Taking a much needed break from not getting booking e-mails replied to, I have ventured an hour north of the city to accompany my father on a three day mini-vacation to Bear Mountain, NY. Being that he is 82 years old and not getting around very well the trip represents a feasible way for him to escape the apartment and get a bit of nature. It also gives my Mom a three day break, or at least time to workshop some material before my parents’ next argument. But with my Dad’s memory resembling the guy in Memento, his gait to the bathroom resembling Beyoncé’s single ladies dance in 1/10000th the speed and his countenance resembling a near-bald, older Morgan Freeman (and me looking like me) I think this trip would make for a great movie comedy script. However, with the two stars of the movie being 75% black I am not sure I should call Judd Apatow just yet. That said, I think I can get Tyler Perry interested.
There would be no shortage of older black actors he could cast as my Dad, though I am guessing I would also be replaced also, probably by a darker, more muscular man since Tyler Perry loves cross dressing and casting extremely muscular black men in his movies. But in no way should his intense embrace of Christian values, love of cross-dressing and admiration of extremely muscular black men indicate anything other than a healthy heterosexuality in accordance with the Lord’s wishes. So I am out of the movie and I am thinking a desperate Louis Gossett Jr. and an available Boris Kodjoe will play my father and me, respectively, in Tyler Perry’s 3 Day Trip with Dad. Here are the potential sources of humor that actually have happened combined with things that Tyler Perry could then add to the story and punch up with his trademark humor:
Arrive at Bear Mountain Inn, driven by older brother (played by Shemar Moore) who leaves me with words of wisdom and encouragement for my stay with Dad, demonstrating that he is the responsible and mature brother.
I act annoyed with my Dad, until I see that the front desk woman at the Inn is a striking 5’11” blonde (only the latter part of this is true, but for humor’s sake the first part would happen in the Perry script and for some unexplainable reason the woman at the front desk would be an evil character who would try and drive an emotional wedge between my father and I during a 50 hour trip)
The cleaning lady has not cleaned the room yet when we arrive (true). But instead of an apologetic Latin woman coming to clean the room, it would be a light-skinned attractive black woman coming to clean the room who would give me sass that I would find off-putting, but intriguing at the same time.
On a walk with my Dad, he continues to ask me questions of unbelieveable vagueness – “who is the man from the movie who sang the song?” or this one which occurred yesterday during a conversation about MSNBC political pundits, “Who is the quarterback for the Knicks who had knee surgery?” (Answer after many “what the hell could you be talking about”‘s – Derek Jeter)
A running joke throughout the trip would be my character (with a French name – my father calls me Jean-Louis, unless he mockingly calls me J-L) being confused as a young stud (because I am not readily apparent as my father’s son) accompanying an old man that people believe is a South American (think Pele Brazilian) millionaire on vacation in America keeping his side proclivities hidden. That leads to many hilarious awkward, mistaken gay encounters.
My character and my Dad would then have a big argument which would lead to the devilish blonde sleeping with me. I would realize she never liked me (all within a 50 hour trip) and would then make amends with my father. I would also pledge to be a good man to the pretty maid and all would seem good and morally right, even if a tad rushed.
Right before the closing credits I will go to the doctor and get diagnosed as HIV positive. The lesson – don’t sleep with mean white women and don’t get into too many accidental gay encounters. No advance screenings of the film will be available to critics.
Well there it is, so I will continue to take notes in the final day and half of the trip and someone get me Tyler Perry’s contact info.
For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on Podomatic or iTunes. New Every Tuesday! THIS WEEK’S EPISODE WAS A GREAT ONE ABOUT DAVE CHAPPELLE.
I thought this year was a really good year for movies, despite the garbage that was listed on this site yesterday. Before getting to the top 10 movies of 2009 (and the decade) here are some special (mostly positive) awards for movies in 2009.
