Daily Archives: January 16, 2010

NFL Playoffs 2010: the Colts dance all over the Ravens

Televised by CBS, the Baltimore Ravens and the Indianapolis Colts tangled cheek-to-cheek tonight in full-house Lucas Oil Stadium.  Which team would prove athletic superiority and advance to the AFC Championship game?  The Colts started the first quarter on offense.  Matt Stover threw up a field goal at the end of his team’s first possession.  Indianapolis 3 and Baltimore 0.  An illegal block in the back on the Ravens nixed what would’ve been a sixty-four yard return for running back Jalen Parmele.  Attempts to get into the end zone were no good.  The Ravens tossed up a field goal as well.  Indianapolis 3 and Baltimore 3.

The second quarter indicated how much stronger each team’s defense was compared to offense.  Near interceptions, sacks, and punts galore.  The offensive players certainly demonstrated skill, particularly with Peyton Manning’s complete passes, but with the score still 3 to 3 in the bottom of the quarter?  And, of course, moments later, Colts wide receiver Austin Collie made a touchdown catch in the left side of the end zone.  Indianapolis 10 and Baltimore 3.  The Colts insisted on trying to get into the end zone in the final seconds of the first half.  Peyton Manning threw, wide receiver Reggie Wayne caught and broke the plane ever so slightly for a TD.  Indianapolis 17 and Baltimore 3.

The third quarter was mostly dull until around six minutes when safety Ed Reed intercepted Peyton Manning but lost control of the ball halfway down the field.  Tight end Dallas Clark recovered it for the Colts.  A penalty on Ravens cornerback Corey Ivy nullified a second Ed Reed interception.  The fourth quarter started off the Colts getting another field goal.  Indianapolis 20 and Baltimore 3.  The Ravens showed some Ravens umph…until running back Ray Rice refused to be brought down and the ball got away from the crook of his left arm.  The Colts recovered it.  Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco was intercepted in the bottom of the quarter.  Colts defensive back Antoine Bethea took the ball right out of its trajectory.  Another turnover took the final minute with Colts defensive back Jerraud Powers picking off Joe Flacco.  Indianapolis 20 and Baltimore 3.  Final score.


Observations & Miscellania:

1. Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf narrated the event.

2.  Damned weather interfering with the digital signal.  The broadcast was very stop-and-go in terms of audio and video for me.

3.  LaDanian Tomlinson in a white suit letting the rhythm get to him.

4.  I like this Budweiser commercial more than this one.

5.  Upon returning from the commercial break that followed Ray Rice’s ball loss, there was footage of what happened after the play.  Rice went straight to the bosom of his quarterback, who tapped him on the head as if to say, “It’s okay.”

6.  How in tarnations do the Ravens beat the Patriots a week ago and then not be able to have at least tied the Colts into the fourth quarter?

7.  Ravens head coach John Harbaugh would look so dashing in Elliot Ness garb.

Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.

NFL Playoffs 2010: the Saints grind down the Cardinals

Who want’s to go to the NFC Championship?  The Arizona Cardinals and the New Orleans Saints do.  Broadcast on Fox, their face-to-face session started with a seventy-yard touchdown run by Cardinals running back Tim Hightower.  The Saints quickly tied the game with a TD by running back Lynell Hamilton.  Arizona 7 and New Orleans 7.  Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner threw to wide receiver Jerheme Urban, who lost the ball when Saints cornerback Randall Gay knocked it loose and safety Darren Sharper recovered it.  A few plays later, Saints quarterback Drew Brees connected with tight end Jeremy Schockey for a TD in the middle of the first quarter.   Saints running back Reggie Bush made escaped a handful of Cardinals defense players and took the ball into the end zone.  New Orleans 21 and Arizona 7.

Cardinals running back Beanie Wells sauntered into the end zone in the top of second quarter.  New Orleans 21 and Arizona 14.  The Saints went right on huffing and puffing with another TD, thanks to wide receiver Devery Henderson.  With just a few minutes before halftime, Kurt Warner threw an interception into the able-bodied Saints defensive end Will Smith.  Saints wide receiver Marques Colston caught a TD pass with a minute left in the first half.  New Orleans 35 and Arizona 14.  Matt Leinart went in as QB for Kurt Warner in the bottom of the quarter.

Kurt Warner returned in the third quarter.  The Saints sent up their first field goal not long after the second half began.  New Orleans 38 and Arizona 14.  When the Cardinals punted the ball away (for the second time in the third?), Reggie Bush ran the ball eighty-three yards back for a TD.  The longest punt-return in post-season NFL history.  Leinart reprised his QB role in the fourth quarter without any fruit for reaping.   New Orleans 45 and Arizona 14. Final score.  The Saints just marched their obsidian and gold little selves one step closer to the big game.

Observations & Miscellania:

1.  Kenny Albert and Daryl Johnston were the commentators.  They both wore purple ties.  Albert’s was a light, sold hue.  Johnston’s was patterned with red.

2.  Jeremy Shockey’s first quarter TD was followed by his rolling backward and doing a semi-handstand.

3.  Reggie Bush punctuated his first quarter TD with a little side-step-finger-snapping dance.  The camera then cut to Saints fans mimicking it. Seconds later, the camera cut to a medium shot of Kim Kadarshian.  Is she dating the Bush?

