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Archive for March, 2009

Clap Clap ClapClapClap / Listeria: Reviewing My Ten Outlandish NBA Predictions

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on March 31, 2009

phil

Baseball season is very nearly upon us, and while I prep for fantasy drafts, finish up my 30 Teams in 30 Days viewing on MLB TV, and go nuts anticipating the Phillies’ systemic dismantling the Braves on opening night next Sunday, it’s also about time for me to make a couple of unlikely predictions, hoping to hit on a longshot and achieve that elusive dream of the sports geek–the appearance of actually knowing what you’re talking about. But before that, we are also nearing the end of the NBA season, and as you may or may not recall, I threw down a handful of prognostications for that season as well. And since accountability is of the highest priority here at IITS, let’s look back and see what success–if any–our crystal ball had.

10. Against all odds, the addition of James Posey will not automatically make the New Orleans Hornets a championship team. Something of a joke prediction, obviously, but I do feel somewhat vindicated here. Sure, Posey was a nice addition to one of the weakest benches in the league, and his eight points a game, lockdown defense and ability to hit clutch threes are all assets. But for a team struggling mightily with depth issues, especially after Tyson Chandler and Peja Stojakovic spent stretches of the season on the DL, they probably could’ve better used the $25 million they gave him for four years for a couple role players, or at least some similarly-needed cap space. Plus, Pose recently got suspended for throwing a ball at a ref–how ya liking that veteran leadership now, Byron Scott?

9. For the first time in his career, Kobe Bryant will miss 20 games in the regular season. Whiff. I suppose I should’ve known better than to underestimate Kobe with perhaps the biggest chip on his shoulder yet after such a scarring end to last year’s finals, but nothing, not even multiple bouts with the dreaded flu, has clocked #24 out of even a single game this year. Good thing, too, as Kobe and company have sewn up the top seed in the West early on, and can pretty much coast from here on out. Try telling him that, though, I guess.

8. The Washington Wizards will miss the playoffs. And then some–although I definitely thought I was being more outlandish with this prediction than I actually was. I didn’t realize that Brendan Haywood was out for the season as well, that Gilbert Arenas wouldn’t be coming back until late March, that DeShawn Stevenson would shoot 31% for a third of the season before disappearing altogether and that Darius Songaila some guy named Dominic McGuire would be starting a truly disturbing number of their games. But yeah, the Wizards will be lucky at this point to simply not finish with the worst record in all the NBA–and even that would be detrimental to the one glimmer of hope they’ve had this season, the prospect of beginning next season with a core of Arenas, Heywood, Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison and consensus #1 draft pick Blake Griffin. Here’s hoping, anyways–I love all those guys, and they deserve better than this.

7. Dwight Howard officially becomes the most overrated player in the NBA. Eh, not really–stat-wise, he was more dominant than ever this season, easily leading the league in boards and blocks, and scoring over twenty a game (though he did lose his Slam Dunk crown–a big part of his early legacy–to “Krypto-“Nate Robinson). I still personally believe him to be mildly overrated–an elite player, sure, but not a true MVP candidate–until he can be more of an offensive go-to guy in the post, stay out of foul trouble in big games, and get his free-throw percentage to a respectable 65% or so. Getting the Magic to the third round or beyond in the playoffs this year would be a good start towards proving me wrong–hopefully without going through the Sixers to get there, though.

6. All the big men coming back from big injuries–Brand, Oden, (Jermaine) O’Neal, Bynum–will have statistically disappointing seasons. Gotta give myself some props for this one–the only one who looked like he might prove me wrong here was Bynum, but he checked out of the Lakers’ season just as he was starting to realize that all-star potential. In the meantime, the other three were disappointing, either because they failed to mesh with their teams (O’Neal), couldn’t stay on the court (Oden), or failed to mesh with their teams and then couldn’t stay on the court (only four years and $65 mil to go, Elton). Dunno what it is about these guys, but ’09-’10 can’t come soon enough for ’em.

5. Speaking of Oden–neither he, Derrick Rose or Michael Beasley wins Rookie of the Year. Erm, not looking good here–at first, the Grizzlies’ OJ Mayo seemed like he might interrupt the public’s love affair with Rose long enough to nab the award. But as Mayo’s scoring has tapered and his team has gone down the tubes, Rose–who will likely be leading the Bulls to the playoffs, albeit to a certain first round demolition–seems the consensus favorite. Would like to at least point out that the two rooks I guessed would have the best shot besides these three of winning the award (the Thunder’s Russell Westbrook and the Clippers’ Eric Gordon) both had expectation-exceeding seasons, but their slightly less impressive stat lines and cellar-dwelling teams aren’t helping the cause much. Fair enough–it’s kind of hard not to be in love with Rose anyway.

4. The Denver Nuggets will be this year’s New York Knicks. All right so this obviously didn’t happen, but there were a bunch of things that happened here that I could never have anticipated–Nene coming back to a near-all star level of center play, Carmelo suddenly maturing into a team player (DAMN YOU TEAM USA), hell, even Chris “Birdman” Andersen coming back from hard-drug sabbatical to block like six shots a game. No team–not even the Knicks–has undergone a transformation as dramatic as the one-time Thuggets have this year. Of course, there’s another big factor as to why this might be…

3. Allen Iverson swings a team’s playoff fortunes by getting traded midseason. My crowning achievement here. Happened only like two days after I predicted it–even called him going to the Pistons, and said that “shuffling around their lineup to include Iverson will either sink ‘em or make ‘em the legitimate unstoppable force they’ve always believed themselves to be.” Well, one of those two things certainly happened, at least, though I’d be lying if if I said it was the one I was expecting. And as negative an effect as the swap had for the Pistons, it was about that good for the Nugs to get Chauncey Billups–though they still probably need to win at least one playoff series with Mr. Big Shot at the helm for the trade to be a totally unqualified success. In the meantime, I’ll certainly be rooting for the AI’d Detroit against Boston or Orlando in the first round this year.

2. The Suns finally beat the Spurs in the playoffs. Sliiight wishful thinking here. My prediction looked solid for exactly one day, as the Suns beat the Spurs on opening night. Then they lost the rest of the games in the season series, got their coach fired, alienated their franchise player and then lost him to a lame-o ocular injury, and lost five must-win road games in a row to all but ensure that not only would they not make much of a post-season run, they wouldn’t make the post-season at all. Meanwhile, the Spurs were the Spurs, overcoming early injuries, hitting big game-winning shots and coasting their way to likely Home Court in the West. It’s going to go down as one of the minor tragedies in the history of pro sports that the Suns never got to taste the promised land, and that they will likely never get proper vengeance on the team that ruined so many of their best chances of doing so.

