Rush: Niki Lauda, James Hunt and my need for reality

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Need for something true, real and tangible. Need for history.
After a not-so-masked skepticism towards the new film of the great Ron Howard, I can affirm with certainty that it left me higly satisfied.

120 minutes flat during which the movie never goes downhill. A revered director (but still I cannot forgive him for the Angels and Demons mess), two good actors – the pair Brühl-Hemsworth – and a tragic but engaging story, perhaps characterized off and on too negatively. Let’s not forget the many twists, at least for the few people who, like me, had never heard the names of Niki Lauda and James Hunt before taking their seats.
Let’s try for a moment to think about those ’70s in which the events are set.

Formula 1 wasn’t yet – I dare say unfortunately – a pile of countless rules, power and speed limiters and disqualifications, but races almost raced to death in which the pilots risked their lives much more than nowadays, when  – I think – we don’t even get near that 20% referred to by Lauda (Daniel Brühl) more than once.
In such a context we have to set the tireless battle to the podium’s first place between the two extraordinary pilots, battle which has its consequence in Niki Lauda’s tragic accident, on August 1st, 1976 at Nürburgring, the very dangerous circuit that hosted the German Grand Prix: for more than a minute, Lauda was trapped in his single-seat’s cockpit by fire, which left him seriously disfigured and in life danger for another four days.
Someone could say that they are just a bunch of commonplaces (two enemies-friends, their struggle for supremacy), but, in my opinion, they are greatly filmed.
I don’t rule out that my extremely positive judgement comes from another important factor: a renewed need for reality, truth and history.
Among my friends I am playfully known as the typical million dollar blockbuster lover, along the lines of as-long-as-it-has-plenty-of-special-effects. As Transformers, to clarify.
But, for one night, I’ve just got the kick out of re-experiencing the wonderful sensation of not wasting two hours of my life only for diversion, but also – and above all – to enrich my knowledge of a period of history that otherwise would have remained in the dark for me, not being an enthusiastic F1 fan.

Names, dates, encounters, photos, even tragedies: everything’s true. Maybe slightly fictionalized, dramatized or heightened, but everything’s true anyway.

By Anefo / Croes, R.C. / neg. stroken, 1945-1989, 2.24.01.05, item number 928-0061 [CC-BY-SA-3.0-nl (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/nl/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons
Niki Lauda (second – Ferrari), James Hunt (winner – Hesketh) and Clay Regazzoni (third – Ferrari)
on the podium of the 1975 Dutch Grand Prix.
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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Goldbergs & Trophy Wife: a critic look at ABC’s Tuesday lineup

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One of the many things I like about fall is the period of TV series premieres: new shows fresh out writers room, struggling to gain the trust of their public. My opinion on many of these shows was already made up at the end of their pilots, but I’ve decided to give them the benefit of the doubt and wait to see what else they had up their sleeves.

Being a TV series lover, however, it is necessary for me to choose what deserve to be followed and what’s not worth the same privilege. So, as E!online likes to put it, save it or sink it? In this post I’m going to review one of ABC’s newest lineup.


Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is, without a doubt, a powerful kickoff. This show is all-action and pure entertainment. Phil Coulson, portrayed by American actor Clark Gregg, is magnetic and has this kind of contagious smirk you can’t help but fall in love with. The rest of the cast is pretty good too, but the show is not really my genre. Sometimes it’s like watching a mix between Fringe and Heroes, with an dash of Homeland and C.S.I. Plus, the final scene of the pilot reminded me a lot of Back to the Future. Its best asset is undoubtedly all the fictional crossovers of Marvel Cinematic Universe.

All in all, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has quite a specific target audience: we’ll see if this turns out to be its strength or its weakness.

