Friday, March 31, 2006

MLS, er...I mean Columbus Crew Preview

Like Jim over at 11 am Air Raid I had planned to do a full MLS preview. And, like Jim unfortunately, life got in the way for me. So I am just gonna talk a little bit about America's Premier Sports Franchise, Columbus Crew

Last year was the hardest year I remember being a fan of Columbus. We were coming off a season in which we won the Supporters Shield for having the most points at the end of the regular season, only to piss it away in the playoffs. Of course, many of us thought, myself included, that success was still just around the corner. Instead 2005 turned out to be the worst year in Columbus Crew history. They finished only above two expansion teams, and barely at that. In fact they lost to one of them towards the end of the season. Greg Andrulis, the man who somehow had coached Columbus to the Supporter's Shield the year prior and the US Open Cup Championship before that was shown to be in way over his head and was finally fired, about 20 games too late. Crew Legend, Robert Warzycha filled in admirably as an interim coach towards the end of the season, but then this offseason America's Premier Sports Franchise got the coach they have deserved for a while, Sigi Schmid.

The impressive new Columbus Crew beat writer for the Dispatch, Shawn Mitchell, has a story on Sigi here. Sigi has come in and installed a winning attitude to this team already. Goalkeeper Jon Busch has come out and said if you don't believe the team is fighting for a championship this season, you are in the wrong lockeroom. The roster has been completely overhauled and you can get profiles of the goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders, and forwards from Shawn.

The defense looks to be the strength of the team. Busch is the best goalkeeper in America not fighting for a World Cup spot. He is coming off injury, but should anchor a defense with a few new faces and star in waiting Chad Marshall. The forwards? I have no idea what to expect. Buddle was our only proven goal scorer and as I wrote earlier in the week, we traded him. Eddie Gaven will be thrown in at forward and likely partner either rookie Kei Kamara, or Jason Garey. We are counting on a 19 year old kid and two rookies up top. Ugh. We are deep at forward, but none of John Wolyniec, Knox Cameron, or Ivan Becarra strike fear in defenders and rightfully so.

The season will come down, as impressive beat writer Shawn Mitchell states, to the midfield. With no proven hitters up top, we will need goals galore from the midfield. For the 2nd season in a row Kyle Martino faces a "make or break" season, but this time you get the feeling if he doesn't live up to expectations the coach will send him elsewhere. No free rides under Sigi.

I will be honest, I have absolutely no idea what to expect. Despite Columbus Crew being the most popular and well supported sports franchise in this hemisphere preseason scrimmages were not televised as Sigi has been keeping his cards close to the vest. Saturday night, though, the cards are on the table. I have not been this excited for a start of a MLS season in ages. Sigi has brought a level of optimism and belief that may have existed before in foolish cats like me, but wasn't really justified. Under Sigi, you just know, if not Saturday, then very soon this team will be playing some of the best soccer in the league. No, the WORLD.

It's just around the corner, and I can not wait.

Another shot, please!

As we head towards daylight savings time for the first time here in Indianapolis it has caused quite a stir. And, during Final Four weekend?!?!?! We will need to "spring forward" Saturday night. But, what of the bars!?!?!?! By law they are required to close at 3!!!! On the biggest party weekend of the year?!?!?!

Luckily our fair Governor has granted the bars reprieve. This has been by far the most humorous story to me of the whole daylight savings scene. Good thing this guycan slam three more Red Bulls and Vodka's before driving home drunk.

Oh well. Let's hope everyone at least tries to stay safe this weekend.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Seemingly unconnected faith ramblings...

For a multitude of reasons the idea of God's will in the my life and in the world at large has been on my mind recently. Job searching, relationships, and the world at large have all lead to me pausing recently and attempting to reflect a bit. And then perhaps put into writing a load of incoherent, unconnected thoughts on the subject. Then, last night, I rewatched the first part of 10 of Krysztof Kieslowski's film series, Decalogue. The series itself may be one of the greatest works of art ever, but thats for another time. In film one, a father of a prodigious young boy is faced with a tragedy that may have been, at least in part, on his shoulders.

One thing though that has kept on hitting me over the head in the past few weeks is that, just because something is happening in our world in in my life, it does not neccessarily and absolutely follow that such happenings are of God or God's will. Yes, it is written and said that God is all knowing and all powerful. It seems like it should neccessarily follow that all that happens in this world and in my life passes through His hands, and is exactly what He wants. I am not claiming to know all the answers or the reasons for happenings in this world, but I think even looking through the Bible you can see that this isn't the case. One only has to look at the Gospels, and see in John 11:35 where Jesus wept over Lazarus to see that real life pain affects Him. If Jesus was the Son of God and he is weeping over the loss of his friend then where does this leave us? In the case of the father in Deacalogue 1, there may not be comfort for him if he were to hear that the tragedy was God's will. What does that leave him with.

In today world it's difficult as a person of faith to reconcile what I see as less than loving remarks and actions by our President. Especially when he claims that he had spoken to God before this Iraq invasion. Especially when 3 years down the line from all press reports, there doesn't seem to be any way out. But, as long as W. has God's blessing right?

But really this isn't entirely meant to be a condemnation of W or his policies, there are enough people doing that much more eloquently than me. I'm just thinking out loud. As one of faith it would be seemingly easy to dismiss events as part of God's greater plan, something that I don't really understand yet. But, where would we be throughout history if we always stood on the sidelines and did that. And where would I be in my own life, if I continued to do that and just waited for God to throw pieces where He may. I just think that there may be some times that God is crying along with us, and mourns with us. I don't see him as an impartial observer. And sometimes it may be just for the mourning, and other times the mourning may need to lead to a taking action, or at least a different route.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

A busy day on the sports transaction wire...

You won't see Edson Buddle leaping like that anymore. At least in a Crew jersey. After being rumored the whole damn offseason the Crew finally pulled the trigger on a deal sending Edson Buddle over to the new rebranded New York Red Bulls for Eddie Gaven. And as if that was not enough news to digest early in the morning, by mid afternoon I hear that IU is naming Kelvin Sampson as their next mens basketball coach. After digesting this most the night, I think I like both moves.

First we will look at the Crew. Yes, it's true we have virtually no forwards up top. But, in today's Columbus Dispatch,we are told Eddie Gaven will be playing up top. At 19 years old Gaven is one of the more exciting young talents in the league. He primarily has played wide in midfield before. In fact he scored 8 goals from that position last year. So, he has a nose for goal. It's true that Columbus does not have an out and out striker up top to start the season, but I remain optimistic. Maybe it's the beginning of season optimism that gets me every time. But looking up and down the roster it seems that Columbus has more of a plan than they have in years past. And that this plan isn't just patching up holes. The team could be great this year if everything falls into place. If it doesn't, it's building towards something with an impressive young nuculeus. It's a different feeling for a Crew fan. Later in the week I will give my MLS Season outlook for the whole league, especially the Crew as thes eason kicks off Monday.

