Wednesday, April 14, 2010

David Thompson is like Avatar.

David Thompson was a basketball player in the late 70's and early 80's. He was very good, very very good. He was a force of nature on the court. Admittedly I never saw him play, as a matter of fact I was not born when he was at his best. I will refer to his statistics to perhaps give you an idea of how good he was. If you are not into basketball you might simply skip the stats as I will also try to explain how good he was using only my words. This sounds totally asinine, given that I never saw the guy play, so really this may be about how good I perceive David Thompson to have been rather than how good he was.
On to the statistics. In his second season in the NBA he averaged 27 points without a three point line. He also averaged 5 assists and 4.5 rebounds. His second season in the NBA was his third season as a professional basketball player as he was drafted into the ABA and played two seasons there with the Denver Nuggets. 27 points is a shitload of points. In comparison to other elite shooting guards in their third professional seasons Michael Jordan averaged 37 points (which is completely ridiculous), Dwayne Wade averaged 27 as well and Kobe Bryant averaged 22.5 (but only 21 years old). The point is David Thompson was in that class of players.

Thompson was also one of the best jumpers to ever play in the league. He was 6-4 and 195 pounds, big for a normal person but fairly diminutive for a shooting guard in the NBA. In comparison both Bryant and Jordan are listed at 6-6 and Wade (who is a beast athletically as well) is listed at 6-4. 6 foot 6 is the height most NBA scouts seem to think is what a generic NBA shooting guard should be.
David Thompson would genuinely jump over people to, not only score, but to get rebounds. If you have seen that scene in the movie GOAT where the soon-to-be-hooked-on-heroin basketball player makes change on top of a backboard then you can imagine David Thompson doing that (I have no reference for this and I have no actual idea whether this is a fact. It simply seems like something that could have happened). Thompson, like a lot of people in the 80's, became addicted to cocaine and his career fizzled out. Now only hardcore NBA fans, people who read Bill Simmons and people who watched the NBA at that time know who he is. I should note that the people who belong to the first and third columns are probably one and the same.

The movie Avatar is like David Thompson. Going to see Avatar in the theaters is an experience. One which I don't think anyone has overrated in the slightest and I think someone almost always overrates everything. This is an experience people who did see Avatar will remember very fondly and probably won't forget. The movie won't have a lasting impact however. Even if home TV's will soon have 3D, only hardcore Avatar fans will really care to watch it. It will fizzle out and be remembered as a "oh yeah, I remember going to that in the theatre" kind of movie. This is also what happened to Titanic (not a very good movie). It's like Avatar will be doing a lot of cocaine in the coming years and soon enough no one will care. It might even get slightly underrated, who knows?
This will be Avatar's fate because the movie, much like Thompson, relies all too heavily on it's physical attributes, so to say. It does not appeal to the mind, nor the heart (even if it tries to do so). The movie's characters are not very complicated and will not carry with them any sort of emotional appeal through time. None of James Cameron's characters do this as even Titanic is essentially a story is about endless puppy love (love which through time would not have been as strong had Jack lived). Imagine if your first boyfriend or girlfriend, which you lost your virginity with, would have died. The idea of the person becomes much more than the person itself ever was. Avatar's characters are, sadly, quite 2 dimensional.
The point is not that Avatar will diminish as a film, it's that everything else will get better. Therefore Avatar will be extinct sooner than we might think.