Baseball Notes: The Fluctuating Marlins

Recently, Ichiro passed Pete Rose for the most hits at top levels of professional baseball. Rose wasn't exactly effusive about Ichiro's accomplishment saying, essentially, that his time in Japan was not against the top talent Rose faced between the '60's and 80's. There have been many articles about who the most legitimate home run champions are and the main take away is always that almost every season in the history of baseball has been tainted in some way to benefit the statistics of the better players in the league whether it is because of fewer numbers of black/latin/asian players in the league, widespread use of stimulants, or expansion. Ichiro wasn't allowed to come to the US until h

Through the prism of O.J.

When I was young I loved the Naked Gun movies, so when the O.J. trial was going on I had trouble separating that view of his character and the accusations against him, especially based on the heightened style of his dream team defense. Over the last few days I watched O.J.: Made in America (2016), which could reasonably be considered to be five feature length movies on its own. There is a lot to be said and broken down about this miniseries as it is more like a series of documentary movies. It has come along at the height of true crime documentaries and it fits the style that seems to have been pioneered in Errol Morris's film The Thin Blue Line, and mixes the crime story of Simpson with t

There be no shelter here.

The front line is everywhere with the movie 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016). I had heard there was a twist to this movie although I didn't feel very surprised by much in the movie. This movie succeeds in a few ways, it pokes at preppers in an insightful way, has excellent actors who aren't often showcased, and plays with a bomb shelter story in an interesting and unexpectedly twisty drama. There have been a few good bomb shelter depictions involving preppers that I have seen including Take Shelter, and a story line in a later season of Six Feet Under and gladly this movie gives a little different angle at it. It fails by making the movie hinge on the main mystery of "what's going on outside" ye

Shattering of an Animal's World

Last night we rented Zootopia (2016), the latest in the run of Disney animated films that includes Frozen, Big Hero 6 and Inside Out. This is an enjoyable but not entirely groundbreaking movie. It has a pretty heavy handed message about prejudice but it attacks that message in an interesting way, placing the viewer in the shoes of someone who makes prejudice worse, for a moment, in the society of animals. It also has an interesting take on bullying by revisiting a bully later in life and they aren't a darkened villain. The most interesting thing to see in the movie is when the viewer is taken on a train ride through the multiple climates of the Zootopia city. It's a very interesting idea

Baseball Notes: The Red Sox Rise.

Today I asked my friend Brendan what year was it we went to Fenway Park, stood in line for tickets and after we got our tickets they pulled a screen over the window and called out "sold out!" He told me it was 2007, and he remembered it because they played the Rockies in that game, the same year those two teams met in the world series. That is the last time I was at Fenway Park and the last time I saw the Red Sox live until this past weekend. I have a lot of fond memories of going to Fenway Park between 1998 or '99, I'm a little hazy on when exactly I went to my first game, and 2007. What I do remember from my first Red Sox game was that I went when I was in high school and I went on a bu

Cute Animals Unwind

The other night we were looking for a good documentary to watch on Netflix and wanted something that wasn't too heavy. We looked through the animal docs and stopped on one that counted down the cutest animals on earth. Well, it didn't count them down, it kind of ordered them as they went. It didn't seem like the best format for showing clips of fuzzy animals, many with big eyes or act just like people. One of the show's selections was the emperor penguin which led to a conversation where I admitted I had never seen Happy Feet (2008). I had been as confused as anyone when Fury Road came out and I looked up the directing credits of George Miller. There was a lot of hype that the original M

Baseball Notes: Juan Uribe Minute

Sunday, Juan Uribe found himself in a bit of a pickle when he managed to misplay a 106 mph grounder at third base for the Indians. He found himself unable to get up off the dirt as it resulted in a testicular contusion that caused such discomfort that he had to be taken off the field on a gurney. As serious as the video of the injury seems... aside from his laughing teammates... Uribe seemed to be in good spirits by Monday as he had a few things to say to (or around) Indians beat reporter Jordan Bastian. There was a bit of mystery around this injury because it's pretty common, practically mandatory, that infielders, especially playing the hot corner, protect themselves from hot shots like

Max Landis finds his Mr. Right

In recent days I watched a pair of Max Landis movies, Mr. Right (2015) and Victor Frankenstein (2015). I'd heard screenwriter Max Landis speak on a few podcasts in the last year where he was very free to open up a notebook's worth of plot ideas so I'm always interested to see what results of his screenplays. It's quite enjoyable to hear his enthusiasm for stories, playing with genres, and for taking chances on pitches and scripts. He did run into a bit of a problem where he called Rey in The Force Awakens a "Peggy Sue" character, meaning a character (usually female) that is inserted as a surrogate of the author to befriend established characters while being perfectly skilled to the point t

Not so Dark, After All.

