In the latest episode of We Just Saw A Movie we discuss the Ben-Hur remake starring Richard Harr…I mean, Jack Huston. We also review trailers for The Arrival (Amy Adams teaches aliens their ABC’s), Hacksaw Ridge (Andrew Garfield’s Oscar bait) and the confusingly named Same Kind of Different As Me. We also talk about Morgan Freeman’s turn in Ben-Hur, his lack of a non-Morgan Freeman accent, and our brief run-in with actor Joaquin Phoenix after the movie.
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It’s late August, so that means people all over the country are having their fantasy football drafts this week. I’ve played fantasy football since 2000. At my peak I’ve had as many as four teams at once. This year I’m down to one, a team I co-own with my brother. There’s no reason for anyone to do it. It sucks. Here’s why you should give it up:
Dues in leagues I’ve been in usually cost anywhere between $50-$100. If you’re in multiple leagues that could add up to hundreds. No one should have to shut the heat off just so they can “own” Tom Brady in multiple fake football leagues. Of course you have the option of playing in a free league on Yahoo with strangers, but what are you, some sort of sociopath?
It’s Never Not Frustrating
The draft is fun. If you do it in person, you can get together with some friends and have a party. After that? Get ready for months and months of being alternately angry, confused, and disappointed. You’ll have key players get injured and have free agent pickups backfire miserably. I remember one specific instance where I pumped my fist after reading an injury report that said, “DeSean Jackson’s Groin Not an Issue.” That’s waaaay too much of an emotional investment for any heterosexual man in the status of another man’s groin.
You’ll Tell People About Your Fantasy Team As If Your Unique Issues Are Relatable
From the people who brought you “People Who Describe Their Dreams” comes “People Who Tell You About A Very Specific Instance of Someone on Their Fantasy Team Under- or Over-Performing.” No fantasy football story in the history of humankind has ever been interesting. Also there is literally no combination of fantasy football events that have not already happened, so go ahead and cover the traffic and weather so we can hit the unholy trifecta of shitty conversation topics and move on.
You’re Probably Not Going To Win
Most leagues have somewhere between 8-12 teams. Only one wins the championship. Much like HBO’s The Night Of, you can’t be sure how any given fantasy football season is going to end, but it’s most likely not going to end well.
Even If You Win, You May Get Some Goofy Shit Like a Championship Ring or Trophy
I used to play in a league that gave out a trophy to the champion. It seemed like a great idea when we voted on it and after I won the championship, I was thrilled. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. When I got it, it was massive. I had no place to put it, so I settled on the windowsill next to my bed. The one I sleep in with my girlfriend. Nothing makes a woman question her relationship status quite like a giant object marking his ability to track the success of much more accomplished world class athletes. And to single guys out there, a bit of advice: if you have a fantasy football trophy, don’t put it in your bedroom. If she’s on the fence about you, seeing that won’t tip the scales in your favor.
“Oh cool, a football trophy. What position did you play?”
“Oh. Hey I just remember I have to go, I have to feed my neighbor’s uh cat…” *sprints outside, never sees you again*
You Are Accomplishing Nothing Regardless of the Outcome
Your good or bad time is entirely dependent on the actual accomplishments of other men. Now you could argue that that describes all sports gambling (which I would absolutely classify fantasy as) or even watching sports in general. You may be right. But you spend a maybe a day watching football. You spend the entire week obsessing over your fantasy lineup. Having a few beers to watch the Giants play the Eagles for 3 hours is one thing. Derailing your job and social life to compare the stats of two fifth string wide receiver waiver wire pickups is another. You cost yourself productivity and in the long run, money. Plus I guarantee if your boss busts you for checking your fantasy team at work too much, none of your players are showing up to have your back. Though based on many NFL players’ reputations, maybe that’s a good thing. “Hey sir, this is Greg Hardy. I just want you to know Steve is a real standup guy, you should think twice about firing him. Wait, why are you backing away and mouthing ‘dial 9-1-1’ to your secretary?”
Bottom line: save your money (and time) and put it towards one of your own endeavors. Or invest in daily fantasy sports, which is a sure thing and a totally great way to definitely win money.
One thing that never lost anyone ever money was subscribing to my email list.
“What is, in this universe…what do souls do? When you’ve been shitty to your family, your soul might go to an animal. That’s all we know so far. Other than that, we have no way of knowing where it is or what’s happening.”
We saw Nine Lives, starring Christopher Walken and the voice of Kevin Spacey as a man trapped in the body of a cat. You get to hear Christopher Walken answer a question by saying, “Of course. I’m a cat whisperer. It’s what I do” which is the most entertaining part of the film. We talk about the trailers for a trio of upcoming animated films. We also discuss a pair of teenagers in the theater with us who left before the movie, apparently disappointed they wouldn’t be able to hook up. Plus we engage in a very spirited debate over whether or not Mark Hamill is a good actor. Mike questions Elizabeth’s assertion that Hamill’s performance as Luke Skywalker is just him playing himself.
