Posts filed under 'Great Feats of Strength'

World Cup 2010: The Commercializing

So the World Cup starts in two days. It’s exciting! We’ve been in a bit of a dead sprint getting all the pre–World Cup stuff done here at work, but now it’s really just time to wait till the games start on Friday (at 9:30 in the morning. I’m sure you can find a bar that has breakfast specials if you’re really interested in South Africa v. Mexico). So I thought I’d take a bit of a look at the TV aspect of the tournament, or at least the pre-tournament TV aspect: The commercials. I will not lie; there have been some fantastic commercials in advance of SA2010. Here are a few of my favorites.

Nike: Write the Future

It scares me a little to imagine how much this cost. Nike’s three-minute opus features about a dozen of the biggest names in the game, including a few who won’t be playing in South Africa (Brazil’s Ronaldinho, seen here doing his trademark samba over the ball, failed to make his team’s final squad of 23, because Brazil is just so good that they cut players other countries would kill to have. Also, Ivory Coast’s Didier Drogba, the guy in orange at the beginning, has a broken arm and might not play). My favorite section is about 45 seconds in, when England’s Wayne Rooney sees the outcome of one play, if he makes a tackle or if he fails, and there’s a brief clip of American superstars (the closest thing we have to superstars!) Landon Donovan and Tim Howard laughing at him. Then, of course, he plays table tennis with Federer, which is hilarious. And I really enjoy the concept of Ronaldo: The Movie, starring Gael Garcia Bernal. Basically, this commercial makes me want to watch soccer. And buy Nikes. Mission accomplished!

ETA: Seth Stevenson over at Slate points out that the commercial was directed by clever Mexican auteur Alejandro González Iñárritu (hat tip to Friend of the ‘Faux Ali). Seth also spotlights another of my favorite moments in the spot and uses a particular bit of British football slang I love: “Later, Cristiano Ronaldo fantasizes that a successful World Cup will land him an appearance on The Simpsons (he nutmegs Homer, who exclaims, “Ronal-d’oh!”) and make him the subject of a blockbuster bio-pic starring Gael García Bernal.”

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5 comments June 9th, 2010

Friday Night Lights: In the Skin of a Lion

Last week on Friday Night Lights, Coach was mocked for forfeiting the first game of the season. Matt met his new “mentor,” the pantless metalworking artist. Tami encountered friction with the Panther boosters and the Dillon students when she turned in fancy running back Luke Cafferty for lying about the district his parents’ home is in. Landry and Vince took a leadership role in uniting the East Dillon Lions, and Tim joined the Lions as kind of an assistant coach. He also moved in with Alicia Witt and her teenage daughter, whose name we think is Becky. Now, this week!

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4 comments November 12th, 2009

When singing nerds attack

Did you ever wonder what happens when politics and musical theater have a baby? No, not 1776. This.

I was listening to the podcast from Rachel Maddow’s Friday-night show on my walk home, as I am wont to do, and the first segment had me laughing out loud and gasping in the middle of Fifth Avenue.

Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

The chutzpah it takes to do that amazes me. Well done, Billionaires for Wealthcare.

1 comment October 26th, 2009

News anchors breaking it down on WGN

I think it was just the other day on this very blog that I was lamenting the fact that there wasn’t more spontaneous dancing in everyday life. Well, if you live in Chicago you should really see what you local weekend news anchors are up to.

February 5th, 2009

The Super Bowl: Now with more awesomeness

Your editors (or at least the one who cares about football) would like to congratulate our fellow alumnus of the College of William & Mary on becoming the youngest head coach ever to take a team to the Super Bowl. Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin (class of 1995) began his coaching career at Virginia Military Institute, where he worked for Bill Stewart, who is now the head coach of the West Virginia Mountaineers (I have met him; he’s swell). Here’s some trivia to impress your fellow game-watchers: Tomlin is a year younger than the opposing team’s quarterback. And he is an adorable man who resembles Omar Epps a little and he seems nice.

Also, Bruce Springsteen will be there, and the game is being held in the Raymond James Stadium of Tampa, which features a pirate ship at one end. So there’s really something for everyone.

January 30th, 2009

Best of the rest: 2008, a year of shouting

My turn! I’m inadvertently piggybacking off Marisa’s bonus item, because these are the top 5 moments of 2008 that made me scream at my TV. Most of this is happy screaming; the vice-presidential debate would have landed around #6 just for the number of times my roommate hissed at me to stop leaping off the couch and shrieking at the box in the corner.

5. Justin Timberlake recaps a future, fictional SNL.

You know, there are a few things I love (actually, there are a lot of things I love: cheese, tiny blonde detectives, Olympic swimmers, my pajamas, Friday Night Lights, dark chocolate, romance novels, red wine…) and two of them are Justin Timberlake and Weekend Update. Oh, and Seth Meyers. And The Barry Gibb Talk Show. Okay, let’s just say I love a lot, a lot of things.

4. The Kevin Garnett puppet at the ESPYs.

Hey, it’s Justin Timberlake again! He hosted ESPN’s fake awards show this year. And he did a giant musical number that recapped the year in sports, including a reggae number featuring the Celtics’ big three, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett. My favorite moment is when Garnett, in the audience, makes the exact same face as the puppet. (Garnett is the puppet on Timberlake’s left.) This is the only time in recent memory when I could stomach listening to reggae.

3. Galactica gets to Earth.

Hey, remember back on New Caprica when we were getting high and rolling around naked? Yeah, that was so much more awesome than this.

Hey, remember back on New Caprica when we were getting high and rolling around naked? Yeah, that was so much more awesome than this.

