Posts tagged with Jawsrecliner

The Amazing Spider-Man

I can’t deny I liked Tobey Maguire as Spiderman. I enjoyed the previous three films, especially the first two. Much like the Christopher Nolan/Christian Bale Batman pictures, you mustn’t spend much time comparing The Amazing Spider-Man with the previously released efforts with other actors and directors. This film stands just fine on its own merits.

Still, it is inevitable not to make some comparisons, especially when it comes to the lead characters. Maguire was nerdier than Andrew Garfield and really wore his angst on his sleeve. Maguire was the right choice at the time of the first film ten years ago. Andrew Garfield is a better hero for these times. He has the hair and the look. He oozes sensitivity and intellect. I enjoyed Maguire a decade ago but Garfield is a modern upgrade and is immensely likable and easily gains our sympathy.

Marc Webb put his own spin on the spidey story, mainly by switching our hero’s love interest from Mary Jane to Gwen Stacy. While I had no issues with Kirsten Dunst, Emma Stone is a much better fit with lead Garfield. Stone is comfortable and accessible as an actress and infuses a joy in her work. She loves what she does and it shows. Stone and Garfield displayed little chemistry early on but it improved as the movie progressed. At the end, you wanted them together.

As for the story itself, little new ground was broken. As with some other Spiderman villains, there is a degree of sympathy for the motives of the villain. Dr. Conner’s’ behavior derives from a desire to do good and then of course, things goes horribly awry. The film’s villainous Lizard wasn’t the best CGI effort ever put on the big screen and some of the special effects were a little rough. The action scenes, though few, were well choreographed. This movie is actually more character driven than action driven but there is plenty of both aspects for everyone. In this version, we catch more glimpses of Peter Parker’s family situation and history than other in previous installments and it gives Garfield a little more material to flesh out. We still have some shadowy questions left unanswered about Parker’s father and the mentioned but unseen (in this movie) founder of OsCorp, Norman Osborn.

Hollywood veterans Martin Sheen, Sally Field, Denis Leary, and Rhys Ifans add valuable talent to the cast. As expected, these four excelled in their support roles and only added positives to the film.

And of course, there is a nice set up for another movie. I don’t have a problem with that. Summer blockbusters are part of our culture and superhero films are a major ingredient in our movie going experience. These movies are fun and entertaining and should be savored as such. The violence is not violent and only but the youngest of children can go see this film. There are a couple of deaths scenes that could cause trauma for more sensitive children and it may be to slow and intellectual for younger, squirmy kids. Otherwise, The Amazing Spider-Man is a fun theater experience for the whole family.

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Rock of Ages

What defines good music is so personal and subjective. So much is based upon what we listened to as youngsters. I grew up in the 80’s. I started high school in 1980 and graduated college in 1989. I think the greatest music was produced in that decade. In those ten years, my tastes evolved from Country Western, to pop music, and finally, to good old Rock and Roll. I ended up loving what we called at the time Heavy Metal. Now it is termed derogatorily as the Hair Bands.

While I am not a fan of musicals, I have been anticipating the film Rock of Ages for several months now. Even the trailers gave me goose bumps. Despite the poor box office showing in its opening week, I was excited to go today. I was rewarded with a clever, whimsical celebration of the music and culture of the 1980’s.

I am of the opinion that music in general has been in a creative coma since about 1994. That isn’t to say there hasn’t been some exceptional, original acts in the past two decades. There certainly has been some terrific music made in the past several years – just not very much. The stodgy editors at Rolling Stone magazine seem to think very little great music has been produced since about 1977, according to their recent, ridiculous list of the top 500 albums of all time.

People seem embarrassed by their love of 80’s music. They seem to not want to admit they ever listened to the radio or bought a record. I just don’t get this attitude. Some of the biggest selling records all time were made in that era. For years, MTV (when they still actually showed videos all day) had a daily program where they counted down top 10 most requested videos of the day. For years, that list was consistently filled with Heavy Metal bands, or if you prefer, Hair Bands. In the last six years of so of that decade, rock and roll ruled. Then, of course, the quality did a nose dive and it became more about the image than the music, and the writing was on the wall.

