Sun, Sep 29, 2002

: The Princess Diaries

Surprisingly poor dialogue — very Disneyish — but a pleasant family film about a shy girl who learns she’s really a princess and that brings her out of her shell. Predictable, but has its fun moments, and the cast is charming.

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Sat, Sep 28, 2002

: MLS Playoffs: San Jose Earthquakes at Columbus Crew

I don’t usually report on televised MLS games (just the games I attend), but this is the playoffs, and San Jose’s performance tonight makes them the first team eliminated from the playoffs. It just wasn’t meant to be. The Quakes played okay, but didn’t dominate, and let the Crew have a lot of dangerous chances. We had one guaranteed goal as Conrad got within a couple yards of the goal with only the keeper to beat, but his shot missed the entire goal. There’s a reason he’s not a striker. The first half was nil-nil, but San Jose’s lax defense undid them in the second half, allowing the Crew to score. Eight minutes later good work by Donovan and Graziani leveled things, but it was really a lucky goal as somehow Ariel’s slight touch got the ball through a forest of Columbus players on the line. For a time I thought that maybe the Quakes were really going to do it: a tie or a win and they’d have home field advantage in the next game and maybe they could win that. They’d certainly be psyched up and have a good chance. But instead the defense broke down exactly the same way they did in San Jose, with a long ball over the back line to Cunningham, who slid a cross over to an unmarked Garcia, who finished it off against Joe Cannon. Just terrible defending. Goose looked slow, Robinson was erratic, Manny struggled, and we missed Mulrooney and Ekelund (both out injured). Graziani and Donovan worked hard, but two players don’t make a team. What seemed to come so easily last year, as though we were fated to win, was a struggle this time, and the Earthquakes just didn’t have what it took. They looked tired and out of sorts, frantic in their defending, and hardly ever took shots. I’m not saying they were awful — just poor in comparison of how they used to play. Something just didn’t work this season. Perhaps it was Goose and Landon missing for a huge chunk with World Cup; perhaps Landon’s a known quantity in the league now and doesn’t get the breaks he used to; perhaps it was just the mix of injuries. Who knows? Something will need to be fixed for next year. At least LA lost their second game against KC in a 4-1 rout. Come on KC, win! I’d love the see LA knocked out early as well. Final: 2-1 Columbus.

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: The Glass House

Interesting, if tame, thriller about a young girl and her brother who end up moving in with their godparents after their parents are killed in a car accident. The children have a $4 million trust fund, so they’re financially secure. At first things seem okay, but gradually the girl begins to suspect the godparents of killing her parents in order to control the trust fund. A little obvious and heavy-handed at times, it’s none-the-less and interesting story. The girl character is very cool, intelligent and yet still realistic. The initial ending is pure poetic justice and satistifying, but then there’s a tacked on secondary ending that’s just lame. It still liked it, however; Stellan Skarsgard gives his usual excellent performance, and Diane Lane was good as the wife.

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Fri, Sep 27, 2002

: Mission to Mars

Director: Brian DePalma

This was kind of a cross between Apollo 13 and 2001: A Space Odyssey. It’s a serious film, a realistic look at a fictional manned mission to Mars. The space ships and the problems the crew run into are handled pretty much the way we’d handle them today (no magical SF inventions here — for instance, the journey takes six months one way). However, that serious approach clashed with the occasional technical inaccuracies: clouds and wind on Mars? astronaut takes off helmet but doesn’t explode?

The plot is simple enough: a strange force on Mars destroys the original mission crew, so a rescue crew heads to Mars to find out what happened. Of course they find evidence of Martians — aliens who lived there long ago. Ho hum, and farfetched. However, I still like the film. It’s more lightweight than it wants to be, and some of the drama is rather contrived, but it’s still interesting and occasionally rivoting. Not great but not terrible.

