DEADPOOL and the return of sneaking into the theater

Does anyone remember sneaking into the theater?  When I was a kid, I was always too afraid to sneak in.  Also, I had really cool parents.  They took "Parental Guidance" very seriously...and by that, I mean, they took me to the movies and guided me if there were things that were too much for a little kid.  For example, Richard Pryor's LIVE ON THE SUNSET STRIP was in theaters March 12, 1982.  I was just about to turn 10 years old.  It was definitely rated R.  It was a heavy R, for sure. I remember they were laughing, so I laughed too.  I didn't understand half of the things he said, I just knew he was funny.  I was not offended or scarred by the experience.

"I tell you that to tell you this..." - if my parents hadn't been cool like that, sometimes an R rated movie is worth going around the rules.  Sneaking in the back door of a theater because one of your friends works there.  That's the good stuff.  The fear of being caught by the stickler 18 year old manager of the theater and their flashlight.  Getting walked out of the theater - oh, the humiliation.  But really, it's all about the exhilaration of being

I'm old enough now that I don't need anyone to accompany me to a movie, but I couldn't help feeling a little bit like a little kid when I saw DEADPOOL.  It was a super hero comic book come to life, only he was "bad".  He used "bad" words.  There were boobs.  There were bad guys getting dismantled with blood and reckless abandon.

DEADPOOL is a teenager's dream movie.  Laughs, Violence, Boobs, Action.  Even for an old codger like me, it was a hell of a fun movie and so genre breaking - it just didn't give a shit about rules, standards, fourth wall breaking, and most important, selling toys.  This is a movie for young dudes.  Ryan Reynolds makes it tolerable for young dudes' girlfriends to sit through and hate, but mostly, it's just a damn fun movie.  I wouldn't mind all of the comic book movies going this direction, really.  Dark comedy is my jam (well, one of my jams).  It's the movie Iron Man could be - so, hopefully, we'll see an Iron Man/Deadpool movie where these two really get to be "real".

I try to see a lot of movies and when I do, I usually give you a little update on twitter (#LateNightMovieReview)...but I'm thinking I may switch to blogging about movies because it's a fun writing exercise and I love movies.  So, here you go...enjoy.  And grab some old friends, pretend you're 13, get dropped off in front of the theater and sneak in to watch DEADPOOL.

What the fuck is going on

There are only a few narratives that take place with these mass shootings - the headlines could and should be one or the other - "Religious Nut(s) Kill People Who Disagree With Their Stupid Ancient Book" or "Insane Person Kills Innocent People Because They're Insane And It's Easy To Buy Guns and Ammo In America".  That sums up most of the mass shootings that have taken place.  We have a very popular magazine called GUNS & AMMO with pictures of Guns and Ammo.  Playboy no longer has nudity, and I've never heard people reading Guns & Ammo just for the articles.

I can understand a crime of passion to an extent.  Someone does something to you, you're on the edge and you also happen to own a firearm or some other type of weapon and you go after the person who wronged you in some way as you see fit.  It doesn't justify the action, but certainly gives you a clear "eye for an eye" motive - more religious propaganda, but most sane people can understand.  However, sane people cannot and should not have to accept that killing other people because they don't believe the same God Myth is okay.

Besides, don't most religious texts say the same thing?  At the heart of them is a general guideline for living a decent life - basically, don't be an asshole and leave other people to their own beliefs unless it affects you in some way.  Then, politely tell them to fuck off and mind their own business.

Here's what my buddy Chuck posted, and I agree 100%:

"All of the hollow rhetoric in the world isn't going to change things. There are millions of guns in this country creating a very dangerous environment and taking responsibility and control of this dangerous situation will take many, many years of effort on the part of lawmakers and individual citizens. But we need to take the first serious steps, now. To lump America into the list of civilized nations is laughable. The daily shootings occurring here are anything but civilized. When someone's right to own guns trumps another's right to life, it's time to reassess our priorities. In the early days of this country, the gun was a tool used for hunting for food and protection in the wilderness, where there wasn't immediate access to a law enforcement agent. That is no longer true today, for most Americans. Today guns are just adult toys and have no practical application except to give people a false sense of security, to make owners feel tough or for sport hunting. None of these are good reasons for putting the rest of us in danger. Grow up and put your toys away."

Let's have sensible, educated, informed debates and best idea in the room wins.

I don't own a gun, but I've been around them and even fired them myself.  It's fun to target shoot at the range - shooting skeet and targets is fun - so is paintball, and Call of Duty, I understand why people like guns.  But I'm also scared shitless of them. It's a dangerous thing that DEMANDS respect.

