Apparently I’m not the only one who thought it wasn’t that good. New Line’s $250 million adaptation of The Golden Compass is a box-office flop, making just $26.1 million in its opening weekend, a "dismally low figure" that "almost certainly means no sequel for
the proposed trilogy," according to MTV.
Deadline Hollywood Daily’s Nikki Finke says, "This flop should sink New Line Cinema chairman Bob Shaye’s chances to stay on when his contract expires in 2008." Cinema Blend’s Josh Tyler says we should just "pray New Line can remain solvent long enough to get The Hobbit made." As for Compass, Tyler writes:
IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m sure the religious right will declare the failure of The Golden Compass at the box office this weekend as some sort of victory for Jeebus, but the truth is the movie failed because it wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t that good, and audiences are getting sick of these second-rate fantasy adaptations.
I think that’s about right. Personally, I don’t care what, if any, religious messages my movies preach. But I do generally prefer films that actually take the time to develop their characters in some semi-meaningful way. And if the plot makes at least a modicum of sense, all’s the better.
– Ex-NFL star Michael Vick sentenced to 23 months in prison for his role in a dogfighting conspiracy.
Baby Loy is officially full term!
That’s right: as of today, Becky is 37 weeks pregnant, so although her due date is still three weeks away, the little one wouldn’t be considered premature if she were to decide that today’s the day. (That said, can we please wait at least until tomorrow, baby? Today would be kind of inconvenient. ;)
Anyway, today’s what-size-food-is-the-baby fun fact involves not a fruit, as in most previous weeks, but a vegetable:
Your baby weighs 6 1/3 pounds and measures a bit over 19 inches, head
to heel (like a stalk of Swiss chard).
Here’s the Wikipedia page for Swiss chard, if you were wondering.
P.S. The earliest predicted arrival date in the baby pool is December 19, by Nadine. Maybe we should mark our calendars; Nadine’s clairvoyance in such matters has already been demonstrated. And that’d be just about as early as I was…
In what would be a surprise ending to the just-about-average 2007 hurricane season — which officially “ended” on November 30, not that Mother Nature cares about such artificial, human-imposed deadlines — a tropical or subtropical storm may form in the Atlantic several hundred miles east of Puerto Rico over the next few days. The National Hurricane Center has issued two Special Tropical Disturbance Statements on the system today, and Glenn Reynolds actually tipped me off via e-mail to an AP article about it. (That’s a first. Heh.)
Alan Sullivan, usually a skeptic when it comes to weakling storms, breathes nary a word about “count-padding” and states that “there is more and more model consensus that a tropical storm may form” out of what is currently being called Invest 94. By contrast, Dr. Jeff Masters is more skeptical, concluding, “I don’t expect 94L will ever develop into a tropical storm.” We shall see. If 94L does develop into a named storm, its name would be Olga.
Meanwhile, Dr. William Gray has issued his first long-range forecast for the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season, in which he calls for a moderately above-average season. Of course, as I’ve stated repeatedly — most recently in an Instalanched November 26 post — I think these forecasts do more harm than good because of their inaccuracy, the public misconceptions they inevitably create, and the charged atmosphere created by the politicization of weather that has taken hold in recent years. As Dr. Masters writes:
[Public scorn of these forecasts is] the inevitable result of a culture where seasonal hurricane forecasts, which are not very good, are excessively hyped by both the forecasters and the media. The forecasters have set them selves up for such shrill condemnations by putting out these very public forecasts, complete with press conferences, but not properly emphasizing the uncertainties and low skill of their forecasts.
To their credit, Dr. Gray & co. have tried to emphasize that point this year, stating in the abstract of their report: “These real-time operational early December forecasts have not shown forecast skill over climatology during the period 1992-2007.” In other words, they have no track record of success in meaningfully predicting anything. Dr. Masters writes, “By clearly stating their lack of forecast skill, the CSU team’s December 2007 forecast is a great step towards improving this situation. The public needs to know that these December forecasts as yet have no skill, and are unworthy of the media attention they get.” Indeed. Take note, MSM. (Eric Berger has a good post on this issue, too.)
