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Life is a Highway

Life is a Highway
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Monday, July 21, 2014

The New Republic: Opinion: Issac Chotner: James Garner Obituary, Actor Dead at 86: The Actor Who Was Best at Being Himself


The New Republic: Opinion: Issac Chotner: James Garner Obituary: Actor Dead at 86

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger 

In an age where we are so dominated by social media and celebrity culture and by people who want to be their favorite celebrities and live their lives and even people who later become celebrities that want to live the lives of their favorite celebrities we had James Garner who personified the expression "keeping it real". The only person that James Garner ever wanted to be in life was James Garner. Because that is the only person he knew how to be and was so confident in his own skin that James Garner was the only person he wanted to be. Or at least that is how he came off in his roles. Whether young people considered him to be awesome or whatever or not.

Garner represents the opposite of what we generally get from Hollywood today of a lot of cookie-cutter characters, actors and roles that are trying to be exactly like or very similar to whatever is considered to be awesome or hot at the time. He was a real genuine actor the genuine article an actor's actor and not a clone of whatever is supposed to be hot at that time. But a great actor a true professional who did his work and played his roles the way they should be played by him. And not try to play them based on whatever is considered hot at the time.

He played his role in a charming professional real way where you got to see Garner in the character he was playing. You almost in a way got to him playing himself. It was almost as if he wasn't acting but playing a character as if he was the character and the personality, intelligence and humor that he brought to all of his roles came from him. Instead of the director feeding him things to say and to do. You didn't do that with Jim Garner. You gave him the role and script and he would study those things and delivered his part as himself. 

Jim Garner wasn't a great comedic actor, but a great actor who was very funny simply at being himself and bringing what he had to those roles. The Rockford Files is not a comedy. But a crime drama a detective show. But the thing is it is a very funny show and his detective movies were funny as well even though they were supposed to be serious. Because that is the kind actor Garner was and the directors of these shows and movies Maverick being another example of that wanted to bring that side out of him his charm and humor. To go along with his intelligence and personality.

The actors that remind me of Jim Garner pre-Garner would be Cary Grant. And after Garner would be Mel Gibson and George Clooney. Again none of these actors are pure comedic actors in the sense of most if not all of their roles are comedic roles. But these are all very funny intelligent actors that bring their personality and humor to all of their roles. So the directors of these movies and shows in Garner's case would almost be stupid not to use these other gifts that these actors had even if their roles and the movies are supposed to be serious.

Cary Grant, Mel Gibson and George Clooney are all real and people who are very confident in their own skin. Self-confident actors who all have no interest in being anyone other than themselves. And all of these guys including Jim Garner could've all made great livings as comedians or comedic actors. But since they are all great actors as well as very funny actors they all have the ability to play serious roles and yet bring their humor and realness to all of their roles and that is what we see from them. And the type of actor that Jim Garner was. And he will be deeply missed especially with how cookie-cutter and repetitive that Hollywood has become.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Libra 2509: Video: Tina Turner: I Don't Want to Fight no More

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

Tina Turner saying that "it is time to move on and that I wish you the best. But I'm done and moving on with my life while I still can. Because I can't take the fighting no more and want to have a life for myself". The ultimate breakup song from the ultimate singer and musical artist at least when it comes to singing from her heart and from real life. And not needing to be able to think of things to say, or make things up. Because Tina sings from real experiences as this song was about.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

215 Hoops 1: Video: NBA-TV: The Detroit Pistons Reign of the Late 1980s Early 1990s: The Ultimate Unit of the NBA



This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

I don't know if there's been a franchise that had a team of an era that better represented the city they represented than the Bad Boys Detroit Pistons of the late 1980s early 1990s. Detroit is the ultimate blue collar big city that is the second biggest city of the Midwest only smaller than Chicago. That is as working class and blue collar as any big city can be. That has every single challenge and resource that a big city could have. And that is exactly what their Pistons of this era had as well.

The Bad Boys Pistons of course had very good players and in Isiah Thomas's case a great player a franchise player one of the top five point guards of all time and in the Hall of Fame. But they didn't beat you because they had overwhelming talent or just by showing up and beating you. The Pistons were a defense first, rebounding second basketball team that scored all of their points off of their defense and ability to get second chance scoring opportunities off of their defense and offensive rebounding. And then teamwork and always getting the ball to the guy with the best chance of scoring.

Other than Isiah the Pistons of this era didn't have that great offensive creator who could create points for himself and his teammates. They didn't have that great post player who could dominate the post and create great mismatches in the post. What they had were guys who moved very well without the ball. Guys who could pass and find the open man. And with center Bill Laimbeer and power forward Rick Mahorn guys who set great screens freeing up their great outside shooters. Which they did have with Isiah Thomas, Joe Dumars and Vinnie Johnson and even center Bill Laimbeer.

The Detroit Pistons were the ultimate team and knew themselves very well and also knew the way they had to win was by being a better team and playing better as a team than their opponents. Especially having to play teams that were simply better than them when it came to talent like the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers. And the way they did was knowing they simply couldn't outscore their opponents. That they had to do a great job of stopping them from scoring and executing their motion team offense and taking advantage of whatever scoring opportunities that they had.

The legacy of the Detroit Pistons is that they were the ultimate team. Not a collection of stars but a collection of great team players who were all very unselfish who all had one goal in mind. Which was to win championships and many as possible and prove to the world that the Pistons can play basketball and that they didn't represent losers and that Detroit was more than just a big city with every urban problem a big city can have. That they not only represented Detroit but a lot of America as well. People who aren't given anything and work very hard for everything that they achieve.