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Wed, Sep 25, 2002

: MLS Playoffs: Columbus Crew at San Jose

The Quakes have been playing with fire lately, struggling to score and leaving huge gaps in their defense. Tonight they got burned. They poured on the pressure early, but couldn’t break through: the Crew got the first goal and San Jose had to struggle back on a huge goal by Landon Donovan. But then the defense collapsed late in the game to give a gift goal to the Crew. It was a good battle, though the ref was terrible. He didn’t directly cost San Jose the game, but he destroyed any rhythm the team had by his haphazard and random calls. He also didn’t call some pretty rough fouls by the Crew, including one that should have been a yellow and probably a red. A frustrating game for the Quakes, like many recent ones. They just aren’t in form, aren’t scoring, and can’t defend. At this rate, they don’t deserve to advance. Final: 2-1 Columbus.

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Tue, Sep 24, 2002

: Blade II

Much better than the first movie, but ultimately nothing but a slasher vampire flick. This time Blade joices forces with the vampires to stop a new species of vampire that’s killing both vampires and humans, but can’t be stopped with silver bullets. Of course he gets double-crossed, thousands of bad guys get massacred, and Blade looks cool doing it. Routine, but some of the action is impressive.

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Mon, Sep 23, 2002

: Trapped

Not a bad thriller. This is about a group of kidnappers who have the “perfect” plan: each kidnapping lasts exactly 24 hours. They grab the kid at night and one of the kidnappers takes the kid to a safehouse, while the other stays with the mother. A third stays with the husband. The three stay in touch via a network of cell phones, and they must call in every 30 minutes or the third kidnapper kills the child. The next day the husband gets the money from the bank, and once his captor is gone with the dough, the mother is reunited with the child. None of the families ever go to the police. Of course this wouldn’t be much of a movie if everything went according to plan, right? Of course not. And in this case, a wealthy doctor and his pretty wife (Charlize Theron) fight back. The bulk of the film is Theron and Kevin Bacon (the main kidnapper) and they have excellent chemistry with a lot of fascinating dramatic exchanges. One of the things I liked best about this film, however, is that we actually get to see the doctor husband in action: he’s more than stereotype. So many times in this kind of film the husband’s just an off-screen character we only see once or twice, and we often wonder what the woman sees in him. Yes, we know she loves him, we other than the token “kiss the wife goodbye” scene, we never see it. In this film, however, the husband has a prominent role, and he’s really pretty cool. The whole family is cool, and the little daughter is amazing. I have no idea how old she is in real life, but she gives the best young child performance I’ve seen in ages. Truly remarkable. Overall, this is a good film. It’s got humor, suspense, drama, and action, and it’s well done. However, it ultimately isn’t about anything more than it seems: a family is assaulted and fights back. The end. For it to be a truly great film, it needed some depth. It tries with some of the psychological scenes between Theron and Bacon, but while fascinating, there’s too little depth there for a profound movie experience.

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Sun, Sep 22, 2002

: Bandits

Director: Barry Levinson

Okay buddy film about two prison escapees who become bank robbers. Along the way they “kidnap” a troubled woman, and the threesome go up and down the west coast robbing banks and become famous as the “Sleepover Bandits” (they invade and sleep over at the bank manager’s home the night before the robbery so they can rob the bank early in the morning before it opens). Somewhat predictable (especially the ending), but still pleasant and interesting, with good performances. Interestingly for me, this happens to be another Billy Bob Thornton and Cate Blanchett film: coincidence that I rented this at the same time as The Gift?

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: The Gift

Author: Billy Bob Thornton

Director: Sam Raimi

This was a surprisingly cool film. It’s set in the south where a woman, Cate Blanchett, is a psychic. Her husband is dead and she’s rasing three boys on her own. Much of town thinks she’s a witch and ostracizes her. But in truth the “fortunes” she tells are closer to a form of counseling and therapy than ESP. She helps one young man haunted by nightmares of his father which he can’t explain. She tells a young woman whose redneck husband beats her to leave, but then the woman’s husband, Donnie, threatens her and her family. Then a girl goes missing and it’s the psychic who helps locate the body, which just happens to be on Donnie’s property, and she’s required to testify against him in the trial. But did Donnie really kill the girl? This is a terrific film about people: the “gift” is just a gimmick, a mystery that pervades the story, but the central thing is always the characters. Extremely well-written and directed. Totally worth your time.

