Saturday, September 24, 2011

MOVIES: One For My Money ... Maybe

Just saw the first trailer for One For The Money, the adaption of the first of the Stephanie Plum novels by Janet Evanovich. Those books have been a birthday present staple in this house for most of the last two decades. I love them in general, although there's been some rough spots since the turn of the century.

Casting a movie adaption has been a long-time pastime for Plum conniseurs. Stephanie is a Jersey Girl through and through. Many names were put forth, many good names. Not once did I see Katherine Heigl suggested. And off the trailer, I know why. I mean it's one thing to take an NFL trust-fund babe like Rooney Mara and pierce her ears and a few other places and ask her to do a Swedish accent in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. It's another thing to take a pretty face and try to get her to do Jersey tough, bodacious and vulnerable. Sorry, but this isn't working for me.

On the other hand, they do do some good things with the other role choices. Especially inspired is Debbie Reynolds as Grandma Mazur. Grandma was a vital part of the early success of the Plum series before suffering from over-use, something Evanovich has cut back on in the last couple of books. Still, it might be worth going to this movie just to see Reynolds ham it up.

The other key roles are Jason O'Mara, a fine (not so) wee broth of an Irish lad as Joe Morelli (you know, the Morelli of Sicilian heritage) and Daniel Sunjata as Ranger. Both guys are fine actors and Sunjata looks the part. O'Mara? Well, besides the trailer making confusing intimations that Stephanie is looking to arrest Morelli, I think O'Mara can pull it off. But he doesn't look any more like Morelli of the book than I do.

Lulu is played by Sherri Shepherd. She's loud, brassy and overly-developed in many places. I approve.

So, am I looking forward to going to the multiplex come January to catch this movie? Geez, I hate Heigl (a feeling shared with many co-workers according to reports). At least for this role. And they've apparently beefed up her capability quotient and taken away her aversion to guns. But they do blow up a car. One at least. Although it might not be her car, so to speak.

That's good enough for me. For a weekday matinee. Assuming it lasts that long.

Monday, September 19, 2011

SPORTS: Hey Morons, Unaswered IS In Dictionaries

Several times this weekend, both on-air in the game and on wrap-up shows, I heard announcers say that the Buffalo Bills scored 21 unanswered points yada yada. Invariably they then said "Oakland scored ..."

Now, I'm a little testy about this kind of thing. But c'mon! Unanswered means NO ANSWER. Saying the other team scored with your next breathe, proving it's better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and prove it, really is infuriating. Idiots.

And what to think of the writer for who, 24 hours later and with an editor presumable available, then repeats the same bleepin' mistake? Idiots all. It's lazy thinking.

By the way, the phrase all these morons were looking for was 21 STRAIGHT points!!

You want unanswered? I'll give you unaswered. This is my 250th unanswered blog in a row. THAT's unanswered! What, I had a blog comment last month?

Never mind.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

SPORTS: One Gotta Go

Last night, as I watched my two TV's where both Toronto teams imploded, the horror was occurring on the big screen. That was the one where the Toronto Argonauts were laying a large egg at home. Sound up, big pic, and I didn't even have the comfort of the small screen where the Toronto Blue Jays were coughing up a 2-0 lead in New York to Brett Gardiner and the Yankees. I guess it's true that you can't take your eyes off a train wreck.

Monday at the latest, the Argonauts have to say good-bye to either offensive coordinator Jaime Elizondo or to Chet Lemon's hold on the starting quarterback position. Heck, it should happen today.

At issue is the Argo offensive policy of throwing about 101 percent of their passes in the -5 to 5 yard zone. If that's Elizondo's decision, than his butt should be lined with aluminum cans and dragged down the under-construction Gardiner Expressway until he's far enough out of town for the 'stupid' stench to wear off. Yes, I know that that system works in Montreal. Lemon isn't Anthony Calvillo. And exactly NONE of the Argo wideouts could start in Montreal and maybe only one would get part-time minutes. Installing a plan without the parts is beyond dumb.

So, assuming Elizondo isn't an idiot of the level of an American Republican Presidential Candidate, then Chet "The Losing Bet" Lemon needs a seat on the bench. That bench has been propped up by Dalton "Never to see the field again" Bell, who proved utterly inadequate last night and B.J. Hall. Yes fans, there is a B.J. Hall on the squad. And last night, from field level, we got our first glimpse at Steven Jyles, he of the high draft pick cost this past spring.

