Wednesday, September 1, 2010

How do you Troch?

When I was a junior at UMD, I dated a guy whose nickname was TROCH. You don't need to know his real name, and this is going to be polite and respectful in case he reads this someday. Anyway, this guy was a football player. A good one, actually. A Linebacker. Captain of the Bulldogs. Breaker of some records, I'm sure; but a good, clean, Catholic athlete. We grew apart, as people often do in these troubled times, and I haven't seen him since about the week after my dad's funeral.

However, his name gets uttered around here MINIMUM, once or twice a week. Often times more during football season. This is because we have coined all football players, "Troch." Football is usually referred to as TROCH-BALL. To even call it "football" seems a little odd to me now. I'll ask Matt, "who's on TROCH-BALL tonight?" or "what TROCH do we have this weekend?" or "what do you want to eat for Monday Night TROCH?" or "Effin' TROCH." when we get a little too involved in the game, etc.)

I have grown to really enjoy TROCH-BALL in the last few years, so I thought a film-fest was in order.
And we'll do this in good, better, best order, all right?

ANY GIVEN SUNDAY, directed by Oliver Stone.

I could be extremely rude and tear
this to shreds,  but I won't. It's a film
that I would watch I found it while flipping channels, I'll give it that, but
not much else. Some of the music is
cool; Jamie Foxx was entertaining
enough (FF through the constant barfing, though); I think the film captured the action and intensity of the game pretty well.

However: Cameron Diaz completely ruined this film, and I mean ruined. KISS. OF. DEATH. I get that it was a stretch for her (playing a Cornell-educated, intelligent power chick) but seriously, her scenes literally gave me discomfort goosebumps and simultaneously made me want to punch her in the face. When Charlton Heston comes on for three minutes and then leaves, saying "I honestly believe that woman would eat her young," I thought, now see? This could have been an excellent moment in the film, but if that's the image you want us to have of Christina Pagniacci (Diaz), then YOU FAIL. I don't believe her, not for one moment. During her scenes, all I could envision was her trying so very hard to remember the next line in the script, and yelling real loud. And hers is a voice that's difficult to endure in normal tones. . . ugh.

Stone's filmmaking? I think it actually took away from the narrative. All the jump cuts and extreme close ups, even during the speaker's dialogue (voice over while the actor is talking but then shots of the actor's non-speaking mouth, like they're off somewhere, psychologically, he does this A LOT) got forced and tired. It worked for Natural Born Killers, it worked for any other film he's made, but it didn't work for this, maybe because these were not people who are "in their heads" very often. This is TROCH, for Christ's sake! Quit complicating it! There's a mom-blogger that I read from time to time that suffers from this same sort of busy clutter in her words. I know what this is like because I used to write like that myself. It's an important lesson, and it's the same for all storytellers: Quit jerking around with all the extraneous bullshit and JUST SAY WHAT YOU WANT TO SAY.

Favorite moment? James Woods, and I usually can't stand the guy. (+20 on the cameo by JESSIE SPANO as the pro, that was pretty rad).

THE BLIND SIDE directed by John Lee Hancock.

Yeah, guess what? Had Sandy not won an Oscar for this, I'd probably be all over it. It was a nice, sweet film. But Goddammit, it wasn't a best actress winner. I mean, maybe the competition wasn't that great this year (Julie and Julia) but I don't care. Doing an accent doesn't earn you a statue. This has pissed me off since Julia Roberts won for Erin Brockovich; GETTING SERIOUS DOESN'T EARN YOU A STATUE, EITHER. It goes along with a general lowering of the bar when it comes to Academy Awards, which I suppose makes me sound like some old dried up grandma shaking my walker at the television, but I'm not caving on this. If a young actress wins a best actress award, they need to have completely blown me away in order to get my endorsement (which matters to everyone, right?). I think Sandra Bullock did a good job. But I think that statue belonged to someone else.

As far as the TROCH goes? Fine, I guess. Not nearly enough game time. That little brother annoyed me when he started getting all greedy with the recruiters; and when she finally asked him about 3 minutes from the end, "Michael, do you even like football?" I felt like it was too little, too late. I played violin for 16 years and basically hated it, and I don't think anyone ever asked me how I felt, either. Supporting cast was good. Tim McGraw? I remember this guy before he married Faith Hill and was scraggly, trashy, and doing, "I like it, I love it." Who knew he'd clean up so well?

Favorite moment? The recruiters all lined up to watch him hit and then scrambling to their cell phones.

WE ARE MARSHALL, directed by McG.

Yeah, the McG threw me a little, I was like, what the hell, is that like McLovin'? Little did I know that Mr. McG was responsible for a couple of Charlie's Angels films. . . but hey, *this* film was so good, I'm willing to let bygones be bygones; I will not be holding it against him.

For me, this is what a TROCH film should be, and it's a true story! Wow! Tragedy. Disappointment. A yearn to prove one's self. Teamwork! A school chant! Sped up filmmaking and slow motion in all the right places. Jack Shephard (FOXY) as "Red" Dawson! Music, acting, 70s clothes (especially McConaughey) were all aces. I liked it a lot. I almost turned it off after the cheerleader started narrating at the end as she drove to Cali, but I didn't, and then to hear about how the actual team went on to kick ass all though the 80s (from the ashes we rose). Nice work, Marshall!

Favorite moment? I dug the recruiting of the random freshman athletes probably the most (giddy excitement between Foxy and McConaughney), although I think the entire film was extremely well done and interesting.

I was a water works for much of the film; it was really emotional! And true to form, Foxy proved he doesn't have to be Jack Shephard to still be the best cry-er in the business. Love him.

I only have one suggestion: Matthew McConaughey needs to have a southern accent in everything he does.


Justin Garrett Blum said...

Any Given Sunday is probably the only football movie I actually like. I'm not a fan of the sport, though. Maybe that matters somehow.

Anna said...

When I first saw it I was the same way. It was competent filmmaking, but just. . . I don't know, overqualified for a football movie, it made it kind of silly. Now that I actually watch football and care about it I think Ollie missed the boat. And seriously. take Cam out and that film is probably killer.

Justin Garrett Blum said...

Not that I'm necessarily trying to say it's a great movie. Just saying I liked it. Cameron Diaz doesn't bother me, but I'll concede it might have been better with a less lightweight actress in that role.