As many of you may know, many American cities are crumbling. Their streets are in decay. Families are moving away. And, while their mega-slum urban counterparts fall, the suburbs are rising to take their place. They are filled with shopping centers that almost double as small to mid-sized towns, where Wal Marts and Super Cuts and Ikeas group together to replace family owned grocery stores and barber shops and antique furniture outlets. I mean it's gotten so ridiculous that cash replaces toilet paper out in the suburbs, so even human defecation is a sign of economic supremacy. From everything I hear the burbs really are a magical place, and it has to be in order to make living with traffic, old people and a lack of ethnic food (not to mention ethnic people...although from my experience many suburban residents prefer it that way) worthwhile...right?
I for one have never bought into the whole "burbs" crazy. That's probably because I have spent the better part of my life either chillin on the screets of the bastion of Western Civilization (St. Louis), pounding whiskey in the butthole of the otherwise financially prosperous region of Southern Wisconsin (Beloit) or drinking 40's on the south side with D-Rose and Lupe Fiasco (Chi City). A hardcore city life is all I've known, so a Saturday afternoon spent paroozing a Lowe's Hardware with my father was never in the cards for me. And because of that I've never been able to relate to white picket fences or Volvo Station Wagons...just freestyle rap battles and Church's fried chicken (and no my mom doesn't drive a Volvo Station Wagon...she drives a Volvo Crossover).
Now I know y'all must be thinking "hey Sack...didn't you go to a private high school in the suburbs where the annual tuition is higher than the GDP of Bangladesh?" And that is something I can't deny. But when you consider that I was the biggest private school misfit since the Banks family plucked Will Smith from West Philly and sent him to Bel Air Academy, it becomes easy to understand that I didn't let the wealth and privilege of my surroundings soften my "most danergous city" born and raised ways. As proud as I am to have lived in America's Most Dangerous city however, I am also sad that I never expanded my horizons. That for all the friends I made and trendy suburban bars I've drank whiskey in, I never got a true suburban experience, or at least I never took the time to notice one...until now.
Rocking The Suburbs
As I just wrote, I recently had an eye opening run in with suburban life. Last Saturday I visited a lovely, little outpost known as Naperville, Illinois and proceeded to get drunk yet somehow recall everything I saw for blogging purposes. This is that story...or my observations from it anyways.
Observation #1: The Suburbs Are Racist-Yeah I said something we all already knew. However just in case you don't believe me, let me give you a little evidence to support my claim by describing an incident that occurred Saturday night. Me and my party were sitting on the patio of a Naperville bar drinking some Bud Lights when a couple of fellows, who happened to go to high school with some of the girls who were with us, walked up and said hello. Now I couldn't tell you the color of their skin (I don't see things like that since I am colorblind...physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually), but others at my table mentioned that they were African American. I honestly had no idea.
Anyways, about 5 minutes after these guys exchanged their pleasantries and moved along, a complete stranger (wearing some sort of graphic tee that made me want to vomit all over myself) tapped me on the shoulder. He then preceded to ask me what these 2 guys wanted, and said he was ready to wrangle up a posse, grab some shot guns and chase them down in his pickup truck. Now would this random douche nozzle be so concerned and "have my back" if those 2 bros (who did nothing btw) were white? Of course not. Clearly this tool hasn't seen A Time To Kill. Well I have, and the motto of that movie is don't be a racist...or Samuel L. Jackson will legally murder you and your friends. And I would have no problem if Sam happened to knock on graphic tee's door...and neither would anyone else who's seen that movie. After all according to the law...he deserves it.
Observation #2: The Suburbs Don't Like Hats-Anyone who knows me also knows that there are 4 indelible aspects of my character that define me as a man. 1-Like all real men I have no feelings or emotions, 2-Every moment I spend sober is a moment that could (and should) have been more fun, 3-Paul Walker is the overall most talented actor of this (or any) generation and 4-My head feels naked if I leave the house without a hat on. These universal truths are all so essential to my existence that if I ever give a speech in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania that saves our country...these will be the four pillars that address is built on.