Rock and roll answered back to all of the glam, color, and hair of the 1980’s with the grungy look and sound of Alternative Rock in the early 90’s. After four or five years of incredible, creative, destructive music and behavior, rock and roll just kind of faded away and has been on life support ever since. It’s like rock and roll still hasn’t recovered from the death of Kurt Cobain. Sure, there have been many, many rock stars who have died young and tragically over the past sixty years but Cobain’s death seems to have been the final straw.

I also think the musicianship and song writing of the 80’s is vastly underrated. There were no “singer, song writer” types like in the two previous music generations. There were not great causes or cultural changes to rally around. It was about looks and excess but sometimes the quality is overlooked. There is no decade that has produced more terrific sing along songs; songs that make everyone who hears them feel good - the type of music you want to turn up when it comes on the radio. Even though there were some talentless hacks that were in famous bands and acts in the 80’s, there were also plenty of incredible musicians.

Enough of my pontificating. Let’s get to the actual film. I had a blast. I was the weird guy tapping his toes and singing along with every single song. That was the music I loved. I knew the words to every tune. The two lead characters, played adequately by Julianne Hough and Diego Boneta, were likeable and believable. I must say though, that Catherine Zeta-Jones stole every scene she was in, portraying a Tipper Gore-type harridan. The always stellar Paul Giamatti was appropriately sleazy as the self serving talent agent. Additionally, Tom Cruise was surprisingly believable as the over-the-top, self centered, quirky rock and roll god. Cruise acquitted himself quite well vocally. Alec Baldwin and Russell Brandt provided the humor, and in the process, forever changed how I will remember REO Speedwagon’s classic “Can’t Fight This Feeling”( I think I even spotted Kevin Cronin in a crowd scene). The ever sexy Malin Ackerman, the brilliant Bryan Cranston, and the vocally versatile Mary J. Blige fill out a deep and talented cast.

The story was a parody on a popular 80’s theme and the music was absolutely stellar. I am astounded the reaction to this film hasn’t been more positive. It is a titillating smorgasbord for the music lover of any generation. As a parody, it cannot be taken too seriously. As someone who grew up in the 80’s and read Circus magazine (much less stuffy than Rolling Stone) religiously, the story was based on a real theme of the decade but it really is just about the music and the rock culture. Do yourself a favor. Go see this film. Show Hollywood that we get it and we get tired of the same old crap week in and week out. Treat yourself!

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Fond Reflections on Friends

Friends debuted in the fall of 1994, nearly eighteen years ago. Eighteen years – that’s pretty hard to believe, isn’t it? It just can’t have been that long since Ross, Chandler, Joey, Rachel, Monica, and Phoebe entered our living rooms and our hearts.

I have been watching the show from the beginning on DVD. What a great innovation it was to put our television favorites on DVD so we could enjoy them years later. What is even better is when the re-watching is so much fun. Friends is still holding up well after all these years. I still laugh at the antics and I find myself anticipating the future episodes and storylines. One would think knowing what is going to happen would damper the enthusiasm of watching this show multiple times. That just isn’t the case for me. I find that I am eagerly waiting for the great things to come yet still reveling in each episode.

Seldom has television had the stars align so perfectly for a program. Everything worked. The cast was brilliant and had incredible chemistry right from the beginning. The writing was terrific and allowed each actor to grown into the unique quirkiness of their individual characters. The dialogue was never strained or forced. When things didn’t work, like Marcel the monkey (my least favorite storyline of the whole ten year run) in the first season, the writers quickly realized the error of their ways and fixed the situation. The powers that ran the show also did a great job with their big name stunt casting (a NBC staple in their heyday). Superstars like Julia Roberts, Tom Selleck, Brad Pitt, and Bruce Willis were among featured guest stars. This show even had a near perfect theme song in the Rembrandt’s “I’ll Be There for You.”