The other day I watched The Dark Knight (2008). I find it is still a movie that has images that survive as iconic eight years later when other movies from the same time are being forgotten. Perhaps the success of the iconic imagery led Batman v. Superman astray as it tried to really lean into the imagery to a point where characters motivations didn't make sense and the plot was hurried along to get to the next set piece. The Dark Knight starts with a set piece that sets up the personality and strategic mind of the Joker and the main conflict that requires Batman to intervene between the Joker's gang and Gotham's organized crime. There are two sequences that have especially stood out to me

After the Fight

Recently my wife and I watched the documentary The Champions (2015) which is about pitbulls under the guise of being a movie about the dogs rescued from Michael Vick's dog fighting ring. This is an okay documentary about how many of the dogs rescued from Michael Vick have gone on to find better lives despite their emotional scars. It also veers into talking about other people's pit bulls and breed specific laws around the country in a bit of a tangent. I have an issue with this documentary that the only interaction with Michael Vick is a very short, sloppy phone video encounter where he wasn't aware he would be talking about the dogs and someone in his entourage says "we don't care about th

Baseball Notes: DBacks Disappointment in the Desert

There aren't a lot of Diamondbacks fans in Phoenix compared to fans of the Cubs, Dodgers, and maybe even Giants who all have comparable fan bases in the valley. There have been a few high points, their amazing World Series victory in 2001, and their playoff teams of 2007, and 2011. This was supposed to be a year with those kinds of hopes, and those hopes seemed to have been dashed just before the season started. I was lucky enough to see both number retirement ceremonies for Luis Gonzalez and Randy Johnson for the Diamondbacks. I wasn't around Arizona for 2001 when Gonzalez and Johnson lead the BDacks to win the World Series but the dorm hall I lived on was very invested in the series aga

Baseball Notes: DEVIL Rays

Today I made it over to to Target Field to see the Twins hosting the Rays. The likes of LoMo and Longo (two dingers each) managed to out-slug the Twins for a late victory. Get your cowbells out, we're talkin' Tampa. I've watched a lot of Red Sox games in my days as a baseball fan, and they have had a lot of run-ins with the Tampa Bay Rays (or Devil Rays if you are either feeling sinister, or like a marine biologist). The Rays were thought to be the team that would get beat up on in the AL East, until they started playing spoiler to the Red Sox, getting into fights, beating their best players and finishing games dramatically. Because of this familiarity, the Red Sox, and their fans, have

Edge of Tomorrow was a fine enough title

This afternoon I watched Edge of Tomorrow (Live. Die. Repeat.) (2014) and Snowpiercer (2013) in a Action Sci-Fi double feature. Edge of Tomorrow is a really great action Sci-Fi movie that just didn't do well in theaters, and the distributor acted as though the problem was the name by packaging it with the words "Live. Die. Repeat." on the DVD and Blu-Ray covers in a larger font than the title. The name wasn't actually changed, the original name remains in all the marketing, just a bit smaller. The real problem with Edge of Tomorrow was that the commercials weren't especially clear on the quality of movie it was, and it came out a year after Tom Cruise starred in another futuristic movie Obl

Comedy Red Box

Last night was had a night in and rented a couple of comedies: Sisters (2015) and The Night Before (2015). We first watched Sisters, the Amy Poehler and Tina Fey buddy movie where one sister is an overachiever and the the is wild. It's a funny movie but something felt wrong about the tone. As the movie goes on it gets funnier and funnier but it has a tone problem. From scene to scene the tone fluctuates from silly to subtle and I think these cuts are not as smooth as they could have been because the score is just a bit off and at times there are scenes with no score that need a little something in the background to give it some life. I didn't have the highest expectations for this movie

Baseball Notes: Not the Senators

I have been on the verge of writing this Nationals post a few times the last few weeks as I try to have the NL posts catch up with the AL. As I have kept going back to look at the Nats I keep seeing different interesting things with their team, and they are a franchise that has always been interesting to me, going back to their Expos days. The one time I was able to see the Nationals was in 2010 as they played the Diamondbacks at Chase Field. I was able to see batting practice for at least one of the games in the series where I was mostly trying to catch Adam Dunn home runs in right field. I had hurt my foot earlier in the year and wasn't able to really run around but Dunn hit one deep en

Working Through Streaming Docs

The last couple days we watched the documentary about Amy Winehouse, Amy (2015). I think it was because we saw another documentary on Amy Winehouse in the last year that wasn't very well put together but told the same story, point by point, that this movie felt more awkward than touching. Her story is a sad story of substance abuse, eating disorder, and not handling success very well and it does hit the right sad note at the moment of her death in the film. I kind of liked her music but not enough to buy an album and in the last year or so it seems all the young singers are channeling her style of singing. Years later her jazz sound in pop music feels like she was the first to catch on do

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