                                

The Goldbergs is probably the most disappointing series of this fall.
Althought in theory it seemed like a good idea, in fact The Goldbergs is but another family comedy. And a pretty mediocre one, I dare say: a rowdy father and an overbearing mother with a silly teenage daughter and a moronic son. Neither one of the other two characters, the youngest son and Pop, are really original. The show is but a déjà-vu only with brighter colors and an 80s vibe.
It definitely doesn’t hold a candle to a Modern Family and it does not use the anachronistic factor to its advantage, like That ‘70s Show did.
So… why bother?

                                

It would probably be the only reason to keep my tv set tuned on ABC during The Goldbergs: Trophy Wife isn’t the best around but it sure makes you laugh. Despite the scripts being still far from a Modern Family level (my Emmy Award and Golden Globe winning standard for American sitcoms), the main characters are well-rounded.
I found the first episode fun to watch, but the second hooked me: little Bert with his This Little Piggy was incredibly cute, and I loved the shower police scene.
I just don’t like Bailee Madison’s (over-)acting (already seen in the role of young Snow White in Once Upon a Time), I really don’t see all this talent in her.
On the other hand, Malin Åkerman is simply STUNNING!!!
One last thing: don’t let the title put you off. As executive producer Lee Eisenberg explained, “The title we always meant to be ironic”.

                                    

What about Lucky 7? I guess there’s no point in talking about it now. It was one of the first show to be axed. Rightly so, I think: the characters were flat, with no appeal whatsoever. But it didn’t take me long to understand the real problem: Lucky 7 was based on a British series.
Now, one of the sacred rule of television is: if a TV show is originally British, then it deserves to be watched in its original version. I guarantee you, you won’t be able to watch the remake after that. The U.S. version rarely survives. Lucky 7 proves my point.

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Hart of Dixie 3×01 – Who Says You Can’t Go Home

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‘I brought bagels!’

This show is amazing: warm, joyful, sunny and with a Southern accent. What’s not to love?

I enjoyed every minute of the first series, but the second one was quite disappointing: Zoe and George became idiotic and the love triangle cliché lost all its effect on me. But all the other elements were still there and so I kept on watching. Plus, Annabeth Nass was a nice addition and Lemon Breeland completely won me over: she had such a positive development that she soon became one of my favorite TV characters of all time.

Spoiler alert!

Since TV premieres set the tone for the whole season that follows, I put a lot of hope into HD 3×01. And I was right. Well, at first I was taken aback by the new guy Joel, played by Josh Cooke. I’m sorry to say this but he totally creeps me out, probably because I’ve seen him in Dexter, and I really don’t like this New Yorkese hint in the middle of my Alabama daydream. I was also in a bit of a panic not seeing Kaitlyn Black, aka Annabeth, but I sighed with relief when I discovered she has been promoted to series regular for Season 3.

I’m still not sure what to expect from Zoe or George and I hope this time Tansy stays out of the way. As for my Jaime King, I think she will still be given a lot of space and, fingers crossed, that great part of it will be shared with Wade.
Who doesn’t like some Lemonade in this summery weather?

‘Lemon Breeland, you are certifiably insane. You need a 12-step program for shenanigans addicts. But I appreciate the thought, all right?’

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Seve Trophy by Golf+: in 2013 Italian golfers Manassero and Molinari bring the trophy back on the continent

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On the Parisian golf course of Saint-Nom-La-Bretèche yesterday afternoon ended the 8th edition of the tournament established in 2000, that takes its name from the great Severiano Ballesteros, an icon of this sport in the ’80s and ’90s, died prematurely in May 2011.

