Wednesday, January 22, 2003


I know it might seem as though all I ever write about are television, movies, sports, and the occassional book, and that might be because, for the most part, that's all I pay attention to. Call me shallow, but I no matter how hard I try I can't get into politics and business, I can't sink the hook in. So, this electronic chronicle is very much a representation of me and will continue to be. If you like me or my writing, keep coming back. If you come here expecting me to turn political all of a sudden, don't bother.

In that spirit... I watched the season premiere of "American Idol" last night. Apparently, so did a lot of other people. Last night's and tonight's episodes show the process of auditioning new talent for the show in New York, Miami, Austin, Detroit, and Los Angeles. There is almost nothing funnier than who person who can't sing but thinks they have a great voice. There's an incredible amount of self-delusion going on and thankfully the judges, Simon in particular, seem to enjoy shining a light on it. However, I am vowing not to get hooked on this show like I did during the summer. I will gleefully watch these first few to laugh at all the crazy people with no talent who believe they have what it takes to be pop stars, but that is where my involvement will end. That's it. I'm also finished with that stupid "Joe Millionaire." I flipped to it a few times while mainly watching tennis the other night and regretted it. The guy is a dolt, the girls are lame, the setups are stupid, and the host is a complete idiot. The only element that is mildly interesting is the perspective-spouting butler, but he's not funny enough to get me to watch it again. I probably won't watch again until the secret is revealed to whichever gold digger that's unlucky enough to win the construction worker's heart.

The best thing I've seen on television recently was a tennis match replayed on tape delay earlier this afternoon. My buddy on the east coast had already let slip who won and in what fashion by the time I got to see the match, but it didn't matter. Andy Roddick and Younes El-Aynaoui, The Lleyton Hewitt Slayer, played a classic five-set match that will undoubtedly be remembered as the match of this year's Australian Open. In this particular tournament, players do not play a fifth set tiebreaker. Instead, they keep playing until someone wins by two games. Today, Roddick and El-Aynaoui encountered that very situation and battled like gladiators for two and a half hours, in the fifth set alone! Roddick finally prevailed 21-19 in the deciding set after five hours of high-level tennis. The players met at the net and shook hands and then embraced. Roddick seemed to feel bad that El-Aynaoui lost, or that either of them had to lose. Commentator Mary Carillo summed it up by saying that "in the end, it was the entire sport that won." Rarely do you see two likable guys slugging it out like that, leaving it all on the court, and bringing so much sportsmanship to the proceedings. I think that's why the end was so emotional. Roddick was emotional. El-Aynaoui was emotional, but too tired to show it. The announcers clearly felt the emotion. Even I was emotional. My Girl was crying. It was moving. It was a moment. It was one of those heightened sports moments that transcended the game and became about life. That's why I keep watching sports, hoping each time to catch another of those rare moments. Perhaps there may still be one more left in this tournament if Andy Roddick and Andre Agassi end up meeting in the final...

Monday, January 20, 2003


The Golden Globes caused a major conflict in the nine o'clock hour last night. The WB was showing the third episode of my new favorite reality TV show "High School Reunion" and The Deuce (ESPN 2) was airing live Australian Open tennis. Even with some dextrous remote control work, My Girl and I still missed a good portion of "Reunion" which I hope to catch in its entirety when they re-air it on Thursday night. What we did see was quite entertaining, with our favorite "character" The Nerd boxing The Bully and making time with The Homecoming Queen. I need to see the whole episode before I can give a fair and accurate assessment. Things looked bleak in the first half of the ten o'clock hour. Renee Zellweger won, Richard Gere won, and Andy Roddick lost the first two sets to the 25th seed, 20 year-old Russian Mikhail Youzhny. But the tide turned as the clock approached eleven. "The Hours" won Best Picture and Roddick began to mount a comeback. The Golden Globes surprisingly finished on time and generously left the spotlight to tennis. Roddick came all the way back from two sets to love to pull out an improbable victory and stay alive in the tournament, slated to play Lleyton Hewitt in the quarterfinals. But, 18th seed Younes El-Aynaoui had other plans. He served the match of his life and would not let world #1 Hewitt take control of the match. Hewitt won the first set in a tie-breaker, El-Aynaoui won the next in tie-breakers with neither player surrendering a break of serve. Until the fourth set when Hewitt, the hometown favorite, double-faulted on break point and gave El-Aynaoui a window to win the match. And win he did, serving it out and taking the fourth set 6-4, upsetting the best player in the world and disappointing a nation in the process.

I must take leave of this blog presently to retire to the living room where I will watch Andre Agassi play his quarterfinal match against Sebastian Grosjean, the fast Frenchman whose name periodically gets stuck on a loop in my head. Au revoir, pikers.


Man, it's 6:30 Monday night and I'm still recovering from The Golden Globes last night. What a night. The glitz, the glamour, the limos, the dresses, the jewelry, the parties... Actually, My Girl and I watched it on her couch while eating Fritos and bean dip followed by Tostitos and salsa con queso con extra queso. I'll tell you, if we hadn't gone to see "The Hours" this weekend before the awards, it would have been a real ho-hum affair. Because, despite what your Baby Boomer parents may claim, "Chicago" is not a great movie. In fact, it was a valiant effort to continue the movie musical revival that the spectacular spectacular "Moulin Rouge" set into motion, but it's frankly pretty boring and, at this point, highly overrated. Predictably and disappointingly, "Chicago" beat out "Adaptation" for Best Comedy/Musical. And, while last night's Golden Globes contained a few peak moments, most notably Meryl Streep's acceptance speech in which she once again showed the world what a class act she is, Larry David's acceptance speech in which he publicly hoped that winning the award would guarantee him sex for the night, and Jack Nicholson's acceptance speech in which he admitted to having taken a valium before the ceremony, Renee Zellweger and Richard Gere's wins for Best Actor/Best Actress in a Comedy/Musical and Chicago's triumph for Best Picture in the same category left a real sour taste in our mouths that no amount of cheese dip was going to eliminate. But "The Hours" saved the day by winning Best Picture in the drama category. Judging from the preview and what little I knew about the film, I went in expecting not to like the chick flick. Now I know not to pre-judge a movie on that basis. Everything about this movie is of the highest quality. The writer expertly adapted what must have been a fantastic book into a flawless script and the director brilliantly brought that script to the screen using all of the resources at hand, including the finest ensemble cast of any movie in recent memory and the best score I've heard in a long time. It is with great confidence that I can agree with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and proclaim my opinion that "The Hours" is the best film of 2002. Thus, I have incorporated it into my new top ten list, which has now been expanded to twelve and will henceforth be known as The Golden Dozen. After sitting with the list for a week, I decided to make a few adjustments which are reflected in the new list.


1. The Hours
2. Adaptation
3. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
4. About Schmidt
5. Y Tu Mama Tambien
6. The Rules of Attraction
7. Catch Me If You Can
8. Far From Heaven
9. The Bourne Identity
10. Narc
11. Igby Goes Down
12. Antwone Fisher

*I have yet to see "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind", "The 25th Hour", and "The Pianist" which could potentially alter the final ranking and order of The Golden Dozen