Friday, June 29, 2007

French...winning for once.

Real life is kicking my the form of a six week French 101 class. Meets M-F, quizzes every day, tests every Friday. Thing is, I need it if I'm going to continue in academe. Expect a badass post this weekend though...I'm going to give yall a teaser. Clint Eastwood. German uniforms. Tons of explosions. Cable car fight scenes. Massive amounts of dead Nazis...and this:

If all that doesn't interest you, then I don't want to be your friend.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Blogtable discussion.

One of the funniest blogs out there today stars Trev Alberts and is called Fire Mark May. The editor over there recently proposed a series of questions and here are my answers to them.

Your Home Field Advantage

Give the more zealous portion of your fanbase a religion. What's this cult following? Feel free to give the splitters a derogatory nickname.

Gamecock fans fall into three camps: the realists, the pessimists and the insane. Anyone that is familiar with SEC blogs knows that about 70% of Gamecock fans on the internet fall into the third category. I really want to know which team they’re watching, because I see no MNC in our near future, but they’re always carrying on about it like the Gamecocks are equipped with Panzers this season. Personally, I am a realist/pessimist, but only a realist when very, very drunk. So I’d give the insane Gamecock fans a Jim Jones cult.

Your biggest rival is in town, and College Gameday is your citaaaaaaay... Create a blatant corporate sellout promotion to appeal to the mass unwashed.

Easy. Stuffed-animal tigers, soaked in gasoline, and instead of cotton or whatever, they are stuffed with fireworks. Only on sale after 9pm Friday before the Clemson-Carolina game.

Add one local delicacy to your stadium's concessions. Post-tax pricing is optional.

Mustard-based barbecue. Arguing over barbecue is like arguing over which religion is better, but I stand by the South Carolina style. Serve it on a bun with a Coke for $5.

The good stuff.

With an unlimited AD budget, add or subtract one thing to your school's gameday experience that has nothing to do with football.

Can I buy wins? Short of that, I’d want to expand the North Endzone so that the stadium is completely closed off and increase the student section. I’d also like to see the student section “re-opened” so that anybody who wants to can sneak into it like you could a couple years ago. In the student section, seating is first-come, first-serve. Also, live sacrifices to Mars, the god of War.

I'm using this image as often as I can.

General NCAA questions

Coin a hilariously unrealistic stereotype that you would like to "make stick" for this upcoming season.

A reality tv show is following around the Seventh Floor Crew as they contemplate life post-Buddhist conversion and where to go on pilgrimage—to the Bodhi Tree or to the monasteries of Nepal.

Redesign your conference or independent schedule with reckless abandon. Be prepared to include compensation for jilted schools and conferences in your explanation.

I’d like to see the Gamecocks play FSU, but only if we can get in our time machines and play last year too. I’d also like to see the UNC-USC tilt become a regular occurrence, but this looks to be impossible. So we drop SC State from the schedule so far. I’d also like to see Alabama play Auburn in Panama City Beach, with Evan Williams Green Label sponsoring it and being served. Two drink minimum. I’d need a box seat for that game.

Evan Williams Green Label: When black simply doesn't get you drunk enough.

Following up on your new realignment, blow up the BCS and devise a national playoff system, money grabs and missed exams be damned. Using your new fantasy conferences is optional.

Top four team playoff would be my system. The bowls would begin the Monday after Christmas and would be played two a night, one at 5:30 and one at 8. On Saturday, the two first round games would be played. The following week, the various conference champs left out of the playoffs would play each other, along traditional lines (B10-PAC10, SEC-ACC) or highest ranked vs. highest ranked. These would take place on Monday night and Thursday night. The rest of the bowls would take place this week too. Championship game would be held on Saturday night, time and place TBA.

Elect one public figure to replace NCAA president Myles Brand. Anyone with proper name recognition is eligible.

Does this have to be a real figure? Because if not, I’d be torn between Bill Brasky or Mark Antony from HBO’s Rome. If it has to be real, then I pick….me! Let me post my qualifications—college graduate, willing to work in excess of 30 hours a week, and I’m currently marginally employed (grad student) and I am smarter than you. Few requests, though: I would require a private jet to be available to me on a 24 hour standby basis, no oversight on any NCAA credit cards that I may or may not possess, and I’d have to be addressed as “Sir” or “My lord” at all times.

Yup, this guy.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Non sequitur posting and Spurrier photoshop.

