Web Toolbar by Wibiya Bears and Bullets: 2008-06-15

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Glory Days in Boston Sports

I cannot seem to comprehend how much of a joy it must be to be a sports' fan, living in the Boston area. Since Superbowl XXXVI when Adam Vinatieri kicked the game-winning field goal in the winding seconds of the fourth quarter against the heavily-favored St. Louis Rams, the Boston area has been the recipient of three Super Bowl victories, two World Series crowns, and befitting the date, the Boston Celtics received their 17th NBA Championship on the 17th of June. Myself, living in New Jersey, adjacent to - and a fan of all Philadelphia sports -have sat and witnessed the pile of trophies just getting taller and taller. And all the while other sports' fans just seem to bad-mouth the city and all their victories, pining it up to either luck, money, or cheating, the whole decade of championships may just boil down to one and only one correct description; I'm jealous. I want what they have, period. I want an NBA team that has enough nerve to bring in two all-stars in about a month. I want a baseball team that not only has the chemistry to win, but just keeps doing it. I want a football team that down-right dominated everyone else. I want that feeling

When the Philadelphia Flyers lost the Eastern Conference Finals in May, four games to one to the Pittsburgh Penguins, it marked the 100th season in Philadelphia sports' franchise history that the city has been without any championship. That's twenty-five years, for all four teams, since the 76'ers won the NBA Championship in 1983. It wasn't too long ago that Boston was stuck in the same doldrums that Philadelphia was: Until Super Bowl XXVI, The Patriots had appeared in only two Super Bowls, and lost each time; The Celtics hadn't won an NBA Championship since 1986, during the Bird' Era; and The Red Sox were still cursed. Then, in 2001, through a miracle, fate, luck, or reported cheating, Tom Brady won his first of three Super Bowls. The team won it again two years later against the Carolina Panthers, and repeated the next year against my Philadelphia Eagles. Only nine months later, the Red Sox swept the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series, and the curse was reversed. The sports scheme of America has not been the same since. Because, frankly, half of the scheme lives in the New England Area.

I stress the Philadelphia drought because of my personal preference, but there are a lot of other cities feeling the same sense of loss. San Diego must be feeling a larger sense of pain, considering the city only has two franchises - The MLB Padres, and the NFL Chargers - and neither have won any championship, period. Cleveland hasn't had a championship banner to hang since the 1964 Browns won the NFL Championship. Buffalo is in the same boat as Cleveland, having not won a championship since 1965, when the Bills won the AFL Championship. There's also Seattle, who are win less since the Sonics won the NBA Championship in 1979, and now the team is apparently leaving for Oklahoma City. All of these notes compound with the solidified stamp that Boston has pressed for the past seven years.

The worst part about the city-dynasty is not that I dislike Boston fans, like a lot of sports' fans seem to; they do not like the teams I like, of course I'm not going to agree with them. The worst thing about it, the truly worst thing, is that it looks like it's not going to stop anytime soon. The Patriots are still the most dominant team in the NFL, and will probably be in at least the AFC Championship game next year, the Celtics still have a few more years where they can look for more rings, and the Red Sox are the best team in baseball. This dominance wont stop anytime soon. And the more time it takes, the longer and longer cities like Seattle, Buffalo, Cleveland, San Diego, and Philadelphia will be sitting and waiting for some glory to fall their respective ways.

At least the Bruins haven't won anything yet.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Incredible Hulk Review

Directed By: Louis Leterrier
Starring: Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth

Do not be mistaken; this is not the sequel to the boring, underachieving Hulk released in 2003, directed by Ang Lee. This version, released five years later, seems like an attempt to completely erase that "mistake" that was the Eric Bana Hulk. And if that's what the movie is principally trying to achieve, then it does it well.

Unlike the Ang Lee version, there's no long-awaited anticipation for the protagonist Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) to finally become the monster Hulk - in fact, the whole period of when Bruce goes from normal scientist to monster in human skin is finished through the film's opening credits. Also unlike Lee's version, the quiet subtlety is diluted with more comic book hero-like precision. There's no time left to wonder the mystery of the beast - watching the film does it for you.
Elizabeth Ross, now played by Liv Tyler, replaces the overwhelming role Jennifer Connelly filled in the previous Hulk, supplanting her obvious love for Banner without any wasted screen-time. The antagonist roles of Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth) and General Thaddeus Ross (William Hurt) aren't played to the quiet likeness that Norton and Tyler seem to find, but are by no means inadequate in comparison. In this movie, really, no one part is unnecessary.

Watching the premiere of The Incredible Hulk at another mid-night showing packed full of nerds, I began to really take in how much of a positive upturn comic book movies have been showing. After a blistering cascade of immensely popular comic book movies earlier this decade like Spiderman, X-Men, X-Men 2, Hellboy, and Spiderman 2, the industry saw a large amount of shit fall its own way - Daredevil, Elektra, Hulk, Ghost Rider, Son of the Mask, and by a large margin, the hugely disappointing X-Men 3: The Last Stand, and the godawful Spiderman 3. But now, with the releases of Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk, and the soon to be released The Dark Knight (which looks like it's going to be better than all of them), the industry seems completely back on the upswing. And what seems even more exciting are these cameo's that keep popping up at the end of these Marvel Films. Like Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury showing up in Iron Man, telling Tony Starks (Robert Downey Jr.) about a team he's looking to form. And then Tony Starks showing up at the end of The Incredible Hulk, telling General Ross about adding another member to the team. Also with the words on an Ant Man and Thor movies coming out, get ready for a one Hell of a Avengers Movie.

As for the Incredible Hulk review. It's good. Go see it. Go Avengers. Iron Man was better. See that too.

Score: 8.4 out of 10