Welcome back to BCB After Dark: the swingin’ spot for night owls, early risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. So glad you could join us again tonight. We’ve got more music, movies and baseball for everyone this evening. Thank you for braving the cold, snow and the rain to stop in. There are still a few tables available. Come on in and relax for a whole. Bring your own beverage.
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.
Last week I asked you to predict Eric Hosmer’s OPS+ for the Cubs next season. You seem to be pretty optimistic as 41 percent of you believe that Hosmer will have an OPS+ of 105 to 114, which would make him a pretty solid (but not spectacular) player, at least on the upper end of that range. Thirty-seven percent of you were less optimistic, thinking he’d post a number between 95 and 104. That would mean he’d be an OK acquisition for the major-league minimum, but certainly someone who the Cubs would hope to replace in the lineup.
Here’s the part where I talk about jazz and movies. You’re free to skip ahead to the baseball question at the end. You won’t hurt my feelings.
Here’s a charming, quiet and calming performance from pianist Oscar Peterson, bassist Niels-Henning Ørsted Petersen and drummer Martin Drew. It’s from Berlin in 1985. But it picks up and starts to swing as it goes on. So this one is good for falling asleep to or getting up to.
We finished last week with the final matchup of the first round of the BCB Winter Noir Classic and Gun Crazy (1950) slipped past They Live By Night (1948) by a narrow margin of 52 to 48 percent. Don’t feel bad for They Live By Night director Nicholas Ray, since he has another chance to advance tonight.
Since we’re done with the first round, I thought it best to show you what the bracket looks like now.
To start out the second round, we’re going to start in the lower right-hand corner with a face-off of two terrific noirs that both feature the First Lady of Noir, the incomparable Gloria Grahame. I don’t know if anyone’s ever called Grahame the “First Lady of Noir,” but I’m going to call her that here. When I google that term, Ida Lupino comes up. But that’s more because she was the first woman to direct a noir, as I mentioned when we voted on The Hitch-Hiker. But I’m confident in naming Gloria Grahame as the actress with that title. I count 12 noirs with Grahame in them, including three that were included in our tournament.
In a Lonely Place (1950) Directed by Nicholas Ray. Starring Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame.
“I was born when she kissed me. I died when she left me. I lived a few weeks while she loved me.” Those are the most famous lines from In a Lonely Place and they were added to the script by Ray himself. They were probably written as much about Grahame as they were about her character, Laurel. Ray was going through a divorce from Grahame as they made the movie and things got awkward sometimes.
I wrote a lot about In a Lonely Place earlier last year with part one and part two of my thoughts on the film. Bogart turns in one of the best performances of his career (and that’s saying something) in Dix Steele, a character that was probably the most like his own personality. Dix is a cynical but talented screenwriter with a winning personality—as long as you don’t run into his hair-trigger violent streak and his suspicious nature. When a hat-check girl that he asked back to his place to summarize a novel (because Dix didn’t want to read it himself) turns up dead, Dix becomes the prime suspect. His new neighbor, Laurel, lies to provide him with an alibi. The two then become romantically involved, but the more Laurel sees of Dix’s violent temper, the more she wonders if Dix might have committed the murder after all. This only leads to Dix becoming even more angry. And more violent.
In a Lonely Place is a masterpiece that places the two top noir leads together in a dangerous dance of love, violence and jealousy. These are two broken people who find salvation in each other, but the wounds they’ve already suffered before they met will inevitably break them apart. Grahame may have won an Oscar for The Bad and the Beautiful and was nominated for one for Crossfire, but In a Lonely Place is her top performance. Whatever the issues were between her and Ray, they didn’t affect her on screen. Or they did, but only because she was able to channel those feelings into Laurel’s relationship with Dix.
Here’s the trailer for In a Lonely Place.
The Big Heat (1953). Directed by Fritz Lang. Starring Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame and Jocelyn Brando.
“We should use first names, Bertha. We’re sisters under the mink.” Since I started In a Lonely Place with it’s most famous quote, I thought I should start The Big Heat with its most-famous line, uttered by Grahame in her final confrontation with her nemesis.
I’ve already written up The Big Heat for the Winter Noir Classic, so you can go back and see what I wrote the first time. But to give a quick refresher, Ford plays Dave Bannion, a cop who goes rogue to solve a murder and bring down the corrupt crime syndicate that has taken over his city. But Ford is also a man who is prone to losing his cool and he takes way too many chances, which leads to a lot of women ending up dead. Even though Bannion was trying to rescue them, it is his recklessness that puts all of them in harm’s way. Bannion is really a contradiction—a completely honest cop who is as much a part of the problem as he is part of the solution.
Grahame plays the girlfriend to Lee Marvin’s vicious mobster. She’s a party girl who just wants to have fun and understands that the fun comes with a price. There’s also a famous scene with Grahame and a pot of coffee.
Once again, here’s the trailer for The Big Heat.
For those of you who have already seen the film or just don’t mind spoilers, here’s the famous coffee scene.
In a Lonely Place or The Big Heat
This poll is closed
In a Lonely Place
The BIg Heat
You have until Wednesday evening to vote. Either way, Gloria Grahame is a winner. She’s also a loser either way. That’s rather fitting for noir, isn’t it?
Welcome back to everyone who skips the music and movies.
Over the weekend, we got an update over the health of Kyle Hendricks. He’s down in Arizona rehabbing a tear in his right shoulder. He’s playing catch on flat ground right now. But when he’ll actually be ready to pitch is unclear. The Cubs are hopeful that he’ll be ready for Opening Day, but from that report, it doesn’t sound likely.
I don’t need to introduce Kyle Hendricks to you. “The Professor” was one of the best starters on the Cubs from 2014 to 2020. Heck, he’s been one of the best pitchers in the National League over that time, winning an ERA title in 2016.
But Hendricks hasn’t been right the past two seasons. In 2021, Hendricks led the league in hits allowed, which isn’t really a stat any pitcher wants to lead the league in. His ERA ballooned out to a bad 4.77. The 2022 season brought more of the same, but at least we had a reason for it—the shoulder injury.
Tonight’s question is “How many starts will Kyle Hendricks make for the Cubs in 2023?” Hendricks has always been a workhorse, making more than 30 starts five times, including in 2021. He’s only been on the injured list twice, other than last year. A minor stint in 2019 that caused him to miss only two weeks and there was a longer one in 2017, but even then Hendricks only missed about seven weeks.
But shoulder injuries are scarier and we don’t know when he’ll be ready to pitch again. On top of that, Hendricks hasn’t pitched well the past two years. If the Cubs are in the playoff hunt, they won’t be able to afford dragging him out every fifth day if he’s pitching like he did last year. On the other hand, if the Cubs are out of the hunt and he’s pitching well, Hendricks is in the final year of his contract and the Cubs might try to trade him to a contender.
So how many starts will Kyle Hendricks make for the Cubs in 2023?
How many starts will Kyle Hendricks make for the Cubs in 2023?
This poll is closed
30 or more
25 to 29
21 to 24
10 to 20
Fewer than 10
Thank you so very much for stopping by. I hope that we’ve made your evening a little more pleasant. I know you’ve made our night better. If you checked anything, let us get that for you now. Stay warm and dry out there. Get home safely. And join us again tomorrow night for more BCB After Dark.