1. The New York Knicks make the playoffs. Admit it, though–they came closer than you thought they would.

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Popcorn Love: The Confrontation in Unfaithful (2002)

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on March 29, 2009

unfaithful

When discussing the merits of a movie like Unfaithful, it’s pretty rare that you get past the sex scenes. And that’s fair enough–they’re some of the hottest ever committed to mainstream celluloid, making for one of the more uncomfortable movie-going experiences I had with my parents (though still ranking an extremely distant #2 to Y Tu Mama Tambien). Diane Lane had never looked sexier, Olivier Martinez had never looked swarthier, and director Adrien Lyne–the guy who made a hit erotic thriller with Michael Douglas and Glenn Close as the leads–was clearly the man for the job when it came to getting the most out of the brief encounters between the two. Their last tryst in particular, a desperate hate-fuck outside of Martinez’s apartment, in particular, I would rank as an all-time top fiver–one that I’ve watched countless times, and which I could pretty much draw frame-for-frame by memory if called on to do so.

Recently, however, I’ve come to realize that the scene that follows shortly thereafter–in which the devestated Richard Gere confronts Martinez in his apartment–is almost as indelible, if for somewhat different reasons. It’s the scene that basically acts as the fulcrum for the movie, the turning point between the guilt, secrecy and ridiculously hot sex of the first half and the guilt, secrecy, and utter lack of ridiculously hot sex in the second half. Plotwise I could just about take it or leave it–I was never particularly convinced by the twist that occurs at the end of this scene, and I was never really sure that the way the rest of the movie followed was really the direction to go with it. But the dynamics of the scene–the interaction between Gere and Martinez–is unlike those in any other scene I can remember from another movie.

The scene could have very easily been a cliche, especially considering the way it ends–a jealous husband confronts his wife’s lover, and a fight breaks out with tragic consequences. It doesn’t quite play out like that, though, mostly because Gere’s intentions in showing up at Martinez’s doorstep are so ambiguous. Does he want to kill him? Force him to stop seeing his wife? Get information from him? Make him feel guilty for what he’s done? Gere doesn’t seem to be sure, and merely asks to be let inside his apartment. Martinez doesn’t seem to get it either, and in his confused state, doesn’t seem to think twice about granting Gere his request, despite the obvious emotional volatility of the situation at hand.

Both Gere and Martinez’s characters are somewhat unusual for their respective roles to begin with. As the husband spurned, Edward isn’t really the kind of insensitive schlub we’re used to from such a situation–he’s actually a pretty decent-seeming guy, a good father and husband, and he still looks at least somewhat like Richard Gere. The only real knock on him from a spousal standpoint is that he doesn’t seem quite as interested in taking care of business in the bedroom with wife Connie as he probably once did. Meanwhile, Paul isn’t really the kind of dastardly homewrecker he should probably be either. He’s kind of sleazy, sure, but the movie never makes him as evil as we think it will. He never tells Connie that he’s in love with her, he never asks her to leave her husband, hell, he never even goes out of his way to see her, always letting her come to him. Even late in the movie when we find out he was married the whole time, he gets let off the hook when we find out he and wife were separated. He’s not a good guy, but he’s not a particularly bad guy either–basically, he’s just a guy who enjoys having sex with Diane Lane, and knows that he’s good enough to make it worth her while. Fair enough.

Paul’s lack of emotional involvement in the situation is part of what makes the scene here with Edward so interesting. He doesn’t do any of the things you’d expect a side-lover to do when an angry husband shows up–he doesn’t apologize or try to plead his case, he doesn’t get territorial and demand that Edward leave him alone, and he doesn’t brag to Edward about how much better he must be in bed than him. Rather, he just attempts to have polite conversation with the man whose wife he’s fucking, seeming to believe that Edward will be capable of handling the situation as dispassionately as he does. He makes a bad joke about having heard “no complaints” when asked if Connie likes it at his place, he responds to Edward’s furiously informing him that he and Connie have been married for 11 years and have a son with “yeah…she told me” and just keeps offering him more drinks. It’s quite possibly the most awkward encounter I’ve ever seen depicted on film, especially because the whole time you’re watching, you’re just thinking “why the hell doesn’t this guy realize how bad this situation is about to get?”

Of course, the situation does get bad, as in a rage blackout, Edward takes a snowglobe (which Connie had given Paul, despite originally being a gift from Edward), and gives Paul a couple of lovetaps on the head with it, killing him. From there, the movie turns into Gere trying to cover up his crime of passion, and slowly revealing the truth of his actions to Connie, who has, coincidentally, decided on her own to end her relationship with Paul. It was an inevitable conclusion of sorts, I guess, and it does do some interesting things for the rest of the movie, as Connie and Edward go on to play complex mind games over who did what and who knows what about who did what, and eventually realize that the affair/murder has brought them closer together. But it kind of cheapens the scene on the whole, I think–the tension between Paul and Edward is so unbelievable that ending it with a killing almost seems like a cop-out. It doesn’t do the scene’s unique dynamic any justice.

If you only ever watched Unfaithful for the sex scenes, I can’t say I’d blame you. But you might want to hang around for at least a few minutes after to give this bizarre little tete a tete (/ a snowglobe) a look.

Posted in Popcorn Love, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Commercial Break: The Happiest Insurance Salesperson in the Whole Wide World

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on March 28, 2009

flo

No commercial ad campaign has straddled the line between cringeworthiness and compulsive watchability in recent years as the Progressive Auto Insurance series. On paper, they should be nothing but miserable–corny, ridiculous, and even kind of creepy (the super-anesthetized surroundings of the Progressive store suggest some sort of Auto Insurance limbo, where customers are doomed to spend their entire lives searching for the best rates). But thanks to spokesperson/lead singer Flo (nee Stephanie Courtney), the commercials are undeniably transfixing, with the bubbly, clown-makeuped Flo even entertaining a small cult following. Like many, at first, I was convinced that this was due to Flo fitting into some very unusual niche of hottness, but while I’m not entirely willing to drop that theory just yet, I can’t help but shake the feeling that if I saw this person in a bar or something I would feel a deep shiver in my soul (Courtney herself concedes that even the GEICO Gekko is a more sexualized advertising icon). Rather, I think the universal adulation of Flo is due to a far less traditional appeal she has–that of professional exuberance, and the pride of a job well done.