There are a lot of my-mind-is-blown moments across the four seasons of Battlestar Galactica, starting with “Holy shit, Boomer is a Cylon!” all the way up through “Holy shit, soylent earth is people!” last June with a little detour on the way for “Holy shit, Apollo married Dualla!” and “Holy shit, Admiral Cain is batshit crazy!” Personally, I often find it to be a slack-jawed in awe and/or horror kind of show, like when one of the Cylons ripped out Tigh’s eye and when the latter four Cylons all got together to the tune of “All Along the Watchtower,” but this final, silent, grim vision of the future, following so closely on the heels of the scenes of wild, joyful celebration all over the ship when they find Earth (it kind of looked like #1, below), caused me to make some sort of stunned, keening noise I can only describe as agony.

2. Jason Lezak wins the Olympic men’s 4×100 free relay.



Even though we were watching it a couple of hours later, Roommate and I were on our feet, hollering like they could hear us on the other side of the world. The monster? Out of the cage!

1. Obama wins. WE ALL WIN.

Crying. Screaming. Weeping. Hugging everyone. Gesturing madly with cups of champagne. Crying and screaming some more. I only remember very vividly where I was, what I was doing, what I was wearing, a few moments of my life. Even having had quite a quantity of wine that night, I hope I’ll remember this one as long as I live.

3 comments January 7th, 2009

Shock the monkey

Before we bemoan the state of television — or specifically reality television — I guess we should be happy we don’t live in Japan. For instance, this clip of a monkey getting freaked the hell out by a popcorn machine.

2 comments December 24th, 2008

Really random stuff: Miss World 2008

As part of my Sunday ritual that involves lying on the couch and swearing off devil alcohol, I am watching the 2008 Miss World Pageant, which happened yesterday in Johannesburg. And it is completely effing bananas, y’all.

Look, sparkly.

Look, sparkly.

Now, I don’t pretend to be an expert on beauty pageants. But I’ve seen a few of them, and I really like Miss Congeniality (but not enough to watch the sequel). But even in my limited experience this pageant seems CRAZY. Not only does it have a talent competition (which Miss Barbados won by singing a Barbra Streisand tune hilariously off-key), it also has a “sportswoman” competition, which was basically Field Day for pretty girls. They had to BUILD BOATS and then ROW THEM ACROSS A POND. I had to recline lazily and laugh until my ribs hurt. The two hosts have been making the most uncomfortable patter throughout; they are famous Chinese TV presenter Angela Chow and famous South African fellow Tumisho Masha, and they appear to be speaking entirely different languages. Watch, about four minutes in, as he makes a very local joke about signing Miss Iceland to a Johannesburg football club:

Look! Miss Paraguay has a pot on her head! A pot!

The pageant also included something called the Beauty With a Purpose segment. Apparently it involves the contestants supporting children’s charities, which is all very nice, but let’s not forget that the true purpose of beauty pageants scholarship competitions is the incredibly insane prom-dresses-on-steroids, janky weaves, and piles of eyeliner. I am not exaggerating even a little.

I find it so strange that Miss Sweden is wearing sleeves (she knew it was going to be summer in Johannesburg, right?) but some of the contestants from more conservative countries are rocking the-world-is-my-gynecologist looks. Learn something new everyday, I guess, and that lesson is that tacky knows no country.

1 comment December 14th, 2008

The Olympics: Medal-winning commercials

Here on Day 6 of the Olympics, I am exhausted, saddened by how badly the American women have been swimming, and disappointed by the blatant cheating on the part of the Chinese. But my fervor for the Games has now extended to the commercials of the games.

My current favorite is this Coca-Cola spot not featuring Yao Ming or LeBron James; it’s the one in which Morgan Freeman someone who is not Morgan Freeman solemnly intones that if you’ve drunk a Coke in the past 80 years, you, personally, right there on your couch, have placed a gold medal around the neck of a Special Olympian. Since I consider myself a humanitarian and I really enjoyed Murderball*, I love this commercial. It makes me cry a little and then my roommate ridicules me.

A close second in the awesome sweepstakes is the series that NBC has built around Michael Phelps for the past few years. Even before he became The Greatest Olympian Of All Time, Forever and Ever, Amen, this commercial delighted me. Here’s one with his adorable bulldog, Herman:

In other Olympian news, Gillette has been flogging their Champions series for a few years now. Only one of the fellas in this commercial is an Olympian (that would be the poorly-enunciating Roger Federer) and none of them can act his way out of a wet paper bag that’s open at both ends. But I kind of like it.

Federer totally sounds like a Bond villain, doesn’t he? Like Blofeld. I’m sorry that he lost, or I would be if I cared about tennis.

NBC’s hegemony extends to endless promos for their shows, of course, and while I could stand never to see another clip about Chuck, I’m totally digging the smack-Dwight-in-the-face promo for The Office.

I miss Jim with a passion that Leatherheads could not nearly satisfy. Not even the delightful Craig Robinson in Pineapple Express helped.

Finally, a real Morgan Freeman–narrated commercial that I love:

Yes, it’s melodramatic and stentorian and sepia-toned, for God’s sake, but that vault is one of my most vivid TV-sport-crossover memories, and it’s wonderful. In addition, the spot with Derek Redmond is one of the most heartbreaking things I’ve ever seen. DAMN YOU, VISA!

Do you have a favorite Olympic commercial, or do you just want Chuck to die a quick and painful death?

*Yes, I know the quad rugby players in Murderball are Paralympians. It was a joke. I kid because I love.

2 comments August 15th, 2008

The woman who will turn me straight

Via Joe My God, I have to show you this ad that has been airing in the New York area.[kml_flashembed movie="" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Is this not the most incredible thing you’ve ever seen? I swear to God this lady is going to be famous — this is going to grow viral and she’ll get a guest spot on Ellen or something.

June 26th, 2008

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