What A Weekend!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on September 19, 2010 by Will Link

What a great weekend for movies!

First off Catfish opened which we all know we can’t talk about yet — but I love that a film like this is out and producing such discussion and conjecture.

Then the two films that lead the weekend box office are both such great films. The Town is fantastic and really shows how good a director Affleck is. It’s suspenseful, smart and action packed. Glad to see a film for adults with fantastic performances lead the box office.

Then Easy A is such a charming, delightful and funny film. All the reviews are saying how Emma Stone is becomes a star with this film and they are right! You can’t help but fall in love with her. Thank God for another intelligent portrayal of a teenage girl. It was so much fun.

After a gloomy summer, the fall season is starting off great. With the slick looking Wall Street 2 and the already much talked about Social Network in the next two weeks I think it might continue.

I’ve been gone from posting for awhile…but maybe I’m back…

Advertisements

“The Boss”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on July 13, 2010 by Will Link

  Every sports fan of every sports team would want George Steinbrenner to own their franchise. That’s because he only cared about one thing – winning. Everything he did was towards the goal of bringing New York as many championships as possible. Sometime his moves were right on, often they were misguided, but always it was about winning. George Steinbrenner died today at 80 years old. I don’t know what more I can add that hasn’t been reported on news outlets, ESPN and the New York Daily News, so I will be brief in my thoughts.

Yankee fans will always love him for restoring the franchise to its former greatness. Baseball fans will always look at him as a polarizing figure that gobbled up all the big free agents, fired managers for no reason and some would say represented what was wrong with baseball. But Steinbrenner was good for baseball. He revolutionized the way baseball handled its regionalized television networks with YES. He always played by the rules and bought those free agents with money made off the team. Unlike too many small market owners in baseball he invested back into the Yankees. Often he had to pay a high luxury tax to smaller teams who in turn didn’t seem to put that tax money on the field. He bought the Yankees for 10 million and turned it into an empire worth billions – easily one of the great investments of all time. He knew how to run a successful franchise, something these other owners could use a lesson in.

For my birthday I was given Bill Madden’s new biography of Steinbrenner called Steinbrenner: The Last Lion of Baseball.  I only started it this week. Reading it now will have a layer of sadness to it. There will never be another owner who can capture the imagination of sports fans like George Steinbrenner.

“Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, welcome…to Yankee Stadium”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on July 11, 2010 by Will Link

  If there is a God, his voice would have to sound like Bob Sheppard. It was articulate, concise, formal and legendary. As it boomed over the PA at Yankees Stadium it felt like it was coming down from heaven. It captured the attention of 56,000 fans as if it was the most important message in the world – when in reality all it was saying was “number two, Derek Jeter, number two…”

Bob Sheppard died yesterday at the age of 99. He was the Yankee PA announcer for 57 years and even was given a plaque in Yankees Monument Park along side legends like Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. That’s how important he was to the history of the New York Yankees and New York sports in general. How many PA announcers are known by name? He was a voice of respect in times of crisis, be it to calm unruly fans or inform us to offer a moment of silence after the loss of an ex-player, beloved entertainment icon or even a President.  

In his first game he announced a lineup that included Joe DiMaggio. That’s how long he did his job. In September 2007 he had to step down due to a bronchial infection but in every fans heart we believed he would return, especially in 2009 for the opening of the new stadium. Alas it was not to be. That said his spirit, his voice, carried over to the new stadium in all the fans hearts and minds. No matter who is the PA announcer in the years to come, in every fans head before a game begins we will hear the voice of God saying: “Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, welcome…to Yankee Stadium.”

Love: Internet Style

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on July 5, 2010 by Will Link

So I’ve gotten back into the world of online dating after a two year hiatus. It’s become almost impossible to meet people in reality and for the last few years that’s what I’ve been trying. Not that I haven’t met or dated some wonderful people but they are few and far between. Today if you want to meet someone you need to sign up for an online dating site because that’s where people met. No woman wants to be bothered in reality and why would she when even a half way attractive girl must get hundreds of messages.  Granted as a friend pointed out many of those are from creeps with a foot fetish but still, there are opportunities out there for women.

First of all this time I’m on ok cupid as opposed to match. I had some success with match. I went on a lot of dates but few that stuck. I went on four dates with a really cute really funny comedian who then just disappeared on me as women often do (she felt bad about this and did give me a Watchmen t-shirt as a parting gift but I still would have rather fondled her breasts). I also dated this really nice Jewish girl for a few months because you know I’m all about the Semitic good looks. It was one of those I really like you and the sex is great but it’s not going to work relationships. You know them and have been in them before – there is just something that isn’t quite compatible in your conversation or what you’re looking for in life. She had a steady high paying job and I live the bohemian lifestyle. I think she realized my heart wasn’t in it and preemptively ended it rather than just let it fizzle out. But I didn’t begrudge match…I just knew that I didn’t want to pay again for online dating. And ok cupid is not only free but the women are better. They seem more artsy/creative. They also seem more interesting in what they write on their profiles and even more sexual with how they answer questions.

