Wednesday, March 31, 2010

30 things before 30, my snarky response...

I just got done reading this list on another site that talks about things every man should have before age 30.

Hoo boy. It is probably a good thing that life isn’t gauged on this particular list. There are some items on that list that I will have trouble attending to in the next 19 months. Let that soak in for a moment. I will be 30 years old in 19 months. Holy shit time flies when your life is going nowhere. I think we all need to mock this list and how it relates to my silly existence.

#28-The beginning of a nest egg. This one is almost laughable. A nest egg? Really? I am fairly certain a fluctuating checking account doesn’t count. Hell, I am lucky to just have eggs in my refrigerator, none the less a nest egg. I know a lot of you can relate with me on this one. I will be royally screwed if I ever have some medical emergency or some surprise expenses.

#6-A tailored suit. I have two of these actually. Okay, that is true, but not exactly accurate. I have two suits that were once tailored to fit me. That was five years ago. Yep. They sure as hell don’t fit now. However, I think that I should get credit for this one. I feel completely fine getting this one on a technicality.

#16-A trusted barber or hair stylist. Does Cost Cutter’s count? It really shouldn’t be a problem that I’ll trust anyone with my hair. I don’t really require anything complicated to be done to it. Honestly though, if you do have trust issues regarding your hair, you probably have bigger problems.

#2- A tasty signature dish he can whip up for a date. This one would have been so killer had it not including the phrase “can whip up for a date”. I have plenty of signature dishes that I could whip up for myself, but they might not go so well on a date. Then again, it would gauge how much of a snooty prude a woman is. Who would take issue with bacon wrapped smokies? How about my regionally famous pizza bake? Well, that one is almost legitimate. Then again, the woman should be damn glad I am cooking for her in the first place. She’ll shut up and deal with it. Even if it is grilled cheese.

#26-Enough sense not to use a cheesy pick-up line. Okay, now I get the sense that the woman who wrote the article is a frigid bitch.

#10-The ability to ask for directions. Okay, I can handle this one. I’ll just always ask my friend Google Maps. As long as I know I didn’t have to ask some stranger in a gas station, I am fine with it. Google doesn’t lie to me. Some stranger at a gas station might just want me to end up down a dark alley where I will be murdered and skull fucked.

#21-Sheets that don’t scratch. Wait? People have this problem? What are they using on their bed, paper towel? I think this one is a stretch if you ask me. I hope this woman wasn’t being literal here. I understand that some sheets are naturally softer than others, but I am hard pressed to think any will actually scratch a person. Mine don’t. However, I spent more on mine than I would have liked. I dunno. I think this was something this woman just liked to complain about when she was slutting around a series of dorms during college.

Well, a lot of this list is reasonably helpful, but I wouldn’t say it applies just to men specifically. Everyone should be able to ask for directions or have a favorite cookbook. Some items on this list imply some sexist assumptions. Men are just as capable as women at accomplishing this list. Honestly, I think this list needs some realistic amendments. Okay, fine. You talked me into it. Here are a few more things every man should have before they turn 30.

1. A favorite movie to quote. Yep. I stand by this one. Regardless of how bad some might think the movie is, you will stand by it by quoting it. Being able to ramble off lines from the film only justifies your commitment. That is what our significant others want, isn’t it? Commitment?

2. A cool pair of shades. First of all, it just looks good. Second of all, you never know when you’ll be dropped into a game of high stakes Texas Hold ‘Em.

3. Your own crew. By crew I am referring to a group of friends. It could consist of anyone, really. It doesn’t even have to be all guys. However, it is good to have your crew because it keeps you connected with the people who help define who you are. You won’t lose touch of yourself. It is also just awesome to have a group of friends to get into trouble with on a boring Saturday night.

4. A baseball glove. Even if you don’t like baseball, you are going to be asked to go to a Major League ball game. You might at one point be asked to play in a softball league. Not having a glove is not a good excuse. In fact, it is a terrible excuse and you should be ashamed of yourself if you don’t have one.

5. A grill. Grilled food just tastes better.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Madly in love with the idea of time travel..

I’ve been stuck in the past recently. Oh, I bet that sounds as if there is a negative connotation to that phrase. On the contrary, my friends. I have been thrilled on my mental excursion through modern history. This mental journey was prompted by both my viewing of “Hot Tub Time Machine” and my marathon viewing of “Mad Men” on DVD.

These thoughts about the past led to the obvious topic of discussion. How cool would it be to go back in time? A friend and I had that discussion today. The conversation started with the obvious idea about traveling back to 1980s, but we decided that it might not work out so well. Then we thought about how cool it would be to go back just ten years. There would be a lot of opportunities to change our destinies. To me, that might be a problem. I am not sure I want too many ways to mess up the future. As much as it would be a blessing to right some wrongs, it would hinder the good things I have going on now.

Ultimately though, I would want to go back further than the year 2000 or the 80s. Watching “Mad Men” made me realize how interesting of a time period the early 1960s was. First of all, individuality was not really an option as far as what you wore if you were a man. It appears all you needed was a closet full of white dress shirts and a several suits. Hell, the suits don’t even have to be anything classy looking. Most of the ones I have seen on the show, which is historically accurate, have looked like they came off the rack at Goodwill. How cool is that? You didn’t even need to wear nice looking clothing. What a relief that would be.

Secondly, you can apparently drink and smoke wherever the hell you please. Need to have a sip after a rough morning meeting? You can go ahead and down one in your office. Better yet, you could guzzle down some scotch AT the meeting that is giving you a headache. There were “No Smoking” signs anywhere. Want to smoke in your office? Go ahead! At the stadium during your favorite baseball game? Go for it! Perhaps you want to sit back in the movie theater and enjoy a Marlboro. Yeah, you could even do that. Now I know what you are thinking. Nick doesn’t drink or smoke. That is absolutely correct. However, it totally tickles my fancy that I could do either of those wherever the fuck I wanted to. Rumor has it that my employer used to bring around a beer cart every Friday back in the day. I can’t help but think that was a quite helpful considering all the stress that comes with such a job.

Is it wrong that I also think the outfits that the women wore back in 1960 were cute? They are far and away polar opposites of what women where today. The dresses and skirts reached the knees and there wasn’t even a hint of cleavage. However, they still looked damn good. It goes to show that there is some powerful pull when you have some things left to the imagination. Try to tell me this isn’t hot:

Yeah, that’s what I thought. I think I made my point.

Another fascinating aspect of the 60s era is one that I don’t necessarily agree with, but it is still intriguing at the same time. The way they treated women was straight up appalling at times. Not only were women given the most stereotypical jobs, but they were also demeaned and demoralized into thinking they were less important than anything with a penis. Women weren’t even seen as having the capacity to be as “smart” as men. They were sexually harassed like you wouldn’t believe. In fact, I don’t think I could sexually harass a woman that badly if I tried. There was lots of grab ass being played as well as lewd comments that would make even a prostitute blush. To see that played out and study it would be utterly fascinated. Then again, I would get caught up in history because I’d say things like , “you know you don’t have to take that, right?”.

I know most of my ideas about the 60s now come from a television show. However, please understand that “Mad Men” is critically acclaimed for its historical accuracy. They supposedly have some guy who is some sort of history czar who freaks out if they get anything wrong. Even having the wrong kind of pen in a scene will set him off. I bet someone takes a swift punch to the face if they even put the wrong colors together on a set design.

I suppose my point tonight is that if I was able to time travel, I would want to go somewhere in the past, but not too far away. If you go to the middle ages or dinosaur time, you are just going to get killed. Let us also not forget that I would stick out like a sore thumb. It would not be very fun to be burned at the stake as a witch wearing some Nikes. So, the middle of the 20th century seemed like the best option. Why? Well, I could easily snag up some clothing that would have me fit right in. Also, I would get to study the past and still be able to enjoy some modern amenities. They had Pepsi, football, and McDonalds back then. I can deal with that. Of course will sound like a nut job when I keep asking about Facebook.

