Movie Review: Russian Ark (Russia, 2002)

I’m sure you’ve heard the basics of this film. One long, single take of a walk through the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, and Russian history. The techical achievement is amazing, but for me the historical element was very minor. Sure, there were scattered references to historical figures and events, but they were in no real order. Nor was the movie a guided tour of the Hermitage.  If there is a plot or a message, it’s that museums serve as repositories of civilization.

The whole thing was intended to come across as a dream – and it does that extremely well.

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Baseball Families

A little while ago, Joe Posnanski had a fun article on Hall-of-Fame fathers who had sons in the Major Leagues.

http://joeposnanski.com/fathers-sons-and-hall-of-fame/

He looked at WAR (wins above replacement) to see which sons had the best careers. I wondered “What if you looked at entire families, and went with total WAR?” That sounded like a fun little project…

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Random Thoughts on the 2015 All-Star Game

Pete Rose did pretty well in the pre-game show. A little work on knowing when to stop talking and let the other guys speak, and he’ll be OK. He’s got a wealth of baseball knowledge, and is a fine raconteur.

The “Franchise Four” was a pretty neat idea. Rather odd comparing the young expansion teams to the “classic” franchises. Evan Longoria is a very good player, but he’s no Mike Schmidt. But every team does have players to be proud of.

So, Nolan Ryan’s a “Franchise Four” with three teams! Hmm!!!

To those complaining about the selections: This was done via a fan vote. For all the problems with that method, keep in mind that the results will probably be forgotten before the season is out. Sure, you could simply pick the four players with the highest career WAR over their time with the team, but where’s the fun in that?

Same thing goes for the “Greatest Living Legends”….

Mike Trout reminds me of Johnny Mize or Ted Kluszewski. Not just the skills, but the clean-cut, square-jawed, wholesome good looks.

Johnny Mize, Mike Trout, Ted Kluszewski

Johnny Mize, Mike Trout, Ted Kluszewski

By the way, that home run of his was no “monster blast” (like McCutchen’s upper deck shot later in the game). It traveled something like 340-350 feet. Would have been caught in center field… Heck, it would have been caught in right center (370′ to the wall).

In a pitching-heavy era like the present, a low-scoring game is to be expected. Makes for somewhat dull viewing, unfortunately. 24 of the 54 outs were recorded via the strikeout.

Speaking of strikeouts, did anyone else notice that when Jacob deGrom struck out the side in the 6th on 10 pitches, not one of the batters so much as made contact? Looking, looking, swing and miss. Looking, looking, outside, swing and miss. Three swings and misses.

A three-run lead going into the bottom of the seventh, with plenty of top-notch pitching arms available? And all of the big bats for the NL already out of the lineup? Yeah, it’s pretty much over.

While it’s nice to win, the All-Star Game MVP Award is probably the least significant of all the pieces of hardware a player can get. It’s the equivalent of a “Player of the Game” award – the kind where the local radio station gives you a free dinner for giving them a post-game interview. Yeah, there are a lot of great names in the list of winners. But that’s simply because the players in an All-Star Game are already likely to be great players. There’s more luck than talent involved. The list of winners includes such legendary players as Jeff Conine, Garrett Anderson, and Terry Steinbach….

On Short Films

Presumably coming soon to a theater near you is the latest attempt at comedy from Adam Sandler, an homage to early video games called Pixels. Astute fans of pop culture may recall an episode of Futurama that had a segment where the Earth was invaded by video game creatures – but that’s not the source of this movie’s theme.

You’ll have to go back to 2010, to a short film by Patrick Jean….

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The 2015 All-Stars

The voting has closed for this year’s Baseball All-Star Game. But even while it was still open, there was a lot of chatter about What’s Wrong With The Voting. It’s nothing new. Fans always gripe about both the voting and the selection process. Being able to complain is part of the fun. One of the lesser complaints is that every team is required to have a representative on the rosters. Often, this means that a “clearly deserving” player is left out. However, when you get right down to it, every team has at least one player who deserves to be an All-Star.

Without further ado, here are the best players on each team.

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