About a week ago, I was contacted by Kim Young, who handles press duties for the Dallas AFI International Film Festival about the movie “The Rocket”. This is a movie about the life and times of the great Maurice Richard. Almost all hockey fans know the name, and some know some of the story, but his story is extraordinary enough that I was curious to know more by checking out this movie for myself.
Loved it. Some sports movie cheese is in there, but for the most part it is solid, cinematic greatness. Especially if you are a fan of the sport, as the time period is depicted wonderfully and you feel you are back in the Montreal Forum in the 1950’s. You have to fight through some French subtitles, but the action scenes are brilliant, with many NHL players (Mike Ricci, Sean Avery, and many more) getting key roles in the film. I think it is well worth seeing.
And, for good measure, after the Stars beat Phoenix on Saturday night, Doug Armstrong and the coaching staff watched it on the airplane home, and from all accounts, they loved it, too.
Anyway, tonight is the big night of the premier at the Dallas Film Festival, at the Angelika Film Center.
Here is some of the stuff Kim sent me:
Here's the deal: the Southwest premiere of THE ROCKET will be at 7:00 p.m. Monday, March 26th, at the Angelika Film Center. The second screening will be a 9:45 p.m. the next night, Tuesday, March 27th, also at the Angelika. FYI, to date, the movie has only been screened in the U.S. at festivals in New York and Palm Springs. As far as I know, there is no theatrical release planned for it here, but a DVD release in April, so if fans want to see it on the big screen --- and it is such a well-short and art-directed movie! --- they need to catch it Monday or Tuesday.
Because you will be talking about the movie on the day of the first screening, if people want to get tickets for that night (Monday), they will have to get them at the Angelika box office.
If they want to get tickets to the Tuesday screening, they can get tickets on Monday at the AFI DALLAS box office -- 1155 Broom -- across the street from the El Fenix in downtown Dallas, buy from the web site - www.afidallas.com or at the theatre. For tickets day of screening, they have to get them at the venue.
For talking points, it's pretty cool that in February, THE ROCKET won 9 Genie Award (Canada's Oscar -- actually sanctioned by the Oscar folks here) There's that number 9! A triple hat trick! It was nominated for 13 Genies, and the 9 it won included: Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Cinematography and Editing.
I'm attaching two articles about the movie and the Genie Awards, and here are a couple of links that might give you some thoughts. The movie's official web site has been taken down, as it was released in Canada last year.
Link 1 ...
link 2 ...
And of course it would ever so appreciated if you felt like talking a bit about this being the very first AFI DALLAS International Film Festival, and that we have 191 films, 200 screenings, over 10 days at 7 venues. The Festival kicked off on March 22, and goes through April 1. Lot of details about films, events, parties, etc., at the web site --- www.afidallas.com.
We really do have something for everyone! I was taking with some of the LA folks with AFI who are in town to help launch this festival, and they told me that the size and scope of the Dallas festival is where most film festivals are at Year 5!
Anyway, if you have a chance, I would like to invite you to check out the rare great sports movie that depicts a wonderful hockey player who has an amazing life story.
The Rocket – Movie Trailer
Who is the Rocket?
And now that I have plugged this, on to our links:
Mavs screw around with Hawks; get away with it …
The Mavericks have set themselves apart from the rest of the league this season. But Sunday, the team proved it has the same DNA as everyone else.
It turns out the Mavericks are human. A team that prides itself on an unrelenting focus let up against Atlanta.
It didn't cost them a victory – Jason Terry wouldn't let it – but the Mavericks frittered away a big early lead and had to play their best in the final minutes to leave Philips Arena with a 104-97 win.
"I told our guys I appreciated the way they came out and played hard," Mavericks coach Avery Johnson said. "And I appreciated the way they finished, especially offensively.
"But as you saw, we're not the flawless team that everyone thinks we are."
The Mavericks won their 58th game Sunday. That's more than the Hawks have won the last two seasons combined.
A fair fight? This was like Sean Penn challenging Stephen Colbert to a comedy smackdown. The Mavericks' 23-point lead early in the second quarter did nothing to inspire confidence in an upset.
