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We Didn’t Know What We Had….Now It’s Gone February 23, 2007

Posted by doctorolove in Movies, Music, Pop Culture Rants.
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Written sometime in 1981, the  “Code of 80’s Teen, Action and Young Dramatic Films” was a little known edict that governed every film made throughout the decade. Drawn up by John Hughes, savage Steve Holland, representatives from the “Tootie” and “Jo Polnachek” camps and several trained chimpanzees from the Clyde Beatty/Cole Bros. Circus, it was over three hundred pages and contained missive upon missive. It single-handedly shaped that feeling and mood you just know about when every you watch an 80’s movie.

Such rules included the fact that all cheerleaders must be played by women who were no younger than 28 years old, at least one ethnic stereotype had to play a major role in the hero or heroine’s journey and no less than 8 films a year had to prominently feature Oh Yeah’s “Yello.” Bom bomp…chicka bomp bomp bomp.

Yet it was Article 4, section 8 that had the most profound effect on culture in general. It stated, in fancy sounding legal terms, “every film must include a scene scored to a heavy metal power ballad. The scene itself can occur at any point in the film, but must include at least one slow motion camera shot.” The Dokken and Motley Crue camps obviously had some pull back then to get such a rider tossed into the mix. The movie industry had to comply and because of that, power ballads were everywhere. Not because people liked them at first, but because, well, they had to be there.

Directors used them with aplomb. Sometimes the sentimental screeching underscores the beginning credits as we saw faded photographs of high school days gone by (This technique was known as ‘Letting You Know This Was a Serious one”) Sometimes it played beneath the final cado as the hero/heroine takes off in their parents car for a better life at college, wherever that may have been. It would zip along in the background when the hero/heroine came to grips with their friend’s betrayal. You could also play it at the climactic dance scene where women in powder blue Poofy sweaters and hair the size of Rhode Island sached slowly in the arms of their red cumberbunded objects of affection.

By pairing these “loud boys gone soft” songs, the country quickly identified with the power ballad as being something that induced feelings of sensitivity and loss. Boys liked them because it nearly doubled the number of women at the local W.A.S.P. concert. Women liked them because they were able to see the sensitive and caring side of the guitarist they were waiting on line to get molested by backstage. And the hair metal, a once British and dare I say effeminate, movement was given street cred. Soon, it was an unwritten law of their own that every album had to have a power ballad, whether it was being used at the local multiplex or not. The tunes were being blasted in Irocs everywhere. Some even made their way into graduation ceremonies. How cool was your school when every graduating senior marched down the aisle to White Lion? That’s right. Pretty f’n cool! The power ballad was everywhere.

But as the eighties drew to a close, two factors conspired to bring down the power ballad from atop its music pantheon. First, the movie code was not renewed when most people realized that teenagers all have the same problems and there were only so many times you could watch the same coming of age scenario before it got boring (Many also believed this was coupled with John Hughes breaking from the code and making Curly Sue…which broke Article 3, Section 2 “Cute kids are to be tertiary characters to provide one liners or sage advice and are IN NO WAY meant to be major characters. Unless they swear a lot or are adults trapped in children’s bodies.”) Second was the demise of hair metal itself. When studies showed that Poison and Bullet Boys were accountable for no less than 20% of the ozone’s depletion, the backlash came down faster than stock in Jessica Simpson/Nick Lachey “Together Forever” marriage aides. With nobody to sing the ballads, the style disappeared from our landscape.

Sure, people still try to knock out a power ballad now and then today, but they are co-opted by NBC promos and movie trailers. They are then so over played (NBC alone played their trailer for “The Black Donnelleys” 872 times last night) that the song is dismissed as that annoying tune you hum while waiting for your pesto Portobello wrap at Au Bon Pain. This has meant that scores of power balladeers are out of work. They are forced to struggle on the streets or even worse, star on VH1’s Celebreality.

So I implore you all today, to hire a power ballad singing hair metal band to follow you around as your personal soundtrack.

How great would it be to have you own personal power ballad at your beck and call at all times? You go to buy some fruit and ask the guy if he has anything fresher in the back. He ignores you and moves on to the next customer. Cue the ballad as you walk away forlorn. You take one look back to see if he stills wants to sell you some grapes, but he’s moved on. You hold your glance for a second, but still nothing. You turn back and continue your walk. He does look and smile, but you don’t see it. And he places a single bunch of grapes on the counter and somewhere, credits start. Now that’s a great scenario made even better by loud wailing guitars and subtle piano notes and the time ravaged voice of Bret Michaels.

Don’t like fruit? How about having the bass drop in and the violins start crescendoing as you look over pictures of the girl who got away in high school? Need to borrow money from your parents? Try telling them your predicament with Kix’ “Don’t Close Your Eyes” in the background. Guaranteed extra two or three grand there.

We lived in a much happier time two decades ago and there is no doubt the power ballad was a major reason why. So, let’s bring it back. It may just take a little patience, but it’ll be home sweet home real soon. I promise, kids, heaven isn’t too far away.


A Movie Mr. Furley Would Love: The Three-Quel February 22, 2007

Posted by doctorolove in Movies, Pop Culture Rants.

Threesomes can be good. The Three Stooges. Early anti-establishment Crosby, Stills and Nash. Actual threesomes.

And threesomes can be bad. Britney, Paris and Lindsay. Old, decrepit semen factory Crosby, Stills and Nash. The 1994 movie Threesome (Any time you attempt to make a statement about modern relationships, if you have a Baldwin in the film, all your good work is negated.)

This summer, we will be inundated with threesomes. No fewer than 758 “three-quels” will be unleashed this summer. They will be front and center each week. They will creep up upon like a bad rash. And like a bad rash, they can be just as uncomfortable and unnecessary.

A “three-quel” is a growing genre of movies. As more and more writers and directors phone it in, the dearth of original ideas in Hollywood is shrinking faster than the idea of “rehab” for young starlets. It’s like the Mad Libs of movies: take a scenario and fill in the blanks with your characters. Add a wrinkle or two and voila: instant box office. Or is it?

Coincidentally, keeping with the theme of three, there are three types of movie “three-quels.” Each has it’s pros and its’ cons and each can be successful in their own rights. But “three-quels” have the greatest chance of becoming another Ishtar. There is a reason that every cop movie or superhero doesn’t get one more story told about them (Aren’t you glad we didn’t get V.I. Warshawski 3: More-Shawski!) Hollywood has to be careful. Because the following types of films can turn on you faster than a bran muffin, two cups of coffee and last night’s Del Taco

TYPE 1: The Continuation Three-quel (or ONCE MORE, WITH FEELING…AND NEW GUEST STARS)

This summers entry: Rush Hour 3

When a film does well monetarily or the characters resonate with us all, we want to see them again. They’re like family (at least like that creepy uncle whose “noogies” always lasted too long.) Be they the wisecracking cop team or the dapper secret agent, we know we’d like to see them do it all again. Sequels are pretty easy to get nowadays. Heck, if a film makes anywhere close to its’ budget, a sequel is as inevitable as a Brangelina photo in US Weekly. And while the sequels often get made, few three-quels are made. Why? Because like dark chocolate…the first piece is great, the second piece is bitter and the third may make you a little sick.

After exhausting the sequel rules in the first one (new guest stars, bigger chase scenes), in order to make the third installment bigger, you have to take it over the top. Now where the characters were relatable, they are attempting feats that would make Evel Knievel say, “Naw, not for me.” Suddenly, everything seems fake and overdone. You can call out the punny and pithy wisecracks the cops say when they throw a felon through a plate glass window at a Fast Food joint (“I guess this’ll be take out, huh?”) When the wall is broken, what once was joyous, is now an excuse to take your money. Like the IRS (Hey, they had a good plan…once upon a time.)

