Sunday 23 March 2008

Bad sport and good movies

Sunday is pretty much filled with sport in our house. Whatever the time of year there seems to be something to watch. From September through to February it is the NFL. From March to November it is Formula 1. From August until May there is often some sort of football; especially if you are interested in Scottish football and support Celtic (as Rich does) or interested in Spanish football and follow Real Madrid (as I do). There is also increasingly some sort of cricket (whether it is a test match or 20Twenty or one day series). With such riches of choice it is all the more disappointing when all you get is rubbish sport.

Today started with F1. Not live, as that would have been 7am, but recorded on the V+ box. As Hamilton and Kovalainen had both been given 5 place penalties for infractions during qualifying and lost their second row grid spots the best that Hamilton fans could hope for was some serious weather and several safety cars. Not to be. In addition a pit stop hold up meant that Hamilton didn't even get a podium, although Kovalainen did (now known as the smiling Finn as his demeanour is significantly more cheerful than compatriot Raikkonen). It was a pretty dull race. Although Massa didn't finish the race in the end it wasn't before Raikkonen took the lead from the poll sitter... during a pit stop. No rain, no safety cars, pretty much no overtaking... and definitely no excitement.

This fantastic event was followed by Celtic playing away to Gretna in the SPL. I was vaguely interested as a) the game was being played at Almondvale with is the ground of Livingston the team that I follow and b) I have an unreasonable dislike of Gretna and therefore was quite happy at the prospect of them getting thumped by Celtic. The reason for my dislike of Gretna are legion, and all perfectly sensible (to me). Originally I had no interest in Scottish football (not much interest outside of Charlton if we're honest). However Rich supports Celtic, and many of his friends supported one Scottish team or another, so I decided that I'd better support a Scottish team. I chose Livingston because I liked their style. After only six seasons in existence they made their way from the third division to the Premier League. They managed two seasons in the Premier League before being relegated back to Division One where they now languish. I digress.

Reasons I don't like Gretna. Until 2002 Gretna played football in England. Non-league football. Then they moved to Scottish football and Division Three, this way without merit they climb out of obscurity and reach dizzying heights that they never could have reached in English football, reason number one. They were then promoted up through the leagues. Much quicker than Livingston managed, reason number two. Finally, the club has pretty much bought it's success, reason number three. Bankrolled by a multi-millionaire, after falling ill he withdrew his support and the club went into financial administration. OK, rant over. Celtic beat Gretna 0-3, but it was a pretty dire game, I got so bored that I stopped watching before half time.

The good news is that baseball is back this week. The season starts with Boston playing Oakland in Japan, and everyone else starts playing next weekend. Following the Giants' Superbowl success I am certain that the Yankees must be destined to win the World Series (them or, horrible thought, the Mets).

Last night was movie night in our house (as nearly every Saturday night is). First up was the fantasy movie Stardust. Had we known that Neil Gaiman wrote the book and was a producer we might not have had such enthusiasm as his last movie we watched, Mirrormask, managed about 20 minutes before we got bored and gave up. Back to Stardust. A strange mix of cast with some very well known names (Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert De Niro, Peter O'Toole) and some quite unknown names; but a superb story with all the right elements for a good movie. Some of the imagery was very Studio Ghibli, especially the flying pirate ship! Michelle Pfeiffer as an old crone, Robert De Niro as an extremely effeminate pirate captain... worth watching just for that, and De Niro totally stole the show! Ten out of ten, I'd recommend it to anyone.

Movie number two, A Dog's Breakfast. Written and directed by David Hewlett (who plays Rodney McKay in Stargate Atlantis), it stars his real life sister and Paul McGillion (who played Carson Beckett in Atlantis) with appearances by other Atlantis cast members. I found it a bit slow going, but pretty funny - I was rather alarmed to find out that Paul McGillon doesn't really have a Scottish accent (so convincing was he in Atlantis)!

All done with movies for this weekend, back to the hard drive tonight for some more of the British drama we torture ourselves with. Having already managed two episodes of Torchwood we are up for Ashes to Ashes tonight. Why watch them if we don't like them. Well, I always liked Captain Jack in Doctor Who and Life on Mars (the predecessor to Ashes to Ashes) was brilliant. Sadly Ashes to Ashes doesn't live up to that high standard. I keep threatening to stop watching them but never quite do!