All-Time Greatest Sports Flicks

10. Varsity Blues

James Van Der Beek as a second string high school quarterback in football obsessed Texas. Jon Voight as the steroids pusher of Brian Mcnamee’s nightmares. Slow-mo tackles and strip club scenes ensue. Flat out fucking awesome. I give it 3 gold stars for being pretty badass, and making me wish I went to a high school with a crazy football program. I also give it a demerit for not having any hot actresses in starring roles. I mean, Amy Smart? Ali Larter? C’mon MTV Films. Step it up.

9. Glory Road

Made in the style of Remember the Titans, and featuring “Titans Spirit” as a trailer song. That’s really all I needed to see it opening night. An uplifting film about Don Haskins integrating the Texas Western NCAA basketball team, and eventually winning the championship against Kentucky with an all black starting lineup. Pretty sweet. I’m a sucker for “Titans Spirit”. Give it 2.5 Banana stickers for keeping me interested in Basketball before March Madness.

8. Miracle

Disney’s Remember the Titans of Hockey. Tells the tale of the 1980 US Hockey team. Seriously, people used to think Hockey was awesome. Another reason it rocks? It’s about kicking Commie ass. Best part of the movie? When all the players are playing for themselves, not playing as a cohesive unit (good words, I know.) Kurt Russell makes them do drills all night. After being completely exhausted, Eruzione (played by Patrick O’Brien Demsey) yells out, “Mike Eruzione, Winthrop, Massachusetts!” Russell replies, “Who do you play for?” Eruzione, as the American badass he is, makes the team amazing by shouting, “I play for the United States of America!” Face it. If you don’t like that, you are seriously a dirty Red.

7. Little Giants

Rick Moranis. Ed O’Neill. Mid 90’s sports movie. Need I say more? Give it a 9 out of 10 for tiding me over till Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves. Best straight to video release of 1997.

6. Rocky IV

Best line of 1985? Probably the one I would’ve taken off of Jamie Lee Curtis’ ass in the men’s room of Ice Palace. Next best? “I will crush you.” James Brown performs “Living in America”, Apollo Creed dies, Rocky hits up the Soviet Union for vengeance, and the greatest boxing match in the history of the world is featured as the climax of the film. Once again, America vs. Communism. By my count, that’s America 2, Stalin 0. Step it up, bud. I give it an A for kickass.

5. Major League

“JUUUUUUUUUUUUUST a bit outside!” Great film. Charlie Sheen as Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn+Tom Bergeron as Jake Taylor/Wesley Snipes as Willy Mays Hayes=Pure Sweetness. Sheen’s delivery as a pitcher is actually the best on screen delivery, as told in an interview with actual players. I read the interview in either Sports Illustrated, or ESPN: The Mag. I can’t remember which. It’s real though. 4 Golden Gloves.

4. D2: The Mighty Ducks

Probably the most controversial choice. The first started the series, culminating in an epic match up of the District 5 Ducks versus the Hawks. 2 is actually really similar to Miracle. A team is assembled, spanning the nation. All of the players depend on individual skill over teamwork, Gordon Bombay changes the uniform and gets them to “Quack!” like real champs, and they beat Iceland to win the Junior Olympics. One word describes this film. Knucklepuck. Scratch that. 3 words. Knucklepuck, Bash Brothers. Gets a Stanley Cup, or the 12 year old equivalent. Frankly, I don’t watch too much real hockey. Just the silverscreen version.

3. Hoosiers

Holy. Shit. This movie is flat out, balls to the wall, awesome. Gene Hackman is a former NCAA Basketball coach who moves to Hickory, Indiana to coach the small town Huskers in the first basketball season since the death of their former coach. Hackman faces a town full of assdragons that try to kick him out, Chelcie Ross (who costarred as pitcher Eddie Harris in Major League) as a king douche, Dennis Hopper as a knowledgeable but drunk and crazy assistant coach, and a love interest who hates basketball. When Jimmy Chitwood demands to take the winning shot with 6 seconds left, floats it up at 2 seconds, and wins the state final, i almost crapped my pants. So good. Girls might like it too. Not sure why, just gave me that vibe. 2 thumbs up for possible make out action.

