Friday, September 29, 2006

"So good, so good, so good"

So I had another couple of days off this week. My Thursday was interesting and I will talk about it later. However, my Wednesday was uneventful save for the fact that for the third time, I watched the movie Fever Pitch.

Why have I seen it three times? Because it literally gets better every single time I've seen it. The first time I saw it, my dislike for Drew Barrymore's cutesy style of acting almost ruined the movie for me.

But the second time, it didn't bother me. I got caught up in Jimmy Fallon's character's love for the Boston Red Sox. Like when Barrymore invites him to go to Paris with her and is offended that he has to stay in town because the Red Sox are playing the Mariners that weekend. She yells at him for caring more about the fact that Pedro Martinez is pitching on Friday than going to Paris. He ignores the drama and merely corrects her by telling her Pedro's pitching Saturday, Schilling is pitching on Friday. And the third time I saw it, it was just as good. Even if you hate Barrymore and/or Fallon, I highly recommend this movie.

I love learning about outside circumstances having to change the production of a movie and making it better. Like Woody Allen directing Annie Hall like a murder mystery and then cutting out all of that story and focusing on Diane Keaton's character instead. In the end, Annie Hall won the Best Picture Academy Award and Diane Keaton won for Best Actress. With Fever Pitch, the ending of the film had to be changed when the Red Sox actually came back from a three game deficit in the ALCS to beat the Yankees and then swept the Cardinals to win the World Series for the first time in 86 years.

I know consider Fever Pitch as my third favourite baseball movie of all time trailing Bull Durham and The Natural. I am not sure which would be my fourth and fifth favourite. I should probably pick classics like Pride Of The Yankees of Bang The Drum Slowly but to me, Bull Durham is the defining baseball movie of all time and all baseball movies made prior to it just pale in comparison. Bull Durham is the only one that has ever "got it right" and baseball movies made after are better overall because of it.

And that scene where Drew Barrymore drops from the wall in centrefield at Fenway Park and then rushes across the field to the first base side to convince Jimmy Fallon not to sell his season's tickets gets me every time. It is like the male equivelant to when Richard Gere comes into Debra Winger's factory and picks her up and walks her out in his arms in the film An Officer And A Gentleman.

Even though I am not a Red Sox fan, there were lots of Red Sox details that I loved. Details of the numerous clutch defeats of the Red Sox like Bucky Dent's home run, Buckner's error in the 1986 World Series and the Curse of The Bambino. Even the singing of Neil Diamond's Sweet Caroline by the Red Sox fans (which is where I got the title of this blog).

Fever Pitch was originally a British film about an obsessed Arsenal fan starring Colin Firth. It is based on a book by the same name by Nick Hornby who also wrote High Fidelity and About A Boy. I haven't seen the British film (not a Colin Firth fan) but based on this Americanized baseball version, I think I will try to find it. Not that I even understand soccer in the least. Perhaps I should just have Coglero rent it and then get his review. Though as he is a Man. U fan, he probably has little interest in watching a film about an Arsenal fan.

Top 5 Worst Baseball Movies
1. Mr. 3000
2. Ed
3. Summer Catch
4. For The Love Of The Game
5. Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch (haven't seen it, but, come on...look at that title!)

My Thursday off entailed golfing with Emo and his brother in the morning. These guys have been golfing for many years and was kind of regretting agreeing on going with them. However, they taught me tricks to improve my putting and showed me that I must have some sort of inner ear infection because when I think I am lined up and aiming for a certain spot when I am driving, I am actually aiming more to the left which is why I hook so many shots. They also got me to move closer to the ball. And to stop bending at my knees so much. All which helped me immensely for the last three holes. The less we talk about the first 15 holes...the better.

Thursday night was out for drinks with Jayman, Ricky B and Sky Pilot. Co-incidentally, we actually drank at the Pilot on Cumberland. Always nice to be in a bar where we are the youngest people there.


Thursday, September 28, 2006


Okay, so there goes the rest of my day. I found a website that has every single Simpsons episode on line. I am sure this is not legal and will be pulled once the production company finds out. So if you are interested, I suggest you check it out soon.

I just watched my favourite episode, the one where Sideshow Bob marries Aunt Selma and Bart is able to figure it out because of Selma's love for the show McGuyver. You can also find episodes of Futurama, South Park, Family Guy and American Dad on the same website

Top 5 Simpsons Episodes
1. Season 3, Episode 21: Black Widower 9 April 1992 Sideshow Bob gets out of jail and plots to take his revenge on Bart by marrying his Aunt Selma and killing her.

2. Season 5, Episode 2: Cape Feare 7 October 1993 An anonymous letter writer makes ominous threats to Bart. The Simpsons discover they were sent by Sideshow Bob who, when released from prison, harasses the Simpsons and then attempts to kill Bart with a machete. But Bob's vanity foils him yet again.

