Welcome back to BCB After Dark: your happening place for night owls, early-risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. I hope you all had a terrific weekend. We so glad that you chose to start your week with us. I hope things are cooling off at your place. If not, come on in and enjoy a cool beverage with us.* There is plenty of room and there are even a couple of prime tables available. Let us know if we can do anything for you.
(*Cool beverages should be brought yourself.)
BCB After Dark is the place for you to talk baseball, music, movies, or anything else you need to get off your chest, as long as it is within the rules of the site. The late-nighters are encouraged to get the party started, but everyone else is invited to join in as you wake up the next morning and into the afternoon.
The Cubs beat the Mets tonight 5-2 and starter Javier Assad got his first career major-league win. I had to listen to most of this one on Cubs’ radio, so I can’t say how the Cubs looked. But I can say they sounded great tonight.
Last time I asked you for your impression of the Cubs pitching staff heading into 2023. I don’t feel like I worded this question very well and I may have over-explained it. Still, I think most of you got what I was going for—how optimistic are you about the Cubs arms heading into next year?
Anyway, 39 percent of you gave the Cubs staff a “4” on a scale of 1 to 5. Just behind that with 38 percent of the vote was a “3,” so it seems like most of you are reasonably (but not enthusiastically) positive about the Cubs’ pitching staff going into next year.
Here’s the part where I talk about movies and jazz. You’re free to skip ahead to the baseball question at the end. You won’t hurt my feelings.
Tonight we’ve got another concert from the NPR “Tiny Desk” series. This one features bassist Endea Owens, whom you may recognize as the bassist for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Here she steps out of that shadow to lead her own ensemble, The Cookout. This performance is just from a couple weeks ago.
This week I’m going to write about the 1981 film Thief, starring James Caan, Tuesday Weld, Robert Prosky and featuring Willie Nelson and a bunch of Chicago actors making either their film debut or almost their debut: Jim Belushi, Dennis Farina and William Petersen. (Although in the case of Petersen, it’s a bit of a “don’t blink or you’ll miss it” part.) This is a film that got mentioned a lot when Caan died a few months ago as the “hidden gem” in his career. Caan himself said that he thought he did some of his best work in Thief.
Thief is also the feature film directing debut for Michael Mann. Now Mann has had a long career directing film, including Manhunter, Last of the Mohicans, Heat, The Insider and others that were quite successful. But Mann will forever be linked with the television show that he created shortly after directing this picture: Miami Vice. There are not many shows that can honestly claim to have truly changed television, for either better or worse, but Miami Vice is certainly one of them. It’s been a while since I’ve seen an episode starring detectives Crockett and Tubbs, but if I recall correctly, nothing that had ever been on television before either looked or sounded like Miami Vice. (The “cop-show” aspect of it was more familiar.) Miami Vice combined neo-noir with music videos and threw in a dash of chic fashion and wealth porn as well. It changed what people thought a television show could look (and sound) like. I’d argue that the seeds of what Miami Vice became were planted in Thief.
It would be a disservice to Thief, however, to judge it as merely the predecessor to a better-known television show. It’s a film with a point of view all its own and it replaces the glitz and glamour of south Florida for the gritty streets of Chicago. But Thief manages to find the beauty in those streets as well. Caan may not drive around in a Maserati, or any sports car, but he does have a different Cadillac every time he gets behind the wheel. (Jim Belushi does get a Corvette) It adds to the cool that Frank, the jewel thief played by Caan, hardly does anything without a pulsating electronic soundtrack provided by Tangerine Dream. (There is one scene in a blues club, however, just so the audience knows that it’s taking place in Chicago.)
Caan looks “cool” throughout the whole thing, but he also shows the audience that “cool” is a disguise that hides a man who is lost and looking for meaning in his life.. At the beginning of Thief, I found it ironic that this film debuted just a few months after Steve McQueen died because I said to myself “This is a Steve McQueen picture.” But as the film went on, I noticed Caan gave Frank a kind of emotional vulnerability that McQueen never would have shown. Sure, Frank is a man of action when pushed up against a wall and that’s something McQueen did well, but I’m not sure he had the range that Caan shows in this picture.
I’m going to stop there and finish writing about it on Wednesday night/Thursday morning. It is available for streaming on Amazon Prime at the moment for anyone who wants to watch it before I give my full thoughts.
Until then, I thought I’d throw it open to anyone discussing their favorite heist movies. I found this list from this summer at Esquire of the best films in the genre and going over it, I realize that man, I need to watch more heist movies. I haven’t seen most of these. I can not recommend Rififi, The Killing or The Asphalt Jungle highly enough. I never really thought of Dog Day Afternoon as a heist film—it doesn’t really get very far with the “stealing” part—but I guess it technically is and it’s an all-time classic.
If you’d like to share your favorite heist films, please do so in the comments.
Welcome back to everyone who skips the jazz and cinema.
When I was young, the Mets were a huge rival of the Cubs. In fact, other than the Cardinals, they were probably the Cubs biggest rival. Games against the Mets had a different air about them. Those games just seemed to mean more. Some of that can just be attributed to the longtime rivalry between New York and Chicago that dates back to the 19th Century. (The Cubs and Giants were huge rivals once upon a time.) But a lot of it was that the two teams were in the NL East together. I’ve read a few explanations as to why the Cubs and Cardinals ended up in the NL East and the Braves and Reds ended up in the West and I’m sure most of them are probably true. But one of those explanations was that the Mets were angry about losing their two best attendance draws to the NL West, the Giants and Dodgers. So they demanded that they at least got their third- and fourth-best draws, the Cardinals and the Cubs. (Also, the Cubs and Cardinals had no interest in all those West Coast road trips and they both had a lot more influence than the Reds and Braves did in the National League office.)
Also as I was growing up, it seemed that the Cubs and Mets were either always good at the same time or bad at the same time. The 1969 and 1984 divisional races are even today big deals to Cubs fans. But I can remember the Cubs and Mets battling each other to stay out of the divisional basement from 1980 to 1983 as well.
But since 1994, the Cubs and the Mets have played in different divisions. They don’t play each other 18 times a year anymore. There is one series a year in Queens and one on the North Side and that’s it. The only time I can remember the two teams fighting for the same playoff spot was the 1998 Wild Card race. The 2015 National League Championship Series still stings a little, but after 2016, I’m not so sure how many Cubs fans are still losing sleep over it. After all, the Cubs’ most-recent World Series title is 30 years more recent than the Mets.
So are the Mets still a rival to the Cubs? Do you still consider the Mets to be the team you hate the most other than the Cardinals? (Or maybe after the Cards and Brewers.) Or have the Mets become just another NL East team, no more disliked than the Braves and Phillies.
So are the Mets still the Cubs’ rival?
Are the Mets still a big rival of the Cubs?
This poll is closed
Yes, they are one of their primary rivals
There’s still a bit of a rivalry there, but it much less than 30 years ago
The Mets are just another NL East team these days
Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you’ve been able to relax a bit and enjoy the Cubs’ win tonight. Please get home safely. Pick up anything that may be around your table. If you checked anything, let us get it for you know. Tip your waitstaff. And join us again tomorrow night for another edition of BCB After Dark.