Things That Suck: Every Single Trailer I Saw Last Night Before The Simpsons Movie.
Was the absolutely staggering increase in advertising before movies incremental, or did they just lay it all down at once? I don’t go to the movies all that often, but it seems like every time I do the amount of bullshit they play before the movie gets a little longer and a lot more annoying. I don’t think they used to play commercials for fabric softener and life insurance before movies, did they? I remember there always being trailers, but didn’t all the trailers used to be for… umm… movies? You know – because you were at a movie theater? Now they’re hawking TV shows, products and services, and they’re not even doing it in a widescreen format. They just leave black bars on either side of the screen. How long before they start using those bars to play other, smaller ads? Maybe I should write them a letter and suggest it. As it stands, it’s kind of a waste.
We went to go see The Simpsons Movie last night (which was okay), and we were advised to line up a good half hour before the movie started. What that meant was that we ended up enduring a full hour of dumbed-down movie trivia (one of the answers was actually “The Simpsons Movie” – wrap your head around that one) and advertising. After a half hour of trivia and celebrity quotes and Coke ads, we were actually relieved when the lights dimmed and – gasp – they started playing actual advertisements. You know – ones with pictures that actually move. Geena Davis told us that if we bought refreshments something charitable would happen (can’t remember what), Tide is fucking awesome, and a bunch of TV shows I will never watch will be airing in September. Then finally, after a mind-numbling 15 minutes or so, we finally got to the main course: trailers for other movies. Here’s a quick rundown.
Alvin & The Chipmunks
In 1958, Ross Bagdasarian (who also recorded the hit song “The Witch Doctor”) figured out that speeding up an audio track of a person singing sounds funny. The discovery won him two Grammy Awards, a long-running cartoon spinoff, and the distinguished position of Most Annoying Man Of The 20th Century. 50 years later, it looks like children are just as stupid and easy to please as they were back then. It also looks like Jason Lee’s career is over.
The Game Plan
Did you miss The Pacifier because you thought it looked like the most retarded thing ever, or because you were just waiting for someone to make the same movie with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson instead of Vin Diesel? Let me explain to you why it’s funny: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is very manly, and parenting (especially a daughter) is for chicks. Also noteworthy: “The Rock” is starting to use his actual birth name in conjunction with his wrestling name. Did somebody say “serious acting aspirations”?
A meteor crashes into the Earth but it turns out that it’s an angel and there’s magic and witches and shit like that. Oh, and Robert De Niro is a space pirate. It’s like they force-fed a French guy some ecstasy, threw him in front of a word processor and said “just type whatever sounds cool to you right now.”
This one looks like it’s going to fall into the “naughty Christmas movie” genre established by movies like “Bad Santa,” “Badder Santa,” and “Badder Santa: The Unrated Version” (in which Billy Bob Thornton murders every other character in the movie with an axe while swearing a lot (with hilarious results)), Fred Claus is about Santa Claus’s relationship with his brother (Vince Vaughn), who doesn’t wear a red suit, doesn’t have a beard, and does not deliver presents to children. Instead, the eponymous Fred Claus looks, talks, and acts exactly like Vince Vaughn. You know – like a dude. I’m not even gonna talk shit about this one, actually, because after enduring the crap listed above, this one actually seemed like it might be worth watching.
Good lord. Every single trailer I saw last night before The Simpsons Movie sucked.
Things That Suck: Almost Getting Decapitated By A Truck.
Yesterday I decided to do a good deed. My friend Craig (hi Craig!) had surgery on his leg last week, and he was feeling a little stir crazy, what with the whole not leaving his house for days at a time thing, so I drove down to Lower West Side of Chicago with some friends so we could take him out to eat. Nice, right? What do I get in return?
I almost get decapitated by a truck.
We’re driving along when all of the sudden we get detoured because of some stupid carnival. So we end up getting detoured around the thing, getting waved through intersections by homeless guys in orange vests who are making $5 an hour but acting like they’re cops. Yeah, thanks for waving me through, guy. You might want to turn around, though – you’re waving me directly into another homeless guy in an orange vest. Yeah, see him? He’s the one who’s telling me to stop. Yeah, great dude. Thanks for giving me permission to cross the empty intersection.
Anyway, so we’re turning down all these side streets trying to get around the carnival, when all of the sudden there’s a truck turning in front of me. It looked a little like this.
