Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Can't you feel a brand new day?

Yet another example of how easy it is to fall down the Internet rabbit-hole:

So I watched the SNY video of Jose Reyes running full-speed, and it filled me with pure joy. Yes, it was a tad overproduced, and Kevin Burkhardt veered a little too far into Chris Farley territory ("You looked pretty fast to me" ... I kept waiting for, "That was awesome") but the fact is that Mets fans have had so little to be excited about, and here was Reyes -- the key to the offense and one of the few players who bring some juice to the game -- looking 100 percent and ready to dominate.

It was like a ray of sunlight breaking through the dark clouds of pessimism that have hovered over this team all winter. And for some reason, the first thing that came to mind was a scene from The Wiz.

Hold on. I'll explain.

I haven't seen The Wiz in years, but it's one of those movies, for whatever reason, that I saw as a kid and has always stuck with me, like Bugsy Malone. For the uninitiated, The Wiz is basically the black Wizard of Oz, with Diana Ross as Dorothy, pre-surgical (and still black) Michael Jackson as the Scarecrow, Nipsey Russell as the Tin Man, Richard Pryor as The Wizard, some dude I never heard of as the Cowardly Lion and Lena Horne as Glenda the Good Witch. Impressive cast.  It was first on Broadway and then made into a movie, and it is a guilty pleasure.

Anyway, the joy of the Reyes clip brought to mind the scene where the Wicked Witch finally dies. It triggers a celebration scene where the beaten-down citizenry emerge from their gloom (literally) and celebrate with what looks like an Alvin Ailey dance number to the song "Brand New Day."

So I looked on YouTube and found the trailer for the Wiz, and sure enough, it includes the aforementioned scene (from 2:08 to 2:34), which is how the Reyes clip must make Mets fans, who are desperate for a positive omen, feel.

But hold on ... what was that at the 1:07 mark? The main characters are being chased (I think by the flying monkeys) through what looks like the bowels of Shea Stadium. It's only there for a second or two, but the excalators and ramps ... I think that's Shea! I guess I'll have to rent it to see for sure. I look forward to the look on the face of the Blockbuster clerk.

That led me to look up The Wiz on IMDB, where I discovered that the film was not only directed by the great Sidney Lumet (Network, 12 Angry Men, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon), but that the screenwriter was Joel Schumacher, whose directorial career has its highs (Falling Down, Veronica Guerin) and lows (Batman and Robin, D.C. Cab).

I shouldn't be surprised about Lumet. The film makes great use of iconic New York locations like The World Trade Center, Coney Island, the South Bronx, the Subway and the Public Library, and the image of 5 Chrysler Building spires to represent the Emerald City is memorable.

Furthermore, I learn that Schumacher was originally a costume designer, who not only worked with Woody Allen on Sleeper (on my all-time top 10 movie list) and Interiors, but also worked on The Prisoner of Second Avenue with Jack Lemmon.

All that from watching Jose Reyes run. Now that's the mark of an MVP.


  1. That trailer just keeps going, doesn't it? That is indeed Shea Stadium. What better place to express bafflement and a sense of being far from home? Oh, and your slight against D.C. Cab will not be forgotten.

    Good to have you back on the beat.

  2. I knew that knock on D.C. Cab would pull you in. And yes, that trailer is endless and awful.