Friday, January 18, 2008

Pop Culture Roundup

I started reading Tigers Essential this past week, which is the other book that I got for Christmas this year. This is a general history of the Detroit Tigers, and gives brief glimpses into the tenures of players such as Ty Cobb, Hank Greenberg, Norm Cash, Willie Horton, Al Kaline, Alan Trammell, Kirk Gibson, and into the present age. It also highlights changes to the ballparks, owners, and announcers. The book is already a little dated, as it ends after the 2006 season. It's also not particularly well-written: there are an insane amount of sentence fragments, and reads like an amateur fanboy's take on his favorite team ("And then it all went ker-blooey."). While far from a masterpiece, it does its job as a general recap of the team's history. Fun fact: before joining the American League, they were known as the Detroit Wolverines. You're shocked, aren't you?

While Coffeewife was at work on Sunday, I caught We Are Marshall on HBO. This is the movie about the college football team that died in a plane crash in the early 70s and the rebuilding that took place afterwards. This is a film that wonderfully portrays delayed grief: we don't see a lot of characters truly come to grips with what happened until the new team takes the field the following year, because that's when people tangibly see that it's not the same. At this point I became skeptical because it seemed like the movie was about to say that the only way for these people to overcome grief would be to have a big winning season. I was pleasantly surprised when the new coach argues against that very idea, and hammers home that the mere fact that they're playing is what helps everyone move forward. At the end, a voiceover even states that the new team only won two games that first season back, and in fact wasn't really that good until the early 80s. Yeah, there's the Big Win At The End like almost every other sports movie, but at the same time we're told that that wasn't the point. It was more of a win to symbolize that the team, the university, and the town would continue. There are some questionable "Hollywood" moments such as everyone rushing to the crash site, but it was a decent effort all in all.

We watched Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles this week. I could see myself getting sucked into this show. It could be the next Buffy if FOX keeps it on for more than three episodes. The show follows Sarah and John Connor, still on the run after the end of the second movie (it picks up there and pretends that the third movie doesn't happen, which is fine with me). In the first episode they meet another Terminator sent back to protect them, played by Summer Glau from Firefly, which actually supports my fear that this show will be cancelled in a few's some kind of curse. Remember how long Drive with Nathan Fillion lasted? Probably not, which proves my point. Anyway, they've already hinted at John possibly falling for a robot that looks like a hot girl. That'll be...interesting. And Glau seems to channel River in a couple scenes...the two characters aren't far off from each other, really. On the other hand, Glau seems to have some trouble deciding at times how "human" her Terminator is...sometimes she's more in the cold Arnold mold, sometimes much softer and accessible (as accessible as a cyborg can be, anyway).

I dug out Led Zeppelin's Houses of the Holy after hearing "The Ocean" on the radio the other day. This album has a couple songs that the casual fan would recognize if they heard them. I myself like the Who-like "The Song Remains the Same" and the wandering "The Rain Song," which probably wouldn't be the first two people might think of or recognize. To each their own.

Around the web, A Church For Starving Artists has had some good stuff this week, including one post on the overprogrammed church and another on "fun" church.