Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Vox in the Box (7)

This week I had to step up and "Vox out". Much like Scott Howard, when he became the Wolf. He did it for his teammates, for the fans, and for Stiles...not for himself. Even though he began to hate the Wolf, he realized the legend had been built up so much that he had to deliver. As everyone's favorite bachelor ties the knot this week, it's important I produce for this somewhat bittersweet occasion. Sweet, for those of us that watched Ry eventually emerge victorious and win his true love's heart after years of obsession and, bitter, for those that love Ry more than their own significant other. As the vows are exchanged, I will be flashing back to 1999: Crazy Louie's or Yucatan Liquor Stand (not sure which one), and Ry utters the now famous line: "You're killing me, here." Or something like that. I guess it wasn't that memorable if I can't remember the exact line. But whatever he said...it took a pair of steel balls, especially because Ry wasn't too intoxicated.

Also, we have the Sopranos season finale looming after a challenging, distorted and sometimes mythical eleven episodes. I'm on record as believing that show creator David Chase should not've saved Tony from the gunshot wound. So that unrealistic recovery upset me, mostly because the writers are normally devoted to realism. On most TV shows, Carmela wouldn't have been dreaming and really would've found Adriana in Paris (or even worse, Furio). It would've been impossible for a network show to resist bringing Adriana/Furio back, so they can bait their audience with a ridiculous cliffhanger. But Sopranos has succeeded by showing us the unimportant and the random. Sopranos is unwaveringly authentic in its dialogue and depiction of our bankrupt culture and its treatment of New Jersey and the mob's cathartic and crazy justifications for evil in the name of tradition and order. It's never uplifting. It's not something the whole family can enjoy. It's never, "a can't miss episode where everything will change."...which is how they promote ER every goddamn week.

And since those first three shows, Sopranos has been to true to form-- tackling Vito's identity crisis, Tony's struggle with rage and infidelity, Carm's typical balancing act between her champagne tastes & self loathing and the comical, buffoonish and always-delusional intentions of Syl, Chris and Paulie. So what will happen Sunday? I've been wrong all season, but, unlike the season 5 finale, when Tony escapes the FBI raid at Johny's house and walks home to a happy wife-- I think this season will end with something very devastating to Tony. I'm hardly out on a limb when I guess it will be some type of vengeance from Phil "Go Home and Get Your Fucking Shine Box" Leotardo. Better yet, maybe the FBI pins Vito's murder on Tony. Maybe one of the crew gets whacked? Maybe AJ fucks Meadow. No, that's Six Feet Under. Doesn't matter. Just show me a set of cans at the Bing, Tony driving in his Escalade-- bouncing to some vintage classic rock tune, sub-consciously planning his next move in the jersey/new york chess game.

I have a Cleveland rant, but I don't want to jump on the Tribe anti-bandwagon. I'll just say this: I was Matthew McConaughey-hot with my baseball bets two weeks ago, and all of the sudden-- I can't win a fucking game. This is due to our Indians laying eggs. (I'm going broke from them. If it wasn't for the Heat taking three of four, Ry might not be getting a wedding gift.) You know, Wedgie always talks about doing things the right way...but his team never does. Like when dude tried to avoid a rundown when he was caught between first base and home plate! This summer is lost; that's why it was so important we didn't blow our opportunity last September when we were arguably MLB's best team. Same thing this year with SVAC. We may not get past the first round next year; we were lucky to beat the Bullets. We had a rare opportunity against 'Roit and blew it. Same thing when the new Browns choked a lead away to the Stillers in the '03 wildcard. Opportunities in Cleveland are so, so rare. You can't assume anything about an up-and-coming Cleveland team taking the next step next year because it rarely ever happens. I would hardly be surprised if our recent payoff run is the farthest LeBron ever makes it in the postseason in a Cavs uniform.

