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In Front of the Set, Off and On

By RD Heldenfels Published: March 4, 2006

Today was a catch-up day. A trip to the car wash, an oil change, stop at the bank, trying to wrestle the cat into a carrier. (The cat effectively resisted with squirms and then claws, gouging the bride so effectively that we had to postpone the trip to the vet in order to stop the bleeding.) Wrapped around such merriment, some TV time.

Right now that's Duke-UNC on ESPN. Earlier, Akron-Kent State, on the car radio (where the annoucers ripped the officiating) and later on FSN Ohio. I'm still trying to figure out why a game played in Ohio, on an Ohio sports channel, included a commercial with Terry Bradshaw touting some kind of tax plan in Louisiana. Oh, well. At least by the end Kent had learned about Fearing The Roo.

Other stuff: The pilot for ''Thief,'' a series premiering this week on FX, which stars Andre Braugher as a professional thief but which is not the same as the classic movie ''Thief'' with James Caan. Since I love the Caan movie, I had a hard time at first with the TV series, because it begins with a high-tech caper; the movie made such activities into cinematic poetry, and this one felt prosaic by comparison. I know, most of the people watching the FX series will have no memory of the movie. But I do. Still, once the series moved away from the caper and into the characters' lives, it became more interesting.

Also began watching ''Big Love,'' the HBO series. Not sure about that one. Still working through the first episode, so I'll withhold judgment for the moment. And, after a family dinner out, we continued our Oscar prep with ''Walk the Line.'' Joaquin Phoenix is a very good Johnny Cash, Reese Witherspoon is not only a good actress but a great star, and the movie overall was enjoyable, artistic-historical license notwithstanding. And it would have been cool to see Cash follow June's onstage acceptance of his marriage proposal with a performance of ''If I Were a Carpenter,'' as he describes in ''Man in Black.'' But I was still drawn into the movie. And it persuaded younger son to borrow my old vinyl copy of ''At Folsom Prison.''

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