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Sat, Sep 21, 2002

: L.A. Galaxy at San Jose Earthquakes

I’m still getting used to this being a sports fan thing: it’s harder than it seems. I think the fans suffer more than the players when the team suffers a loss. At least the players contributed something in the effort: the fans only contribute their emotions, and that’s tough. This game could have been the highlight of the season. A win for San Jose meant much in the statistical department: a new MLS home unbeaten record, the Western Conference leader crown and home field advantage for the playoffs, a new San Jose season points record, winning the Supporter’s Shield (which goes to the best team on the West Coast), and keeper Joe Cannon probably finishing the season with the best goals-against average. A monster crowd showed up for the game: 26,229 people! Officially a sellout! I arrived more than thirty minutes early and parking took so long I barely made the game. Incredible. It was the most people for a regular season game since the inaugural MLS game in 1996. Wow, the atmosphere was fantastic. Even the Galaxy fans and players were impressed (as they revealed after the game). Everything was set for a great Earthquakes victory. Unfortunately, that was not to be. It started off well, and the Quakes played marvelously, but couldn’t finish to get a goal. Early on a great run by Donovan into the box was ended by a takedown and the ref immediately pointed to the penalty box. Ronnie Ekeland stepped to take the PK. He struck it hard, but too much up the center, and the Galaxy’s Kevin Hartman blocked it. No goal. That should have been the start of an Earthquake rout. Instead it was the start of a stalemate. For 90 minutes the teams played to zero-zero tie, just like last week in L.A. But this time, instead of the game being given to L.A. on a blown offside call, it was the ref who stepped up and awarded a penalty when San Jose’s Eddie Robinson knocked down Cobi Jones in the penalty box in the 93rd minute. The Galaxy’s Ruiz easily converted the PK and that was it: L.A. wins 1-0.

This was a frustrating game, not only because San Jose played better soccer and certainly had the bulk of the chances, but the strategies of the teams were affected by last week’s controversial loss. If that game had finished a tie, L.A. would have come into this game needing a win: instead a draw was enough for them and they didn’t need to risk anything. Hartman had a great game and was definitely man-of-the-match, making 9 saves (several of them spectacular). But it’s still a bitter pill to lose your last home game, especially against your most hated rival. San Jose is still in the playoffs in third place, and we face Columbus on Wednesday night, just like the playoffs last year. Some fans are saying the loss will motivate the Quakes: I sure hope so. However, after losing two games in a row, confidence and morale can’t be too high. Still the playoffs are anyone’s game. It doesn’t matter how you get there: all that matters is that once you are there you win. Go Quakes! Final: 1-0 Galaxy.

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Fri, Sep 20, 2002

: Ballistic: Ecks Vs. Sever

If you rate your movie money in terms of how many bullets get shot and explosions you see, this film will definitely get your vote. The producers must have spent $1 million on bullets alone, and triple that in vehicles (brand new SUVs get destroyed every few minutes), and God knows how much on fireworks. The “plot” is ludicrous, with holes big enough for several oil tankers, and it goes something like this: Bad Guy works for secret govt. intelligence agency (the cleverly named DIA), and he steals a new nano-weapon that would let him kill a remote target with the push of a button (it’s a micro machine that is “undetectable” in a person’s bloodstream yet can be remotely ordered to give the person a heart attack). Sever (Lucy Liu) kidnaps his son to get the weapon. Ecks in an ex-FBI guy who’s brought in to get Sever. Puzzled? You should be: it makes little sense that the hero is essentially helping the Bad Guy. Then the plot gets really wonky: Ecks is searching for his wife who was killed seven years earlier except that he just discovered she wasn’t killed: it turns out she’s… get this… married to the Bad Guy! I won’t go any further: just this much strains credibility. The movie filled with odd gaps in logic: bad guys magically appear whenever they’re needed (how did they know to go there?), good guys stupidly show up in bad guy territory for no reason, etc. Half the time the super-heros seem super-smart; the other half they’re super-dumb (for instance, Ecks stands on a land mine at one point, telling the Bad Guy to move away lest he get blown up also). Then there are all those guns and explosions. While cool, there were a number of things that bugged me. For instance, a few times actors held their guns awkwardly, like they didn’t know how to use them: odd for weapons experts. At other times, Ecks or Sever seemed to be very poor markspeople: Ecks once misses three guys five feet away in a narrow train car with his shotgun. Of course they complete miss him with their automatic weapons, but then he gets them on his second attempt (three shots, three kills). Huh? In other scenes, huge explosions that destroyed half the city just knocked down the bad guys and they just dusted themselves off and got back to work being bad. And speaking of bad guys: of the thousands that get shot, does nobody notice that these guys are all Federal agents? Sure, their leader is dirty, but are they are all dirty as well? Aren’t most just innocent agents obeying their boss? Very strange film in terms of plot, but if you ignore all that and just enjoy the wild action, it’s not half bad. The action is mostly average quality, though a few scenes are very cool. Mostly watch this if you want to see stuff get blown up.

