Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Eve of the Eve of the Eve...

Like I said last week, I am going to keep in the spirit of the holidays by doing another post that is essentially a list. I've been pretty damn busy at work and my internet is slipping in and out and hard to get a handle of as I try to steal it from neighbors and other innocent bystanders (the real holiday spirit) so excuse me if I can't give you the usual inspiring and soul supporting prose that you all (all?) know by memory by now and love so much. Plus we had a big party at the apartment this past weekend that I am still throwing garbage out from (it was one of my favorites on record, though).

So, in the spirit of being tired, like the episode Eumaeus in Ulysses, and the After the Goldrush album I am listening to, I am giving to you - the viewer (right medium? no?) - my list of the "Top Twenty Movies To Watch on TV." This list is based on my theory that there are a certain canon (buzzword college readers) of movies that only get better with commercials. This list has also been culled from countless college weekends being hungover and needing a shitty TV movie to grip onto to bring me back from the brink of desolation. I have spouted these movies off ad nauseum to friends much to their disgust, however, now I am going to really document it so everyone can puke. Worthless? Sure. Serious? Maybe. Serious? Just like everything.

Now stay out of my way while I hope "Cripple Creek Ferry" on repeat buoys this writing. I might need a little Little Feat with "Crazy Captain Gunboat Willie" if things get real tough.

20. A Time to Kill - Melodramatic. Hot, sweaty Sandra Bullock. Matthew McConaughey when he had potential. "Yes, they deserved to die and I hope they burn in hell!" With soundbytes like that, you need commercial to give you a break while you contemplate what a stupid movie it is.

19. American Pie - Surprisingly classic even ten years later. After all the other crazy (but genius) latter die sequels you forget that the first movie had a good teen vibe, Stiffler was actually hilarious, and it wasn't that stupid. Although it sort of was. Better when you can zone out and have it broken up by commercials. Do you need to own it?

18. Wedding Crashers
- Has gotten TV overkill and has been overquoted and over Will Ferrelled, however, Owen Wilson translates to a shitty movie being on TV and making you feel comfortable. You'll see later on.

17. Mystic Pizza -
Now, you're going to say, "Domino, you've gone soft. Go watch some more basketball or drink some more of that booze you're always talking about." I say, "Just watch it."

16. Can't Hardly Wait
- The ultimate shitty high school movie that is widely regarded as being great. I feel like this movie was made with commercials inserted into it. Ah, 1997.

15. Mummy
- Some of the movies above this movie are far better than it. However, nothing sucks you in like this damn movie when its on USA or TNT or TBS or sometimes all three at the same time. You have terrible Brendan Fraser as the poor man's Indiana Jones, plenty of bit stereotype characters. A somewhat entertaining Egyptian legend and Rachel Weiss holding the whole thing afloat. Yet, I can't stay away. Gimme a beer.

14. Rocky V -
There is no other time you are going to watch this move except at the end of a Rocky marathon on AMC. However, you get one of the dumbest plots of all time and one of the best characters of all time "George Washington Duke." Next time a Rocky marathon is on, take a risk on V. I'm sure you will regret it.

13. Teen Wolf
- Not on cable as frequently as you'd expect so it loses points. I only catch it on HBO usually. However, I had to put it on here. It goes without saying that this is one of the best movies of all time. And if you read Bill Simmons' Book of Basketball when he compares Kobe to the Teen Wolf and compares the Teen Wolf/Scott Howard transformation to the "Secret" of basketball, you will understand everything. Plus, as Simmons points out, it has the worst sports editing of any movie, fascinating stats in the final game, and one of the weirdest high school dynamics in any teen movie, let alone an 80's teen movie. What an enigma! It should be number 1!

12. Look Who's Talking
- Again you are going to say, "Domino, what happened to the ball? The masculinity? This movie is stupid." Yeah, but its about a talking baby who tries to communicate with his thoughts and he sounds like Bruce Willis. Rock this baby (no pun intended) on mute with your friends and you are in stupid heaven.

