Thursday, May 8, 2008

Favorite movies about sports, part II

1. A League of Their Own (1992) - There's no crying in baseball! How could I forget this movie based on the true story of the women who played professional baseball while the menfolk were off fighting in World War II? Lori Petty is annoying beyond belief as little sister Kit, but Geena Davis is awesome as farm girl phenom Dottie, Jon Lovitz is hilarious in his small role...Tom Hanks and Davis play brilliantly off each other, Madonna works it, and even Rosie O'Donnell is more funny and less annoying. I laughed, I most definitely cried (poor Betty Spaghetti's husband!), and who doesn't love seeing girls who can tear up the field as well as the boys can?

2. Any Given Sunday (1999) - a football movie that I liked before I decided I liked football. I remember this movie because it was the last one I saw in the theater with my mom. This movie is when I, and probably others, discovered that, hey, Jamie Foxx isn't just a comedian - this kid can act! Cameron Diaz annoys me and was just okay, but Al Pacino rocked the hell outta his game of inches speech, Dennis Quaid is always good, and John C. McGinley had a small but funny role that made me laugh before I realized how much he could make me laugh (as Dr. Cox on Scrubs)...and ladies, there is some full frontal (male) nudity in the Sharks' lockerroom...just sayin'!

Olympic torch atop Mount Everest

Today the Olympic torch, making its way around the world toward Beijing, was carried to the summit of Mount Everest by a team made up of Chinese and Tibetan climbers. This is a huge technological feat, requiring a special high-altitude flame and an amazing amount of teamwork (always a requirement to reach the top of the world). So let's acknowledge that.

But let's also acknowledge that publicity stunts involving dangerous mountains push people to take unnecessary risks, putting their own lives and the lives of their fellow climbers in danger. Let's also not sweep aside the fact that this climb was part publicity for China and the Olympics, part showcasing the Chinese and Tibetan people as friendly fellow countrymen, when really there is a lot of anger, resentment, and controversy over China's Communist rule over the Tibetan people.

The Olympics, like all sporting arenas, have been tainted by the scandal of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs, but I think it still provides a forum for countries that may ordinarily be at odds to achieve a temporary detente, to exert themselves and their national pride in a peaceful manner, and for the world to see what we all have in common rather than the things that make us different.

Opening ceremonies for the 2008 Summer Games are August 8.