Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

See? Creepy and strange doesn’t equal funny, people!

Sometimes when I am feeling bitter (which in my most conservative estimate is 80-85% of the time on any given day) I look up things like “Least Funny Comedian” or “Worst Comedy of All Time”. As a decidedly unsuccessful comedy writer it makes me feel better in an odd way. Plus, being a pop culture junkie, I am always thrilled to chime in with my 2 cents of commentary. Today while browsing through the ranks of the painfully un-funny, hoping to read some clever reviews about the abysmal NBC show Wings, which despite being sandwiched between the most successful shows on the network was completely unwatchable, I came across an English TV show in that aired in 1990 called “Heil Honey, I’m Home”.

The premise? Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun living in the suburbs, next door to a Jewish couple. Hilarity ensues.

I’m going to repeat that because I feel it requires repeating. A television program…in 1990…called “Heil Honey, I’m Home“… The premise of this sitcom is Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun living in the suburbs next door to a Jewish couple.

Someone thought this was a good idea for a comedy and they wrote it down…then someone else thought it was a good enough idea to make into a television show. I’m a little more willing to give the directors, actors, actresses, camera people etc. a pass, as work in the industry can be very sporadic at best. Impending bills and empty stomachs will often trump unbelievably bad taste.

Now, I love bad taste. I think getting away with bad taste in film, literature, art or any other medium; takes a very specific talent. Director John Waters is the master of this. Waters got Divine; a 300 lb drag queen to eat a dog grumpy in a film, and (some) people called it art. I think bad taste is a ‘bend, but don’t break’ kind of thing. It’s safe to say the “Heil Honey, I’m Home” breaks in spectacular fashion.

 

Wow. . . Just . . Eerrrr . . . WOW.

 

I almost hate to say it, but “Heil Honey I’m Home” gets my creative juices flowing. After discovering its existence and watching about 17 seconds of the first (and thankfully last) episode, so many scenarios came to mind. 17 seconds was about all I could take. The acting and writing was almost as bad the plot. Somehow “laugh track” and “Nazi” don’t really belong in the same sentence.

I can just picture a struggling actor calling his parents about his big break.

“Mum, I got the lead in a new show that’s going to be on telly.”
“Oh, I’m so happy for you dear. I knew you’d find something. You were always so talented.”
“Oh Mum, if this show takes off, I wont have to wait tables anymore. I can pay back all the money you and dad have lent me…”
“Tell me all about the show, dear.”
“I’m playing Adolf Hitler.”
“Hitler? Is it a miniseries about the war?”
“No mum…it’s a sit-com.”
Pause
“Mum? Are you still there?”
“Let me put your father on, dear.”

I also pictured the pitch meeting. A successful and busy producer’s office. A nervous young writer waiting to see him. This could be his big break. The producer’s secretary answers the phone. “Mr. Goldstein will see you now.” The writer enters the inner office carrying a script in a binder. The producer sits behind a massive desk puffing away at a cigar. His walls are adorned with posters for the massively successful shows he has and is currently producing. He motions for the writer to take a seat.

“Alright, Snodgrass..I’m a busy man, you’ve got 30 seconds…tell me about this show of yours.”
“Well JG, it’s a sit com.”
“Uh huh.”
“Two couples, living next door to each other in the suburbs and their love/hate relationship.”
“I like it so far.”
“Now, here’s the kicker JG.”
“Sock it to me..”
“The two couples are Adolph Hitler, Eva Braun…and … wait for it… living next to …a Jewish couple.”

Silence. The producer stares at the young writer for the longest 10 seconds in his life, then rising slowly he reaches for his cigar box and offers the writer one before sitting back down and leaning back in his chair as he shouts “I love it! Tell me more!” He leans over his desk and pushes the office intercom. “Ms. Price, hold my meetings and see what directors are available to start shooting next week.” Given the scale of even small television productions, it’s a safe bet that there were 50 or 60 people who were hoping that “Heil Honey I’m Home” would last at least one full season.

“Isn’t life swell, dear? “
“It sure is, hon.”

The show was initially supposed to be a spoof on 1950’s squeaky clean American family comedies like “Father Knows Best” and “Leave It To Beaver”. This got me thinking about what sort of theme song and opening credits the show would have. They could start with stark black and white footage of Stuka dive bombers and goose-stepping German soldiers set to very dark music by Wagner, then cut to a bright, color exterior of a little yellow house with Adolph Hitler mowing the lawn using an old fashion push mower and muttering to himself. The music changes to an upbeat accordion Oom- Pah- Pah Bavarian-Polka type tune.

