Because Vanderbilt screwed up my bracket so thoroughly last year and I’m feeling a little gun-shy this year, I decided to partake in an alternate March Madness. Kind of like “Alternate Spring Break,” except instead of volunteering to build houses with worthy charities, I’ll be getting my warm fuzzies by throwing down the gauntlet, Rocky-style, over at EduClaytion.com. And like Rocky needed Apollo, I’m going to need you.
But first, the deets.
Over the course of four weeks, several bloggers, internet personalities (I am in love with that term), and I will be lobbying for your vote for our contender in the Big Dance of the Silver Screen. My pick? Just a little movie – maybe you’ve heard of it – called The Lion King.
With an adeptness only known to the mysterious shadows behind Selection Sunday, Clay has formed a 32-pick bracket pitting some of the most phenomenal movies ever made against one another in true March Madness fashion. Starting on Tuesday, we will be trying to win your vote to advance our pick into the next round.
You, O Powerful Ones, will have three days to comment over at Clay’s space with your picks. The movies with the most votes advance, because they hit more free throws. Or not. YOU DECIDE the strongest movie of them all. So what if Employee of the Month bests Inception* for Greatest Movie Ever Made? It’s the spirit of competition and intricate knowledge of bracketology that made this country great.
Clear as mud? Then all you need to know is…PICK ME, PICK ME!
*Okay, so maybe neither of those movies made it to the line-up…this time. And we can’t really say the winner of this tournament is ultimately The Greatest Movie Ever Made, if only for legal reasons. But it should be a lot of fun, without needing the statistical knowledge of basketball that was my ultimate downfall last season. Not bitter. In the least.
So. Let the madness begin.
You may want to click over at Clay’s blog first, to check out the overall bracket. Don’t worry, I’ll wait to get started.
Okay, now that you’re back, you may have noticed a few things over at Clay’s. First: This is insane. Insanely awesome, you mean! Second: That Clay fella looks a lot like the guy in Tangled. And finally: My pick, The Lion King (TLK), is up against a fearsome heavyweight, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (HP5). Whoa, whoa, whoa, back this herd of stampeding wildebeest up. Harry Potter, as in The Boy Who Lived??
At first I was intimidated. I mean, no one dressed up like a lion to attend the midnight showing of TLK when it first came out. Does Simba stand a chance against the wizard who took down the Dark Lord as a mere babe? But then I made thirty-seven free throws in a row, listened to “Eye of the Tiger” on full blast, and decided that I, too, can make like Murray State.
Forget for a moment that, if you’re like me and a trillion other literate humans, you’ve read the HP books eleventy-hundred times, and try instead to focus on the movie alone. When you bring it to a boil, reduce, and simmer, what you’re left with are essentially two destiny-driven movies. Both Harry and Simba have destinies to fulfill, roles that were thrust upon them and not of their own choosing. In HP5, Harry embraces that destiny, bravely battling the wizard world’s baddest foe while simultaneously battling puberty. But on the other end of the spectrum of technicolor and Dolby digital surround-sound, in The Lion King, Simba does what many of us would really do, if we were truly honest with ourselves: run away, pretend our problems don’t exist, and find a flatulent warthog to hang out with. Of course, before the credits roll, because Disney doesn’t do unhappy endings, Simba comes face-to-face with his past, takes a good, hard look at himself, and, with the help of Darth Vader, digs deep to find that nugget of Can-Do spirit we all have hiding beneath the tendency to tuck tail and run, thus saving his pride from starvation and the African plain from destruction, all while restoring the Circle of Life.
Certainly, HP5 is THE cultural phenomenon of our generation, but TLK isn’t called a Disney Animated Classic for nothin’. No movie’s opening scene is more memorable than the shimmering African sun rising to the meaningful Swahili lyrics: Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba/Sithi uhm ingonyama. (Yes. I absolutely Googled it.)
And how many times have you said, “hakuna matata!” in casual conversation?
And…I have been known, on occasion, to bust out, “I’ve got a lov-el-y bunch of coconuts/There they are all standing in a row/Big ones, small ones, some the size of your HEAD!” with an accompanying dance. (And it’s spec-tac-ular.)
And if that doesn’t convince you, consider these two things HP5 can’t boast (at least not yet): An award-winning show on Broadway…and J.T.T.