H-JOE

DickIn August of 2006, Haley Joel Osment wrapped his 1995 Saturn around a brick pillar while DUI.

And for the better part of three years, I have spent countless nights repeating the same two questions over and over until my brain hurt:

1) How can I be driving a nicer car than Haley Joel?

2) What is it about that prick that rubs me the wrong way?

FF to June of 2009.  I GOT IT!

Haley Joel Osment is a real-life jinx.

I’m not talking about before Sixth Sense. Any cute kid can be in the movies for a second. The jinx began right after. And a jinx doesn’t just ruin himself, he infects the people around him with the failure virus as well.

So I went to IMDB and checked out the resume.

– Forrest Gump, 1994 (just one year before his Saturn was made).

– Some TV credits. Notable appearances: Walker Texas Ranger and the Jeff Foxwrothy Show.

– Sixth Sense, 1999. Biggest movie of the summer. Gets a bunch of Oscar nods. And yet, Bruce Willis goes on to The Story of Us, Rugrats the Movie, and a move called What Just Happened? I was gonna ask you the same thing, Bruce.  M. Night Shamalama goes on to make a string of craptastic films, each worse than his last.

The Haley Joel Osment Effect is born.

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I See at Least One Dead Person

– Pay It Forward, 2000. Kevin Spacey wins an Oscar from American Beauty, and Helen Hunt, one with As Good as it Gets. But this one tanks. Spacey embarks on a journey that includes Superman(how do you fuck that one up?), and one where he plays Bobby Darin. Helen Hunt continues to take Hollywood by storm with Castaway (who was she in that?), and What Women Want. You remember the movie where Mel Gibson can hear women’s thoughts, but you never saw it. And yet, somehow HJ walks away unscathed.

The Haley Joel Osment Effects takes on the acronym “H-JOE” and is referred to by government officials as “a concern.”

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– AI, 2001. After taking down two of Tinseltown’s greatest stars, Osment sets his sights on the biggest man in show-biz, Steven Spielberg. He comes in with Saving Private Ryan, and leaves with Catch Me if You Can, the Terminal, andWar of the Worlds. Crap, Crap, and Crap.

H-JOE is declared an epidemic.

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– Jungle Book 2, 2003. I can’t blame Haley Joel for this fiasco.

– And later in 2003, Secondhand Lions. Robert Duval’s notable titles after working with Osment: Godfather, the video game. Nice. And Michael Caine, didn’t he die right after that movie?

Moments After this Picture was Taken, Barton's Agents were Informed She was Being Written Off of the OC.  H-JOE!
Moments After this Picture was Taken, Barton’s Agents were Informed She had Been Written Off of the OC. H-JOE!

And there the well ran dry for HJ. He finally became a victim of the same H-JOE that claimed the professional lives of so many of his colleagues. You haven’t heard from him lately because he’s chosen not to act so he could focus on his studies.  Right, and I’ve chosen not to get laid because I’ve been focusing on my masturbating.

I know a lot of child stars fade quietly into obscurity. But only Haley Joel Osment has the honor of saying the last time he saw his name in print, it started the sentence: “…lost control of his 1995 Saturn on his way home and collided with a brick pillar in a suburb”

But that’s the H-JOE for you.

Damon, Wish I was Your Lover

Logging onto Netflix today was a dose of sexual ambiguity for me.

Upon login, Netflix creates categories of movies they think you’ll like, based on your previous rentals. Sometimes they make perfect sense: the third category down my recommended list is: “Gritty Movies Based on Real Life.”  They compiled a list of movies including Cinderella Man, My Left Foot, and Glory, based on my interest in Goodfellas, Tombstone and Escape From Alcatraz.

Other times, they make no sense: my second category is “Underdog Stories.” “Based on your interest in Home Alone and Rocky, you might like Snow Dogs.” Being that I would rather check the lights in a Christian Bale scene than watch a Cuba Gooding Jr. movie , I figured they were off.

Scoot Over...

Scoot Over

But upon login this evening, the number one category on my Netflix recommendations was “Movies Starring Matt Damon.”

Ew. How gay, I thought to myself. Why would they have a – and then I saw it: based on your previous rentals of Bourne Identity, Talented Mr. Ripley, and the Rain Maker, you may like…

Yeah, so, maybe those were the last three films I watched. That doesn’t mean I’d be interested in, oh, let’s see, what are they recommending for me… Saving Private Ryan. I click on it. “This movie is already in your Queue.”