But shortly after that lead, the Mavericks became sloppy handling the ball. Their defensive rotations deserted them. They were a step slow, which explains why the Hawks shot 49 free throws.
"We have to try not to have those lapses where we forget to play defense," Mavericks forward Josh Howard said.
Georgetown back in Final Four (against Ohio State); UCLA to play Florida …
Georgetown’s stunning come-from-behind 96-84 overtime victory against North Carolina on Sunday in the East Regional final at Continental Arena sent the Hoyas to the Final Four for the first time since 1985. That team was coached by John Thompson Jr. and featured center Patrick Ewing, the father and namesake of one of the current team’s key reserves.
North Carolina held a 10-point lead with 7 minutes 19 seconds remaining, but an untimely drought allowed Georgetown to scratch its way back into the game. Guard Jonathan Wallace made a 3-pointer from the left wing with 31 seconds remaining in regulation to pull the Hoyas into a tie for the first time since midway through the first half. A 3-point attempt by North Carolina’s Wayne Ellington in the final seconds bounced off the back of the rim, sending the game to overtime.
Georgetown kept the momentum through the extra five minutes, scoring the first 14 points. Tar Heels Coach Roy Williams wore an exasperated look while players on the bench stood wide-eyed with hands on their hips.
Georgetown, which will play Ohio State on Saturday in Atlanta in a national semifinal, cannot avoid comparisons to its past. The Hoyas lost the 1985 championship game to Villanova, and won the 1984 title by beating Houston.
Liddell vs Rampage in UFC 71 …
The way Chuck Liddell has dominated recent opponents Tito Ortiz and Randy Couture, it appears the Ultimate Fighting Championship's light-heavyweight champion is unbeatable.
Irvine's Quinton "Rampage" Jackson knows that's not true.
In a PRIDE Fighting Championships tournament in 2003, Jackson pounded the fatigued Liddell with a flurry of second-round punches that prompted Liddell's corner to stop the fight.
Now, less than four months after Jackson joined UFC, he's getting his shot to take Liddell's belt. UFC will officially announce today that the fighters have signed contracts to headline a May 26 pay-per-view card, UFC 71, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
"I'm ready, for sure," Liddell said. "I'm at the top of my game, and I've been looking forward to this fight for a long time. I should've never lost the first time. It won't happen again."
Jackson hadn't planned on fighting Liddell so quickly in his UFC career, but his manager said UFC President Dana White tore up their prior contract and offered a new four-fight deal that will begin with this title fight.
"Our plan was to get more exposure in the UFC so the American public would become more familiar with Rampage, but don't get me wrong … with Rampage's ability, he knows how to handle this," Juanito Ibarra, Jackson's manager/trainer said. "Chuck Liddell is a fight we're ready for.
"Chuck's the champion of the world, but Rampage has a style to beat Chuck and take his title."
Landon Donovan dominates Ecuador …
With 31,547 spirited fans at Raymond James Stadium cheering him on, U.S. midfielder Landon Donovan put on a show that was both exciting and vindicating for player and fan alike.
The largest crowd to watch an international friendly match in the state of Florida witnessed a brilliant performance by Donovan as he scored all three goals for the U.S. men's national team in a 3-1 win against Ecuador.
It was the second career hat trick for the seven-year veteran and a definite boost of confidence after coming off a disappointing performance in the 2006 World Cup. Donovan went scoreless during the tournament and only recently broke his longest goal-less streak for the U.S., at 27 games, against Denmark earlier this year.
"Throughout camp, you could tell [Landon] really stepped things up in terms of his role on our team," U.S. interim head coach Bob Bradley said. "He really came through in terms of great goals and good movement off the ball."
Donovan wasted little time opening the scoring. Only 49 seconds into the game, with a majority of the fans still looking for their seats, the midfielder hit a 20-yard strike into the right-hand corner of the net, giving the U.S. a 1-0 lead, and more importantly, momentum.
"I've been working a lot this year on shooting from the outside," Donavan said. "It wasn't a perfect shot, but I don't think the goalie saw it, and caught him a little off guard.