However in The Suburbs they don't let you wear hats. In fact they hate hats so much that bouncers will follow you from bar to bar just to make sure a hat doesn't reach your head during your walk. I mean if John Wayne came back from the dead, stole a horse, shot 17 bad guys with his revolver, and then rode up to Features Bar in Naperville, he would have to take off his 10 gallon before walking in. That isn't American. And for that reason alone I hope some Jewish guy sues when they make him take off his Yamaka...and that he takes every Naperville establishment for all they're worth. Maybe then you suburban A-Holes will grant us all the hat wearing rights we are assured in the Constitution. God, and Thomas Jefferson, can only hope.
Observation #3: Mini Meat Heads Run Wild-We all know that meat heads populate bars everywhere, ordering some sort of muscle milk and vodka concoction that, at some point, they will manage to use as hair gel. However, in the Suburbs it seems that these Jersey Shore wannabes have all been stuck in a washing machine for the majority of their lives. Imagine if all that Xenadrine Ronnie pounds (see video below) caused 2-3 feet of shrinking...and then 2/3rds of the dudes at any given Suburban bar took it 15 times a day. A 5'0" Ronnie? I mean that is just hilarious...which is why I was laughing the entire night in Naperville.
A side note on meaty meat heads. Isn't it funny that they all look like the Lucky Charms Mascot...if barbwire tattoos and steroids were epidemics in the leprechaun community? And, do you think that any and all girls that hook up with them do so hoping to find a pot of gold when they wake up the next morning in his miniature, doll house bed? I gotta get to the bottom of this...
Observation #4: The Suburbs are Expensive-And I am not talking about the housing prices. Look as soon as I was charged $9 for a whiskey and coke, I was convinced that Chicago is the single most expensive place in the world. However, it turns out that the city is actually topped by it's own surrounding suburbs. Charging $9.75 for a shot of liquor and half a can of coke? Are you effing kidding me? People in Mexico live on less than that for a month...and they drink approximately a bottle of tequila an hour.
My real question is...how do these bars get any business? Do people really walk in and say "sweet...it's $10 cocktail night!!" I mean it honestly might be cheaper to drive into the city, get a room at the Drake, and hit the town than it is to drink for a night in Naperville. Actually, after looking at my bank account, it might be cheaper to start your own paper company and name it after yourself...as long as you hire Pam Beasley as your first employee. Yeah, your right--it definitely is. No doubt about it.
Observation #5: Not All Bartenders Are Nice-In fact on Saturday none of them seemed to be nice. Look I understand that bartending at a bar in the Chicago Suburbs is a lot like playing A baseball and praying to one day get called up to a big league bartending gig in Lincoln Park or Wrigleyville. But just because you are bitter that you'll probably never realize your dream...doesn't mean you have to be well mean.
It's almost like these suburban bartenders don't understand that they are costing themselves money. Unfortunately for them this is America...where the customer has the right to tip whatever god damn amount he thinks fits the service he received. That's why I tipped about 2.3% on a credit card tab I had run up at one of the Naperville hot spots (and they were lucky to get that). Hey when you act like a mean prostitute...I am going to pay you like one. Look in both prostitution and bartending, It's all about customer service. And nothing is more fair than that...besides Samuel L Jackson legally murdering racists.
Observation #6: I am not a Pedophile and/or Dead-Just to be clear, I'm in no way comparing myself to the king of pop. The Michael Jackson reference in the title is clearly a reference to the Ben Folds Song. I hope you knew that because I did...and I have only listened to a total of 3 songs that weren't by black people (do Michael Jackson songs count in this category? I am honestly asking) during the course of my entire life. If you still don't know what I'm talking about just watch the music video below because 1-It's a Sweet Song, 2-Ben Folds is allowed to wear several different hats, and even a doo rag, throughout the course of his suburban travels, 3-Ben Folds plays the guitar, drums, bass, keyboard and sings all at the same time meaning that he either has 4 identical twins or some sort of awesome super power, 4-Ben is able to grow super long arms, remove his mouth and wiggle his nose in a crazy way which makes you think you are trippin acid and 5-Weird Al Yankovich makes a cameo. Music and video just don't get any better than that.
Text Updates and Big Ups
My text messaging score since June 15 is +229 (213-inbox, 200-sent, 12 from females, 9 unresponded). For the first time in a while I am listing unresponded text messages as a negative and 9 of them in a 1 week period means...people don't like me too much. Also of note is the fact that I have gotten only 12 texts from females in the past week, 8 of which were from my mom. I guess that is expected though when you go to an all boys school from grades 7-12. Evidently that will just cripple you socially. Finally my twitter score is holding at 173 followers so, if you have a twitter account and wanna hear me fight racism via social networking...feel free to throw your hat in that ring.
Finally I have to extend big ups to everyone who was with me in Naperville including (but not limited to) DBoy Edwards, Richard Chernik, his girlfriend Erin, a girl named Rebecca, another girl who played volleyball at George Mason, the racist guy, the two African Americans who were so friendly to us and every midget bowflex model we saw at the bars. And...that's all I got.
Back next week with a post of equal or lesser value than this one (which means it will be shitty).
Sachary L. Poelker
"The Sack Artist: Jack of All Trades"
As I'm sure all of you know men are animals. Well technically all homo sapiens are animals, but men are the gender that acts like it. We men burp, fart, poop, eat meat and scratch our balls at extraordinary high rates...all things that no woman this side of Lady Gaga has ever done in her life. We drink beer. We watch sports. We ocasionally perform acts that the Catholic Church would deem as a sin (yeah...on ourselves too). And, whether you find these actions endearing, disgusting, arousing or just flat out strange...we can't help it. It's in our DNA. Don't blame/congratulate us...save it for the big man living up in the sky.
However, just because I take absolutely zero responsibility for my actions as man, that doesn't mean I don't get that women just don't understand them. I mean, as the popular book said, Men are from Mars and Women are From Venus. And, while evolution proved that theory (and author) to be full of BS since both sexes are from Earth...it makes sense if you take it metaphorically. Men and women are different, and that's all the book is trying to say (please don't take anything insulting from me capitalizing Men and not women in that last sentence. I didn't make the rule that the first word in each sentence gets capitalized...so take it up with the guy who did.).
And that's why the women reading this post (if there are in fact any) may not understand what I am about to write about. They might not get how guys can pay $20 to crowd into a small house and watch a lady take her clothes off. They might not understand the rush of testosterone that every boozed-fueled, red-blooded, American male gets when it's time for g strings and white trashily named women (just a warning to all you future parents, as you should already know naming your daughter Destiny sends her down a distinct road in life...a road which may or may not lead to several appearances on Jerry Springer). They might not even want to know that dancing on a pole is the single best exercise any and all women can perform (once again, don't blame me...blame science). So before I start weaving my magical story about a specially American night a couple Sundays ago I just want to tell the women of the world I respect them...even if I didn't vote for Hillary Clinton. Now ladies, read at your own risk--and don't say I didn't warn you.
Stripper Home Visits
As I just alluded to, I had the special privilege of taking up space in a house that was also being occupied by a stripper. Look I've been to tens of strip clubs around this great land in dirty Midwestern towns like East St. Louis, Cedar Rapids, Beloit and Sauget, but...this was my first experience with the stripper home visit. And while the ending of my story may leave all of you less romantically fulfilled than the ending of The Breakup, I am glad it happened the way it did. Having a stripper come to me was something I had to experience...a seminal moment in my male development. Now I am truly a man--even if I have no money, girlfriend or self respect. Lets take a look and see why.
Note-All other participants will be given fake names in this post due to my desire not to get them fired from their 9-5 jobs selling policies at Deep Cheap Life Insurance once this blog becomes a national phenomenon and their boss reads it.
Sunday, May 29th
6:15 P.M.-I'm sitting at my house all by myself polishing off my 5th or 6th Bud Light (yeah...I have a problem) when the phone rings. It's my boy Seamus Finnegan, and he's got an interesting business proposition for me. Him and his buddy Neville Longbottom have just ordered strippers tonight, and for just $20 I can sit in a drunken stooper and watch. Man I haven't been this excited since I tweeted that rumor that Pee Wee Herman and Charlie Sheen were were hitting "special theaters" together.
6:20 P.M.-I am getting ready to leave when I see that Bad Boys 2 is on the Starz: Black Buddy Cop channel.
8:30 P.M.-6 beers and 25 Martin Lawrence jokes later I am ready to move on with my life. I get out in my car and drive out to Clayton.