Now, IU. The Sampson hire came out of nowhere, didn't it? I was one who did not really want Alford. It woulda been a great story, but it remains to be seen if he will be a great coach. I think Sampson is a top notch recruiter who will be able to recruit well in state and keep top talent like Greg Oden from going to Ohio St. I also think he has a decent chance of convincing DJ White and Robert Vaden to stay. More than that, I think that Sampson realizes that this is one of the top 5 glamour or prestige jobs in the country. He had a helluva program he built at Oklahoma over the past 10 years plus. He was consistently near the top of the Big 12. When contacted about this job, it isn't as if he seemed to think about it very long at all. He knows that as IU coach he's big man on campus. He won't be a basketball coach at a football school like he was at Oklahoma, he will be THE coach on campus. More than that, in my time of watching Sampson he doesn't make excuses. Something Davis was doing way too much at the end of his tenure. Fans, media, anyone but himself. I expect to see Sampson laud the tradition of IU at his opening press conference, and I expect him to add to it sooner rather than later.

Things are looking up all around the world of sports.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Pride and Prejudice

Over the weekend I watched the latest cinema adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. I was suprised how much I loved this film. I have told many people the best film of 2005 was David Croneberg's A History of Violence and while that remains true, Pride and Prejudice isn't too far behind.

The main criticism I have heard of this film is that it was not the A&E version of the film with Colin Firth as Darcy. Another criticism I have heard is that it is not as true to the book as it should be. I think that is unfair on everyone associated with this film. They did not set out to make a 5 hour A&E miniseries of the movie. They did not set out to give every side of each character. The story is told primarily from the perspective of Elisabeth Bennet, played by Kiera Knightly. That being the case you see a story, done before over 4-5 hours done in 2 hours and 9 minutes. While something may be lost for those who wanted to see teh full story told from multiple viewpoints, I think they may miss the point that the film, as it's own piece of art, is a wonderfully acted, beautifully shot, and perfectly paced film. You are going to run into difficulty when you are taking such a beloved novel as Pride and Prejudice and bringing it to the screen in your own vision of the film, it's a huge risk to take. No matter how many people enjoy it, there will be others that hate it, because it wasn't their vision of the film.

The bottom line is, throughout the story, I deeply cared about Darcy and Elisabeth. I very much wanted them to make the decision to be together. When they finally did, after all the misunderstandings, and obstacles I was thrilled. In the hands of lesser players and a less competent director perhaps the story would have seemed rehashed, something that everyone has seen before in one form or another. But, for me at least, this version felt fresh. It just worked.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Broad Ripple Brew Pub - An Appreciation

Saturday night I had the opportunity to spend time with some friends from out of town. They had lived here a few years back but were ready in town for a wedding and so we made a point of getting a bite to eat and some beers in Broad Ripple. We originally tried a newer pub, Brugge Brassiere, which I am sure is fantastic, but after facing a 90 minute wait, and noticing no vegan food on the menu for the vegans in our group we went to the more spacious, and vegan friendlier Broad Ripple Brew Pub This place has been a staple for me since I've moved out to Indianapolis, for many reasons.

When we got there Saturday night the line was pretty much out the door. This was not a problem as they suggested we just go to the bar and enjoy a drink. And that we did. The brew pub rotates 6-8 of their own beers on tap. My personal favorite is teh IPA, but Saturday evening, I went a little bit lighter with the Lawnmower. Less than 15 minutes later our table of ten was seated. All of us in our late 20 somethings still have not mastered simple math, so it was a pleasant suprise when without us even asking the waitress mentioned seperate checks.

As for the food, the Brew Pub has many vegetarian items on the menu and 2 vegan sandwhich items as well. The specials are rotating and usually have one vegetarian or vegan special item as well. I had the Curried Spinach Potato Patties and a basket of Pub Chips. The Patties were larger in size than I expected and was quite a good and tasty meal at 7.99. The pub chips? Those alone are worth visiting the place. Numerous times I have gone in for a beer and ordered only pub chips and drank and had good conversation for hours there.

Throughout dinner, we were never rushed even though we were a table of 10. Like every other time I have been there the wait staff was pleasant and helpful. We were left with time to eat, converse, or play darts however long we wanted. There have been more than a few new resturaunts in Broad Ripple in my time here in Indy, some others have come and gone. The Brew Pub is one of this that is just a staple of Broad Ripple though. It's hard to imagine Broad Ripple without it.

Saturday, March 25, 2006


Earlier this week over at Big Soccer a poster brought my attention to Megabus. Apparently, at least for the time being, you can get round trip bus fare from Indy to Chicago, Columbus, or Cincinnatti for $2.50. That's $1.00 each way, and a $.50 reservation fee. Now, I don't know why you'd want to leave our fair city in the coming weeks. But, if you maybe spot a concert, soccer, or some baseball in Chitown, Cinci, or Columbus, and were planning to spend the night, Megabus is practically paying you to go. The company is said to be big in England and their first venture into the US is in the glorious midwest. I don't know how long those rates will last, but it's definitely intriguing.

Newish Indianapolis Blog, Consuming Indy

I say that this one is newish, because I seem to be the last one to the party in finding this stuff out. As always. But I have added a link to Consuming Indy over on the sidebar. Michelle is the woman running the show over there and it is definitely one I look forward to reading in the future. Dining, culture, local shops, it's all there. Did you know of Drinking Liberally? Neither did I. Anyway, most of you have probably already visited, if you haven't, do so now.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Back to Film, Before Sunset d. Linklater

A few nights back I finally got around to watching Before Sunset. I always had plans to watch it. I wanted to see it in the theater when it came out. I have watched Before Sunrise more than a hanful of times. I don't know what held me back from seeing this one for so long.

Here, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke reprise their roles of Jesse and Celine from Before Sunset. They had ended Before Sunset promising to meet in 6 months at a train station. The movie begins here 9 years later with Hawke's character at a book signing in Paris. They didn't meet at the train station. He has written a "fictional" book which is obvious to the viewer based on the real events that we had seen in Before Sunrise. Then towards the end of the signing we see Delpy's character Celine waiting in the wings. This is a suprise to Jesse. Though you get the feeling it is definitely what he wanted. They agree after the signing to get coffee.

For the next 80 minutes or so, there is nearly no dialogue except that of Celine and Jesse. You are watching it in real time. Plot points don't really matter. Their dialogue is the plot. It's all that matters. It is heartbreaking, humerous, and throughout just rings true. Jesse is married with a kid now. Celine has a boyfriend. Their conversation should not be so free flowing, so easy, or so honest. It is. They talk freely and openly about Jesse's marraige. About Celine's boyfriend being a photographer in a war zone and her fears about that. About growing up, or growing old. And the fears that come along with that. And the joys too. There is talk of sex, but it doesn't need to be shown. Their connection is much deeper than just sex.

Nearly anyone can relate to the story. Nearly everyone, even at the happiest times have had our minds drift at times to a certain "what if." Often times, that "what if" is idealized. I mean really when you look back the you realize that you like the idea of the person, or what you have created them to stand for througout years of memories. In time sometimes we heap create new memories on top of the old. Almost as a way of enhancing or amplifying the old memories. As if to make ourselves believe that maybe the ideal of this person, this time, really happened.

