Adam Kaufman’s Movies… On The Field
BOSTON (CBS) – It’s a crazy time of the year for baseball – new general managers all over, rumors surrounding free agents, kidnappings, but no games…for a while.
The NBA? I made my thoughts on that mess known a few weeks ago, and the situation’s barely improved. The league’s already cancelled Boston’s first 14 games from its original schedule and the top story on the C’s website this week was the death of Ed Macauley. No disrespect to “Easy Ed” whatsoever, but the Hall of Famer would probably have liked to read a few 2011-12 game recaps, too.
The Bruins are working their way out of an early-season funk but, if the season was a hockey game, it’s still the first period.
And, since the Patriots have dropped two in a row and ‘trimmed some of the fat’ with the release of Albert Haynesworth, the talk there is mostly depressing right now.
Monday morning, even before some of this news, I couldn’t take it anymore. I needed a break.
So, I went to the movies.
Thing is, I didn’t go to the movies the way most of you do. When I go to the theater, I like to spend the day. I called up my buddy Chris, we rolled into the popcorn-smelling corridors armed with leftover Halloween candy a little after noon, and left about nine hours later.
The result? Four movies, more than 20 previews, stiff necks, sore lower backs and a day’s worth of enjoyment for an average of four bucks a movie. What, you didn’t think we’d pay for all of them, did you?
Still, with all the movies I see – as many as possible – I can never fully remove sports from the brain, or entertainment when it comes to sports. The two go hand-in-hand so nicely.
Take, for instance, the Kim Kardashian saga with Kris Humphries last week. I love following this stuff. Before Kimmy, Humphries was just an average-at-best NBA forward hoping Jay-Z will take him from East Rutherford to Brooklyn. Now, Humphries has learned that no humps are free when it comes to a Kardashian, but the dude’s a bigger celebrity than he’d ever become shooting hoops.
When I see a movie or watch a game, I’m always looking for comparisons in hopes of making more sense of something. So, without further ado, a game inspired by a conversation I had a few months back with Damon Amendolara of “The D.A. Show.”
I like to call it, “Movies…On the Field”
The way this works – and you can play at home with just a junk food powered brain – is you watch a movie, examine its core attributes and basically say, “Where have I seen this before in sports?” Sometimes it’s an athlete, other times an entire team, but the trick is trying to find the best fit.
Today, after chatting with a few friends, I’ll take a look at Monday’s “Movies…On the Field.”
[Note: There will be no shortage of opinions here, but NO SPOILERS, so you can rest easy as you read on.]
A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas
Let me get a couple of things out of the way first:
I have trouble any time a Christmas movie is released in early-November when we’re still weeks from Thanksgiving, but I’m willing to look past that when it comes to a stoner comedy. Things that don’t make sense have a way of making sense when you’re high…I’m told.
Second, I hate 3D movies and I like the concept even less on TV (including sporting events). I like to keep my 3D to real-life. I go to the movies because I want to escape reality in a world of 2D, not reach out and grab somebody else’s problems or chards of glass flying at me while I’m wearing glasses bigger than those popular in the 30 years ago. Moreover, I can’t stand when a movie opts for 3D for the sake of going 3D (see: The Green Hornet or, you know, this). At least give me an option, don’t charge me $13 for a matinee movie I’m not expecting to be very good in the first place. On a side note, I’m surprised the pornography industry didn’t have this market cornered years ago.
As for Harold & Kumar 3D, I went into this movie with mild optimism after a great first installment in 2004 and a reasonably entertaining sequel in 2008. The writers of the first two were back, all the key personnel on-hand and you knew they were going to bring the main elements and characters from the franchise along for the ride, including a seemingly-deceased Neil Patrick Harris.
But, that mild optimism was surrounded by skepticism as well. I was filled with the same overwhelming feeling I had when I saw Men In Black 2 – I’m going to leave this movie pissed off.
Unfortunately, the skeptic in me won out. This is not a good movie. Does it have some entertaining parts? Absolutely. Will you leave the theater quoting the movie and recounting its laugh-out-loud moments? Not unless you went in as high as Harold and Kumar themselves. Plus, there’s nowhere near enough NPH, not that there ever is.
So, I started wondering about its attributes – third in the series, hesitant optimism about the performance despite many signs pointing to eventual disappointment, some memorable moments but nothing spectacular – where have I seen this before in sports?
There are a few cases of third generation athletes in baseball that come to mind – the Boones and the Hairstons being pretty prominent – but I think the most appropriate example here is the Bells.
Gus Bell played 15 seasons in the majors from 1950-64, suiting up for Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, the Mets and Milwaukee (when they were the Braves). Like the first Harold & Kumar, not a big award-winner but he was solid and entertaining. By the end of his career, he’d compiled a .281 lifetime average, belted 206 homeruns, driven in nearly a thousand runs, was a four-time All-Star and he’s in the Reds Hall of Fame. Gus even played in a World Series with Cincinnati, falling to Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris and the rest of the 1961 New York Yankees.
