Sunday, March 6, 2011

Top and Bottom of 2010 - #1

Baseball (1994)
Ken Burns’ loving yet epic documentary tells the story of baseball through the twentieth century. It chronicles the sport from its humble beginnings all the way to the mega-franchises of today, with numerous highs and lows along the way. There is plenty of talk about Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, and Ty Cobb, but it also examines the way baseball existed outside the major leagues, with plenty of time devoted to the Negro leagues. And when scandal strikes baseball, there is no angry finger pointing or blanket pardons for the guilty parties. Instead, the scandals are treated fairly and the predominant tone is one of sorrow that they marred the face of baseball and hope that we have learned from these mistakes so they will not happen again. The men and women interviewed in the film range from former players to sports writers to broadcasters to fans of the game. I would call this a love letter to baseball, except that description falls far too short of the amazing accomplishment that Baseball is. All 19 hours of it.

New Moon (2009)
I thought that this would at least be an improvement over Twilight. After all, they replaced the original director with the director of the snappy About a Boy so at least the plodding pace would be sped up. No such luck. The incessant pausing in mid-sentence by every single main character was amplified. We also get what pretends to be a love triangle for Bella whose talent for being vapid reaches new heights. I kept waiting for something to happen. And waiting. And waiting. And then there was a glimmer of what might be mistaken for some rising action and I thought, “Now we must be getting to the explosive climax.” But instead of something happening the credits just rolled. The climax was so uninteresting that I completely missed it and I had to think back and figure out what it was supposed to be. At least the first one had a poorly-staged action piece for a climax, but the only suspense in New Moon came from waiting to see if anyone could get through a complete sentence without a giant pause.

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