Saturday, August 4, 2012

AMANITA IS THE NAME:  With a silver medal today in the twenty kilometer race-walk (the second most-ridiculous medal sport, because they also do it for fifty), the nation of Guatemala has finally won its first Olympic medal.
GLORIOUS PISTORIUS?  Some reading material for your Olympic weekend. Open thread: 

added: With Russian's victory over Spain this morning in men's basketball, Operation Chaos is on. Assuming Brazil (2-1) beats China (0-3) today Because Brazil (now 3-1) beat China (0-4) today, Monday's Spain-Brazil (3pm EDT) game is for all the marbles ... in reverse. Loser finishes third in Group B, but gets to face teams A2 (likely France) then B1/A4 winner (likely Russia) before the Gold Medal game; the winner is rewarded with a slot in the bracket with teams A3 (likely Argentina) and then the A1/B4 winner (USA) before the Gold Medal game.  In other words, welcome to Tanksville.

Friday, August 3, 2012

I ONLY HAVE ONE QUESTION. WHY NOT STAY DEAD? THERE'S NO SHAME IN SAYING YOU LOST A STEP:  The new James Bond Skyfall trailer, as reenacted by the cast of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. (HT: Joseph J. Finn.)
KAYLA HARRISON—JUDO GOLD MEDALIST, HERO:  Just read this. (Still, it's Gabby Douglas who understandably gets the cereal box. Here's how she did it, via GIFs.)

This is an open Olympic thread.
A GUY WHO ONE-SHOTS HIS COFFEE BEFORE IT EVEN COOLS DOWN:  I apologize for having missed the last few scheduled ALOTT5MA Superstar K-POP Friday Jam updates, but when I was sent the link last Friday to PSY's "Gangam Style" video I knew it was time to restart the feature. Still, I wanted to be sure that this was knowing parody from a trickster B.U. grad (with matching lyrics) and not just an example of Westerners being amused by the WTF-ness of it all, and with that all confirmed ... it's Friday, so take some time to rock out, "Gangam Style."
BLUE SKY ON MARS: Justin Geldzahler explains why Arnold Schwarzenegger's willingness to engage in self-parody helped make Total Recall a classic which no one need have remade.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

IF THE ROOTS ARE INVOLVED, I'M ALL FOR IT: The Academy apparently wants Jimmy Fallon to host the Oscars, but ABC is less than happy with the idea of using an NBC talent as host.  Not since Letterman's disastrous hosting effort in 1995 has someone identified with another network hosted the Oscars (though syndicated and cable talk show hosts have).  Fallon could be ridiculous fun, to be sure, and would be a way to youthen the broadcast while still keeping the focus on comedy.
POGUE MA PHONE?  What happens when the NYT tech columnist loses his iPhone, but has the Find My iPhone feature (and a social media army) at his disposal?
DO THE NAMES KIT MAMBO, RENE FROMAGE, AND BOLT JENKINS RING A BELL?  I don't know what you were planning on doing for the next seventy-eight minutes, but readers of a certain age will be hit be a tidal wave of nostalgia when I tell you that the entire 1980 animated film Animalympics is available on YouTube.

Voice talent includes Gilda Radner, Billy Crystal, and Harry Shearer, and it's a pretty unbeatable combination of sports parody, soft rock music videos, and awful, horrible (which is to say wonderful) puns. Others have given this film much more thought. ("I’m more trying to figure out how a cobra took third in figure skating. Where does it put on the skate?")
WORSEMINTON: Joe Posnanski with more on the women's doubles badminton scandal:
Badminton instituted this goofy round-robin system that sometimes makes it advantageous for teams to lose. They cannot deny this. Of course, they do anyway. The Badminton World Federation made it clear on Wednesday that while, yes, there have been a couple of kinks, the system has been a big “success.”

Yes, this is like saying that, other than the tiny flaw where there’s an open exhaust port that leads right to [the] reactor that, if hit, would blow up everything, the Death Star was exceedingly well-built....

SCOTTIE, DO YOU BELIEVE THAT SOMEONE OUT OF THE PAST - SOMEONE DEAD - CAN ENTER AND TAKE POSSESSION OF A LIVING BEING? I assume many here already saw yesterday's unveiling of the decennial Sight and Sound critics survey of the Greatest Films of All Time.  Greatest? The instructions stated: “We leave that open to your interpretation. You might choose the ten films you feel are most important to film history, or the ten that represent the aesthetic pinnacles of achievement, or indeed the ten films that have had the biggest impact on your own view of cinema.” (Each critic submitted ten films, unranked.)

And for the first time since 1952, a film other than Citizen Kane topped the list, as Vertigo completed its steady rise up the canon, with the pair followed by Tokyo Story (Ozu, 1953); La Règle du jeu (Renoir, 1939); Sunrise: a Song for Two Humans (Murnau, 1927); 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968); The Searchers (Ford, 1956); Man with a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, 1929); The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dreyer, 1927); and 8 ½ (Fellini, 1963). Gone from the 2002 list? Battleship Potemkin, Singin’ In The Rain (I'm sorry: did "Make 'Em Laugh" stop making 'em laugh in the past decade?), and The Godfather/The Godfather Part II, the last of which because of a ruling that they had to be voted on separately.

What can one say about this list? When you have criteria which bend towards Important, this is what you get, and as Ebert argues this is even more so when there's one film per-director which seems to have already been agreed up as canon. (Francis Ford Coppola, in particular, gets screwed because of a three-way divide as to his most Important film, instead placing three between 14-31.) These are great films, though, and in particular I'd recommend The Searchers and Man with a Movie Camera to those who haven't seen them.