Let's say we make a law that says it's illegal to own a firearm other than a shotgun.  Ok. Now what?  How do we collect them?  Will people willingly give them up?  Who collects them and what do we do with them?  Maybe we could throw them into an active volcano and eliminate them from existence.  Hmmm...but then only the military and police would have them - is that ok?  Government buy-back plan?  Nah, I don't think people who need the money are the ones buying the AR-15s at gun shows.  It should be more difficult to get a gun than it is to get a driver's license, that's for sure. This won't prevent people from illegally acquiring them.  I think Chris Rock was right, we need to raise the price of bullets.

As I write this, I realize this is a very, very, very complicated subject (Duh!) and there is no answer that is black & white.  But I do know this - whatever arguments we're having as a nation in the facebook statuses and twitter rants that are flying around after every mass shooting - no one thing is going to solve this.  Honesty, unafraid, open conversation without political agenda or fear of offending someone needs to take place in a public forum.

We all have the internet now, right?  The ability to be informed (and not confirmation bias, but equal coverage) has never been more available.  In fact, if you choose to be uninformed about a subject, it's simply ignorance. 

We must acknowledge also that our government carries out military action and occupies many parts of the world that think about things in very different ways than we do.  Put yourself in the position of those being bombed by America.  Every day, bombs drop out of the sky and explode and the smart people in town, the elders, the ones at the podium at the town hall meeting to try and calm people down (think about the press conferences we hold) says "This was an American Military Operation".  Just like when the press conference here says "This was an Islamic Terrorist Attack" - what do we want to do?  Bomb the terrorists?  Aren't we (America) the face of terror for those countries that we continue to bomb.  The people living there in peace with their family have no idea why we're doing it.  And I fully believe that our country is not doing it for any religious reason whatsoever.  We could care less what religion they practice.  Rather, I think actual country/geography itself has something we want or serves a strategic purpose and the people that live there are in the way.  Religion serves as a good excuse to hate "the other team" - but really, everyone, including America, should just stop being assholes and leave people alone.

Maybe we're all naive.  Maybe there's big things happening in the world that our Government is "Protecting" us from.  Maybe we need to spend trillions of dollars (that we just print at will) on defense contracts.  I don't know.  But it certainly doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.  And if there is something bigger at play that they think we just won't be able to handle, try it out on us...maybe some transparency would help justify the actions of our government.  I remain unconvinced.

And the people that want to shoot other people - mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters - that did nothing directly to them when they decide to go off on their rampage - well, fuck you!  

Oh, and Congress and Senate - you old stupid fucks that have been in office since before the Internet - keep spending your time debating abortion and de-funding planned parenthood instead of pouring money into education so that we can start creating smarter kids that won't grow up to be ignorant uninformed religious nuts who are worried about what people do in the privacy of their own homes.  Maybe take a minute to re-read the Constitution - I mean the rest of it, not just the 2nd Amendment.

I miss my dog.

Yesterday, I layed on the floor with my dog. I spent the entire day waiting to take her to the vet for her last car ride. I spoke to her gently all day and reminded her of what a great dog she was for nine and a half years. I reminded her how she helped us raise two babies. I thanked her for always being there for me when I just needed to lay down next to her, snuggle, and listen to her breathe. 

I told her that she would get back to her full speed (man, she was fast!). I told her that anytime she wanted to go to the park and have me throw the ball, all she has to do is think about me and I'll be there ready to throw over, and over, and over, and over again until she just wanted to lay down in the shade.  And then I'll lay down next to her and listen to her breathe.

Rest and play in peace, Matilda (10/15/05-05/19/15).

"It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them, and every new dog who comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough, all the components of my heart will be dog, and I will become as generous and loving as they are." - Anonymous

Swanson did us in...

I'm a member of the TV Dinner generation.  It dawned on me that being raised in the 70s alone might just be bad for your health.  Without any research whatsoever, I posit that we were the first generation to really get hit hard with the processed food, corn syrup, "way too many chemicals in everything" thing.  To the point that all that processed shit we ate actually stored itself in our genes and made it's way into our kids genes...thus, the childhood obesity and proclivity toward diabetes in this generation.  The process to fix it will take a generation of conscientious parenting and diligent devotion to better health, fitness and eating actual food (you know, protein, vegetables, etc.) which doesn't come in a wrapper of some kind.  It kind of sucks, but we have to get back to it.

Just for fun, here's a list of things that were prominent when I was growing up which are frightening and (except for the fact that they're fucking delicious when you chew them but not so good for you when you swallow them) seemed (again, no research) to only exist for the first time during my childhood.