The tournament presents, slightly changed, the match-play format of the Ryder Cup, with which it also shares the biennail frequency albeit in the odd years: starting on Thursday till Sunday we have witnessed ten matches of fourballs (Thursday and Friday), eight of foursomes (divided between Saturday morning and afternoon) and ten singles, in which Continental Europe led by José María Olazábal (T. Björn, G. Bourdy, N. Colsaerts, G. Fernandez-Castaño, M. Ilonen, M. A. Jiménez, J. Luiten, M. Manassero, F. Molinari, T. Olesen) clashed with insular Europe – Great Britain and Ireland – captained by Sam Torrance (P. Casey, J. Donaldson, S. Gallacher, T. Fleetwood, S. Jamieson, S. Kahn, P. Lawrie, D. Lynn, M. Warren, C. Wood).
The insular team missed some of its big names – Donald , McDowell, McIlroy, Rose, Westwood – not having played enough tournaments valid for qualification to the Seve Trophy (from the Nelson Mandela Championship to the Italian Open): their choice falls this year on the American tour.

During the first day of fourballs, Continental Europe has dominated with three matches won, one lost and one halved: what stood out in this context was the impressive performance of Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño and Nicolas Colsaerts, who beat 5&3 the pair Warren-Jamieson, as well as the negative one of Thomas Björn and Miguel Angel Jiménez, unable to effectively counteract the unstoppable Paul Lawrie and Stephen Gallacher, who with a total of five holes won (three of which in the last nine holes) were awarded the point.

This latter pair, however, was overtaken by Fernandez-Castaño and Colsaerts on Friday with an incredible 6&5. It kept getting worse for Jiménez and Björn, who had to give way under the attacks of the fittest Donaldson and Warren.

No striking result during the third day, that ended with four victories of Great Britain and Ireland, three of Continental Europe and a match halved. The two teams are in perfect equality: 9 to 9.

Sunday: last day on the course.
Simon Kahn’s injury, during the morning practice session, precluded him the possibility of playing the 10th match of the day against Francesco Molinari. At this point, the Trophy’s rules calls for Continental Europe to withdraw one of its players, so to allow the tie of the match that cannot be otherwise deleted: Thomas Björn, already in poor shape, was the volunteer. His opponent, Chris Wood, shifted then against the Italian.

9 1/ 2 to 9 1/2.
One match halved only: a very lackluster Fernandez-Castaño against an equally lackluster Donaldson.
Three wins for Torrance’s team: Fleetwood, Lawrie and an amazing Marc Warren against the young Olesen.
Five points for Continental Europe. If the match between Nicolas Colsaerts and Paul Casey, ending on the last hole, proved to be very balanced, Miguel Angel Jiménez out-matched a David Lynn, down with the flu, at par 4 of the 14th hole with a score of 5 strokes under par (6&4).
It is however Grégory Bourdy, who, playing on his home ground and beating Scott Jamieson 4&3, won the important record for this tournament as first player to win five games out of five.

Let’s get to the Italians.
The good performances and huge improvement in Francesco Molinari’s putt were not enough to bring decisive points to Continental Europe: 1 point and 1/2 out of 5 available in the first three days. Too little if compared to what we have become accustomed to over the years! But our guys haven’t abandoned us: both their singles were successfully concluded at par 3 of the 16th hole. Matteo has holed a perfect putt for his 4th birdie from a prohibitive distance against the very best putter of the tournament, the Scot Gallacher, while Francesco, thanks to a more than risky but perfectly controlled tee-shot, has given himself a wonderful opportunity to win, precisely gained.

As it happened in Medinah last year, a twist of fate wanted Francesco Molinari to have the last match against two players with almost the same name, a certain Tiger Woods and Chris Wood, and both times Chicco did not disappoint the expectations bringing back first the Ryder Cup in Europe, and now Severiano’s trophy on the continent. Once again proof of the great trust put by captain Olazábal in the fiber of the fantastic Italian athlete.

From its 1st edition in 2000, thirteen years ago, Continental Europe hasn’t been able to bring home the prestigious trophy: mission accomplished this year and thanks to the strength of our two Italians.
I wonder if someone from up there lent a hand…

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The very first post

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Here we are!

The blog is set up, even if there’s still a lot to do:

every post will be assigned to a specific category and soon you’ll find complete pages

But we are too anxious to publish something, so…

let’s get blogging!!!

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