11. Breakfast Club
- The ultimate 80's movie. It just misses out on the top ten. Its a staple on TV. Like I said about Can't Hardly Wait, it feels like the commercials are in the movie at this point.

10. 3: The Dale Earnhardt Story
- The top ten starts off with a movie that was actually a made for TV movie. ESPN Films brings it home with the story of Dale Earnhardt. Barry Pepper delivers a tour de force performance as the Intimidator. Spouting off lines like "Nobody beats me ever!" to Dale Jr. when they are carrying bags of lawnseed. Gets better every time you catch it on at 2:00 AM on ESPN 2. Goes great with a Dr. Pepper Bomb (half cup of Miller Light with a shot of amaretto dropped in).

9. Jaws - Three hours flat. The shark. The music. Brody. Quint. Quint getting eaten. But you forget about the commercial break they squeeze in right before Brody and Hooper swim into shore once Jaws has blown up. Plus you have to love when long, classic (in this case, classic scary) movies get further drawn out by commercials. This works well in the afternoons on Saturday when you feel like you are accomplishing something by not watching college sports or in the evenings on Saturday when a classic movie makes sipping those first two beers seem that much classier. Ah, hell its probably not.

8. Aliens
/Alien(tie) - Its hard to choose between these two. Again, they are both relatively long movies, which translate (in my ranking system) to great TV movies. Do you go for the action and "Game over man!" soundbytes of Aliens? Or do you go for the drawn out outer-space haunted house feel of Alien? Either way, with the commercial when you go to take a piss you get to freak yourself out before you grab the next beer. Even though its a tie, I think the edge goes to Alien. Watch that movie on mute with some music on (Grateful Dead) let the observations and the jokes fly.

6. Ghostbusters
- Are you turning this off when it comes on TV? How often do you reach for it on your DVD shelf even though it makes sense as an addition and most people have it? I don't and you should just throw it out and let Comedy Central sweep you away with promos for their next shitty show.

5. You, Me and Dupree
- A recent addition that keeps gaining steam. A cozy performance by Owen Wilson, a rock solid Dillon performance, a decent friend premise, nice Hudson underwear shots. Would you own this on DVD? No. Would you watch it exhausted on a Sunday night before Mad Men? Absolutely.

. Major League 2 - By all means a much better movie than Major League, it goes through such dry patches being on TV that it loses points. However it is sustained by the classic "this is only one year later how did everying get so crazy?" questions you ask yourself and your friends when you watch it. You can see Charlie Sheen mailing in his performance. And it has the immortal, "Fly ball. Caught." You are not changing the channel. Oh, wait. You are. That's the whole point of this list.

3. Godfather
- Strangely more episodic than the extremely episodic Godfather Part II. Fits perfectly on TV. Classic commercial break after the hospital scene with Michael, Enzo the baker, and the cop.

2. Major League - When I first moved into my apartment in Brooklyn, there was a night when some acquaintances from college came over to drink. This was before I had started my job and I wasn't necessarily close with some of these people, but we were having a good time. I had Major League on mute while we listened to music. The movie ended at 10:00 PM on AMC. Followed by an encore. I left the encore on and laughed my ass off knowing all the lines. Mute or no mute this is one of the best sports movies of all time and one of the most "Yes! I can't believe its on! Its a miracle movies" you'll ever find - even if TV does take away from the fact that it is the best cursing movie of all time. Plus it spurred my "Reverse Major League" movie idea. Where an old kind man owns a baseball team in a terrible town like Bismarck and all the players want to move to Miami. So the old man hires Steve Urkel to give him a potion to make himself young so he joins the team and starts trying, foiling the tanking plans of his teammates and becoming a legend of the state of North Dakota. Genius? Sure.