Instead of the Random Top 10 this week, I'm bringing you Sam's Top 100 Films Of All Time. This is not a Random Top 100, because there's absolutely nothing random about a list with one hundred titles. When you make a Top 100-anything, you better be methodical and grind it out because it's anything but a random exercise. It's not easy wasting nights away in front of BO, chewing up films I have seen a thousand times over. But there's an upside. Revisiting some Top 100 mainstays every few years is essential in determining whether the film has stood time's test. Did I naively and hastily proclaim it as one my favorites before really dissecting it? Or perhaps it was even more brilliant than I originally thought and deserves a bump?. After multiple viewings of Class Act, Hand That Rocks the Cradle, Unlawful Entry and River Wild...I had to face a hard truth that these staples of my teenage years do not belong on my list. And a film like Mobsters, which hovered in the thirties for years, now barely makes the cut at #97. And, trust me, it almost got knocked off completely-- but was saved by that epic scene in the sauna when Richard Greico as Bugsy Siegel gives Chris Penn a gun that was once the property of Benito Mussolini. On the other hand, a film like True Romance, which has been a Top 100 staple since I first saw it, actually jumps forty-some spots due to how well it's aged (and of course, the incomparable Chris Penn). Tarantino did a masterful job on that script. If he would've directed it, I have to think that movie may have reached Pulp Fiction-esque status, a year before the real thing. Yes, this is important work I'm doing here. Mrs. Vox doesn't agree, needless to say. But my Top 100 films of all time are forever intertwined in the very fabric that is me. All yours...

1. The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training
2. The Karate Kid
3. LaBamba
4. Mask
5. Pulp Fiction
6. Rainman
7. Summer School
8. Basketball Diaries
9. Born on the 4th of July
10. Ferris Bueller's Day Off

11. The Croupier
12. Rounders
13. Singles
14. Sideways
15. Pee Wee's Big Adventure
16. Amadeus
17. The Shawshank Redemption
18. Eyes Wide Shut
19. Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
20. Throw Momma From the Train

21. Point Break
22. Match Point
23. 25th Hour
24. Coming to America
25. Jungle Fever
26. Krull
27. Goodfellas
28. Little Children
29. Superman II
30. The Fly
31. Interview with the Vampire
32. Breakfast Club
33. Major League
34. Forest Gump
35. Boyz n the Hood
36. Gremlins
37. Leaving Las Vegas
38. Dead Man Walking
39. Beautiful Girls
40. True Romance

41. Clerks
42. Die Hard
43. Sling Blade
44. Return of the Jedi
45. Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan
46. My Life
47. Searching for Bobby Fisher
48. The Doors
49. Sleep With Me
50. Fargo
51. Vanilla Sky
52. Cast Away
53. Some Kind of Wonderful
54. St. Elmo's Fire
55. The Empire Strikes Back
56. Trainspotting
57. Back II the Future
58. Stand By Me
59. Hoosiers
60. Philadelphia

61. Ruthless People
62. Almost Famous
63. Raiders of the Lost Arc
64. Go
65. Can't Buy Me Love
66. Brothers McMullen
67. Indecent Proposal
68. A New Hope
69. Boiler Room
70. Hustle & Flow
71. Lolita
72. Hard Eight
73. Unfaithful
74. Ghostbusters
75. Summer of Sam
76. Star Trek III: Search for Spock
77. Training Day
78. Top Gun
79. Fear
80. We Don't Live Here Anymore

81. Young Guns II
82. Misery
83. Brothers
84. Boys Don't Cry
85. Basic Instinct
86. Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure
87. School Ties
88. Dead Poets Society
89. Blown Away (Jeff Bridges version, not Nicole Eggert)
90. No Looking Back
91. Poltergeist II
92. American History X
93. What's Eating Gilbert Grape?
94. Menace II Society
95. Black Swan
96. Pretty Woman
97. Mobsters
98. He Got Game
99. Teen Wolf
100. Weird Science

"Amid the chaos of that day, when all I could hear was the thunder of gunshots, and all I could smell was the violence in the air, I look back and am amazed that my thoughts were so clear and true, that three words went through my mind endlessly, repeating themselves like a broken record: you're so cool, you're so cool, you're so cool. And sometimes Clarence asks me what I would have done if he had died, if that bullet had been two inches more to the left. To this, I always smile, as if I'm not going to satisfy him with a response. But I always do. I tell him of how I would want to die, but that the anguish and the want of death would fade like the stars at dawn, and that things would be much as they are now. Perhaps. Except maybe I wouldn't have named our son Elvis."

I am Alabama Whitman in the box.

When you are tired of relationships, try a romance....parting is inevitable.