Monday, March 29, 2010

A rant and some brew

What kind of parents take their children to a rated R movie? I only ask this question because this past weekend I saw a woman walk into “Hot Tub Time Machine” with three children who had to be between the ages of 9 and 12. It wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world had it been a PG-13 buddy cop movie. However, “Hot Tub Time Machine” was a hard “R”. I promise that the kids didn’t even get a quarter of the jokes, not to mention all of the awesome 80s references. A gaggle of children who haven’t hit puberty don’t belong seeing bare chested women unless they happen to be one of the creepy kids who still breast feed.

My point is that I was slightly appalled by that nonsense. Those kids are going to be the ones left alone after school every day to raise themselves. They’ll be drinking before they even hit high school. Then they’ll get some hood rat knocked up. Before you know it they’ll be snorting coke in a bathroom stall off some hooker’s ass. Hell, the only good parenting involved in the decision to take those kids to that movie was that the mother was actually there with the kids and not off theater jumping into “Repo Man”. That is Green Bay for you. Lots of people with as much class as Ricky Martin is straight.

Baseball season is coming up next week. I am thrilled because that means we will get the Brewers on tv about five nights a week. This is great since we often are without new episodes of the best shows during week. I can turn on the game and get a few hours of mocking Bill Schroeder before I go to bed. Hell, I am even going to miss having the games on as background noise while I read. But honestly, I just have learned to really love the game of baseball the past few years. It is hard not to get excited about seeing Prince Fielder knock the shit out of a ball. I’d even get psyched to see him charge the mound. Also, I can’t help but get excited for the chance to once be conflicted every time Ryan Braun is at the plate since he really is an uber douchebag.

Oh, did I mention that I am going to the spring training game at Miller on Saturday? Yep, I am sure am. That should be exciting. I know it’s only a preseason game, but there will still be a fun atmosphere at Miller Park. I plan on taking the ole glove and living the delusion that I will catch a foul ball. One day that is going to happen. I will not envy the small child that takes my elbow to the face. That will be an important life lesson that many young people can gain from. It is important to know that the universe owes me and one day I will get a fun moment like catching a foul ball.

I also am excited about getting a new ball cap. Maybe ya’ll can help me pick one out ahead of time:

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Some Kind of Hot Tub Time Machine

When I first read the title “Hot Tub Time Machine”, I was a bit skeptical. Not because it sounded like something that came from late night Cinemax, but because of the headlining star. I would be referring to John Cusack. He is an actor that I feel needs to apologize to me and the rest of the free world for a decade of mediocre garbage that he put on screen. The last real quality film the man made was “High Fidelity” back in 2000. His most recent blunder would have been “2012”. I don’t even think I need to explain the disappointment that came with that film. Other highlights of disappointment include the animated feature “Igor”, the what the fuck is going on comedy “War, Inc.”, some shit box called “Martian Child”, the not so scary “1408”, “The Ice Harvest, “Serendipity”, and the laughable “America’s Sweethearts”. The only movie since “High Fidelity” of any interest to me would have been “Identity”, but upon recent review of it, I have come to the conclusion that it is rather “eh” at best.

So, John Cusack, you needed to come up with something impression to win back my confidence in you. One day I read a little ditty about a movie you produced and were starring in called “Hot Tub Time Machine”. The title struck me as a ballsy move. Normally a title like that suggests a real shit storm of horrible acting and ridiculous plot points. One would suspect it would be as good as one of those Sci-Fi channel made for tv Saturday night monster movies (like the critically underrated “Yeti”). However, the more I read about “Hot Tub Time Machine”, the more I understood that the title was part of the movie’s charm. It was supposed to be ridiculous and cheesy, echoing some of the classic raunchy 80s comedies. The entire movie is a big joke about a Jacuzzi that sends four people back to 1986 and how silly the entire idea is. Needless to say, the movie takes that concept, runs with it, and has a hell of a good time doing so.

