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Tag Archive: movies

Oct 19

A look back at my columns about the Kansas City Royals: Part 12 — Royals fans, time for movie therapy — first published May 3, 2012 in The Examiner, an Eastern Jackson County, Mo., daily newspaper.

Royals fans, time for movie therapy

“You love the Red Sox, but have they ever loved you back?”
–from the 2005 movie ‘Fever Pitch’

I read several sports stories the other day devoted entirely to how Royals fans are dealing with the fact that the Kansas City Royals are bottom dwellers in the Big Leagues early in the 2012 season.

The Royals’ arguably ill-timed slogan, ‘Our Time’, doesn’t help.

Is it a jinx? Do we fans need therapy?

I think I do and will have to rely on my tried and true method—movie therapy. Suffice to say, I use it when life throws me a right hook, i.e. Royals. I will explain more later about how watching movies helps me cope.

I love the Royals; don’t get me wrong.

If any of you dear readers recall, I waxed poetic back in March about the Royals after attending spring training in Surprise, Arizona. The Royals looked good, promising, exciting, and clicking on all cylinders, as the saying goes.

I believed that it absolutely would be our time, finally.

That bubble burst for diehard fans like me on opening day when the Royals dropped an embarrassing game, leaving fans like me with an undeniable, worried oppressive feeling of impending doom.

Sorry to say, we were right. The Royals went on to lose 12 out of their first 15 games, and not since 1994 has there been one winning season. They could be baseball’s answer to the NFL draft’s ‘Mr. Irrelevant’.

Sometimes I don’t want to watch the Royals games on television anymore; it is too painful. My powder blue Royals jersey hangs unworn in the closet on most game days.

I feel guilty because I love these guys—Hosmer, Butler, Gordon, Francoeur, Moustakas, Pena, Duffy, Chen and all.

And I cannot begin to fathom what JP (on Twitter @LilFrenchie21) must think about all these losses. Incidentally, if you do not tweet, you may not know that J. P., a 7-year-old Kansas City Royals true-blue fan, has become something of a sensation in Twitter world. Is JP sad? I guess not because he recently tweeted this: “I still wear my Royals shirts to school almost every day! I don’t care if people tell me they are losing. At least I GO TO GAME!”

Now, I feel even guiltier, especially if a 7-year-old is this loyal. I should be, too.

But back to my movie therapy I promised to explain.

I started by watching Major League, a comedy aired in 1989 starring Bob Uecker and Charlie Sheen. In this film, the Cleveland Indians are in last place in the Majors, and inexplicably turn their miserable season into a winning one. Sidesplitting humor. I felt better.

Over the course of the next week, I watched ‘Money Ball’ three times. Yes, three times, mostly, because it was based on a true story. It ranks right up there with ‘Miracle’ and ‘Secretariat’ for me, and gets me out of the doldrums fast.

Remember Billy Beane, general manger of the Oakland Athletics who took that team out of the cellar to victory and into the history books by changing the way the game is managed. Now, I was feeling hopeful.

Since Money Ball is based on the Athletics’ true story, it could be possible, in my way of thinking, for the Royals to find success, too.

Finally, I watched “Fever Pitch,” the 2005 comedy about a diehard Boston Red Sox fan Ben Wrightman who never gave up on his team. He never lost faith despite the fact that the Red Sox could not overcome the 86-year-old “Curse of the Bambino” that legend says blocked them from ever winning the World Series because they sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees.

Ben’s friend Ryan asked him in frustration one day, “Why do we inflict this on ourselves?”

Ben’s answer: “Because they haven’t won a World Series in a century or so? So what? They’re here. Every April, they’re here. At 1:05 or at 7:05, there is a game. And if it gets rained out, guess what? They make it up to you. Does anyone else in your life do that? The Red Sox don’t get divorced. This is a real family. This is the family that’s here for you.”

Ah yes, movie therapy. I’m all better now and wearing my blue again, but I might have to watch Money Ball one more time.

It’s still bad at the bottom folks.

May 02

Royals fans, time for movie therapy

“You love the Red Sox, but have they ever loved you back?”
–from the 2005 movie ‘Fever Pitch

I read several sports stories the other day devoted entirely to how Royals fans are dealing with the fact that the Kansas City Royals are bottom dwellers in the Big Leagues early in the 2012 season.

The Royals’ arguably ill-timed slogan, ‘Our Time’, doesn’t help.

Is it a jinx? Do we fans need therapy?

I think I do and will have to rely on my tried and true method—movie therapy. Suffice to say, I use it when life throws me a right hook, i.e. Royals. I will explain more later about how watching movies helps me cope.

I love the Royals; don’t get me wrong.

If any of you dear readers recall, I waxed poetic back in March about the Royals after attending spring training in Surprise, Arizona. The Royals looked good, promising, exciting, and clicking on all cylinders, as the saying goes.

I believed that it absolutely would be our time, finally.

That bubble burst for diehard fans like me on opening day when the Royals dropped an embarrassing game, leaving fans like me with an undeniable, worried oppressive feeling of impending doom.

Sorry to say, we were right. The Royals went on to lose 12 out of their first 15 games, and not since 1994 has there been one winning season. They could be baseball’s answer to the NFL draft’s ‘Mr. Irrelevant’.

Sometimes I don’t want to watch the Royals games on television anymore; it is too painful. My powder blue Royals jersey hangs unworn in the closet on most game days.

I feel guilty because I love these guys—Hosmer, Butler, Gordon, Francoeur, Moustakas, Pena, Duffy, Chen and all.