Coincidence. I mean, I like war movies. Don’t believe me? Ask my wife. We just watched Courage Under Fire. I didn’t particularly buy Meg Ryan in it, but Matt Damon was… coincidence.

Netflix is also recommending Ocean’s Eleven. Well, I already saw it on cable. I typically wouldn’t watch a movie like that but I thought I would give it a chance because Matt Damon was – shit.

Those Dumbbells are Having All the Fun
Those Dumbbells are Having All the Fun

My next thought was, rearrange the queue. Let’s put some distance between my last and next Matt Damon film. So I throw Saving Ryan’s Privates to the… oh geez. I throw Saving Private Ryan to the bottom and move up, let’s see, Rounders, no. School Ties? Wait, how did a Brandon Fraser movie make it on my… oh, little Charlie Dillon. My queue has Good Will Hunting, the Rain Maker (wait, didn’t I just watch that?), Will and Grace (one episode, A Chorus Line), Ocean’s 12-16, the Departed and the Good Shepherd.

So, do I need to come to grips with the fact the last four movies I’ve watched starred Matt Damon? That all fourteen movies in my queue list are Matt Damon movies? That I saved an Entertainment Weekly from 2004 with him on the cover? That I photoshopped my head over Ben Affleck’s in his Oscar pic with Matt? That I just called him “Matt?”

I love Matt Damon as much as the next guy… that doesn’t make me gay.

Killer Stache

It just doesn't grow here and here...

"It Just Doesn't Grow Here and Here."

Mustaches aren’t like hair styles where there’s this unlimited number of them to choose from. There’s only like five of them out there. When Hitler went out and murdered 8 million people, he kinda reduced the options by like 20 percent. It was pretty cool when it was called the “abbreviated-stache.” Not so cool when it suddenly became “The Hitler.”

For men of my generation, you don’t miss what you’ve never had.  But for  those who were wearing it duringWWII?  The following is a brief conversation between one of those men and his peers.

Chaplain and his Boy
Charlie’s Boy Sits Him Down

One of his Boys: Dude, you gotta either grow it into a goatee or a full mustache, or you gotta shave it off all together.

Charlie Chaplin: Man, I’ve been rocking the abbreviated-stache since the 20’s, son.

One of his Boys, Doesn’t matter. You need to lose it.

Another One of his Boys: What about the fu manchu?

One of his Boys: Donnie, shut the fuck up.  Charlie, people are heil-ing you behind your back.    Believe me, you don’t need the aggravation.

Charlie Chaplin: But the Tramp…

One of his Boys: Trust us. Just lose it.

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It feels a little weird, but I'll get used to it.

Taking My Vitamins, Saying My Prayers on a Deserted Island

24-Inch Pythons

24-Inch Pythons

You know that question where people ask you if you had to be stranded on a deserted island, what would you bring with you? I’d bring Hulk Hogan.

Then we’d build a tropical wrestling ring where the ropes were made from vines and the turnbuckles from coconuts. And a lemur would hop into the ring just as I threw the Hulkster into a sleeper hold. And the lemur would hold Hogan’s arm up and let it drop… a sure sign that he was fading in my death-grip sleeper hold. But on the third and final time the lemur held up Hogan’s arm, it wouldn’t drop… it would start rocking up and down. And Hogan would break free. And I would try to punch him, but he’d block it and counter with a shot of his own that would send me to the sand. Then he’d cup his ear asking the fans to  let him hear it. But there aren’t any fans because we’re on a deserted island so Hogan would go off the vines and finish me off with a leg drop. And for years to come we would observe that day as Awesome Day.

So, You Want to be a Black Belt?

AFI recently named Karate Kid to its Top Ten Sports Movies of All Time. I love the movie too, but the journey to greatness has a few loopholes as loose as the brick on Ali’s front porch.

Tue, Nov. 1, 1983 Approx 10:15 a.m. Miyagi and Daniel Enter Cobra Kai Dojo

Bonzai, Bitches

Bonzai, Bitches

We know the night before was Halloween (or as the Cobra Kai boys will forever call it, Pearl Harbor 2). Bidding farewell that night, Daniel says “Tomorrow morning? “ Miyagi replies “10:00.” Cut to: Daniel Son: “Good morning, Mr. Miyagi.”

Yes, I know, you’re like, “But Daniel, why aren’t you in school? And Mr. Miyagi, why aren’t you fixing shit?”