Announcer’s deep baritone voice: “Heil Honey, I’m Home! Starring Joesef Kantactfurshit…Karla Kuntbagg, David Hasselhoff aaaaaand Shecky Wunderschwanz as Hitler.”

As the announcer speaks, a beach ball falls in Hitler’s yard. Hitler picks up the ball and glares over at his next door neighbors. A young Jewish man wearing a yarmulke and an early 1900’s bathing suit beckons for him to throw the ball back. He is standing in a shallow kid’s pool. Hitler goosesteps over to his front porch and punctures the ball on a World War One German helmet’s spike. The helmet is a matching set that is hung upside down and being used as flower pots full of daises. Upon seeing his ball punctured, the Jewish neighbor shakes his fist at Hitler. Eva Braun comes outside and waves to the Jewish man’s wife who is also coming outside carrying a tray of lemonade and sandwiches. Or, while we’re being all disgusting and anti-Semitic here, a tray heaping with lox and bagels.

The rest of the opening credits could include a montage of wacky, slapstick clips like Hitler coming out of the kitchen covered in soap suds from the inevitable “Husband and Wife switch roles and husband is clueless” episode.

Announcer: Sponsored by…Volkswagen!… and Manischewitz Matzo Meal.

Somehow, I am picturing Adolph and his Jewish neighbor being frenemies…like Mr. Rush and Munroe in “Too Close For Comfort” or George Jefferson and Tom Willis on “The Jeffersons”. The Jewish neighbors could have a rambunctious little boy who is always tormenting Hitler. Perhaps a cute running gag like the little boy always getting his name wrong. Hitler was also a strict vegetarian and took several medications for excessive flatulence. Another running gag. If it wasn’t so repugnant, this show would practically write itself.

“Hi Mr. Tilter.”
“Ze name ees Hit-ler, HIT-ler, vare ist your fadder?”
“He’s at work Mr. Pitler.”
“Ach yes, ze accounting…teepical Jewish proveshun.”
“Eva, get zis child avay from me.”
“What’s that smell Mr. Shitler? It smells like broccoli and poopie.”
“EVA, GET ZIS CHILD AVAY FROM ME!!!”

Only one episode of the show aired, which is certainly one episode too many. Seven shows were shot. It makes me wonder if the producer tried to plead his case that “the show was just beginning to hit its stride” or “The Battle of Britain Holiday Special is coming up.” or “Maybe if we started adding weekly guest stars…can you see Meatloaf as Goering?”

I think I’ll go take a shower now.

So simple, even a child can understand.

Today while trying to garner sympathy and giggles on Facebook I posted this:

I know that most of my friends on here are generally too bright to be told this, but maybe they could spread the word. When you are standing 2 feet away from a person on crutches, in a wheelchair, or using a walker and they are struggling with opening a door…resist the urge to stand back and watch them as entertaining as it might be…give the door a little push, or hold it for them. I am amazed with the amount of people who don’t seem to be able to wrap their minds around this.

Many of my friends responded, but one response in particular got my warped little creative juices flowing. It came from my dear friend Gillian in London, the ever-enduring girlfriend of my bro Ruprecht (aka Julian Marszalek) Yes, I know a couple named Julian and Gillian. Yes, it’s funny and cool.

Gillian Feldon: What you need is a major global sporting event to highlight the needs of the less abled whilst journeying round the city…..

I loved it. Ladies and Germs I want to pitch my latest brilliant reality TV game show concept. “The Weakest Gimp.”

“Less abled?” Yeah that’s me. Hell even without a cast I’m “less abled”. Sounds like PC-feel-good nicey-nicey speak to me. That’s why I wanted to be in everyone’s face and use the decidedly un-sugarcoated term “Gimp.” My mom, whenever she was “less abled” (hip replacement surgery, rheumatoid arthritis, back aches, stubbed toes and an unbelievably taxing fruit of her loins) used this word to describe herself. “El Gimpo” was her favorite and I ran with it calling her “Grandmother Gimpworthy”

Definition of GIMP
1: cripple
2: limp
— gimpy \ˈgim-pē\ adjective

You watched . . . you know you did!

“The Weakest Gimp” just rolls off the tongue. You need a strong or catchy title for TV shows. Y’know. Survivor, The REAL world, or Gilligan’s Island.

Now, the first thing you need for a reality/contest/game sort of show is an appropriate host or hostess. A quick search of handicapped celebrities and I came up with…

Hmmmm “Disabled World” That sounds promising

Shit, Christopher Reeve would have been perfect. Sadly, Christopher Reeve (Not so very-Superman) is no longer with us. I think were going to have to go to plan B and get some washed up entertainer to host TWG. I have been tirelessly working to revamp the career of Ted Lange, best known for his work as Isaac the bartender on The Love Boat. If Ted is available, which I suspect he just might be… the producers would make him wear the white or bright red jacket he wore on the show and do his patented point and smile during the theme music.

