Alex Smith

Oscar movies, Steve Young’s pain and F.P. vs. Canseco

Since my wife got me interested in Oscar pools a few years ago, every December and January we end up going to a bunch of movies so we can tell ourselves we have some semblance of an idea on what the voters are voting for. We saw True Grit last night, and it hammered home one point above all to a person like me (who in actuality has no idea what’s going on in Hollywood): The Social Network is going to win Best Picture. And I haven’t even seen The Social Network. But after hearing how supposedly important the Facebook movie is, a week when I watched Black Swan and the Coen Brothers western, there’s no chance it doesn’t win, even though Justin Timberlake apparently plays a significant role.

Neither the Swan nor the Grit are bad movies by any means, but they don’t make audiences feel good enough about themselves. People want to vote for movies that make them feel uplifted, like, “I really understand the innate tenderness of people with special needs after watching this,” or “what beautiful costumes they wore,” or “this is an important part of history that I just learned about without having to read anything,” or “thanks to this movie I was able to get in touch with my emotions by bawling like a small child,” or “this movie had really awesome special effects and made a crapton of money and I was a part of history because I watched it.”

Really, I think The Social Network (which I haven’t seen) is a good way for older people who joined Facebook and are kind of surprised at how much time they now spend Facebooking to see who came up with the vacuum that’s sucking away all their spare time. Or, the movie is for the people who aren’t on FB so they can watch it and say, “I knew the punk kid who created this thing was a little s—.”

Sorry for the interruption, now back to sports!

— Here’s what I gleaned from watching the 49ers’ 38-7 win over the Cardinals: NaVorro Bowman is pretty talented; the Arizona Cardinals are the worst team in the NFL right now; Anthony Dixon’s cleats are coated in wax paper; Jim Tomsula looks the type of guy who probably owns way too many bathrobes; Vernon Davis and Brian Westbrook were criminally underutilized this year.

— And yes, that’s the last I’m going to say about it. The most important part of the game was what draft position each team ended up with afterward (5th overall for the Cardinals, with the Niners landing the 7th spot).

— After the Seahawks won tonight to become the first team to make the playoffs with a 7-9 record, I really, really hope that Jed York isn’t at home thinking, “If only Mike Singletary would have started Alex over Troy against the Rams, WE would be hosting a playoff game next week!”

— I can’t believe I’ve let yet another holiday season go by without buying a Hyundai.

— If you’re eating a beefy burrito from Taco Bell that includes Flamin’ Hot Fritos, that’s pretty much like giving the double-bird to your colon, isn’t it?

— Watching the Heat completely transform themselves over the last month and a half from a team that worried mostly about how they were going to fit together offensively to a squad that simply focuses on defense (and in the meantime, looking nearly unstoppable), it shows again what the Warriors need to do: ignore offense and focus completely on defense in everything they do.

— The good news is they did exactly that in drafting Ekpe Udoh. I don’t want to give him the Anthony Randolph curse of excess BASG love, but luckily Udoh’s the anti-Randolph. No stupid turnovers, no ill-advised jumpers, no delusions of grandeur while clumsily (but dynamically!) taking the ball up in transition, and no fights at Walnut Creek clubs while underage (especially since Udoh’s already 23). With Udoh it’s just tipped balls that often lead to Warrior rebounds, blocked shots and surprisingly deft passing. And absolutely no desire to take shots from anyone else on the team, even though he has a nice little jump hook. Brandan Wright’s going to have to get re-injured in practice to stay in character, because there’s no reason why he should play over Udoh.

— Finally heard the replay of Steve Young’s latest interview on KNBR. Wow. I could hear him talk about what Bill Walsh brought to the league and how the 49ers have turned their back on it for hours, even though it’s incredibly painful. His open disdain for the 49ers trying to become the ’85 Bears under Singletary: incredible. His more subtle discomfort with the 49ers going the Bill Parcells route (a reference to Trent Baalke, one has to presume) was also pretty enjoyable to hear.

— In a perfect world, Young could be given an executive role with the 49ers, and also act as spokesman for the team to satisfy his media jones. It will never happen, but even though Bay Area folks feel like Young is one of the best talking heads in sports, he’s not a national favorite by any means. His rightful place is with the 49ers, and it seems clearer after each losing season. From the sounds of his shows on KNBR, all this losing is bothering him just as much as any fan of the team.

— Speaking of KNBR, anybody who hasn’t been following this Jose Canseco/F.P. Santangelo/Playboy Mansion thing is missing out on the early contender for most bizarre story of the 2011. I don’t really know what to think about this, whether F.P. is going to have some explaining to do or if he’s actually buddies with Jose and this is an elaborate ruse to drum up ratings for his show. Regardless, it certainly is a juicy story (sorry).

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