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Monday Notebook

By admin Published: July 11, 2011

Last week was some kind of ride. Most of the energy I had was devoted to preparing for Saturday's premiere of "25 Hill" (although I also managed to turn out a mailbag and a video column). Making this a challenge was a little bit of pneumonia which, thanks to some heavy-duty antibiotics, seems at last to have taken its leave. It wasn't that tough to deal with most of the time, but it knocked my stamina down something fierce. Spent a fair amount of time napping, with concentration-optional TV shows on while I rested. (Saw a lot of "Millionaire Matchmaker," for one thing.)

But let's start catching up. For one thing, I made note of some of the TV premieres this week in a Sunday Channels column, but because of my brain-fog neglected to mention several shows. Among them:

"Rescue Me" returns for its final season on FX on Wednesday, and "Damages" begins its fourth season on DirecTV that same night. (And, I should add, only on DirecTV.) I hope to have more to say about these later in the week. Also, Investigation Discovery on that night will premiere two series, "Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry?" -- the bleep is in the title; the show involves women who belatedly learn secrets about their spouses -- and "I Married a Mobster."

Tonight's viewing includes season premieres of "The Closer" (a good one), "Warehouse 13" (also good), "Rizzoli and Isles" (OK) and the series premiere of "Alpha" (moderately interesting but I am not sold yet). On Friday I chatted with North Canton's own Eddie McClintock about the new season of "WH 13" and hope to post notes from that later today. (Update: May be tonight or tomorrow instead.)

Also, I wanted to empty some things out of my notebook about the "25 Hill" premiere on Saturday. You can find my story about that on, which also has photos and video from the event. But here are a few things that did not get into the story:

-- The DVD, now on sale at Acme markets, sells for $12.99. (My local Acme had a big display this morning with the video, a racing vehicle, poster, various derby memorabilia, popcorn and other items.) Besides the movie has three extras: the full-length version of the "Save the Derby" video, a salute to Akron ("a big beautiful montage of all the crowds," as Corbin Bernsen described it) and a scene with Mayor Don Plusquellic which was cut from the final version of the film. (He can be seen applauding during the big race.)

Asked how it was to cut the mayor, Bernsen said, "You know, it was OK. I knew I was going to put him in the bonus thing [on DVD]. He's in the movie. ... It just slowed the movie -- not him, just that whole scene. I had to get in the Geico [scene, where the company backs the young racer trying to save the derby], to get the kid in the Geico car, and then the movie had to move on."

Talking to Maureen Flannigan as she arrived at the premiere: "I think it's fantastic. And I've already had a sneak peek at the Civic and it's gorgeous."

Asked how the movie had changed her perception of the derby: "I knew it was a Depression-era program . . . "

Nathan Gamble, the star of the film, interjected, "I didn't know about it until I read the script. And now I fell really passionate about it. It's awesome."

So will Flannigan and Gamble come back for the real races?
"I would love that," Flannigan said.

"I was watching the whole thing last year," Gamble said; the movie shot scenes during and the day after the national derby. "It was so incredible. It was really cool."

And what about Akron? "I had the best experience," said Flannigan. "Everybody's so generous and kind and sweet, just like that Midwestern, warm-hearted thing. My family's from Nebraska ... [and] it was like coming home, in a way."

She also liked the Italian-American festival going outside the Civic. "I was there earlier," she said. "I'm gonna get a stromboli when I walk out of here."

Someone asked Gamble on what the message of the movie is: "Love. And passion about something you really believe in."

"And dealing with loss," Flannigan added.

Bailee Madison, who plays a major rival racer in the movie, has a look in the film that, to me at least, recalled Danica Patrick. I asked her if she was going for that.

"Oh, I don't know," she said. "Maybe. I guess the look's good."

And would she like to be more involved with the real derby? "Oh, absolutely. I feel like once you're actually there, in the derby, you learn so much. And you see the passion these kids have . . . and the tradition that kids and family take so serious."

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