Wednesday, July 30, 2008

she's playin all night

Crimson & White Roundtable further down in this morning's post. For a moment, however, allow me to chime in my $.02 about The Dark Knight, a movie that's been celebrated enough to cause my wife and I to make the drive up to Argo to catch a late showing on Sunday (we almost never go see movies in theaters because, well, why would you?).
The movie has received so much buzz because of Heath Ledger's performance as The Joker, even getting positive reviews from some of the toughest critics in the entertainment media. That was enough to sell me, so I figured I'd give it a shot, even though my last comic book movie experience -- Spiderman III -- turned out to be a serious disappointment.

Well, "TDK" is definitely better than the aforementioned third "Spider Man." And it's probably the best movie of the year so far, though I'm not certain whether that's more of a statement about the quality of this movies or the poor state of movies in general (for more, read here about how to write your own Will Ferrell movie).

Is it a truly great movie, though? I'm a little hesitant to go that far.

Ledger's Joker character, of course, makes the film -- he's dark, funny, crazy, and by the end of the movie you absolutely believe he'd blow up barges full of innocent citizens for absolutely no reason. There's been some debate about whether Ledger's Joker was better than Jack Nicholson's in the original "Batman," but that's a dead-end discussion -- the two are barely related.
(Important note: Ledger's Joker character continually licks his own lips, something our resident neurological nurse confirms is a characteristic of people taking anti-psychotic drugs. Interesting wrinkle.)

As for the other performances, I feel let down. Christian Bale -- one of my favorite guys dating back to his days as Cowboy Jack in Newsies -- continues to be a wash as Batman. As Bruce Wayne? Definitely. As Batman? Meh.
('Nother note: For whatever reason, Bale's Batman talks like an 82-year-old chain-smoker with a voice box. Does the mask pinch his nose? I don't get it.)
Aaron Eckhart does a decent job as the emotionally troubled Harvey Dent, even though the filmmakers -- much like the ones in "Batman Forever" -- continue in Hollywood's steadfast refusal to do proper justice to one of my favorite Batman characters. In their defense, the movie is already 150 minutes as it is.

Which, of course, is the real problem here. A pounding, non-stop action movie in which the audience is given very little time to digest what's taking place probably shouldn't be more than two hours long. You could make a case it shouldn't even last much more than 90 minutes. When the "movie should be over" clock goes off in your head, and you realize the movie still has 45 minutes left in it ... it makes the end of the movie feel like a welcome end.

In any case, I still advocate seeing it. But you may be better off seeing it somewhere like a drive-in, where you can stand up and stretch your legs without causing much of a ruckus.


Now that the "arts-and-entertainment" portion of the program is over, let's move on to this week's Crimson & White Roundtable. As always, we at the DP provide the disclaimer that we're participating in this, not as a 'Bama blog, but as someone who needs something to amuse himself. Maybe we'll amuse you, also.
This week's host is The Druid.

1) Complete this sentence: Alabama’s biggest improvement from the 2007 season will be __________.

I'm going to stick with chalk here and go with line play. Even though a few positions on the line are still suspect, having two preseason all-everything selections at center (Caldwell) and left tackle (Smith) makes the odds pretty good of the line being the best it's been since 2004.
To carry the analysis one step further, let's say the running game will be the biggest improvement. With an offensive line that's finally SEC caliber, and some genuine depth in the backfield -- Grant, Upchurch, Lowe, et al -- Alabama should be able to run the ball with better consistency against the better teams in the league. Alabama should be able to score points. Stopping other people from doing it may be slightly more difficult.

2) Who will be the unsung hero of the 2008 Crimson Tide? This is a player that hasn’t received any pre-season attention, nor will he receive any post-season attention from the media. Yet without his presence, the Tide would be lost.

Whoever's playing nose tackle. You never see him, he makes very few tackles ... and yet, without him, the 3-4 simply doesn't work. Not sure exactly who that's going to be at this point -- for more, read Creg at CC -- but whoever it is simply must be a beast. And then some.

3) This is a rather vague question considering we haven’t even started fall practice, but what bowl game some we expect for this Alabama team?

Something other than Shreveport. Taking Auburn's place in one of those Florida bowls against either Penn St. or Wisconsin sounds cool, also.

4) This next one has to do with the recent hub-bub over the sabbatical Kenny Stabler is taking from the radio broadcast. I would like you to pick your ultimate Alabama football radio broadcast team. Pick an announcer, color analyst, a sideline reporter or two, and anything else you’d like to add.

In an ideal world, Alabama would hire the best play-by-play guy in the game -- Atlanta's Wes Durham -- flank him with a color analyst who doesn't say much and that would be that. But since Durham probably won't leave his gig with Ga. Tech and the Falcons, that's a pipe dream.
Thus, in their place, I'm adding myself. And I'm bringing my dad along with me, with the condition that he understand that we're not allowed to swear on live radio.
And if we must have a sideline reporter, which I despise, I say bring Jerry Duncan out of hiding and let him go.

Of course, that's just me.



whitheath said...

I could be your sideline reporter...or I could just be in the press box. Maybe to make the beer runs during the game for you, dad, and myself?

TideDruid said...

Yeah, and I could be that buddy you loan your season tickets to on a weekly basis..... or not.

Anonymous said...

1) I think Bale talks so funny as Batman b/c if he didn't everyone would recognize his voice (Harvey Dent, etc). That's the only explanation I can think of.

2)You just admitted you saw, and liked, NEWSIES. I am at a loss for words frankly.