Most Surprisingly Good Movies (in no particular order)
1)This Is it– Thoroughly enjoyed the concert (rehearsal) documentary about Michael Jackson. Great music and a worthy tribute to the fallen icon and aficionado of play dates with tweens.
2) Taken– The Liam Neeson film is a perfect example of how a movie that has no ambition, only one star and a simple plot can still deliver if it just tries to do the simple things well. And the scene where he shoots his friend’s wife to show that he means business was one of the best this year.
3) Crank 2– Either the most ingenious quasi-spoof of action movies ever or just a ridiculously entertaining goof. Either way I had no idea that I would enjoy this movie as much as I did. It now validates Jason Statham’s work visa to me, though his films have only grossed slightly more than my YouTube videos.
4) Drag Me To Hell – This Movie almost made the top 10. Funny, creepy, gross, and all on purpose. A good, but not great movie. However, there were very few movies I enjoyed more than this one.
The Any Given Sunday Award For Most Disappointing Movie Based On Awesome Trailer
Watchmen. Blue genitals and a waste of time is all I remember from this movie. The trailer, however, was perfection.
The Two Towers Award For Great Trailer That Delivered Great Movie
Nothing. But The Men Who Stare At Goats was my favorite trailer of the year and the movie was solid, but still did not meet expectations.
2009 Honorable Mention (A/K/A The Unpaid Guestspot of Movie Awards)
Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Two Lovers, Food Inc., State of Play
2009 Top Ten Movies
10) (tie) Sugar, The Messenger
Sugar is the story of a Dominican immigrant seeking to become a baseball star. Came out early this year to rave reviews, but has long been forgotten. Anyone who is a baseball fan or interested in the immigrant experience should see this. Or just hang out by Yankee Stadium.
The Messenger is the best war movie this year. It is about two soldiers who report to next of kin of the loss of loved ones. The things people do for work in this economy. Really strong and simple movie.
9)Capitalism: A Love Story.
This movie is a reminder that America used to be a place where a middle class person could thrive (middle class meaning one blue collar job with could salary and benefits, not $5 million dollars or less like John McCain seemed to think). Now thanks to a selfish, never too rich mindset the wealth is more concentrated at the top than ever before. Sadly for working Americans and Michael Moore, America is one big casino and the house always wins.
8) 500 Days of Summer
The fact that Music and Lyrics was my favorite romantic comedy before this movie came out (yes I have seen Love Actually, but have not seen When Harry Met Sally yet – gasp!) may diminish my credibility in this genre, but I am probably not the only person telling you how great this movie is. Funny, heartfelt and thoroughly enjoyable. And the lesson of the film couldn’t be more optimistic: if you find yourself in a relationship with a cu-t, don’t worry because eventually you may go out with Derek Jeter’s girlfriend.
The selection most likely to anger people. First, yes I thought it was funnier than Borat. Second, the best opening of any film since The Dark Knight. As the techno music began blaring and the words “black guys” and “taint” flashed on screen I could not stop laughing. For many the film was too crude. Other complaints I heard was that Borat had a point in showing some ignorance in funny ways, whereas this just went for cheap laughs. Probably true. Perhaps it was easier to embrace a character who was exposing racism and sexism and, most flagrantly, anti-Semitism in Borat and feel good about laughing than in Bruno, where you are just laughing at the absurdity of a gay character’s libido on steroids. My advice to the self-righteous – take the champagne bottle out of your ass and watch Bruno pour some champagne out of his boyfriend’s.
6) Precious Based On The Novel Push By Sapphire
Fat, pregnant by her father (again – fool me once shame on him, fool you twice… shame on him again in this rare exception to that saying), illiterate and Mariah Carey as your social worker. And I thought being a comedian was tough. This movie is a powerhouse and Mo’nique’s performance is one of my three favorite this year (Christopher Waltz in Inglorious Basterds and Paul Rudd in I Love You Man being the other two). And I would like this movie to win Best Adapted Screenplay so that Sapphire, who probably negotiated the self-indulgent title has to hear the dumbest phrase ever uttered at an awards show: The winner is Precious Based on The Novel Push By Sapphire Based On The Novel Push By Sapphire.
