The Black Dahlia (2006)

I had completely missed this movie when it came out in 2006.  Yes, I’m really late to the party here.  Which is surprising, because I am fascinated by the case, Elizabeth Short, and everything associated with her.  So when I finally came across this movie, I couldn’t watch it quickly enough!

I got really excited when I started watching, and the credits start rolling.  This movie has everyone!  Josh Hartnett, Aaron Eckhart, Hilary Swank, Rose McGowan and my absolute favorite actress, Scarlett Johansson.

I’ll be honest, I am a real dumb dumb.  I rented this movie based on title alone.  I read nothing about it, and knew nothing about the plot.  I simply assumed it was a historical interpretation of Short’s murder and the investigation into the many, MANY people who have since been linked as her killer.  I could not possibly have been more wrong.

The film is based on a book of the same title by name by James Ellroy.  The plot revolves around two cops, Hartnett and Eckhart who are assigned the Short murder, but the reality is, this movie (and book) could have been called literally anything else.  It has really nothing to do with the case, other than the name of the murder victim.  To say I was disappointed would be a huge understatement.

The movie is boring as shit.  I had to watch it over four days because I kept falling asleep.  I know Swank won an Oscar, and is supposedly an incredible actress, but I thought she was terrible in this film.  There is nothing about this film that makes it watchable.  It’s possible that I hated it so much because I was so badly mistaken about what I thought it was.  So that one’s on me.  My bad.

But here’s my real problem with it.  The film is based on an actual event.  Or, “inspired by true events.”  I think that’s how they put it in the movie.  Either way, this murder happened.  And to this day, it is still unsolved.  It is going to be unsolved forever.  Which is really too bad, but that’s a conversation for another day.  However, in the movie, SPOILER ALERT (I’m sorry the movie is seven years old, if you haven’t seen it yet, you’re not going to) they find the killer.  As I said earlier, they could have given this any other title and it would have been the same disaster.  But to take a true event, and make up a killer just didn’t sit well with me.  But, that’s just me.  I’m a huge history buff and that kind of thing bugs me.  Apparently I’m not alone because this movie was a bomb and didn’t make any money.

Good for the movie going public.  Studios will continue to put out crap like this until the people stops spending their money on these films.  I’m just glad I found it on Netflix, because I absolutely would have paid to see it in the theater.  Hey, I told you I was a dumb dumb.

 

 

Long Live the Kings Rally

IMG_0789[1]Last Thursday, Phil and I, along with our Buddy Nez, attended the rally celebrating of our beloved Sacramento Kings staying in town for at least the next 35 years.  I say 35 years because that will be the lease on the new building, but they will be in Sacramento for as long as I am alive.  And the way I live, if I live 35 years, that will be an accomplishment, so let’s just call it a a wash.  The picture at the left is what was on the ground as we entered the park.

As a stay home dad, I had the luxury of not being required to request time off of work to make it to the rally.  As a parent, required to take care of two children, I was completely dependent on my wife to get off of work before I could go.  Luckily, she works five minutes from a Sacramento Rapid Transit station.

IMG_0787[1]So Nez and I meet up and take the light rail from our area down towards Phil, who lives minutes from the park.  Yeah, he lives where all the action happens.  But, on the plus side, he didn’t get to pre-game the whole way there.  That’s Nez on the left, me on the Right.  The ride took about 45 minutes and we met a ton of people who were going to the rally.  Just proves there are Kings fans EVERYWHERE.

When we got off the train, we found the end of the line to get into the park.  I know what you’re thinking.  A line to get into a park?  Yeah, but they were wanding everyone, so that’s the way it had to be.  I get it.  The line was wrapped around four blocks.  It was going to take forever to get into the park.  Thank God for Phil!  He was standing in line with a few of his buddies and a few minutes later when we navigated the downtown labyrinth, we found him!! We were in within 30 seconds.

IMG_0790[1]After grabbing our wristbands, and another couple of beers, we found a good, but not great place to watch the festivities.  I wanted to walk around, so Nez and I took off leaving Phil behind.  And I am so glad we did  We got our Kings signs at the 102.5 booth, and the News 10 booths, but it was after this that the action really picked up!!!  Beers in hand, we are making our way through the crowds and I spot a man wearing a suit.  Completely out of place in a setting like this.  Its a sea of purple, white and black.  This guy has to be someone important.  Sure enough, he has a VIP badge on.  I see the name on the VIP Badge.  Nez has no idea who it is.  Luckily for us, I pay attention to Kings news.  And I know that we are about to meet….

IMG_0820[1]Chris Kelly!  And he was incredibly cool.  Granted, it seemed like no one recognized him, as people were passing him by left and right.  But I was sooooo happy to know who he was.  For those who don’t know, Chris Kelly is the former CFO of Facebook, and one of the big BIG members of the new Kings ownership group.  As you can see, he was more than gracious.  Shaking hands, taking pictures.  I mean, that’s obviously what he was there to do, being as he was in the area of the regular folk like me, but still, I must admit, I was pretty star struck to see Kelly.  And I don’t get star struck around celebrities.  Not that I see celebrities often.  But when I do, I don’t care.  I mean, I did give up my parking spot to Candice Bergen once, but no biggie.

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Chris Kelly

The rest of the night as you can see from the pictures below was just an amazing night to be a Kings fan.  Maybe Phil will post his thoughts as well.  Vivek Ranadive, the main owner of Kings spoke and I screamed so loud, my throat still hurts.

As the night drew to a close, we found one more thing to take a picture with that I couldn’t pass up.  For a month, local hero, Carmichael Dave, took two of his friends on a trek across the country spreading the gospel of the Kings.  They called it the Playing to Win Tour.  They were trapped in an RV, travelling from NBA city to city getting fans, executives, even the Oklahoma City mayor to sign the RV supporting us.  The RV ended up in NYC for the relocation committee vote, and eventually back at the rally.  Well, I had to pose with it.

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Former Kings greats where there, from Mitch Richmond, to Chris Webber.  Bobby Jackson to Scot Pollard.  Unfortunately, from where we were standing, we didn’t have the best shots of the stage.  But for those who were there, it was a night they will never forget.  Those who missed it will hear about it for a long time.  Because we all know it’s all about the pictures and the memories that we share as friends.  And I know that I can go up to any of the 15,000 people who were there and have a conversation about it like we were old friends.

Like this video says, long live the memories.  And long live the Kings.

Jason Ross

Jason Ross

The High Flyer Henry Turner

The High Flyer Henry Turner

Sacramento Kings Dancers

Sacramento Kings Dancers

Jerry Reynolds

Jerry Reynolds

Iron Man 3

I saw Iron Man 3 a few days ago.  I wanted to wait a bit to gather my thoughts.  After thinking about it, I loved it.  I liked it better than 2, not sure about 1.  I’d like to wait and see the entire trilogy together before making that decision.

I assume that most of the world has seen the movie by now, but in case you haven’t, I won’t put in much plot summary.  Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) battles The Mandarin who has an army of men and women who were subjected to Extremis, an experimental regenerative treatment that that helps regrow missing limbs.

I found the use of Ben Kingsley a little wasted.  I really don’t want to spoil anything, so if you haven’t seen it, go see it, but I really was disappointed with his character.  The crowd in the theater went ape-shit over it, but I didn’t find it as hilarious.  I guess I was in the minority.

The part of the film I liked best was how introspective Tony Stark is throughout the entire movie.  In the first two parts, and even in The Avengers, he is beyond arrogant.  Don’t get me wrong, it makes for an amazing character.  But the way he has transformed fascinated me.  He can’t sleep, he has anxiety attacks.  He still has all the money, all the power, all the fame.  But he is just like everyone else; a very flawed person.

He couldn’t become Iron Man or get to where he is in life without being the arrogant, womanizing asshole he was.  Nor could he have kept the government from taking control of his technology, or led The Avengers.  He had to be that guy prior to this movie.  But here, he is a completely different person, and I loved it.  He is constantly apologizing to Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) for everything he has ever done.  It was a brilliant character change.