The thing about Before Sunset is that it leaves open the possibility that these weren't just amplified memories. These events did really happen. She really did exist. She still does. Maybe it isn't you tricking yourself in your mind. It so completely devoid of cynicism. It's probably the most romantic movie I have ever seen. I can only think of a handful of movies I have seen which are better.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

John Davis in Concert

Last night was one of those really pleasant suprises. I had read earlier in the month that John Davis, ex lead singer of Superdrag would be in town. I didn't really care for Superdrag so much, at least that I remember. But, an article in Magnet Magazine a few months back got me curious about John Davis's solo stuff. Davis isn't shy about his conversion to Christianity, as you can see in this article in Nuvo. The article in Magnet magazine was along the same lines, but without the "I'm trying to hard to reatain street cred" vibe that the Nuvo writer put out. About himself, not John Davis, that is. So around 8pm we went down to Radio Radio to hear some music.

I expected John Davis to have a backing band, but he was all alone. Throughout the set he played some songs electric, some acoustic, a few at the piano. I really, really enjoyed most the songs. One or two of them drifted into a bit too much of a bluesy vibe for my liking but the rest of the set was excellent. When he was at their definitely was that Beach Boys Pet Sounds feel to the songs. Overall, I don't feel like I am doing the set justice, really. I am strugling to really explain his style except to say that it was just good rock and good pop most the time.

There couldn't have been more than 50 people at the show. This had to be a step down from some of the shows Davis played as a member of Superdrag. Nearly all, if not all the songs had a message of his faith front and center. Some mentioning the lifestyle that he left behind for one that he is trying to live now. It's difficult to really explain how powerful songs like that can be when you see a man of Davis's talent playing in front of less than 50 people and when you have an idea of his past. Davis He has a really unassuming stage prescence, quite different than I had expected from an exc lead singer of a pretty successful band. Throughout the show Davis said the phrase "I really appreciate" at least 10 times it seemed. There could be no doubt that he was earnest in what he was playing and singing. There also could be no doubt that he really was appreciative of the opportunity to play for that room of people.

At once it was quite humbling and very encourging to see what Davis is doing. It's impossible not to hear the message in his songs, its rather blatant. If somehow you missed that, some between song banter lets you know where he is coming from. He never came across as preachy, just honest.

Truth told, I've had a really shit week. Sometimes thats just the way things go. And at the risk of sounding cheesy, Davis's set really spoke to me. And I guess I should clarify, if the music was poor in the mood I have been this week I just woulda left the show pissed off. I've heard enough terrible "Christian music" to last me 7 lifetimes, and it just makes me angry more than anything else. But, I don't think Davis's music needs me a spokesperson. I think that most people who like indie pop/rock would at least find it tolerable, if not really enjoy it. But, last night was just one of those nights when a show actually really meant something more than just the show itself, at least to me.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Trouble 'round the corner

So this news came across my field of vision recently...

Luna Music, Indianapolis’s largest independent retailer of compact discs and records, has announced the opening of a third location at 5202 North College Avenue. The store will officially open Saturday, April 1. Saturday’s grand opening celebration will include an in-store performance by local favorite Vess Ruhtenberg, who has worked with such notable bands as the Zero Boys, United States Three, the Mysteries of Life, and the Pieces. Ruhtenberg’s performance will begin at 6:00 p.m.

According to Luna Music owner Todd Robinson, the new store puts Luna at the hub of the growing South Broad Ripple commercial district. "This is already a great neighborhood, and, with the expansion of the local restaurant and retail scene, it’s getting better all the time. We also think this location is going to be more convenient for a lot of our customers. We’re thrilled to be here," Robinson said.

So, not more than two soccer fields away from my porch swimg Luna Music is opening up their third Indianapolis store. There has been a sign in the window for a few weeks and I have known about it for a while, but the official press release still made me smile.

In high school, not more than two miles from my house was a fantastic record store called Tunes. I worked at a coffee shop in the same strip as Tunes the few summers I was home from college and halfway through my shift I would often use my tip money to walk over to Tunes and get a CD. During my time in college though, there wasn't really a good independent record store around me. About 90 minutes away in Buffalo, yeah. But not in Houghton, New York.

The first time I came to visit Indy, my friend actually took me to Luna. They only had one location, way up on 86th and Ditch or so. When I eventually moved out here in 1999, that was a 25 minute drive or so from where I was living, but I didn't care. I still made the trek up there all the time to get my cd's. I remember specifically one time going in there and hearing a CD from Cinerama over the speakers and knowing I had to get it. Since then I have bought every Cinerama CD I could get my hands on and delved into David Gedge's other band the Wedding Present as well. I remember seeing Mark Kozlek of Red House Painter's do an instore there as well.

I was thrilled when they opened up a store on Mass Avenue, since I was in that part of town more than I was up on the north side. But to have a store opening just a few hundred yards from my door, on April 1. That's trouble. My roomate and I have already joked about not paying rent when it opens up. I think we are joking. I hope. Truth told, I don't buy nearly as many CD's as I used to. But, come April 4, it will be nice to just step outside walk a few steps there, and then walk a few steps home with the new Morrissey in hand.

April 1, will be a ridiculous sports day. The Columbus Crew opens their soon to be Championship season vs Kansas City, the Formula 1 Austrailian Grand Prix, Final 4 games (hopefully Villanova makes it to Indy), but I know I will still be able to squeeze some time into the schedule to go to the Grand Opening.

Hear some mp3's of Vess Ruthenberg who will be playing the opening of the new store here at the treasure trove known as Musical Family Tree.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Masculin Feminin, d. Godard

Yesterday I continued my seemingly unending Jean-Luc Godard kick by watching Masculin Feminin. This is a DVD that I just purchased on a whim with a Borders gift card. It had recieved worth enough mention in the Godard biography I am reading. I guess I am fortunate, after purchasing it sight unseen, that I liked it as much as I did.

This is one of Godard's more well known films. At one point in the film there comes a flash on the screen saying "This film might be called the Children of Marx and Coca-Cola." In the Rialto Pictures trailer of the film we are told its about "Youth, Paris, and Sex!" But it is difficult to really tell someone what the exact plot of this film is. You have 4 main characters, and one all seem to love one of the others, who loves one of the others instead. Following? Good. This is all set against the backdrop of Paris in the 1960's in the time of the Vietnam War.

Jean-Pierre Leaud, best known for his role of Antoine Doinel in the Truffaut films plays the staring role of Paul aside Chantal Goya playing Madeline. Paul's love of Madeline seems to be on the surface a shallow love. None of the characters seem to have anything more than a surface love for one another really. They just happen to bounce between cafes and the streets of Paris. We gather that Paul works as a pollster for some anonymous company. Throughout the movie we see that he obviously just uses the poll questions as a chance to meet attractive girls and attempt to pick them up. He is very much against the Vietnam War, he is for socialism. Though his love of Madeline seems to be shallow he is also a hopeless romantic.