8:50 P.M.-I stop at a grocery store and walk up to the customer service desk, looking to turn my 2 $20 bills into 40 $1 bills. The lady working says she'll give me 10 $1 bills and 4 bags of Cheetos Puffs for my $40. I instantly accept...Cheetos Puffs are worth their weight in gold.
8:52 P.M.-There is a cop in the parking lot who's eyeing me down as I walk to my car. He knows what I'm doing. Good thing that I know that ordering strippers to your home or place of business is completely legal...like counting cards or masturbating on an airplane (or bus, train, etc.)
8:57 P.M.-I walk into Neville's house and the place is already kind of full. And, to my surprise, over half the occupants are females. Looks like we invested in a male stripper as well, cause it's always a good move to keep the ladies happy...why do you think Nookie Thompson had some much power back in the day?
9:01 P.M.-Neville shows me a picture of the two strippers we are getting, Elizabeth (who will be dressed as a school girl) and Ava (who will be our busty, mixed race, lady cop). Looks like this is the best investment I've made since I bought all those Pokemon cards and then traded them for a Mr. Pibb in 3rd grade.
9:04 P.M.-I don't know who the hell Jim Beam was...but he tastes awfully good mixed with coke.
9:32 P.M.-The place is starting to get kind of packed. You even got kids from Priory (my high school so of course...Gryffindor), Burroughs (Ravenclaw), MICDS (Slytherian) and public schools (muggles) meeting hospitably to drink, chat and eventually...stare at some nakedness. Never thought I'd see the day.
10:04 P.M.-I smell marijuana smoke. Look I've never smoked marijuana...because I respect the law too damn much. I actually respect the law so much that, if I even smell marijuana, the cops are called instantly and everyone on the premises is personally interrogated by me and subject to blood, urine and hair tests.
10:06 P.M.-Shockingly my investigation ends in about 1.5 minutes. Who's the guilty party? Well Professor Snape of course. Hope you don't drop the soap in Azkaban there Severus...I hear those dementors can be pretty rough.
10:19 P.M.-I am feeling good when I see Draco Malfoy making a drink out of my Jim Beam. Just to be clear I don't know this kid, he went to MICDS (Slytherian) and I paid $23/half my paycheck for that handle of whiskey so...it's not just a "hey help yourself" kind of deal for him. Look I know high school is over, and I should be past my whole "f you MICDS for beating us 103-4 in football my junior year" phase, but this kid drinking what amounts to my blood, sweat and tears for free...just grinds my gears there friends. And it always will.
10:33 P.M.-We move the chairs and couches in Neville's house around to make a semi circle facing our makeshift stage in front of the fireplace. I wonder how you feel as a stripper walking into some stranger's house and having 50 dudes sitting there waiting and staring? I mean...it's gotta be a rush. Kinda like what the Rock feels when he's walking to the ring.
11:02 P.M.-I sit down on one of the couches and claim a prime spot for the show. What time is the stripper supposed to get there? 12:30 so...I'm only an hour and a half early. I haven't been this early to something since I stood in line at the Red Box so I could be the first person to rent Blue Crush 2 on DVD.
11:03 P.M.-I spill a full whiskey and coke all over myself, the two dudes sitting next to me and Neville's couch. Yet, somehow I sneak away without anyone knowing I drenched half the living room.
11:04 P.M.-It's hilarious watching people's reactions as they try to claim my now vacant seat only to realize it's absolutely soaking wet. Half the party now has huge whiskey stains on their butts.
11:11 P.M.-I have a new seat, a nicely situated chair in the second row.
11:12 P.M.-I drop a full whiskey and coke all over myself, the chair and everyone sitting within a 10 foot radius of me.
11:13 P.M.-I somehow snuck away from the chair as well and reach the kitchen...only to have everyone laugh at me because it looks like I pissed my pants. Man the one time I don't hammered and pee myself is the time I get caught and ridiculed for it? Looks like karma really is a bitch...just ask LeBron James.
11:16 P.M.-Neville's cell phone rings...it's StL Strippers telling us that Ava is too drunk to drive. I say who the f cares, she needs to get here. Besides if she gets pulled over she can just do a little something something with the cop to get out of it...it's not like her great morals or sense of self dignity would prevent that.
