Last weekend, I saw “This is the End,” the new movie starring James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, Jay Baruchel and Craig Robinson. All playing themselves, the six attend a party at Franco’s opulent Hollywood home — filled with recognizable faces like Mindy Kaling, Paul Rudd, and Jason Segal — when the apocalypse arrives. For all intents and purposes, this sextet are the lone survivors left to fend off Armageddon… and often each other. Negotiating the end of the world brings out the worst in everybody above the title, and that self-centered behavior is displayed with a winking nod to each actor’s public image.
Franco eggs on a tabloid culture that’s painted him as a pretentious, artsy douche who may be in the closet. McBride presents himself as a somewhat better-spoken version of his “Kenny Powers” character. Hill is so relentlessly and condescendingly nice, Baruchel (self-righteously “anti-industry,” but also jealous of everyone’s more successful careers) eventually decks him. Rogen is a useless, selfish pothead. The flaky Robinson reacts to danger with a girly scream.
Audiences will hypothesize how closely the film versions of every actor who appears match reality — save perhaps Michael Cera, who by all accounts is nothing like the dude who spends his final hours snorting coke and slapping Rihanna’s ass — but that’s both beside the point and the point. A movie like “T.I.T.E.” can only be made if the participants are secure with that inevitability. Clearly, this cast ain’t losing sleep. The goal is to get laughs. And while the last 20-ish minutes are uneven, the movie is often hysterical because of everybody’s willingness to don a “kick me” sign.
Watching the film, out of nowhere, Dwight Howard popped into my head. Given how the center is at forefront of damn near every NBA conversation, particularly in Los Angeles, a day without Howard on the brain is unfortunately a rare luxury. But this was different. Seeing these actors mock themselves, it dawned on me how Dwight, despite his reputation as someone who “never stops joking around,” seems the least likely person on Earth to participate in a project like “T.I.T.E”
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Those happy days when it looked like the Lakers might actually climb up the Western Conference playoff ladder and even (gasp!) make a little noise come the postseason are … well, if not gone are, in the parlance of seldom acknowledged Pink Floyd albums, Obscured By Clouds.
Now, having lost three straight including Monday”s not-nearly-as-close-as-the-final-score-indicates game against the Warriors in Oakland, the Lakers have lost touch with Golden State and Houston, and are just trying to hang on to the eighth spot. And they have some company.
With that backdrop, we sat down Tuesday afternoon to record the newest Kamenetzky Brothers Land O”Lakers Podcast (before the news about Metta World Peace”s lateral meniscus tear, just as an FYI). Among the talking points:
- Why aren”t bulletin board material for the Lakers, but reflect bigger problems for the Lakers heading into the postseason … assuming they get there.
- Speaking of which, will they?
- After Monday”s loss, Kobe Bryant took the action hero, steely approach when asked if he was concerned about L.A.”s shrinking cushion in the playoff race. “I”m terrified,” he said. “Do I look terrified? Not at all.” Lest you think his question was rhetorical. Are zen calm and unshakable confidence the right approach at this point? If he”s saying the right stuff, what else ought Kobe be doing?
- Finally, we take a comment from the Facebook Mailbag that most Lakers fans certainly identify with, and I share a conversation with V.O.T.L.* John Ireland following Friday”s loss encapsulating the ways in which this season has gone very wrong for the Lakers.
Finally, one more mention for this piece Andy put together for Red Bull Media House, on OKC”s Nick Collison”s evolution into the consummate role player.
*Voice of the Lakers.
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It's taken over six months to say without relying on forced optimism, but things are actually looking kinda good for the Lakers. After Sunday's win over the Chicago Bulls, they're two games above .500 for the first time this season, and half a game ahead of a reeling Utah Jazz squad for the Western Conference's eighth playoff seed. Not to say every issue's been indisputably solved, but with the rest of March relatively low on difficult games, it does feel like the wind is at the Lakers' back.
Just one of the issues we discuss in this week's Land O'Lakers podcast. Others include:
- As recently as February 28, hd projector
outpatient drug treatment
best wireless speakers
partial knee replacement
BK and (especially) yours truly were skeptical about the odds of a playoff berth. Suddenly, a postseason appearance feels less farfetched. Will the Lakers remain part of the top eight and how high can they potentially rise? It depends on whether the showing against Chicago is “exception” or “rule.”
- BK and I climb on our soapbox to chastise the media for (what we hope is) its willful ignorance about why Dwight Howard won't verbally commit long-term to the Lakers before this summer. The reasons, several of which I laid out back in August, are incredibly obvious to anybody giving the matter even the slightest bit of thought.
- Speaking of Howard, on Tuesday he'll play his first game against Orlando as a member of any team but the Magic. From an emotional standpoint, it will be tough. How will the center hold up and how important is it to get some closure?
- Addressing a question from a recent “Land O'Lakers Mailbag,” does Kobe Bryant have any shot at MVP, given his pivotal role in the Lakers' recent surge? His play has been good enough to merit discussion, and writers often vote — right or wrong — based on narrative. Safe to say, should the Lakers qualify for the postseason, Kobe's fueled one helluva storyline. Would that be enough?
- Do not ask Metta World Peace to be your Disney World tour guide.