2. Brian’s Song

Only acceptable movie for a guy to cry in. Tells the true story of Brian Piccolo, a football player stricken with terminal cancer, and his friendship with Chicago Bears Hall of Fame runningback Gale Sayers. When Billy Dee Williams (portraying Sayers, but more well known as Land Calrissian) gives a speech about Piccolo, every person I know should probably be wiping tears from the eyes. Except my roommate Bill. He hates sports movies. He must be lying. If they made a Lance Armstrong movie, his gay ass would be all over that shit. I’ll give this one 3 of whatever the opposite of the Razzie’s is. Maybe an Oscar I guess.

1. Remember the Titans

LEFT SIDE! STRONG SIDE! I first saw this movie in 8th grade, when forced to watch it for some reason. I now own it, and watch it everytime it is on TBS, TNT, or ABC Family. All in all, about 3 viewings a month. Story of the TC Williams high school football team in Alexandria, Virginia in 1971. My boy Denzel steps in as head coach when the 2 segregated schools of the town integrate and form TC Williams. Washington is the hard ass coach who doesn’t see color, just sees talent. Will Patton is the former head coach who steps in as assistant head coach to make sure his boys play instead of quitting to show him their support. Patton and Washington work together to overcome racism, and bring the team to win the state title. When Gary Bertier is in the hospital, paralyzed from the waist down after his car accident, and Julius Jones comes in to help his newfound “brother”, my eyes fill up. To the brim. I’m not embarassed. I fucking love this movie. And Bertier. And Julius. Man. It’s good. I need a tissue. I give this one every award ever made in the history of man. Except a Grammy. Everyone knows those don’t mean anything.

Watch them. Learn them. Love them.

A few Man Man/Yeasayer thoughts…

I caught the Man Man/Yeasayer show last night with ayvee at the Logan Square Auditorium. Pretty disappointed.

Yeasayer showed some promise, but I guess not everything sounds good drowned in reverb. Their record is alright, but I’m left wondering what they’ll be like when they’re outdoors at Lollapalooza this summer. I guess their music sounds kind of outdoors-y. Jury’s out until then.

As for Man Man, I don’t know if I was digging the pogoing by the hipster kids in the front row. I liked the Youtube video I watched the night before the show, other than that, they didn’t really do that much for me.

Got anything to say? I encourage you to post a comment below.

P.S. I’m spinning El Guincho’s Alegranza! record right now. Gives me a definate Animal Collective vibe. Not sure if I like it yet.

Bloggin’ about my blogs.

In my year and a half of non-journalistic endeavors, I got it in my head that I wasn’t writing enough.

Well, that’s a load of horseshit, because I’ve rediscovered no less three blogs I’ve kept since 2003. All are pretty much defunct, but in this Perez-and-TMZ world, anything about anyone is interesting. Besides, I’m all Facebook paranoid already. The man’s probably got a big ol file on me now.

Check them out and pity me.

picture-2.pngchampagne taste, beer pocket – Named after a quote my mom paraphrased when I was really broke one day. Pretty short lived, it was really a mishmosh of photos, Cubs quotes and unabashed Craig Finn love. I may actually revisit this one someday.

picture-3.pngthings i think i should be writing down – This one came about sometime in 2006. A bit more introspective than the tumblr, and certainly less whiny than the LJ.

Thinking too much

So have you ever stumbled across something you almost wish you hadn’t? Something that’s so intriguing yet makes you want to turn the other way?

Well, it’s happened to me.

Let me toss out a couple pieces of food for thought.

In May of 1988, The First Interstate Bank in Los Angeles, California caught fire. It burned for over 3.5 hours over 5 floors. Guess what? It’s fine today.

Philadelphia, February 1991. The Meridian Plaza – 38 stories tall, caught on fire and proceeded to burn out 8 floors over 19 hours. At first, it was talked about being reconstructed from the 19th floor up, but eventually was demolished in 1999.

