Old Passions in New Hands: The Ausmus-Abrams Effect on the Tigers and Star Wars

Opening Day has always been much more than the start of a new baseball season. For the players and teams, it marks a new opportunity. For some, it is a chance to put physical or statistical shortcomings behind them. For others, it’s finding someway to harness past success and release it in time for a brand new campaign. And for many, it’s the first taste of playing in front of the tall buildings. From the fan perspective, Opening Day is a celebration of the past, and a time to party and look towards the possibilities of the future. Who will surprise? Who will disappoint? Is our team destined for play in October? Here in Detroit, I don’t think there’s been a more intriguing Opening Day than this year’s in 2014. Considering what Jim Leyland did here in his eight seasons of managing and considering what he didn’t accomplish, Brad Ausmus… Read More…

Fortune OR Glory: The Case for “Temple of Doom”

This past Wednesday was Steven Spielberg’s birthday. I’m not gonna go on here and ramble about how this gentleman has affected my life, because I think that, for any aspiring filmmaker, that need not be explained. The guy turned 67. Sixty-seven! Yet, I stop myself from calling him old, because to have that kind of body of work at 67 is just ridiculous, even for Steven Spielberg; the kind of body of work that makes 67 continue to feel like 27. I guess a sizable bank account helps, too. As a birthday gift to Mr. Spielberg, I thought I’d write a piece defending one of his most divisive of films: “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”. This is one of those films that the internet likes to tear apart. The General Internet Consensus (GIC) tends to be: “Temple of Doom” is a weak film with silly, non-believable action sequences,… Read More…

There’s Only One “Return” – A Deeper Look at Episode VI

It is, without a doubt, the greatest trilogy of all time. Especially if you take into consideration its historical context (which we should always do when watching a movie), the “Star Wars” to “Jedi” saga (now known as the Original Trilogy, or OT) stands as the greatest series of films in history. If you really think about it, “Star Wars” basically created the idea of a trilogy. Nowadays, it seems if one film is successful, studio heads and fanboys begin to think of sequels one AND two. And it’s all because of “Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi”‘s success. Of course, it wasn’t always suppose to be a trilogy. First, it was supposed to be one film, and then nine. And then it ended up being three–until 1999. But its success as a trilogy, as a three part saga, cemented almost all franchise cinema into the 1-3 mindset…. Read More…

Micro Toy, Big Disappointment

I go into FedEx a lot. At every FedEx in the country, they place these really unhealthy snacks at the counter. Namely, those really good-looking but surely-disappointing white chocolate covered pretzels, Flipz, are always sitting at the counter for purchase. They are strategically placed, of course, so that when a busy businessman or woman waiting in line at FedEx sees those bags of Flipz he or she will say to him or herself: “Damn. I am hungry. Those look delicious. Convenient. Unhealthy, sure, but I deserve it! Might as well…” And every time I am in a FedEx, I see those Flipz and I think: “I’m better than those people. I am fighting the urge. I won’t succumb to the man–to the subconscious of business and consumerism.” And I never do.  BUT, the other day I came across the most genius item placed at the end of a checkout line that… Read More…

Fan Wars: Healthy Competition or Justice League Ex-Communication?

So it’s almost here. After over thirty years of cinematic irrelevance, the original superhero is less than a week away from climbing back to the top of the cinematic comic world. It’s no doubt that Richard Donner’s 1978 “Superman” is the DNA blueprint to all other superhero movies to come after it. What a great film. I remember watching it as a kid and just loving every minute of it; especially since it was my dad and Jerry Seinfeld’s favorite. The film is seriously great. John Williams’ score, Gene Hackman’s Lex. Christopher Reeve’s was just born to play Superman. Margot Kidder is so late-70’s hot, it’s beyond charming. And you can’t help but tear up every time Pa Kent kicks the bucket. It gets me every time. The film started DC’s long tenure on top of the film universe. From “Superman” to Tim Burton’s “Batman” and some over-saturated sequels, DC… Read More…

Comic Con Rookie: Stan Lee, The Walking Dead, Lois Lane and “The Last Train to Clarksville”

Somewhere between good dad and voyeur-geek you’ll find me.  The 24th Motor City Comic Con was this weekend at the local expo center and my son was interested.  No big surprise.  The popularity of the new generation The Avengers, The Dark Knight coupled with my generation’s Star Wars fan-base and going back another generation to Star Trek and Dr. Who, there was something for everyone there.  I’d never gone, not really liking crowds or costumed folks sneaking up on me.  But I agreed. The bigger surprise was that my daughter and her friend wanted to go.   Two guests were the reason that the attendance jumped from 18,000 last year to 30,000 this year.  90 year-old Stan Lee and 44 year-old, but relatively unknown until he started bow-hunting zombies, Norman Reedus.  The father of Marvel Comics was only there on Saturday and we were going on Sunday due to various… Read More…

May the 4th: Getting My Geek On

A guy named Kirk from Enterprise Rent-A-Car left a phone message for me a few years back. The message was written on a pre-printed message form, so the first line read, “You received a call from _____ with ______.”  The person who took the message filled it in: “You received a call from Kirk with Enterprise.”  I called him back quickly and said, “So, you’re Kirk with Enterprise. I guess you’ve heard all the jokes, right?” He responded with a Shatnerian, “I. Don’t. Know. What. You. Mean.” (That’s not true.  In real life, he asked, “What jokes?”) Back in the late 70’s when the word “nerd” was considered derogatory, I was thrilled when Star Wars came out. Nothing like it had ever been on the big screen. But as a thirteen year old, I may have admired Han Solo, but in my games, I was Captain Kirk. If the game… Read More…