Despite wearing its good intentions on its sleeve and receiving a ton of fawning reviews, I didn't think ESPN's production of 3 had much going for it other than Barry Pepper's excellent performance. The film's budget was too low and its production values too shoddy to properly portray the culture of big-time stock car racing. Anybody really interested in what Dale Earnhardt was all about would be much better served by catching CMT's terrific new documentary, Dale, either tonight or tomorrow night at 8:00. Narrated by Paul Newman and featuring interviews with family, friends, coworkers, and competitors, Dale strikes the perfect balance between sentiment and celebration. No heavenly choirs on the soundtrack and no little "3"s with angel wings. Best of all, lots and lots of racing highlights. And, dude, I can't get enough of that "back in the day" footage. Long hair and mustaches, Monte Carlos that look like Monte Carlos, pit crews in blue jeans and sneakers...I know I've said that NASCAR's on-track product has never been better than it is now but Earnhardt's era is hard to beat in terms of larger-than-life personalities. The only guy out there on the grid still keeping that particular flag flying is Tony Stewart. In fact, it's downright uncanny how so many of the testimonials...and, yes, so much of the criticism...from those interviewed in Dale sound like they could be talking about Tony. Anyway, I saw it last night and can't wait for the DVD. Required viewing for NASCAR fans.
Man, Chipper went off on the umpires in the Atlanta paper. It's probably going to cost him a couple of games. Not that it'll matter much at this point of the season. I know it's the frustration of a second straight year of missing the playoffs coming to a boil...but Chipper's tendency to pout has always bugged me. Don't get me wrong, now. He's our MVP this season or, as I like to say on Braves' message boards, our MVFP. A no-brainer Braves Hall-of-Famer and a guy who, if he can stay relatively injury-free for another 4-5 productive seasons (and, by Chipper standards, "relatively injury-free" means missing no more than 15-20 games), is probably bound for Cooperstown. But he's also ESPN and FOX's favorite go-to guy in losing postseason games for arms-crossed, staring-into-the-distance moping. Bottom line, I'm just not sure how much Chipper enjoys playing the game anymore. I hope I'm wrong.
Say what you will about Fred Thompson, but the guy's got a set on him for running a campaign ad during a debate he plans on skipping. I like the unsubtle message: "Don't see anything you like so far? Check me out." Personally, I'm looking forward to watching Fred go after Giuliani and Romney. There could be real fireworks between Thompson and Rudy, who gives as good as he gets...but Romney's going to end up flailing around like the hapless straight man in a Marx Brothers movie.