Friday, July 06, 2007

FIVE + THREE THINGS YOU MAY KNOW ABOUT ME (plus a test afterwards!)

I’ve been tagged by Walter at Quiet Bubble and Lucas at 100 Films to provide eight random facts about myself. Here are the rules for this amusingly viral little exercise:

a) Must Post Rules First
b) Must Provide Facts
c) Must Tag Eight Other Unsuspecting Bloggers At End Of Exercise And Ensnare Them Into Ever-Widening Web Of Entertaining Minutiae

But I’ve decided, in order to spice things up a bit, to give you, Dear Reader, a chance to separate fact from fancy, fiction from foolishness. At the end of my eight facts, you will be provided with a simple test. If you choose to do so, leave the test, along with any smart remarks you will undoubtedly have, in the comments column. The test will be to see if you can tell the True Confessions from the True Lies.

Let’s begin.

1) I’ve kept a journal logging every movie I’ve seen for the past 30 years.
It started on September 17, 1977, the first night I spent at the University of Oregon on my own. I went to see The Spy Who Loved Me at a dumpy little duplex called the Valley River Twin Cinemas, which were at the time, incredibly enough, one of Eugene’s main first-run houses, the jewel in Portland movie theater impresario Larry Moyer’s local crown. (His brother Tom owned the Cinema World across the street.) I’d already seen the movie earlier in the summer and loved it (I gave it three-and-a-half out of a possible four stars, the hardy Leonard Maltin rating system), and when I came home to my dorm room that night for some reason I decided to write down the following bit of information in a three-ring, college-ruled binder notebook:

9-17 The Spy Who Loved Me ***1/2 Valley River Twin

That was it. The following Saturday night a group of friends and I shlepped out to a cracker-box cinema in the outlying Springfield area for a double bill of The Last Remake of Beau Geste (**) and Mel Brooks’ The Twelve Chairs (***). When I got home, I wrote the double feature down in the same format. With that entry, a routine was established that I have kept up for nearly 30 years.

In the summer of 1997, when she was pregnant with our son, Charlie, my wife, needing something to fill up the idle hours of maternity leave, took it upon herself to enter the entire journal (then “only” 20 years worth of films) into Word Perfect, print the entire shebang up on beautiful paper stock and bind it in a lovely leather book. As a bonus, I went through the latest copy of Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide, marked down every movie I’d seen released prior to September 1977, where I’d seen it (remarkably easy to remember, for some reason), and even made a reasonable attempt to estimate what year I’d seen it. By starting around 1963, with a screening of the cartoon feature Gay Purr-ee at the Marius Theater in Lakeview, Oregon (by my best guess, the first movie I ever saw on the big screen), we pieced together a reasonably accurate picture of every movie I’d seen before September 1977 and committed it to this refurbished version of my journal.

That was 10 years ago. With last night’s DVD screening of New York, New York, I’m one entry closer to 30 complete years of logging my movie-going history, a grand total of 43 years in the books. There’s a reason most people don’t know this about me. The reason is, when most people find out, they recoil in fear, or disgust, pelting me with heartless accusations: “Nerd!” “Geek!” “Creep!” “Weirdo!” I don’t much like that. And I’ve had to correct many a misguided assessment of my sanity. And now that you know, well, what do you think? Come closer… and be honest. What do you think?

2) I’d rather fight than switch
One early morning at Norm’s Diner, after an all-night triple feature of Robocop, Platoon and Full Metal Jacket at the long-gone Alameda Drive-in in Burbank, California, I threw a punch at a waiter who asked me “Is Diet Coke okay?” after I specifically asked for Diet Pepsi. There was no Diet Pepsi in the Burbank City Jail either.

3) I once addressed the student body of my elementary school dressed as a Christmas tree
There were some tears, some laughter, and at the end of it a few more boys were dusted with white flocking and skin abrasions than when the ceremony began. But no one ever called me Pine Nuts ever again. The horrifying aftermath was later adapted (fairly loosely) as an episode of Showtime’s Tales from the Crypt.

4) My best friend and I survived Delta Tau Chi
I met my best friend (known in the comments columns here as Blaaagh) on the Eugene, Oregon set of National Lampoon’s Animal House in the autumn of 1977. I had actually seen him and another actor several months earlier performing a scene from Of Mice and Men at a state Thespian conference. I guess the performance really impressed me because several months later, in the dingy, stale-beer-smelling basement of the Sigma Nu house on 13th Avenue that served as the interior of the Delta house, I spied Blaaagh sitting and waiting, as we extras tended to do, to be called for the next shot and remembered his shining moment as George. In a very atypically brazen moment for this shy boy, I introduced myself, told him I remembered his performance, and I think this shocked him just enough to inspire him to have a conversation with me. We kept bumping into each other that week (pretty hard not to on that cramped set), and by the weekend we were off to see our first movies together-- Star Wars, followed by a midnight double feature of Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Jabberwocky. (See what that journal is good for?) We survived Jabberwocky and remain as bestest as best friends could be to this day. UPDATE JULY 7, 2007: During a recent trip to Oregon, I discovered this vintage 1977 photo booth strip of Blaaagh and I sporting our Animal House haircuts. Minus my glasses, this is a pretty good represntation of what we looked like in the movie, and, unfortunately, on campus for a couple of months, a full year before it was suddenly cool to be in the movie.