I have no doubt that most of you reading this are thinking that I have been sniffing fumes from bathroom cleaners all weekend and am out of my mind. Nope. That is not the case. “Hot Tub Time Machine” is a fun, often smart, and unique movie. Perhaps it is more enjoyable if you have ever been a fan of time travel movies in general. There are a few references to films such as “The Terminator” and “Time Cop” that demonstrate that the film considered every conceivable angle they could take on the intricacies of the space time continuum. In so many words, this movie found ways to address the rules of time travel and then often broke those rules. If the movie was a straight up science fiction thriller, that would disappoint me. However, seeing as it is meant to be taken lightly, the deviance from time travel rules only makes it that much funnier.

The plot is simple. Four guys embark on a weekend at a skit resort, get in a time machine, and then are transported back to 1986 where they relive one of their most important weekends. The weekend trip is prompted when Lou (Rob Corddry) accidentally gives himself some carbon monoxide poisoning when he passes out drunk in his garage with the car running. His friends Adam (Cusack) and Nick (Craig Robinson) believe that Lou attempted to kill himself and decide that a weekend reliving their youth is just what the doctor ordered. Needless to say, they didn’t honestly think they would actually be reliving their actual past. So, they head up to Kodiak Valley with Adam’s nephew, Jacob (Clark Duke), in tow. To put it simply, the four guys get hammered in the hot tub, cause it to malfunction, and then end up back in 1986. The kicker is that the three older guys are inhabiting the bodies of their former selves. Jacob just exists as a 24 year old kid for reasons even the four guys would like to understand. In typical time travel humor, he even flickers out of existence every once in a while.

The trip back to 1986 startles the hell out of the four friends and becomes more troublesome as their personal issues come into play. Before the trip, Adam’s long term girlfriend had left him, so he sees the trip as a way to reconnect with a long lost love. Nick hates his job and feels emasculated by his wife, who may have cheated on him, so he wants to regain some glory of his youth. Lou’s life just plain sucks and he is looking forward to the chance to drink heavily and bang as many women as possible. Jacob intervenes as the voice of reason and points out that they need to relive the weekend just as it had previously happened or risk having some universe implosion. Needless to say, they don’t follow suit with these rules.

“Hot Tub Time Machine” delivers many different forms of comedy during the course of its run time and each is very effective. There are several instances of gross out humor that play out with great timing and aren’t as gratuitous as one might expect. Plenty of witty dialogue is exchanged from the characters, with the best lines usually being delivered by Clark Duke or Craig Robinson. Some physical humor comes from the resort bellboy named Phil (Crispin Glover) who we meet at the beginning of the film as a one armed man. Phil has both arms in 1986 which allows for several hilarious scenes where we wonder if that arm will be coming off.

Needless to say, the plot of the movie eventually revolves around the need to get back to 2010 safe and sound. Of course there is the obligatory conflict with the movie’s antagonists, a handful of douche bag ski patrollers. As ridiculous as it all sounds, it really comes together in a fairly cohesive narrative. It needs to be noted that the movie doesn’t work if it isn’t anchored with strong comedic performances by all four leading men. Most notably will be the performance by Rob Corddry as Lou who conveys comic desperation in rare form. He’s a tour de force of laughter and this may be his breakout role as was the role of Alan for Zach Galifinakis in “The Hangover”. His performance alone is worth the price of admission.

“Hot Tub Time Machine” is by no means a masterpiece of a movie. It isn’t ever going to be considered a classic or be on anyone’s top ten this year. However, it was far better than it ever should have been. It delivers laugh after laugh for nearly the entire run of the movie. I enjoyed it. There is no reason you won’t as well. So, John Cusack, I do accept your apology. Keep up the good work.