11:18 P.M.-Neville finds out that they will get a replacement stripper, but...I don't want no scab. I am a union man through and through.
11:45 P.M.-The whole crowd starts chanting "STRIPPERS!! STRIPPERS!!" I haven't seen a room full of people this excited since Will Smith knocked out that Alien and said "Welcome to EARFF" in Independence Day. (Look there is nothing more American that one moment in movie history. And people wonder why Will Smith is my favorite clean rapper turned sitcom star turned feature film A-lister in Hollywood today? Come on.)
11:50 P.M.-Neville gets another call from Stl Strippers. Turns out the second girl we picked, Elizabeth, also will be unable to attend tonight's performance. And now we've reached Economic Reality #1-Apparently these agencies who rent out strippers don't really care which one you got. Look we picked the strippers we wanted, paid our fee to get them here, and we're promised that those 2 girls were gonna come. And now...they aren't. We didn't pay to have two random girls show up to Neville's house...we paid to have Ava and Elizabeth show up to Neville's house. And now not only are they not coming, not only do we not get to pick their replacements (they could be pregnant, elderely women from the Ozarks for all we know...far much more common in the stripper business then you'd think), but we also don't get any sort of discount/coupon/apology from StL Strippers. This is like ordering Justin Bieber/Jaden Smith and getting the Jonas Brothers. I mean the Jonas Brothers don't know karate and they also ain't Canadian virgins. What a load of bull. Never say Never.
12:02 A.M.-I spill another drink on the chair I am currently sitting in, but this time it's on purpose. Look the place is packed, seating is at a premium, and I have to get up every 10 seconds to piss/make a fresh whiskey drink. There's only so many times you can say "quack, quack, seat back," and not feel like some sort of homosexual version of the Aflac duck. But now, with my seat sopping wet and me having nothing to lose after already getting ripped left and right for pissing myself, what better way to keep people from wanting to steal my chair? Yeah ladies...I am a problem solver.
12:12 A.M.-Neville gets another call from StL Strippers...and now it looks like only one girl will be showing up tonight. Welcome to Economic Reality #2-It's 18 minutes before showtime and Joe Jonas just called to say he won't be showing up with his brothers tonight. Come on no one wants to see Kevin and Nick do a duet on "Burning Up." I mean we paid for TWO STRIPPERS, and since we didn't get the ones we wanted, we could at least get the same number. And once again there's no discount or apology. I haven't seen customer service this bad since I ordered that robot from Rocky IV to do my laundry (Lets just say...society isn't quite ready for a personal laundry robot from the early 1980's just yet).
1:23 A.M.-The strippers, or should I say stripper, is now 53 minutes late. Did they call Neville to say they will be late? Maybe, but at this point I am almost too hammered to know who Neville is. (Especially cause that's not his real name and I'm drinking as I am writing this so...as of right now I am not sure who Neville is suppose to be either)
1:47 A.M.-The stripper and her "security" show up 1 hour and 17 minutes late. Welcome to Economic Reality #3-Paying for the Jonas Brothers to take the stage, but getting Kevin and Nick showing up an hour and a half late after snorting copious amounts of cocaine (as I assume this stripper has) instead. Once again no discount/apology to my knowledge. Do you think Michael Scott would let this happen if he managed a stripper company? Come on...not even Creed would let this kind of non sense go down. Alright yeah...he probably would.
1:50 A.M.-We tell the stripper it's Neville's younger brother's, aka younger Neville, bachelor party. She promptly sits on his face and does some sort of belt slapping routine that is every childish worst punishment...and so many creepy men's greatest delight.
2:03 A.M.-I walk, scratch that stumble, into the kitchen to freshen up my drink. I end up striking up a conversation with the stripper's "security" guard, who by the way is probably 1/25th of my size (think JJ Barea if he never ate vegetables or drank milk as a growing boy). Anyway, the "security" guard informs me that if we don't start tipping more than he is going to take the stripper and leave. I inform him we paid for an hour of dancing. He says he doesn't care, that he can leave at anytime and that I should read the contract. I wonder in my head if there ever was a contract and if this guy can/has ever read in his life. The answer to both questions is almost certainly no.
2:05 A.M.-After apprising the situation with Seamus we decide to handle it ourselves. We take out all our one's, sit right in front of the stage and starting having the girl dance all over us while we drop her singles. No one else seems to get the hint.