Buddy Bell is Gus’ son. Like his dad, he played a long time – 18 years with Cleveland, Texas, Cincinnati and Houston before managing
another nine seasons – and he was pretty productive. Buddy was a career .279 hitter, popped 201 long-balls, drove in 1,106 runs and he was a five-time All-Star. As a player, he was pretty good and an above-average fielder with six Gold Gloves. As a manager for Detroit, Colorado and Kansas City, he stunk, finishing more than 200 games under .500 overall.
Put all of his 27 years together, some memorable moments, but he never made the postseason, and – as we know – that counts for something in sports, so he gets docked some points. Examining his entire career, it feels like Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay. We probably remember it for better than it was, but it was really just a lesser clone-like version of the original.
Buddy’s two sons also played in the majors but neither with much acclaim. David enjoyed a dozen years in Cleveland, St. Louis, Seattle, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Milwaukee, but he was a career .257 hitter with limited power and not a single award or major distinction to his credit, save for seven postseason series and a trip to the World Series with the Giants in 2002. David’s brother Mike hit .222 in just 19 games for the Reds in 2000, spending the rest of his career in the minors before getting nailed for HGH on the Mitchell Report in 2007. Average the two out and they’re a lot like Harold & Kumar 3D. One guy made a lot more money than his predecessors due only to inflation despite not having nearly the success, and the other just flat-out sucked.
Want to get a little deeper for a moment? David hit for the cycle once in his career, as did Grandpa Gus. Consider this the equivalent of Neil Patrick Harris in the Harold & Kumar movies. It’s a side plot that was awesome in the first and third installments, but kind of skipped a generation in the middle.
Anyhow, if you plan on seeing Harold & Kumar 3D, go in prepared for a lot of David and Mike Bell highlights. You’ve been warned.
There’s very little Justin Timberlake can’t do and, whatever it is, we haven’t found it yet. Dance? He’s Gene Kelly. Sing? Like a bird. Comedy? Watch him on “Saturday Night Live” some time. Act? He’s been acting like he’s not God’s gift for years, and makes us all believe he’s really just a good ‘ole boy from Memphis. Plus, I’m not ashamed to admit he’s good-looking. If we’re talking baseball here, he’s a five-tool player.
That in mind, when I first saw the trailer for In Time, I got excited. Writer/director Andrew Niccol has been known to think outside the box and he’s been attached to several awesome projects over the years – The Truman Show, The Terminal and Lord of War, among them – so there was no hesitating in making this flick the second in our movie hop extravaganza.
I’d break down the plot for you, but I’m not sure there’s a really quick way to do that, so check out the trailer if you don’t know the story.
I’ve seen Timberlake in a number of talk show interviews promoting the movie, and he’s always said making this was a chance to bring all of his boyhood fantasies to life all in one place. This film’s got brains, action, adventure, guns, car chases, sexual innuendo and a compelling story, plus a pretty effective Robin Hood symbolism. I gotta say, though, Timberlake’s toughest task here is trying not to be attracted to Olivia Wilde playing his smoking hot mom. Personally, I would have fought for her to play the Amanda Seyfried role. It’s not that she would have played it better, but she would have been featured a lot more!
On to the attributes to consider – a great story, a positive outlook going in, unique, exciting, attention-grabbing, thought-provoking, a heart for the underprivileged, perhaps predictable (or reliable), intelligent and certainly multi-faceted.
This one’s easy to relate to sports, but a little trickier when looking for just the right match. I had Muhammad Ali, Magic Johnson, Tom Brady and Lance Armstrong suggested to me. They’d fit, certainly, but it could be argued they are the best of all-time at their craft. I’m not prepared to make that claim when it comes to In Time.
Tim Tebow was another suggestion. Interesting, but too premature to really consider. Allen Iverson came to mind, but he’s still perhaps a bit too advanced for this comparison, though he possesses many of the qualities.
For this, I’m going to go with Ron Artest. Short of Dennis Rodman, who’s more successfully mind-bendingly eccentric than the man now known as Metta World Peace?
The NBA forward’s been a champion with the Lakers, an All-Star and Defensive Player of the Year with Indiana, among a slew of other awards during his time with those clubs, Chicago, Sacramento and Houston. He’s also a defensive mastermind who’s not afraid to mix it up (remember that Pacers-Pistons brawl in 2004?).
Off the court, though, he’s changed his name, appeared on “Dancing with the Stars”, been a frequent guest on Jimmy Kimmel’s show, produced a reality program, advocated for the spaying and neutering of animals, sold his championship ring to give money to mental health charities despite having tens of millions of dollars in contract earnings and he’s come out with a rap album. That doesn’t even include some of the outlandish and ridiculous stuff that he’s spouted over the years. It should also be noted that he looks positively crazy pretty much any time he opens his mouth.
Like the movie In Time, Artest is simply all over the place, and yet they both manage to do it effectively and without the slightest question or raised eye-brow from the audience.
Would you want Artest on your team? I would. And I’d want In Time on my movie shelf, too.
We’ll continue tomorrow with a look at Tower Heist and Real Steel…
Adam Kaufman, a native of Massachusetts, joined the Sports Hub as an on-air personality in June 2011. He has worked as a television and radio anchor and broadcaster for various outlets since 2004, and his written views on sports and entertainment have appeared on NESN.com and in the New England Hockey Journal. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamMKaufman.