unfinished business (but no EPMD)

occasionally, i get a little feedback on some of these finely-crafted posts after i write them, mainly about how i forgot something or how wrong i am about something (and by feedback, i mean getting cornered by a large colleague who wants to know why Clint Howard evaded my character-actor-related attentions). so without further ado, let’s revisit some of these topics in order to straighten a few things out. back into time!

July 20th: “John Turturro: pretty good, but no Joey Pants”
in retrospect, i feel totally bad about this, because i was pondering over character actors that might need a little love in case they’re sitting at home Googling their own names like madmen only to discover that the only guy who cares is some crazy Marylander, after which point they pen some letter to the “cruel world” before the self-inflicted gunshot wound. but i digress! the point is, i DID neglect someone:

supposedly, this is Ron Howard's crazy-looking brother Clint.
i couldn’t find a good photo of him posing CRAZY with a Grinch Who Stole Christmas t-shirt, so you’ll have to settle for those dazzling photos there

no, not that motherfucker, THIS guy:

look at those jowls!
i really, really apologize to Mr. Dourif for forgetting about him, he’s awesome on this now-defunct show

Brad Dourif
and really, i don’t know how i forgot him. he’s completely unattractive, and he’s a legimately talented actor. i’ll take his work in as Doc Cochran in Deadwood (where he’s got to compete with a great cast) and the handful of other solid roles he’s collected (Billy Bibbit in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Clinton Pell in Mississippi Burning, Grima Wormtongue in all that LotR nonsense, etc.) over a lot of bullshit from “leading men,” and combined with his adorable work in wacky movies (i’m mainly thinking the Gemini Killer here), it’s more than enough to ignore his cheesy Chucky voice-work, his myriad of appearances in shitty films (like any character actor) and the fact that he’s from West Virginia. i mean, fuck, we can’t ALL be born in Maryland. also, and this is a relevant tangent for once, it also occurs to me that Deadwood is packed to the gills with character actors that i like a lot: William Sanderson, Jeffrey Jones, Ian McShane (i mean, i don’t consider him a leading man), Powers Boothe and so on. no beauties, all talented. fuck, do i miss that show.

side note: i’m considering adding J.D. Williams to my “character actors i love” list; i liked him on Oz, but he’s been great on the Wire, and frankly, he turned in a painfully-neglected performance on season four. he’s had a great nasty-to-classy (well, relatively) character arc for four seasons, he’s got some seriously heart-breaking scenes in this last season, and i know that the writers should get major credit – and from me they do, because the Wire has a stellar writing crew – but Williams makes it work. look, i get that everyone flips out about the fucking Sopranos, especially with it ending, but come on: you can nominate the Sopranos for 15 fucking Emmys, but Deadwood gets only 6, and the Wire gets zero? ZERO? and with the Sopranos sometimes getting 2 or 3 nominations a CATEGORY? ridiculous. actually, it’s not ridiculous, it’s a blatant “fuck you” to the Wire, a show that doesn’t film in LA. here are some supporting actors that don’t deserve a nomination before Williams or about 15 other supporting actors from Deadwood and the Wire: Michael Emerson, T.R. Knight, Masi Oki, Terry O’Quinn and William Shatner. and that’s all the nominations less Imperioli, who i like and can forgive. fuck the fucking Academy.

June 29th: “silly motherfuckers, suicide orcs, Tom Berenger and white phosphorus, oh my”
so it might seem stupid to go out of my way to throw this out there, because it’s not like i can’t nitpick movie after movie ENDLESSLY, but this one recently caught my eye and, accordingly, annoyed me beyond the limits of sanity. yes, that’s right, it’s so annoying that i traveled into the future and witnessed swarms of bugs possessed of collective intelligence ruling the earth, though luckily, they calmed me down and guided me back to this timeline. the annoyance? the fucking M203s in the torture/car scene in the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies.