Let’s say it takes them 15 min to get to the dojo. Again, don’t ask why there’s a full sparring session well in progress at 10:15 on a school day. Logic does not exist in this dojo, does it? NO SENSEI!

My point is Miyagi convinces Sensei John Creece to prohibit his students from beating Daniel up between now and the tournament, or for one month and sixteen days. Plenty of time for:

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Daniel To Achieve Black Belt Status In One Month, Two Weeks, and Two Days

Minus “Karate from book” and a few lessons at the Y, Daniel has no formal karate training. But over the course of the month and a half he:

– Waxes on and off four cars

You're a Pushy Little Bastard, Aren't Ya?

You're a Pushy Little Bastard, Aren't Ya?

– Paints a fence and a house
– Sands a floor
– And spends one ridiculous session at the beach playing in the ocean and staring in awe/lust at Miyagi’s crane-kicking silhouette.

All told, he really only spent four days training and achieved black belt status. He should be more than ready for:

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The 18th All Valley Karate Championships

Bangs are for the Weak

Bangs are for the Weak

December 19, 1983 is the date. For those of you keeping score, it was a Monday. Again, no school, no work for the sold-out crowd on hand at the Matadome. One quick fact about the Metadome:

It’s record attendance: 3, 106 to watch US/Japan international exhibition men’s volleyball match. It wouldn’t be the last time the US/Japan connection came through…Aye, Daniel-Son.

3,106 people show up to the junior co-ed district karate championships? The Montreal Expos pulled in 3,780 against the Rockies in May of ’02. Six hundred more people at a MLB game… right.

The rest, of course, is history. A montage set to Joe Esposito’s You’re the Best gets Daniel through five rounds. Another two, and he’s hoisting the trophy above his head.

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Do I suspend disbelief for the sake of a great movie? Yes. Are these moments the least believable in the movie? No.

But if you don’t buy in from the beginning, you’re only gonna feel Rick-Rolled in the end.

Catch Something Else With Chopstick

Catch Something Else With Chopstick

F*/Marry/Kill Starring the Golden Girls

in-the-kitchen

The only rule is that Dorothy and Ma come as a packaged deal; f*, marry or kill, doesn’t matter.  Them Petrillos are inseparable.

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F*:
The safe bet here seems like Blanche, right?   I’m going with Rose.

It’s a late night.  Rose and I finish Bringing Up Baby on AMC (she likes romantic comedies; I’m trying to get in her pants).   She asks me if I’d like to go into the kitchen for a cup of coffee.  I tell her I’d rather go back to her room.  “Oh,” she says, and smiles coyly.

She says she’s going to freshen up and… slip into something a little more comfortable.  I get chub.

"You look amazing," Earl said

"You look amazing," Earl said

Suddenly she appears in the doorway wearing a nightgown that somehow reveals less than the jogging suit she changed out of.

craftmatic-bed

The sex is okay.  At one point, I accidentally roll on the remote for the  Craftmatic Bed.  The foot of the bed raises and messes up my rhythm.  She takes a long time, and I’m kind of chafed by the end of it.

We spend the rest of the night spooning.  As soon as she’s asleep, I roll out.  Let a butcher butch, y’all.

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MARRY:
So I go with Blanche for this one rather than the f*.

The first three months go well… a lot of trips to AC Moore filled with laughter and a lot of early dinners (like a quarter-to-five-early).

But many nights I want to sleep while Blanche wants to “go out.”  My mind races as I lie awake, waiting for her to come home.  Oh, Blanche, don’t take your love to town.

miles

Silver Fox or Home Wrecker?

Then Miles Webster starts coming around again.  He’s Rose’s friend, but I know he nailed my wife.  A man can just sense these things.

One night, in the darkness of our room, I blurt out: “Who’s a better lay, me or Miles?”  She groans and says Big Daddy was right: never marry a Yankee.  That means Miles is.

The next few months are rocky.  Every once in a while it seems like things are getting better, but my insecurities haunt me and I end up saying something snide about my wife, the village bicycle.

The divorce is uneventful.  I didn’t bring anything into the relationship.   At one point I tried to make an argument for the wicker furniture in the living room, but I never got very far.

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KILL:
Damn it, there I go thinking with my small head again, and drafting poorly.

I should’ve took Rose.  Instead I gotta take out two of them.  One of them is practically a man.

roll-into-the-kitchenI hang out in the kitchen with the lights off.  Rose is in St. Olaf at a cow-themed wedding.  Blanche is out, probably with Miles.  Hours pass until I finally hear Dorothy talking to Ma.  Their voices become more audible as they get closer.  And then the kitchen door swings wide.

