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Shane Falco Superstar December 5, 2008

Posted by doctorolove in Uncategorized.

Hollywood has always turned to us, the society en masse, as its litmus test. We shape their views. If we want to see more films about relationships that break apart and come together all to the strains of jazzy remakes of Etta James songs, POOF. If we clamor for explosions and slow motion whirring helicopters with talented actors in bad haircuts and sweaty stained wifebeaters, SHAZAM.  But often, they make a decision for us. And we don’t even realize it.

I noticed them doing a while ago, but that Hollywood, she’s a crafty. When it started in 1989, I was distracted by the most recent Super Mario Brothers game. And again in the mid 90’s, there was that whole teenage angst. And then in 2000, when it reached its’ full force, it was Y2K diverting my attention. But now, my mind is clear (Thank you Bikram Yoga, bubble tea and some stuff I bought from that guy behind the Circle K). And I cannot turn a blind eye to this once again. What do I mean?

Since 1989, Hollywood has decided that one man will be our savior. One man will be force-fed as the quintessential man to save the world. One actor and one actor only will play the roles which require the character to not only save us as a society, but often rail against the tyranny and cancers that plague us a people. Jim Caviezel? No, his Jesus was a missing loincloth away from looking like he could play lead guitar for a bad 80’s hair band. And besides did you see Frequency? There’s more plot holes in that one than a block of Jarlsberg. Is it Will Smith, you may ask? While he has quelled alien invasions, cured a worldwide vampire plague and won the heavyweight championship, once you share top billing with Alfonzo Ribiero, you cannot be considered for the role of Lord and Savior.

No, Hollywood has decided that the man who best encapsulates the societal ideal of the quintessential savior is none other than…

Keanu Reeves.

(Take a second. Breathe that in. Now pick yourself up)

With the upcoming release of The Day the Earth Stood Still where Keanu plays Klaatu, the alien sent to save our society from nuclear destruction, he has officially played “Society’s own Hope” in no less than 8…yes, that’s 8…films.

This is the man who butchered Shakespeare so immensely that I was counting the seconds until Paris Hilton’s turn as Lady Macbeth. This is the guy who made Patrick Swayze look downright Olivierian (Yes, that’s a word….) in Point Break. And even surrounded by children and dogs, film’s instant way of making you seem talented by comparison, he still manages to have this air of acting that is so terrible, he can actually suck the air from a room and blow it back in your face. Only now it smells like feet and wet dog.

Yes, this is whom Hollywood has decreed as Man’s savior. Don’t believe me. Look at his filmography.

First there were the Journeys and Excellent Adventures of one Bill and Ted. Sure, we never actually got to see how the dulcet tunes of Wyld Stallyns created world peace (something even Hollywood didn’t think the public would buy), we find that Keanu eventually sits atop a golden throne and cures all societal ills. Yes, the man wearing a red sweater vest and has hair that resembles a mushroom cap saves the world. No way? Yes way.

And as asinine as the premise may have sounded, Hollywood thought, “They’re buying it? Maybe this kid has something? Maybe just maybe we’re starting a revolution…or maybe they just like the fact that his triangular shaped head inspires people who also have odd shaped craniums”

So they tried again, seeing if maybe we were just distracted by Alex Winter’s curly hair. And this time, they set his savior self in a futuristic world in Johnny Mnemonic. And if the savior role wasn’t enough, his character hold secrets and formulas and programs that ruin the world…inside his head (Sometimes I don’t even have to make a joke to be funny. Savor it.) And again, we believed it. Maybe that’s why he always sounded two chromosomes away from being mentally retarded. He was holding too many secrets in his brain! My computer freezes when I try to update my Face book status, watch porn and listen to the latest Kanye CD all at once. Imagine if my brain was doing that…and it was world-altering secrets. He must be talented. He must be my leader. He must save me.

But the film didn’t do that well at the box office (again following the long standing Hollywood rule that the public is afraid of silent M’s in the titles of their films). So they thought, okay, let’s ramp up the realism a little bit. Let’s turn him into a slow talking lawyer with a conflict of conscience. And a hot wife, just to keep the q ratings up. Let’s have him be a small town lawyer and go to the big city. Yeah, this is all really making sense. Oh, and he’s the son of Satan.


