Let’s crank things up with a little show and tell. Unlike most witnesses in physical interrogations, I will show you everything and tell you a few things as well.
Story time and complaint finished with a point
One of the perks of being a film critic is you get to see every movie before it comes out. A week before or sometimes even a month before it arrives for the public to consume. Another perk/challenge is watching the films with other critics. Theaters are cafeterias for critical contempt. You sit there, dish with them and try to make the best representation of your opinion on the movie. Sometimes you get a nod and other times you get a kind eye roll and head shake. Its all part of the game. Every film critic wants to be the best source for the fans needs. We want to put it just right and be the most witty and blunt read for film addicts. It’s our goal and personal ambition. Deep down, we all don’t like each other but we tolerate our presence at screenings. It’s not personal. The hardest part is making jokes around these groups. Finding laughs in a group of critics can be like talking German history with a pack of Jewish elders. Just stiff and quiet. This is where I get irritated with certain known critics in the St. Louis area. You start to wonder when you will reach the end of their ego and just have a conversation. I’m not afraid of disagreeing with another critic. I welcome it because I love conversation, critical or kind. I just hate people who can’t get over themselves to a degree where they shut you out while they quietly think in their heads of different ways to sound more original than you. What’s the point? We are critics and not scientists. We aren’t doctors. We don’t save lives. Taking ourselves too seriously is creeping up on insanity. Sometimes a film critic needs to meet a lead pipe at warp speed. I don’t need to name people here but let’s just say there are times where I feel like cutting my knuckles on another man’s jaw line and introducing a few real stunts inside of a screening for being the most stuck up bitch on the block. To all future film critics, don’t take yourself too seriously. You grade moving art for a living and need to keep your feet on the ground. It’s not just a movie but it doesn’t need to be turned into a circus for free spirited genius.
Cardinals Notes and Thoughts-
*18-3 record at home since start of July. 12-4 in last 16 games. Starting to pull it together but not gaining ground on the white hot Reds. The Cards will be chasing a wild card again in 2012 and there’s nothing wrong with it.
*Don’t expect anything substantial from Lance Berkman in 2012. The last two months, I mean. After having a comeback year in 2011, Berkman has 2 home runs and 7 RBI in less than 30 games in 2012 due to a wrath of leg injuries, including a right knee about to give out. I love hearing Berk talk about coming back, but to me his playing days are dead. Enjoy that 12 million severance package pal. Look for him to coach.
*The return of Wainwright in July. Watch his 2nd complete game last night. The big guy has his nasty pitching working and got stronger as the night went on. After giving a run in the first, Waino didn’t allow 2 baserunners in a single inning the rest of the night. Waino is 9-10 with an ERA around 4 but in the second half he has been money. Without Carp in 2012, he will have to become Carp from 2011 in order for this team to survive. Pack needs its biggest baddest wolf to shine bright in August.
*Allen Craig is your 2013 first baseman. The kid can hit. He averages nearly an RBI per game and comes up with all the big hits. His value to this team is indescribable and can only be chalked up as a cheap clutch bat. He can also play first and right field with ease.
*Look at David Freese’s quietly productive season. He has played 97 games and produced. That is why Zach Cox was traded. He had zero future here.
*Daniel Descalso would win a gold glove every year if he played enough and played one position. Kid’s the best infielder I’ve seen in years and continues to make plays. His glove and arm is downright effective. Hit a grounder to him in his sleep and you won’t be safe. The greasy kid is also cranking since the All star break, having back to back 3 hit games against the Brewers and hitting .330 overall since the AS break filling in for Furcal at shortstop and getting reps at second base. At this point, its imperative to keep hot hitters in the lineup and keep the older players on rest until the final few weeks have engaged.
*Finished off the Brewers, a lackluster collapse in 2012(predictable) and now get ready for the Giants. No games to waste. The Cardinals are playing better baseball than the 2011 club to this point, but bets are widely against another wild card leader like the Braves having an epic collapse that allows the comeback team to squeak into the playoffs. That doesn’t happen twice, so the Cards can’t afford to lose any more 1 or 2 run games that we shouldn’t have. Unless Justin Verlander or Felix Hernandez is standing on the mound against you, there should be no close losses. Since those two pitchers reside in the AL, that chance can’t come up. The Cards have to maintain their level of play. No time to skip. Only games to play. This is make or break time. Get after teams and stop letting them go.
