January 27, 2013

It'll Never Work!

There are strong arguments against conducting gun buybacks:

1) That the people turning in their guns are more likely to be model owners, and thus are probably the safest people to own them;

2) The guns turned in are junk that are nearly unusable any way;

3) It encourages people to steal guns and have a no-questions-asked point of sale;

4) Buying back guns is like buying books to burn - it only encourages producers.

These are fairly reasonable at first glance, but at second glance are rather easily refuted.

The first point isn't an issue, what with those people knowing what value their guns have to them.  If they don't think the guns are worth keeping, why not get a bit of money for them without the risk of possibly selling them to people who may not be very safe with them?

Second, they actually aren't junk, or not often any way.  Buybacks are for useable guns with people who can tell managing the payouts, although sometimes programs will include a price for "scrap" guns.

For the third, thieves generally don't target guns: they find them during a burglary and take them coincidentally.  That being said, over 1700 guns have been reported stolen in Seattle since 2008, which says nothing about how many were stolen and not reported.

Finally, who's going to buy them?  the people turning in their guns are not interested in replacing them, and the small amount of money offered is far below market value.  They could get a much better price selling them privately or trading them in at a dealers'.

And all of these points could be seen at Seattle's gun buy-back that went on today.  There are some pretty incredible aspects to the story, from the six hours planned being reduced to three after overwhelming response; to the weapons handed over (including three "street sweeper" semi-automatic shotguns); to the private buyers trying to get the people in line to sell them the guns rather than turn them in to be destroyed.  Oh, yeah: it's legal to sell your gun on the street as a private sale.  You know that "gun show loophole" people talk about closing?  That's it.

The amazing and rather gratifying thing is how few people bothered to sell their guns to the private buyers: they were there to have their excess guns destroyed.  Many people simply handed them over for free when the nearly $120,000 in private donations ran out.

It'll be interesting to see what happens next.  Especially if, as they say, the responsible people are the ones handing in their guns.  Will that leave these idiots as the majority?


posted by Thursday at 12:51 am 0 comments

January 25, 2013

Defining Astroturf

Psst!  Hey, buddy!  Need some cash, quick?

Want to stand around doing nothing to earn it?

Do we have a deal for you...


posted by Thursday at 9:03 pm 0 comments

January 19, 2013

The Sex God Can't See

According to Garfunkel and Oates, at least.



posted by Thursday at 9:16 pm 0 comments

NHL Preview, Eastern Promises

Eastern Conference Preview


Biggest hello: Rookie Torey King, if he can find some room.
Biggest goodbye: Tim Thomas.  If Tukka Rask falters at all, Thomas hits the spotlight once again.
Watch for: With six players getting more than 20 goals and Nathan Horton coming back, it's going to be tough for any checking line to know who to stop.
Watch out: Marc Savard is still out on a Long Term Injury; at this point, his career could be over.
Note: One (and only) upside of Savard's injury is the cap room available should help be needed.


Biggest hello: Steve Ott, superpest extrordinaire.
Biggest goodbye: Derek Roy.  The 44 points in an off season, sure; but also their only centre to get over .500 on faceoffs.
Watch for: The late season line of Tyler Ennis-Drew Stafford-Foligno got 49 combined points in their 13 games together.
Watch out: Is sophmore Cody Hodgson really their first line centre, or is it the generously listed at 5'9", 160 pound Tyler Ennis?
Note: Ryan Miller's horrible start nearly derailed the Sabres' season, only to be salvaged by a brilliant two month stretch later.  As he goes...


Biggest hello: A "Brother Act" advertising campaign, courtesy Jordan Staal.
Biggest goodbye: It cost them, though, as Brandon Sutter was growing into a fine player himself.
Watch for: Marc-Andre Gragnani has the potential (and opportunity) to be a power play force on a team that needs one.
Watch out: If not, this will be yet another team who thinks Joe Corvo is a "power play specialist".
Note: So, what do you think it would take to get Marc out of Manhattan?


Biggest hello: Peter Meuller.  He has second line skills and should be well past his injury trouble.
Biggest goodbye: Jason Garrison.  Huge shot, but also a reliable defender who played 23 minutes per game.
Watch for: Jonathan Huberdeau is going to get all the ice time he can eat; if he ends up beside Mueller, his numbers could surprise.
Watch out: The Panthers jumped 22 points last year, but 18 points came in losses.  Which way will the bounces go this year?
Note: Even with Garrison, Brian Campbell was playing 27 minutes a night.  He's going to need someone else to produce on the blue line this year.