Gawker.com will “end all operations” next week after being bought by Univision. This came after billionaire Peter Thiel funded a number of lawsuits against the Internet media titan, including Hulk Hogan’s crippling suit in Florida. Thiel’s vengeful acts came after Gawker outed him as a gay man against his will years ago. Many see Thiel’s brazen legal war against a media company as a threat to the freedom of press.
Whatever you think of Gawker, their demise signals one frightening reality: this is bad news for anyone who wants to watch old professional wrestler have sex.
Who among us hasn’t had a few minutes to kill in between afternoon appointments and thought, “Man, you know what I could go for right now? A grainy video of Diamond Dallas Page balls deep in a lady, recorded against his will.” Now? We’ll never get to see that. I hope you never wondered what the weirdly-tanned, aging ballsacks of Kevin Nash and Scott Steiner look like, because now the world may never know.
For all the talk of bias in media, the truth is that every society benefits from a healthy, free press. We must give our reporters the ability to report the truth, whether that truth is about a presidential candidate’s past or what a the Honky Tonk Man looks like porking his best friend’s wife through nightvision goggles.
It’s a scary time. Imagine someone in the 70’s forcing the Washington Post to shut down because Woodward and Bernstein were getting to close to the truth about Watergate. Sickening, isn’t it? Now replace the Post with “Gawker,” Woodward and Bernstein with “AJ Daulerio,” and Watergate with “revenge porn featuring the villain from 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain.”
We’re living in a dystopia so frightening, Orwell may as well have written it.
The question now: where does society turn to for its news about what old wrestlers look like while they’re having sex? What brave outlet will cover it now? I’m afraid it’s no one. Picture this: a pitch meeting in the news division of a major network. Suddenly a fresh-faced junior producer bolts into the room clutcing a flash drive. “Boss…I’ve got it right here! My source sent me clips of over 30 retired wrestlers having sex in the privacy of their own homes! Honky Tonk Man, Papa Shango, Ric Flair….we’ve even got Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake! All recorded from trees outside their bedroom windows!” The room falls silent. The lead anchor and the executive producer share a knowing look. “I’m sorry kid…we just can’t run it. Can’t deal with the blowback.” The wide-eyed, idealistic kid can’t believe it. “But…but…the people have a right to know! How else are they going to find out if there’s a mole on Hacksaw Jim Duggan’s ass?” The anchor shakes his head. “We can’t put our people’s lives in danger.” The disenfranchised idealist storms out in a huff. He posts the videos to his WordPress blog and is later found dead in a dumpster, murdered by hooligans hired by Peter Thiel.
It’s going to be a tough transition. What do we tell our children and our children’s children when they ask us, innocent and wide-eyed, “What would it look like to see the Nasty Boys Eiffel Tower someone while a DSLR in the corner captures the whole thing unbeknowst to them?” We’ll have to bite our lips and hold back tears as we say, “We don’t know. We’ll never know.”
If you want to hear more about the injustice of the press not being able to report revenge porn, subscribe to my email list. It’s better than saying your prayers and eating your vitamins.
Last winter. It’s a frigid New York evening. I’m traipsing the streets in between shows, in desperate need of a public restroom.
I walk by venue after venue, looking for just the right spot. I was like a dog, sniffing and circling (only I’d get much different looks for lifting my leg over a tree). Finally I look into the window of a restaurant. I look straight back, and past the bar and tables, I see a visible bathroom. Without thinking, I dart right on in to make myself at home. I don’t know what the restaurant’s name is, but it may as well be Olive Garden, because I’m about to be family.
In my rush for relief, I miss the phalanx of uniformed servers who descend upon me as if to say, “Not so fast my friend.” I wasn’t dressed shabbily, but I was wearing a backpack. No one entering a semi-fancy restaurant with a backpack is coming in to sample wines. Before I can get to the restroom, the lead dog holds a hand up, shaking his head. He knows what I’m doing.
“Can I help you?” He asks it in what can only be described as the world’s least helpful tone. “Can I help you?” The only help he offers is surely to tell me which direction the door is.
Despite my surprising shock at his presence, my years of dealing with rowdy audience members onstage have granted me a quick wit in situations like these. I immediately snap back, “I’m meeting some friends here,” then head to the bathroom as he grimaces and says nothing in response.
Once in the restroom, I went about doing my dirty, sinful business (number one if you’re curious, you sicko.) While peeing, I realized I had to re-enter that hornet’s nest. I’m positive he was about to tell me the bathroom was for customer’s only. At this point, it’s clear I’m not a customer. Hell, I doubt he ever believed my garbled, “I’m meeting friends here hey is this the bathroom?” excuse. What would I tell him when I walked back out there? Would I sit down at the bar and order a drink to smooth things over? My mind raced as I considered the possibilities.
After a moment of consideration, I settled on making a beeline for the door and getting the hell out of there.
As I washed my hands, my heart skipped a beat for some reason. I don’t know why, but this was one of the most exciting moments of my life. If I got out of there without being chastised or penalized (what could they do at this point? Put the pee back?) I would have successfully executed a perfect restroom heist.
So gathering all my courage, I burst through the doors and without making eye contact with anyone, walked straight out the door. For me it was like cheating at poker, pulling off a bank job, and being an IOC member all rolled into one criminally exciting enterprise.
Remember in the Godfather, when Michael Corleone executes Sollozzo and the police captain? Remember how he walks out, quickly but not too quickly, in something of a daze? That was exactly how I felt. I don’t know if restaurants usually call the cops on restroom users who don’t buy anything, but I sure as hell wasn’t going to stick around to find out. I walked straight out the door and back into the cold.
You could argue that lying to a business just to use their restroom is something a piece of shit would do. Maybe you’re right. Maybe for those few minutes I was a piece of shit. But I tell you what: those 3-5 seconds between me leaving the bathroom and smelling the sweet cold air? Most alive I’ve ever felt.
If you sign up for my email list I can’t tell you a list of the best public restrooms to use in New York, but I CAN tell you how to convincingly look at a Starbucks’ menu for a second before heading to their bathroom to drop a deuce.
I live about a block away from the studio where they film Orange is the New Black in Astoria, NY. When they’re shooting you can see a lot of the cast and crew walking around the street outside. It’s pretty cool. It’s also fun to imagine someone waking up from a 5 year coma coming upon this. “Oh my God, apparently there was a jailbreak at a women’s prison! And…now they’re all just milling around! One of them’s having a smoke, the other is on her cell phone! Why isn’t anyone else reporting them to the authorities? You sir, holding the boom mic, have you no decency?!?”
Many times they’ll set up the catering table on one of the streets outside the studio. It’s the same one I happen to walk by almost every morning. Twice in the past few weeks I’ve walked by when it was out early for breakfast. Because of a closed sidewalk on the other side of the street due to construction, to get by I basically have no choice but to walk through the catering tent.
Let me tell you: I want to steal a muffin so bad.
Now, I’m not a thief. I don’t usually steal stuff. The vast majority of muffins I’ve eaten in my life have either been paid for by me or given to me. And I’m sure the cast and crew of Orange is the New Black are all fine people who work hard, and I would never want to take something they earned. But last time I passed the tent, I walked through it twice – once on my way there, once on my way back. On my way there, it was packed full of people (some of whom looked at me a little weird. “Why is this guy in workout clothes coming through here? I don’t remember anyone in the script being credited as “Dude in Old Ass Seattle Sonics T-Shirt Heading to the Gym.”) On the return trip, it was pretty much empty save one or two stragglers. After everyone had eaten, there was still PLENTY of food left over. So I’m fairly confident me taking one muffin wouldn’t leave anyone else starving. It’s not like I’m ripping a plate of bacon and eggs out of Natasha Lyonne’s hands.
But at this point it’s more about the challenge of it than the actual theft. I’ve walked through enough times where I think I could get away with it. Here’s my plan:
Dress Like a Member of the Crew
All I need is a card with my picture on it and a lanyard to serve as my fake badge, and boom: I’m all set.
Or, Dress Like a Member of the Cast
If the badge thing doesn’t work, I’m only a wig and a tan jumpsuit away from being an inmate. Just need to make sure I shave that day.
Act Like I Belong
This is the most critical aspect of the entire operation. Once I’m in the tent, at no point will I look around nervously. I’ll just pick up a plate and survey my options. I won’t make direct eye contact with anyone, but I won’t look away either. Maybe a mumble a few “heys” under my breath. Throw in a vague refernence to that day’s shoot. “I think this scene’s going to be our best one yet! Huh…are those muffins? I could go for a muffin.”
Take Exactly One (1) Muffin
Like I said before: this isn’t about the actual consumption of food, it’s about the thrill of the act itself. I’m not trying to be greedy here, helping myself to a ridiculous amount. Laura Prepon will not starve on my watch.
Run Like Hell
Once the muffin is in my possession, I take off sprinting. Because who’s going to question me? If someone is crazy enough to pick up a muffin then run away, do you really want to run after them and risk catching them? The unpredictability of the muffin sprint means they’ll probably throw up their hands and chalk this one up as another NYC streetwalking muffin pilfering. Probably happens every day in the Big Apple.