Some have said that this was almost an anthropological film for Godard, just an examination of the youth of Paris in the 1960's. It is fair to say it doesn't really have much of a storyline, if any. You just witness the youths musings on sex, politics, love, etc. You are then also witness to a bizzare disregard for violence in the movie. A person is shot outside a cafe, a man stabs himself outside an arcade, and nobody does more than bats an aye. Sounds of gunfire come before screens which announce another part (of 15) in the film, and announce what Godard called "facts." He likens the philospher to the filmaker in one of these screens. In another is the famous "Children of Marx and Coca-Cola" slogan.

This is the kind of film I see myself giving many repeated viewings. Certain scenes are so playful that you can't help but smile through them. Since the film doesn't have fully distinct plot, you can even almost view it as 15 shorts if you wanted too. That may be unfair, though. Godard definately had a vision when making this film to capture the youth of Paris in the 1960's. It isn't my place having been born well after that time to say if he suceeded, but at the least he has made quite an enjoyable and probably important film. IIf you rent the Criterion Collection version of this be sure to watch the discussion of the film with two French critics contained in the extras, which gives farb more insight that I even imagine to here.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Cache d. Michael Haneke

Yesterday afternoon I went to see Cache, the new film by Michael Haneke. Since I saw the preview for this film I was very excited for the film to come to Indianapolis. I wouldn't say that Michael Haneke is one of my favorite directors by any means. He's an extremely talented director who seems to thrive on making his audiences uncomfortable. I have also seen his films, Funny Games and The Piano Teacher. Those films were stuck in my head for some time afterwards as I tried to digest what I had just seen, and whether or not I liked it, and whether or not it was even good film. I left the theater afterCache
pretty sure that I liked it, and almost certain it was good film.

If you have seen a Haneke film before, the opening moments seem familiar, at least in compisition. You are looking at a wide angle shot of a house from across the street. The camera is still and it's a rather wide shot, taking in the whole of the house and a bit of the surrounding street. This shot goes on for what seems like more than a few minutes. You eventually find out that this shot is on tape and the people who live in the house are watching this on tape, trying to figure out why they have recieved this tape. Throughout the story this couple recieves many more tapes and drawings and we watch them deal with the disturbing fact that they are being watched. We watch their reactions and how they deal with subsquent tapes.

I will try not to give away too much of the plot line from here on out, as I believe this is definitely a film woth viewing and digesting and just give some observations and my own reactions. First, there is surely a boatload of political themes in this movie. Some of which I did not entirely grasp. At certain points in the movie, the news is on in the background and it is surely meant to offer some insight. Admittedly, I did not catch the fullness of this insight.

The film itself is not for everyone. There are plenty of still camera shots that go on for what would be way to long for the impatient film viewer. Even for someone who has seen a Haneke film before these shots are extremely unsettling. Not unsettling, because they are unneccessary, but unsettling because they force you to take in what the character is feeling or seeing. And more often than not, it is not good feelings.

I do think I can say without giving away to much of the plot that it was also unsettling to watch the dynamic of the husband and wife after they recieved these tapes. In times when it seemed they could have bonded together they shut down. This may have been more the fault of one character than the other, but that's not really the point. It was as if the unexpected stress of these tapes being delivered turned this husband and wife into something different than a loving marital unit. We do not know much of their relationship before the tapes, but it was evident that it was at least a happy marraige. The tapes arrival brings up issues of fear and when neither the husband or wife know how to deal with it effectively issues of trust arise as well. Through Haneke's camera we as the audience were forced to take in what may have been a marraige falling apart. It's not easy viewing.

Finally, there is next to no music in this film. I am trying desperately to remember if there was ever music. Even in scenes when the characters were in a resturaunt, I don't remember backing music. Many filmakers use music often times to create mood. Haneke didn't need to here, he had a more than competent cast. Juliette Binoche in particular was superb. Instead of using musical flourishes, the characters reactions and silence was often times much more effective than I can picture music being.

The ending if the movie may seem a bit unresolved to some. To me, this is not entirely a bad thing. As we were getting up to leave women behind us were discussing it and asking questions. One said, "She is French, she should be able to explain this to us." Her response, a shrug and "It was a typical French film." Ugh. This was anyting but a typical French Film. And Haneke is a German/Austrian director, though I believe the film was bankrolled by a French studio. At any rate, the film was nit shot in a typical was, its definately shot in Hanke's style, which is much different than almost any others today. But more importantly, typical films do not leave you asking so many questions of the film and examining it so much even a day afterwards. This may be the longest entry I have wrote here and I have written on more than a handful of films. This film is anything but typical, and well worth more examination than a dismissive shrug of the shoulders.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Fireworks of Glass

Yesterday at The Childrens Museum they finally opened Dale Chihuly's Firework's of Glass Exhibit and Tower. I must admit I was very skeptical about this exhibit. I didn't really see it's place in a Childrens Museum. Sure it looks pretty, and its a huge artifact for the Museum's collection, but that shouldn't be the be all and end all of it. I wondered aloud many times, where could kids go with that after they had seen it. I thought that little Suzy couldn't exactly go home and ask Mom for a glass blowing kit for her birthday now could she? It just seemed inpractical. It may still be really.

However, yesterday at the unveiling I found myself much more impressed with the structure and the exhibit itself than I anticipated being. I also noticed many ooh's and ah's from children as they stood underneath the tower and close to it on the ramps. The tower itself is suspended and 43 feet high. It's visible in part even from the main entry of the museum if only you look straight ahead to the Museum's core. It's hard not to be awestruck by it. It truly is a magnificent structure.

Childrens's museums need to be more about just science and history. There needs to be a place for the arts. That's a given. The Childrens's Museum of Indianapolis has been great about that in the past and continues to be now. This sculpture at the Children's Museum surely opens up a massive door of posibilities. Here is to hoping that they find a way to utilize the wonder and awe of the children and supplement the entire exhibit with more programs for the arts.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Big News in MLS

Big news was breaking in the world of Major League Soccer last night and this morning that has even the always fierce Jon Busch pumped up. It seems that South Jersey will be getting their own team!! I don't need to tell you that this is absolutely mega. I grew up in South Jersey. I spent one week at a soccer camp that was housed at Rowan back when it was called Glassboro State. When MLS started I was saddened that Philly did not have a team. I could however not bring myself to cheer for the NY/NJ Metrostars as they were really a New York team. I chose Columbus Crew as my team. I have not regretted it one bit. But never in my wildest dreams did I picture South Jersey housing a team. Philly, maybe but South Jersey? Wow! So do I switch allegiances, leaving behind my beloved Crew? Quite simply, no.

