Saturday, January 22, 2005

Weekend mix

• Does anyone else have someone in their lives that adds unnecessary drama to relatively trivial events? Someone who spouts ridiculously embarrassing hyperbole ("really suffering," "a major burden of life") in order to give rather pedestrian circumstances some sort of artificial significance? Why do such people do this? Is it a sign that the scope of their lives is just too small? Do they need the drama to make their lives seem more important? Just curious. I'm - ahem - speaking completely in hypotheticals, of course.

• "In Good Company" is a good movie, but I wonder if it suffers at the box office (#4 last weekend) from marketing. It seems like the studio isn't quite sure how to sell this one. Is it a satire of corporate culture? Is it about older, yet not-ready-for-retirement professionals being pushed out by young, ambitious up-and-comers? Yes, on both counts. But I think it's also about the fulfillment of a complete life, not just career success.

And maybe that's why I enjoyed this movie - it's got several layers to it. Not all of them work - maybe because the story should've eventually found a focus - but Dennis Quaid and Topher Grace are so good that they make you care what happens to their characters, and that covers up some of the movie's flaws. Also, Scarlett Johansson is much better than the part she's given. Yet she takes what she has and makes something interesting and believable out of it. It's hard to believe this is the same woman from "Lost in Translation."

• A note of gratitude to Lysol® Mildew Remover for taking care of some ugly black spots that were growing near my windows. (Nothing says "Hey, you should come over to my apartment" to the cute cashier at Target more than buying mildew remover.) The apartment smells a little bleachy, but some open windows and a fan (in 20-degree weather - whoo!) took good care of that. Black spots, bye-bye. I wish I'd have taken "before" and "after pictures.

• I noticed the NFL's San Francisco 49ers hired Mike Singletary as assistant head coach yesterday. Singletary was a fearsome linebacker for the Chicago Bears during the 1980s, who always intrigued me as a kid because he had a teddy bear face with intense, bulging eyes that looked as if he'd tear out your belly and eat it. I wish I had a picture of those eyes, but can't find one. Hopefully, this assistant coach position is the next step toward a head-coaching job for Singletary.

• Let me repeat: Patriots 20, Steelers 16. Eagles 31, Falcons 23.

• One more football note: here's an interesting column from Sally Jenkins in the Washington Post that wonders exactly why some quarterbacks like New England's Tom Brady excel in late-game pressure situations, while others wilt under the stress. (Why do some students do well on practice tests, but freeze up when the stakes are real?) Is there something in Brady's physiology that enables him to perform well in those circumstances? He was cool under pressure in his college days at the University of Michigan too.

• And the real reason I'm not getting anything done this weekend? VH1's "I Love the 90s - Part Deux." This series is television crack for me. I'm not sure why this version is better than the first attempt at "I Love the 90s" - Funnier topics? Better talking heads/"commentators"? I'm just glad it's the beginning of the semester.