Undefeated Bears Travel to Lambeau: Week Two Game Preview

| September 16th, 2022

They weren’t supposed to win the opener. They’re not supposed to win Sunday night at Lambeau. So, one might ask…

Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?







The “Packer Week” Thing

The Packers have never bothered me. There are many reasons for this.

First, I’m not from Chicago and I think that matters. Geographic proximity seems to breed sporting animosity, but specifically that 200-mile range. It is roughly 200 miles from Chicago to Green Bay. It is also roughly 200 miles from New York City to Boston, and Ann Arbor to Columbus. (There are about 40 miles less in the journey from Tuscaloosa to Auburn.) But if you’re not from these places (or if they’re not your alma mater) it is incredibly difficult to feel the rivalry.

Also, for the entirety of my lifetime, Bears vs. Packers has been a terrible rivalry. Green Bay has had a Hall of Fame quarterback since I’m ten years old. Brett Favre was 22-10 against Chicago. Aaron Rodgers is 23-5. This is a rivalry? 45-15? I get the historical underpinnings of the whole endeavor, but it hasn’t been a fair fight since George H.W. Bush was in the White House.

And for those who got angry at the whole “I own you” episode with Rodgers a year ago, I ask you this: why? Rodgers is a desperately sad individual. His prolific professional career has been marred by disappointment. His life has been a mess. His family has written him off. He’s constantly searching for magic elixirs that will enter his bloodstream and trip whatever wire releases the happiness enzymes. If proclaiming ownership over a franchise that has beaten him a total of five times in 14 years brings him closer to whatever nirvana he seeks, I’m willing to let him have that.

I’ve always done the “Packer Week” thing around here because I figured it’s what the fans want. Until this rivalry becomes a rivalry again, and produces some memorable games/moments, I’m done with it. Let me see the Bears win four of the next eight and then we can go on and on about “Packer Week”.

Mourning Jean-Luc Godard

Until this summer, I must admit, I was not a huge fan of this oft-proclaimed master of the French New Wave. As a matter of fact, I much preferred the films of Francois Truffaut to Godard. But a revisiting of his work, in the wake of my return to academia, has enlightened me. And though it won’t mean anything to Godard, who died this week at 91, I’m very glad to have seen a print of Bande à part with the First Lady of DBB at Film Forum in NYC while he was still alive.

Here are some great quotes about Godard.

Roger Ebert, from a 1969 review of Weekend: “Godard is a director of the very first rank; no other director in the 1960s has had more influence on the development of the feature-length film. Like Joyce in fiction or Beckett in theater, he is a pioneer whose present work is not acceptable to present audiences. But his influence on other directors is gradually creating and educating an audience that will, perhaps in the next generation, be able to look back at his films and see that this is where their cinema began.”

Woody Allen: “Then he said I could say whatever I wanted to say. He plays the French intellectual very well, with the 5 o’clock shadow and a certain vagueness. Meanwhile, when I got there for the shoot, he was wearing pajamas—tops and bottoms—and a bathrobe and slippers and smoking a big cigar. I had the uncanny feeling that I was being directed by Rufus T. Firefly.”

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The Eight Best Films I’ve Seen Since Memorial Day

| September 2nd, 2022

Each year, for Labor Day weekend, I write about something wildly off-topic. That usually means bars or movies and since my brain is concentrated on the latter, with graduate school mere days away, that’s where the road shall take us. This post is a football palate cleanser, a nice distraction before five straight months of non-stop Chicago Bears.

To prepare my brain for a return to scholarly life, I watched 67 films this summer. Those films fell into three categories: movie musicals pre-1960, English language classics by acclaimed directors and foreign language classics. Some I had previously seen two decades ago. Some I had seen pieces of here and there as an undergrad. I also read 11 books on various film-related subjects. I won’t waste space by listing everything. Instead, you can see the entire list of films and books by CLICKING HERE. (There are stars next to certain films. They are not a value rating. Ignore them.)

Of the books, I can’t recommend Anna McCarthy’s Citizen Machine highly enough. The book examines how the concept of liberalism evolved from notions of solidarity and “the people” to a concentrated individualism in post-Cold War America, illuminating how various entities (corporations, labor, etc.) used television to sell that message. It is a brilliant work.

For the films, I’ll be listing them in no particular order, and providing a brief comment or video clip that I hope piques your interest.  Here they are. (If you’re interested in seeing any of these films, they are all available either to rent or stream. You can check them all at JustWatch.com.)

High and Low (Director: Akira Kurosawa)

A stunning piece of storytelling, Kurosawa’s masterpiece is part kidnapping melodrama and part police procedural. High and Low is, in some ways, a combination of Rashomon‘s narrative flexibility and Seven Samurai‘s big Hollywood sensibility. It is one of my favorite movies ever made.

Bande à part (Director: Jean-Luc Godard)

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