Friday, July 4, 2008

What Community? #45: The Fourth of July. Everybody wins.

Stolen from Zach's absurdly on point video-collection-essay. I'd planned something similar but my tastes aren't like his so we'll see where I go from this big beginning, and how our ideas of America may differ. In any event: Food! Beer! Red, White and Blue!

And a lot of other things, too. --RWK

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

What Community? #44: That was quick.

I guess Baron sitting court side with pal Adam Sandler was not just a marketing ploy for that Zohan thing. I guess it really was foreshadowing. Baron's going home to play ball in Los Angeles. The deal came so quick it has me wondering if Baron's been hiding his plans for a while. It would make sense, I suppose, since he's been trying to play chess with the Warriors. Anyways, it's not even official yet; just a verbal agreement. This whole side of sports is just kind of annoying, and I wish I wouldn't pay this much attention, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't care. So: I'll probably pay closer attention to the next phase of Baron's career, as tinselstar PG on the other LA team, because he played such an important role in the past two years of serious Warriors resurgence. And because I just like the guy. He seems to be enjoying life. You see pictures of Jordan out and about, playing pool with cigars in the corner of his mouth, but he never seemed to be having much fun on the court. It was simply a test of will. Baron's out there smiling all the time. Just last week he played in Steve Nash's soccer game wearing a hat and Reebok Pumps. And why shouldn't he smile? It's a good life.

But back to basketball for a minute. The Warriors have made an offer to Elton Brand. I don't think this makes much sense, at least in terms of on-court needs. With Baron gone, they should devote all their resources to Monta and Fast Andy first. Then look around for a guard, like Kirk Hinrich or Luke Ridnour. They need somebody to play point; they have a glut of forwards to develop; Brand would sell tickets but not necessarily improve the team long term. Besides, he wants to remain a Clipper. Further, the Warriors should realize that they playoffs aren't a realistic goal this year without some kind of star wattage replacement (which won't happen with the Wizards offering Gil a near-max contract).

At least on paper, at least right now, the Warriors are a weird team: all long limbs and implacable desire to shoot, not drive, except for Monta. With the Blazers looking like they'll take over from the Spurs as the next dynasty, as well as the possible re-tooling of Denver (which would undoubtedly make them more cohesive, and better), not to mention the skill level of the Kings, and (oh yeah) the new and improved (already) Clippers, the final spot in the playoff field of eight will be hard won for whatever team pushes hardest. Don Nelson's team are renowned for pushing the break hard and fast but that continual lack of defense will catch up with them someday. Especially with a team full of young dudes known for their scoring, not defending. (Altho, to be fair, Fast Andy does a pretty good job and B-Rite can block shots with his pinky.) That's why next year all I'm hoping for (as of right now; we'll see how the summer develops) is a fearsome fast break, led by Monta and Anthony Randolph (I want to think of a nickname on my own but the only one that comes to mind is Rudolph, as in the red-nosed dude, cuz AR (wince) flies through the lane pretty well), with Cap'n Jax trailing at the 3-point line, that leads to a bunch of highlights and points off turnovers. Maybe if the W-Men stay real quick they can win more games than they're supposed to; but I still don't think they'll be enjoying the playoff glory again any time soon. Oh well. I just hope the team stays positive. With Baron gone, taking his infectious good nature with him, it might be hard. But people forget that Cap'n Jax is usually smiling, too. Like when he hit that game winner in LA late last season (in the first of a home-and-home) and cheesed all the way to commercial break.

At least we can say thanks to Baron for those highlights we did get to enjoy these past two years. And wish him continued good luck in the seasons to come. He probably needs the luck, right? That, or he needs to stretch a lot more. --RWK

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

What Community? #43: Chris Mullen willing to forgo Monta.

Bill, aka Pager Code, has been dreaming of this return since the playoffs started. Well, it's not set in stone -- it's just an offer right now -- but it looks like Chris Mullen is ready to risk losing Monta, or at least making him a lesser cog, for the opportunity to right the wrong of letting Gil go to the Wiz in the first place. Granted, they didn't have the cash to match the Wiz's offer, and they're not allowed to give Gil the six years the Wiz are allowed to offer, and the Warriors don't have his boy, Antawn, anymore (locked up real quick by Grunfeld: 4yr/$50m), and they may lose Fast Andy on top of Monta, but *sheeeeeeit* they've got to be an attractive option right? Hmn. Seems like Gil wants to stay in DC anyways, and will look to leverage this interest into that real deal max contract he wants.