“Hey, good try there little buddy. Can I getcha a Mai Tai?”

So my first choice is Ted Lange. But Ted should have a co-host. Someone who needs the work, someone with reality TV chops…I’m thinking Snooki or Sarah Palin.

OK we’ve got the host and hostess for the show…Now the concept and the competition. I have been noticing that hopping around is incredibly difficult and frustrating. It is also exhausting. I have recently developed an appreciation and deep admiration for the handicapped who use crutches and wheel chairs and manage to travel more than ten feet without a complete emotional breakdown. They make it look easy. As I have come to realize over the past few weeks, it is decidedly physically and emotionally difficult to get around on crutches. I have yet to make it half a city block without a complete hissy fit. I can hardly pass by people who don’t drop everything immediately and offer to carry me without snarling “It’s OK, I’ve got it” at them. Crutches are tough. I don’t have any insight on wheelchairs, but I can imagine that spending a life at crotch or ass level is not a joyous treat.

So, maybe we could start with a 100 yard “dash” on crutches for the recently injured contestants on TWG. We line them up in one end zone and give them each one crutch. Then we put 20 Linebackers, defensive tackles, slow walking little old ladies, and text messaging teenagers on the opposite end of the field to move forward and try to stop them. The winner would win a hoveround power chair charged with one hour’s electricity and immunity from elimination for one week. To make things more interesting, we could use 50 of the NFL’s most penalized players as a “deterrent”.

The next contest would be to navigate the subway system to 34th St. Herald Square, where they would have to twist and turn through the obstacles that are Macy’s shoppers and glacier slow tourists staring perpetually upward fascinated with buildings over 4 stories. Then they would crutch, hop or crawl to the Empire State Building and ascend the stairs to the 107th floor where they would again win immunity and a cold can of diet coke.

Now, that’s good television!

Then there is always the possibility of “The Gimpy 500”. Put the competing gimps on souped up and tricked out Hoveround Scooters. Given the speed of these vehicles, this would probably be a 2 or 3 day event. To make things even more interesting, the pit crews could be legally blind. This would also give the program more chances for advertising revenue…Depends and other incontinence products for example.

The possibilities are limitless.

Yeah . . .read my blog, sheee . . .nyeah

I’m an odd duck. It’s OK. I rather enjoy it. I’m unique and I have reached a point in my life where I am not so concerned with who finds me to be entertaining or just a big old dork with an absurd sense of humor. I refer to my style of humor as “Dadaist” because I’m pretentious too.


The Gow “gets” me. That is one of the many reasons she is my best bud. Today for example the music station at work was tuned to some kind of soft rock crap. I was suddenly seized with an impulse to call the Gow and sing along to a Michael McDonald song in my spot on Edward G. Robinson impression. Maybe “spot on” is an inaccurate description, but I like doing it, and the Gow likes listening to it, so that’s all that matters. Lots of people today don’t know who Edward G. Robinson even is. He was a famous actor in old black and white films, often playing a gangster. He was also a common impression at the time. Every half-assed comedian or MC would do Edward G, Jimmy Durante, James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart and maybe James Stewart.

Yeah, def-definately good at impressions. Yeah


In the ’70s everyone did Archie Bunker and in the ’80s everyone thought they had Jack Nicholson down pat. The voices I am proficient with are Bill Clinton, Elvis Presley (which is actually similar to Billy Jeff Clinton) movie characters like Tony Montana from Scarface, Ray from Rain Man, and Forrest Gump. I’m sure there are other voices I am adept at, but I can’t think of them at the moment. There are also voices I desperately wish I could do like Christopher Walken, Don Knotts and William Shatner.


Now a solid impression is one thing, but to really get a good reaction (i.e. laugh) is to have the character say something funny, clever or decidedly “out of character.” One example is my Mr. Magoo impression. Mr. Magoo was an extremely near sighted cartoon gentleman whose voice was provided by Jim Baccus who also played Mr. Howell on Gilligan’s Island and stars in Rebel Without a Cause. With the exception of Youtube it is very difficult to find Mr. Magoo cartoons as they were yanked for making light of blind people. I’ve often wondered who the asshat was who told the blind people and had to go and ruin a wonderful cartoon for everyone. To be fair, it might not have just been the blind who were offended. Mr. Magoo had an Asian man servant named “Charlie” who was the most racist Asian stereotype ever. Charlie wore an Asian “coolie” hat, had squinty eyes, HUGE buck teeth and called his master “Mistah Mah-gloo”.

