Friday, April 9, 2010

On Holiday

My vacation is essentially over. The last two weeks have been very long; feel like I haven't been at work in months. I watched a good amount of baseball this week, but I also watched a number of movies over the past couple weeks besides the ones that I reviewed here (the "worst" ones and Clash of the Titans). Here they are, as best I can remember:
  • New Moon: Pretty boring in spots, but better than the first Twilight movie. Not enough blood for a movie that involved angsty werewolves fighting angsty vampires. Kristen Stewart is not a great actress.
  • Cars: The redneck Pixar movie. Lots of NASCAR and country music. Not my thing. It was okay, but it's probably my least favorite Pixar film. Cliched and not as intellectual as the last few.
  • Zombieland: Loved it. It's both clever and funny and has a great random cameo in the middle of the movie. Woody Harrelson is great in it, especially compared to his role in this next one.
  • 2012: Oof. From the people who brought you Godzilla and The Day After Tomorrow comes a movie that is only slightly less overblown than Tiger Woods, Jesse James, and Bill Clinton. It had some enjoyably bad parts and some science that made your head hurt with the impossibilities. Also, it's two hours and forty minutes long. Don't know why I stuck with the whole thing.
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox: It's clever and it's very Wes Anderson, but I found it to be fairly slow. There were some laugh-out-loud parts, but I mostly split my time between smirking and trying to figure out if people loved it because people feel like they're supposed to love quirky Wes Anderson movies, especially animated ones that star George Clooney and Meryl Streep. It's quick though, and worth a look.
  • I got the DVD for Precious, but I haven't quite worked up the mindset to see it yet. Feel like that's going to be a tough one to watch.
  • The Street Stops Here: This was a documentary on PBS last week that followed the 2008-09 season of the St. Anthony High School basketball team in Jersey City as their senior class faced the prospect of being the first class in thirty-five years to not win a state championship during their tenure. St. Anthony is coached by Bob Hurley (the father of Duke point guard Bobby Hurley), who is a former corrections officer and runs his team with an iron fist to make sure the kids get discipline and don't succumb to the temptations of the streets. As the economy began to collapse, the school also faced a financial crisis and the prospect of having to close its doors. This was an amazing movie, the best basketball documentary I've seen since Hoop Dreams (if you've seen Hoop Dreams, you know that's very high praise; if you haven't, I don't know what's wrong with you) and the best sports documentary since Murderball. They must have it online somewhere or they'll re-run it at some point.
  • Sugar: This topped Bill Simmons' list of the best sports movies of 2009 and for good reason. Written and directed by the same team that did Half Nelson, this one follows the path of a Dominican teenager from a team's baseball academy and into the minor leagues in Iowa. It's mostly in Spanish with English subtitles, but a good bit of it is in English as he has to learn the language to communicate with his coaches and the family that hosts him. It's a pretty frank look at the life of kids coming from nothing with the chance to provide for their families and the weight of expectations, both their country's and their own, hanging on them with every move. If nothing else, it definitely makes you reconsider your thoughts on the morality or immorality of steroid use that was so rampant in Dominican players.
  • Fantasyland: Another sports movie, this one a documentary about fantasy baseball as an amateur joins Tout Wars, the most elite fantasy league in the world. It's entertaining and just a bit frightening. The main character is obsessed with fantasy sports to the point that it overtakes his family and work (he is on the phone in the hospital lobby trying to work out a trade as his wife is in labor) and he flies around the country to meet with his players to ask them to perform better. Funny stuff, especially in how the real life players react to him, as Todd Jones makes fun of his team, Justin Verlander kindly but uncomfortably humors him, and Vernon Wells screws with him. I'm currently sweating my shortstop and fourth starter positions, but I'm happy that I'm not anywhere close to where these top, top guys are in terms of time and energy. You can watch it here.
  • Winning Time: The 30 for 30 documentary about Reggie Miller versus the Knicks in the mid-1990s. Interviews with Miller, John Starks, Patrick Ewing, Spike Lee, and others, as they talk about the two legendary Pacers-Knicks playoff series in 1994 and 1995. I was a Knicks fan at the time (now I just don't care about pro ball), so I assumed it would be painful to relive that. Yes and no. Miller is so funny and the players are now so happy to talk about those great games that it was just a joy to watch.

1 comment:

angie said...

Hey, thanks for reminding me about fantasy baseball...I haven't even checked to see who's on my team yet!