Shows and Movies
Pearl Jam Live On 6/25/2010, Hyde Park, London, England
To celebrate Easter weekend, I guess, online streaming service nugs.net put this show up for free from Good Friday evening through Easter Monday. An outstanding show with terrific sound and a stellar setlist. It was unnerving to see how tightly the crowd was packed in, though. Not because of Covid but more because of the sheer amount of people in a small space. Eddie was rightly concerned.
The Wolf’s Call
Basically a French The Hunt for Red October. This thriller sees Europe on the verge of nuclear war as a presumed Russian missile streaks from the Bearing Sea towards France. A French nuclear sub is given orders to launch a counterstrike and goes into its stealth mode leading up to launch. But a genius French sonar operator discovers that the missile is not armed with a warhead and is likely not from the Russians, setting off a mad scramble to prevent the counterstrike.
This movie was cheesy as hell and had numerous glaring logical flaws. They were made worse by Netflix dubbing the audio rather than presenting it with subtitles. The American actors who added their voices sounded like people with no experience acting. Being a French film, though, the ending isn’t nearly as clean and happy as a corresponding American film would be.
F1: Drive to Survive, season three
L and I ripped through this in about a week. Same old formula, with the same old success.
(L never watched season one so we went back and watched it to get her caught up. Interesting to look back two years and see how much had changed. That’s the weird thing about sports media: it’s so time exclusive. The exciting phenom of one year is the flamed-out, cautionary tale of two years later.)
Tourist Sauce: Oregon
The first Tourist Sauce season of the Covid era. Like the first Strapped season of these times, it also suffers a bit by not adding as much local color as in past seasons. However, sticking mostly to Oregon’s Bandon resort alleviated some of those issues. As with every TS season, watching these 12 episodes should make any golfer want to get their game and bank account in good enough condition to book a trip to Bandon
Burn After Reading
Exactly what you would expect when the Coen brothers take on the espionage genre. Silly, hilarious, and often uncomfortable. An expected wacky and excellent performance from Frances McDormand. Totally unexpected oddball efforts from George Clooney and Brad Pitt.
About the life of Brandon Burlsworth, who went from out-of-shape walk-on to starter and first team All-American at right guard for Arkansas in 1998. Weeks after he was drafted in the third round by the Colts, he died in a car accident.
His rise as an individual is primarily driven by his faith. The movie is very low-budget Christian, and because of that comes off as lazy and cheesy at times. Some of the acting is super amateur. Some of the characters are painted with very broad strokes, and there is little-to-no subtlety in many of the religious moments.
No matter what the focus is, you can’t help but get sucked into a story about an underdog athlete turning into a star. Even if the focus on his faith rather than his obvious talent is over-the-top. The movie suggests the team’s success in 1998 – they started 9–0 and had #1 and eventual national champs Tennessee beat until a fumble in the closing minutes gave the Vols the win – was a result of the team’s Bible study sessions going from only Burlsworth and his coach to a room crowded with teammates.
Again, if you’re into that kind of stuff, this movie will work. I am not, and it did not.
But…as much as I wanted to cynically dislike this movie, it pulls all the right strings in getting you to admire Burlsworth’s rise and his positivity. And while his death is only alluded to, the fact he died in a car accident pretty much destroyed me. That doesn’t happen very often; I’ve seen plenty of movies with deaths caused by car accidents in the 23 years since my mom died and been ok with them. Something about this one reduced me to a teary mess.
A Week in the Life: Madelene Sagström
No Laying Up’s newest feature shows great promise. The premise is to follow someone in golf through an entire tournament week. They could not have picked a better first subject. Sagström is delightful. She’s open, honest, insightful, funny, and charming.
The week they followed her was significant, too. She was the defending champion of that week’s tournament. She was stuck in London for two days trying to get her visa worked out. And on Monday of that week she had, in coordination with the LPGA, released a video in which she, for the first time, publicly acknowledged the sexual abuse she suffered as a child. It made for compelling TV. Or YouTube, I guess.
The only downside is there was too much golf. I think they could have shown her progression through the tournament – she made the cut on the number and finished deep in the pack – without spending 30–40 minutes showing shots. I wanted to see more of what the life of a touring pro is. But perhaps some of that additional color wasn’t possible while we are still living with Covid.
Zero Dark Thirty
I had profoundly mixed feelings while watching this. From a purely cinematic perspective, it is excellent. Tense, taut, and full of the nitty-gritty of what intelligence services really do: dig through massive amounts of data hoping to catch a break to find the information they seek to justify operations.
However, it also felt a little manipulative, bordering on revenge porn at times. Throughout the movie I was recalling the anger I felt in the 2000s because of many aspects of our response to the 9/11 attacks. I was having mental debates about the use of torture. As much as people of all perspectives wanted us to catch Osama Bin Laden, and as fine as I was with his ultimate fate, I felt a little wrong about rooting for it so hard. I think that’s a reflection of the age of politics we live in where everything is white or black, there is never room for gray. Where there’s only room for debating yes or no on a policy, never an opportunity to decide if there are other policy options.
Africa by Kayak: 2000km around the southern tip of Africa
My man Beau Miles attempts to kayak from Mozambique to Namibia. He runs into problems.
But how does bitcoin actually work?
Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin do not make sense to me. This video helps explain the theory and process behind them. I’m still not sure I get it.
How slow jams took over the radio
Awwwww yeah! I think they undersell that Quiet Storm programs were mostly about being a soundtrack for hooking up, though.
The Ultimate Guide to Black Holes
Ultimate guide might be an exaggeration.