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Found 19 results

  1. "Das Boot" is perhaps the finest war film I have ever seen. It is certainly in my top three films about war. I recently watched the Director's Cut of this German film, released in 1997 (the original was first shown in German theaters in 1981 and then as a TV miniseries). "Das Boot" is an adaptation of Lothar-Günther Buchheim's 1973 German novel of the same name, and it tells the fictional story of a German U-96 crew during World War II. The director's cut is 3 hours and 29 minutes long, combining action sequences from the 2.5 hour original theatrical release (which garnered six Academy Award nominations) and character development from the miniseries. Improvements in the picture and sound were also made. Yes, 209 minutes is a substantial amount of time to devote to watching a film, but I can tell you, the Director's Cut is worth it. I have watched much shorter films that seem twice as long. I found this film riveting from the bawdy opening scene to the closing segment, one of the most poignant and moving moments I have witnessed on film. The tension in this film is palpable. The tedium and the fear of fighting a battle deep beneath the surface of the sea is made incredibly real for the viewer. I felt great empathy for the characters, and forgot they were Germans, fighting for the other side. They were men, some really boys, struggling to do their best under the most difficult conditions. This is one of the best films I have seen - an epic, classic, World War II tale - and I highly recommend it.
  2. Kibbee, (I'm on-record as saying I believe that many athletes, including Williams, use steroids (and I hope that when people read this post, they'll see that neither gender, nor color, nor nationality, nor even *species* has anything to do with me saying that - it's purely circumstantial). In Williams' case, I don't see how she can perform what amounts to several hours of wind sprints, at age 34, with that much mass, and be *so* muscular even though she says she does almost no weight training. I personally think it's humanly impossible, but I also think that about many other athletes, and I'm the first to admit that I may be wrong about any or all of them. Look at Lindsey Davenport, a former World #1, who was 6' 2 1/2", and not a small lady. However, her final singles Grand Slam came at age 23, and this is *before* tennis turned into such an all-out fitness competition. How can someone do this at age 34?) Serena Williams has always been a big, muscular girl. Look at this 1999 video of her playing Steffi Graf. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_iAya_PHYo
  3. Yes, but was he the best defensive SS since Mark Belanger? It's kind of sad when you win 8 Gold Gloves, and are only the second-best left-sided infielder on your team, arguably only the second-best defensive shortstop in your team's history (Luis Aparicio is more famous), and nobody even remembers who you are despite playing as recently as 32 years ago. (Of course, Belanger is (unfortunately) deceased, and also had a career batting average of something like .032.) It's okay, Mark - *I* remember you. What's interesting about Smith and Belanger (and no, I don't honestly think Belanger was as good as Smith) is that they both played very vertical - [brooks] Robinson and Simmons play more horizontally, if that makes any sense. Yeah, both SSs had excellent lateral range, but they just "looked" like they were playing up-and-down as opposed to side-to-side. [BTW, I welcome people who grew up loving other teams to write about them and their players. All views welcome here, and the more information, the better.]
  4. I accidentally discovered Brandi Carlile when I found out First Aid Kit was coming to Wolf Trap a year or two ago. We'd seen First Aid Kit in Richmond, VA the fall before and we knew we wanted to go see them again. We checked out the headliner and, at first glance, thought pure country - but not so! Still a goodly bit in that direction, but fun stuff. She's riding the line of country an Indie and I like what she and her band do. Here are a few of her tunes. Lots of good stuff in her discography.
  5. There are several highlight films of Roger Federer hitting near-miraculous shots on YouTube. This 2008 Wimbledon tiebreaker against Nadal is as good as any highlight film - this is some of the greatest tennis ever played (by both players):
  6. Is there a post about Edith Head? If there isn't, there should be. It is a given, if you watch a film from a certain era, this woman designed the costumes for it. And she was good at it.
