September 29, 2005

A knockout!

Anyone entertaining doubts about how good Russell Crowe is as an actor should watch Ron Howard’s Cinderella Man. In it, Crowe shows that the Oscar he got for Gladiator wasn’t a fluke. He is totally captivating as Jim Braddock, a boxer with integrity.

The characterization is excellent. The triumvirate of Crowe, Renee Zellweger and Paul Giamatti is excellent and each of them was able to flesh out the roles of Braddock, his wife Mae and his manager and promoter, respectively. Giamatti is particularly impressive as Braddock’s manager/promoter. It is no exaggeration that Giamatti’s character provided the impetus that kept the film moving and made Braddock’s character so sympathetic. I particularly liked how Giamatti’s character would give Crowe’s character insight into how to beat particular boxers.

I’ve never particularly liked boxing movies (with the exception of Rocky I , Raging Bull and Million Dollar Baby) as they tend to be formulaic—good man down in the dumps and overcomes adversity, happy ending. But even if Cinderella Man does hew to this formula, Ron Howard’s direction, Akiva Goldman’s script and the triumvirate’s acting is just so excellent that the entire film transcends the formula and becomes the shot in the arm that we so desperately need today: an opportunity to feel good about ourselves and about humanity and an opportunity to be hopeful.

No glass slippers involved here but there is a "happy ever after" and something that's truly something magical about this movie. Go watch it.

Worse than Marcos

I never thought I would say this, but there is someone worse than Marcos. Her name is GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO and she is pretending to be President of the Philippines. (I refuse to call her Ms., Mrs., Madame as it would be an insult to women everywhere; I most certainly refuse to call her President.) Marcos, at least, put some semblance of legitimacy to his rule (and, in the process, gave legal scholars a lot of grist for their mills); Gloria doesn't even pretend anymore. She will just do what she pleases.

The latest incarnation of Marcos's Arrest Search Seizure Order (ASSO), Presidential Commitment Order (PCO), Preventive Detention Action (PDA) is Gloria's new rule on mass actions--Calibrated Preemptive Response (CPR). Not only is it draconian, it is even ungrammatical as well as oxymoronic; where else can you find "pre-emptive" and "response" in the same phrase?

Her latest Executive Order gagging all executive branch officials , including the military and police, from attending congressional inquiries, is just another instance of just how much worse she is. At least Marcos didn't pretend, he just shut Congress down. The net effect of EO 464 is to prevent Congress from exercising oversight powers over the executive and, thus, prevent it from imposing a check on executive abuses (not that the Congress is itself a paragon of virtue but I'm speaking as a matter of principle, Constitutional principle).

I wish Gloria would be like a bad dream that you can wake up from, but I'm afraid that reality, upon waking up, might also make you want to just go back to sleep-- Mr. Pomade himself as President? Unfortunately, change has to start somewhere and, for me, that means, Gloria must go. First, she goes, then we worry about Noli.

September 14, 2005

Goodbye, Ma'am Haydee

Haydee Yorac has passed from this life back into God's firm embrace.

Goodbye, Ma'am Haydee. You are missed.