The Sports For Me

Until I turned 22 I watched a lot of tennis. Table tennis too on occasion but tennis was it for me. And therefore I guess I would have to say that I preferred individual sports a whole lot more back then. I mean I did love football but until 1998 I rarely got to see any club football at home on tv and would have to depend solely on World Cup & European Championships which happened once every 4 years and once in a while they might show some Champions League final here or there. But tennis was readily available atleast because of the 4 Grand Slam events and Davis cup rounds that happen each year. So you got a lot more of tennis yearly on tv which was back then only the national channels, 2 in number, that the Indian government strictly regulated.

In 1991-92 cable tv channels started blooming all across India and in my area we started subscribing to it in 1992 and got 1 sports channel. All day sports, wow. Now we have 8 to 10 such channels of which I get around 6. Anyway, I got to see a lot more sports and my options were many. I watched all the grand slams and many other tournaments on a regular basis. I never got into sports like F1 or golf or any of the other individual sports. Slowly club football matches started being shown with some regularity but if I am not mistaken it was in 1998 that the two main sports channels, ESPN & Star Sports, started showing the English, Spanish, Italian & German football leagues every weekend and some Mondays too and ofcourse the UEFA Champions league and UEFA Cup competitions. With 10 sports coming in options went up and soon we got a whole lot more.

Along with football firmly establishing itself as my main sport to follow, hockey or ice hockey also found a footing in my heart. That was in 2000 and soon I was hooked. The NHL hockey is my second favourite sport and even if I rarely get to watch games, except for regular Youtube highlights clips of each game that I watch as much as I can. I perfer team or club sports. I feel more as a part of something rather than just in an individual. You can have a lot of stars in football & hockey but they still are team sports and it forms a sense of community that individual sports just can get you.

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Elevator

This movie should probably bee shown as an example of why you should put small, obnoxious children on a leash and have a watchful eye on them at all times. Elevator  is a 2012 American thriller film directed by Stig Svendsen. The film has an ensemble cast with Tehmina Sunny as Maureen, Anita Briem as Celine Fouquet, John Getz as Henry Barton, Shirley Knight as Jane Redding, Christopher Backus as Don Handley, Joey Slotnick as George Axelrod, Devin Ratray as Martin Gossling, Waleed Zuaiter as Mohammed, Michael Mercurio as The Bombmaker, Amanda & Rachel Pace as Madeline Barton. It has some elements of an art house movie and 98% of the movie is shot inside the confines of an elevator.

It’s a nice enough New York city evening and there is a cocktail party happening in a huge skyscraper owned by millionaire Henry Barton, who is going to announce his retirement from the stocks & bonds industry to spend more time with his family. Accompanying him to the party is his 10 year old granddaughter Madeline. We see the characters of the movie getting ready and coming to the building and are greeted by a security chief at one of the large elevators that they have to take to the party floor. The security chief inspects their ids and invitations and let’s 8 people into the elevator, who are accompanied by Mohammed, a member of the security staff. Joining Barton & his young granddaughter are , the hired comedian George Axelrod, the pregnant office worker Celine, Maureen who is a reporter and her boyfriend Don, Jane Redding a widow and Devin a robust office worker.

The elevator closes and rises up. George immediately establishes himself as an unlikable person, making snide remarks at Muhamme’s race and soon complains of there being too many people in the elevator. As they move up he confesses of suffering from claustrophobia and is getting a bit nauseous within the closed confines. Madeline antagonizes him by placing her hand on the emergency stop button and then pushes it. The elevator stops with a quick jerk just between the 49th & 50th floor. They try to pacify George who gets a little angry at the girl, while she claims it to be an accident and try to get the elevator moving again. However it has gotten stuck and won’t move any further. They push buttons and try contacting maintenance but are greeted by an obnoxious staff member who chastises them for pressing it and who gives vague promises of finding and sending someone to fix it. While they wait Jane gives George some brandy in her flask to calm his nerves. The people casually talk with each other with George further antagonizing everyone else with some racist comments at Muhammed.

There is a bit of hilarity when Celine need to pee – she does so into her handbag, assisted by Muhammed and with Devin holding his coat to give her additional privacy in one corner. Tension arises when it comes out that Don is the father of Celine’s baby, resulting from an affair they had and Maureen is furious. Jane soon confesses that she became a widow when her husband lost most of his savings after he bought stocks that Barton’s company and Don in particular, had suggested to him. Redding committed suicide and Jane has been holding a grudge against Barton & Don. She rebukes them and then has a heart attack just as she reveals that she has a bomb! Janes dies leaving the remaining 8 in panic. They search her and find a bomb strapped to her waist. Panic strikes and they look for options. They call 911 and inform them of the situation and the building is evacuated but the authorities are taking their time in getting them help. Maureen connects to her new channel and does a live streaming video informing & making their situation available on the news. Then they pry open the door and Don tries to use Jane’s can to hit the button to go up. The moment he hits it, the doors close and the lift moves a bit (as a frightened Madeline pushes buttons) and his arm is severed. As the blood splatters and shock ensues, they tie a belt to stop the blood flow.

Seeing the news, the bomb maker who sold the device to Jane, comes forward and states that they now have just 10 minutes left before the bomb explodes. Now the sense or urgency really begins to pile up and the still standing 6 adults decide that they have to cut Jane’s body in half and throw the part with the bomb away by prying the doors open. George, by now back in peopls’e graces and trying to rally the group’s spirits, tries to cut the body open but fails to do so and so Henry steps up. They cut her up but by then the cops & bomb squad reach them and pry open the doors a bit and pull people up. They haul Madeline and carry an unconscious Don up and then one by one the rest go through but an obese Devin is unable to squeeze through. The door closes and the elevator goes down leaving a stranded Devin to his death as the bomb explodes. The survivors are taken to the hospital, except for Mohammed & George who seem to have become friendly and talk until George’s wife calls him.

Focusing on the conflicts and banter of the characters in the elevator, the tension and panic that occurs. Within the closed confines I think the actors did a fine job but I found the ending to be a bit hasty and unsatisfying. Making the likeable Devin the one who dies in the elevator with the bomb was a good choice but what happens next leaves you asking more. 7 out of 10!