That said I find for every ten women I message I get one response back. A first I thought it was because of what I wrote or what my profile says or my face. But that’s just me being me. What I think it really is is that A. I’m not for everyone and 2. Women don’t have to worry about not getting dates like I do. This is why a message a man sends might come of desperate, trying too hard. We need the date. The woman on the other hand can respond to any of these messages she gets and the men will take them out 1, 2, 3. I know a girl who basically uses the site to get a free dinner and maybe if the guy is cool something will happen. Mostly it’s the free dinner. Men don’t get messaged as much, however I have been winked at or messaged more on this site in a few weeks than I ever was on match, again leading me to believe these women are cooler than the match women. That said half of these are old women. They are I believe the term is “cougars.” And these aren’t Courtney Cox Cougar Town type cougars who I would at least consider sleeping with – these are gray haired, over weight, late 40’s early 50 year olds who I imagine have hysterectomy scars. Look, they need love too… just not from me.

Another thing that is funny is that the same people who always tell me about love, “Don’t look for it, it will find you” are same people who told me to sign up for this site. Fuck you! Don’t you realize that when you are on a site you are actively looking for love? Yes I know that people claim things happen when you least expect it but I’m sorry I’ve never bought that. You have to go out and search for things, fight for things, even love. The problem with love is that if you are searching too hard you look desperate and that is a turn off – but the point still holds true. If I stayed in or never left my inner circle of friends how could I ever meet anyone new? Love wouldn’t just find me. I have to go up to that girl at a party and talk to her or in the online dating terms “wink” at her. (By the by, I would never “wink” at someone on ok cupid. It’s a pussy move that accomplishes nothing. Just send a message and hope for the best.)

So, I’ll keep you in the loop if something crazy or awful happens or even if I find true love. It will be an adventure. A great big horrible adventure.

Where Have You Gone Courtney Love?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on July 5, 2010 by Will Link

 I was watching a great Behind the Music this morning (on a lazy post 4th where I realized I had to get back to blogging). You remember Behind the Music, a show that at one time everyone would watch. Well, it’s back…or still on…I’m not sure. Point is it was two hours on Courtney Love. Courtney Love was one of the greatest female rock stars of all time and the first three Hole albums are fucking awesome. She lived a very “rock n’ roll” life filled with drugs, crazy performances and a marriage to Kurt Cobain – maybe the greatest rock/grunge star of my era. Watching the show I realized that it’s amazing that Courtney is as well adjusted as she is (yeah…I know) considering the acid she was given as a child and all the abandonment form her parents. I understand why she is the way she is. However watching her stage dive in her babydoll dresses  and seeing interviews behind the stage at the MTV Video Awards with her and Kurt Cobain made me think more about the rock star and how we don’t have people like her or Kurt or Trent Reznor, Scott Weiland or any of the people from the 90’s anymore.

There is a song that comes on the radio all the time. The lyrics go something like this:

“Falling falling falling”

I don’t know who sings it; I just know I hate it. Jarrod however, really hates it.  Like he wants it to stop forever. To him it epitomizes all that is shitty with music. Now I am not going to go on about how there is no good music today because there is. Sometimes you have to look really hard to find it. Sometimes it’s just not in the rock genre. But the rock genre does lack something – passion. When I was watching Hole perform in these old clips, as Courtney Love snarls lyrics like:

“I am the one you want, can’t look you in the eye”

There is a passion, anger behind it. This is a woman hurt, wounded like the rest of us by life. She has turned that pain into art and we love her for it. When Kurt Cobain would scream “Rape me” there was real angst behind it. You felt something. Now let’s look at a rock band of today called Kings of Leon. When they sings something like “Use somebody” in theory that is a sentiment that can have angst or real meaning behind it. That is an idea that can have passion. But I don’t believe it like I believe the pain in Kurt or Eddie Vedder or Billy Corgan. Is it because I first heard them when I was a teen? Maybe but I don’t think teens today are moved by the music of say Muse like they were by Nirvana. And if the lead singer of Muse killed himself I don’t think teachers the next day would talk to their students about it to make sure we were all ok. I remember a teacher talking to us, concerned about how we felt after Kurt died. Is there anyone who would cause this reaction today? Sure if Miley Cyrus shot herself I’m sure there would be a grief counselor to chat with female tweens but she isn’t about angst, meaning or passion. She is sunshine and bubble gum and that’s fine but rock music is about lashing out, alienation, defiance and so on. When Kurt sang something like “Rape Me” you understood it, felt it and maybe were a little disgusted by it. You were put in his place mentally because of how passionate it was. “Falling falling” just doesn’t have the same passion. And again who sings that fucking song? And if you know the band do you really know who the lead singer is? We don’t know rock front men like we used to.

