Spotted in the claw machine of my local Steak n’ Shake: an officially licensed Apollo Creed plushie (seriously, the tag had a United Artists logo). Too bad he looks more like Michael Winslow. Man, if Michael Winslow had played Apollo Creed Rocky would have been one short-ass movie.
In a related story, yes, I know my phone is prehistoric.
A: Same place where I am with Ghostbusters 3. It’s possible Star Wars 7 will crush it Rocky Balboa-style…and yet I accept there’s a chance we’re looking down the barrel of Phantom Menace 2: This Pod Is Still So Wizard. Who knows? It’s a crapshoot. Disney’s gonna churn out a few more Star Warses either way, because those two words are a license to print money. Thus, if J.J. Abrams decides to give Chewbacca a pair of very prominent nipples we’re gonna hafta live with it for six or seven years.
I would pay thousands for a recording of this dog’s “loud belching sound.”
- a surfboard company
- a Sharper Image type of place for Hobbit fans
- a character from Demolition Man
I’m still not sure what Facebook will do with virtual reality helmets, but it’s not like they spent my two billion dollars.
This Music Leaves Stains is the first book I’ve had published but it is far from the first book I’ve tried to get published, or thought about trying to get published. Here now, an annotated history of never realized JG2 works.
Untitled Dead Kennedys Biography (2002) – Stalled during the research period thanks to several factors (college course load, punk rock politics, my debilitating lack of experience). I covered the nuts and bolts of this failure for Crawdaddy! in a feature called “Give Me Convenience, Give Me Death, Just Tell Me Your Real Damn Name.” The most interesting aspect may be that I put a letter in the mail addressed “East Bay Ray, San Francisco” and it actually reached the correct guy. Your tax dollars at work.
Star Wars Ruined My Life (2005) – Ten chapter essay collection covering the weirder aspects of Star Wars fandom, including my own struggles with George Lucas’s intergalactic money printing machine (#firstworldproblems). Hired a literary agent but no publisher on Earth was interested. I didn’t have a “built-in audience,” which meant my blog statistics were not impressive enough to warrant anything. This era was the beginning of “co-opt every popular thing from the Internet to stave print’s death!” I’m sure my medium talent was also an issue (I know the manuscript lacked punch/direction). I absolutely cannot remember why but for some reason I e-mailed Jay Mohr about this book; he sent a very encouraging reply peppered with some of his theories on Boba Fett, which justified my struggle.
Untitled Oral History Of My Middle School Experience (2005) – An interesting twist on the adolescent memoir (I think): interview a bunch of people I grew up with to see how their worldview around that time differed from mine, turning the whole thing into an oral history with several narrative tracks. My lit agent loved this idea and really ramped me up about it, but then Star Wars Ruined My Life didn’t go anywhere. Representation cut me loose and without a cheerleader I cooled on the concept. Compiled about a chapter and a half, though, and several people I hadn’t spoken to since 1994 taught me a lot about where we grew up and life in general.
Untitled Field Guide To Discontinued Soft Drinks (2007-08) – New Coke, Pepsi AM, OK, DnL…I thought the world needed a comprehensive encyclopedia of every soda that’s ever fallen off the figurative/literal map. Unfortunately, the stories behind these drinks are all more or less the same (they failed because they were bad and nobody bought them), and when it came down to pitching this book few people understood what exactly what I was talking about. “Oh, like a coffee table book with pictures of the sodas?” No, a field guide. Like for birds. Maybe this idea is terminally flawed.
Untitled “Gong Show” Episode Guide (2006) – An excuse to track down average weirdos and hear about their experiences on the greatest televised competition of all-time. I think I concluded too many former “Gong Show” contestants/employees would be dead, and I also worried about the book’s marketability. Chuck Barris was hot in ’06, but how long would that last?
Untitled “Simpsons” History (2009) – At the time a lot of rumors were swirling about “The Simpsons” finally coming to an end. That didn’t happen, but I abandoned this idea mainly because I heard Morgan Spurlock was making a “Simpsons” documentary. Had I known his end product would be some gimmicky forty-five minute nonsense instead of the in-depth feature length “Simpsons” doc we deserve maybe I wouldn’t have jumped ship.
My Life Is A Screenplay! (2010) – The high school teacher who semi-successfully sued 20th Century Fox for plagiarizing his Christmas comedy script read my post about Jingle All The Way being a cursed property and e-mailed me with an offer to co-write a book about his life. I had just started work on This Music Leaves Stains so I had to turn him down. There also didn’t seem to be much else in his life aside from “I sued a movie studio and won but then they took the money back.” Also, that title. Woof.
Naturally I reserve the right to resurrect any of these properties at a future juncture. You never know when Chuck Barris might be hot again.
Rocky Balboa turned out pretty good, at least good enough to crush the endless Rocky 5,000 jokes. Stallone of all people managed to concoct a satisfying bookend to a decades-old property with a skeleton crew of the original talent. I’m putting my faith in Sony/Aykroyd/Reitman to do the same.
