Sunday, January 30, 2005

Godfather III - 1990

And to close out 1990, we have the end of a trilogy. I should clarify some things for this review. It's been many years since I last saw the Godfather. I've only seen part two in bits and pieces. It's difficult to judge this movie as a stand alone, but I kind of think a Best Picture nominee must be good enough on it's own or it doesn't deserve the nomination. The same thing applies to the LOTR movies. Return of the King's Oscar was clearly in honor of the whole trilogy, not just on it's own merits. So it was with this movie. It must have been honored more for it's epic feel than for any storytelling effort.
The Good Stuff:
Andy Garcia is very good as a young hothead, trying not to fall in love with his cousin.
The cinematography in Sicilly is gorgeous.
And so are the shots in the Vatican. I've always wanted a big room with enormous maps on the wall and now I know where to get one.
The Bad Stuff:
This is Al Pacino's worst haircut ever.
The storyline involving mob ties with the highest level of the papacy is shockingly weird.
The movie also tries to build to a climax of groups trying to kill each other. The only problem is that you don't have anyone to root for or against. Let 'em all kill each other and leave the rest of us alone.
Also the lush pacing. Great directors should still have editors. Maybe especially great directors.

One other note, Sofia Coppola was (famously) given a plum role for this movie. Nepotism obviously, and everything I've heard about this movie suggested that she was terrible. She wasn't great, but she was far from terrible. Should they have gotten a regular actress to play the part? Sure, but she didn't sink this movie. Putting a 90 minute movie into a 165 minute shell did.

Moving day

As of yesterday, I'm fully moved out of my apartment. At 2 1/2 months, this might rate as one of the longest moves ever. All I can say is that moving in with someone is much easier than moving on your own. It's strange, though. I really haven't had any desire to move out or back down there, but it feels a bit strange to finally have everything over here. The FP Gal feels the same way. We're both really very happy.


I just read that pitchers and catchers report in 17 days! Spring is on the way, baby!

Thursday, January 27, 2005

80's music

I was reading through the Sports Guy today when something came together in my mind. This is a letterbag column where he answers emails from readers and one of them had to do with the defining song of the 80's (about half way down, next to the Miami Vice picture). He lists five rules he'd use to make this judgement and comes up with this list:

1. "The Promise," by When In Rome
2. "Suedehead," by Morrissey
3. "Uncertain Smile" by The The
4. "A Forest" by The Cure
5. "The Killing Moon," by Echo and the Bunnymen
6. "Age of Consent," by New Order

I'm curious what just missed the cut.
A couple of weeks ago, the FP Gal was watching a forgetable movie about a high school reunion class of '86 or so. At the reunion they had an '80's cover band and I couldn't help thinking how much fun that would be. I spent the next week putting songs I'd love to cover together in my head. Here's a list of what I came up with:

"I Will Follow" by U2
"Under the Milky Way" by the Church
"Message in a Bottle" by the Police
"Alive and Kicking" by Simple Minds
"Stay on These Roads" by A-Ha
"Never Tear Us Apart" by INXS
"Just Like Heaven" by the Cure
"Tall Ships Go" by Big Country
"Someday, Someway" by Marshall Crenshaw
"Girls on Film" by Duran Duran

How much fun would that be? If anyone wants to put the band together, I've got the pipes. Any takers? And what am I missing? What would you love to go out and hear a band play?


Current motto at work: When in doubt, hit it with a rock. This is fairly universal and can be adapted to many situations. If you have better armaments, adjust accordingly.
FP Gal: is short for Future Poltergeist Gal. I don't know if she'd really haunt things after she dies or not. She seems a bit quiet for that, but sometimes those are the ones to watch out for.
Rented two other movies this weekend. Eurotrip-Filled with stereotypes and gratuitous toplessness. I enjoyed this more than I thought I would. Especially the soccer hooligans. Napoleon Dynamite-Absolutely painful movie. At least the first half hour which is when we turned it off. An MTV movie. I have yet to see one of these that I liked. Maybe they should go back to playing music?
Speaking of playing music, VH1 has lost me, too. The FP Gal enjoys watching their nostalgia shows, but I just can't stomach them. Just can't stand watching Who Dat 'actors', comedians and whatnot kvetch about other peoples fame is not good TV.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Ghost - additional thoughts

