Organized Sports: Stanley Cup Layoffs – Round One

Someone had already thought of my joke.

Someone had already thought of my joke.

Organized Sports is a recurring sports column named for a seminal DC avant-hardcore song by the equally stupid and brilliant (to me, “equally stupid and brilliant” pretty much just means “brilliant”) band Void. Take from that what you will.

Organized Sports makes its long-awaited, triumphant return with everything you need to know about who will (possibly, maybe, probably not?) be victorious in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the best postseason in sports. Said playoffs begin tonight in earnest (well, they actually begin in the hockey hotbed of Tampa, Florida, but who’s counting?), so here are the Fully Reconditioned predictions.

This year is the debut of a new format, with divisional playoffs before the conference finals, with the top three teams in each division, and then two “Wild Card” teams making the playoffs rather than the top eight from each conference. It’s a slight return to the way things used to be, but with a modern twist, which also results in one of the divisions being named the Metropolitan Division. Said division contains such gleaming metropolises as Columbus and wherever the fuck the New York Islanders, Carolina Hurricanes and New Jersey Devils play. One day I will view their shimmering spires.

It also means that there was an actual incentive to win the divisions, keeping the regular season slightly more meaningful than it has been in the past. That being said, the real season begins here. Predictions and sour feelings about the author’s hometown St. Louis Blues after the jump.

Round 1 Predictions – Atlantic Division Continue reading

Videodrome: Short Term 12

Short Term 12 can be seen on Amazon Instant Video for $0.99. 

Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 4.50.51 PMDestin Cretton’s second film, Short Term 12, which is based loosely on the director’s own experience working at a teen shelter for two years, opens and closes with the same scene: As Mason tells a group a story to his fellow workers at a shelter for at-risk youth, they know that one of their kids is out the door. Hellbent on escape, this teenager breaches the front door of the shelter, running with pure abandon for the outside world while being chased by his supervisors across the yard. It is a succinct and sad metaphor for the life of any foster child. When you are in the care of the state, you will have very little, if any, freedom until you turn 18 and age out of the system. A foster child may know this fact, but that won’t stop them from trying to break loose. They know they’ll get caught, but maybe those few fleeting moments, when you’re beyond the gates, free to choose where you might go (even if that choice is as limited as turning left or right as a means of escaping your pursuers), are worth it. Those moments can be stored away in your memory for when they are needed to bolster hope for the future. Continue reading

Videodrome: The Act of Killing

The Act of Killing is available to stream on Netflix. 

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 3.53.03 PMYou may already know what The Act of Killing is. If you don’t, here’s a handy description from IMDB.com. It tells us that The Act of Killing is, “A documentary which challenges former Indonesian death-squad leaders to reenact their mass-killings in whichever cinematic genres they wish, including classic Hollywood crime scenarios and lavish musical numbers.” That’s basically an accurate description of the film. There are standard talking head interviews and the crew also follows their subjects into the streets as they mix and mingle (and extort) common people. It’s not all showbiz. The Act of Killing doesn’t attempt to contextualize the anti-communist killings of ’65 and ’66 or the men behind them. It doesn’t need to either, because this is a film about the essence of something, not the particulars. Suffice it to say that that a lot of communists were killed in those two years. I don’t mean to be blithe, but this is a film concerned with ideas for today, not the events of 40 years ago. If you want to read more, go here. The film plays less like a cerebral expose on genocide and more like some sort of mad scientist’s experiment or an elaborate practical joke. But the documentary presumption that what we are seeing is real, not artifice, and not matter how much The Act of Killing taxes our suspension of disbelief, it’s important to remember that all of this is very real.  Continue reading

Organized Sports: Bro Canada, our Brome and Native Land

In the Bronze medal game, Finland had the better team...u.

In the Bronze medal game, Finland had the better team…u.

Organized Sports is a recurring sports column named for a seminal DC avant-hardcore song by the equally stupid and brilliant (to me, “equally stupid and brilliant” pretty much just means “brilliant”) band Void. Take from that what you will. 

Last week I predicted that the USA would take the Silver Medal, Sweden Gold, and Finland Bronze in the Men’s Olympic Hockey Tournament. The only one of these I got correct was Finland’s Bronze Medal win, so even Meat Loaf would be disappointed in me. One out of three is bad.

Continue reading

Social Value? Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas

“I think there’s a lot of stuff out today that is coonery and buffoonery. I see ads for ‘Meet the Browns’ and ‘House of Payne’ and I’m scratching my head. We’ve got a black president and we’re going back. The image is troubling and it harkens back to Amos ‘n’ Andy.” – Spike Lee,

This guy, Tyler Perry, is practicing coonery. Me, I'm just a clown.

This guy, Tyler Perry, is practicing coonery. Me, I’m just into buffoonery.

I walked into Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas thinking of myself as some sort of anthropologist out to see a cultural artifact that I certainly wouldn’t relate to, probably wouldn’t understand, and definitely wouldn’t enjoy. The only time I’ve seen Madea, Tyler Perry’s cross-dressing, truth-telling, large-boned grandmother, or anything else involving Perry for that matter (yeah, I skipped Alex Cross), has been in trailers and commercial spots. And, like pretty much every other adult white male in America, I rolled my eyes at Madea and scoffed at those who would stoop to enjoy Perry’s shenanigans. Spike Lee, after all, is right (this time anyway): just watch any commercial for a Tyler Perry project and you immediately have to wonder how in the world any self-respecting person, of any color, could view his work as anything other than regressive. Continue reading