...and there's no damage to the car!
the BMW Z3: immune to walls, grenades and appearances in non-shitty movies

so let me set the scene: Bond has just evaded torture and death at the hands of Vincent Schiavelli (ironically, another notable character actor, and one who recently died), and he’s now escaping in his totally unrealistic BMW. i get it, it’s one of the bad Bond movies and it’s not supposedly to be “realistic.” but in this scene, we have a lot of henchmen packing SMGs and M16s with beta-C magazines and … M203 grenade launchers. which they shoot at Bond’s car.

now, here’s the thing: these grenades spin-arm after traveling a distance through the air, which means they wouldn’t actually EXPLODE on a car rushing at you, which means they’d do nothing. but even if they did, who’d shoot a high-explosive grenade at a car ten feet away while in a crowd of his peers? and, more to the point, since there’s no explosions in the scene, couldn’t they have dropped the grenade launchers and just had them harmlessly pour ammunition at Bond’s car (which is fodder for more debate later)?

these things keep me awake at night. i know they shouldn’t.

June 8th: “go fuck yourself,” june 2007
just a little update, because i talked about O’Malley’s dealings with the power issues: his more recent statements were that the solution is for everyone to just use less power. thanks, O’Malley, that’s ground-breaking leadership i would never have experienced without you!

i guess maybe that’s it as far as the mailbag goes. i mean, i’m not going to seriously respond to people’s comments that “David Banner sucks and i don’t even know who he is, anyway.” if you don’t know who he is, how do you know he sucks? your argument isn’t even internally consistent! you know what, you suckers can get the bozack. it’s time for the big payback, and i’m strictly snappin’ necks. i don’t know if you had too much to drink, or if you think it’s time to party or if it’s just total kaos inside your head or what, but so what cha sayin’ now? okay, that’s it, i’ve run this into the ground and i’m pretty sure no one gets the joke anyway. 5000.

John Turturro: pretty good, but no Joey Pants

at this point in time, when everyone else is lavishing their cinematic attention on Tom Hanks and Bruce Willis and the rest of the leading men in the movie business, i’m busy promoting the character actors in their films as the major reason to see them. but i fear that, at this point, everyone already knows that i love Joe Pantoliano to death and that the mere voice of Keith David alone is enough of a reason for me to watch a bad movie containing him. so it’s in this vein that today i celebrate some additional character actors who are, if no Joey Pants, still pretty fucking awesome. and no, i will not be naming Christopher Walken. he’s very cool and he dances and it’s all very good, but everyone already knows he rocks.

WALKEN!

i said NO! actually, it’s probably fair to note the following non-leading men also don’t need my attention: Steve Buscemi, Philip Seymour Hoffman, William H. Macy and Danny Trejo. all very cool dudes, but i think we all know that we’re in for some awesomeness when they pop up in a picture, right? okay, on with the list.

don't fuck with the Jesus, just make eyes and beat that bitch.

John Turturro
i’ve recently advanced the theory that John Turturro is always weird in every movie he’s ever been in, though in fairness, he’s not always creepy-weird (Jesus Quintana), but also sometimes normal-weird (Herbie Stempel). like most awesome character actors, Turturro’s key is that he’s legitimately a great actor (my main case in point being the “i can’t die here, like an animal” scene in Miller’s Crossing or, for that matter, his role in Miller’s Crossing, period) mixed with the fact that he’s a weird-looking dude. generally, i feel a little bad about describing guys i like the work of as “gifted by weird looks,” but that’s probably what being a character is all about. or something. and seriously, even when you’re not convinced that Turturro’s character is weird (Det. Larry Mazilli) … well, you just know he is.

top Turturro moments: the aformentioned scene(s) in Miller’s Crossing (“i’m praying to you … look in your heart!”); threatening John Goodman in the Big Lebowski (“nobody fucks with the Jesus”); being a regretful jackass in Quiz Show (“you never leave a guy alone unless you’re leaving him alone”).