One other thing struck me while watching this movie. I've just moved in with the FP Gal just like the couple did in the movie. And not long after, I started this blog which is titled after my hope of hanging around after death and moving things around. If she was into clay, this would be a bit creepy. So:

1) If someone attacks me, I'm not going to wrestle the gun away from them. I promise.
2) Anyone that thinks they can steal $4 mil from me is woefully misinformed about travel agent wages. Woefully!
3) If I was a ghost, I'd spend some time haunting a women's locker room. I suppose that scene would have kind of hurt the movie though. Maybe as a deleted scene?
4) I hope I would beat Chris Farley in a dance off.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Oscar Nominees

Last year I saw all five Best Picture nominees before they were announced. It was kind of a fluke, as I only say about a dozen films all year. This year, I haven't seen any of them. Two of the animated ones, of which Shrek 2 was the best. And probably the best one that I went to was 'Eternal Sunshine'.
Doubt I'll have time to get to many before the awards come out, either. This was easier in the 90's.

Ghost -1990

What do you get when you take the director of 'Airplane', the stars of 'Roadhouse', 'Jumpin Jack Flash' and 'One Crazy Summer' and one old tune? Create a best picture nominee of course. I was surprised at how much I liked this movie. I remember it as a light movie and it really is a pretty good story, well told.
Demi Moore was really, really cute with her hair short. You just want to wrap your arms around her and protect her. Shame that she got, um, altered.
Patrick Swayze always looks smaller than he should. And somehow plastic wrapped. Am I alone in this?
'Unchained Melody' works. Trust me on this. The only more reliable karoke song is 'Walk Away Renee'.
How do you find an apartment like that? I mean honestly. It's huge! I know they try to explain this in the opening scene when they open up the ceiling and knock down some walls, but my God! What sort of living situation are they in?
FP Gal's favorite part was when Whoopi thinks she's just received $4 mil. only to be ordered to give it some nuns. It's a good twist, I suppose. The interesting part for me is that Patrick tells her that this'll get her to heaven. This probably doesn't advance the whole deeds vs faith debate very much, but it caught my ear.
The special effects look very cheesy from 15 years away, but they worked at the time. Especially the shadows taking souls to hell. The exit to heaven at the end is an interesting vision as well. It appears celestial. And that's got to be what they were shooting for.
I'm a sucker for love stories and this worked for me. I enjoyed this move more than I thought I would. It beat the spread and that's high praise from me.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Championship games preview

1-3 last weekend so take this for what it's worth.
Falcons at Eagles (Eagles 5 1/2)
Earlier in the playoffs we had groups of horses playing against each other. Today we have a pair of birds. This game is interesting for a number of reasons. This is the Philidelphia's fourth championship game in a row, their first three ending in heartbreak. There has got to be fear of screwing up this one in the locker room. The one player they brought in to make them a 'different' team is out with a broken leg. They play very good defense and have just enough offense.
The Falcons have been playing over their heads all season. Their defense has some good players, especially up front, but their team is built around Michael Vick. He'll probably run for more yards than he passes today. And the Eagles have to know this. If they can take away the running game Vick won't be able to beat them with his arm.
On paper, this should be a win (and maybe a blowout) for the home team. But if a few breaks and special team plays go to Atlanta they can keep it close. And if that happens expect to find the Eagles hands applied tightly around their necks. For a pick, I'd go with the Eagles.
Patriots at Steelers (Pats 3)
The Steelers have only lost one game all year. They're playing at home, hosting the game, and they're the underdogs! The reason is simple: rookie quarterback. And did he ever look it last week. If Rothlesberger (or however it's spelled) plays that way again, the Steelers have no chance. If they commit to the run and have a good special teams day they can win.
But the Pats. How can you go against them? They've been so good in the playoffs over the past few years that it's awfully tough to go with anyone else. Their coaching staff puts together the best plans of anyone out there. And Brady has that same something that Montana did. I'll go with the Pats.


Sorry about the lack of postings this week. It's been a combination of work (mine and the FP Gal's), weather and her desire to watch VH1, that have kept me away from the computer. Firstly, I want to say hi to a friend of mine who is Naturally Optimistic. She's a good friend from high school that I reconnected with about a year ago. And I'm very jealous of her upcoming trip to Mexico.
In part because we hust got our first real winter storm. Eight inches of snow fell Friday afternoon, just in time to really screw up rush hour. After the snow came the big winds to drift things shut. Yesterday we got to shovel (together) both here and at her parent's house. This storm caused us to cancel a trip to Iowa so it was mixed blessing.
More posts to come.

