Dallas 105, Miami 95

* Our condolences to the NBA and to ABC for this ending in six games instead of seven. Have to make that extra dozen millions somewhere else.
* Guess that Miami Heat dynasty will have to wait a year. Sorry, Big Three.
* As much as we love to hate LeBron James - and we certainly do - there's a small little piece of us that does feel bad for him. If he thought the second-guessing and criticism was bad these last few days, he ain't seen nothing yet. Let the Miami finger-pointing begin.
* We do like Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. We just wonder where he'll be coaching next year. Someone may need to be the scapegoat. And in the NBA, that's never the players.
* Is it us or did the use of the phrase "give credit to" suddenly spike in usage by the TNT and ABC-ESPN commentators?
* We will happily take some credit for this championship. We wore the same smelly Dallas Cowboys T-shirt for all three of the Maverick's clinching victories. Should we wash it or store it for the fall NFL season? A tough decision.
* The way Dwyane Wade spells his first name really bugs us. There, we said it.
* One sportswriter noted: the Mavericks were playing like a team that wanted to win the title, while the Heat were playing like a team that thought they deserved it. We concur.
* Memo from the Washington Redskins to the Miami Heat: you can't just get a title by opening up the checkbook. You still have to play all of the games.
* It's not that LeBron James chose to sign with the Heat. He's a free agent and has every right to take full advantage. Whatever. But the smug, arrogant manner in which he did so was absolutely insufferable and proves how tone-deaf he truly is when it comes to basketball fans. Not only was the forum he used (a live ESPN primetime special) unbelievably self-serving and asinine, even the words he used were just oh-so-cocky ("I'm going to take my talents..."). He sometimes seems like a guy more interested in developing his brand than in hardening his basketball resolve.
* We'll be brutally honest here: we still only partially understand what a pick-and-roll is.
* The poetry is undeniable in comparing the 2006 Maverick collapse with the 2011 Heat collapse. Revenge is a dish best served cold. And closing out a series in Game 6 is indeed cold.
* This would seem to end Dallas' Curse of the Crease.
* Has LeBron always insisted on chewing on his mouthpiece like that? Yuck.
* Rick Carlisle does look like Jim Carrey. Sorry.
* For Dirk Nowitski, this is surely a much sweeter victory than it would have been had he moved elsewhere to win his first title. A sports columnist somewhere noted that LeBron would probably have to win three rings in Miami to get the same feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment as he would have gotten by scraping and fighting to win just one in Cleveland. In an era of wheel-and-deal trades and mercenary free agency, there remains something noble about sticking with the same team and working hard, overcoming adversity, swallowing losses, and learning from your mistakes. Even if no one does it anymore.
* We attended Mavericks games back in the 80s at musty Reunion Arena and cheered for such names as Rolando Blackman, Mark Aguirre, and white guy Brad Davis. Just saying.
* Class act, Mark Cuban, allowing first Maverick owner Don Carter to be involved in the trophy ceremony.
* Be curious to learn more about the truth behind those NBA Cares spots, as in, which players truly give their time and energy to charities when the film cameras aren't rolling?
* Odds remain good that tomorrow morning's ESPN Radio Colin Cowherd show will still focus mostly on "What's wrong with LeBron?" rather than "How 'bout them Mavericks?" We smell a lot of excuse-making from media pundits to try and explain how Goliath just got the snot kicked out of him by David.
* There's something robotic about competitive athletes. In watching Nowitski monotone his way through another interview tonight, we started to realize that all cold-blooded players demonstrate this same lack of emotion. It's like putting Spock into your lineup. They can be charismatic, sure. But Kobe, Jordan, Tim Duncan - there's just something humorless about them. They exist to win. The end.
* If you don't live in Miami and were still rooting for the Heat, we want to know why.
* We do wish ABC would retire that strange NBA Finals montage that opened each game, what with it's chintzy miniature work and goofy video effects that overlap all of that old footage together to make it seem like an NBA Hall of Justice. Much more powerful and evocative are the cool still photos of the star players from each team posing with the trophy and looking alternately introspective and hungry.
* Enjoyable side-effect of NBA playoffs: seeing what kind of insane-but-oddly-fashionable suits the players will be wearing at the press conferences.
* Show of hands: who still thinks Dirk is soft? The defense rests.
* Another villain to loathe on the Heat? One Udonis Haslem. We hate his dumb cornrows as well.
* Thank you, Tyson Chandler. Your impact cannot be overstated.
* If they could go back in time, would the Heat still put on that ridiculous pep rally extravaganza of smoke and lasers and fire before the season started? Way to raise the expectations, fellas.
* This victory proves to sports prognosticators can get it very, very wrong. Almost no one picked the Mavericks to beat the Heat. If you say you did, you're a dirty liar. We didn't even give them much of a chance against the Lakers three weeks ago. (Chronic mistrust is a symptom of being a Mavericks fan who gets burned season after season.) But we're glad they proved them wrong.