I remember my first game at Crew Stadium. The Crew put three past a bunch of pompous hacks, goons, and general scum that for some reason was given the name Chicago Fire. A glorious 3-0 victory. I remember singing along with "The Night Chicago Died" when it played over the speaker towards the end of the game. Brother, what a night it really was. I remember knowing that I would be back. I remember driving out full of hope for a playoff game 6 weeks later, alone. After a loss I remember driving home alone. I remember still knowing that taking on a second job to finance season tickets for the next season. I remember the improbable 3-2 come from behind victory against KC with my Dad in attendance. I remember saying "Holy Shit!" in front of my dad more times in the final 30 minutes than any son should ever be able to say. I remember being there with 5000 other fans when they won The US Open Cup, their first trophy. I remember rushing the field afterwards and hugging Buschie, who you see pictured. I remember an 18 game unbeaten streak and the regular season title. I remember losing in the first round of the playoffs immediately afterwards. I remember all to well the misery of last year. I remember a call from Wilson at 6am telling me we had fired the coach. I remember new hope. I remember Stern John, Brian Maisenoueve,Brian McBride, Mike Clark, "Magic" Simon Elliott, Miroslav Rzespa, Freddy Garcia, Todd Yeagley. All Crew Legends, some for different reasons than others. I remember the moments I knew would always hate DC. I remember the moments I knew I would always hate Chicago. Road trips to DC, LA, Chicago, North Jersey, all to support the team. All to sing songs for our boys in Yellow. I will always have friendships with cats in Columbus who have turned out to be like brothers to me. That's not even half of it. That's not even 1/100th of it. Can I throw that all away? The history, laughter, joy, anger, frustration, and exaltation just because they put a team mere miles from where I grew up? No. Not a chance. I will continue to drive 3 hours to and from Columbus to support my team.

The team in New Jersey will succeed. It's a brilliant move for MLS. It taps a rich soccer hotbed in South Jersey that will see the team as theirs, a Jersey team. Yet, it taps Philadelphia as a media market as well. It's phenomenal. I am thrilled for Jersey, I am thrilled for their fans. The team starts play in 2009 according to reports. I wish it was tomorrow. I wish tomorrow I could walk in the stadium with my Columbus Crew jersey and see MY team beat my old hometown. I can't wait for the day.

Thursday, March 16, 2006


It must be a week for me to watch ridiculous little crime movies. Earlier in the week I watched Breathless, directed by Jean-Luc Godard. I've made no secret about my admiration for Band of Outsiders. My roomate was laughing last night when we were chatting film over a few beers and I told him Band of Outsiders was possibly the most enjoyable film experience I have ever had! So that being the case, you would think I would be able to go back to Breathless
the one that apparently started it all for Godard and the French New Wave and be blown away. The answer? Yes and no.

First off, the film is beautiful. Raoul Coutard is the cinematographer and finds with Godard they find some incredible shots. One of the lights turning on at dusk down the avenue one row at a time, behind the protaganist. Two lovers in the apartment in a sunny hazy cloud of smoke. Shots like those alone bring a smile to your face when watching the film regardless of the dialogue. The film also makes use of jump cuts all over the place, but to great effect. One scene of conversation in the car between the two lovers when Jean Paul Belamado is telling Jean Seberg each part of her body that he loves, and you just get different shots of her profile with each sentance is particularly memorable.

So, if the film was beautiful, why didn't I enjoy it as much as others? The story and the characters. I just wasn't able to empathize with them as much as the trio in Band of Outsiders or many other films for that matter. As Michel, Jean Paul Belamado is sometimes endearing sometimes annoying. Underneath all his gangster bravado is a load of insecurity. That makes some of his comments bearable, but when for 45 minutes he is just begging Patricia (Jean Seberg) to sleep with him, the repeated lines can get frustrating. Patricia is one of the most enigmatic characters that I can remember. She is beautiful on screen, but who knows what she is thinking any of the time. I guess that is supposed to be the point. But when it comes down to her betrayal, the reasons she gives, they are maddening. And it is shortly before the betrayal that I actually started believing in the characters more and wanting them to make it.

I will watch Breathless again, I will probably watch it numerous times. Despite my groaning here, I really did like the film. It is still one of the better films I have ever seen. There are plenty of reasons to like it. But for whatever reason a detachment from the characters holds it away from being one of my favorites. And thats a small but important distinction.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

A Simple Plan

So last night, I got home and was still in a foul mood from way too much working. Luckily my roomate had not yet sent back A Simple Plan to the fine people of Netflix. I saw this in the theater when it was released in 1998, but had not seen it since. I remembered being impressed at the time, but after my viewing yesterday evening I wonder why it was easy to forget just what a good film this really was.

Sam Rami directed the film. He is definitely more famous for his Spiderman movies (which incidentally I believe reinvented the superhero genre for the better, but thats for another time) and he sets the film in winter in some sorta Minnesota or North Dakota type state from what I remember. Crows are everywhere and somehow set the mood. At the beginning of the film a character observes, "All they do is wait around for womething to die, then feast on the remains. What strange animals..."

The films formula is pretty simple, 3 guys find way more money than they have ever seen and need to decide what to do with it. When a character asks his wife, "What if you found [this]?" Or, "I need to believe that you would have done the same..." you can't help but be pulled in as the viewer and ask yourself the same questions. Of course things wind up going wrong sooner rather than later, and as the characters in the film need to decide, how much is too much to take or when does it stop being worth it you are asking yourself the same. Paxton, Billy Bob Thorton, and Bridget Fonda are all nearly perfect in this movie. Though they may not be making the wrong decisions, you feel they are making them for the right reason and they become characters you can empathize with.

This film didn't win, or wasn't even nominated for any awards far as I can remember. Sam Rami will always be associated with the Spiderman movies now and is unlikely to be noted as a great director in the way that people will feel the need delve into his cannon. Billy Bob Thorton has had his share of great roles since this, and probably Paxton, and Fonda as well. Maybe those are reasons it's easy to forget the film 8 years on. But when I went to bed, shortly before 2am I had a very hard time forgetting it for a second time, and still am having a hard time today.

It's been a ridiculous start to the week.

A few days gone and no posting. As one can probably guess birthday festivities played uinto part for that, as has a nightmare of a few days at work. Of course those nightmare days at work would be about 3 hours shorter if people actually showed up for their shifts but what can you do. At the Childrens Museum in the coming weekend we are opening Chihuly's Fireworks of Glass. There is a decent buzz about it around Indianapolis, and it could be a really exciting weekend for it's opening. Of course, I will be running around trying to figure out why half my staff called in for the day so the excitement will be very different for me. Hooray.

Back to my birthday real quick. The weekend was a blazing success. I had a blast with friends and am still being reminded of funny stories from the weekend. There were a host of unexpected gifts including a bottle of Balvenie, a frame including two stills from the madison scene in Band of Outsiders, a very impressive Godard biography, and the Criterion Collection DVD of Godard's Contempt.

Now all I need to do is find a way to leave spend less than 10 hours a day at work to enjoy these all.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

It's my birthday, angels

I got nothing really of substance to post today. It's my birthday. So far I have spent it in true slothful fashion. Well perhaps not. I woke up at 530 am to watch Formula 1 qualifying. The new format produced a lot of thrills and suspense. My buddy Ray is a new fan, I think. This was his first foray into Formula 1 after Spiegel and I persuaded him to give it a shot. I think he found himself entertained this am from what I could tell on our Google chat. Which reminds me Gmail is proof God loves us. If you need a Gmail invite let me know.

