Tag Archives: Spartacus

Yore Movie Swells: Tasty Love Triangles and Bad Triangle Art In Celluloid Cinema

4 Jun

The Movie Love Triangle

The number three (3): It’s not just holy (Trinity), the tres is a basic element in life’s periodic table of circumstance. It’s found almost as often as carbon, chlorophyll and car chase scenes. Alot more fun than the number one but without all that pressure that can come with two.

What has three sides, fills with equal parts love, hate and confusion, shakes-out quicker than you can say Jack Robinson but takes an hour to drink in its full, rich flavor? A bad banana daiquiri? Take another swig. It’s the movie love triangle!

There’s something about having three of whatever it is that makes it a force to reckon with, the third adding balance when two gets a bit wobbly (The Quiet American (58 / 02)) or necessary tension to give the ride more spring (Kelly + Reynolds + O’Connor (Singin’ In the Rain (52)).

Some notable trios:

A good place to start is the nursery rhymes in the Three Little Pigs, Three Blind Mice and Goldie Locks and the Three Bears;

The bejeweled triple crowns in baseball and horse-racing;

Three strike (MLB – 1888) and three strike rules (crime convictions = life jail);

Early 20th century trio of bear Cubs in Joe Tinker (SS), Johnny Evers (2B) and Frank Chance (1B) (hot-corner Harry Steinfeldt forever in the shadow) who were the tar & nails that held their champion-ship together;

Memorable NHL scoring threesomes in the Punch (40s Habs Toe Blake, Elmer Lach and Maurice “Rocket” Richard), the Production (post-WW2 Red Wings in Gordie Howe, Frank Mahovlich and Alex Delvecchio) and Party lines (80s Blackhawks Al Secord, Dennis Savard and Steve Larmer);

Famous film trios The Three Musketeers (35), The Three Stooges (34), Paradise for Three (38) the Three Amigos (86 (ugh)), “Tuco” – “Blondie” & “Angel-eyes (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (66))” and The French Line with gorgeous Jane Russell, handsome Gilbert Roland and dedicated Arthur Hunnicutt (1954).

The New England championship triumvirate in current quarterback Tom Brady, head coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft.

Pop music loved the tres: The Three Degrees, Three Dog Night, songs “Knock Three Times“ and “♫ once, twice…three times a lady ♫.”

The big three Allied powers in WW2: Soviets, British and Yanks;

Our constitution-based government works its check and balance through the three branches of judiciary, legislative and executive powers.

There were the three bucks (4-6 pointers?) that showed-up in our backyard last summer just for a brief look-see.

And the tastiest lunchtime triad ever served up in the hot dog (uncured), bean soup & potato chips (mustard & pickle preferred, paper napkin a must).

The pointed passion circle is not as certain as death and taxes in life’s journey but it’s definitely in the top five, “definitely!”

A cinema staple since before the Swingline® started holding it all together, the love triangle fastens fans to their seats as sure as drama and mad-cap adventure, its popularity from the fact that the tricky triad holds a chapter in most biographies, whether you knew it or not (gulp).

But it’s on the silver screen where the crowded state of affairs takes on a curious, usually pretty interesting aura of angst.

The Hollywood pros in front and behind the camera can make almost anything look glamorous, from bad deeds (Bonnie and Clyde (67)) to something as simple as turning down bed sheets in prelude to a lustful encounter (This Sporting Life (63)). So why wouldn’t the love triangle translate too?

They began in the silents and ran strong well into the 1960s providing plots and pushing viewers to pick a side. By the polyester period (70s) the triangle had, for the most part, been shelved with the occasional re-appearance (Working Girl (88) / Titanic (97) / Amores Perros (00)), for old times sake (?).

The listing herein is not exhaustive of movie love triangles by any means, but examples of some of the worst, the best and how in spite of a terrible triangle a good time can still be had by viewers.

Three points to keep in mind: 1) There are good and there are bad L/Ts. Geometric juxtaposition is no guarantee for a good watch, unless Seiko’s keeping time; 2) The bad are not necessarily bad movies, in fact, some are good enough to keep you glued, with the tacky triad usually stemming from non-believability and a normally strong male lead (Lancaster, Mitchum, Garfield, etc.) written as a sap, and 3) Not all three sides need be of the human species, for included here is a big ape, Alien pods and even something as intangible as duty, the tangible kind found in the “Bushwood Country Club” pool (Caddyshack (80)).

The Bad Triangle

Baby Doll (56): Either kiss her (“Doll”) or cut her free, “Archie,“ but why you never gave “Silva” a swift kick in the pants I never understood.

Casablanca (42): Neck n’ neck with Citizen Kane to take vintage cinema’s Over-rated Cup (contemporary field is crowded) which explains why two of its three (+Bogart) leads in Paul Henreid and Ingrid Bergman never bought the hype. That she’d end up at his café to cheat on her Nazi-pursued husband is about as believable as Rita Hayworth a blonde (The Lady From Shanghai (47)).

Champion (49): Real-to-life in its portrayal of how brash boys (Douglas) always get the girl over the nice guys (Kennedy), buy a really, really bad boxing and babes movie. Was first big hit for film giants Stanley Kramer and Kirk while Ruth looks splendid in her white, one-piece swimsuit. And any pre-development shots of the California Pacific coast are always way, way cool.

Cleopatra (34 / 63): Don’t trust me, go ahead and watch. Pack a lunch (4h+).

Criss Cross (49): Only the marvelous mood-setting L.A. locales (Bunker Hill district, downtown, etc.) were believable.

East of Eden (55): All’s hunky-dory between “Abra (Harris)” and “Aron (Davalos)” who props his odd-ball brother “Caleb (Dean),” the later who turns their world upside down with wartime profiteering, stealing the girl’s heart, driving the jilted into the War to cause their father’s stroke. One bad triangle.

Gilda (46): Top tune (“Put the Blame On Mame”), copper Calleia at his best, Ford (fists) and Macready (cane) impress in the clutch but like Casablanca (42), former flames reuniting where they do is complete balderdash, this time down Argentina way, then add in Hayworth’s kooky choice in Nazi-sympathizer spouse (“Mundson”), all make this L/T…T/L (totally limp).

