That’s (Not) Entertainment!

Entertainment has undergone a sea change in the last 20-something years. It is now to be had on demand, preferably in all popular formats, with options for both rental and purchase, and certainly it has to be consumable on mobile devices because I’m sitting here at this funeral and let me tell you something: BORING! Yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s sad. I understand. And he was taken too soon, I’ll give you that. But if he didn’t want to wind up dead, maybe he should have thought of that before he slammed his bedroom into my bitchin’ monster truck at upwards of 85 miles per hour. Asshole. Anyway, the least the grieving family can do is provide something to take our minds off of all of the sadness, like strippers, or maybe a dunk tank.

There are a lot of ways we can spice up funerals, actually, and we don’t even need to look too hard for inspiration. I was at an office Christmas party one year, and they had a photo booth available. That would be a great addition to any funeral, especially if the deceased shuffled off this mortal coil under murky circumstances.

Detective: Sir, can you identify this photograph?

Suspect: Yes, this is a picture of me taken in a photo booth at Jaden Smith’s funeral.

Detective: And how about these photographs?

Suspect: Uhhh… Same funeral, same photo booth, and I seem to be doing a series of fist pumps while laughing maniacally.

Detective: And this?

Suspect: I’m holding up a piece of paper that reads…

Detective: Yes?

Suspect:  …

Detective: …

Suspect  It reads “I got away with it!”

Not that I want anything bad to happen to Jaden Smith. I just picked his name at random from a list of people who think most trees are blue. I’m sure he’s a wonderful human being, and I wish him health, long life, and for the love of God, Jaden, NOBODY WANTS TO SEE YOU IN A MOVIE EVER AGAIN, YOU ENTITLED WASTE OF GENETIC MATERIAL!”

Ahem. Sorry, I’m still royally pissed about the Karate Kid.

Do it, Mr. Miyagi! Break his arm! No jury will convict you, trust me!

Anyway, entertainment has changed a lot over the last 20-something years, but in order to appreciate that, you need to turn to an old fuck like me to tell you How It Was.  (I capitalize How It Was, because I envision it becoming a TV show like How It’s Made, only without any useful information other than how to inject mescaline into your eyeball.)

In the 70’s, for example, if you wanted to see a movie, you had to go to a movie theater. Oh sure, you could wait for the movie to be aired by one of the three television networks (Fox wasn’t around back then, which meant that one could go an entire day without uttering the words, “subliterate, echo-chamber-living fucktards”.  But by the time a network aired your favorite movie, it had been rendered unintelligible by censorship.  Take this famous scene from Last Tango in Paris:

Paul: (lubes up with a stick of butter, rapes Jeanne)

This was altered slightly for television viewing:

Paul: I’m a Pepper, he’s a Pepper, she’s a Pepper, we’re a Pepper, Wouldn’t you like to be a Pepper too?

(For the record, I am not interested in becoming a Pepper, but if that changes all I’ll have to do is drop a rotten cherry into a 12 ounce can of diarrhea because Dr Pepper tastes like shit.)

It did start selling better after they changed the name, though.

Now, however, things are different.  Entertainment is available anywhere, any time, and the end result isn’t wonderful, it’s fucking awful because it results in horrendous things like me sitting through an entire screening of The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh.

If you’ve never seen The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh, you’re in good company. It says here that the opening weekend take for TFTSP was $12,922, which is crazy low for most movies, but way, WAY too much for this steaming pile of shit. Truth be told, I saw it on opening weekend with my good friend Charlie (who I referred to once as the guy whose head became the size of a watermelon in front of my very eyes), but I think we should get a pass because we were only ten at the time and didn’t know any better. Had we the smallest modicum of common sense at the time, we would’ve stayed home. I mean, look at the cast:

Stockard Channing

Jonathan Winters

Dr. J

Meadowlark Lemon

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Flip Wilson

Marv Albert

Debbie Allen

If a movie with that cast doesn’t scare the shit of you, nothing will. Why I watched it again the other night, I will never know.

