I used to love watching him on In Living Color when Joy and I were living in North Carolina and the kids hadn’t arrived on the scene yet. Since that time I’ve grown to love Foxx’s movie performances, including his work in this week’s four nominees. Which of them would be your favoured movie of the week?
SEAGAL LEARNS A LESSON. In the martial arts world of the 80’s, Steven Seagal was a big star. But he was also kind of a jerk. He was known for being too rough with stuntmen, even kicking them between the legs to see if they were wearing protection there or not. One day in 1991, when filming Out for Justice, one of his stuntmen was a 58-year-old pro wrestler and Judo expert Gene LeBell (the man who trained Roddy Piper and starred with Andre in Micki + Maude). Seagal was boasting about his Aikido training, claiming that he was immune to choke holds. LeBell wanted to give the man a chance to prove this, and he was happy to do so. The hold was applied, Steven said “go,” and in seconds he had not only fallen asleep, he had also crapped his pants! This led to the action movie star getting a restraining order on LeBell, on top of learning a tough life lesson. Now Seagal is truly a well trained and gifted fighter, something LeBell continues to affirm today. But you just can’t be a badass and a deuce at the same time.
BIG SHOW AND LITTLE JOHN. Ever hear of The Big Show? He is Paul Wight, and stands over 7 feet tall and weighs over 380 lbs (Yes, in real life. In fact, when he was 14 years old he was 6’8”. I know what you’re thinking and, yes, he played basketball.). A little over ten years ago he was in India for a WWE promotional event. Before the event started he went quickly to his room to “take care of business” after a very long flight. There was no way he would be able to use the bathroom in the airplane, something that some of us regular-sized people can barely pull off. And though this one was a much more accomodating size, the toilet was one of those European style models that are built right into the wall, with no support underneath. He was thinking what you and I are thinking right now… but he had to go! Deciding to take the risk he was pleased to discover the wall-mounted john was supporting his frame, which is impressive considering that back then he was well over 400 lbs, at times pushing 500. He was half-way through his mission when he heard what he says sounded like a bomb siren going off. In those rooms in India they had doorbells, something we are not accustomed to. But they also tend to have the volume turned up to a crazy level. DING DONG!! It scared Big Show, which caused him to do what most of us do when startled by a loud noise. His enormous frame leapt up off the toilet and back down on it. Yup, it all came crashing down. He did manage to avoid falling down on broken porcelain and… other dangerous materials… by grabbing a hold of the sink and towel rack, which thankfully and surprisingly held his weight. He made it out alive, and according to him, the mess was cleaned up, and the toilet was replaced and installed, by the time he got back to his room 4 hours later.
PIPER HATE. Back in the 70’s, a “heel” wrestler’s goal was to get you to hate him. The greater and more dangerous their hatred was toward you, the better. It was their work that made people love the good guys and pay money to see them beat up the bad guys. And they would do anything to get that “heat” from the crowd. There is no shortage of stories of riots breaking out because of what a bad guy did to a local hero in a ring. Rowdy Roddy Piper had this down to a science, and while he was in a southern Californian promotion he chose to make fun of the Latino population there on a wrestling TV program. His antics and insults worked so well that the network threatened to remove the show entirely. Immediately Piper got back on TV, apologized, and said that if they all would buy a ticket and come to see his match he would play the Mexican national anthem for them on his bagpipes. It was a sellout crowd who all rose with deep respect (hands on hearts, helping elderly stand, etc.). Piper was in the middle of the ring with his bagpipes, took a deep breath and played, “La Cucaracha.” It was at that moment that audience chairs started to get thrown into the ring…
ANDRE’S ORDER. Google “Andre the Giant stories” and you may just end up binge reading for hours. There are so many awesome Giant tales told by so many wrestling legends, but one of my favourite came from Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. One day while settling into his seat on a flight, Andre was having trouble with his armrest. While he was fidgeting with it a flight attendant came by to take orders for drinks. “Screwdriver,” he said. She looked a little puzzled, but came back promptly with not the drink, but an actual screwdriver tool. Andre looked up at her and said, “What would you have brought me if I’d asked for a bloody mary?”
There is just one more Andre story that I’d like to share, this one coming from “Mean” Gene Okerlund. This one also took place on a flight, one where Andre approached Gene who was sitting in coach. “You come sit with me, boss.” Andre sat in first class, more from necessity than luxury. Andre ordered a drink (surprise, surprise), then turned to his friend and said, “You know, people think that I have a great life…that I can travel all over and everything…but I see them when they point at me…little kids laugh and say, what kind of a man is he?” Then Okerlund says, “I saw him cry. He was a very sensitive man. Nobody realizes this.”
Congratulations Micki + Maude and Andre the Giant. This is your week.
And the Oscar goes to…
Best Actor: Paul Walker as Brian O’Conner in Fast Five.
Best Quote: “To all my love slaves out there: Thunderlips is here. In the flesh, baby. The ultimate male versus… the ultimate meatball. Ha, ha, ha.” — Hulk Hogan as Thunderlips in Rocky III.
I do realize that in wrestling, there are many stories that get elaborated on and grow over time. Well, I read a lot of them and have gotten to know the ones that have been inflated, the ones that have been confirmed, etc. The ones above I have confidence in sharing with you as actual events.
We did this once before and it was Roddy Piper vs Randy Savage vs Jesse Ventura. Well, now the match is another triple threat: Hulk Hogan vs Andre the Giant vs The Rock! Which would be your movie of the week? Feel free to vote based on the movie or on the wrestler.
Rocky III (1982, The Hulkster)
Micki + Maude (1984, The Eighth Wonder of the World)
Fast Five (2011, The Most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment)
When it comes to climate change, it can be difficult to know what’s real and what’s not. Do we trust those who tell us there is a dangerous and imminent problem that could have disastrous affects on our descendants, or do we trust those who warn us of spending unnecessary time and money on something being force-fed to us by alarmists?
Whether or not we realize, we all do have an established stance on the subject, and therefore, every one of us fits into one of two categories: 1) those who believe there is a real problem and 2) those who don’t believe there is a real problem. You may believe yourself to be more middle-of-the-road (e.g. You don’t believe all the hype but you also think we should be responsible in taking care of our planet.), but at the end of the day, either you are concerned about climate change or you are not.
Now Run Lola Run can actually help us here. In this film there are several different scenarios given to the audience. It doesn’t say which one is real, we choose. For me, when choosing what to believe in situations like this, I have found “Occam’s Razor” to be a very helpful principle in problem solving. It simply states that the simplest answer is usually the correct one.
So, in this case, which scenario below seems more likely to be true?
- The Industrial Revolution and its continual growth has created pollution that ultimately caused a real change in our climate patterns that, if left unchecked, will result in danger and possible catastrophe to generations to come. Multi-billionaires, whose companies are amoung the worst offenders pay top dollar to convince the masses that there is no problem. They hire people who pose as experts and insist that climate change is a hoax. They consort with powerful friends: politicians.
- Though evidence proves that pollution is destructive, the discoveries made concerning climate change years ago have since been proven to be a false alarm. A commanding majority of scientists and researchers, however, saw an opportunity to cash in on the fear people have for cataclysmic events. These scientists joined forces with politicians who rely on this mass fear as people will spend big money on government programs and “environment friendly” products.
Now I can envision either one of these being true. Given the opportunity to lie and deceive in an effort to make money is a common pit we humans fall into. However, in cases like this where it’s hard to know what to believe, I like to make use of the Occam’s Razor principle: the simplest solution is probably the answer. And when I do ask that question, it seems obvious to me that option #1 is the clear winner. Here’s why I say this:
- I can more easily believe filthy rich oil tycoons trying to protect their money more than I envision a majority of the science community jumping into a get-rich-quick scheme. The motive is just more believable.
- The super rich and politicians have gotten along very well throughout history. Time and time again we see them scratching each other’s backs. And though government often sponsors scientific studies, a collusion with scientists to make a snake oil profit, even if it’s a big snake oil profit, just doesn’t sound as probable.
- More than once I have seen “experts” and “scientists” on TV who were exposed later as not experts at all, but people who were hired for PR work. And each time it they were on the side that claims climate change is a hoax. I have no doubt at all that their counterparts can and do the same, but I haven’t witnessed it yet.
- I have a hard time believing that this hoax has managed to dupe most of the developed world but didn’t manage to trick the Donald.
This, admittedly, is a bit simplistic. I mean, textbooks are written on the subject. But this is my conclusion after running through the scenarios like Lola. And I must admit that after such a short run I’m already out of breath. So… what say you?
Congratulations Run Lola Run. This is your week.
And the Oscar goes to…
Best Actor: Yun-Fat Chow as Master Li Mu Bai in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Best Quote: “I want to tell you with my last breath that I have always loved you. I would rather be a ghost, drifting by your side as a condemned soul, than enter heaven without you. Because of your love, I will never be a lonely spirit.” — Li Mu Bai in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
If you’ve read this entire post, thank you. I realize that climate change is a bit of a bore these days, and is quite divisive. But I believe it’s important for us to talk about it, whether we like it or not.
Honestly, if you haven’t experienced the wonderful world of international movies, now is the time to start. I loved every one of this week’s nominees. I’m not sure which one I’d pick over the others, but it only matters what you would pick. If you haven’t seen them, vote on which plot description would most interest you.
Run Lola Run (1998)
Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
What?? You haven’t seen that?! It’s true. The following 45 movies I have yet to see. Which ones would you most recommend to me?
1973: The Exorcist
1974: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
1975: The Rocky Horror Picture Show
1977: Close Encounters of the Third Kind
1978: Animal House
1979: Mad Max
1980: Friday the 13th
1981: On Golden Pond
1982: Fast Times at Ridgemont High
1983: Risky Business
1985: Weird Science
1986: The Fly
1989: Born on the Fourth of July
1990: The Godfather, Part III
1991: Thelma & Louise
1992: Bram Stoker’s Dracula
1993: Dazed and Confused
1994: Natural Born Killers
1997: Starship Troopers
1998: The Thin Red Line
1999: Eyes Wide Shut
2000: Bring It On
2001: The Fast and the Furious
2002: Bend It Like Beckham
2003: Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
2005: Wedding Crashers
2007: Hot Fuzz
2008: Quantum of Solace
2009: The Princess and the Frog
2010: The Town
2011: Transformers: Dark of the Moon
2013: Thor: The Dark World
2014: Guardians of the Galaxy
2015: Avengers: Age of Ultron
2016: Suicide Squad
2017: For now it’s Spider-Man: Homecoming, but I plan to change that tomorrow!
Congratulations The Three Musketeers. This is your week.
Best Actress: Catherine Zeta-Jones as Elena in The Mask of Zorro.
Best Actor: Errol Flynn as Robin Hood in The Adventures of Robin Hood.
Best Quote: Marian Fitzwalter: “Why, you speak treason!” Robin Hood: “Fluently.”
The 2014 movie needs an explanation. You would think that I’d have made a point to watch Guardians of the Galaxy, and really I did. I picked up my ten-year-old son from camp and gave him a surprise: “We’re going to the movies!” He was excited, but as we sat in the theater I could tell he was also tired. Half-way through the movie I looked at Lukey, saw how exhausted and distracted he was and realized he was really only there for me. I decided the right thing to do would be to offer to leave. He took me up on my offer and we left the theater (Which I believe was a first for me.). I’ve been meaning to finish it, but I just haven’t yet. So, suffice to say I haven’t seen the sequel either.
We owe a lot to the swashbuckling genre, especially for fans of The Princess Bride (1987), the Pirates of the Carribean franchise, and even Star Wars (1977). Which of the following would you pick to be our movie of the week?
The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
The Three Musketeers (1993)
The Mask of Zorro (1998)