Friday, February 16, 2007 

"Why In Pluperfect Hell Would You Pee On A Corpse?"

The buddy-cop genre is so hackneyed at this point that it's impossible to envision how it could breathe again anytime soon. ("Okay, they're both cops -- but one's an alien! No, wait, they switch bodies! No, wait, they're buddies...but they're really the same person!") (Hang on...that last one has promise...)

Anyway, one of the men responsible for foisting the buddy-cop genre on us -- Shane Black, who wrote most of the Lethal Weapon flicks -- delivered this absurd little gem of a flick a year or so back. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang stars Robert Downey Jr. -- who's a hell of a fine actor, though nobody seems to remember that -- as a bank robber who stumbles into a career as an actor. There's also Val Kilmer -- another guy whose nut-job rep has overshadowed his acting chops -- as a gay detective who's so gay he's back around to straight. Add in several dead bodies, some hot chicks, dialogue that's so clever it knows it's being clever, and the line that kicks off this post, and you've got a damn fine two-hour flick. Check it'll never handcuff a gay man without frisking him again.

Thursday, February 15, 2007 

A Way To Find 'Lost'

Lost geekout alert on.

So I'm watching Lost these last couple weeks, and all I can think is, Holy crap -- these guys get guest stars from every cool TV show ever! I mean, we've already had Mal from Firefly as Kate's husband, the DA from Homicide as Judith's bus-smashed ex, and this week, it's Ma Caffey from Brotherhood as some kind of Oracle figure. (Best was Mac from It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia as one of the Others. If Charlie had shown up drunk in a hoodie ready to kick Sawyer's ass, Lost would instantly become the best TV show ever. And if you have no idea what I'm talking about, go to iTunes and download this free video of the funniest scenes of Philadelphia. Do it.)

Anyway, the show has kind of passed its sell-by date now that we're getting backstory on everybody and their freaking dog. And the mysteries aren't getting resolved, just strung out. When the promos say that "Next week, THREE BIG QUESTIONS will be answered!" you know you're heading toward Twin Peaks territory. If the show was proceeding logically, we wouldn't need to KNOW that questions were going to be answered...we'd be okay not knowing when that was going to happen.

That said...I like ol' Desmond, and I love the idea that Lost is actually a show about him. How cool is that possibility -- that the entire plane thing is actually incidental, that this is a show about one man being lost and his true love trying to find him? It's a great idea...not sure it's what the writers have in mind, but it's a lot more interesting than three-toed statues and big black Adebisi-killing clouds.

Oh, and some obsessed fan has already created a website about Desmond. God bless the Internets.

(Yes, I know that's a picture of Charlie. But it's an action figure which is kind of creepy in its detail. Oh, and it doesn't move. So...inaction figure, then?)

Sunday, February 04, 2007 

Same Room, Different Worlds

Strange little weekend here that hit the gamut of my career. Saturday night, I was a guest of ChopTalk magazine at the annual banquet of the Braves 400 Club, the 40-plus-year-old fan club of the Atlanta Braves. Got to hang with Dale Murphy, Phil Niekro, and Sid Bream, who scored the most famous run in Braves history. It was 1992, final game of the National League Championship Series. Los Bravos were down 2-0 to Barry Bonds and the Pittsburgh Pirates, bottom of the ninth, two out. But the Braves rallied to score three runs, the final one coming on Sid's gimpy-kneed hobble toward home as Bonds' throw went wide. The Braves won the game and perpetuated the dynasty that won another twelve division titles. It's one of the finest moments in baseball history, hands down.

The birth of my kids was pretty cool and all, but Sid's Slide was right up there.

So the next day (that would be today), I went to the exact same hotel in the exact same room to hang with artist Jason Flowers and sign promo copies of my upcoming book RIPPED. Also added to my original art collection by buying the original of this page from Civil War #5:

So, yeah...Braves, comics...a good weekend.