“Oh my God,” Dorothy exclaims.

We stare at one another before I lunge at her.  Despite her old age and sex, I struggle to wrestle her to the floor.  As we grapple, I realize that I am losing my footing.  She’s winning this thing.  I’m about to go to plan b when all of a sudden… BANG.  Sophia rocks me upside the head with a frying pan.  Rock a bye, baby.  I’m out cold.

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CONCLUSION:
I’m on an ambulance stretcher outside the house.  Neighbors gather in the wee hours of the night to see what’s going on.  My eyes first focus on Dorothy, still visibly shaken and hugging her ex-husband, Stan Zbornak.  Sophia is next to her, quietly whispering, “it’s okay, pussycat.”

Paramedics start asking me questions.  Do you know where you are?  That sort of thing.

Earl the Butcher Was Here

THAT'S MY WIFE YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT!

As they lift me into the back of the ambulance, I see a couple walking towards the scene.  Clutching hands, they jog as fast two old people can.

It’s Blanche and Miles.  She gasps when she recognizes me.

With two fingers, I point to my eyes before pointing back at her.

I’m watching you, Blanche.   I’m watching you like a hawk.

2 Cops Walk Into a Bar

rush-hourThe buddy cop genre. Perhaps the slipperiest slope in cinema. When casted correctly, no genre can touch it. But when miscast, you could be in for a long two hours.

There’s certain elements that are tried-and-true to the genre. Most times you’re gonna get an interracial coupling of cops. Usually black and white, but occasionally black and Jackie Chan. And they’re usually going after a drug dealer, cartel, syndicate, what have you.

As far as quality, you run the gamut. So, I’m gonna rank a few of them.

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lethalweaponLethal Weapon: Pretty much the gold standard for the genre. Mel Gibson is always at his best when he’s not taking himself too seriously. Danny Glover is pretty much one of the worst actors ever. But he gets to play the tentative voice of reason who is always skeptical, the one who has to take a deep breath and say something like, “Oh what the hell,” or, “I’m getting too old for this,” before jumping off of the bridge. Fact of the matter is, the script rocked and there’s the perfect combination of violence and comedy. ✪✪✪✪✪ (Five badges).

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48 Hours: Remember when Eddie Murphy made a good movie? That was awesome. And Jack Cates is Nick Nolte’s second best role ever. His first, Coach Bell in Blue Chips. ✪✪✪✪✪

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Hank's Understudy

Hank's Understudy

Turner and Hooch: This is where you begin to see how vital it is to have two strong actors in these kinds of movies. Hooch does his own stunts in the movie, which is amazing. But Tom Hanks as a cop? Puh-lease… Now, here’s what they should’ve done: replaced Tom Hanks with a dog. Two Dogs! Two dog cops hunting down the killer, and one of the dogs is real close to retirement and gets shot. Okay, I’m getting sidetracked. Not a bad movie; I’m giving it ✪✪✪✪

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Training Day: Denzel could carry a movie playing opposite the Money You Could Be Saving With Geico. Unfortunately Ethan Hawke isn’t even that good. All those scenes where Denzel is like, “Wait in the car,” my guess is that was him ad libbing. Ethan Hawke is horrible. You know it’s bad when you root for the good guy to die. But Denzel’s watershed performance makes it worth the while. ✪✪✪

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newjackNew Jack City: Some guys you buy as cops. Eastwood, definitely. Leslie Neilsen, sure, why not? Ice T and Judd Nelson… Ice T hates cops too much to be able to objectively play one. And Judd Nelson being good in anything is as rare as a cab with a license plate that says “Fresh.”  Anyway, thank goodness Mario Van P kept this flick on track. It could have gone very differently. ✪✪

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lenocollisioncourseCollision Course: A Detroit Cop (Jay Leno) teams up with Mr. Miyagi (Mr. Miyagi) to track down a stolen turbocharger. This movie has disaster written all over it. The logline: The only thing stopping them from solving the crime is…each other. What would you rather see: this movie, or blood in your stool? I’d love to give this one zero badges but Mr. Miyagi’s in it so… ✪

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Righteous Kill: Deniro and Pacino together again, just like the movie Heat.

Only ten years lamer. Zero invisible stars.

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I know there’s so many more… Kindergarten Cop, Red Heat, Se7en, etc. And I would love to do them all but I just saw that Cop and a Half is on TBS. Oh TBS, very funny.