Holiday Affair (49): Cute film with judge Harry Morgan snapping off wisecracks like fireworks. A good Ajax scrub for bad-boy toker Bob Mitchum. But single-Mom Leigh dumping oxymoronic likable lawyer and long-time suitor Wendell Corey (“Carl”) for fly-by-seat-of-his-hobo-pants “Steve?” C’mon, “Connie!”

Humoresque (47): After she (Crawford) finally wins his heart and he (Garfield) finally makes up his mind, she takes the long walk into the sea of love.

It Came From Beneath the Sea (55): Shameless display of flirt and emasculation. Only wish the NMO (normal man out) Curtis (“John”) had taken the short, chain-smoking smart-ass Tobey character (“Pete”) and Howard Hughes’ girlfriend (?) Faith Domergue (“Les”) and clunked their heads together at close. So awkward even Ray Harryhausen’s typical top-tier SMA couldn’t save this bad boy…girl.

Out of the Past (47): This one is a love rectangle (square) where Jane Greer (“Moffat”) had allure in spades but like Burt Lancaster in The Killers (46) when the love-sick “Swede” practically commits suicide in letting tough guys Charles McGraw and William Conrad (“bright boy”) blow uncontested into his room to empty their revolvers, Robert Mitchum (“Bailey”) too plays the super sap.

Pal Joey (57): Even Sinatra’s voice can’t fuel this clunker.

Red Dust (32) (Mogambo (53)): Gable never runs out but adulteresses in both (Astor – Kelly) are so poorly scripted you wonder why they bothered.

Sabrina: (54) Paramount tabbed “terrific triangle” but usually sharp-as-a-tack Holden is scripted an idiot and Bogart’s bored until final smackdown.

Sleepless in Seattle (93): After respective hits When Sally Met Harry (89) and Big (88), Hanks and Ryan’s likeability ratings were higher than the Empire State Building, even as this triangulated affair (+ Bill Pullman) is too cute, too much kid (Malinger) and constitutes two too many remakes of a grand original, Love Affair (39) (See also; An Affair to Remember (57)).

Song of India (49): Triangle makes some sense (Sabu > Gail < Bey) but its resolution and laughter in final scene is preposterous…and cold.

Sunset Boulevard (50): Triangle again is believable enough (Swanson > Holden < Olson) but Bill’s bail on “Norma,” she not just a pretty face, is bogus.

The Cat People (42): French beauty Simone Simon can get catty but new hubbie Kent Smith (“Oliver Reed”) turns wolf with ‘friend’ “Alice (Randolph)” before honeymoon ends, leading this viewer hoping the feline feasts.

The Graduate (69): Mommie Dearest and vampish motives aside, “Benjamin (Hoffman)” was in clover with the “Mrs. (Bancroft)” but then got greedy to graze in posted pasture (Ross) to turn pathetic post-grad.

The Las Vegas Story: A marriage on the brink (Price + Russell) pushed over by an ex-lover (Mature) who investigates the husband. Guess who wins?

The Pace that Thrills (52): Vintage, daring motorcycle footage in neato-keeno but once again the bad boy (Williams) gets the gal (Carla Balenda).

The Painted Veil (34): Nice ending but Brent’s advances on Garbo feel forced. A build up to the love from happenstance would‘ve worked fine.

The Philadelphia Story (40): Kate’s not that likeable, harebrained haughty we loved so in Bringing Up Baby (38). She’s the other kind.

The Postman Always Rings Twice (46): Garfield plays out of his typical, strong, savvy persona into another unbelievable L/T super sucker for a fairly typical, scheming blonde (Turner). The ‘Crime Never Pay’s’ road-sign is posted early and makes for a long, painful drive (113m) on Sleeper Highway.

Two Guys From Milwaukee (46): Fun movie turns uncomfortable when once likable “Prince Henry (Dennis Morgan)” turns hound-dog (cad), made worse when the lady on point, Joan Leslie (“Connie”), proves full o’ fickle.

Vanessa, Her Love Story (35): Early talkie where the odd man out (Krueger) goes insane, then dies. That’s one sure way to break a triangle (ugh).

The Good Triangle

Amores Perros (00 / Mexican): Octavio y Susana y Ramiro.

An American Tragedy (31) (A Place In the Sun (52)): Triangulations are quite effective. In #1, Sydney’s smile, and other assets, captures your heart like the dark-haired radiance, among other assets, of rich girl Liz who “wow(s)” in #2 version. But on the whole, both drag out and sink themselves with identically absurd (prejudicial) courtroom boat re-enactments.

Black Narcissus (47): Nepalian nun noir.

Born Yesterday (50)

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (69)

Creature From the Black Lagoon (54): Another monster angle but this time a square that includes gill-man (x2). Though friendship replaced love, triangle took shape when Peter Benchley and Steve Spielberg turned Creature into Jaws (75).

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (88): Love (Caine) > con (Headly) < lust (Martin)

Doctor Zhivago (65): Ubiquitous “Yuri” is everywhere. Never know whose wife he’ll turn up in. First you admire, then hate him, cry and finally smile.

Fallen Angel (45)

Flowing Gold (40)

Gaslight (44)

Gone With the Wind (39): First you think of the greatest love triangle in cinema history (“Rhett > “Scarlett“ < “Ashley”), and you’d be right, then you remember big-eyed, big-hearted Melanie and the love rectangle (square) takes shape.

Great Day In the Morning (56): Love rectangle

Homecoming (48): Gutsy Gable, Turner and Baxter but Hodiak steals the show.

I Can Get It For You Wholesale (51)

I Know Where I’m Going! (45)

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (56): Most Pro-McCarthy (anti-Red) films were awkward & obvious (Dan diss on “faith”) but IOTBS is a masterpiece of metaphor & emotion with an ending all can embrace: Kevin > Dana < Pods.

It Happened One Night (34)

King Kong (33): Cabot > Wray < Kong

Knife in the Water (62 / Polish): Triangle like only Polanski could forge.

Love Affair (39)

Miller’s Crossing (90)

Mr. & Mrs. Smith (41)

Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (48): Husband, wife and lawyer.

Norma Rae (79)

Rain Man (88): “Charlie” > “Raymond” < “Dr. Bruner”

Raw Deal (48): Marsha Hunt, Claire Trevor and Dennis O’Keefe star.

