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World Baseball Classic
Review by Anna Brook
I waited many cold months to get a glimpse of baseball. The WBC seemed like a great idea – I was never a fan of spring training, and so the thought of real baseball in March kept me warm November through February. And then I actually watched the games and began to question Bud Selig’s sanity. What was the man thinking? What was I thinking when I thought this would be fun to watch?
Pitching was the first warning sign – no self-respecting pitcher is willing to endanger his performance late in the season by tiring his arm out too early. The list of participating countries was the second warning sign. South Africa? The Netherlands? What’s next, Australians competing in dog sled races? But I still had hope – I still watched. But not for long. Even Jeter, Rodriguez, and Damon could not keep my interest. (There, now you know what side I’m on.) Between the bumbling umpires that took a win away from Japan, games that invoked the mercy rule and teams that were in completely different stages of their seasons, I quit watching and decided to wait for real baseball. I hope this travesty does not repeat, or if it does that it is no more frequent than the Olympics, where the curling this year was more exciting than the WBC.
(It would have been *1/2 if I didn’t have to worry about Johnny Damon’s shoulder.)
Comic Book Villains
Review by Matt Justus
A film that opens with a character being forced to list the first appearances of various superheroes on pain of death is a film worth seeing, I’ve always said. But it appears that my maxim has proven untrue, as this film does just that, and still manages to be a complete waste of an hour and a half. With the exception of Donal Logue (from TV’s “Grounded for Life”), the performances are terrible, Natasha Lyonne being particularly cringe-worthy. The plot is no better. The film follows two sets of comic book storeowners, Raymond (Logue) and the Links (Lyonne and Michael Rapaport), who hear about a fifty-year old comic book collection that could be worth over a million dollars. It begins as a standard comedy, with the storeowners each trying to gain the favor of the comics’ owner (Eileen Brennan), but in the third act it takes a hard left turn and becomes a bad Tarantino movie rip-off. This is accomplished as the characters all go insane, indiscriminately killing one another left and right. I can only assume that the filmmakers were attempting to turn the film into a pseudo-comic book, the same way that Adaptation doubles back on itself and becomes the kind of film that it mocks at the end.
This could be funny, except for the fact that by watching the film, you get the impression that the filmmakers hate comic books, or at least anyone that reads them (strange, considering that director James Robinson wrote comics for years, and very good ones at that). This is a film targeted at a very small group of people: adult readers of comics. And yet the point of the film is that comics are lame, or at least that they are no match for real life. Mallrats had a similar point without being as insulting to its audience.