Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Other People's Writing

* Stephen Rodrick of The New Yorker profiles casting director Allison Jones, one of the true unsung heroes of comedy over the last 20 years.  Her keen eye for talent will only be further proven once I finally get my audition reel together.  It’s 10 minutes of “what if Arnold Schwarzenegger and Arnold Palmer were the same person?  I think it would go a little bit like this…”

* Since legendary documentarian Errol Morris directed a few 30-for-30 shorts for ESPN, Grantland celebrated him with an entire ‘Errol Morris Week’ series of pieces about his life and career, including this look at his advertising work by Mike Powell.  This was a pretty mind-blowing read…I consider myself an Errol Morris fan and have enjoyed a number of his films, most notably the incredible “Thin Blue Line” yet I had no idea that a) I’d been watching Morris commercials for much of my life and b) he’d directed such an incredible number of ads for such a variety of companies. 

* Grantland’s Bryan Curtis writes about the relationship between the Oklahoma City Thunder and their local reporters, which is sort of a microcosm of how every relationship between journalists and the athletes/teams they cover is changing in response to overall changes in the media landscape.  This was a particularly great piece from my own perspective as a writer, yet I’d be interested to know what others think…was it a little too naval-gazing, or did Curtis (as I suspect) excel at making a bit of an insider topic very accessible and relatable to all?

* More from Bryan Curtis, this one a wonderful tribute to the late Dave Goldberg, a long-time NFL writer for the Associated Press.  Goldberg wrote hundreds upon hundreds of wonderful pieces for the AP that went uncredited and a total pro about it, unlike my when I received my first Canadian Press assignment early in my career and excitedly told my mom to watch for it in the next day’s newspaper.  Much to my chagrin, when I cockily opened the paper the next day, my byline was nowhere to be found (wire stories only run bylines about half the time).  Sigh.

* Liam Neeson’s “action-dad” performances are ranked by Grantland’s Holly Anderson.  I’d argue that “Love Actually” is a glaring omission from this list; Liam spends that whole movie trying to help his young son literally get some action from his school crush!  Well, not actually “action” in the grown-up sense, maybe just a kiss or holding hands on the bus.

* More lists!  This one is from Grantland’s Jason Concepcion and Shea Serrano, teaming up to decide the greatest fictional basketball player of all time.  I think Ripley got a bit of a raw deal here…based on that shot alone, she had to be at least top-five.  Sure, we never got to see how she’d fare at anything other than long range, but c’mon, after spending four movies battling Alien xenomorphs, I’m pretty sure she could handle a zone defense. 

* Even more lists!  The Grierson & Leitch film reviewing duo rank all of Will Ferrell’s movies according to “their maximizing of Ferrell’s essence.  Which movie best captures the Will Ferrell experience?”  By that token, their top choices are impossible to argue, though I’d say that by omitting his cameo appearances in certain films, they’re ignoring Ferrell’s utility as a comic microwave.  Just throw him in a scene, let him do something funny to perk it up, and he can quickly leave ‘em laughing.  (SNL used him in this capacity countless times.)  This list is also a bit of an eye-opener since, without cameos, it’s hard to believe that Ferrell has only been in MAYBE ten good movies in his life, yet those ten are all incredible. 

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