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: The Bourne Identity

When I first heard this was getting remade, I wasn’t the least bit interested. After all, the book was excellent, and there was already a decent film version. Why do it again? I also didn’t like the casting: Matt Damon is way too young for Bourne, and Franka Potente didn’t seem like a good fit. Boy was I wrong: this is a great movie. It’s got action, intelligence, and even a little depth (not too much, but a little). Franka was excellent, and though I still feel Damon is too young (his character is supposed to have years of experience being a top black ops spy), he does a very good job. I really liked the action sequences: the whole idea is that Bourne, a man without an identity (he’s lost his memory, remember), reacts instinctively, and in the film they did that excellently by speeding the action to super-human levels. For instance, in one scene two cops accost him in a park. When one puts his hand on Damon, he reacts without even thinking: in a flash he moves and the two cops are on the ground unconscious. Damon blinks, staring at them, and at his own hands, wondering how the heck he did that. Wonderful! That’s exactly what made the book so fascinating. Bourne’s reaction to his “super powers” humanizes him, makes him someone we can relate to and understand. Overall this is an a great ride: a non-stop action adventure with thrilling sequence after thrilling sequence. Great fun, well acted, and well written. There’s even some depth in the relationship that develops between Damon and Franka (she was excellent, BTW: a suprisingly subtle actress). Well worth your time and superior to the other film (which wasn’t that bad).

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Thu, Sep 19, 2002

: Sexy Beast

Stylish crime drama about a retired crook who’s “encouraged” to come back for one last score. Terrific dialogue, some great set pieces, and fantastic characters (and performances) make this well worth your time. Ultimately, like most crime dramas such as

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: Collateral Damage

Okay actioner with Arnold going to South American seeking revenge on the Columbian terrorist who accidentally killed his wife and child during a bombing. Arnold finds out the terrorist became a terrorist because his daughter was killed in an attack, which is an intriguing idea, but the script never develops that any further. The first half of the film is so-so: the later quarter, however, has a nice twist that makes it much more interesting and is pretty good. Prior to 9/11 this wouldn’t have been nearly as thought-provoking a film; now that reality has taken an ugly turn, this almost feels like art.

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Wed, Sep 18, 2002

: One Hour Photo

Unusual film; not quite what I expected. The “plot” was publicized: a lonely photomart guy (Robin Williams) develops a crush on a perfect family and decides to adopt them as his own family, so to speak. What starts out as a quirky, rather pathetic relationship soon turns dark and violent. Williams does a good job: he plays this role totally straight, hardly cracking a smile in the entire movie. I liked many things about the film: the family (especially the mom), the way the family fell apart, Williams’ character and the way he reacts to the situation. Unfortunately, not enough happens in the beginning (it’s slow), and when we get to the big pay-off at the end, nothing much happens their either. It’s like the producers chickened out from going all the way with Williams’ character. As it is, the film ends on a flat note: it needed a second twist at the end, something that would explain Williams’ character and his fate better. As it ends now, it feels unfinished and leaves you unsatisfied. An interesting film, worth seeing just because it’s different, but isn’t sure enough of what it is to be a classic.

