Sunday, June 03, 2007

Movie: Mr. Brooks (2007)

Loads of lurid fun. We’ve got a pillar of the community who’s secretly a serial killer. An unwanted homicidal protégé. A daughter who may have inherited her father’s “addiction.” A millionaire detective. Plus a second serial killer who has broken out of jail to seek revenge. And Portland seemed so laid-back on my visits there. It’s like an entire spinner rack full of airport thrillers packed into one movie, pitched at a level just shy of hysteria but always maintaining its balance. The whole enterprise is agreeably nuts, and I had a hell of a time watching it.

William Hurt is a blast as the title character’s murderous id. But it’s Kevin Costner’s show as the killer, and he’s damned impressive. Of course, I’m on the record about Mr. Costner. I’d now fold this movie into my argument.

Sports: My Impoverished Fantasy Life, Part II

Play, the New York Times’ excellent sports magazine, has not one but two articles on fantasy baseball in its latest issue. Neal Pollack writes about his obsession with leagues that use players from throughout the sport’s history. Bryan Curtis, meanwhile, dubs fantasy baseball’s ascendance “a minor revolution” that’s creating legions of postmodern fans:

“There’s a wrongheaded notion that we are attracted to fantasy baseball because it reinforces all we love about baseball. In fact, we play fantasy baseball because it shields it from all that we hate about it.”

In other words, blame steroids and lousy management.

Personally, I’m more inclined to see fantasy baseball’s popularity as another manifestation of our collective inability to give ourselves over to something larger, along with the impulse toward participation that’s passed off as vaguely democratizing. You know, the same thing that’s affecting literary criticism and porn. And as goes the skin trade, so goes our national pastime.

Or maybe, as I’ve said before, I simply don’t get fantasy baseball. Which is why I’m making my annual pledge: next year, I’m going to try it out. One team in one league, just to see. I’ll probably punk out as usual. But this time, I’m making the promise in public.