Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Crazy Movie Characters, Gumps in the Big Ten, and One Very Strange Major League Career

  • The Billy Crystal comedy "classic" Forget Paris has always been one of my favorites. Great basketball scenes, some excellent supporting pieces (including the chronically underrated Richard Masur), and enough of a comedy/romance mix to keep everybody happy. But I gotta say...Debra Winger's character in that movie might be one of the least rational people you will ever come across. My mom, who has always been a faithful Winger fan, even admits to being unable to watch this movie all the way through due to the violent mood swings and incomprehensible behavior from her favorite actress. When we are first introduced to her in Paris, she is a cute, sweet-natured girl always laughing at Crystal's jokes. A half hour later, Winger does a complete 180 and at times borders on legitimate insanity. Even though she is well aware of Crystal's affinity for being an NBA referee and how important it is to maintaining his identity and happiness, she thinks only of herself for the remainder of the picture. She even says stuff to our man Billy like, "Why should I be happy the three days you're home when I know you are gonna have to leave again for seven more??" Wow. That makes sense. Might as well be miserable for that 72 hours than try to live it up as much as possible until the next time he's home. And it's not like the guy is living in the lap of luxury. He's out there earning a living as an NBA official, which can be one of the toughest and most stressful jobs in the sports world. Berated by fans, players, coaches...second-guessed by everybody and their mother. And now he's gotta come home to a complete psycho that appeared to be a total angel when they had met just months before. That's a rough ticket. Still, I will admit to getting a littttle emotional when she returns (seemingly now sane again) to Crystal in the climactic scene at Madison Square Garden with the legendary David Sanborn blasting the National Anthem in the background. If you haven't seen the movie, I would advise you to do so...immediately. It will definitely frustrate you at times, and you might even consider sending hate mail to Debra Winger once the final credits roll, but when all is said and done, it's a hidden gem that leaves you smiling and wanting to be friends with Joe Mantegna.
  • On the other side of the cinematic spectrum, we have Into the Wild, which is by far the least re-watchable movie in history. I mean, don't get me wrong. It was excruciating the first time around. But I just can't imagine any movie being less enjoyable to forge ahead with the repeat viewing. Emile Hirsch spends the duration of the flick eating squirrels and talking to himself, while we are treated to multiple (and excessive) close-ups of the generally unwashed main character. So please, movie channels...chill with the repeats. We ain't interested.
  • Every time I watch the Minnesota Gophers hoops squad play, I find myself wondering the same thing. Why would the NCAA allow a guy like Colton Iverson to play college basketball after he just completed a 10-year career in the NBA? Absolutely ridiculous. I mean, that is Michael Doleac, right??
  • Speaking of unathletic big men in the Big Ten, how about Zach Gibson of Michigan and his unending array of reverse layups?? This guy could be left alone under the hoop without a soul around him, and he would still go with the reverse, using the rim as a shield from the invisible shot blockers. Something tells me Gibson has had some severe swats thrown back in his grill over the years, and will do absolutely whatever it takes not to let history repeat itself.
  • Bespectacled White Sox slugger Ron Kittle had one of the more peculiar baseball careers you will ever find. In 1981, Kitty absolutely ripped AA pitching to shreds. He connected for 40 homers, knocked in 103, and batted .326. You'd think maybe that would have been impressive enough to warrant a spot on next year's big club. Incorrect, sir. Kittle was modestly promoted to the AAA Edmonton Trappers, where he proceeded to make his AA numbers look pedestrian by comparison. This time, he socked 50 long balls, drove in 144, on his way to a sparkling .345 batting average. Finally, in 1983, big fella was a full time member of the White Sox. And he didn't disappoint. Even after his heavy overseasoning in the minors, Kittle still managed to crack 35 taters and collect 100 rib-eyes while being named to the All-Star team and taking home AL Rookie of the Year honors. But that's where the fairy tale ends for Ronald Dale Kittle. It turned out his best years were wasted in places like Appleton, Wisconsin...and Glens Falls, New York...and even Edmonton. I mean, who knew they even played the game up there?? Those gaudy rookie numbers would never be sniffed again by Kittle. His home run total shrunk each of the next four seasons. 100 RBIs was out of the question...he never again got within 25 of that fabled mark. I know the Pale Hose were pretty good some of those years, and already had guys like Harold Baines and Greg Luzinski firmly entrenched in the lineup, but couldn't they have found some way to get Kittle to the show a little earlier? Like, maybe before he walloped 90 home runs in a two-year span?? Not the saddest baseball career you'll ever hear about, but definitely one of the oddest.

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1 comment:

Your Used-to-be Biggest Fan said...

Listen up High Socks...

First of all, your socks aren't that high.
Second of all, Into the Wild is my favorite movie. Retract your statements... OR ELSE.

Other than that, great blog! Keep on keepin' on.