After Formula 1, I slept. I then watched the UltraSuperMighty Blackburn Rovers move up to 5th in the English Premiership with a 2-0 victory over Aston Villa.

After laundry and dishes I found myself getting carded for a 12 pack of Harp on Broad Ripple. 29 years old, yet forever young.

Tonight, will be the celebration. I will miss the 2nd half of my beloved Indiana Hoosiers against Ohio St in the Big Ten tourney for church. Hopefully, God will see me in church and smile upon IU. After that I will be going to Sakura. They don't have a website. Sorry. Sakura is my favorite resturaunt in the city. Japaneese place, and a boatload of vegan options for yours truly. More importantly, there will be 10 of us or so out to eat. It's about the company really. I feel truly blessed and lucky to have the group of friends I have out here, and I can not wait to smile and laugh with them at dinner as I usually do.

At 29, you don't really expect a birthday haul of gifts. However, my parents were overly generous as usual. In addition I purchased myself a bottle of a bottle of 1792 Ridgemont Reserve which is delightful, the Decalogue box set which I will be watching soon with some good friends and hope to have good discussion about, and this old belgian poster of the Godard film, Band of Outsiders, which I hope to frame and hang soon.

At any rate, happy bday to me! As I toast tonight, I will be thinking of all my friends who aren't around yet read this drivel!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Kathy Sedley

Kathy Harbin was born Thursday, March 10, 1949 at St Margaret Hospital, daughter of Charles Harbin and Thelma Harbin. She grew up in Carnegie and attended Carnegie Jr. High and Carnegie Sr. High. She graduated in 1967. Deciding then to live a life in service of other people, which she still does to this day on a daily basis, she attended St Margaret Memorial School of Nursing. She graduated in June of 1970.

She lived in the same house with her parents until the day she was married. A friend of my father's introduced her to Dan Sedley and on June 8, of 1974 at St John's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Carnegie they were married. On March, 11, 1977 she gave birth to me.

For 29 years she has encourged me in everything I do. In Jr. High I was the smartest soccer player on the field, I always knew the right position to be in. In High School she encourged me to run for Student Government. In college she encourged my Philosophy and Political Science double major. After college, when I knew she would rather me stay home she encourged my move to Indianapolis. In here first visit to Indianapolis after I moved out here, I remember her being in tears on my doorstep somewhat worried that my neighborhood wasn't the safest, yet she was positive throughout and wouldn't say those words aloud. In high school, none of the girls I dated were good enough for me. She fed my ego which still exists to this day. Now, every girl I date (few and far between, but still) sounds "lovely." This can only mean my taste has improved, as she is right more often than wrong.

Throughout high school and college she made our house in Mt Laurel, NJ a second home to any of her childrens friends. It still is a second home. To this day, my friends all still ask about her. They all have memories of huge dinners at our house or Sundays full of one appetizer platter after another. These friends also seem to be able to remind me of stories when she cut me down to size when my ego was getting to big, to the humor of everyone in the house.

For 29 years, she has been a constant friend, a source of encourgement, and along with my father the guiding influence in my life. Today is her birthday. Happy, Birthday, Mom.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Formula 1 2006

Every once in a while sometimes you need to write about sports two days in a row. And sometimes day 2 is a sport that practically nobody gives a damn about except the writer. So, it goes. At any rate, Friday kicks of the 2006 Formula 1 Season. Something strange has happened. I am more excited about this than NCAA Basketball, than Baseball Spring Training. Possibly the only thing that comes close to my excitement about Formula 1, is the upcoming Columbus Crew season. The fine people at the FIA who put on these races even decided to kick it off on my birthday weekend. Thanks guys!

Two years ago, I was flipping through the channells and caught the USGP on Speed TV. I knew my buddy Otto was at the race, so I watched. Somehow I was hooked. I watched the remainder of the season, getting up at 5am or 6 am to watch the races. Taping qualifying. Taping Practices. Last season was the first year that I followed it from beginning to end. I chose that I would spport the Renault team and drivers. My scientific reason for choosing these guys was remembering their blistering starts at the end of the 2004 season. Renault cars could be 6-7 on the grid, and move up 3-5 slots before Turn 1. I remember being awestruck by that. I said Besides that I knew they had a fantastic young driver, Fernando Alonso, and another very experinced and highly regarded driver in Giancarlo Fisichella. Alonso wound up winning the Drivers Championship. Rennault scored the most points as a team and Fisi finished a slightly disapointing fifth. Not bad for a first full season as a fan. It was quite nice to see teams I root for win, and a welcome change for a lifetime Philadelphia sports fan. And let the record show, that my Renault fanship was not completely and entirely bandwagon jumping as Ferrari had dominated the sport for the previous decade or so.

So that brings us to 2006. Great previews of the weekend and season can be found here at and here at The Official Formula 1 Website also has great coverage leading into the weekend.

At the end of the preview is this sentance, "The biggest question of all is whether or not F1 will be exciting in 2006. And for those who ask that question there is only one answer: F1 is always exciting. And those who think otherwise don't really get it." It sounds snobby, but thats how I feel coming into the season. F1 is the pinacle of motorsport technology. Add into that the international intrigue and passion, and a ton of politics and behind the scenes manuevering and there is always something exciting going on in the F1 season.

Last year, my friend Eric got hooked. He wound up flying out here for the USGP. The race that was a complete scam. We saw only 6 cars race out of twenty. He's coming back for the race this year. We are attempting to hook our friend Ray as well this season, and don't see it being that hard of a battle. More often than not those who give the sport a chance are hooked. It all starts 6am Friday with the first practice in Bahrain. I will be up with a full pot of coffee. I can't wait.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Barry Bonds and Steroids

If you are any sort of baseball fan or sports fan at all you have heard the allegations over recent years of Barry Bonds and steroid use. And if you have been near any news media outlet over the past day you have seen the newest and most damaging allegations against Bonds. Two San Francisco area reporters have done all their research, grand jury testimony, over 1,000 pages of documents and interviews with nearly 200 people. It seems pretty damaging, it is pretty damaging. Still, I can't help but see this in a bit of a different perspective than all the hysteria that has surrounded this.

But, first, in fuill disclosure, I am a huge Barry Bonds fan. I admit it. I think he is the most dominant player I have seen in any sport in my nearly 25 years here on earth. And really, I can't think of any other player who was so clearly and obviously just lightyears ahead of his peers. I hoped and still do hope that he breaks Hank Aaron's record. That said, in everything I have read in the excerpts from this book, I don't see any new allegations or any new proof against this man.

First, they try to develop a motive for Bonds to cheat. They say jelousy of McGwire and Sosa in their great home run chase. The quotes they have of this jealousy are from Bond's ex mistress. In any court of law, that testimony would be looked at with suspicion as its an ex gilted lover. And, rightfully so.

Second, they got testimony of Balco represenatives, who were already going down, giving out information of Bonds steroid cycles. More times than not, when one is going down they want to take the whole ship of people who wronged them down as well.

Third, despite these mentions of Bonds' cycles there has yet to be a person step forward and say they have seen Bonds inject himslef with steroids. The visual evidence isn't there.

Fourth, despite the enormous amounts of drugs he was said to be taking we have yet to see Bonds test positive for drug use. This includes three tests last year.

Now, don't get me wrong, Bonds may very well be guilty. In fact, I'd be shocked if he wasn't guilty of at least some of the things said in this book. However, when you actually step away and look at this for a second, you do not see any new information or allegations in this book. And beyond that, you just don't see any proof. Yet. And, at the end of the day, when people actually step back from the initial firestorm this book has created, perhaps they will be able to look at it objectively and see that.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Small Change

Last night I once again watched Small Change, directed by Francois Truffaut. I mentioned this film in an earlier posting and stated how Truffaut is terrific at just showing the lives of children. Stylistically there is't much groundbreaking about this film. The thing is there doesn't need to be. In reading a little bit about director Yasijuro Ozu a common opinion was that Ozu was of the mindset that he didn't need to put his characters in any absurd situations. He thought that the day to day events that make up a life were interesting enough, and were stories that deserved to be told. I found myself thinking how that might apply here to Small Change.

There really is not much of a plot in this film. The story shows the day to day activities of a bunch of kids in the French town/province of Theirs. You see everything from a double date at the movies, to children trying to solve an episode of Columbo, to a child trying to show her father which goldfish is Plick, and which one is Plock, to jokes being told in the schoolyard, to lessons in the classroom. All these little episodes weave in and out of eachother pretty seamlessly. About halfway through the movie, you might find yourself developing a bit more of an affinity for some of the children than others. But, really at no point did I find myself disliking any of the children. Truffaut shows the children at their best whether he is showing the curiousity, sense of humour, or their compassion for eachother.

There is an undercurrent of a more serious story here that gets shown a full disclosure at the end, which allows a teacher to give a long speech to his classroom about the worth of children that may have been what Truffaut was leading up to the whole movie. Earlier on in the movie though the same teacher is at dinner with his wife. The wife is telling the story of a rather incredible incident that happened earlier in the day with a neighborhood 2 year old. At one point in the story she says something to the effect of, "But children are indestructable, the stumble through life and what would destroy a grown up does not destroy them." Now I paraphrased that, and probably paraphrased it poorly, but I think I got the spirit of it down. The point is interesting and I think is adressed again later in the movie in the teachers final speech. But it's interesting to think about. If anything, throughout this movie you see that each day is brand new for a child. And, yes, there are events of certain significance that can take that sense of wonder and awe away from a child, but when cared for that is how a child can see the world, brand new all the time. No grudges, no hate, thet are too smart for that. And when the wife of the teacher mentions that children are indestructable, it certainly isn't true, they still are fragile, and in our care and are our responsibilty. But when she says that certain things in life that would destroy grownups, don't destroy children she also is right about that. If that makes any sense at all. It may not, perhaps it will when you see the movie, and you should see the movie. It's phenomenal.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Matisyahu Review

Last night I made my first venture outto a concert in a long time in order to go see Matisyahu. As I said before, I am not crazy about reggae by any means, but I was hearing great things about Matisyahu from various friends and the buzz about the guy is out of control. I finally picked up Live at Stubbs a few weeks back and it has been in very heavvy rotation for me since then. Every once in a while I guess I need some uplifting or positive music, and this definately fits that bill.

The show was sold out and when I got there at 730, a half hour after doors opened there was still a line 50-75 people deep, waiting to get in. I got in and ordered a few Dewars and soda's (note to bartenders, Dewars and soda is different than Dewars and coke, if i wanted a Dewars and coke i woulda ordered that) and watched the crowd. There was a nice mix, age 21 to maybe even late fifty's. Saw a few around in traditional hasidic jewish garb as well. It was overall a friendly crowd, and by the time the opener Treevor Hall opened the place was full. I stayed in the back during Trevor Hall's set. I thought I was in Dave Matthew's Band coffehouse hell. But, after 45 minutes he was done.

Matisyahu then came on and played for about 85-90 minutes. I thought his band was extremely tight, and his vocals seemed to be on during the whole show as well. If you have heard the Live at Stubbs CD you have a pretty good idea as to what to expect at his shows these days. There was a bit less banter with the crowd than on the live CD, but he definately seemed to feed off the crowd and vice versa. The opener, "Raise me up" was a great choice in my opinion. A bit of a slow burn type of song that builds up and then gets the crowd ready for what happens next. The suprise of the show for me was Matisyahu's beatbox routine. I skip past that on the Live at Stubbs CD, all the time. But at the show, i found myself enjoying it quite a bit. The highlight was "Exaltation" which the rest of the crowd seemed to love as well. A few Dewars and Sodas and an encore later the show was over and it was time to leave. His new CD Youth comes out Tuesday and may be worth checking out.

MONDAY LUNCHTIME EDIT: I just got off the phone with a friend who was asking me about the show. I was telling her about how fun it was to be just smiling like a dork and shouting along in the call and response times and jumping up and down or pogoing when ever I felt like it. The fact that I did all those things should be added into this review. She chuckled a lot saying she wished she coulda seen me pogoing or responsing along. Thing is that, and maybe its just cause I had a great vantage point of the stage where I was, but the musica and definately Matisyahu's stage prescence made all that foolishness just seem natural. And fun as hell.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

The Random Saturday am thoughts...

- I am more than pretty excited to be seeing Matisyahu on Sunday night. Weird thing about it all is reggae isn't even normally my thing, at all. But I kept on hearing positive things about Matisyahu and picked up the CD a few weeks back. It was a nice change of pace from The Cure's Disintergration which had inexplicably found it's was back into my cd player and had a good 2-3 week hold of me. The show has sold out The Vogue which is pretty impresive in and of itself. I haven't been there for a show since, Built to Spill a few months back. I will be going alone as my friend didn't get a ticket before it sold out. It will be as intersting to watch the blend of hipsters and jam band kids mix at this show.

- I watched The Hustler last night. My buddy Pauly reccomended it to me. Months ago. I kept giving him shit because frankly I had no interest in watching a movie about pool. I stand corrected. Paul Newman is superb in this. There were some twists towards the end that I didn't expect. There were some classic one-liners that may work there way into yours truly's lexicon. Overall, its not groundbreaking by any means. But if you got 2 hours to kill and just want to be entertained, you really can't go wring with this one.

- Jim over at 11am Air Raid has some links to some new Lunar Event tracks. An Indianapolis band that has gone through some lineup changes recently, and in my opinion has come out of those changes just fine. I'm a complete sucker for the sorta sound they got going on now. It's definately worth checking out.

- Finally, and on a more serious note I guess, or at least political note, a group of 55 Catholic Represenatives in the US House have released a Catholic Statement of Principles. Great idea, if they actual hold themselves to voting and governing in accordance with these principles. Included in the principles...

We are committed to making real the basic principles that are at the heart of Catholic social teaching: helping the poor and disadvantaged, protecting the most vulnerable among us, and ensuring that all Americans of every faith are given meaningful opportunities to share in the blessings of this great country. That commitment is fulfilled in different ways by legislators but includes: reducing the rising rates of poverty; increasing access to education for all; pressing for increased access to health care; and taking seriously the decision to go to war. Each of these issues challenges our obligations as Catholics to community and helping those in need.