Yup, in The Devil’s Advocate, he again saves humanity by committing suicide instead of impregnating his sister (huh again?) and creating the Antichrist. All while escaping the ham fisted acting chops of Al Pacino who looks like Droopy Dawg with the voice of Kathleen Turner. While I don’t doubt Satan had something to do with Keanu’s success (I bet that soul for fame contract would fetch a pretty penny on EBay) the idea of him being a trial lawyer is actually a little harder to swallow than the whole spawn of Satan.

So, the religious savior thing didn’t work. And the futuristic thing didn’t take. Maybe if we combine the two, finally the world will accept Keanu as their future god. Oh, and we’ll add karate

Which brings us to the trilogy that is the Matrix. And this time they pulled out all the stops to make sure we accepted it this time. They gave him a not too subtle name (Neo) and back story (which is sort of like naming your lead character Jesus McChristypants). They explained away the unrealistic idea by having the whole thing set in a giant process savior. They even gave him a cool black jacket and wrap around sunglasses. And the karate. Never underestimate the power of highly crafted slow motion martial arts.

And we believed. We hailed the film as a new direction for Christ allegories choreographed by Taiwanese fight directors. We reveled in the new camera technologies the film presented. We even made Carrie Anne Moss, who joins Keanu on the awkward shaped head Hollywood Mt. Rushmore, into a sex symbol. Yet not once did anybody say, “Hey, wait, do I want to buy into a world where my hopes of surviving as a species is the hands of the guy who talked about masturbation in Parenthood?” Nope, Hollywood had succeeded. They had made us believe that this mumble mouthed sex symbol was the only man worthy enough of saving our collective lives.

Which brings us to his latest film. The original was Hollywood trying to make a statement about nuclear proliferation. It was thoughtful, engrossing and showed what the power of science fiction allegory could be. In these trying times, why not do it again? Only this time let’s bring back old Mumble Mouth. And we’ll surround him with A list actors who too have bought into this notion that Keanu is the key to our survival. Will it work? Well, Hollywood has a way of making us swallow the proverbial sugar they feed us. We all saw Spiderman 3, didn’t we?

So, it’s too late for me to do anything now. I have to simply accept the fact that years from now, my great grandchildren will be attending mass on Sundays at the Neo Futuristic Church of Keanu. Where each prayer is not answered with an Amen, but a well timed Whoa.


Put ’em Away. Put ’em Away. Put ’em Away Now. August 30, 2006

Posted by doctorolove in Pop Culture Rants, Uncategorized.
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Like most termites eating their way on the pillars of our society, it started out small.

It is what I will lovingly refer to as the “Backatcha” fingers. You’ve seen it. The double thumb pointed up and the two index fingers pointed ala some slow drawing Western dueler. It is usually accompanied by a sound effect,  either a clicking noise of the mouth (always paired with a wink and the sudden bending of the thumbs to represent a gun hammer firing) or a deep throated Oh Yeah. But in rare (and seemingly disastrous) cases, it is accompanied by the words “Right Back Atcha.” Thus branding it for life as the “Backatcha” fingers.

Many scientists (AND NONE OF THIS IS SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN) believe it’s routes lay in Civil War Times, when distressed Confederate soldiers, upset over countless defeats, merely waved their hands in loss. Others say it harkens back to the Revolutionary War when munitions starved Redcoats made sound effects and finger gestures to prove they still had something. Either way, it was born from a necessity to outwit your opponent. Almost an attempt to convince them you had more than you did, much the way Bugs Bunny tricked Elmer Fudd with the old “Yes. No. Yes. No. Yes. Yes. No, I don’t want to shoot you” trick (which, coincidentally is still a major cornerstone of the Iraq war). And it’s merits were hailed throughout warfare, until the late 1920’s, when people realized you could just as easily fool your opponents by raising a spent gun and making loud “BLAM” noises with Whoopee Cushions.  So, the fingers disappeared and the tactic of fooling your enemies with hand gestures became a long dead art.

Its’ resurgence (and ultimate degradation of society) began in the late seventies when a fictional bartender named Isaac on a little boat full of “Love, exciting and new” brought it back. And they were expecting you. And it would soon be making another run.

