Thursday, January 22, 2009

unfinished project

Three Bill Simmons-related things:

Part one: Most recently there was his podcast with my favorite writer, Chick Klosterman (a gentleman I once interviewed). Simmons, while brilliant with the written word, is awful on the mic. And although the first podcast with Klosterman was semi-fantastic (because Klosterman flipped the switch and essentially started interviewing Simmons), this one was more of the same -- more of Simmons making the podcast about himself as opposed to his guest. But anyway, two things stood out:

1. Klosterman's spot-on observation of Michael Jordan: "He's the the only guy that no matter how much history proved he was a jerk, people like him more."

2. While Simmons and Klosterman were having a conversation about the Hall of Fame, Simmons reared his big-city, American League-biased head when he said, in so many words, that Craig Biggio shouldn't be a Hall of Famer because he doesn't feel like a Hall of Famer. He argued that just because a guy plays a long time and gets 3,000 hits doesn't mean he should get thrown in the Hall.

My response to my favorite sportswriter: No shit he doesn't feel like a Hall of Famer. He was a nerdy little guy who played his entire career in a nondescript place. He was a boring dude in boring Houston. But that doesn't mean he doesn't have the credentials, either. In fact, he does----and there should be no debate. Listen, I'm not a Biggio guy (and I've chronicled how I thought he was somewhat overrrated), but he was still a wonderful player who deserves a bust in Cooperstown.

Part two: In his January 2, 2009 "NFL picks" column, he comments on what bothers him about the end of Cast Away:

One of my favorite rewatchable cable movies is "Cast Away," although one scene has recently started to bug me: After Tom Hanks' character gets rescued, he goes on a whim to see his former fiancee (Helen Hunt) late at night. They catch up for a few minutes, say their goodbyes, then she lends him one of their cars and he starts driving away. Suddenly, Hunt screams after him and runs down the driveway to catch him ... and even though it's a thunderstorm, he somehow hears her, puts the car in reverse and they make out in the pouring rain before deciding that this can't work and she needs to go back in the house. This all happens in about 90 seconds. He's nice enough to give her a lift back to the garage. She gets out and walks into her house completely drenched. And Hanks drives off, presumably closing that chapter of his life.

One problem: Are we really expected to believe that her husband never woke up during any of this?

Imagine you're married to the lady who was engaged to someone who was stranded on a deserted island for four years, dramatically escaped, became a worldwide celebrity and now was back in your town. Imagine your wife is an emotional wreck about the whole thing. Imagine your dining room is covered in maps and sketches as she spent the last few days trying to figure out exactly how Hanks escaped. Aren't you waking up every time she gets out of bed for a glass of water? Aren't you jumping at the sound of every car door slam? Wouldn't the noise of your wife screaming "Chuck!" outside your house in the wee hours send you outside wielding a shotgun? HOW THE HELL DID HE SLEEP THROUGH THIS? How? She made Hanks coffee, gave him their car, opened their garage, screamed his name, made out with him on their street ... and he was just catching some Z's the whole time? I can't handle it.

What's funny about this is that I have a saved text that I sent myself back on December 10 that reads: "End of cast away."

Now, I've never really thought about Simmons' angle (although he makes excellent points), but I have two takes of my own, one is a humorous take and the the other a gripe.

Humor: Would it be that devastating to come home and find out a 40-year-old Helen Hunt is married to another man? Think about it: You are a national hero -- like that New York City pilot, multiplied by 71 million, and you are also single. So yeah, I get it, the one woman who gave you hope while you were stranded on an island is no longer yours. also just got invited to a party at the Playboy mansion hosted by the Kardashian sisters (with special appearances by the Hilton sisters). I mean, really, your life isn't terrible, buddy.

But it's a movie and all, which is why I realize my last group of sentences (call it a paragraph, if you will) is kind of ridiculous. It's also why I have a legitimate take on the end of Cast Away.

Legitimate: Some movies are better because they don't have happy endings, some of them needed a happy ending to make the movie better (or at least satisfy me). Some examples of both.

American History X was better because Ed Furlong was shot. Not that we necessarily wanted him dead, but it made sense for Ed Norton's character to spend the rest of his life paying for previous sins.

Ditto for Tom Hanks in The Green Mile. The fact that he was forced to spend every waking moment in misery because he let the big black guy get executed was a great twist to an otherwise boring flick.

Leaving Las Vegas would've sucked if Nicolas Cage somehow straightened out his life.

Boyz N The Hood would've been cheesy if Ricky (and later, Dough Boy) all made it out of the ghetto.

Stand By Me: It broke my heart when River Phoenix's character died playing the role of peacemaker---but it made for a better ending.

Rewarding (and necessary) endings...

The Natural: Can you imagine if Roy Hobbs never got out of the hospital

To be continued...just got called in to work.

Friday's Vickers...

Bobcats (+4) vs. Suns

Pacers (+1) vs. Rockets

Timberwolfs (pick em) vs. Hornets

Warriors (+6.5) vs. Cavs



Daniel Phillips said...

Biggio is a Hall of Fame player, so thanks for pointing out the foolishness of that statement. This site is still a classic. Keep it going.