3. Season 4, Episode 12: Marge vs. the Monorail 14 January 1993 After receiving a considerable donation of money, the people of Springfield decide what to spend it on. Enter Lyle Langley, a jocular salesman who gets Springfield hooked on a monorail system. After the monorail is up and running, and with Homer as the conductor, it's time for the maiden voyage. Little do the people know they have just boarded a one-way train to Hell.

4. Season 5, Episode 1: Homer's Barbershop Quartet 30 September 1993 After the kids find a record with Homer's picture on it, he recalls the story of how he achieved fame in the 1980s with his barbershop quartet The Be Sharps.

5. Season 1, Episode 9: Life on the Fast Lane 18 March 1990 Marge contemplates an affair with a handsome bowling instructor.

Here is a real life version of The Simpsons opening credits that I found on the internet.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Where have I been?

So I haven't posted a blog entry for a while. A lot has been going on but nothing too exciting.

Top 5 reasons why I haven't posted
1. We had our second game of our best of three series in the championships for my softball league. We had already won game 1 and if we won this game, it would all be over. Our team clearly did not want to play a third game as we scored 8 runs in the top of the first to key a 25-10 victory. The trophy is currently in my living room awaiting to be engraved.

2. Took Wednesday and Thursday off to recover from our victory. Happened to watch the documentary The Aristocrats. I am not easily offended but, my god, this movie is unwatchable. Essentially it is hundreds of famous (and not so famous) stand up comedians talking about and delivering this famous joke called The Aristocrats. Here is the basic joke, guy walks into a talent agency, says to the agent that he has a great act for them. The agent asks for details...the guy responds by talking about this disgusting act that can involve anything from fecal matter, to incest to name it. After hearing this, the agent asks, "what do you call this act?". The Aristocrats is the answer. If that made you laugh...enjoy the movie. If you see it as a not very good joke and is an excuse to be as disgusting as possible...i suggest you avoid this movie. I still have not recovered.

3. Tonight is U-Cam's annual scotch party. This is always fun as all the guests bring a different bottle of scotch and you just try out different ones. At first it is interesting as you experiment with all the different tastes but the end of the night always is all of us sitting around a table grabbing whatever scotch is closest to us and drinking it. Not caring whether it is some Johnny Walker crap or a nice $200 bottle of Scotland's finest whiskey.

4. The website that details 10, 000 reasons why society is doomed. It is meant as a joke as basically anyone can post anything they want. Some of the postings are interesting like the fact that the West African Black Rhino is extinct and the fact that people who spin records are considered musicians. But some are silly like the fact that Jerry Garcia is dead and that bands like Good Charlotte and Green Day are wussy. Anyway, there are currently 4357 postings...I am still working on adding my own reason.

5. I am helping organize our Bills trip this October. We are currently going to stay in Niagara Falls the night before. The plan is to stay in a decent hotel (one without a view of the Falls as that allows them to jack the price even more), eat a restaurant that is not a chain (we decided on a mexican place called Taco N Tequila that seems to be getting good reviews on the internet) and then hit the casino. All this before we get up early on the Sunday to tailgate with a thousand Buffalonians before a Bills game. Always an interesting look at american society.

Top 5 Gordon Lightfoot songs (a top 5 list within a top 5 list!)
1. Sundown
2. The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald
3. If You Could Read My Mind
4. Rainy Day People
5. Carefree Highway

In the time that it took me to write this oh-so-eloquent blog entry, the 10000 reasons website has posted my entry about Niagara Falls becoming a virtual disneyland.


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Bat Out Of Hell III: This time, it's personal

So Meat Loaf is back in the news again. He is about to release a third Bat Out Of Hell CD. The issue is a recent lawsuit between Meat Loaf and the writer of the first two Bat Out of Hell albums Jim Steinmen.

It turns out that Meat Loaf recorded the third upcoming installment of the Bat Out Of Hell series with Desmond Child as opposed to Steinmen. The lawsuit stemmed over the rights to the title "Bat Out Of Hell". Steinmen trademarked that title and Meat Loaf was suing him as that trademark would have prevented him from releasing his Bat Out Of Hell III: The Monster Is Out this coming Halloween.

Meat Loaf has since dropped the suit and is still able to use the phrase Bat Out Of Hell so everything is resolved. Publically, he has said that this had nothing to do with Steinmen and they have plans to work together again in the future. He says that this is a dispute between each other's managers.

Top 5 Meat Loaf songs
1. I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)
2. All Revved Up With No Place To Go
3. You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth
4. Paradise By The Dashboard Light
5. It's All Coming Back To Me Now...yes I know this is a Celine Dion song. But listen to it. It might as well be a Meat Loaf song. Even the video looks like something Meat Loaf would have been in.

It's funny, when it comes to the first Bat Out Of Hell, I was never a huge fan. Too overly dramatic, with stupidly long song titles and dumb voiceovers (like what is with that baseball call in the middle of Paradise). However, the music is still pretty good. Everyone knows the hits Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad and Paradise. But it is the first four songs that are really killer on that CD. Plus Springsteen's piano player Roy Bittan is featured prominently throughout the album.

Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell is basically a marketing scheme. There really is not much of a connection. The music is much worse, no Bittan on piano, no Todd Rundgren producing it.