So we’re stuck at the intersection with absolutely nowhere to go and this truck is turning in front of us, slowly inching closer and closer to my car. The bottom of the trailer is just about at the right level to rip the top of my car off and crush all of our skulls. What is the appropriate response to that? What would rational thought tell you to do in that situation? Honk your horn, right? That’s precisely what horns are for – to alert other drivers. Perfect solution, right? Just lay on the horn to let the truck driver know that he’s about to decapitate me and my friends!
Sounds good in theory, but what actually happened was a little different. Rather than laying on my horn to stop awful things from transpiring, I opted instead to keep my foot firmly planted on the brakes and slap my window over and over again while repeating the words “please stop please stop please stop please stop!”
All of my friends laughed at me, but you know what? That was the best I could do under those circumstances. And you know what else? I don’t think that’s half bad. Whatever – apparently it worked.
The chinese food was really good, by the way, but the almost getting decapitated by a truck? That kinda sucked.
Things That Suck: Weekly World News Is Over.
There’s always been a place in my heart for Weekly World News. When it came to those less-reported stories, there just wasn’t anywhere else to turn. Who broke Bat Boy? When space aliens met with Clinton, who had the gall to report on it? Forget the hip and would-be “radical” rags you find in the anarchist bookstores. For the real scoop, you needed to look no farther than your local grocery checkout line.
But now those days are over. Gone are the days of Bat Boy, Elvis sightings and the world’s fattest baby. When Osama Bin Laden is found – in one of George Bush’s myriad secret homosexual love dens – who is going to report it? Who is going to publish Ed Anger‘s latest screeds? NYT? WaPo? I think not, my friends. The Weekly World News is over, and you know what? That really sucks.
Well… kinda. I guess I haven’t actually bought one in like six years.
Things That Rule: Serendipity.
So I’m driving in my car1 and I’m thinking to myself, “Hey, you know what? You haven’t really done a Thing That Rules or a Thing That Sucks in a while. Maybe you should get on that.” Easy enough in principle, but what do you do when nothing particularly shitty (or awesome) comes to mind? You can’t just pluck something that sucks (or rules) right out of the ether! You have to notice something, process it, and then actually come up with something – ideally something entertaining – to say about it. Sure, I could look out the window right now, see a tree, and be like “You know what? That tree sucks. Look at it out there, blowing around in the wind. Look at those shitty leaves. Oh, wow – they’re green. How… pedestrian.” And yeah, the tree outside my window does kind of suck, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it would make a good Thing That Sucks.
So I was sitting there in traffic, trying to cull something from the dregs of my brain that might be noteworthy. Something amazing or something truly awful. I would’ve taken anything, really, but I kept coming up blank. Nothing. Zilch. Then just at the moment when I was ready to give up, I drove over a dead skunk that was smeared all over the road. The smell came wafting in all at once, and I squinted my eyes, rolled up my window, and thought to myself “Well whatdya know? Serendipity rules.”
On a similar note, dead skunks suck.
1 It’s been bumming me out that a good chunk of my anecdotes lately have revolved around stuff that I’ve seen while stuck rush hour traffic. Traffic is unequivocally the most boring thing in the entire world. The fact that I manage to find even marginally noteworthy things to blather about while stuck in it is either a testament to my keen powers of observation or proof that I’m living an unbelievably mundane life. I’m pretty sure I know which one it is, too. I’ll give you a hint: I often eat lunch at the Corner Bakery twice within the same week.
(edit: as karmic retribution for this post, this morning found me stuck in gridlock on a stretch of highway where a truck full of pig guts spilled its cargo on July 1. The road is still visibly greasy and the smell is still unbearable.)
Things That Suck: The Lack Of Mystique Surrounding Freemasonry.
There was a time in the not-so-distant past when Freemasonry was something special, something that instilled a sense of wonderment, maybe even a little bit of fear. Freemasonry was lumped in with a bevy of other shadowy organizations: The Illuminati, Skull & Bones… umm… The Shriners… mostly just The Illuminati and Skull & Bones, I guess. They met at night under ornate rotundas to flog one another with paddles and manipulate the global political landscape. They participated in ancient, moderately-homoerotic traditions while us outsiders could only guess what secrets lay entombed within their candlelit meeting places. They forced the U.S. Mint to put all kinds of trippy stuff on the back of a dollar bill. Long story short, they were totally fucking sweet.