5) I am currently going back to school to become an elementary schoolteacher.
In pursuit of that goal, I’ve been substituting since January. And this is my inspiration:

6) One of the great unseen movies I have been in hot pursuit of ever since I first heard of it is Werner Herzog’s documentary about Dr. Gene Scott entitled God’s Angry Man.
Thanks, Tom, for another wonderful piece of writing.

7) One very dull night, while working the graveyard shift at a radio station in Grants Pass, Oregon, I played Paul Nicholas’ Top 40 hit “Heaven On The Seventh Floor” nearly 20 times in a row, over the course of a full hour, just to see if anyone, including my boss, was listening. Not one single phone call.

8) I often wish I could comport myself in the manner of Michael Chiklis in the role of Vic Mackey on FX’s hit TV drama The Shield. I’m not endorsing police corruption or anything. There’s just something about that swaggering dick-head that really speaks to the suppressed Freudian bogeyman in me. And I, like Chiklis, and Bruce Willis before him, look better bald than not.

Okay, now the test:

#1 T ( ) F ( )

#2 T ( ) F ( )

#3 T ( ) F ( )

#4 T ( ) F ( )

#5 T ( ) F ( )

#6 T ( ) F ( )

#7 T ( ) F ( )

#8 T ( ) F ( )

I tag Peet, David, Paul C., The Shamus, Kim, Damian, Campaspe and Andrew.


Anonymous said...

Well at the risk of finding out I really know nothing about you... I'll give it a shot.

#1) This actually sounds very truthful to me. I think this is something that Patty would really do for you. Your also very specific in your remarks so I think #1 is TRUE.

#2) Now this does not sound like the Dennis I've come to know. On the other hand it's always wise to be cautious around the quiet types. And if this was a true statement then buddy, your alright in my eyes. However, I'll say this is FALSE.

#3) This might be true... so I'll go with my gut feeling and say, TRUE.

#4) This is TRUE.

#5) TRUE!!!!

#6) Now I'm on the fence about this one. Not really worried about what your religious convictions are or anything like that. Just don't know if this would be interesting to you. I'll go with TRUE.

#7) Now I don't think this is true. In fact this sounds very much like a Jim Ladd story. FALSE.

#8) I think everyone at one time or another wants to be the bad guy just for a little while. So I say this is a very TRUE statement.

Larry Aydlette said...

The only thing that amazes me is that she could actually get all your writing to contain in one volume. Is it bigger than an encyclopedia? Do you use it for free weights?

Joking! Sorta.

And you're the second one that's tagged me with this pesky meme...

TALKING MOVIEzzz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Do you have a count on how many movies you've logged in that journal (assuming it's real, of course)?

Adam Ross said...

Well I KNOW No. 3 is false because Tales from the Crypt was on HBO, not Showtime!

Here's an easier test for anyone who flunked this one.

PIPER said...

Love the true or false.

I'm hoping the Fight or Switch one about Diet Pepsi is true. Don't tell me different.

And if the first is false, it's brilliant and so specific who would dare question it.

Alonzo Mosley (FBI) said...

Dammit! I was going to tag you for this thing since I don't know that many bloggers. Eh, well, timing is everything.

As for my answers, I would say all true except 2, 3 and 5. I'm guessing you might have dreamed number two after eating one too many kielbasa and watching Five Easy Pieces late one night.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if #1 is true, but I HOPE it is-- just so I'm not the only one who keeps track of movies like that! (: I started doing it because people were always asking me which movies I'd seen recently and what was "good", and I wanted some way to remember and keep track of cool movies that might otherwise fall through the cracks of my memory.

LOVE this spin on the meme, and in a way, I think they are all "true," if only because they give us a sense of the imaginative and witty spirit that powers this blog on a daily basis.

Aaron W. Graham said...

Well, I think if #2 is true, then you must have been channelling your inner Wild Bill Kelso!

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm not going to guess now that you've revealed all the answers--though I of course would have been right on all of them--but I have to say that photo strip of you and me is such a blast from the past. It even seems to have become sepia-toned with the years, or did you deliberately do that to it?! Jeez, it was 1977, not 1897.