Though I used to be a bit of a film buff when I was younger, I don’t watch much television these days outside of basketball and a bit of what you guys in the United States call soccer. But it’s different in the days before Christmas and on Christmas.
Last weekend, for example, I watched all the Christmas episodes of “That 70s Show”, my favorite sitcom as a teenager. I also watched “Die Hard” my favorite christmas movie of all time. And the only christmas movie I watch every year without failure.
The first five or so times I watched was in the 90s, on German television and therefore dubbed into German. I watched it for the action back then. The last 20 or so times I watched it, I watched with English audio. I no longer watch it for the action, I watch it mostly for the quotes.
My favorite quote is from Harry Ellis, the sleazy executive who suddenly tries to take matters into his own hands: “I negotiate million dollar deals for breakfast, I think I can handle this eurotrash”, he says to Holly, McClane’s wife. And then he says to chief villain Hans Gruber: “Hey! Sprechen Sie Talk?”
It’s actually one of the very few instances in the film when the German words used actually make sense. Most of the rest is what us Germans would refer to as “Kauderwelsch” – a lovely term that is used to describe an unintelligible use of language.
My favorite bit of Kauderwelsch in “Die Hard” is “Heizehaus unterm Dach”, because the term “Heizehaus” simply doesn’t exist in the German language. With a bit of fantasy, it could refer to a room where a central heating system is installed. But would you install the central heating system just below the roof (ie. “unterm Dach”)? It’s hilarious.
Today is Christmas Eve and for me and my wife that means it’s binge-watching day. We started some years ago with the first three Indiana Jones movies, a year later we watched the original Star Wars trilogy. We have run out of trilogies, though, which is why we’re trying to watch a quadrilogy today – the four Miss Marple films starring Margaret Rutherford.
Before I stray any further, I also watched something this morning. I watched the Spurs being blown out by the Orlando Magic.
- It’s tough to win when your opponent shoots more than 50 percent from deep and almost 60 percent from the floor. But for the Spurs to win games, at least one of either Devin Vassell and Keldon Johnson needs to score efficiently. Neither did last night. Devin went 6-15, Keldon 5-14, with both making only two of seven three-point attempts each. Also, the Spurs need Jakob Poeltl to ramp it back up and get more involved. He has looked lost on offense since coming back from injury. (He’s seen better days on defense, too.) Trae Jones’ running floaters and layups looked like the Spurs’ most potent offensive weapon last night. But these are probably only ancillary weapons on a winning team. Nevertheless, Trae had a good game and was easily the best Spur last night.
- Second-best and most industrious Spur last night was Jeremy Sochan. It’s of course a complete truism to say “he’ll only get better” about a 19-year-old who is only three months into his NBA career, but that’s still what’s going to happen. And what makes me so sure about that is, among other things, the body language he exudes. Can you imagine Ben Simmons daring to shoot free-throws with one arm? People are bound to make fun of you when you do – but Jeremey convincingly looks like he genuinely doesn’t care. He appears to have exactly the mindset you want from a sports pro, and he’s got the tools of a complete 1-5 basketballer. The rest will come. And I’m already wondering where he’ll rank in the redrafts of his class three or four years from now. I bet it’ll be significantly higher than ninth.
- Defense continues to be a massive problem for the Spurs. And I can’t really make sense of why that is, because the Spurs aren’t all slouches on D individually. One thing has come to my mind in recent games, though, and that is the absence of Derrick White. Derrick routinely defended the point of attack when he was still a Spur. And he made it incredibly difficult for the opponent’s ball-handlers to initiate the offense. The picture of Derrick staying in front of his men or diligently giving chase in case they blew by him is burnt into my brain. And it’s a picture I miss. Because the Spurs right now have no one who can do that. Devin was great last night doing what Dejounte did for the Spurs. But the Spurs also need someone who can do what Derrick did.
- And now for something completely different: The Atlanta Hawks last season went into Christmas with a 15-16 record. This year, with the addition of all-star Dejounte Murray, they’re going into Christmas with a 17-16 record. In other words, they haven’t become any better. And Zach Lowe, by saying he can see Trae Young trade discussions starting one year from now, had the media discussing Trae Young trades immediately this week (clever guy, that Zach Lowe). the thing is, you don’t really want to be in the Hawks shoes. Trading Trae to get better? Extremely difficult for a variety of reasons. Making Trae and Dejounte work? They’re simply not best-two-players-on-a-true-contender material. Their lack of options in shaping up their roster makes the Hawks a rather unlikely contender in the coming years. And this makes the shoes you’d rather be in the shoes the San Antonio Spurs are in. Because they pretty much own the Hawks’ first-round draft capital from 2025 to 2027. What a wonderful gift. Merry Christmas, Pounders.