Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Witz Flix: Valentine's Day

I've only watched the previews and already I'm concerned for my well-being over the next two hours. "Sex and the City 2: Stoned In Abu Dhabi" kicked it off, which was like a preview for you all, too, because we all know I'll have to write about that one. A couple previews later, there was an inexplicably long preview for Doctor Zhivago (not a new one or anything, just the original), and then an ad for The Bachelor/Bachelorette VIDEO GAME. I can't even imagine what level of sad and removed you have to be to play that game, but if your character doesn't find love at the end of it, I have to assume you just kill yourself. Speaking of killing yourself, let's start the movie!

30 seconds: Nooooo! The movie just started and they've already given the final death blow to that Michael Franti & Spearhead song, "Say Hey" that I used to really like.

1 minute: There are so many famous names in this movie, and yet, we begin with Ashton Kutcher. He's with Jessica Alba and says, "My dad said...if you're ever with a girl who's too good for you, ask her to marry you," and pulls out a ring, concluding, "so..." and I fully expect him to conclude, "Do you think your middle-aged mom will like this ring I got for her," but instead he proposes to Jessica.

2 min: Can you really propose on Valentine's Day still? Doesn't seem very creative. I mean, isn't that just some kind of cheap ploy to turn two celebration dinners into one? When I propose, I'm gonna surprise the hell out of the girl, and be like, "I'll always remember 9/11...because it's the day I asked you to marry me!!"

4 min: Hahahaha, they just cut from Ashton Kutcher to George Lopez's face. Best joke of the movie.

5 min: Jamie Foxx is here. How has he not purchased a third or fourth x yet? He's a sports's unclear at this moment what matters. Kathy Bates is here, but I doubt she's gonna torture the people I want her to torture in this one...

7 min: Here's the thing: this movie has tons of famous people in it can't be my fault that when I saw a middle-aged asian man, it took me a few minutes to realize it wasn't Jackie Chan, right?

9 min: McDreamy from Grey's Anatomy is with Jennifer Garner. Yep, I used to watch Grey's Anatomy, ladies.

11 min: Topher Grace is alive! And banging Anne Hathaway?? Did they ever make a porn called "The Devil Wears Nada?" Also, she's a phone sex operator (is that still what they call that?), so that's somethin'.

(Uh, yup, they did...)

15 min: Really, movie? This kid is living with his grandparents it appears because his parents died and the grandma says, "This is a tough day for him...they used to make valentines together." Shut up.

16 min: Rut-roh, Taylor Swift is trying to act. It's terrible, but also she's actually funny. Weird.

20 min: Oh snap. McDreamy has a wife and kids that Garner doesn't know about. Forced Character Trait of the Year Award goes to: McDreamy for juggling apples, thus allowing his wife to say, "Doesn't Daddy juggle well?" That's a long way to go for one joke.

21 min: Bradley Cooper's on a plane with Julia Roberts, who is wearing a military uniform. All part of her next film, "Eat, Pray, Love, Kill, KILL, KILL!" She's been gone for eleven months and she didn't even cut her hair for the role-- this movie just lost credibility.

22 min: Man, Jessica Alba's really come a long way from those flagrant behind the ass while swimming shots in Into the Blue.

24 min: The orphan kid is talking about love with his grandpa. He has all these lay-up adorable lines, but can't manage to pull off cute. It's like "The Good Son" all over again.

28 min: I can't believe I'm admitting to this, but...Valentine's Day is stealing my shit. First, they called Topher Grace a "hoosier-head." Is that something people say? Because, I've been randomly saying, "What a hoosier," for no apparent reason the last few years. THEN, Anne Hathaway is an assistant to Queen Latifah, who says, "My name's Paula. I know they call me BiPaula Paula." (Why don't they just call her BiPaula?) My sister and I were making up AIM screennames for my dad (Paul) a while back and one of our top picks was "BiPaular!"*

29 min: Wait, what? Now that other McSteamy from Grey's Anatomy is here. He's an aging football player waiting for a new contract AND his publicist is Jessica Biel (who's doing slapstick comedy...FINALLY!). You can't have both Grey's dudes AND both Jessicas in the same movie. Stephen Hawking talked about this.

34 min: Taylor Swift is dating Taylor Lautner. Tweens around the nation begin spontaneously exploding.

36 min: Julia Roberts is really good at reading people. She can tell that Bradley Cooper is serious, but not committed, he's kind, but wants to be needed, and he has a problem with romance and Valentine's Day. That's amazing-- too bad she's still gonna get shot up when she can't hop over a wall...she could have at least tried to get buff for this role.

37 min: "Valentine's Day was a day when there was a massacre in Chicago and they killed everybody and put a curse on the Chicago Cubs!" a little kid says in school. I gotta give 'em the good jokes, occasionally. Fair and balanced coverage.

