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The Coen Brothers’ Latest is a Tour-De-Force

Posted by Greg on Oct 26, 2009 in Movies

Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg) is a quiet, unassuming college physics professor in 1967 suburban Minnesota. His only son Danny (Aaron Wolff) is preparing for his bar mitzvah, his only daughter is more concerned with her appearance than anything else and his wife (Minneapolis-based actress Sari Lennick) is seeking to divorce him. Larry’s brother Arthur (Richard Kind), an out-of-work genius has joined the family and is sleeping on the couch, all the while tending to a sebaceous cyst and putting the finishing touches on a homemade device. Larry seems to enjoy his work as a professor and has an appointment with the tenure committee, but a bribery attempt by a failing South Korean student throws a wrench into Gopnik’s quiet ho-hum life. This premise sets the stage A Serious Man, the latest film by the Coen brothers, a semi-autobiographical, heavily Jewish narrative that’s wry, acerbic and charming. Utilizing a veritable no-name cast, the Coen brothers allow the quirky and painfully honest screenplay to do the work. All the accessory characters are razor sharp, and the lead characters do not disappoint. Tony-nominee Stuhlbarg shines in his first starring role and the film moves briskly and comically. There’s no laborious scenes, no glossing over anything, it’s swift and to the point. Those that enjoyed the silliness of Burn After Reading, will certainly find some resonance in this odd, slightly screwball indie delight. Equal parts Jeffrey Blitz, PT Anderson and Noah Baumbach, A Serious Man is a wry look at how the pangs of life can affect even the most straight-laced, good-intentioned people. While it’s hard to top the multi-Oscar winning success of No Country For Old Men, A Serious Man is a stark and refreshingly frank portrait of two filmmakers who seem to do little wrong and get stronger every time out. Dylan Young of the Canadian magazine Hour seemed to sum it up best, “A film about the metaphysics and mundane hardships of life, the contradictions, comforts and hypocrisies of the Jewish faith and the astonishing significance of nothing in particular.”

 
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More Light Shed on Steve McNair’s Infidelity

Posted by Greg on Oct 20, 2009 in Op-Ed

Authorities released more than 50 text messages related to the murder of Steve McNair by his jilted lover Sahel “Jenni” Kazemi. The transcripts of the messages, available at the Tennessean Web site are in a word, nauseating, and truly leave a lot to be desired about McNair. Granted he was a fearless leader on the field and an incredibly charitable presence in local communities, but his personal life was sordid, improper and inappropriate. Though McNair’s marriage was hitting the skids (whether this was due to his infidelity or not remains to be determined), reports that he was heavily involved with Kazemi as well as another woman are truly disgusting. Additionally, there are also reports of a woman in Minnesota that McNair was heavily involved with. Which leads to the question, just how many women did McNair have on the side? Should we expect the same kind of greatness off the field as well? Is that even fair? Such questions will always cloud people’s minds and probably will until the end of time. In that time, let’s stop and celebrate those players who’ve gone above and beyond what’s normal, in their quest for celibacy, including A.C. Green and former Univ. of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow.

Edit: Don’t even get me started on Tiger Woods.

 
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Balloon Boy Story Makes me Nauseous, Leery

Posted by Greg on Oct 16, 2009 in Op-Ed

There’s no way around it, what happened in Fort Collins, CO Thursday afternoon brings a lot of questions to the table. What kind of parents lose sight of their son? Moreover, what kind of parents go frantic and call the police without even checking in their own house? Thirdly, what kind of parents choose to appear on talk shows describing their ordeal, rather than face their drama in private? That this couple is comprised of amateur weather forecasters already says a lot, but that they appeared on the reality TV series Wife Swap, really sums it all up: attention seekers craving more than just 15 minutes of fame.

From the very beginning, I knew a boy in a runaway hot-air balloon was something that just seemed afoul. Accidents like that just don’t happen. Moreover, how in the world these people can talk about the great pain they’ve been through and not even consider their actions is just maddening. They made this into a state catastrophe. An airport was shut down, security officials were on serious high alert, all because parents were scheming for attention.

This is one disturbing and sick family, and one would hope the Wife Swap producers would be smart enough to make sure they never appear on the show again. The last thing America needs is to celebrate Richard and Mayumi Heene and entertain a family as despicable and horrendous as them. I hope they serve jail time.

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