One of the nice things about grad school—ok, THE only nice thing about grad school—is that you get summers off. So I’ve been taking full advantage by going back to SC for a week, going to Atlanta for a week and when I haven’t been doing that, engaging in a nice, respectable bender. So what I’m trying to say here is posting should increase shortly, mainly because I’m running low on money and my summer classes start in a couple days. Just wanted to get to a few things stated, along with a short war movie review before posting some Spurrier photoshops.

Firstly, obligatory Sopranos final episode post. I have been watching the show since it started, and I’m roughly Meadow’s age in the show, so the post-Sopranos HBO world will be interesting. Right now I’m into Big Love (polygamy is weird!—more on this show at a later time) and just wish that another season of Rome didn’t have to cost $100 million to make. As for the last Sopranos episode, I enjoyed it. My take was that life just goes on for Tony S. and family…but if you want real, actual commentary, then suggestion of this Salon piece can’t be beat (Thanks Kanu!). And as always, leave it up to commentators to discover the real bullshit of “no more Sopranos:” We never got to see Meadow in a sex scene or get a boob shot of her.

Bob Barker signed off on Friday for the last time. Now it is generally well-known that this show is an American institution, but the better American institution that I associate with it is a little different. There is nothing better than waking up, turning this on and then cursing some dumb motherfucker out because s/he can’t correctly guess a seemingly random number from 0 to 9 in order to win a car. I engaged in this on Friday. “EIGHT YOU DUMBASS!!!” Oh and if you’re jealous of me being able to wake up at 11:15am on a Friday, don’t be. If you’re employed at all you probably have more money than me right now. Ahh, grad school!

The movie “Knocked Up”: If you enjoy comedies at all, go and see this. Right now. Seriously, stop looking at porn and go see this. It’s a rare date movie that, I think, could be enjoyed by both men and women. Probably the funniest conservative movie ever.

War film review: This time, I’ll be doing “Piece of Cake,” a Masterpiece Theater miniseries about a fighter squadron during the first year of World War Two. This thing has lots of cool aerial cinematography, plot twists, a little romance, class conflict and five hours of running time lead up to a stunning conclusion during the Battle of Britain. It shows some real character development and this helps out the miniseries tremendously. Each loss is felt because one is familiar with the character enough to give more than a “…eeh.” It also shows just how close the RAF was to utter destruction in the summer of 1940. I should probably do more on this, but maybe at a later time.

Why should you see this: Great acting jobs all around, compelling storyline. Enough gratuitous Spitfire shots for me to safely label it “Spitfire porn.” See it if this youtubedness interests you.

Why you shouldn’t: Builds up slowly, but I still say “see it.”

Finally, Spurrier photoshop:

AP Photo after 2005 UT Game: During the handshake, Spurrier actually ripped Fulmer's heart out.

Great and Glorious Leader Spurrier Leading the Nations!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

John has a long mustache.

OK so I missed posting this on June 6th, but in order to make up for it, my first installment of action/war movie reviews will be The Longest Day. When one uses the term “epic,” The Longest Day is what should be envisioned. Daryl F. Zanuck’s 1962 film about the invasion of Normandy in 1944 weighs in at around three hours and is jam-packed with plot, historical accuracy and most of all, stars. I’ll attempt to list the ones I know here:

Eddie Albert (Green Acres)

Paul Anka (singer)

Richard Burton

Red Buttons (Poseidon Adventure)

Sean Connery

Henry Fonda

Peter Lawford (Mrs. Miniver, member of the Rat Pack)

Roddy Mc Dowell (Cornelius from Planet of the Apes)

Sal Mineo (Rebel Without a Cause)

Robert Mitchum

Robert Ryan (60’s version of “That Guy”)

Rod Steiger (In the Heat of the Night, On the Waterfront, Dr Zhivago)

Robert Wagner

John Wayne

Thousands of real-life men were used to recreate the invasion. Shooting took place on location in Normandy, at many of the actual sites. The cinematography is especially good, considering when it was shot. However, it must be realized that this was filmed during the height of Hollywood’s “victory lap” of World War Two. Many of Hollywood’s stars and directors, including Zanuck, joined the armed forces during World War Two. Many directors and producers were put into the Army’s Signal Corps…including Zanuck. Zanuck was charged with making the official documentary of the Normandy landings. As a result, after the war, he was obsessed with producing the ultimate recreation of the Normandy landings. He got the scale right, but not really the sheer terror aspect of a seaborne invasion into the teeth of Nazi guns. This glossing over/glamorizing the real horror of war is a key aspect of the Hollywood “victory lap” era of the 50s and 60s, and honestly, more modern war films shouldn’t be viewed without this context.

