Posts Tagged ‘unlikely g’’

Movie Moment — 12 Days of Highly Tolerable Holiday Movies, Inaugural Edition: Better Off Dead

December 12, 2010

Welcome to the inaugural edition of 12 Days of Highly Tolerable Holiday Movies, because Jingle All the Way and all its ilk should burn in hell. I’m kicking things off with a little Better off Dead.

Better Off Dead (Savage Steve Holland, 1985). Maybe some forgot this was a holidayish film, but I did not. How could anyone forget when you have the following scene?

“Chrissssstmassss!”


Lane, I think it’d be in my best interest if I dated somebody more popular. Better looking. Drives a nicer car.

(Beth Truss. And we’re all like that, each one of us.)

What do you do when the center of your universe walks away?

A teenager has to deal with his girlfriend dumping him among family crises, homicidal paper boys, and a rival skier.

(the imdb.)

Absolutely sick pyjamas. On the kid, not on David Ogden Stiers. Scooter Stevens, who plays the lineless younger brother, did some television roles and played “Bonnie’s Date” in She’s Out of Control. That’s his final credit, so I think it’s safe to say he went on to a life of education and handsomer-than-average anonymity.

Though his voice work in this film was dubbed by Rich Little, Yuji Okumoto, the Howard Cosell brother, has gone on to act his ass off. Seriously, you give that guy a spin on the imdb and he has a credit or ten for, like, every year since this movie was released. Very impressive. He was the one I thought was cuter. So I’m pleased. Brian Imada, who plays his brother, has done a crapload of stunt work and will be appearing in utility stunt capacity in the upcoming Green Hornet film, which is getting its own post soon as a “Hot Man Bein’ Hot” for the new Kato. Ow! I like Asian dudes. Blame Sulu and alert the media.

Featuring marvelous Curtis Armstrong as Lane’s best friend, the eccentric Charles De Mar. Doin’ whippits and trying to get a line on nosespray in a top hat.

Suicide is never the answer, little trooper.

Curtis Armstrong is so good at conveying the “cool” geek. Total old school unlikely G. In fact, I do believe he was the second subject in that category.


Steve Holland: That part when Lane does this in the garage is true. I went into the garage, and I put an extension cord on a pipe, and I’m on a garbage can, and I’m thinking, “Should I do this? Maybe this isn’t a good idea.” Anyway, it was a plastic garbage can, and my weight just, like, crashed through it, and I fell, and the pipe broke!

And it starts pouring water everywhere. And I’m basically in a garbage can, drowning. And my mom comes in, and my mom starts yelling at me for breaking a pipe, which is what any mom would do.

So I started writing down stupid ways to kill yourself that would fail after that, and I put them in sort of a diary. And that diary kind of became Better Off Dead.

(“Better Off Dead – Savage Steve Holland.” Awesome interview and article on The Sneeze.)


It’s got raisins in it. You like raisins.

Lane’s suicide stunts smack a little of Harold and Maude, but only a little. Certainly Jenny Meyer is worlds away from Vivan Pickles. Taking it down the very absurd road carries it far enough from Harold and Maude that it becomes apples and oranges (with raisins). Mainly.



Holland’s vision of the cafeteria as the intersection of absurd personal fantasy time and a rigidly enforced caste system is a standout in a decade that brought us dozens of shudder-inducingly accurate cafeteria scenes (I think of Sixteen Candles, when Molly Ringwold spots Jake Ryan, dumps her tray, and runs: “I can’t let him know I eat,” or Martha Dumptruck from Heathers).


Lane, I’m thinking about asking out Elizabeth.

R.I.P., Vincent Schiavelli. A great character actor and kickass chef.

Charles de Mar has a hand in a jar. Say it three times fast and Curtis Armstrong will appear! He currently voices Steve’s friend Snot on American Dad.

I love the animation Scooter Stevens brings to his role — it’s a shock to realize Badger has no speaking parts, yes? His eyes on the “Trashy Women” book … priceless.


One of the taglines for this film is: Insanity doesn’t run in the family, it gallops. This is a reference to Arsenic and Old Lace, where the line went, “Darling, insanity runs in my family. It practically gallops.”

During a screening of Better Off Dead, John Cusack stormed out after twenty minutes, saying, “You’ve ruined my career!” He allegedly hated and despaired of the film, and told Holland, “I will never trust you as a director ever again, so don’t speak to me.”



I’m guessing that the mad science at Pig Burger was one of the scenes he found unpardonable, cause I guess if you are trying to be a cool cat, it could be perceived as kind of cheesey and out of place. But, hey, what a great anticipation of Igor. Who knew? Because that entire movie was insanely cheesey and out of place. I hold children’s movies to a very high standard and I don’t brook a bunch of shit, sorry.



And Cusack went ahead and allowed Hot Tub Time Machine to refer to the film, so perhaps time has softened his view. Or money. But most likely time, I’m just sure.