Simply put, no one in the history of mankind–fictional or non-fictional–has ever loved her job as much as Flo loves selling auto insurance. Her unbridled enthusiasm for her work spills out of every frame she’s in, visually accented by the ridiculous makeup, which makes her seem like even more of a cartoon character. Compared to Flo, even Kenneth from 30 Rock is basically Stanley from The Office, busying himself with a crossword puzzle while staring at the clock, wondering if the second hand always moved so slowly. And though supposedly Courtney is a real actress of sorts (Blades of Glory! Mad Men! CAVEMEN!), it seems utterly impossible that Flo would be the product of mere acting. So blissfully ecstatic is Flo in her line of work–getting customers better deals, dishing out discounts, negotiating awkward moments between couples, fantasizing about being able to afford nametags with greater flair–that you never even think to question the logic of anyone giving a shit about selling auto insurance. No one could pull that off with a straight face unless that was legitimately the way they felt about the vending and purchasing of quality Auto Insurance. It’s just not possible.

Naturally, all others in her orbit get caught up in her infectious giddiness–grown men shrieking with giddiness, hardened cynics re-inspired by the glittering glory or the free market. And that’s the power of Flo–she doesn’t get you excited about the idea of buying Auto Insurance necessarily, as much as she gets you excited about the idea of selling it–or getting excited about the idea of getting excited about it. Because that’s the dream, isn’t it? To love your job so passionately that all who touch you can’t help but feel the love as well, regardless of the mundaneness (mundanity?) of the actual profession? I mean, I’ve had some pretty good jobs, but I still suffered through the occasional duldrum in even the best of them, turning in desperation to self-indulgent internet browsing and far too many cups of coffee. Flo laughs at the prospect of needing caffeine to get through her day. Hell, she probably has to take a quaalude halfway through the day so she doesn’t overheat and short-circuit from too much joy. It’s like watching those deliriously happy couples from the E-Harmony commercials–you just see her and think “Why can’t I find a job that makes me feel like that?” (Of course, this all supports the idea of Flo being a largely asexual creation–how could any man in her life ever hope to give her half the satisfaction that Progressive Auto Insurance does?)

And yes, Flo does have her own Wikipedia entry. Take that, Gekko.

Posted in Commercial Break | 23 Comments »

Clap Clap ClapClapClap: An Ode to Levance Fields

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on March 27, 2009

levance-fields

I doubt I’ll ever become as enamored with March Madness as most sports nuts out there. Oh, sure, I’ll fill out my brackets, based on a combination of baseless hunches, arbitrary geographical biases and (hopefully) self-fulfilling prophecies. And I’ll watch the games, at least until I can tell which team is obviously the better one and/or until it becomes clear that there’ll be no memorable last-second histrionics that I’ll want to bang my head against the wall for missing (like, say, the buzzer-beating game-tying three that Mario Chalmers hit against Memphis last year after I fell asleep with about five minutes to go). But generally speaking, a combination of not knowing enough about the teams, not being impressed with the level of play, and not having any sort of noteable rootng interest beyond those self-fulfilling prophecies, means that I’d almost always rather just flip to whatever NBA game is going on that night. The exception to this is when there’s a player in the tournament worth cheeing for, a wildcard so captivating that the rest of the drama becomes a mere subplot. Last year, that player was Stephen Curry. This year, it very well might be Levance Fields.

The two players, simply put, have absolutely nothing in common. Curry was an absolute marvel, a baby-faced assassin that seemed to be able to will his shots in from anywhere on the court, and put up 35-point games against the best defenses in the country just because it was his time. This year, despite his Davidson team missing the tournament for a variety of reasons, Curry still led the nation in scoring, was an early player of the year candidate, and ignited a nationwide debate over whether or not he’d ever be a pro-level player. No one will ever argue over the star pro potential of Levance Fields. Frankly, I’d find it somewhat remarkable if the Pitt point guard ever played a minute in the pros. What’s more, I’m not even all that sure he’s that great a college player–sure, he averages a Rondo-esque 10.6 points and 7.6 assists per game, but watcing the guy play, he never seems to make good decisions, and those that he does make seem a result of kismet or karma or just inevitability. Levance Fields does not seem like he should be a player of consequence in this tournament.

But I have never seen a player like Fields before in my life. And I mean that in a very literal sense–the dude just looks like no one else in sports. Basically, he’s a fat point guard, which seems a contradiction along the line of being a skinny linebacker, a midget center or a long-distance runner with a leg cramp. Not to mention the fact that he looks like a total stoner–droopy eyes, braided hair, hangdog demeanor. I mean, look at him up there–does he look like he should be acting as a floor general for a championship-contending team, or does he look like he should be choosing between combo meals at Wendy’s? I’ve been silently backing Pitt since I watched them unravel UConn earlier in the year, largely because I think DeJuan Blair is such an absolute beast (and find his crazed post-play infinitely more impressive than the mechanical efficiency of Hasheem Thabeet), but I think the incredulity of Fields’s presence was alway a subconscious factor. People say that Pitt never “win pretty,” and with a physial anomaly like Levance at the helm, that’s true in the very truest sense. And it is, perversely, a rather beautiful thing to watch.

Tonight’s game againt Xavier absolutely cemented my Fields obsession. For the third straight game, Pitt seemed dogged the entire game, grinding out what was either going to be an extremely disappointing loss or an only minorly encouraging victory. Down two with under a minute to go and the shot clock starting to run low, Fields pulled up for a top-of-the-arc three–a well-behind-the-arc top-of-the-arc three at that. I chortled as it went up–Fields had been bricking better looks from long range all game, and a wasted possession here likely meant the end of the game for Pitt. If Fields had put it up on a catch-and-shoot with the team down three and .6 seconds to go, I probably still would’ve thought “yikes, was that really the best play they could come up with?” Talking about the play after the game, Fields took credit for making a move to get enough separation to get the shot off, and I wanted to scream at the TV, “Of course you had enough separation to get the shot off! They’d have given it to you wide open if you had asked!” In fact, in the scouting report on Fields, it probably says in big caps with a circle around it, “TRICK INTO TAKING TOP-OF-THE-ARC DESPERATION THREES.”

