Friday, December 14, 2007


A couple quick sports hits before we get to some movies opening today:

Mitchell Report
I don't care. Really. Nor am I surprised. I would be surprised if, say, Jose Lind (nine home runs in nine major league seasons) showed up on the list, but other than that, no, not surprised and not really that concerned. There was no effective testing for steroids at the time that most of these guys were juicing, and they had a tremendous financial incentive, so why are we shocked, (shocked!) that many if not most gave in to the temptation. Even if you didn't want to take steroids, you had to at least think about it because so many other players were, and you were losing a competitive edge by not joining them. I don't think MLB should try to take the records away from guys like Clemens and Bonds, but I have never been one to see the records as sacred either. I will still go to games and watch them on TV. I won't buy jerseys and other paraphernalia, but I don't really do that anyway. I can admit to being disappointed for my sons' sakes, but that's about it. I'm with Senator Mitchell on this one. Get a good testing program in place, and let's move on. Best line I heard about it came from my neighbor, "I was surprised to see Manny Alexander's name on the list because I thought they were performance-enhancing drugs." Hi-Yo!!!

Wow, wow, wow! 12-10 after an 0-5 start? 9-5 without Gilbert Arenas? Washington has won five of its last six, and while only one of those wins came against a team with a winning record (Toronto) and only one was a road game (Miami), it is great to see guys like Andray Blatche and Nick Young getting an opportunity to develop. The Wiz are still in the second tier of the Eastern Conference, which, Boston excepted, can't touch the West, but they are not far behind Orlando and Detroit, and they are in much better shape than preseason darlings Cleveland and Chicago. Nothing too scary looms on the schedule until Detroit on January 2, and by then the Wizards might be ready to prove that they will be ready to challenge for an East title with a healthy Arenas.

College Basketball
Ugh. Do I have to? Either hoops or Ravens, you say? Okay, okay, college hoops. After getting crushed at Virginia Tech, GW lost at home to the 2-7 Binghamton Bearcats. The Colonials could not join Cornell, Akron, St. Bonaventure, Rider, Chicago State, Central Connecticut State, or Colgate in doing a victory dance after playing Binghamton and are now 0-2 against America East teams. Nuff said.

Maryland is not as awful as GW, but they aren't that good either, getting beaten convincingly at Comcast Center by Ohio University (the Bobcats, not the Buckeyes). Please stop calling this a shocker. The Terps barely survived Northeastern and Hampton and could not handle VCU. They will get better but Hayes and Vasquez have a lot of trouble with quicker opponents (Eric Maynor of VCU, for example), and leadership has yet to coalesce for this team. For all his flaws on offense, DJ Strawberry is exactly what this team misses most: a lock-em up defender and a player who understands that emotional leadership doesn't mean getting ejected for punching the basket support.

The news is no better else where in the Maryland State University system with UMBC losing to Central Connecticut State. George Mason has a couple weeks to stew on its loss to Kent State while VCU looks to make it four straight against Longwood this weekend. James Madison has one more tasty treat coming up against Radford before getting a real test in Seton Hall and Gerogetown should roll Radford as well but meets #2 Memphis on the 22nd.

Full wrap up on Monday.

I am Legend
Hear me roar! Hmm ... a man finds himself alone in New York CIty and has to fend off the attacks of the undead ... I thought this was a sci-fi film, not a documentary. Anyway, Will Smith recreates a Charlton Heston role as the title character in a postapocalyptic world, science fiction being one of Heston's preferred milieus (Soylent Green, Planet of the Apes, NRA commercials). This one looks pretty good, but after watching Smith destroy the bad guys in Independence Day and Men In Black, I don't think there is any suspense about the ending.

IMDB describes Juno as "Knocked Up for the younger generation." Greeeeaaat, that's just what we need. Man, if you think the Catholics hated The Golden Compass, wait 'til Pope Benedict screens Juno for the College of Cardinals. Since Juno has already been nominated for lots of Hollywood awards, I am pretty sure director Jason (son of Ivan) Reitman is not taking the ABC afterschool special approach. In fact Reitman is an equal opportunity religious offender, no doubt knowing that in Roman mythology, Juno was the queen of the gods, the wife (and sister) of Jupiter, and the goddess of marriage. When you are married to an ob-gyn, you pretty much have to see any movie about pregnancy, so I'll let you know where it falls on the Knocked Up - Vera Drake sliding scale.

The Kite Runner
'Tis the season for high-minded films, especially adaptations of serious fiction (see Atonement, Love in the Time of Cholera, et al), and although director Marc Forster has managed to draw audiences and acclaim for unlikely material in the past (Monster's Ball, Finding Neverland), he will be hard-pressed to match that success with this tale about modern-day Afghanistan falling back under the control of the Taliban. U.S. moviegoers have largely ignored films about the Iraq War and Kite Runner will probably get the same treatment. Forster's next project is a James Bond movie (seriously) which makes about as much sense as the director of Y tu Mama Tambien doing a Harry Potter (this actually happened), but at least he'll have a built in audience.

The Perfect Holiday
Queen Latifah for star power, Gabrielle Union for the guys, Morris Chestnut for the gals, a cute little girl who wants Santa to bring her a new Daddy (like Ms. Union wouldn't have them lining up outside her door). Okay, fine, but the most interesting thing about his movie is that the director, Lance Rivera, cofounded a record label with the Notorious B.I.G. Let's hope things work out better for his cinematic partners than they did in the recording industry.

Alvin and the Chipmunks
Sadly, of the five movies I've discussed today, this is the one I am most likely to see in the theater, probably in the week between Christmas and New Year's Day when the kids are out of school and two-hour blocks of time are in desperate need of killing. Speaking of needing killing, director Tim Hill also brought us Garfield II, A Tale of Two Kitties. Hang on though, he gets off the hook for The SpongeBob Squarepants Movie. He's also the nephew of George Roy Hill, who truly made the world a better place with Slapshot, The Sting and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

That's it. Congrats if you made it through all those words. Have a nice third Sunday of Advent.

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