Monday, May 24, 2010

Kingdom of Mets and Devotion

Let's jump right into it: I'm 38, love the New York Mets and work for a soulless multinational pharmglomerate. I loathe acronyms (I.L.A.), lima beans and the willfully ignorant. I am naturally drawn to all things geek. Sardonic, sentimental, inquisitive, mischievous and tender are but a few of the words people have used to describe me.

OK, not really. But they should. So, without further ado:

"Kingdom of Heaven" is an incredible film. It's truly amazing to think of Ridley Scott's body of work: "Bladerunner", "Body of Lies", "Blackhawk Down", "Gladiator", "Alien", "American Gangster" and now "Robin Hood".

What immediately jumped out during "Kingdom of Heaven" was the tone, if that's even the correct term. There's a cool, cyan feel to the opening, with an ever-present dance of ash and snow. The iciness of both the season and the tragedy befalling Balian are palpable, and it belies the arid climes to come.

The cinematography was described as "ballets of light and color". Wow, how apropos. Rather than blankly and blithely wondering who did such remarkable camera work (as is my lazy way), I've decided to roll up my sleeves and find out for myself:

It was John Mathieson, and I'll be darned if he wasn't also involved in "Robin Hood", "Gladiator" and "Hannibal". In a remarkable aside, he was also a camera operator in Anton Corbijn's film about Depeche Mode's epic "Songs of Faith and Devotion" tour, "Devotional". I take it as a matter of pride that this traveling sideshow of sin was named the "The Most Debauched Rock and Roll Tour Ever", even if it did result in Alan Wilder's departure.

They haven't been the same since, but like many of the Devoted, I hold out hope that "Charlie" will return in some capacity. His recent appearance with the band at Royal Albert Hall was a stunning reminder of the alchemy at work with Martin Gore. In fact, I would go so far as to say that his contributions in arrangements and production were just as integral to their success as Gore's songs and Gahan's signature delivery. He brings a dynamic that makes Depeche Mode, well, Depeche Mode.
Speaking of "staring down the barrel of a gun", the Mets bullpen barely dodged disaster last night. Johan had a stellar start and handed a 5-run lead to Feliciano in the eighth. Pedro got out of the inning unscathed, but Ryota "The Dragon" Igarashi proceeded to give the entire borough of Queens agita in the ninth. It came down to K-Rod versus A-Rod for all the marbles, and things actually went the Mets' way for a change.

Ya gotta believe these last few seasons have been emotionally draining. Heck, it feels like nothing's gone right ever since Adam Wainwright dropped that hammer on Carlos Beltran. So, with this season already offering its fair share of losses and drama, I'll take any win I can get. That it came against that other team in New York makes it all the sweeter.

Bobby Bacala said it best. The Empire State Building will now be alight in glorious orange and blue, as is the tradition for the winner of these Subway Series. My coffee is hot, my beer is cold and no one is actively trying to make me eat lima beans. Life is indeed good (at the very least until the Phillies lumber into town to cast Jerry Manuel's future in doubt once again).
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One more thing about "K.o.H." (that's a bloody @#$% acronym for "Kingdom of Heaven") : Sir Godfrey's band of men should be the subject of a standalone film, a la Tommy Lee Jones and his federal marshals from "The Fugitive". What a treat it would be to see them fighting some earlier battles with their lord, who, incidentally, did so for two days with an arrow through his testicle...

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