Biggest hello: Brad Boyes.  He's a finisher, though a couple of years removed from his 30- and 40- goal seasons in St. Louis.
Biggest goodbye: P. A. Parenteau.  Works the boards well, good vision for his passes.
Watch for: A team packed with young kids and late bloomers, the team will go as far as John Tavares can drag them.
Watch out: Evgeni Nabokov needs more support in and in front of his crease, and the most likely backups are rookies Kevin Poulin and Anders Nilsson.
Note: If Lubomir Visnovsky reports, they'll have two solid puck moving defensemen (with Mark Streit) and give Calvin de Haan a bit more development time.  That would be good.  If Nino Niederreiter finds his way out of whatever cave he was in last season, that would be even better.


Biggest hello: Rick "Did-it-HAVE-to-be-the-Rangers?" Nash.
Biggest goodbye: The mulitpurpose Artem Anisimov.
Watch for: Chris Kreider is penciled in on the top two lines after five goals in the playoffs.  Given who else the Rangers have on those lines, he's got to be considered the front runner in Calder Trophy talk.
Watch out: Hopefully the continued development of Michael del Zotto will give the Rangers an improved power play, sitting at 23rd in the league last year.
Note: Forward depth was traded away to get Nash; no team has a more clearly delineated "two lines attack, two defend" lineup.


Biggest hello: Andrei Markov, for however long that lasts.
Biggest goodbye: General Manager Pierre Gauthier and His Amazing Train Wreck.
Watch for: Colby Armstrong and Brandon Prust add some mean to an otherwise squishy-soft lineup.
Watch out: If the Canadiens get off to a slow start, how much quicker will the P. K. Subban standoff be resolved?  Not as quickly as if Markov gets injured again...
Note: New GM Marc Bergevin and his staff are going to get that rarest of things in this hockey mad city: a honeymoon.  Expect it to last right up until they lose three in a row.


Biggest hello: Travis Zajac being around for a full season.
Biggest goodbye: Zach Parise being gone for the rest of his career.
Watch for: Kovalchuk has fully bought in to the Devils' way of doing things, because that means he gets 24:30 of ice time and others can pick up the defensive slack.  Should hit 75 points, and used in all circumstances.
Watch out: David Clarkson got 30 goals last year - that's not likely to repeat itself.
Note: There is a need for points coming from the blue line - think new assistant coach Scott Stevens knows anything about that?


Biggest hello: Guillaume Latendresse.  A big risk given his recent injury history, but also a 30-goal man when healthy.
Biggest goodbye: Nick Foligno.  Scrappy and fearless, he had a breakout season in less than 15 minutes a game.
Watch for: Loads of youth was intorduced last year, and more could come this year in Jakob Silferberg and Mark Stone.
Watch out: A lot of toughness went to the wayside with the loss of Zenon Konopka and an injured Jared Cowen.
Note: Ottawa has some goodwill from the unexpected playoff spot last season, but don't want to squander captain Daniel Alfredsson's last season in the NHL, so how young are they going to get?


Biggest hello: Luke Schenn is in to hopefully shore up a shaken defense.
Biggest goodbye: Matt Carle led the team in ice time last season, and apparently had good enough memories of his twelve games in Tampa Bay to sign there.
Watch for: Three rookie forwards played a big role among the Flyers forwards, and that confidence should have them roaring this season.
Watch out: An offer sheet was made to Shea Weber for a reason - with Chris Pronger gone, possibly for good, their top defensemen are the skilled-but-slight Kimmo Timonen and the huge-but-offensively-inept Braydon Coburn.
Note: As much of a circus goaltending was last year, it's got to be better this time out.  Ilya Bryzgalovis better than what showed last season... isn't he?  He was phenominal in March, but melted down again in the playoffs, so who knows?


Biggest hello: Tomas Vokoun is the undisputed starter on a lot of teams, and a toss-up on several others.
Biggest goodbye: Jordan Staal.  The cost of success, the Penguins lost one of the most versatile forwards in the league for a cheaper, younger replacement.
Watch for: Evgeny Malkin dragged James Neal into 40-goal, 40-assist land, so they're staying together.  The Penguins have $9 million in cap space.  Is Sidney Crosby really going to have Chris Kunitz or Pascal Dupuis on his wings all season?
Watch out: Fans will wince any time Crosby gets hit by an opposing player.  Or accidentally by a team mate.  Or by anything else, really.
Note: Vokoun is a darned fine insurance policy in canse of another bizarre meltdown by Marc-Andre Fleury and his defense.


