Monthly Archives: March 2016

Southpaw Creed

But first, a short video on rooftop work of the Atlanta Falcons’ new stadium.  It reminds me of NFL Films; instead of sports inspirational, it’s steel inspirational.

And now back to your regularly scheduled blog post.

Pit Southpaw (Antoine Fuqua, 2015) against Creed (Aaron Coogler, 2015) and you get a consideration of sacrifice for others vs. sacrifice for self.

wap deerc

Does it go without saying that Southpaw is a redemption narrative?  The story-line necessitates redemption as Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal), the protagonist, is getting older and life events force him to push himself to places he may never have taken seriously.  It’s not of a first chance or a second chance, but a recalibration of priorities.  Hope begins the film winning a match to the praise of a very supportive and realistic wife (Rachel McAdams) and proud daughter (a scene-stealing Oona Laurence).  What progresses as a possible sobering self-examination at how much longer he can be a boxer turns into a plea to transcend the status quo of aging as a boxer.  Hope gets into a situation where his actions indirectly lead to his wife’s death and his daughter is placed into social services.  The only way for him to get her back is to demonstrate to the courts, to society, and to himself that the fruits of his athletic labor stand for more than superficial glory.

Kurt Sutter, the screenwriter for Southpaw, said in the making-of-featurette, “You know, there’s two things that should not go together: an adoring father and uncontrollable rage.”  Billy Hope is the embodiment of these two qualities.  He channels rage in the ring to beat his opponents, as any effective boxer would, but then outside of it, he displays undeniable affection and paternal love for his daughter as well as the tendency to retaliate to taunts with violence.  As sports films (and sports in popular media) teach, off-field violence does nobody any good.  At best you’re left with a late night/early morning PR fix and at worst you may be charged with a crime.

In contrast to Gyllenhaal’s light heavyweight champion, Michael B. Jordan‘s Adonis Johnson (Donnie) is a young man journeying to self-identity.  His fists, his athletic talents, and his boxing gifts (honed by Rocky Balboa [Sylvester Stallone] himself) compel him to pursue his bliss out from a career in finance and into the boxing ring.  His demons are rooted in self-doubt and self-preservation and it isn’t until he accepts the legacy of his past that he can triumph.  Creed follows Johnson from childhood to adulthood — a rite of passage narrative spotlighting confidence and humility.

Aesthetically, the boxing sequences in Southpaw, especially the last match, take a lot of cues from televised boxing.  It seeks a verisimilitude of the media text itself.  Professional boxers, analysts, HBO camera crew.  Fuqua wanted that seamless representation of the boxing.  Creed makes similar references through Donnie’s interaction with media and through furthering the plot (the second ‘boxing’ sequence consists of Donnie watching a Creed vs. Rocky fight on YouTube; information about Ricky Conlan is presented through ESPN-esque TV segments; the last boxing sequence/match between Conlan and Creed).

Creed comes from an iconic breed, though, so there is still very much a “filmic” quality to these representations.  I prefer it as a boxing film and a sports inspirational because it’s about Donnie.  He’s doing everything for himself.  His accomplishments carry additional meanings, but he’s still conquering his own pride and vulnerabilities not only to prove his own self-worth (to himself) but also to be free of self-imposed burdens of that worth.  Southpaw is fine as a film; it’s solid in that start-over-again theme .  How Southpaw and Creed differ as boxing films, though, is that the former could be about a different sport.  Gyllenhaal could’ve been a fencer, a runner, a golfer, or even a competitive poker player.

 

AV_10


Noteworthy asides
:

~ Sound editing is very important in boxing films.  The synchronization of the sound and the visuals in boxing sequences is very important.

~ Forest Whitaker portrays Jake Gyllenhaal’s trainer in Southpaw and after a second screening, I see his character as more of a counterpart to Bianca (Tessa Thompson) in Creed.  One of the sports movies tropes is the female love interest that either motivates the protagonist or distracts him and is thus part of narrative conflict.  True, the story-line in Creed as it pertains to Bianca does involve misunderstandings and disagreements that affect Donnie’s boxing, but ultimately, her life circumstances help to propel him forward. Likewise, Forest Whitaker’s character challenges and refines Billy Hope’s path to success.

~ The DVD for Creed contains many deleted scenes, all top-notch quality so they were likely cut much closer to the time of theatrical release.

With This Wing I See Red

Yellow powders the city, sidewalks can’t get clean.  Car windows mirror sugar cookie flakes, if sugar cookies were dyed in toxic hues.

AV_11

C’est aujourd’hui Pacques.  I celebrate not for scripture nor for dogmatic threats upon one’s everlasting life.  You have your faith in a happy ending, I have my faith in my soul’s work and the atoms of the universe, which after much mass spectrometer scraping, look the same as yours.  It’s the flavor that differs.  Are you a sweet and sour choir mixed with delicate notes of pomegranate?  Am I a light yet sharp vixen glazed with ornate strands of amaretto?