I am hoping Bat Out Of Hell III is a little better but since now Jim Steinman is not even involved, once again, it must be a marketing scheme. I guess it makes sense since the first Bat is Meat Loaf's biggest selling album and despite releasing 9 other albums, Bat II is easily his second most successful album.

The first single is already been released and it is his version of that same "It's All Coming Back To Me Now" as a duet between Mr. Loaf and Marion Raven. Okay, I just watched the video. It's not that great. They really toned down the mood of the song. Kind of boring really.

And yes, this is the last Celine Dion reference I will ever make. Promise!!!!


Monday, September 18, 2006

The birth of the next great TV show

Not sure if you saw that the new TV season officially started on Sunday night. For me, it started with a bang with the new show "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" (a title I will screw up again and again).

The show, if you missed it, is by the same producer as Sports Night (very underrated) and The West Wing (very overrated). It is about the backstage people and personalities on an LA-based live comedy show like Saturday Night Live.

Yesterday's pilot episode started off amazingly. Without a real introduction of characters...just immediate drama as the show's executive producer (Judd Hirsch) has found out that one of that night's sketches has to be removed as the network rep from Standards and Practices believes it is too offensive. As the show begins, he hijacks the show mid-skit, and talks directly to TV and live audience advising them to change the channel and watch something else. This leads into a lengthy diatribe about what is wrong with TV. Talking about that they are only trying to appeal to 12 year old boys ("and not even smart 12 year old boys"). It was a scene reminiscent of the film Network. I found it on youtube almost a week after I originally posted this entry. If you did not watch the show, I suggest checking out the clip below.

The remainder of the show revolves around the new head of the network Jordan McDeere (played surprisingly well by Amanda Peet) and her insisting on hiring back Matt Albie (Matthew Perry) and Danny Trip (Bradley Whitford) to take over the show.

This show moves fast and is not for stupid people. However, in my humble opinion, if there is a better show produced this season...I would be shocked.

J-Mac and I spent the weekend with my three year old niece Courtney who was staying with us. If you know anything about three year olds, you know this was an exhausting weekend. We drove her back to my sister's place on Sunday and despite playing golf in Angus, Ontario and having a great steak dinner in Thornton, whole aim was to get back home in time to watch Studio 60 at Sunset Strip. However, J-Mac wanted to watch Denzel Washington in the Spike Lee film Inside Man. I rented it on Friday but we were too exhausted on both Friday night and Saturday night to watch it. I suggested we watch it tonight (after Prison Break, of course) and simply pay the late charges. All part of my plan to watch Studio 60.

Yes, I know what you are thinking and you're right. I do need to get out more. And what's worse, the first sentance of this actual paragraph is a reference to Magnum PI that pretty much only I would find amusing. Further proof that I need to get out more.

Top 5 Denzel Washington films
1. Malcolm X
2. Remember The Titans
3. Glory
4. Devil In A Blue Dress
5. The Mighty Quinn


Thursday, September 14, 2006

Waiting For The Interpreter

So I took yesterday off work. In part to repair myself for any possible hangovers after Tuesday night's game 1 win in our slopitch finals and part because I have an excess of lieu days to use up before October.

Aside from getting Jayman to sign off on my passport application (he is a notery public), I decided to watch some movies. I watched The Interpreter with Sean Penn and Nicole Kidman as well as Waiting... with Ryan Reynolds and Justin Long.

These two movies prove exactly what is wrong with having expectations when you are about to watch a movie. One was a possible Oscar contender from last year, featuring two Academy Award winning actors and directed by the incomparable Sydney Pollack. The other a workplace comedy directed by a guy I have never heard of and featuring actors who are, at best, vaguely familiar.

Top 5 Sydney Pollack films
1. Tootsie
2. Three Days of the Condor
3. Absence of Malice
4. The Electric Horseman
5. The Firm

Anyway, in the end, I liked Waiting... more than I liked The Interpreter. Waiting is nothing more than it claims to be. Really just Clerks but in a restaurant. Actually, this movie could have been directed by Kevin Smith. Having worked in a restaurant, the happenings inside really rang true. Though the lead performance by Ryan Reynolds is irritating...he continues to do his Chevy Chase-light imitations. As well, the script is sort of shoddy. I realize it is just "a day in the life" of a bunch of waiters in a chain restaurant but they could have made it a little more interesting. As well, having worked in a restaurant, these people had way too much time for their "witty" banter in between dealing with tables. But I guess a 90 minute movie of people running around serving food would not be all that fun too watch. A little too working-class-andy-warhol-ish.

Obviously, The Interpreter is a better movie. Better written, better directed etc etc. However, my expectations were already high going into it. Those expectations were not fulfilled. Sean Penn is perfect. Nicole Kidman, not too irritating. However, aside from the bus scene that was featured heavily in the trailer for the film, the movie is boring. And the ending, considering a major character goes missing during the film's final half hour is beyond predictable.

