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Monthly Archives: July 2008


So I went to see ‘The Dark Knight’ again tonight. And I just may go see it a 3rd time – if I can find someone to sit through it with me again. And you know what? It’s just as captivating the 2nd time around.

Of course there’s been all kinds of talk about a posthumous Oscar nomination for Heath Ledger. And he deserves it. His interpretation of ‘The Joker’ is completely creepy, yet so full of life. You get the feeling he’s just enjoying the ride, no matter what happens. He’s an agent of chaos and anarchy – something very difficult to play. How do you play a character who really doesn’t care about anything without making him two-dimensional? Heath Ledger gets past that, and while we hate ‘The Joker,’ we can’t help but be in awe of his cleverness and knowledge of humanity. He understands Batman more than Batman does. His scene with Harvey Dent in the hospital is compelling and full of questions about morality, fate, chance and justice. He’s a haunting presence throughout the film; when he’s not onscreen, you can still feel him.

Another person who should be considered for an Oscar nomination is Aaron Eckhardt, who stars as Gotham’s ‘White Knight,’ DA Harvey Dent. His character’s descent from stardom and epic heroism is both stunning and captivating. You understand why he takes the turn he does, but you want him to go back. His closing scene in the blown-apart warehouse, holding the Gordon family hostage, was possibly the darkest, scariest, most spellbinding five minutes of film I’ve seen in a long time. Gary Oldman was amazing, too, in that scene; he is really the perfect Commissioner Gordon.

What about Christian Bale? Of course he’s good – but he doesn’t have the material the other two actors had. ‘Batman Begins’ was Bale’s showcase; ‘Dark Knight’ is all about ‘The Joker’ and ‘Two-Face.’

Of course I can’t remember where, but I read somewhere that ‘The Dark Knight’ should definitely be an Oscar contender for ‘Best Picture’ because ‘Titanic’ was. And that got me thinking about whether on not ‘The Dark Knight’ SHOULD be an Oscar contender.

My answer: Hell, yeah!

‘The Dark Knight’ isn’t your normal run-of-the-mill superhero movie. Sure it’s had mega box office success, holding records for best opening weekend, best single-day, fastest climb to $300 million (only TEN days). But while it’s certainly entertaining (remember how the 18-wheeler completely flips over? Or how crazy Batman’s leap from a tower in Hong Kong was?), it’s soooo much more:

There’s an undeniable sense of one-upmanship at work in this sleek, luxurious-looking production—a subtext of “Oh yeah? Top this.” But for all The Dark Knight‘s occasionally bombastic excess, it sort of does top them all, and not only in star power and sheer number of things blown up. Nolan turns the Manichean morality of comic books—pure good vs. pure evil—into a bleak post-9/11 allegory about how terror (and, make no mistake, Heath Ledger’s Joker is a terrorist) breaks down those reassuring moral categories.

It’s true. I was completely fascinated by all of the moral dilemmas the characters tackled. Sure they were cruel and crude in some cases, but in a post-9/11 world, the questions the movie asks are pertinent and, in some cases, exactly what our governments and law enforcement agencies deal with on a day-to-day basis (think of the cellphone-tapping scheme Batman comes up with and his conversation with Fox about its ethical implications). It’s ultimately about how far we go to protect ourselves.

I could spend all day writing about my fascination with the moral complexity of ‘Dark Knight.’

But back to the Oscars. The much over-hyped ‘Titanic’ won 11 Oscars and was nominated for 14 in 1998 – ten years ago. Why did it win? Well, it had ridiculous box office totals. It was a massive undertaking (the sets, special effects). And it had historical roots; don’t discount that fact (I’m convinced the only reason Reese Witherspoon won for ‘Walk the Line’ was because she was playing an America icon; Felicity Huffman was so horribly robbed that night). But look at the categories it won in:

  • Art direction
  • Cinematography
  • Costume design
  • Directing – James Cameron
  • Film editing
  • Original dramatic score
  • Original song – ‘My Heart Will Go On’
  • Best picture
  • Sound
  • Sound effects editing
  • Visual effects

What did it miss?