4.  “Like a pack of wolves, these guys are huttin’ now,” Tony Siragusa remarked of the New Orleans defense in the bottom of the first quarter.

5.  Kurt Warner was pinned to the ground after he was intercepted by Will Smith.  The camera cut to an extreme close-up of his supine body.  At one point, I could read him mouthing, “I’m okay now.”

6.  Former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue was in attendance.

7.  Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald made a beautiful jump-and-catch in the top of the third quarter.  The slow-motion replay gave it a majestic quality.

Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.

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For the love of gargamel.  Tim Tebow was meant to exist as a human being and no other creature; meant to be male and have a talent for the football.  Sa mere could’ve put herself in front of a hungry lion and he’d still have been born.  The issue isn’t whether or not abortion is evil or wrong or it shouldn’t be a choice.  Just like the postman, neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night can keep a life from its first breath.

I won’t legislate your faith if you won’t impose your faith on my choices.

Rebuilding with the Book of Days

Book of Days.  Book of History Lessons.  Always remember from where you came.  You can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been.

The first theatrically released film I watched in 2010 was The Book of Eli (The Hughes Brothers), a desaturated, post-apocalyptic fable.  Eli, a lone wanderer, (Denzel Washington) has a single mission: go west, keep the Book safe, and do not stray from the path.  He kills anyone who stubbornly refuses to let him be on his way.  Carnegie (Gary Oldman), self-appointed sovereign of a shanty town, wants the Book.  Eli comes to this town to charge a battery and encounters other characters that feature substantially in the plot.  Carnegie finds out that Eli has the Book and we’re off to the races.

The identity of the Book is revealed very early.  It’s a King James edition of the Bible.  The Book of Eli doesn’t lay out the backstory to the doom.  Instead, it presents pieces in conversation that the audience must synthesize.  It would be very convenient to slap this film upside the noggin and call it coolly evangelical.  It’s not Left Behind but it’s not The Last Temptation of Christ either.  The film certainly promotes a theist view of existence, incorporating the issue of institutionalized religion vs. having faith, but it also frames holy texts as important parts of human civilization that should not be forgotten.

In order to continue this discussion, major spoilers aheadHighlight relevant words at your own discretion.  The Hughes Brothers’ films have a degree of humor no matter the subject matter.  The scene with the cannibalistic old-timers (performed superbly by Michael Gambon and  Frances de la Tour) is both frightening and hilarious.  I was both thrilled and disappointed towards the end of the film to see that Eli’s destination is Alcatraz and Malcolm MacDowell and his “followers” have been overseeing a rebuilding of books.  There’s a printing press that is nearly ready for use.  The viewer also learns that Eli has been blind through the whole film but has “read” the braille Bible of his so many times that he’s memorized it.  But, this particular “reveal” is cross-cut with Carnegie’s discovery that the Book is visually-impaired-friendly so that when Eli and Solara (Mila Kunis) show up at the rock, the viewer isn’t quite sure what will happen.  Of course, a couple sequences back, Eli tells Solara that he’s read the Book so many times and was so focused on protecting it that he had nearly forgotten about the golden rule.  If you’re astute, you’d more or less be able to guess what will happen in the end.

There’s also a great montage sequence at the end where Malcolm MacDowell puts the printed King James Bible between the Torah and the Koran.  Why was Eli’s Bible so special?  It was the only one  that survived a systematic search-and-destroy measure those in power took years back.  Apparently, the Bible (interpret as any holy text perhaps) was the reason people went to war. In other words, using religion as an excuse to antagonize other people.   The war, likely nuclear, made the sun go down and blinded people.  When food and water became scarce (and everything else), some chose to turn to cannibalism.  A side-effect was shaking hands.

I don’t believe the film is preaching the need to cower to unseen forces.  Taken somewhat cynically, I’d argue that on the one hand, people who forget their past are likely to make the same mistakes, but on the other hand, when enough time passes, people will continue to try to make fire and reinvent the wheel.

And what about the Book of Days?  The song’s lyrics reminded me of the story.

One day, one night, one moment,
my dreams could be, tomorrow.
One step, one fall, one falter,
east or west, over earth or by ocean.
One way to be my journey,
this way could be my Book of Days.

My four favorite parts of the film:

Tom Waits.

Gary Oldman tells Jennifer Beals about shampoo.

When Eli tells Solara, “Faith is when you know something but you don’t know something.”

And this scene:

The Book of Eli watches very much like a wandering samurai film.  Zatoichi meets the Yojimbo without the warring clans.

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Product Placement and Branding: Motorola megaphone, KFC moist towelettes, early generation iPod, Oprah magazine, Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code, a Mussolini biography (Gary Oldman’s character reads it), and the Bee Gees (“How Can you Mend a Broken Heart”).

Audience demographics:  7pm showing at Regal Northpoint 70% filled to capacity; average age: 35; male to female ratio about even; I was possibly one among a dozen ethnic minorities.  I think I was the only Asian person in the audience.

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See more movie stills here.