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The Friday High Five
On the Manliest of Love, House Hunting, and Strange Comforts
Every Friday I share 5 things that brought me joy this week. Also, high fives are inherently cool, and I think we can all agree Friday is the bestest day. Hence the Friday High Five. 🙏🏻
Some of you will no doubt realize last Friday passed without a digital high five from yours truly. As penance, I give this belated offering, and the promise of another post in the next few days (more on this in a moment). I can’t peg it down to an exact day because the muse is a mysterious mistress. But it will be by Tuesday, for reasons that will be immediately clear if you’re a gamer. (Link in case you aren’t.)
To paraphrase Gandalf, “Look to my coming at first light on the 3rd day. At dawn, look to the East.”
5 Things I Enjoyed This Week:
Fantasy Football Draft Weekend
Parks & Rec
I’ve been picking away at a piece on Predator for the past few weeks, as life affords. Anytime I write about something, I like to try to come at it slightly askew. Nobody wants to read a review about a 36 year-old movie. I don’t care to write one, either. That sounds super boring.
Once I land on a topic, I kinda let my mind wander and try to come up with an interesting angle. The theme of this one is that Predator is actually a love story for dudes (in the bromance sense), in the same vein as something like Field of Dreams or even The Lord of the Rings. In fact, it’s this sense of brotherly love that makes the movie so watchable even all these years later. Let’s face it: Most ‘80s action movies (or action movies in general) are pretty disposable. Predator is different because it cares.
Anyway, here’s an excerpt about how the movie is also probably definitely a little gay.
Look: Predator is more than a little homoerotic. That's not what I was referring to when calling the movie a love story, but I can totally see how you could get there. After all, once Blain (Jesse Ventura) is killed, Mac (Bill Duke) is by turns morose, angry, and weepy. I'm not saying they're together—in my opinion, they're not—but, again, I can see how you could draw that conclusion. Especially given the evidence.
One of Blain's favorite songs is Little Richard's Long Tall Sally. It's an interesting choice as Little Richard is not exactly a masculine icon, the sort a bunch of muscly men would listen to when flying into certain danger (too many 'woos!'). Doubly so since Little Richard struggled with his sexuality his entire life. While Long Tall Sally plays in the background, Blain calls everyone on the helicopter a "slack-jawed faggot," while assuring them of his own sexual prowess. Blain could just be posturing, or peacocking. He could also be projecting.
Director John McTiernan is intentional with his choices. He's the reason Predator and Die Hard are so beloved—they're about much more than the action. Scenes have subtext. McTiernan doesn't pick a song by Little Richard without careful consideration. Blain's dialogue might suggest he, too, has suppressed homosexual thoughts.
You can go one step further and take the entire movie as a metaphor for the homosexual experience in the 80s. At the time, AIDS was believed to primarily target homosexual men. An unseen killer that stalks strong, virile men and leaves them dead? I could be talking about the disease or the Predator. That's the point.
If nothing else, there's no denying Predator is a bona fide meat market. At some point in the proceedings, the squad ditches most of their uniform and walk around in vests so skimpy they could be kimonos.
Spicy takes, yes, but also correct.
Fantasy Football Draft Weekend
Football season is always a little bittersweet. One on hand, the summer is officially over. On the other, I get to build a pretend football team with which to smash my rivals.
I’ve been in the same league for nearly 20 years. We get together the last weekend in August for golf and the main event. It’s the kind of weekend you look forward to all year.
The weekend ended with me locking my keys in my trunk, which hopefully isn’t an ill omen for the season to come. Anyway, here’s a complementary pic of my brother and one of the guys trying unsuccessfully to unlock my car.
We dropped cable several years ago because it’s stupid expensive and we weren’t really watching it. I haven’t missed it apart from the random big game that’s only on ESPN because of capitalism.
We took a short trip in August. While hanging out in the hotel, my daughter put on Triple D (Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives) and House Hunters. I sorta forgot how watchable both are.
Since returning home, I discovered both are on the HBO streaming service. The last couple of weeks when I’ve been too tired to read or invest in anything dramatic, we’ve thrown on House Hunters. I know the episodes are staged but I guess I’ve reached that stage of life where I enjoy watching people look at houses, and trying to decide which one they’ll pick.
Parks and Recreation
Much like The Office, the first season is slow and a bit disjointed. It took us a while to buy in. We kept putting it off in favor of things like cleaning the gutters and practicing our taxes.
I remember the exact moment I was in. It’s the episode where Andy is taking a bath in a kiddie pool in the backyard and his neighbor steals his boombox. And then Andy chases him, naked, on his crutches.
I don’t know what this says about me.
At this point, Deadwood is basically comfort viewing. Which might strike you as deranged if you know the show. I’m midway through my 4th(?) rewatch and am completely amazed at how Al Swearengen—the unrepentant saloon proprietor and pimp—is actually a bit sympathetic? Like he’s clearly a Bad Dude, but damnit, I like him anyway. Who else is gonna keep those c*cksuckers in Yankton in check?
This week, I randomly stumbled upon this interview where Timothy Olyphant talks about Deadwood and Justified (bestill my beating heart). Imagine my distress when I discovered I’ve been saying his last name wrong this whole time. You have been, too. Hopefully I don’t have to shut down my OlyFan account.
What’s your favorite non-traditional comfort watch?
I guess technically you could also immediately restart The Office. It’s an acceptable choice.