Showing 1 - 10 of 38 posts found matching keyword: randy
Thursday 12 January 2023
Not so long ago, my anonymous friend — let's call him "Randy" — asked, "Can you name one thing that is better now than it was a few years ago?" It's a pretty good question.
Certainly, there has been a parade of bad news over the past half decade or so: COVID, Trump, Ukraine, drugs, inflation, immigration.... I'm sure you can think of a few more. Certainly, a lot of things don't seem as fun as they once did: watching the television shows you want to see costs a small fortune for a dozen streaming services, most of the content in video games can only be unlocked with micro transactions, corporations bought the fun out of the Internet, comic books cost $6.... I'm sure you can think of a few more of these, too.
From an objective point-of-view, things for most of us are actually still pretty good, as evidenced by the fact that we all have so much time to bitch about what sucks. Could things be better? Yeah. Yeah, they could. But were things better than this just a few years ago? Has American society peaked? I have doubts.
Judging whether the future we got is "better" than the present we had is a matter of comparing what we hoped we would get to the reality of what we got. That's never a particularly fair comparison. Hope might spring eternal, but reality, to borrow a phrase, always bites.
But in answer to Randy's question, yes, I can name one thing: Georgia Football. Georgia Football is better than it was a few years ago. Way better. Go Dawgs!
Tuesday 27 December 2022
Early in the 2022 football season, Friend Randy said that if his beloved FSU made it to a postseason bowl game, we were going. Well, FSU did make it — to the Cheez-It Bowl in Orlando — but Randy decided we should go to a closer game. So we went back to the Birmingham Bowl to see the East Carolina Pirates play the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers.
Full disclosure: Randy wanted to go to the Camellia Bowl in Montgomery to see Georgia Southern play Buffalo. But that game kicked-off at noon Eastern time, and I didn't want to wake up so early in the morning. So we compromised and went to Birmingham, which had a 6:45PM Eastern start. The only down side to this decision was that the entire game was played after dark. We could have used a little sunlight warmth. Actually, we could have used a lot of sunlight warmth. It was cold.
University of Alabama-Birmingham's Protective Stadium has replaced historic Legion Field for reasons that are not entirely clear to me. I mean, it does have larger bathrooms and more convenient concession stands, but its seats aren't any more comfortable and the place isn't wrapped in the smell of BBQ. I mean, it's fine. I'm just old fashioned.
Sadly, the game itself wasn't as good as our last visit. The Chanticleers' starting quarterback knocked himself out of the game in the second quarter, bouncing on his head in the end zone right in front of us, and the team never recovered. (The backup's nameplate read "Guest," which Randy and I had a lot of fun with: the poor temporary replacement wasn't even given his own account!). We left at the end of the third quarter when the game was very obviously over.
Despite these minor problems, Randy and I agreed we both had a great time and will have to try to make going to some bowl game an annual tradition. Maybe we'll get to the Camellia next year... depending on kickoff time.
Friday 3 June 2022
Look, maybe we would all be better off if we just stayed home and watched more movies.
45/2054. Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood (2019)
I thought Quentin Tarantino was a genius from the moment I saw Pulp Fiction at Tara Theater in Atlanta in fall 1994, but ever since Inglourious Basterds I've felt he's increasingly interested only in making alt-history torture porn. Once Upon a Time... certainly has more than a little bit of that. However, I think this film transcends that limitation, creating a commentary on modern culture by looking at a time that was no better or worse than today but was infinitely better at crafting its own mythology. In other words, it's a very good film.
46/2055. Schindler's List (1993)
Hey, Randy, I finally watched Schindler's List. You're right, even though Spielberg is up to all his old audience-baiting tricks, it is an amazing movie that should be seen by every living person at least once. (In the first act, I thought, "How could they make this selfish prick into a hero?" And then the movie made me believe. Both the viewer and Oscar Schindler will come to realize that monsters are real.)
47/2056. Encanto (2021)
At last Disney finally embraced the fact that they can no longer write a comprehensible narrative in a children's film and just stopped trying. If colorful characters and catchy songs are enough to entertain you for an hour-and-a-half.... you won't feel the need for me to finish this complete thought.
48/2057. Morgan (2016)
Yeah, I watched this just because it starred Anya Taylor-Joy, and from that goal, it was worth it. That said, it is an otherwise disappointing thriller about the dangers of artificial intelligence that is terrified of exploring *any* of the questions it raises. Keep your expectations very, very low.
49/2058. Cabaret (1972)
I'd never been a fan of Liza Minelli's public persona, so I hadn't seen this film because I expecting I wouldn't like her in it. I was right. I found her character very, very irritating. On the other hand, I also found I could strongly associate the movie's central theme of societal outsiders trying to dance while knowing the world around them was burning. So... mixed bag?