The only way you can make one of these succeed is to give it a re-imagining. Maybe it’s the return of the villain or nemesis from the first. Maybe you delve a little in the past (Ed. Note: A prequel of a three-quel is a copout and is not part of the original story…It makes the second the third and it just starts a whole paradoxical thing that soon unravels time and space). And please make sure you have a good story. Keep the rules and characters consistent. Your character drank and hated women in the third one? Keep him drunk and bitter. Copping out can sink a three-quel faster than a German torpedo. Guest stars can add much needed life to your three-quel, but make sure they’re not gimmicky. We loved your characters in the first place: make their new friends just as interesting and you might get a fourth.


This summers entry: Pirates of The Caribbean 3

When you get the chance to make the sequel, it is, more often than not because you made an amazing first film. And most people who create characters that resonate do love them and know they have a larger story to tell. The world you have created is still off balance and you need to tell a larger story that like Lays Potato Chips, can’t be completed in just one film. So we are given the completion three-quel. We knew it was coming, thanks to a well placed cliffhanger. A cliffhanger is like leaving something over at your boyfriends house: Sure, you may never see it again, but there’s always the excuse to go back.

The danger with these is of course, making a sub par sequel that totally makes the third anti-climactic. If you fail with the sequel, people have probably already checked out by the time the person is hanging on a cliff and the credits roll. Since these films are often made simultaneously with the second, it’s hard to not keep a consistent universe. But be careful! The sequel rule claims you have to kill somebody off in the second film. Make sure it’s not a character that provides the cornerstone to your film. That lovable second banana may have been the reason for your success and if he’s dead in the “three-quel,” you just might be screwed cubed.

And don’t get greedy. You are not guaranteed another go around, so don’t bait us with a possible fourth film. Wrap everything up nicely. If your characters are still strong (or even alive), we’ll give you another chance. Nothing hurts America more than assuming we’ll see you again. Don’t play on our sensibilities. (We may be slow, but, heck, even we didn’t like Cop Rock!) Complete your trilogy and we’ll let you know if you should come back again. It may take us twenty years, but, hey, we’re busy. We have that whole global warming thing to deal with.

TYPE 3: The Superhero Three-Quel (or “DUDE, I AM SO THERE…WE’LL TAKE MY MOM’S SENTRA three-quel)

This summers entry: Spiderman 3

The Superhero sequel. It excites fanboys across the planet. It burns up the Internet with rumor and conjecture. The plot is revealed eight moths before by some nerdy catering who steals the script from its’ secure location. The hype alone should drown this film. Yet they too can succeed..provided you don’t hit any of the major snags.

First, this is not a completion or a continuation type of film. Sure, it has those elements, but if you’re a big enough comic book icon to garner a third, you have the stories already written for you. This is an attempt to get all those great villains and side characters that made you big into the film. And therein lies the major pitfall. First, don’t change actors midstream. There is a reason your adaptation was successful and it wasn’t your pitch perfect direction. It was because we believed your actors fit in the comic personae you drafted them for. Giving us a new face makes us all grumble.

And be careful of your new casting of villains. Every comic book geek has their own vision of who should play this guy or that guy. You’ll probably never get it right enough for everyone, but don’t go off the reservation. Keep it simple. Again, gimmicks are just that: gimmicks. If I want a gimmick, I’ll plunk down five bucks to see a magic and burlesque show at my local library.

With CGI abilities expanding faster than the line forms to get the new Raffi tape, each film can be better visually than the preceding one. It offers you new ideas ad sequences that were easily drawn by artists, but never before able in film. But don’t shoot your load. We still love our heroes because of their story. Cirque du Soliel has few words for a reason, n’est-pas?

So, this summer, when you mortgage your house to buy your ticket, think about what you’re seeing. Because while the reward may be great, it could be bad down at their rendezvous. Three’s Company?