Roman Holiday (53): Anglo-Roman fairytale (D.Trumbo) of checked and triangular love: Anne, Joe and Duty

Scarlet Street (45): “Lazy Legs” messed with the wrong bank clerk who had heart of an artist (Ed) but still had a Little Caesar (31) inside (Ouch!).

Song of Love (47)

Spartacus (60): “Spartacus” and “Varinia” and “Crassus”

Sudden Fear (52): Joan still rode crest of the wave churned up by Mildred Pierce (45), proving equal to the challenge anted-up by slinky Gloria.

The Best Years of Our Lives (46): Nobody ever scored on the rebound (“Marie” > “Fred” > “Peg”) like “Captain Fred.” And I don’t care that it’s just a movie, that closing scene with Dana and Teresa pulled together like magnets is pure love.

The Big Country (58): “Jim” and “Julie” didn’t know it, but they were squaring-off with “Pat” and “Steve” just after they did the “deed”…for “Old Muddy.”

The Big Sky (52)

The Blot (21 / silent)

The Earrings of Madame de… (53): Surname excluded to protect the innocent.

The Kid from Texas (39)

The Macomber Affair (47): Tale of a troubled twosome on African hunt with a guide in the middle. Self-discovery comes at the highest price while question of intent remains as open with Hemingway as it did with Theo Dreiser.

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (62)

The Man With the Golden Arm (55): Sinatra’s best as under-rated Eleanor bravely plays the part that no dishy dame wanted.

The Night of the Iguana (64): Maybe the most psychologically instructive and then ultimately heartfelt love triangle in cinema history.

The Pope of Greenwich Village: “Paulie” > “Charlie” < “Diane”

The Red Shoes (48): One a troubled triangle of personal love (“Boris” > “Vicky” < “Julian”), inter-locking with a 2nd that, for a time, formed a perfect triad of artistic expression in dance, composition and production. TRS is in that larger-than-admitted group of movies (100 +/-) in consideration for greatest all-time.

The Seventh Veil (45): Not surprising that the sensuous, soft Ann Todd (“Francesca”) could command a pentagon of love.

The Sheepman (58)

The Spy In Black (39)

The Third Man (49): “Holly” > “Anna” < “Harry”

Trader Horn (31)

Witness (85)

Working Girl (88): Two triangles for Melanie Griffith and Harrison Ford, one each for Sigourney Weaver and Alec Baldwin, I think. At this point I’m getting a little geometrically opposed, if you know what I mean.

Steven Keys
Photo credit: JamesCVanTrees, 1922, Mitchell-camera, wc.cca; pizza-triangles, 4.5.15, sunny-mama, wc; three-deer-illuminated, Haifa, German-colony, wc, Yuval-Y, 12.18.10, CC-GFDL; Cleopatra, 1963, 20CF, wc, R.Harrison-E.Taylor; Sabrina, 1954, Paramount, W.Holden-A.Hepburn, wc; DoctorZhivago, 1965, O.Shariff-J.Christie, wc, F.Young, MGM; ScarletStreet, cop-E.Robinson-J.Bennett, wc, UP, 1945; TheRedShoes, Ballerinailina, 1948, wc.cca, TheArchers, ADA; popcorn, T.Bresson, wc.cca, 6.15.16
Posted: 5.25.17, re-post 6.4 @ 6:36pm (photo) EST; Copyright © 2017


NFL17 Pre-Play: Triumvirate Intact, Patriots Grip On Power Remains Firm

1 Jun

Hail the New England Patriots’ Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft!

Never in the history of sport has a tightly-woven triad of money (owner), brain (coach) & brawn (player) so effectively organized and implemented an operation of success over such a long period of time and with so little apparent friction as have these three, compatible personalities.

Historically, the triumvirate has shown mixed results.

The ancient Romans, building blocks to Western civilization, triumvirated a couple of times (Caesar – Crassus – Pompey 60 BC / Antony – Octavian – Lepidus 43BC), without much claim to victory, save brief respites from war.

Jumping forward to the North American pro sport scene, you’d be hard-pressed to find the same owner, coach (mgr) and top player remaining together winning titles for anywhere near as long as the Foxborough Three have been doing it.

There were the Habs (1944-79), Yanks (1923-62), Celtics & Lakers, dynasties we’ve been talking about for generations but none a triumvirate of top-level talent staying intact for as prolonged a period as these Patriots powerbrokers.

There were the Lombardi – Green Bay teams where ownership (EC – BoD), coach and key offensive player in Bart Starr, the way under-rated Bart Starr, won lots o’ titles but in a much more concentrated timeline (1961 – 68). Condensed greatness is potent (70s Steelers / 80s 49ers) and terrific in its own way but not of the championship continuum on topic here and special too itself.

It’s in the NBA where is found the only real comparison to the Patriots trio-of-time-tested-title-takers, that being the San Antonio Spurs.

The trifecta of Peoria native and current owner Peter Holt (1993), coach Gregg Popovich (1996 >) and recently retired center and championship nexus in Tim Duncan (1997-16) garnered five NBA titles (’99, 03, 05, 07, 14) in sixteen seasons, though never back-to-back (NE: 04-05), requisite for the dynasty.

But that was then, this is now, and wow, the Foxborough Three are defending NFL champions again after their Swing Time SB51 OT win over the ‘gotta’ still be stunned’ Falcons, having made the grade even as their starry starter in Brady had to sit the first four on his Deflategate susp’n. The red, white & blue bunch have been setting and maintaining a standard of sport excellence unlikely to be matched for a long, long time. Never say never, right?

Detractors will bemoan, ‘Hey dingdong, don’t forget Spygate, you fool!’ Always class-acts, and never redundant, the bemoaner boys. Rules violations are wrong, some even bad, i.e., failing to cooperate with an investigation (destroying a phone). But the general public, those with no serious rivalry axe-to-grind or having little interest in promoting their own brand of team who seek ’The Greatest’ award (Cowboys, Steelers, Packers, 49ers), just won’t be too bothered by black-marks on a team’s historical ledger that involve spying or stretching of the rules, outside game-fixing and PEDs. Spys have helped us win wars. A bit off-track here but that’s how the more rationally-minded fan will think.

