Results tagged ‘ Movies ’

Setting the Mahmud

RSBS Special Correspondent and Podcast Epstein-Lover, Mr. Johanna Mahmud reports:

Failed sequels. Failed remakes.

I’m looking for a balcony I don’t have. That’s what the Cubs do to me. That’s what a possible year without the NBA does to me. But regrets are for horseshoes and handbags, just like Oprah said!  Fortunately baseball playoffs are here and a possible remake is in the works for my fellow writers, Allen and Jeff and their respective clubs. This remake reminds me of something (JESUS! I sound like Andy Rooney, you know?)…

Outside of jazz, circumcision jokes and male burlesque Chinese contortionists who wear glittered leotards and make kung-fu on you at will in an inflatable ball pit, my favorite art form is THE MOVIES! And right now, there are a lot of problems at THE MOVIES.

I’m sick of the mouth-breathing hooker pirates who are making pee on my childhood by trying to remake great films that will always be great. To all of you doing that, you can kiss my @$$. You remind me of the unoriginal jags I have to walk over every day on my way to work who are protesting Wall Street while knowing NOTHING ABOUT THAT WHICH YOU  ARE YELLING.

I watch a lot of film: classics, slightly old, current, and probably some that went straight to Blockbuster. I can’t stand when lazy studio heads remake the greats. The last respectable era of film making was before my time (in the late 70s) but it sure would be nice to see it again.

The Thing comes out this week. It’s a remake of the bad@$$ one with Kurt Russell and Wilford Brimley.  And this one just might be a good fit for a redo. Let this be a lesson. The original was smart, complete with a great story but it also had god awful effects that made it hard to watch. Meanwhile, I recently read there is a remake coming of The Goonies. WHY IS THIS NECESSARY?

My point is this: I’m rooting for mah boys’ Tigers/Cardinals final dance matchup. It would be a remake that would be just fine because Oprah said so and I like whatever she tells me to like.

“I was wonderin’ when El Capitan was gonna get a chance to use his popgun.”

–Johanna Mahmud
Follow Johanna on Twitter!

The Nebulousness of Mortality

REUTERS/David McNew

Fall and the playoffs also mean the imminent death of another baseball season.  Fittingly, the news outside of baseball also seems fixated on endings and death the last couple weeks.  Of course there’s the Michael Jackson doctor trial which seems to inspire the same kind of media circus that Jackson himself used to bring out.  But there are two other endings that I find more interesting.

The first is the death of Anwar Al-Awlaki in Yemen.  The dude was definitely a bad guy and behind, or at least the inspiration behind, some of the more nefarious plots against the US in the past couple years.  But he was also an American citizen which makes his assassination problematic at best.  Does his death make us safer?  Probably.  Should we be assassinating US citizens?  That’s a little less certain.

Obviously a lot of US citizens, a majority most likely, don’t agree with Al-Awlaki’s rants against the US and exhortations to do us harm.  But there were also a fair amount of people who didn’t like Martin Luther King’s message and thought his ideas just as dangerous as those of Al-Awlaki.  But the US government didn’t assassinate him.  No, I’m not saying that the two men are similar or that their messages bear any resemblance but I am saying that assassination is a slippery slope during the best of times.  When it becomes an easily employable tool in the context of a nebulous concept like the “War on Terror,” how long before it becomes a similarly employed tool within other nebulous concepts like the “War on Drugs?”  Again, I’m not saying this will happen, I’m just saying it needs to be considered.

Considered in the same way that Trinity College in Dublin should have considered their options before e-executing one of their faculty.  Ok, sure, Professor Conan T. Barbarian may not have been a real professor or even a real person but did he deserve so inglorious an end as to simply be deleted from a server somewhere?  Precedents, people.  They matter.

-A

The RSBS Podcast, Episode 28: A Pirate’s Private Prison and Other Stuff

Click ME to Listen!!!

And so in this Podcast brought to you by Lifestyles

For the first time EVER in RSBS Podcast history, Jeff, Allen and Johanna all meet IN THE SAME ROOM!  That’s right, no phone lines, no Skype, just a microphone and three unfettered opinions overlapping and slip-slapping without pause.  Among the topics of discussion are the Tigers, the Cardinals (it’s PLAYOFFS, duh!), an Ozzie Guillen-less Chicago, “blowing” it down the stretch, why you should see Catching Hell and much, much more!

Now getchyer beer and getcho happy on!

- – -

Subscribe to the RSBS Podcast by clicking *HERE*

Subscribe via iTunes by clicking *HERE*

*Special thanks to our PodMaster Keith Carmack. Follow Keith on on Twitter and, if you like spontaneous awesomeness, check out his crew and their gut busting Undercast!

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Recorded Saturday, October 1, 2011

Setting the Mahmud

RSBS Special Correspondent and Podcast Outlaw, Mr. Johanna Mahmud reports:

“All I can tell you is, I wish I had a dime for every dime I had.”