So, my point at the end of this lame blog entry is this. Isn't it funny how your preceived expectations of a film can truly ruin your experience. Like with the film The Sixth Sense. I did not know about the twist going into it and I was amazed. Plus, whether you like the twist or not, I still think it is a good movie. However, people I know who saw it after they knew the ending think the movie sucks. A movie like that for me is The Usual Suspects. I saw it a year after it came out. Considering that Kevin Spacey had won an Academy Award for it, I could guess the ending. And personally, i think THAT film is way overrated.

Conclusion? A film's expectations can really hurt your film experience. Having said that, other than living in a cave and only coming out just to watch a movie, there is really no way around this fact.


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Hurricane Katrina's greatest hits (or, you are doing a heckuva job faithful narrator)

So I have been watching Spike Lee's documentary When The Levees Broke about Hurricane Katrina and the aftermath in New Orleans. I watched the first two hours and am not sure when I will be able to watch the second two hours as it is just emotionally draining. I can't believe the people of the United States have not risen up and tried to take back the government from George Bush and his cronies. How can they not care? How can they even think of voting in the republicans again? How could Bush and FEMA and everyone else involved in trying to first save the people of New Orleans and then trying to repair the city afterwards be so lackadaisecal?

This documentary will have you in tears one minute and shaking with rage another minute later. J-Mac wrote about this same documentary earlier in the summer.

Here are my top 5 post Katrina moments that deal with how well the US government have been dealing with the aftermath.

1. Kanye West on the Hurricane Katrina telethon saying that George Bush doesn't care about black people. I love the growing uncomfortableness in Mike Myers' face as he realizes Kanye West is going way off the script.

2. Anderson Cooper taking senator Mary Landrieu to task after she talks about how well the different levels of government are handling their post-Katrina response. Essentially burying her head in the sand from what is really going on. This is the moment where Anderson Cooper became a star.

3. As Dick Cheney tours the wreckage of New Orleans. A passerby tells him exactly how he feels about him.

4. That great George Bush quote as he compliments FEMA director Mike Brown for a job well done. Clearly Bush has no clue and this comes off as arrogance and stupidity.

5. Barbara Bush touring the devestation of New Orleans and I guess she is rationalizing the government's response to the Hurricane with this quote. A quote that basically insults all people living in the area below the poverty line. What's even worse is that Bill Clinton and George Bush Senior are standing beside her when she says it and they say nothing!

What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them.


Monday, September 11, 2006

First Mel...than Arnold

Speaking with regards to people of Puerto Rican and Cuban descent, actor turned California governer Arnold Schwarzenegger said the following:

"They are all very hot (blooded). They have, you know, part of the black blood in them and part of the Latino blood in them and together makes it."

Admittedly, this isn't THAT bad. But still he is the governer of "Galeeforneea". He needs to be smarter and more sensitive than that.

Top 5 Arnold Schwarzenegger films
1. Terminator 2: Judgement Day
2. Total Recall
3. Eraser
4. Predator
5. Last Action Hero

Schwarzenegger's comments were directed towards Republican Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia of Cathedral City (Riverside County). He was clearly referring to her tough temperament and passion for the job. What has become the issue now is how these comments became public.

The comments were started when the LA Times published transcripts of a taped private discussion between Schwarzenegger and his Chief of Staff, Democrat Susan Kennedy and two other aides. Sources close to the governer believe it was a computer hacker who was able to get a copy of the digital recording.

Garcia, when reached for comment regarding what Schwarzenegger said actually laughed when she heard his quote. In an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, Garcia said, "As governor, he's been up front and center on issues that are important to the Latino community -- health care issues, education issues, job issues. He's been promoting programs that are very middle of the road, not Democrat and not Republican,'' she added later, "I'm not offended."

California gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides has jumped all over this issue as he is running against Schwarzenegger this November. As well, state Democratic Party chair Art Torres said Schwarzenegger "has embarrassed our state.''

Over the years, rumours of nazi admiration have dogged Schwarzenegger. His father was a member of the Nazi party, specifically in the Schutzstaffel. A March 1992 article in Spy Magazine claims that in the 70s, Schwarzenegger enjoyed playing and giving away recordings of Adolf Hitler. Schwarzenegger supported the campaign of Kurt Waldheim, former UN chief who had been a member of the Nazi party and was accused of war crimes during WWII in Yugoslavia.

However, Schwarzenegger has been a strong supporter of various Jewish groups and has denounced the principles of fascism. However, apparently, in the uncut version of the Pumping Iron documentary that featured Schwarzenegger back in the early 70s is said to have footage of him showing the nazi salute.

And all this time, I thought his biggest transgression was starring in Junior.


Sunday, September 10, 2006

On The Dusty Trail...the finale

So we went to see Stranger Than Fiction last night. Overall, it was a good movie, very funny with a sparkling comedic performance by Emma Thompson (uglying herself as she did in Peter's Friends and numerous other films), Dustin Hoffman was terrific and Will Farrell was surprisingly good. Amadeus' Tom Hulce was also in the film as a touchy-feely HR rep. It was good to see him, not sure why his career never went anywhere after the double triumphs of Amadeus and Dominick and Eugene. He is quite a talented actor.