"It helped us a lot."
His 3 Goals are here
Donovan blogged by ESPN …
Landon Donovan showed again why he continues to be a focal point of so much debate among the soccer diehards in this country. I'll state the obvious -- today Donovan was the star of the show. His hat trick was of the highest quality and against "serious" competition in Ecuador, not a weak CONCACAF minnow. In fact, if Donovan hadn't been robbed of a blatant penalty call (a free kick outside the box was given instead), he'd have probably scored four.
When Donovan plays like this, he effectively shuts up his critics (myself included) but of course it begs the inevitable question as to why he doesn't deliver like this on a more consistent basis.
It could be that we are beginning to see a new Donovan, one that's more mature, focused and locked in after last year's World Cup disappointment. The last few years, Donovan had appeared to play more passively and seemed less willing to run at people -- forgoing the style that he had displayed so effectively at the 2002 World Cup. Judging by the way he's performed in the last two internationals, it seems that he's back to playing aggressively and that's when he's at his best
As brilliant as Donovan's performance was -- and make no mistake it was brilliant -- did Bruce Arena really just compare Donovan to Michael Jordan? Arena remarked on air that while coaching Donovan the last few years, he felt that he could relate to how Phil Jackson must have felt when coaching MJ. OK, that's a stretch to say the least. Enough said.
Kam Loe for #5 …
Loe’s clockwork performances in his five spring training appearances deserve to be required viewing in every Rangers pitcher’s video library.
The No. 5 starter? You could make a compelling argument that Loe should be the team’s No. 4 or even No. 3 starter, since he has outperformed both of those
designated starters, Robinson Tejeda and Brandon McCarthy.
“No doubt about it in my mind — I’m not thinking bullpen,” Washington said, when asked Sunday about Loe’s starting chances.
“We’ve still got to make a decision on that, though. But he certainly didn’t do anything today to make us think otherwise.”
Wright’s situation is complicated by his contract. He needs to be placed on the club’s major league roster by Wednesday, or Wright, 32, will be free to seek another team’s employment. Based on his spring performance — one bad game out of four starts — Wright could soon find work elsewhere.
Wright, therefore, appears likely to get the No. 5 starter’s job. The Rangers’ own Web site said as much Sunday. And the 25-year-old Loe appears headed to the bullpen, where he will work in long relief.
Loe said he will accept that. But that doesn’t mean that he would be long-term happy with it.
Even Washington admitted, after all, that Loe’s spring performance deserves to be rewarded. Rangers fans, long starved for good pitching, are going to have a hard time understanding how Loe, the team’s best spring pitcher, got sent to the bullpen.
The manager declined to announce anything, but he tried to explain how, with three off-days in the cold month of April, the bullpen’s long-relief specialist may well end up logging more early pitching time than the much-scrutinized No. 5 role.
With which role, as a reward, would Loe prefer to be bestowed?
“That’s a tough decision,” the pitcher said, after a pause. “Does that mean I get the starting slot after April?
“I want to have the opportunity to win 20-plus games this year. But that’s their decision.”
Theismann fired? ….
Joe Theismann will not return as an analyst on "Monday Night Football" this season, according to reports from Newsday and The New York Times.
When reached by phone, according to Newsday, Theismann would neither confirm nor deny the report, and added he could not respond publicly "until I fully understand what has taken place."
A Super Bowl-winning quarterback with the Redskins and ESPN NFL commentator since 1988, Theismann, 57, was apparently informed of his removal on Friday. But Newsday quoted an ESPN spokesman as saying "we have nothing to announce."
In ESPN's first year of MNF, Theismann paired with Mike Tirico and Tony Kornheiser. Media critics often pointed out the lack of cohesion between Theismann and Kornheiser, even though the Washington D.C.-based personalities have known each other for more than 25 years.
Theismann's replacement could be current ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski. Other names bandied about include Bill Parcells (who recently signed with ESPN) and Emmitt Smith, the league's all-time rushing leader. An official announcement could come Monday.
Peyton Manning on SNL