Monday, January 17, 2005

And now the sports year turns...

from football to baseball. I was surprised to see this article from the Twins Geek. I've been reading this guy for a couple of years now and respect his thoughts. It's a refreshing change from the strained criticism from here where tortured statistics can always show that the White Sox have screwed up.
For the record, I don't know what to think about the White Sox changes during the offseason. If they can escape the injury bug, they should have a very good pitching staff, especially the bullpen. And it's true they've lost power, but they've also picked up some young kids with upside. Will they realize that potential? Only time will tell, but they've showed promise in the past.
I think that every good team has a good amount of luck or fortune. Why can't it be my Sox this year?

Goodfellas - 1990

Now this was a great movie. The acting is great, the story is great, the filming is great. The music is very good all through out.
This movie starts in the 50's in New York with a kid who wants to be a gangster. They can do anything they want, go anywhere they want and have anything they they want. The only trick is that they must follow the rules of the mob. This leads to many of the complications in the latter parts of the story.
The story says that it's based on a true story. This is movie lingo for 'we've made this up but parts of it resemble reality'. But the movie has the ring of authenticity. It's easy to get pulled in to what's happening to the main trio. Even if many of the scenes have that eerie 'someone's about to get it vibe'. Maybe especially because of that.
A great movie.

Vikings - recap

The newscasts are talking about the disappointing Vikings, but I don't see it that way. After the Vikings handled the Packers last week my season was complete. Sure I would have loved a win over the Eagles. Maybe revenge over the Falcons, too. But the writing was on the wall about this squad. They weren't great. They were good at times and bad at times and you never knew which team would show up.
All last week, I heard from Packer fans that they didn't really expect their team to win it all anyway, so they weren't that disappointed. I wondered if it was sour grapes, but today I feel the same way. If the ball had bounced the other way the Vikes could maybe have taken this game, but they weren't the better team.
The Eagles looked good and I expect they'll beat the Falcons next week. And then lose to the Patriots in the Super Bowl. At least we didn't have to deal with TO during this game.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Divisional Playoffs

Last week I was 3-1 against the spread. Let's see if I can do as well this week. Conventional wisdom in the second round is to go with the home teams. They're all rested from having a bye the previous week. They're playing at home in front of their home crowds. And they're usually the better team. Also interesting to me is that every game of the playoffs so far has been a rematch from earlier this season. In theory, this could continue throughout the whole tournament. Last week the previous game winners were 2-2 after going 6-0 during the season.
Jets at Steelers (Steelers 8 1/2)
I like the Steelers to win and win easily in this game. The Jets play with heart and that might make this close, but a two touchdown win by Pittsburgh is much more likely.
The Jets were the team that I picked against last week and was wrong about. It looked like San Diego played tight. Of course this game couldn't have been tighter, going to overtime and featuring a missed field goal by the Chargers in overtime. BTW, 40 yard field goals aren't automatic. I would have tried moving a bit closer before settling for it.
Rams at Falcons (Falcons 7)
Michael Vick is the most dangerous quarterback in the NFL. To both teams. Watching Atlanta makes me wonder what would have happened if Detroit had converted Barry Sanders to QB. Vick has the same type of moves and about the same kind of throwing ability. If the Rams can keep him from running, the Atlanta offense will be minimal. My feel on the other side of the ball is that Atlanta's D will cause the Rams some problems. Expect a defensive touchdown. But the conventional wisdom has some points here. I look for the Dirty Birds to win but not cover.
Vikings at Eagles (Eagles 8.5)
Last week at Lambaugh was the Vikings Superbowl. Beating the hated Pack is always something special and that probably pushed them to a higher level. The defense played well with the four INT's but I doubt Mcnabb will help them out as much as Farve did last week. Throw in Moss's ankle and a letdown on the Vikes wouldn't be surprising.
But the Eagles are a big question mark. TO is out and he was a huge part of their identity. The defense has many returning players, but how healthy they are is going to be questionable. The Eagles also have a history of losing the big game in the playoffs.
This will come down to confidence on both parts. If either team can build a two score lead, this game is over. But if it's still close at half it'll be tight the whole game. My guess is that the Eagles win, but don't cover.
Colts at Patriots (Pats 2)
The defending champs playing at home on a muddy field only getting two points. Against a dome team that has lit it up on turf. I'll take history and field conditions and go with the Patriots.
I love that the Patriots muddied up their field this week. They left it uncovered during some weather earlier in the week. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that they leave the sprinklers going all night before the game. This is one of the advantages of home field. The length of the grass and how they treat the field between games. Play if for what it's worth.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Dances with Wolves - 1990