But as Mark Harris and Linda Holmes each tweeted last night, I'm less interested in this list than I am in each critic's list of films #11-20, the quirkier, more idiosyncratic list of personal favorites. Of films that are fun. Show me the list that appreciates Raiders of the Lost Ark and has an "also receiving votes" mention of South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, and I'll have much more to say.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

IT'S A STORY ... FOR THE ALOTT5MA UNNECESSARY REMAKES DESK:  CBS is developing a Brady Bunch for a new generation, with a grown-up, divorced-with-kids Bobby Brady replicating his father's history by marrying a woman with children from her previous marriage and blending their families, only this time the exes remain in the picture and the couple has a new child of their own. Vince Vaughn, his sister Victoria, and Peter Billingsley (?!) to exec-produce.

(Related: Bill Simmons' 2009 proposal of remaking Cheers with Vince Vaughn in the Sam Malone role.)
SEE ME (THIRTY-THREE YEARS LATER), FEEL ME (OKAY, A LITTLE WRINKLIER NOW):  Thirty-three years ago, as yet unindicted Providence Mayor Buddy Cianci cancelled a scheduled concert by The Who, citing safety concerns after the Cincinnati stampede. The show was not rescheduled. Those still holding onto their tickets for that show, however, can now redeem them for free seats to see the band perform Quadrophenia at the Dunkin Donuts Center in February, and the fourteen 1979 tickets already turned in will be auctioned on eBay for the benefit of Special Olympics of Rhode Island.
WHILE BALTIMORE OBSERVES AN OLYMPIC TRUCE: McKayla Maroney vaulting in super slo-mo. A badminton scandal and a 25-23 third set in men's tennis. Michael Phelps wins gold again at the ancient age of 27 (and whether he screwed up on the 200 fly), and the Fab Five is fab indeed. What more do you want -- a headline as wonderfully ethnocentric as my Ha'aretz favorite from 2008?

added more: Mayor Boris Johnson gets stuck on a zip line, and we have the video.

added: More badminton scandal coverage, as SI properly asks whether this is any different than what NBA teams do every year in trying to land a more favorable playoff draw, with an eye towards whether Olympic men's basketball teams will be doing the same thing to avoid the USA team for as long as possible.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

WHO AM I (WHAT'S MY NAME)? Although any celebrity name change is probably worthy grist for the mill around here, I was a little hesitant to jump on Snoop Dogg's decision to change his name to Snoop Lion since it was part of his being Born Again. We try to avoid the political, as you know, but I think that encompasses the theological, too.

That said, when I read that he was Born Again as the spirit of Bob Marley and means to release a Reggae CD, I figured we were in the clear.
GAME'S THE SAME; JUST GOT MORE FIERCE:  Show of hands: continue with Wire Wednesday tomorrow ("Homecoming," episode 3.6), or observe a two-week Olympic truce?
BEST MALE PLATFORM DIVER OVER 250 POUNDS:  If you don't listen to Slate's Hang Up and Listen sports podcast, you should, and they have a particularly good idea this week for sprucing up the Olympic Gamesalmost as good as my Closing Ceremonies Gold Medal Dodgeball proposal. Why not take the concept of athlete size classes, which creates multiple medal competitions in the fighting and lifting events, and expand them into other disciplines?  Who wouldn't want to see the best high jumper who's 5'5" or shorter, or the best gymnastic floor exercise from a man the size of an NFL tight end?  How far can an 110 pound woman hurl a discus, and what nation can amass the best 6'0" and under men's basketball team?

Open thread for today's Olympics, including the ladies team gymnastics final, and the best in NBC censorship of male divers.
IF THERE'S AN INSPECTOR SPACETIME CATEGORY, THEY'RE GOING TO BE GANGBUSTERS:In something sure to make readers of this blog happy, not only is GSN bringing back Pyramid, but Yvette Nicole Brown and Danny Pudi will be among the first celebrity players.  (Though short-sleeved dress shirt and tie, Danny?  Really?)

Monday, July 30, 2012

MR. WORLDWIDE:  The rapper/entrepreneur Pitbull indeed went to Kodiak, Alaska today.
PITHIER, SNARKIER, BITTER-ER:  So here's an Olympic proposal: as part of the Closing Ceremonies, every gold medal winner should be gathered on the field (and wearing the attire in which each medaled) for a huge-ass game of dodgeball. Gymnasts, boxers, sailors, fencers, shotputters and weightlifters in a free-for-all.  Will the members of the larger teams (soccer, basketball) turn on each other? Will shoe endorsement loyalty trump nation? Flavor Flav-sized gold medal for the winner.

Open thread for tonight's broadcast competition, as well as the bullshit which happened to the South Korean semifinalist in women's épée today (more here), and no, this still doesn't make up for Roy Jones Jr. getting screwed.
LILY, YOUR COUSIN OLIVER WILL BE MOVING IN WITH US:  Now that the Modern Family grownups have done so, Nolan Gould, Rico Rodriguez, and Ariel Winter are seeking to renegotiate their deals.
SECOND COMES RIGHT AFTER FIRST: Thank you, NBC sports, for a shot-for-shot remake of the timeless Ryan Lochte 400M IM medal ceremony of two days ago. As there, it was important that during the medal ceremony for the 100M Women's Butterfly I never have my television screen fouled with having to look at either the Chinese silver medalist or the Australian winner of the bronze. The pride those athletes might have had in seeing their own flags raised would have been too much to bear. The Olympic spirit was much better suited by an unchanging close up shot of Dana Vollmer's lovely face.

(Also, Dana Vollmer - Go Bears!)