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: Vanilla Sky

Director: Cameron Crowe

Some people might wonder why I chose to do a weblog of films and books; a key reason is that I don’t believe in coincidence, and yet throughout my life I’ve just happened to be reading a particular book at a particular time or seen a film right when another event crosses paths. In this case, I find it fascinating that I just “happened” to have watched two versions of Vanilla Sky, but it doesn’t save it for a gimmicky ending: it opens the book with it. Unfortunately for this film, while it makes a very interesting movie and the ending explains everything and makes sense, the ending is still unsatisfactory. I can’t say more than that without giving the plot twist away, and I don’t want to do that. Throughout the film I was gathering clues and trying to figure out a rational explanation for the mysteries of the story: basically Tom Cruise’s character begins to confuse the identities of the two women in his life, one of whom committed suicide but he still sees her. Is he crazy? Is he being set up somehow? The ending, when it came, made total sense: there are hints of it throughout the film to the extent that it’s rather obvious in a second viewing. But the nature of the explanation is unsatisfactory: we want more, something with meaning. Ultimately, that’s where I think the film fell apart: because of the twist ending, all the valuable insight and morality and lessons taught by the first half of the movie are meaningless. Or are they? Some might argue that it makes no difference. Tom’s character certainly grew from the experiences, so change came about. The bottom line: this is a personal film meant to be experienced by each person who sees it. Whatever you find in it is yours: your truth, your reality. I cannot argue that what you see in it isn’t there or doesn’t count, just as you can’t say that about my impressions. For me, the film wasn’t as eye opening as a classic like The Purple Rose of Cairo, but it’s certainly more thought-provoking that a cliche like

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Tue, Sep 17, 2002

: Legally Blonde

Decent, fun, silly film about a blonde girl who enrolls at Harvard Law to follow her boyfriend and discovers she good at being a lawyer. Reese Witherspoons character was really good: I loved the way she was so clueless as to not realize that people were making fun of her blondeness and just dive right in, being friendly and mindlessly happy to all. Her character has a gift for helping people out of their shell and uses that in her law career. Pretty cool idea and fairly realistic; she’s not stupid, just interested in fashion and other things. Ultimately this film flirts on the fence of being silly and stupid or silly and worth something, and I think it just tips toward the latter, though not by much. Good fun.

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: K-PAX

This is a film that started with a gimmicky premise — is mental patient Prot really an alien from the planet K-PAX as he claims? — and never gets beyond it. It could have been a good film if there was some depth too it, but it enjoys playing with the gimmick so much that it never gets around to anything intelligent. Ultimately pointless.

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Mon, Sep 16, 2002

: Lathe of Heaven

Far superior version of the film. According to the DVD, this was the first film every made for PBS. It’s amazingly high-tech for 1979, especially since it only cost $250,000. The script is much better in this version, with the dialog being much more interesting, conveying both character and plot. And the 2002 version left out critical details from the book, such as the invasion of the aliens. The aliens might seem silly or B-movie to some, but they’re critical to the story because they show us the ultimate, fantastical power of harnessing the man’s dreams to change the universe. By showing us that power, and the way it can be turned against us, we realize how dangerous it is manipulating reality through the dreams of another. Fascinating stuff. This version made it clearer that the doctor did know the man was telling the truth — his dreams did change reality, he wasn’t crazy — but that left me confused as to why and how, since supposedly everyone else forgot that the world had ever been different. The film has its flaws, but it’s still well above average, and amazing considering the complex subject and the budget and the year. The new version had a bigger budget and better special effects, but wasn’t as good.

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Sun, Sep 15, 2002

: Imposter

Fascinating sci-fi based on the Philip K. Dick short story. The premise is cool: a top govt. scientist is suddenly arrested as a traitor and told that he’s suspected of being a robot planted by aliens and he contains a bomb. Apparently the robot simulation is so perfect it’s impossible to tell if he’s human or not, except by disection. Of course the scientist believes he’s not a robot — but is he? That should be the core of the film — he’s own doubts as to his identity — but instead the film’s basically a big chase as he escapes and as a fugitive, tries to gain evidence to proof he’s not an android. Somewhat predictable, especially the twist ending, but still enjoyable, and there a good performances. It could have been a better film, but it’s still above average. It was originally supposed to be 30 minute short (as part of a sci-fi trilogy) but it was expanded to a full-length film. The original short’s on the DVD and it was better (though the expanded material isn’t that bad plotwise, it adds nothing characterwise).

