|(Illustration courtesy of Bill Pyle)|
I saw Side Effects the other day on Netflix. It's a Steven Soderbergh film about a woman who gets prescribed some medication to deal with the severe case of depression she's dealing with. And it first, the medication seems to do its job. The woman is able to have an active sex life and go about her daily activities. However, things change when it turns out that one of the side effects of the drug is sleep-walking, and wouldn't you know it, something really, really bad happens while this lady is on the drug. (I'm not going to spoil anything, but there's a good chance you're thinking of what happens in the film.) From there, the pharmacist who recommended the drug (played by Jude Law) goes on a quest to unravel the details of what happened.
Steven Soderbergh is one of my favorite directors because he consistently makes smart films for adults. I have nothing against Steven Spielberg and Christopher Nolan -- those guys do good work too. But once in a while, it's really nice to sit down and watch a movie about real-life people who don't have super powers or fight crime. Soderbergh knows how to tap into the doldrums of everyday people and tell their story in such a way that it's compelling. His movies may not leave you jumping for joy, but they make you think and they force you to pay attention, which is just as good.
Side Effects is a very similar movie, tonally, to Contagion -- another Soderbergh flick that starred Jude Law. And if you liked that movie, you'll like this one. Side Effects has good writing, good acting, an interesting premise and that minimalist score that usually persists in Soderbergh's films. The ending -- the final shot of the film -- is fantastic, and the fact that it's offered to the audience without a character explicitly saying, "This is what this means," is fantastic.
If I have any qualm with the movie, it's that there's a uh... a change that happens, or development towards the end of the film. (I'm trying not to give anything away.) And you're either going to go with it or you're not. I, personally, thought it was a tad... uh... well, I shouldn't say. But hey: this movie is pretty unpredictable. Like, I'm usually terrible anyway at predicting how a film is going to go, but that was especially the case with this movie.
Overall, Side Effects is a very good movie that you kind of have to be in the right frame of mind for. If you're asking yourself, "What can I watch that's similar to Transformers: Dark of the Moon," then this venture isn't for you. It's a movie that starts off slow about a really, really depressed person. If you can look past that admittedly bleak summation, and you're the kind of person who likes good acting and thought-provoking movies, I highly recommend Side Effects -- especially since Steven Soderbergh says it's going to be his last theatrical movie ever. Which sucks.
All right. If I can read you correctly -- and I think I can -- I think you'll feel much better with 30 milligrams of fantasy basketball updates in your system. Well don't worry, because I've got my syringe right here... Now open wide! No, I'm afraid you're going to have to face the other way... Don't worry, I'm a (fantasy) doctor!
- Anthony Davis had another one of those lines that'll make you want to scream if you happened to pass him up on draft day. The Unibrow had 22 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 8 blocks against the Jazz -- just another sensational performance in his breakout season. It's hard to imagine any other player winning the "most improved" honors this year.
- Victor Oladipo was promoted to the starting lineup on Wednesday, and for the most part the Orlando rookie was awesome. In 35 minutes, Oladipo scored 20 points on 5-12 shooting, making all 8 of his foul shots and drilling 2 three's, while adding 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks and 5 steals. Now, the bad part of his line was the whopping 8 turnovers he produced, and it should be noted that Oladipo is an absolute turnover machine right now, having produced 17 (ew) in his last two games. Still, the larger takeaway is that Oladipo can contribute in literally every category, and now that he's in Orlando's starting five, his value just shot through the roof.
- Returning from a two-game absence, Deron Williams must have set some sort of record on Wednesday, because for the third straight game, he had to leave the game with a new ankle injury. Three straight games of this! This is seriously getting ridiculous. Even Stephen Curry is probably thinking, "Dude, what the hell is up with your ankles?" right about now. Williams' value is as low as it can get, and I'm sure it's not very fun to own this guy at the moment. I trust D-Will to do good things when he's on the floor, but I really can't say either way whether he'll be healthy enough to do that. All I know is that if you own him, you can't possibly be in a position to get much value for him at this second. If you want to trade him for someone with better health, I understand. But don't settle. This is still one of the best point guards in the NBA we're talking about... when he's healthy.
- In 39 minutes, Jeff Green at last had a good game again: 19 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block and 2 three's. To say this was much-needed would be an understatement, as it's now much easier to trust him on a nightly basis.
- The Celtics rearranged their starting five on Wednesday, which allowed Jared Sullinger to see 31 minutes of action. And how did Sully respond? With 19 points and 17 rebounds. Suddenly a starter, Sullinger needs to be picked up IMMEDIATELY. Like, right now. He's aggressive, and he's on a terrible team with no clear-cut go-to guy; those two ingredients frequently leads to some awesome, awesome statlines. (See also: Tobias Harris.)
- Andrew Nicholson saw just 5 minutes of action last night and even had to watch as Jason Maxiell got 21 minutes of action. Nicholson is a terrific talent and is worth an add if he can ever find his way into the rotation again. It's fairly baffling that he's fallen out of it though, and so long as this is the case, I can't possibly recommend you hang on to him -- especially not when Tobias Harris and Glen Davis are so close to returning.
- With Raymond Felton out with a pinched nerve, Beno Udrih at last got decent playing time for the Knicks and produced 19 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 three's in 38 minutes. Udrih is a fantasy veteran; his name pops up from time to time on the waiver wire, depending on if the team he's playing for needs him to do anything. So long as Felton is out, the trustworthy Udrih isn't a bad play at all at point guard. But with Felton listed as day-to-day, there's probably not enough reason yet to add him, though that may change if Felton's injury woes get worse.
- Ryan Anderson was awesome on Wednesday, scoring 19 points on 6-9 shooting with 4 three's. In his two games since returning from an injury, Anderson has scored 45 points and has drained 10 three-pointers. If you hung on to him through his injury spell, your patience is being rewarded.
- Nene had a fantastic game for the Wizards: 24 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal and 1 block. When he's healthy, there's no reason for him to be left on the waiver wire. However, he's a constant injury risk, so I wouldn't get to enamored with him if I owned him.
- Kevin Garnett finished with a measly 4 points and 8 rebounds last night. In 10 games, Garnett has scored in double-figures just once and has pulled down 10 rebounds just twice. It's official: the era of The Big Ticket being someone who you have to have on your fantasy team is over. He can still pop up with a decent performance once in a while, but given his age and the crazy situation the Nets are in, you're probably better off letting someone else take a stab at him.
- With Eric Bledsoe out, Gerald Green got a spot start for the Suns and was terrific: 23 points and 6 assists. Now averaging 14.9 points per game on the year, Green is a strong pick-up right now. (Though, not Sullinger strong.) He's been a decent scorer even coming off the bench, but with the combined injury woes of Bledsoe and Goran Dragic, Green has a chance to be a regular stat-stuffer on the Phoenix Suns.
- Monta Ellis' terrific season continued on Wednesday, with the Mavs guard posting 37 points and 8 assists on 13-18 shooting. We're starting to see a regular dosage of the good Monta Ellis, the one capable of scoring a large volume of points while also shooting a good percentage. Dirk Nowitzki, meanwhile, had 35 points on 13-20 shooting. Both players seem to be coexisting perfectly at the moment, to the degree that their numbers are both way up from where they were a year ago.