James Hong
there’s a decent chance that James Hong is the best dude to ever come out of Minneapolis; Prince is an awesome musician, to be sure, but he wasn’t in Big Trouble In Little China. he will show up on terrible shows (“the King of Queens,” also known around here as “Fat Guy, Hot Wife”) and terrible films (any of those Bloodsport movies he was spotted in) in bit roles (“government worker”) and lend an aura of respectability to them. there’s also a good chance he’s that “one Asian guy who was in that movie that i’ve seen in twenty other films but whose name i don’t recall,” so if he is, now’s the perfect time for you to learn his damn name.

top Hong moments: constructing replicant eyes in Blade Runner (“i just make eyes”; plus, his name is fucking Hannibal Chew); the classic “Chinese Restaurant” episode of Seinfeld; every last second of awesome screen time as David Lo Pan (“you were not brought upon this world to ‘get it!'”).

Anthony Anderson
Anthony Anderson is my rising character actor star, but admittedly, for a long time i was wary of whether or not he could be in anything serious after a run of pictures like Kangaroo Jack. but luckily for Anderson, he strung a series of quality work together (Key, Antwon Mitchell, Brown) and the sad fact is that the promise of him decked out in Clinton Portis paraphenalia and acting crazy was problem my major reason for seeing the Transformers, especially with them making my hero Megatron weird and lamer than he could have been and so on. very disappointing! but i digress. Anderson also gets labeled stuff like “rotund comic,” which is code for “will never be a leading man.”

top Anderson moments: Glen Whitmann losing his fucking mind in the Transformers; the omninous but still flippant crime lord Antwon Mitchell on the Shield (“from now on, when i say, “suck my dick”, you say…”), and, of course, production-machine Key in Hustle & Flow (let’s beat that bitch, then” … a quote which i also realize has so little context here that it’s actually a negative amount).

so there you go! okay, one more time:

WALKEN!

yeah…

in which i steal Bruce McCullough’s ideas (sort of)

and now, janklow with an open letter to the cardinal that keeps shitting on his car.

cardinal or something.

well, why did you do it? are you some sort of jerk or something? it’s MY car! true, you certainly avenged yourself for my throwing out seeds and oats (and maybe a carrot) that you ate by repeatedly shitting on my car. and when i came outside to find a line of three cars had all be “decorated” with a massive line of bird shit behind every side mirror on every car, i admit that i thought it was a massive bird (maybe a hawk or something) with diarrhea. but when i busted you sitting behind each side mirror, rubbing your nasty little cardinal body on each mirror, and then shitting all over the area, i said to myself “ah, it was you! and also, i will now plan to punch you in the face.” i gather that the cat around here that hates me (but is super soft and fun to pet) also hates you and killed your cardinal sidekick – you’re next! what are you – some sort of PRICK? some sort of idiot? some sort of shitting machine? you bird loser! JERK!

seriously, this bird needs to be punched (or possibly eaten by a cat) ASAP. other things that need to be punched in the face real, real hard:

-the guy driving the SUV that kept turning his brights on while driving on a highway filled with other cars tonight. i can’t even fathom why that’s a) a necessary move or b) a good decision at all. you need to see the cars 13 feet in front of you that you can already see with your headlights BETTER? you really just need to blind me that badly? fuck THAT noise.

-record label executives. there are about a thousand reasons for this (and probably the only guy i would NOT punch in the face is Steve Rifkind), largely based around the whole “we can’t sell overpriced, crappy product to THIEVES” concept, but the reason for today is this: if there’s an album out there for an artist at a time when both have buzz, a leaked advance copy is not a solid reason to delay the album for MONTHS. okay? is this making sense yet?

