Monthly Archives: May 2010

Celebrating Clint Eastwood

“The old dreams were good dreams.  They didn’t work out but I’m glad I had them.” (The Bridges of Madison County).

“The thing that haunts a man the most is what he isn’t ordered to do.” (Gran Torino).

Clint Eastwood’s 80th birthday and Memorial Day on the same day.  How many times does such a coinciding take place?  I wrote an article about Mr. Eastwood for FilmThreat.  Click here to see a screencap of it on the homepage.  I’m copying and pasting an excerpt below:

Comparing Clint Eastwood to his contemporaries, Jonathan Heaf astutely observes in the March 2010 issue of British GQ, “Paul Newman was always too smooth, Marlon Brando too pretty; Steve McQueen too much of a hothead,” but “there is a stylish nonchalance about Eastwood; he drives home fervour [sic] and conviction without so much as flickering a smouldering [sic] cheroot from one corner of his mouth to the other” (100). Robert Redford, if I may add, was too untroubled.

Eastwood was an infant in the 1930s, a young man during the late 40s, and an indisputable movie star by the 70s. Having worked as both actor and director for Warner Brothers for thirty-five years, Eastwood has collaborated with great talents such as Telly Savalas, Donald Sutherland, Hal Holbrook, Blake Edwards, Burt Reynolds, Rip Torn, Madeline Kahn, Bernadette Peters, Raul Julia, Tom Skerritt, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, Richard Harris, Ed Harris, Laura Linney, Scott Glenn, Kevin Spacey, James Woods, Tommy Lee Jones, James Garner, Marcia Gay Harden, Jeff Daniels, Anjelica Huston, Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Laurence Fishburne, and Hilary Swank.

When I initially decided to write an article about Clint Eastwood in celebration of his 80th birthday, which also coincides with Memorial Day 2010, I had planned to incorporate biographical, historical, and thematic analyses of his body of work.  After seeing “The Bridges of Madison County,” (Eastwood, 1995), “Dirty Harry” (Don Siegel, 1971), “A Fistful of Dollars“(Sergio Leone, 1964) and “Gran Torino” (Eastwood, 2008), though, I realized that any attempt to illustrate with the written word the man’s brilliance and significance would not do him sufficient justice.  The proper and most satisfying way to appreciate his achievements is to watch his films.

Furthermore, the adage about being a man of few words fits Clint Eastwood’s onscreen presence. He doesn’t say much, but when he does, he is profound. My hope is that in sharing with you my impressions, instead of densely packed summaries and praises, your own budding (or continuing) acquaintanceship with Eastwood’s contributions to filmmaking will be more personal.

Read the rest of the article here.

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Read more about Clint Eastwood here, here, here, and here.   Or, if you’d prefer something less “binding,” hop on over here.   While you’re at Senses of Cinema, take a moment to read Dean Brandum’s piece on Dennis Hopper.

You think only Madden knows football?

More specifically, is Madden NFL the right way to experience mediated, participatory gridiron game-play?  According to this Yahoo article, there’s more than one way to make a touchdown, tackle, interception or sack with circuitry, software, and a controller.  Its name is Backbreaker.  The Jonas Brothers and Madden NFL are roughly the same age (using an average of their birth years–late 80s through early 90s).  By the time Backbreaker reaches ten years of age, two of the J. Bros will be old enough to run for the US Senate.

Detour: Nick Jonas as part of the USC Trojans.

Retour:

Joe Dodson, the article’s author, discusses how BackBreaker differs from Madden in the aesthetic, functional, and game-play areas.  What I found particularly intriguing was that, “Backbreaker football is that it uses an up close and personal camera perspective to put you right in the middle of a given play. Instead of following the action from a bird’s eye view a la Madden, you’ll look right over your player’s shoulder” and “Instead of relying on motion capture, the Euphoria engine uses physics to figure out how every collision would actually happen.”

I’ve never played Madden but have seen other people do it.  Whenever I go to Best Buy and walk towards the video game section, I always linger around the large screens that have on Madden.  Be it demo or an actual person at the controller, I can’t help but pause and momentarily lose myself in the images.  Yes, the Skycam perspective can grow pedestrian as we become accustomed to its gliding, swooping movements.  Yes, being above the plays and not in them can dilute the sense of interactivity, nonetheless, that above is a privileged position.

And now for an IGN review of Madden NFL 10:

Whether or not being in the herd and on the field make for a better playing experience is entirely up to the individual.  You can watch a Backbreaker trailer on the Yahoo page.  Do you enjoy feeling as though you and your player are two collaborative but separate entities, that you are controlling his every decision and every movement?  or do you prefer a point-of-view that simulates becoming one with your player?  I never thought I’d make a reference to that James Cameron picture in a blog post, but I find it a fitting analogy, so here goes:  In other words, would you want to be fully awake and outside of the avatar you are moving? or, would you elect to go into a sleep-state so that you could be puppeteer and puppet in the same body?

