Thursday, January 31, 2008

Gone Fishin'

I will be out of the office for the next week and won't be making new posts. In addition, I will not be able to respond to electronic queries with my usual speed.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Pamuk Assasination Plot Foiled

The Turkish police have just broken up a plot by an ultra-nationalist gang to assassinate Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk. Thirteen people were arrested, including Kemal Kerincisz, the lawyer who previously brought complaints against Pamuk, Elif Shafak, and other Turkish writers in court.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Gene Hackman Can't Coach

A caveat. The following post has absolutely nothing to do with publishing.

Has anyone else noticed that Gene Hackman can't coach?

In Hoosiers (1986), Hackman pays Norman Dale, an outsider who arrives to the small town of Hickory and coaches the high school basketball team to the Indiana state championship. He teaches the team discipline and conditioning, but that's about it. The only actual strategic play ever called was by his assistant Shooter (Dennis Hopper) when Hackman gets kicked out the game. When he actually tried to call a play, he gets overruled by his players. Basically, he got blessed with the amazing talent that was Jimmy Chitwood, and he just had to get out of the way. This reminds me of Phil Jackson, who I never thought could coach but just was blessed with the likes of Jordan, Pippen, O'Neal, and Bryant.

Next in the Gene Hackman-can't-coach display is The Replacements (1990), a cheesy but underrated football movie that highlights a team of scrub players that take the field when the regular NFL players strike. Hackman plays unorthodox head coach Jimmy McGinty, hired to try to coach the rag tag players that are pooled together to finish out the season. The biggest coaching decision Hackman makes is giving quaterback Shane Falco (Keanu Reeves) a chance to play in the second half of the final game of the season, though this was a no-brainer. On the final play, the best Hackman can do is tell Falco that the game is in his hands. Hackman doesn't even inspire his team with a great speech. That's also left to Falco, who spouts the immortal words, "Pain heals, chicks dig scars, glory last forever."

Now compare this to Micky teaching Rocky to fight as a righty before the rematch against Apollo Creed in Rocky II, or Crash Davis teaching Nuke LaLoosh about pitching, foot fungus and interviews in Bull Durham, or even Al Pacino screaming about the inches we fight for in Any Given Sunday. It's just not the same, right?