40 min: These two high school kids are meeting at lunch to have sex for the first time. The guy's friend drops him off and drives away. Is that really necessary? He should really be like, "Alright, once around the block oughta do the trick." Does he know he's missing grilled cheese day??

48 min: McDreamy buys two bouquets from Ashton Kutcher: one for his wife and one for Jennifer Garner, who is friends with Ashton Kutcher. Seriously? You have to show what a dick you are to the florist? You can't go to TWO different places? Ashton doesn't know if he should tell her or not...right, because things will probably workout with Jennifer and McDouchy in the long run.

54 min: Alba's taking back her proposal acceptance and is breaking up with Ashton. He immediately gets drunk and signs on for another Butterfly Effect sequel. He also decides he has to tell Jennifer Garner about her married boyfriend. This movie could win some points if everyone ends up alone.

(There are THREE!)

56 min: Shit. Ashton's gonna realize he's in love with Jennifer Garner, isn't he?

60 min: Christ.

61 min: WHOOOOOAH! What. Just. Happened? Ashton's going through security, it's taking too long, so he bails and runs away without his shoes, at which point...wait for it....a mentally challenged girl in a wheelchair shouts, "The man left his shoes! Mister, the man left his shoes!" How was that written in the script? Was someone like, "Yeah, and then Ashton will run off and a retarded girl will shout about it, it'll be hilarious." I'm totally gonna find out that girl is someone's relative who's life was made by getting to be in a movie, aren't I?

63 min: How is Seth Green not in this movie? New business venture: Film Seth Green with a green screen (no relation) behind him, so you can buy DVD versions of movies with him superimposed.

64 min: Just realized Jessica Alba's character is named Morley. Wha--...why?? I can't even fathom how many "Morley & Me" jokes I'd make if I knew them.

66 min: That little orphan kid is asked by the girl he has a crush on if he wants to warm up on the sideline of his soccer game. This is how he warms up: She throws the ball to him, he catches it, throws it up and heads it to her...then she catches it and throws it back to him. I'm guessing this is why they aren't starting.

70 min: Has it been seventy minutes already....?

71 min: Taylor Swift is owning this movie right now. When is Taylor Lautner turning into a wolf and killing everyone?

72 min: "Today's a lot of pressure for anyone, let alone a little kid." That's...just not...accurate.

73 min: Sex At Lunch girl is telling the grandparents about how she had a bad day, was going to have sex for the first time, but didn't, and how she, "Wanted it to be magical and I'm realizing that it's hard to plan something to be magical, you know?" Yeah, maybe the lunch hour, sprinting home to a hopefully empty house sex just isn't the best plan...

77 min: Grandpa thinks he and Grandma only had sex with each other. Grandma flips out and reveals that she cheated on him a while back. This movie is like Valentine's Day's Revenge.

81 min: McSteamy calls a press conference and says that he's not retiring from football and also he's gay. The NFL is like, "Finally! Old gay dudes reppin' the league!"

85 min: Can we just assume something vaguely resembling plot is happening? I need a breather.

86 min: Touche. Just when you think you're out, Valentine's Day makes you laugh.

88 min: Reasonable question: Would anybody out there take life advice from George Lopez? Because Ashton is.

92 min: Did you know that Valentine's Day is the busiest day of the year for phone sex operators (adult phone entertainers)? That might be the saddest thing I've ever heard.

98 min: Jessica Biel is hosting an I Hate Valentine's Day Party...they must have gotten an advanced screening.

104 min: The orphan kid gives his flowers to Jennifer Garner (twist!). For a moment you kinda see her considering her options, as if she's on the game show, "Are You Smart Enough Not to Bang a Fifth Grader?" Then, she tells him he should go regift the flowers to that Indian girl he was with at soccer. It's kind of the perfect storm of Indian Giving.

105 min: Jennifer Garner either just had a House-like epiphany or she pooped herself. Fifty-fifty guess at this point.

(looked a lot like this)

106 min: You're a fool if you didn't think they could shoehorn choreographed Indian dancing into this movie.

107 min: Hey, how do you stop blood that's gushing from your eyes after you knifed them out?

110 min: Ohhhh snap! Bradley Cooper's gay and with McSteamy the football player. Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, "I'm part of the A-Team."

112 min: Why was Kathy Bates in this movie? Was it just foreshadowing that it was going to be "misery"?

114 min: Jennifer Garner and Ashton finally makeout. I like imagining Ben Affleck off to the side seething, partially because Ashton's kissing his girl, but also because he made "Reindeer Games."

116 min: Whaaa? Little orphan kid isn't an orphan! His mom is Julia Roberts. How dare you sap my empathy, movie. Shame on you.

