Monday, May 16, 2005

Reviews, Southern Accents, and OBP

Alright, let's tackle the title in reverse order:

1. Red Sox notes:
I'm not trying to complain, especially the year after the Sox won the world series, but I forgot how agitating it can be to root for a team that follows the high on-base percentage aproach, especially while listening to the other team's broadcast crew marvel at their lack of movement on the basepaths. The Red Sox are leading the league in runs, despite playing more games on the road than at home (so they aren't getting their full Fenway boost yet), so the approach is working even with several regulars having a tough go of it so far. But there are games, like yesterday's, where aggressive baserunning teams can steal a game by, well, running the bases aggressively and we leave a lot of guys on base. The Sox, playing their station to station game, are very good at preserving outs while grinding down pitchers and eventually overwhelming them with a flurry of runs. However, this can also mean that sometimes we just get nickeled and dimed to death waiting for the big inning, and it either never comes or it isn't big enough. As such, this weekend the Sox let two of three slip to a woefully bad Seattle team, with Bret "hey, remember my brother?" Boone smiling that self-satisfied smirk the whole way.

And why the hell is Boone smirking, anyway? Is it because he is thinking about the reflected glory he enjoys from being his brother's brother while playing the Red Sox? Or is it that he knows he flat out got a gift Golden Glove last year on reputation, while his aging defense made him no better than 4th in any of the major defensive metrics (and as low as 8th) in the AL? Or perhaps because nobody brought that up because somehow a worse defensive shortstop got one last year (Jeter didn't rank higher than 6th in any defensive rating)? Personally, I think he probably is smiling because he gets a great deal on that blonde frosting crap he does to his hair. Now I'm not suggesting that he gets the deal because he gives a great reach-around, but then again I'm not not suggesting it, either.

Wait, what?

2. So I couldn't sleep last night, and I decided to watch Con Air on late-night cable, despite knowing in advance that I would probably lose function of my frontal lobe for a good three or four days. However, despite the unexpected and completely arbitrary decisions of every character during every thirty second interval, there was an added something that I completely forgot about that really ruined the movie. I forgot how bad Nicolas Cage's southern accent was. I mean it was bad. Really bad. While I still think Kate Beckinsale's siezure inducing masterpiece in Van Helsing is the definitive champion in the "Worst accent in a big budget movie", Cage's loping Alabama sodomy-victim routine may in fact challenge Kevin Costner's Bostonian in Thirteen Days as the "Most distracting accent that has ruptured a blood vessel in the brain for 5% of the audience". While it is with dismay that I have to bump Mel Gibson's Braveheart from the trifecta of terrible accents, I always knew he didn't really belong there.

Also, as a side note, Cage has rigthfully assumed his place as the most two-sided actor of all time. I mean, I think the MPAA or the screen actors guild should announce with each of Cage's movie which one will be showing up, so we know whether or not the movie is going to dumben us. I mean, when you go to a Nicolas Cage movie, are you paying $9 for a Raising Arizona/Leaving Las Vegas/Adaptation quality performance? Or are you blowing your money on a Con Air/ The Rock/ Snake Eyes piece of crap acting job? Shouldn't we know this in advance, quality of the movie aside? And how is it fair that he does this to us while mixing them together in no discernable order? I mean, most actors will have stretches of great movies, and stretches of crap movies. But Cage seems to alternate, putting out crap sprinkled with good, and this is very confusing for me. The man has no career arc; one minute he is in a "funny, but not because it was supposed to be" movie, the next he is putting out an oscar-worthy performance. And this is before even attempting to classify 8mm.

2b. I guess this deserve its own mini-header, but why are there certain accents that are just impossible for actors to replicate effectively? I mean, Cage's southern accent is extremely bad, but most actors are able to approximate at least a general southern accent (that is, not specific to one state; General Lee is an entirely different story) and there are enough actors from the south to fill the roles when an good fake accent isn't available. But seriously, when was the last time you heard anyone do a fake Boston accent right? We get slowly pronounced "cahhhs" and "bahhhs" all the "toyme", but everyone seems to exagerate the annoying and obnoxious features without paying any regard to the fast pace and the fact that Bostonians are actually capable of holding functional conversations from time to time (for examples of what not to do, see: Fallon, Jimmy). And it is the same way with Eastern European accents. Everyone is so excited to have the rich and deep pronounciations of any grouping of two consonants (the richhh unnndd deeeepppp ggggggrrrooouppping...) that they over-exaggerate and end up sounding like the vampire from the Pink Panther cartoons. I mean, Kate Beckinsale and Angelina Jolie are trying to sounds seductive and exotic, but all I hear is "Bleh! Bleh bleh! Bleh!" And don't these people get lessons for months before these movies? Am I the only one who has noticed this?

3. Reviews:
Every time I see a movie of particular interest or finish a book, I've decided to put up a quick description/rating. This weekend, I did both.

Saw: Kicking and Screaming. It was about what I expected. Will Farrell does his job of acting like a physical comic, being very funny sometimes while others just being incredibly random in scenes that leaving you saying "why the hell is this in the movie?". I guess if you were planning to see this movie already, don't let me dissuade you, because you will enjoy it; if you didn't have much interest in an 80-minute SNL sketch, then don't let me talk you into it. Though I was suprised and impressed at the adequate thespian offering of a certain former coach/football analyst.

Read: "Dress Your Family in Cordoury and Denim", by David Sedaris. Also, about what was expected. This was written in the usual format of autobiographical vingettes, being both witty and inciteful. He reaches a little deeper into his bag of self-introspection than in some of his other books, and seemed to be pressing for the ackward moment a little moreso than in some of the others. You could tell he was looking for a bit more of his "why am I this way?" than the "I am this way because" with these. I felt a bit more like his psychiatrist than his dinner guest in this book. Still very good.


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