Friday, February 02, 2007 

Deleted Scene: The Racist Relations

Here's a lead I wrote and discarded for an upcoming Chicago Sports Review story on black coaches in the NFL:

We’ve all got a version of the story I’m about to tell. Here’s mine.

I’ve got a relation who’s about as racist as you can get. But not in the burning-crosses-on-the-lawn kind of way; he views the races the way a baseball fan views his favorite team. The white race is his Red Sox; blacks are his Yankees.

In one of those grand little cosmic jokes, he was a National Guardsman sent to keep the peace at Ole Miss in 1962 when James Meredith broke the color barrier. “Can you imagine that,” he once laughed, “me guarding a—” …you can finish the sentence yourself. But he delivered it in the bemused tone of a Sox fan asked to wear a Derek Jeter jersey.

Thing is, thirty years after that operation, his daughter happened to meet one Michael Jordan at a bar somewhere and got her photo taken with him. The photo hangs on his refrigerator to this day. I once asked him how pissed he’d be if his daughter brought Michael Jordan home as her new boyfriend.

“Not a bit,” he said. “He’s one of the good ones.”

Thursday, February 01, 2007 

Southern Lit Review: "Nature Girl," Carl Hiaasen

I'm an idiot. The biggest sporting event in the world is coming to South Florida (the Super Bowl, for my too comics-obsessed readers), and I just left Miami Beach. But it was good while it lasted. I spent several January afternoons hanging by the pool, surfing my way through Carl Hiaasen's latest, Nature Girl.

I can't be remotely objective about Hiaasen; the guy completely reshaped the way I look at (and write) literature. He's witty, funny, lushly descriptive, openly agenda-driven, and eminently readable -- five categories that you'll hardly ever find applied together to most post-World War II literary elites. He may not have created the wacky-Florida-crime genre, but he brought it to the mainstream. Plus, he's counted among his friends Warren Zevon and Jimmy Buffett, which makes him a lot cooler than any writer this side of Hunter S. Thompson has any right to be.

His latest, Nature Girl, is classic Hiaasen. We've got the classic semi-psychotic independent single mother, the unreflective sleazebag, two hotties, a precocious kid, a sex-addled stinking lump of a man, and a goofball half-white Seminole Indian. They all get slammed together in the Everglades' Ten Thousand Islands, and gunplay, sex, and murder result.

The plot? Really, it doesn't matter, any more than the "plot" of a rollercoaster. But if you must -- Honey Santana, the single mom, gets an insulting phone call from telemarketer/sleazebag Boyd Shreave. She invites Shreave and his ladyfriend to Florida under the guise of selling them Everglades property; on the journey out there, they run into Sammy Tigertail (the half-white Seminole, formerly known as Chad McQueen) and a Florida State coed (also a Seminole) who's attached herself to Sammy like a horny barnacle. They're also getting chased by Louis Piejack, a lust-addled fishmonger who got several fingers nipped off by stone crabs and then reattached -- in the wrong places.

Sound good? It's some bizarre stuff, definitely, requiring a particular sense of humor. Hiaasen doesn't translate well to other media, but that's probably a good thing -- he's best taken in immersive form. While Nature Girl may not be his best -- there's a bit of get-t0-the-point,-Carl that starts to creep in in the last 50 pages -- it's still Hiaasen, and I'm still there for it. Check him out for yourself.


Jay Busbee runs Yahoo! Sports' NASCAR Blog From The Marbles, Atlanta Magazine's Atlanta sports blog Right Down Peachtree, and the Southern sports/humor blog Sports Gone South. He also writes for damn near anybody who'll throw him a buck and a byline, and he's at work on the books The Quiet Dynasty: The History Of The Atlanta Braves' Championship Run (2009, Sports Publishing LLC) and God Is A Bulldog: Georgia, Florida, And The Greatest Play In College Football History (2010, Sports Publishing LLC). Click below for more info on his novels, articles, and comics.
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