Somewhere along the way the rock stars burned out and the new bad boys became hip hop and rap stars. I don’t begrudge them or their genre of music. In fact good for them. But why can’t the rock stars catch up again? The 90’s chewed up and spit out many of these rock icons. They peeked. Was it drugs? Probably. Am I saying we need more rock stars on drugs? Maybe. Everyone peeks. The Stones still rock but their best work is far behind. I guess the same goes for Courtney Love. There is a reason I didn’t buy the newest Hole or Smashing Pumpkins albums and these were bands I loved as a teen. In the last decade the only male driven musician I got really into was Jack White probably because he had a different sound and was embraced by the stars of my generation and the generation before (see Jimmy Page). The women are the real rock stars of today. When I watch a Karen O on stage I see a real rock star. Rilo Kiley does the Fleetwood Mac thing perfectly and a song like “Does He Love You?” puts you in her headspace and makes you understand what she’s going through more than any “rock” song on the radio. Amy Winehouse is another great example. Granted she’s not really rock rock but neither is the best example of rock star behavior today – Lady Gaga.  Yes, maybe I drink too much of the Gaga Kool-Aid but with good reason. She is a pop star who much like Madonna did, acts like a rock star. She puts on a crazy stage show, keeps her name in the papers for reasons that don’t over take her talent and she sings with passion. When she sings a song like “Just Dance” yes, it’s a silly pop song about being drunk in a club and not giving a shit but it’s made from a real place and puts you in that club. You feel like you have been dancing and drinking all night and are a complete mess but don’t give a fucking shit. What’s more rock than that? And even though I guess she’s pop, she’s clearly more rock than her pop contemporaries, Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera and (yuck) Britney Spears.  I think this is why she has been embraced by the other generations of pop/rock stars like Madonna, Elton John and Marilyn Manson.

Why has this past decade produced calm rock stars? Rock stars have always pushed boundaries until now. Elvis shaking his hips. Jimmi Hendrix lighting his guitar on fire. Ozzy biting the head of a bat or bird or whatever. What happened? When and why did this turn?

All over the Courtney Love Behind the Music I saw two friendly familiar faces: Kurt Loder and Tabitha Soren. MTV is what I really miss. Kurt Loder was shown breaking in talking about Cobain’s death. Tabitha was shown interviewing Courtney asking real questions about her mental wellbeing. What happened MTV? Is it because rock music sucks or are you part of the problem? You would show a mix back in the day. I remember seeing Guns and Roses videos after Run DMC videos after Michael Jackson videos. Not only were they all great but the videos were too. They were events. Has anyone even seen the video for that “falling” song? No but I bet you saw the video for “Bad Romance.” If not that I’m sure you can recall a Kanye video or something with Justin Timberlake. Rock music is not “dead” but it’s an endangered spices. We need to produce new rock stars and fast! I thought with the world being the way it is and after the last administration we would have gotten some real passionate music like we did in the 60’s during Vietnam, the late 70’s punk after Nixon/pre Reagan or the 90’s with grunge post 80’s materialism. Instead grunge lead to new metal like Limp Bizket and a lame sound like “falling.” (Please…do you know the fucking song I’m talking about?  It’s on car commercials and shit! Who sings it!!!???)We live in an angsty time and yet all we want is distractions and escapism. Instead of looking at ourselves like the films and music of the late 60’s forced us to – we prefer escapist songs and movies. I get why but what does it say about our culture and society? Are we destined to be remembered as an era that just stuck our heads in the sand? That’s us – the ostrich generation.

The Burden of the Wealthy

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on June 23, 2010 by Will Link

Jarrod and I always tune into Larry King because the man is a joke. He asks not only softball questions but all the wrong softball questions. He also cuts people off mid sentence to throw to some package celebrating his own career. Let’s face it, if he was just starting out today he’d be laughed off the air. That said he has some history behind him which can on occasion be used for good. Like Monday night, he had a telethon to help the gulf coast region that has been destroyed by this awful terrible oil leak.

I for one was glad to see there was a telethon for this unprecedented disaster. I found it a little funny that when Haiti was destroyed Hollywood went into crisis mode and organized a lot of people and money to help but when American citizens were losing a way of life and an entire region has been destroyed for possibly generations, nothing was happening in the donating realm. Yes, I know there are many differences including that BP should be the ones spending all their money to fix their “mistake.” That said part of me feels like we should make sure our own are taken care of before Haiti – maybe this is cruel but I don’t think so. At the end of the day it was nice that we did have a (small) telethon for the gulf and there is no reason why we shouldn’t have one for Haiti and Chile and everyone who needs help. It’s good to help the less fortunate whenever possible.