Of course, it ended up going in, and then on the next play, Fields nabbed a loose ball and drove for a layup, all but sealing a Pitt victory. “GUTSY!” yelled Bill Raftery. “Can you imagine the courage?” (Never mind that had he missed, that almost certainly would’ve been a “WHAT…was Levance Fields thinking with that shot?” comment instead). “I never get tired of waching Levance take big shots,” quipped coach Jamie Nixon after the game (Never mind that had he missed, he would’ve needed a restraining order and numerous fire marshalls to keep himself from strangling Fields at the next timeout). For my money, the most accurate comment on the situaion came from Xavier coach Sean Miller: “I thought the shot that Levance Fields hit kinda says it all about [their] point guard,” Indeed, it’s unlikely you’ll see a play the rest of the tournament that better summarizes Levance–or Pitt on the whole, I suppose–than that one. Ugly, illogical, and downright stupifying, but somehow, so so right.

Here’s hoping that Fields and Pitt wins un-pretty all the way to Detroit. Even though I think I have them going down to UNC in the Final Four. Nuts, another lost bracket.

Posted in Clap Clap ClapClapClap | 1 Comment »

What the World Needs Now: More Brits Making Videos in New York

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on March 25, 2009

The cliche about New Yorkers is that they don’t ever actually bother to see the city they live in until their friends and family come to visit them. For me at least, it’s extremely true–I mean, it wasn’t like I was going to hang out at the Liberty Bell and eat at Geno’s every day when I grew up in Philly either, but having lived here for nearly a half-decade, whenever I look at the New York sections of various travel guides, it’s still pretty disheartening to see the amount of stuff I haven’t done. I mean, it’s always there, right? It’s true with most things in life that when you have all the time in the world to do something, you’re pretty well guaranteed to never actually do it. You need the fresh eyes and legs of an outside visitor–someone for whom everything about the city seems new and exciting, and for whom the amount of time to really soak it up the way it was meant to be experienced is extremely finite.

New York seems like it was probably a pretty exciting place in the early-mid 80s, especially in terms of music. Punk had more or less crested in the city, and now dance where was it was at–the early days of  electro and hip-hop. Of course, if you were actually living here at the time, you probably took it entirely for granted–maybe you went to a gig or block party here and there, or occasionally stopped and watched some b-boys on the street, or saw Wild Style in theaters, but ultimately, you likely neglected to take the effort to really appreciate the scene. This, as with so many other things, is why we needed our friends across the pond to help us out. For some reason, it seems that just about every British artist that visited New York from the years 1981-1983 had to make a video that acted like a travelogue for the area’s underground scene. Whether things were just that exciting in the Big Apple, or that stagnant in the UK, all these guys acted like annoying friends who can’t stop raving about how amazing their last vacation was. Yet, they might have made the best documents of that time and place of them all. Examples:

  • The Clash – “This is Radio Clash.” The Clash’s intense love affair with the city of New York in the early 80s had a profound effect on not just their recorded output (hip-hop and funk-influenced singles like “Radio Clash,” “The Magnificent Seven” and “Rock the Casbah”) but on their live shows (an ill-fated attempt to cross boundaries by bringing Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five along on a European tour) and, of course, their music videos. Here they parade up and down the city, as well as monitoring it from a Man Who Fell to Earth-style surveilance room, and note the graffiti-tagged trains, breakdancing and police violence contained therein. New York would also be the setting for the live clip heavily circulated on MTV for “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” as the band rocks out a surprisingly grateful Shea Stadium, also taking the time out to take a top-down cruise of the city while a mohawk’d Joe Strummer takes pictures with his camera.
  • New Order – “Confusion.” Temporarily bored with making the best synth-pop records their own country would ever hear, New Order teamed up with Afrika Bambaataa producer and electro pioneer Arthur Baker (who surely ranks a close #2 to Rick Rubin for most disheveled-looking, long-haired white dude to have a profound influence on 80s hip-hop) in 1983 to make a New York club anthem of sorts. “Confusion” is one of the group’s lesser-remembered 80s singles, but it’s stayed a favorite of mine over the years, and the video is perhaps the most vivid of the Brits Visit New York genre. The group splits footage of themselves playing (and Baker tooling in the studio) with slice of life stuff in apartments and pizza parlors and the requisite club scenes. The thing I love about this video is that its always moving–both in its cinematography and in its action, whether its Baker gradually prepping the record for public consumption, the band cabbing it around, the ladies taking the subway to the club, or the dancers getting down when they’re actually there. The actual going out is always the most exciting part of going out anyway.
  • Malcolm McLaren – “Buffalo Girls.” I’ve been practically obsessed with “Buffalo Girls” recently–admittedly silly square dancing lyrics aside (and even those are pretty fucking catchy), there’s nothing about it that I don’t find irresistible–all the great little samples and scratches and the skittering beat and the awkward stereo separation and everything. The video is similarly compelling, as McLaren wisely stays in the shadows for the most part and leaves the visuals to the DJs in the booth, the b-boys doing their thing in Washinton Square (the footage of which was used a few years ago for VH1’s And You Don’t Stop ads) and in the streets and clubs of the city. It’s hard to say what made a white, British 37-year-old music biz svengali like McLaren decide that he was the man to bring hip-hop to the UK, but he did at least end up getting about half a chapter in Can’t Stop Won’t Stop, even if it was mostly about how he proved that hip-hop couldn’t be easil co-opted by clueless outsiders.

There’s also Blondie’s classic “Rapture,” but they weren’t British, just white, near-middle-aged and kind of weird locals.

So what are New Yorkers up to today in the streets and clubs? Hey, don’t ask me–I just work here. What we need is a new influx of tourist Brits to show us the things about the city that we’re too preoccupied with day-to-day life to actually notice for ourselves. There must be some exciting things going on–some dance or rock sub-culture bubbling under the surface just wating to burst out into the mainstream–we just have to get those fresh eyes back on the case to inform us, in convenient four-minute travelogue video form, what they are. Otherwise, we’re just stuck with Maino and The Virgins‘ admittedly biased takes on things.