  • Kate Winslet – Performance by an actress in a leading role
  • Gloria Stuart – Performance by an actress in a supporting role
  • Makeup

Notice it lost in the ACTING categories. By a long shot (though I still don’t understand why Helen Hunt won – or why everyone loved ‘As Good As It Gets’).

‘Dark Knight’ could win every single category ‘Titanic’ won in. Except for ‘Original Song.’ It doesn’t have one. PLUS, it could win a Best Supporting Actor nod for Eckhardt and a Best Actor nod for Ledger (this supporting actor stuff for ‘The Joker’ is silly; he’s pretty much the catalyst for everything that happens in the movie. If that doesn’t define a central character, I don’t know what does).

‘Dark Knight’ deserves a Best Picture nod not only because of its box office success and spectacular effects/cinematography. It deserves it because of its dark, brooding story filled with such startling moral consequences. It deserves it because of its rich performances from the entire cast. It deserves it because it rises about the ‘superhero’ niche and becomes an epic film.

And because if ‘Titanic’ can be named Best Picture, even though it was mediocre at best, and ‘Lord of the Rings’ and Frodo can get accolades and statuettes, why can’t the Caped Crusader?

We all know Christian Bale
(aka the man who will one day madly fall in love with me)
plays Batman…

But maybe Wes Cates really is Batman.
You’ve gotta wonder. Hmmm…

I am completely and utterly in ‘love’ with Sugarland’s new album – ‘Love on the Inside.’ So many good tunes with great lyrics and catchy melodies.

Work has been unbearable the past three weeks. We’ve been without a manager and I’ve had to unexpectedly step up and take leadership with the Front End. It’s been very tiring and very stressful, so I haven’t been up to blogging that much when I’m home.

But I got a break last night when I went out for supper with friends and then headed to the Galaxy to see ‘The Dark Knight.’ We had tickets to the 10:10 showing but found ourselves in the very front row. Then I got the brilliant idea to go sit in the 10:20 showing – who would know? So we did and found way better seats.

I LOVED the movie. Heath Ledger was even better than I thought, and Aaron Eckhardt as Two-Face was a good surprise. Christian Bale was, of course, the hotness. I didn’t realize he’s British. So I looked up some interview footage of him and swooned when I heard his accent. Is it possible to love someone you’ve never met?

‘Dark Knight’ is dark, twisted, malevolent and full of questions centering on our morality in a modern world. I was rather intrigued by the large amount of 9/11 imagery and inferences. And no, I’m not crazy, though I think my friends thought I was. Search ‘Dark Night’ and ‘9/11’ and you’ll see that a lot of people saw what I did.

Go see ‘Dark Knight.’ It’s an absolute must-see. And I don’t normally do comic book movies.

But on to other things. Here are my 3 stars from last Saturday’s stunning victory against the Alouettes…

OFFENSIVE STAR: TIE – #4 – DARIAN DURANT, QUARTERBACK AND #20 – WES CATES, RUNNING BACK

It’s a week later and I STILL can’t decide between these two! What an offensive showing on Saturday! Durant was solid AGAIN in his 2nd start with 349 yards in the air and 3 TDs. The only problem was his 2 INTs, but he bounced back after every pick with a drive which negated the interception’s effect. Just think what the score would have been without Montreal’s 14 points off turnovers: 41-19. Did I mention he had 52 yards rushing, too?

Wes Cates had yet another strong game for the Riders. He’s definitely in the early running for MOP in the CFL. His first 100+ yard rushing game, and he added another 88 yards in the air. He’s a keeper and possibly Saskatchewan’s franchise player right now. And he’s the man who said, “If you ain’t ready to play 4 quarters, you aren’t ready to play with the Riders.” And Saturday the Riders proved his point.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER: #42 – ANTON MCKENZIE, LINEBACKER

It was a battle between former Rider-now Alouette Reggie Hunt and the man who now fills his spot – Anton McKenzie. And the two put up a hell of a show.