Politician speak, for sure. But they have signed on to vote and act by these principles. As responsible citizens, especially if you have a background in the Catholic church or are of the Catholic faith, contact these Represenatives before upcoming votes and remind them of what they claimed to be the their duties.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Flirting d. John Duigan

Last night, I watched Flirting, directed by John Duigan. From the poster/dvd cover you would think that Nicole Kidman was the main attraction here, but that wasn't the case. Whatever, sells your movie though, I guess. Hell, Naomi Watts even had a small role, perhaps they could throw her on the box if a special edition ever comes out. Again, I digress...
This was a very, very good and suprising movie. I had no idea what to expect coming into this even though it had been recomended to me. The basic story is this, it's 1965ish, Austrailia, boading school, outsider boy meets girl, romance ensues. The boy is an outsider because he doesn't get involved in rugby, he's more of a thinker. At one point in the film he uses the pseudonym Camus for himself. The girl (Thadie Newton) is African from Uganda and faces her own challenges as an outsider for that reason alone. This could have went horribly wrong like so many teen romance/coming of age stories, but it didn't at all. The narration done through the film by the boy lead, Danny (Noah Taylor) sets just the right tone. Race is never an issue between the two leads except for Danny's curiousity to know more of Africa than National Geographic and Tarazan pictures. The few love scenes with the characters were handled beautifully.
Truth told, the first 20 minutes or so, I wondered what I was getting into with this movie, but after sticking it out I definately found myself caring deeply about each of the characters. Apparently there is another movie with Danny in it as well that sorta served as a prequel to this called, The Year My Voice Broke which I definately would want to see, as Danny seems a character worth investing in. Sure, he may not be Antoine Doinel but Flirting endeared me enough to him to want to check out more.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Motion Picture Draft, final roster

Last night a chapter in my life closed as I made my 10th and final selection in the 1st Annual BigSoccer Motion Picture Draft. I can now go back to normal nights of sleep without fearing that Nico swiping Yojimbo from me. This was insanely fun and equally geeky. My netflix queue is filled with tons of new films brought to my attention through this draft. I figured I'd give my roster here and say a sentance or two about each film. Before that though let's look at the original criteria for the draft...

If humanity were destroyed tonight, what movies would you place inside a time capsule to be discovered by either possible survivors, future sentient beings, or aliens?

Movies can be of any period or language. TV shows or music videos are not allowed.

We'll start with ten rounds. The winner will be the one who selects ten movies that the judges feel best offer the greatness of cinema to future civilizations. "Greatness," of course, will be defined by the three judges according to their individual tastes.

So, with that in mind my roster was...

1. the Deer Hunter, d. Cimino - Possibly a strech as my first round pick, but definately one of my favorite films ever. I wanted to go epic and huge with my first pick and this surely did that.

2. Band of Outsiders, d. Godard - This has already become probably my favorite film ever. I just recently saw this for the first time. Bought the Criterion Collection DVD, and have watched at least 5 times since then. Humour, romance, robbery, just an amazing film. Godard is a genius.

3. Decalogue, d. Kieslowski - 10 short films, each loosely based around one of the 10 Commandments. This got an exception as 1 entry as did my 10th round pick since multiple films were concieved as part of larger whole concept. Kieslowski is my favorite director. This is his greatest achievement. He said, "For over 6000 years these rules have been unquestionably right, yet we break them every day." Here he shows, how, why, and the aftermath. I am probably proudest of having this in my collection.

4. Wings of Desire, d. Wenders - I just watched this again last night. There is nothing like watchjing this with someone who's seing it for the first time. Just to see there reaction when the first burst of color comes through the black and white, and then is gone again. "Whoa! What?" At any rate, this is probably the most positive, uplifting, and lyrical of my selections.

5. East of Eden, d. Kazan - James Dean needed a place here. Besides that, there has been a total lack of great American "coming of age" films. The 80's John Hughes movies don't do it, and neither really do the glut of newer independent films like Garden State. This, however was pitch perfect, beginning to end.

6. Paths of Glory, d. Kubrick - I needed Kubrick represented somehow, and this is how he made it in. I didn't want two war movies really. Maybe the Deer Hunter doesn't count as a watr movie though. At any rate, this is probably one of the greatest "anti" war movie evers. I am not entirely a pacifist, there are just wars, still I feel good about having the statement this film makes in my collection.

7. Do the Right Thing, d. Lee - How this film fell through 7 1/2 rounds of 22 selections each I have no idea. I've seen this 15-20 times. Each time, even though I know what's gonna happen the final 1/2 hour still makes my chest hurt. This was made in 1989 the central message is still as important today.

8. Breaking the Waves, d. von Trier - 5 years ago I made a top 75 movie list and this was #1. It probably still hasn't fallen far from that. Religion, Faith, and Love are all put through the ringer in this film. Emily Watson does the best acting I have ever seen. This isn't one you watch every weekend to feel good about life in general. But it is one that sticks with you, pretty much forever.

9. Kwaidan, d. Koboyashi - Since Nico stole Yojimbo, and since I still wanted an asian film I took this. 4 stories, all horor or suspense. Beautifully filmed. I could go on for hours about this one. But not today.

10. Three Colors, d. Kieslowski - Kieslowski makes his second, or 11th-13th, appearance in my draft with this trilogy. Each film is representing a color of the French flag and their symbols of liberty, equality, and fraternity. The way Kieslowski ties these three stories together is probably the best synopsis of his view of film and art in general. He seemed obsessed with chance meetings and interactions. Red is the densest film I have ever seen, but I immediately started it over to watch again after my first viewing. It was that good. I just needed this in my collection as well.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Ash Wednesday.

Maybe I should have a more serious picture to the right at the start of the Lent season, but I couldn't help but chuckle when my google images search under "Ash Wednesday" brought up failed presdential hopeful John Kerry. At any rate today is Ash Wednesday, and the start of the Lent season. I will be leaving work today at 430 to make it down to St. Mary's to get my ashes before heading home for the day. Being a vegan, it's not so much an issue for me to not be eating meat or any of the other Catholic traditions that go along with lent. I have yet to figure out what I would be giving up for lent. The past few years I have not given up anything and when the chips fall this year, that will likely be the case again. My friend Zak is partaking in the "Lent and Change Challenge" where he will be giving up all fornication, booze, and ciggerrettes. He's even logging his progress on his myspace blog. Perhaps, I would join in his quest if only I didn't have a bottle of Jim Beam at home and a birthday coming up March 11. Not to mention the start of Formula 1 and Columbus Crew seasons in that period. And I just got my tickets to see Matisyahu Sunday evening! All those call for at least a cold beer to be toasted with friends. In moderation of course.

So, it's unlikely that I will actually be giving up anything this lent season, again. Instead, perhaps, hopefully, I will actually make something of it by spending more time this year than last actually reflecting on what this time of year is supposed to mean to me, specifically in regards to my faith.