Friday, April 2, 2010

On Inconsequential Things That Matter To Me

1. Greenberg

It is no doubt a sign of my inherent immaturity that I still consider Kicking and Screaming* to be my favorite comedy of all time.** That movie, of course, was a product of a youthful Noah Baumbach, who went on to write/direct Mr. Jealousy (OK), The Squid and the Whale (excellent), and Margot at the Wedding (horrifying). It was with some trepidation, then, that I went into Greenberg, because a movie about an unlikeable character played by Ben Stiller seemed like the plot synopsis of seven of the ten worst movies of the previous decade. But the brilliance of Greenberg is that its essentially a grown-up version of Kicking and Screaming, a story about a man who never really recovered from the mistakes of his youth. All the regrets that the characters in Kicking and Screaming anticipated about their future existences have come to pass in Greenberg. It is a beautiful Los Angeles tableau. It is subtle and nuanced; it is so good that it almost redeems everything Ben Stiller has done since Permanent Midnight.***(Well, except for Duplex.)

2. 96 Teams

Don't get me wrong--like everyone else, I find the notion of the NCAA tournament expanding to 96 teams to be a craven example of how nothing matters in modern sports besides the bottom line. But I have to be honest--the idea of more basketball being played is not going to somehow deter me from watching more basketball. Which is the very reason why the NCAA is doing this in the first place.

3. Horsehide

I am told baseball season commences shortly, so I will dispense with predictions:

A.) The teams with the largest payrolls will win their respective divisions, with the exception of one "small-market" sleeper, which will then permit Bud Selig to justify his entire tenure as commissioner.
B.) The Yankees will win another World Series, permitting their fans to utter idiotic statements like this.
C.) Whippets will become the new clubhouse drug of choice.
D.) Alex Rodriguez will briefly date Jennifer Aniston, then, upon their breakup, will tearfully confess to an addiction to Papaya King hot dogs.
E.) The Cubs will remain the Cubs.

*Not the inane Will Ferrell movie of the same name, for I refuse to acknowledge that movie's existence.
**That my girlfriend once approached Carlos Jacott at a Legal Seafood restaurant in Boston and whispered, "Go away, cookie man," in his ear is one of the primary reasons I'm marrying her.
***It also prominently features Galaxie 500's "Strange," which has to be the best song ever written about Twinkies.

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