Tag Archives: Moneyball

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.

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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…