Where Did The Week Go…
There’s a fine line between art and graffiti. But you know it when you see it. A little over a year ago, (sub)Urban Projections highlighted local artists who used buildings, parking garages and street lamps to digitally paint their artwork. Not only was it highly creative, but it also meant that there wasn’t anything permanently on the buildings so people didn’t freak out.
I bring this up because once again, the city of Eugene has found a way to creatively use the city as a canvas for creativity. If you make your way downtown anytime soon and decide to use the Overpark parking garage, you’ll find another example of why Eugene is a truly unique place.
In the south stairwell, the city has installed 10 plaques, each of which present a short story or “Flash Fiction” of 200 words or less. Each story is written by artists as young as middle school and they all relate in some way to Eugene’s 150th anniversary. The top and bottom floors offer a table of contents like any book, but instead of flipping through pages, you’re using your feet to get to the next story.
So now when you’re walking up the stairs to get to your car, you can take a breather and read a short story. Exercising your body and your brain.
Netflix Instant Pick: Lost in Translation
The feeling of loneliness can be a difficult thing to bear. You feel as if you don’t exist to anybody and nothing you do is ever good enough. You feel helpless and with no one to confide in, you shut yourself off and live in a state of isolation.
But how do you deal with that in a foreign country? You find someone going through the same issues, who speaks the same language, and you hang out with them.
Of course the feeling of emptiness, loneliness and depression can occur at any age, but it seems like it happens the most when you are in your twenties; trying to discover who you are and what you want to do with your life, and when you’re in your fifties; looking back at your life so far and feeling regret.
In Lost in Translation, Bob Harris (Bill Murray) and Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) are dealing with these problems. Bob is a fading American film actor visiting Tokyo to appear in a commercial to endorse whiskey. Charlotte is a recent college graduate and new wife tagging along as her husband is in Japan on business. Bored and weary, Bob and Charlotte form an unlikely bond in an unfamiliar place.
A conventional film like this would have the two characters fall in love and live happily ever after. These characters have an obvious attraction for one another, but like in the real world, they know it can never be anything more than that. They’re just seeking a temporary companion to help them get through this week before they go their separate ways.
The genius of Lost in Translation is that it’s an intimate film without the intimacy. You always feel like you’re right in the room with these characters, sharing in their conversations and moments. In one terrific scene, Bob and Charlotte are lying on a bed (but not in bed) as she asks him what to expect later in life. When the question of having children comes up, Bob gives one of my favorite lines of dialogue ever delivered.
“Your life, as you know it… is gone. Never to return. But they learn how to walk, and they learn how to talk… and you want to be with them. And they turn out to be the most delightful people you will ever meet in your life.”
Besides these wonderful quieter moments, the film can also be very funny thanks to the always charming and hilarious Bill Murray. In a scene where he is shooting the whiskey commercial, he’s having a hard time communicating with the Japanese director on how to turn his body, hold the glass and look intensely at the camera. There are a number of memorable “lost in translation” moments for Murray as he struggles to talk to people in Tokyo.
Some may find the film to be slow and boring, maybe even a little pretentious, but you should still find the time to watch this unconventional story about two people not seeking love, but friendship; however long it lasts. Both Murray and Johansson give outstanding performances, director Sofia Coppola shows why the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree when it comes to making great films and the soundtrack always seems like it comes in at just the right moments.
Good Old Gregg Popovich
Gregg Popovich is my favorite coach in the NBA. Besides the fact that he’s the best coach in the league and has won four championships, he’s also an old-school guy who can be a little surely to the media, but who also can find time to have a little fun. Between messing with Shaq, Charles Barkley and anyone else who even remotely irritates him, the Spurs coach has earned his reputation as a throwback coach in the vein of Red Auerbach, Bear Bryant and Sparky Anderson.
But deep down, Pop cares about one thing; his team’s success. Over the last several seasons, he’s been notorious for sitting his top players out of games for the simple reason of allowing them to rest. And he hasn’t exactly been subtle or duplicitous about this. He even made a joke about it last season when the Spurs listed 36-year-old Tim Duncan as “OLD” for the reason he didn’t play in a game.
But Popovich’s latest decision to sit players isn’t being met with humor. On Friday, the NBA fined San Antonio $250,000 when they didn’t bring Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili or Danny Green to Miami for the final game of the six-game trip.
According to NBA Commissioner David Stern, the Spurs “did a disservice to the league and our fans.” Stern went on to elaborate that the team’s failure to inform the league, their opponent and the media in a timely manner of their intentions was the main reason for the hefty fine. But in reality, this “message” by the league is about one thing, money.
This game was against the defending NBA champion Miami Heat and was nationally televised on TNT. The league makes nearly $5 billion a year and in order to make their fans happy, teams need to have their best players on display. If this had happened late in the season when teams typically rest players for a playoff push, this might not have been much of an issue. But a month into the season when the league is doing everything they can to get fans interested is an entirely different thing.
Maybe Popovich will think twice this year about listing one of his players as “OLD” when he rests them later in the season. But knowing him, he’ll probably do it again only this time, he’ll list three or four guys.