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: Lathe of Heaven

This is the recent A&E production, and it was okay, though vaguely disappointing. Nothing much happens. The premise is fascinating: whatever a young man dreams comes true, and when he awakes, the world is different and no one recognizes that it’s changed but himself. He’s seeing a psychiatrist who begins to manipulate his dreams and give himself more power and fame. James Caan is excellent as the psychiatrist, but he’s not given much of a script. The dialog does nothing more than move the story forward; there is no depth. Good ending, and the production is okay, but ultimately the film has no soul. The scope of the changes made is minimal: there’s unlimited potential for changing the universe here and very little is done with that. Disappointing.

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Sat, Sep 14, 2002

: Resident Evil

Disturbing zombie flick based on the popular video game. A corporation’s underground research facility is contaminated by a biological weapon that reanimates dead tissue (i.e. turns the dead into the living dead). A team is sent in to investigate the status of the facility and discovers this, and must try to get out alive.

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Wed, Sep 11, 2002

: America’s Sweethearts

This is a “comedy” about a movie star couple who are America’s sweethearts. But they split and the world is shocked. Then they’re forced to be together during a press junket to promote their new film. Unfortunately, despite some decent, if routine, performances from some big stars, the film’s humor is too predictable to be funny. We’re treated to “hilarious” and “shocking” things like learning that big movie stars treat their assistants like dirt and have affairs (i.e. they’re human). Ho hum. Mildly entertaining, with the emphasis on the mild. The only really nice thing was seeing Julia Roberts in the non-star role as a wallflower.

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Sun, Sep 08, 2002

: Shake with the Quakes

Shake with the Quakes Shake with the Quakes Shake with the Quakes Shake with the Quakes Shake with the Quakes Shake with the Quakes Okay, this wasn’t a game, but it’s soccer related. As an Earthquake season ticket holder I got to go to this special event. I was surprised by how many people showed up: at least a thousand, maybe more. First there was a very interesting question-and-answer session with Coach Frank Yallop and several players. Some tough questions were asked (like how did Frank feel about the officiating in last night’s game or how would the Quakes rank in the English Premiership) but the group did a good job of being honest and open. The practice field was all set up with Soccer Celebration stuff: a goal where kids could practice goal-keeping as SJ keepers tried to score; two enclosed areas where informal soccer games were played by fans against SJ Earthquake pros; a rock climbing tower; a huge slide; and several other interactive events. Then there was the autograph tent: the line went on for at least two hundred yards. The dumb thing was that each autograph session was only a half-hour long and you’d have to wait in line at least an hour, meaning you probably weren’t going to get the autograph of the player you wanted. Still, it was a fun event (though I didn’t bother waiting for an autograph). Great to see so many Earthquake fans and families into soccer. I was definitely born too early. Can you imagine being a soccer kid and being able to play a scrimmage with your favorite local player? I would have died for such an incredible thing!