Can they keep it going? Not forever, they can‘t, as hard as that is to imagine in 2017. Someday Tom will hang up his cleats, Bill hand in his headset one last time and Rob just won’t care anymore. All three have accomplished just about everything they can in the business of football, personally and as a team.

With Tom and Bill both having set the new standard in SB tandem wins with five and the team having set the record for Super Bowl appearances last February in Houston with their ninth (9) (5-4) (Pitt – Dallas – Denver all at eight (8)), about the only achievement unattained is to match and then surpass the Steelers league leading six (6) victories in the Big Game.

But as long as Brady stays healthy and the Foxborough Triumvirate keeps itself amused, an NFL bound to get more amusing, and lengthy, if not better, with Raja Goodell’s kow-tow in relaxing celebration rules, Pats should keep winning.

If you’re expecting to read here roster depth-chart chatter, draft break-downs and musings on New England’s 2017 schedule, forget it. Trust, in Belichick & Company’s judgment and future performance, has never been more earned.

Besides, who’s gonna’ stop ‘em? Anyone in the AFC?

Ben’s a trooper but needs sideline help; Denver & Houston have D but the Os are iffy; Colts & Titans have Os but Ds are doubtful; Raiders Las Vegas engagement came at a bad time for a still maturing Carr; Harbaugh & Flacco know how but is owner listening; KC will play out the string with Reid & Smith; Miami has a good QB in Tannehill but no good game-plan and Cincy, well, they’re Cincy.

In the weaker NFC the Cards turned conundrum; Wilson has D but needs a plan from Pete, not protest (CK); Rodgers needs a run-buddy and a D; Saints showed spunk late; Bucs are rising; Cats didn’t claw back in 2016; Eli is locked-in (‘20); Cousins may’ve peaked and that leaves Atlanta who need to shake off the shame.

Maybe it’s like those other eras with one, or two, dominant clubs, Pack in the 60s, Pitt – Dallas in 70s, 49ers in the 80s: Until the big dog (NE) loses its bite, everyone keeps focusing on the leader of the pack, tripping over their tail at the worst possible times. Course, having a defense that can close the deal is key, its absence to continue to be the biggest issue for most teams in 2017.

But in every NFL season there is the unexpected, that turnaround team where everything begins to click (Falcons / Raiders 2016-17), or sustained success sprouts from where no special tillage had been undertaken (Dallas draft).

As long as Robert Kraft, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick remain together in good spirits and keep “calm(ing) the envious spirit” in those sporadic challenges to their predominance, efforts that will require a charmed season aided in no small part by a capricious Sporting God set (See; Carolina ‘15 – Dallas ‘16), this 21st century will remain the Patriots Period, period.

Steven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo credit: NFL-wikiproject, wc.cca, Ixnay-Beao; Belichick-Kraft-Kerry, wc, US-Department-of-State, 4.25.15; T.Brady, wc, K.Allison, 8.28.09; W.Wood, Topps, 1970.
Posted: 6.1.17 @ 2:13p EST, edit 6.26; Copyright © 2017

Relax Brady, Anti-Hero’s a Better Look

3 Aug

He’s face of the NFL, reigning Super champ QB with the GQ smile and model wife. But lately, Tom’s been taking more punches on the chin than a Pacquiao – Mayweather fisticuff. Hagler v Hearns (85) it was not, but then, not many are.

Deflategate just won’t fade away.

And now it’s taken on a Rose-Mary Woods feel (d.2005), she of Watergate infamy, having been the personal secretary to President Richard Nixon before and during the scandal. She took responsibility for erasing 5 minutes of a suspicious 18 minute gap in a White House tape subject to the Senate inquiry.


NFL Commissioner, veritable Vice-Principal and CBA-approved appellate judge Roger Goodell handed down his decision on Tuesday to maintain Tom Brady’s 4g susp’n for what he and investigator Ted Wells believe was a “more probable than not” likelihood (?) that the Patriots QB knowingly partook in a “scheme” to deflate game balls (AFCC15) and then “obstructed” the inquiry by having an assistant destroy his cellular phone just prior to an interview with Wells who’d sought it’s contents.

Tom, like Woods, tabbed “Stretch” by media for myriad of machine maneuvers required to pull-off her claims (Wikipedia), explains his own act was not malice but mere coincidence as he had a habit of destroying phones upon purchasing a new model which he claims was necessary due to a functionality issue.

Needing a new phone just as Wells needed to see the old phone is a timing that Ms. “Elaine Benes” might’ve called one “BIG coincidence (Seinfeld).” Yeeeeah.

Some believe Brady a liar on this matter and take it further in calling him (and his team (Spygate)), a cheater. Hater hyperbole? Beyond a reasonable doubt.

Others cut Tom some terrific slack.

There are any number of valid, benign reasons that one would destroy a cell phone apart from skullduggery, i.e., intentional destruction of potential evidence, even with such poor timing as was Tom‘s.

For one, a reasonable All-American need for privacy. Yanks taught the world.

But privacy too has taken it on the chin of late, especially and appreciably so since the 9-11 attacks (See; NSA, etc.). And it’s not just from Uncle Sam.


Private sector boasts a growing disregard for the privacy right which sports a pretty wicked swell from blows like the national lynch-mob that throttled racially-paranoid but dementia’d 81-yr old former Clippers owner & ‘escort’ imbiber, Don Sterling, and the recent invasion of Planned Parenthood’s zone of privacy by intruders-with-agenda.

Which makes “Privacy Notification” I receive in the mail on a monthly basis from my credit card companies all the more weirder and suspicious. Thanks, Congress.

And then it’s possible Brady held a principled belief that the requestor (Wells et al) is not entitled, under CBA and / or due process, to access his cell phone.

Best advice in such circumstance might’ve been to hold said phone in abeyance and let a magistrate rule before said destruction. But rulings can go haywire and then where would the privacy-seeker be, everything exposed to inquiring minds or, in those famous words of “Varmint Cong (Caddyshack),” “Uh-oh!”

In addition, there’s a skewed, somewhat sorted nature to the whole Deflategate thing, a witch-hunt feel that stems from the following:

1) Parties purportedly initiating the inquiry (IND / BAL) have axes to grind;

2) Rules are rules but in this case the NFL policy on ball-flation was in somewhat primitive in stage preceding the hubbub while the in-game referees oversight of said balls was clearly lacking, almost, one could argue, inviting in it’s nature.