And I cannot begin to fathom what JP (on Twitter @LilFrenchie21) must think about all these losses. Incidentally, if you do not tweet, you may not know that J. P., a 7-year-old Kansas City Royals true-blue fan, has become something of a sensation in Twitter world. Is JP sad? I guess not because he recently tweeted this: “I still wear my Royals shirts to school almost every day! I don’t care if people tell me they are losing. At least I GO TO GAME!”

Now, I feel even guiltier, especially if a 7-year-old is this loyal. I should be, too.

But back to my movie therapy I promised to explain.

I started by watching Major League, a comedy aired in 1989 starring Bob Uecker and Charlie Sheen. In this film, the Cleveland Indians are in last place in the Majors, and inexplicably turn their miserable season into a winning one. Sidesplitting humor. I felt better.

Over the course of the next week, I watched ‘Money Ball’ three times. Yes, three times, mostly, because it was based on a true story. It ranks right up there with ‘Miracle’ and ‘Secretariat’ for me, and gets me out of the doldrums fast.

Remember Billy Beane, general manger of the Oakland Athletics who took that team out of the cellar to victory and into the history books by changing the way the game is managed. Now, I was feeling hopeful.

Since Money Ball is based on the Athletics’ true story, it could be possible, in my way of thinking, for the Royals to find success, too.

Finally, I watched “Fever Pitch,” the 2005 comedy about a diehard Boston Red Sox fan Ben Wrightman who never gave up on his team. He never lost faith despite the fact that the Red Sox could not overcome the 86-year-old “Curse of the Bambino” that legend says blocked them from ever winning the World Series because they sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees.

Ben’s friend Ryan asked him in frustration one day, “Why do we inflict this on ourselves?”

Ben’s answer: “Because they haven’t won a World Series in a century or so? So what? They’re here. Every April, they’re here. At 1:05 or at 7:05, there is a game. And if it gets rained out, guess what? They make it up to you. Does anyone else in your life do that? The Red Sox don’t get divorced. This is a real family. This is the family that’s here for you.”

Ah yes, movie therapy. I’m all better now and wearing my blue again, but I might have to watch Money Ball one more time.

It’s still bad at the bottom folks.

May 07

Remembering Dom DeLuise

“I’m actually a thin, serious person, but I play fat and funny, but only for the movies.” – Dom DeLuise.

It is said that a baby laughs 300 times a day, but an adult only 15.

And that could be 15 less times for many of us who loved and laughed with Dom DeLuise, popular actor, comedian, author, and chef who died May 4, 2009, after a long illness.

We will not be LOL quite as much anymore without his side-splitting comedy and good-natured humor.

I know I won’t. I am still laughing about the Shagungala sketch he performed in the 60s.

Anyone remember that particular comedy bit? Googled it and searched YouTube like crazy but no luck so far finding an old video of this hilarious comic routine.

But first, more about Dom DeLuise. I will get back to Shagungala in a minute.

It is important to note, when critiquing any performer, how rare it is for an entertainer to appeal to all age groups as Dom DeLuise did. Three generations came to know and appreciate this masterful comedian through three different mediums.

Baby boomers’ grandkids know him from his delightful and hilarious children’s books.

Boomers’ young adult offspring remember his riotous Cannonball Run movies from the 80s and his unrestrained Cannonball Run character, Captain Chaos. If you don’t remember this bright orange-and-yellow caped crusader, you can find him under this title on YouTube, the “Cannonball Run Music Video”.

As for my baby boomer generation, we remember Dom DeLuise from television in the 60s and 70s. Although he performed on many variety shows (including the Gary Moore Show, The Entertainers with Carol Burnett, and the Glen Cambell Show), it was the Dean Martin Summer Show I recall best.

The funnyman, Dom DeLuise, played the role of Dominick the Great, a bad magician who spoke in a fake, broken Italian accent and botched his magic tricks. Dean Martin, host, was the straight man. (You can find this sketch on YouTube titled Dean Martin & Don DeLuise.)

Martin sat in the audience and pretended to be a volunteer for Dominick the Great’s disastrous magic acts. Sometimes, Dean stood there smiling at DeLuise while smoking and crunching his cigarette butt under his foot (yes, they actually smoked on live TV in the 60s). Mostly Dean Martin tried to stay out of the comedian’s way.

Dom himself once explained, “Sometimes I get a little manic and you can’t stop me. I’m all over the place. I have fun.”

Marilu Henner, co-star of the 1984 Cannonball Run II (sequel to the original hit movie released in 1981) met Dom for the first time on set and was instantly astonished at Dom’s comedic genious and ability to ad lib.

She commented online about his death, “He had that kind of Robin Williams, non-stop crazy brain that would try anything if he thought it would get a laugh. I loved the relationship between Burt and Dom because you could see they were so yin and yang. Burt was so cool and easy and laid back, and Dom is just a ball of crazy kinetic energy that just doesn’t stop. They were each other’s complements. Because you don’t get smoother than Burt Reynolds, especially during the Cannonball Run period, and you don’t get wilder than Dom DeLuise.”

But, back to Shagungala as promised.

When Domminick the Great made his female assistant disappear in another magic trick gone awry, he couldn’t find her anywhere on stage. He began beating the curtain hunting for her and yelling, “Shagungala, you in there?”

Pardon the expression, I died laughing.

Over the years, when I went hunting for my kids inside or out and whether they understood me or not, I would shout, “Shagungala, you in there?”

I don’t think they got it. But they remember the Cannonball Run.

R.I.P. dear Dom.

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