“GAFFER” – In the movie industry “The Gaffer” is another name for the head electrician on the set. The term comes from “gaffs,” essentially huge poles with hooks on the end that electricians used to have to utilize to move overhead lights before let the computers do that stuff. This definition is actually a twofer because the Gaffer’s assistant is called “The Best Boy.” Ha. That’s a resume red flag. “I served as “Best Boy” for four years.”
Archive for May, 2013
In all honesty, sports movies like Rudy, The Natural, Rocky, Hoosiers, and Slapshot suck all the air out of the room. That doesn’t mean they deserve the breathing space. It just means that instead of leaving one of them on in the background for an entire day during a TNT marathon, you might try watching something that is also good in a sportsy way. Below are three films we’re talking about right now in the office, but the bench is pretty deep, so we’ll revisit this topic again (Warrior, we are looking right into your merciless, yet brother-lovin’ eyes).
Green Street Hooligans (2005) Okay. Hooliganism isn’t a sport (yet). But soccer is. Watch American Elijah Wood lose teeth as he heads to England to learn the ways of [what the rest of the world calls] football and the “firms” of die hard fans that spill blood to support them. Oddly enough, the oft misappropriated, Claire Forlani, who is British, plays Wood’s American sister who married a Brit; which is why they live in England. Weird.
By the Sword (1991) Since his turn in Amadeus, F. Murray Abraham has always been somebody’s nemesis. This time it’s Eric Roberts (who occasionally has been his own nemesis) who must face Salieri. Roberts runs a fencing school. And Abraham s a sword fighting janitor. Once you get past the unfortunate use of mullets , it’s actually quite good.
The Jericho Mile (1979) Peter Strauss has nothing to do during a life-sentence in prison but run in endless circles. That being said, it is somehow infinitely watchable.
Man, we better get a solid roaming the Earth looking for redemption TV show pretty soon. I’m talking about Kung-Fu, The Incredible Hulk, and Route 66. Don’t tell me Revolution and Hell on Wheels are filling that vacuum, because well…the former is too dopey and the latter is almost too good (*NOTE* – I fully realize the grand implications of calling Revolution dopey while giving Hulk a pass – just hang on a freakin’ minute). Revolution, much like The A-Team, and Knight Rider are adventure shows that rely on action as a set-up; the others are dramas that use action as a culminating event. Hell on Wheels, to the contrary, is waaaaay to serious a tone! They shoot people in the face sometimes. It’s like The Rifleman if the guy didn’t just slump over after getting shot in the belly (always the belly).
Essentially, we need an individual who is forced from his or her home and, while trying to solve his or her own moral crisis, randomly helps people or communities who show him/her kindness. Hannibal Smith always went back to being the Aquamaniac in low-budget Hollywood movies and Michael Knight had consistent tech support from a rolling MIT. This totally negates the “loner on the lam” quality we truly need. Revolution, on the other hand, is just absurd (**NOTE** – Full disclosure requires me to reveal that our office watches Revolution as a team every Tuesday morning because… well… we’re obsessed with the apocalypse… and our intern, Ben, makes waffles afterwards)!
In summary, I’d like a network television show whose main protagonist traverses this great nation of ours (preferably on foot), while righting wrongs and attempting to confront the ghosts of his haunted past while simultaneously avoiding capture by forces that do not fully understand his plight. Is that so hard? I mean, they’ve got a team working on cutting 24 down to a 12 hour summer series, so how hard is it to make a new Highway to Heaven or The Fugitive?
Mel Gibson has said some crazy things in his day. Unfortunately, a bunch of them have been to the police, a major religion, and family members with recording devices. Here we celebrate the things that have been said TO Mel Gibson throughout his film career. See if you can name these movies:
1) “Greetings from The Humungus! The Lord Humungus! The Warrior of the Wasteland! The Ayatollah of Rock and Rolla!”
2) “Endo here has forgotten more about dispensing pain than you and I will ever know.”
3) “Sooner or later there’s gonna be too much rain, or too much drought, or too much corn… I can wait.”
4) “I know. I know you can fight. But it’s our wits that make us men.”
5) “…You’re gonna have to ask yourself: Is today… Jimmy Shaker day?”
6) “If the intelligence community is a family, think of us as the uncle no one talks about.”
7) “Whiskey doesn’t make you look old!”