-Michael Mann. actually, this is a little unfair because Mann’s a good director with great attention to detail, and Heat is an awesome movie. but – and here’s the thing – i just watched the film version of Miami Vice (despite Colin Farrell’s not getting shot with a grenade in the face in it) and i have to say this: if punching Michael Mann will prevent him from using lies like “i’m a fiend for mohitos” in a movie ever again … well, then he needs one loving punch in the face for a good cause.

janklow stars in … MINNESOTA: Journey To The Center Of Time And The Northern US

as some of you may know, our hero janklow has been on vacation for the past week (or so) in the wilds of Minnesota, sort of kind of voluntarily. i really dislike taking vacations when no one is around to feed my cochons d’inde, but on the other hand, i haven’t been up to visit at the Indian reservation where my grandfather has his lake house in a decade (and at the time, not only were my last remaining great-grandfather AND my dog still alive, but they also drove up with me at the time), so i said “fuck it, i’ll make a vacation checklist and go.” the checklist:

[x] drink rum (or maybe beers) and smoke cigars
[x] defeat my aged grandmother at golf
[x] take a photo of the greatest Finnish guy ever
[x] sprint like a madman across an annoying airport (possibly for no reason)

so you can tell it was a great trip! now let’s have a boring talk about it!

chapter I: our hero journeys north!
driving north with a car full of old people and a janklow filled with caffeine is admittedly not the greatest plan for one awesome drive (luckily these old people are awesome), but it did remind me of some great truths about America. some specifics:

-Ohio is a wide, wide state; i estimate its size as approximately 2000 miles across. now, the “maps” tell me this is not the case, so either they’re correct (unlikely) or there’s some kind of time-and-space vortex caused by cornfields.

-so, Wisconsin has a massive amount of cheese (no surprises there) and so i understand why there are constant signs advertising the various brands (mainly location-based) of cheese for sale. very logical. but i do not understand why one building – and i really wish i could recall the city this was in – had a roughly 20 foot by 10 foot sign saying only “CHEESE.” and below it, this only about 10’x5′, “SANDWICHES.” just saying cheese without clarifying the issue makes people get excited? this must be why my grandfather identified Wisconsin as “the most communist place in America.”

-tangent: graffiti in America is very, very unoriginal, especially in two places – bathroom stalls and anything like a wooden railing. bathroom stalls are sounding boards for various racist commentary and drawings i can only describe as “wangs and stuff.” and the railings are all about who loves who and who was here and maybe “JB 4 EVER!” now i admit that these are generally not the musings of rocket scientists, but no matter what state or city you are in, this is all people hack into their surroundings. seriously, step your game up, vandals!

chapter II: the great state of Minnesota
after arriving and discovering that my internet connection method did not work (we were probably on top of an ancient Indian burial ground or something), i settled in for a week of doing nothing, drinking moderately heavily and teaming up with my sister’s boyfriend to dominate my grandmother’s team at golf. however, before all the booze kicked it, i DID take some pictures (as i sort of promised). for starters, while wandering around in a shed, i found these:

JARTS!
i was shocked (and amused). my grandmother says they’re supposed to be a fun game for adults! i inform her about the whole “you cannot buy these things anymore because they are banned now” thing, which is sort of awesome in my opinion, but she is not impressed. but she also once threatened to murder any goats i buy, so, you know, you have to watch out for her. also, as promised:

JARTS!
as agreed, a photo of the greatest Finnish guy ever! note: my directions for this photo were “make like we’re signing an important document.” he appears to be taking it very seriously, but i appear to be high or at least drunk, which is mainly sad in that i wasn’t, as i was focused on pretending to sign documents with Finnish guys.

also, at some point in here i was literally wandering through the wilds of Minnesota with my grandfather trying to find an unmarked, secret Indian cemetery (i can’t make this shit up), but we didn’t find anything. which was good, if for no other reason than me not having a camera with me at the time.

chapter III: our hero journeys south!
so finally all good things related to Finnish dudes had to come to an end, and i flew back Monday (which i wanted to call “today” as that’s when i started writing this). however, there was all this concern about flying because, aside from the fact that i, like all midgets, hate heights (and thus, flying) with a passion, the Northwest pilots were apparently striking or calling out sick like that was their job or something, and the first leg of my trip was flown by NWA. i tried to clarify this point with people who, unlike myself, watched the news, but without success: apparently, when i’m on vacation, you can freak me out with half a news story, but not give me the full FACTS. however, it worked out okay because the flight out of Duluth was through a small airline that works FOR NWA, but is not actually NWA itself. side note: Duluth is a tiny airport that reminds me of that Mad TV sketch where Bobby Lee is a retarded guy that does everything himself, except that a) i didn’t see him anywhere and b) Duluth’s airport is much funnier than anything that’s ever been on Mad TV.

some random in-transit thoughts:

-Minnesota really IS the land of 10,000 lakes. but while some people note this and think “what impressive, beautiful scenery,” all it does is remind me of what audacious thieves the LA Lakers are. those assholes DESERVE Kobe.

