Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 In Movies

This year, I saw 51 movies which were new releases and/or movies I watched for the first time. Generally, I felt like the movies I saw in 2017 were pretty good.  On my scale of 0-100, 2017's releases averaged 67.35.

That being said, I don't think any of the movies I saw which were released in 2017 qualify as a masterpiece. I'll get to the movie I saw this year which I do think qualifies shortly.

Let's get to it. And no - there's no spoilers here.

Friday, December 15, 2017

On Turning 40

I'm likely at least halfway through my life. With that in mind, here's a somewhat random series of thoughts about what I've learned.

I've been thinking about turning 40 for some time now... I can't say I'm dreading it, and I can't say I'm looking forward to it (though I am looking forward to seeing my family for a late celebration the following week).

I can say that 40 shouldn't matter more than any other birthday, though the whole round number/closing of a 4th decade/roughly halfway through life business helps it feel less arbitrary than other birthdays. I mean, who has a reckoning at 34, or 26, or 43 which isn't prompted by some external set of conditions?

Monday, September 18, 2017

Starting Over

In which I recount the winding road which led me to watch a Los Angeles Chargers game but root for the Miami Dolphins to win.

In retrospect, I think I knew this is how it would end up once the Chargers moved to Los Angeles.

Ultimately, what may be most surprising was that it took so long, and the series of events which coincided to help ease me into the hardest sports fan decision I've ever had to make.

It's one thing to just not root for any team. It's a whole other thing to decide you're ready to start that journey over again with a new team.

For me, that team is now the Miami Dolphins, and this post explains in some small part how I came to that seemingly bizarre decision.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

The Chargers Aren't Coming Back to San Diego

There's been a string of reports recently of the Chargers "panicking" over their preseason attendance numbers. That may or may not be true, but one thing is for sure: they're staying in Los Angeles for the foreseeable future.

Some people don't think Dean Spanos or the National Football League meant it when they moved the Chargers to Los Angeles in January? Not even when they moved their equipment and materials from Murphy Canyon this summer? Not even with their "Fight for LA" campaign?

Maybe the team and league is panicking over their preseason numbers. One (unidentified) source alleges this is the case. Spanos says otherwise.

I hope it's true, for my own personal schadenfreude regarding the Spanos family, but that hope certainly doesn't make it true.

More importantly, the problem I have is the long leap people are making from the alleged panic over preseason attendance to the possibility of the Chargers returning to San Diego.

Every single one of the stories which lay out why the Chargers are eventually returning to San Diego are built on speculation and fantasy. Nothing has been stated or proposed which would indicate a return to San Diego is a real possibility.

I'll go a step further... people who tell these stories are trading on the anger and heartbreak of San Diego sports fans for personal gain, and I think that is utterly fucking terrible.

All that said, let's get into why the Chargers are going to be staying in Los Angeles for a long time.

More below the jump...

Monday, July 3, 2017

How San Diego Helped Push the Chargers to Los Angeles

Over the last couple months, the stumbling ineptitude of Mayor Kevin Faulconer has cast new light on the Chargers' last year in San Diego. I still maintain Dean Spanos is primarily at fault for the Chargers relocation to Los Angeles, but it seems more apparent than ever that Faulconer (among others) helped to push him out the door.

Just to be explicitly clear, Dean Spanos is the primary reason the Chargers are in Los Angeles.

As I outlined in January, Measure C was perfectly designed to give Spanos the political cover he needed within the National Football League to execute his option on Los Angeles. Further, it's plainly obvious Spanos could've made a deal in San Diego by putting some of his own skin in the game, as opposed to doing barely more than then minimum required and expecting taxpayers to shoulder the rest of the burden.

Having made that point, it has also become clear the political establishment in San Diego, headed by Mayor Kevin Faulconer, was virtually as hard-headed, short sighted, and possibly compromised by alternate options in trying to reach an agreement to keep the Chargers in San Diego.That's what I want to explore in this post.

I know there are many people who simply want this issue to die off (it's as painful and maddening for me to write it as it will be for many to read it). I still believe it's crucial to document what's happened, before party spin doctors and political consultants start attempting to whitewash events - especially if recent California gubernatorial scuttlebutt is accurate. And if San Diego is ever going to have a chance at another professional sports team, it's high time to understand the failures of the past.

