The Last Play at Shea, 2010

The google age has shamed us into thinking we need to know all, all the time, which I thought I did about The Last Play at Shea. I swear I looked at one point to renting this, being very interested, and it was ‘unavail’ as they say in the Valley, “What valley?” you ask. Google it!

Anyway, I looked again suffering from post NYC trip depression and angels sang. There it was, on Amazon Prime for $2.99. So I watched and got goose bumps. Anytime you marry great music, poignant bio AND sports, well that’s the holy trinity right there.

Even if you’re not a Mets fan, and let’s face it, they’ve had some doozies as far as slump years (but to a Bills and Sabres fan, they’ve had a cake walk), you’ll still love this love homage to the ‘dump’. But as Dwight Gooden said, “it may be a dump, but it’s our dump.”

And that’s also why I love Billy Joel. He’s worked his fanny off his entire life, lost some serious cash to shady characters, but keeps getting up, picking himself up, and moving on forward. That’s what life is all about my friends.

The man has so many hit songs, some of which I hadn’t heard in years: Captain Jack, Still Rock and Roll to Me, You May Be Right I May Be Crazy…in fact at Sarasota Airport on Monday, no less, I smiled ear to ear to “Get it Right the First Time”. So just to hear snippets of all of those wonders did my soul good.

Another highlight is the first post 9/11 game when Piazza’s home run gave symbolic hope back to the city. For Beatles fans, you’ll rejoice in seeing the 1965 concert footage as well as McCartney waxing poetic. Seeing Lennon circa 1965 in uncontrollable laughter at the sheer insanity of the screaming girls will bring a smile to anyone’s face.

So, as if Amazon needs me to throw them a bone (they could throw one back, don’t ya think?), get this doc for a midweek upper. In fact, if you rent this because of me, tell Amazon, would ya? I tried when I first started this blog to monetize with Amazon ads, but they dumped me for not selling. And I’ve had enough rejection for awhile, got it?

Photograph, a Little Fuzzy Around the Edges

Ritesh Batra wrote and directed “Photograph” and with a great premise and earnest cast, the film almost hits the quality of his previous gem “The Lunch Box”.

It’s one thing to leave a movie open ended (which this one does), it’s another to leave an important loose end. I have to wonder how this happens with major projects…it’s like baking the perfect cake and frosting all of it except for a bald circle on the top. As one of my favorite Fred Willard mockumentary quotes goes, “What Happened?” (featured image)

At any rate, I still enjoyed Photograph, a luxurious Indian cultural bath of arranged marriages, familial pressures and communal joys in Mumbai. While I wouldn’t want to live a life that restricted, not only spatially, but relationship-wise, there is a simplicity and acceptance that this culture embraces. Let’s face facts: America is not only spoiled rotten with choice, but also probably more dimwitted due to the same multitude of distractions.

Another endearing cultural component is respect for elders and the Grandmother character is well drawn and well acted by Farrukh Jaffar. The principal romantic leads (Sanya Malhorta and award winning Nawazuddin Siddiqui) were also believable with their awkward romantic timidity. I was reminded of half a romance I had (I was sure I liked him, but will never know if it was vice versa) in the mid-eighties with a Scottish Social Studies teacher. Perhaps another story left better by mystery.

One beautiful theme from the film involved how precious photographs are to us and how many times, a photo image can capture us at our very best, even better than we are in our everyday lives.