 

laFemme2

 

I wrote the following poem several months ago and was going to submit it to an online literary sports publication but decided to put it here instead.

It was his soul’s work to amass millions,
to be in a mass of millions.
He marched w/ men, sat among crimson red,
and endured the stings of technology-minded jackets.
It was his soul’s work to best his shadow,
to be the best in gathering battle.
He swung disqus plates and javelin lace,
all covering a summer mile.
It was his soul’s work to out-sail the dolphins,
to sail out beyond blue lagoons.
He took to the seas like gulls and seals,
and traversed latitude circles.
It was his soul’s work to mend bones,
to be in the middle of blood broken.
He waltzed, dug, and bowed nightly
to the mothers of the young.

— yiqi 22 november 2015 6:52 pm
~!~

Meanwhile, Bleacher Report on why NFL ran “safety” ads around a Wall Street Journal article about concussions.  A few of the comments pointed to boxing, MMA, and rugby, sports that involve just as much possibility, probability, and inevitability for physical injury yet aren’t in public opinion cross-hairs like the NFL.

Good Friday 2016

I didn’t go full-out bunny ears for Good Friday this year like I did last year and years past,  but I did go semi-ears today.

goodfriday2016

I have an announcement to make regarding the content of this Sitting Pugs blog.  Over the last few years, the posts have skewed much more towards creative writing, prose, musings and not all sports-related.  I am going to re-dedicate my writings here to incorporate sports as news, visual media, and other stream of consciousness servings.

Starting today, all non-sports poetry and prose will appear on my newly created Tumblr, Yiqi Things, which I’ve also added to the Blog Croissant.  My first Tumblr, Uses of Enchantment, will focus more on reblogging awesome content I find on Tumblr.  I’m leaving all of the original content of the Pugs on the Pugs, though.

I will return to writing more on sports movies, including Creed (Ryan Coogler, 2015),  Southpaw (Antoine Fuqua, 2015), and 42 (Brian Helgeland, 2013) very soon.

Stop Living in the Past: The NFL Edition

Yesterday I wrote about a few companies whose legal footers still displayed past years, today’s post turns the spotlight on NFL teams whose websites need some attention.

First, though, here are the teams with up-to-date footers:

Current AFC:
Buffalo Bills
Miami Dolphins
New York Jets
Baltimore Ravens
Cincinnati Bengals
Cleveland Browns
Pittsburgh Steelers
Jacksonville Jaguars — The year is current but why is it above the “sitemap” links?
Tennessee Titans
Denver Broncos
Kansas City Chiefs
Oakland Raiders
San Diego Chargers

Current NFC:
Philadelphia Eagles
Washington Redskins
LA Rams
San Francisco 49ers
Seattle Seahawks

Needs Updating, AFC and NFC:
Houston Texans
HoustonTexans

Indianapolis Colts
IndyColts

Dallas Cowboys
DallasCowboys

New York Giants
NewYorkGiants

Detroit Lions
DetroitLions

Minnesota Vikings
MinnesotaVikings

Atlanta Falcons
ATLFalcons

Carolina Panthers
CarolinaPanthers

New Orleans Saints
NewOrleansSaints

Arizona Cardinals
AZCardinals
No year in the footer:
New England Patriots — It is visually inconsistent with many of the websites of other NFL teams, not just “above the fold” but also in the league and team links on the bottom of the site (similar to the Chargers’ and Cowboys’ sites)

Chicago Bears
Green Bay Packers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

There will be an NBA and MLB edition in the near future.

Stop Living in the Past

And start living in the present.  Legal footer(s) on the internet, I’m talking to you.  As wonderful as it is when a website finally updates the aesthetics of its landing page, all its pages, or otherwise incorporates graphic modifications for a much more pleasing digital experience, don’t neglect to update the year in your footer.  Don’t let a potential customer or business partner back away because of one or two digits.

Check out updateyourfooter for more information on how painless it is for you or a developer to implement the change (once, dynamically so that nobody has to do it manually at 11:59pm on New Year’s Eve).

I visited a few sites today that could use a bit of QA love (and development attention to make the updates happen):

First up, All Media Network.  How is the parent company’s copyright still “2015” when its brands’ sites are current?  (All Movie Guide aka All Movie, All Music Guide aka All Music, SideReel, and Celebified).
allmedianetwork

Next up, Emmis.
emmis

Now for Hearst Media
hearstmedia

Pinewood Studios in Atlanta followed by two more Pinewood pages
pinewoodStudiosATL

pinewoodStudiosCareers

pinewoodStudiosAuditions


Green Olive Media

greenoliveMedia

Of course, when it comes to digital content optimization and creation, broken links, incorrect navigation, factually wrong text, and other display issues will always take a higher priority in web-dev must-do’s and to-do’s, but a little time spent now (and vigilance across all pages for the next content/UI refresh) will go a long way.  Would a tangible business have locked doors if they are open for business?  Pas du tout.

Pssst.  Zoo Atlanta (scroll down to the bottom of your page, what do you see?)