Last night I watched The Friends Of Eddie Coyle, a movie about hoods and crooks in South Boston in the 70s. Robert Mitchum stars as a man about to go to prison who's trying to find out ways to avoid doing time. He's "stood up" for his criminal buddies in the past, but now he's starting to wonder about the price of being so honorable. A young young Peter Boyle (of Everybody Loves Raymond fame) is a bartender who makes extra money on the side by talking to the cops. For me the best scenes were the ones of the bank robbery (at the beginning) and the various interactions between the gun broker and the people buying guns from him. In mood, it felt a little to me like Dog Day Afternoon, though of course they were directed by different films and shot in different cities. Interesting too, that in a movie about crime and criminals, only two people get shot (and one a very minor character) in the whole film. The first death doesn't even happen till halfway in. As I told my wife, if this had been made today, the body count would have hit twenty by the first hour mark.
Since I seem to like to try and read as many books at the same time as possible I've also started The Great Enigma, a collection of poems by Tomas Transtormer, and Fall Higher, Dean Young's newest book. Last night I also read about half of Rilke's Letters To A Young Poet. Worked from about 3-9 last night, which is always leads to my best ideas. (The longer you sit and think about something, the better it goes. Graph of working/ideas vs time is not linear but exponential. Momentum is everything).
I wanted to make some predictions about the NFL Draft (a subject, I know, you're all eager to hear about). I usually only make predictions about quarterbacks, and my record in the past has been, let's say, checkered. Specifically I predicted the following:
-Matt Leinart would be a good to great player
-Jay Cutler would be a great player
-Vince Young would be a bust
-Colt McCoy would be a successful starter
So far it's too early to say for sure about Colt McCoy. I was right about Vince Young (to my everlasting delight), wrong about Matt Leinart (REALLY wrong, too) and sort of wrong about Jay Cutler. He's been okay, but not great, obviously. So given that I have no track record or no expertise, why make more predictions? I don't know. But I'm going to:
-Cam Newton: major bust. (I have a bias against 'athletic' quarterbacks who have character issues and/or are rumored to be fairly stupid. I have to say, too, that I REALLY dislike the guy, and that probably enters in. Still, I think in three years he'll be on the bench or out of the league altogether. When your first weapon is your feet, you tend not to learn to read defenses until it's too late.)
-Jake Locker: I think he'll make it. A solid starter for three or four years, that's my pick.
-Ryan Mallett: I want to predict that he will do better than a lot of people think. I know he's got character issues, and has the mobility of a stoned turtle. Still, I think he's got the arm and the attitude to be, if not a huge success, then at least more of a success than people think. (As of this writing he still hasn't been drafted, however; it might depend on what system he ends up in).
Okay, make your bets about the next season accordingly.
Addendum: This article in Slate describes a company that tries to evaluate potential greatness in draft picks based on how they speak. Worth a read.