Posted in What the World Needs Now | 3 Comments »

Clap Clap ClapClapClap: Iguodala Pulls the Switcheroo on the Lakers

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on March 19, 2009

It hasn’t been the easiest year to be a Sixers fan. Not to say that the team is doing all that badly–as of writing they’re a mere game and a half out of fifth place in the East, and on pace to certainly at least better their 40-42 record from the season previous. In fact, they’re doing pretty damn well considering that their high-profile signing from the off-season failed to mesh with the team for the first quarter of the season and eventually went out for the whole season, arguably getting the team’s coach fired in the process. Prognosticators may have credited the Sixers as potentially being a third or fourth-seed-worthy team at season’s beginning, but from the way things started, and from how much worse things are going in Toronto and Detroit, we’ll definitely take it.

Rather, the reason this season has been such a trying one is the way this team has lost. They say that poker players remember bad beats far better than their big victories (and by they of course I mean Matt Damon in Rounders), and I think the same is true for most of sports fandom. I can barely remember the key wins this team has experienced this season, but the losses–the so-close, last-second, heartbreaking losses–burn in my mind with the brightest of flames. All teams suffer bad losses, sure–comes with the territory. But I remember watching a montage of the buzzer-beating and near buzzer-beating killers that the Sixers had suffered this year and thinking that if there were enough of these for them to put together a fucking montage of them in the first place, that’s probably not quite normal.

TJ Ford’s midrange jumper with six seconds left. Ray Allen’s three in the corner. The Brook Lopez dunk (after the Sixers missed their last 18 shots). The Dirk Nowitzki fadeaway (after the Sixers battled back from twelve down in the last two and a half minutes, the DAY AFTER the Eagles blew what could’ve been one of the all-time great post-season comebacks against the Cardinals). Oh, and of course, the Devin Harris half-court shot (which I still find completely mind-boggling–Devin used to be one of my favorite players in the league, now I can’t even look at him). Thank God I missed the Tony Parker prayer that sank them just before they went on their huge seven-game winning streak–if I had, I might not have had the heart to stick around long enough to watch the Sixers pull their season out of the gutter.

But then there was last night. Beginning a five-game road trip against the Lakers–arguably the best team in the league, and one which throttled Philly earlier in the year–I was thrilled enough when I saw them keep pace with the Lakers for three quarters after a dismal 11-2 start. When LA started to pull away at the end of the third, I figured it was fun while it lasted, and contented myself with a loss that at least wasn’t demoralizing. Even as the Sixers actually began to creep back in in the fourth quarter–thanks to that Godsend of an octagenarian, Donyell Marshall, who is useless 99% of the time but for some reason becomes utterly unstoppable from three when his team is down double digits in the fourth–I figured the combination of having the home crowd, the better interior rebounders and Kobe Bryant would be more than enough to keep the Sixers at bay. And when Kobe buried a long jumper over the outstretched arm of Andre Iguodala with seven seconds to go, I wasn’t even angry. I’d seen this movie before. Whatever.

I thought it was a three at first, more or less putting the game completely out of range, so my spirit was a little piqued by the fact that Kobe had his foot on the line, making it just a two point game. All right, I figured, this wasn’t completely over yet. I figured they’d have Iguodala drive to the basket and either lay it up and try to draw a foul, step back for a short jumper or kick out to the hot-handed Marshall for three. Seemed like they had decent odds. So here’s my reaction as the whistle blows and Andre Miller inbounds to Iggy with 6.7 seconds to go.

  • (0:06) Why is he taking it to half-court? What’s the point of doing that if he’s just going to drive it to the basket? He might not even have time for Donyell to put up his kick-out.
  • (0:05) Still dribbling. Guess he definitely plans on taking this to the hole himself.
  • (0:04) Um, still dribbling. Is there really time for all of this?
  • (0:03) Still dribbling? I guess he’s going to pull up mid-range…all right, I suppose he’s made that before once or twice.
  • (0:02) STILL DRIBBLING???? Wait. He’s not thinking about…? He’s not really gonna…Is he?
  • (0:01) Oh no.

If you haven’t seen the Sixers play this year–and since they’ve still yet to have a single nationally televised game not on NBA TV, that’s pretty understandable–you have to understand this: The Sixers are the worst three-point shooting team in the history of the NBA. Well, maybe not, but they’re certainly the worst in the league this season. For some perspective, the Cleveland Cavaliers have five regulars in their rotation that average 40% shooting or higher from long-distance, including Mo Williams, who shoots a staggering 44% from downtown. By contrast, the Sixers’ best three-point shooter (besides Marshall, who has played in not even a third of the team’s games, and Marreese Speights, who has shot five 3’s all season) is Thaddeus Young, hitting from downtown at a thudding 35% clip. That’s, uh, not good. Simply put, the Sixers do not have a rotation regular that can be relied upon to hit even a wide open look behind the arc with any regularity. Watching them against the Suns tonight, the Phoenix announcer sounded positively shocked when Willie Green even hit a long two. Willie Green is the starting 2 for the Sixers–you know, the shooting guard. When announcers are stunned about your 2-guard making an outside jumper–and with good reason, as Willie shoots only 42% from the field and a paltry 29% from deep–it probably says something about your team.

Iguodala, naturally, is no exception to this. He’d have to be considered one of the team’s best shooters, and is almost definitely the team’s best playmaker, but he still shoots under 30% from long range, and he’d had a miserable 0-6 start to the game from downtown. If you told the Lakers beforehand that the game was going to come down to Andre Iguodala shooting a top-of-the-arc three with Trevor Ariza, one of the team’s best defenders, guarding him–they’d probably have no problem staking their enitre season on going home happy. The only thing that can really be said to the credit of this playcall is that Iggy has actually shown a pretty big knack for hitting big shots–problem is, they’ve always been followed up by hitting bigger ones. His layup gave the Sixers a one-point lead against the Pacers before TJ Ford knocked his shot down. His tough fadeaway jumper put the Sixers up two before the Ray Allen three. His free throw even should’ve iced the game against the Nets before the Devin Harris miracle. So finally, without an opportunity for anyone to show him up, Iguodala decided he wanted a turn to provide the final dagger.

Indeed, his shot found the bottom of the net, and I couldn’t believe it. As a fan this season, I’d been on the receiving end of killers like this more times than I could stand. What was it supposed to feel like when it was your team doing it to the other guys? To see the other team with the confused “did that really just happen?” look on their face, their fans with the “wait, that’s it? We don’t get another shot at it?” stunned silence, their announcers with the disappointed, “well, whaddya gonna do?” acceptance…it was all so familiar, yet all so strange. I couldn’t even enjoy the moment at first–rather than fist-pumping or cheering or anything, I just shouted “WHAT????” so loud that my roommate heard me down the hall through two closed doors and asked if anything was wrong. “No, it’s just…something improbable just happened,” I explained to her.