The only picture of Charlie I could find. Gee, I wonder why.


My favorite out of character moments to lapse into these voices are lovemaking, ordering food at a restaurant and the jury selection process.(Haven’t been chosen yet!!)


So today while listening to soft rock, something in my funny little brain clicked and I decided to call The Gow and sing along to the Michael McDonald song in Edward G. Robinson’s voice.


And she giggled with glee as I went through much of Mr. McDonald’s catalog ending each lyric with Edward G’s patented “Yeah…sheee?”


She gets me.

“Do you expect me to talk?”
“No Mr Bond, I expect you to die.”

There has been a James Bond movie marathon on TV the past few nights. I like Bond, but I think, as my late mother pointed out to me once, that James Bond movies are really a guy thing. The thing I really like about the Bond films (well, besides the sex, the cool gadgets,the cars, the Bond women, the violence and the theme songs) are the uber cheesy movie cliches. I wont get into the whole “who was the best Bond” conversation. I’m an odd duck. My favorite Beatles were Ringo and George and my favorite Bonds were Roger Moore and George Lazenby, Deal with it.

There are so many cliche statements in the Bond movies that I have simply been dying to say at some point in my life. Sadly, unless I win the lottery and become a professor/PhD, I wont have much chance to say these things. When I took my career aptitude tests in college, I missed International Super Villain and rated “Salesman” instead. Oh, I can say these great cliched lines…but they will be sadly lacking in conviction and validity. I would fail miserably at being an international criminal mastermind. I have no technical proficiency whatsoever. Toasters frustrate me. It would just be sad if I tried to record my demands to the UN Security Counsel, and the first 5 minutes would consist of footage of my looking into the camera, shaking it and saying “Is this thing on? Maybe I should send them a card with my demands, or a pick-me-up bouquet and a photo of me smiling a toothy grin pointing at the nuclear missile I just stole.

Here are a few of the cliches that I practice in my mirror, though I must admit it looked better when my white Persian cat Benny was alive and I could hold him. He was a good sport about indulging my little fantasies. It’s funny that Ernst Stavro Blofeld’s cat never started coughing up a hairball while he was explaining his master plan to Bond. “One moment Mr Bond…my kitty’s sick….Mr. Wint, do we have any paper towels?” There are just certain things that always seem to end up on the editing room floor in regards to the Bond films. Another one would be Bond suffering from occasional erectile dysfunction. “I swear this never happened before!” “It’s OK James, we can just cuddle.”

“I’ve been expecting you.” I never expect anyone. My M.O. is to forget people I’m actually supposed to be expecting, like pizza delivery boys. Bond villains don’t rush around last minute yelling at their henchmen and bombshell girlfriends. “Oh shit, It’s Bond! He’s early, dammit, Odd Job, empty the ashtray, Pussy Galore, are you really going to wear that? Oh come on, don’t cry now, it’s not bad, it’s just a little….. slutty. Straighten out the magazines and tell the Japanese chick I hired to make his martini and bring it in after I explain my plan in great detail…what’s her name? Miko? Mariko? Huh? Oh, forget it. Just tell her to bring the martini and to look…Japanese. Shit! He’s almost at the trap door. OK, change the big screen behind my desk from Weekend at Bernies to the SPECTRE emblem. No, NOT TV Land! Odd Job, there is a lint brush in my desk, clean your hat please. MOVE! I need to sit down. Do I look casual? Where’s my cat? Do I look like I’ve been expecting him? OK….shhhhhh here he comes.”

People always find me unshaven, in my boxer shorts and changing the kitty litter or watching The Golden Girls. Just try saying “I’ve been expecting you.” during such circumstances. Unconvincing.

“Seize him!” I don’t think a Bond villain has ever said this, but it’s certainly been said a few dozen times on TV and in movies. In order to yell this, one needs lackeys, minions or henchmen. I don’t have any henchmen. It was one of the things many of us had to cut down on when the economy tanked. This is one of the first things to go in a shaky economy. Dining out, entertaining, and henchmen. I’ve tried to get henchmen before, but it’s not easy on a waiter and students wages. I even put an ad on craigslist for henchmen, although I worded it carefully to sound like an internship. To date, it hasn’t panned out. In addition to finding henchmen and paying them, you need to provide them with uniforms. You can’t skimp here. I’ll be damned if my henchmen are going to be running around in old and altered Arby’s or Long John Silvers uniforms from the 70s and then hoping Bond doesn’t notice and goof on me.