The audience was star packed as film stars Hoffman, Thompson (who looks quite beautiful in person) and Farrell were all there along with director Marc Foster. They were all introduced in front of the screen before the movie. Farrell did one of those "fake" self deprecating things that all actors do. He was announced last, walked out, stood directly in front of the more famous Thompson and Hoffman and took a lingeringly long bow blocking anyone from seeing the others. He then explained to us in the audience that the movie was not actually going to be shown there in the theatre, that it would actully be showing at the CN Tower. Farrell seemed to be as far from Frank The Tank from Old School as I could possibly imagine.

Top 5 great scenes in the movie Old School.
1. Beanie (Vince Vaughn) getting all cynical at the church during Frank Ricard's (Will Farrell) wedding. "Well let me be the first to say congratulations to you man; you have one vagina for the rest of your life. Real smart man." And then he turns to Frank's future father-in-law and says, "It takes a man to give away an angel." And then gives him that patended Vince Vaughn wink.

2. Beanie constantly telling his kid "earmuffs" any time someone around is about to swear.

3. Any scene involving Mitch (Luke Wilson) and his boss Goldberg (Terry O'Quinn). First when Mitch's reaction when he finds out that he had sex with Golderg's 17 year old daughter the night before or when Mitch yells at his boss to leave him alone when he is getting two co-workers to help him out with his fraternity. These are the scenes that actually prove that the film Old School is just a comedic version of Fight Club.

4. The Dan Band at Frank's wedding singing that swear-word infested version of Total Eclipse of The Heart. "Every fucking time I see that look in your eyes..."

5. Beanie's wife Lara. Sorry J-Mac, she is played by Leah Remini and I have been harbouring something for her since her appearance as Carla's daughter Sarafina on Cheers in the early 90s.

Also in the audience was Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher. Moore chewed bubble gum like a horse throughout the movie which seemed to offend J-Mac and Jayman's wife to no end.

As discussed in previous blogs, my dilemma was that Dustin Hoffman is my favourite actor on the planet and that I should bring something to possibly get his autograph. In the end, I didn't which was the right decision as there was no real opportunity to try and get his autograph.

However, as we were up in the balcony, when we tried to leave, security blocked us so all the stars could get out to their limo. Hoffman walked by a small group of us. Someone said, great movie Dustin, thanks for coming. Hoffman turned and looked at us and said, "Thanks, I just wish my part was bigger." I just thought that was hilarious. I was thinking about what my Dad always said, "there are no small parts, just small actors". But I was too stupified to think or even say that aloud. J-Mac kept trying to push me forward like she was dealing with a frightened four year old who saw Santa Claus for the first time but I wouldn't budge.

The actor who plays Ali G was also there. I have nothing funny or interesting to say about that as I barely know who that is.


Friday, September 08, 2006

Some cool lists to take you through to the weekend

Music-wise, the top 200 songs of the 1960s. The choices aren't blatently obvious Beatles and Rolling Stones picks. There are plenty of obscure rock tunes, some country (Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash) and some jazz (Charles Mingus!). Shockingly, my favourite song in the world, Try A Little Tenderness by Otis Redding is not on the list.

Top 5 Otis Redding songs
1. Try A Little Tenderness
2. Love Man (despite being used in Dirty Dancing)
3. I Can't Turn You Loose
4. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
5. Look At That Girl

Movie-wise, the top 50 High School Movies from Entertainment Weekly. Nice list as underrated films such as Can't Hardly Wait and Donnie Darko are there along with obvious ones like Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Sixteen Candles. Though I think the film Dazed And Confused was rated a little too high. And, after seeing Napoleon Dynamite on the weekend, I can't understand how it could be on this list at all. They are definately correct with their #1 pick though.


Thursday, September 07, 2006

Derek Jeter for MVP (and trust me, that hurts to say)

I am not a Yankee fan, never have been. Too arrogant, too successful, too much money etc etc. To play for this team, you need to have nerves of steel. Playing in Yankee Stadium, with those crowds has killed careers. Players like Jeff Weaver, Kenny Rogers, Kevin Brown...the road is strewn with solid players who simply could not play in New York. The latest casualty could be Alex Rodriguez but that is material for another blog.

Derek Jeter has always exemplified everything I hate about the Yankees. He is a solid shortstop but his success is partially due to luck having started with the Yankees when they started their run of success in the mid-to-late 90s. I once had an argument with someone who tried to tell me that Derek Jeter is one of the top 5 shortstops in the history of baseball. I replied that he is not even the best shortstop on his team! (Rodriguez was originally a shortstop). In the end, this was a dumb argument. This is a guy whose dog is named Jeter, so he was a little biased.

