And kudos to Once in a Lifetime for jogging my memory about one of the most peculiar eras in pro sports. For a few short years, pro soccer teams were selling out some of the largest venues in America: 75,000 would turn out to watch the New York Cosmos (with superstar Pelé at the helm) kick a little white ball around on a giant field of grass. By comparison, the most popular team in baseball, the New York Yankees, currently draw about 52,000 people to see each game.
Benjamin Bratt is provocative in the role of Miguel Piñero, the troubled and disillusioned force behind the notable work Short Eyes, produced during one of Piñero's incarceration stints in the mid '70s. Bratt effectively exudes the pain and anger that transcends some posturing material, with a portrayal as lyrical as the throbbing beat of the movie's Latin-induced soundtrack. While the propensity for audiences to get caught up in Piñero's wayward world of instability is almost inevitable, the movie follows an uncharted path by trying to reinforce the demons without really being perceptive about Piñero's undeniable skill as a writer. The cliché about creative minds who become consumed by their art is almost a manipulation here. The film is valiant in the way it strides for that redemptive note as it tries to make us accept (and understand) his premature death of cirrhosis in 1988.
Continue reading: Piñero Review
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