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The Friday High Five
On Cowboys, Lightsabers, and Sex Manuals
This week’s high five comes from the 2001 action-comedy Rush Hour 2. The upside of having teenagers means our options for movie night have expanded greatly. No more deciding which of the Pixar movies to rewatch, again.
We’re working through the Mission Impossible films, in anticipation of the new one releasing this summer. As a palate cleanser, I suggested watching Rush Hour a couple months ago. Both kids loved it, and we recently watched the sequel. Not as good as the original, still fun. Also appreciate the 90-minute runtimes. Get in, do your thing, and get out. Modern films could take a page from this book.
The star of the show is Jackie Chan’s stunt work. Still freaking crazy. Less so his acting. But watching these movies made me really nostalgic for late 90s Chris Tucker. I loved his manic, motormouth schtick.
Have a great weekend! High Five!
5 Things I’m Loving This Week:
The Rewatchables Podcast 🎧
This Real Lightsaber 😵
Grape Sour Patch Kids 😋
Point Break 🌊
The Rewatchables Podcast
I was a huge fan of Bill Simmons in the aughts. His articles on ESPN’s Page 2 were appointment reading. I literally planned bathroom breaks around them.
He talked about the things my friends and I talked about, and he combined sports and pop culture in hilarious ways. He went onto huge success, becoming a TV host and all sorts of other things. I followed Bill to Grantland and then to The Ringer. He doesn’t write any more but instead has become a podcast personality. The dude must be on like 5 different podcasts on the Ringer network.
Lately I’ve been listening to the Rewatchables, which has Bill and some of the Ringer staff revisiting 80s and 90s films. It’s similar to what I’m doing with All the Fanfare. In fact, I initially thought about pitching the site as “Bill Simmons writes Wait But Why,” but it wasn’t totally accurate.
The Rewatchables has given me life when I’ve started questioning the sanity of this venture. If these guys can have three 1.5-2 hour-long episodes talking about Heat, I can certainly make one long article interesting.
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This Real Lightsaber
There have been attempts to make a real lightsaber since we first knew what a lightsaber was. In the 80s, I had a cheap plastic telescoping one that was basically a glorified flashlight. Newer iterations look just like the ones in the films, apart from the fact that the blade is plastic and not, like, made out of light.
I once saw an enterprising inventor on YouTube who made a lightsaber with a plasma blade, which meant it could actually cut stuff. Metal, wood, somebody’s arm (presumably). It was powered by a Ghostbusters-style backpack, which kind of defeats the purpose. Plus, nobody really wants a real lightsaber. We just want the appearance of one. We nerds are generally not known for our coordination.
I’d heard Disney was working on a solution to this “problem,” and they recently unveiled it at South By Southwest. My only remaining question: How much?
I guess I do have one more question: Is this suit—don’t let the casual clothes fool you, this guy is an exec of some kind—really the best person to model a lightsaber? He has no idea how to hold it once he turns it on. The hand placement is all kinds of wrong.
When I was 10 or 11, I discovered my stepmother’s sex instructional manual—called The Gourmet Book of Sex, no lie—on the living room bookshelf between some Grisham novels and those leather-bound encyclopedia sets everyone had back in the day. It was a hilariously exciting day, as my younger brother and I browsed the illustrations and learned about maneuvers with names like the Wheelbarrow.
The way I held that book is similar to how this guy is cupping the lightsaber. I, too, was way out of my element.
Grape Sour Patch Kids
I have a raging sweet tooth. Out of control. When I lived with my dad and stepmom, sugar was completely off the table. We got sugar-free gum. Diet, caffeine-free pop (including Mountain Dew… which is like, what’s the point?). Candy? LOL, yeah right. Illustrated sex books were free game though!
My affinity for sweets began once I moved out and could finally taste the rainbow again. And I haven’t really quit since.
I’ve developed a candy thesis over the years. You can divide people into two camps: the chocolate eaters and the candy eaters. Not that I don’t enjoy a Snickers occasionally. But push come to shove, I’m going hard in the paint for some Mike & Ikes.
Sour Patch Kids are a top 5 candy*. Perfect mix of sweet and sour, chewy without the teeth-sticking gumminess of Dots. Really exceptional.
Recently, my wife discovered a grape variety. So Good. Highly recommend.
* Since I brought it up, here’s how I’d rank the top 5 candies:
Sour Patch Kids
Mike & Ikes
I am of the opinion that HBO’s Deadwood is one of the best television shows ever made. For the uninitiated: it’s a morally gray Western set in the very-real historical town of Deadwood during the height of the gold rush. The cast are largely historical figures, and many of the events of the show really happened. Deadwood also has the most colorful invective imaginable. F bombs for days. Which frankly is part of the charm. I don’t know if people really talked like that in the 1800s, but it strikes me as a lot more realistic than anything Hollywood had ever given us before, and maybe since.
Unfortunately, we only got 3 marvelous seasons before the rug was pulled out. A Deadwood film released in 2019, 13 years after season 3 ended. We got a conclusion, but it was abrupt and unsatisfying.
I’ve watched the entire 3-season run probably four or five times now. I recently started rewatching it, again, because I’m running a game of Dungeons & Dragons in a Deadwood analogue. Which may or may not have just been an excuse to watch the show again.
Obligatory Point Break entry.
The work continues. Not much else to say. I can see the finish line, so there’s that. I should finish the first draft in the next few days, and then I’ll go back over it all. Tighten the text. Add the funny. Etc. And then revise again based on feedback from a few trusted writer friends.
We’re still a good 2-3 weeks away from publication. Hopefully I’ll get much faster at this, once I land on a good process. Just corralling all my scattered notes has been a challenge.
Some great news—I mentioned last week I was looking to commission art for the article. My buddy Shawn is super talented and has agreed to provide magic to this crazy experiment. We started with the Nixon mask, just to see how it went.
It went very well indeed!
I’m absolutely thrilled. Not only does it look great, it will help the finished product stand-out in a way an article with just movie stills can’t. Plus, like I mentioned, I can foresee some cool merch opportunities! I gave Shawn a list of 10 or so things I’d like to include in the article. Very excited!
One last thing! Some of you mentioned wanting to revisit the film before you read the article, and some of you have somehow never seen it at all. By happenstance, I saw the digital copy is on sale at all the major retailers.
What are you into at the moment? Leave a comment and let me know!
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