In October of 2004 in Caracas, Venezuela there was a 56 story building that burned for over 17 hours, over 26 floors, and it is still standing today.

“Why are you telling me about buildings that caught on fire but were still standing?”

Let’s fast forward to the day that changed everyone’s lives – September 11, 2001.

World Trade Center 7 was seemingly struck by quite a bit of debris due to the collapse of the WTC 1 & 2. There were also noticable fires on the 5th, 12th and 13th floors. These fires proceeded to burn all afternoon for a total of no more than 7 hours. At 5:20 pm WTC 7 proceeded to collapse perfectly into its base, projecting debris laterally hundreds of feet. This was only the 3rd time in history a building “collapsed” due to “fire”, the other two being, WTC 1 and 2 earlier that morning.

So you are telling me that this..

fires on 5th and 12th floors

Caused this?

wtc7 inside of itself

Are you saying fires caused massive chunks of the building to laterally fly hundreds of feet?

Hmmmm..

I could go on for days about scientific theory, which would undermine everythign we were told about that day. I’ll leave that up to you, though. Do some research. Find out what’s really going on.

We’re living in a country of sheep. Everyone is going along contently with the way things are, willing to obey anything they are told. We’re willing to believe anything that comes through that fucking television. If we don’t wake up (us as a whole), then who knows what will happen next.

This is our future. Why should bastards who aren’t going to be alive for another fifteen years be making the decisions that will affect our future?

Reunion

They came from a while ago, that was for sure. It’s a strange feeling, to be surrounded by the past rather than well ahead of it. It’s unsettling and, for the individual with even the slightest amount of balance, unpleasant. The past is something to be remembered, reminded of, never relived. And yet here it was, loud, liquored up and lifeless as ever, and he felt about as comfortable as a hemophiliac in a knife factory.

He stood in the middle of the room, looking around in utter shock. These were not the people he remembered, though the names and faces and basic DNA were the same. There was the nerd, always friendless and hopelessly picked on, now with a girl on each arm, and more behind him competing for those coveted two spots. There was the football player who had married the cheerleader, so adorable at the time. Now he was overweight and alcoholic, she pregnant and covered in bruises, the two of them perfectly, painfully stereotypical. Behind him was the valedictorian, fresh out of jail, doing his fifth line off the bar.

And as he stood there, essentially unchanged in the ten years since he’d last seen these people, he couldn’t help but wonder: what the fuck happened?

He’d always been a good student. Even through grad school, his grades had been high. They were the only thing that had been high though, as drugs had never appealed to him. He’d always had friends, though not as many as his friends did. All his life, he’d been liked, if not well liked. He hadn’t been Biff, but he’d been happy.

He was nursing his third drink, some sort of piss domestic; if he could choke down one or two more, he might feel like talking to these strangers-who-had-been-friends. Everything felt wildly implausible—here were fifty or sixty people who’d not shared a room in a decade, and here was everyone trying to pretend no time had passed, nothing had changed except an increase in waistlines, alcohol tolerance and facial hair. He was miserable, he wanted no part in it, but he couldn’t bring himself to leave.

“Apathy” is defined as a lack of concern and interest, a profound indifference to the state of affairs, boredom to the point of lethargy. He suspected that’s what was keeping him there. What else could it be? Was it the memories? No, it wasn’t the memories. It wasn’t the free beer either. It wasn’t even like watching a car accident, because generally you see fewer peoples’ lives ruined in car accidents than what he could see all around him. Honestly, he just didn’t care about any of these people, even enough to walk out. He would probably stay for just another few free drinks, then drive home. Hopefully he wouldn’t kill anyone.

Oh no. He’d spotted her earlier, but now she’d seen him. Was she going to come over? Was she going to say something? Was she going to open her mouth and let out some sort of faux-intellectual mockery of language, spewing boring stories with trite parables, talking faster than the coked-up valedictorian in the corner, while at the same time avoiding any conversation of real substance and, at the end of it all, expressing nothing more than a strain of vaguely contradictory, utterly uninteresting sentimental drivel, accomplishing nothing but wasting precious time and precious oxygen?

