This week I was treated to not one, but two great cinematic experiences. Up, the new film from Pixar, is incredibly touching and fun and, in my opinion, is only second to Finding Nemo in the Pixar universe. I then, bolstered with confidence form strong reviews, went to see Drag Me To Hell, which like Crank 2, is a deceptively, but completely intentionally funny film, while at the same time delivering creepy and scary moments. But apparently the entertainment gods believed me greedy because what the Movie Lord giveth, the Sports Lord taketh away.
First was the elimination of the Denver Nuggets Saturday. I need to give the devil his due. Kobe is immensely talented and clutch and he demonstrated both characteristics during the Denver series. However, I cannot ever be a fan. He and the Lakers are like Alex Rodriguez and the Yankees are in baseball – an obssessively and obviously media-savvy star on an unlikeable franchise. The talent is great, but it is overshadowed, to anyone who is not a fan, by the need to look and act the part of the star. And the way Kobe speaks sounds like he bought the Rosetta Stone “Michael Jordan” immersion program because his speech, along with his fadeaway jumpshot, have become more and more Jordan-esque as his career has gone on. Kobe is the most Jordan-esque player since Jordan, which is one of the non-rape reasons why some people don’t like Kobe. Dwayne Wade has adopted a more quiet persona that seems unique to him, while LeBron has been the more engaging superstar, Magic-esque, but clearly free of plagiarism of Magic. Kobe seems to have attempted a re-make of Jordan, and like someone who dares re-make a classic (think Sheryl Crow doing Sweet Child O’ Mine for the Big Daddy soundtrack) it ends up being less likeable than it might have been if it was at least original. So now I am forced to root for the Orlando Magic. I actually think the Magic can win, but would not bet on it. Here’s my matchup breakdown:
- Battle of Superstars – Kobe vs. Dwight. Dwight Howard has proven to be unstoppable in these playoffs, due almost entirely because of his size 72 shoulders and sick vertical leap, because he still does not seem to have a discernible vertical leap. Kobe has been better. Edge – Kobe
- Eurotrash matchup – Hedo Turkoglu vs. Pau Gasol and Sasha Vujacic. Because Pau will be marginalized by Dwight Howard and because Vujacic sucks the edge goes to Hedo “I push off every single time I dribble” Turkoglu.
- Tall, underachieving black guys who randomly show up and disappear: Lamar Odom vs. Rashard Lewis. Odom tends to disappear like a pit bull at Michael Vick’s house. Rashard Lewis can do the same thing, but has been playing with more and more confidence. However, in his first trip to the finals I expect to see him piss down his leg at least once. Edge – Odom.
- Coaches: Lurch versus Ron Jeremy. Phil Jackson is “the Zen master,” which is enough of a reason to root against him, but Stan Van Gundy was screwed out of a title by Pat Riley and Shaq, but has still managed to come back with a vengeance with a new team, all while looking like a less athletic Ron Jeremy. So in this one I have to give the edge to Stan.
So it looks like a draw, which means if the Lakers win I believe it will be because of a great effort by Kobe and I will have to acknowledge that. But hopefully the Magic win.
But as if the Lakers win was not enough of a reason to step in front of a bus, Rafa Nadal lost yesterday in tennis. Nadal-Federer has become my 2nd favorite sporting event after a Utah Jazz hoops game. Mainly because I watch their matches in awe and I probably change who I am rooting for 3 or 4 times during the match. Insult to injury for Nadal: the French were cheering on the challenger during the match which seemed a little doucheconsidering Nadal is one of the two greatest champions they’ve ever had. I think I just heard Nadal order some Freedom Fries.
Well this week I have two more movies to consider and two NBA finals games. The Hangover (sneak preview tonight), which along with Transformers 2 is my most anticipated film of the Summer, and Land of The Lost, which looks potentially funny, but also potentially awful. Looks like odds are that The Finals will be 1-1 headed to Orlando by the end of this week.