1. The Godfather Part II - Over three hours long without commercials, this legendary film becomes over four hours when it is put on AMC. There is something strangely assuring about a movie being on for almost five hours in the middle of the day on one channel when you are feeling desolate, drunk and depraved on late Sunday afternoon in November. And this is made all the better as you watch Michael Corleone swirl himself into isolation and power in the best impersonation of Shakespeare (i.e. Henry IV) of all time. Thank god there was never a mobster Henry V. ST. CRISPIN'S DAY!

Welp, that's that. I'll be back after the Christmas weekend no doubt with plenty of new ideas and meditations for you after getting drunk in my hometown and not being able to accept gifts from my family. Plus the new year will be coming up, the end of a decade, tons of lists, people feeling terrible and trying to foist plans on us both - there will be endless things to ramble about. Look forward to it.

Now, the next installment of "From Here to the Last Mound of Dirt":


Its hot in this god forsaken hole in the wall and my cramps are bad. This is all fun, though. Tom outside having a chat with that girl. I can’t see him from here. It’s all fun for us depressives to come out and get a drink. Poor dad sitting alone up at the house. We shouldn’t have left him like that. Is he crying about her? About tomorrow? Has he cried yet? Ever? All men have to come to tears sometime don’t they? That guide in Siberia. He cried when one of his dogs died on the trip with us. His knee bent in snow pants quietly scruffing and scraping the snow the breath rising and his staccato sobs. I never saw Jake. Not even…

I throw the dart.

It lands in the first level of nineteen. That closes that one out. The others did nothing for me. I walk up to the board to circle my X.

“Now all I need are the bullseyes,” I say to Liza.

“Let’s hope you can get those quick.”

“That’s the competitive spirit I like to see.”

We’re both bored but what else are we going to do in this shitty place? I have been in worse - bars with dirt floors in Central and South America. Its only that this place is in our backyard and I get to be reminded of watching old friends puke in the back when I’d come home from college. Guys a year older than trying to make out with me because I’d “gotten hotter and really become a women since you went away to college.”

Liza steps up and throws her first dart. It hits the outside section of ten. I don’t know why I agreed with Tom’s idea to come down here, but then again I do know why because it is better to get out of the house and it even looks like James is loosening up over there in the corner. I remember hearing about him being involved with beating up Danny Christian. His friend Paul and the other James almost got sued for it. They were good friends in the end because they admitted that James never through a punch – never touched the kid.

And look at Eve just watching him. Shame on him. Shame on her too for not going over there and just listening to him about saying a quick hello. She should’ve known he was drunk. I could tell. Ah it’s uncomfortable in here.

“Eve you should go over and drag him back.”

She puts on a smile and pretends like its not bothering her. But it would bother me. I wouldn’t let him talk to a slut like Arielle Gregors.

“Oh, no,” she says. “I’ll let him catch up. He needs to lighten up a little. He’s taken this all so hard.”

We’ve all taken it hard. Maybe we should be taking it harder. Maybe I should get out of here before I see someone I know and go sit with dad.

“Yeah, he has a way of doing that.”

“That’s what attracted me to him.”

I take a drink of my pint and set it down. “What that he was so serious?”

“No that he welcomed responsibility. That he was willing to. You know it feels different when you date a guy who you could recognize as a husband or a good father. I don’t know maybe I’m crazy.”

She’s not crazy. She’s right.

“Jake, I’m home.”

I walked down the hall, the lights were dim and there he was to take my coat. His tie was draped around his neck. I looked down at the coffee table. Two glasses of wine. One red and one white.
His hands on my waist.

“I’m not sure I know,” I say.

Eve looks down at her drink. Liza taps me on the shoulder and hands me the darts. I touch one sharp tip and feel it try to pierce my skin. Over Liza’s shoulder I see a girl with blonde hair sneaking up on her. I raise my eyebrows and motion with my head for her to turn around. She does.

“Liza! What are you doing home?”

“Oh, hey Lindsey,” she says. She’s tentative. She doesn’t want to be there or be seen just as much as me. My baby sister. The other girl hugs her. I’m sure she’s a bitch.


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