Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Brock H. Brown’s Retrospective on the NBA – Part I: From the Ashes

Hey folks, welcome to the first of 5 blog posts I intend to write about this season of the NBA. There is a plethora of bright spots to dish about, and I want to focus on the things that caught my eye, that excited me, that made me appreciate the game this year more than any other year. I am a fan of the Phoenix Suns, yes, but I am also a fan of basketball in general, and to me, the NBA is the most concentrated form of the game…skill at its very best and most entertaining.
So that’s what I intend to talk about. Here’s the posts you can look forward to:

1) From the Ashes – a few upsides to this year in Phoenix.
2) The Magic Kingdom – A post about the Magic and why they are my Eastern pick.
3) CP3 – A post about Chris Paul and why he really deserves the MVP award.
4) A Moment to Remember – A post about the Cavs and how they are a picture perfect copy of Jordan’s Bulls.
5) Ladies and gentlemen…I am pleased to introduce your L.A. Lakers – You guessed it..a post about the Lakers and how this team was really created years ago, well before most of its current roster was even playing in the NBA.

All that being said, let’s focus on the bright spots of the Phoenix Suns.
Really, most fans find it hard to find the good points in this dismal year…
…The Suns have collapsed over the salary cap, they have a superstar who is unable to play, and what’s worse, they have very few pieces they can move to other teams in an effort to improve their situation. How in the world could I even assume there are bright spots to be found?
But there are!

1) The Bench – Early on in the season, Terry Porter refused to play most of the Phoenix bench, a move reminiscent of his predecessor, Mike D’Antoni. Unfortunate. To be fair, he was losing games and favor at a rapid pace…and in that kind of a situation, you tend to want to play your best, in this case Stoudemire and Nash. However, following his dismissal and the hiring of Alvin Gentry, Phoenix fans saw something funny happen. They saw the Phoenix bench getting considerable minutes in comparison to the starters. More than that, they saw the bench WINNING games the starters had lost. Guys like Lou Amundson, Jared Dudley and Goran Dragic were having breakout games against seemingly indestructible foes. They were succeeding where their superiors had failed…largely because of their tenacity and heart. In fact…let me focus on a few stories…

2) Lou Amundson – Talk about a total dork. The second I saw this guy I thought to myself, “get him off the court…he looks like a loser.” Now? Fans are already talking about the day he will be inducted into the Ring of Honor. It’s like it is set in stone. And indeed, no story in the list of stories for the Phoenix Suns this year deserves to be highlighted more than that of Lou Amundson. Sweet Lou. Lighting Lou. Thor. A nobody from the D-League who rised through the ranks to become a fan favorite. And he did it because of his sheer desire…because he wanted to be the go to guy, the team player, the voice that said it could be done when the chips were down. He’s earned his place on the Suns.

3) Jared Dudley – the diamond in the rough story. Jared Dudley was acquired by Phoenix from the Bobcats in a trade that also included Jason Richardson. Actually, Dudley was more of a side-note, a joke that was unloaded on Phoenix in the big deal that brought us J.Rich. He hardly saw minutes under Porter. He was considered space…a name to fill a requirement. But when Gentry started coaching the team, a different opinion formed: what if he was the best part of that whole trade. Dudley’s last several games have showed us a young player caught in a trance-like command of the floor. He defends, he shoots and he cuts to the paint…he is a Brandon Roy-esque player capable of doing whatever asked of him. He very well could be the new go-to-guy in Phoenix. The one charged with impossible missions.

4) Goran Dragic – C’mon…you gotta root for this guy. When the season started out, he was a joke. He still isn’t considered anything brilliant, but the transformation he went through this year alone has been HUGE. Watching his confidence improve has been one of the most inspirational things to happen in Phoenix this year.

So there ya go. That’s my bright side of the sun, so to speak. To me, this was a very fun and important year for the Suns, despite the inner-turmoil and growing pains. At the end of the day, the old regime, personalized by Nash, Stoudemire and to some extent, Shaq, had to be cleared away to make way for the nobodies. Goran Dragic, Jared Dudley, Lou Amundson, Alando Tucker…I tell ya, Phoenix did as well as it did this year not because it was a team on the wane, but because it was a team breeding a lot of young, new talent that wanted to assert itself in this league. I am looking forward to the last few games and next year BECAUSE OF Dragic, Dudley, Amundson and the rest of the Phoenix bench. And get used to it, Phoenix fans. They are Gentry’s boys. From the look of things, he enjoys playing these guys and from discussions off the court, he appears to want to keep them. It's amazing when you think about it...the new Phoenix Suns coach has shown us the team he wants: fiery...full of heart...no-names. Guys who will play BOTH ENDS OF THE COURT. They still have some issues to work out, but Alando Tucker, Jared Dudley, Lou Amundson, Goran Dragic and Robin Lopez represent the new Phoenix Suns. And I couldn’t be happier.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Wild Things

Spike Jonze rules!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Good Morning, Lakerland

Good Morning, Lakerland

People scream as if on the downturn of a roller coaster. The shoving is intense, brutal, like a mugging in a New York alley.
And then I am kicked out of the elevator. Two people follow…one, a young male, in his twenties like me, and a beautiful girl, who lands on me with an oomph. My ribs hurt. My knees are bloodied and my ears ringing. Smoke is everywhere. The girl is beautiful, yes…but hell, survival of the fittest. So, I get up and run away.