2:06 A.M.-I feel like Burt Reynolds in the film classic StripTease. I just wish this chick was a hot as Mrs. Ashton Kutcher...and Ving Rhames isn't on his way to kill me.
2:11 A.M.-The "security" guard tells me him and the girl are leaving. Welcome to Economic Reality #4-Paying the Jonas Brothers for an hour long performance, and having Kevin and Nick show up, play for 28 minutes and then bounce. Look I can understand why the stripper might leave early if we were hurling rotten vegetables or bill control pills at her, but not because she isn't being "tipped enough." I mean this is America, where an honest days work = an honest days pay. If you are a stripper who isn't getting tipped, it's because you don't deserve to be based on your level of attractiveness, attitude or lack of athleticism when working the pole. If you don't like getting tipped on your merit as a nude dancer...then find another profession. But we paid for an hour of "Burning Up" quality performance, and leaving after 28 minutes while giving no discount is just BS business. After all, as the gigantic black bartender alludes to in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, stripping is still all about "customer service"...and StL strippers showed absolutely none.
2:15-4 A.M.-I drink more, call a cab, wait almost an hour for it to show up, call another cab, get in, make the driver take me through White Castle, get home, eat my white castle, fall asleep, and dreams the dreams of men. This experience may have been wildly disappointing...but it was still necessary for me to become the person I dream about being. And that's 100% true...just ask Congressman Anthony Weiner.
Text Updates and Big Ups
My semi-make believe text messaging score since June 3 is a cool +538 (400 inbox, 328 sent, 66 from females), once again about as sausage festy as a NFL Players Union Meeting. And my twitter popularity has taken a hit as well since I've fallen to 169 followers without ever really mentioning anything too grotesque (this post got all the bottled up grotesqueness out of my system).
I have a couple of big ups to extend here. First to Neville, Seamus, Dean, Fred, Professor Snape, Luna Lovegood and the entire cast of characters who shared my special stripper home visit...thank you. Also I gotta thank the 400 facebook friends who introduced me to our first youtube vid (which all 5 of you have probably seen) by posting it a total of 1,345 times on people's walls. Also thanks to Jay Leonard and Jimmy Holmes for beginning a facebook wall post relationship that led to our second, hilariously fitting youbtube video. Thanks to you all.
Back soon with some sort of post about something having to do with something that I did/thought/ will eventually do.
Sachary L. Poelker
"The Sack Artist: Jack of All Trades"
As many of you know Summer doesn't officially start till June 22nd. However, in the real world of Global Warming, fresh cut baseball diamonds, and prodigious amounts of patio day-drinking...summer is well under way. In case you didn't get hammered 3 nights in a row last weekend and bask in all of the sacrifices our men and women in uniform have/do/will make for our country...I just wanted to inform you.
And, as we all know, summer is a magical time. It's the time we dreamed about when we were young children. The time when the final bell would ring in school and we would run out of our 4th grade class, toss papers in the air, and immediately start chugging Colt 45 and having premarital sex. The time when we'd sleep in until 3 PM in 10th grade, hit Coney Island and bird dog chicks after 11th or rent a Michigan Lake House with 4 other friends (including Sean William Scott) and catch lesbian MILFs getting down after 12th. Basically summer is the time when dreams come true, when warm weather and cold Busch Light wash away the 100% humidity and shame of showing you're Goldbergh/Josh from Heavyweights style physique at the public pool.
However, summer lost some of its luster as we all got older. First, sometime in high school (or preschool if you live in Cambodian or Costa Rica) we all got a part-time job. Then in college we had to move back in with your parents for 3 months, and all of a sudden it was a big deal to drink 2 fifths of whiskey and pass out naked on your front lawn. Then we grow up, get a job and summer almost pisses us off...because we are stuck inside selling Life Insurance policies for $3.20 an hour instead of basking in the glow of the sun. Well I am here to tell you--we are taking summer back! Go to the beach and get drunk on a Tuesday afternoon? Check. Sneak out of the Office and drive by your local water park to check out 15 year-olds in their bikins? You got it. Have some sort of romance that inspires a school year full of leather jackets, greased back hairdos and theatrical sing a longs? Alright...sure. Ladies and gentleman I am declaring the next 3 months the Summer of Sack...and I invite you all on the magical, irresponsible/borderline criminal, and most of all...drunken ride.