Rumors have it that Ted Lange, AKA Isaac, brought them out to manifest his inner turmoil over being the only “brother” on board. He claimed they were a spur of the moment actor device, representing the struggle he went through on the ship. Out of Pina Colada mix? Here’s some fingers to let you know, “That you need to chill because I’m trying my best to keep you happy, Randolph Mantooth.”  Excited you got your Daiquiri? Here are the fingers to say, “Hey, just don’t bring that badness back around when you don’t score with Charo. Because I’ll be loaded and ready.” And the fingers took the nation by storm. Not because of the ease in which they could be deployed, but because they were an all encompassing remark. They could keep you relaxed, put you in your place or in rare occasions, direct you to the Upstairs deck where Vicki was organizing Full Contact Shuffleboard. Ted Lange claims their ownership and because he was always shown being the third most popular mack on the Love Boat (after Captain Stubing and First Mate Jm. J. Bullock), they were soon everywhere.

Hack bartenders began using them first. Trying to emulate the only bartending idol until 1988 (Thank you, Tom Cruise in Cocktail!), they figured it would give them instant cred. They were an easy way out of any situation. They were flirtatious, without being obvious. They were disciplinary, without having to jump over the bar and pummel someone. Most of all, though, they were a symbol of happiness. “Hey,” they seemed to say, “I could shoot you and end your night, but I’m not. Because you are special. Special enough that I risk carpal tunnel every day, so you can feel my chillness.”

And when the masses saw their diversity and almost infallible uses, they picked them up for every day adaptation. They became de rigueur in board meetings when placating the boss, angry at you for botching the new account. They became the perfect goodbye to the girl you picked up on a One Night Stand at Denny’s. And they even found their way back into TV, when the Fonz used them and replaced the extended index fingers with a vocal “Aaaaaaayyyy” that symbolized all that was cool.

Now, if they had ended their reign there, I would have been okay with that. Surely, one must think, finger gestures accompanied by winks cannot be a downfall, can they? But few of us were privy to the genesis of the “Backatcha” fingers. They first made their way up the East Coast, morphing with the “Hook ‘em Horns” sign and the propensity to stick out one’s tongue during a Slayer show to form the devil sign. They even made their way into South Central LA,  when rival gangs reconfigured them and re-established their original negative vibes and turned them into symbols that summed up their anti-establishment views.

And now they are slowly being used by everyone. They replace good old fashioned interaction. When people are faced with an awkward moment that requires them to end a conversation, they chicken out by deploying the fingers instead of internally figuring out just why the awkwardness is present. They’ve even accidentally led to many of our time’s conflicts. Many believe the wars currently ravaging the world began when one countrymen flashed the fingers. The opposing countrymen believed he was “Coming right back, so just stay there,” when the fingers really meant “Hey, stay cool. I gotta go and ride a camel or something.” Miscommunication: just another one of the fingers’ detriments.

In this day and age where we are attacking all forms of decency, even hotel room porn, we must work together to stop the fingers. Sure, it may hurt the bartending industry by making people actually have to take the time to say “Goodbye” and “I’ll be back shortly,” but if they remain, we could be a nation of people clicking and pointing our way to incohesiveness. So put the fingers back in your pockets and try talking.

Or maybe the half-hug, half back pat. That at least involves touch.

Still Ain’t Melted: A Letter from the Tan M&M August 17, 2006

Posted by doctorolove in Pop Culture Rants, Uncategorized.
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Never thought you’d see me again, right?

In case you’re wondering, I’m doing fine. I’m living off my pension in L.A. with Burnt Umber, the chocolate Twizzler and Boo Berry in a Discontinued Stuff that People really Liked Home just north of the Hills. We all bicker and fight like most roommates do. Burnt Umber is a real stickler when it comes to chores. Twizzler, well I’m not one to gossip, but two words :COKE HEAD! And Boo Berry still makes promotional appearances now and then, mostly in the South. He keeps talking about using his fees to make some indie project with Count Chocula. We always laugh because we know that the Count hasn’t returned his phone calls in years. At least not since Boo tried to knock off Franken Berry in what has been dubbed, by us, as the “Spilt Milk” incident. (Ha, gotcha…thought I was gonna go with Cereal Killer…too easy…Mars Candy didn’t hire me for my good looks…)

I make my own appearances now and then. Red, Orange and I usually do a group thing around Thanksgiving. It doesn’t pay me much, since they’re still “in with the pack,” if you catch my drift. Their agents negotiated a better deal. I was never one to bitch. Did you see Bell, Biv or Devoe complain when they went out on tour with the New New Edition? Bobby Brown got most of the gate then. You go with your bankable star. Me, I’m just a has-been candy trying to scrounge together something for my legacy.

