Anyone involved with team sports knows the value of working together as a unit. Whether its a sixth grade boys basketball team, a high school girls soccer team, or a professional organization like the New England Patriots, having a group of athletes playing in a cohesive fashion always translates into tough competition.
Logic dictates that the better the players, the better the team, but this is not always the case. It is a misconception that a team loaded with great players will always win. For example, while Americas Olympic Dream Teams have traditionally won basketball gold, our dominance over international competition has faded in recent years as foreign competitors have begun to focus on the finer aspects of the athletic entity as a whole.
The Yankees have also highlighted this phenomenon repeatedly over the last several years. While their payroll remains by far the largest in Major League Baseball, they have not been able to translate this expense on global talent into World Series titles. Granted, the Red Sox are not far behind the Yankees in payroll, but they seem to be far more team-oriented. Put talent and teamwork together and you have the perfect storm for success.
Personally I have been involved in various basketball leagues for over thirty years. In that time, Ive played on every possible team combination, from being the worst player on the floor to being the best; Ive been on teams that went undefeated and Ive been on teams that have lost every game. But no matter what the scenario may have been, the most rewarding experiences I have had were the ones where I was surrounded by a group of players who worked in a harmonic fashion. In the instances where youve assembled sound talent and then, through luck or hard work, you come together as a team, that is when dominance arrives and great seasons unfold. Ask anyone who has experienced this phenomenon and they will undoubtedly speak of the valuable life lessons to be learned.
The value of teamwork can also manifest itself away from the athletic field, in places as diverse as the business world, religion, school, or even at home. And while it may be a little harder to notice, even the world of motion pictures can derive success from the team approach. This weeks feature, Michael Clayton, is a prime example of how a group of actors can take an average story and propel it into one the years finest films.
Michael Clayton is the story of a self-described legal janitor. The main character, played by George Clooney, works for a high-powered law firm where he specializes in cleaning up messes made by rich clients. When one of these messes begins to negatively effect a coworker, Clayton discovers that he is suddenly involved in something bigger than he ever imagined.
Not enough can be said about the assemblage of talent that united for this film. Besides the high-profile involvement of George Clooney, Michael Clayton features Tom Wilkinson, Tilda Swinton, and Sydney Pollack, all of whom give gripping, heartfelt portrayals. Those names may not sound familiar to many viewers, but trust me, they are some of the true artists of Hollywood. But while the individual talent of each actor was obvious throughout the film, it was their intermixed efforts that really made this picture shine.
If youre a fan of legal dramas, but are tired of the overworked scenarios made popular by Law & Order, then Michael Clayton is the film for you. For those who tend to shy away from the genre, I highly encourage you to give this film a try. The storyline alone will hold your attention, but the absolutely mesmerizing performances will have you completely transfixed. With the lack of solid film choices currently available, there is no doubt that this should be most peoples next theater choice. A harmonious A- for Michael Clayton.
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Girl with a Pearl Earring
Some films do such a wonderful job at setting, lighting, and tone that the viewer is almost enveloped into the story. Such is the case with Girl With a Pearl Earring.
Based on a famous painting by Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer, Girl with a Pearl Earring imagines a back-story of how the masterpiece may have been created. Scarlett Johansson (Lost in Translation) portrays the young maidservant sent to keep the artists studio tidy and who ultimately inspires his work.
Johansson was the perfect choice for this role, not just for her physical appearance, which played heavily into her portrayal, but for her ability to convey the naive innocence that Vermeer found so alluring.
If you love art and history and are intrigued by non-traditional love stories, put this video at the top of your must-see list.