March 15, 2023

March 15th, 2023 Wednesday Wrap Up (and the Oscar goes to…)

On Last Week’s Episode…
Thank you to everyone who sent me photos of actual outfits worn at agility trials that a dog might find objectionable in an evolutionarily determined kind of way. Stripes, spots, you’ve worn them all! Clearly, we need more research.

Academy Awards
Sarah and I don’t typically follow the Academy Awards, but after Will Smith’s infamous slap of Chris Rock at last year’s event, I checked out the results right after it was done and was rewarded with the biggest of warm fuzzies:

Harrison Ford and Ke Huy Quan hug during Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) and again almost forty years later at this year’s Academy Awards.

My daughter Hannah turned 13 the day after the Oscars, and we finally watched Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom together. She found the movie a tad too scary/violent but loved the comedy and the relationship between Indiana Jones and Short Round.

Short Round accuses Indy of cheating at cards, “I’m very little! You cheat very big!”

This past Sunday, a grown up Quan won the Oscar for best supporting actor in Everything Everywhere All at Once (EEAAO). The movie earned 11 nominations and won 7 of them, including Best Picture and Best Actress, which was won by Michelle Yeoh. Yeoh is the first Asian woman to win Best Actress, and she’s been a favorite of ours as we are big fans of martial arts movies. My favorite ones with her in a leading role include Jackie Chan’s masterpiece Supercop (1992), and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2001) which was nominated for 10 Academy Awards but did not win Best Picture, losing to Gladiator. I loved Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and thought it should have won over Gladiator. Sorry, Russell Crowe. I’d also like to point out that Jamie Lee Curtis won best supporting actress for her role in EEAAO, which surprised me but I’ve always been a fan so I was very happy for her as well. In her acceptance speech, she noted that both of her parents (Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh) had been nominated for Oscars in the past but did not win.

Sarah and I saw Everything Everywhere All at Once and gave it mixed reviews. I loved the underlying themes because they’re classic: immigrant dreams, marriage tension, and intergenerational conflict set in a background of science fiction and martial arts (think Jackie Chan meets the Multiverse). In addition, the movie lightly touches on issues around sexual orientation and patriarchy, especially in the context of immigrant families. We didn’t enjoy some of the weird stuff—you’ll know what I mean when you watch the movie. Although I don’t have a strong opinion on which movie should have won Best Picture, I’m very happy and excited for everyone involved. While I LOVED Top Gun: Maverick (which was also nominated for Best Picture), it didn’t seem to have that Academy Award “feel” to it. The accolades for movies like Top Gun come at the box office in hundreds of millions of dollars, not at the Academy Awards. Otherwise, I think Avengers: Endgame would have won Best Picture in 2019.

I think perhaps the Academy Awards exist to balance out the box office and give actors and directors incentive to pursue projects that won’t necessarily be popular or money-making. It’s similar to the dog agility ecosystem: there are ribbons, titles, regional, national, and international events distributed over several major organizations around the world. This diversifies the agility experience for dog and handler and lets us value several different aspects of the sport. Variety/diversity is the spice of life!

Does anyone remember the movie Encino Man, with MTV personality Pauly Shore and Brendan Fraser? This year, Fraser won the Oscar for best actor for The Whale. You know who else was in Encino Man? Ke Huy Quan. Wait, there’s more! Sean Astin (Samwise Gamgee in The Lord of the Rings, Daniel Ruettiger in Rudy) also starred in Encino Man and would go on to be nominated for an Academy Award in 1994. Perhaps it’s time for all of us to pay Amazon Video $2.99 to watch Encino Man, a movie where two teens unearth a prehistoric man in their own backyard.

Before and After
Tomorrow morning, Sarah will head to Tulsa, Oklahoma to watch the American Kennel Club (AKC) National Agility Championship. In a change of format, the Challenger Round and Finals will be held on Sunday. I’m afraid that will guarantee a serious lack of spectators and most competitors will opt to travel home on Sunday, but this was probably a concession made to accommodate AKC.tv which will be airing the event at a later date. I hope AKC.tv has made some improvements, because the camera work for the finals has been less than stellar at previous events.

Whether or not you’ll be in Tulsa, you can follow some of the best handlers in agility with our Before and After online course! For just $49, you’ll follow Jennifer Crank in near real time as she gives you an in depth analysis of each course map BEFORE she has a chance to run it. Seeing how she thinks will help improve your course analysis and planning skills. AFTER each run, she’ll analyze her performance with onForm, using slow motion and arrows to highlight what went well and why things went wrong. This year, Jennifer will be joined by three AKC National Agility Champions: Jessica Ajoux, Betsey Lynch, and Cassie Schmidt, who will each analyze one of their runs for the Before and After course.

What Should You NOT Train Before a Big Event?
Need something to listen to while you’re traveling to Tulsa for NAC? Listen to this podcast with Jennifer, Sarah, and me about what you should probably not be doing in the week or two leading up to a major event. There’s even advice about what to do when things go wrong on the warm up day at AKC Nationals.

Say hi to Sarah if you see her in Tulsa; tell her that you love the Wednesday Wrap Up and she will give you a lollipop while supplies last!

Lastly, I am well aware that Crufts took place this past week, but I haven’t had a chance to review runs and look at results yet. As soon as I do, I promise I’ll talk about them here in the Wrap Up. Email me at team@baddogagility.com with any questions or comments, and let me know if you loved/hated Everything Everywhere All at Once and what you found “weird” about it. And definitely email me if you remember watching Encino Man back in the day!

Happy Training,

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