Wednesday, April 10, 2024

cinema history class: survive! (1976)

The session: "April is the Cruelest Month -- Cardona's Catastrophes"
Four movies by the two Rene Cardonas -- father and son

As always, there may be spoilers here. And the trailer may be NSFW and/or NSFL.

Week 4: Survive! (1976)
Directed by Rene Cardona

My Level of Prior Knowledge:
I hadn't heard of this.

A charter flight crashes in the Andes, and the survivors have to resort to cannibalism to stay alive.

Reaction and Other Folderol:
 is brutal in its simplicity. I've seen a bunch of disaster movies -- Earthquake was one of my earliest experiences at a movie theater. And they all manage to work relationships into the narrative. They tell the stories of people dealing with, well, disasters. But they include character development, so we care about the people and experience the pathos. But that's just not so with Survive!. It's not character driven at all -- unless the situation itself is the star (an astute observation that Dave made). At the end of the film, I couldn't have even given the names of any of the characters.

Having said that, I should acknowledge that Keith showed us the English language version of this film. The Spanish language version, which was a half hour longer, probably did include character development. And we did get the faintest hint of that, as we saw the father of one of the airplane passengers pleading with local officials to keep searching. And there was a tiny bit at the end as he waited patiently to see if his son would emerge from the helicopter that was carrying survivors. I don't know if I would have enjoyed the longer version with more character development. In a sense, it wasn't needed. This was the version without the gristle.

A lot of the film was done very well. Watching the plane crash, I almost felt as if I was there with them. The miserable cold feel of the film was captivating.

Me: 8
Bob-O: 8.8
Christina: 9.4
Dave: 9.5
Ethan: 9

Sunday, April 7, 2024

stoopidstats: another move!

It's been known for a while that the Athletics (baseball team) is going to be moving to Las Vegas for the 2027 season (if not sooner). That gives me something to look forward to -- StoopidStatularly thinking. The move doesn't mean a new franchise, and probably won't mean a new team nickname (the franchise has already moved twice and kept the nickname "Athletics" both times. But the move to Las Vegas promises to make them the first team there, and the first team in the state of Nevada. So that will add a level of interest (for me, anyway) to my annual process.

But this past week, baseball announced that the A's are leaving Oakland after this season. They're not moving to Las Vegas right away, since their stadium won't be ready for 2025. Instead, they'll play three years in Sacramento -- or West Sacramento, depending on which article I believe. This, of course, teases me with a variety of possibilities.

Specifically, how will the team be branded for the three interim years? Assuming they keep the nickname "Athletics," there are a few possible names for the team starting next year. As a disclaimer, let me note that I'm just a guy pulling thoughts out of his ass. I have no insider information.

Oakland Athletics: The team could, of course, keep the "Oakland" branding, which will disappoint me, since it means that nothing will be new until the move to Las Vegas. Which is where we were before last week. I think it's unlikely they'll keep this name. For starters, the Oakland fan will be feeling burned already, and keeping the Oakland branding is unlikely to assuage the bitter feelings and will make Sacramentonians will feel unappreciated and less likely to buy tickets.

Sacramento Athletics or West Sacramento Athletics: These possibilities would probably be the coolest since either one would represent a new location in the team's name. And the location would only be in use for three years (probably between 180 and 270 wins) before being abandoned for Las Vegas. These would have the advantage of creating extra merchandising opportunities as fans could gobble up the short-duration uniforms, caps and other merchandise.

California Athletics or Northern California Athletics: The franchise could go for a broader regional appeal. This would give them the same merchandising opportunities as "Sacramento" or "West Sacramento." If they use "Northern California," it would also represent a new location for my list.

Las Vegas Athletics: This would interest me to some degree, though practically speaking it would simply accelerate the "Las Vegas" moniker by three years. It wouldn't make sense to me, unless the franchise is trying to get started early on building fan loyalty. It would also annoy me because I'd be left in a quandary. If a team is labelled as Las Vegas but plays in California, I'd have to decide whether to have my statistics reflect them as being in California or Las Vegas.

As a side note, they'll be playing for three seasons in a stadium with only 14,000 seats, which is tiny by current Major League baseball standards. Of course, it's well more than enough to hold their current fan base, so I guess it should be fine.

Sunday, March 31, 2024

stoopidstats 2023: shifting ranks (win-wise that is)

 This post is way, way way overdue, since the 2024 season has already begun. For those who are interested, the equivalent post (following the 2022 season) is here.

