Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Quote of the Week

It's the dog days of summer (well, for most of us, anyway—I just saw the neighborhood kids waiting for the bus for their first day of school this morning, so that about does that), which means that there isn't much in the way of news to sink our teeth into. I picked a good time to take a break from the blog, I guess.

So when I went in search of a Quote of the Week with which to announce my return from vacation, I realized that nothing much I'd come across was fresh and new. Sure, this blog post about Obama's quasi-religious pleas for Americans to "believe" in America would've been good fodder for a rant on what America and her political system have become... but the Obama quote in question is four years old, and honestly nothing all that special.

There was also this long blog post on the dangers of cynicism and apathy, which I found to be pretty strongly inspirational but also something that sort of spoke for itself—nothing much for me to add to the conversation.

So since we're resigned to going with something old and somewhat stale, and since I'd prefer to come back from vacation on a lighter note (as opposed to my usual ranting diatribes), I decided to go with an excerpt from this excellent oral history of "White Men Can't Jump" over at Grantland.

"White Men Can't Jump" is an all-time favorite of mine, and I honestly can't believe it's now 20 years old. I always love to read about some of the behind-the-scenes stuff that happens on these movie sets, as well as the original casting ideas (Laurence Fishburne as Sidney Deane? Really??). This one happens to be particularly entertaining, and I laughed out loud reading some of these guys' takes on the whole experience.

So this week's Quote of the Week comes from actor Cylk Cozart (Who? Ohhhhh, THAT guy...), who was originally being considered for the lead role of Sidney Deane before being passed over in favor of Wesley Snipes. In discussing some of the early contenders for Woody Harrelson's Billy Hoyle character, Cozart passed along an interesting experience with a young Keanu Reeves.


"Keanu almost broke my neck going up for a layup. He was so wild. He was throwing the ball hard and throwing elbows. He didn't know what he was doing. [Writer/Director] Ron [Shelton] stopped it, like, 'OK, I've seen enough.' I thought, 'Wow, what was he doing growing up? He didn't play ball?'"
                                - Actor Cylk Cozart

Maybe I shouldn't be, but I'm always surprised to find out how unathletic some of the best actors—especially those who come across as "jocks"—can be in real life (see: Vince Vaughn, Gary Sinise).

Maybe that speaks to the magic of the camera, or maybe the ballplayer in me just unrealistically expects everyone to be able to throw a ball without looking like a complete spaz, I don't really know. But it's funny to think that if Keanu was simply a little less of a complete space case on the court, "White Men Can't Jump" could've become an entirely different—and in my opinion, worse—movie. So here's to life's lucky little accidents, for giving us Woody Harrelson and a very memorable movie character. Happy 20th Birthday to one of the greatest sports movies of my lifetime.


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