I have great fear of tools. I once made a birdhouse in woodshop and the fair housing committee condemned it. I can’t.

“I cannot do it” is your middle name. I think all you need is a small taste of success, and you will find it suits you.


[Lane’s] father is so stumped in trying to understand the confusing habits and behavior of his teenage son (and, at one point, is temporarily convinced Lane is using drugs) that he clumsily attempts repeatedly to interfere in Lane’s love life.

(the wiki)

For half a second, the q-tip face makes me like John Cusack and start to giggle, and then I remember all the reasons I’m mad at him and I wipe the smile off my face. Spiders in the mail? So immature.



It’s kind of an interesting phenomenon. Any actor wants to play the cool guy. So playing the role of a borderline mental dork in the movie is not necessarily your first choice as an actor, however, in a way you’re kind of creating it yourself.

It’s not like you’re being made fun of, you’re making fun of yourself by creating this persona. So it didn’t bother me a lot since I was playing a character who was so far away from me.

(Interview with Dan “Ricky” Schneider. The Sneeze.)

This is similar to the kind of present-giving I did one Christmas as a child. I wrapped up things we already had and was surprised when my parents were clearly feigning their enthusiasm. I think it was very zen: I considered all of our possessions to be gifts.


Savage Steve Holland: And every day we were going, “This is hilarious. Am I wrong?” And it was like, every day anything we shot was really funny. So at my first test screening… I’ll never forget it, the movie was like five or seven minutes longer, and the audience reaction was pretty good, but it wasn’t that good.

And I remember one guy walking out, and for some reason he knew me, and he goes, “Hey, better luck next time.”

And I’m like, “Oh shit, I’m doomed.” It really hurt.

The Sneeze: Do you know where he is today?

SS: He’s probably running Paramount with my luck.

The Sneeze: I was just hoping he was homeless.

SS: No, because mean people always get the good jobs.

(Aforementioned The Sneeze interview.)


I’ve been going to this school for seven years. I’m no dummy. I know high school girls.


You’ll make a fine little helper. What’s your name?

Charles de Mar!

Not you, geek. Her.



John will never talk about Better Off Dead, and One Crazy Summer, and I read something recently where he called me “the director.” He wouldn’t use my name, and he said, “the director wanted to do absurdist comedy and that’s just not the thing I like to do,” or something like that.

I feel like I let him down. And it totally surprises me so much because I have to say the most important person to me about that movie, was John. I really wanted him to love it as much as I loved it. And once he said that stuff, it was like a girlfriend who breaks up with you. You can’t fight with her. It’s like everything is so great, and then they say “I hate you!” out of nowhere. There’s really no argument you can have. I had my heart broken. That was the second time my heart was broken since that girl that Better Off Dead was about — honest to God.

(Steve Holland, Ibid.)



Truly a sight to behold. A man beaten. The once great champ, now, a study in moppishness. No longer the victory hungry stallion we’ve raced so many times before, but a pathetic, washed up, aged ex-champion.

That’s actually a line from one of the car race scenes, but it’s my favorite. Challenge: call someone “a study in moppishness” this week — to their face!


I really thought as time went by, [Cusack] might feel differently. But I read one other article that he got jailed for something. Somebody in his car had something, I don’t know what, but he got jailed for something. He said, “Jail sucked the most because everybody kept coming up to me going, ‘I want my two dollars!'”

(Steve Holland, Ibid.)

The buttrape, on the other hand, was “pretty okay”.


Look, Charles, I’ve got to do this. If I don’t, I’ll be nothing. I’ll end up like my neighbor, Ricky Smith. He sits around crocheting all day and snorting nasal spray.

He snorts nasal spray? You know where I can score some?!


So you won’t tell anyone?

What, that you’re a Dodgers fan?

I do love the wink, here. It always comforts me to know that there are other people on the earth who are as truly bad at winking as I am. Not a lot of other people, but a few.

Sure, you can park your Camaro on the lawn at Dodger Stadium. Happens all the time. Goddamn if that is not the most eighties-riffic thing I’ve seen all week. Ski rack, saxophone, mom jeans, and John Cusack: winner, winner, chicken dinner!



Hope you’ve found the inaugural edition of 12 Days of Highly Tolerable Holiday Movies enlightening. And now you’re armed with this very sad backstory of the dissolution of the friendship between the star and the director — because nothing says the holidays like, “You are dead to me.” So cue it up, grab your gelatinous raisin-riddled mass, and bask in Better Off Dead’s warm 80’s glow.

Unlikely G and Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: God bless Bob Barker

December 12, 2010

(Please do.)

Major happy birthday wishes to superfly dope-fresh Unlikely G, Mr. Bob Barker. Never been a huge game show guy but I love the dude.

American readers might know that Bob Barker, the longest-running host of a game show ever (The Price is Right — one of my sorority sisters cleaned house on that show), ended every episode of his show with the sign-off line, “Help control the pet population. Have your pets spayed or neutered,” a tradition his replacement after retirement, comedian Drew Carey, has continued. Thus I have a long association of spaying and neutering with Bob Barker. It’s an honor most would call dubious but I have a feeling that he would probably be quite happy with it. And today he turns 87!