Let’s Get It On (The Richard Steele Version, Not the Marvin Gaye Version…Though Maybe It Sorta Is) February 17, 2007

Posted by doctorolove in Pop Culture Rants.
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There is no greater joy in the male psyche than running into the girl who broke your heart with one of the following occurrences:

1) A beautiful girl hanging on your arm, staring at you like you are the doppelganger of every male starlet, ready to devour you (Bonus points if she acts like a dead fish when you introduce them)

2) Completely enveloped in hundred dollar bills or utilizing any currency to light an expensive cigar (Swimming in a big money pit a la Scrooge McDuck is also just as good)

3) Wearing a purple heart (Earned or unearned)

These things never occur however. You usually see the ex-love of your life when you are wearing your laundry clothes, eating a supremely messy burrito from Chipolte and holding a copy of Juggs you swear you were getting because of a controversial study into the dildo’s effect on Third World economies.

And celebrities (if US Weekly is right…and they usually are…Did you see Night at the Museum? Crap and they gave it one star…so draw your own conclusions there…) are just like the rest of us. Hurt them and they cry into their bottles of imported herbal mate coffee drinks brewed in solid gold percolators. Cut them and they bleed (Blue blood sometimes, but it’s usually an off shade of red with tiny flecks of gold dust.) Scar them and they get Botox.

Since 1998, we have been treated to what could only be described as the greatest game of “I’m doing fine without you” one-upsmanship I have ever seen. And if the recent salvo is any indication, the next shot is GONNA BE HUGE!

What am I talking about?

The ongoing publicity (good or bad, but would I really be writing this if it were all birds, bees, flowers, trees) battle between Britney and Justin.

We shouldn’t be surprised that the strangely creepy minds at Disney gave this one to us. After meeting at the Mickey Mouse Club (or the MMC, for young kids with too many Teen Beat pictures to hang to be bothered with utilizing the whole five syllable name), the two became an item in 98. They were bubblegum pop’s answer to Charles and Di. They were Brangelina for tweeners. They were TomKat for people who were too intelligent to realize their blood is full of alien guts. They were the stars you wanted to see get together. And they did and we all smiled. The tabloids had a couple to plaster everywhere (thus thankfully stopping their attempts to make Andy Dick a megastar…dodged a bullet on that one) and it was good.

Then the breakup occurred. There were rumors of infidelity. There were rumors of jealousy. There were rumors Andy Dick was involved. Whatever the case, it ended. Was that the last of it? Hell to the N-O. In the immortal words of Richard Dawson (and sweaty Louie Anderson and the creepy guy from Home Improvement), it’s time to play the feud.

Justin fired first. His song Cry Me A River was a not-so veiled attempt at explaining the relationship as only he could: through androgynous high vocals and Michael Jackson style rump shaking. And for those who failed analysis on the SAT, he even cast a girl in the video that looked like Brit herself (Subtlety…thy name is Timberlake.)

Brit did have an album in the can, but no real way to wrestle the spotlight back on her. She tried dancing around like every business travelers dream (a sexy leather bound stewardess who made weird circular motions around her breast) but it was no use. She had to go bigger. And nothing gets the front page like unexpected Vegas Weddings (that or paternity suits involving record executives.) The pictures of Brit dressed in the outfit the  girl I took to m fraternity formal changed into after vomiting on her dress (ripped jeans, a sweatshirt and a sweaty ballcap) were everywhere. Bad mouth me, huh? Then I’ll just ruin my life in Vegas.

The ball was back in Justin’s court. How to get the press back? Why not date the biggest star in Hollywood at the time? (Remember this is before Cameron Diaz made The Holiday or In Her Shoes…so the statement fit.) Sure, she may look like what the Olsen twins would look like if hit with an alien growth ray, but she kept him front and center…

Brit went back to the drawing board. The wedding hubbub had worn off (partly because his name was Jason Alexander and having George Costanza mentioned in the same breath as you is akin to a Scarlet A). And how do you gain more press? That’s right…get married to the most disgusting, most unimportant speck you can find. Andy Dick is gay, so Brit went to K-Fed. Surely, pop’s princess and the guy who fills your tank at Exxon getting hitched blows JustCam out of the water. Point, Brit.

