Monday, September 28, 2009
Seriously Chapter 46: "Requiem for a Heavyweight" and A Few Things
When you're in the presence of greatness, you really should bow. But I was already laying on the floor of my screening room so I couldn't bow as I watched Rod Serling's heartbreaking, "Requiem for a Heavyweight," for the first time just today. Jaw on the ground. If Mickey Rooney isn't the greatest actor that ever lived then I don't know who is. And that was opposite Jackie Gleason and Anthony Quinn! The movie was killing me and I couldn't understand half the shit Anthony Quinn was saying. I got tired of being asked about that film and as a Rod Serling devotee, Seriously felt derelict that he'd never seen it so he had Maggio, the guy who runs my screening room, set it up for me. I cried and I never cry. The opening scene through the camera camera's p.o.v. starring a young Cassius Clay as the upstart fighter who dispatches Tony Quinn? Gleason and Rooney? Jack Dempsey at Jack Dempsey's when it really WAS Jack Dempsey's? Julie Harris and Willy Pep? I'd never seen this movie and I lecture at and participate in symposiums on sports films all over the country.
Imagine that. Imagine also that I know or knew every single one of these people in this film (except Dempsey.) Sadly, Seriously's only experience with Mickey Rooney was at Dan Tana's one night in 1994. I was having dinner with Tommy Lasorda and his wife, Jo, and Mickey was sitting off at a corner table by himself with a big belly, a stained tie and way too many jack and sodas. Though we have friends in common, I'd never met him and I must say that I walked away from our brief conversation thinking, "Hey, this guy will talk to absolutely anybody."
Is it my fault I know everyone in Quake Town?
My point in all this being, you should know and admire all the great sports-themed movies and report on your favorites in case even I haven't seen them. And I've seen them all.
One of the blessings of having no staff around, besides Harmless Keith, is that I can feature all these up-close-and-personal things, like Seriously talking about sports films. Hey, shoot me. I'm not trying to go all Ken Burns on you guys
I just like to go off the beaten path, yo.
But back to the business of information.
From the Diamond:
The Los Angeles Dodgers continue to stumble around while running away with the division at the same time. And as they're kicking ass, they've got tons of injuries, also. Go figure with this squad. It seems like Kemp, Ethier, Loney, Blake and Furcal are so damn good that nothing else matters. Seriously was sure the Dodgers would win the NL West and be dispatched early in the playoffs but now I must confess to pangs of doubt.
The Rockies seem like they're going to hold off the impressive Braves but Colorado has continued to lose it's luster. They don't seem like the divine steamrollers anymore.
Regarding the NL East, I just got off the phone with my old friend, Phillies manager, Charlie Manual. Sweet Country Charlie assured me that Brad Lidge will remain his closer in the post season despite his 11 blown saves and fans screaming for blood. Charlie said, "Baseball is exactly like war. Sometimes a commander has to make tough, unpopular decisions in the battlefield." Charlie says he's watched Brad and feels the vet will "lose the hiccups and rekindle that post-season fire of his." I asked what he'd do if Brad Lidge went out and blew the save in Game 1. Would he be the closer in Game 2? Charlie just smiled and wouldn't answer. Then he tried to jam some of that damn chew in my mouth. He's been trying to get me on that crap forever thinking I'm desperate to be one of the guys, but I'm not. I said to him, "That's disgusting, Charlie, I'm a journalist." And he said, "C'mon, Seriously, it's in it's own little pouch." I love Charlie Manuel, pockmarks and all, and I was lucky enough to have sex with his lovely daughter, Evie, a couple years back. I respect him as a baseball man and a person and I believe his Philadelphia Phillies are going to win the World Series.
The only issue in the junior circuit is the AL Central race between Detroit and Minnesota and tonight's bubble was totally burst as the Tigers and Twins were all set to play the opening game of their huge decide-it-all series but the rain done put the kibosh on that, y'all. How's that for a sentence? Detroit's up by 2 games with 5 or so left to play but Minnesota's won 8 out out their last 10 and is on Detroit like Charlie Sheen on a whore. This division is guaranteed to go down to the wire.