*This team is maddeningly inconsistent and for a fan that’s painful to watch. They are in the hunt because after 2011 no single person can count this team out ever again. However, the ground is cracking beneath their feet. We were a couple pieces from having a clean flight to a comeback but Mozelaik stood pat because he believed in the players that were acquired before the season. Trading deadline exists for one reason. To fix a mistake or fill a leaking gap. General manager have to put on their suits and go to work at the end of July and nobody plays the hand better lately than Mozelaik. If he has it in his own deck, he doesn’t deal for someone else’s card. He has confidence in this group, can rebound from a mistake and knows there is no more talent on this team than a 59-49 record. He may be crazy and wrong, but from here on out the Cards are on their own. Their inconsistency may doom them. I believe in clutch hitting over a period of time because I believe you have it or you don’t. This team can’t ease themselves back into the race. They need to kick the door in. Play unbelievable baseball. Can they? They have the tools but I’m not sure they can pull off the comeback again. The Cardinals are 10 games over .500 for the first time in 2012 need to keep moving. They are 2.5 games behind Pittsburgh in the wild card and 7 games behind the Reds in the Central. More notes.
*Matt Holliday and Carlos Beltran are trading the NL leads in RBI this past week. This is a good thing.
*Attention Holliday haters. Watch him hustle in the 8th inning of Friday night’s blowout win. Name another 17 million dollar body who does that. You can’t. Love it or hate it, the bald lumberjack has been hitting well since late April. Check your MVP cards voters. The man is all heart and hustle and skill.
*I like the Edward Mujica trade. He is a strike zone pounding machine and will fit the needs of this bullpen. If you want to see Salas get less chances and make Victor Marte a permanent fixture in Memphis, like the acquisition of Mujica, a righthander who can pitch a lot of innings and get outs. His stuff isn’t fantastic. He gives up a few home runs and won’t blow hitters away, but look at what he did in Florida last season. Forget his stats this season. Miami is a war zone and all stats with that chaotically laughable team need to be taken with an ounce of salt. Zach Cox had zero future in St. Louis, so he was expendable. He may turn out to be a good player, but he could also turn out to be a huge suck bomb so lets bet on that and move on. Jonathan Broxton would have been better, but it would be foolish to mess with the Mitchell Boggs-Jason Motte combination right now that has nailed the comeback of the bullpen into the ground in the past month. Broxton wants to close and will set up instead for Chapman in Cincinnati. It wasn’t good news for the Cards but Walt can pay the big righthander close to 5 million to not close.
*By the way, let’s keep the Edward Mujica, Mitchell Boggs, and Jason Motte combo together. If the Cards can get 6 inning from their starters, the rest is in the bag. The 7th, 8th and 9th inning is sealed shut now. That is what Mo did at the trading deadline. Fixed the wretched 7th inning for the Cardinals. Mujica throws strikes and gets outs in non pressure situations. He doesn’t shock hitters. He confronts them. Boggs has been the best reliever in the pen all season. He hasn’t allowed an earned run in 33 straight appearances. The last time that was done people were mourning the sinking of the Titanic instead of the Twin Towers collapsing. Motte has been lights out since the beginning of July. He has 24 saves in 28 tries and hasn’t blown a save since June. The Cards have 3 lefties to go with these guys. Hopefully, the bullpen is finally fixed for good. Well played Mo. Now its Mike Matheny’s decision to blow up.
*Let’s not act surprised by Albert Pujols’ explosive comeback. Folks, we watched the man dominate, recover from slumps and destroy pitching for 11 years right here in St. Louis with a front row seat. His 2012 start was downright horrible but betting against a recovery would have been foolish coming from a STL fan who knows better. Pujols is a great player and will be for at least 4-5 more seasons. I regretted seeing him decide to not come back to St. Louis, hated his style of exit(whining about being mistreated was as logical as whining about a four star hotel’s shower), but will always respect his talent and ability. The man can hit with the best of them and we won’t face him unless the World Series hangs in the balance. I get sick and tired of hearing local pundits bash the guy like he never did any good here. He won 2 rings here, crafted a legend and did more for the community than any athlete in his time. Then, he decided to go out west. Hearing he has 24 home runs, 75 RBI and hitting close to .341 since May 5th doesn’t surprise this man at all. We are still kids at a candy store. We can’t disregard the greatness of the candy bar simply because it has a new owner. Come on. You’re better than that.