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Sat, Sep 07, 2002

: Columbus Crew at San Jose Earthquakes

What an insane game! Tied with L.A. at the top of the table, this (and every remaining game) are critical. After two straight losses (3-0 and 4-2), the Quakes needed a big win. They got things going good immediately with a quick 4th minute goal by defender Robinson off a corner kick. About 15 minutes came what I think should be the goal of the year. The Quakes had earned a free kick about 30 yards out. Mulrooney takes it, but instead of shooting, he simply flips the ball in the air over to Ronnie Ekeland. Ronnie does the impossible: he vollies it into the back of the net! Amazing goal. Volley are impossible normally, let alone off a free kick. But minutes later, disaster! A terrific flick by Brian McBride over the San Jose defense put Cunningham in on goal alone. Joe Cannon came out well like he usually does, but Cunningham popped the ball over Cannon and into the goal. The lead was now a single goal. Then we had controversy when Landon Donovan, one on one with the Crew keeper, was taken down in the penalty box. It looked like it would be impossible to NOT call a penalty, but the ref waved it off. A great chance for SJ thwarted by a bizarre call (and not the only one of the match). In the second half, the Quakes came back with a goal from Graziani on his own breakaway, and it looked like things were sharp for the home team. But then, more disaster. Because it was at the other end of the field I couldn’t quite see how either goal happened. Both were by Edson Buddle. His first the ball just went right to his feet as he stood in the penalty area and he slid it into the net. I could see it happening and I’m screaming “No!” but it went in. The second I didn’t see at all, but it apparently was accomplished by a bit more skill from Buddle (according to the reports of others). That tied the game at threes with just minutes to play and I felt ominous dread that the worst was going to happen. But in sudden death overtime, things began to turn. First, San Jose finally got a break from the ref as he sent off a Crew player (something that should have happened an hour earlier), and then, during pressure on the goal by Graziani, there was a bit of confusion between the Columbus goalkeeper and a defender and they ended up knocking the ball into their own goal! Crazy way to end a game, and a bit harsh on Columbus, but I felt that San Jose deserved the victory and since it’s so close to the playoffs, I just wanted the three points however we got them.

Whew! What a game. With 15,000 in the stands, it was intense. I was swallowing my heart there at the end. But it certainly was entertaining. Now San Jose is on top of the league with two games left, both against L.A. who is tied with us. Next Sat. we play them in L.A., then here on the 21st. Those games are always heated and these are going to be championship intensity. If San Jose wins just one of the two games and doesn’t lose by a huge number of goals, we’ll win the Western Division (due to the tie-breaker of goal difference — we’ve scored more goals than L.A.) and have home field advantage for the playoffs. And with 15 games without a loss at home, that’s an advantage we want. Final: 4-3 Earthquakes.

After the game, an interesting thing: apparently this was “Faith and Family” night and as a special event, two members of the Columbus Crew, Daniel Torres and USA World Cup hero Brian McBride, came and gave their Christian testimonies to a group gathered in Section 115. It was very cool. Both had simple stories of faith and God’s blessing in their lives. Daniel’s from San Jose, Costa Rica, and he gave his testimony in both Spanish and English, and Brian told about growing up in a Christian family but never realizing the personal importance of God in his life until he was on his own. It was really neat and a good sized crowd of several hundred people stayed for it. It wasn’t preaching, just sharing, and very positive. Kudos to the organizers, and thanks to Brian and Daniel for taking time to do it (especially after a heart-breaking loss).

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Sun, Sep 01, 2002

: Oregon Shakespeare Festival: Playboy of the West Indies

Earlier this summer I traveled to Ashland Oregon to see some Shakespeare, and on this day I returned (driving six hours each way on the same day) to see this play. It was well worth the effort. I’d gone to a lecture by Kenny Leon, the director, and his comments made me want to see the play. The original version of the play is “Playboy of the Western World” and is set in Ireland. But it was renamed and rewritten and set in Trinidad by Mustapha Matura. Mustapha brilliantly realized that the cultures of Ireland and Trinidad aren’t that far apart and all he had to do was change a few references and put the dialog in dialect and he was done. The result just makes the play that much more fascinating. It’s a funny, absurd tale about romance and murder. The setting is in a bar (how Irish!) and deals with a handsome stranger who arrives in town who soon reveals he is running away from home after killing his father with a machete. Strangely the news of his crime doesn’t offend the villagers — it fascinates them, and he’s besieged by women who all want him. He falls in love with the lovely bar owner and everything’s going well when suddenly, who shows up but the boy’s father! He’s sporting a bloody head wound and an even fouler temper, wanting to kill his son. Crazy, yes, but the story tells us a lot about how we judge others. When the bar owner finds out the boy was lying about killing his father she dumps him: she’s no longer attracted to him if he’s not dangerous. Fascinating stuff. I won’t spoil the conclusion for you: I highly recommend you check out this play!

Topic: [/travel]

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