Biggest hello: Matt Carle.  A good acquisition, given Mattias Ohlund's injury and Sami Salo's injury-to-be.
Biggest goodbye: Bruno Gervais.  Can do anything depth defernder, but does none of it very well.
Watch for: The Lightning should be able to keep Marc-Andre Bergeron where he belongs - on the power play and below 19 minutes of ice time.  If he's recovered (as he says he is), he's a 40-point defender over a full season.
Watch out: Anders Lindback is the nominal starter with all of 38 NHL games experience, and that behind the far tighter system in Nashville.
Note: The leagues worst goals against average by an uncomfortable margin has to get better; even if Lindback falters, the arrival of Carle and Salo and an extra year for Victor Hedman will help stabilize the defense.


Biggest hello: James van Riemsdyk.  A young forward the Maple Leafs are hoping will grow with Mikhail Grabovski, Tyler Bozak, Phil Kessel, and the other young forwards.
Biggest goodbye: Luke Schenn, a massive hitter who became a favourite target of Toronto's Boo Birds for his defensive mistakes.
Watch for: Joffrey Lupul and Phil Kessel got off to a roaring start last year, and they'll drag whichever centre they end up with along for the ride.
Watch out: Offense has improved, but defense stays mired near the bottom of the league - 28th best penalty kill and 29th best goals agains average.
Note: Off to a good start last year, if they can get one this season, they could well finish in the top eight.  Some attribute the drop in James Reimer's play to trying a new system under now-fired goalie coach Francois Allaire.  Reimer's played all of 71 NHL games, so could still bounce back from a bad season.


Biggest hello: Mike Ribeiro is better suited to being a second line centre he'll be here instead of the top guy he was in Dallas.
Biggest goodbye: Alexander Semin's play often frustrates, but he was the Capitals' second highest goal scorer and points man last season - and +/-, shockingly enough.
Watch for: Goalies Michael Neuvirth and Braden Holtby (who played more games in the playoffs than regular season last year) have proven themselves as starters.
Watch out: Alex Ovechkin is clearly frustrated with the lack of team success and mentioned how much he liked playing in Russia during the lockout.  As captain, he can't let that attitude infect the rest of the team, meaning a fast start in mandatory.
Note: On their third coach in three years; after Bruce Boudreau's "too hot" and Dale Hunter's "too cold" styles, is Adam Oates' style going to be the "just right" porridge?  In any case, he could start by improving the special teams.


Biggest hello: Oli Jokinen steps right on to the first line.  He likely won't hit 60 points again, but has a more complete game than he used to and is enthusiastic about playing in front of the Jets fanatics.
Biggest goodbye: Steady in unspectacular backup goalie Chris Mason.
Watch for: Evander Kane took a big step forward, hitting 30 goals; he's also only 20 years old and has had the occasional off-ice distraction, so he could slip in production this year, but I don't bet on it.
Watch out: The Jets have a solid top four on their blue line, but none of the top them made it to 70 games last year, and it was the first season Mark Stuart hit 80 games in three seasons.
Note: The honeymoon continues in Winnipeg, and they'll need it.  Being in the Southeast Division for this short season is going to put a LOT of miles on these guys.


posted by Thursday at 3:18 pm 0 comments

NHL Preview, Western Style

And away we go!

Western Conference Preview


Biggest hello: Sheldon Souray.  He still has a hammer of a shot, and is more than happy to defend his teammates.
Biggest goodbye: Lubomir Visnovsky.  Good speed, and one year removed from a 68-point season.
Watch for: Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne are on their last rounds, and will be playing like it for the shortened season.
Watch out: There's a reason why those two are on their last rounds.  Selanne is 42 years old and Koivu 38, and they are expected to be the secondary scoring for the Ducks.
Note: Using one of the smartest players to play the game (Scott Neidermeyer) as a coach can't be a bad thing.  A more important question is how to keep Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan happy.


Biggest hello: Sven Baetrschi.  Strong Calder candidate
Biggest goodbye: Oli Jokinen. 
Watch for: Dennis Wideman is a good addition to a blue line that needs scoring.
Watch out: Michael Backlund has been pitched as a future star for a few years now, and the Flames need him to come through NOW, or they will be relying on NHL rookie/KHL veteran Roman Cervenka as their top line guy.*
Note:  Whoever Wideman gets paired with will get more points, but that won't matter much in hockey pools because it will be someone known for their defense.

