Friday, October 29, 2010

Goodbye Elena

Some news today on the ESPN ticker caught my eye. It was sad news that many of you may have missed. Elena Dementieva has retired from tennis.

I was pretty shocked by this as she is only 29 and still in the top 10. Elena was always the best player never to win a major. She was never the main draw of the WTA, not because of her game, but because of the way she carried herself. She did not want the spotlight or the hype, even though it could have, and rightfully, been hers. She was everything the game needs - intense, honest, honorable, funny, competitive, cosmopolitan. One thing lacking along with the Grand Slam title, a swimsuit issue appearance.

I got to see her in person at Wimbledon, and she is stunning. Even better when she lets her hair down, which she rarely does. You don't think of Dementieva in terms of looks to be up there with Sharapova and Kournikva, but she is. I got a great picture of her serving at Wimbledon on court #3. I even submitted it for a photo contest. Stunning.

Elena, you will be missed. You will be fondly remembered here at Big Dunc. Thanks for what you brought to the game. Maybe teach Brett a thing or two while you're at it.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Great Football Weekend

I'm doing a little moonlight blogging for another page called The Bucky Channel. I'm sure I've mentioned it on this page before. It's one of my "Friends" on the right.
Here's my first Bucky Channel post - All about how I enjoyed the Badger victory more than the Packer victory. Not sure why I have to qualify everything, but check it out.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Lord of the Rings Trilogy

Time for another movie trilogy post. Hopefully you've checked out the Indiana Jones and Star Wars editions. This one will follow the same format.

Best Films

1. Fellowship of the Ring
2. Two Towers (Ents put this one over #3)
3. Return of the King (I'm a fan of the build-up)

Most Attractive females of Middle Earth

This is a tough one. The quality is higher than Star Wars, but all the women on the list are attractive, but not super hot, or really something to fantasize about, unless you have a thing for elves.

1. Eowyn
2. Galadriel
3. Arwen
4. Rosie Cotton - hairy feet?

Best Supporting Characters

1. Treebeard -
2. Saruman
3. Faramir
4. Galadriel
5.Haldir - Came through with the Elves at Helm's Deep. This did not happen in the book.

Best Action Sequences

1. The Bridge of Khazad Dum - Fellowship - Obvious choice here, amazing sequence from all the orcs surrounding the Fellowship and leaving to Aragorn rousing them to continue after exiting the cave. Powerful stuff all around.

2. Ents at Isengard - Two Towers - Angry Ents, yes.
3. Witch King of Angmar vs Eowyn/Merry - Return of the King - Action in the third film came so fast and furious its tough to truly pinpoint what constitutes as a scene. In the Fellowship, there is usually proper build-up and aftermath of the big actions, and I think with the death of Theoden and the later finding of Eowyn and Merry on the battlefield, this scene best couples action with emotion.
4. Mines of Moria - Fellowship - This was the first big action scene and led to #1 on our list. Again, you have this great build up with some tender scenes between Frodo and Gandalf, then a hot battle
5. Breaking of the Fellowship - Fellowship - Huge build-up here, this was the climax of the first film. The battle was rather quick, but contained the end intense of Boromir "My Brother, my captain, my King!" and led to Sam's "promise" to Mr. Frodo. Cool battle between Aragorn and the Uruk leader too.
6. Battle of Pelennor Fields - Return of the King - This is one of the that is hard to distinguish with other action scenes around it. This one I consider to be the Riders of Rohan battle. Would move up to number 3 on the list if you include Theoden's Speech.
7. Helm's Deep - Two Towers - Awesome, but a bit long in repeated viewings
8. Oliphants and Ghosts - Return of the King - great visually
9. Final Battle - Return of the King
10. She-lob's Liar - Return of the King - Sam's moment to shine

Other Best Scenes

1. Opening Sequences - Fellowship - Sets the tone of grandeur, fantasy, battle. Great narration for Cate Blanchette.
2. Council of Elrond - Fellowship

3. Theoden's Transformation - Two Towers
4. Gandalf vs. Saruman - Fellowship - Starts out innocent enough. We get lots of necessary information and ends in a pretty tight wizard duel.
5. Osgiliath/Sam/Frodo - Two Towers - Definitely not from the books, but a good speech nevertheless, and a good tone setter for the final film
6. Singing/Sacrifice -Return of the King - Pippin singing to Denathor while he is rather grossly eating and his son is getting sacked, great juxtaposition.
7. Funeral Pyre - Return of the King - "He's not dead!"
8. River Anduin - Fellowship - Something real majestic about this trip down the river. You know this is the last peace for a while but you really take it in along with the Characters. Some great visuals.

9. Fellowship sets out - Fellowship - Some cool simple scenes here as the Fellowship begins its journey. Love Saruman's voice in the mountain pass, Gandalf's desire not to go to Moria forshadowing things, and Boromir's observations of of the ring.
10. Oliphants/Meeting Faramir - Two Towers - Lots of mystery here with the Southern Men and Faramir's men.

11. Gates of Mordor - Two Towers - I remember my heart pounding as Sam, Frodo, and Gollum first came to the gates of Mordor.
12. Elves come to Helms Deep - Two Towers
13. Palantir - Return of the King - Some cool stuff
14. Stairs of Cirith Ungol - Two Towers

There you go. Great Stuff