8) “Gene, you can’t sell the plane! It’s government property!”
9) “I thought you were teaching us how to fly?… Isn’t there usually some flapping involved?”
10) “Well, ain’t we a pair, raggedy man? Goodbye, soldier.”
Man out of time is one of our classic American tropes. Whether you’re Rip Van Winkle or Encino Man, you’re still a guy who’s gotta learn the ways of the new world; then use a bunch of hands-on know-how from the past to fix everything we’ll screwed up in the future. Buck Rogers, Austin Powers, even Taylor from Planet of the Apes.
The stakes are a bit different than traveling to the past, because that’s inherently more selfish. No judgement. But action I accomplished in the past would ultimately be to cover my own big ass in the present. It’s all quite confusing. However, going to the future seems to always prove to be magnanimous and beneficial.
The thing that stands out most of all about jumping to the future is that there aren’t a lot of ladies using the old Einstein-Rosen Bridge or getting flash frozen for future generations to discover. In fact, Maya Rudolph’s “Rita” from Idiocracy is the only one we can think of, and she was essentially a sidekick for the purpose of breeding. Yikes!!! So take this as a challenge, one dorky lady who reads this! Get cracking on some forward time travel. C’mon? Stallone made it work in Demolition Man, maybe Sandra Bullock can reprise her role and stop him from continuing to make sequels of his own popular franchises. The people neither need, nor want, a Stop! Or my Mom will Shoot! trilogy, Ms. Bullock. Although Nighthawks 2 would be bad ass, Sandy, if you could convince Billy Dee Williams to be in it!!
“ONE SHOT” – In comic parlance it’s also referred to as “stand-alone.” It’s a one-off story that involves characters you know, but that takes place in one comic book issue or television episode outside a prolonged story line. It still happens within that universe, however a the plot is set aside from current story action. For example, if Wolverine were to be called to Japan to find a missing heiress during a global crisis involving all the world’s heroes, but he wasn’t missed because we saw him kicking some ass just when the plot required his particular talents – that would be a “one shot.”
More, accessible instances would be:
When The Brady Bunch go to Hawaii and are menaced, not only, by Vincent Prince, but also a tarantula, and Macia’s blonde highlights.
The famous “Isaac and Ishmael” episode of The West Wing that occurrs only a few days after the September 11th, 2001 attacks. The writers wanted to tell a story (and were eager to work), but felt that continuing with the episodic plot was petty.
Fantastic Four Annual issue #3 (1961) in which Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Girl get married. Fortunately, every superhero in New York is present at the exact same time that the nuptials are crashed by a horde of super villains! Everyone is in full costume, by the way.
And…90% of A-Team episodes.
* DORKS PAY HEED!!! We know that Brady Bunch episode was a two-parter, but we were trying to bring those of us who have played sports, and not dwelled inside all our lives, a part of our community. So quit it with the e-mails and the looks of betrayal on the streets of Providence.
Okay. Shane Black has been around for years. He didn’t just phase into existence to break my fanboy heart with the Mandarin in Iron Man 3. At the time, The Last Boys Scout was the highest amount ever paid for a script when he wrote it in ’91. In fact , we’re watching Predator on loop in the office right now just so we can see him play Hawkins (in his biggest acting role ever) alongside Jesse “The Body” Ventura. “I ain’t got time to bleed.”
But what really deserves a second look is 2005′s Kiss, Kiss, Bang Bang with Robert Downey Jr. that got him the Iron Man gig and continues his odd fascination with writing Chirstmas themed films (much like my second favorite Christmas movie, Leathal Weapon)! Seriously! It’s a neo-noir, yueltide, slice of plot-twisting, Hollywood stereotypes.
Also, just watch Predator again. Big ’80s. Big guns. Big shiny muscles. Big alien. It’s what Stallone is trying to recapture with The Expendables (minus the alien, I think).
Okay, so on Friday beer o’clock started in our office a bit earlier than social norms would deem acceptable. That’s not the point. The point is we were yelling at each other about how much we all miss the Sunday night event movies of our collective youths. The Day After, even that live action Fail Safe George Clooney did a while back, The Stand, Brian’s Song… freakin’ Brian’s Song!!!! Anyway what if the pens in Hollywood stopped making miserably failing high concept shows and focused on TV Movies. With the bank Lost, 24, and Fringe make it’s not going to happen.
But what if it did?
My intern, Ben would finally have resolution to what the Hell Hurly and that girl from Bend it Like Beckham were doing rounding up time displaced ghost prisoners from Alcatraz. I wouldn’t be so bent out of shape about that mess of a show, Last Resort (I didn’t really want conspiracies, I just wanted a more serious Gilligan’s Island and that drug dealer to find a shirt in his size). Who knows how the folks in Terra Nova would have made out if they could have just focused on battling dinosaurs and not had to worry about some contrived B-plot about crazed Encino-men living in the jungle with a mysterious agenda? What about poor, poor Flashforward? One two-hour movie could have had a tidy beginning and ending while avoiding all of those “we’ll be on the air forever” dangling plot threads that littered my TV for months.
Nothing got resolved during our Friday happy hours. And I don’t think TV will get sorted out any time soon, but damn if it isn’t fun to fix other people’s jobs for them while drunkenly ignoring our own.
Our Rules for Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.
-Only movie connections. No Television , no commercials, no stage-work.
-Only actors. For example Clint Eastwood direction the Ham Man in Mystic River, but it doesn’t count because Clint wasn’t in it.
Burt Reynolds ACTOR
____________________ MOVIE WITH BACON
Carrie Fisher ACTOR
____________________ MOVIE WITH BACON
Your know who doesn’t get enough credit? The Riddler. Everyone in Gotham City is so focused on The Joker these days that they’re missing the whole point of costumed villainy – zany antics. Somewhere in the ’80s The Joker wandered of the campy path into just plain creepy and murderous. Where are the good times, clown? Now, The Riddler’s a fun-loving prankster. Sure, he may kidnap you, but he’ll do so using a hot-air balloon painted like a giant light bulb with a grabber arm a la that arcade game where you pick up your own prize. It all winds up making sense too. He’s clever. He wants people to use their brains a little bit more. He’s one of the only criminals who makes Batman actually work for it. He’s like the Alex Trebek of the underworld. Riddle me this: “Potent potables” for $800?
And, as a side note, it takes a guy who is truly comfortable with who he is to wear a skin-tight unitard with big question mark painted on the front while twirling around a jaunty cane.
So, take a moment for the bad guy who pushes you to do the New York Times Crossword Puzzle in order to prevent a Gotham-wide blackout. Take a moment for The Riddler. And watch out for the Audio Daily Double, bat-brain.
1) Saw 8: The Reality Television Gameshow 2)Live action movie of Hungry, Hungry Hippos 3)The Tonight Show, starring Chewbacca 4) Deadpool vs. Punisher: The Musical 5) The Human Centipede sleeping bag 6) C-Span Live Action Role Playing Group 7) The new Texas Chainsaw Massacre ride at Six Flags Over Texas 8) Your Parents Basement is Always [...]
The single camera glory that was Barney Miller can probably never be reproduced. There’s heavy debate in the office whether it should be or not. It was essentially a 22-minute, 3-act play with minimal characters and only one set (after Season One that also featured Barney’s dining room at home). The thing is, the writing [...]
Yep. Most of the high school biggies were our man, Hughes. But if you can name the 1980s high school movie quotes listed below, your might have been paying attention to something else in ’88 other than the MTV Beach House and that cute girl with freckles in your 11th grade Chemistry class. 5)”Last night, [...]
This Weekend is legendary Indy 500. Please don’t think geekdom is limited to cosplay and app programming. Oh no, my friends. Two years ago our Mid-West correspondent, Billy D, and I watched those car dorks jump a humongous Hot Wheels truck over a bunch of school busses and twice as many drunks while Florence Henderson [...]
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Attention lonely geeks! “Drunk” is only a superpower at Red Sox games and ex-girlfriends’ weddings.
MONDAY – Movies. Their glory and their hilarious tragedy.
TUESDAY – Television. Our favorite drug; constant and comforting, but often packaged with regret.
WEDNESDAY – Wildcards! Probably a piece of weird fiction in which Spider-Man has to talk down Laura Ingles from making a bad decision.
THURSDAY – Thesis-level Dorkdom. Jargon, geek terms and weird insight explained for the rest of us.
FRIDAY – Fantasy, Sci-fi, and comics. Like living in your parents’ basement only without the inherent desperation. Well…