Been over a week now—my bad. It's been a fairly busy time, I guess. Went to visit my sister in Oklahoma last weekend, just for a couple days. Her husband's a music professor, and he'll be starting teaching at U of O this year. Not a bad little town, Norman, although I'd imagine that it gets nuts once school (and especially football) starts.
Actually, what I've managed to do lately is watch a bunch of movies I'd missed earlier, which helped me rediscover the notion that Hollywood should be wiped from the face of the earth. Ironically, this is exactly what happens in "The Day After Tomorrow," one of said movies. I believe Rasheed Wallace would refer to this movie as CTC—especially for an indie guy like Jake Gyllenhall clocking big-studio dollars. Like earlier crap such as "Independence Day," it's a horrifically bad story wrapped in bang-zoom special effects. I can imagine the meetings. "Hey, this dialogue is really bad." "Yeah, but who cares? We blow apart the Hollywood sign and float a freighter up Fifth Avenue? Isn't that cool?" "Yeah, but look. Dennis Quaid's character. Is he even still with his wife? Should we even care?" "Did I mention that we freeze the Statue Of Liberty and have a dickhead Vice President who looks totally like Dick Cheney?" "Oh, fine, who cares. It's just a summer movie anyway. The Statue of Liberty, huh?"
However, "The Day After Tomorrow" looks like an all-time classic next to the complete load of celluloid (do they even use that stuff anymore?) trash that was "I, Robot." Don't get me wrong—I like Will Smith. Thought he was great in "Six Degrees of Separation," and "Men In Black" (and the inevitable sequel) remain staples of my late-night In Demand diet. And I love Isaac Asimov. While I've only read a fraction of his monstrous output, among the books of his I HAVE read are "I, Robot" and the rest of the trilogy. Another website summed up the film with a doctored photo of Will Smith pissing on Sir Isaac's grave. That right there saves me a thousand words.
There was some other dreck mixed in there as well, that my mind seems to be blocking. (I watched "Bruce Almighty" this morning, and that was—pardon the phrase—godawful, too.) The one good movie I watched wasn't from Hollywood, of course. It was "Shaun Of The Dead," the British zombie semi-spoof (I say "semi" because a couple likeable characters get offed). Hollywood's insistence on product placement and happy endings and super-high-tech special effects almost assures bad movies. And the more they spend, the worse they are. (I didn't bother seeing "Batman Begins"—despite hearing it was good, "Star Wars" or "The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy"—because I absolutely loved the books and I'm terrified to see what they did to it. I'll buy the DVD.)
The next couple I plan on watching are DVDs I picked up in Oklahoma—the Criterion Collection version of "A Life Aquatic," and the unrated version of "Team America: World Police." Meant to see both of 'em in the theater, but never got around to it. I always do that.
Today was the day that teams in the NBA could use the "amnesty clause," where they could waive one player to save their salary against the luxury tax. How it works is this: the original team cuts the player, but is still responsible for paying their salary. The player also still counts against that teams salary cap, but the team doesn't have to pay any additional luxury tax that kicks in when they exceed the cap. (It's a dollar-for-dollar tax, meaning if you're $10 million over the cap, you pay an additional $10 million in tax.) The player, freed from his former team, can then sign anywhere else—making a little extra on top of what they're already contractually owed. Not to mention a team can pick up a former All-Star like Michael Finley for a fraction of what his guaranteed contract is still paying him. And this is a League with labor issues?
Strangely enough, the so-called "Allan Houston Rule" didn't result in Allan Houston's being set free. Houston, still owed roughly $60 million by the Knicks, has been hurt for roughly three years straight and hasn't played a meaningful minute while under his max deal. Either the Knicks think he can get healthy enough to play for Larry Brown (ha ha, he couldn't get healthy enough to play for DON CHANEY), or that he'll take a medical retirement and come off the books soon enough anyway. There's only one team that would be dumb enough to trade for him, and unfortunately for him, he's already on it.
More later. My phone is out for the second time in a week, and Verizon has been spectacularly unhelpful. Might be time to switch up.