That’s when I hear “CUT!!!!”

Thank goodness. By now my legs are on fire. I’ve fallen out of that freaking elevator 5 times. The girl is pretty in a way, and at first it was kind of a novelty to have her butt falling on me. But now?
Don’t care. Get me out of here…
Mark Wilson, the director, marches into the coridoor, his tall, lithe frame cutting through the fog and dim 2K beams. Even out here in L.A. you can tell he’s a Phoenix kid. There’s a quiet to him, a simple but confident presentation that is only amplified by his generic blue jeans and white hoodie. He smiles at me, tells me it was awesome and then I hear what I expected to hear since he first marched onto the set.

One more take?

Guh. Sure Mark. Anything for you, bud.

By the way, I am on the set of Honeymoon, a film I penned two years ago when I was nearing my completion of SCC’s film program. It’s a sodden little tale about a newlywed couple who are vacationing in Bolivia, fighting about a little bump in their relationship. Turns out the blushing bride had gotten one final fling in before she settled down. Her husband isn’t too happy about it...can you blame him? All this comes to a head when their hotel is suddenly attacked by the locals. You see, governmental revolution doesn’t just stop because your marriage is going to pot.

(This is where I feel compelled to tell you, I have no idea why they are staying in Bolivia. I sure as hell don’t plan to have my honeymoon there. I hope people give me the grace of suspension of disbelief)

So then, you now know why I spent the weekend watching Mark film this script, sitting quietly by a playback monitor, drinking coffee and chatting with the crew…It was fun, and I learned a lot about Mark and a lot about myself. And apparently, so did everyone else.

Mark is very explicitly Phoenix. Down home, wholesome. He's a great guy.


It’s funny, because the director, assistant director, composer and various other positions were all helmed by kids from Phoenix, and as a result, a running joke materialized at the onset of the shoot: This weekend will tell everyone whether or not the Phoenix kids can make it out in L.A.
After the second AD voiced that challenge, those words hung over every single delay, as if to say, resoundingly: “NO”. Unfortunate really, because there were as many victories as there were mistakes. The very fact that a Phoenix kid was directing a short film on Panavision’s lot, with Panavision’s equipment, should be the victory cry in itself.

All that being said…I never really felt like a “Phoenix kid”. I never really felt like I was trying to prove myself in the same way they were. And they didn’t seem to see me in that light either. How was I seen?
When I first arrived, I was just a detested writer. The AD had his eye on me the entire time, as if waiting for me to inevitably spout out “YOU’RE RUINING MY VISION”. When that didn’t come, everyone’s perspective shifted again: “How old is this kid? 12? Why is he running around L.A., waltzing in and out of Panavision whenever he wants?” By the time I memorized everyone’s name and had some conversations, everyone finally found a kind of comfort around me.

I think.

It was still weird for me. Talking to actors, watching a massive supercrane sweeping over my head, having people discuss how Honeymoon was a social commentary on South American politics and the American perspective...simply insane, unexpected, undeserved.
BUT, the weirdest? That would go to being an extra in the film, spending a few takes falling out of an elevator shaft, and then hobbling away, bloody knees and all, to go watch the Lakers.

Mark had his quiet, confident identity. But in that moment, Huck earned his. He didn't create it, He didn't even expect it. The entire set gave to him. And that didn't feel weird at all.

It felt great.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Go Utah

The Jazz-men have propelled themselves to 12 in a row. Wowzas...

What can I say? They're the home team. I love L.A. to death, dirty playing and all. But, this is the clutch. This the time that defines who people really are...and I can't go against the home team. The Lakers are gonna win the West. No doubt in my mind. And they deserve it.

But, my team is the JAZZ. They were my dad's team. He was there, courtside, before I even existed. Now it's my turn to pick up the torch. Go for it guys. Play like heck! I know you can do it!


Tuesday, March 03, 2009

You are sound itself...

I am currently listening to the new Sufjan Stevens song, You Are the Blood off that Dark Was the Night compliation CD. It is incredible. All the songs are very good...but when you get to Sufjan...wow. I mean, Ben Gibbard is fine and all...but Sufjan drops a track for some stupid collection CD and it comes off better than most of these guys' full length albums.

I want the next state, ASAP.

Friday, February 27, 2009

I Don't Wanna Go There

It's been far too long since someone's posted on here. So, I aim to bring more activity to this blog.
From one of my all-time favorite bands, Dinosaur Jr. Their new song "I Don't Wanna Go There." Rip it, J...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Telluriding It - Part IV

On top of the world, yo. The photo above was taken around Imogene Pass, elevation - 13,114 feet. The drive, courtesy of Telluride Outside, was on a one-lane road, sometimes only the width of the truck itself, with steep drop-offs. It was a white-knuckle drive, but very well worth it. The rest of the day, we relaxed, swam, ate. Tomorrow, we come back home. Boooo!