That said, I finally updated my win/loss tables, and the rankings (by total wins) of franchises, locations, states and nicknames. The delay? Well, aside from life getting in the way, there's the fact that, which is my source for data has been updating its database. A couple years ago they (I think, following the lead of Major League Baseball) made the decision to include the Negro Leagues within the umbrella of Major League. I have heard lots of arguments for and against this decision, but the bottom line is that I (for stoopidstats' purposes) don't want to be second-guessing my source of data. At any rate, the record-keeping for those leagues left a lot to be desired. The research is ongoing, and the historical record is being revised. With the changes that occurred since the end of the 2022 season, it took me a while to get around to updating my files.

But now I'm done. And here are the changes:

By Franchise

Four teams moved up in rank. Below, I am showing how their win totals changed (along with the analogous changes for the franchises they passed. Notably, the Rangers moved up from 20th to 19th by passing the Mets. This came one year after The Mets moved from 20th to 19th by passing The Rangers. Meanwhile, congratulations to The Dodgers, The Rangers, The Brewers and The Rays!

By Location

Two locations moved up in rank. Below, I am showing how their win totals changed (along with the analogous changes for the locations they passed. Meanwhile, congratulations to Milwaukee and Tampa Bay!

By State (or State-like Entity)

No states moved up or down the ranks in 2023. Yeah, I'm almost disappointed. But it is worth noting that, as of the end of the 2023 season, Texas teams have had a grand total of exactly 4,000 wins.

By Nickname

Three nicknames moved up in rank. While two of those moved up only one place, the third ("The Guardians," in its second season as an official team nickname) moved up fourteen places. It can be expected to move up another nine or so places in 2024, but we'll see. None of the sixteen nicknames that moved down in rank have been in use for decades. The most recent uses of any of them were in 1948 -- The Homestead Grays and The Philadelphia Stars. Meanwhile, congratulations to "The Nationals," "The Rays" and "The Guardians."

Saturday, March 30, 2024

cinema history class: nightmare in badham county (1976)

The session: "TV Terrors from the 70s"
Four weeks of made-for-TV horror movies from the 1970s

As always, there may be spoilers here. And the trailer may be NSFW and/or NSFL.

Week 4: Nightmare in Badham County (1976)
Directed by John Llewellyn Moxey

My Level of Prior Knowledge:
I wasn't aware of this movie, thogh I think I may have seen part of it on TV in the middle of the night. Back when I was in college.

Two college women are taking a roadtrip in the deep south, when they get on the bad side of a crooked (dare I say evil?) sheriff, they end up as slave labor on a prison farm.

Reaction and Other Folderol:
It's easy to dismiss Nightmare as a mindless exploitation flick. But that would be doing it an injustice. Of course there's a heavy dose of exploitation (especially in the theatrical version, which is what Keith showed us), but the film has a near-perfect mix of action, exploitation and drama, so it almost transcends the genre. 

The one drawback for me is that I had trouble distinguishing between two of the guards, which caused me some confusion. One guard, Dulcie, was somewhat kind while another, Greer, was invariably cruel. Because they both had red hair, I had trouble distinguishing them from each other, so I couldn't understand what the screenplay was attempting to accomplish. Of course, the other guys in the class weren't confused at all, so maybe it's just me.

The cast was full of big names -- Chuck Connors, Tina Louise, Robert Reed, Della Reese, Ralph Bellamy. I'm tempted to make some joke about it being like an episode of The Love Boat, but that wouldn't be fair. These actors turned in really strong performances. It was especially fun seeing Chuck Connors as a bad guy, since he spent so much of his career as a heroic stoic.

There's an unrelentingly gritty and menacing quality to the movie, so anyone who wants a feelgood movie experience would do well to avoid. But it's really a well-done movie for what it is. Overall, this was much better than it had any right to be.

Me: 9
Bob-O: 9.7
Christina: 9.8
Dave: 9
Ethan: 8.5
Joe: 10
Kursat: 9.9

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

cinema history class -- catching up

 I've kind of gotten behind on my writeups of Keith's class. Things have been hectic and I've fallen behind. Behind enough that it doesn't make sense for me to try to create posts for each of the six movies that are missing. But sometimes we in the class use this blog as a reference for what we have seen, so I don't want to just skip these entries.

So, for the sake of completeness, the following are the movies we have seen since my last post.

Session: Giallos in Honor of Mrs. Zuber
Week 3: Crimes of the Black Cat (1972)

Session: Giallos in Honor of Mrs. Zuber
Week 4: The Weekend Murders (1970)

Session: TV Terrors from the 70s
Week 1: The Night Strangler (1973)

Session: TV Terrors from the 70s
Week 2: Devil Dog -- The Hound from Hell (1978)

Session: TV Terrors from the 70s
Week 3: The Last Dinosaur (1977)