Sunday, December 12, 2010

Merry Christmas you old bar and brothel!

Like all families, we watched the classics around Christmas time. A Christmas Carol in its various forms (the Muppet and Blackadder versions being my personal favorites). White Christmas, A Christmas Story, and of course It's A Wonderful Life.

It's always a relief to see George Bailey realize his worth and the town rally around him, but I ask you:

Was Pottersville really that bad?

It had a lot more going on in it than Bedford Falls did. Sure, you could raise a family in Bedford Falls, but it was painfully dull. So dull that, until he considered suicide and met that angel, George wanted to do nothing BUT leave town.

My mom used to set up little lighted houses on top of our TV center, but she always avoided buying the licensed It's A Wonderful Life houses because they were, if I recall, too "cutesy." My parents agreed that having a lighted house Pottersville village would be way more fun. Tiny dance halls, casinos, and bars dotting the cotton fabric atop the TV stand. Now that's Christmas.

Because, frankly, Pottersville had it going on.

First of all, check out the neon sign. Way cooler than the wooden Bedford Falls sign.

Woo hoo, loose women!

The House of Dolls looks pretty cool man, I'd go in.

Get over it, George. Not like Mary's dancing there.

She's suffering a fate worse than death. SPINSTERHOOD!!!!!!

Yes, without George, Mary faces the hideous life of being an old maid in a rocking town where broads and goons gather every night to drink, fight, and jitterbug.

I guess, based on how horrified George was by everything and how sad Mary looked, they are happier in Bedford Falls. But I'd rather live in Pottersville.


Friday, December 10, 2010

Forget it Jake, it's a Snow Fort

One of the things I miss most about living in Michigan is snow. Not driving in it, or shoveling it, but just watching it fall or playing in it. If there's one thing movies somehow manage to capture well, even when they completely manufacture it, is the beauty of falling snow. George Bailey running through the snow yelling Merry Christmas, the doors opening to reveal that first snow fall in White Christmas, the snow in A Christmas Story. All of it paints the perfect picture of a winter wonderland where an angel gets its wings or you get that bb gun you always wanted for Christmas.

But this isn't a story about the magic of falling snow, or a story about Christmas. This is a story about trying to build a snow fort and having my nose sliced open by a shovel.

After a particularly heavy and wonderful snowfall one year, around age 7 or 8, my brother carved out a chunk of our backyard into a militaresque snow nest. He and his friends made a wall of snow next to the sidewalk from our back porch which butted up against the fence, with the gate as a back wall. It was a great base, and my friends and I loved to play in it, trying to perfect it further.

I'm not sure what we were trying to do, but it involved shovels. We were trying to scoop up/scrape up additional snow, either to make snowballs or add to the wall. I was kneeling down in the snow, scooping at the frozen snow. Meanwhile my friend was pushing the shovel into the snow, also trying to scoop up snow. He had worked his way towards me, and was moving to swing the shovel upward. Sadly, I was tilting my head and body forward at the same time.

My nose and the shovel's metal edge connected quickly and we both pulled away quickly. I remember it hurting a little, and my friends were all shocked. But there was nothing immediately wrong. Until I checked how my nose was doing. I lifted my mittened hand up to my nose, held it for a moment, then looked at it. A small line of blood was visible.

"OHMYGOD I HAVE TO GO INSIDE!" I cried. "EVERYBODY HAS TO GO HOME!" I tore inside crying for my mom while my friends filed out of the backyard through the gate.

Mom looked closely at my nose. She never told me at the time since I was and am a bit of a hypochondriac, but there was a definite cut running up the left side of my nose. This was going to require a hospital visit.

And here's where the most bizarre movie reference my mom has ever made occurred. Little backstory first though:

At the time this all happened, I loved the movie Aladdin and the Genie was my favorite character. I loved all the voices and characters the Genie did. One of my favorites happened to be the Genie's impression of Jack Nicholson.

Check the clip below at :13

I used to run around doing that impression in my best Robin Williams doing Jack Nicholson voice that I could muster, being a 7 year old girl. My mom thought it was adorable.

So when we were driving to the hospital, I was feeling pretty down about having a hurt nose. It wasn't fun, and it threatened the chances of going to see a show that night with all my friends. So, to cheer me up, my Mom said roughly the following:

"Hey, you know what's kind of funny? You know how you like the Genie and Jack Nicholson? Well, dad's favorite movie is Chinatown, and Jack Nicholson's in it. And he gets his nose whacked just like yours. We'll have to tell your dad about this when we get home."

She of course never told me HOW and WHY Jack Nicholson's nose gets sliced open.

Shovel not shown to scale.

All I need was a little sticky bandage on my nose that I wasn't allowed to get wet for a few days. It would fall off on its own, and my nose would be whole again. No scarring, nothing. You wouldn't even be able to tell it had happened.

I was lucky.

That was easily the fastest ER visit in my lifetime. We were in and out in about a hour. Even the doctor was surprised how fast it was all going. But he bandaged me up and got me on my way. We made it to the show just fine, and for about five days, I had the perfect Jack Nicholson impression.

We did tell my dad about the Jack Nicholson connection, and he nodded to himself, saying, "Huh, I guess so. That is pretty funny."

Monday, August 2, 2010

How to Fix a Bee Sting

My dad has a hilarious ability to swing from over-protective parenting to laissez faire, no big deal parenting, almost on a dime. The same guy who told me to "Never try that" after watching an Ace Ventura commercial where he catches a bullet with his teeth is also the same guy who happily took me to Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back in the theater and sat through it with me.

His approach to emergency medical care left something to be desired though. Every injury was treated with the gentleness of a Civil War era hospital with no anesthesia. Scraped knees from bikes were treated with rubbing alcohol jammed directly on to the wound while you desperately tried to squirm away.

This is all preface to the craziest care he ever administered, but also one of the best memories I have of seeing a movie with him.

My mom was out of town, taking my brother and his friend to an event in Chicago, leaving me with my dad. I remember nothing of that weekend until the day we were supposed to pick them up from the train station. That day, I was outside playing with friends in my neighbor's backyard. While crouched by a wood shed, I felt something crawl on my arm, near my shoulder. I instinctively slapped it and felt whatever it was stop moving. Then, a slow burn started in the area and it really started to hurt. I brushed my shirt sleeve a little more and a huge bumble bee fell out. I started crying from the pain and immediately darted home in terror about the bee sting on my arm.

My dad sat me on the couch, took out his lighter, grabbed a pin from my mom's side table, sterilized the pin with the lighter and went in to remove the stinger. I remember staring at him in slight horror as this was happening, thinking "Wh-What are you going to do with that pin?" He popped the stinger out of my arm, then grabbed a band aid and the phone.

I distinctly remember him calling the doctor's office and basically asking "How can I tell if she's allergic?" It's humorous in retrospect, but to be completely fair to my dad I had never been stung by a bee before, so we had no idea if I was allergic or not. He nodded a few times and asked, "How's your breathing?" Being a slight hypochondriac, I took a few melodramatic breaths to make sure I was ok and replied, "Fine." He talked to the doctor a little more and hung up. To ensure absolute safety, I had to elevate my arm on some pillows and sit there with an ice pack for a while. Again, being a little dramatic and a hypochondriac as a kid, each breath I drew was held slightly and carefully checked to ensure that I would be able to do it again in a moment.

I sat on the couch with my arm elevated, breathing overly slowly, and staring straight forward for a while. I don't know where the decision came in to take me to the movies, but it was on the way to the train station, and clearly I needed some cheering up.

The movie of choice was Babe. Little girl+talking farm animals+singing mice=no more bee sting woes. Sure enough, I was totally happy by the end of the movie. I loved every minute of it. The little pig, the puppies, the duck, James Cromwell saying, "That'll do pig." It all washed over me and made me feel like the bee sting had never happened.

You make it all better James Cromwell. You're not unlike my grandpa (at least in this movie).

We picked up my mom, brother and his friend from the station and drove home.

Of course, I got the movie and watched it a million times over. And despite my love for Babe and the adorable sight of piglets every spring at Kensington Metro Park (also see the Hugh Jackman post for further proof), it has not stopped my mad love for bacon.

Man, I love bacon. And my dad.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

"I'll never let go!" Ugh, I don't care.

The first opportunity I had to see that juggernaut of film, Titanic, I blew it off to see The Faculty, starring a pre-Daily Show Jon Stewart, then popular Josh Hartnett, pre-Hobbit Elijah Wood, and a bunch of other people.

I was with my cousin, aunt and uncle, I think around the holidays, and we went to the movies. My cousin and I just so weren't into seeing Titanic at the time, but for some reason had to go into the theater for the very beginning. (Were we theater hoping? Possibly, but it was family sanctioned). So we sat through the old-timey footage at the start, then after maybe five minutes bounced to the next theater and watched people stab pens full of homemade crack into other people's eyes (Jon Stewart included!).

Eventually, I did see Titanic all the way through with some friends. I've always been into history, and have developed a special appreciation and interest over the years for late Victorian into Edwardian and post WWI history. Sadly, Titanic was not history heavy, and more love story heavy, despite quite a bit of period detail. But all that got shoved aside in favor of crap like this:

Get lost twerp and make with the history! Back down to steerage with you!
Also, R.I.P. Italian guy on the right there

My mom, also a history nerd, made numerous comments when I'd watch the movie at home about how a variety of things just wouldn't have happened because of the social constrictions of the time period. These included, the romance itself, and all the spitting gags early in the movie. Rose asks Jack to teach her to spit like a man, and they start hawking loogies over the side of the ship. According to my mom, Rose would never have done it because of her upbringing and social standing, no matter how into slumming it she was and it was actually illegal to spit in public like that because of the health problems it led to (TB and other diseases).

But one of the biggest deals about the movie was how sad it made everyone. How everyone cried during it. For the most part, I wasn't completely moved. Oh I cried, just not at the parts everyone else cried at.

The parts that made me cry when I saw it in the theater:

-The Irish guy being shot
-The Italian guy being crushed under the steam stack
-Mr. Andrews, the ship engineer guy, setting the clock as he stood in one of the tilted dining rooms before he died.
-That old couple lying bed together as the water rises around them.

And the biggie:

-The Irish mom in steerage, tucking her kids into bed and telling them about the land of Tir Na nOg. Why was this so sad for me? Well, in Irish mythology, the land of Tir Na Og is the land of the ever youthful, where no one ever gets sick or grows old. I was a little familiar with Tir Na nOg, having read about it and having seen a movie called Into The West, where one of the legends of Tir Na nOg features prominently (great movie, see it!).

She's telling the kids one of the stories and encouraging them to sleep, clearly in hopes that their impending death will be swift and painless. Mind you, at this point, the steerage level has been locked down, and they are essentially trapped in the belly of the Titanic as it goes down, not to mention there's no lifeboats anyway. Oh my God, that part just made me burst into tears. No one else seemed to understand why I sobbed so hard at that part as opposed to anything else, but the combo of injustice and the knowledge of the story made me lose it.

Parts that didn't make me cry:

-Anything involving Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. Sorry. I was unmoved my his frozen corpse and all the "I'll never let go Jack!" stuff.

Just dunk his ass already!

I did overall like the movie at the time though. It was entertaining, had some history, and I got swept up like everyone else. I won't try to rewrite history and pretend I was just too cool and smart for it. I got into the movie, watched it at home, had the soundtrack, the whole nine.

But I was too cool for Leonardo DiCaprio. And I hate that no one believed me no matter how much I explained that while I enjoyed the film, the overall story of the ship and the other people as well as the clothes and history were what kept me coming back. "Sure, sure. It's okay if you have a crush on him," said every adult I would ever talk to about the movie with a smug smile.

Speaking of fashion, I went as Rose from Titanic for Halloween that year. My awesome mom bought the pattern for the dress she wears during the sinking and made it for me (with similar colors and everything). Sadly, I ruined the dress by leaning against something in the lunch room that left a big black smudge dead center in the front.
Truly, the internet never fails to amaze me because this is the exact picture on the front of the McCall's pattern my mom used to make the dress. She made the one on the right for me. I was just trying to find some stills of the doomed characters I cared about, but this is a pretty sweet consolation prize.

I also fell on my ass walking into school because the shoes I wore to go with it had crap traction. So Halloween day I roll in feeling cool, looking good and BAM! Fall right on my ass in front of everyone in the morning holding area. I recovered quickly and went to a back corner. I don't think too many people saw me, and that's how I'm going to keep that memory.

I'd like to add that I would wear the shit out of that blue dress she wears on the prow of the boat there with DiCraprio.

I would look awesome in this dress.

I definitely dug the music at the time too. Not so much the "My Heart Will Go On" song, but the actual score. I was way into that. I tried to learn the main theme on my clarinet. Also, does anyone remember when they'd play "My Heart Will Go On" on the radio and they'd play dialouge during the musical bridge? That was hilarious. It also drove my dad nuts.

Titanic also yielded a fair share of jokes too. Anytime a foggy window was around, someone would inevitably slap their hand on it and drag it down like they did when they were having sex in that car. I tended to get yelled at for doing it though, since it was going to "mess up the window" with fingerprints. Not to mention everyone yelling "ICEBERG, ROIGHT AHEAD!" at any point where it felt appropriate, even if it wasn't.

If I'm bored and it's on, I'll still watch Titanic. It's not a particular favorite, but it's kind of fun to watch every now and then. Unfortunately, I only seem to catch the last third when the ship is sinking, and never the earlier parts I enjoy more. But that's what happens when you watch it on cable, specifically TNT.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

What the hell is Wolverine doing in my hometown?

I live in Hollywood and have had a decent amount of celebrity sightings here and there. But I don't see them that often because I'm not typically in areas where we would cross paths, and I'm also not on a permanent look out for them. I maintain that if I was in line for a sandwich and Johnny Depp or someone was near me, I'd be too busy to notice.

Johnny Depp: Excuse me, are you done ordering?
Me: In a minute, they put tomatoes on my order when I specifically asked them NOT to. Ugh, can you believe it? Hmm, he looks familiar. Oh well.

But there is one thing I certainly would notice. This man:

Humina humina, humina! Awoogah! Awoogah!
In this place:

That's a great deal on Vidalia Onions!

The place? A local grocery store called Colasanti's in my hometown (which I recommend). That's right. I moved all the way across the country and missed my chance to see Hugh Jackman in a store that is literally ten minutes away from the house I grew up in.

Not. Fair.

When my friend from back home mentioned it on Facebook, I had to ask if he was serious. But apparently, Hugh Jackman is filming something in a nearby town, and he stopped in to get some groceries (I'd also recommend the bread Mr. Jackman).

I cannot wrap my head around this image though. I cannot picture Hugh Jackman in that grocery store, let alone in my hometown. And on top of that, I cannot think what on earth he'd do for entertainment in hometown. Because there's not a whole lot to do. What's he going to do? Visit the Kensington Metro Park and do some hiking or visit the farm (if he's lucky, there'll be piglets!)? Canoe? Bowl? Play hide and seek at Walmart or Meijer with friends (something I've never done, but friends of mine have. I've been bored, but I've never been that bored)?

The mind boggles.

And I still don't regret moving out of my hometown. Hugh Jackman sighting or no.

The Wolverine in his natural habitat.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

This Song is Going to Be Stuck In Your Head

Oh you pretty Chitty Bang Bang,
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
We love you.
And, in
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
What we'll do.
Near, far, in our motor car Oh what a happy time we'll spend.
Bang Bang Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Our fine four fendered friend.
Bang Bang Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Our fine four fendered friend.....

That's right. A classic to most, utterly despised at first by me.

It stems back to the second grade. The elementary school I went to offered a "year round" program, that took more breaks and had a school year that went past the traditional year. It was a great program, I had some awesome teachers and we did a lot of cool stuff.

As a result of going to school in the summer, it was sometimes deemed to hot to run around outside at recess and the lunch room would be closed as well (it could get toasty in Michigan and our school didn't have air conditioning because most classes didn't need it). So we'd eat lunch in our classroom and occasionally watch a movie.

On one of those days, it came down to a vote between something awesome (possibly The Lion King or Aladdin) and what Megan brought in. Megan brought in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. And just about everyone voted for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

I had never seen the movie or heard of it before that day. Being cranky from the heat and losing the chance to watch The Lion King or Aladdin (in school! That's awesome!), I was already slightly predisposed to not wanting to like it.

I don't remember much of the beginning of the movie, but nearly the nano-second the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang song started, I snapped. I didn't act out or anything, but I could just barely suppress how annoying I found the movie and the song. I remember nothing else from the viewing, let alone if we finished it, and I was happy about it. Screw that movie, I thought in my tiny brain. Screw Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Rarely has a movie ever put so much rage in me.

Nearly twenty years later, I moved across the country to work in Hollywood. Luckily, I have family that lives out here and I was able to crash with them for free for a bit. That family includes a young cousin, who at the time I initially moved out there, happened to love a certain movie that had been the bane of a single day in my childhood: Chitty Chitty freakin' Bang Bang.

But I'm an adult. I'm not going to deny my sweet little cousin one of her favorites, and I barely remembered a thing about the movie anyway, so I decided to watch it with her one time.

Either we didn't finish the movie that week in class, or I blocked the entire thing from my memory because the movie I watched was almost nothing like what I remembered.

Sure I remembered the beginning (sort of):

At this point in the movie, I'm neutral, it's about as innocuous as I expected. But then things get weeeeeeird.

Like, Child Catcher Weird:
What the hell?

Yeah, I definitely would have remembered that if I had seen it. But it gets weirder from there:

Now you're just screwing with me movie!

After a few more viewings, I came around to the movie because it was more bizarre than I could have ever expected and I loved how freaking weird it is. It came as no surprise when I learned that Roald Dahl had written the script, since he specializes in terrorizing kids with awesomely weird stories (I love his work).

So while it's not my favorite, the rage I felt as a seven year old has subsided significantly to mere befuddlement at how strange the movie actually is. Apart from a slight dislike of Dick Van Dyke (no specific reason, I just never liked him much as a kid or now), I quite enjoy the movie actually.

The song's still in your head, isn't it?

Friday, July 9, 2010

Deadbeat Parenting

I am a deadbeat parent. Somewhere in the North Atlantic, there is an Orca whale in J-pod wondering where it's adoptive human parent is and why she hasn't sent in any salmon for years now.

My criminal parenting started not long after seeing Free Willy. I loooooved Free Willy. I practically became an environmentalist after I saw it (along with being a paleontologist, since Jurassic Park came out the same year). I think I saw it in the theater, but I know I definitely saw it at home. Because at the end of the credits, they had a phone number you could call to donate money and adopt a whale.

"Mom? Dad? Can I adopt one of those whales?!"

Sure, they said. Sometime later, my whale paperwork came in. I had a photo of the back of some Orca from the J-Pod, all sorts of Save the Whales paperwork, and a nifty certificate basically saying the whale was "mine."

Awesome! I thought. I set the paperwork on my overcrowded desk and went on my merry way.

I NEVER saw that paperwork again. And I mean NEVER. Somewhere in the shuffle of cleaning, school paperwork and the passage of time, that folder of J-Pod paperwork disappeared.

Probably a year or two later, the whale paperwork suddenly popped into my brain. I frantically tore through everything in my room trying to find it, but it was to no avail. I was pretty sad about it. What would become of my whale? Was I supposed to follow up on it in any way? I have no idea because I am a negligent whale parent.

Why? Why did you abandon me?
I was 7 and I lost the paperwork! I'm sorry!

Why I remember that the whale is from the J-Pod, I'll never know. But as you might have guessed from this blog, my brain holds on to some pretty random information.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Welcome to Earth!

In light of the holiday that just passed (and the fact that they seem to play it a lot on A&E for no discernible reason), I'd like to discuss that American classic, that most patriotic of films:

Independence Day

I saw Independence Day with my parents the summer it came out. And it was awesome. So awesome.

Seeing the movie was "a heart-pounding thrill ride" (something I'm sure it said on the poster or a review somewhere).

It was funny. "Welcome to Earth!"

It was scary. The alien autopsy scene scared the life out of me.

It was patriotic. That speech by President Bill Pullman was the best. I was ready to fly a fighter jet and I was only 10.

And America won the day in the end. The aliens were defeated through the power of Morse code and Jeff Goldblum and Will Smith being cool.

Around this same time, my dad was moving to Washington D.C. and we were maybe at some point going to move with him (didn't end up happening, but that's another story). So sometime after seeing the movie, my dad went to D.C. and I missed him a lot. And it brought up a lot of questions about how our life would work and what was going to happen. But it also brought up some weird ones.

I don't know what made me ask this question (maybe the movie was on), but I asked my mom, "If aliens like in Independence Day settled over Washington D.C., would Dad know to get out in time?"

"Yes, of course," replied Mom.

"Would he come back here?"


"Would we be safe if aliens settled over Detroit?"

"Yes, we're far enough from Detroit that we'd be safe."

"Ok, good to know."

It was reassuring that if aliens settled over Detroit, we were well outside the blast zone. Some people have zombie apocalypse plans, I had an alien invasion plan when I was only 10. And what a relief that in the unlikely event aliens settled over D.C., my dad would be safe on the highway before we learned that they do not come in peace.

Nah, he'd be long gone by the time this started happening.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Without the soul for getting down....

I hadn't intended to do any kind of tribute to Michael Jackson, but it just so happened that as I was looking at my list of topics/memories I wanted to cover, "seeing Thriller for the first time" jumped out at me and just happens to be near the anniversary of Michael Jackson's death. I'm also not a nut for him either. I had a friend who asked me, completely serious, "Do you want to go put flowers with me on his star on the Walk of Fame?" after he died. Not really. But I will buy some of my favorite songs and continue to rock with you...alllll you into suuuuuunliiiiiight...


I think given my age and the time I grew up in, I came in just on the tail end of the golden age of Michael Jackson. Just after "Black or White" and right before the molestation charges and descent into being viewed as a once talented but possibly deviant loon. I don't think I became fully aware of all the accusations and public decries of his allegedly child molesting ways until probably well late into the 90s, mostly because I feel like he feel off the relevancy map for me after the first go around in court. As far as I was concerned, as I got older and into my tens and then tweens, he wasn't coming out with anything really new that made the same kind of impact as Thriller, Billie Jean, Black or White, Beat It and so on. There was stuff like the Free Willy song (which I hold dear, but that movie's kind of an entry unto itself), You Are Not Alone, or some random appearances, and then suddenly it's all baby-dangling, dancing outside the court house whackiness that overcame any good memories in most people's minds.

And while I acknowledge the massive stain all that press coverage and public obsession rendered on his legacy, I still get stuck on the good times. Maybe I'm just an optimist, but the Michael Jackson I prefer to remember is not the whack-job everyone is still figuring out, but the King of Pop that revolutionized music video, gave us the moonwalk, and made a cultural impact for the better. (I also still like Roman Polanski movies. Argue about him all you want, the man makes good movies! So maybe I'm too forgiving?)

All this brings me to Thriller, probably the first instance I distinctly remember Michael Jackson. And he scared the hell out of me in Thriller. I'm a horror movie fan, but I am easily scared. Like, even the simplest jump at me can make me flinch. This skittishness was the perfect behavior for an older brother to exploit for his own amusement. Which is why, one afternoon, presumably when I was between, we'll say, four and eight, my brother called me into the living room to watch Thriller. "It's really cool, you'll like it!" he promised.

I don't know what kind of impact it had on him as a kid, as he was much more in the generation that really had Michael Jackson in his prime (he was born in 1980), but no one can really deny how memorable that video is.

So it starts off with the 50s B-movie look, and things are going ok until...

This Happens

I lost it and freaked out. Mind you, we're less than three minutes into a ten minute video. When I mention Thriller to my brother and how he made me watch it, he just kind of laughs and says "Oh yeah....ha ha ha... You really lost it at the first scare there. Ha ha ha..."

I got through the rest of the video in one piece (barely). I was scared out of my wits by it though. First he's all nice and then turns into a damn were-cat thing. Then he's all normal and dancing down the street with the girl and it's good times. Then, SHIT! HE'S A ZOMBIE! And he's...dancing? Ok, maybe I won't be too scared. Uh oh, Vincent Price rap. Uh oh, now there's no music and the girl's being chased to the house. That's not good. The ending got a little intense for me too, with the zombies descending on the house, and the last shot of him turning to the camera with a freeze frame and the yellow eyes and the Vincent Price laugh...Whoo, that's scary. I'm pretty sure I complained to my brother about it after he made me watch it. "Oh come on," is what I'm pretty sure the response is.

My friends of course had seen it, but it wasn't really new by the time we got around to it. But it holds up so well anyway. I still get a kick out of watching it, and I get a major thrill out of hearing the song on the radio in October.

And that's why I'd rather remember Michael Jackson for the good times. You can focus on all the bad or weird stuff, but it's not as fun as listening to the music or watching him dance.

I mean, come on, who else could dance with zombies and still look so cool doing it?

I wish I knew how to do that damn dance.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Titular Inspiration

Hee, hee, that title made me giggle.

Anyway, I wanted to throw out a little background on why I choose the title of my blog (or changed it, if you were reading that far back, which is doubtful).

Back in the days of VCRs, my next door neighbor had a copy of one of the X-Men cartoon tapes, that had the first episodes on it. I remember little else from the cartoon other than Wolverine, Jean Grey flipping out constantly and then screaming "I am Phoenix!" and this gem, that generated a title and some magical moments for my friends and I.

During the first episode (I think), there is a total one off scene with a character that shapeshifts (if you know his name, let me know!). He is sitting on a couch, watching TV, and on the TV is a George Bush-esque political figure saying, "My fellow Americans, I am..." and then it cuts off.

They cut to the shapeshifter. He shapeshifts into the political figure and says, "My fellow Americans, I am an idiot!"

We died laughing. We just couldn't handle it. It was too funny. (Maybe you had to be there). Through all the laughter, one of us gasped "Oh my God, rewind that!"

And nearly twenty years later, a blog title was born.

I don't think people yell "Oh my God, rewind that!" as much anymore. Maybe because it's not as clear cut to rewind on a DVD. Come on, you've tried rewinding it during that one part, and suddenly you skipped back two scenes. Then you try to get back, and you're forward three.

That's some hard hitting 1999 satire right there.

But there it is, my blog title wrapped up in a fond memory of collapsing in laughter with friends.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Should You Be Watching This?

Ah cable. That sweet filler of lost afternoons, late night insomnia attacks, and alternative prime time programming. She's a great invention, but in the wrong hands, much could go wrong.

I grew up in the era just after cable took off and during the age of the "V-Chip." All us kids were in danger of watching something bad and going off and maiming each other, so parents who wanted to prevent that needed to add the V-Chip to their TVs, and they could effectively block all the bad stuff we might watch unattended.