3) An investigator who employs easiest of standards (“more probable than not (51%)),” yet uses “likely” in couching report in an air of clear & convincing;

4) League’s manner has appeared indifferent to DP in inquiry and review.


NFLPA is championing Brady’s case and filed grievance in a Minneapolis federal court last Wednesday (transferred NYC) to challenge Executive VP of Football Operations Troy Vincent’s 4g susp’n he handed down earlier in the year and upheld by Roger.

But take heart, Tommy, there are silver-linings in that dark Deflategate cloud staying stationary overhead.

Firstly, most Americans are tired of having their heroes deconstructed, folded, spindled and media-mutilated in for profit, politics, prejudice or combo thereof.

Second: You can take solace in knowledge that you’ve been granted full (pending) membership in the All-American Anti-Hero Club. It’s a good thing.

The anti-hero has some great qualities, real triumphs, but has an Achilles’ heel, chink in the armor that sends some folks running for either the rosary or the critics’ club. They are uncommon figures who, upon closer inspection, prove human and fail that false standard of perfection to which we hold our heroes, i.e., JFK, MLK and Audie Murphy.


One might argue the United States (1783) and it’s Charter ((C)1791) were created by a whole lotta’ anti-heroes that would’ve swung high from “white oak tree(s)” if not for the un-paid, poorly fed but stout Continentals, Washington’s out-maneuver of Britain the Earl Cornwallis at Yorktown (’81) and Lafayette’s compatriots, le Français.

That group includes Tom Jefferson, the man who started public education (UV) and penned the Declaration of Independence, the newest public enemy #1A, along with Old Hickory Andy Jackson (#1B), of the politically correct bully bunch (PCB).

My question to them: How do you all get here, if not from there? Spontaneous civil rights? “How conveeeeenient (Carvey),” for the catty, callous & closed-off.

The anti-hero club is non-sectarian and shows no preference to age, gender, era, income-level and has membership that’s both factual and fictionally-inspired.


“Thracian dog (McGraw’s tag on Kirk Douglas in the 1960 film)” sent shock-waves throughout the Roman Republic, yet, to slaves who heard-tell, he gave hope.

Robin Hood

“Baron of Locksley” was a hood with flair for robbery, so you can’t classify hero. The legend says he shared his loot with the poor of Sherwood Forest and vicinity, making him an early proponent of wealth redistribution. Any friend of Olivia de Havilland (E. Flynn) has gotta’ be A-OK, i.e., a bit of alright.

Andrew Jackson

He’s taken more flak than a B-17 over 40s Berlin. Nothing’s free and when he brought democracy to DC the spoils system was part-in-parcel. It persists today (lobbyism / quotas). Trail of Tears was a stain on our soul but without this first commoner in the White House who bested hostile Indians, British invaders and greedy bankers, the aristocrats (shareholders) might have the last 20%.


John Garfield and Anne Revere

Stalwarts of 30s & 40s stage and screen, both stood brave against tyranny that was House Un-American Activities Committee, refused to name names and were black-listed as most America quivered. The Red Scare destroyed 100s of creative lives in a political effort to win power and snuff diversity. Like spoils system it lives today in corporate appeasement and homogenization, forcing conformity that stifles freedom of thought, artistic expression and does a cut & paste job on history. Still scary stuff.

“Pvt. John Reese (Steve McQueen, Hell is For Heroes (‘62))

When movie fans talk today about great war cinema, recency rules with movies like Fury (’14), Saving Private Ryan (’98), Glory (’89), American Sniper (’14), maybe The Pianist (’02). But classics hold their own with the likes of The Longest Day (’62), Platoon (’86), Apocalypse Now (‘79), The Deer Hunter (’78), All Quiet on the Western Front (’30), The Bridge on the River Kwai (‘58), Cross of Iron (‘77) and “Hell.” You’d not want to bar-be-que with the wired-tight Mr. “Reese” in peacetime, but in a trench, he’s Silver Star.

“Sgt. Stryker (John Wayne, Sands of Iwo Jima (‘49))

You’d not think the “Duke” anything less than straight hero-type, and you’d be right 95% of the time. But there were roles (The Searchers (‘59)) where you wondered if John had both oars in the water. Marital discord on homefront and abrasive leadership imbue Stryker with anti-, the stand-up-guy scene with juke-girl / mother and baby is ‘Grade A’ hero and should move you tears.


“Jackie Brown (Pam Grier, Jackie Brown (‘97))

“Jackie” won’t make Condy Rice’s list of female role models but the ‘smart as a whip’ stewardess would get my vote for NFL Commish. She made a bad call with Stranger-Danger man “Ordell (Jackson),” but when she confides in smitten bondsman “Max Cherry (Forster)” about “starting over,” she speaks to everyone who’s reached middle-age and starts to scramble.

Brett Favre

“Mississippi” was bigger than Vince Lombardi in the formerly progressive State of Wisconsin, then Thompson & Board showed him the door, handed him his hat and he went to the other side (Vikings). Big surprise. He almost took Norsemen back to the promised land but got over-undered by the Saints, then had phone trouble of his own (Sterger). But Brett’s an endorsement machine, living the good life and back in fold (Packers’ HOF).

Jose Canseco

If Jose could stop whining about his bold decision to blow whistle on PED cheats and playing to the camera, he’d have his anti-hero club card in his good hand.


“Frank Galvin (Paul Newman, The Verdict (‘82))

Like John (The Breaking Point (‘50)), Paul specialized as the anti-hero (Cool Hand Luke (’67)). Alchie ambulance-chaser turns his steed around, takes on cowardice & corruption and becomes a crusader on white charger.

“The Bad News Bears (‘76)

For anyone who’s ever muffed a can o‘ corn, got eaten-up by a grounder, made an errant throw or whiffed with bases full, they can appreciate this original fairytale that is inspirational staple for kids and adults alike. Mötley Crüe’s got nada on this bunch of misfits turned teammates and players. Entire cast, including Tatum O’Neal, Joy Van Patten and Vic Morrow is superb with Matthau (“Buttermaker”) and Haley (“Kelly Leak”) as the anti-heroes.