Hunt had a monster day, but McKenzie turned in a pretty good performance, too. He had 5 tackles, one forced fumble and an interception, all of which led to the Riders’ comeback victory.

Enough said.

SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER: #10 – LUCA CONGI, PLACEKICKER

Luca keeps having luck go his way. He nailed all 4 of his field goal attempts, including one which just grazed the goalpost on its way through. His accuracy and consistency are causing people to compare him to Robokicker himself – Dave Ridgeway. With all of the close games to date in the CFL this season, having a more than reliable kicker in Congi must make Rider head coach Ken Miller sleep much better at night.

I can’t believe what I’m about to do, but I’m going to do it. I’m going to defend Jessica Simpson’s first foray into country music, called ‘Come On Over.’

I haven’t been able to stop singing it the past week. What is this world coming to…

This weekend my siblings and I ventured out to Rosthern for the 2008 Lehmann Family Reunion. We headed out Saturday afternoon and met Mom and Dad at the farm. Sadie was so terribly excited to see us that she couldn’t sit still the entire evening! We watched the Rider game at home. Mom and Dad left for the campfire/hot dog roast hosted by the reunion before the 1st half of the game was over. The rest of us stayed at home and watched the rest of the game. FANTASTIC decision on our part! One of the BEST games I’ve seen – EVER! After the game we headed to the campfire and spread the good news – the Riders had won!!

On Sunday I woke up at 6:30 after a fitful night’s sleep. I was ready at 7:45 to be at Rosthern High School for 8:00 and the beginning of registration. My family was not ready, though, so we only got there around 8:30. After registration, there was a program, lunch, then free time for visiting. Thanks to my Mom who spearheaded the whole thing. She did such an amazing job – no surprise!

The only problem was that my siblings and I really had no one to visit with. The way the generations line up makes me the oldest of all the 3rd cousins. My brother and sister then follow. Then there are a good five years until EVERYONE else follows. So we’re kind of our own little group. But we’re used to it. On both sides of our family, I’m the oldest grandchild, and my brother, sister and I were the only grandchildren for quite a few years until my aunts got married and started having kids.

Regardless, it was a lovely weekend – topped off by an incredible football game!!

But what the hell does this have to do with Jessica Simpson? Well, nothing, really. But the ride home last night got me thinking.

My brother and sister are C95 listeners; they’re not big country fans. I NEVER listen to the radio. I’d say I’m rather eclectic in my musical tastes, liking everything from country to classical, to pop and opera. So I indulged my siblings by putting C95 on the radio on the way home.

It was like nails on a chalkboard.

Every single blasted song sounded the same. Each had the same underlying beat, the too-synthesized vocals. Some of them were catchy, but geez – a little creativity, people!

Now I’m not going to defend Jessica Simpson herself. In my opinion she uses her chest to sell records rather than her voice (which isn’t overly impressive). But the same can be said for artists in all genres.

There are differences, though. Simpson’s song has a melody which reaches more than an octave. And it’s an intriguing melody. There’s a lot of guitar – no synthesizer in sight. It’s got a good beat – but it’s not that stupid hand-clapping thing featured on most pop songs. The lyrics are down-to-earth and real. Think of ‘Touch My Body’ by Mariah Carey or ‘I Kissed a Girl’ by Katy Perry. The titles/lyrics are meant to shock you; they’re not ‘real.’

Maybe I’m just a musical snob. But I just can’t stand the pop world right now. Everything is fake. It’s all about the dance moves, the videos, the sex – it’s not about GOOD MUSIC. I understand the entertainment value and that part of the music industry. But for once – could someone just step up to the microphone with their voice and leave the theatrics at home?

Jessica Simpson’s video COMPLETELY nullifies all of what I’ve been saying, but if you just listen to ‘Come on Over’ you think, “Well that’s just a great song.” No vocal pyrotechnics. Just a good tune, decent lyrics and a message us normal people can relate to.

REAL music.

So I finally saw ‘Batman Begins’ last night.

