How rude of us. We forgot to ask how everyone’s brackets were doing. Anybody have all eight of the Elite Eight? Seven? Two? Did anyone even fill out a bracket? Is anyone even reading? So no one would mind if I sang some Aaron Neville songs right now? Cool. “How can you help it, when the music starts to play…and your ability to reason is swept away-ay-ay. Oh heaven on earth is all you see, you’re out of touch with reality. And now you cry but when you do, next time you cry someone cries for you-ou-ou-ou.” Thanks, I needed that. On to the picks…
CIVIL WAR MOVIES
After two epic Sweet 16 matchups, we were bound for a letdown. It’s kind of like the 1990 NCAA Tournament when UNLV barely got by Ball State in the Sweet 16 and then coasted through the Elite 8 game against Loyola Marymount, winning by 30 points.
This was Glory’s bracket to lose from the very beginning. Their starting five (Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman, Andre Braugher, Ferris Bueller, and the Dread Pirate Roberts) are tough to beat, especially when The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly only had three players (The Good, The Bad, and, you guessed it, The Ugly).
Don’t worry St. Joseph County, your long, national nightmare is over. The clock has struck midnight. The coach has turned back into a pumpkin. The Muppets’ Cinderella run is over.
The vitriol has slowly grown over the past few days. There was a bit of grousing after The Muppets took down Caberet. (And yet, no one disagrees with my idea that a Muppets version of Cabaret would be amazing.) Having The Wizard of Oz upset (a decision I did not lose any sleep over) brought out a few more boo birds. But yesterday’s nailbiter, well, I might just be the most-hated man in South Bend today.
There were protestors outside ye olde SJCPL this morning when I arrived. “Down With the Muppets!” read one sign. “My Fair Lady is a Treasure and Should Be Treated Accordingly! Anyone Who Would Pick The Muppet Movie Over My Fair Lady is a Buffoon!” read another (on a rather large piece of posterboard). I could hear their chants from my third floor office. “Hey hey, ho ho, Gonzo has a funny nose.” My co-workers have given me the cold shoulder. My own mother left a very testy voice mail for me this morning about how the son she raised would never have picked the Muppets. (I’m just kidding. She has no idea I picked the Muppets. She refused to read the blog after I didn’t include Fiddler On the Roof.)
I actually think it’s wonderful. The movie musical gets made fun of quite a bit but to see so much passion and support is quite encouraging. I’m glad people love My Fair Lady (so do I) and The Wizard of Oz and (gulp) Cabaret. Or any of the other musicals I’ve mentioned. Or the hundreds I didn’t. Let your freak flags fly, right?
But Singin’ In the Rain is the film equivalent of the 1976 Hoosiers. The Muppets didn’t stand a chance. Gene Kelly and Donald O’Conner and Princess Leia’s mom take turns climbing the ladder and cutting down the net.
(And yes, I’m referencing the 1976 Hoosiers to get back into your good graces. I moved here from Kentucky a few years ago and whenever I tell people where I’m from their mood immediately changes. I’ve learned to always follow “I’m from Kentucky” with “but I’m not a UK fan.”)
BOOKS TO MOVIES
Could we compare two movies that have less in common? The Princess Bride and Jurassic Park seem about as far removed from one another as you can get. One is the tale of romance, intrigue, villains, and adventure the other is…well…the tale of romance, intrigue, villains and adventure—with dinosaurs. Okay, so maybe they have more in common than we thought but it’s still tough to choose between them.
If we are going strictly based on awards, Jurassic Park wins immediately. The movie handily won the visual effects category at both the Oscars and the BAFTA awards (at the Oscars, JP was up against Cliffhanger and The Nightmare Before Christmas. The BAFTA Awards had it up against Aladdin, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and The Fugitive.) The amazing visual effects of Jurassic Park are almost untouchable, even by more recent films. JP was released 20 years ago. Let that sink in and then go watch the movie again. The people who are responsible for working on the visual effects of that movie should be given an award for every year wherein another crop of CGI movies fail to touch their genius. Plus, it has dinosaurs!
But, hold on! There are a number of reasons The Princess Bride could win this round. It’s a modern classic. I would argue that it is among the most quotable movies of its generation. The story appeals to everyone. No one has to worry about a velociraptor attack. (Although, they do have the R.O.U.S.’s to worry about, but frankly, I don’t believe they exist.)
I’m going to be honest. When I started writing this section, I was convinced that The Princess Bride would win. I even wrote it on my bracket—in ink. But, after doing the research, I’m going to have to give it to Jurassic Park. I’m as shocked as you are. But the evidence is undeniable and Steven Speilberg wins again. The last Indiana Jones movie aside, I’m convinced the man can do no wrong. (Editor’s Note: Cough, cough, SMASH, cough, cough.)
The Lord of the Rings vs Cast Away: Beard Division. This is difficult. At this point, I feel like the movies stand for themselves. LOTR is an epic, sprawling, beautiful tale with such magnificent visual imagery that I could watch it on mute and still enjoy myself. Cast Away is brutal, emotional, and sends us all the message of hope, perseverance, and love. Tom Hanks is amazing in Cast Away. I felt his loss and fear. That man made me sob over a lost volleyball. That level of acting will not be denied (Hanks lost the Oscar to Russell Crowe that year. He was robbed.)
So who should I choose? Both have great beards. As mentioned in our previous post, Gandalf’s beard is ever-changing which really gives him a level of diversity that Hanks does not enjoy in Cast Away. (But, why does it change so often? Does wizardry come with a beard grooming kit? You get a wand or staff, a cloak, and a beard trimmer? Maybe Peter Jackson’s next trilogy will explain this.) Hanks has one look: crazy island guy. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a look that he perfected and wears very well. Plus, he gets bonus points for actually growing his beard. Gandalf probably had help from the makeup department, but Tom Hanks took a year away from filming to lose weight and grow his hair and beard.
In the end, authenticity wins the round. Cast Away advances to the Final Four.
And then there were four. Check back tomorrow to see who will play in our championship game.