It’s pretty clear that Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy created the superhero movie genre that we know today.  But I think Downey’s Iron Man is by far the best superhero character around.  I believe this is the last Iron Man movie.  I really hope Marvel does not reboot this series.  Anyone can be Batman.  There have already been so many Superman’s, that I have no problem believing there will be a hundred more Men of Tomorrow.  But Downey’s portrayal of Tony Stark is unmatched.  I cannot nor do I want to see anyone be Iron Man other than Robert Downey Jr.

Also, feel free to skip the scene in the credits.  It’s not worth it, plus you can see it online.

CD Rewind: Reel Big Fish – Turn the Radio Off (1996)

I decided it would be fun to look back into my CD collection and post about any memories they bring back, songs that I love and anything these albums make me think of.  The first CD in this experiment is Reel Big Fish’s Turn the Radio Off.

This album was released in August, 1996.  I was starting my senior year of high school.  The people that I was hanging around at the time had introduced me to Ska music over the previous year or 2.  I was influenced by bands like MU330, The Pietasters, The Toasters, Let’s Go Bowling among others.  But thanks to my friend Kristie, I was listening mostly to a northern California band called Skankin’ Pickle.  Don’t worry, I’ll get to their albums.  This was right in the middle of the Third Wave of Ska, and I was getting really hooked.  But I’ll never forget the day I picked up my copy of T.T.R.O.

One day, my buddy Tyler and I walked into our local record store.  They had a display full of this CD with a listening station.  You could listen to the whole album without purchase.  I turned it on, and the first track was Sell Out.  I listened to about a minute of it, and immediately bought it.  I listened to it over and over.  I loved it so much I bought it as a birthday present for anyone I thought might like it.

Thanks to this CD, I went looking for any ska albums I could find.  In Sacramento, they weren’t easy to locate.  But because of RBF, I got into other bands like Less Than Jake, Save Ferris, Goldfinger and of course, the band that would become my favorite, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones.

When I think back on my favorite CD’s from my youth, this is always in my top 5.  I think I love every song.  If not every one, most every one.  It’s hard to find a CD in which every song is strong.  This album has been out over 15 years now, and I still say if I had only one CD for the rest of my life, this would most likely be it.

Unfortunately, I don’t think the bands most recent albums stack up with their early work.  And since I’ve been out of college I’ve had to stop spending so much time looking for new bands, but I will forever be grateful to Reel Big Fish and their major label debut for changing my outlook on music forever.

May 16, 1929

I meant to post this yesterday, but I got caught up in Kings stuff.  So yesterday was the anniversary of the very first Oscars ceremony.  And I wanted to post something to say how much I hate the Oscars.  A night of everyone saying, look at me, look at how wonderful I am!  Isn’t it great how expensive my clothes are?!  I need an award to justify my performance!

Don’t get me started on the actual awards.  All I know is if the movie is nominated for Best Picture, eight times out of 10, I am going to hate it.  For the love of God a silent film won two years ago.  IN 2011!!!  not 1911!!!

Now I will admit, I am the exact demographic that film studios are targeting when they make movies.  I cannot stay away.  And I admit that many of these pictures are awful.  But I still give them my money every time.  Which is part of the problem. I know as long as people like me keep going, they will never learn their lesson and stop making them, but I can’t help it.

A buddy of mine loves the Oscars.  He runs pools and throws parties around the show.  I can’t remember the last time I watched it.  And I can’t imagine I will any time soon.  Even hosted by Seth McFarlane, whom I love, couldn’t get me to tune in.  Plus the show takes like four days to air.  I don’t have time to sit through the 15 minute thank you that you need to give for best cinematography.  Thanks, I’ll pass.

The good guys won

There are moments in life in which you always remember where you were.  In 1989, I was almost 11 years old, sitting at the dinner table, where I could see the TV in the other room when the San Francisco earthquake hit during the A’s dominant World Series victory.