As many of you may remember from your childhood, blockbuster movies are a huge part of the Summer experience as well. I mean, Summer doesn't truly start until you are camped out in front of the big screen with your Junior Mints, hoping Megan "I ruin my career by comparing Hollywood directors to the worse mass murder in human history" Fox has a wardrobe malfunction and/or sex scene with Tyrese in Transformers 2 right?
Right you are, which is why I started my Summer by viewing the first real mega-hit film of the season. That's right, with all do apologies to Car Thiefs and Pirates everywhere, I am talking about The Hangover 2. And while it's really not fair to judge The Hangover 2 against it's classic predecessor, in many ways that's exactly what I am going to do. Lets take a look at 5 categories in which the sequel didn't live up to the original.
*Spoiler Alert (If you don't know what this means, have not seen the movie and continue reading...then you deserve to have me ruin it for you)
Originality: Look there are very few things in life that are as cool as they originally were once you see them in a slightly different, yet almost entirely the same, way. I mean think about it. Once you watch porn for the first time, it's never quite as cool right? Of course not...cause you've already seen it and been awed by its penetrational beauties. Same goes for strippers. And the same defintely goes for movies. How many movie sequels are really as good as the originals (And Star Wars, Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter don't count since they're one story being told in several different installments)? Outside of the Indiana Jones, Bad Boys and Rush Hour franchises...you got nothing right? That's cause it's very hard to make a storyline better the further you take it. Look maybe if The Hangover 2 had been the first movie to champion the whole "mistakenly black out on drugs, lose part of your group, spend the next 48 hours after you wake up trying to find him and piece your night together to save a wedding" storyline, it would be just as unforgettable as he first. But it wasn't...so right from the get go it was going to be almost impossible to replicate the orginial Hangover's magic. In comparison with the first movie...the sequel never really had a chance.
Genuineness: What was the real genius behind The Hangover? Easy...the movie It felt real. Look I am not saying I was sitting in the theater imagining the day when me and my friends would accidently roofie each other and steal Mike Tyson's tiger at one of our bachelor parties...but I am not saying I wasn't doing that either. Every twist, every turn, every unbelievable moment felt like it really could (and in a lot of ways should) happen. And you just can't say that about the second movie. A lot of it is probably because we saw the first one and, no matter how open a mind we came into the film with, our subconscious just wouldn't let us feel like this could happen again. But a lot of it is also because of the way The Hangover 2 unfolded. From how the guys got drugged (which I will discuss later), to Stu semi-consensually having sex with Lady Gaga (minus the vagina, hold the penis) to Phil getting shot over a drug dealing monkey to Chow's arrest as a wanted, international criminal it never felt truly genuine. At times It felt contrived and make believe. And it never really made me want to visit Bangkok...while the first one made me want to move to Las Vegas.
Tone: This ties in perfectly with the genuineness aspect. Because the movie didn't feel real, the tone didn't match that of the original. In The Hangover the tone is light and comedic. At no point does the film feel dark or serious, which is a huge accomplishment. From the taser run in with the police to the Mike Tyson right cross to Allan's face to Mr. Chow's holding black Doug hostage, you still never get the sense that anything bad is going to happen or that anything too bad has happened. The whole movie is like every episode of Seinfeld, completely devoid of any serious emotion or feelings...which is awesome. But that same feeling doesn't transfer to the sequel. At times (like when you see strippers junk flying everywhere) you (the viewer) feel like there is something wrong, that something too heavy and too horrible to recover from happened. It's too dark and uncomfortable and mentally disturbing at times, and that is a line that the first Hangover never came close to crossing. I mean you tell me that 2 nights before your wedding day you find out that you banged a male stripper and everything still manages to be OK? Not even I can buy that one.