The opening to this movie may be the most touching sequence in movies this year. It is just another great movie from Pixar. Normally stories of old men hanging out with young fat kids is awkward (think Herbert the Pervert and Chris Griffin from Family Guy as one such pairing), but this movie is nothing of the sort. Plus it has a talking golden retriever, which will always get support from me.
4) Inglorious Basterds
Christopher Waltz was amazing, but surprising to me was how good Brad Pitt was. A funny, intense, enjoyable movie about Nazis and the Jews that hunted them. It was also a welcome relief from the usual parade of mediocre, maudlin films about the Holocaust that are raised to critical praise because of the subject matter. After Schindler’s List I think Hollywood could have just waited for this one . After all slavery has had what, Roots and Amistad? I think 6 Holocaust movies come out last year alone. But I digress. Basterds is awesome (and my favorite Tarantino film – that is what I think, but I am also writing it because I want to anger those who worship at the altar of Pulp Fiction).
3) Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs
Even more than Bruno, this choice is likely to bring on some WTFs. I did not even want to see this movie, but then reviews kept talking about how much fun it was. The biggest shock of the year for me was this movie. It was hysterical from start to finish. It was like the humor of Family Guy, but not as crude or easy. I flirted with putting this #1, but the last two choices, upon reflection, were the two best movies of the year.
2) Up In The Air
I am tired of the “this is the movie that defines our times” type quotes, but besides that this is a great movie. George Clooney’s best (unlike his win for Syriana, no complaints if he gets Best Actor) and a movie that is so good that I cannot exactly explain why it is so good. Perhaps it is because it is a movie that defines our times… oops.
1) District 9
The most original movie I have seen in a long time. The biggest crime of the Oscars could be if Avatar gets a best picture nomination and this does not (if they only feel like honoring once sci-fi-ish film). Since it is #1 I don’t think it needs any explaining, other than the fact that it comes out on DVD today so you should rent it if you have not seen it.
TOP TEN MOVIES OF THE DECADE
10) School Of Rock – Along with The Wrestler, no movie has matched an actor better this decade than Jack Black and SOR.
9) The Departed – I hate the Boston accent, but that was the only thing I hated about this movie.
8) Eastern Promises– Russian mob in London and the best fight scene in any movie ever. Sorry Bourne Ultimatum. You were second.
7) Million Dollar Baby – The only movie that made me cry this decade (joining E.T., Glory and Dead Poets’ Society on the career list). Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman and Hilary Swank all at their best.
6) Traffic – A decade later the violence in Mexico is worse and the liberal pot smokers who abhor the violence of war or the treatment of chickens that are not free-range, but still help fund the cartels that propagate massive bloodshed in and around the border. This movie would go under the category of wake up calls unheeded. Great movie.
5) Finding Nemo– My favorite movie from the most consistently great movie studio.
4)4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days – I am not a big foreign film guy, but this was so intense and so good I regretted not speaking (Romanian if my recollection is correct) the language because even checking the subtitles was too much attention away from the acting.
3) The Dark Knight – I have never seen a movie in the theaters more than this one. And it’s not even close. Die Hard, The Matrix and The Dark Knight are the three films that changed and elevated action movies higher than any others in the last 20 years. To me, it was even more impressive to take action, the way Christopher Nolan and Heath Ledger did, and turn it into art.
2) The Lord Of The Rings – Because of The Godfather III’s mediocrity this is the greatest trilogy of all time. Shut up Star Wars people. (and if I had to pick just one – The Two Towers).
