Thursday, May 18, 2006


It was late Saturday night and I was exhausted. I should've been in bed, if I wasn't in fact doing something useful. I had to get up early the next morning and go to work. As it happened, I ended up on the couch, sipping a few beers, dutifully and depressingly channel surfing for something worthwhile to watch, gaze at, fall asleep to. Food of the Gods? The wretchedly inspired and thoroughly wonderful 1970s craptacular craptacular starring former teenage evangelist/hack actor Marjoe Gortner, Ida Lupino(!), Ralph Meeker(!!), and the cold yet lovely Pamela Franklin(!!!?) who looked so dazed, water-logged, and embarrassed that she was probably praying that director Bert I. Gordon would re-write the script and mercifully give her a death scene? Sadly, it wasn't on. And besides, I'd already watched it twice the previous week when it had plagued one of the movie channels. There was always House of the Dead, a movie "so bad it's gone past good and back to bad again," as Enid cautioned in Ghost World. No, definitely not Uwe Boll's celluloid punji stake.

I should have watched a real film earlier when I was more awake, sharp, and hungry for something more meaningful. I should have read a book when I was more awake, sharp, and hungry for something more meaningful.

Though it was hardly without meaning, I opted for the Olympique de Marseille/FC Girondins de Bordeaux match on FSC. And like a glorious dream the play unfolded in waves of spectacle, drama, and suspense. Not a legendary match by any means nor was it particularly brilliant. But its narrative sucked me in with its heady atmosphere of sun flares upon the camera lens; billowing smoke roiling across the pitch, up from the crowd birthed by the red flares igniting; the image of Bordeaux’s surly and volcanic Oliver Stone look-alike manager churning in his seat along the sideline; the ball thrown at the ref by a petulant Marseille player, a red card flashed in retaliation; Marseille’s visiting shirtless supporters penned in like animals ravenous for victorious prophecy into next year’s Champions League yet realizing that their foolish dream was rapidly turning to dust; the breathtaking moment when Marseille keeper Fabien Barthez cosmically channeled eccentric keeper Rene Higuita (sans “scorpion kick”) and abandoned his post near the end of the game, bolting down the pitch to the opposite end to single-handedly accelerate the nightmare back into dream, back perhaps into giving him a reason to stay with his club for a little longer.

In the end, though, rash Fabien was subservient to a larger will, and the crusade for a little honor dimmed into the dusk for another season. From fourth place to third to fifth within moments, and Fabien, not surprisingly, handed in his notice the next day for nowhere.

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