It shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that In Bruges failed to ignite the box-office upon its release. The debut feature film by an unknown but acclaimed director of shorts (Martin McDonagh), starring an actor who was unable to take the next step into true stardom (Colin Farrell) and an amazing but rarely thought of Irish character actor (Brendan Gleeson) that takes place in a old time-y European city. Add to that a weak trailer that seemed to depict that the movie was just another round of guns and gangsters, In Bruges was never going to find its audience in theaters. Thankfully, people have realized what a sharply written, hilarious and gorgeously shot picture there is to be found. Endlessly quotable (“I don’t want to run out there, come back in ten minutes, and find you f*cking hiding in a cupboard,”) and full of a genuine melancholy, it is only a matter of time until McDonagh’s movie is looked back upon as one of the gems of the latter part of the oughts, with countless 2-Disc Special Editions and 10th Anniversary “Not a Sh*thole” Editions to come.
We had another variation of this gag simply referred to as the “first foul of the game” bet. While still in the locker room before tip-off, we would make a wager on which of us would call the game’s first foul. That referee would either have to pay the ball boy or pick up the dinner tab for the other two referees. Sometimes, the ante would be $50 a guy. Like the technical foul bet, it was hilarious-only this time we were testing each other’s nerves to see who had the guts to hold out the longest before calling a personal foul. There were occasions when we would hold back for two or three minutes-an eternity in an NBA game-before blowing the whistle. It didn’t matter if bodies were flying all over the place; no fouls were called because no one wanted to lose the bet.
“Our belief is not a belief. Our principles are not a faith. We do not rely solely upon science and reason, because these are necessary rather than sufficient factors, but we distrust anything that contradicts science or outrages reason. We may differ on many things, but what we respect is free inquiry, open-mindedness, and the pursuit of ideas for their own sake. We do not hold our convictions dogmatically… We are not immune to the lure of wonder and mystery and awe: we have music and art and literature, and find that the serious ethical dilemmas are better handled by Shakespeare and Tolstoy and Schiller and Dostoyevsky and George Eliot than in the mythical morality tales of the holy books. Literature, not scripture, sustains the mind and—since there is no other metaphor—also the soul.”—Christopher Hitchens, on atheists (via brooklynmutt and many others)