This season, I have become a believer on Derek Jeter. Unfortunaly, since I only work in public relations for a sports network, I do not have a vote for American League MVP. However, if I did, I would vote for Jeter. Currently he is second in the AL batting race hitting .344 with 12 home runs, 85 RBI, 97 runs scored and 29 stolen bases. He has had three seperate hitting streaks over 10 games this season. All the while, leading a Yankee team to first place despite injuried to other Yanks like Hideki Matsui, Gary Sheffield and Robinson Cano. The only other American Leaguer I could think to vote for MVP would be David Ortiz but with his current injury issues and the fact that he is only a DH negates that for me.

There have been some magical moments in Jeter's history. There was the time he dove in to the stands during an extra inning game versus the Red Sox to snag a Trot Nixon foul ball in 2004. Then there was the the play in the American League Divisional Series vs. the Oakland A's in 2001. With Jeremy Giambi on first base, Terrence Long lashed a double to right field. The throw by Yankee outfielder Shane Spencer was way off line and Giambi raced home. Jeter came out of nowhere to pick up the errant ball, he then backhanded the ball to Yankee catcher Jorge Posada who was able to tag Giambi out. Admittedly, had Giambi slid, he would have been safe. But still, it was a hell of a play. At that point, the Yanks were done 2-0 in the series but ended up winning that series.

Here is one of those magical Derek Jeter moments from the 2001 World Series. The end of the season was delayed due to the tragic events of 9/11 and this game ended up being played in November. Despite all that, Jeter takes a frisbee of a slider off Byun-Hung Kim and takes it the other way to right field for a walk-off home run.

The Yankees would end up losing the series to the Diamondbacks. I remember that final inning where the D-backs fought back against super star closer Mariano Rivera to win the game and the series. J-Mac, a Yankee fan from way back, could no longer bare to watch and took a bath. I took that opportunity to wear her Yankee jersey as I cheered those bronx bombers to lose. Ahhh, good times.

Top 5 Baseball Movies
1. Bull Durham
2. The Natural
3. Soul Of The Game
4. The Bad News Bears
5. Eight Men Out

(with apologies to Bingo Long & The Travelling All Stars)


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

On The Dusty Trail

So, I am thinking my debut as an autograph hound on Saturday will be shortlived. As you know, I will be at the premiere of the new Will Farrell/Dustin Hoffman film on Saturday. There is a chance Dustin Hoffman will be there and my thoughts are possibly trying to get an autograph from him.

I had this whole plan where I was going to bring my copy of Straw Dogs and get him to sign it. If he reacts to the fact that I am getting him to sign a DVD copy of a fairly obscure British movie he did, I was going to tell him that I figured that was a better choice then Straight Time. You see, that is pretty funny because, Straight Time was his pet project for years. He hired his friend Uli Grosbard to direct it. Once the film was released, Dustin Hoffman was so unhappy he sued the director because of the quality of the product.

But, after seeing these pictures from the website X17 online of Hoffman avoiding cameras by putting a bag over his head. Clearly, he is not a fan of the public. I don't want to be THAT guy.

Then I found this video of Kiefer Sutherland and his father Donald outside a restaurant signing autographs. I mean there are like 20 people outside waiting for them. Where did these losers come from? How did they know they were there? The Sutherland's are very nice but one guy had Kiefer sign either his back or the bottom of his shirt! Another guy shoved either a laserdisc copy of A Few Good Men or an album version of the soundtrack of A Few Good Men. Who even carries these things around? And Kiefer is in that movie for a total of 10 minutes? And Kiefer signs this stuff without even looking. He knows it is part of his job and that's it. Deep down, he probably thinks it is a nuisance. Again...I can't be that guy.

Top 5 Dustin Hoffman films
1. All The President's Men
2. Tootsie
3. The Graduate
4. Straw Dogs
5. Marathon Man

By the way, dealing with issue #3 from yesterday, we did win our semi final game 13-10. For the first time since I was in my 20s, I actually helped our team with my baserunning. Four at bats, nothing hit out of the infield but scored from first base on a double and went first to third on a single that kicked up a cloud of dust due to my slide and afforded me the opportunity to once again, scrape up my leg. Sorry mom.


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Not much to say and not much time to say it

Top 5 Reasons why I am swamped today

1. Our car is having problems again. So I had to walk down the street to pick up the bus, to the subway station, took the subway south to get to hop on another subway east, hopped on the LRT and then took a bus to get to work. An hour and 10 minutes, yeah, good times.

2. More emails to answer at work than I can possibly handle right now.

3. Big semi final game slo pitch game tonight. We finished in first and our playing the fourth place team in order to get a berth into the finals starting next week. Though I still have to worry about getting home via the TTC and then somehow getting down to the ballpark for 6 pm while carrying all the equipment.

4. Gotta make reservations at Fieramosca for this Saturday. We are joining Jayman and his wife to see Stranger Than Fiction with Dustin Hoffman and Will Farrell. Sometimes the stars of the movie are actually there at the screening. Dustin Hoffman is my favourite actor so I may be "one of those people" who is actually going to bring my copy of Straw Dogs for Dustin Hoffman to sign. Though I am not sure if I will go through with it. I can't be "that guy". You know that guy. The autograph hound, I don't even know who to do it.