Randy Moss

Couldn’t have a Brady anti-hero list without TB’s battery mate, Moss. Maybe only Rodman affected play and emotions as did this incomparable receiver. From the get-go in debut with Vikes (‘98), Randy was uncommon as a game-changer and persona, vacillating unpredictably from spirited & strong to lackadaisical & surly. His pantomime moon of GB royalty was a creative high (’05), his snooty heart-stab of Minnesotans in brief 2010 return was a low.

Well, there you have it, some of the heavy hitters in the anti-hero club.

It’s not a bad place to be: better endorsements, better parties and I’d not be surprised if they found better brokers, too (more money, more fun).

Besides, if anti-hero status keeps you from having to shill for pizza money, Tom, it‘s gotta‘ be good, eh (See; Papa & Peyton)? Sorry, Manning, I’m off the gluten.


Steven Keys
Macro Sport
Photo credits: Brady, 10.11.9, wc.cca, J.Beall; Brady, 12.18.11, wc, J.Beall; Silver, 11.21.14, wc.cca, K.Allison; Vincent, 7.13.12, careerupdate, wc.cca; Lafayette, 1780, Peale, wc.cca; Garfield, 1947, Gentlemen’s, wc; Grier, 2.13.12, CFC, wc; Newman, MF-WI, 1968, wc, Peterson; macroeconomo, lamcasinoroyal, 2011,wc.
Posted: 8.3.15 @ 3:35pm; edit @ 7:08 EST
Copyright © 2015

MLB15 Chin Music: The Perfect Game That Wasn’t

6 Jul



It’s a rare bird in this wild we call life, but it is out there, if you‘ve the inclination and eyes to spot it.

The varieties are many.

The following are a sampling of some of the perfects this watcher has spotted:

The perfect rain: warm, windless, not heavy but a good soak (‘bow optional);
Snowfall: Big flakes, 3-5, 24° still as Sunday and seen while snug inside;
Summer blooms: zinnia (color-burst) and gardenia (smells like Trix®);
Revolutionaries: Emiliano Zapata (1879-19) and Spartacus (111.BC – 71);
Perfect gams: Ginger Rogers, “zowie!;”
......Crawford.Rain.1932.wc.cca.thmbPerfect Hollywood profile: Joan Crawford;
Perfect British film noir: They Made Me a Fugitive (47);
Perfect American film noir: Murder, My Sweet (44);
Perfect comedies: Midnight Run (88) & The Party (68);
Perfect sporties: National Velvet (44) & Bull Durham (88);
Perfect ‘stick-it-to-the-man’ movie: The Verdict (82);
Summer cine: Caddyshack (80) & American Graffiti (73);
Tragic figures: Vincent Van Gogh & Bobby Driscoll;
Anti-hero: Steve McQueen, Hell is For Heroes (62);
Star-crossed romance: Waterloo Bridge (40) and Bonnie and Clyde (67);
......Clemente.wc.cca.thmbSaturday sandwich: peanut butter & bacon (crispy);
70s voices: Karen Carpenter & Gordon Lightfoot;
Gamers: Tinkers, Evers, Chance & 1907 Chicago Cubs;
B-ball rivalry: Magic Johnson (LAL) v. Larry Bird (BOS);
Baseball player: Roberto Clemente;
Baseball pitcher: Christy Mathewson;
Pick-up gun: Rossi M720;
Sedan: 2007 Honda Accord®;
Hearty casserole: Ore-Ida® Tater Tot®, cooked crisp. Oh…my…gosh.

Perfection can be grand but can be taken it a bit…too…far.

Those perfect 10s judges hung on the gymnastics of Nadia Comăneci in 1976 rocked the Olympics. Imagine the hubbub today. Nadia’s routines were sublime but maxing the math don’t leave much room to maneuver: 10.5?

.......Whitmore&Garner.wc.8.19.77.NBC.thbPerfection, more precisely, “pretty,” was the norm in the classic Rod Serling Twilight Zone, “Number 12 Looks Just Like You.” After counseling & cajoling from Richard Long and early super-model Suzy Parker, Collin Wilcox opts for conformity to become #8 model (“Valerie”). “Life is pretty, life is fun, I am all and all is one!”

A favorite episode of The Rockford Files stars Tom Selleck in one of his early TV roles as the dashing but dumb-lucky private eye, “Lance White (“White on White and Nearly Perfect”).” James Garner and the writing staff composed it as only Cherokee Productions could:

A ‘Lance White’ admirer: “He’s just…perfect.”
Jim: “Yeah, it’s his only flaw.”

And it’s been a centuries long custom that a Persian rug is woven intentionally to include an flaw into the weave so as to, in Muslim belief, not offend the only force permitted to bestow perfection in all existence, that being God (Allah).

......Ruth.Culver.1916.421k.wc.thbMost believe the called Creator endowed people a mind to not only delineate perfection wherever they find it, i.e. the killing (living) machine that is the shark, but to design it as we see fit.

In truth, we’ve got perfection coming out of our ears.

One example in sport: baseball’s designation of the so-called perfect (pitched) game:

“An official perfect game occurs when a pitcher (or pitchers) retires each batter on the opposing team during the entire course of a game, which consists of at least nine innings. In a perfect game, no batter reaches any base during the course of the game (mlb.com).”

There’ve been 23 perfect games in MLB history dating back to it’s birth in 1876.

Lee Richmond of Worcester tossed the first on June 12, 1880 (1-0), quickly followed by another just five days later when Providence Grays’ John Montgomery Ward pitched his own perfect outing on June 17, 1880 (5-0)). The most recent perfect picture was painted by Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Seattles (Mariners) on August 15, 2012 (1-0 v TEX), the third of three in that season alone (See: M. Cain (SF) & P. Humber (16-23)).

Today we’re closing in on the 100 year anniversary of one of the most curious pitching occurrences in major league annals.

......Ruth.wc.1933.Goudey.thbIt didn‘t make the official perfection roster but calls attention because it reminds us of the strict standards that baseball and the perfection thing both require, as well as the man who starred in it’s brief opening act and who made a quick and ignominious exit, stage strange.

It happened on June 23, 1917.

The place: The Hub City at the still spanking new Fenway Park (b.1912);
The teams: Red Sox (H.Frazee) and Washington Senators (C.Griffith (10%)); and
The principals: BoSox southpaw starter, George “Babe” Ruth, Boston reliever, Ernie Shore and AL umpire Clarence “Brick“ Owens (b.Milwaukee).

