Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Movie Review - "Sully"

How does a movie maker find drama in a story that everyone knows the ending to?

While the "Miracle on the Hudson" may not be one of those events that you'll always remember where you were and what you were doing when you heard about it, it only happened 7 years ago, in 2009. And it got a lot of TV coverage.

What director Clint Eastwood has done is make the movie more about the National Transportation Safety Board investigation then about the actual crash in the river. We get to see the crash several times from many angles, but the movie spends more time in conference rooms than in the chilly Hudson.

Tom Hanks does a wonderful job, as you might expect, playing the man-of-little-words, just doin' my job hero. Hanks was apparently born to play such parts.

I found the crash scenes to be pretty scary and emotional. There is one scene in particular when the plane is going down, where the flight attendants, in their jump seats in the front of the passenger compartment, scream "Brace brace brace! Keep your heads down!" in unison, over and over. I swear, if I ever survive a plane crash, I would hear the flight attendants yelling in my nightmares forever.

The movie is pretty short, only 96 minutes, but didn't feel rushed.

Aaron Eckhart, who plays the co-pilot, Jeff Skiles, with understatement and some humor, is also pretty good, and really, the only other actor other than Hanks who has much to do. To me, he's always that guy on screen that you recognize but can't remember where you saw him before. Oh, yeah, he played Harvey Dent in that Batman movie.  Maybe I'll remember him now.

The only drawback of the film for me was tone of the investigation. From some reviews I've read (notably the bad reviews), Eastwood rather played up the NTSB as trying to 'get' Sully and Skiles and blame them for the crash. There is a key reveal during the public hearing part of the investigation, which I won't spoil for you, that I, in particular, found ridiculous, although it didn't ruin the movie for me. If you don't know by now that movies about true events are often highly fictionalized, then I'm sorry to break your bubble.

The day before the film opened, Ton Hanks and Chesley Sullenberger  were on the Jimmy Kimmel Show. I hadn't had much interest in seeing the movie up until then but their appearance made me interested. Hanks talked about how the NTSB is required to investigate every plane crash. He spoke quite favorable about the NTSB and said in real life it was a 'friendly' interrogation that Sully went through. Which is not how it was in the movie.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Players I Collect - 2016 Part 2

I finished the last post with George Brett. Let's pick up with:

Jose Canseco
There was a long gap (2005-2013) when I didn't see any Canseco cards but since 2014, he's back. My collecting years include Canseco's entire career and he used to be very popular so I have 173 of his cards.
 Topps Allen and Ginter

Gary Carter
Always a popular player he's never been gone from the hobby for long. I have 78 of his cards.

Topps Allen and Ginter

Roger Clemens
Roger disappeared for a bit but he's back. I have 366 Clemens cards. Him being an Astro for a few years really boosted my collection. I think it unlikely we'll see a Clemens post-career card as an Astro.

Topps Bunt

Yu Darvish
Darvish is one of the few current players I collect. I have 40 of his cards.


Topps Heritage

Dennis Eckersley
He's usually good for a couple of cards a year. I've 149 of his cards.
Topps Archives

Topps Allen & Ginter The Numbers Game

Nomar Garciaparra
Nomar retired in 2009 and it took 5 years for his first post-season cards to appear. There have been plenty since. I pulled 4 this year for a total of 179.

Stadium Club
Topps Allen and Ginter
Topps Archives
Topps Bunt

To be continued. Next up Dwight Gooden.

Monday, September 12, 2016

2016 Bowman Platinum

This is not a bad looking set, if you like foil-board cards. I don't particularly so I don't buy much of this product. Topps didn't produce a 2015 set and I can't say I missed it. The 2016 set is only going to be available at Walmart for some reason. I saw some there over the weekend and bought two 12-card rack packs. They had blasters and a larger box which claimed to contain 4 autos, but at about $80 it was way more than I wanted to pay.

Here's the first card from the first pack.

If I'm not planning on buying much of a certain set, it's nice to pull Carlos Correa. 

This is a case where the scan looks better than the actual card. The surface has that rainbow refractive thing going on but it's hard to see unless you hold the card just right. My scanner often produces the blue-green background from cards like that. The design is OK although it reminds me of some old Upper Deck brand that I can't quite remember.

There are only 100 cards in the set and the players selected, skew to the younger set, including rookies.

The cards scanned nicely with little post scanning processing necessary. The fronts tended to want to stick to the glass in the scanner though, even though they don't feel tacky. Like all foil-board cards, the fronts pick up fingerprints quickly, and in my experience, fingerprints on foil-board cards tend to become permanent if not soon removed.

There is also the Top Prospects 100-card set featuring players who haven't quite made it to the majors. I actually like the design better than the base set.

The base and Top Prospects cards have the usual selection of parallel cards (Ice, Purple, Green, Orange, Red, and Black). I pulled one purple, Top Prospect numbered to 250, which happened to be a Philly I never heard of.

There are also a 30-card Next Generation and a 30-card Next Generation Prospects insert sets, with a front design borrowed from Topps Bunt.

I pulled one of the 30-card Presence insert set.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Players I Collect - 2016 Part 1

As well as collecting any Phillies and post-1994 Astros cards I can find, there are also a handful (OK, a bushel full) of players who's individual cards I collect. I've been doing this since I started collecting in 1985. It's a mishmash of players, including players who are now in the Hall of Fame, and players whom I wonder now why a started collecting. And a few players from before I started collecting. I'm going to run through them in alphabetical order over a few posts until I've either covered them all or have lost interest in making the posts. As I got into this I realized that there are a bunch of players I've collected over the years that haven't had cards in years. That's boring, so I'm only going to include players I actually have 2016 cards for.

Hank Aaron

Hank Aaron's career ended long before I started collecting (10 years) but how could I not put aside any Hank Aaron post-career card I happened across. I have 37 Aaron cards, including 3 from 2016.

Topps MLB Debut Medallion
With that heavy and thick metal coin embedded, these cards a kind of a monstrosity. But it's Hank! Not sure yet what I'm going to do with it since it won't fit in a regular 9-slot album page.

Topps Berger's Best
Topps Amazing Milestones

Jim Abbott
My collecting career spans all of Abbott's career so I've got a bunch of cards from his playing days. There haven't been a lot of post-career cards but I did get this 2016 card. Altogether I have 83 Jim Abbott cards.

Stadium Club

Roberto Alomar

Having been a popular and exceptional player leads to more published cards. I have 198 of his cards from his career and post-career. I only got one for 2016.

Topps Allen & Ginter Mini

 Wade Boggs

I have 186 Boggs cards, covering most of his career up to the present.

Topps Archives
 Topps Bunt

George Brett

I have 117 Brett cards, some from his career. He remains a popular subject for current sets.

Panini Diamond Kings DK Originals
Stadium Club
Topps Allen & Ginter Baseball Legends
Topps Bunt

Next up: Jose Canseco.
To be continued...