50/2059. Cry Macho (2021)
The naturalistic performances might be the best example of Clint Eastwood's directorial style, but this film is not his best work, mainly because the weak script does not prove enough of a framework to support a bunch of actors standing around being their own, empty selves.
More to come.
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Friday 4 March 2022
I was recently chastised for not understanding who that Super Bowl Chevy Silverado commercial tied into the season finale of The Sopranos. "Haven't you seen one of the five greatest television dramas of all time?" No, I guess not. I don't watch dramatic television. I watch movies. Speaking of which....
20/2029. Valley of the Dolls (1967)
Some movies are badly misjudged on release. Critics in 1967 disliked this movie... and they were right. On the upside, I now understand that Beyond the Valley of the Dolls is a very specific parody of this movie. I'll definitely rewatch the parody again before I would willingly rewatch this.
21/2030. American Pop (1981)
This story of four generations of Americans is the first Ralph Bakshi movie I've seen that made me think he may have been capable of creating genuine art. Sadly, the narrative falls apart a bit in the third act but is still worth a watch.
Life is a series of downers that ends... in a hall with some Coca-Cola paintings.
22/2031. In the Heights (2021)
It took three tries for me to watch this movie all the way through, and I have to say that ultimately it was worth it. Great songs, charismatic actors, incredible cinematography: I've since watched it a second time. (How was this directed by the same man who helmed the Jem and the Holograms movie?)
Doomed romances go better with Coke!
23/2032. The Cheyenne Social Club (1970)
Despite the recurring themes of sex and death, this is really just a light comedy serving as an excuse to have aging stars and personal friends Jimmy Stewart and Henry Fonda pal around in the violent Old West. It's no classic, but not every movie has to be.
24/2033. Lovely to Look At (1952)
Think An American in Paris but with a lopsided love triangles. The good songs are all in the first act. After that, they're almost all ballads (the one exception being Red Skelton's cover of "Go Tell Aunt Rhody") which really hurts the pace. Definitely watch In the Heights instead.
More to come.
Saturday 4 December 2021
Wednesday 24 November 2021
What am I thankful for this year? Hmm. Let me think.
I know! Bluey. I caught a couple of episodes on Disney Junior in the middle of the night and was instantly hooked. It's a very, very charming cartoon, and I've been watching it when I can.
A cartoon aimed at preschoolers might sound like a strange thing for me to like, but I'm not exactly completely unaware of children's television shows. PBS's Odd Squad has long been must-watch tv for me. (Have I mentioned that around here? No? That's odd. I really do get a kick out of it.)
And I'm sure that a certain Randy somewhere in the world will be quick to remind everyone that I was a big fan of Lazytown back in a day I was already too old for it. Pink is still my favorite hair color.
So, yeah. Happy Bluey, everybody!
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Monday 3 February 2020
The NFL gave out its season
senior superlatives "honors" the night before the championship game. The Miami Dolphins won the coveted Bridgestone Cluch Performance Play of the Year... for a trick play touchdown in the second quarter of a game against the Eagles that would see the two teams combine for forty-one more points after the "clutch" play. Hrm. It feels like a participation award. Thanks, Bridgestone.
But that wasn't the only trophy to go to someone still on the Dolphins' payroll. The award for the nebulously defined "comeback player" of the year went to Ryan Tannehill (who accounted for $18 million against the Dolphins salary cap despite not playing a single down for the team).
In 1972, Miami Dolphins quarterback Earl Morrall was awarded the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award for playing an integral role in leading the Dolphins' to the NFL's only undefeated season. The comeback moniker was justified because the previous year, Morrall had been discarded by the Baltimore Colts who preferred instead to give 38-year-old Johnny Unitas yet another chance.
In 1994, Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino was awarded the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award for passing for 30 touchdowns and over 4,000 yards on the way to a 10-win season. The comeback moniker was justified because the previous year, Marino had torn his Achilles tendon in the fifth week and ruined what was projected to be a division-winning season.
In 2008, Miami Dolphins quarterback Chad Pennington was awarded the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award for surviving an 11-win season without suffering further injury. The comeback moniker was justified because the previous year, Pennington had played in only nine games for the New York Jets, losing the eight of them that were not against the Miami Dolphins.
In 2019, Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill was awarded the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award for coming off the bench mid-season to ultimately lead his team to the AFC Championship game. The comeback moniker was justified because the previous year, Tannehill had been a Miami Dolphin.
Congrats to Tannehill for successfully getting out of the talent-sucking tar pit. And thanks to Friend Randy for passing along news that Tannehill was finally a winner. I'm sure he wasn't gloating. (Randy's a Dallas fan.)
