Tuesday, October 7, 2008

"Grand Canyon" and Roberto Clemente

2008 Allen & Ginter #144 Grand Canyon
1959 Topps #478 Bob Clemente

Recently I had a free HBO weekend and re-watched the 1991 Lawrence Kasdan film " Grand Canyon ". It's an interesting movie to watch again 17 years later. Grand Canyon is a reference to the vast void that exists between people due to differences in race and wealth. This territory has been covered by more recent films such as "Crash" and "Babel" - unfortunately part of this is because race money sexism and all the other -isms will probably always be part of our lives. This is another theme of "Grand Canyon" - Basically the Mack (Danny Glover) character makes an analogy to the Grand Canyon , The rocks are large, old, and timeless - they are just laughing at us mortals - they have been around forever and will outlive us and our issues for eons.

There are also some sports themes that run through the movie. The main character Simon, played by Kevin Kline, is a Pittsburgh Pirates fan - and named his son after Roberto Clemente. The movie opens at an LA Lakers games - Magic Johnson rumbles down the court - The release of the film happened not long after Johnson announced that he had been diagnosed as HIV positive - The game is watched by Simon's Son Roberto in a comfortable suburban home, while Mack's (Glover) Nephew watches the same game from his mother tiny home in a much more dangerous area of Los Angeles. On his way home from the Forum Simon makes a wrong turn and find himself in a bad section of town. Essentially this is how close Simon and Mack are to each other geographically, but because of their racial background there exists a chasm the size of the " Grand Canyon " between their lives.

Some of the films issues are timeless but one thing that has quickly evolved since 1991 involves Simon's venture into the rough neighborhood. His Mobile Phone symbolizes Simon as a man of wealth. Here we are less than two decades later and I recently left a cell phone on a SEPTA train - it ended up being returned to the lost and found.

There are a variety of subplots that keep the movie running at a quick pace and it is definitely worth a new look here in 2008. I also want to mention that the film contains Warren Zevon's classic "Werewolves of London" as well as a beautiful new (at the time) tune "Searching for a Heart".

Phungo Roberto Clemente HoF Profile

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a thousand words

a thousand words
2008 World Champions