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Everything But The Kitchen Sink

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The title of this post is supposed to be:

Movie Review: "Pirates Of The Caribbean", Z!!!, And Open Thread: Cubs vs. Mets, Wednesday 7/26, 11:10 am CT

But, the way this site was set up for me, it will not allow me to have more than 100 characters in a title.

Got to do something about that, because sometimes -- as today -- there is, as the real title says, "everything but the kitchen sink" in here.

As you know, I occasionally get free movie screenings through the Directors Guild of America. Last night, they screened the newest in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" series, "Dead Man's Chest", and as you can imagine, this film was high on a certain 10-nearly-11-year-old in my house's list of movies to see -- so, Mark & I went, having seen only the first couple of innings of the Cubs' come-from-behind 8-6 win over the Mets; we got out of the car as it was still 4-2 Mets, right after Endy Chavez hit the 3-run homer off Carlos Zambrano.

Z, of course, then took matters into his own hands, slamming his fourth HR of the season (the most in the majors by a pitcher since Mike Hampton hit four in 2001, and the most by a Cub since Fergie Jenkins' six in 1971 -- which is the team record), Aramis Ramirez and Phil Nevin (TRADE HIM NOW!!) also homered, and Henry Blanco singled, doubled and drove in three runs (told you it was the right day to start him!), and Dusty Baker even made the right choice in the last of the ninth when Ryan Dempster pitched himself into trouble; he called on Bob Howry to get the last out for his third save.

Incidentally, that makes the big RBI race:

Blanco, 22
Pierre, 19
Zambrano, 9

Anyway, this game just proves Mike's old adage: "Whenever anyone tells you they've got this game figured out, laugh in their face!" The Cubs, after having been swept by the worst team in the NL East, now have a chance to sweep the best team in the entire league on the road in this morning's game (this is another reason for this combined post); the usual pitcher box is below, but first -- a bit on "Dead Man's Chest".

I didn't see the first movie in this series (and given the last scene in the film, according to Mark, there's clearly going to be a series -- they set up a sequel quite nicely), so I didn't really know what to expect. The basic plot outline is: Elizabeth (Keira Knightley) and Will (Orlando Bloom) are about to be married, when they both are arrested and charged with -- well, it doesn't really matter; all that does is set up Will heading off to find the pirate captain Jack Sparrow (a very heavily-made-up Johnny Depp), in order to get something for the lord who runs whatever island they're on (they call their locale "Port Royal", but that doesn't really matter either.

What this sets up is a fanciful and exciting chase -- the action really doesn't let up at all -- through native islands, high seas, and eventually a ship full of "sea phantoms", led by Davy Jones (Bill Nighy), who is made up to look like he has tentacles all over his face. The costumes and CGI in this movie are absolutely top-rate, incidentally -- they also had the longest list of people (digital artists) in the nearly 10-minute credits (which are worth watching because of a scene, only a few seconds long, tacked onto the end which ties up a loose end from very early in the film. Well, Mark liked it).

Depp plays Jack Sparrow as sort of a "Pirate With An Attitude" -- he's constantly winking at the camera, and at times even winks at the dialogue, as if he can't believe he has to recite these silly lines. It's just "off" enough to be charming; Depp also has to wear some of the most ridiculous makeup in the history of pirate films, but even that is strangely compelling.

The story isn't much, but the action scenes are well-photographed and choreographed; every single person in this film, incidentally, either is swathed in tons of body paint, is extremely dirty, or has very, very bad teeth, and some of them all three -- except, of course, Knightley, who saves the day for pretty much everyone as often as possible.

It's not the world's greatest film, but as was "Superman Returns", it's a good summer-escape-action film, and the box office returns confirm this -- POTC is:

at $321.9 million after just 17 record-setting days and is on its way to becoming [Disney's] highest-grossing film ever.

Now, onward to today's pitching matchup:

Today's Starting Pitchers
Mark Prior
M. Prior
vs. John Maine
J. Maine
0-4 W-L 1-3
8.14 ERA 3.12
24 SO 20
13 BB 7
5 HR 4
vs. NY -- vs. Cubs
As noted in this diary, it'd be nice to just get Prior a quality start -- he hasn't had a single one of those yet.

Finally, my apologies again for the site being down for a time this morning; believe me, I'm just as frustrated as you are because I've been wanting to put up this post! The SB Nation servers are hitting capacity and thus, are occasionally balking. I have been assured that the tech gurus are working on this for us.

Discuss amongst yourselves.