  7. *** SPOILERS FOLLOW *** The only thing I'd ever seen about "Chariots of Fire" is the opening song, the run along the beach (both of which take place at the very beginning of the film), and parodies thereof - it was hard not to be roused by the classic combination, worn out though it may be. I didn't realize the film took place in 1924; I thought it was a World War II movie - I know virtually nothing about it, so I'm looking forward to it very much. Okay, 25-minutes in, I'm a "wee bit" worried that this is going to be a "message movie" (the message of brotherhood), but I'm banking on the Best Picture win to ensure it isn't nauseating - anything that beats out "Raiders of the Lost Ark" must be great, right? Right? So far it's shaping up to be a classic human drama - Christian vs. Jew, for lack of a more elegant phrase. I'd say this is around the time of "feel-good" movies, but "Ordinary People" won the award the year before, so that theory is instantly dispelled. When Scotland was racing France in the quarter-mile, the maggot who pushed Eric Liddell (Ian Charleson) off the track, never got another camera shot (I rewound the film to check (*)). Yes, Harold Abrahams' (Ben Cross) clutching of the paper when Liddell got back up to chase down his unethical foe was quite touching - go ahead, call me a softie. (*) Oh yes he did! About twenty minutes later, when he gave Abrahams (not Liddell) an "eat shit" look in the locker room. My only question at this point is that Liddell seems to be a middle-distance runner, whereas Abrahams seems to be an all-out sprinter, so how can they compete against each other? Or, is that not where the film is heading? Whoa! A middle-distance runner beat Abrahams in a sprint the first time they meet? Abrahams has every right to be upset - wow, I wasn't expecting that. That girl (the actress) telling him he was acting like a child, and that he was "marvelous" has absolutely *no clue* what it's like to be an athlete who loses. Seeing the transportation from various countries coming towards this 1924 Olympics - countries had to have *money*, serious money, to just *get to the games*. Forget hosting; I'm talking about just getting there - it's remarkable, coming over by slow boat, slightly post-WWI. The Olympics are high-dollar entertainment, especially now, and that's why poor countries just simply cannot compete (unless, of course, they're genetically superior athletes, such as Kenyan marathoners (forgive the stereotype, but it's true)). This makes me realize that the Olympics was, is, and probably always will be, games for the rich, or at least for countries who are so proud that they pour money into making a good showing. In a way it's quite sad; in a way, it's harsh reality. "The Skaters' Waltz" shows up here numerous times. Did you know that this is *not* by Johann Strauss I? No, it's by the relatively unknown French composer, Émile Waldteufel - isn't that amazing? Ask most classical music aficionados this question, and they'll have no idea what the answer is.The piece is called "The Ice Skaters" (<<Les Patineurs Valse>>) and was composed in 1882, fully fifty years after the heyday of Strauss I (I keep saying "Strauss I" because he also had a son who was "Strauss II." In case you think I'm some Classical Music know-it-all who knew this ... I, too, thought it was composed by Johann Strauss I. There's a lot - a *lot* - about this movie that drags, to the point where I'm surprised it won the Academy Award, but the moment of tension during the start of the 100-meter finals was palpable - the way they dragged out the beginning.really gave everything a "nervous' feeling. I wonder how many people realize that Director Hugh Hudson paid homage - and I mean *direct* homage* - to "Ocean's 11" at the very end of "Chariots of Fire." It was every bit as remarkable (and every bit as obvious) as Martin Scorsese paying homage to "The Great Train Robbery" at the very end of "Goodfellas." This was not quite a much of a "message" movie as I feared it would be, but there was certainly that aspect to it, and quite frankly, that's probably what won it the Best Picture award. "Chariots of Fire" was a very good movie, and I'm willing to say it was a great movie, but it was absolutely *not* the Best Picture of the year - for starters, "Raiders of the Lost Ark" was better in every way except for pensive introspection. For those who disagree, I consider "Raiders" to be a classic in the same vein as "The Wizard of Oz," "Star Wars," and "Gone with the Wind" - in other words, it wasn't just "Best Picture" material, but it was one of the greatest motion pictures ever made - an absolute legendary classic which could rightfully be on anyone's Top 10 list. "Das Boot" was better, too, but that's at least debatable. Still, I'm really glad I saw "Chariots of Fire," because I was both entertained and intellectually enriched from the experience - it's worth seeing, and it's something even more than that. Here is the actual video of Eric Liddell winning the 400 meter race.