The gist: Ruth, in his last full season as a moundsman (and though future Sultan a’ Swat would surprisingly ding a mere two taters in 142 PAs in ‘17), would face just one bats-man in his brief outing, issuing a free-pass before being tossed by umpire Owens for excessive arguing and, as some recounted, hostile intent. Not exactly the Bambino legend we‘ve come to appreciate.

A closer examination of Ruth’s pitching line suggests he was likely off base.

Though a two-time 20-game winner and post-season stalwart (WS: 3-0, 0.87), his walk-to-SO ratio was always iffy and grew steadily worse: 85-112 (‘15), 118-170, 108-128, 49-40, 58-30 (’19). Benefit-of-the-doubt: umpire.

.....Shore.wc.1915.Harris.Ewing.thmbWith his hot-tempered starter hauled off in human handcuffs, BoSox mgr. Jack Barry turned to his other big man, righty Ernie Shore who was pretty spiffy himself in October (WS: 3-1, 1.82) and was 48-28 in three seasons through 1917 (13w).

What happened in the next one hour plus was…unexpected.

Red Sox took care of the initial walkee after Ernie’s first offering in a failed stolen base attempt. It was a good omen for the Papagos (beaneaters).

He then proceeded to set down 26 consecutive Senators, issuing no hits, no balks, no walks, no past-ball nor error-induced base-runners for a 4-0 Red Sox victory and a perfect outing.

Shore had pitched perfectly, but not a perfect game (See: above).

Unfortunately for the man from East Bend, North Carolina, whose 13 wins in ‘17 would be his last productive season, the official line, while initially tagging as perfecto, would eventually term the performance a combined, no-hit shutout win for Ruth, Shore and Boston. Not too shabby, but a no-no ain’t necessarily perfect and then sharing it is, well, kinda’ like kissing your sister’s very pretty but very married best girl-friend.

Baseball is baseball and rules are rules.

Ernie’s career would peter-out not long after, heading to rival NYY for a brief 2-year run to pave the way for his colorful cohort Ruth (’20 (1895-48)) whose name came to be synonymous with every towering shot (Ruthian), sans Statcast, as he embarked on what’d become the most memorable life in our sporting lore, a legend that grows bigger each year with the tainted ‘tistical tallies that today populate the scene.

But to Mr. Shore (1891-80), Red Sox rooters and those who drink in life like it were a long, cool glass of perfect brew, they’ll reflect on June 17, 1917 as a day of perfection, for what constitutes perfect is clearly in the eye of the beholder.

......canned cornSteven Keys
Can o’ Corn
Photo credits: Ruth, wc.cca, LoC, 1919; Ruth&Shore, LoC, Bain, wc; J.Crawford, Rain, MGM, 1932, wc; R.Clemente, wc; Whitmore&Garner, NBC, wc, 8.19.77, TRF; Ruth, wc, 1916, Culver; Ruth, 1933, Goudey, wc; Shore, wc, 1915, Harris-Ewing; canned-corn.
Posted: 7.6.15 @ 12:09 am; edit 11:26am EST;
Copyright © 2015

NBA15: Does Curry Rate With 70s Rick Barry?

25 May


Errol Flynn and Hedy Lamarr had it, Sidney Poitier radiates it today.

Bear Bryant and Vince Lombardi were instilled with it, before they began shaping minds and winning national titles.

Politicians Barbara Jordan, Juan and Eva Peron, Huey Long, FDR, John Kennedy, Teddy Roosevelt and Abe Lincoln all had it.

Rebels George Washington, Emiliano Zapata, Mahatma Gandhi and, I’d guess, Spartacus (Thracian) were imbued with the quality of presence.

Artistic performers Maya Plisetskaya (d. 5.2.15) and Rita Moreno have it.

Baseball men Roberto Clemente and Walter Alston both shared the trait.

And all the major prophets are reported to have had it.

If those figures don’t quite explain it for you, maybe you caught Kelly’s Heroes (‘70) this Memorial weekend. Telly Savalas character, Sergeant “Big Joe,” he had presence, and how.

What is presence?

It might be described as the ability to command a respect, a pointed attention, admiration or even awe from people in the room because of past deeds or present mannerism.

It can be conveyed and perceived by one’s physical appearance, a personality, outspoken or unassuming, and even something as simple as a distinctive laugh or one telling act.

Dignity and leadership are usually concomitant but, unlike grace, attribute with which one must be born (See; “Mr. Pitt (Seinfeld))”), a presence can be acquired.


Golden State Warriors point guard and reigning Assc’n MVP, Wardell Stephen Curry II might have presence. We don’t really know that for sure, not yet. We’ll find out soon enough.

The pathway for Oakland’s NBA rep to the 2015 NBA Finals has not exactly been the gauntlet from Hades. In fact, in recent memory, I can’t recall an easier road to the championship for either Eastern or Western Conference playoff combatants.

Be that as it may, Warriors are on cusp of their first Finals in 40 years (‘75), up on the Rockets, 3-0, and will hoist the O’Brien if they can close it and then meet the challenge that is likely to be the Cleveland Cavaliers, who’re besting Atlanta by the same 3-0 margin and poised to make the Finals even as their #2 scorer and top rebounder Kev Love went out early in playoff action with a dislocated shoulder (R1 v BOS).

That ‘74-75 Warriors’ team (48-34) took the Walter Brown title trophy by sweeping the Bullets 4-0, a DC squad with names like Unseld, Truck Robinson, Haskins, Riordan and the “Big E,” Elvin Hayes. No slouches by any means.

GSW had top talent too, with names like Keith “Jamal” Wilkes, Clifford Ray, Butch Beard, man-on-the-boards George Johnson, and a guy who most definitely evoked a presence. His name, Richard “Rick” Francis Dennis Barry III.


Rick was a 6-7, 200+ forward out of the University of Miami who handled ball like a guard: passing, driving to basket and shooting mid-to-long jumpers, before the advent of the 3-pointer (‘79). A 4-time ABA and 8-time NBA All-Star, Barry won ROY honors in 1966, was MVP of the 1975 Finals and is a member of the NBA Hall of Fame.