To commemorate my hopeful demise of the mighty money juggernaut that is the Boston Red Sox, I have decided to use one of the greatest films ever conceived to explain my feelings for this occasion.

ARTHUR!!!

I’m also here to remind the world of the hurt and pain that Russell Brand caused me by pissing on my childhood by remaking this classic. BASTARDDOOOO.

“Thank you for a memorable afternoon, usually one must go to a bowling alley to meet a woman of your stature.”

The Red Sox are falling apart. The Tampa Bay Rays are in pursuit of the wild card and I couldn’t be happier. At the beginning of the season, I, like the rest of the baseball universe, had the Sox winning it all. That being said, I love this Rays team. I’ve loved the last three or four Rays teams. LOVE Joe Maddon.  He almost makes me like Florida. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate tha SAWKSSS. I’m just a bit tired of everything Boston. NO MORE BOSTON!! No more Red Sox! The Town, Conviction, Gone Baby Gone, the Patriots, The Departed, Ben Affleck doing Madden ads. I NEED A FAWWWWWWWWKIINNNNN BREAK!!!

“If you and your undershirt will walk two paces backwards, I could enter this dwelling.”

Oh yea. Forgot about Edge of Darkness, The Fighter, and Danny fawwwwwwkkkinnnn Woodhead!!!! I feel like I have had a Fenway Frank shoved up my giggy for the last ten years.

“I race cars, play tennis, and fondle women, BUT! I have weekends off, and I am my own boss.”

Theo Epstein’s bright idea was to punch in Erik Betard. BRILLIANT? No. Can Jon Lester be everywhere at once? Josh Beckett is hurty. The BLOWN RANGER!  John Lackey is awful.  This staff is not quite in dire straits but…

“Ladies and gentlemen… I’m sorry… As you probably have surmised by now… there will be no wedding. The bride… has had second thoughts… and has decided not to marry me… Most of you know me… Can you blame her?”

Carl Crawford has been my personal joy killer. One of my favorite players of the last seven years, he hasn’t quite been worth the money. Hitting third in this lineup has been a problem. He’s a leadoff hitter!

“Isn’t this fun? Isn’t fun the best thing to have? Don’t you wish you were me? I know I do.”

The rise of Jacoby Ellsbury has been nothing short of TRANSCENDENT — an absolute bright spot. And I couldn’t be happier for the kid who has struggled through injuries. He or Curtis Granderson would be fine choices for MVP. (I’m sorry, Verlander.)

And now, one last fleeting thought for my beloved Cubs. Both Sox teams have won championships and so have the current champ Giants. My thoughts on this?

Gloria: My mother died when I was six.
Arthur: [bangs his fist on the table] Son of a bitch! Don’t they know what they do to kids?
Gloria: My father raped me when I was twelve.
Arthur: So, you had six relatively good years? I’m sorry. Listen, my father screwed me, too.

–Johanna Mahmud
Follow Johanna on Twitter!

New Year, Same sCrUBS

cubs-fan-crying.jpgSome of the names may have changed, but the bad contracts continue to pile up.  The Chicago Cubs off-season moves have made the Cardinals a much better team than the Cardinals could have made themselves; and the Cards haven’t done… well, anything really.

But watching the Cubs destroy themselves is nothing new.

And when trying to reassert my anti-Cubs passion during the long winter, I got an early charge from this recent Marlon Byrd signing.  Huzzah!  Hey, Chicago, whadya say?  The Cubs are gonna overpay for a centerfielder today!

And a right fielder (Fukudome)…and a left fielder (Soriano)…

Didn’t y’all learn anything about immediately signing a guy from Texas coming off a career year?  Nah.  Nevermind.

The Prince of New York paints a nice, self-destructive picture of the Cubs organization hinged on that Byrd deal; meanwhile, I’m beginning to believe Jim Hendry is employing the James Cameron school of thought by throwing a ton of money at something that is fundamentally underdeveloped, hoping it will be a hit (or be able to hit… a breaking ball, in particular, if you’re Alfonso Soriano).

The difference is: James Cameron threw a lot of money at some stuff that actually looks cool even if the story is sorta lacking.  I mean, I didn’t love Avatar, but I was certainly entertained by it.  One can’t say the same for what lines up to be another epic bust of a season for the sCrUBBIE dubbies. 

It’s 2010.

And Jesus hates them

Still.

Don’t hate me, ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

RSBS Presents: MLB’s Favorite Christmas Movies

red_ryder.jpgAs the holiday spirit settles in here at RSBS, we’re starting to get a little excited. In fact, there’s a really good chance that this is the year we get that Red Ryder BB gun we’ve been asking for since 1983. However, as we sit here staring at the gifts under the tree, we thought we could present you with a gift of our own. The interns did a bunch of work coming up with the list and now we just want you to enjoy it. So, enjoy!

