M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Monday, July 26, 2004  

Shut Up, Movie

Is it possible to be stalked by a movie?  Even if you've never seen it?

I ask because we were down in Iowa this past weekend. My niece Deniece was spending the night with Trash's mom, which meant that Deniece's parents had a free evening to go out with us. Lucky them.

What we usually do is head to a nearby pole-barn with a liquor license, where they have karaoke on Saturday nights. While we were debating whether to do that or just take a nap, the definitive karaoke film came up.

No, not Lost in Translation.

I was surprised that of the four of us, two had actually seen this movie (neither of them were me). Although I don't know if it's accurate to say that Trash "saw" it, as she left the room whenever any plotline aside from the Paul Giamatti/Andre Braugher one was on the screen. Considering she was in a hotel room at the time, the repulsive power of the rest of the movie must be something indeed.

Anyway, Deneice's mom and Trash tried to reconstruct the movie based on their imperfect, slightly-overlapping, corrupted-by-blind-hatred memories of it. At first this was to jog the memory of Trash's brother, so he could try and remember if he'd seen it, but it went on considerably after that objective had been achieved. By then, I was calling bullshit that any filmmaker would ever try to pass off a major character who makes a living as a "karaoke hustler," played by Huey Lewis or no.

After a while, I said, "Why are we still talking about this movie?"

"Yeah!" everyone said.

"When we could be renting it?" I finished.

"No!" everyone said.

We did end up at the karaoke bar. It was actually busier than I've ever seen it, having been taken over by some kind of frat-boy karaoke band. Seven of these mooks hopped up on stage together and massacred that Lee Greenwood song in a way that made me miss the subtle, understated elegance of Invincible Girl's performance at last year's JournalCon. One of the heretofore absent regulars—the one who gives off a strong Jerri Blank from Strangers With Candy vibe—poked her head in and promptly disappeared.

The frat-boy-band took the stage again, this time to sing "Seven Bridges Road" by the Eagles. You know that song, right? It's basically harmonies and an acoustic guitar. You don't touch it if you don't know what you're doing. We cringed under out table in anticipation of the horror that was about to be unleashed upon us.

And then they nailed it.

While applauding sincerely, we realized what these guys were. They were karaoke hustlers!

After a while, Jerri Blank returned to take back the place with a small army of her compatriots, the frat-boy-band slaughtered "Man of Constant Sorrow," and the earth was spinning on its proper axis again.

Then, driving back home to Minneapolis yesterday, we were station-surfing and came upon Huey Lewis and Gwyneth Paltrow singing "Cruisin'."  What the hell? That song was a) released as a single and b) gets radio airplay? Someone had better explain this parallel universe's rules to me before I hurt myself in it. Is there some kind of The Ring-like deal about this movie where if you spend a certain amount of time talking about it you get sucked into its spell somehow? I don't know, but if Paul Giamatti and Andre Braugher walk buy me in the next week or so, I'm sticking to them like Gwyneth to her Oscar.

Today's best search phrase: "'boppity boppity boppity' oh my." I was all ready to be offended at User Boppity's arrival here when he was clearly looking for something having to do with self-love, when I was sure I must have been talking about something completely innocent. And then I went back to the archives and found out I was talking about self-love after all, The feline variety, no less. So carry on, User Boppity.

posted by M. Giant 6:43 PM
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