5. The endless drama that is my cousin's life has bumped up another notch over the last week. Again, too dramatic to be believed in this blog. But just trust me, if it was a movie, you would demand your money back as it is too ridiculous.


Monday, September 04, 2006

Great movie alert

So I watched Curtis Hanson's In Her Shoes last night and absolutely loved it. At first, it seems like a typical proverbial chick flick with two vastly different sisters struggling to get along but since it was directed by Hanson who directed two of my favourite movies of the last 10 years (L.A. Confidential and Wonder Boys) I knew it had to be better than that.

It stars Cameron Diaz (I am not a fan-on ANY level), Toni Collette (you know her from the Sixth Sense) and Shirley MacLaine (if you don't know her, reading a blog by a guy like me who writes about movies is probably not the thing for you).

Diaz plays the younger, wilder sister who has no job, cheats with her sister's boyfriend and steals money from people. It is a typical Diaz role but in a better movie than she usually gets. Collette is the straight laced, heavy set sister and is fulfills the promise Collette started when her first movie Muriel's Wedding first brought her to the attention of Hollywood.

Like I said, this movie was advertised like a chick flick, but trust me when I tell you, it doesn't feel like it. Though, Collette's role feels like the kind of role they would have normally given to Sandra Bullock, which would have just KILLED this movie. The fact that Collette has that pivotal role of Rose who at first tries to protect her sister Maggie, than shuns her and then in the end realizez that she needs her as much as Rose needs her just makes for a perfect movie that you really need to rent if you are just a fan of movies about family secrets, redemption and the power of the written word.

Top 5 Shirley MacLaine Movies
1. The Apartment
2. Irma La Douce
3. Sweet Charity
4. Terms Of Endearment
5. Guarding Tess


I once wrote about my favourite music video of all time being Cloudbusting by Kate Bush. I found a link to it on Youtube. Ignore, Bush's hammy acting, but she is playing Donald Sutherland's son!!!! It is one of the few videos I have ever seen where the music and words actually match what you are seeing visually on screen.

Sutherland's character is actually based on a real person. Wilhelm Reich, who was a contemporary of Sigmund Freud.


Following up on all the stuff I wrote about the CNE, Catherine Mulroney of the Toronto Star wrote a terrific column today complaining about the CNE of these years compared to what it was like when she was a kid.


I am not sure how I should feel about this but Steve Irwin, better known as the Crocodile Hunter (my god, the even made a movie with him!) has been killed after a stingray's poisonus barb punctured his chest.

Irwin had sort of fallen out of favour in recent years after when, in January 2004, there was footage of him dangling his infant son in one arm while feeding a chicken carcass to a crocodile in the other. Animal rights activists and child welfare advocates went crazy and Irwin's career went downhill from there. Comparisons were even made to Micheal Jackson dangling his son out a German window for all the press to see. His movie and TV career petered out and he soon became fodder for late night talk show hosts. His death certainly shocked me on this Labour Day morning.


Saturday, September 02, 2006

Age: It`s strong and it`s sudden and it`s cruel sometimes

So yesterday was my last shift at the CNE for this year. As most of you know, the CNE ends on Labour Day but I was lucky to get this final weekend off. Which is good as J-Mac and I will try to get a round of golf in somehow between various scheduled rainstorms and we are heading over to Merdus' house for dinner tonight. Get to see his lovely wife who I think I have only seen once or twice since their wedding and their ("gasp") twin boys.

I have known Merdus almost as long as J-Mac and I have a link to his blog over in the section called "Writers I Like". He had only 5 blog entries from April to August of 2006. But he now seems to have picked up the pace with three during August. It always reminds me of this Hallmark card I want saw. The front of it says, "Sorry, I haven't written in a while". Then you open it up and it says, "Neither has William Shakespeare". I am literally laughing right now thinking about it.

Okay, back to the point of my blog about the ending of the CNE. One of our volunteers happens to live near me so he suggests we go out for a beer after our shift. So I get into his car, and he asks me what kind of music I like. Keep in mind, this guy is in college so I must have about 15 years on him. Anyway, I said mostly classic rock and jazz but I am game for anything. So he goes through his CDs looking for his version of classic rock and suggests....suggests.... HUEY LEWIS & THE NEWS.

Top 5 Huey Lewis & The News songs (this is going to be a struggle)
1. Bad Is Bad
2. Do You Believe In Love
3. Working For A Living
4. Jacob's Ladder
5. Walking On A Thin Line

Okay, that took me and J-Mac listening to samples of Huey Lewis songs and for me to pick songs I hated the least. Researching Huey Lewis, I was reminded of that whole Ghostbusters fiasco in the 80s and that it is still going on. In 1984, Huey Lewis was contacted by the producers of Ghostbusters in order to develop a theme song for the movie. Lewis refused (because the movie sucks, Seven). The producers went to Ray Parker Jr. who wrote the song Ghostbusters. Lewis and his band sued Parker Jr. because of the similarities between that song and their song "I Want A New Drug". Parker and Lewis settled out of court.