  8. The Cast of Hill Street Blues, which includes the main ensemble and other recurring characters - these won't be listed under each episode, as there's no point in reinventing the wheel. Here are the credited actors in the pilot: Daniel J. Travanti as Capt. Francis Xavier "Frank" Furillo Michael Conrad as Sgt. Phil Freemason Esterhaus Michael Warren as Ofc. Bobby Hill Bruce Weitz as Det. Mick Belker James B. Sikking as Sgt. (later Lt./Sgt./Lt.) Howard Hunter Joe Spano as Sgt. (later Lt.) Henry Goldblume Barbara Bosson as Fay Furillo Taurean Blacque as Det. Neal Washington Kiel Martin as Det. J.D. LaRue Rene Enriquez as Lt. Ray Calletano (later Capt.) Betty Thomas as Ofc. (later Sgt.) Lucille Bates Charles Haid as Ofc. Andy Renko Veronica Hamel as Joyce Davenport Season One (Jan 15, 1981 - May 26, 1981) 1.1 - "Hill Street Station" - Directed by Robert Butler, Written by Michael Kozoll (Co-Creator of "Hill Street Blues") and Steven Bochco (Co-Creator of "Hill Street Blues") Featuring Panchito Gómez (Young Abraham in "Selena"), Trinidad Silva (Frog in "Colors"), Barbara Babcock (Emmy Nominee for "Outstanding Supporting Acrtress in a Drama Series" as Dorothy Jennings on "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman"), Mark Metcalf (Doug Neidermeyer in "Animal House"), Steven Bauer (as Rocky Echevarria) (Manny Riberta in "Scarface"), Charles Seaverns (Real Estate Man in "Frances"), Veronica Redd (Mamie Johnson on "The Young and the Restless"), Eleanor McCoy (Emerald City Citizen and Poppy in "The Wiz," and Bird in Paradise and Najua in "Timbuktu!" on Broadway), Vernon Washington (Rev. Mills Vernon on "Roots: The Next Generations") [My TV days ended with my high school graduation, and I went *decades* without watching any television - for example, I've never seen "Dallas" in my life, and I'd never before seen "Hill Street Blues" either. The sheer number of characters in the ensemble cast is daunting, but the list of pictures above is more than sufficient to get you through this first episode - it will also help to know what the ranks mean within a police department, which are essential to learn (it will also help you during a traffic stop, to be able to address the officer by his or her title). Regarding the characters above, this list is typical of a U.S. Police Department, which has quasi-military ranks: Officer - The formal name of every policeman, even the lowest-ranked - a title of respect - *always* use this term at the minimum. Detective - It's own entity - often the "weird guys" dressed in plain clothes - solitary creatures who roam the night and make drug busts. Sergeant - A non-commissioned officer, sometimes held in higher esteem than a Lieutenant, just like in the U.S. Army. Lieutenant - A commissioned officer, above a Private, Corporal, and Sergeant, and the best time to earn respect (or not). Captain: The officer in charge of an entire precinct - in this case, Frank Furillo, who runs Hill Street station. The above picture doesn't really show anything "special" about this episode (the three big story lines in "Hill Street Station" were 1) the hostage situation in the liquor store, 2) Bobby Hill and Andy Renko getting shot and almost dying, and 3) the President of the United States coming to visit the precinct, but none of these is really picturesque, and so I thought I'd take an "introductory" screen shot of three of the people you're likely to be seeing just about the most. To me, Hill and Renko's surprise shooting was easily the biggest moment in the episode, but that's really hard to capture in a single photo - listening to Hill talk about the living Hell he went through as he didn't lose consciousness was pretty rough going; at least Renko mercifully lapsed into a coma for two weeks, having no memory of horrible things like rats crawling over his face. The policeman's life; 99% tedium, 1% panic - it's enough to drive some cops to suicide, like my best friend in 1993. Please do me a personal favor, and watch "Elegy for a Pig" on "Adam-12," and think of my dear friend Evan when you do - I'm going to watch it again right now, and it's 1:52 AM.]
  9. I'm going to watch "Arthur" again soon, and was just watching a highlight clip from it - one particular scene recalled a *hilarious* story that happened over thirty years ago. I used to (lovingly) call my mom "Eva," and one day I was sitting at the kitchen table having some sort of family meal - my young niece (probably 3 or 4 years old) was there, and my mom said something - I can't remember what - that was most likely a combination of amusing and annoying (she was probably trying to force food on me as she was wont to do). Putting on my absolute best "Arthur-style" English accent, I imitated this scene in the YouTube video - the one where Dudley Moore said, "Susan, you're *such* an ahss-hole" - I said to my mom, "Eva, you're *such* an ahss-hole." All of a sudden, my niece (who was too young to recognize such a term spoken in such a mock-accent) started crying frantically. We all started saying, "What's wrong? What's wrong?" She turned to my mom and said, while crying, "Donald called you a nostril!"