Scott Boras
The Santa Clause

Only a hardcore DB like Boras could appreciate the fine print of a contract that makes you take over Santa’s duties if you should happen to be instrumental in his demise. Hell, he probably wrote the contract. On the bright side, at least Scotty hasn’t taken over as Santa…..yet.

The Kansas City Royals
A Charlie Brown Christmas

A ragtag band of kids who are all castoffs from one place or another gather around a depressingly bare Christmas tree. If that doesn’t describe KC’s fortunes, I don’t know what does. And just wait until Greinke blows town.

Derek Jeter
It’s A Wonderful Life

So, how many times have you not made the playoffs in your career? And how many World Series rings have you won? Yeah, I’m pretty sure you could give George Bailey a run for it in the Wonderful Life department.

Bud Selig
Tie: Scrooged and A Christmas Carol

However, he turns it off before the main characters have a change of heart. No room for sentimentality when there are small children and their parents who could be paying more for tickets and concessions. How much more? Get on that, Cratchett. And will you stop blubbering about your goddamn gimpy kid?

Barry Bonds
Miracle on 34th Street

Sometimes when Barry is falling asleep at night, he imagines the postal service delivering thousands of letters to him in a courtroom and the judge declaring him the real home run king. Wake up, Barry. You’re still just a lousy cheat.

So, there you have it. If you ever wondered what a professional baseball player does at this time of the year, you have your answer. As for us, we’ll be splitting a bowl of popcorn and hoping that oblong shaped box doesn’t somehow put our eye out.

-A

Bruno Brings it Home

bruno.jpgYou don’t have to be gay or openly support gay rights to feel a little chill at the news coming out of Uganda right now. For a country that is supposed to be one of the brighter spots in sub-Saharan Africa (excepting the still turbulent north), the recent news and continuing coverage of a law that, if passed, would be one of the the most draconian and repressive anti-gay laws in the world is particularly troubling. It shouldn’t come as any surprise, though, considering that the “developed” world hasn’t really made that much more progress.

Don’t believe me? Here’s an example. Raise your hand if you saw Sacha Baron Cohen’s film Bruno this past summer. Ok, now keep your hand up if you enjoyed it. Yeah, a lot of hands went down there, didn’t they? And why is that? Was it any less funny than Borat? Were the stunts any less ridiculous? Did he take advantage of people to a greater degree than he did in Borat? I’ll admit that some of the scenes were over the top. But honestly, there was nothing there that was nearly as offensive as most of what happened in Borat.

So, why didn’t people like the movie? Well, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say it has a lot to do with being uncomfortable. It’s easy to laugh at xenophobia. It’s easy to laugh at a village simpleton who doesn’t understand the way things are done elsewhere. But the in-your-face sexuality of Bruno is discomfiting. The character doesn’t hide who he is and rather goes out of his way to flaunt it. Even those who consider themselves supportive of gay rights seemed to find themselves ejected from their comfort zones by Bruno’s portrayal of such extreme sexuality.

These same currents flow even deeper in the world of sports. Imagine for a second if Tiger Woods had admitted to having multiple affairs with men. At this point, despite his so-called indiscretions, he still has his marketing deals and no one is really considering cutting them, even if they probably will use the affairs to leverage the rates they pay. But if it had been 11 men? Or even 10 women and 1 man? He’d be out the door faster than a neo-Nazi at a Rufus Wainwright concert.

Within Major League Baseball, only two players have come out and both of them did it well after their careers had ended. They knew that there was just no way that who they were would be accepted. The article linked above notes one particular anecdote that gets right to the heart of the matter:

In his recently published memoir, Going the Other Way, [Billy] Bean
(
not the A’s GM) recounts how Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda constantly made homophobic
jokes, even as Lasorda’s gay son was dying from AIDS
.”

The sad thing is, an openly gay baseball player, or even football or basketball player, could go a long way towards helping people become more comfortable with homosexuality. As support for gay marriage has grown in the US, the statistics show that much of that has to do with knowing someone who is gay. When that someone you know is the guy who plays second base for your team, well, that just might have an even bigger impact.

This isn’t going to change overnight. Intolerance is a deep-seated problem that takes generations to truly root out. But like it or not, in the same way that athletes are held up as examples and role-models all over the world, our country is also held up as an example all over the world. If we want to criticize Uganda for its inhumane law, we should probably take a look closer to home as well.

-A

Like Water on ‘Staches

robert_mcnamara.jpgAlthough I hate to be the bucket of cold water on the porn ‘stache discussion that has been heating up our personal interweb for the past day, it felt necessary that I write a small tribute to the most recent passing amongst our ongoing rash of celebrity deaths. In fact, you could say that there might not even be a Red State Blue State without the contributions of this person because many of the decisions he made led directly to the epic divide that has come to define our country.