Yes. Yes she was.

Why had he ever been attracted to her? Well sure, she was pretty. Hell, she was gorgeous. But that’s all she’d ever had going for her. She wasn’t smart. She wasn’t funny, except in the same way all shallow, pretty girls are funny (that is to say, not actually funny, but looking good enough that people laugh anyway). She was stumbling, although that might have been simple clumsiness rather than the drink. The stumbling had always been a mystery; he’d always liked to attribute it to her surroundings trying to dive as far out of the way of her repulsive personality as possible…but on reflection, that hypothesis seemed somewhat flawed.

Fuck, here come the words.

“…?” she asked, in the way of the utterly insincere trying to seem genuinely happy to see someone.

“…,” he responded, because that’s how conversations always went with her. Then her mouth opened again and bathed him in a torrent of sheer insignificance, he dejectedly resigned himself to the second circle of hell, and the deepest realms of self-loathing: he wanted her.

Well, not really. Not so much her as anyone, and she was the one standing in front of him. He finished his drink, waited for her to stop for air.

“…?” he asked.

She slapped him. Then, as if upon further consideration, she kissed him. He never quite figured out why she’d done either; he had expected her to just walk away. But then, that wasn’t her style.

But she had kissed him. And, even as his insides squirmed with the certain knowledge of a mistake in progress, he kissed her back.

When their mouths parted and opened again, the words that came out were so much worse than nothing. Now they were the barely-coherent bullshitting of two desperate people, each trying to say what they think the other wants to hear. Repressed feelings, deep-seated attraction, a longing to be together—there was nothing he wouldn’t tell her to convince himself that the mistake he were making was, in fact, a really great idea.

She tugged him by his belt toward the corner. He glanced around, shrugged, and followed. After five minutes, the corner turned into a more dimly-lit corner elsewhere in the room. Shortly after, that corner turned into the bathroom, but it was in use. The bathroom became a spare room, but it was locked. Finally, they settled on the coat closet. They went in and came, out in ten minutes. She was breathless, but still managed to keep up the steady flow of meaningless sounds that were probably, in actuality, words. He, in a seemingly-spontaneous fit of chivalry, offered to brave the crowd and get them drinks.

In the line for the bar, he contemplated things. What, exactly, he’d been contemplating, he could never quite remember after that night, but he knew he came away from his ruminations hating himself more than ever before in his life. He had changed since he’d seen these people. He’d changed just as much as any of them, he just hadn’t noticed. He wondered if everyone around him felt the same contempt for him that he felt for each of them. He thought so. They did.

He finally made it back to the closet in time to see her stagger out of it for the second time, this time with the cheerleader’s husband. They stepped outside as he stood there, holding a beer and a ludicrous fruity drink of the sort only the truly vapid actually enjoy, of the sort she had been enjoying rather a lot all night.

He stood there, drinking his beer, careful not to spill her tutti-frutti fuckme-tini or whatever it was called, thinking about what he’d like to say to her. He couldn’t think of anything.

Then he had it. It was perfect. He put the word in his mouth like a cigarette, rolled it around to get a sense of the taste. He inhaled deeply, exhaled through his nose, and watched the cloud of potential self-satisfaction obscure his vision. He raised his head, tossed his cup, and walked out the door.

She was standing there on the step, looking bored while the football player tried to cop a feel. He handed her the drink, and looked deep into her eyes.

“Cunt,” he said.

Then he walked away.

Summer 2007: Picture Book of People With Each Other

While most college-going kids in this area have already departed, I have to shine it on for two more weeks until I can move in my new place downtown. Since I’ve got all this downtime before I go back, I had been thinking that the time was nigh to do a 2007 SUMMER RECAP! (In Pictures). This likely was the best in recent memory mainly because I kept active for the first time, in well, ever. I could go on and do a lengthy and relatively uninteresting essay, but I’ll spare you just this one. Take a gander through our handy dandy pictobrowser app below to see the summer that was Two-Bond.