Favre finally leads the NFL highlight reel

28 09 2009

Minnesota’s home opener against the 49ers. The Vikings, trailing by 4, get the ball back with a minute and a half left and no timeouts. They’re 80 long yards away from a go-ahead touchdown. Some of the spectators are already heading for the exits. It doesn’t look promising.

Who ya gonna call? John Elway, of course — the king of the 4th-quarter comeback win. But he’s retired. Fortunately, the Vikings have Brett Favre, who has 39 come-from-behind last-second wins under his belt. He passes and spikes his way downfield to the 49er 30-yard line — close enough to drill the ball, rather than throw a Hail Mary. With 12 seconds left, there’s time for one, maybe two plays. He’s flushed out of the pocket, but manages to scramble free long enough to throw a dead-on 50-yard bullet to the far edge of the end zone, just as he is knocked to the turf. He watches from the ground as Lewis makes an outstanding catch and manages to keep both feet in bounds as he goes down, clutching the ball. An interminable second or two later, the referee signals touchdown, and the crowd goes bananas. The Vikings go up 27-24 with 0:02 left in the game.

Perfect. Favre. Ending.

Everyone’s sports recaps are about Favre rather than Peterson. ‘Bout time.


Brett Favre and the Vikings: 2-0!

23 09 2009

Brett Favre set another NFL record this past Sunday, for the most consecutive starts — 271 — but the recaps and game clips were all about phenom Adrian Peterson. Well, I noticed, Brett. Congrats, dude!

I read a commentary on a sports site about Favre’s work so far as the Minnesota Vikings’ new quarterback. “Unspectacular, but in a good way.” 😀 I admit I miss his signature dead-on 50-yard TD passes, but I don’t miss the interceptions. I want to see him in the playoffs, and clearly he wants to get there too, so I’ll be content for now with his great scrambling, and his wise and frequent hand-offs to Peterson. And of course there’s that gleeful little-boy enthusiasm Favre has for playing football. Watching him joyfully tackle Harvin after the rookie’s first TD reception — and Favre’s first TD pass as a Viking — was sublime.

Next up: the home opener against the San Francisco 49ers, who are suprisingly 2-0 as well. I’m hoping for a faster start than the last two games… and maybe a long Favre TD pass. Not to mention, another win.

Love in yet another language

16 09 2009

I just added a Turkish translation to Trip’s “I love you” Rosetta Stone. It’s up to twenty-four languages now!

More production stills for my Enterprise collection

9 09 2009

TrekCore and I have been doing some trading back and forth, and we have both significantly increased our respective collections of Enterprise production stills and behind-the-scenes photos. Being a TV/film buff, I have always enjoyed collecting BTS pictures from my favorite movies and TV shows, but it used to involve driving into Hollywood and prowling through all the movie-memorabilia shops (not to mention going hog-wild buying cool stuff 😉 ). Nowadays, the Internet has given me access to a huge amount of material.

You can find links to my ENT pics on the Multimedia page of my website. And if anyone has photos they’d like to share, I’m always interested!

Don’t see “The Mist.” I’m begging you.

4 09 2009

Lordy, that’s two hours of my life I want back. The ending of this film was one of the more egregious examples of irresponsible storytelling I’ve ever seen.

What is the purpose of storytelling? Responsible storytelling? The best stories, the ones that endure, are those that teach or reinforce universally held positive moral values. In the more effective stories, the storyteller keeps your left brain occupied with that plot stuff, while slipping a message to your right brain under the radar. The story might be funny, sad, scary, serious…but on some level, the ending is satisfying and life-affirming. The main character has learned something and grown as a result of the story’s journey (a comedy) or has significantly failed to learn something he needed to learn (a tragedy). We, the readers or viewers, have gained some insight on the human condition, even subliminally.

Then there are stories (and I use that term loosely here) that end by telling you that everything that came before doesn’t matter. Life is sh*t and then you die. Do good unto others and you get screwed. Or as a good friend of mine often said, “And then they all get hit by a truck, The End.” That is meaningless, wasteful, irresponsible storytelling. There’s no reason for it that I can figure, except for perhaps some hubristic, manipulative, condescending desire to flip the bird at one’s own audience. Which still makes no sense to me.

“The Mist” is irresponsible storytelling. The production values are great, the direction is skilled, the performances by some of my favorite character actors — Frances Sternhagen, Jeffrey DeMunn — are wonderful. The story (based on a novella by Stephen King) is creepy and terrifying and gripping. But all of it went right out the window as I sat through the last few minutes in slack-jawed shock. To describe myself as “unsatisfied” would be a vast understatement. I was furious. I was offended. I am a storyteller, and I would never, ever crap on my audience the way Frank Darabont, the writer/director, did with that terrible, terrible ending. If I’d had rotten vegetables on hand, I would have been throwing them.

I had not read the King novella, so I took a look at it. The ending is DIFFERENT. It is an ending that is structurally appropriate for the tone and subject of the story. There’s no cheap Deus Ex Machina, but I didn’t expect that. I expected our heroes’ horrific journey to have meaning. I needed a ray of hope, and King’s story gave me one. In Darabont’s train-wreck of an ending, there is no meaning. Life is sh*t and then you die, indeed.

What possesses a filmmaker to take a story and toss out its perfectly good ending, in favor of one that is designed to leave a viewer either depressed or furious? What is the purpose of sending a message like that? And while I’m ranting, what was King thinking when he let Darabont piss all over his satisfying ending? The mind boggles.

I will say that I got one thing out of this ghastly experience: how not to tell a story. Ever. It’s a lesson I already know, but one that can’t be reinforced enough.

California’s Station fire: “A very angry fire”

1 09 2009

I’ve been following the largest of California’s wildfires, the Station fire, with more than passing interest. As of this morning, it has burned 122,000 acres, destroyed over 50 structures, and killed two firefighters. It’s only 5% contained after seven days; fire officials are hoping to contain this monster by — wait for it — September 15. Mike Dietrich, incident commander for the U.S. Forest Service, calls it “a very angry fire.”

Wildfires are an annual disaster for Southern California, but one never gets accustomed to them, any more than earthquakes.