Friday, January 4, 2013

Orange Bowl bound

BCS ticketsAs I’ve mentioned previously, Ken and I are heading down to Miami tomorrow for a long weekend, culminating with the Monday night BCS National Championship game against Alabama.

I was thinking the other day that usually it’s teams from Indiana portrayed as “hicks,” but this time we’re know...Alabama. Yeah, I went there!

Trash talking aside (and I’m not really a trash talker), I am so excited and nervous about this game that I can hardly stand it. I’ve really tried not to think too much about it, because I really am almost unhealthily nervous. I know it’s only a game, I know there are bigger problems in the world, I know, I know, I KNOW. But I’ve been a Notre Dame fan since I was a junior high kid, watching games on TV with my Dad. That’s why I love sports so much. It’s been a joy to see Notre Dame have such an amazing season, and to see someone like Manti Te’o (by all accounts, a kind and wonderful young man) do so well and be a true leader on the team. To have it end with us playing for the national championship is something that I never would have imagined for this season, and it makes me very emotional. Like sometimes actually crying when I think about it! I wish I could have talked to Dad about all this...I know he’d be so excited for us that we’re going to this game!

It’s not going to be an easy game. ‘Bama is a great team, and Saban is a great coach. But you know what? Notre Dame is a great team, too, and Brian Kelly is also a great coach. We’re the underdogs here (the Vegas line is Alabama anywhere from -7 to -10), but we’ve triumphed in other such games. “What though the odds be great or small,” and all that. Our defensive line is superb, and I think the Irish are going to be a lot tougher than many ‘Bama fans are thinking.

Well, we’ll find out soon enough, won’t we? In the meantime, we’ll get to see a little bit of that fabulous Miami Art Deco architecture, chow down on some fresh seafood, and join the biggest party spot in the nation, at least for this weekend! If we’re friends on Facebook, I’ll be posting pics there, and do an update here sometime next week.

So come on, you Irish. You can TAKE these guys. Wake up the echoes and shake down the thunder!

Monday, December 31, 2012

Movie time!

Django UnchainedI have so much to write about lately and so little time and motivation to do so that I’m a little overwhelmed at the moment. Suffice it to say that it’s been a fun December, plenty of family and friend time, and more fun to come in about a week.

Oh, did I mention that we’re heading to Miami to go to the National Championship game between Notre Dame and Alabama? I’ll write more about that soon (at least that’s the plan), but it’s just been a little crazy with things to do and people to see. It’s been a lot of fun, but I need some downtime interspersed in there to recover from all that socializing, so I’ve been neglectful here.

After not writing about several things that have happened and upcoming events, I’m prompted to write now because of the movie we saw today: Quentin Tarantino’s latest, “Django Unchained.” My mind is still roiling with this movie, and I need to get some of this out or I’ll be up way too late tonight!

Whew. This is one of the best movies I’ve seen in a while. I’m a big fan of Tarantino, and “Pulp Fiction” is right up there in my top five movie list. I need to see Django again to be sure, but I came out of the theater thinking that I just might have liked this better than “Pulp Fiction.” It really is that good.

It is very gory and graphic; if that sort of thing bothers you, you will not enjoy this movie. But if that sort of thing bothers you, why would you want to see a Quentin Tarantino movie? That’s one of the things he is known for, and his movies remind me very much of Sam Peckinpah’s movies, but with more blood. What is probably more disturbing and much harder to watch is the brutal treatment of slaves. Tarantino shies away from none of this. The N-word is used liberally and often. The floggings, the inhumane treatment, the complete lack of basic human is very disturbing.

But I welcomed Tarantino’s brutal honesty. This is part of our history, and it is wrong to ignore it. I think he does an amazing job with making this terrible story uplifting, by using a combination of righteous vengeance and humor.

Yes, there were many moments that induced laughter. One of the things I love about Tarantino is that he can make you laugh at some of the most horrible things. There were moments of genuine humor in this movie, including the scene with the raiders wearing bags over their heads (a precursor to the Klan) and the big shoot-out scene with bullets ripping into bodies. Not funny, you say? If you go see this movie and don’t give a little burble of horrified laughter at that scene, I’ll buy you a beer. I wasn’t the only one in the theater laughing, so it’s not just me and my warped sense of humor.

The cast is simply amazing. Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Don Johnson, Samuel L. Jackson were all fantastic. Lots of cameos (I won’t list them here...see if you can spot them!) that had me thinking, “Oh, that’s so-and-so!” And, like Hitchcock, Tarantino always makes an appearance. It’s a fun one here, mate!

The music is also fantastic. The Django theme was co-written by Ennio Morricone, who is the guy who wrote the music for the Eastwood spaghetti westerns; I’ve read that this is Tarantino’s homage to those movies. There is plenty of modern music in there as well, and it works well despite the anachronism. The scenery is stunning, with beautiful mountain views. The visuals are wonderful (Django reflected in a mirror reminded me of Andy Warhol’s Elvis prints...the shadows cast by Django and others are cool...the blood spatter on cotton bolls...the blood-drenched plantation house walls.) Even the titles and graphics are fun and reminiscent of “Pulp Fiction.” (Watch for the Mississippi scroll!)

This movie isn’t for everyone. Ken’s Mom asked if she could go, and we cautioned her that it was graphic and bloody. She still wanted to go...and she loved it. She was glad she went, and we were glad she joined us! It’s a long movie, two hours and 45 minutes, and we were all riveted. I didn’t even break open my Reese’s Pieces, because I was spellbound. For anyone who likes Tarantino or this style of movie, I honestly cannot recommend it enough. It is brutal, funny, upsetting, uplifting, stone cold righteous, and glorious.