Verdict: soooooo good. And *sigh* Christian Bale. I actually squeaked a few times when he came on screen.

I know, I know.

I’m pretty excited to see ‘The Dark Knight’ now. I’m going to be completely creeped out by The Joker and probably unable to sleep after I see it, but it’ll be worth it.

But I need to take care of another little bit of business. I haven’t reviewed last Saturday’s football game!

First of all – who the hell gave Rod Black the job of being a play-by-play commentator? ‘The Regina Roughriders?!?!’ Come on. That is absolutely RIDICULOUS. We won the freaking Grey Cup last year. GET OUR NAME RIGHT!!!!

And ugh. You TSN talking heads need to keep your man-crushes for Jesse Lumsden in check. It was getting a little much.

But the Riders prevailed. And claimed top spot on BOTH the TSN and Sportsnet power rankings. Quite the coup for our men in green. It must have KILLED Jock Climie to have had to put the Riders first.

But even if the Riders win this weekend, expect Calgary to claim top spot next week. Listening to the TSN crew last night, you’d swear God Himself plays QB for the Stamps.

Now let’s go back to last weekend’s game with my 3 Stars.

OFFENSIVE STAR: #4 – DARIAN DURANT, QUARTERBACK

This is an absolute no-brainer. The stats speak for themselves: first CFL start, first win. 347 yards passing, 2 TDs, and most importantly – NO INTERCEPTIONS!

Durant looked like a seasoned veteran out on the field, calmly leading his team through the ups-and-downs of an emotional game.

I was seriously impressed.

Honourable mention: #7 – Weston Dressler, Receiver/Returner. 122 yards and his first CFL TD. Made the game-winning play by turning a short little 6-yard dump pass into 69 yards and a first and goal game-winning situation.

DEFENSIVE STAR: #31 – SEAN LUCAS, CORNERBACK

No one really stood out on defence in this game. But I’m picking Lucas because he’s always at the top of the Riders’ stat sheet in defence tackles. He led with 7 this game and is becoming a solid player.

Honourable mention: #29 – Eddie Davis, Defensive Back. For surviving the run-in with the camera podium. Ouch.

SPECIAL TEAMS STAR: #30 – JAMIE BOREHAM, PUNTER

He’s not afraid to tackle people, or make a play. He narrowly escaped a block of his punt in the 1st half by being aware, holding onto the ball, moving around and finally getting it away. He’s so athletic and so aware of what’s occurring on the field. He’s a playmaker – even though he’s a punter. He was solid all day – again.

Honourable mention: #10 – Luca Congi, Placekicker. 2/2 on field goals. Hasn’t missed one yet this season.

I heart Murray Wood. He’s just so much more balanced. He has a brain – and he uses it.


“Stephan/Stephen. What’s The Difference To Sask’s Bottom Line?”

So, this is interesting. Stephane Dion has outlined what he claims he would do on a carbon tax, if he’s elected and it has triggered a prairie hail-storm of outrage. You’re hearing a lot about how much money it might take away from Saskatchewan. And fair enough, because it might.

Stephen Harper on the other hand, broke a clear promise to let Saskatchewan keep it’s non-renewable resource revenue out of the equalization formula and it’s been remarkably quiet from many of those so apoplectic over Dion.

Now, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall has bowed to pressure from Harper to drop a lawsuit over equalization ( a lawsuit he first suggested while in opposition) and you aren’t hearing much noise about that either. The explanation is that we’re doing much better by negotiating for federal money for projects. My question remains….is that money we wouldn’t have received anyway? And to those who equate questioning this to whining or seeking welfare, I’m still wondering why Manitoba and Quebec get to exclude their completely renewable hydro-electricity revenue and no one says boo as they rake in billions each year in equalization.

Contrast that to Nova Scotia, where unlike Saskatchewan’s well trained Tories, MP Bill Casey broke ranks over a similar broken promise. On the weekend, Nova Scotia got 870 million dollars as part of a deal with the federal government.