Sugar processed cereals (some personal faves) - Golden Grahams, Cap'n Crunch, Lucky Charms, Frosted Flakes, Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles, Trix - remember all the marketing?  I bet anyone born in the 70s/80s can remember at least a few of these slogans.  You saw it on TV, you asked for it, then when you got to the grocery store - there they were...right at your eye level to annoy your parents to no end until they threw the shit in the cart.  As a parent, I understand the struggle.  You just want your kid to shut up and not have a fit in the store...those clever marketing bastards!!!  More times than not, the cereal even came with a toy - buried in the cereal, wrapped in plastic.  How could we resist???!!!

TV Dinners: Frozen.  Stamped out meat with fake grill marks (I'm looking at you Salisbury Steak), with a dessert (blueberry pie that would always burn your mouth), handy tray keeping the food separated.  The mashed potatoes had gravy and were really, really gross.  Sometimes, you'd get a hungry man fried chicken - if you were really lucky.  As my good friend Dan Fredricksen points out in his act - "It's a whole pound of food"...

Plastics: Everything came in plastic all of a sudden one day.  Fuck aluminum.  Drink from it, eat from it, wrap shit in it, play on it, put it on your feet and wrists (Remember Jelly everything in the 80s?).  George Carlin pointed out that plastic is probably our only real contribution to the earth. (http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/251836-we-re-so-self-important-everybody-s-going-to-save-something-now-save)

Juice Drinks (Kool-Aid and such):  Remember when the giant glass pitcher of red juice came flying through wall?  How's that even possible, by the way...he would have shattered and spilled red juice everywhere.  But Ecto-cooler, Gatorade, Hawaiin Punch, Kool-Aid, Juicy Juice - all that garbage came out when I was a kid and there was absolutely no actual juice in it at all.

Mac & Cheese: Another in a long line of powdered food substitutes that were pawned off as actual meals.  While delicious, absolutely no food in that food.  The color was also unnatural.  Still very popular, cheap, and still delicious.  Necessary?  Nah.

Powdered Cake:  Well, cake is awesome, so nevermind.  What kind of cretin hates cake?

Fast Food: A few generations before mine got started on this one with the roller-skating waitresses, burgers, fries and shakes.  But it seems like the 80's really got it down to a science.  Burger King, Wendy's, Arby's, Taco Bell.  Even if your metabolism can handle them as a kid and you didn't get super fat - I just wonder what it did at a molecular level to your body?  Can't be good, right?  The key was figuring out that you had to stop eating there on the regular at a certain point.

Marketing for cigarettes with rewards (80's & 90s): My college roommate and I used to collect Camel Dollars.  I think furnished our first apartment with Camel gear - chairs, shower curtains, lighting fixtures.  I mean, it was serious business.  There were catalogs, custom engraved zippo lighters.  The good old days.  Way to go Joe Camel!

Seems like a lot of technology moves us forward as a species but for that generation - while it may have created jobs and technically "fed" more people cheaply, the price on the back end with health issues as a result of that diet might not have been worth the cost, huh?

 

 

HER is the new STAR TREK

I'm sure I'm overstating it.  Let me start there.  However, just hang with me for a second.  The technology represented in the movie HER (The Oscar Award Winning Screenplay by Spike Jonze) will be just as important to the future of human's interaction with computers as Star Trek was on cell phone technology.  Not necessarily in the science of it, but the yearn for it...which breeds the science...eventually.

The way the operating system learns the ropes on managing a life quickly.  Going through appointments.  Organizing things in a logical manner and basically outsourcing the bullshit that takes all of our time, yet contributes very little to our wellbeing on a daily basis.

Rapid access to information without needing to actually go through it all and coming up with the logical conclusion based on facts, corroborated across the entire planet's connected network and applying it to what you are actually passionate about.  This is the an advance that has been seen now (albeit in a very rudimentary way) in the movie HER.  I know if I was a software designer and I knew how to make a machine do those things, I would want to make it happen as soon as I could.  I want to consume such a device.

SPOILERS: Now, I'm not saying you have to take it so far as to "fall in love" with the system.  Also, I think I would miss typing silently (except for the clicking of they keys) and I wouldn't want to just do voice recognition.  Walking around talking to your OS - that's where it's a really creepy and a dystopian vision of a very self-centered and non-interactive future.  Hopefully we can now skip that part on the way through evolution to the ideal such OS/Device.  Do I really need to make the calls and talk to someone about changing a cancelled flight?  You know I wanted to go, right?  Put me on the next one and send me an instant message with my new boarding pass.  "Your 8:00am flight was cancelled, I've booked you on a 9:45am flight with another carrier and charged your account for the new flight."  Of course, I'd love to have the ability to call someone and discuss it because it "feels" better to do so...but does it really help?  Who knows?  I'd rather just have the system do it.

Maybe it's just me, but the depth and cleverness of this movie is incredible.  As part of an elite list, The Oscar ensures permanence and influence on culture.

If you haven't seen it.  See it.  It's weird.  It's amazing.  It's beautiful.  It's something that makes you think.  And that's good.

why i love twitter

I'm a twitter addict.  I love it.  I just think most people are using it wrong...

