Monday, June 4, 2007
Decisions at Sundown
Showdown # 1
The Yanks-Sox weekend series was more of the same, a flame broiled three games in which Joe Torre got himself booted trying to fire up his beleagured cast, bewigged fans flooded the stands for a comical A-Rod throwdown, Mike Lowell rolled over Robinson Cano and unintentionally took out Yankee first baseman Dougie “Ballgrabber” Mientkiewicz (who was replacing the injured Jason Giambi) and continued to look like a straight-up all star and consummate pro, Bobby Abreau played right field bad enough that his counterpart, Willy Mo Pena, looked like Dewey Evans, Dusty Pedroia again played like the real thang, Scott Proctor came awful close to ringing Grizzly Youlkis’ bell in a big way, the umpteenth coming of Lazarus Clemens was postponed for at least a week, and, while still 12 & ½ games back, the Yanks grabbed two of three, also managed to score one come-from-behind run apiece against the heretofore untouchable Okajima (first blown save) and Papelbon (first loss), while the much despised A-Rod stuck the final fork in our New England asses. Yankee moral victory? Indeed. Next match up? August 28.
Showdown # 2
As last night’s next-to-last Soprano’s episode wound down, with the New Jersey clan hitting the mattresses, Godfather style, it was obvious (and strangely gratifying) that creator David Chase (co-writer of the episode) was giving in to both audience pressure (in a backwards way)) and the constrictions of the very gangster genre the series has so sublimely aerated by placing the drama squarely in Mobsville, with assignations and reprisals, the strapping on of the guns, essentially tossing the masses some fresh meat over the genre fence. (Yet another impeccable eyewink moment occurred when the boys sat down to dinner over the strains of the Raging Bull theme and playfully boxed in fake slow motion.) The guns are blazing, the blood flowing, let’s temporarily ditch the soul-searching and the road paved with moral ambiguities and cut to the heart of any good yarn—How is it gonna end, man?
1. T gets deadbanged.-- Doubtful, unless Chase manages to couch Tony’s death in the heaviest of ironic circumstances.
2. T gets jailed.-- Maybe. After a soul sucking arrest and conviction we watch Tony alone in his cell, devoid of his trappings and stripped of his kingdom, until in a quick, understated scene, he musters back his Big Machiavellian mojo and does the prison jungle king thing.
3. T gets witness protection.-- Sure the sight of Tony mowing his postage stamp lawn in sun burnt Arizona with a face drained of life and vigor would be poetically unsettling, but it’s also too direct a lift from GoodFellas.
4. T achieves nirvana.--Tony miraculously emerges from the New York-New Jersey war basically unscathed with his family intact, and voluntarily adopts the straight life, medium shot of him smiling, wildly content, flipping a hamburger over a grill in a greatly downsized backyard, area unknown. Too easy, too clean.
5. A.J. steps up.—All this focus on the dazed and confused A.J. pays off dramatically when inexplicably A.J. steps up and transforms into an avenger, morphing into the role once assumed to be that of either dead Christopher or Bobby. The finalcamera movement and shot is a slow zoom in, close-up on A.J., half determined, half lost, the second coming of Tony Soprano.