However, a guy a work brought something up and I would love to get others takes on it. He said he didn’t like that celebrities (his example was Jennifer Aniston so let’s use her) who have everything urge people like me and him who have nothing, to give money. He said that they make millions and Jennifer should give a million bucks to help and call it a day. Now I get why he says this because I do have very little and can’t afford to give. However even if Jen gave a million bucks, she can’t give a million to every cause on earth. She needs to get other to give. Politically active celebs need to inform others and set an example of giving…hence a telethon. Now if Jen told us all to give and gave nothing, she’s a fucking hypocrite. That said it’s not like her salary for The Bounty Hunter will save the infrastructure of Haiti.   

This always brings up my least favorite subject when it comes to celebrity. It mostly occurs in the sports world but can also occur when an actor gets paid 20 million a picture. It’s the “These people make too much money” argument. Everyone always cries that A-Rod or Tom Cruise makes so much money and it’s such a waste. This is stupid. They deserve to make just as much money as the market dictates just as you deserve to make just as much money as the market dictates. A-Rod has a skill that is valuable. The Yankees pay him based on his worth, that worth being the money he gives back to them in ticket sales, merchandising and of course championships. He is worth every penny he makes.

The thing I hate about the “too much money” argument is that the people who make it seem to imply the money would go to something more worthy. The money Tom Cruise got for his latest Mission Impossible film was not going to feed orphans. It wasn’t going to help AIDS in Africa or build a school in Haiti – no matter what it was going to go to the making of a movie. So unless you want to abolish all entertainment then shut up. Yes I agree teachers are underpaid. My mother is a teacher and I think it might be the most important work one should do – but teachers are never going to make Tom Cruise money. I’m sorry they won’t. Tom Cruise makes Tom Cruise money because he is more unique – a movie star who opens a film worldwide. I’m sure he gives back too. I’m sure if you look he donates money every year to worthy charities. But he shouldn’t do that alone just because he makes millions more than you or I ever will.

If you said should I take these millions to build schools or make Transformers 3, I of course will say schools. But this isn’t an option and never will be. So let the movie stars and athletes make their money and let’s just all give what we can to help who we can.

Pixar is Just Better

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on June 21, 2010 by Will Link

 The great Zack Fox warned me that the tears would just sneak up on me. He said that in Up you see them coming from a mile away but you cry anyway. In Toy Story 3 you don’t see them coming and then – water works. I knew this and I still cried like a baby. So did the woman behind me. So did they guy in the corner of the theater. So did the two teenage girls as I exited.

You know what else sneaks up on me every year – Pixar. Every year they release a new film that I say is a no brainer to see but I don’t really think about it too much going in. I don’t regard them with the same hype as I do an Inception or Avatar. Then I see them and I laugh, cry, sit on the edge of my seat and of course put them on the short list of the year’s best. Pixar just makes better films than everyone else. At their least they are just a good time with laughs like Cars. Often they are groundbreaking like the original Toy Story or Finding Nemo. But more often they are pure brilliance – The Incredibles, Wall E, Up and now Toy Story 3.

Toy Story 3 might be the best of the trilogy. The themes are stronger, the action is more thrilling and the laughs are just as big as in any comedy today. This is the case with Pixar’s storytelling in general…especially their last few works. Pixar consistently tells intelligent stories with real emotions. I don’t remember the last time I found myself so far on the edge of my seat, with genuine terror and concern for characters as I was during the last act of Toy Story 3. There is a moment towards the end when the toys accept their fate and join together that says everything about true friendship better than any film in recent memory. This moment also ties into themes of love and death that will go over the heads of little ones but you might never forget. And that’s why Pixar is better than everyone else, because they find a way to make you feel all these emotions through these characters while retaining a story that is both heartwarming and kid friendly. I haven’t even mentioned the moments that follow, moments every adult in the crowd can relate to – growing up and letting go. The ending is beautiful, bittersweet and beyond perfect.  It’s a four star film everyone should go see.

Now I went to see it in traditional 2D because you know my takes on 3D:

 https://willlink.wordpress.com/2010/02/25/watching-paint-dry%e2%80%a6now-in-3d/

Again Avatar 3D impressed but I still regret seeing Alice in Wonderland in 3D. Toy Story in 2D looked amazing just like every Pixar films does.

I doubt 3D would have made me sit on the edge of my seat more. I know it wouldn’t have made me laugh more and it certainly wouldn’t have made me cry harder. Those are the reasons I go to the movies, to laugh, cry and sit on the edge of my seat. No overpriced technology can add to that.