Intensity and an unabashed drive to win would’ve described basketball legend Barry to a tee. Compete, multi-skilled player, those work, too.

Not a particularly gregarious fellow from a fans perspective, or maybe his teammates, either, Rick bounced around numerous teams before finally settling back in San Fran from 1972-78, finishing his playing career in Houston (’78-80) and then heading into the broadcast booth where he showed the same devotion to his new trade.

But Barry was a winner and made few excuses. Frank and too the point, the man from New Jersey held himself to the same high standard he did co-workers. As memorable as his shooting touch and lightening quick reflexes was his trademark underhand free-throw shooting style that served him well (.893 (SC: .900)).

How do the two stars stack-up?

Steve’s size (6-3, 185+) make him a true guard. Whether on point or shooting will depend on the game’s flow which often means he’s launching 3-pointers at will.

Barry (14y): 25 pts (35.6 ‘67), 5 ast (6.2 ‘75), 7 rbs (8.4 ‘73), .456 fg% (.464 ‘75).
Curry (6y): 21 pts (24 ’14), 7 ast (8.5 ’14), 4 rbs (4.5 ’09), .471 fg% (.487 ‘15).


Of those figures (rounded), one may surprise in comparative field-goal percentages.

With the long-distance 3PA you might expect today’s b-baller to have a lower %. But keep in mind, most attempts are either half-defended or not at all (foul on a 3PA and it’s a possible 4-pt‘er). So if you get good at it, like Stephen, as was his coach, Steve Kerr in his playing days (UA/ CHI /SA), it’s almost a freebie.

In the less tangible, harder to quantify measure of contribution to team success, phrases like heart & soul and capable of ‘carrying on his back’ would apply most readily to both men’s on-court play.

Barry had a couple losing, a few very successful and most campaigns around 10 wins > .500. Steve’s in his 6th year, the first 3 where he’s had a new coach in each, the losses out-numbered the wins nearly 2-to-1. As the Warriors’ worm began to turn (‘12-13), the wins have piled-up, even before coach Kerr’s arrival (‘14).

There’s no debating Steve’s a “smooth operator.” Not in the Sade sense (dude sounded a cad), but a guy who’s a cool customer and succeeds by keeping emotions in check. His present popularity trends so high it rivals Dick Sherman’s for the hearts of Junior America, made only more certain by his heading the VORP sabr-stat category (basketball-reference.com). Ugh.

Rickster, on the other hand, he tended to rub folks the wrong way.

But then top-tier competitors don’t often make a whole lot a’ friends and will not infrequently foster animosity & jealously in the bushel baskets (See; T.Brady).


Steve didn’t hurt his starry status with celebrity – social media followers by his post-game (HOU) press conference earlier last week when he just happened to bring his adorable little daughter on stage. Why, I don’t know, but it was memorable.

Even though the jobs are in most respects worlds apart, given that the photo-ops took place at times when the President was in relaxation mode, if that’s possible with a Commander-in-Chief (it appeared to be so), the Curry & Cutie-pie photo tandem (her peering from underneath table) was somewhat reminiscent of the movies and photoplay of JFK and his kids (Caroline & John-John) taken in the big Oval (’61-63), a name apropos, given that particular circumstance: oval (office), ovary, ovum (egg).

Awards and cute won’t by themselves satisfy the Sporting Gods.

If and when they do qualify for Finals (Ain‘t over ‘til it‘s over, will say Rockets & Hawks), Curry, Coach Kerr & Co. will have tall task ahead in facing what again looks to be the Eastern representative in a surprisingly, or not so (See; above), resilient Cleveland Cavaliers club.

The 3-point Kid vs Mr. Strength, LeBron James, would offer a curious contrast in scoring styles.

Key categories: steals, free-throws and rebounding, with Love out, all edge GSW, while turnovers, with focus on both teams top ball-handlers in James and Curry, are a wash, as both cough it up plenty. The same could be said for team defense.


Both franchises rank around the middle (“a C, not falling behind, not showing off (Costanza)”). In b-ball, unlike the gridiron and net-minding (ice & grass), score stoppage is not as clear an indicator of prowess when you consider half of the top-ten teams in total points allowed ranking were poor threats to championize.

So, between the two (GSW / CLE), who’d be most likely to hoist the O’Brien?

The numbers, a 1st-year coach in Kerr who’s near as popular as Curry and who, at this juncture, has quickly taken on the wily rep formerly possessed of his playing-days mentor (Jackson) and that LeBron is without that game-in, game-out multi-skilled cohort on which he’s come to rely (See; Wade-Love), all say Golden State.

But the Sporting Gods can be mercurial.

I wouldn’t say they’ve got a soft spot for James (2-3 Finals), but Steve’s fellow Akron native does seem imbued with a dynamic this post-season that looks, arguably, not just more determined but skillful than ever. Oh yeah, LeBron’s got proven presence, too, and, like Mr. Curry, does not get rattled easy.

1975: That’s the last time Golden State was Finalized and then took title. Forty years. That the Cavaliers have never won an NBA championship probably works them no more a motivation. Both teams and towns really want that trophy.

Gerald Ford, former VP under the resigned Dick Nixon, occupied the White House that year, Foolish Pleasure was running for roses, ABA was in it’s last season before ‘merger’ and inflation and Vietnam’s fall to the Communists were top topics in the news which was disseminated by radio, print, broadcast TV and Ma Bell, decades before integrated circuits, mobility and digitalization dominated our lives.

Rick Barry paled in popularity to Stephen Curry, but Rick earned himself a ring and a deserved place among basketball‘s immortals.

Help take a title, Stephen, and you’ll have presence too, the kind that lasts all…year…long.


Steven Keys
Straight Shooter
Photo credits: S.Curry, 3.2.11, K.Allison, wc.cca; Curry, wc, 2.24.15, K.Allison; R.Barry, GSW, 1972, wc; Barry, SportingNews, 1976, wc; S.Kerr, 2.24.15, wc, K.Allison; L.James, wc, 1.25.15, E.Drost; StraightShooter, produce-label.
Posted: 5.25.15 @ 12:21; edit 11:57am EST

Note: This article is dedicated on Memorial weekend to the men and women in the American and allied armed forces and support units who have in the past or are presently serving Stateside, in the air, sea or foreign lands around the globe.