Well, my parents, and my next door neighbor's parents, never got the V-Chip. So when we were left unattended with a TV, we caught some strange and inappropriate things. Like the movie Tank Girl, which may well be my first R-rated movie ever.

I went over to my neighbor's house and somehow, we just started watching it from the very beginning. Tank Girl, despite its candy colors, humor and kangaroo-dog characters is not a movie for kids. But it's also not the worst thing I could have watched, so I'm obviously not scarred for life or out committing hideous acts of violence all because I saw Tank Girl at the tender age of 10 (or thereabouts). Overall, it was just a weird movie with some moments that made me and my friend laugh and a few that scared me (mostly the ones with Malcolm McDowell as the evil tycoon guy).

At one point, my neighbor's mom walked by us and the TV. She kind of glanced at the TV, glanced at us and asked me, "Should you be watching this?" She was smiling because I think she knew what my kid answer would be.


"Ok..." She moved on, still smiling, but I knew she wasn't convinced.

The movie ended (notably toward the end with a animated section where Lori Petty has sex with one of the kangaroo dog things and sports a giant cartoony missile bra), and I went on my way.

Oh wait, they had a live shot too.

Not long after seeing the movie, I was sitting around at home doing nothing in particular. I happen to overhear my dad on the phone at the time though, and here's the words that drifted into the living room. "Fun movie....Tank Girl...I just saw it..." I damn near blacked out in a panic attack at the tender age of 10. I was convinced I had been caught in my naughty R-rated movie watching and was going to receive dire punishment. I sat on the couch breathing deeply in terror. My dad hung up the phone, walked into the living room, and sat back in his chair.


Not a word or mention of having seen the movie or being in trouble. I still don't know if my dad was talking about the movie with a friend, talking to my neighbor's mom and laughing off the incident, or what. Why? Because I never asked. I was too nervous of the imaginary consequences to do so. And, wouldn't asking admit my wrongdoing? I may have been a kid, but I wasn't stupid.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Time I Accidentally Watched David Cronenberg's The Fly

The title of the post says it all really. One time, sitting at home on a rainy afternoon, I watched The Fly on the Sci Fi Channel. And even with it edited for time and content, it still grossed me right the hell out. I had heard about the movie, but had no idea what was in store. The resulting movie had me jamming a pillow over my face for about ten minutes of screen time. And the even crazier part is, I could have changed the channel. I was left alone in the house with no one to interrupt me, request a change, or ask what the hell I was watching. I was praying somebody would come home and go "Ugh, turn it to the news please." But nothing. So I stayed glued to the literal horror of watching Jeff Goldblum turn from Earth Girls Are Easy mildly good looking to Oh-My-God-Kill-It-Kill-It-Kill-It! fly creature.

I think everyone can agree that the worst part is when Jeff Goldblum demonstrates how he "eats" as a fly. If you've seen it, you KNOW you've seen it. If you haven't, maybe skip to the next scene. I'm not typically squeamish, but good God is that awful. That may have been the first point in the movie during which I stuffed my head in the couch trying to make it go away.

The second was equally as horrible and a nice bit of body horror...for the ladies. That, of course, is when Geena Davis has a nightmare about giving birth the the larva baby she may or may not be carrying (since she's not sure if she conceived with Jeff Goldblum before or after he became a hideous fly creature that must be destroyed). Again, I refuse to go into detail, but I remember some yelling from me and another dive headlong into the couch cushions.

Two hours and not enough commercial breaks later, the movie was over. I was aghast at what I had seen and that I had seen so much on basic cable. My mom came home and the first thing I said to her was, "Have you seen The Fly? The newer one?" She basically said, yes and yes it's beyond gross I don't want to talk about it, I'm trying to have a snack here. Which is also the response I get from everyone else too.

Maybe I should stop asking about it when food's around.