Ah, my legacy. You’ve all heard the stories and seen the tabloids by now. In 1995, I was forced out of the pack by Blue. This nation was sweet when it came rushing to my aid, but, as we all know, twas to no avail. It’s taken me years of therapy to say this, but I can say I don’t hate Brown and Blue anymore. The public wanted brighter, more vibrant candies not melting in their hand. It was rumored they were going to kick out Brown instead of me. But few people really hear about the weekend in Vegas that Brown and Blue spent together to ‘celebrate” his winning the 1995 color election. I wasn’t there since my agent and I were holed up in a downtown law office trying to re-do my contract in case another color came calling. I was told by several reliable sources who were there (Trix rabbit, the Life Cereal kid and the Three Musketeer that isn’t a little “light in the loafers”) that Brown and Blue spent the entire time, hopped up on Cocoa Butter, bonding over their perceived negative public image. Brown had always had to live down his stigma as the “poo” candy, not to mention his striking likeness to rat pellets. Blue was already being portrayed as the “ungrateful new kid,” showing Brown the door.

Whatever the case, Brown was able to make the kid sign papers that explicitly state that if he goes, Blue goes with him. The bigwigs at Mars knew that Orange and Yellow weren’t ready to hold a bag up on their own. Green was a threat to leave at anytime and go into the lucrative underground aphrodisiac industry. Red would always be Red, but they needed the balance of color they so relied upon. Red always was the diva of the group and without Brown and Blue, he’d take over the whole bag. What do you have then? Red Hots, and nobody wants that. So Brown was able to convince them to keep him on instead of me. (That bastard was already jealous of me ever since he became the “out” in a game of M&M baseball. Granted, I was a foul tip, but hey, at least that means you put good wood on the ball, right?) I got the news just after six on a Tuesday morning. They promised me I’d make cameos now and then, but I knew that I was now about as useful to them as the White jellybean.

So I bummed around Europe for a few years. I tried getting into the New Wave candy movement over there, but made some bad decisions regarding representation and my fame was almost wiped out by some incriminating photos of me and the Swiss Miss. I hit the cocoa beans pretty hard. Made a few bad business decisions. And I dated Shannon Doherty. All in all, the late nineties were not good to your old pal Tan.

So why now? Why am I here today, coming out of the woodwork? Because officially, my ten year statute of limitations is up. And I’m just putting my face back out there. Like any ex-star, I’m writing my tell-all back. I’ve even finagled George Hamilton into doing the introduction (Cause nothing says Tan like that guy!) Sure, I’ll have all the juicy gossip as well as reminisce about the early days. Red was great before the whole “cancer” scare. Green was the unofficial leader back then. And Yellow had always been there for me since the beginning. Did you know I’m the godfather to his child? Yup, every year, no matter how broke, I always send a birthday card and a check to lil old Watermelon Skittle. I don’t think I’ve seen her in years, but Yellow and I talk every Wednesday about who we liked on American idol that week (This Tan guy had a serious case of McPheever!)

I’ll be bitching about the group vote not to take that supporting role in ET and losing out to Reese’s (Brown’s exact words were something like “We hold out for a bigger role in a more candycentric film”). And I know first hand just who gets the bigger chunk of those TV and Movie residuals from all those commercials Red and Yellow have been doing (And might I just say, Yellow’s still driving a Saab. He says it’s because he likes the safety. Yeah, right.)

Oh, gosh. I’m letting the dark side in me brew up again. I didn’t want to end up like Special Dark when he tried to break free from the miniatures back in 83. Sure, he still works with them, but his book “I’m Not Bitter. You Don’t Have to Give Me To The Dog” made things really rough for his outside solo career. You still have to search for his bars and even then, they’re all melted and goopy. Think that’s an accident?

Look, I’ve had it rough, but the house has helped me a lot. We’re really glad to see KaBoom is getting his props again and its’ inspired all of us. Wait for my book to clear the air. Until then, I’ll be practicing my Kabbalah (it really centers me and has helped me work off a lot of the anger) and waiting for that call from Tarantino. Because that man knows how to resurrect a career.

Hugs and Kisses,