1) United 93 – I have only seen two perfect movies in my lifetime. One was Amadeus, my favorite movie of all time. The other was United 93. I am not saying it is my favorite movie of all time; it would be hard to make that claim about a film focused on 9/11. But the realism, the intensity, the respectful rendering of an incredibly sensitive subject and the overall product was second to none this decade for me. In a sad way I guess it is fitting that the decade’s defining event yielded the decade’s best movie. Besides, a movie about our collective self-indulgence and self absorption called Twitter v. 3.05 would not be nearly as riveting.
Last night was a perfect storm of comedy, sports and the the thing that those two forms of entertainment have served me steadily over the years, disappointment.
At 7 pm I was on stage at Comix as the warm up comedian for 12 Angry Mascots, a fun show that features stand up, sketch comedy and interviews with comedians and local pro athletes. Last night featured the New York Jets’ Darrelle Revis and the Duke Alum/NY Knicks’ Chris Duhon. Of course my Jets fan friends (including one who wears a Revis jersey every Sunday), my Duke alum friends and NY Knicks fan friends did not make the show, which moves them ever closer to my prognostication that my friends will one day accept an invitation to be gang raped if the only other option left to them is to attend one of my shows (noted for my Michael Jordan-esque Emmy acceptance speech sometime in the next decade). Sh*theads.
When I went backstage before the show I saw something that was bizarre at the backstage of a comedy show, attractive women. Like attractive flies to athletic sh*t, nice looking women just find out where athletes are, even if it takes them to, yikes, comedy clubs. It dawned on me that for pro athletes like Revis and Duhon, they probably have to actively decide NOT to get laid when they go out for a night. You know, the way a comic has to decide whether to buy a chocolate milk and walk home from an open mic or save the money for Metro card money and have a pleasant bus ride home. Same sort of thing.
So I did my set to warm up the crowd. I have not emceed a real show in a while and I had forgotten how cold a crowd can be when you get out there. Material went over well – my targets were LeBron James’ oldness (Morgan Freeman going to play him as a high school senior in a biopic), racism in baseball and President Obama (per usual). I was pretty happy with it, but there was no time to gloat or see if I could hang with Revis because it was off to Philadelphia for a show at the world famous comedy venue, JD McGillicuddys.
As I got on my Amtrak I saw that AJ Burnett had staked a 4-0 lead to the Angels. I furiously munched peanut M&Ms and listen to the angriest Jordin Sparks song I could find on my iPod in response.
I arrived at JD McGillicuddys in plenty of time before my set so I enjoyed some ice waters and watched the Yankees make an awesome 7th inning comeback. Fortunately, before I lost my semi-depressed delivery the Yanks gave the lead back to the Angels. Showtime.
Did about 25 minutes where almost everything worked (including some new bits about yelling at people in elevators and the first prison rapist), but I have never blindsided a crowd more than with a new bit that is simply called “The Terminator.” Might need some tweaking, but it sort of veers from Greg Giraldo (my favorite comedian and the type I hope to be some day, minus the stint in rehab) into more Jim Norton (comic I really like, but who is a little to the dirty/blue side of me, but who sort of inspired me to take some darker chances with my material). Then after the set I watched Nick Swisher pop out with the bases loaded I binge drank two beers.
The night ended with the comics crashing at Luke Cunningham’s mother’s house (because comedy, once again, is not rock and roll or professional athletics, which did not stop me from trashing the guest room). I thought about sleeping in the train station for the night, just so I could truthfully include a The Pursuit of Happyness moment in my biopic, but opted against it. We all got a solid 4 hours sleep before catching the 7:07 am SEPTA/NJ Transit train from Philly to NY, also known as the “My fu-king spouse insists we live in Philly, even though I work in New York” express.
All in all a very fun trip. And it was a reminder that I could turn more of a profit if I were a homeless man who alowed frat guys to kick him in the nuts for $20 a pop.
Next week I will have a big show in NYC Tuesday or Wednesday (unknown yet) and then I am in Boston October 30-31st headlining Tommy’s Comedy Lounge – hope you can make it.