No way in hell anything that happens in March Madness will touch this for me.

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Commercial Break: The Tantalizing Enigma of the Snuggie

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on March 17, 2009

One of the best things about working nights is that you’re bound to interact with people that, largely speaking, share your nocturnal habits. For me, at least, this mostly extends to the fact that I can discuss the merits of various late-night infomercials with them without getting blank, pitying stares in return. It’s more than a little comforting to know that there are other, seemingly normal and socially functional people out there for whom these ads are a slightly relevant piece of their existence. And I’ve found that among these folks, two late-night-only products are guaranteed to raise eyebrows–the ShamWOW! and the Snuggie.

Now, we’ve spent a great deal of webspace on this blog delving into the psychology and transfixing appeal of the ShamWOW! (a product which I finally actually bought at a K-Mart, and have yet to use, though I am slightly disappointed to find that it is in fact merely a cloth and possesses no evident supernatural abilities). I find the Snuggie ads to be nearly as compelling, but for diametrically opposing reasons. The appeal of the ShamWOW! ad is largely in its sense of newness–not in terms of the graphics or formatting, necessarily, which like all other infomercials have yet to advance past 1986, but in the form of pitchman Vince Offer. Offer’s direct, in-your-face and downright insulting brand of professional shillery is shocking and somewhat provocative, an unexpected blast of late-night kineticism from a medium that packs very few surprises. It taps into a sense of urgency that few, if any, infomercials had ever quite reached before.

Rather than try to reach the rather high bar set by the ShamWOW!, though, the Snuggie went in the complete other direction–making an infomercial as old-fashioned, cheesy and blatantly pandering as would seem humanly possible. There’s the music, a synth-trumpet serenade so airy and light that would probably insult Go West‘s credibility. There’s the rhyming bit at the beginning, complete with goofy sound effects. There’s even a four-way split screen segment showing the various uses of the Snuggie. Best of all, there’s an utterly ludicrous montage of suggested situational applications of the snuggie–two of which are in dorm rooms and at sporting events, a pair of locations where absolutely no one in their right mind (except for possibly me) would show up wearing a blanket with sleeves. As if that wasn’t enough, the girl in the “Dorm Room” shot has a 60s-looking poster advertising for “PEACE”–as clueless an approximation of what adorns a college room walls these days as you’d expect from an infomercial brain trust.

Yet, despite–or rather, because of–all this laughable corniness, the Snuggie ad makes for viewing nearly as essential as that of the ShamWOW! In fact, it reminds you of what made the ShamWOW! ad so unusual in the first place–because 99 times out of 100, infomercials are supposed to lull you into a sense of comfort and security, a universe where everything is as it should be and nothing or no one dares to disrupt the equilibrium. And that’s what the Snuggie ad presents–a world of totally un-self-conscious laziness, where one has no possible concerns except that of staying blissfully warm while still having your arms available to grab things. The effect is nothing short of hypnotic, and for the product that the Snuggie commercial is advertising, it’s an absolutely inarguable strategy to be using.

It’s all enough to make you forget that the Snuggie is, actually, a largely worthless product. I see the infomercial and I get so tantalized that I practically have ten digits of the phone number dialed (six if you don’t count the “1-800”) before I remind myself that if you remove the gloriously effective brand name (and indeed, I giggle to myself just thinking about it), the Snuggie is little more than, as the Wikipedia entry used to state bluntly before some wisenheimer toned down the language a little, a bathrobe turned backwards. A friend of mine has even threatened swift and decisive action against me should I ever purchase such a useless and derivative item (apparently the Snuggie is predated by the Slanket by many years within the seeimngly rather lucrative sleeved-blanket market), and will no doubt raise hell once she sees that I have devoted some 800 words of this blog to it.

Say what you will against it, there is no doubt that the Snuggie is catching on with those far out of IITS’s sphere of influence. It’s been handed out at the Today show, Jimmy Fallon and all of the Roots recently wore them on his Late Night show (as well as guest Tracy Morgan), and sure enough, I saw someone at my office with a recently-purchased one on their desk. Regardless of the product’s worth, it’s good to know that an infomercial’d product can still hold this sway over popular culture. All we need now is a third ad–perhaps a happy middle ground between the progressiveness of the ShamWOW! and the reactionism of the Snuggie–to complete the infomercial trinity for this era in late-night television.

Any suggestions?

Posted in Commercial Break | 6 Comments »

Take Five: Videos Worthy of Shot-for-Shot Remakes

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on March 15, 2009

I found this shot-for-shot remake of the classic video for Journey’s “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)” in the always-informative Sports Guy’s Mailbag, and it got me thinking a little. The video itself was not necessarily any more compelling than the Gus Van Sant Psycho, but the thing that interested me about this imitative retelling was that it got me thinking how I would have gone about doing it if I had to refilm this video with my friends. What exactly is the easiest way to mount a keyboard on a wall? How hard is it to get four guys in a line singing in unison? Is a two-second montage of eight different shots really worth all the trouble? Even with the sound off, this remake would’ve been immediately recognizable as the “Separate Ways” video, but how many videos could that really be done for? So many of the best either have important, hard to reproduce special effects (like, say, A-Ha’s “Take on Me”), are filmed in too-exotic locations (any Duran Duran video), have a cast too wide (Guns n Roses’ “November Rain”) or, uh, camera shots that somehow look cost-consuming (Busta Rhymes’ “Woo-Hah! Got You All in Check!”) Rather, you just need a video that you and six or so of your closest friends could reproduce in a day or two of filming with a hundred-dollar budget, a handheld camera and basic video editing software.