“Take him away.” This usually followed “Seize Him!” My problem with this is the size of NYC living spaces. There isn’t anywhere for my non-existent henchmen to take my captives away to. Where are they going to go, my living room? My roommate would be less than thrilled. Bond villains don’t usually have roommate issues. “Um Goldfinger, do you have your share of the electric bill? Yeah well, the Con Ed people don’t care about your Fort Knox plan. Also,can you pick up some toilet paper? I bought the last pack. Oh, you have company. I’m sorry Bond? James Bond? Nice to meet you. Um, if you plan to torture him, can you please keep it down and clean up the blood? I have to work tomorrow. Anyone need to use the shower?”

I wonder if hiring a top notch, gay decorator could help with this. “OK, I’m thinking we move the laser cannon into the breakfast nook and cover it up with the throw I got at Barneys. Are you totally married to the idea of this emblem? I don’t know, it’s just so…1980s. I know you said you didn’t want any flowers, but really some iris’s would do wonders for your interrogation area in the living room. Trust me, they’re still butch.”

“You’ve fallen into my trap.” I’m not smart enough to set traps for people. I’ve babysat before and been outwitted by infants. Actually, I fell into their traps. “Drat…the disgusting diaper….foiled again!” Also, traps cost money. I’ve been to Home Depot and a good trap is going to run you a pretty penny these days. Skimping on a trap can be disastrous. Bargain rate throw rug trap doors don’t go with the Spartan minimalist motif of a hollowed out dormant volcano hideout. This one can also include….

“Everything is going according to my plan.” Nothing ever goes according to my plan. First of all, I lack the attention span for planning. I sit down and try to make plans, schemes and capers. I try, but after 10 or 15 minutes I will start flipping through channels or get distracted by something shiny or my cats antics. I dream of being a borderline anal retentive like my dear old mother, with lists of things I can cross off. I’ve tried the list thing, and it is satisfying to cross things off as you do them. Being an under achiever, I have to write down the most ridiculous everyday minutia so I can cross things off and look like I actually got something done. Wake up. Check. Pee. Check. Make coffee. Check. Drink coffee Check..This is when I slow down and start skipping things on my list until “Go to Bed”
Maybe if I could afford some henchmen, then they could make plans for me. It has become a true chicken-egg situation. Perhaps if I kidnapped some professor’s beautiful virginal daughter I could force him to make plans for me. I do live close to Columbia and NYU. Something to think about.

“…. Not to worry…I have prepared for this (contingency.)” This is a continuation of my lack of prowess in the planning department. In order to have contingency plans, one has to have original plans. I will say I am very fond of the word contingency and the term contingency plan, which may actually be redundant…like “True Fact”. Who knows? I also like the word redundant, so I wanted to slip that one in there. My version of a contingency plan when things go awry is to scream “Oh, crap!” followed by crying or temper tantrums of varying degrees. It must be satisfying to have contingency plans.

“According to my calculations” Hahahaha Have you been reading a single thing I’ve written? Movie villains have super sleek power point presentations. Professionally made scale models. Things like that. Me? I can barely manage stick figures.

“I should have killed you when I had the chance.” That half-assed, overly elaborate death trap seemed like a good idea at the time, and just shooting you seemed, oh I don’t know…boring. I have to admit Bond was a good sport about this. It’s tough to refrain from saying “Yeah, kinda sucks to be you huh?” (In an English accent of course.) I know that Roger Moore and Sean Connery could cock one eyebrow for emphasis. I’m frankly amazed the varying Bond villains never lost their cool and shrieked “And knock off that eyebrow crap!!!” I know I have always been jealous of the one eyebrow trick. It seemed a shoe in for meeting women.

Bond’s double entendre laden banter with the esteemed Miss Moneypenny is possibly the best known case of cinematic sexual harassment. Just once I’d have loved for her to knee him in the groin and deadpan “Do bite me Double Oh Seven, you interminable pubescent tease. M is ready for you.” Miss Moneypenny deserved better than MI 5’s biggest Himbo.

During the editing process of this piece I realized that my comedic license has fallen short in terms of Bond continuity and accuracy. I have no doubt I will be taken to task by my dear friend Ruprecht, who is Bond Villain in his own right in the musical journalism set.

Bargain Basement Sellout

Posted: September 6, 2011 by S. Trevor Swenson in Entertainment, Life, Me & Mine
Tags: , , , , ,
Successful creative people have fans. By “successful” I mean that they are earning some sort of living via their creativity…they sell books, art, people pay to go to their films or brave the two drink minimums and hecklers to hear them point out the obvious to us in a way that makes us laugh. I am creative, but not successful, at least not successful in the financial sense. I have managed to make some fans though…the very best kind of fans, I have made fans who are also my friends and who are supportive and generous with their kind commentary and laughter. I have written things that others have read and felt “I want to get to know this curmudgeon.”  The best part is after meeting and getting to know me they still tolerate my company. So I got that going for me, which is nice… if I may quote Carl Spakler.
 
