On Christmas Day, siblings and I watched “Invictus” at Bay Ridge’s Alpine theater. Movie was good stuff. Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela – one who is human yet trying to do better (for his people – his immediate family, whom he became estranged, and his nation, which is struggling to overcome hatred and a poor economy); Matt Damon as Francois Pienaar, who is more than just a rugby player in becoming inspired by Mandela.
Both Time’s Richard Corliss and Entertainment Weekly’s Owen Gleiberman make the film’s parallels to President Obama (he wins an historic election; can he lead?), but I pretty much agree with A.O. Scott’s review in the NY Times – yeah, it’s a sports movie, but there’s politics, human weakness, and growth in change (it did lag a bit at some points, but I think that’s more of a choice on the part of director Clint Eastwood to build the story).
I thought the supporting cast of “Invictus” was also pretty solid, in making one feel like this might have been what it was like in the early and mid 1990’s of South Africa, a nation in a difficult transition (racially, culturally, economically, etc.). Adjoa Andoh as Brenda Mazibuko was a good watch as Mandela’s skeptical chief of staff – and I kept wondering where had I seen her before. PBS stuff, in all likelihood, where the British imports are… and then IMDB completely established for me where I had seen her: she was in the 10th Doctor Who series, as the mother of Martha Jones, the 10th Doctor’s post-Rose companion. God, I am a geek-wanna-be.
I had read this awhile back, and provide for reading pleasure: Henry “Fonzie” Winkler as Captain Hook in the British holiday tradition of the pantomime – what a thought!
Hat tip to Angry Asian Man: Prof. Frank Wu of Howard Law School has been named new dean of UC Hastings Law; I wonder if this makes him the only Asian American law school dean (since Harold Koh left Yale Law to join the Obama administration); plus I recommend Wu’s book “Yellow” – great writer.
Granted, I may never have Harvard Men’s basketball in my March Madness brackets (seriously, no, but who knows by next March? I root for Alma Mater, but it’s not like Alma Mater or the rest of the Ivy League has really gone far in the NCAA tournament) – but, what a great story about an Asian American kid at Harvard who just wants to play ball (hat tip from Angry Asian Man).
I have to agree with this Slate article by Christopher Beam – I think it’d have to be awhile yet before we can truly define the 00 decade (have we really defined the 1990’s, come to think of it?).
Last but not least: Pandas!