Showing 1 - 10 of 14 posts found matching keyword: olympics

I'm still all-in on the Olympics, so I've little time right now for movies. However, the week before the games began, TCM ran a whole day of Olympics documentary. In training for the games, I caught three:

100. (1959.) The Games of the V Olympiad Stockholm, 1912 (2017)
This "documentary" is essentially three hours of remastered newsreel footage of preparation for the 1912 games, the games in progress, and the immediate aftermath of the games, all without any sort of commentary. While incredibly clear, the shots of the games themselves show disappointingly little of the actual competitions. All you're left with is hours of people swimming, running, boating, riding, and shooting through the frames on their way to standing on podiums. It's an interesting historical document but barely entertainment.

101. (1960.) First: The Official Film of the London 2012 Olympic Games (2012)
A century later, the potential of cinema is realized as the games are filmed as pure propaganda... for the games. Come see the Greatest Show on Earth, the ultimate triumph of the human spirit over physical and mental limitations! I very much enjoyed the London games themselves, but I found their official film to be as generally empty and unsatisfying as the average corporate sponsor's commercial tie-in product.

102. (1961.) Tokyo Olympiad (1964)
Somewhere in between the two extremes of documenting history and re-writing it is this, a true work of art. The games are messy and confusing, just like the very human athletes who participate in them. And despite — maybe even *because* of — all their shortcomings, they're also amazingly beautiful. If you watch just one documentary about an Olympic games, make it this one.

Drink Coke! (Tokyo Olympics)

(Forget what I said earlier about unsatisfying corporate sponsors. Coca-Cola has been sponsoring the games since 1928. As they'll be quick to tell you, winners always have and always will drink Coke!)

A fourth documentary is still on my DVR, so there may very well be more to come.

Update 08/14: finally got to that fourth movie, so I might as well put it here:

107. (1966.) XIVth Olympiad: The Glory of Sport (1948)
This "documentary" is essentially two hours of color newsreel footage of the 1948 games, the first after the 8-year hiatus imposed by World War II. It's far more watchable than the 1912 documentary I mentioned above, but its value is still almost entirely as a visual almanac of what the games were like before they transitioned from a purely amateur endeavor to the slick, corporate-produced games we have today.

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Autocorrect continues to plague me.

After Simone Biles withdrew from Olympic competition citing mental issues, I tried to Google the definition of "gymnastics twisties."

My autocorrect changed it to "gymnastics titties."

I'm sure they're nice, but that's not what I'm interested in (right now).

If it's true that the average man thinks about sex once every 7 seconds and that computers process information 10 million times faster than humans, how often does my computer think about sex?

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What with plywood going for $85 a 4-by-8 sheet these days coupled with the bad mildewing of last year's Kool-Aid Man (who now has a permanent home screwed to the wall of the garage), I hadn't planned to do any new lawn art this summer.

Then while watching the preliminary Olympic softball games, I got an idea. Finding a leftover scrap of plywood, I put this fella together in world record time (three days from idea to placement):

We still don't know what 'it' is

It's been 25 years since the Atlanta games, and not once in the past decades have I thought to myself "I wonder what Izzy is doing these days?" He's the New Coke of Olympic mascots: remembered mostly for what a terrible mistake it was.

But he'll always remind us of the summer of '96.

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Finishing off movies from July:

69. (1007.) You Said a Mouthful (1932)
I think I've said this before, but Joe E. Brown was the Adam Sandler of the 20s and 30s. This light comedy of errors generates the occasional smile, but it's hardly must-see watching.

70. (1008.) Donovan's Brain (1953)
In this science fiction thriller, a scientist makes the mistake of saving the brain of an evil capitalist. The thoughts of the brain are too powerful to be contained in a single tank, and things go downhill for everyone involved. I liked this movie a lot but felt it fumbled the ending where Nancy Reagan should have been revealed as the master manipulator. Maybe I was reading too much real life into it.

71. (1009.) The Drowning Pool (1975)
This film noir detective mystery is a sequel to Harper, also featuring Paul Newman in the title role. It lacks the previous movie's seditious Hollywood Babylon elements, but is plenty entertaining in its own right. (I just love detective movies.)

72. (1010.) Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (2016)
A stupid comedy that is more fun than it ought to be. I think the actors/actresses had a great time drinking and clowning in the Hawaiian sun, and it shows.

Fair warning: So far, I've watched exactly one movie in August. There's been way too much Olympics on television to have time for scripted entertainment. We'll see what happens when the games are over.