I was in a local video store today selling old video tapes.  I am grateful that there is still a local video store nearby and that they will buy my formerly extensive video collection (at exactly 10 cents per video…which is about the best proof thus far I have of my investing prowess)   I took the paltry sum and put it toward store credit. The old fellow behind the counter actually ended up giving me substantially more than 10 cents per video as I had an outstanding balance of $8 and wanted to rent 3 dvds for the weekend.  He thought for a moment, sighed and said “Just give me $2”  That was nice of him.  I think he had a moment of generosity and guilt looking at the pile of 50 videos I had dumped on his counter and didn’t have the heart to stick it to me. Hey, I brought him Citizen Kane AND Weekend At Bernie’s dammit
 
While browsing in the video store I happened upon a film by a contemporary movie star who is generically good looking and stars in many safe rom-coms and tweener comedies.  I can’t really say if he is talented or not, because he has yet to do a film that displayed any serious acting talent.  All of his work has been in relatively safe and soft Hollywood regurgitations. I’m not hating or jealous though.  For all I know he may be a great actor who is just choosing to work with regularity and capitalize on his youth and good looks.  I suppose I can’t blame someone for making hay while the sun shines.  For all I know he might have a huge level of artistic integrity and invests in all kinds of projects he is passionate about.

Ever notice you never see Keith Richards and Muammar Gaddafi in the same place? Kind of like Ann Coulter and Tom Petty...Makes you thnk.

 

It makes me wonder if someone has to have a certain marketability or success to have artistic integrity? I know it’s not an issue for me at the moment (either success or artistic integrity…I don’t really have or need one or the other at this stage.)  But, if faced with that choice of those options, would I have either, neither or both?  It would be nice to think I have artistic integrity, but if I am going to be really honest with my 3 or 4 fans and readers, I’d have to say that I would in all likelihood take a whopping 3 seconds in heartily agreeing to write something for Sarah Palin, Paris Hilton or Muammar Ghaddafi if they expressed an interest in paying me to bang something out for them after reading my 50th witty gem on Irritable Bowel Syndrome, the freak show that is my daily subway commute, or my ever-so-witty observations poor cell phone etiquette.  “Two hundred and fifty dollars Ms Hilton?The Kardasian roast?…. and you need it tomorrow,?  I’ll get right on that…”

This dog is actually a published author, which keeps a wonderful sense of perspective in my life.

 

Hey, before you judge me…the fridge is kind of empty at the moment (4 beers, condiments and a potato that is trying to grow sprouts, push the fridge door open and make a break for it).  It has been said that the best things are written on an empty stomach, but I’m not really interested in putting that theory to the test.
 
Seems to me that artistic integrity is one of life’s many gray areas.  Let’s say for the sake of argument that I sell out big time to a buyer I have no respect for and through this action I become successful to a certain degree.  I make contacts and connections and things start to snowball for me and then I start to involve myself and use my new found clout in artistic and creative endeavors that I actually feel strongly about.  My punk rock sensibilities make me very suspicious of sell outs, and yet some creative people I admire a great deal have done plenty of things to pay the bills and live well.  Do I respect them any less for being in Alvin and the Chipmunks? Maybe a little. But I’d probably go streaking in my compression stockings and a jock strap with glee if I got a call to help punch up the script for them.  Would I really turn down an offer to play “Country Club Busboy” in Final Destination 8…Hey I might even get to say a line. 
 
This dog is also a published author....sigh

This dog is also a published author....sigh

So what does that make me?  Last time I checked,  it makes me a 41 year old blogger with a handful of fans waiting for Snooki or Paris Hilton’s people to recognize my brilliant and highly affordable creative genius.

The Towering Inferno

Posted: August 21, 2011 by S. Trevor Swenson in Entertainment
Tags: , , , ,

Yay! The Towering Inferno is on!

 

Nothing better than a 1970’s disaster film. There were plenty of them and I have been blessed to enjoy them twice and with two separate perspectives. First I saw them as a young lad either in the theaters or on one of the three networks ‘movies of the week’. (There were only three networks back then youngsters NBC, ABC and CBS. No cable, no MTV,no “reality TV”, no Martha Stewart, no DVDs or videos. If you missed something at the movie theater it was at least two years before it made its way to network TV. One also had to get up and turn a knob on the TV set to get it to one of the three channels. If you were unlucky enough to be the youngest child sometimes you had to fiddle with a TV antenna while the rest of the family bellowed instructions at you. “Little to the left, no…no you just had it… now to the right…the right..the OTHER right…OK stay right there.” My grandfather would make me stand for hours at a time with one hand on the antenna and my other hand pointed in the direction of the TV station until my grandmother caught him and put the kibosh on that. Grandpa felt my work as antenna boy “built character”…but I digress) Now I can enjoy them as a bitter, middle aged man with the benefit of youthful pharmacological experimentation enhancing my appreciation for the arts.

