Read Everything That Dunks Must Converge

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by Bryan Harvey

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To their own devices: Pablo Larrain's 'The Club'

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Fries & Ketchup: Mandela and Other Things

April 14, 2014

Catching up ont hings that probably could've been discussed at a greater length here or have been discussed at a greater length elsewhere:





Films:
-Mandela arrived in the mail last week from Netflix. Coincidentally, last week was also the week I taught Mandela's "Rivonia Trial Speech" to my AP students. Reading the speech, which I highly suggest doing here, renders the film's Mandela a rather pale shade of a man too complex for a mere two hours and nineteen minutes. I don't fault the writers, the producers, the director, nor the actors. Simply too much material was crammed into too little space, and that's probably not any one individual's fault. However, allowing the man's life to breathe at a more measured pace would have allowed the politics of the ANC to be placed in the forefront, as well as the true strain placed on Mandela's personal life by his political life. Instead, everything feels constructed within the space of a tiny jail cell, which doesn't work for a subject whose persona was always greater than flesh and blood; metal bars and hard stones. In a way that is not nearly as devastating, the film mimics the white South African government's handling of the controversial figure by compressing and reducing him into a much more palatable flavor of cinematic sheen.

In my mind, the film should have at least been a trilogy (his militancy, his time in prison, his time as President), even though Mandela's life offers enough material for a full blown mini-series in the manner that HBO delivered David McCullough's John Adams. Such space would have also given audiences the opportunity to see Idris Elba push himself for the duration of the event, a la Benicio Del Toro in parts one and two of Che; a film project whose subject may have been less worthy than Mandela of such time and scope


ANC call to arms.
All of that said, a unique and possibly troublesome juxtaposition exists between film goers' willingness to view The Hunger Games' fictional dystopian future and their willingness to avoid Mandela's colonial dystopian past. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire grossed over $420 million, while Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom grossed just over $8.3 million. Now, admittedly, Catching Fire is a superior film, and yet isn't it more than debatable whether the movie martyrdom of Katniss is truly $412 million greater than the onscreen version of Mandela's life and times? Needless to say, this discrepancy between consuming fictionalized fear over real pain occurred in the year of Mandela's death as much as it occurred in the wake of a Young Adult reading craze. We, as consumers, should probably talk about that, if not out loud, then maybe in a fleeting thought to ourselves where we assess the true value of escapism and what conversations we as audience goers lose out on when we so readily run away from what's real.

Alright, sermon over. Back to sports.

Links:

-David Schoenfield says what every Atlanta Brave fan has at least felt for years and has probably even said for years about Dan Uggla. I had hoped Uggla would display some of his former might at the plat after eye surgery towards the end of last season, but that hasn't happened.

-In a similar vein to Schoenfield's article on Uggla, this SLC Dunk piece on Marvin Williams is more true than I also want to admit. At least we'll always have these memories where Marvin is forever young.

-This surreal BallerBall piece offers a unique take on advanced stats. This BallerBall piece solves everything. This BallerBall piece I wrote just prior to the UK-UCONN championship game.

-Oh, and this Steve McPherson piece on the Spurs, David Foster Wallace, and Wes Anderson over at Hardwood Paroxysm. McPherson also wrote the first BallerBall piece I mentioned in this post, so I guess he's somewhat featured here (or elsewhere).

Music: 
A year after its release, I've been listening to a lot of The Strokes' Comedown MachineAnd I like it. I like it a lot.

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