The great thing about sports movies is that you get some of the thrills -- breathtaking scenery, intimate views of buff jocks, heavy breathing -- without having to sweat. Join the armchair-athlete crowd at "The Best of the Banff Mountain Film Festival," a two-day trove of adventure flicks.
Saturday's top pick is Eiger North Face (2003), which chronicles two mountaineers' heart-stopping journey up the Swiss cliff, which is so challenging that it takes its name from the German word for "ogre." Sunday's headliner, The Other Final (2003), boasts more tenderness than terror with its look at underdog soccer teams. See each of them (along with assorted shorts) starting at 7 p.m. at UCSF's Cole Hall, 513 Parnassus (at Third Avenue), S.F. Admission is $12-15; call (510) 527-4140.
-- Joyce Slaton
Out of the Past
The water surrounding our city is so frigid that you can't even imagine dipping a toe into it, but it has nonetheless shaped local history in countless ways. Get a grasp on the particulars at "A Sail Into History," a program of two-hour cruises on the USS Potomac. There, docents relate the fascinating and unexpected sagas behind such landmarks as the Alameda Naval Air Station, Angel Island, and the Golden Gate Bridge. The ship sails alternate Thursdays and Saturdays at 11 a.m. through Oct. 23 from Jack London Square, Broadway & Embarcadero, Oakland. Admission is free-$35; call (510) 627-1667 or visit www.usspotomac.org.
-- Joyce Slaton
The Giants come home
It's been a rough off-season for the San Francisco Giants, dogged by last year's anticlimactic finish and rumors of steroid abuse. The boys in orange and black look to put all that behind them as they set off on the 162-game road to redemption with their first home stand (against Milwaukee), which could become a triumphant blowout, given that the Brewers finished dead last a season ago.
For those who can't ditch work in time for Monday's start, the Giants celebrate with SBC Opening Night Fireworks after Tuesday's evening game. We hope those won't be the only pyrotechnics this season. (Listening, Barry?) Monday's first pitch will be thrown at 1:05 p.m., and Tuesday's at 6:05 p.m., at SBC Park, 24 Willie Mays Plaza (Third & King streets), S.F. Admission is $10-75; call 972-2000 or visit www.sfgiants.com.
-- Jack Karp