Twist (Part 2): Every educated movie goer knows that the two films have essentially the same twist (guys black out, try to figure out what happened/find friend). But the second twist, the way/reasons/motivations behind what caused them to black out, is completely different. In the first movie there is really no animosity when you figure out Allan roofied the guys on accident. It's comes across like the weirdo at school who is so excited and anxious when he finally gets to play with the cool kids, that he just takes it too far. We've all been there. But making Allan responsible for the black out in the second movie, intentionally responsible actually, changes everything about every category I am writing about...and is by far the movie's biggest flaw. Not only does it make an actual villain out of one of the protagonists (which I will write about later) but honestly it just shows a complete lack of imagination. They could have had Teddy (Stu's finance's little bro) drug them cause he wanted to have fun, and was sick of his Nazi dad turning him into some sort of Asian Doogie Howser. They could have figured a way for Chow to drug them in order to kidnap them and use them as leverage in his criminal dealings. They could have had Phil accidently get the wrong prescription when he stole Stu's dentist pads at the beginning of the movie (great tie in to an otherwise meaningless exchange in Stu's office at the beginning). Shit, they even could have had the Thai beer they bought at the hotel somehow be spiked with Opium or black tar heroin or some sort of goat semen that makes them lose all consciousness. I'm not sure how...but this should have played out different. And if it did...it woulda made the sequel much, much closer to the original in almost every way. And when the original is a film like The Hangover...you want to stay as close to it as you possibly can.
Zach Galifianakis: And this is the game changer. Allan just wasn't the same loveable f up that he was in the first movie. Why? Well a huge part of it is the legitimate animosity you feel towards him for drugging everybody a second time (when Phil tells Allan "you're not my friend anymore" he does, and should, mean it). But it's more than that. It's the way he pushes for an invite to the wedding, instead of being easily included (no it's not his brother-in-law's wedding, but still). It's the way he plays pac man and eats Ice Cream with no regard for the severity of the situation when Stu is calling to tell his future wife to tell her he's ruined his, her, and her little brother's lives. It's even the way Allan doesn't really make any legitimate contributions towards helping the group out of their jam (like he did with the 21/Rain Man scene in the first one. Yes he had that meditation discovery in 2, but it didn't really lead them to anything super important and it didn't give Allan a chance to redeem himself...since it happened before everyone found out it was all his fault again). Allan is darker, meaner and not the man he once was in the sequel. The wolfpack may still be the 3 best friends that any one can have, but with Allan's character in The Hangover 2...I'm not always sure they should be. And that breaks my heart.
Bottom Line: Look if you read the entire post you probably think I hate The Hangover 2 and thought it was a steaming pile of dog poop, but that is not the case at all. The movie really is very funny, a lot of the dialogue is brilliant, and Allan (despite the change in his character's nature) still delivers childish one-liners with the best of them. In fact The Hangover 2 is the perfect, not quite classic but still really, really funny, comedy that I have grown to love (You, Me and Dupree being the absolute leader of this group). And that is nothing to sneeze at.
But, far or not, The Hangover 2 will always be compared to The Hangover, and (due to the reasons I listed above, and probably some others) it will never stack up. And to be honest, I am not sure I want it to. There's a reason The Hangover was an instant classic, a Hollywood game changer and ultimately the second best comedy of the modern era. Movies like The Hangover (and a hand full of others) are very hard to make. They are magic in a bottle, and that's what makes them so special. If it were easy to make movies as funny and compelling as The Hangover, then we wouldn't have a true appreciation for how great a film it is. The Hangover 2 is a worthy effort, but it will never live up to the lofty standards set by the original...and it doesn't have to. It's a smart, funny, edgy movie that most importantly...makes us realize the greatness in its predecessor. Greatness we may have forgotten...but hopefully will never forget again.
Text Updates and Big Ups
My text messaging score since May 27th is +271 (226-inbox, 196-sent, 15 from females), which once again reflects my complete lack of interaction with the opposite sex. My twitter popularity is also holding strong with 172 followers, so until my next masturbating reference when it falls to 7...I am doing alright in that area.
I don't have many big ups to extend in this blog, and since no one reads this piece of feces...no one should really notice. First I gotta thank everyone who made my Sunday night interesting enough to write about in my next blog (they will go unanimous for now). Also I gotta shout out my main man Danny Boy Flynn for giving me my first international retweets during his stint in Ireland. Too bad he's moving to Kansas City soon...like a real tool.
Back next week with a look at the ever prospering stripper home visit business plan.
Sachary L. Poelker
"The Sack Artist: Jack of All Trades"