Sunday, June 29, 2008

¡Viva España!

Since my occupation is essentially stay-at-home dad, I was able to watch the entire UEFA Euro 2008 tournament. Though I tend to root against European teams in international competition, it was still a fun little tournament and I got into it. To me, the big story had to be Turkey. Their three come from behind victories and narrow defeat at the hands of Germany provided for some very entertaining soccer. I also found a great deal of enjoyment watching the Netherlands destroy France and Italy in back-to-back games. The other major story was Spain's ability to finally win a major international tournament for the time in several decades. Truth be told, I found myself rooting for Germany in the final even though I dislike Jans Lehman, who essentially pulled a Rex Grossman as his team got to the finals despite his best efforts. I'm not disappointed that Spain won, it's just that I can't bring myself to root for teams with hair like this and Spain was third only to Italy and Czech Republic in that department (for those of you keeping score at home, Argentina is world champs of bad soccer hair).

The TV coverage was decent. Adrian Healy, Derek Rae, Tommy Smyth and Andy Gray are all solid broadcasters. I thought it was a little cheap on the part of ESPN, however, that none of them was actually in Europe. Rather, they just gave their commentary from the studio in Connecticut.

One final thought: it was interesting how good Brazil looked in this tournament. That is to say, the many Brazilian players who found loopholes to become eligible to play for these European countries looked good. It gets me all the more excited for the World Cup in Serth Efrica in 2010.

Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin: 1937-2008

Entertainment News bids farewell to actor/comedian George Carlin. Probably best known for his comedic routine "Seven Dirty Words," Carlin seemed to make a living out of pushing the envelope. There were, however, two notable exceptions: his role as Rufus on Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure in 1989 and his replacing Ringo Starr as Mr. Conductor on Shining Time Station in 1991.
On a smaller scale, Carlin also made a voice appearance on The Simpsons in 1998 as Munchie, Homer's mother's hippie friend. More recently, Carlin had been returning to his roots and doing stand up routines. Most of the clips available online contain language that is probably a bit too strong for the likes of a web log like this one, but below is a clip (5:36) of George on Letterman in 1997.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

More from the AFI

The last time the American Film Institute visited our home via the airwaves, it was sharing its list of the 100 Greatest American Films. Yesterday, the Institute returned, this time to rank the Top 10 movies from "10 Classic Genres." See the results here. There was nothing too surprising. Essentially they just took the top 100 films and separated them into genres. I find it hard to disagree too much with the Top 10 lists for Animation, Romantic Comedy, Western, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Gangster, Courtroom Drama, and Epic movies. My problems lie with the Sports and Fantasy categories. I admit I was a little confused by the qualifications for the Fantasy genre. It just seemed odd to me that Big and Lord of the Rings would be considered part of the same genre. And the sports list was populated with films that are barely even sports related. Since when is billiards a sport? Just because ESPN broadcasts it doesn't make it one, or poker and spelling bees would be considered sports. My only other comment on the 10 Top 10, would be that one of the "Classic Genres" should have been World Ward II movies. I would be interested in seeing a list of 20-25 definitive WWII films covering such topics as the European Theater, the Pacific Theater, prison camps and so forth.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Entertainer of the Month: Jason Statham

Entertainment News' Entertainer of the Month of June is former Olympic diver and male model turned action movie star Jason Statham. You probably best know him as Handsome Rob from The Italian Job or as the title character in the Transporter movies, or perhaps as Bacon in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. No matter, Jason Statham is synonymous with movies that can be summed up in three words: Big Dumb Fun. As he himself once said, "You ain't ever gonna get an Academy Award for doing Crank and you certainly won't for doing all the other movies I've done." It's refreshing to see an actor who doesn't mind being type cast. Speaking of which, here is a little game I put together. Below are two columns. The first column contains 10 Jason Statham movies in order of their release. The second column has the taglines from the posters of those movies in random order. See if you can match them up correctly. Then check your answers here.
The Transporter
The Italian Job
Transporter 2
In the Name of the King
The Bank Job
Transporter 3
The true story of a heist gone wrong... in all the right ways.
Poison in his veins. Vengeance in his heart.
Rules are made to be broken
The best in the business is back in the game.
If the signal dies so does she.
One wants justice, the other wants revenge.
Stealin' Stones and Breakin' Bones
This time, the rules are the same. Except one.
Rise and fight
Steal the day
While playing that game, you might have said to yourself, "Hey, I don't remember seeing Transporter 3." Well, it doesn't come out until November (see the trailer below, 0:54), but it's one of many sequels Statham has in the pipeline including Crank 2: High Voltage and The Brazilian Job. Also watch for him later this year in Death Race, a remake of the 1975 Sylvester Stallone movie Death Race 2000 (Tagline: "In the year 2000 hit and run driving is no longer a felony. It's the national sport!"). So that should be fun.

So as long as there is a need for over-choreographed fight sequences to bridge the gap in movies between explosions and high-speed gun fights, there will always be a place in Hollywood for the likes of Jason Statham.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Let the Fiery Madness Begin

Euro 2008, the world's fourth most watched sporting event in any given four-year period (behind the World Cup, the Summer Olympics, the Winter Olympics, but ahead of the Super Bowl) is underway in Austria and Switzerland. Since I have no horse in the race, I will jump on Croatia's bandwagon because their team's anthem is "Fiery Madness" (seen below, 3:56) and it was written by their coach. I will have more comments on Euro 2008 at the tournament's conclusion.