Thursday, March 6, 2014

Field-goal kicking mules and stubborn authors

Time for a Round-up!
A semi-regular feature in which, having nothing important to say, I point out a few things that happened on the web, then make a few half-thought-out observations on them for your amusement.

Short Story: Calm by Clare Needham
I've been interested in smaller magazines, those in orbit to the Tin Houses and McSweeney's of the world, and found a little gem called Bodega. Here you can find smaller pieces with great impact like Clare Neeham's Calm, a story of a woman, a man, a road trip, and the kind of joy you can only achieve through denial. Enjoy!

Tournament of Books controversy:
The LA Times follows a (non) story about Scott McClanahan, author of Hill William, who allegedly tried to withdraw his book from The Morning News's Tournament of Books. There was no author reaction included, which I find strange. This didn't stop the article, or the commentariat of the tourney from typing furious comments on the matter: he was ripped for being ungrateful, a money grabber, and other sad things. All for a single Facebook post he never followed through on. It's a tempest in a teapot, of course, a single ill-advised post being exploited for clicks, though I'd love to hear Scott McClanahan's take on it. I kind of want to root for him now that he's been lynched in the comments section, but that would bust my bracket.  Sorry, Scott!

You can read the thread here, at the bottom of the play-in judging round.

Retro-movie due for a remake: Gus
Don Knotts and Gus.
Why the long face?

I had a few beers the other day and was reading a story about how the NFL is considering moving field goals to the 25 yard line because they're so easy. So I immediately thought of Gus, the field goal kicking mule from the 1976 Disney sports-sploitation movie. I even tracked it down and watched ten minutes of it, and realized that Gus sits at the nexus of so many movie genres it should be the subject of a much longer critical essay.

It's an animals do sports movie. It's got an all-star cast (Don Knotts, Ed Asner, Tim Conway) slumming for paychecks. Most intriguingly, it's among the last of the Disney studio's cash-strapped post-Walt pre-Eisner slump films (The Apple Dumpling Gang! The Love Bug!). Did I mention it's about a goddamn field-goal kicking mule?

And it sits in the heart of my childhood, released in that golden summer of 1976. Ah, childhood. Nothing else could make this movie sound good except that I watched when I was eight. So, seriously - is Gus any good? Nope, not really. Even Roger Ebert didn't like it. Here's his original review from 1976.

But seriously, NFL, why not consider mules?

Movie trailer of the week: 
And the award for best use of "Hooked on a Feeling" since the Ally McBeal dancing video baby craze of 1997 goes to: Guardians of the Galaxy:

1 comment:

crfs said...

I completely missed the Tournament of Books controversy. Thanks for sharing!
Guardians of the Galaxy looks delightfully insane. Can't wait for that.