Knee-jerk review: "Super 8"

1. We went in with very high expectations. And mostly, we weren't disappointed.
2. The ending gets a little sentimental and implausible, which is to be expected from producer Steven Spielberg. Even so, it left us with a sour taste in our mouth. Some of those last beats just weren't needed. We got the point without needing the cinematic highlighter pen.
3. Elle Fanning. Wow. Steals the movie.
4. It's been compared to Close Encounters of the Third Kind and E.T., similarly unsettling sci-fi movies involving the otherworldly intruding on suburbia. Those films mostly played things very straight and skillfully evoked a grand sense of wonder and awe. But the closer cousin - especially in the above-mentioned, mildly disappointing finale - may be The Goonies, a fun movie that was proudly over-the-top in how it allowed a group of 13-year-olds to rather implausibly become action heroes.
5. In many ways, the outcast-friends-hanging-out scenes in 1979 suburbia (which crackle with Spielbergian attention to coming-of-age detail) are more engaging than the familiar sci-fi/fantasy subplots (enough with Area 51, please) that fill out most of the movie. Dealing with absent parents, struggling with crushes, finding your own voice. Those things are far more universal than dodging evil Air Force officers.
6. Stay for the credits.
7. A lot of people mock director JJ Abrams' visual style (seemingly started with the Star Trek reboot) that includes lots of blue-white lens flares in his shots. We don't understand what the big deal is. We like the flares. Something "real" about them, a messiness that suggests this is all really happening. If it were all make-believe, the cinematographer would have made sure to mask the flares, right?
8. We recently watched Abrams' Star Trek a second time and found it somewhat lacking. We wonder if our initial enthusiasm was mostly driven by relief that he and his team didn't screw it up. Strong cast saved a rather ordinary story and a completely impotent villain.
9. Yeah, if we saw what Martin saw, we'd probably throw up too.
10. That is one heck of a train derailment. The sound design alone is amazing.
11. We remain big fans of Kyle Chandler, even if his performance here is merely a darker, edgier version of his "Friday Night Lights" character Coach Taylor. That is, we never saw Coach Taylor throw a punch or handle a rifle.
13. The cube thing? Now that's cool. It's got to be so hard to surprise audiences who have seen everything and anything at this point. Never would have guessed what the cubes did.
14. We want Ron Eldard's car.
15. Good stuff.


Knee-jerk review: "X-Men: First Class"

1. It's way better than the ads suggest. We went in thinking it'd be about a 6. It's actually a 9.
2. It may not be as solid as the top-notch X-Men 2, but it's certainly way better than X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which we'd stupidly deluded ourselves into liking two years ago. First Class definitely has a place in the pantheon of A-plus superhero movies
3. As one critic put it, it's a James Bond spy caper with superpowers. As in, the bad guy has a yacht with a secret submarine in the hull. It's that kind of movie.
4. January Jones, Rose Byrne, and Jennifer Lawrence in miniskirts and knee boots? Yes, please.
5. As always with the X-Men movies, there's some fairly sophisticated subtext about racism and self-acceptance, xenophobia and empathy. The mutants serve as perfect stand-ins for any oppressed group. Which makes us wonder: what would the world do if a group of people turned up with superhuman abilities? Odds are they wouldn't get a ticker-tape parade. Probably end up in Guatanamo Bay.
6. Brilliant idea, setting the movie in the 1960s against the backdrop of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Energizes what had sort of become a rather stale franchise. Honestly, other than Hollywood accountants, who was really clamoring for another X-Men movie?
7. The gimmicky cameo that 20th Century Fox surely thought would amuse the popcorn masses is actually, to us, rather cheesy and wholly unnecessary. As for the other cameo, we barely recognized her.
8. As hot as she may be, Hollywood, please... no more January Jones. We cry uncle. She's always stiff and uncomfortable. Blech.
9. But James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, on the other hand, dynamic and engaging. Why isn't Fassbender a movie star yet?
10. Moreso than in any of the previous X-Men movies, it's very easy here to see Magneto's point of view and understand his suspicion and mistrust of humanity.
11. By the way, Thirteen Days - about Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis - is one of our favorite movies.
12. There are gruesome ways to kill the villain... and then there's the gruesome way this movie kills its villain. Wow.
13. Some icky 9/11 allusions in a scene where people fall to their deaths with loud crashes ala the Twin Towers. And this got a PG-13 rating, people.
14. Go see it.