Of course, the cast all became stars with varied degrees of success outside of Friends. David Schwimmer, Matthew Perry, Matt LeBlanc, Jennifer Aniston, Coutrney Cox, and Lisa Kudrow are all still working. In hindsight, sometimes it is hard to believe David Schwimmer was the first star of the show. There is an old story that when their contract negotiations first came up, the powers were willing to pay Schwimmer more than his co-stars. Schwimmer, in a very unselfish and farsighted move, insisted his cast mates all be paid the same and they negotiated as a group. This probably gave us at least two more seasons than we may have enjoyed otherwise. This eventually gave the group of six the power in the end.

I am almost finished with the second season. It is about midway through this season that the show really hits its genius stride with incredibly creativity and hilarious plot lines and the rest is history. The show is funny, touching, and charming. The characters really become our friends and we as viewers come to care for these people in a way that shouldn’t be considered totally sane. I just don’t know if we will ever see a television program that will ever capture our collective hearts in quite the same way.

If you ever get the chance, revisit Friends. Time and distance (from the characters) have not tarnished this gem in any way. If you loved the show the first time around, these Friends will still be there for you.

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Snow White and the Huntsman

I have no idea how many incarnations of the fairy tale featuring Snow White there are in literature, television, and film. Some are modern takes of the old story, some offer an old setting for the old tale, and some like ABC’s Once Upon a Time serve up an intriguing combination of both. Snow White and the Huntsman is definitely an expanded adaptation of the old medieval tale.

This version may be the darkest portrayal yet. There is nothing cute or cuddly here. It is dark and brooding with very little comic relief. The filmmakers take the familiar characters and events of other beloved versions and fleshes those characters and events out. Evil Queen, the dwarfs, and the huntsman are much, much more than animated caricatures. These characters in particular are given soul and depth.

Charlize Theron really played Ravenna the Evil Queen to the hilt, her taunt face flashing back and forth from a stunning beauty to an aging crone as she sucks the youth and vitality out of the people that stumble into her path and her dark soul blackens the landscape. There is no humor in Theron’s Ravenna, only dark, selfish evil and she makes you believe. Chris Hemsworth (Thor and The Avengers) is subtly scarred and haunted as the Huntsman and further advances his hero persona. I have a feeling we will be seeing Hemsworth more and more in the future.

Ironically, the biggest void in the film was from the title character and our leading lady, Snow White. Kristen Stewart was her normal morose heroine that she has perfected as Bella. She seems to be stuck in that brooding, unsmiling, dolorous rut and I have seen little from her that tells me she can play anything else. Only toward the end, when she donned the shiny armor, did she breathe much life into the all important role of Snow White. If all director Rupert Sanders was shooting for was a dark, lifeless version of the lead character, then his casting choice of Stewart was perfect. She certainly fit into the mood of the film well enough. I just didn’t see any depth there.

All in all, though, I enjoyed this haunting adaptation. Most of the characters were much more realistic and fleshed out than past versions. My whole family liked the film and it was appropriate for most audiences over ten years old. There were some dark and disturbing scenes that might upset more sensitive younger viewers but there was little graphic violence. The movie as a whole was pretty good, with only a slight downgrade for Snow herself. The whole mood of the picture suited my tastes nicely.

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Dark Shadows

I saw an interview some time back where Johnny Depp admitted whenever Tim Burton calls with an idea, he doesn’t need even need to hear it. He just agrees. Burton is a one of a kind director with a taste for the macabre and the quirky. If Depp is in fact his muse, Depp is a willing one who can match Burton quirk for quirk.

Dark Shadows is a perfect forum for these two brilliant but weird talents to collaborate on for the eighth time. Depp is a terrific actor whose sometimes gets lost in his idiosyncratic characters. Sometimes we can forget that he isn’t actually Captain Jack Sparrow or Willy Wonka. I have a feeling Barnabus Collins may just join that pantheon of eccentric characters. I think Burton revels in producing roles in which his muse can shine. The weirder the better seems to be his motto. I don’t personally like everything these guys make together but I admire their originality and their dedication to the strange and unusual.