Starring Kevin Costner. Directed by Kevin Costner. Edited by...his mother, maybe?
In this six hour oddesy across the stunning Dakota plains, Kevin Costner stars as a good and noble white man. Maybe the only noble one on the planet. All of the rest of them are craven, weak, foul and/or insane. White women? Well, there's one. A woman who's been raised from a child by an Indian tribe. Recently widowed and lucky for our Kevin she's a short ride from his camp. I say lucky, because otherwise the movie would have to deal with the possiblity of an interracial relationship. Whew!
I think what really got me in this movie is how little work went into making the actors look authentic. Most of them look like they just came out of the hair salon. And Costner sounds like a lifetime Californian who just happened to get plopped down on the set and said some lines.
The FP Gal thinks that I've come at this move with an agenda and that's colored my appreciation of it and made my cynical. There's truth in that. But this movie also has an agenda. It's aimed at least in part on activating white guilt. While I recognize that white men often treated Indians treacherously and abysmally, I don't take any of the blame for this myself. Let the men who did this pay for their own sins.
I remembered thinking this movie was longer than it needed to be but pretty good anyway. It sure hasn't aged well. I have no idea how this movie won Best Picture.


Yes, Randy Moss was tasteless with his celebration. This is what being a sports fan is in the 21st Century. You can't cheer for a team without having some classless jerk on your side. If ESPN really wants to keep this behavior to a minimum they should stop interviewing the jerks that do this. Stop showcasing TO. Don't treat the return of Neon Deion like the second coming.
For the record, I'm not condoning what he did. I hate the way the modern athlete acts. It's not enough to beat the other team, you have to demean them. But...this wasn't that bad. Get over it.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

How Sweet is this?

The Vikings again scored 31 points. Only this time the defense played well and held the Packers to 17. I'm sure the Packer fans at work will be gracious in defeat. I was most impressed with Farve's four INTs. I'm sure each one will be blamed on receivers running the wrong routes or something else. Bring on the Eagles!

Saturday, January 08, 2005


Rams at Seahawks ('Hawks +4)
This is the perfect game to start the NFC side of the playoffs. Both of these teams are schizophrenic. They both have lost games they had no business losing. It sounds cliche, but this game will hinge on what version of each team shows up. Cliche or not, it's true. Anyone that tells you that they have a real feel for this contest is making things up. I'd take the Rams and the points because it's too easy to see this coming down to a field goal or the Rams winning outright.

Jets at Chargers (Chargers +6)
The Chargers are a very good football team. The Jets are an ok football team. San Diego was thought to be one of the worst teams coming into this season. They've never forgiven that. I'd take the Chargers and look for a blowout early. Best of luck to Pennington when he gets back to New York.

Broncos at Colts (Colts +10)
The horsey bowl. Should be sponsered by Arbys. The Colts are rested and at home. They're a great team, but not a perfect team. The Broncos are being led by Jake Plummer. I like the Colts by at least two touchdowns.

Vikings at Packers (Packers +6)
I can't seperate emotion from either of these teams, so take this for what you will. These guys are each others biggest rivals. They know each other very well. The Vikes have consistently broken our hearts this year. In the second half of the season the Packers have won five games by a fieldgoal, blown out the Rams at home on a Monday night game, rolled over and died against the Eagles and beat the Bears in a game that was meaningless for both teams. In other words, they've been just good enough to win, but not great.
The Vikes play in a dome, but they live in a cold weather climate. The weather tomorrow shouldn't be that big a shock to their systems. Having said that, they've lost every road game on grass for the last 15 years or so.
If the Packers play well, they win this game. If they make mistakes they'll lose. They're not that much better a team. I expect them to win but not to cover.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Happy Crash Day