Me? I think he'd be a lot of fun to root for again, sure. But we've got version 2.0 in Monta, who may yet develop that 3-ball, and who is not coming off serious knee injuries, and who is a mere 22 to Gil's 26, who can get his shot from anywhere (it seems) like Gil, who is faster than a speeding bullet, get the picture: he's a great building block and possible All-Star. But, Monta hasn't dropped 60 on anybody. Nor has he hit game winners from 30 feet in back to back games. Nor has he averaged 30ppg. Nor is he a blogger extraordinaire. Of course, this presupposes it's an either/or kinda deal. And, of course, it is: can you really see the two of them getting paid their worth and playing well together on the Warriors? Well, I guess it could happen; and it'd be beautiful, probably. But I just don't see it. I think it's a fine dream, but improbable. Kinda like that last score dream all those robbers in cops-and-robbers movies propose but never follow through on. --RWK [via Sporting Blog]

What Community? #42: The Redeem Team.

look at deron
First off: who said what about Dwight Howard? And why is Michael Redd the only one grossed out? Is D-Wade hiding? Next: I think they'll get the gold. Even without much interior size. I don't know what the "experts" are talking about: there's plenty of shooters out there. Melo and Kobe from the wings? Redd off the bench? Deron has a beard now? Wait: Deron has a beard now. He really is the next best thing after, okay he's better than, Baron. They're one consonant sound away as it is. (Also, D's look like B's only bigger.) Anyways: glad they're having a good time. The new era of the NBA starts this summer. --RWK

What Community? #41: Chuck's vision of Philly.

Chuck doesn't know as much about baseball as he does about basketball but he seems to know a thing or two about Philly and double standards. It's an obvious argument, sure, but that's why people like Chuck: he'll say shit. His punchline here is worth the whole video. Cuz it's probably true. --RWK [via]

Genius Marketing? #27: Dominoes sponsors Batman.

The new trailer actually has some cool new footage. But, wait, Dominoes? They'll go to any and every end possible to promote this thing. It better gross outrageous sums of money. I'm talking Titanic outrageous. If not, well, it'll sure be a waste of ad time -- and money. Cuz I care about this shit. Really. ...not? Really, though -- to be really real about the reality here -- I'm really sad, or maybe I'm just a little miffed, that Heath's Joker won't terrorize CB's Batman for movies to come. That would have been something to watch unfold. --RWK

What Community? #40: Baron Opts Out.

The buzz had been that Baron would not walk away from $17.8 million. Looks like he did. There's talk of The Clippers (Elton Brand and Corey Maggette opted out, too, potentially clearing some cap space) and the Knicks (D'antoni loves 3 pointers just as much as Baron; but D'antoni also like FG%, unlike BD) as possible destinations. I'm sure it's a story we'll be watching for weeks to come. But, regardless of destinations and endpoints, the only clear fact is that Boom, here, wants security. He wants to be wanted. He's no different than any of us! He's insecure, too, underneath it all! Or not.

I was coming to grips with the idea of a starting five reprise (Baron at 1, Monta at 2, Cap'n Jack at 3, Al at 4, Fast Andy at 5) with more playing time for the young guys (Belinelli spelling the backcourt, B-Rite and Randolph stretching in space at the 4). But maybe this means they sign Monta long term and put him at the 1? Despite Nelli's love, I doubt the W's resign Kalenna; I doubt we see Pietrus back; hell, isn't Patrick O'Bryant ready to bolt? If they do, somehow, manage to resign Baron and Monta and Fast Andy, tho, it'll be quite the energized team ready to win. They'll have a tough time contending with the Blazers' rise next season but I could see the W-men stepping into the playoffs ahead of the basket case Nuggets (even if they get Chauncey) and -- wait for it -- Steve Kerr's failed Suns experiment. Anyways: that's, like, a year away. For now the drama rests with number 5. Because, after that big trade, it doesn't look like Memphis will be looking at Monta after all. Although, to be honest, I worry somebody smart will offer Fast Andy a good deal the Warriors will be too stingy, and bolstered by too much confidence in B-Rite and Randolph, to match. --RWK

Monday, June 30, 2008

Encounter #93: "I don't really like Girl Talk"

Guess not since it took me until today to follow this link and download Girl Talk's Feed The Animals for free. It's pretty fun but slightly less so than Night Ripper cuz it's slower and, in general, less crazy -- if more eclectic. Blah blah blah. Enjoy it. I do. Dance. I will. Also, he'll be on tour, as ever, this summer/fall/winter/spring/forever. My friends in Seattle, in case you didn't know: he'll be at the Capitol Hill Block Party a day before Chromeo. --RWK

Encounter #92: More "real" than real?