Yet Justin would not be denied. Why not get your publicity by flashing somebody else’s breast at the Super Bowl? Not only would he get instant flack for it, but the backlash of it would transcend genres. Now his name would be on the tongues of sports fans everywhere (not to mention frozen on ever Tivo screen from here to, well, everywhere.) Wardrobe Malfunctions beat Trailer Park Weddings faster than Rock Covers paper. Point, JT.

SO Britney fires back by getting pregnant. Not once, but twice. To think, there are millions of Americans who do not know a Democratic presidency and a non-knocked up Britney spears. Yet just having a child wasn’t enough. She needed to exhibit her parenting skills were only a slight touch above Joan Crawford. Perhaps she was auditioning her child for a Gerald Ford impersonation (she almost dropped her child more times than Mama Fratelli did to Sloth in The Goonies). And to cap it all off, she cried on national television, looking again like the girl like I took to formal did the next morning (bloodshot eyes and a whole bunch of bloating.)

How would Justin answer? He tried breaking into the movies (playing a tattooed gangster only gets you credit if you don’t have tattoos that looks like they were applied by a Sharpie.) But what would work best? That’s right. Release another album. And this time, coin a phrase so multigenerational, it wouldn’t even creep you out if our grandmother said it in passing. He brought Sexy back. And with that, he brought back the spotlight.

So Brit gets divorced…Justin has to break up with Cameron. Britney shows her crotch to the world…Justin puts his Dick in a Box…

Which brings us to now. Britney has, apparently to garner a role in the V for Vendetta sequel, shaved her head. She is also apparently trying to have Sinead O’Connor’s career in reverse (Hit music career, unspeakable controversy, then go bald). Now, crotches and dropped children are one thing. But unexplained sudden baldness? That’s enough spotlights to last at least until the summer.

SO, Justin, I guess the ball is in your court. We’re just getting good. For men everywhere, the response has to be huge. Bigger than Janet’s boobs. Bigger than bringing back the man perm. You owe us this one. SO start thinking. We’ll be waiting. Or at least I will be.

Save the World…One Uncoordinated Person at a Time February 13, 2007

Posted by doctorolove in Music, Pop Culture Rants.
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Attention Music Industry. Yeah, I’m talking to you. We’ve got a little something called “Worldwide issues” going on over here. And while you may be trying to fix things with your overly political country trios or your overzealous progressive rockers, it isn’t working.  The palpable distaste that hangs over our country, nay, our planet is because of you. It isn’t because of your misogynistic rap, your cookie cutter emo rock. No, you, my fair music industry are over due. It is time for you to gather your flock. Call Michael Bolton. Call some old men from Spain. Heck, bribe Billy Ray Cyrus (his bad cable TV show could probably be bought out by you for three bags of Cheetos and a bent 1991 Mitch Williams rookie card). That’s right.

It’s time for the next generation of bad mass dance anthems.

It is a known fact that the majority of people cannot dance. Sure, they think they can after a few margaritas and some fuchsia liquid that always tastes better when served by a pretty girl in a pilot’s uniform. But there is a reason clubs and dance halls are dimly lit with the only mirrors being in the bathroom or on Lindsay Lohan’s table. We all know we have no soul, no rhythm, no ability to do that cool, leaning thing that Michael Jackson did in the Smooth Criminal video. So, as we go through most of our lives without the courage-inducing effects of alcohol, our feet remained grounded. We know we cannot dance and we keep that inherent desire inside of all us to “push it, push it real good.”

So how does that relay to solving this world’s general disorder? It’s quite simple. Dance is a primitive, base need. Our body must release the energy it stores. Dance began as a tribal celebration when the hunt was over or the harvest was near (or it began in a small Stuckey’s restaurant when Earl “Happy Feet” MacGillicuddy released a perfect samba after making a really good plate of onion rings…still checking on that.) As our culture frowned upon “looking like you are dry heaving set to music,” the desire was hidden and often refocused. It makes us do stupid things. It unleashes rage, prejudice, and thoughts of war. It makes people greenlight Jim Carrey dramatic movies. It makes us really enjoy Pop Tarts. It leads down a dark path.