-apparently in the Minneapolis airport, there is a Fox News Channel store (they may exist elsewhere, but this is the first one i have seen). now, i don’t watch cable news, but this is not about dumping on LOL FAUX NEWS or something. it is still weird to me, though, because a) MN isn’t a super-conservative state, and cities are generally less conservative than their surrounding states, and b) seriously, Fox News Channel needs stores? that sell airport knick-knacks in Minnesota? i learned that i don’t understand capitalism as much as i thought i did.

-tangent: sorry, traveling ladies, but you’re the rudest things ever. i may have mentioned past flights in past updates where you kept me awake and/or elbowed the shit out of me while sleeping. during this odyssey, you did the following: hit me with your bags, leaned into my seat to rest while waiting to exit a plane, kicked my feet like a spoiled two-year-old by going under my seat into my seating area, and never once said excuse me for anything, or thanked anyone for holding a door or anything else. seriously, step your game up, women!

so the first legs of this trip went well, until we got to…

chapter IV: fucking Chicago/O’Hare!
disclaimer: O’Hare has a reputation as one of the worst, if not THE worst, airport hubs ever (while, bragging a tad here, my home airport of BWI is a great hub), and i am here to assure you that, once again, i can confirm this. but here’s a big reason why it sucks so bad: because it’s crowded because NO ONE IS MOVING ANYWHERE. people, you do not need to walk randomly in slow clumps or stand in the middle of the hallways. FUCKING MOVE IT. but i digress.

so American drops me off late at O’Hare and asks everyone on the plane ending their trips in Chicago to wait and let people with close connections depart the plane first (not just i), which of course means that everyone ending their trip to Chicago tries to rush off the plane and causes even more slowness. next, it turns out that i’ve been told the wrong gate to meet my connection at, as the guy who works for American tells me. where is my flight departing from, i ask. “B terminal, so you won’t be able to make it. do you want me to put you on standby for our flight to BWI?” i tell this guy very confidently that, oh, i’ll make it. and then i become that Guy Who You May Have Seen Running Through O’Hare At A High Rate Of Speed If You Were There On Monday.

in fairness, lest i sound like some cocky jackass about this, i had a 100% track record of being right about this kind of thing, since i once ran across an airport (i think it was in Cincinnati) to catch a flight, which i then did successfully!

however, i missed my flight by about 38 seconds and then, while waiting for a supervisor and trying to get onto the flight somehow, i was shunted aside by a gentleman who a) apparently had been holding a boarding pass for three hours, b) didn’t board the plane for some reason, and c) then wanted to board immediately (!!!), which is obviously not going to happen when you start to yell at the counter personnel and drop classic lines like “you may be friendly in the skies … but you’re not friendly here!”

another supervisor not being yelled at by this guy rebooked me for the next flight and after spending some free time eating hamburgers and reading about Chechnya, i was freed to flight the friendly skies!

so i finally get off this plane at BWI and everything is closed (because at BWI we don’t play that open-24-hours-a-day shit on the piers) and i walk into a bathroom where half the sinks have been marked out-of-order by placing paper towels with the legend “DONT WORK” markered onto them. Chimes strikes again! and then, shockingly, i walk right out to the curb and the employee shuttle, which NEVER shows up promptly, shows up promptly and takes me (slowly) to my car. i am only going to say this once this year, so here it is: boy, was it good to be back in Baltimore (which is easier to say when no one shoots you or anything like that).