Friday, December 13, 2002


I saw "Rocky V" in the theater. It was a mistake. So was the greenlight that sent that project into motion. I plead with MGM to leave sleeping southpaws where they lie and abandon the idea of bringing a 50-plus Rocky out of retirement and back into the ring . Rocky should have hung up the gloves after defeating Drago and winning over a hostile Moscow crowd. Sure, it was heavy-handed, but "IV" was a lot of fun and the climactic fight scene at the end had me up and out of my chair just like that first fight against Apollo Creed did. The first four movies were Rocky quality, "V" was crap. Its existence insults the franchise almost as much as "Godfather III" does in its parallel gangster universe. "V" felt desperate. The writing was weak, the acting was wooden, the whole thing stunk like the gym where Mickey first taught Balboa how to box. I dread the thought of "Rocky VI." The once proud franchise has already gone one round past the point where it should have thrown in the towel, I beg and plead for it not to get up off the canvas wobbly-legged and cross-eyed and insist, "I can go on. Don't stop it. This fight ain't over." I'm calling it right now. It's over. TKO. To accurately communicate my true feelings about making another Rocky movie, I'll have to paraphrase a heartless Ivan Drago after he knocked Apollo unconscious in the ring, "If it dies, it dies."


I guess it's officially too late for me to become a wunderkind. I'm past the age of thirty, I have yet to accomplish anything of any significance, and nobody's wondering how I could be this good at such a young age. My story is in direct contrast to the one on display last night when ESPN2 televised a regular season high school basketball game and sent Dick Vitale and Bill Walton to cover it. The attraction: LeBron James. The result: An awesome display of precocious and unselfish bastketball by "The Next Jordan" in a twenty-point upset win over the number one ranked high school team in the country. The Hype had already begun, last night kicked it into high gear. LeBron is clearly a man amongst boys and I agreed with the announcers as they encouraged him to pass go, head directly to the NBA, and collect his $200 million. He has the body, he has the game, and he has the charisma to be an endorsement darling. Why should he risk an injury in college that could prevent him from ever even reaching the pros? Why shouldn't he collect a legitimate paycheck while learning the game? Vitale and Walton also stressed that young LeBron should get an education. He'll have every opportunity to get a degree if he so desires. And for a change, Walton actually said something that I liked... He insisted that the decision is LeBron's. No one should force LeBron into going pro or push LeBron into enrolling at a university. It's LeBron's life and LeBron's future. And the future for LeBron is more than bright, it's flat out blinding.

Tuesday, December 10, 2002


sloth - n 1: a disinclination to work or exert yourself [syn: slothfulness] 2: any of several slow-moving arboreal mammals of South and Central America; they hang from branches back downward and feed on leaves and fruits [syn: tree sloth] 3: apathy and inactivity in the practice of virtue (personified as one of the deadly sins) [syn: laziness, acedia]

I watched a lot of things this past weekend. The list is embarrassing. I'm not feeling particularly well and I don't have the energy to comment on each of the things I watched, but I probably will anyway.

First off, I saw "Adaptation." It is easily the most inventive movie of the year. I loved it. I want to see it again. I want to see it win awards. Someday I want to own it DVD.
On video, I watched "Changing Lanes," "Y Tu Mama Tambien," and "Hedwig and the Angry Inch." I did not care for "Changing Lanes" or for its two protagonists and would not recommend it. I really liked "Y Tu Mama Tambien" and would list it among my favorite movies of the year. "Hedwig" I had seen before and enjoyed it as much the second time as the first.

I watched a boatload of E! Entertainment Television, including multiple episodes of "The Anna Nicole Smith Show," "The Howard Stern Show," and E! True Hollywood Story. The E!THS on "Baywatch" was highly addicting. I learned that David Hasselhoff's ego is equal in size to the combined mass of every fake breast that ever appeared on that show. To paraphrase Kit The Talking Car's partner on "Knight Rider": "I realized there was so much more I wanted to do. I mean, I was always a theater guy. And musical theater at that. I have this huge voice." Speaking of ego, I watched the E! True Hollywood Story on William Shatner as well. E! is like televised crack.

I watched an incredible amount of football, both college and pro. Miami vs. Virginia Tech, Washington State vs. UCLA, and some of Georgia vs. Arkansas on Saturday. Atlanta vs. Tampa Bay, New England vs. Buffalo, San Diego vs. Oakland, and Minnesota vs. Green Bay on Sunday. But it wasn't until last night when the Dolphins beat up on the Bears that I actually got some sports-watching satisfaction. Ricky Williams is the man. A very fast and powerful man who may give the Dolphins a legitimate chance to take the wide-open AFC.

I watched "Saturday Night Live," hosted by Robert De Niro with Norah Jones as the musical guest. It stunk. The writing was total shit, De Niro clearly hadn't rehearsed or glanced at his lines beforehand, Norah Jones was boring, and after it was over I really wanted to give up on the show. There was one very funny episode this season and the rest of it has been forgettable tripe.

And finally, I watched the season four finale of "The Sopranos." I thought it was great. Emotional, smart, and twisty, while culminating several of the season's story lines and setting up others for next season. I'm not in the business of playing the spoiler, so I won't go into detail in case either of you reading this hasn't seen it yet. I think the season as a whole wasn't quite as good as the first two seasons, but, unlike the feeling I had after the season three finale, I was satisfied. The biggest mistake the show made was sitting on the sidelines for 18 months while "Six Feet Under" took over as the best show on television.

That's all I've got. I gave more than I thought I had. Now I have to go eat some dinner before "24" starts.