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Month: June 2006

Walking it home

Stupid baseball.

OK, so you have a man on third, two outs, it’s the top of the 11th inning. The score is tied. Your pitcher runs up three balls on the batter, no strikes. You have two choices; you can either pitch to the batter, who knows you’re in a hole, or you can shrug and walk him and go for the next batter.

I dunno, it’s not like I’ve run the numbers, but I can’t see how the second choice isn’t better. You run the risk of additional runs, sure. On the other hand, there is no possible scenario for the third out which does not stay the same or improve if you have the man on first, since you now have the force out at second, removing a possible throwing error from the outcome matrix.

Lots of people know baseball better than me. I’ve never seen a manager turn a three-ball zero-strike situation into an intentional walk. Do they ever? Should they? Is there a remote chance that Coco Crisp, Jason Varitek, and Alex Gonzalez will squeeze out a run and make us suffer through more of this?

Crisp hit a double. That’s something. Varitek flew out. That’s not something. Gonzales fouled out. That’s not something either. Eh, it’s the bottom of the order, we don’t expect miracles. Youkilis has an RBI! I’m still peeved at Francona for not walking Rollins; this coulda ended with that. Loretta walked. Go ahead, make Ortiz a hero again. Yep, Ortiz whacks a single, Youkilis wanders on home, game over.

Nonetheless, I wanna know why you don’t walk the batter with two outs, tie game, extra innings, one man on third.

Smooch & kill

Shane Black wrote Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout, Last Action Hero, and The Long Kiss Goodnight. That’s a pretty good pedigree. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is his first directorial effort, and it’s sorta Last Action Hero as an semi-indie crime flick. (Warner Brothers distributed it, so not really indie, but you know.)

It’s packed precisely full enough with metasnark. Any more snarkiness, and the schtick would be tiresome. Any less snark, and we might notice that the plot is about as thin as they get. (Which, in all fairness, is no doubt intentional — the whole movie is a deliberate self-referential homage to bad pulp detective novels.) The meta, the breaking of the fourth wall, works because it serves characterization: Robert Downey Jr.’s voice over is not constantly present, and it’s a device to bring his personality to the forefront, so that’s all right.

It’s also more homage, referring back to the Mike Hammer first-person narrative style. Our fictional pulp detective is Johnny Gossamer, which one might well see as the opposite of Mike Hammer, now that I think on it.

I can’t say much about the acting because — well, I suppose I can. Robert Downey, Jr., Val Kilmer, and Michelle Monaghan nailed their roles, delivered the dialogue with panache, and didn’t try and take over the movie. Which is good, cause the screenplay was the real hero, unsurprisingly. If I had to pick a standout, it’d be Val Kilmer, who bulked up and chewed his way through his role nicely. But they were all good. Oh, and a special bonus point to Corbin Bernsen for reprising his real life as a TV actor. S. pointed out that the movie clip in which a young Corbin Bernsen appears is no doubt an actual clip from an actual Bernsen TV movie, although nobody on IMDB has figured out which one.

My big quibble is that Shane Black made some very odd tonal choices. You’re cruising along with a black comedy, and then all of the sudden it veers into seriously dark not-funny stuff. I couldn’t figure out if he thought the seriously dark stuff was funny, or if he thought he had to ground the movie from time to time, but either way? No. It’s OK to do froth even if it’s your cred-restoring comeback flick. Maybe next time.

And in general, totally worthwhile.


Hey, Greg. I guess the accurate way to say it is that our lives intersected around MUDs, and I liked knowing you, and — this is trivial, but every time I pruned my friendslist over on Livejournal, I never wanted to remove you despite the fact that I hadn’t talked to you in years.

The world’s gonna miss you.