Last night's pairs figure skating competition had a lot of people going
"Where HAVE I heard that song before?" particularly during Amanda Evora and Mark Ladwig's short routine, set to the "Portuguese Love Theme" from Love Actually.
(Ironically, this piece of music, which is used on 1 out of 5 romantic
film trailers and in Oscar montages, is not actually on the soundtrack,
nor available for purchase as a track. Grrrr.) Which made me think of
two things I like: Olympic figure skating and film scores. When put
together in the right way, they elevate each other to a new level of,
well, misty eyes.
there is one routine that stands out to me: The year was 1992 in
Albertville, France, during the men's long program. An underdog named Paul Wylie
from the U.S., who was on his last Olympics and many thought had no
business being on the team, came out and executed a near-flawless
routine that stunned everyone including himself. Watch it again and I
dare you not to get excited.
Wylie skated to selections from the Henry V
score, composed by Patrick Doyle. Complete with swordplay and Russian
splits, I was so exhilarated after watching this that I went out to
find the soundtrack even though I'd never seen the film. (Wylie nabbed the silver medal and also
skated memorable routines to the scores from JFK and The Untouchables the following year)
really should print across the screen the skaters' musical selections,
because with such a large audience I'm sure plenty of people go
searching for these tracks that move them to tears. Anyone else have
any favorite movie-themed skating routines? --Ellen
What it is:Friday Night Lightsis NBC's drama series based on the hit feature film and best-selling book Friday Night Lights, chronicling the small town of Dillion, Texas where football rules and lives of the players and residents are anything but simple. This strong third season sees a re-defining of key characters as inspiring head coach Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler) faces new challenges, and wife Tami (Connie Britton) finds herself in the center of town politics as the new school principal. We watch as the Dillion Panthers attempt to win another state championship, and the characters struggle with hardships, decisions about relationships, college and their futures.
Why it's Significant: Friday Night Lights: The Third Seasonis the season that almost didn't happen, but thanks to DirectTV and then NBC picking it up again, the story of Dillion, TX and the Dillion Panthers was able to live on as it rightfully should have to the relief of its many fans, and is now available on DVD. The ensemble cast is outstanding, as are the complex characters that are given compelling story lines making this a great character-driven show. It's a show that counts men, women and families of all ages as it's fans. Some wondered about this third season, but this is one of the best and will not disappoint the hard-core fans or newcomers to the show. From the first episode to the finale, you won't want to miss this season, as it is well worth the ride. This is far from being just another show about football. This is a show about community, relationships, and moments that matter. You can not help but be inspired by Coach Taylor and the Dillion Panthers. So in in the words of Coach Taylor, "Are you ready for Friday Night?" And trust me, your answer should be yes. Absolutely yes.
Ah...don't you love this time of year? The ice is melting, the flowers are starting to bloom, and, most importantly, it is time once again for the NCAA Basketball Tournament! The 2009 NCAA Tournament tips of this Thursday with the round of 64. Over following two days, 32 games will be played across the country, and then 16 more will be played on Saturday/Sunday. For most of my life, I was a casual March Madness fan, filling out a bracket or two and paying attention to the big games only. Then, I went to college at Gonzaga University and caught the fever. Now I follow the tournament somewhat obsessively, so needless to say, I look forward to the announcement of the brackets all year long.
Fans of March Madness agree - few events can match the excitement the tournament will inevitably bring us. Every single game is a must-win, and that means one do-or-die situation after another. Hearts will be broken, heroes will be made, and a new Cinderella team will come out of nowhere and upset a higher-ranked team (I love these stories - this is how Gonzaga burst onto the national basketball scene in 1999 - see video below). Millions of fans across the country will fill out their brackets with their predictions, and basketball analysts will debate every facet of every matchup until tip off.
So, in the spirit of March Madness, I thought I would share a few DVDs that may help you prepare for the tournament. If you need a reminder just how sweet it can be, check out March Madness: The Greatest Moments of the NCAA Tournament, which compiles some of the greatest games and shots in the 70 year history of the tournament, from Michael Jordan's shot against Georgetown to Christian Laetner's beautiful turnaround jumper at the buzzer to help Duke beat Kentucky in 1992.Check out some clips from this DVD (click "Playlist" to see the different clips):
There are also a slew of DVDs which focus on just a single school and their basketball history. Watch some of the most storied games in Kansas (the current National Champion) history in Greatest Games: Kansas Basketball. See Coach Bill Self give a tour of Allen Fieldhouse:
If you are a fan of Michigan State, be sure to grab a copy of The Greatest Stories of Michigan State Basketball. College basketball also has one of the greatest rivalries in the history of sports in the North Carolina/Duke match up. To catch up on the history, check out these "Rivalry Series" DVDs - Duke Beats North Carolina and North Carolina Beats Duke. Indiana University, with five National Championships and eight Final Four appearances, has one of the most impressive NCAA Tournament records. The History of Indiana Basketball shows all of the best moments. In the same vein, The History of Kentucky Basketball shows how Kentucky has come to compile the greatest all-time winning percentage in college basketball. Although neither Indiana nor Kentucky made the tournament this year, they are unbelievable programs nonetheless.
To prepare you for Thursday, here are a few of my favorite clips from past tournaments:
Perhaps the biggest moment from last year's tournament was Mario Chalmers' shot against Memphis to send the championship game into overtime:
Christian Laettner's game winner from 1992:
And my personal favorite, "The Runner," from when Gonzaga beat Florida to go to the Elite 8 in 1999:
Do you have a favorite moment of the NCAA Tournament? A favorite team? How about just your favorite basketball movie of all time?
Santonio Holmes made a great catch of a Ben Roethlisberger pass to win Super Bowl XLIII, but the play that most of us will remember is James Harrison's interception return for a touchdown, the longest scoring play in Super Bowl history. You remember the situation: Arizona was trailing 10-7 but knocking on Pittsburgh's end zone in the final minute of the first half. Some kind of Cardinal score--and valuable momentum going into halftime--seemed inevitable. That's when the play happened, and you can watch it again below, courtesy of NFL Films. If you want to see Holmes, Larry Fitzgerald, and the other players and big plays of the Big Game, pick up Super Bowl XLIII Champions: Pittsburgh Steelers on Blu-ray or DVD. --David
(Blu Monday is our roundup of what's new in Blu-ray...)
About a month ago I was talking about sports on Blu-ray and speculating whether the big one, the Super Bowl, was going to be released on Blu-ray. No need for speculation now: Commemorating this year's game between the Arizona Cardinals and Pittsburgh Steelers, Super Bowl XLIII Champions will be on Blu-ray and only at Amazon.com. It makes perfect sense: how many people have jumped into HDTV specifically for football? Whether sports works as a collectible product is of course out of a studio's hands: who's the winning team, and how good of a game/series is it? We'll have to watch the game this Sunday to find that out. --David
New Blu-ray pre-orders that have recently hit the catalog: