Note: today was the annual running of the Boston marathon. For those of you who don't live in Boston, here's a breakdown of how things work:
1) people gather around the route and support the runners by drinking, yelling, and throwing up on sidewalks.
2. Later in the day, they decide to start training for their own marathons, regardless of physical capability
3) Then, they give up, go home and watch/create hilarious mash-ups of Gadhafi and Charlie Sheen.
In between porn-watching sessions, I'll often browse cnn.com for fodder. The living section, a favorite of mine, featured an article about murder mystery/cooking novels that were becoming popular (http://www.cnn.com/2011/LIVING/04/13/culinary.mysteries.gain.popularity/index.html).
Apparently, the characters in the books would mull over murder cases while making a delicious ham. Sounds delightful, but this trend of food mystery novels is not new. In fact, I traced it back all the way to the pioneers of food/mystery novel. Below are examples from trailblazers of the genre. Don't read it on an empty stomach -- your mouth will water.
2. David Berkowitz
I think we can safely say that the difference between a hilariously awkard sexual moment on Seinfeld and a lawsuit/criminal court case is the absence of a laugh track. In what sounds like a classic Seinfeld moment (which would be discussed ad naseum at the coffee shop), a Los Angeles woman is suing match.com for setting her up with a convicted sex offender who allegedly raped her. Add a laugh track and a clever nickname, and this guy would be part of water-cooler conversation for weeks (or until another dancing wedding video went viral), but without these things, it's all serious litigation.
According to her lawyer, "Because match.com has failed to 'undertake a basic screening process [emphasis provided] that disqualifies from membership anyone who has a documented history of sexual assault, Match and sexual predators benefit, while female members ... are endangered.'"
In response, the President of Match.com issued the following statement: "We use industry-leading technology and have staff members dedicated to monitoring the quality and integrity of the membership pool."
That's true. In response to the sexual assault, below is match.com's new screening process:
I think the real question is this: aside from the alleged rape, was it a good match?
If you've ever thought to yourself: "I wish people would take less responsibility," I have good news for you: pedestrians and murder victims are now using twitter and other social networking sites to broadcast messages of despair in lieu of simply calling 911. To be fair, I think the idea of creating a buzz about your imminent rape on facebook is much more entertaining than simply begging for help. I'm glad people are showing more self-control in their lives -- desperation is unsexy.
According to an article on CNN.com, here's how it works: A man witnesses a woman being assaulted on a street corner. Rather than break up the fight himself or call the police, he simply tweets: "Need police/ambulance on corner of Jefferson and Lincoln." Let's hope that he's following the local 911 dispatch on twitter or that someone chooses to retweet that message and not his thoughts on cheese sandwiches.
I see benefits to this new version of good samaritanism: 1) you can avoid confrontation and unpleasant conversations with rapists/muggers and 2) you can simply tweet about the problem and still make it on time to catch the 8PM showing of Arthur. By the time the movie ends, the woman who you witnessed being murdered may have received help, but if she didn't, you can't blame yourself -- you already tweeted about it. What more can be asked of you? Besides, you're too tired from laughing at Russell Brand's antics for two hours to even care.
If you're still confused, here's an example of social media-as-crime-fighter in action:
At least we can point to a moment in time when humanity began its downfall: The remake of Arthur
Your Highness -- 0 out of 7 Golden Slacks
Synopsis (from imdb.com): When Prince Fabious's bride is kidnapped, he goes on a quest to rescue her... accompanied by his lazy useless brother Thadeous.
Joe's Take: I applaud all forms of comedy -- parody, satire, irony, and fat people tumbling down stairwells -- so I was willing to suspend my judgment of a film that parodied a non-existent genre. Then, I saw that Danny McBridge was involved and was willing to suspend disbelief when his Kenny Powers character inevitably cursed and masturbated his way through medieval situations. Then, I saw Natalie Portman and David Gordon Green were involved -- two filmmakers who lend gravitas to films -- and thought the movie could be hilarious and poignant. Then, I saw a clip of the movie in which Kenny Powers falls down the stairs in full armor and forces James Franco to suck his own "venom" and I spent the rest of the afternoon huddled underneath the table thinking of the sad conversations between crew members and their families about their work days. This movie feels like the result of a bad poker games between theses actors' and the director's agents. At least this should put a dent in James Franco's self-esteem.
Unexpected Scene: the gang happens upon an enchanted television that plays NBC's The Cape in perpetuity. Audience rejoices.
Soul Surfer - 2 out of 7 Golden Slacks
Synopsis (from imdb.com): A teenage surfer girl summons the courage to go back into the ocean after losing an arm in a shark attack.
Joe's Take: A lot of people will tell you this is a courageous story about overcoming obstacles but I see it as another tale of generational entitlement gone awry. I look at this from the shark's perspective. This girl is trespassing on its territory, updating her facebook statuses and sexting while it's trying to relax and find something to eat. So it bites off her arm to send her a message and what does the girl do? She goes back into the shark's property. This is disrespectful. When I do this to my neighbor, the courts tell me I'm to blame.
Unexpected Scene: During a scene in which the girl insists that everything happens for a reason, God appears and admitted that he was asleep at the wheel on this one -- he was catching up on episodes of Bones. When will they get together?
Arthur -- -5 billion out of 7 Golden Slacks
Synopsis (from IMDB.com): A drunken playboy stands to lose a wealthy inheritance when he falls for a woman his family doesn't like.