Mary-Kate Olsen. I'm kinda feeling her here. Especially when she says some mess about "wormy," "oily" Spencer Pratt (Dave's words, not mine). At the least she seems more real than, um, Paul. Not that that's saying much, I guess. Still: I'm surprised that she seems like she's a real person after 22 long, hard years of scrutiny -- and 10 of those were spent under the watchful eyes of pervs the world over. If anything, she's a weird specimen of celebrity I'm intrigued, if not plain perplexed, by. Cuz, like, wasn't it her apartment that Heath Ledger died in? Weird.* Does that really mean he hit that? Weird.* She made out with Ben Kingsley? Weird.*** Has an affable sense of humor about it? Weird.**** I think I want to marry her. Weird.***** --RWK

* = This kinda makes me hate her, and count her as accomplice.
** = Shallow Ryland is jealous of a dead man? Weird. Is Shallow Ryland jealous? Not quite: I like living.
*** = Nah, more like "Gross."
**** = Really? She thought up that joke about Gandhi?
***** = This has drummed up way too many mixed emotions for a random blog post. Must retire from the internet for the evening.

Encounter #91
What Community? #39
Mel met Cary, told Johnny.

Back when late nite interviews still had some pizzazz. And, when Mel was more like Robin Williams than the Cheshire Cat brought down to the ground and stripped of his color thanks to a life replete with corned beef on rye with mustard. (Not to mention booze and girls and limelights.) Worth noting: I probably would have acted the same way meeting Cary Grant, except I would have told a worse version of the story. Guess that's why I'm a part of the blogosphere and not Hollywood. --RWK [via Virgil P]

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Title sequences #11: Paprika

Because I'm still waiting on that Husky Boys remix. --RWK

Title sequences #10: Paranoia Agent

Satoshi Kon is the man. I wish I'd been in NYC this week. Also, in lieu of the DVD, I recently rewatched Millennium Actress on YouTube. --RWK

Genius Marketing #26
Encounter #90
The Dark Knight prologue.

You may not want to watch this but if you're anticipating The Dark Knight as much as I am (a lot, but not over the top) then the geek inside won't be able to resist. Maybe you've already seen it. It's apparently included on the Blu-Ray Batman Begins disc so I imagine it isn't brand new news but the disc doesn't hit stands for another week so this may be news, actually. I dunno. What I do know is that this is tight. Heath Ledger is pretty awesome, as expected, and there's a William Fitchner cameo. A lot of hype-heads are already calling this the greatest movie ever -- and for a lot of people I imagine it will be -- but this video, while cool, isn't going to help that argument. Also funny: it's a segment shot in IMAX, leaked on Blu-Ray and transfered to YouTube. So it's not quite as impressive as it should be. What I'm most curious about is whether or not this is actual footage from the film or if this is simply a test run with the equipment that reveals just enough but not too much to show off before the theatrical release date. In any event, it's another brilliant installment in the marketing plan for this picture. So, without further ado, feast your geeked out eyes on this grainy "Best Quality" clip. --RWK

Encounter #89: What can I say? She's right.

By most accounts a stupid and hateful movie, Domino is never boring, nor as incomprehensible as its many detractors shout. Indeed, it is stupid and macho and, on the whole, too much in all the wrong places (too little elsewhere), but it's so fucking campy I couldn't resist it. On top of that, I'm getting the feeling that if Tony Scott ever gets a good screenplay like he did with the first half of Deja Vu (a closet favorite, especially those first few encounters in the little room with the big gadget), he's bound to make a film for the ages. I don't think The Taking of Pelham 123 will be that movie -- in fact, I don't think he'll ever make that movie -- but it's nice to dream some times. At night. I gave Domino 3 stars out of 5 on Netflix when it probably only deserves 2. It's my own bought and paid for rating system (thank you very much) *cough* so I'll do whatever I want. Also, I'll dream. (Why does she look best with short hair? Am I crazy?) --RWK

Genius Marketing #25
What Community? #38
A love story filmed on location in the 21st Century.

I wish this movie was better, or simply more fun. Most of what's great about it is due to the people Lucas hired, and not Lucas (although it is surprising that, at least nominally, he edited the picture, and that's one of the film's strengths): Walter Murch (sound editing; uncredited film editing) and Robert Duvall (THX himself) and Donald Pleasance (SEN!) and Lalo Schifrin (more than a match-lit march); not to mention the guys who helped without paychecks like Caleb Deschanel (Zooey's dad, yup, and famous DP) and Haskell Wexler (another famous DP and sometimes director). Plus, you know, all those ideas George stole from all those SF books he read, and movies he watched, growing up skinny and weak and powerless in the dusty furnace of the San Joaquin Valley (definite inspiration for Tatooine) dreaming of utopias beyond the sky. Or, as the case may be, distopias buried underground. --RWK