I love “Scent of a Woman.” I will grant you it isn’t a great movie. It is a little too long, has a few somewhat unbelievable scenes (allowing a blind Al Pacino to drive a sports car in New York is a bit absurd) and has an ending that is formulaic and slightly out of place. But even with these flaws, it is one of my favorite lazy day watches when it turns up on a weekend movie channel. I love it because it is Al Pacino’s last great role before he fell off a cliff into terrible movie abyss (his only Oscar win is for this), because it is the highlight of Chris O’Donnell (and his hair’s career), because it spawned the “Hoo-ahh” that I use for first time callers on radio, because it gives us Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Bradley Whitford in unlikeable parts that they will recreate later in life and because it is has some lines that are brilliantly repeatable “I’m in the DARK HERE!”….”Out of order, I’ll show you out of order! You don’t know what out of order is, Mr. Trask. I’d show you, but I’m too old, I’m too tired, I’m too f****n’ blind. If I were the man I was five years ago, I’d take a FLAMETHROWER to this place!”…etc).
But mostly, I love Scent of a Woman because of the tango scene. If I were to list my top 5 favorite movie scenes of all time, there is no doubt the “Scent of a Woman” tango scene would be on it.” I have probably seen it 50 times and if I live long enough, I will watch it 50 more. It is perfectly crafted and beautiful, with each moment just a bit better than the last, culminating in a dance scene that is as mesmerizing as anything I have seen on film. The first five minutes of dialogue are brilliant. Pacino smells a fragrance (the “Scent of a Woman”) on a young woman (the beautiful Gabrielle Anwar) who has walked in the room and asks O’Donnell’s character (Charlie) to come with him as introduces himself. For three minutes, the dialogue plays perfectly, including a line I have recreated in about 1,000 contexts over my life. (“Michael says the tango is hysterical…Well I think Michael is hysterical.”). The entire sequence plays out exquisitely and you can see it at the link below (albeit with French subtitles):
But let’s say you are busy and don’t have time to watch all of that. Then just watch the dance. I am no ballroom dance connoisseur (as anyone who saw my performance in “Dancing with the Stars” can attest) and I know nothing about the tango. But like O’Donnell in the movie, as I watch Pitino and the stunning Anwar tango across the floor, I cannot help but smile. It is 2 1/2 minutes of cinema perfection, only ruined by the end of the song and the arrival of said putz, Michael. It is a great scene in an entertaining movie and it gave me a phrase I use quite often…if you make a mistake in the tango, as in life, just tango on.
And with that smooth transition, a look at the weekend in UK sports:
— 6 am tomorrow. That is when the UK Football team takes the field for its first practice for the 2014 season. It has been a long offseason for the Football Cats, who have seen more excitement around the program than at any time in recent memory, but with very little actual production to justify it. Most of the excitement revolves around recruiting and this Kentucky team will once again be unbelievably young. Going into camp these look to be the biggest questions:
1. Can the UK team find enough productive Wide Receivers to allow Neal Brown to begin the process of instituting his offense. Brown said on KSR last week that the situation at WR last year was one of the worst he has ever seen in the BCS…not one player coming into the season had ever caught a Touchdown. But now guys like Javess Blue, Ryan Timmons, Demarco Robinson, Jeff Badet, etc have experience and it will be up to them to step up and improve.
2. Can the Cats find a solution at Linebacker to a lack of depth and production? UK is going to have to consider a number of schemes just to try and get by at a position that will be crazy thin. Khalid Henderson and Josh Forrest will be joined by newcomer JUCO Ryan Flanigan to provide the starting look…but depth is needed and it is unlikely the Cats will get much out of the new Freshman. Will they move Bud Dupree back in sets to play like a Linebacker? Will they get some help from Secondary players? Will they just use the Nickel every play? It remains to be seen.
3. Can the Running Back and Defensive Line positions be a strength? For the Cats to be better, they have to get major production from the places they have the most talent. Running Back is a solid position for the Cats, with SEC-level depth in JoJo Kemp, Braylon Heard, Josh Clemons, Mikel Horton, Boom Williams, etc. None of those players are stars yet but they can feel good about the options. However at least two must step up early to make big plays. The Defensive Line has two stars in Dupree and Zadarius, and the middle has guys who can play in Reggie Meant, Mike Douglas and others. But the production has to come and as Stoops says, this grou can have “no bad games.”