Good things about this movie: Scale. D-Day was THE most epic invasion in history, and this film provides that through its endless parade of stars and its length. It is also the quintessential “victory lap” war film, glorifying sacrifice (otherwise known as death) for the Allied cause and, while providing a human face to the German opponents, wholeheartedly condemning Hitler from both the German and Allied perspectives. The movie, while not accurately depicting combat, is accurate at depicting many of the key events of the invasion. It can, and is, seen as a historically accurate depiction of the D-Day landings.

Bad things: Length. It’s about three hours long. While I find “victory lap” films entertaining, I also think that at a certain level, they’re cynical ploys to attract movie goers by not showing the true nature of war. And like I said above, this is the quintessential victory lap film.

Verdict: It should be seen because it is a classic and has so many stars, but should be viewed in the correct context. It should also be viewed in order to correctly recognize what movies like Full Metal Jacket, Platoon, Apocalypse Now, Hamburger Hill or Saving Private Ryan were in response to. Personally, I do enjoy it.

Interesting facts: The movie has four principal directors, one for each nationality: French, German, British and American. According to Wikipedia (which should be trusted above all else), it stars not only Sean Connery, but two Bond villans, Karl Stromberg from The Spy Who Loved Me, and my favorite Bond villain, Auric “No Mr Bond, I expect you to die!” Goldfinger.

Also, Daryl Zanuck was brought back in by Fox to oversee the completion of this movie and the completion of another legendary epic, Cleopatra. Let me say that again: The Longest Day and Cleopatra were being produced at the same time by Fox. In 1961.

A note about my Gamecock coverage.

See that guy up there to the right? You recognize him? I'm sure all Gamecock fans do. That's Marcello from Fellini's La Dolce Vita. Imagine me as him, but with less Italian language skills and without a bitchin car and without the access to badass Roman parties in the early 60s. So I guess what I'm saying is that the Gamecocks are to me like Marcello's job is to him: Something that I wish I could change but something I can't.

Aiming directly for the Gamecock fan zeitgeist.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Welcome and a few notes.

Welcome to the first post of Third Down Draw. I will be your resident hack, Robert. Ok so a little about the setup of the blog and what will be covered. Firstly, this will be about how I will cope with the unforgiving force that is South Carolina Gamecock football. Secondly, this will be about the SEC games that I watch each week, and then thirdly I will think about discussing other national games of note. On Wednesdays, the ghost of Jean-Paul Marat, who has inhabited my body since smoking some serious weed in Amsterdam, will come on and offer his “Heroes of the Revolution” and “Traitors to the Cause.” Also, I’ll be covering movies that I like and other random shit that I feel others should know about. First, a disclaimer. I claim to know little about college football or just about anything at all, really. However, in the great tradition of the Internet, this will not keep me from spewing forth random words grouped into sentences and those sentences grouped into paragraphs. I will try and make them coherent.

Now, a little about me. I am a recent graduate of the University of South Carolina. I am currently a grad student at a big football school in the South. I really don’t think I should divulge more than that because the people in charge of my department tend to get a little uppity and look down upon such things as “social lives” or “fun.” Having said that, I make Saturdays my one and only day for fun, and that day is devoted to college football totally. I played a tiny bit of football, and it seems I know more about x’s and o’s than other football fans. If I can, I’ll try and incorporate this into my shoddy analysis.

I’ll conclude this post with some of the things a reader can expect from this blog during the summer months, when I am only taking one class and thus have some free time.

  1. An in-depth analysis of what will be my favorite video game, NCAA 08. I have an Xbox360 and the only time I really get to use it is in the summer. This rundown will include: a report on all top 25 teams (best players, playbook features, “money plays,” etc), my own Create a Playbook feature, and a summary with Best Seemingly Shitty Teams to Fool Your Friends With and a crowning of the Best Team in NCAA 08.
  2. I will also be running down my favorite action/war movies of all time. I’ve seen quite a few war movies, especially of the World War Two variety, and I think this knowledge needs to be shared with the fifteen or so people that will make up my audience.
  3. I will give my interpretation of Gamecock history, my personal cult of worship to Steve Spurrier, and a half-baked analysis of the upcoming season.
  4. My shitty Spurrier photoshop creations.

Thanks and I hope you come back.