So what videos what I remake with my friends would I reproduce with my friends, given the option? Here are the leading candidates:

  • The Verve – “Bittersweet Symphony”. Easy enough–all you really need is one guy who doesn’t mind bumping into people for four minutes, and a bunch of other guys to join up at the end as the rest of the band. The other roles–the incidental people that Richard Ashcroft bumps into on the street–can all basically be replaced by real-life, unwilling participant extras, except for the one chick who gets supermad and probably should be cast in a role herself. The hardest part I guess would be maintaining the video’s grainy, blue-ish hue–I dunno what kind of filter you have to buy for your camera to achieve that, or maybe you can just work it out in post. Interesting, the video itself is basically a non-shot-for-shot remake of Massive Attack’s slightly less iconic but equally classic “Unfinished Sympathy.”
  • George Michael – “Freedom ’90. Somehow, I imagine this video becomes a lot more affordable when you don’t have to pay five of the most famous women in the world to appear in it. (Of course, you still do have to find five women to appear in such a project, and as the “Separate Ways” remake makes clear, sometimes finding even one can present something of a challenge). Nevertheless, all you really need once you get the girls signed on are a tea kettle, an abandoned apartment, and a bunch of really, really big sweaters–easy enough. The exploding jukebox might present something of a challenge, but I suppose you could always cut to stock footage–no proof that George Michael actually took the time to blow one up on his set either.
  • Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories – “Stay (I Missed You)”: Technically the easiest video on this list to reproduce, as it is a mere one-shot (in fact any number of one-shot videos could conceivably work for this project, with the extremely notable exception of Kylie Minogue’s “Come Into My World“) with no extras needed to support the performance of its star actress. But naturally, the success of the project would depend entirely on the performance of said leading lady, as a “Stay” remake sinks or swims depending on how closely she could emulate the myriad emotions that Loeb manages to project throughout the video (and, yes, the song). Oh, and I guess you probably need a cat too. And those glasses. Might be slightly trickier than you think, but at least the rest of the faux-Nine Stories still get to chill off-screen.
  • Smashing Pumpkins – “Today: Maybe a litlte high-budget for our purposes, since you need an ice cream truck (or at least a truck with the words “ice cream” on it), a whole lot of paint, and a relatively low-maintenance gas station willing to support your tomfoolery for about half an hour. That said, it’s certainly easier than trying to emulate the rest of the Pumpkins’ videography, whether the stop-motion of “Tonight, Tonight” the ridiculous makeup of “Ava Adore” or that super-cool camera-in-a-rolling-tire angle from “1979”. And besides, you get to persuade one of your friends to lounge around in a sundress for a few hours, or do it yourself if you’re so inclined. (Speaking of which–did you know that James Iha and Taylor Hanson are going to be in a band together? Two of the hottest chick-dudes in rock history, in the same band? With eternally hideous Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos? History in the making, my friends).
  • The Replacements – “Bastards of Young In fact, I’m sure this video has been accidentally remade shot-for-shot dozens of times as burgeoning rock bands put their equipment down for a cigarette break during their shoots and simply forget to turn the camera off. Except for the kicking-in-the-speaker part at the end. Or maybe not.

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Clap Clap ClapClapClap: Courtney Paris Putting Her Money Where Her Post-Game Is

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on March 12, 2009

courtney-paris

Ah, March Madness. Nothing like the third month of our new year to bring the drama, the intrigue, and of course, the ridiculous posturing that only college sports seem capable of providing. While most will undoubtedly be focused on the male side of the tournament–as far as I know, the practice of bracket pooling for the WNCAA’s is limited to the relatives of those involved and, uh, HGTV employees–perhaps the most intriguing  subplot of the tourney this year belongs to the ladies. Oklahoma Lady Sooners center / cinder block Courtney Paris is coming to the end of her historic college career, and she is feeling good about her team’s chances to go all the way this year. How good are we talking? Well, not only is Courtney willing to put her name on the line, she’s backing up it with a fair share of cash, promising to return her school scholarship funds (estimated at $64k) if her team does not take top honors. Sez Paris: “When you’re good enough and don’t do something, then you have to take accountability for that and that’s your own fault. We can win a national championship. If we don’t, I’ll feel like I didn’t earn my scholarship.”

We here at IITS have had our fill in recent times of athletes making guarantees that they do not deliver on, and I in fact have called for some sort of enforced accountability for this false prophecizing. So first and foremost, let me congratulate Miss Paris on taking the initiative to not only demonstrate just how certain she is of her prediction’s accuracy, but self-imposing the stakes should it not come to fruition. That’s not to say that I’m entirely satisfied by her promise, however–what I’d really like to see is an Oklahoma-invoiced payment time-table (all Paris has offered so far are vaguaries about “as long as it takes”), with the appropriate adjustments for interest and inflation, as well as a non-negotiable contract drafted by the NCAA board, stipulating that Paris will lose both her academic degree and her WNBA pro eligibility, and that all of Oklahoma’s wins will be retroactively forfeited (a la Chris Webber’s Michigan team), should payments not be received on time. You’ve taken the big first step towards the credibility restoration of our progonosticating athletic superstars, Courtney–now it’s time to take the full plunge.

In any event, this could all quickly turn very interesting. The Sooners are an excellent team, it seems–#3 in the country, with a 27-3 record, largely thanks to Courtney’s 16 points and 13 rebounds a game. I can’t say I’ve ever seen her or her team play, but her physique and stat line suggests a rough female middle ground between Shaquille O’Neal and David Lee (with an even more imperssive double-double streak–112 games!)–not a bad rock to anchor a potential championship team. However, there exists an extremely noteable roadblock in Paris and company’s path towards a title–that of the UConn Women Huskies juggernaut, a team whose dominance over the WNCAA field this year makes the ’07 Patriots seem like total amatuer hour by comparison. Not only have they gone undefeated, they’ve won their games by an average of over thirty points per game, no team ever even coming within ten of ’em. Betting against them at this point seems like an only marginally better investment than putting $64k against the Harlem Globetrotters.

And in the meantime, what kind of pressure is Paris putting on the rest of her team? Let’s say Paris goes on an absolute tear in the tournament–25 points and 15 rebounds, a couple blocks and a 65% FG performance per game–and they get into the championship game. Now every time Rose Hammond blows a layup, or Carlee Roethlisberger (yes, like that Roethlisberger) gets called for a ticky-tack foul, or poor sophomore point Danielle Robinson darts a pass just past her teammate’s fingers, is Courtney gonna dart them a look like “you owe me $1500 for that one, bitch!” Imagine if they get within a bucket of the win, and someone bricks a wide-open three from the wing–is Paris still really going to take full financial responsibility for the loss? Even worse, imagine if that someone happens to be sister and teammate Ashley? How awkward is that going to make Thanksgiving for the Paris family? (Though at the very least, I suppose, Courtney would have a permanent ace up her sleeve when it comes to any sort of dispute with sis–“Aw c’mon Court, how come I’m the one who always has to make the late-night Dunkin Donuts run?” “Hey, unless you’re buying me $64,000 worth of Boston Kremes, Ash, I don’t even wanna hear it”).