And you, Music Industry, knew this. You knew that we all had a Tiny Dancer inside of all us. And though you tried to put out good, catchy tunes that we could all release to. But we could do nothing to those. Instead we watched as the lucky few who could hold a beat somewhere other than clapping at a sporting event released their carefree spirit. We needed guidance. We needed our hands held. And when times were tough, you were there for us.

As our world teetered after World War II, you sprung into action. As the servicemen around the world came home, you gave us the Hokey Pokey. It was a dance we all could relate to. It gave explicit instructions as just what to do, when to do it and you were even nice enough to throw in a little spin at the end. You even made a comforting, calming statement at the end. As we shook our arms, our legs and shook them all about, you reminded us “this is what it’s all about.” And it truly was. It was releasing our painful feelings of war and replaced them with the knowledge that no matter who you were, you could hokey and pokey with the best of them. And that is what it’s all about.

When the Cold War gripped the planet and we were so close to nuclear annihilation that we could smell it’s cheap Eckerd bought faux designer cologne, you gave us the Chicken Dance. Sure, they were no words and no instructions, but we appreciated you allowing us to get our dance on and make us feel like it was our own. The dance transcended generations. We could stand side by side with decrepit grandmothers, shiny-faced kids and that fat kid who always wore shirts that were too tight and flap our fingers and shake our tushes. Sure, it may not have been what it was about, but it still set us free.

As Vietnam and Communistic thought still hung thick in the 70’s, you unleashed your greatest stab yet. The Electric Slide. Yet another dance with no instructions but you put one person amongst us and suddenly the dance was everywhere. Even if you didn’t know how to slide, baby, slippity slide, you could awkwardly look over your shoulder at the intoxicated aunt who knew it a little too well.

The Macarena was your crowning achievement. The Middle East was ready to pop like Target bought Firestone whitewalls. You added elderly Spanish gentlemen who looked suave, cool, and surrounded them with a weird alternate universe Spice Girls, doing the dance for us. And it spread like ringworm at a Nebraska wrestling match. Everybody was dancing. In groups. In stadiums. In outdoor parks so they could set world records. Presidents were macarening. The Pope even shook his palms and his Holy Tush (Rumors were he really liked the part where they went, “Hey, Macarena, ay!”)

Yet here we are now. Did you use all of your magic with the Macarena? All you’ve given us recently is a few lame attempts at making the Electric Slide soulful or subtly slipping line dancing into bad movies about sexy bartenders. No, it is time for you to do it again. The world is falling apart because we can’t stand in a room and set ourselves free. We are slowly pushing our way back to the wall. It’s like 7th Grade Prom…only this prom doesn’t end with vomit in a limo or an unwanted pregnancy but with our destruction.

Get it going. Give us a dance we can all do, no matter our skill. It’s time.

(The preceding paid for by the United Wedding, Bar Mitzvah, and Graduation DJ’s of America…Embarrassing You Since 1957.)

Yes, There Are Two Paths You Can Go By… February 8, 2007

Posted by doctorolove in Movies, Pop Culture Rants.
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A Quick Word to Forest, Leo, Peter, Ryan and Big Willie Style:

One of you will be hoisting your very first Oscar in just a few weeks. You will watch several hours of awards that mean little more than a 5th grade citizenship medal, then sit patiently as everyone’s names are called, all while putting on your surprised face when you win. We will then sit through your speech as you thank the teacher, the family member, the artist or the spiritual deity who inspired you (or in Peter O’Toole’s case, a rambling speech about what he had for breakfast and how much crap he has in his Depends.) And then it all changes. You are an Oscar Winner. From that day forward, every thing you do, every crappy film you may star in from here on out, the marquee will say ‘Starring Oscar Winner Blah Blah Blah.”

