With the holiday season behind us, it seems imperative to do some household chores. The last two weeks, which I had off from work, were a decadent and slackadaisacal void in which I somnambulistically sauntered (or was it hibernated?) through the last days of 2010, with only freshly hung Christmas lights and 2 new pairs of pajama pants to guide the way (well, that wasn’t all, but you get the idea). But now it’s 2011; time to clear the wreckage, and if we’re lucky, we’ll cutaway. But before being tossed into the dustbins of history, let us break out our brooms and joyously celebrate these things past by sweeping them into a jumbled heap.
Drive, He Said is not just the title of Jack Nicholson’s uneven 1971 directorial debut about a disillusioned college basketball player, but words that should probably be attributed to Oklahoma City Thunder coach Scotty Brooks, if only he’d actually said them. And no one needs to hear the word drive more than the Thunder’s very own wunderkind, Kevin Durant, currently shooting an abysmal 54 for 165 from 3-pt range (.327). For a player so obviously skilled, not to mention the league’s most prolific free-throw shooter, one gets the feeling that Durant’s play this year (at times) has been recklessly confident, and in turn, selfish and inefficient. Perhaps Durant’s taken on a new mystery roommate who is totally stoned and his wild, counterculture antics are causing a lack of focus. Or he’s sleeping with Karen Black. At any rate, this selfishness grooves against the grain of his reputation as the NBA’s ultimate nice guy and super-teammate, the anti-LeBron if you will, but as we know from the cinema, action is what defines character. So I say drive, Kevin, and Mr. Brooks should too — because taking a high percentage shot or getting to the line is a better idea than putting up 30-footers, which is how you lose to the Grizzlies. Or, pass the ball to Westbrook; I heard he put time in as a stunt driver on Ronin.
Bad Timing (1980) is a great title for a film because it really could be the title of almost any film, or most of the possessions the Bobcats have had this year. Nicolas Roeg’s chopped-and-screwed relationship thriller is all about impulse, control, and the damage we do to each other. Which means we’re really talking about Tyrus Thomas, whose chaotic, pogo-stick stylings have long screamed HIGH CEILING and BLOCK PARTY ever since he left LSU early to take permanent cover in Scott Skiles and Larry Brown’s oversized doghouses. And yet, so far this year Tyrus ranks 28th overall in PER (20.90), ahead of such notables as Chris Bosh, Paul Pierce, Monta Ellis, LaMarcus Aldridge, etc. But just as Alex Linden (Art Garfunkel), the unlovable, neurotic and controlling research psychiatrist finds out about his love interest/sexual obsession Milena (Theresa Russell), giving T-Squared more minutes would only expose his erratic play and propensity to turn the ball over. While that may be so, Tyrus looked terrific running the floor in his first game under new head coach Paul Silas only to be temporarily derailed by a sore wrist. But with recent injuries to fellow Gerald Wallace, Nazr Mohammed, DeSagana Diop, and even Stephen Jackson, now would be a good time for Tyrus to take advantage of this opportunity and hopefully avoid the poor fate of Garfunkel in Bad Timing: getting arrested by Harvey Keitel. Now that’s worse than any doghouse.
Unstoppable (Tony Scott, 2010) is a highly enjoyable action film about a runaway train. It is also a film about men doing work. And work they do, despite the haters, which in this case is those goddamn corporate bureaucrats. You know who else does work? Dorell Wright. Despite languishing in Miami for six injured and “immature” seasons, the once DePaul-bound preps standout is making a serious case for Most Improved (or whatever), boasting a very healthy 23.3 ppg/6.3 rpg over the last two weeks, and providing the Warriors all season long with a serious scoring threat to compliment the fury of Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry. So fuck the haters, which in this case is Pat Riley & Co., because Wright’s been both a runaway steal for the Warrios and a runaway scoring/boarding/stealing train on the court. He didn’t even need that buffoon Ethan Suplee to accidentally start his engine, just a permanent trip to the bay.
Repulsion (Roman Polanski, 1964). Looks like Troy Murphy’s been leaving his toothbrush in Avery Johnson’s bathroom glass again. That’s an offense that just might get you bludgeoned to death with a candlestick. What do you think happened to Anthony Morrow’s knee?