Thursday, February 23, 2006

Toss up

American Idol 5 is underway and for the first time in a while, I don't have a clear favorite. This is so unlike last year season when I was rooting for Bo, or the season before that when I was rooting for Fantasia.

So now I have four favorites - Paris, Mandisa, Katharine, and Taylor. I'd love for them all to reach the top 4 but I don't think that'll happen, so I will settle for all four of them making it to the top 6 (I'm pretty sure all four of them are a lock to get into the top 12). I'm kinda liking Elliott too, but I'll find out tonight if I am going to be rooting for any of the other men because I really haven't seen a lot of AI recently and I don't know who has great pipes among them.

Fearless forecast (based on what I've heard and what I've read):
  • top 6 girls - Katharine, Paris, Mandisa, Lisa, Kellie, Ayla (or heck it could be Brenna just because the producers want to keep a contravida around for the people to cheer against
  • top 6 guys - Taylor, David, Ace, Chris, Sway (mainly coz he'll be carried to the top 12 by the Filipino block vote. He's okay but he's not one of my faves, so I don't think I would vote for him if I was in the US), then either Will or Elliott but I want Elliott to get through.
So well good luck to my fave 4! If they all make it to the top 4 it would be fantastic, but I'd settle for one of them winning.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Just when I congratulate Liverpool for beating both Man U and Arsenal, I find out that Liverpool lost their Champions League match against Benfica in Portugal 0-1. This means that for Liverpool to get through, they have to beat Benfica by at least two goals, or beat them 1-0 then win the penalty shoot out. A win by 1 goal that is not 1-0 will result in Benfica moving on due to the away goals rule. Oh well, that's football for you.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Of crosses and free kicks

If you haven't seen the movie 'Goal' then you need to go see it ASAP before its run ends. And this applies whether you are a football fan or not. Of course, if you follow the English Premiere League and international football to some degree, your appreciation for the movie will increase. Especially when you see Alan Shearer, Keiron Dyer, Steven Gerrard, Milan Baros, Igor Biscan, Frank Lampard, and Joe Cole play actual football on the pitch - the fact that you have real international players playing the game definitely gives more legitimacy to the film. But even if you can't pick out who the players are and are completely uninterested by the athletes who are part of the cast, it doesn't really matter. The story is universal - live the dream and work hard to achieve your goals.

SPOILER ALERT! If you don't want me to give the movie away, please refrain from reading any further.

Goal is now my current favorite movie. You know, like 'The Incredibles' and 'Episode 3' were when they both came out. I am absolutely raving about Goal, and I am trying to get more people to see it. It is now my official favorite sporting movie and my favorite underdog movie too. I am a sucker for underdog movies, but only if on some level it is believable. And it is only believable to me if (1) the lead character has enough charisma for you to root for him and believe that he is that skilled, and (2) if you see him put in the hard work necessary to succeed. The lead character Santiago Munez (played by Mexican actor Kuno Becker) manages to do this. You can't help but root for him in this film.

So now you have this poor kid who hasn't had much opportunities in life but who is unbelievably talented. Then you see him go through so many struggles in his life, and each time he falls he stands up and tries again. And he fights hard. That in itself is great to see. Then add in a supporting cast of people who help him each time he stumbles - his grandma giving him what he needs to fly to the UK, a talent scout who, without really knowing him, fights for him to be given enough opportunities to show everyone he is more than worth their time, and a teammate who pleads his case to ensure he remains in the team. So not only do you have a man with great skill, self-belief, integrity, determination, and heart, but you also see people around him who help open doors for him. It thus makes it far more believable that this guy with no professional training and who only kicks a ball around in the playground ends up on top of the world. And in a reality where you see so much despair and failure, watching a film where you see karmic justice being brought to fruition just makes your heart soar.

Some favorite scenes:
  1. When Santiago's father accidentally sees him play on TV, especially when Santiago takes his jacket off and displays his father's last name "Munez" for the world to see, and mutters "that's my son." That moment when he realizes how far his son has gotten, and that he was wrong and his son was right and he embraced it fully. Man, just thinking about that scene is giving me goose pimples.
  2. When his talent scout Glen Foy tells Barry Rankin that Santiago had signed with him and he was now Santiago's manager. I was scared for a second that the allure of money and fame would make Santiago sign with Barry and forget about Glen who had stuck his neck our for him. So finding out that Santiago had remained true and loyal was a triumph in itself.
  3. When Santiago gets pissed off that he didn't make the reserve team or even the reserve bench, only to find out that he was now playing for the first team.
  4. When he also finally admits to having asthma, and when his asthma is accepted as something that can be handled. I could feel for him that such a huge strain had been lifted off his back. And now he had more freedom to shoot for his dreams.
  5. When Santiago's grandma gives him the bus, train and plane tickets he needs to go to London. It was not clear what sacrifice his grandma made, but watching it you knew that she made one, and to see her make it so that she could give Santiago a chance to chase hi dreams was so heartwarming.
  6. And of course, the last 15 minutes of the movie. It was Santiago's brilliant run and his perfect cross that got Newcastle the equalizer they needed, and his final free kick that got Newcastle the win they needed to make it to Europe. Instant hero in only his second outing with the first team. The crowd were chanting his name. His grandma and his brother see him in his moment of glory. And they all find out that his father had indeed forgiven him for leaving, and that he eventually, after all those years, saw Santiago play. Awesome moment of triumph. And you just sit back and feel blessed to have been part of that journey. Even if it was just a movie. =)

Seriously, there are a truckload of great scenes in the movie. And me writing and raving about it now is making me want to see it again. And I'm pretty sure I will. I also love the fact that this is part of a trilogy and that the next two installments will be about the Champions League then the World Cup, and I can't wait til those movies come out. The DVD is out on March 6 apparently, but I am not sure if it will also be out here at the same time since it just started showing here on Feb 16 (I hope it does though).

Was there a downside to the movie? Yeah, Newcastle beat Liverpool in the final game of the season and make it to Europe while Liverpool don't. But okay, that is forgivable. =)


In the real world, I love the fact that Liverpool have won their last two matches - they beat Arsenal in the league 1-0, then they eliminated Man U from the FA Cup also with a 1-0 win. Go Liverpool!