Actually, that’s not an ideal comparison.  If Backbreaker were a virtual reality football video-game, then I could apply the avatar concept.  Well, same question.  As a matter of fact, let’s pretend that virtual reality football vide0-game exists.  Would it enhance or distract from fantasy football?  I think it would be kind of cool; role-playing sports video game that isn’t “standing” around thinking about strategy.  You could tackle someone a time zone away and not worry about turf toe or horse collaring.

J. Bros and U Troj pix creds: google image search

Off Topic: Today’s Verse 40

I’d like to ring a round of rosies,
in essence to go colorblind
to limitations on entrance and exits signs
that you so easily designed

Find a tooth-comb armory,
resplendent in nitrous gear
petal smiles atop slow-motion steps
feasibly alarmed
to intangible boundary lines

I ask for the carving of a miracle,
scientific fiction diversion
in practice
I guard the firing chimes

in a bottomless merchant dive.

–yiqi 27 may 7:57 AM

His cool suede boots

Thematically and narratively similar to the Highlight of my Taco Mac bench and the Highlights of my Dane, I had a wonderful conversation with a stranger this mid-morning in my trip to my nearest Starbux location.  Firstly, an unbelievably handsome, strapping lad with very good posture opened the door for me.  Secondly, I saw a father and son standing in front of the pastry display case.  The father let me order first.   He was holding his son in the crook of his left arm, so I had a perfect view of the son’s brown suede boots.  They were too cool for Tool, similar to but not exactly like this one:

I remarked, “His boots are so cool.  If I were a boy his age, I’d want shoes just like those.”

The boy’s father thanked me and then said to his son, “What do we say? What do we say when talking to an adult?”

The boy looked up at me, smiling shyly and said, “Thank you.”

The father explained why his son was wearing those particular boots and noted that Lowes stores are better organized in terms of presentation of merchandise but service is much better at Home Depot–the employees are more knowledgeable and actually acknowledge your presence.

The father was tall and looked like a mix between Roger Goodell and George Peppard.

I live for these moments.

Proud to be an Emory Eagle

We may not have a football team, but we’ve got a mighty fine business school, med school, law school, and the coolest unofficial mascot and university spirit: Lord James W. Dooley (he shook my hand once during a Rathskellar show a few years ago).

There may not be any touchdowns, field goals, interceptions, roughing the passer penalties, chop-blocks, horse-collar calls, or two-minute warnings on school grounds, but my alma mater is as invested in competitive sports and the legacy of athletic achievement as any other great institution for higher learning.   Baseball anyone (felicitations, Mr. Andrew Cohn, you awesome infielder, you)?

The Spring 2010 issue of Emory Magazine came in the mail today and what should be on the cover but the backside of a male swimmer–hands on hips too.  Check out the stance:

It’s not just the cover; the entire issue includes feature articles on what Emory alum are doing in the healing, sharing, and bolstering of recreational and professional sports.

Click here for an excerpt.

Click here for a glimpse of the facing page.  An excerpt from the article:

Rosenzweig also is one of the senior executives heading up NBA Entertainment, a sprawling division with six hundred employees that has grown into one of the world’s largest TV and internet sports production companies.  The unit generates a wide range of products and services for both the NBA and the WNBA, producing weekly shows including NBA Inside Stuff, NBA Access with Ahmad Rashad, and NBA Jam.  It develops content for the league’s TV channel, NBA TV; NBA.com; and other sports outlets that are sent to 215 countries around the world.  With more than three million still photos and decades’ worth of game videos in its archives, it’s an official repository of league history.  The division has shrewdly exploited this asset, licensing copyrighted materials to publishers, filmmakers, TV production companies, and other media companies.

An excerpt:

Find out more about Emory swimming here.

To visit this museum, I might just be motivated enough to hop on a plane.

Ben Shpigel writes about the Yankees for the New York Times.

Another reason to love Emory’s place in sports history: Bobby Jones.

Click here for more information on the collection.

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rushed

The episode of Frontline that aired Tuesday night makes want to help, somehow.  Donating money to the right organizations, sure, I could do that, but I’d rather offer some of my time and what I deem to be one of my talents: lending a non-judgmental ear.   Non-PTSD friends and strangers alike tell me I get them to think about things they never have before…couldn’t there be some kind of benefit in having someone who, precisely because they cannot comprehend what it feels like to have seen, heard, smelled, and felt what 21st century war vets have, won’t be confined by preconceived notions?  The Wounded Platoon.