  10. I originally put this in the Stephen Curry thread, but given that Kyle Korver may not get quite as many posts going forward, why *not* pay him his due? After 13 NBA seasons, Korver has averaged a reliable 10 ppg, and turned out to be a rock-solid second-round draft pick in 2003 - his NBA statistics are here. --- This isn't *that* big of a deal, considering whom we're talking about, but still, it's a record. Obviously, this could end at any time (Curry could get injured 3 minutes into a game, for example, but it also wouldn't surprise me all that much if he kept extending the record for a long time - we're in new territory here): "Stephen Curry Matches NBA Record with 3 in 127th Consecutive Game" on espn.go.com It's interesting that he shares the record with 6'7" Kyle Korver of the Atlanta Hawks, who also holds the single-season record for 3-point FG%: a remarkable 53.64% in 2009-2010. Last season (2014-2015), Korver also recorded the 9th-best single-season 3-point percentage in NBA history - only 8 seasons have featured percentages over 50% (Steve Kerr has 3 of them), and Korver just barely missed it last year. Incredibly, Stephen Curry's best season is only the 61st-best in NBA history - yes, you read that correctly: Even Curry's revolutionary 2015-2016 season doesn't crack the top 40 (he's currently shooting 46.1% - you see all these highlight films, and they make him look like a God, but the truth is that Curry's missing almost 54% of 3-pointers he's taking this year ... I think it's a given that this season, Curry will set records for both 3-pointers made, and 3-pointers missed, and both records are going to be by a wide margin.) Question: obviously, Curry has taken the 3-point shot to new levels of importance, making it a "go-to play" rather than just a "gimmick" (it wasn't quite a gimmick, but now teams seem to be building their entire offenses - and maybe even draft-pick strategies - around the 3-point shot) but still, why isn't single-season 3-point percentage given more credit than it gets? I'm willing to bet very few casual NBA fans even know who Kyle Korver is.
  11. "Ronda Rousey Stunned in 2nd Round by Holly Holm at UFC 193" on cbsnews.com This is interesting: "Holly Holm: 'Ronda Rousey was in Unfamiliar Territory When She Finally Got Hit'" by Damon Martin on foxsports.com (I know some people on here don't like fighting, but I find combat sports to have a purity to them that only a few others, such as running, have - there's no equipment, there are no balls (especially in the women's division); it's just human vs. human, and as primal as can be - I suspect it's the oldest sport in the world. If it wasn't for people getting permanently injured, I would *love* ultimate fighting, but unfortunately, that's just not how it works. So yeah, I understand perfectly well how people can despise this sport.)
  12. FYI, Flutie is part Lebanese....while having absolutely nothing to do with this topic, he has likely enjoyed his fair share of kibbeh nayyeh in his lifetime. Although, as unbreakable records go, it is unlikely another part-Lebanese quarterback will win a Heisman....
  13. At the beginning of "Raiders of the Lost Ark," when Indiana is running for the airplane, take note of the second arrow shot at him - the one on the right. It's such a *laughably* bad shot that it should not have been in the final cut. I guess they weren't thinking about "rewind," or whatever they call it on digital these days.
  14. Lotte Lenya didn't have a beautiful voice. She had an incomparable gift. Her husband, the brilliant composer Kurt Weill, said that all of his melodies came to him first in her voice. Her voice embodied the mid-20th-century German Zeitgeist, and almost perfectly captured everything about the artistic fusion of the art of Weill with that of Bertolt Brecht. Here she sings "Surabaya Johnny" from the Brecht-Weill "Stí¼ck mit Musik" Happy-End. She remains an inescapably important chanteuse of the 20th century, maybe the most inescapable.
  15. I'm sure many of you are familiar with lileks.com, but for those who haven't seen the analysis of the works of Art Frahm: At least this is somewhat related to food. You know the Quaker guy on the oatmeal and the Coppertone girl? Art did that.
  16. That movie was released several years after the not-quite-so cheesy The Gumball Rally, starring Raíºl Julií¡ as an Italian hotshoe and Michael Sarrazin driving a Cobra, iirc. Probably awfully dated by now, but I still giggle when thinking about the Jaguar.
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