Depp is at his witty best in Dark Shadows. As Barnabus Collins, a two century old vampire on a quest to restore his family’s reputation and fortune, Depp’s clever fish-out-of-water observations are numerous and chuckle worthy. Depp often takes his characters over the top but he reins Barnabus in, doling out the humor in just the right dosage. A young star on the rise, Chloe Grace Moretz steals most of her scenes. Displaying a barely stifled intolerance of the adults around her, Moretz portrays the perfectly melancholy teen. Her attitude toward Barnabus seems natural and realistic. Eva Green continues to build her resume with evil villainesses as the witch who curses Barnabus to his shadowy existence. It is always nice to see Michelle Pheiffer grace the big screen, even if here character was under written. Burton’s secondary muse, wife Helen Bonham Carter, rounds out the entertaining cast.

To be honest, Dark Shadows isn’t an award winning effort. The story falters and lulls about in a couple of places but if you enjoy the Burton/Depp tandem, then you will enjoy this movie. It is a chuckle fest with a dark side (pun intended) and is set up for a sequel. A number of the better lines are already delivered in the myriad of trailers used to promote this film. Still, I enjoyed the picture and chortled throughout. The film is also appropriate for all but younger children. The violence is insinuated and the monsters for more funny than scary.

Unless you are a huge Burton/Depp, you could probably wait to see the picture on DVD if there are other movies (Avengers, Battleship) on which you would rather spend your theater dollars. It is an entertaining couple of hours but probably can be enjoyed in your living room as much as the big screen.

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Girls

GIRLS (HBO, Sundays, 9:30pm, Eastern)

This wasn’t a program I was prepared to actually like. I was pleasantly surprised with this seemingly real show about four young women in their early to mid twenties. It is sort of on the opposite end of the social spectrum portrayed by Sex in the City.

This is the struggle of these four young women dealing with the day to day grind of living life in New York City. Paying rent, finding jobs, searching not just for love, but for solid, comfortable relationships, are all themes that transcend not only life in the big city but the life of many college graduates around the country in an economy that isn’t quite healthy.

Girls is served up on a platter of acerbic wit, piled high with realism and topped off with just the right amount of satire. Most of the work is due to the real life observations of one talented person – Lena Dunham. This young gal is a busy person. She created this gem and writes, directs, produces, as well as holds down the lead role. HBO and co-producer Judd Apatow have shown great faith in Denham and as far as I’m concerned, she has delivered.

The writing takes into the lives of the four friends played by Dunham, Allison Williams (Brian Williams’ daughter), Jemima Kirke, and Zosia Mamet. Dunham and Williams as best friends and long time roommates show great chemistry. The ultra talented Mamet, who played a worldly Bohemian in Mad Men, goes completely opposite here as the innocent, naïve virgin. Kirke’s character (Jessa) was my least favorite right from the beginning but she may actually be the most complex character as the series moves along.

Girls is funny and bawdy without relying on cheap laughs. The humor and wit is seldom laugh out loud funny but I chuckle throughout each episode. It is subtle, sexy and smart, and at times, sweet and innocent without even trying. It is a premium cable program and therefore is not appropriate for all audiences. I can tell you that I can’t wait for the next episode.

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Magic City

Magic City (Fridays, 9pm Eastern, Starz)

A beautiful locale, an exciting time, and a fascinating theme should all add up to a very intriguing television program. Unfortunately, Magic City comes up just a bit short on the intrigue and has an I-think-I’ve-seen-this-before vibe.

This Starz effort looks stunning in its 1959 Miami setting. The story revolves around Ike Evans (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), owner and proprietor of a new beach front luxury hotel. Evans’ biggest problem is that to get his hotel built, he had to take on a partner, namely Ben “The Butcher” Diamond (Danny Huston). With a nickname like The Butcher, are there any guesses on what kind of guy Diamond is? You got it – a mobster.

