What's moving the needle at the start of this week? Without further ado:
The Patriots - Wow. Take that. It's hard to contend that the Patriots aren't playing the best right now. They absolutely shellacked San Diego, and the Charger offense has looked anaemic in the last few games. Robert Kraft was unwavering in his support of Belichick while criticizing him sharply during an interview with Bob Costas. Kraft denied any knowledge of the sideline shenanigans. Some have questioned this, but it's not unreasonable that this would be something way below his purview and something that Belichick would have hidden from Kraft, or just made sure it never came across his desk. Belichick won a Super Bowl within two years of getting to New England. He made a hugely ballsy choice when he replaced Bledsoe with Brady. Surely, this man has earned a lot of leeway and autonomy with respect to running the football side of operations.
Wild Hogs - By my reading of the numbers on IMDB, this movie has grossed in excess of $250M at the box office and nearly $30M at rentals. Just think about that, a movie about four men pandering to their mid-life crisis in what seems almost an asinine manner grossed $300M. I can't imagine who watched this. But people did.
Notre Dame - Wow, they're a bad team. A coach at ND has it tougher than someone at a football factory school like Miami or OSU. Those schools are beholden to their football programmes. In fact they're defined by the programmes. Regardless, it's hard to feel sympathetic for Charlie Weis. His performance by all accounts has been mediocre and yet he's garnered a 10 year extension with a hefty buyout clause. For the same performance, Wilingham was shown the door.
Transformers on IMAX - It premieres this Friday. Of course, it's one of the high holy days and I live in New York. Many of my friends are Jewish, so what's the chance that I can get them to come out to watch a Michael Bay flick on Yom Kippur? Yeah, I thought so.
The Brave One - the vengeance fulfillment fantasy delivered a mediocre opening weekend and will not be a jewel in Foster's oeuvre when, 20 years from now, a Lifetime Achievement award is thrown her way. The Emmy's were on last night, reminding us that there is no industry that is more hypocritical or masturbatory than the entertainment business.
3:10 to Yuma: Christian Bale and Russell Crowe are uniquely charismatic actors, in that both radiate an element of unpredictability and danger on screen. Most American leading men lack that, though Jack Nicholson and Clint Eastwood are exceptions. Unsurprisingly they were both actors that came to prominence in the 60s and 70s when anti-heroes were more appreciated. Three of the great American leading men of the last twenty years: Tom Hanks, Harrison Ford and Tom Cruise for example are unabashed good guys. Rarely were their roles even remotely unsympathetic. That's not a knock. Those three raked in billions and have created many memorable characters and a bushel of wonderful movies. One could make a strong case that Tom Hanks is commercially and critically the most successful actor of all time.
Special tip of the hat to Elmore Leonard. The crime and western writer recently turned 81 recently and has a new novel out in hardcover. His short story "3:10 to Yuma" has now been made into a film twice, a movie made in 1957 and the one out in the theatres currently. Would that all of us could be that mentally spry at that age.
In a bit.