Monday Morning Critic – 9.14

On tap this week:
— MJeff gets inducted, everyone else gets insulted
— A plan for out of work actors
— Smooching misfortune
And slightly much more!

I was watching the Basketball Hall of Fame ceremony last week, despite not being a basketball fan in any aspect, specifically for one thing: Michael Jeffrey Jordan.

Growing up, he was the image of the Bulls. Six titles, two retirements and a mansion full of awards and endorsements later he stands as the greatest basketball player of his generation and the best of all-time. And in his speech Jordan decided to go all d-bag on everyone over the years, neglecting to mention his family or the trainer that worked him significantly hard and instead ragged on everyone he felt slighted. From Isaiah Thomas and Magic Johnson (who froze him out of the All-Star game as a rookie), the organization and its owner who tried to minimize his accomplishments (the Bulls and Jerry Reinsdorf/Jerry Krause) and the guy who inspired his insane work ethic by cutting him from his high school basketball team in the sort of “eff you” speech no one expected from a usually classy guy. But what I kept thinking of was one thing.

Who on Earth thought Michael Jordan would not rub it in?

Having grown up a huge fan of Jordan, MJ’s whole persona when it came to basketball was that no one matched his will to win. NO ONE. Michael Jordan made it a point to humiliate Toni Kukoc at the Olympics. He made it a point to destroy the Pistons when they walked off the court instead of shaking hands. The whole Jordan persona was based on him being slighted and destroying everything in his path; his competitive nature demanded it. He didn’t just want to win; he wanted to beat everyone at everything all the time and would work his tail off making it happen. He came out of retirement twice to prove he was still the greatest player who ever lived, the first time proving it and the second proving that even Superman can age ungracefully. His whole life has been about out-working everyone at the game to be significantly better then anyone else.

So why is anyone shocked when he’d come at a ceremony where everyone is going to get a case of anal-poisoning because they’re polishing his apple so much that he’d be a royal d-bag? He’s MICHAEL F’N JORDAN and MICHAEL F’N JORDAN never took slack from anyone else. He made it a point to publicly humiliate Byron Russell in both NBA Finals series against the Jazz because Russell pointed out that he thought he could shut Jordan down when Jordan was playing baseball. He took a small boast from a second round draft pick and used it as a means of motivating himself to destroying him and his team.

This was years and years of gloating shot out in one massive burst. This was a man who wanted to tell everyone in attendance that he was the greatest of the greatest, to rub it in their faces because his presence in the hall demanded a bigger venue and to give one last middle finger to everyone and their perceived slights against him over the years.

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

Random Thoughts of the Week

One can only imagine the effect the economic downturn has had on the struggling actor. Whereas the big names like Tom Hanks, et al, have been getting less salaries and points on the gross based on their participation in movies in part because there isn’t as much money to be made as there was before, one can imagine that those trying to break into the industry have had a much rougher time. Less films being made = less job availability. So I have an idea that came out of a remark my boss made.

He has never lived alone, not since he was a teenager with a single apartment in college, and prefers to live with someone as opposed to no one. Me, I’ve lived alone in the times I wasn’t living at home or at college. I prefer it, but it would be kind of fun to have a roommate to hang out with on occasion. And it got me thinking; wouldn’t it be great if you could have both?

Listen to me now and believe me later.

It would be the greatest idea for a business ever. You hire out of work actors to play someone’s roommate for a designated period of time. Someone who lives alone but wants to feel like they have some sort of companionship; they come home after you do, at a preset time, and you get to do all sorts of roommate stuff like watch TV or complain about work. Then they leave to go to a significant other’s place and BHAM! The night is over for them and you get to feel like you’re not alone in this world. And with the volume of people out there, you have a whole variety of people that you can pick from.

You could have like a catalog and you pick out what kind of roommate you want, et al. They can customize a roommate based on traits you picked, et al, The pay might not be the best, of course, but wouldn’t it be the ultimate in acting? You have no net and nothing but a basic set of information to get you where you need to be. You get to create a character and get into the whole process of developing the repertoire.

A Movie A Week – The Challenge

This Week’s Film – Death to Smoochy


This is one I actually didn’t buy and didn’t view, but I am making an exception for this week mainly because of friendship. My friend Gen lent me this as a nicety because I lent her and her husband I Love You, Man a couple weeks before it came out. They highly recommended it and with movies I’m usually willing to go outside my comfort zone of bullets and bombshells. That and she threatened to kick me in the head really hard if I didn’t.

Set in the apparently cutthroat world of children’s television, we are introduced to a soon to fall kiddie television star Rainbow Randolph (Robin Williams) and his backing team of sycophants (Catherine Keener and Jon Stewart). When Randolph is caught taking a bribe, the network has to find someone to replace him. Everyone they can find has serious problems that would disqualify them from the network head’s edict that they be squeaky clean. Enter Sheldon (Ed Norton), who previously had been entertaining children and heroin addicts under the guise of Smoochy the Rhino. With his squeaky clean image and lifestyle, Sheldon finds himself in a world of sleaze and corruption that he’d never imagined he’d wander into.

It’s quite the little farce but it was released well after Barney the Dinosaur was huge with the kids, as well as all the other deviations that have followed, so it’s timeliness at time of release in 2002 missed out by almost a decade. Even now it seems a bit dated because the revolution of grown men in stuffed animal costumes has long since passed, which takes a bit of an edge off of Danny De Vito’s comic sword.

But it’s an enjoyable film, as he has a comic vision and carries it out without pulling any punches.

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

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs – Another animated flick, this time some scientist finds a way to make food out of rain.

Skip ItUp will be out on DVD soon enough and save your money for that instead of on this.

The Informant! – The story of Mark Whitacre (Matt Damon), who simultaneously bilked a company out of $9 million while turning informant with the FBI in a price-fixing scandal.

See It – The first big prestige picture looks to be a winner. Matt Damon with a Shamus moustache and 40 extra pounds should be a sight to see.

Jennifer’s Body – A demon takes over Megan Fox’s body and kills people. Amanda Seyfried has to stop her.

See It – Megan Fox gets naked. Maybe Amanda Seyfried, too. There is a God and somehow Diablo Cody is on her good side.

Love Happens – Aaron Eckhart is a motivational guru who tries to get in Jennifer Aniston’s pants.

See It – Eckhart hasn’t had a bad movie in . . . .well. . .quite a long time. He’s been in nothing atrocious, no films that would make your eyeballs feel like they’ve been assaulted. Aniston is pretty solid, too. If anything it’ll be a good, but not great, flick, but that’s not a bad thing.

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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