In the background, Cuba is falling to a young rebel leader named Fidel Castro. Diamond’s Cuban business interests, as was all of the mafia’s Cuban interests, are under duress. Diamond has moved to Miami, looking for a way to cover his expected losses, hence his desire for a bigger piece of Evans’ hotel. Diamond does not stray far from the gangster stereotype – he is a violent, entitled killer.

Although Huston’s portrayal of Diamond is chilling and realistic, the character and storyline are unimaginative, right down to the union leader anchored to the bottom of a quarry lake. Huston dominates each scene he is in. I just wish he had better material to work with.

Morgan is fine in the lead role and is believable but again, I feel he was little meat to gnaw on. He saunters through his scene in a nice suit and the iconic fifties cigarette smoldering between his lips. Evan rushes around trying to figure out a way to escape Diamond’s domineering and threatening shadow. Evans has two grown sons and these characters have yet to find footing with any interesting storylines. Evans does have a sexy, younger wife played by Bond girl, Olga Kurylenko. Just like his sons, Kurylenko’s Vera has made no established contribution as yet.

Magic City could certainly improve as more episodes unfold. The writing has got to improve if this show has even a chance of success. Starz is a premium cable movie network, so maybe it can give the show a little more rope in hope of getting better. They need to take advantage of the characters already in place and the built-in storylines. The Mafia is a big part of this time and place but I would like to see more depth in the writing here. Please give us more than the surface story and superficial characters. The idea has merit but the execution has been poor thus far.

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American Reunion

Aaahhh, the nostalgia. Sometimes we connect with characters and movies for no apparent reason. That was the case in the late 1990’s with the American Pie movies. They were filled with crude language and images that were shocking. They were also loaded with touching, familiar characters and situations. Those images were as funny as they were shocking and these movies clicked with teens of the day and with no-so-teens like me. I’ve always thought those movies channeled the vulgar ghost of John Hughes (even though Hughes still lived when the first 3 films were made).

American Reunion brought nothing new to the big screen, yet it didn’t disappoint. I think many of us wanted to know if Jim and Michelle were still together. We wanted to know if Stifler was still a childish jerk. We wanted to know if Finch still had a thing for Stifler’s mom. We all wanted to see Jim’s dad again. It didn’t really matter what the situation would be. We just wanted to see our old favorites again. Reunion came through.

The movie was filled with the expected crazy, lewd hijinks that were the calling card of the original trilogy. I wondered if I would still find this stuff as funny as I did more than a decade ago. I don’t know what it says about me, but I did. And judging by the loud laughter from the audience in the theater, so did everyone else. It didn’t even matter that we could see some of the scenes unfolding before the movie actually got there. The characters, especially Jim, take innocent situations and have them fall apart to their most base aspects in quick fashion.

This film, just as in the originals, went deeper than the cheap, lewd and crude funny business. All of these pictures could have easily been nothing more than boorish and course yet they didn’t. There was real depth to the characters and that is why we connected with them. We liked them, and behind the vulgarity, there were real issues of insecurity and the pathos of modern teenagers. American Reunion followed the same pattern, revealing familiar uncertainties about marriage and parenthood. Sometimes relationships can become comfortable but also lack the excitement that sparked it in the first place. We as adults often look back at the decisions of our life and question our decisions. This film puts our beloved characters in the same kind of situations and reveals the growth we have all experienced in life.

I don’t want to suggest that this movie is golden statuette worthy. Of course it isn’t. It follows the original formula too much. It is funny and crude but it is also touching and familiar. If you liked the first 3 movies then you are going to enjoy seeing these characters ten years later. If you didn’t like the originals, don’t bother with this one either. The acting is mediocre at best, except for maybe Jason Biggs (Jim), Eugene Levy (Jim’s dad), and Sean William Scott (hilarious as Stifler), but that really isn’t the point. It is about the imperfections of friendship and life. Of course, this is not a movie for children in any way, shape, or form. Enjoy this movie for what it is and be happy catching up with old favorites. It was good to see them again.

