Thursday, April 3, 2014

Raging Bull

If ever a movie figured to be in TigerBlog's wheelhouse, it was "Raging Bull."

Directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci? A boxing movie? What could be better?

"Raging Bull" tells the story of Jake LaMotta, who rises from the streets of the Bronx to become the middleweight champion of the world. The movie, starring DeNiro as LaMotta, centers around his relationship with his brother Joey, played by Pesci, and his second wife Vicki, played by Cathy Moriarty.

The movie earned DeNiro his second Academy Award and the only one he's ever won in the Best Actor category (he won Best Supporting Actor for playing young Vito Corleone in "The Godfather Part II").

TigerBlog saw it when it came out in 1980. His thought then was "eh. It's okay."

His sentiment is hardly shared by the majority of the world. The American Film Institute ranks it among the top 100 movies of all time and the best sports movie of all-time, and it's universally considered a classic.

TB hadn't seen it in years when he DVRd it and then watched it again recently. He came thinking "eh, It's okay."

To TigerBlog, it's not in the same universe as another boxing movie, "Rocky," which came out four years earlier. If you've seen the Rocky movies over and over, you realize that it's a great series, one that lasted a few movies too long.

You also forget just how great a movie the original was. It's nearly perfect actually.

"Raging Bull" just doesn't do it for TigerBlog. He loves the back-and-forth banter between DeNiro and Pesci, especially early in the movie. He just doesn't have a great connection to the rest of it.

Oh, it has some great characters. It's a who's who from "Goodfellas," with a healthy mix of "The Sopranos" mixed in. Frank Vincent, who plays a key role in both, is in "Raging Bull" as Salvy Batts. He comes back in "Goodfellas" as Billy Batts and then in "The Sopranos" as Phil Leotardo; it doesn't end well in either for him.

And then there's Nicholas Colasanto, who plays the mob boss. TB had no memory of that. Actually, that's twice this week that Colasanto has shown up out of nowhere, first as the director of an episode of "Kojack" that TB stumbled on the other day.

Who is Nicholas Colasanto? He was Coach on "Cheers."

Anyway, TB gave up on "Raging Bull" after awhile, confident that his memory from 1980 was correct.

Instead, he found himself on the Rutgers' website, where he saw the videostream of the Scarlet Knights against St. John's in men's lacrosse. Princeton hosts Rutgers Saturday evening at 7, and TB couldn't finish the game program until after the end of the RU-St. John's game.

TigerBlog couldn't help but notice that the stream was free, which made it perfect, because TigerBlog doesn't have a subscription for Rutgers' site and wouldn't have purchased one As such, he wouldn't have been able to watch the game, which was pretty entertaining and which RU won 16-13.

The Ivy League Digital Network is a subscription model. It's a big issue these days, and it's going to get bigger as time goes on.

It wasn't that long ago that TB would never dreamed of being able to see as much lacrosse, either on TV or online, as he can now. The same is true for whatever one's favorite sport might be.

The Ivy League Digital Network is in Year 1 of existence. It's been a great step up for Ivy League videostreaming, with all eight schools on one platform and a ton of games in all kinds of sports available under one heading.

Mostly what the ILDN has done is show the commitment the league and its schools have to providing content to its fans, alums, athletes' families, recruits and anyone else interested.

But it's not free.

How come some of the richest universities in the world charge for their videostreaming? This is what TB hears the most about the ILDN, and it's a bit infuriating, since the implication is that the league is greedy and gouging money.

Actually, the opposite is true. The money from videostreaming is used to offset costs, not turn profit. Providing the service for free would add substantial costs, not just because of lost revenue but also because of increased fees to offset the loss of revenue to the hosting company.

And besides, the fees are not that substantial, especially when you consider how much content is being provided.

So TB sees both sides of the argument. He liked being able to watch Rutgers-St. John's. He would have understood if he couldn't because of a fee.

Besides, this is Year 1 for the ILDN. What will it be like in Year 10? What will TV be like then?

Everything evolves so quickly these days that who knows what devices will be available then to see games?

Looking back 10 years ago, Princeton had already begun to stream games online. TB remembers that the old C-Tec cable broadcasts of Princeton football and basketball were made available on in the early days of the website.

He can't remember when Princeton first began to stream games on its own. Over time, it became more and more commonplace, though low-tech.

Now, as technology sprints forward, its gets better and better. This is especially true for the users, more than the streamer. With better and faster devices, it's easier and easier for the person watching to get a good connection, which leads to less of the spinning pinwheel and more of the live action.

TB realized long ago that the present in athletic communications is about video. Well, that and social media.

But video is huge. The streaming piece of it is gigantic.

It's been a great start for the ILDN. There are some big questions to be asked for next year - and the years beyond.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't mind paying the fee for ILDN. What I do mind is the automatic renewal and the fact that it is impossible to stop a subscription online, instead one has to contact the customer service people via email. All engineered to induce accidental or unwanted re-enrollment.