September 21st, 2004

Thunderbird 1

The Adventures of a WWII Flying Ace...


When I was a wee tad, apparently one of my favorite TV programs was Captain Midnight, about a daring hero who led a mysterious government group known as the Secret Squadron. I say apparently because I was very small, and I don't remember much about it at all, except that it was sponsored by Ovaltine. Captain Midnight had earlier been both a radio and silver screen serial hero before making the move to the small screen. I'm sure he was just as good with his fists as he was flying a plane.

Which leads me to Captain Midnight's filmic heir, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, which I saw on Sunday. Boy, was this movie fun to watch. It is a rip-roaring adventure featuring just about every single technological marvel that ever appeared in the pages of Popular Science back in the thirties and forties. I enjoyed the hell out of it. That is, as long as I didn't think too hard about it, because there are plot holes big enough to drive a giant robot through. Unfortunately, I had a ninety minute drive home in which to think about it, so here are some things I liked, and some things that bugged.

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Really, despite the quibbles, it's a movie I like a lot.

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The Sox defense helped blow another game last night. Bases loaded, the Orioles' Rafael Palmeiro at bat, Wakefield throws a knuckleball that handcuffs Mirabilli, getting by him for a passed ball. The runner on third scores, while the other two each advance a base, Mora to third, and Tejada to second. With first base now open, Wakefield winds up walking Palmeiro, and then the fun begins. Mora has a brain spasm, and, thinking that the bases were still loaded when Palmeiro walked, starts trotting home. But they aren't, so it's actually the world slowest attempt at stealing home. Mirabilli runs towards him, and a run down starts. Now, most run downs are short thing. The runner gets tired and gives up, or the runner slips, or the fielder is faster. Usually, a couple three throws and it's over. Not this time. Mora is young and swift, and just kept running back and forth between the fielders, all the while hoping that the runners behind him will try to advance so that his own stupidity will not be totally in vain. Tejada and Palmeiro are having none of it, though.

Meanwhile, the Sox are executing a picture perfect run down. It's a beautiful thing to watch when it's done right. Mirabilli runs at Mora, driving him back towards third as the other infielders start lining up behind the two bases. He tosses to Mueller at third, then circles behind him to get in line behind third himself. Muller now chases Mora the other way before tossing to Wakefield at home. Mueller gets in line at home, and the cycle continues. Wakefield chases, then throws to Reese. Reese chases, then throws to Mueller (now at home). Mueller chases again, and throws to Mirabilli (who's now at third). Mirabilli drops the ball for a second, and Mora sees his shot and dashes madly towards home. Mirabilli makes a quick throw to Millar, who tries to tag Mora, but the impact knocks the ball out of Millar's mitt. If Mora had been out, the scoring would've gone 2-5-1-6-5-2-3, but instead it's E3 and the Sox lose three straight.

[Later that afternoon...

Terry Francona mentioned after the game that the rundown was a disaster from the start because Sox allowed Mora to dictate the how it was going, rather than aggressively driving him back to third. He's dead right about that, so not so picture perfect after all.]