In Halifax, the headlines declare “Nova Scotia Has Won The Offshore War.” In Saskatchewan, we surrendered before the battle began. We’re walking away from what would have been 850 million dollars this year alone. Instead we’ll take our chances negotiating each year with Ottawa.

Now remind me…why is everyone so upset about what Stephane Dion might do, instead of what Stephen Harper has already done?

Amen, Murray. Amen.

Okay. There is only reality TV show that I absolutely adored. I do like ‘So You Think You Can Dance.’ But there’s only ONE show I actually miss. And that show is ‘Rock Star: INXS/Supernova.”

I know it sounds really strange – especially coming from me. I HATE American/Canadian Idol. So why would I like ‘Rockstar’?

Well, it’s very simple, actually.

The people on ‘Rockstar’ were all seasoned performers. They were people who’d been on stages before, knew how to arrange their own tunes, knew how to light a crowd on fire. They were pros. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with developing talent like the ‘Idol’ franchises do, but the kids on Idol rarely have their own personality or niche carved out; they have to find it amidst all the pressure of being on a national television show. On ‘Rockstar,’ it was a competition, but hell, it was also a concert every single week. The contestants sat on the side and cheered each other on as they rocked out together. They each had their own distinct personalities that they brought to the stage.

While I’m proud that Canadians won both editions of ‘Rockstar,’ it was the ladies I was completely enamoured with. I spent a good chunk of today watching their performances on YouTube. Dilana of ‘Rockstar: Supernova’ was so weird, but so ridiculously amazing. Storm Large was awesome, too, especially her original tune – “Ladylike.” Suzie McNeil, a fellow Canadian, was kick ass in ‘Rockstar: INXS.” I LOVED her version of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen. But my favourite cover of hers is that of Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” Definitely one of the most simple, beautiful, heartfelt songs ever written. It makes my eyes water every time I hear it.

But here’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” just because it’s such a classic.

Beware. Another football post.

Here’s what Jim Lang had to say about the Riders on his Power Rankings last week…

“When the defending Grey Cup champions open the season with a new head coach, new starting quarterback, new rush end and new outside linebacker, and still win, they definitely deserve to be number one. Eric Tillman and the Riders should be extremely proud of themselves. This football team is so huge in the province of Saskatchewan that it’s difficult to explain the true meaning of Rider Pride until you’ve experienced first hand at a sold-out Taylor Field. All those people in this great country that would like to see the CFL go away should take the time to see a Riders home game this season. If they ever bothered to get off their butts and get a ticket, they might find it a life altering experience.”

He placed the Riders first overall.

Now here’s what Perry Lefko had to say about the Riders this week…

“What a gritty effort by the Roughriders. Starting quarterback Marcus Crandell goes down with a hamstring injury in the first half and the Riders are forced to go with their second- and third-string pivots, Steven Jyles and Darian Durant. Both of them did a decent enough job, but it was really the play of running back Wes Cates, combined with arguably the best offensive line in the league, that made the difference. After losing receiver D.J. Flick for a minimum of nine weeks with a broken ankle and possible for the entire regular season, the Riders have lost a key offensive weapon. But Matt Dominguez is back and rookie Adarius Bowman is a fine complementary weapon who will now become more prominent in Flick’s absence. The defence really stymied the Lions, particularly in the back end. When Ricky Frazier picked off a pass and then rambled down the field and was tackled, all I could think of was Howard Cosell saying, “And down goes Frazier.” Okay, I just had to use that. But seriously, the Roughriders are playing like defending Grey Cup champions and are displaying character and grit. Head coach Ken Miller is making the right calls, such as going for field goals instead of gambling for touchdowns.”

The Riders are ranked #1 on Sportsnet.ca for the 2nd week in a row. The Lions and Bombers are 7th and 8th – where they should be. Both teams are 0-2.

Now look at the TSN.ca Power Rankings. WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE?!?!?!?!!?