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Game of Thrones

GAME OF THRONES (HBO, Sundays, 8pm CST)

Over the years, many books have been made into movies. Most pale in comparison because the movie versions lack the details that provide most of the meat in the literary form. The film maker is forces to pick choose what details and even whole scenes are important enough for their picture. Often, these inevitable cuts end up watering down the book as a whole. Figure in the often inexplicable changes the film maker decides to go with for whatever purpose, and the movie is sometimes barely recognizable in comparison.

There are film makers who work very hard to remain as true to the books as possible. The biggest hurdle to this is that it is very difficult to trim an 800-page book into two or three hours. Typically, one page of a screenplay roughly equals one minute of film. The math is simple; there is too much content that has to be eliminated. That is why the movie is seldom better the book.

What would be the result if a film maker had ten hours to work with? This is an intriguing question and one that HBO and creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss had an answer for. The result is brilliant. Benioff and Weiss took a best selling fantasy classic and made it into an HBO series.

The book A Game of Thrones is actually the first book in an expected 7-volume fantasy series called A Song of Fire and Ice by George R. R. Martin, but the creators wisely ditched the unwieldy series name and went with the more popular designation, Game of Thrones. Benioff and Weiss decided to make that first book into 10 season one episodes. Armed with the luxury of time, they produced a visually stunning, brilliantly filmed, superbly acted, true-to- the-book masterpiece.

The HBO series took its time telling this rich story of political intrigue, friendships, betrayals, villains, heroes, sex, and violence in stunning detail. The television version follows the book faithfully, with only a few scenes invented. Most of these are not so much invented as maybe extended or expanded. Most are to highlight a fact merely hinted at in the book. As with most popular science fiction or fantasy books, this series has its far share of “fanboys” who jump all over any details changed from the books. I imagine that even the most rabid fanboys have to be thrilled with this series.

The first season was incredible and I have watched it a couple of times already. I have been impatiently anticipating the second season, based on the second book Clash of Kings, which picks up right where the first book and season leave off. The second book is longer and even more textured, layered, and detailed than the first, with more battles and more intrigue than the first book. The scope is wider and more intense as well. The creators have their work cut out for them to use their editing power as precisely as a surgeon wielding a scalpel. At this point, I have complete trust they will get it right as they show as much love and dedication to the books as Peter Jackson did with The Lord of the Rings.

Game of Thrones is filled with knights and kings, battles and wars, sibling rivalry, lies and truths, life and death, and dragons. These are all key ingredients to the classic fantasy genre and this is one of the best written series of all time. George R.R. Martin is a brilliant author whose imagination is without limits. His eye for detail is precise and there are never dull or slow parts of his books. The one annoying flaw Martin has is that he is an unforgivably slow writer. It took him 11 years to write the 3rd and 4th books, and they take place simultaneously and cover a myriad of characters and places. While I sincerely hope HBO is able to continue this undoubtedly expensive project through to the end, I harbor major doubts that Martin can keep up. I am hoping that the production of the show will quicken his writing.

If you get HBO, the series is must viewing. If you don’t, at some point, buy the DVD set. It is worth the money. It has everything anyone could want in entertainment – action, drama, horror, comedy, sex, blood – on top of perfect acting, writing, and production. As can be expected of an HBO series, it is not for children and would carry an R rating in the theater. As a fan of the books, I couldn’t be happier with the results of the program. Season two started just this last week and I am eager for the next episode. You can catch up On Demand. This is must watch TV if ever there was such a thing.

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Missed Opportunities for the Kansas Jayhawks

The Kansas Jayhawks had a terrific season. I think they were ranked high in the preseason polls and picked to win the Big XII due more to their reputations and history rather than true talent. Yet, the Jayhawks played to their ranking and preseason predictions. They won their 8th straight conference title and were ranked in the top 10 for most of the season. They earned a number 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. While these accomplishments don’t seem like a surprise, I have to honestly admit they really exceeded my true expectations.