Fast forward to 2007. Freemasonry has a detailed wikipedia page and has been thoroughly exposed in the popular culture. The secret is out, Masons – how could it get any worse for you? Oh, I’ve got it – how about you let this douchebag in a Budweiser coat speeding around town on a crotch rocket join your ancient, secret society? Congratulations, guys – you somehow found a way to further tarnish the Freemason image. I’d really love to see you guys as shadowy & sinister, but let’s face it – you haven’t been either of those things for a long, long time. Maybe you’ve changed, or maybe I’ve just grown older & wiser, but either way the end result is the same – you guys have lost your mystique, and you know what? That sucks.
Things That Suck: Square Plates.
Oooh. This restaurant is really fancy. The waiter’s kind of a prick and it’s really dark in here and the prices are just say like “28” or “32” or however many dollars the item costs. This restaurant is so fancy they don’t even bother with change. That makes me feel good about spending so much money to eat here. I can’t wait to dig in! Here comes the food now! Wow – this looks pretty good. It’s some kind of chopped meat patty covered in stuff and served in the middle of a halved roll of some kind. And these things on the side… what are these? Pommes frites? Ooh… French. This all seems vaguely familiar, though. Where have I seen these foods before? I know I must not have ever had any of them before because they’re all being served to me on a square plate. Square plates are the fanciest! Anything served on a square plate is classy and elegant and I, having no class or elegance, have clearly never eaten any of these foods before!
Oh, wait – it’s a burger and fries. Fuck. Square plates suck.
Good Hip-Hop Hook, Bad Hip-Hop Hook.
Good Hip-Hop Hook: “Bow Wow Wow Yippie Yo Yippie Yay.”
Bad Hip-Hop Hook: “Good Googly Moogly, That Thang Is Juicy.”
Good Hip-Hop Hook: “I Gotta Stay Fly-ay-ay-ay-ay-ay-ay Until I Die-ie-ie-ie-ie-ie-ie-ie.”
Bad Hip-Hop Hook: “Good Googly Moogly, That Thang Is Juicy.”
Good Hip-Hop Hook: “It’s Bigger Than Hip… Hop…”
Bad Hip-Hop Hook: “Good Googly Moogly, That Thang Is Juicy.”
Good Hip-Hop Hook: “Throw Your Hands In The Air And Wave ‘Em Like You Just Don’t Care.”
Bad Hip-Hop Hook: “Good Googly Moogly, That Thang Is Juicy.”
Things That Suck: Rainbows.
You call this majesty? Is this the best you can do, nature? I know, I know – people are supposed to be really blown away by rainbows. Hell – this one’s a double rainbow. What am I supposed to do, though? Pull over to the side of the road and think about God? Who should I blame that I don’t? The Skittles Corporation? Shall I shed a single teardrop for the commodification of nature’s splendor? Sorry, rainbow. No dice. I’ll admit that it was a nice change of pace to see these while I was stuck in traffic the other day, but it only lasted about two seconds. Then I realized I was still stuck in traffic and the rainbow wasn’t going to help matters at all. Not even a double rainbow can fix rush hour on I-94. You know why? Because rainbows don’t do anything. They just sit there, refracting light like I’m supposed to give a shit. They’re obeying the laws of physics. Hey, check me out – when I drop this object it falls and hits the ground. Do you find that to be as amazing as an enormous, beautiful rainbow? No? Huh. It’s actually kind of impressive that even though rainbows have every single color there is, they still manage to totally suck.
Just A Juggalo.
The Insane Clown Posse played a big concert in my neighborhood over the weekend. As a result, there were Juggalos everywhere. Juggalos are a lot like you and I, except they listen to the shittiest music on the planet and they paint their faces like they’re evil clowns and their parents are siblings. A lot of people are probably scared of Juggalos, and with good reason, too! Juggalos look scary! Don’t be fooled, though. When you look at a Juggalo, just remember: Underneath the face paint, oversized hockey jerseys & shorts, tiny braids, and sticky Faygo residue is a human being just like you or I.
These two met sophomore year at Shoney’s. She was waiting tables there and he was throwing a brick through the window. She helped him make bail and the two have been inseparable ever since. It was the girl (a “Juggalette” and not a “Juggaho”) that got down with the clown first. She was all “just come with me to one show,” but he told her he thought it was kind of weird. In all honesty, he was actually scared of the whole Juggalo scene. Raised as a devout Catholic, dude knew that evil clowns and Faygo were NOT a part of the path to righteousness, but then again, neither was breaking windows at the local Shoney’s. He gave it a shot – now he’s hooked, and he isn’t afraid to let you know it. While they identify with ICP culture, they use blue face paint to express their individuality. She prefers Violent J – he prefers Shaggy 2 Dope. The original odd couple.
This guy is looking for a good time and knows exactly where to find it. Got down with the clown through his cool uncle, who also got him down with SoCo, chaw, and an old stack of Barely Legal magazines (dude’s tight). Could take or leave the face paint in all honesty, but digs the oversized shorts and lyrics about fucking. Isn’t sure what he wants to do with his life, but knows he could never take a job that doesn’t understand that he’ll always be a Juggalo first and an employee second. One time at school a jock called him a faggot and he jumped up and started reciting the lyrics from “Chicken Huntin’.” After the jock punched him in the jaw he realized they used to be best friends in grade school. In his head, the incident symbolized his full immersion into Juggalo culture. Drives a sweet truck but ejaculates prematurely. Likes Taco Bell but hates vegetables. His old man is alright but his mom is a total bitch. Considers himself a “pretty good fighter” and has a carefully-concealed Pearl Jam CD in his collection. Prefers Shaggy 2 Dope.
These guys are tough as fucking nails. The one on the right has a really big truck with some bumper stickers that are so nastay I’m not even comfortable describing them. These are some nastay bumper stickers. Truly profane, and you know what? These two wouldn’t have it any other way. They love swearin’, muddin’, and gettin’ all hyper on the Faygo and going nutz. Both raised by single parents. Both have experimented with alcohol, marijuana, glue, and just being into regular shitty music instead of spectacularly shitty music. The one on the right envies the one on the left’s makeup-applying abilities. The one on the left stole his dad’s girlfriend’s cosmetics case to learn how. They have never shared a homoerotic experience, but they have both imagined what it would be like. When the one on the left pictures it, they are both 20 pounds lighter. Both prefer Violent J.
These three are a mixed bag. The one on the right doesn’t even like ICP – he’s just in it for the Faygo and the Juggahos. The one in the middle could take or leave the music but is really into the mythology. The one in the back actually prefers the opening band, Twiztid. So why, you ask, are they hanging out together? Where’s the common thread that binds them? Easy – they all love getting hyper on soda and scammin’ on the trashiest Juggahos they can find. Sometimes they stay up late smoking nutmeg and talking about how cool it is that they’re friends even though they’re so different from one another. One time in LaFayette they found a dead squirrel in some bushes next to the gas station. The one in the front picked it up and was going to throw it at this one dude, but the dude got in his truck and drove off before he had a chance to throw it, so he just put it back in the bushes, went into the gas station, and bought some Nerds and some Pop Rocks and some soda. Then they put the Nerds and the Pop Rocks in the soda and chugged the sodas with the Nerds and the Pop Rocks in them and got ALL HYPERRRRRRR!!!
A Eulogy For The Roach That I Killed In My (Apparently) Roach-Infested One-Bedroom Apartment Last Night, Who, In All Likelihood, Has Actually Lived There Longer Than I Have.
Sorry I smashed everything under your exoskeleton into mush. I turned on the lights in the bathroom and you came running out. You know – that cool, moist room with all the smooth surfaces to walk around on? I know this is going to be hard for you to understand, but that’s actually the room that I BATHE in. It’s this thing that most people of my species do when we feel gross. We run water all over ourselves and do all this other stuff that would probably be way over your head. You know what? Forget it.
Anyway, you came running out of that room and went into my bedroom. Right when I was turning on the light, too! I wasn’t expecting that, you little dickens!
If you don’t get showers, you’re not going to understand bedrooms. I’m not even going to waste my time on that. You also probably don’t understand lights, either, save for that weird primordial brain switch that makes you run whenever you see it. Whatever – none of this even matters anyway because you’re dead. I smashed the crap out of you with a shoe. Do you understand the concept of shoes? I bet you do now.
I know you’ve probably lived in this apartment longer than I have. That makes me feel kind of bad for murdering you in what you probably considered your own home. For that I’m sorry, but let’s face it – I pay way more rent than you do. Are you familiar with rent? It’s the stuff I pay way too much of to have to share an apartment with you.
It fills my heart with stress and mild-to-moderate disgust to think that you died as you probably lived – hiding underneath my night stand. You were really big, and you had really long antennae, and I really hope that I never see any of your friends in my apartment for the duration of my lease, which will almost certainly not be renewed.
Rest in pieces, motherfucker.