Of course I’m ticked the Riders aren’t 1st overall – especially since we won with our 3rd string QB. If that doesn’t show power, I don’t know what does. TSN is a central Canada organization (hello – all the Leafs coverage), so I’m not really surprised the Riders aren’t first overall. Jock Climie probably changed the order before they were posted; such an Alouette homer. But what REALLY pisses me off if the fact BC is listed as 4th. FOURTH?!?!?!?! They’re 0 and 2, morons!! I swear – Wally Buono must do these rankings. I’m sorry – but the Lions and Bombers should be BELOW the Tiger Cats. The Tabbies have actually WON a game, unlike the Bombers and Lions. I really dislike TSN these days. I’m thisclose to wanting Mark Lee and Chris Walby back.

And then there’s the league itself. It’s Players of the Week for week one were ALL from the East Division. I don’t understand how the Riders put up more points than anybody and still didn’t have a player of the week – not even an honourable mention. WTF?!?! Two guys who should have been mentioned for offensive stars were Wes Cates (+150 yards receiving/rushing, 2 TDs, monster block on Flick TD) and Adarius Bowman (1st CFL game, 112 yards receiving, 1 TD, outstanding 73 yard catch/run TD). How they do not get mentioned is beyond me. Who wins the award? Anthony Calvillo of the Alouettes. Surprise, surprise. All TSN and the CFL do is shine sunshine up his ass. Calvillo already has his own Brian Williams interview this reason and is being heralded as the ‘renaissance man’ by TSN.ca. Give. Me. A. Break.

Here are my 3 Stars of Friday night’s game.

OFFENSIVE STAR: #20 – WES CATES, RUNNING BACK

He was really the only positive for the Riders on Friday night. Besides Andy Fantuz. But Andy’s ALWAYS a positive for me. Just looking at him makes me happy. But, uh, yeah – Wes Cates!! He took the team on his shoulders in the 4th quarter, finishing with 83 yards rushing, 55 yards receiving and 1 TD. He put it in gear when the team needed him most. He would totally be Pierre McGuire’s ‘Monster’ of the game.

Honourable mention: #4 – Darian Durant, quarterback. For protecting the football and not getting hurt.

DEFENSIVE STAR: #29 – EDDIE DAVIS, DEFENSIVE BACK

You’re going to dispute this – I know you are. Davis didn’t register one tackle during the game, but he didn’t have to. He was ALL OVER Jason Clermont and Geroy Simon. I’ve rarely seen either receiver as frustrated as they were Friday night. Eddie is the “Minister of Defence”; hat tip to Darrell Davis of the Leader Post for that catchphrase.

Honourable mentions: #15 – Lance Frazier, defensive back. HUGE RIDICULOUS interception in the 4th quarter off of a long-ball attempt to Geroy Simon put the nail in the Lions’ coffin; still don’t know how that ball didn’t hit the ground… #51 – Marcus Adams, defensive lineman. For recovering the Lions’ fumble in the 2nd quarter that led to the Andy Fantuz TD and kept the Riders in the game when they were down and out. And the rest of the defence gets an honourable mention for being so freaking awesome and helping out the sputtering (and that’s putting it nicely) offense.

SPECIAL TEAMS STAR: Three-way tie between #10 – Luca Congi, place kicker, #30 – Jamie Boreham – punter, and #7 – Weston Dressler, punt/kick returner.

Why the tie? Luca didn’t leave any points on the field in a game where the Riders needed every single one of them. Jamie for another excellent punting game. His placement is dead on these days, his leg seems to be stronger, and he doesn’t get nervous when he sees the other team rushing at him. And Weston for great instincts. He’s going to break one for the house very, very soon. He’s definitely a keeper.

Honourable mention: The special teams tacklers for keeping Ian Smart on his ass. Thank you.

There are two things the Riders need to work on, though.
1. Allowing 6 sacks is not cool in any game. I don’t care if the Lions have the most formidable front four in the league (though this may be disputed by Bomber fans, and rightfully so). Six sacks is unacceptable. We’re going to be out of QBs by next week if that continues.
2. Our defensive line had no pressure on Jarious Jackson/Buck Pierce all night. Need to fix that.

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