Archive for June, 2010

HALLowed be thy Name

Posted in Editorial with tags , , , on June 27, 2010 by JonH

Word is people were torn whether or not the Edmonton Oilers should pick Windsor Spitfire winger Taylor Hall, or Plymouth Whaler centre Tyler Seguin with the first overall pick in this year’s NHL draft. Half said pick for potential. The other half said pick the best player available now. Each has his merits, and the media painted a picture of endless debate. The final consensus, however, is that either of them is a sure thing. Either will make a team better. Oiler brass only needed to decide whether or not to draft based on positional need or to draft based on performance.

They decided on the latter.

Good choice.

And honestly, I can’t figure out why there was ever any debate.

By drafting Taylor Hall the Oilers got the player they wanted, but some nevertheless asked whether or not they drafted the player they need, arguing that Seguin, a right-handed centre, would go a long way in filling a void, namely a capable first-line centre.

Of course he would have, but what the Edmonton Oilers need much more than a talented first-line centre is a talented player with heart, no matter the position. And with a spate of young players, lead by the likes of Jordan Eberle and Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson, coming up through the ranks the Oilers needed to redefine themselves with a poster boy of determination and competitiveness that will take charge and lead by example. They did so by drafting Hall.

They have some talented players, but it can be argued that they haven’t had heart since trading Ryan Smyth to the New York Islanders a few years back. Now they will have it back in spades.

Sure Seguin started to come on this season, but Hall has been coming on for a while now. And when all else is equal it’s the intangibles that set champions apart from contenders.

Hall is a proven winner. He’s done it with the Spitfires, leading them to not just one but two OHL titles and two Memorial Cup Championships, along the way became the first player in CHL history to win Memorial Cup MVP honours both times as well.

While it’s unfair to put lofty expectations onto an 18-year-old who has yet to play a game in the NHL, something tells me that Taylor Hall will be putting lofty expectations onto himself.

That’s just what someone with heart does.

And with the inclusion of heart, rather than just skill, I’m beginning to feel hopeful about my team again.

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You guessed it, this wolf bites . . .

Posted in Review with tags , , , on June 9, 2010 by JonH

Every now and then as I’m watching a movie it begins to dawn on me that it’s a stinker. The realization rarely hits me in a brazen fashion. It’s slow when the lights start to go on. Kind of like a dimmer switch on a hundred watt bulb being gradually turned on, in steps: the room starts dark, but as the slider goes up light begins to slowly lick out from the bulb as shadows coalesce into discernible shapes; before I know it the tungsten’s burning and everything in the room is illuminated. I consciously become very aware of my surroundings.

At first it might just be subtle: a line is delivered with too much aplomb (look at me I’m an Actor . . .), or a facial expression might look curiously inappropriate. But then things start to go sideways as the light comes on: special effects begin to look too computer generated, and what should be frightening or heartwarming become slapstick or maudlin. But as the tungsten burns I can’t look away; something inside compels me, and I just won’t let go. I force myself to continue watching. As the movie continues playing, I begin to regret each passing moment as it slowly squeezes itself from my hopeful future through to my incredulous present and then out the rear end of my anxious past.

You’re probably asking yourself, why do such a thing? Why not cut your losses half-way through and grab a snow-cone rather than continuing to subject yourself to such torture?

Part of the reason I do this is out of the genetic beneficence I’ve been endowed with. I want whoever reads this to feel edified. I want you to feel like you got something from giving me your five minutes. Now before you start to get too excited at the prospects of receiving “new found knowledge” a much larger reason for why I force myself to watch a horrible movie comes to light, so to speak: selfishness. I do so because I cling to the vaguest of hopes that if only I pay enough attention I’ll find something that everyone else missed. Once this gem has been unearthed I can then humbly declare these findings to you who will then hopefully share these remarkable insights with everyone on Facebook, Twitter, adult chat rooms, or any other such social media you may lurk within; thereby creating such a buzz that the Propublications’ blog will reach that tipping point between obscure blog written by middle-aged, bald and slightly overweight guy to full blown pop culture phenomenon.

Well, truth is, that ain’t gonna happen with the Wolfman.

The only thing I can say is that fans of Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, and Hugo Weaving should be forewarned. Stay away lest you want the reputations of these fine actors besmirched by this unintentionally campy attempt at revitalizing the Universal classic. In fact, one of the only convincing actors in this movie was Emily Blunt. She at least maintains some semblance of credibility. The others somehow seem guilty for allowing themselves to be taken advantage of. Hopkins for allowing himself to be turned into a cgi werewolf (shoot! plot spoiler), Weaving for being complicit in the possibility of the Werewolf 2 (dang, did it again . . .), and Del Toro for very questionable acting. (This last point makes me realize just how important a good director is.)

While there are some interesting aspects to the movie (elements of the plot and some okay transformation scenes) one only needs counter them with Del Toro’s bizarre portrayal of Lawrence Talbot, the hapless victim who gets bitten by the wolf, or with the shots of the wolfman alternating his mode of running on all fours like a dog to running like a man to realize there’s something not right with the picture. Del Toro’s acting makes me think maybe he took the role because he lost a bet and just decided to just go through the motions, and the wolfman running makes me think that the guy that made this movie had a sense of humour.

Like Clash of the Titans, The Wolfman had pretty decent trailers, but like COTT, Wolfman fails to live up to the expectations. Other than the possibility of this becoming a franchise, Wolfman does nothing to frighten viewers. Unfortunately, even though it bites it’s toothless.

Stayed tuned for Wolfman 2 starring this guy . . .