4. Will the Quarterback play be much improved? All of the above will matter little if UK is not significantly better at Quarterback. All three major options are flawed but between the three, the Cats have to be better. Towles had the best Spring and Summer and has the best arm…but can he get rid of the football and read plays well enough. Barker is young and doesn’t know the playbook well, but can he get far enough along to give production. Phillips is consistent but not great, but does he have the arm strength to make up for some of his athletic deficiencies on the ground? Towles probably gets first shot but no matter who plays they have to be better in order for UK to move the ball and build for the future.
It seemed like everyone from Kentucky was at Lollapalooza this weekend…including these UK fans
— Things are equally as exciting on the basketball side as the UK Basketball team takes off for the Bahamas this Friday. I personally cannot wait to go to the Bahamas and am counting down the days to the trip, but word is the players are equally as excited as well.
This is where the team is staying…not too bad
The consistent thing I keep hearing from those who see the team is “you are not going to believe how much more in shape all of these guys are.” We keep hearing about how much muscle Willie Cauley-Stein has put on, the strength of the Harrison Twins, the baby fat lost by Dakari Johnson and the even more “body of Tarzan” of Alex Poythress. The thing that continues to be repeated is that there is such a sense of a mission from the returning players to go even further than last season, both in the regular season and Tournament. They are also apparently very ready to actually play against someone else and that is why this trip will be so useful. We have talked many times about how important these games are for Marcus Lee, Derek Willis, Dominique Hawkins, etc but they are also important for the returning guys who just want to get on the court and go. I think we will learn a lot in the next two weeks about this team and what we have going forward for this season.
These are actual UL fans who sent me a trash talking tweet this week. I didn’t think people like this actually existed.
— I still don’t know what to make of UK’s 2015 Basketball recruiting class. This weekend Doral Moore claimed an offer from Calipari, a development that could be big as I expect Moore would be likely to take the offer if it indeed came. Moore is a somewhat awkward Center with a lot of potential but definite development needed. Drew and I saw probably his best game of the summer, when he played Diamond Stone to a draw in Atlanta, but the rest of the summer was weak. He will likely drop in the rankings but if Moore received an offer, then I think he will be a Cat. It is worth noting that when it comes to offers from this staff, I do think there are at least a couple of kids claiming them who do not actually have them…getting an offer from UK now is almost like a badge that you “made it” and even if the kid doesn’t have one, they may say they do. But I still am unsure where this class goes for UK. I feel good about the Cats’ chances with Malik Newman and Chieck Diallo, I hope they get Jaylen Brown on campus because he is great and I think Stephen Zimmerman is higher on UK than others realize. But I don’t know who they end up with and usually at this point we have a pretty good idea. Lots up in the air, as the loaded roster right now is making Calipari’s job harder.
A shirt for the ages
— Finally, a word about the oddest controversy of the last week, the Billy Hicks vs Jon Hood feud. If you remember, Hood took to Twitter when Cordia High School got in trouble and he said he didnt understand why now, when Scott County has been recruiting forever. He took some criticism for his statements and then came back and said he didn’t know why people were getting mad because all he was saying was a “general statement” and not anything about anyone in particular. This was odd since it was actually directly about someone in particular (Billy Hicks) and not surprisingly, Hicks responded. This from AllKy Hoops who printed his comments to a local newspaper:
“I don’t know Jon Hood and he doesn’t know me,” Hicks said. “He doesn’t know anything about Scott County basketball. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen him at one of our games. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”
Strong words from the former Corbin and now Scott County coach, and it is understandable why he would come back on the attack. I find the whole thing kind of funny, but it is also informative. Jon Hood is no longer a player, but as a former player, his words have impact. However since he no longer plays, people won’t just let things Hood says go now, without a response. If you attack a coach as a former player, expect a response. Over the last few years, we have seen former players who were beloved encounter difficulties due to things they have said or done that might have been looked at differently than when they played (think Rex’s tweet, Jeff Sheppard’s Calipari comments or Richie’s problems). Hood should realize that even if he thinks it is a “general statement”, calling out a coach will get a response…and it will make that coach angry. Hood is a smart kid with a great future, but the world changes when the basketball days are done.
With that, we are back in studio tomorrow on the radio (for the first time in 2 months). Looking forward to it…see you then.