In an ongoing dialogue between the two major critics at the Times, Manohla Dargis and AO Scott on film criticism today:
Dargis: As critics, all we have are our beliefs, ideals, prejudices, blind spots, our reservoirs of historical and personal knowledge, and the strength of our arguments. There are empirical truths that we can say about a movie: it was shot in black and white or color, on film or digital, in widescreen or not, directed by this or that filmmaker. But beyond these absolutes there is only our thinking, opinions, ideologies, methodological approaches and moments in time. That isn’t to say that criticism is a postmodern anything goes; it is to admit that critics are historical actors and that our relationships with movies, as with everything in life, are contingent on those moments. Her moment was exciting. So too is ours.
The New York Times Sports of the Times has an interesting piece today about how the philosophy behind Moneyball is everywhere. Despite the irony that Billy Beane and his Oakland A’s can’t win for losing, can’t make the playoffs and now struggle to get anywhere, the practice that was put in place is helping other teams win. But of course, people keep looking to the story for a happy ending. We all are so inclined towards that. To find a happy ending in the film, Moneyball, one has to look not to a success story that helps the underdogs finally win the world series (they don’t, and never do) but to the notion that we can sometimes be strangled by our illusions.
Meanwhile, over at Eloquent Graffiti, Paul Clifford writes a post, “Everything I Know About Teaching I learned from Moneyball:
Eradicating old budgetary allocations, old practices, and old philosophies at a systemic level is extremely difficult–we may not have the power or influence to ‘change the game’ ourselves–but as Beane had the authority to impact the philosophy governing his team, so do we have the opportunity to bring a certain degree of progress and innovation to our own classrooms with or without the fancy tools.
He lays out the ways thusly:
1. Change is difficult because ‘the game’ is unfair.
2. Success is a product of confidence, not inherent ‘capability’
3. “Romance is for the fans”
4. The sound of losing is silence
5. “The first guy through the wall always gets bloody”
A great essay, well worth the read. We need more teachers out there like Paul Clifford. Education is exactly where we need to fortify this country. From the looks of things from my perspective, with a child in LAUSD, we’re moving in exactly the wrong direction. Kicking up the dust of tradition when the game you’re playing isn’t working well enough is what we see in Moneyball, even if, as the NY Times points out, new problems arise as a result.
One of the best films of the year. One of the best, if not THE BEST performance of the year, one of the most memorable and moving stories of the year. If the hyperbole fits…
UPDATE: If this one won’t play in your region, try the version after the cut.
The eight films are listed below in alphabetical order by title, with their production company.
Ladies and ladies, we’ve hit the top six! And as Darienne Lake would say, “Any little slip can take you out of this game.” Which is why girlfriend was throwing banana peels everywhere. For this week’s mini-challenge, RuPaul asked the queens to cover their bodies in paint to create a “Twerk of Art” inspired by marriage equality. These ladies, grinded, twerked and humped their canvases. (Do these mini challenges actually mean anything anymore? Did they ever? The only thing that it did ...
I’ve just about had it with the internet. I used to think, wow it’s so great that there are so many young strong voices protesting things that matter. I used to think that the youth’s collective outrage over things like sexual assault and racism was a good thing. But what it has turned into, what it is in danger of becoming is about as helpful to the collective well being of people overall that driving a hybrid SUV does for the economy. You see, this outrage at Stephen Colbert,...
Right? I mean, right? That was the year to beat all others. We try to go there and talk about the individual films probably spending the most amount of time on Brokeback but 2005 overall turned out to be a great year for film with History of Violence, The Constant Gardener, Walk the Line all just missing Best Picture, though they might have gotten in if there were more than five. Have a listen! ...
Million Dollar Baby takes down Sideways and The Aviator. Probably the only film that really resonates from this year was Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which just gets better with each viewing, as does Sideways. Okay, fine, so do the Aviator and Million Dollar Baby. Ultimately it was not the best year for film but not bad overall. Have a listen....