Ok, so here’s what passes for the plot: Pittsburgh has an NBA-ish franchise. And by “NBA-ish” I mean its one of those movies that doesn’t want to pay the real NBA to use their logos and whatnot, which turned out to be a good move considering that the opening weekend’s take wasn’t enough to buy a fucking KIA. So the teams depicted all have seriously awful names like The Felchers with logos that look like they were drawn with Microsoft Paint and a grand mal seizure. Pittsburgh’s team name isn’t as awful as it is incongruous: The Pittsburgh Pythons. Pythons because… Ummm… I’ll get back to you on that.

The Pittsburgh Pythons, alas, blow goats, a point that was driven home with a montage of Dr. J missing jump-shots and getting glared at by his teammates. (Basketball fans: Think John Starks in game 7 of the 1994 NBA Finals.) So they do what you or I would do if we’d been consuming lead paint chips in bulk: They… Well, this is a little hard to explain.

Also hard to explain: Everything thing thing this guy did or said after this point in time.

First of all, there is this kid that seems to make all of the decisions for the team, which may be why they fucking suck so badly. “The Pittsburgh Pythons shocked the sporting world today by drafting unknown primate Magilla Gorilla with the third pick of the draft. When asked for a comment… Jesus. They drafted a fucking gorilla? And a cartoon gorilla at that! I fucking hate being the beat reporter for the Pittsburgh Pythons. At least I can sit behind this typewriter all day tearing my employers to pieces, because no one, and I mean NO ONE reads the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.”

This kid (whose name, I shit you not, is James Bond III) just keeps meddling in everyone’s shit and instead of being pumped full of Adderall, they listen to him, even when (IMPORTANT PLOT POINT OFF THE STARBOARD BOW!) the kid suggests that the Pythons dump every player not born in February, and load the team up on players who share the astrological sign of Pisces. You know, the way every successful sporting franchise does things.

He doesn’t do this without help, mind you. That would be silly. Ten year olds lack the stupidity necessary to draw up an astrological chart. No, he goes out and hires Mona Mondieu, who is played by Stockard Channing. Originally, the role was supposed to go to Cher (no kidding), but in a tragic turn of events, she divorced Gregg Allman, stopped injecting heroin into her asshole, and sobered up long enough to realize that she was about to make a BIG career mistake, and as everyone knows, if you can’t get Cher, you go after Stockard Channing. If you can’t get Stockard Channing, you go after Loretta Swit or just blow your brains out. Your choice.

And naturally, the Pittsburgh Pythons (now renamed the Pittsburgh Pisces, with a shimmering uniform motif that makes it look like Doug Henning is on the team) begin winning because even though they are a band of misfits, their secret ingredient is love. Or maybe that’s the Easy Bake Oven. Whatever, the point is, the Pisces are now fucking awesome and the audience can go home. Except there is (get ready for it) A DRAMATIC PLOT TWIST!

Illusion of basketball

Basically, Stockard Channing/Mona Mondieu fails to show up for the last game (she was kidnapped by a group of developmentally disadvantaged gansgters, which is wording it kindly), and the Pisces revert to sucking ass on the court. BUT! She escapes her dim-witted malefactors, makes it to the arena, and the Pisces win in dramatic fashion. I’m not going to tell you how, exactly, but if I were you, I’d bet on “Last second shot that bounces around the rim forever before going in, ensuring a one point win” in the office pool.

That was one hell of a shot, I might add. If you look closely, the scoreboard shows that there is one (1) second on the clock, and Pittsburgh is losing to Los Angeles 101 – 91. Wow! An eleven (11) point play!

Another highlight of the movie is when Dr. J lets the kid drive his Rolls Royce, but only on the condition that Dr. J operates the gas/brake pedals from the passenger seat. Not 30 seconds later, Dr. J admonishes the kid to “slow down!” even though Dr. J is the one stepping on the gas. Tragically, this lack of continuity in the film resulted in the director being dragged through the streets of Hollywood wearing Shirley Temple’s costume from the Good Ship Lollipop, although to be honest that might not have been the horrible punishment we might think it is. He was into that kind of thing.

So, how would I rate The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh? With small arms fire, if I could. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have another funeral to attend. (Revs monster truck.)