I really should have written this yesterday, but I wasn't really sure what to write. Two years ago, Jan 5 2003, was kind of a big day for me and my family. There had been a big ice storm the day before. My brother, sister-in-law and I were supposed to drive down to my Dad's to finally celebrate Christmas. My brother had just gotten married six weeks earlier and the honeymoon had kind shifted when we celebrated the holidays.
I was driving. The roads seemed fine. We didn't have any trouble with ice. None to speak of. Until we hit a patch that had been shaded by some trees.
Well, long story short, my brother wrenched his shoulder, my sister-in-law broke her upper arm and I broke my face. Two weeks in the hospital and 10 plus hours of surgery to reshape my skull followed. I'll always have these plates in my skull and 1/5/03 was the last day I could see out of my left eye. As I said a big day.
The first year after had it's moments. The first time driving again was interesting. So was the soft food diet while my teeth reset. And waiting for the swelling in my face to drop was incredibly disheartening.
But the first year passed and with it a large part of the feeling of the accident being constantly around my shoulders. This past year has been even better. For that I credit the FP Gal. She makes me feel wonderful and appreciated. She even thinks I'm beautiful (I know she's delusional, but should I argue with her?)
So the second year has passed and the entire thing seems very distant. But I can't just dismiss it. It was still an important day. One of the landmarks of my life I'm sure. But the important thing is that I'm here for this day. And I'll be here for the next. There's some kind of lesson there.
Remember to drive safely. And ice should stay in freezers or in drinks.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005


Hate to admit it, but I'm about to be sucked back into the greatest board game there is. I'm finally dipping my toe into the world of online Diplomacy. Total strangers lying to each other and trying to stab each other in the backs. Who-hoo!
I've drawn Russia and I'm pretty pleased with that. The White Czar is never bored with this game. What to do with the Black Sea? Can I trust the German? How do I keep the English off my northern border? As of yet, I don't know. Can I trust anything the Archduke says to me? Of course the Sultan will promise me nice things, but can I really believe him? Will I spend hours worrying about making the perfect set of moves? Yes! God, I love this game!

Welcome to Budapest...HUNGARY!

Amazing Race thoughts. This is one of two regular shows that I've become hooked on. The other one is Survivor. There's something about the drama of actual human people doing things and especially competing that draws me in. Taking normal regular couples (well, mostly) and putting them through strange ordeals in foreign settings just makes for good TV.
Now that Gus and Hera have been booted from this season, we're down to the better players. No obvious physical weaknesses at least. The wrestlers aren't that bright, but they can make up for some of it with brawn. And who isn't hoping that Victoria doesn't stab Jonathan in the throat? As I said, good TV!

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Vikes recap

Just what I thought, a field goal game with the Vikes losing. Unfortunatly, it wasn't even really that close. Next week brings the Vikes back to Lambeau where they came within a botched ref's call to winning the game. This is both a good and a bad matchup for both teams. They each have the full week and don't really need it as the familiarty factor is pretty high here. Neither teams defense is that good. Both of their offenses are. Expect this to come down to turnovers.

Vikes at Washington

Through an accident of geography, I'm a diehard Viking fan. I'm too young to have suffered through the Super Bowls of the 70's, but they've taught me many a painful memory anyway. Each season starts with promise and talk about a better team, all the while knowing that heartbreak is around the corner.
For this season, that heartbreak comes today. This defense isn't get blown out bad, they're worse. They're just be bad enough to lose bad. They fail to hold leads. They can't make the big play on third to get off the field.
Final score today: Vikings 21, Redskins 24.

Go Jets.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Happy New Year

I know that many people (including the FP Gal) don't see New Year's Day as any big deal. It's my favorite holiday. I love the idea of beginning anew. Yes, there will be broken resolutions and this will be treated as just another day by most everyone. beginnings. A chance to start everything over. Are any of us so perfect that we can't think of something to improve on? I'm not.
So, here's to a more fit 2005. Here's to making the FP Gal feel special. Here's to surprising her by making her feel special. Also, here's to building bridges to others. 2004 was so angry between right and left. People were regularly reduced to caricatures and treated accordingly. Expect people to be called out for doing so from now on. People on either side.
Here's to love, happiness and prosperity in 2005!