Top o' the line, back in the day

 

Suffice to say when a movie came on TV that you had either seen in the movie theater and liked or had missed, you were psyched. As I said, the 70s had lots of disaster films, which makes sense, as the 70’s, as far as I can remember, were, essentially a disaster. Here are a couple links to support my statement. When I Googled “70’s Disaster Movies” there were literally too many to choose from.

 

http://www.amazon.com/25-70s-Disaster-Movies/lm/R139BE6FRM4C0O

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disaster_film

http://boxofficemojo.com/features/?id=2064&p=.htm

The 70’s Disaster Film was a cash cow and something to keep Hollywood agents busy until cocaine became more popular in the 80’s. Every single one of them had lots of celebrities. I tried to see all of them, and would then spend the next day at school telling my friends in gory detail everything that happened. There were at least 3 or 4 “Airport” movies followed by the last two digits of the year in which they were made. Airport ’75, Airport ’77, Airport ’79… You get the picture. The premise was always the same…Plane crashes into mountain, into ocean, pilot is drugged and it was up to some washed up star to save the day. “Captain, we’ve just lost two engines, and the radio is out!!!” “Not to worry, I think I saw Ricardo Montalban back in first class…get him up here right away, he’ll know what to do.”

"Where da white women at?"       Oh . . . wait . . . sorry . . . wrong movie

"Where da white women at?" Oh . . . wait . . . sorry . . . wrong movie

The Towering Inferno had bad actors/celebrities in abundance. Richard Chamberlain, Steve McQueen, Faye Dunaway, Paul Newman, and best of all….OJ Simpson. Yes friends, “The Juice” was there in all his handsome, afro spouting glory. He was an athlete, super star and household name back then. (Later he would reinvent himself as husband of the year and civil rights activist.) People actually went to see movies because OJ Simpson was in them. I have a theory that he would still be a cinematic draw today. If he would only abandon his golfing and fiction writing and find the right agent. Reality TV has been looking for the lowest common denominator ever since one of the “ladies” competing for Flavor Flav’s love dropped a deuce on VH-1. OJ could do a “The Bachelor” type show with vapid blond bimbos vying for the chance to be the next Mrs. Simpson. Of course he would need a catch phrase as he dismisses a different girl every week. I’m thinking “You’re dead to me” might work. As Oscar Wilde said “There is no such thing as bad publicity.” People protesting a film is free press. I once suggested having an OJ Simpson film festival at a local art theater. The manager said he’d get back to me, but hasn’t done so yet. If he steals my idea…..

"Can you dig it? I knew that you could." Oh, uh, wrong movie again.

 

The Towering Inferno was about a one hundred and twenty-something story skyscraper that goes tits up in a blaze. The fire department is helpless as their ladders don’t go past the 15th floor, and the elevators are out. Worst of all, it was the 1970’s, and everyone was wearing polyester prints, so the potential for second and third degree fabric burns were running at an all-time high. the good news was that Steve McQueen was the fire chief, so he drove there very quickly, plus OJ was on the 80th floor and you just knew he was going to make it, and finally Robert Wagner was there because…well he looks great in a circa 1970’s style tux.

To rescue the people trapped on the upper floors, choppers were dispatched. The people who were attending a gala affair on the top floor were very brave and civilized shouting “Save the women!” and “Let the women go first!” Luckily, there were no radical 1970’s feminists in attendance. Of course there is the token rich sleaze ball that jeopardizes everyone’s life. In this cinematic gem he was played perfectly by Oscar Award winning drunkard; William Holden in a red tuxedo. Never trust a man in a red tuxedo.

As I sit and watch, more and more over the hill and past their prime stars keep popping up. Fred Astaire.. well surely he can’t die. Paul Newman played the architect who designed the soon to be toasty tower. Sadly, no one thinks to chuck him off the 90th floor to test the wind velocity while letting him know what they think of his design. The only disappointing thing about the film is that not one single person had the gumption to make the obvious, but distasteful joke of asking for a light.

Scarface

Posted: August 12, 2011 by S. Trevor Swenson in Entertainment, Me & Mine
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

 
Yay! Scarface is on!

