Random Factoid #530

9 01 2011

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard the story of Ted Williams, the man with the golden voice.  In four days, he became the ultimate rag-to-riches story for a country to rally behind.  Someone noticed his voice and uploaded a video of him on YouTube, and he became an instant Internet sensation.  By the end of the week, he was cleaned up, appearing on The Today Show, reuniting with his mom, and potentially employed as an announcer for the Cleveland Cavaliers.  Williams has said it will be a struggle for him to kick his drug habit but hopes he can turn his life around.


This is gold for Hollywood!  People love inspirational stories like these; look no further than “The Blind Side” earning a whopping $256 million at the box office in 2009.  And don’t forget Christian Bale’s character arc in “The Fighter” mirrors some of the same struggles and will likely win an Oscar.

The inspirational story of 2010 was the Chilean miners, and they have already had a movie made about them.  So take the poll below and/or leave a comment indicating how you feel about the state of the inevitable Ted Williams movie.

I’m looking forward to watching movies with my kids, like the Ted Williams story, and saying, “I remember when that happened!  I saw him on YouTube before he went on The Today Show.”  (And then I’m sure my kids will reply, “What’s YouTube?”)

Random Factoid #471

11 11 2010

I know I have spoken quite vocally about the influence that Roger Ebert has had on my film criticism, but today, I think it would appropriate to recognize the other big influence: Gene Shalit.

The Today Show‘s resident film critic for over 4o years, Shalit would often offer his take on the weekend’s releases every Friday as I was walking out the door for school.  And for a good chunk of my life, I listened.  I recall many times getting dressed and hearing my mom yell, “Marshall, Gene Shalit is on!”  Upon hearing this, I would accordingly rush what I was doing and run to the TV.

Today marks Shalit’s last day on The Today Show, a sad day for all those who know what great influence the man with the afro and the mustache have had on the craft of reviewing movies.  I’ll forever miss the theatrical aspect of his weekly reviews and the fun he brought to them.  The way movie reviews are done today, one would think they are meant to be taken entirely seriously and academically.  Yet thanks to what I learned from Shalit, I know that reviews can be fun – and I hope they have been for everyone who reads them.