Joe's Take: Here's a better synopsis: Go to the bathroom. Look down. Imagine less laughs. That's the movie.
Unexpected Scene: Halfway through the film, Helen Mirren's face falls off -- it turns out to be a disguise worn by the hilarious Danny McBride -- Mirren died three years ago. Then, he tries to get Arthur to suck his own "venom."
Please take a seat. Have a glass of Merlot -- it's from your favorite vineyard. Are you comfortable? Good. Great. I wanted to talk with you. You might not know this but a while back Pete and I decided to take a leave of absence from our jobs and spend untold dollars and hours crafting smart and hilarious videos for you to enjoy. We hired actors, secured locations, and even got an on-set tutor for Torio all for your benefit. And do you know how many views we have? Five (5). Five views. So I went to youtube looking for videos with the most hits and happened upon this:
If you're too busy retweeting Rebecca Black's latest legal troubles to check it out on YouTube (although you probably have already bookmarked it and played it at bar mitzvahs and funerals), I'll give you the gist: "comedian" Jeff Dunham has a puppet he calls Achmed the Dead Terrorist. The puppet says inappropriate and offensive things but since it comes from wood, you seem to love it. In the clip above, Dunham asks Achmed if he likes Bush (the President), but Achmed thinks Jeff is talking about a vagina. "I love bush... oh, you mean the president!" The crowd (and you) respond with uproarious laughter. Note the fat, bearded guy who is laughing so hard he temporarily forgets about the unrest in Libya.
I guess my question is this: America... what the F***?
Determined to give you what you want, I looked up the top three YouTube videos and found the following images. In an effort to give you what you want, I have crafted rebuttal videos that should ensure "viral" stature for Conan or Bust. You had better enjoy this.
# 1 YouTube viral video:
Cat Playing Piano
Description: A cat (or a puppet cat) plays piano
Joe's copy"cat" viral video:
Description: I strap two cats to my hands and play the piano with their heads.
# 2. YouTube viral video:
"Funniest Prank Ever"
Description: A creepy, middle-aged man straps a plastic skunk to a metal rod and sticks it underneath a park bench much to the surprise of people eating lunch/conducting drug deals on it.
Joe's Copycat viral video:
Description: I up the ante by strapping a real skunk to a metal rod and surprising funeral attendees and surgeries all to the tune of Lynyrd Skynyrd's What's That Smell?
# 3. YouTube viral video:
Jennifer Aniston and Smart Water
Description: Just as we were about to film this skit, Jen Aniston took a break from making crappy movies to steal my viral video idea. Basically, she puts herself "into" famous viral videos to get hers to go viral. It was successful. She has over 8 million views.
Joe's Copycat viral video:
Description: I just project her commercial on to my screen while on stage. Then...
...I hit this guy in the groin with a football/nuclear weapon.
Give me my viral video, America. Or else...
Note: As I'm writing this in a Starbucks, the two 80-year old women seated next to me are talking about their sex lives. It has melted my headphones.
Insidious - 0 out of 7 Golden Slacks
Synopsis (from imdb.com): A family looks to prevent evil spirits from trapping their comatose child in a realm called The Further.
Joe's take: I think it's adorable when hollywood pretends that children are lovely, wise beings who enrich our lives. In this film a couple fights their to protect their son from evil demons. In reality, couples fight each other to protect themselves from the less sexy evils thrown upon them by their children: obesity, rapid aging, and bankruptcy. The film is a wish-fulfillment fantasy for every family out there. "Hey, what if Hank didn't throw pasta sauce on the ceilng? it was just an evil demon!" Sorry, parents. Your children are the evil demons. I know. I tell them when you're not looking.
Unexpected Scene: The "Evil" children raises money for AIDS research. Even evil can't be bad all the time.
Cat Run - 1 out of 7 Golden Slacks
Synopsis (from imdb.com): When a sexy, high-end escort holds the key evidence to a scandalous government cover-up, two bumbling young detectives become her unlikely protectors from a ruthless assassin hired to silence her.
Joe's Take: I'm not a psychic, but I have a feeling I know how this is going to go down: escort forms tentative then strong bond with bumbling detectives. One of the detectives falls for her, the other decides to fix his troubled marriage which may or may not involve a hilarious scene involving his father-in-law Dabney Coleman. The government cover is exposed leading to promotions for both cops who are no longer bumbling. Then, they all celebrate by going home to watch the latest episode of NBC's The Cape.
Unexpected Scene: They release the government cover-up the same day as Charlie Sheen releases another rant. No one even notices.
Source Code - 3 out of 7 Golden Slacks
Synopsis (from imdb.com): An action thriller centered on a soldier who wakes up in the body of an unknown man and discovers he's part of a mission to find the bomber of a Chicago commuter train.
Joe's Take: This movie is a cross between 12 Monkeys and my daily commute. Basically, Gyllenhal's character is sent back in time as someone else to experience the last 7 minutes of a train ride before it explodes. While he is on the train, he has to figure out who the bomber is as well as flirt with a beautiful girl. This is slightly different from my daily commute where I have to figure out who is playing Rebecca Black's Friday on their boom box (so I can kick them in the ribs) and endure endless crotch pokes from random children. The movie is the kind of science fiction I enjoy: it doesn't involve giant intergalactic spiders, endless explosions or William Shatner.
Unexpected Scene: On one of his trips back, Gyllenhal uses the entire 8 minutes to download the trailer for the upcoming hilarious reboot of Arthur starring Russell Brand.