Top five things you might not know about this gentle silver G:

  • Grew up on a reservation in South Dakota.
  • At 73, became the oldest MTV Movie Award recipient, winning Best Fight for his golf-course brawl with Adam Sandler in Happy Gilmore.
  • Bowed out of longtime hosting duties for the Miss USA and Miss Universe Pageants when his request that the organization stop giving fur gifts was denied.
  • Gave $5 million to the Sea Shepherd Conservation for the outfitting and secret launch of a ship (since renamed the MV Bob Barker) which interdicted the Japanese whaling fleet.
  • Has two notorious beefs: a) with the Qualla Boundary Cherokee over their treatment of bears in their zoo, the long public fights over which have resulted in Chief Michell Hicks threatening to ban the rabble rouser and PETA from the res; and b) with formerly close pal Betty White over the relocation of an elephant from Los Angeles to a sanctuary in San Andreas.

    It seems argumentative and counterintuitive to fight, but if I have learned nothing else from the rap world, it is that BAMF’s gotta have beefs, and you must admire someone tenacious enough to keep up an argument with a fellow bad-ass like Ms. White. They are both good people who are genuine friends to animals, and I predict they will patch it up, if they have not already.

    So send a big birthday wish in to the universe for Bob Barker, an old school Unlikely G from way back!

  • Teevee Time and Advice: Not today

    October 6, 2010


    via fyeahscrubs on the tumblr.

    Keep that chin up and go get ’em!

    Daily Batman: Unlikely li’l G — Give this kid all your G.I. Joes

    August 25, 2010


    via lookatthisfrakkinggeekster on the tumblr.

    Error: Student is too cool for school. (Beep, beep, beep — smoke starts coming out of the Unlikely G detector, holy cats, have we got a live one!) Give him all your G.I. Joes and that milk money you’ve been telling your mom you were spending on 2% but really you’ve been squirreling it away for the arcade. Yes, he knows.

    Dopest kid ever.

    Daily Batman: While the Bat’s away

    June 9, 2010

    Alfred Pennyworth and the little Robin to the rescue.


    Burt Ward and Alan Napier in a still from the original Batman: The Movie (Leslie H. Martinson, 1966).

    Alfred is such a G.

    Mean Girls Monday: Kevin Gnapoor’s rap (A true unlikely G!) and a riff for the forgotten male perspective

    April 19, 2010

    Kevin Gnapoor’s rap at the Winter talent show in Mean Girls. I love how the other Mathletes are his backup dance and beatbox team.

    Ought not my honeypie Jason Sudeikis, or my suddenly-slimmer honeypie who needs to eat more sandwiches again, Seth Rogan, or even goodtime guy and genre-reinventing patron saint Judd Apatow write a sequel called Mean Boys about the complexity of guys’ relationships in adolescence? I feel like the topic gets overlooked. Of course, there is the fantastic Superbad, but that is in a category all its own, like a unique and special and hysterically funny bildungsroman that moved me and also made me laugh until I had to run to the bathroom to wash off my mascara because I kept crying from laughing.

    One of the best movies I’ve ever seen (and don’t start me on how women complain there are no positive females in the frat pack flicks like Old School and Anchorman or in the new breed of bromance movie, because that is such straight up egg salad — yes, males are the comedic protagonists but women are their motivating factors and ultimately their redeemers; sorry that the heroes win the lady but also keep their guy friends and still like video games, you emasculating and controlling slags; a dude does not have to collapse his personality into yours in order to be a good boyfriend. Cheese wheels! Ease up.)

    Anyway, yes, I love Superbad. It’s like an American Graffiti or Dazed and Confused of bromantic friendship. I love it to death, especially because it focuses on a close friendship between key characters, but what I’m talking about here is a movie for young men which, Mean Girls-style, explores and breaks down more various types of the male cliques and hardships of social maturation for teenage boys. It’s really unfair that they’re constantly shunted to the sidelines in favor of the primacy of female bonding in this period. They’re out there suffering, too, you know? I’m just sayin’.

    Unlikely G: This is why I used to stalk* David Lynch

    December 4, 2009

    David Lynch, besides being a genius of the film world, is also a man of opinions and unminced words about mobile movies and cell phone technologies. It’s great because, with the music, it seems like a commercial for the technology. Yeah … it’s not.

    He also has opinions and unminced words about product placement by ad sponsors as a source of revenue for studios in a film.

    *Stalk is such a strong word. I just parked across the street from his place every few days for a while in the evenings and was “aware” of the neighborhood’s garbage night. Let’s not throw stones, here. I never had an agenda for meeting him; indeed, I hope never to, as I do not believe that I deserve to consciously share his airspace, nor should he have to make eye contact with such a low one as me.