Newsroom Is The Best on Television
Allow me to explain myself. I love this show very much and will state my case without wearing a suit and actually balancing a kid on my knee as a I type. I will keep this short and potent. I sincerely think creator head writer Aaron Sorkin writes so well because he writes all the things we wish we say or said and decide not to. His scripts are blunt, cold, bullish and to the point. Critics have slammed his new show because he covers real events from the past years with a “here is how it should have been done” whip of knowledge. At times, its kindly coherent, others it feels overappropriately perfect but I like the device. We want to see the people who surely existed speak the caution, spin the news right and get it all done solid the second time around. It makes us feel good but teaches a lesson in the long run. Love it or hate it, Sorkin writes sensationally irresistible dialogue and the actors who speak it do it very well. Jeff Daniels, Sam Waterson, Emily Mortimer, John Gallagher Jr., Alison Pill, the beautiful Olivia Munn, Thomas Matthews and Dev Patel. If you don’t know half of these names, look them up because you will after you finish the pilot. Sorkin speaks the quiet truth about the events. The shooting of a senator, Rick Santorum’s thoughts on gays, the oil spill, the gun rules, the killing of Osama. Name it and its covered or coming up. I like this better than the news. Consider it watching confirmed news. Instead of watching MSNBC and hoping what they are reporting is the truth and not fabricated nonsense, we get the right version told over with footnotes. Take a scene in last night’s episode, which covered the May 1, 2011 shooting of Osama Bin Laden. Part of the news team is stuck on an airplane landing at the airport in NYC. The producer is going nuts, demanding the flight attendant to bend the rules and let him off the plane so he can get to the studio before Obama went live with the news at 1045 eastern time. He is loud and obnoxious until the two pilots come out of the cockpit. He pauses, looks at their uniforms and badges and slowly tells them that the big bad wolf has been caught. It’s a powerful moment. It’s not the Newsroom’s benefit. It’s our benefit in reliving a moment that happened for sure that night on a plane. Sorkin gets it. Daniels’ renegade news anchor says over the closing credits. You can’t bring people back when you catch the evil man. You can honor them a little. Sorkin knows this and nails it. Don’t think too hard about the Newsroom. Just sit there, enjoy the recaps and suck in that brilliant dialogue. We only wish we were that fast to speak.
Update on My Son
Vinny is doing a lot of things. He is wearing tank tops, getting fevers, learning to scream, hates getting his ass wiped, has his flirt face for the ladies, loves to cuddle when he is sick, can two hand a bottle like no other and eats real food. He is nearly 11 months old and cruising towards 1 year old. A finish line for the little man that in the first two months was up in the air. He fought two monsters in the ring before he could get the chance to be afraid of them coming out of his closet in his sleep. Vincent has gotten every bug, bad rap, shitty illness that a baby can get. I never seen a baby smile so much.
Random Notes to be Written
*I won’t be voting this year because I don’t see a candidate worth voting for so I will leave it to the cheaters, money teams and electoral voters.
*While I am part Lebanese, part Italian, and a little this and that, I am labeled as American and a white Caucasian. I knew this a long time ago. I fought with my wife the other night but I have been filling out white american on my application for years. It’s just a weird fact of life. Who made these rules?
*Killer Joe, Total Recall, Ruby Sparks are all worth seeing. Queen of Versailles and The Watch are not. Go to film-addict.com for more thoughts.
*A crime drama called Fall From Grace starring Tim Roth is filming in St. Louis this fall. It needs funding in order to get a wide release. Unfortunately, it isn’t a remake, sequel, adaptation or musical. Just an original screenplay inspired by a pair of murders of young girls in St. Louis in the 1990s.
*People might already know this, but it’s very fucking hot outside.
*I am not much for Rams training camp or non existent Blues offseason news so you won’t get anything from me.
*Gaslight Anthem’s music all sounds the same but they are still worth listening to.
*Florence Welch can challenge Adele for the best female voice in the music business.
*My feelings for the Olympics are the same as they are for soccer. Respect without a lot of interest.
That’s it. I am done. My wireless keyboard has ceased to type correctly, thus bringing my blog to a close.
Thanks for reading and goodnight,
Dan L. Buffa