Do you ever find yourself looking back at things you’ve done in the past and say “What in the blue hell was I thinking?” If you haven’t, you’re a better man (or woman) than I.
I was reminded of one of my own – and, truth be told, my wife’s favorite – derp moments just the other day. In point of fact, I’m reminded of it quite frequently and both of us end up just shaking our heads.
The reminder came as I was flipping through the movie channels looking for something to fall asleep by. You see, I have grown accustomed to having the TV on at night, to the extent that I find it hard to crash without it.
As you can imagine, this frequently creates a quandary, as I have to find a movie that’s captivating enough for me to want to watch, but not so much so that I am totally enthralled.
So it was that my channel guide informed me that From Dusk Till Dawn had about 45 minutes left, right at the start of Frost’s Vietnam War soliloquy. So as Sex Machine was hearing the voices in his head, my wife and I were playing the game of Remember When? that will surely continue ad infinitum.
Wait, what’s that? You’ve never seen From Dusk Till Dawn? Well, if you like Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, snappy dialogue and gratuitous violence, nudity, and special effects, it might be for you. Oh, and vampires. Yeah, lots of those.
Now go find it on Netflix or your on-demand movie provider of choice and thank me later.
And just like that, I was transported back to the days of cocksure youth, when my hubris rivaled that of the Greek tragic heroes. You see, FDtD was, actually might still be, my favorite movie of all time. Judge away.
The movie also served as my litmus test for women, of whom there were admittedly very few. I reasoned that any woman who could make it through a screening of this dichotomous flick would probably be able to put up with me.
I didn’t mention that the movie really is two separate parts, did I? (spoiler alert!) Yes, the first half is much more character-driven, as we learn about the disparate souls who are brought together on an ill-fated adventure en route to amnesty in El Rey.
And before I belabor this analogy any further, I’ll cut to the chase. The Cubs are drawing near the end of the first half of their own production right now, the end of the setup. It’s been slow and methodical, with very little indication as to the final product.
As a result, (spoiler alert!) most of the characters we’re seeing right now are not going to be around when this rebuild reaches its denouement. And while every good story needs some expendable supporting cast members, it also needs a protagonist. Or nine.
Whatever the number, it’s particularly important for a changing story to maintain touchstone for the sake of continuity. In the case of my favorite movie, it was the character of Seth Gecko (George Clooney) who served as an anchor for the film’s wild swings.
And when it comes to wild swings, the Cubs are certainly not strangers. What they lack, however, is a face man, a pivot around which to orbit. Fans wanted so badly for that man to be Starlin Castro, and then Anthony Rizzo.
And while it’s still possible that one of those anointed heroes could yet live up to expectations, the Cubs are already holding casting calls for the new lead. Is it going to be one of the Core Four, or could a player like Dan Vogelbach (even the new, svelte version) center the team?
The prospect of a happy ending is great and all, but we’re drawing nigh to point where we need something, someone, in the plot to grab our attention and carry us through the build-up. As Brett Michaels once sang, “Give me somethin’ to believe in.”
I guess what I’ve driving at is that we could all be looking back at this time in Cubs history with smiles on our faces, knowing how things turned out. Certainly, there have been plenty of “what were they thinking” moments over the past few years.
While part of me looks back and thinks of what a fool I was all those years ago, another part of me pipes and says, “Yeah, but look where it got you.” If I had gone a different route, would I where I am today?
So people can clamor for Cubs to spend more, they can wish that Mark Cuban was the owner, they can lament the flipping of veterans for prospects. But when it all works out, is anyone going to complain about the process it took to get there?
Wait, don’t answer that; of course people are still going to complain about the process. My wife still laments the fact that I “made” her watch that movie.
By the end of this season, I think we’re going to have a really clear picture of who the protagonist in this story is going to be. And at that point, the cast of supporting players should be coming into clear focus as well.
What I’m trying to say to the fans is to stick with it and give the movie a chance. At the same time I’m trying to say that the Cubs brass needs to get some continuity and momentum in this thing or they risk having the plot fall apart completely.
And I promise: no more movie analogies next time.
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