KU featured a fine starting five and a very thin bench. When the season started, Tyshawn Taylor had more career minutes played than all of his teammates combined at Kansas. Jayhawk fans are used to a solid rotation of 8 or 9 almost every season. This team played its bench only when it was necessary. Yet, they found a way to succeed and play to the seemingly unrealistic preseason predictions. Mirroring the toughness of their head coach, Bill Self, Kansas fought and scraped their way to success. Few games were easy or runaways and the Jayhawks seemed to be playing from behind much of the season. They found a way to win game after game.

The NCAA Tournament followed the established pattern for the Jayhawks. They didn’t play well in the first halves and those kids were able to turn things around in the second halves, making furious comebacks in several postseason games. Even in the championship game, the Jayhawks struggled early and found themselves digging themselves out of a hole late.

Kentucky is a fine team. There has been little doubt the Wildcats were the best team throughout a down year in college basketball. They were young but talented and athletic. Coach John Calipari got them to buy into his system and to play defense, a deathly combination for the opposition.

There is no doubt Kentucky was more talented and athletic, player for player, than Kansas. The Wildcats dominated the first half and it was all the Jayhawks could do not to be blown out and embarrassed. KU popped out of the locker room after the half just as they did several other games. Kansas made a couple of shots and made a couple of defensive stops. In my opinion, the key play of the game was when Jeff Withey failed to get an easy dunk through the cords early in the second half. KU had cut into the lead and their fans were just starting to feel the momentum swing. If that dunk goes down, who knows if the outcome would have been different. So much happened after that play. Immediately though, UK scored a basket and snuffed the Jayhawks’ growing momentum. I want to make it clear that I am not blaming Withey for this loss. Without him, KU would never have been even close to the championship game. It just happened to be his missed dunk that I felt was the key.

From that point, KU ever so slowly scraped their way back into the game but never really gained that feeling of momentum. The Wildcats seemed to be on the verge of allowing the Jayhawks back into the game mentally but with that failed dunk, Kansas seemed to lose a little something. They eventually cut their deficit to 5 points but never closer. UK kept them at arms length and eventually outlasted the comeback.

But that missed dunk wasn’t the only missed opportunity for the Jayhawks. KU missed 3 dunks and 13 lay-ups through the course of the game. The fantastic Anthony Davis had a lot to do with Kansas’ tightness around the rim. Still, KU only lost by 8 points. If KU had cashed in on just a few of those missed chances, things could have been much different. Make the dunks (the highest percentage shot possible) and just a couple of the missed bunnies, then maybe there would have been a different result in the outcome.

It is futile to play the “what if” game. It serves no purpose and it does take away from a great performance by the Wildcats. I mention these key blown opportunities because it shows that the game wasn’t that far from having a different result.

I heard a talking head yesterday speaking about how this only proves that Kentucky is the best program and how John Calipari is by far the best coach in college basketball. All of his arguments sounded pre-written. I think if KU would have won, this guy would have just replaced Kentucky with Kansas and John Calipari with Bill Self. His arguments would have held weight for whichever school and coach, depending on who won the game. He went on and on about now it wasn’t even close to which school and coach was best. He said no one could argue the point anymore. My point is that the discussion is still closer than this guy wanted to admit. Three dunks and a couple of lay ups and who knows. Kentucky had a fine season and played a heck of a championship game and they deserved the title but KU wasn’t that far behind.

Bill Self proved that he must be counted among the game’s finest coaches. He has shown in the past that he is a top notch recruiter and has been able to get top players to adhere to his system. He proved this season he could coach a team with less talent but with huge hearts and still win. Coach Self and this team should be very proud of their season and the final results. I know the fans are. The worst thing is that we now have to wait seven months for the next edition of the Kansas Jayhawks.

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