*Here's to hoping he comes back from blood complications!  Man, these guys are snakebit!


Biggest hello: Brandon Saad.  The Blackhawks don't absolutely need to call up a rookie winger, and Brandon Pirri might come up first; but I say their wings will need more help than their centres.
Biggest goodbye: Andrew Brunette.  Veteran presence on either wing, good in tight, but probably not a 20-goal man any more.
Watch for: Marian Hossa has had time to recover from last year's playoff concussion, so he's once again a 35-goal threat...
Watch out: ...but it's a concussion.  Using his body to gain position is a big part of his game, so the risk is always there.
Note: Special teams were a nightmate last season, which is a surprise with the high end talend Chicago enjoys.


Biggest hello: P.A. Parenteau.  A late bloomer who can get into penalty trouble, very good with the puck and a skilled passer.
Biggest goodbye: Peter Mueller.  Loads of injury trouble, but when he is on the ice he's dangerous.
Watch for: The defense is slowly improving and another year under Erik Johnson's belt will help.
Watch out: Naming Gabriel Landeskog captain after one year in the NHL is a risky move.  He plays a simple, straight forward game, but also must keep an even temper to be effective.  I don't think adding the pressure of captaincy will help his sophmore year.
Note: Expect four or five assists on every goal these guys score.  Loads of great playmakers, not a whole lot of natural scorers, though.


Biggest hello: Artem Anisimov.  Brandon Dubinski could fit in here just as well, but Anisomov is going to be handed the first line centre's job due to a lack of options.
Biggest goodbye: Oh, you know.  Some guy.
Watch for: This is a very solid defense, even without the excellent Ryan Murray joining them this year because of injury trouble.
Watch out: Behind them, however, are question marks.  When Sergei Bobrivski is brought in to "solidify" your goaltending, you could have some trouble.
Note: We all knew Rick Nash was getting moved, but did it HAVE to be to the Rangers?


Biggest hello: Derek Roy.  Yes, they got Ray Whitney and Jaromir Jagr too, but Roy is a decade younger than either and is looking to rebound from a timid 2011-2012 season.
Biggest goodbye: Steve Ott. Pest supreme, but given the Stars were shorthanded more than 300 times last year, his loss may not be a bad thing.
Watch for: The leage-worst power play is only going to improve with the new acquisitions.
Watch out: GM Joe Nieuwendyk has been in town for four years, and Dallas has missed the playoffs in all of them.  How patient will the new owner be?
Note: Dallas gained scoring threats, but they lost some defensive stalwarts.


Biggest hello: Jordin Tootoo.  Tough as nails and a HUGE hitter.  How huge?  He'll occasionally take penalties on clean hits because his victim needs a couple minutes to get back to his feet.
Biggest goodbye: A 42-year old defenseman who led the team in ice time last year...
Watch for: Rookie Brendan Smith is ready to step in on the third pairing.
Watch out: Niklas Kronwall is now the number one defenseman with both Nick Lidstrom and Brad Stuart heading to greener pastures (or teal, in Stewart's case).
Note: Finally, some instability in Detroit!  They even picked up Toronto cast off Jonas Gustavsson to back up Jimmy Howard!  Still expecting they'll make the playoffs, though.


Biggest hello: Justin Schultz.  Getting a full(ish) season out of Ryan Whitney is no longer the necessity it was the last few years
Biggest goodbye: Can Barker.  Inconsistent, but can clear the crease and has an accurate, if underused, shot.
Watch for: Devan Dubnyk is going to get his shot this year.  He has improved steadily, if slowly, but has an improved defense in front of him and a bit more experience to handle the pressure.  Nikolai Khabibulin as a back up isn't a bad option, either.
Watch out: A new coach and shortened season with no practice games makes for a high risk of miscommunication.
Note: Having several of your starters playing together in the minors should get them off to a good start, which may be enough to get them into the top eight this year.


Biggest hello: The Cup.
Biggest goodbye: Being labeled as everyone's favourite "dark horse in the playoffs".
Watch for: A full year of Darryl Sutter and the confidence gained from (finally!) winning it all.
Watch out: ...but that's what Carolina said.
Note: Why change what works?  No real moves, but the sooner Anze Kopitar returns from injury the better.*

*Aaaand they made a move, getting underperforming power forward Anthony Stewart for brawler Kevin Westgarth.  Amazingly, Carolina threw in draft picks, too.