Wednesday 18 December 2019
Friend Randy complained when my last movie post promised eleven movies and only delivered five. I correct that omission here.
198. (1637.) Terms of Endearment (1983)
Several times during the movie (which is surprisingly more of a comedy than a tragedy), I asked myself "Why am I still watching this." I don't have an answer. The acting is good, yes (in fact, the cast is phenomenal), but the subject matter really isn't that engaging to me. Whatever. Just not my thing.
Except for the Coke.
Spoiler: Teddy is not careful.
199. (1638.) Smithereens (1982)
More my thing, at least in spirit. The actual story — a girl constantly making the wrong decisions in life — wasn't particularly captivating for a whole two hours, but the "indie" (read: cheap) filmmaking style was immersive, like these were real, heavily flawed, people. Felt like a Warhol film.
200. (1639.) I Am a Thief (1934)
A detective mystery (with a little romance) set on a train. Thin and lightly contrived, but still a pleasant way to spend an afternoon.
201. (1640.) Downton Abbey (2019)
I told Mom I wanted to go to the movies, and she said she wanted to go, too, so long as we saw this. So we did. I'd never seen an episode and can't believe they are all as good as the film was. Mom assures me they are. I was particularly thankful for the recap the theater ran in front of the actual film so that I had at least an inkling of who the houseful of players were. The most impressive thing about the plot is the incredibly low-stakes. There have been many, many dramas that have managed to do far less with much more.
(Sidenote: Mom and I weren't the only two in attendance. A couple of rows in front of us were three people who, it turned out, were watching the film again in anticipation of a vacation to visit the filming location, Highclere Castle.)
202. (1641.) In a Lonely Place (1950)
Is Bogart a murderer or just a bad guy? Is he aware of his own flaws? Is he deserving of love? Overall, a great noir movie. (There's a running gag in the movie about Bogart's screenwriter character having not read the book he's turning into a movie. Apparently, that was the case for this movie and the book it's based on. Meta!)
203. (1642.) Image Makers: The Adventures of America's Pioneer Cinematographers (2019)
TCM closed their month-long salute to cinematographers with this documentary highlighting the accomplishments of some of the best film has to offer. As a film buff, I found it engrossing, especially the anecdotes about the early days of Hollywood.
More to come.
Saturday 7 September 2019
The draw for the opening home game of the 2019 Georgia season wasn't the opponent, Murray State, but the dedication of "Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium."
The dedication was held about 15 minutes before kickoff to a partially-filled stadium. Vince deserved a better crowd, but that's what happens when you schedule something for pregame against a sub-par opponent in 95° heat, the same temp that drove Mom and me from the stadium before halftime on opening day last year. Even football legends are subject to the weather.
As for the game itself, friend Randy — who replaced Mom at the last minute when she said one 95° opening day was enough for her — and I spent most of our time drinking bottles of water and trying to guess whether Georgia, who managed only a 7-7 tie at the end of the first quarter, could manage to pull out a win against the 49-point spread. They didn't, but only barely. Final score was Murray State 17, UGA 63 (a 46-point differential). And yes, we watched all the way until the last second had run off the clock, a decision I'm sure my poor crispy skin will be paying for tomorrow.
Monday 5 August 2019
In the past 48 hours, at least 35 people were shot in Dayton, Ohio and another 46 were shot in El Paso, Texas. Those are the headlines, but they're only the tip of the Titanic-sized iceberg that is gun violence in America.
Excluding suicides, over 26,000 people have been shot in the USA this year to date, which puts us on pace for 44,000 by the end of December. By those numbers, an American has a roughly 1 in 74,000 chance of being shot each year. That's only slightly worse than the odds that you'll die in a motorcycle accident. Except, of course, that to die on a motorcycle, you have to first be *on* a motorcycle. The person who shoots you will generously donate the necessary bullet.
Right now, it seems there's not a whole lot you can do to avoid getting shot. Night clubs, bars, and retail stores seem to attract shooters, but so do schools and churches. Outdoor festivals are popular, and your workplace is a death sentence waiting to happen. Sadly, you're most likely to get shot in your own house by a member of your family, so staying home is no help.
About all you can do for sure is stay away from other people entirely, and even that is no guarantee. My friend Randy, who lives a good fifteen minutes from anything I would call civilization, has had people shoot into his house from the street 100-yards away, apparently just to see if they could. Guns are cool!
Personally, I love attending live sporting events. So far, those have been generally bullet-hole free, but that's clearly only a temporary condition. I hope I don't get shot at a football game. I probably won't; many people ride a motorcycle their whole life without dying on one. But if the worst does happen, know that I was shot doing what I loved: running in panic from someone shooting people. U-S-A!
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