 

From FilmBuffOnline.com

From FilmBuffOnline.com

 

 I love this silly film. I don’t love it in the dumb assed “gangsta” way. I think it is one of the top American comedies of all time. I have owned almost ten copies of the film on DVD or video over the years. At least 5 or 6 copies were thrown away or hidden by my ex-girlfriend Gail. I can’t really blame the poor girl. I have always fancied myself as having one of the all-time great Tony Montana impressions ever. After viewing the film I would spend the next week to ten days strutting around our apartment with that belligerent frown and working the impression into every conversation Gail and I would have. 


“Eh, Gail…It’s jor mother on de fon. Jew tell ‘er I said to say goo’bye to de bad guy.”


Then, after she ignored me, I’d try to speak to her mother while Gail held me at bay with her arm.


“Hey mamma, whatchoo doing?”


One of my many faults is to take anything I find to be funny or entertaining too far. Poor Gail. She was a reasonably good sport about the whole thing.


Having very poor impulse control, I still slip into doing Senor Montana at odd and inappropriate times. Job interviews, presentations at school, jury duty and the like. Unfortunately the more inappropriate the occasion, the more fun it is to become Tony. It’s probably for the best that I don’t drive. I have too many anger issues and I would certainly be pulled over on a regular basis. Of course my skewed and questionable judgment would compel me into thinking “Maybe Officer Friendly would enjoy some Tony Montana”


“May I see your license and registration please?”


“Eh, Le’ me tell jew soneting mane, H’okay-e?”


“Sir, have you been drinking tonight?”


“Why don’ choo try sticking jor head up jor ass….see if it fiss.”


“Step out of the car please Sir.”


Then, because of the difficulties in appropriate restraint that have gotten me into trouble my entire life, we would have a Rodney King revisited type of situation.


If I weren’t such an incredible slob, I would totally invest in a white, 70’s style disco suit with some gold chains. Who knows, it might be a good look for me. I just don’t recall Tony having gravy stains on his white suit.

It's just a click away. Should I? (www.summitfashions.com)


On YouTube there is an Asian fellow from England who has a great clip on how to do a Christopher Walken impression. I would like to do a similar clip or maybe an instructional booklet on how to do a proper Tony Montana impression. Other people are gifted painters, surgeons, accountants, chefs…Me? God has gifted me with being able to sound like an over the top, cult film drug dealer. Here are a few tips on doing a successful Tony Montana:


Facial Expression: A sneering, exaggerated frown, with a hint of smelling something unpleasant. Practice in a mirror.


Vocabulary:


H’okay-e = OK (“Dass H’okay-e, another quaalude, chee gon love me in de morning”)


Dass = That’s


Dee = The


Cockaroshez = Cockroaches (“Fok Casper Gomez and fok de foking Diaz brothers, I bury doze cockaroshez”)


Mane = Man


Kiz = Kids “Jew lie kiz? Jew know I lie kiz”


Chee = She


Jew/Choo = You


Jors/Chores = Yours


Prollem = Problem


Tole = Told “I tole jew, don’ ever fok wit me, but jew wounna lissing, well, look at chew now”


Expressions:


“Dass H’Okay-e”


“Another quaalude chee gon love me in de mornin”


“Pussycat, jew know wha chew prollem ees? Jew got nothing to do wit chore tine…Be a nurse”


“Chee nah for jew”


“Gotta get organize”


…..and the best of all “Jew nee people lie me, so jew can poin jor fingers ang say ‘Das de bad guy’, so say goo’nie to de bad guy”


Hint: Avoid using “Say ‘ello to my little fren.” It’s too cliché, and there are much better lines in the film.


The other key to having a funny Tony Montana is to use it with random and inappropriate abandon. Don’t do it at parties, at bars or on a date. It will be tempting, but all it does is give license to people who suck at Tony Montana to keep saying “Say Hello to my little friend” over and over until you laugh out of courtesy, or stab them. Save your Tony for unique and clever occasions.


At the proctologist: “All I have in dis worl is my word an my ballss and I don break ‘em for nobody”


During a Tax Audit: “Eh, whatchoo got? I’m washing dollars”


or for the ladies “My womb is so polluted, I can’t even have a baby”


You get the idea. Have fun.

 
I got an email today about a special screening of Scarface later this month. Perhaps I should go and ruin or enhance the cinematic experience with my impression and commentary. I can’t see anyone going who hasn’t already memorized the film.


Check it out at

SCARFACE Gets A One Night Re-Release On August 31

http://www.filmbuffonline.com/FBOLNewsreel/wordpress/2011/08/03/scarface-gets-a-one-night-re-release-on-august-31/