And if Jyles doesn't take ALL the first-team reps this week, then Jim Barker, who survived the internal power struggle with Adam Rita, should go visit Rita and be fired ASAP. Barker cannot send Lemon out for the rematch with B.C. His players know Lemon's a nice, but inadequate QB. They want to win. And Lemon going 11 for 15 with three drops for FIFTY-ONE yards is not going to cut it. They know he can throw longer, but he needs plenty of time to do that. Time he'd get if they ran Boyd more often, or faked it. Say, isn't that Elizondo's decision?

I know the Argo receiving corps is barely as good as that group starting at St. F. X. But they all run their little routes in linebacker-patrolled territory and we wonder why they suddenly develop accordion arms. Stretch the field so that everybody doesn't bunch their whole defence within 15 yards of the line and maybe something good will happen. The problem is, if the Argos misfire on a first-down bomb, the WHOLE BLEEPIN' LEAGUE know Lemon will try a five-yarder on second down and hope for a few broken tackles.

I like the CFL better than NFL because I know the average CFL game is more entertaining than the average NFL game. In fact, barring having money or a roto rooting interest, it's more like a 3-1 bet the CFL game is better. Unless we are talking Toronto. 'Cuz, when the rooting interest fades here, the game's no better than a scoreless friendly soccer game.

Maybe the solution should be two-fold. No Elizondo. No Lemon. That way you get the culprit for sure.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Testing Quick Post

This is just a test to see if my quick post widget actually works.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

BOOKS: Mr. Monk On The Couch by Lee Goldberg

Yes, I know Review Month is behind me (and writing 31 reviews without making them all cookie cutter examples of effusive praise is harder than it looks). But I did sort of screw up one review, Lee Goldberg's The Walk. So, to make up for the faux pas, I offer a bonus review of yet another five star book. Also written by Goldberg.

If Mr. Monk On The Couch had been a script for the long running Monk TV series, it might have been what they call a backdoor pilot script. For a spin-off. In this case, for Natalie Teeger, P.I.

Goldberg is relishing the freedom, the end of the TV series has afforded him. That's obvious. It's odd to refer to this book being Natalie-centric, when in fact, she narrates every book and it's her voice in your head all the time. But in the previous 11 books in the series, that voice was talking about Monk most of the time.

Natalie takes on a case of her own after she and Monk attend a prospective murder scene and determine, against the odds, that the deceased died of natural causes. This ends the entertaining puzzle part for Monk. And despite Monk's derision, Natalie picks up the pieces of the dead man's life and finds herself playing amateur sleuth.

Although Monk doesn't want to be involved, she does get help from Captain Stottlemeyer and from an unexpected source. Monk's brother Ambrose is a big help, as is his live-in girlfriend slash assistant Yuki. Introduced last book as the assistant to dying writer Dub Clemens, Yuki is an irritant to Adrian Monk, being, in his words, "An ex-con motorcycle mama." And that's without him even knowing about her tattoo (or is it tattoos?). Adrian feels he's lost his brother to this evil conniving temptress to the dark side.

Which makes this a return of sorts to the old Adrian Monk. I'm not that much in favour of the U-turn. I like the new Adrian from the last book, one less completely and utterly self-absorbed and one who showed interest in the happiness of others. Other than an insightful exchange in a session at Dr. Bell's that includes Natalie, Monk is Monk, as we have known him. Too bad.

On the other hand, Natalie shows spunk and initiative throughout the book in getting to the mystery behind the man's life. She uses her resources (Leeland, Ambrose and Yuki) and even comes up with bits and pieces herself. She gets the big reveal moment near the end of the book that Monk can't anticipate. And discovers that not all puzzle-solving has a triumphant finish.

As they say in the late-night infomercials, but wait, there's more. While Natalie's doing her P.I. with training wheels thing, there are other murders for Adrian Monk to solve. And solve them he does. Only to have a suit from upstairs at the Police Department invalidate his solutions because he doesn't have proof he's right. Knowing who and how a bunch of murders happened turns out frustratingly inconclusive, a "Here's what happened" moment without the payoff/conviction.

Until Natalie and Detective Amy Devlin rescue the case by thinking, and working, outside the box. We see Natalie working 'undercover' for the first time. And I bet you it won't be the last time.

The question posed in the book is, what would happen to Natalie if something happened to Monk? She might go back to her rich family. But not now. We know the answer.

Natalie Teeger, P.I.