The New England Patriots are 13-0 after a 34-13 win over the AFC North-leading Pittsburgh Steelers tonight — and with the 3-10 Jets and 0-13 Dolphins coming to Foxboro the next two weeks, it looks extremely likely that Tom Brady & co. will be 15-0 when they head to the Meadowlands for their December 29 regular-season finale against the 9-4 Giants.
P.S. As we marvel at the Patriots’ run toward the second unbeaten season in NFL history — and the first 16-0 season — let’s not give short shrift to the aforementioned Dolphins’ run at the first 0-16 season in NFL history. (Tampa Bay went 0-14 in 1976. No other team has gone winless for a full season in the modern era.)
Miami was routed 38-17 by Buffalo today, and is now three losses away from going 0-16. And the second of those games, as noted above, is at undefeated New England. The others are at home against Baltimore (4-9) next Sunday and Cincinnati (5-8) in three weeks.
The bitter irony for Fins fans, of course, is that it was the Dolphins who went an undefeated 14-0 in 1972, the very accomplishment the Patriots are now trying to surpass, even as the Dolphins try desperately to avoid the polar-opposite “accomplishment.” If Miami comes to Foxboro with a 0-14 record to face the 14-0 Patriots in two weeks — each having already tied the record, and looking to break it (or looking not to break it, in Miami’s case) — that historical coincidence will be a major topic of discussion. Especially once Tom Brady throws five touchdown passes in the first quarter, leaving the announcers with nothing to do for the rest of the game but wax nostalgic and talk about historical implications. Heh.
The NCAA women’s soccer national championship between USC and Florida State is underway, live on ESPN2, and the Women of Troy lead the Seminoles, 1-0 with 30 minutes left.
UPDATE: 2-0 USC with five minutes left!!
UPDATE 2: WOOHOO!!! The USC Women of Troy are your 2007 national champions!!!
P.S. In other news, the USC women’s volleyball team upset Texas on Saturday to earn a spot in the Final Four. Nice!
Julie Moffitt, the former SoCal VoCals singer (most memorably the amazing soloist on Total Eclipse of the Heart for the better part of four years), now has a budding independent music career — here’s her MySpace page — and last weekend, she was in Austin, Texas for the finals of FameCast, an online reality-show music competition thingy that awards $10,000 to the winner.
Julie writes all about the FameCast experience on her blog. She says that after two years of keeping herself grounded even as the gigs and the money have gotten better, her experience with a “total rock star lifestyle,” courtesy of FameCast, has her “hooked.” Heh.
Anyway, Julie is one of five finalists in the singer-songwriter category, and now it’s up to the online audience to decide whether she wins the big bucks. So, for those willing to help a Trojan out (or just interested in listening to some good music), here’s the link where you can watch Julie’s performance and vote for her! (You have to register before you can vote. It’s free.)
I particularly like the second song she does; it shows off her ability to really let loose and belt out the music with the same sexy, sultry edge that made her version of Total Eclipse such a highlight of the VoCals’ repertoire when we were at ‘SC.
The photo at the top of this post, by the way, is one that I took in 2002 when I was tailing the VoCals around the Bay Area for a photojournalism assignment that eventually also spawned a Daily Trojan article. Julie loved the picture and asked me to make her a copy, but I promptly lost the negatives, and only found them again just recently while going through old photo boxes. So, I have now finally sent her that copy she asked for, a mere five years late. ;)
UPDATE: Julie’s very excited to finally have that photo. She even blogged about it: “There was one photo in particular that I fell in love with, but somewhere along the way, it was lost, and though Brendan and I spent months trying to find it, eventually I had to give up and hope that one day I could recreate the shot. Until a few minutes ago, when I received an email containing [it] … Thank you Brendan!!” You’re welcome, Julie!
P.S. Julie isn’t the only SoCal VoCal from that era who is enjoying musical success. My other favorite VoCal alum, Bryce Ryness, is in a band, and last year he played Roger in the national tour of Rent. Oh yeah, and he’s married to fellow ex-VoCal Meredith.
