Monday Morning Critic – 7/27

On tap this week:
— Relationship films
— Thoughts on Michael Vick
— Spacing out
And slightly much more!

You know what’s been bugging me? Michael Vick.

It’s the big news story in the sports world as the former Falcons QB, who was convicted of running a dog fighting ring, was just released from prison after two years and now is awaiting whatever penance the NFL hands down to him after the indefinite suspension they gave him previously. I didn’t think much of him getting back into the NFL, as most teams wouldn’t touch him because of the negative P.R I think, and something Colin Cowherd said on ESPN really made me think.

Michael Vick wasn’t that good before he got suspended. What makes anyone think he won’t be horrid?

Mike Tyson wasn’t the same fighter after prison then he was before it, as his wins after prison were mainly against stiffs (Peter McNeely) and he lost to anyone with talent. No matter how hard you work out in prison, it’s not the same as if you’re actively training with world class personnel. Avoiding a makeshift shiv in the yard isn’t quite the same as working out eight hours a day, seven days a week. He couldn’t pick up a playbook then and was out of the NFL bad in terms of accuracy. I don’t think that has improved since and two years of rust at such a high level of sport isn’t something you just shake off.

I believe in forgiveness and think sometime in the future Vick should be reinstated to the league. What he did was unforgivable, obviously, but I think in retrospect he took the wrong path. People love dogs and the whole bit about getting them to fight is repugnant in a way that empties the stomach quickly. But he did introduce the phrase “rape stand” into the lexicon, so it’s not all bad. It’s a matter of perspective, I think.

If he’d have just picked bums to fight, I don’t think people would’ve had as big a problem. Think about it; he gives ‘em healthcare and regular rabies shots and no one has THAT big of a problem with it. Heck, he might get a humanitarian award for it. Bums are, as a rule I think, usually reek of booze and bad decisions. Anyone who’s ever been accosted by a pan handler knows this. So getting the streets clean is an act of civic-minded responsibility and in this day and age he could get a street named after him. If people are willing to discuss giving that filthy pedophile Michael Jackson a national holiday, then they would probably discuss giving the bum-fight organizer a key to the city.

The homeless problem is one of the reasons why I moved farther from the city of Chicago; less homeless to bother you. So I don’t think people would really feel bad to see bums fighting each other. Hell, there was a video series devoted to bums fighting not too long ago. This is just a natural extension of it.

So giving them a job, especially in this economy, and health insurance isn’t the worst thing in the world. I’ve always thought you could make a ton of money if you hire the homeless and let them man a telemarketing call center. You get them on the proper meds and they’ll work tirelessly. Plus they’re so used to rejection that they’d never get beaten down by being hung up on, etc.

But then again, thoughts like these kept me out of the good colleges.

Random Thoughts of the Week

Young people, heed this advice: Never marry someone who doesn’t love the movies you love. Sooner or later, that person will not love you. I could go even further, and quote the great French cineaste Pierre Rissient, who instructs us “It is not enough for you to love a movie. You must love it for the right reasons.” — Roger Ebert

I read this a while back from Ebert and it stuck with me for a while. I also was never able to think of a good way to use this until this week. My father was drug to the latest Harry Potter flick by my mother and could really do nothing about it. His only response: “That’s what happens you get married.”

Apparently my father’s cinematic experiences are similar to a 12 year old girl, or at least they are based on the films my mother wants to see. But there’s a bigger point to be found.

I find it amusing how our cinematic tastes change depending on relationship status. I think it is part of the reason why I’ve been single for so long: there are films I want to see and ones I don’t and I don’t like to compromise in that regard. I will if there’s something attached to it, like with friends or on a date, but I see a lot of movies by myself. Always have. So the thought of having my cinematic exploits dictated because of someone is kind of a foreign concept.

How much of a relationship can depend on similar movie tastes? I think it’s a lot, a much bigger factor then anyone admits, when it comes to long term success. I mean if you’re heavy into horror films, and she’s not, that says something. Like me, I could never date someone long term who wasn’t into action-oriented flicks (or at least humored me about them). I love action films, westerns and crime films; people who know me know that if there’s a film in any of these genres I’ve seen or will see it soon. I see more than just those types of films, obviously, but I can’t imagine dragging another person to every film involving gunfire and/or criminals on a regular basis.

It’s like when you’re really metal, and she’s into country. There’s no real common ground. Like if she was into modern rock, and your metal, there are several dozen bands both can enjoy as a happy medium. But there’s not thrash band that talks about drinking whiskey and getting into bar fights, or a country band that talks about how cool Satan is while drinking blood. Compromise is something relationships are about, allegedly, so I guess if I could find a chick flick where there was lots of gunfire I’d be in. Like if When Harry Met Sally during the big orgasm faking scene, if Billy Crystal pulled out an Uzi and started killing ninjas who had sneaked in during the commotion I’d be in for that.

I wish I had a bigger point, or something better, but I’m all out.

A Movie A Week – The Challenge

This Week’s Film – Spaced (The Complete Series)


Ahh . . .British sit-coms. There’s nothing like good British television to really make you laugh. And Spaced was a television show so off the wall and out there that it’s no shock I enjoyed the heck out of it.

Tim (Simon Pegg) and Daisy (Jessica Stevenson) are in a bit of a pickle. Both are moving out of their respective places and can’t find anything they like. When they find the perfect flat, and it comes with the caveat that it has to be occupied by a professional couple, they pretend to date in order to get it.

For Pegg this was his first big break at stardom as the graphic artist, and aimless slacker, Tim. Joined by Nick Frost as his best friend Mike, this would also be their first collaboration with Edgar Wright. He directed the entire series, which is 14 episodes at 24 minutes or so apiece, and one can see why the three collaborate. There’s easiness about it all that you usually don’t see on a television show; it’s something to behold.

The show itself is remarkable because it’s so good on a consistent basis. There is no down episode like you see.

Highest recommendation.

What Looks Good This Weekend, and I Don’t Mean the $2 Pints of Bass Ale and community college co-eds with low standards at the Alumni Club

Funny People – Adam Sandler is dying and hires Seth Rogen to help him in his dying days. And Eric Bana beats him up.

See It – Judd Apatow has made two instant classics. So far it looks brilliantly hilarious, but trailers can be deceiving. My feeling is that this is the film that propels Adam Sandler to an Oscar nomination and carries the rest of the film with it, being the break through for comedic films that everyone’s been waiting for.

The Collector – A burglar breaks into a house and sees some maniac holding a family hostage. Trying to get the heck out of there, he figures out the burglar has crafted traps along the way to stop him.

Skip It – The era of the low grade Saw rip-offs is officially in full swing. Much like Die Hard inspired a slew of imitators, here’s proof that Hostel wasn’t an aberration.

Aliens in the Attic – Aliens invade the summer home of a family. Shenanigans ensue.

Skip It – It wouldn’t be the story without a slew of stupid family films. Here’s another.

Do you have questions about movies, life, love, or Branigan’s Law? Shoot me an e-mail at and you could be featured in the next “Monday Morning Critic.” Include your name and hometown to improve your odds.

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