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Monday, January 14, 2013

Fishing with John and Moron Movies

I don't know what the actual increment of time is, but if a lady goes like 2 years without having sex or something she's basically a virgin again. Hey, I'm not a scientist, but as I type out this blog post, I'm beginning to feel like I can identify with the above phenomenon. No, this isn't some Jodie Foster-esque confession about my personal life (ha! bet you weren't expecting a Golden Globes/Cecil B. Demille lifetime achievement award speech joke (how many nouns was that?), were you?) , it's just been a while, ya know? and I want to get back into things on here, but I feel like we are going to have to take it slow. Ooooooookkkkk?

So, here's what I'm thinking:

This weekend I watched the extant episodes of Fishing with John. This 1991 travel program starred actor, musician, and former-man-about-town-but-now-supposedly-man-in-hiding, John Lurie along with a host of other famous and male guests as they attempted to go fishing. Sometimes Lurie and guest catch fish. Other times they stand around and try to figure out what the whole male bonding thing is all about. In fact, no one ever seems to have that much fun. Jim Jarmusch barely even talked during his shark fishing trip in Montauk, save for a pretty hilarious story about wild dolphins in Florida detecting a woman's breast cancer. Tom Waits gets terribly seasick in Jamaica (when asked why he doesn't just throw up, he says, "breakfast was so beautiful I want to hold on to it a little longer"). In Costa Rica, Matt Dillon is forced to do an embarrassing dance dedicated to the local fishing gods, gets heavily rained on and then barely catches any fish--all the while, I should add, wearing stiff black leather loafers. I don't know much about fishing, but they just don't seem like the appropriate footwear. Dennis Hopper, while in Thailand, really just has no clue where he is, but that's probably not new for him. To top it off, Lurie himself really isn't very interesting to watch.

Yet, somehow, the show manages to be entertaining and even endearing. If someone were to say something really cruddy about it, I would without a doubt defend it. Perhaps it's the subtle details?

 The music, written and performed by Lurie definitely adds something. The slow and introspective intro theme, in which Lurie croons "Fishing with Johnnnnn" is oddly catchy. The suspense-ridden drone that accompanies the scene with Lurie, Waits, and their host Leon in Leon's humble Jamaican hut as they discuss various regional names for the same types of fishes, is completely inappropriate and disconcerting. The wildly panicked alto sax that shreds over Hopper and Lurie's befuddling interactions while driving through the wilds of Thailand in the back of a Jeep perhaps best showcases Lurie's raw talent as a musician. Still even when the music is good, it's still goofy, which helps to remind the viewer that hey, this is a comedy after all, right?

The voiceover, written by Lurie, and performed by Robb Webb imbues the at times lagging show with vitality.  In the Jarmusch episode, Webb inexplicably announces, "These men are covered in sores and boners" while the director and Lurie just stand around on the dock waiting for their boat. In the Waits episode, Webb delivers a Morgan Freeman-esque monologue over images of flowers and sunshine. "Life is so beautiful," he says, "For some. More than for others..." It's great, and maybe one of the show's few "laugh out loud" moments.

 BUT my number one moment of the show is when Lurie and Waits, standing on a heavily rusted tug boat in the middle of the shimmering Jamaican sea, discuss luring fish with cheese. "When do fish get the opportunity to sample some of the finer cheeses?" Waits asks. I like that. Waits also puts a fish down his shorts--which are just an old pair of black sweatpants cut off above the knee. I like that too.

I watched them all on Netflix, but you can also watch them on youtube. Hey, it's your life, do whatever you want! I don't fucking care.


Moving on.

Moron Movies. Ah yes. These are great!

 It's 2013. You probably have a short attention span. You probably have 22 windows open on your MacBook (product placement--yo can I get a computer?) right now. You probably have some of them minimized. Did you even finish that article about the debt limit or Mars One needing volunteer astronauts to colonize Mars in 2023 before you minimized it/sent the link to your friend on gchat? I don't know your habits. BUT I'm still gonna do that cool thing where people writing blog posts talk about how culture is going down the tubes because NO ONE can pay attention to ANYTHING, including blog posts!!!! Moans and groans. One must struggle against the chaos (someone should make a cereal called "Cha-Os!" Okay Sarah, rein it it).

Anyway, Moron Movies are these short--often 30 seconds or less--vignettes developed by Len Cella back in the '70s--you know that sexy/fun decade you're always hearing so much about. They're punchy, absurd, and won't make your brain hurt.

In fact, it really doesn't matter how much of an asshole you are or how greatly you are contributing to the downfall of American culture, Moron Movies are amazing no matter what. There I said it. That statement doesn't even make sense and "I don't care anymore" (that's a quote from The Room, sorry).  My friend Mark had recently reminded me about them, but by the time I caught a screening of MM1 at Spectacle a few weeks ago, it had been awhile. Using a door to chop carrots or a bowling ball to check for prowlers under the bed seemed funny all those years ago, and guess what, it still is! Okay I'm getting blog fatigue. These too are on youtube. Watch them all! Or some of them!


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