However, during a 2001 edition of Behind The Music, Lewis said "The offensive part was not so much that Ray Parker Jr. had ripped this song off, it was kind of symbolic of an industry that wants something — they wanted our wave, and they wanted to buy it. ... [I]t's not for sale. ... In the end, I suppose they were right. I suppose it was for sale, because, basically, they bought it." Parker is now suing Lewis for these comments claiming they break their confidentiality agreement set forth from the original settlement.

Getting back to the music conversation with the volunteer, so I explain to him (who is a nice guy, this is no disrespect to him) that Huey Lewis is not really classic rock and that his bands' albums Sports and Fore were just so overplayed in the 80s that it's like Huey Lewis and The News sold their souls to the devil which is probably why you don't hear so much from them anymore.

So we then start talking about Pink Floyd. I am not a huge fan but I agree that that is classic rock. I ask him what CDs he has of theirs. He says Echoes (a decently comprehensive 2 disc greatest hits collection). He tells me that since it includes Time and Money that it is all the Floyd he needs. I implore him to try listening to the tracks Great Gig In The Sky, Wish You Were Here, One Of These Days or even Us & Them for the great sax solo. I should have also told him that he needs to buy The Wall and Dark Side of the Moon but that would have been too much for him to handle.

Anyway, we found a middle ground so we listened to some Dr. Dre as we headed home. I then asked him if he went very old school when it came to rap by listening to Public Enemy (the most important band ever to come out of the rap movement) but he wasn't a fan. Oh well, baby steps I suppose.


Friday, September 01, 2006

Ever liked something the night before then hated yourself the next day?

That title represents how I felt about Cameron Crowe's film Elizabethtown. I watched it last night and really enjoyed it while it was on. However, waking up this morning, I realized it was just okay.

Top 5 Cameron Crowe films
1. Jerry Maguire
2. Say Anything
3. Singles
4. Elizabethtown
5. Almost Famous

Elizabethtown has a bit of a storied past. Originally Ashton Kutcher was given the lead role. He was fired because of a lack of chemistry with co-star Kirsten Dunst but the rumour is that he was fired because Crowe didn't realize how weak of an actor he was.

Orlando Bloom took over the lead role and since the movie's release Crowe has been trying to sell people on the fact that he had written the role for Bloom all along who originally could not have done it due to scheduling conflicts. Yeah, so we are to believe that Crowe wrote this movie about an american guy going back to meet his father's family in Kentucky after the sudden death of his pa for a British actor who had never before done a film using an american accent or had never done a film set in modern times. Yeah, right!

Getting to the film, it starts off with a bang which is probably why the rest of the film fooled me. Alec Baldwin has one of those great cameos where he momentarily takes over the film as the CEO of a shoe company cleared modeled after Phil Knight of Nike.

It seems Bloom's character (Drew Baylor) has created a shoe that is such a disaster, it will end up costing the company $972 million dollars. A number so big, Baldwin's character explains, that it could actually be rounded up to a billion dollars.

Baylor is selected to be the fall guy for the shoe's failure and based on this decides to commit suicide. A phone call interrupts his suicide attempt and he is asked by his mom and sister to head to Kentucky to bring his recently dead father's ashes back to Omaha.

On the flight, he meets a way too cute and way too perky stewerdess named Claire Colburn who decides it is her goal to help Baylor get over his business failings and the death of his father. The movie than moves towards romantic comedy as Colburn and Baylor basically "meet cute" for the rest of the film.

The ending of the film requires Baylor to go on a long road trip with a scrap book and CDs put together by Colburn. She literally had to have quit her job and spent over a week creating this package but if you can accept that...the film has a decent yet predictable ending.

According to Roger Ebert, when he saw the original cut of the film at the 2005 Toronto Film Festival, it was 18 minutes longer. Most of that time spent on that road trip. In his review from October of that year, he says, "The new version is 18 minutes shorter, and more than 18 percent better". Since I already felt that the road trip stuff was already too long as it was, I have no reason to disagree with his analysis.

As with all of Crowe's films, there is wall to wall music. And, as with all of his films, he always makes interesting choices. For instance, one scene has the song Big Love by Fleetwood Mac in the background. Not the album version which is a little too poppy with a dumb ending that has Mac members Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Knicks breathing hard for the last 60 seconds of the song. But the version which is just Buckingham singing alone with an accoustic guitar from Fleetwood Mac's MTV Unplugged CD The Dance. A nice choice that makes me realize that Crowe probably uses music better in his films than any other director on the planet. Think about Tom Cruise running in the airport in Jerry Maguire with Springsteen's Secret Garden in the background. Or that iconic image of John Cusack in Say Anything with the stereo over his head playing Peter Gabriel's In Your Eyes.

Some of the film's scenes harken back to Crowe's masterwork Jerry Maguire but really the film is just too cute, filled with too many quirky characters and in the end really doesn't mean all that much. Crowe does like making romantic comedies but his writing style works well for kids in high school (ie Say Anything or Fast Times At Ridgemont High) but with adult actors such as Bloom and Dunst, most of the dialogue rings kind of silly.