I consider it fair to say that the Vietnam conflict was a watershed event in US history and the domestic response to it created a fault line that still divides the red from the blue states. Each presidential election since that time has been a refighting of the battle and even much of the argument about Iraq recycled the same terminology used in discussions of Vietnam. And no one was more instrumental in creating those discussions, arguing those arguments and fighting those battles than Robert McNamara.

There’s no reason to go all that in depth because if you really want to get an idea of the man, there’s no better place to go than Errol Morris’ 2003 documentary, The Fog of War, where you can hear McNamara describe what happened in his own words. Nearing ninety at that point, McNamara’s lucidity and razor-sharp reasoning are almost stupefying. Love him or hate him, you have to admit that he ain’t no dummy.

So, despite the ambivalent feelings Mr. McNamara may inspire and despite his troubled legacy, we still salute him. He is at least as responsible for RSBS as Al Gore is for the internet.

-A

The Dog Days of June

interleague_logo.pngJune means two things: the heart of the blockbuster season in the nation’s movie theaters and interleague play in baseball. The big studios unleash their franchise players on a ravenous public while the American and National Leagues battle for supremacy. But, despite obvious cosmetic differences, the two things are not all that different.

By the time interleague play ends and the All-Star break rolls around, a lot of teams have already fallen out of contention. Does anyone really think that Cleveland is going to make a serious run at the pennant or that the Nationals are suddenly going to put it together and ride Stephen Strasburg into the World Series? Maybe they can play spoiler towards the end of the season but after you’ve passed interleague play, there’s not really much reason to watch them.

It’s kind of like the big blockbuster movies. Transformers II might not have much of a plot. Or a script. Or real acting. But it sure looks good on the big screen. Once it’s time has passed in the local cineplex, though, is there really any point to watching it? It’s not going to hang around for long. It’s there to make some money and get out.

And really that’s where we see the greatest similarity between the two. The money. Interleague play is a huge revenue generator for Major League Baseball. Mets and Yankees. Cubs and White Sox. Kansas City and…..well, maybe not KC. But there’s no doubt that MLB and the clubs are raking in the dough as a result of these matchups.

Just like the movie studios absolutely rake in the dough with their summer blockbusters. Sure, it costs a lot of money to make a new Spiderman movie but when it makes back twice as much as was spent, you can bet your *** they’re going to keep going back to the well on that one.

However, there’s one aspect of this whole thing that gives me some hope. Despite all the focus on the fanfare and hoopla surrounding the big releases and the marquee matchups, there are little things that slip through the cracks but go on to make all the difference. It can be a “My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding” that maneuvers around between the big boys and not only plays for awhile but also manages to make a lot of money and happily surprise people. Or it can be a so-so series that ends up having a much bigger impact later in the season. Do you really think that if the Yankees were to miss the playoffs by a game or two they won’t look back at that series with the Nationals and wonder what went wrong?

I guess that’s just one more reason why I love both baseball and movies. No matter how cynical I might become or how much I agonize over the state of the game or the state of the industry, there are always the little things that keep me coming back. Especially when it involves the Tigers.

-A

The Filibuster

The rumor mill abounds with talk of Brad Pitt and Demetri Martin
starring in the upcoming Steven Soderbergh film adaptation of Michael
Lewis’ Moneyball.  Movie buff and baseball lover that you are, does this project even have a realistic chance of being good?

–Jeff

__________________________________________

moneyball.jpgEvery year movie studios sink millions of dollars into adaptations of books that received either critical or commercial acclaim. This year alone we’ve already seen Watchmen hit the big screen and Dan Brown’s prequel to The DaVinci Code, Angels and Demons, comes out in the next couple weeks. However, the one thing that most of these adaptations have in common is a plot, some sort of narrative device to push the story forward.

I enjoyed reading Moneyball. Michael Lewis, although I may not always agree with him, has a Malcolm Gladwell-ish quality about him in that he is able to present a quantitative side of a game that often goes unnoticed. But I have no idea how you turn that into a movie. It’s like Fast Food Nation. It’s an interesting book. It has interesting ideas. But a movie? No.

Now, the wild card here is the artistic team. I do love me some Brad Pitt and I find Demetri Martin amusing in small doses. Soderbergh obviously has legitimate directing bona fides. But how do you turn a book like Moneyball into a movie? I suppose you could have David Mamet rewrite the script and turn it into some profanity-laden, baseball-centric version of Glengarry Glen Ross but I don’t see that happening.

No, most likely they’ll strip all the baseball egg-head information from the story and make it into a movie about the unlikely but ultimately successful partnership between a former jock and an up and coming nerd. Throw in a little Brokeback for good measure and maybe they strike gold. But I doubt it. Let’s just say that this project is a little more Shelley Levene than it is Ricky Roma.

-A

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