So, let's take a trip back in time after the jump.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

The Heroes We Need: Moana & Wonder Woman

Of the movies I've seen in 2017, two have hit me with an emotional punch that no others have. Those films are Moana and Wonder Woman. This won't be a traditional review of either film, rather an unpacking of ideas and feelings about why they really hit a nerve with me.

Author's Note: I'm aware Moana was released theatrically in 2016.


I loved both Moana and Wonder Woman

I love the brightness, vivid color, and clarity both films presented. Both films are buttressed by a terrific musical score. Both women are portrayed beautifully, by Auli'i Cravalho as Moana & Gal Gadot as Diana, and they get splendid support from Dwyane Johnson as Maui and Chris Pine as Steve Trevor. Both films touched a nerve for me in really unexpected ways. Both are elegant in the simplicity and directness with which they engage their audiences. 

There's real pleasure and joy in watching these women fulfill their destinies. As befits great heroes, they have to overcome everything: their parents, social norms, overbearing machismo, and finally using love to both overcome the final challenge and fulfill their own considerable potential. Both films' heroes achieve greatness by simply becoming that which they have always been, and being willing to commit the ultimate act of love - sacrifice - to save humanity.

With this in mind, I'm going to spend some time comparing these two films and seeing what it is they've done well and why I've felt so moved by both of them.

There's a lot to unpack here, so let's get to it. More below the jump.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Alien: Covenant. Review & Analysis

Alien: Covenant, Ridley Scott's sequel to 2012's Prometheus, also brings us closer to 1979's Alien. While there are sequences and shocks which recall the latter, there is a fair amount of the former's ruminations on divinity, creation, and destruction. The end result is tense, heady, & entertaining, but it also feels like a hybrid of two different films imperfectly stitched together.


Part of the problem is expectations. We know what to expect from an Alien film.

We also have high expectations when it comes to Scott and science fiction, primarily thanks to Alien and Blade Runner (more recently, The Martian, and for some, Prometheus). Fair or not, we've seen what Scott is capable of when he maximizes his ability. Let's also be honest - no one is more aware of those expectations than Scott himself.

Alien: Covenant, like Prometheus, is preoccupied with making a big statement. Like Prometheus, the narrative twists doesn't cohere well enough to make the film an unqualified success.

But, also like Prometheus, it's visually resplendent and thematically challenging, as well as one of the bleakest franchise films in recent memory.

Tons more past the jump!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Scene Analysis: The Last Supper, Alien

Scene Analysis is where I'll take a look at a scene from a film and try to determine what makes it work (or not), and what it communicates to the audience about the characters, plot, and themes of the film in question.

For my 1st post in this series, the most iconic scene from my favorite movie will kick us off. I'll be taking a look at the infamous "The Last Supper" scene from Ridley Scott's 1979 classic, Alien.

It should go without saying (Alien is 38 years old in May) that spoiler warnings are in full effect. This particular scene also has several NSFW images.

Let's get started!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

My 10 Year Plan for San Diego Sports

We can't do anything about the Chargers. We can start setting up San Diego to be successful with sports over the next 10 years - and maybe even give ourselves a second chance at the NFL.

Ok folks, here's the deal. The Chargers are gone. They aren't coming back.

San Diego should grieve, and San Diego fans have every right to be angry. After a certain point it becomes unhealthy to dwell too much on the sadness and anger. As a community, we're fast approaching the point where those raw emotions need to be channeled into something productive.

I don't mean anti-trust lawsuits against the Chargers or NFL. They don't want to be here. Let them go. Don't chase the name, logos, uniforms, colors or records. I want to talk about something different.

My 10 year plan for San Diego sports follows past the jump.

Monday, January 16, 2017

The Chargers' Fraudulent Path to Los Angeles

The media campaign to ingratiate the Los Angeles Chargers into their new market has begun in earnest. We've seen/heard Dean Spanos give interviews all over Los Angeles (hereafter LA). He's shown up at Clippers and Kings games to do interviews and pose for pics with mascots.

So far, the campaign has not gone well. Spanos has been excoriated both by LA and San Diego (hereafter SD) media for the move. He's also been the subject of national media scorn, ranging from sources as disparate as The Jim Rome Show, Jonah Keri, and Justin Halpern.

Back here in SD, the community grapples with the sudden loss of a franchise which called SD home for over half a century. But history is also being written, and it's crucial to get it recorded right.

If there's one thing I want to make sure everyone understands going forward, whether in SD or not, it's this. Measure C, and most of what happened in 2016, was a fraud perpetrated by the Chargers to get to LA.