From the Gridiron
In the AFC West, Denver continues to evoke nausea at 3-0, somehow beating the mighty Oakland Raiders and their future Hall-of-Fame quarterback, Jamarcus Russell. San Diego is a limp-wristed 2-1 after their whatever victory over the I-Can't-Believe-We're-A-Bill-Parcells-Team-And-We-Suck Miami Dolphins.
The Baltimore Ravens continue to be the dominating force in the AFC North. Yes, the Cincinnati Bengals made history by beating the Steelers, and the Bengals WILL win the Super Bowl this season, but the Ravens are a big time load of a team with no discernible weaknesses at 3-0. Regarding the team in Northern Ohio: If I can borrow from "The Godfather," the Cleveland Browns are "an abortion, Michael! An abortion!!"
The odious New York Jets, led by That Mexican, moved to 3-0 in the AFC East with their victory over the hapless Tennessee Titans. It pains me how strong their defense is and how almost fun they are to root for. On a side note, That Mexican took a dangerous risk diving head-down into the end zone the way he did on that sneak this Sunday. Right into a bunch of 300 lb. bellies and tree trunks. I would hate to see That Mexican get injured. I want him to get a beat-down but not like that. I'm looking for interceptions and losses. Okay, maybe a cracked rib. And then I want to see the look on those saliva spewing Jet fans. There's something exquisitely beautiful about the Jets and Mets getting their ass kicked. Seriously isn't that way about the Yankees and Giants and I can't explain it. It simply feels right.
The Indianapolis Colts, at 3-0, continue to make mockery of the AFC South. They went against last year's Super Bowl team, Arizona, this week and made them look like they were playing flag football.
The 49'ers are still on top of the NFC West at 2-1 after their dramatic loss to Brett Favre and the Vikings. It was a God-Damn-That-Hall-of-Famer-type loss that can happen to any good team as long as Favre has a football in his hands. The only possible long term danger for the `Niners is if Frank Gore, Son of Al, has a serious injury to that ankle. This is a tight young team that has zero spare weapons on offense. If Son of Al can't play, they're in trouble.
The NFC Central has the Minnesota Vikings at 3-0 and Brett Favre wasn't just throwing dunkers and screens like they were accusing him of in previous games. He was throwing lasers all over the field including that last game winner with 2 seconds left. Combine that with All-World, Adrian Petersen, and that defense? I don't knooooooow! Green Bay and Chicago are still iffy, even at 2-1, with neither seeming particularly confident and both having lots of holes. Detroit was a stand-up-and-cheer inspiration in winning their first game, literally in flippin' years, and Seriously has nothing but love for the Lions and the entire city of Detroit, Michigan. I loves me an underdog and all of you can kiss my narrow, white ass.
The NFC South's New Orleans Saints continue to Brees at 3-0 but Atlanta, at 2-1, has the look of a team that could contend if they can solve their problems on defense. Don't count the Falcons out in that division. Matt Ryan to Tony Gonzalez is almost unstoppable.
The N.Y. Giants are playing great football, though they bend too much on defense, and sit on top the NFC East at their own version of 3-0. They seem like a team that will creak and sway but still end up putting a foot in your rear. Philadelphia is a weak 2 -1 and will be in trouble if McNabb doesn't get back soon. His back up, Kevin Kolb, has thrown for a lot of yards but looks like an unravel waiting to happen and HIS back up, Michael Vick, is a guy who can run real fast, not a professional quarterback.
And finally, let me just get this off my chest. Seriously cannot stand the Dallas Cowboys. They're an unattractive, bloated mess and are the National Football League's monument to wretched excess. When Al Queda said they wanted to blow us up, it was because of the Dallas Cowboys, their stadium and those of their ilk. The awful Facebook poll that's in the news shouldn't be - should our president be killed? It ought to be - should Jerry Jones be killed? I know that's extreme and I hope it don't get me FBI Red Flagged but that's how this reporter feels and that's how he'll report it.
Cincinnati and Seattle are still on track to meet in the Super Bowl with Marvin Lewis and the Bengals hoisting the Lombardi in early 2010.