Sunday, May 29, 2011

Baffling Circumstance


Baffling circumstance

Cloaks the here and now.
Frenzied happenstance
Makes a schizoid vow.
You might jump the moon
If someone said cow.

Trampoline logic
Of the self-absorbed
Too paranoid
To remain ignored
Acid bounce of the
Terminally bored

Someone call a taxi
Maybe pound a nail
My harpoon’s swollen
Cause I saw the whale
The mast is broken
Someone stitch the sail

Close encounter with
Those shrewdly enshrined
The elastic moment
So hard to define
Takes one to know one
And some peace of mind


Friday, May 27, 2011

Rocky ... in real life.


Ken Green Marches On

It's hard for me to fully comprehend what Green has been through and continues to face. He survived an accident in June of 2009 that killed his girl friend, his brother and his dog. His right leg didn't make it, and it would seem that he'd lost his chance to play golf for a living.  In January of 2010, Green's son died of an overdose in his college dorm.

And again, I can't imagine the amount of pain and suffering that Green endured and continues to endure.

Cynics will recall Green's brash behavior in the 1980s on the PGA Tour. In the late 80s, Green blew a Sunday lead in the GGO, which was then played the week before The Masters. Green raised a huge commotion in the press tent when he claimed he wasn't interested in returning to Augusta, a visit that a victory that day would have provided.

During that final round, I walked with Ken Green's wife, who was devastated for all the right reasons when things didn't go her husband's way in the final round. I felt bad for both of them.

Green's career on Tour rapidly deteriorated as did his marriage. More than two decades passed, and I doubt I thought about Ken Green more than a couple of times. I did hear about his accident, and then his son. I knew about his battles as a younger man with depression, and until I read the story linked directly above this post, I had no idea that Green would pursue his next dream – finishing in the Top 20 of a Champions Tour Event.

Like a certain boxer from Philadelphia, Green just wants to finish. Perhaps there's no Adrian, or Apollo Creed, or Mickey, or Paulie. But I do think there's someone in Green's corner that is helping Green keep his focus, which I'm sure all golfers will agree needs to be extraordinary.

Playing golf well when one is completely mentally and physically healthy is not easy. Playing golf at all when a leg feels as it's being tasered requires – in my humble opinion – extraordinary commitment.

Of course, we now know that someone can play golf at the highest level with a broken leg, that that person could endure 91 holes with certain pain after every swing, half swing, perhaps even a chip. That performance was truly remarkable, and I doubt I will ever see a more riveting five days of golf.

And now another golfer, playing on one leg and in pain, seeks a more tangible, modest goal that in my view is almost as important as the process – victory is achieved simply by keeping on keeping on.

At what point does this level of resolve transcend denial? Does reality matter?

All that matters is that Rocky 
in real life goes the distance. 


Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Fighter


Chapter 22/Late To Party –  Please allow me a few moments to discuss the film, The Fighter, which I finally saw two nights ago.

Yes, I was aware that Melissa Leo and Christian Bale each won Academy Awards for their performances in supporting roles, that the film had 7 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture. Amy Adams also received an Oscar nomination for her performance in a supporting role, usually a kiss of death for two actresses (or actors) from the same film. Not this time, however.

Did this tangible acclaim power me to a theater? Of course not. In short, i was a stoopid.

From Wiki:

The Fighter is a 2010 biographical sports drama film directed by David O. Russell, and starring Mark WahlbergChristian BaleMelissa Leoand Amy Adams. The film centers on the life of professional boxer "Irish" Micky Ward (Wahlberg) and his older half-brother Dicky Eklund (Bale). The film also stars Amy Adams as Micky's love interest, and Melissa Leo as Micky's and Dicky's mother. The Fighter is Russell and Wahlberg's third film collaboration, following Three Kings and I Heart Huckabees.
The film was released in select North American theaters on December 17, 2010, and was released in the United Kingdom on February 4, 2011. It was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, winning the awards for Best Supporting Actor (Christian Bale) and Best Supporting Actress (Melissa Leo). It was the first film to win both awards since Hannah and Her Sisters in 1986.
  • Mark Wahlberg as 'Irish' Micky Ward: Wahlberg elected to star in the film due to his friendship with Ward, based on their similar inner-city working class Massachusetts upbringings of being in families of nine kids. Wahlberg also was a huge fan of Ward's, calling him a "local sports hero." The actor was also attracted to the film's central theme, of having an ordinary person in "an against-all-odds story," which he previously explored in Invincible. To mimic Ward's habits and mannerisms, Wahlberg had him "on set, watching me every single day." During pre-production, the Ward brothers temporarily moved into Wahlberg's home. To add to the film's realistic nature, Wahlberg refused a stunt double and took real punches during the fight scenes, which resulted in him nearly getting his nose broken a couple of times. Wahlberg underwent a strict bodybuilding exercise regimen, dedicating over four years of training to obtain the muscular physique to convincingly play Ward. "The last six movies I did I was also secretly preparing for The Fighter at the same time," the actor continued, "so I would leave three hours early for work and go to the gym and spend three hours there. I would bring the trainers with me on every movie that I did." His uncertainty over the film's development was overruled by his persistence to get the film made. "There were certainly times where I would wake up at 4:30 in the morning, you know, my trainer would ring the bell, and, 'Oh God,' I'm like, 'I better get this movie made.' You know, 'Kill somebody if I don't get this movie made.'" Wahlberg hired Freddie Roach as his boxing trainer, helping the actor model Ward's specific fighting style. The last two years of Wahlberg's training resulted in the construction of a "dream gym" in his house for daily use, with a personal boxing ring. He received additional boxing preparation from Manny Pacquiao.
  • Christian Bale as Dick "Dicky" Eklund: After both Brad Pitt and Matt Damon dropped out due to scheduling conflicts, Wahlberg suggested Bale for the role after meeting the actor at a preschool their young daughters both attended. Given Eklund's drug addiction, Bale had to lose weight, which he found easy as he previously went through the task of losing sixty-three pounds in 2003 for The Machinist. Bale researched the part by taking notes on Eklund's mannerisms and recording conversations for the character's distinct Boston accent. Director David O. Russell believed Bale's task involved far more than mimicry. "Dicky has a whole rhythm to him, a music. Christian had to understand how his mind works." Russell and Eklund were both impressed by Bale's dedication to staying in character throughout filming. Bale went on to win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor at the 83rd Academy Awards for his role as Eklund.
  • Amy Adams as Charlene Fleming: Russell said of the actress, "There are very few things that a director can have at his disposal better than an actress who's dying to break type and is extremely motivated to break type. Amy was extremely motivated to play a sexy bitch and that's who the character of Charlene is. ... She said, 'As long as it happens between action and cut, I'll do anything." And I said, "That's my kind of actress.' I loved that she had that attitude." Adams was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress at the 83rd Academy Awards for her role.
  • Melissa Leo as Alice Ward, mother to both fighters and seven additional siblings, all sisters. Leo won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress at the 83rd Academy Awards for her role.

In my opinion, Christian Bale's performance ranks with the best in film history. He's phenomenal. And partly so because the entire cast is so damn good. Everyone brought the A game ... the serious A game, at that.

Mark Wahlberg was tremendous as Mickey, and as Executive Producer of a film that claimed 7 Academy Award nominations, that's a huge victory. Best Picture, Best Director, 3 nominations for Best Supporting Actor/Actress, Best Screenplay, Best Film Editing. Still, I think praise for Walhberg's performance (and vision) should at least have earned Wahlberg a Oscar nomination for Best Actor, which the Golden Globes did "give" him.

The following quote, also from Wiki, reveals part of the source of Wahlberg's persistence:

"I’ve seen every boxing movie ever made. I’m also a huge fight fan. I fought a little bit when I was younger. Nobody in my opinion, and some of the greatest movies ever made – you talk Raging Bull and Rocky I saw 30 times – but the fighting just wasn’t as realistic as what we hope to achieve and accomplish in this movie."
— Mark Wahlberg in an October 2007 interview

You might not be a Mark Wahlberg fan, or a Christian Bale, Melissa Leo or even Amy Adams fan. You might loathe boxing. Perhaps even hate Boston accents. But if you are a fan of seriously strong acting, don't miss seeing this wonderful film. 

IMO, The Fighter is the current gold standard for commitment to a project.

See it.