Suckered Again by Great Writing

I am a fan of neither the NBA nor of movies, really.

But when I read Roger Ebert I want to watch movies:

Tom Russell was a 10-year-old Adelaide schoolboy when he made “Last Ride,” his feature film debut. I have run out of words to account for young actors. Untrained, they seem able to reach an instinctive core of natural truth. Russell is in almost every scene, as authoritative as the adult actors. They say in a film or a story that you must focus on the characters who change, and in “Last Ride,” all of Kev’s changes are behind him, but Chook is arriving at his young life’s turning point.

For director Glendyn Ivin, this is also a debut feature, although he won the Palme d’Or at Cannes for a short subject. Remarkable, how he begins with materials that could have given themselves so easily to a road movie formula, and finds such truth and beauty. He knows so surely where he’s going that he arrives at a perfect final shot, that tells us what we need to know about Chook.

And when I read Bill Simmons I want to watch basketball:

You know what saddens me? The funniest clip on YouTube is no longer funny. Yep, you can finally rest in peace, “The Heat Welcome Party” video. Thanks for giving us two sterling years atop the Internet comedy rankings. We’re replacing you with a bullpen by committee of old reliables like “I Like Turtles,” “Charlie Bit Me,” the “It’s Still Real to Me, Dammit” guy, Journey’s immortal “Separate Ways” video and even the “I Like Turtles” techno remix. You will be buried officially during Monday’s championship parade in Miami. We will bury you not once, not twice, not three times … just kidding, we’re only burying you once.

Let’s hope you don’t resurface as something else — something scarier, something more ominous, something on the level of Namath guaranteeing Super Bowl III or Ali promising to defeat Liston. See, the ceiling of “The Heat Welcome Party” slowly changed during the last two games of the 2012 Finals. It’s no longer about hubris or a suffocating lack of self-awareness. It might be more of an omen, a warning, a little like the Game of Thrones characters seeing a red comet streak across the sky and saying, Uh-oh, dragons are coming. I mention this only because, like every other non-Miami fan who attended the last two home games, I left that arena muttering to myself, “Shit … he finally figured it out.”

But whenever these great writers sucker me into their subjects, I am disappointed. I don’t have the patience to care about great movies and I don’t have whatever it takes to care about great basketball.

Luckily I don’t need to care for their subjects. Great writing stands on its own.

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