Naw just kidding, Tebow won. :)
Tebow, a Florida sophomore, is the first underclassman to win the award, and could potentially repeat at least once to tie Archie Griffin, the only two-time winner. Heck, Tebow could even become a three-time winner. It’ll be interesting to see if he can live up to expectations over the next few years, and even more interesting to consider if he can exceed them. Congratulations Tim Tebow, Heisman Trophy Winner 2007.
Amidst all the discussion of diversity in the coaching ranks of Division 1-A football, Navy has hired what is believed to be the first polynesian head coach in the league’s history by promoting assistant coach Ken Niumatalolo to the academy’s top football job. Niumatalolo is a graduate of the University of Hawaii, where he was a three time letterman at quarterback and led the Rainbow Warriors to their first postseason bowl game in 1989.
Becky and I just got back from watching The Golden Compass. Oddly enough, given the genre, Becky liked it and I didn’t. Having not read the book, I felt a bit confused and was never really able to get into the movie. When the climactic battle began to unfold, I found myself thinking, “Is this it? Really? Who are these people again, and what exactly are they fighting over?”
Don’t get me wrong — the movie explained many of the individual plot details well, but I felt they never adequately explained why it all matters, in the big picture. They sort of missed the forest for the trees. There was no equivalent of the scene early in The Fellowship of the Ring where Gandalf sits down with Frodo and explains that “Sauron needs only this Ring to cover all the land in a second darkness,” leaving no doubt in the viewer’s mind what the events of the next ten-plus hours will really be all about.
(Some vague spoilers after the jump.)
…in women’s soccer, that is. On ESPN2 right now, Notre Dame is playing Florida State in the first semifinal — and with just over 22 minutes left in the second half, it’s tied 2-2.
Up next? USC vs. UCLA, in the second national semifinal. Alas, that game is on ESPNU, not ESPN2.
Go Irish! Go Trojans!
UPDATE: Seminoles win, 3-2. So there will be no USC-Notre Dame title game. :(
UPDATE 2: USC stuns top-ranked fUCLA!! Woohoo!!!
The win broke a nine-game USC losing streak against the Bruins. Nice timing, ladies!! It also ended UCLA’s overall 17-game winning streak, which dated back to mid-September.
So the tournament of surprises will end with a most unlikely pairing: the USC
Trojans Women of Troy, ranked #9 in the final regular-season coaches poll, against the #14-ranked Florida State Seminoles in the national championship game, Sunday at 2:00 PM on ESPN2.
Fight on!! Stop the chop!!
For the first time in history, a sophomore will win the Heisman tomorrow night. The finalists are Florida’s Tim Tebow, Arkansas’s Darren McFadden, Missouri’s Chase Daniel and Hawaii’s Colt Brennan, but the result is already a foregone conclusion: Tebow will win, according to StiffArmTrophy.com, which tabulates actual declared ballots, and has never been wrong.
In other Heisman-related news, sports writers Don Jaeger and Jim Henry are releasing a book in January called “Tarnished Heisman,” containing transcripts of conversations of Reggie Bush supposedly “acknowledging he owed money” to his would-be New Era agents. The upshot is that, at the least, Bush could lose his Heisman if the transcripts are taken seriously. As always, Yahoo! Sports is at the forefront of reporting this story, though their headline is oddly uninformative and actually kind of funny: “Bush hit with book.” I have this mental picture of somebody whacking Reggie over the head with a Harry Potter book or something. Heh.
UPDATE: James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal’s Opinion Journal had a slightly different take, prefacing its reference to the headline “Bush hit with book” by quipping, “That Laura Sure Can Throw.” Heh.
I wonder which book Bush was hit with?
Quick, everybody get out your race cards! Apparently the reason Nebraska hired LSU’s Bo Pelini instead of Buffalo’s Turner Gill is because Gill is black. Yup, there’s no other possible explanation. Cornhusker Nation is a bunch of dirty racists!! [rolls eyes]
Look, it sucks that there are only five black head coaches in Division I-A college football. (Based on percentage of the population, there should be 15.) But it truly boggles my mind that the race-obsessed media doesn’t grasp the degree to which they’re making the situation worse by focusing so heavily on race, to the exclusion of other relevant issues, whenever a black coach is hired, fired or considered for a coaching job.
Woohoo!! (Hat tip: Andrew Hiller.)