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When did the release of a movie trailer become something that gets hyped for weeks? A trailer isn't a movie, it's a commercial. It's 60 seconds of clips from a movie that are usually better than the movie itself. Is that worth getting excited about?

NBC and Disney seem to think it is. For the first week of the Olympics, they told me to hang on until Thursday, when I'd finally get my first taste of the new Star Wars movie in the form of a new trailer. Now the trailer has been released, and I have to wait only four more months until the film comes out. Hooray?

What's so magical about trailers? The new Marvel movie, Doctor Strange, runs a television ad suggesting I should sprint to the Internet to see the "full" trailer, as though it's too good for television. If it's that great, it will come to me. That's what good movies do; they transcend.

And is all this hype really necessary? Summer blockbusters are grossing half a billion dollars these days. If Louis B. Mayer got wind of that amount in the afterlife, he'd step out of his tomb and start making zombie musicals.

Ask yourself, is your life so terrible that the only thing keeping you going is the prospect of a new movie coming out for Christmas? If so, I suggest you need to see a psychiatrist, not a movie.

(For the record, I wasn't impressed with the Star Wars trailer. Can't they tell a story that doesn't have to do with prequels or sequels? That galaxy far, far away is starting to feel like a really small place. Also, part of the appeal of the Star Wars universe has always looked lived in, but now it looks like a fine layer of dirt has coated the camera lens, too. Ugh. That's what I want when I go to the movies: to watch a solid gray screen for 2 hours. What's wrong with color, Hollywood?)

Now get off my lawn.

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Humans also use only 10% of our brains

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Eleven years ago, I attended Dan Marino's Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The crowd was made up almost entirely of Dolphins fans. I imagine it was much the same thing for Packers fans yesterday when Brett Favre was inducted yesterday. However, I don't know, because I spent all day watching the Olympics.

I found out only after the fact that they canceled the Hall of Fame Game, the annual kickoff to the NFL preseason, because of poor field conditions. Apparently, no one had tested their field prior to today, and their choice of field paint made it too slick. That, or they worried that no one would be watching.

In years past, I've sometimes tuned into the HoF Game because there was nothing else to watch. But because of 5 NBC channels of Olympic coverage — including Michael Phelps own the men's 4x100-meter freestyle relay, Novak Djokavich loose a fantastic first round match of tennis, Gabby Douglas place third overall and still be disqualified from the all-around gymnastics competition — it never occurred to me to turn on the NFL Network. I suspect that I wasn't the only one.

Maybe I'll watch next year, NFL. But don't count on it. The Olympics come only every four years, but the NFL preseason is always too long.

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My confession: I've been watching a lot of women's curling in this Winter Olympics. It's hypnotic. Normally when I watch people throw stones, they're aiming for people.

I can't say I'm usually a big fan of women's sports. In most events that are divided between the sexes, it seems to me that the women's game is a watered-down version of the men's. Basketball, tennis, golf, etc. But in curling, the two games seem pretty much the same. Given a choice, who wouldn't rather have a woman sweep the floor instead of a man?

I have a couple of friends who insist on using female avatars when playing video games. Their logic has always been that they would rather look at the female form rather than the male. That may be true for my curling viewing as well. If I'm going to watch someone cradle stones all night, that someone might as well be a woman.

In the past, I've known men who watched gymnastic events because they thought the female gymnasts were sexy. Generally speaking, gymnasts are tiny things with overdeveloped muscles. Personally, I prefer athletes who wear glasses, like the girls of curling. Glasses are sexy. Don't deny it. You know it's true.

Anyway, after 2 weeks of watching curling, I think I have a pretty good grasp on the game. Too bad I'll forget it all before I see my next curling match in 2018.

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I don't know what she's talking about. I think curling is awesome.

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The more things change, the more they stay the same. For years, Olympic organizers cajoled Londoners with tales of an economic windfall of titanic proportions. Tourist-attractions and potential landlords were told to expect enough cash to reach their stiff upper lips. But now that the Olympics are here, businesses claim to be suffering record losses as Olympic tourists shun them and the locals stay home. Where have I heard that before? Oh, yeah, Atlanta in 1996.

I distinctly remember sitting in my Grandmother's bedroom in 1995, discussing acquaintances who were renovating their homes with plans for leasing them to the throngs of overseas visitors who never called. I distinctly remember working at a restaurant in 1996, watching television in the empty lounge because the Olympic visitors never left downtown and the locals stayed in their own, unleased homes. Someone must have made money in 1996, but it sure wasn't anyone I knew.

They say that those who are ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it. Pay attention, Rio, you're next.

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To be continued...


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