I was on a school bus, travelling with my 7th grade basketball team to my rivals school when it was announced over the radio that Magic Johnson was retiring from the NBA because he had contracted HIV.  We were all shocked and as middle schoolers, didn’t really grasp what that meant.

I was copying off my buddy Ryan in French class when OJ was acquitted of murder.

And on January 9, 2013, I was getting my daughter ready for the day when I saw the following tweet:

As you can tell from this blog, we love our Kings.  We’ve been up and running less than a week and we have put up a handful of posts about the move.  Including an incredible post by Phil that is a must read if you like Game of Thrones.

What started that day was a four month ride that included a lot of emotions both good and bad.  Initially, it was all doom and gloom.  Chris Hansen had secured a binding agreement with the Maloof family to purchase 65% of the Sacramento Kings.  It looked all but over.

I’ve recapped previously how our mayor Kevin Johnson got a group together to put an offer on the team, so I won’t do it again, but it was nothing short of miraculous.  A billionaire ownership group, an arena deal, and over 10,000 season ticket pledges all in under four months.

Today was another day to remember in our cities history.  Just after 3pm Pacific Time, leaks started trickling out from the NBA’s Board of Governors meeting.  I was refreshing my twitter feed approximately every .4 seconds for updates.  And then it finally happened:

More news started coming out, and the vote was 22-8 in our favor.  We still haven’t learned who voted against Sacramento, but I couldn’t possibly care less.  There were very good reasons to vote to move the team to Seattle.  The reasons to keep the team here were better.

A few weeks ago, once it looked like the vote was going to go our way, people in Seattle started saying wonderful things about my city and my team on twitter and ESPN and anywhere else they could about how we can keep our crappy team, and they’ll watch their MLB and NFL and MLS teams, and this is the greatest victory in Sacramento history.  And none of that is insulting to me.

It’s no secret the team has been terrible the last half dozen years.  Between terrible coaching, bad draft picks, abysmal contracts and trades, there has been very little that has gone right with this franchise.  And I believe every bit of it can be traced back to ownership.  Ownership that traded players to save half a million dollars, or refused to pay more than a bottom 5 coach.  There were multiple seasons they needed to sign a player at the end of the season simply to hit the salary minimum.

Telling me that you have multiple teams is just backing up our argument for keeping our team.  The Kings ARE Sacramento.  If the Kings left, Sacramento would be just like every other minor league city in this country (we have the River Cats.  The A’s Triple-A affiliate).  I’m not sad that I have to drive 2 hours to see my beloved A’s or Raiders.  I love that this is a one team town.  It means something when the Kings are good.  And they will be again.  Very very soon.

And you’re damn right this is the greatest victory in Sacramento history.  We were told we stood no chance.  A tweet from Adrian later on 1/9 said it wasn’t a done deal, but it was “1st and goal on the 1 yard line.”  Well it’s been 2 years of “too bad, Sacramento.”  I have no problem saying this is the best day in team history.  Our title was in 1951 when the team was in Rochester, NY.

There have been some great moments.  I was in the building for game 3 against the Utah Jazz in 1999.  We had a sign that said Thurl Bailey Sucks.  We thought the game was on TBS.  It was on TNT.  Oops.  The first game I ever went to was this oneGame 5 against the Lakers.  None of them match up.  Today was the greatest moment in Sacramento Kings history.  I cannot wait for another lifetime of memories in the new building downtown when it opens in 2016.

I am a full-time dad.  I had to get my news as I was taking care of my two daughters.  When my wife got home, she took them and spent some time with them during dinner.  I went into the bedroom to sit quietly and reflect on what had happened.  It hadn’t quite sunk in even though it had been hours.  I had sent a text to Phil earlier that said “We won.”  His reply was simply “Fuck yeah.”  And as I sat that there in the silence, I wept.  Like a little girl.  The emotion of four months came pouring out.  My team was staying.  My town was keeping its team.  The good guys have won.