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Fierce Anticipation: January 9th – 11th


a blogumn by Ryan Dixon


The NFL Playoffs: The Pittsburgh Steelers vs. The San Diego Chargers

Three quick questions: Which NFL team has the best dynasty ever? Is responsible for the single greatest play in sports history? And has the most loyal fan base?

Answer: It’s not the San Diego Chargers.

While there is sadly not enough server space on FaN (or the entire web, for that matter) for me to tell you why the Pittsburgh Steelers are the Alpha and Omega of sports teams, I just want to share one piece of evidence with you in preparation for their AFC Divisional round game against the Chargers this Sunday:

Actual Pittsburgh site: Franco Harris, next to George Washington

Actual Pittsburgh site: Franco Harris, next to George Washington

Is there another city where the major regional theater’s yearly traditional production is not A Christmas Carol, but a one-man show about the hometown team’s late owner?  Highly doubtful. And if there is, it’s definitely not as rousing as The Chief, Gene Collier’s and Rob Zeller’s one-man show about the late and legendary Steelers founder Art Rooney, Sr., played, every year so far, by the almost equally legendary character actor Tom Atkins
(he of Maniac Cop fame). If you are ever in this great American city — and you should reserve at least one week per year to visit — and The Chief is playing, head downtown to the Pittsburgh Public Theater and see it. There isn’t 90 minutes anywhere that better captures the soul of a city.

And, for the one or two readers who may not be familiar with the most amazing play in sports history– dubbed “The Immaculate Reception”-– which, just like the Parisian woman forgetting her coat circuitously lead to Cate Blanchett’s character getting hit by a car in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, allowed the 1970’s Steelers to become the greatest dynasty in football history (a record four Super Bowl titles in only six years) and thus forge the most loyal fan base in sports, well, let me pop your Steelers cherry with this clip:

The game is Sunday at 1:45 PM on CBS


Bride Wars

Anne Hathaway could be co-starring in Baby Geniuses 3 and I’d still kinda wanna see it.


Now in Theaters



“Once… a Roman slave was placed upon the cross, and after he had hung there for twenty-four hours, he was pardoned by the emperor himself, and somehow he lived. He wrote an account of what he had felt on the cross, and the most striking thing about his account was what he had to say on the question of time, “On the cross,” he said, “there are only two things, pain and eternity. They tell me I was on the cross only twenty-four hours, but I was on the cross longer than the world existed. If there is no time, then every moment is forever.”

–From Howard Fast’s novel Spartacus

che11I too now know pain and eternity. Not from crucifixion, but from watching (surviving?) Stephen Soderbergh’s 4 1/2 hour “epic” Che. And so, like Christ dying on the cross for our sins, I saw Che so you don’t have to.

Before today’s limited release, IFC Films maliciously provided an exclusive week of screenings this past December in New York City and L.A. presented in the old fashioned roadshow style, meaning that audiences were provided with a complimentary program and an intermission, at which point, like the Jews who are rescued by Daniel Craig’s many chiseled appendages in Defiance, escape and freedom from certain death was possible.

While there were several beautiful moments — not surprising since Soderbergh is a significant talent — as the movie progressed, hour after hour, one began to feel that each of Soderbergh’s artistic choices had the specific intention of NOT entertaining the audience.  Unless, of course, your idea of entertainment is to watch an infinite assembly line of scenes where Benicio Del Toro struggles through various jungles, stopping at ever increasing intervals, in the throes of yet another asthma attack, to gasp for breath. If Che had access to an inhaler, this movie would have been 85 minutes.

By far my favorite moment of this experience was around hour 3.5 where, as Che and his gang were roaming about in yet another the jungle (Bolivian, if I recall), a super title appeared on screen that said: DAY 360. Contrary to popular opinion, this was not the amount of time we had thus far spent watching the film, but a designation of how long Che and friends had be trudging along in said jungle. At this point in the movie, the entire sold out theater collectively squirmed in their seats with the same mix of incredulous exhaustion and anger usually reserved for the hypocritical politician or religious figure who tries to pass off a shamelessly inappropriate act as merely par for the course.

And trust me, as one who is prone to loving overlong, beautifully poetic movies (read: boring to most people) such as The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, The Thin Red Line, and The Horse Whisperer, I am usually a sucker for this sort of film, but the only suckering in Che is its ability to suck your very will to live. By the time the film finished, and I stumbled out into the witching hour darkness, I was so distorted and fatigued that when, upon returning home, I emailed a NYC-based friend warning her not to go anywhere near the Zeigfeld where Che was playing, I couldn’t remember what day of the week it was and wished her a happy Thursday when it was only Tuesday. I’m not one to cheer anyone’s premature demise, but after watching Che I am relieved that the real Señor Guevara only lived to see 39.

Now in Select Theaters