Biggest hello: Ryan Suter's 7 goals last year was more than the top two Wild defencemen combined.
Biggest goodbye: Guillaume Latendresse.  Concussion problems, but when healthy a reliable scorer.
Watch for: It's not just the new arrivals coming in (Suter and Zach Parise), but a healthy Mikko Koivu and Pierre-Marc Bouchard that will increase the scoring from a league-worst 166 goals.
Watch out: After Suter, it's still a bit of a "Who's that?" defence.  Of course, since Suter will be playing 25+ minutes a game, that's not much of a worry.
Note: Koivu drives the team, but he's starting to break, and Bouchard is in the realm of concussion question marks.


Biggest hello: The return of goalie Chris Mason.  Hope he's good with playing five games this season - if he can fight off Jeremy Smith in camp.
Biggest goodbye: Got to go with the obvious: Ryan Suter.  Kevin Klein is going to be getting a lot more ice time.
Watch for: Having ten players with 14 or more goals makes the Predators a team full of "unsung heroes" that's nearly impossible to check.
Watch out: The league's best power play is now missing a guy who got 25 points there.
Note: After an influx of rookies last year, everyone's going to get a chance to settle in this season.


Biggest hello: Steve Sullivan.  Small for a winger - heck, small for a hockey player - he compensates with skill and smarts.  A wily veteran, but aren't they all?
Biggest goodbye: Ray Whitney.  Any team losing its highest scorer is going to suffer, but Whitney's smart play and surprising durability of late hit hard.
Watch for: The Coyotes underrated defence has gotten better, adding Zbynek Michalek and possibly bringing Mike Stone up for a full time job.
Watch out: Martin Hanzal and Mikkel Boedker each had a strong playoffs, but neither has had strong regular season numbers.  Vrbata finally had his breakthrough year, but where's the rest of the scoring going to come from?
Note: To make the playoffs Phoenix is going to have to stick to coach Dave Tippett's game plan - except perhaps on the power play which was 29th last year.


Biggest hello: Vladimir Tarasenko.  He was fantastic in the KHL last year, including in the playoffs, and is ready for the NHL game.
Biggest goodbye: Jason Arnott.  Strong, veteran forward stepped up for a young team, and was also a big power play presence.
Watch for: This is a young and exciting team that will happily play coach Ken Hitchcock's aggressive puck persuit game all night long.
Watch out: Alex Steen, David Perron, Matt D'Agostini, and Andy McDonald all missed substantial time with injuries last season, and three of those were with concussions.
Note: Even before the hiring of Hitchcock, Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott were proving to be shockingly effective in net behind a fantastic defense.  Call them the new "dark horse" if you want, but these guys are suddenly one of the best in the league.


Biggest hello: Brad Stuart.  He and Adam Burish make San Jose a less pleasant team to play against right away.
Biggest goodbye: Some depth, with Daniel Winnik, Dominic Moore, Ben Ferriero, and Torrey Mitchell all headed elsewhere.
Watch for: Martin Havlat being in the lineup for the full season should be enough to keep them comfortably in the playoffs.
Watch out: The league's second-worst penalty kill has to improve.
Note: San Jose has slipped from "automatically penciled into the playoffs" to "might not make it" for the first time in a decade, and they have to use that as a wake up call.  Last year they coasted, expecting to turn it on in the second season.


Biggest hello: Jason Garrison.  Sami Salo's shot in a far healthier body.
Biggest goodbye: Sami Salo.  Booming shot and effective net clearer, if not an aggressive one.  And, hey!  He only missed 13 games last year!
Watch for: Cory Schneider is ready for the lead role in the Canucks' ongoing goalie soap opera.
Watch out: With "Mr. Everything" Ryan Kesler out to start the season, there's an opening on the first two lines, but who can take it?
Note: Vancouver needs both David Booth and Mason Raymond to have bounce back seasons, or they run the risk of being a one-line team; at least until Kesler's return.


posted by Thursday at 3:17 pm 0 comments

January 06, 2013

Now Apologize

Okay, it looks like the NHL and NHLPA have finally agreed on a deal.


I'm going to watch and listen to the games because I love hockey and the NHL is the game at its highest level.  I accept this.

I will not, however, be spending any money on jerseys, key chains, tickets to a live game, magazines or ANYTHING ELSE with an NHL or NHL team logo on it.  Period.