And that’s it. What are my possible outcomes here? I’ve considered those too:
Worst case scenario: I get caught. I’m forced to return the muffin. In an embarrassing display, I’m handcuffed and forced to bashfully spit the bits I’ve already eaten into an angry cop’s hands. I’m prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and in an ironic twist am sentenced to a decade-long prison sentence in upstate New York.
Middle case scenario: I get away. No one notices that I took it. The people who do notice barely care. I’m so disappointed by this I kind of look back and say, “Hey! You guys know I stole this right?” to which they shrug. I am now the proud owner of a weird, not that interesting story to tell my unimpressed friends at parties.
Best case scenario: The show’s producers notice my incredible acting ability (“You blended RIGHT IN with the crew! We thought you were a key grip the whole time!”) and offer me a role on the show as Litchfield’s first male inmate, a wisecracking muffin thief. My signature catchphrase becomes, “Got muffin?” while I wink at the camera, even though they tell me to stop looking at the camera because it’s not that type of show.
In short, is it worth the risk of prison (or, the reward of a plum acting gig) just to eat a free muffin that doesn’t belong to me I could easily buy for $3 down the street? If you know me at all, you know the answer to that is: absolutely.
You know what’s even better than illegal muffins? Subscribing to my email list. This month I’m sending out tips on how to get a danish off the set of House of Cards without Kevin Spacey noticing.
It got so hot in NYC this weekend it made cockroaches fly. Sounds horrifying, doesn’t it? You don’t know the half of it.
Several years back when I was still living in Virginia, a buddy of mine asked for help moving. When he asked, I smirked at him, and in my most condescending tone said, “Sure thing pal, I’ll help ya move…when roaches fly!” I then laughed in his face then did the jerkoff motion silently until he said, “Okay, I get the point” and walked away.
Cut to a few years later. New York, August 2016. It’s a heat wave. It’s so hot, everyone’s looking at the crazy guys who expose themselves to others thinking, “Actually that’s a good idea.” I didn’t check the numbers, but based on my amateur calculations the heat index got up to 219 degrees Fahrenheit. It was so hot you could fry an egg on the street, if you like your eggs prepared on disgusting surfaces.
Trying not to melt, I sat at home in the comfort of my A/C. As I go back and forth between my Social Media Bermuda Triangle of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, I see a story trending: due to NYC’s high temperatures this weekend, cockroaches may start taking flight.”
Almost as soon as I read the story, I got a text from said friend.
“Get your ass to VA. Ur helping me move.”
Over the last several years I’ve prided myself on avoiding helping my friends move as much as possible by presenting them with unattainable, sarcastic conditions for my help. But now he had me, dead to rights, and there was nothing I could do about it. So many questions came to mind:
Why had I picked roaches? Even though roaches usually don’t fly, they’re perfectly able to. Why not pick animal that doesn’t have wings?
Also didn’t he just sign a three year lease in May? Who moves somewhere in the middle of the month?
After talking with him some more, it turns out he wasn’t even moving. He was going to have me move all his belongings into storage, spend the night there, then move them back into his place. His reasoning? “I’ve got a friend legally obligated to help me move. I’m not passing that up.”
So as I prepared to purchase a train ticket, I cursed both him and the cockroach as a species. Why in the hell are cockroaches, an animal generally regarded as being dirty and lazy, for some reason MORE active during times of high humidity? You pick NOW to make something of yourselves and start flying? I’m part of the smartest species on Planet Earth and I can’t move during a heat wave. If it goes past 82 I’m glued to the couch watching Netflix, meanwhile the roach version of Tony Robbins is rising up doing things it never even thought was possible before.
I spent years being disgusted by roaches WITHOUT initiative. What can they accomplish if they put their minds to it? They won’t die from a nuclear fallout, they can fly…if roaches figure out how to make the entire plane out of the black box I feel like they’re the next species on deck to rule once the next big meteor hits.
The scariest part about this is it’s made me revisit some other sarcastic qualifiers I’ve set over the past several years. I said them all super condescendingly, while doing the jerkoff motion. Now, to quote the great Joe Theismann, I’m not so sure these won’t happen. Consider these bargains I made:
“Sure, I’ll loan you $1,000….when LeBron leads the Cavs to a second title!”
“Sure, I’ll let you squat in my apartment’s living room…when a movie starring Will Smith as a D-list Batman villain has a sequel greenlit!”
“Sure, I’ll give you a kidney…when Donald Trump becomes President!”
Actually I think I’m good on the last one, both because I don’t think Trump’s going to win and also because my friend who needed the kidney died months ago. But still, my point remains: if a friend asks you for help moving, don’t set any sarcastic conditions. Just say no.
While we’re on the subject of cockroaches, sign up for my email list. Not one filthy insect is on it, so you’ll be in good company.