posted: Oct. 17, 2005  |  Feedback

In case you missed Friday's post, we're having a West Coast book signing this week -- San Fran (Tuesday), Denver (Wednesday), San Diego (Friday), LA (Tuesday). Click on that Friday link for details. Sorry about some of the locations but they were the best we could do on short notice.

Anyway, I have to comment on the USC-Notre Dame game ...

Some of you might find this astounding, because I mention college football about as often as I mention women's golf, but I've actually been watching the USC and ND games this season: Notre Dame because of Charlie Weis, USC because they're so huge in Los Angeles right now and it's the only sports-related subject that anyone cares about. I'm also fascinated by Pete Carroll's ongoing success, as I've written many times -- it's just completely inexplicable to me. When Kiefer Sutherland became the best TV cop of all-time, I wasn't surprised because he was so good in "The Vanishing" (and even "A Time To Kill" and "A Few Good Men"). The seeds had been planted, you know? But this Pete Carroll thing ... I can't even comprehend what's happening here. It's like watching Horatio Sanz leave "SNL" and immediately make five straight $400 million comedies. How can you adequately prepare for something like this?

Anyway, I was excited for the USC-ND game because of the Patriots connection with the coaches: Weis vs. Carroll. When Carroll left New England, he was like Fredo Corleone, the guy you never thought could run his own casino. When Weis left, he was like Clemenza -- good guy, loyal, savvy, valuable, clearly worthy of the chance to run his own family. In fact, you could even imagine Weis saying something like "Leave the gun, take the cannolis." So I was excited for the Fredo-Clemenza matchup, and I thought it would be a better game than people realized, for two reasons -- first, USC has shown a disturbing habit of falling behind in first halves, and second, the Irish should have been undefeated going into the game (I still can't figure out how they lost the MSU game, at home, after such an astounding comeback).

And it really seemed like Notre Dame had the game. They come up with the big drive, Brady Quinn makes some big plays, Weis makes some big calls (loved the draw plays) ... and then Leinart threads the needle on the 4th-and-8 and breaks their backs. (Phenomenal play by him -- wouldn't you take him over 15 NFL starters right now?) And then the ending was especially cruel -- the bizarre helicopter tackle/fumble by Leinart which seemed like a contrived play from a sports movie, followed by the second effort sneak that was "The Longest Yard"-esque. Awesome game, surreal finish -- one of the games where you realize even as it's happening that you're watching an all-time classic. I can't remember another college game quite like it, actually.

But here's the weird thing: I STILL can't shake the feeling that Pete Carroll sucks as a coach. I know, I know ... he's great in college. It's indisputable. He gives his team a certain level of confidence that other teams just don't have, and they never stop pushing the envelope. Still, watching him stomp around on the sidelines as the game was seemingly slipping away, I was talking on the phone to my father, and Dad was giggling and saying, "Look at Pete, we've seen that deer-in-the-headlights routine before, haven't we?" And we both started laughing. Keep in mind, the guy has won like 28 straight games in college. Then, when Pete was "pretending" to call for the fake spike on the last play -- and the NBC announcers believed him, even though it seemed like his acting coach was Andrew Shue -- I just couldn't handle it. HOW IS THIS GUY A GREAT COLLEGE COACH???? What's happening here? He's the EXACT SAME GUY as he was in New England?

I mean, is it really that easy to coach college football? And if it is, does that make Dave Wannstedt the worst football coach of all-time, since he can't even handle the Big East? I might spend the rest of my week mulling this over. There has to be an answer.

• Two more notes on USC:

1. It's impossible to overemphasize how huge Leinart is in Los Angeles, and I only know that because I live here. Forget about the fact that he's the most popular athlete of any LA-area team (college or pro); with Shaq gone and so many people souring on Kobe, there isn't anyone else out here who even approaches Leinart. It's incredible. Including every movie star, TV star and singer out here, he still might be one of the top-10 most popular celebs.

Think about it -- he stayed in school to play another season and maintain his monopoly on smoking-hot Hollywood chicks under the age of 28 (a decision everyone out here respects and applauds). He's taking one class -- ballroom dancing -- another decision that everyone loves. He hangs out with Nick Lachey and has his own bodyguard. He's even supposedly involved with the chick from "Laguna Beach," although nobody knows for sure -- you always hear impossibly crazy stories about him like, "I heard Matt Leinart was in a threesome with Jessica Alba and Jessica Biel," and even though you know they're not true, there's just enough there to make you think, "You know what? He probably could pull that off!"

I'm telling you, Matt Leinart is a cross between the 1980's Joe Montana and Vincent Chase out here. Nobody has a better life than him. It's impossible. The only way his career will get derailed is if he's murdered by an insanely jealous Jesse Palmer.

2. With all of that said, Matt Leinart isn't even the most important player on his own team. Reggie Bush is. Of course, nobody in Los Angeles could pick Bush out of a police lineup. These are the days when we especially miss Ralph Wiley -- he would have had fun with this whole thing.

• I don't want to become That Guy who starts telling you to watch TV shows, and only because I can't enjoy "Arrested Development" because so many people have implored me to watch it, I have to do it on my own terms (much like with "24"). So I'm just laying this out there -- "My Name Is Earl" is my favorite TV comedy since the first two seasons of "Curb Your Enthusiasm." Do with that information what you will.

• Finally, I have a Code Red alert about the new "Warriors" DVD. When I heard it was a Director's Cut, I figured it would include the original opening -- when the original warlord of the Warriors (Cleon, who may or may not have been beaten to death right after Cyrus was shot, it's one of those unanswerable movie questions) gives detailed instructions to each member heading into Cyrus's summit -- which they always show on the basic cable version (the one that runs on TBS, TNT, Spike or wherever. It's a really cool scene and I will never figure out why it was chopped from the movie. I would have purchased the DVD for that scene alone.

So what's in the new "Ultimate Director's Cut?" Two readers explain:

From Pennsylvania reader Keith Miller: "I have never been more disappointed in my life. The Warriors is a favorite of my buddies and I. We grew up with the movie. Collectively, it is our favorite film. Two years ago it played for one night at a local theater. We all made cheap vests and went as different Warriors. Needless to say, I was looking forward to its release."

(Note from Simmons: I was going to make fun of this guy for that, then I remembered that I dressed up like Michael Myers when "Halloween H20" came out. Whoops! Back to the e-mail.)

"What I was most excited for was seeing the scenes that were added for the TV version that are missing on the original DVD release, such as the opening scene on the Boardwalk when they are all told what their roles will be ('Cochise, you're heavy muscle'). All we are treated to in this DVD are some scenes that are lighter than before, destroying some of the original feel of the movie. Also, there is a new opening before we see the Wonder Wheel. It is a book, telling the story of some Greek soldiers who were trapped behind enemy lines during a war. This is supposedly what the Warriors was based on. Also, director Walter Hill gives some crap about how the Warriors is actually set in the near future (complete bs). Anyway, save your money. And if you want to see the deleted scenes, TiVo the movie if you ever catch it late night on TNT. What a ripoff."

From New York reader Kevin Stone: "I know this is probably the 1,000th Warriors review in your mailbox, but I feel SO strongly about this, I am compelled to stop you, I only wish that I could send a foot soldier from the future into the past (ala Terminator) to A.) stop me from buying this and wasting my money, and B.) erase the now tainted memory of a truly classic movie. The Warriors Ultimate Directors Cut is terrible, nay a TRAVESTY. The Genuises at Paramount video, have issued a version that is identical to the first, with the exception that they have added comic book panels. Yes, that's right COMIC BOOK PANELS to the action that pop up annoyingly at various times of the movie. Case in point -- the scene in which the Warriors encounter the Furies, a scene that unfolded with full tension slowly, and the great musical score added to the mood. At least that is how it happened originally ... because in the new version, at the second when the tension starts ramping up, the "new" film freezes and transforms into a stupid comic book panel stating "Holy (Bleep) the Baseball Furies!". That's how bad the new Edition is. This is hardly even the worst example. STAY AWAY. Save your memories!

So there you go. It's 2005 -- how can they keep screwing up these special DVD's? Don't they know we want deleted scenes over anything else? Ridiculous. Stay away from "The Warriors" DVD.

Back tomorrow with some thoughts on the baseball playoffs.

October 2005