazing actress, and a beautiful woman, yet it seems like she’s so much less famous in America than she should be. I loved her in “Titanic” and everything I’ve seen her in since.

But the movie was just pretty good. I think Ralph Fiennes was wasted, since he had only four scenes or so. Without giving too much away, I just don’t feel like the director established why Fiennes’ character Michael was so deeply affected by his relationship with Winslet’s Hannah. I give it 2 1/2 stars, maybe three.

***So the American Civil Liberties Union takes a lot of crap from conservatives, because it’s an automatic applause line for them. Heaven forbid we have a strong organization in this country that’s actually looking out and making sure people’s rights aren’t violated. Because, you know, the Bush-Cheney folks NEVER did that.

Anyway, I love the ACLU, and I love even more that they put out this video to put pressure on Attorney General Eric Holder to hold hearings on our torturing of prisoners. It’s chilling to hear this stuff out loud, and to realize that Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld didn’t care that it was going on.

Some of the famous folks in the video are Oliver Stone, actor Noah Emmerich, and actress Rosie Perez (who, apropos of nothing, my wife does a killer impression of):

 ******Rafael Nadal returns to the tennis court in singles Wednesday night for the first time in almost three months. I am annoyed it’s not on TV, but thankfully ESPN will be showing the quarters, semis and finals starting Friday. I have a feeling we’ll know VERY soon if Rafa is back to being himself. For the sake of my favorite sport, I really hope he is.

***Finally, saying a Gary Smith story in Sports Illustrated is terrific is kind of like saying water is wet. Just about every Gary Smith story in SI is brilliant. I swear, I read him some times and I feel like he and I aren’t even in the same profession.

If you’re not familiar with him, check out this piece on former New York City basketball star Richie Parker, my favorite Smith piece ever. He is SO fair and so balanced in his reporting, that at the end I found myself conflicted, when I never in a million years thought I’d be.

Anyway, he wrote another great story in last week’s issue about a kid named Gift who’s trying to the first-ever Major League Baseball player from Africa. Really fascinating stuff if you have a chance to read it; it’s not nearly as long as most of Smith’s usual stuff.

OK, done rambling for one day.