One part of that sentence however should never enter your vocabulary again. And that is the words “crappy movie.” They call it the Oscar Curse. They all say that once you win an Oscar, you career drops faster than a John Candy EKG. They throw more offers at you than a girl in a tube top gets when she hangs down by the pier during Fleet Week. And it’s just for the winners. Everybody else in your nominated peer group will smile, probably down one too many martinis at the Vanity Fair party, and wake up the next morning with the same career they had before. The Curse doesn’t apply to nominees: An Oscar nomination is like an STD at a frathouse – hang around long enough and you’ll get one eventually. Heck, Mark Wahlberg is nominated this year (though he did make me wonder if I should wear my pants low to show off my underwear for a good part of the nineties, so that might not be a fluke.) It’s the winners who falter.

The Cuba Gooding Jr. story should be stapled firmly to the back of every Oscar. It is the modern day equivalent of the scary story they tell you in middle school about the “scary house on the hill.” But his taking of Boat Trip, Snow Dogs and his cameo in Rat Race were just another casualty on the road to fame (Times like this I wish I had that booming Behind the Music voice.) But he is not alone. Halle Berry to Catwoman. (didn’t see it..have taste.) Anna Paquin in Fly Away Home (didn’t see it – have a penis and was not twelve years old.) Reese Witherspoon in Just Like Heaven (didn’t see it – see previous excuse.) The Oscar Curse is almost expected. Which is way I now ask each of you to instead do one thing…look to Tom

No, not that one. This one.

For all the Cubas and the Halles and lest we forget about the Juliette Binoches (I think I gave her two bucks on the subway today), there are very few Toms. Tom Hanks should write a book on how to survive the Oscar curse. He should sit down every winner from here on out. He should actually be waiting offstage as soon as the speech is over like Slugworth was in Willy Wonka and whisper in their ears as soon as they saunter behind the frilly gold curtain or whatever they use this year. Don’t think he’s that great, huh? Look at this.

He got his bad movies out of the way early. Sure, he was the go to man for the “Wacky romantic comedy with an outlandish twist” for much of the eighties (Splash, Big, Man with One Red Shoe) but some of his films were just that: outlandish. Heck, the man’s first line in a film was “Anybody want a Goober?” That isn’t exactly a stellar beginning.
Then came Philadelphia and everything changed. Instantly, any comedic script with a juicy part was his for the having. After his Oscar, the man could have adapted See Spot Run and we all would have gone to seen it. But just that. Because the street cred of an Oscar win lasts for one movie. And Tom knew this. So he followed it up with Gump and he wins again. He chose the role that was right for him, not for his pocket (though I still bet he made some cash for that one.) So now he has two Oscars…he’s proven his worth. Bring on the crap right. Nope, he played the sympathetic astronaut. He played the castaway. Each film showed that even with success, you still have to know who you are as both an actor and what works. He could have played the superhero, the lovestruck captain of a boat or the guy who travels across Alaska with some dogs and James Coburn (I didn’t forget about him sucking after his Oscar…the man is dead…have some respect). But he made a concerted effort to actually read the dearth of scripts that came across his desk. And he probably used his Oscars as paperweights to hold them down, just as a reminder.

Sure, he used some of his clout to direct his first film. And truly, That Thing You Do didn’t. Was the one story his heart was burning to tell and that is why he hasn’t tried it again since? No, he realized that maybe directing and writing wasn’t his thing. Maybe, just maybe, Oscar clout is just that – clout. And clout can disappear as soon as somebody else has more than you. He failed, he picked himself back up and he got a few more nominations. Maybe his other dream was to rock a mullet for a few months, thus explaining The Da Vinci Code. But the movie did make millions around the world. Even Babe Ruth struck out 40 percent of the time. But Ruth was bigger than everyone else around him. And so is Hanks. He could have used his newfound power to make whatever he wanted and faded away. But he picks and chooses. And he makes good choices. That’s why he is the success story. And that’s why he should be the model one of the five of you takes after. And you all can.

If you win. The losers can continue to make crap until they get lucky again. Because nobody remembers the losers. They only remember the winners. Until they inevitably become losers.

Can somebody please tell F. Murray Abraham to bring my car around please?