That said, if the climax of GB3 gives us another giant thing walking through NYC I will put a voodoo hex on all involved. No one will be spared, not even the innocent Aykroyd children.
- even though this 1983 comedy was meant to be some kind of breakout for Candy and his fellow “SCTV” co-stars Joe Flaherty and Eugene Levy, it is established within the first several minutes that Going Berserk takes place in the same fictional universe as “SCTV”; this is odd because the majority of the film’s events occur in Los Angeles and none of the characters these men made famous on “SCTV” make appearances (unless you want to count Candy’s admittedly hilarious impression of Jerry Mathers)
- I suppose placing Going Berserk in the “SCTV” canon allowed Candy et al a license to bend reality in the same manner that garnered them so much acclaim on the small screen, but the movie (which centers around Candy’s pending marriage to an influential politician’s daughter) never commits to being a total bonkers spoof or something grounded in reality that’s simply decorated with wacky elements (it’s sort of like Rock n’ Roll High School in that respect)
- whatever issues GB has (tone, budget, script) the nucleus of Candy, Flaherty, and Levy is potent enough to make it work; watching these guys mine hard laughs out of what is often thin air made me upset they didn’t get a chance to put something like this together in the early ’90s after Candy had become comedy royalty
- even if our Canadian heroes had failed (yes, I know Joe Flaherty’s from Pittsburgh, shut up) there is plenty of nutso window dressing to justify this movie’s existence: we have the Ernie Hudson sex scene; the Dixie Carter make-out scene; the Alley Mills nude scene; Lee Ving attempting to parody punk rock/himself with the song “Mom Is Dead”; the rap that describes the entire plot of Going Berserk and plays over the opening credits; the movie-within-the-movie, Kung Fu U, about a college for martial arts experts; and of course mustache-free Pat Hingle (never a safe bet)
- according to the Internet Movie Database, at one point Going Berserk had the working title of Numbnuts; maybe this film would be better known today had they stuck with that moniker
- press me to grade Going Berserk and I’ll give it a solid B (which does not actually mirror my intense fascination/obsession with this project)
Egon Spengler has always been my favorite Ghostbuster because Harold Ramis molded him into a person who could be both intensely smart and deftly funny. It’s clear the other guys die like carp on a dock if Egon isn’t there to do all the math and glue everything together. And yet Egon is no soulless drone; mostly through body language he exhibits many of the endearing ticks we associate with the other allegedly more humorous Ghostbusters.
Egon’s sarcastic: see the way he pokes that guest while investigating the hotel haunting. He’s slick: see the way he signals Venkman like a baseball coach when the Ghostbusters are discussing ghostbusting fees with the hotel staff. Egon’s also dopey: that look he gives in the second movie after he starts his proton pack in the court room, like yeah, y’all didn’t think so, but I’m a bad motherfucker…I vote that the best part of Ghostbusters II. Egon could have turned out another super nerd stereotype but Ramis bucked that, giving him these great little personality flourishes.
After falling in love with Harold’s portrayal of Egon I was flabbergasted to discover how much other great stuff he had his name on. Animal House, Vacation, “SCTV,” Groundhog Day, Stripes…god, he reigns supreme in Stripes. Again, the body language. I think about that scene where he meets Judge Reinhold’s character. The grin, the head bob…it’s like he’s trying to be “the cool guy” who’s on the younger guy’s level, but he’s also mocking him and/or that entire concept. Later, when John Candy gives that speech in the barracks, and they keep cutting to Harold’s sarcastic reactions, how can you not lose your shit?
In real life, Harold was apparently a friendly, happy guy who was eager to talk to fans and just enjoy his life. That’s evident when you Google Image Search HR and see that he’s got what appears to be a completely genuine smile in nearly every candid or non-promotional shot. He radiated warmth and good vibes, which is something this world could always use in extra supply.
I’m pretty trampled by Harold’s death. He left us with plenty to chew on, though, and because of that he’ll never really die.
Nice working with you, Dr. Spengler. See you on the other side.
Here I am with Michael Keaton’s car from Batman Returns (or one of ‘em, anyway). It currently resides at the Tallahassee Automobile & Collectibles Museum, right next to Val Kilmer’s car from Batman Forever and directly in front of the fun cycle Adam West and Burt Ward used to tool around on in the ’60s. A fun place to visit, especially on Valentine’s Day. The place was empty. Guess most couples don’t find vintage Jeeps romantic.
P.S. Tallahassee is a cool town but if you have Mountain Dew dreams prepare yourself for their Mello Yello reality.
It’s been nineteen years since The Usual Suspects came out, and the “Who is Keyser Söze?” debates have fallen dormant. So let us now attempt to unravel the mystery of Kevin Spacey’s hair in that movie. Is it a widow’s peak? Is it a fuckin’ devilock? I choose to believe the latter. Spacey is obvz a closet Misfits fan and this was his subtle tribute.
Alternate title for this post: YO I JUST WATCHED THIS OLD ASS MOVIE ON NETFLIX