“Win Win” : # 41 in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED’s “The Year in Media” List

“Toy Story 3” is on TV. Flu symptoms are finally abating.

A few days ago, self discovered an old set of Christmas icicle lights in son’s closet. She’d forgotten there was actually a time when she used to decorate his room with Christmas lights. She took the lights out and tested them today: all the bulbs lit. She kept them on all day, lying against the window. Tonight, finally, feeling her strength returning, she got up and began hanging them. Boy, she did a terrible job. It would be better to have two people to string the strands in an even line, especially when one has no hooks and one is simply pasting with transparent postal tape, but the husband was busy. Anyway, she got the lights up, any which way, then ran outside to the sidewalk. Amazingly, the strands had arranged themselves in two perfect triangles, one in each window pane. A miracle!

This week’s issue of Sports Illustrated has “The Year in Sports Media.” #1 (out of a list of 50) was Chad Harbach’s book, The Art of Fielding. #5 was the final season of “Friday Night Lights.” #41 is a movie self saw way back in March, which she keeps forgetting to include in her “Year’s Best” lists: Win Win.

Here’s what SI has to say about the movie:

Shoestring-budget indies with March release dates don’t often end up awards-season fare, particularly those that quietly come and go, grossing less than $11 million along the way. And yet Win Win, writer-director Tom McCarthy’s likable chamber piece about humaneness, high school wrestling and marital fairplay (try selling that), remains the best sports film of 2011, an unlikely but legitimate Oscar sleeper.

Paul Giamatti is at his understated best as Mike Flaherty, a small-time New Jersey lawyer struggling to stay afloat in a lousy economy while volunteering as the coach of a losing suburban wrestling team. Mike keeps his financial worries from his wife (Amy Ryan), but they’re extracting a physical and emotional toll.

(The rest of the item contains spoilers. Nevertheless, SI commends Win Win for avoiding “the corn-fed self-righteousness and familiar tropes of, for example, The Blind Side.” Since self never saw The Blind Side, she can’t say whether this comparison is justified or not. But she liked Win Win, a lot.  Especially the performance of the young boy who plays the high school wrestler.)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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