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Aftermath: Game 37 - Mets vs Nationals + Iron Man Review

Great win for the Mets last night, not that I saw any of it. Tuesday is 'Free Movie Night' at Clearview Cinemas if you happen to be raped in the wallet subscribe to all three of Cablevision's services (TV, internet, phone), so we try to find our way to the movie theater as often as we can to take advantage of the offer. Despite the lure of free entertainment, we didn't really see too many movies this year, mostly because Kim is a science teacher and regularly brings home the requisite mountain of homework/tests/labs to grade. But with summer blockbusters squarely within shouting distance (the new Indiana Jones flick comes out next week) and her enthusiasm for the job waning a bit, we're going to try to make it to the theater far more often in the coming weeks.

Having not seen the Mets game save the post-game highlights, and feeling a bit disingenuous about recapping a game I didn't watch, I'm going to write about the movie instead. We have three Clearview Cinemas within a twenty minute drive of our house, so there's usually a pretty good selection to choose from. None of the individual theaters has more than four or five movies showing at a time, but you can still count on most of the popular movies playing at at least one of them. There are a couple of movies out right now that we wanted to see and have heard good things about: the first is Forgetting Sarah Marshall featuring Jason Segel and produced by Hollywood comedy machine Judd Apatow (who, incidentally, produced two of my favorite but tragically short-lived series of the past decade in Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared, both of which cast a certain Mr. Segel in starring and recurring roles, respectively).

The second movie under consideration was Iron man, which has drawn rave reviews despite two initial impediments to success:

  1. The seemingly questionable casting of Robert Downey Jr. in the titular role
  2. The fact that almost every other comic book movie in recent memory has sucked (Hulk, Dare Devil, Fantastic Four)

Kim kinda wanted to see the comedy, but the action flick was playing in a theater closer to home, so we went with Iron Man. I might have also considered Baby mama because I enjoy Tina Fey's writing and self-deprecating style (30 Rock is a gem) and because Amy Poehler may very well be the funniest woman on the planet (her husband Will Arnett is no slouch himself).

In Iron Man, Downey as billionaire industrialist Tony Stark (and eventually Iron Man) manages to turn a potential casting distaster into a stroke of genius. The supporting cast was equally strong, with Jeff Bridges (aka The Dude, or El Duderino if you're not into the whole brevity thing) as Stark's business partner (and eventually foil) Obediah Stane and Gwyneth Paltrow as Stark's assistant Pepper Potts.

Jon Favreau directed the film and actually had a small role as Stark's man-servant, though whenever I see Favreau I can't help but think of him as man-beast Gutter in PCU.

The movie itself was very strong, with good dialogue, great action sequences and believable CGI. Much of the film's two hours is spent on Stark's fabrication and testing of two different Iron Man suits: one as a necessity to escape captor from a cave in Afghanistan (!), and the other upon returning to the states and devoting his energy to helping mankind instead of destroying it. This is all fine, as the mechanization of Stark is integral to the character's story and the scenes flow well and move along with very little drag.

Unfortunately, spending so much time on the process leaves little room for plot. It's a comic book, so I guess there's an endemic lack of ingenuity here, but we wind up with the standard friend-turned-foe story with the requisite revelations of deceit and malfeasance. Good guy becomes bad guy, bad guy betrays good guy, bad guy and good guy square off in predictable denouement, good guy wins! All this isn't to say that the story fails or isn't enjoyable; it works, it's just nothing new.

Ultimately, Iron Man is a very entertaining and well-cast movie that works most of the time and only really struggles in the same way that most comic book plots struggle: because they are all essentially the same feet wearing slightly different shoes. Accepting this caveat, I would definitely recommend this movie to anyone looking for a solid flick without too many intellectual entanglements.

Now, for the Mets.

(what's this?)

Mr. Met: Ryan Church, +35.2%
Mr. Regret: Jose Reyes, -16.9%
(Non-)Clutchiest Plate Appearance: Church fliner that Kearns mis-played into a two-run double, +27.0%
(Non-)Clutchiest Pitch: Zimmerman two-run homer off Maine, -19.7%
WPA by Offense: +23.4%
WPA by Pitchers: +26.6%
WPA by Opponent: +0.0%

  • Fernando Tatis! A hit! A run! No comprende!
  • John Maine threw a lot of pitches in six innings, but he struck out five batters while only walking one, allowed just two hits and lowered his season ERA to 2.81. His FIP is 4.01, but he has consistently outperformed his FIP by a half-run or more and is one of those pitchers that I refer to as DIPS Darlings. Certain pitchers are able to maintain BABIPs considerably below the league average of .300, and Maine has been one of them throughout his young career. His fastball is a little sneaky and maybe that helps keep his hits allowed to a minimum.
  • Brian Schneider with a double? This after hitting a homerun a few days ago? The last thing I expected out of this week was two non-singles from Schneider, who has done a fine job getting on base this season despite zilch in the power department. Nice to see his slugging percentage finally surge above his batting average.