(While I'm at it: grudging congratulations to the US at the World Juniors: they earned the win and played a great series.  We'll get you next year!)


posted by Thursday at 10:13 am 0 comments

January 03, 2013

You're Too Sexy For This Job

There's a lot of things the stupider portion of the world insists on saying that simply leave me perplexed.  Things like "More guns for more people is the same as making safer people" or "Businesses should run the government because they both make money" or "Science is a belief system".  You know, really stupid stuff.

But one that not only confuses me but I've never even heard anyone try explaining is this one: "Atheists are working to create Sharia law!"

To be clear: the people who have said this would have to believe that people who hate the idea of religion taking precedence in legal decisions are demanding a religion have precedence in legal decisions.  It's not even a case of saying that "one plus one does not equal two"; it's saying "two does not equal two".

Add to this the realization that Sharia laws have little to do with the Koran: many of the terms were interpreted well after the book's publication, at a time when a rigid totalitarianism swept through much of the Islamic world: this is the stuff brought up as the boogyman of folks who want you to think of Islam as a faith of thugs (despite that being an Indian word - etymology joke!).  Basically, a bunch of total dicks established a strict, unbending law when they were feeling insecure about their power, despite having metric fucktons of it.  Imagine if laws established by Catholics at the height of the Spanish Inquisition were the ones Christians were insisting be adopted into the American legal system.

Individual rights, especially the rights of women, have had a difficult time in places where strict Sharia laws became the rule rather than the guide of a changing world.  Take, for instance, the wearing of the hijab: women must wear the full-body covering so as to not inflame the passions of men with their irresistible sexiness.  Kinda silly, and definitely something that makes it much easier to stop thinking of women as actually human and more as possessions to jealously guard from anything that might like them.  Flat out ignorant, right?

Well, apparently in Iowa this is a problem.  No, seriously.

For some reason, it hasn't occurred to anyone that being "too attractive" shouldn't really be the problem of the women.  However, after consulting with his pastor, dentist James Knight decided he wouldn't be able to control himself around his "stellar" employee of ten years, Melissa Nelson.  So, naturally, he fired her; a decision that was upheld by Iowa's Supreme Court on December 21st as being perfectly reasonable.

Does it need to be said Knight only decided to fire the married Ms. Nelson after getting caught sending text messages to her by his wife?  Didn't think so.

(Apologies for Right Said Fred earworm, those of us in a certain age group!)

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posted by Thursday at 10:02 pm 0 comments

An Expected Journey

Finally got around to seeing the first of The Hobbit trilogy (I promise no spoilers, but seriously if you were that interested you've got it covered by now) and over all I was okay with it.

Down side:

I could have done without the added bits from Tolkien's other works.  It made for a lot of talking, giving the film an uneven pace, and the moralizing was awfully blatant (what, he HAD to face the camera for that bit?), and Jackson's bad habit of having a character describe what the camera's already showing us is annoying.

There were a couple of changes outside of the additions: one that was really jarring.  But only one, so I'm okay with it.

Basic physics, as per usual.  But that's a fairly minor quibble with action/fantasy stuff.

Up side:

Liked the "riddles" scene - I felt like the stakes were high for the characters, and Bilbo doesn't feel as invincible as the other protagonists at this point.  Which brings up the reason I'll be seeing the other two films outside of simple curiosity:

Martin Freeman.

What Peter Jackson missed in the Lord of the Rings trilogy  was that the hero is the person the audience can relate to.  The story is about Aragorn's return to power, with Frodo and company off to one side - that just happens to be the bit the books cover, using the gimmick of the tale being from Frodo's book.  But without a protagonist the readers can relate to, one that can look around and say "this is weird", and have it explained to them and (most importantly) have them accept it, then you've got nothing for the audience to grab on to.  There's no heart.  And in LotR that heart is Samwise Gamgee.

If that's not who you were thinking, well fair enough, Tolkein himself missed it too; but read it again and see if I'm not right.

In any case, that leads us to Bilbo Baggins of Bag End, and the brilliance of Martin Freeman's performance.  There had to be 90% of this movie as a greenie-screenie, making it all the more difficult for an actor to try facing down a goblin or battling a warg believably when it's actually a tennis ball on a stick.  But you believe in every one of Bilbo's actions and reactions in the movie, because that is simply what he would do.  But looking at Freeman's other cardinal performances (Doctor Watson of the BBC series Sherlock and the painfully self-aware Tim of the original The Office) , I suppose being the keystone for an insane world is something other folks have noticed he's really very good at...


posted by Thursday at 9:19 pm 0 comments