Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Fall = Football

It's fall again people. Although I love Pumpkin Pie, Cookies, Muffins and Doughnuts, I love eating them while watching FOOTBALL.  I do love the "rest of the world's" sense of the word but it is Our Nation's favorite pastime that is my favorite spectator sport overall.  Even College's big end of the season game edged out my World Champion Giants playing in the World Series in viewers, even if you counted two baseball games over one football.

Let me set give you my Sundays growing up. 9:00 A.M. Church. Got home at 12:10 PM or a little after judging on how long my Mom would talk with her friends. When we got home I would click on the Tube.
Only situations under which football could be watched on sunday:
1. My mother had things to do NOT in the family-room-adjacent kitchen where the TV lived.
2. Dad was tired, as he often was cause he always worked very hard at all hours to provide for us 8 kids. He would sit in the easy chair and watch with me.
3. I would go across the street to my best friend, What's (subject of which will be in a an epic blog soon) house.
4. Like number 2 if What aka Marylyn, also my mom's best friend (a kind of odd friend-triangle) came over and she would turn on the TV even on the off chance that I forgot.

OTHERWISE my loving mother would want it off so we would not "vege" and could do boring sunday things like write missionaries letters, read the Ensign, contemplate life or walk around the lake next to our house. (Things I've grown into as I've grown up which makes prioritizing on Sunday much more difficult.)

So, with these two venues for professional football watching, there were perks to both. What played football as a little girl growing up in East Oakland in the 1950s. There's a great picture she's got as a child standing in the street that I've imposed my vision of her as the only girl playing football with all the tough boys.  So in her little Football Haven, we would enjoy such staples as Ruffles and Lipton Onion Dip, Milkshakes or just plain Ice Cream (never really plain: Chocolate and Butterscotch Syrup, fudge, nuts but never maraschino cherries, blech.), popcorn with real butter poured on, and always plenty of orange juice and chocolate milk to wash it down. There were plush seats that changed over time starting with this grey corduroy chair then later a nice pleather love seat recliner. The TV would get larger overtime too. When I go home NOW, it is a considerably large HD and has since ruined me for standard definition football.

At home was still nice although we had to get all the goodies for ourselves. There was a bevy of these in the garage/Costco pantry.  It would be the same if What managed her way over as she often did waiting for sunday dinner which we all ate together very often. She often would bring the Chips and Dip with her which would make it that much more lovely. The best part of watching football on sundays was watching with my pop. As with many traits I have inherited from my father, one is my affinity and the excitement that comes to me as I watch football.  He also would watch football all Saturday if he had the chance and over time I got heavier and heavier into the college game seeing why he found it much more exciting than professional. Also, his love for my BELOVED cougars as he, my mother and three of my sisters attended there. We watched some incredible QBs, number 8 Steve Young and then Ty Detmer and on to Steve Sarkisian as with receivers like Austin Collie. Sadly we haven't seen many great QBs since, especially after the horrible display in the Holy War last Saturday. But you'll find no fairweathers here. In fact, when Dad would watch and see a great or horrible play, he would get very excited or express his discomfort. Among my favorite expressions were, "For Pete's Sake!" "Son of Gun!" and my brother and I's favorite: "I love it, I love it, I love it!" At first we would reminisce having at my father's expense but I have since realized that I get excited in a very similar manner today.

The NFL is what we got most excited about because it was something people would most talk about and seemed to be more popular than college growing up.  Our team, and I want to make this clear, was the Forty-niners BEFORE Young came to the team.  I grew up with the legacy names like Ronnie Lott, Randy CrossRoger Craig, Dwight ClarkJerry Rice and the famed Joe Montana. The amazing 16 - 80 connections were something of legend and we LOVED to watch again and again, especially  when Coach Seifert took the boys to 1988 and 1989 Super Bowl wins. When Steve Young came to town, you could imagine our family and all Mormon friends excitement with him come to the "home team." Steve Young made a great impression in his own right his southpaw connections to Rice time and time again surpassing even the Montana to Rice TD record. My favorite Young moment was "the catch II" to a certain number 81 who I loved for the couple seconds he stayed humble before he became an eyesore in the media.

Football is the greatest spectator sport of all time.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Cinematic Excellence: The Spaghetti Western

From the earliest silent movie we have had numerous of what have been called Westerns. These have been known as Cowboy flicks, and since before the first moving picture there were many stories shared and published about Lawmen, Bounty Hunters, Outlaws, Desperados and Injuns involving both heroic and antiheroic motifs.

The Duke's Legacy is a lengthy one but I find the westerns with this typecast actor to be as wimpy as his real name: Marion.  After watching the craziness of Tarantino's Sukiyaki Western Django I realized that I am not the only one that finds the Italians take on the western to be quite extraordinary.  Ironically "Sukiyaki" was made in Japanese and Western themes with Japanese Actors, while many Italian Westerns copied plots from Japanese classics like Yojimbo by Akira Kurosawa which was not an Italian exception with The Magnificent Seven obvious copy of the famed classic Seven Samurai These elaborate plotlines, the beautiful wide shots of the Hoyo de Manzanares or Tabernas Desert in Spain made to look like the South and Southwest United States in the late 19th century, the closeups of newfound prodigious actors such as Clint Eastwood, Franco Nero and Eli Wallach and the time-tested scores of composers like Ennio Morricone. He wasn't the first Italian to make memorable music set to western themes as you might see with one of my favorite and most renown composers, Giacomo Antonio Domenico Michele Secondo Maria Puccini.

Sergio Corbucci made his mark with the original Django starring Nero and had many exceptional westerns to come. Sergio Leone made an even greater mark with the No Name Trilogy in which Eastwood starred and later with Once Upon a Time in the West with Peter Fonda playing largely against type as villainous Frank. Although famous for their violence and testing the established film rating system in many countries, one can see the beauty of these films and their vision of the west.  When one watches these films it is hard not to accept these directors' view of a popular film theme as exceptional. I advise you, the reader, to start with Clint Eastwood's very first western, Leone's Fistful of Dollars, and you will see what I mean.