At the very least, I might actually watch my first ever Women’s College Basketball game during my clsoe tracking of this developing story. There’s gonna be some absolutely amazing post-game interviews to come out of this, I predict.

Posted in Clap Clap ClapClapClap | 1 Comment »

TV OD: 24’s Murderer’s Row of That Guy Villains

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on March 10, 2009

coiro-garofalo

Another benefit of my new DV-R acquisition is the fact that I’ve been able to keep up with Season 7 of 24, which after a hopelessly repetitive S6 and a supremely disappointing 24: Redemption (less Blood Diamond, more Commando, plz Jack) I would’ve never had the motivation to keep up with otherwise. With limited emotional or time investment, I’m able to continue to enjoy the show for what it is–a comfortable and occasionally exciting running through of some well-established motions. The only surprises that remain to be found on the show are who they choose to play the stream of antagonists Jack has to deal with hour to hour. 24 has basically become more overstuffed with villains every season, and by this season, we’re almost up to Batman Returns / Spiderman 3 levels of congestion–half a season still to go, and we’ve already had at least three climaxes, followed by the requisite “We’re not out of the woods yet…” caveat and an introduction of yet a deeper level of intrigue and danger.

This is, unquestionably, a good thing–or at least it will be as long as 24‘s producers really continue to work their Rolodex to make sure that even their roliest of role players are staffed by some of the nation’s elite forgotten stars, character actors and That Guys. Take the role of Janis, the FBI analyst. She basically does nothing but busybody herself and impede the progress of Jack and friends, a character who very easily could have been a forgettable nuisance. Playeed by forgettable nuisance Hall of Famer Janeane Garofalo, though, Janis has the weight of an entire career of mild irritation behind her, making it that much richer a character. Nowhere is this demonstrated more clearly in the villains that the show has trotted out thusfar. Take a look:

  • Tony Todd. Todd plays General Juma, the Sangalese (love those fictional countries) terrorist who breaks into the White House and holds the President and her staff hostage while planning on humiliating and then killing her. Due to his unique physicality (6’5″, weird-looking face) and strange charisma, Todd has been a mainstay of the Sci-Fi genre for some years, as sort of a slightly more credible Tiny Lister. Most peope will undoubtedly associate him with being the face of the Candyman franchise; for me, however, he’ll always be the foreboding and extremely unhelpful coroner in the Final Destination series. Oddly, Todd had already played a detective on the show about five years earlier–with actors of Todd’s caliber, sometimes a double dip is necessary.
  • Kurtwood Smith. Smith plays Senator Mayer, the figure at the head of the hearings for which Jack is called back to the States to undergo. Smith isn’t as much a traditional villain (like, say, Clarence Boddicker in RoboCop) but rather one of those infuriatingly stubborn and ignorant, albeit technically well-intentioned, assholes (like, say, Mr. Perry in Dead Poets Society). I’m not even sure what Smith’s beef with Bauer is–apparently he really doesn’t approve of torturing dudes, but his insistence on Jack’s persecution despite the fact that he’s basically saved the world about a half-dozen times that day alone could only really be explained by Jack somehow being responsible for his premature baldness. Then again, there’s no evidence out there that Smith knows how to do anything but playing dudes this needlessly disgruntled. Looks like in next week’s episode Jack takes him hostage–here’s hoping for some collateral damage.
  • Rhys Coiro. Coiro plays Sean Hillinger, the corrupt FBI agent who fucks with Jack and Tony’s efforts from the inside. Even though I knew that he was going to be in the season, I totally forgot that Coiro also played Billy Walsh while I was watching this–somehow, Entourage‘s mercurial auteur doesn’t feel the same with a suit and short hair. It should have been obvious, though, after one of the season’s most indelible moments, where after Janis blackmails him into giving her information by threatening to expose his affair with a co-worker to his wife, he snipes at her, “Youre a little bitch, you know that?” It was like Billy bickering with E and calling him “suit” all over again. Sean’s been exposed and arrested already, but I’m hoping we haven’t seen the last of him quite yet.
  • Bob Gunton. Gunton plays Ethan Kanin, the senior advisor to the President. OK, now Kanin hasn’t technically been confirmed as a villian yet, but after last week’s episode–where President Taylor snapped at him for offering his opinion, and then her daughter basically promised to ruin him for failing to prevent all the shit of that day from going down, it seems like only a matter of time before the tension there begins to bubble over. Besides, anyone who’s ever seen him as the warden in  The Shawshank Redemption knows the true evil that lurks inside Gunton–remember, he seemed like a pretty decent guy at first in that movie, too. Also, advisors on 24 are always incompetent, duplicitous or both, and he’s already gone behind the prez’s back at least once. I say minimum two episodes before he plots to have someone killed.
  • Rory Cochrane. Cochrane plays Greg Seaton, the assistant to Jonas Hodges, the super-evil-guy-behind-everything. It’s a nothing role so far, and Cochrane hasn’t exactly done too much to enliven it, but it’s always nice to see one of the 90s’ most underappreciated zeitgeist contributors find work. And as an unreserved adult now, too. Good for him.
  • Jon Voight. Voight plays Jonas Hodges, the super-evil-guy-behind-everything. OK, so the Oscar winning (and Oscar winner-spawning) actor has long since eclipsed That Guy status and should not be relegated as such. Still, Voight’s SEGBE portrayal caused me to go back and examine his career, and it truly stunned me to look at the run of supreme villainy this guy had in the late 90s. 1996: Double Agent Jim Phelps in Mission: Impossible. 1997: Ruthless hunter/killer Paul Sarone in Anaconda and sleazeball lawyer Leo Drummond in The Rainmaker. 1998: Murderous politician/conspirator Thomas Reynolds in Enemy of the State. 1999: Immoral and unfeeling HS Football Coach Bud Kilmer in Varsity Blues (an IITS-canonized villain, no less). I mean, is that a dynastic run of badness or what? He’s gotten away from it somewhat in recent years, even playing good-ish guys in The Manchurian Candidate and Transformers, but it’s great to see him back where he belongs–those cold, distant eyes just shouldn’t be promoting an agenda of positivity.

Posted in TV O.D. | 2 Comments »