1. Follow people you respect, admire, enjoy, or generally find interesting - authors, comics, scientists, journalists, actors, whatever you're into...follow them.  A lot of them.  Like hundreds...one will lead to another.  See who they follow, etc.

2. For the most part, don't post stupid shit about what you're doing at that moment (just got a cup of coffee, blah, blah, blah) unless it made you laugh, cry, or think critically.  Otherwise you're just perpetuating the problem.

3. Don't follow people you don't enjoy.

4. Block assholes and people that you don't want to hear from that sneak their way into your timeline (TL).

5. Retweet (RT) things that you find make you laugh, cry, or think critically.

6. Keep following new and interesting people that you discover because you're already following such cool and interesting people.  The growth starts to become exponential.  

6a. Pay attention and participate on Follow Friday (#FF) by actually following new people.

What you get is a constant stream of interesting things that are catered to your particular interests.  That stream never stops and it never disappoints.  You can check in whenever you want and it will always be there for you.  Kill 5 minutes waiting in line at the grocery store, actually learn something along the way.  Be engaged in the world around you.

I love twitter because it's my version of the world I want to learn about - coming at me faster than I can imagine.  I love twitter because it's temporal.  I love twitter because it forces you to be succinct and careful with your choice of words.  I love twitter because it allows you to connect instantly with so many people.  I love twitter because it gives you the opportunity to compliment someone on their work directly and immediately.  Finish reading a book you love?  Tweet the author and tell them how much you loved it.  Chances are, they'll get that message.

Anyway...I could go on, but this is way more than 140 characters, so...back to twitter, freaks.  And if you're not already, follow me @mattnealcomedy.  Thanks.

 

weather drama

I'm starting to get a complex with regard to my travels back east to visit friends and family in Philadelphia.  I don't get there near as often as I'd like to...but the last few times I've been or been scheduled to go - random times throughout the year, mind you - it has snowed and caused a problem, delay, annoyance, or inconvenience for either me, my family, or my friends. Damn you unpredictable east coast wintry mix, sleet, ice and snow bullshit!  I'm scheduled to go back on Monday (March, by the way) and guess what?  Fucking snow again.

Storm #1 - I go back for a much anticipated Mariner Nine reunion show (and benefit for our good friend Jason who passed away) on Halloween of 2011.  There are supposed to be a ton of people there.  Around 11am, as we're rehearsing, the snow starts to fall.  It eventually dumps about 8 inches of snow, sleet, and freezing rain and the show is only attended by those that could walk to the venue.  The surprise storm left most roads impassable.  By 10am the next morning, I think it was 60 degrees out and the sun was shining.  Bullshit!

Storm #2 - I go back in early December 2013 (I know, risky) to catch up with folks because I had not been back in a year or so (since #1) and I got a really cheap airfare on Virgin America (Which is by far the best airline in terms of customer service, comfort, and overall aesthetic) so I went for a few days.  I'm a huge Eagles fan, but I thought it would be a much better time to actually sit and watch the game with friends in the comfort of their home than to brave the elements going to the game at the Linc.  Around 11am (notice a trend) the day of the game, the flakes started to come down.  I decided to start heading to Collingswood, NJ (where my buddy lives) which is about fifty miles from where I was staying - an hour - tops.  I would arrive with plenty of time to get cheese steaks (customary), have a beer, and settle in for kick-off.  Well, without warning, the sky dumped about a foot of snow in about a one hour span and the drive that should have taken me one hour took four and a half hours.  I listened to the entire game on the radio.  I could see the Linc from the freeway on which I was "parked" for most of that time.  I had a Ford Fusion rental car that slid all over the road and was basically a deathtrap.  Luckily, I was only going 1-3 m.p.h. for most of the ride and I had paid the Rental Car Destruction fee so I didn't care if I hit anything or anything hit me.  But it was super sketchy.  Mostly, I was just annoyed. The highlight was hearing Merrill Reese & Mike Quick call an entire football game - hadn't done that in a long time.   Upon arrival, the car got stuck in his driveway.  I just left it and went inside and we watched the historic Eagles v. Lions game on DVR.  It just wasn't as fun as watching it live.  We shoveled the driveway and then had cheese steaks.

Storm #3 - I was supposed to go back in January and had a really fun show scheduled at Helium (one of the absolute best comedy venues in the country) and I had a ton of people ready to come out to see me.  A homecoming show, of sorts.  Nope - cancelled.  They got 2 feet of snow.  Luckily, I never even left LA that time.  I was blamed, by many friends, simply for making the flight reservation.

Bottom line, I don't want to live there again, but I would like to visit...what the fuck, Snow.  Knock it off.