118 min: And the movie's over....well, I guess at least-- OHHHHH! OUTTAKES DURING THE CREDITS! I love outtakes-- I don't care what movie they're from. The two Taylors say they know it's confusing that their names are the same, Julia Roberts references Pretty Woman (I think), and that dang Ashton Kutcher can't seem to get the van seatbelt to work. SIGH. If this movie had just been a documentary ABOUT the making of Valentine's Day, with outtakes and people making fun of themselves, it would have been infinitely superior. No, but seriously folks, how do you stop the eye blood?

Valentine's Day Still Got 12% Higher Ratings Than Old Dogs,

*Some others included: PaulMyFinger, ItsAPaulWorld, Paulitical, ThePaulidayInn, Paultergeist, Paultergeist2, YourPenPaul, CarpaulTunnelSyndrome, ForeignPaulicy, ThePaulerExpress, ExitPaul, LiveAtTheApaullo, ShockedAndAppaulled, IGoPaullistic, PaullisticMissiles, and AllergicToPaullen. I'm not telling you what we ended up're not IMing with my dad.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Witz Flix: Old Dogs

Old Dogs! I can't believe I forgot about Old Dogs!! The movie pulled a whopping 5% (FIVE PERCENT!!!) on Rotten Tomatoes, and stars Robin Williams, John Travolta, Seth Green, and Bernie Mac, in his final onscreen performance. As if that wasn't enough, it was nominated for 4 Razzie Awards including Worst Picture and Worst Actor: John Travolta. Just in case I wasn't already sold, this viewer review sealed it: "It doesn't measure up to 'Three Men and a Baby', which took this theme, and made a snappy film over twenty years ago and had a hit." IT DOESN'T MEASURE UP TO THREE MEN AND A BABY. Time to watch.

For those of you eager to watch at home, you can watch Old Dogs through Netflix streaming thanks to "Starz Play"-- Starz is basically the .99 cent store of subscription channels. Every now and then, you find a good deal on sunglasses, but mostly it's a big pile of dead batteries.

1 min: Did I mention this movie is made by the same people who made Wild Hogs?? Were they trying to re-use the letters from the marquee?

2 min: Robin Williams and John Travolta's characters have been best friends since childhood and run a marketing firm together. Williams is the quieter, introverted one and Travolta is the massive douchehound-- it's like Sideways, but reeking of desperation. In other news, Robin Williams has fully transitioned to an old lesbian.

3 min: So Robin Williams couldn't run eight feet because of his knees, but then he drills a soccer ball from 30 yards and hits some kid in the face? SOMEBODY write imdb and report a "Goof"!

4 min: Becky Katsopolis (aka Aunt Becky aka Lori Loughlin) is back! And yes, she's still hot.

6 min: Seth Green's gonna save this movie. I love him, but every time he does a movie like this I think, "Man, Seth Green walked away from Idle Hands with zero life lessons." Then again, he's kinda killin' it.

10 min: Robin Williams was in Good Morning Vietname at one point in his career.

13 min: Here's the rundown: Williams had a wife, they got divorced, then had a crazy night in Miami where he met a woman, married her, woke up hungover and got it annulled-- it's unclear if they had any marital sex or annul sex. Now, seven years later, the 2nd "wife" has contacted him. SO...

14 min: ...he goes to a tanning salon, gets way too tan, and comes out looking very dark. He's stared down angrily by a black woman, spoken to in Hindi by an Indian man, asked directions in Spanish, and finally called an Oompa Loompa by a small child. Transitive Property says: Old Dogs thinks black people look like Oompa Loompas.

15 min: Dan (Robin Williams) meets Vicky (2nd "wife" played by Kelly Preston) and she calls him TAN instead of DAN! Thank goodness his name wasn't Tigger.

16 min: They go to dinner, Robin Williams acts like he just smoked a lot of meth, tweaking out and twitching because he's nervous. Two little kids suddenly run up to the table and shout, "Daddy!" at which point Robin Williams realizes the horrific quality of the movie and passes out at the table.

18 min: "First let's get rid of that tan-- I know a few family tricks that will take it right off." No, you don't. You just didn't want to run that Soul Man gag the rest of the movie.

19 min: This single mom must have done something right, because these kids are taking the existence and inclusion of their absentee father VERY well.

20 min: Oh my. Finally a scene that rivals The Time Traveler's Wife in molestiness: Robin Williams takes his newfound son to the men's room for the first time (which sounds like a euphamism), and stands inside the stall while the seven year old kid sits lackadaisically on the toilet. First of all, what kid says they have to go to the bathroom and then has time to just sit there doing nothing, and secondly, are parents supposed to stand inside the stall like a bodyguard because that's what Robin Williams is doing.

That's not the molesty part though-- the kid then asks him to explain where babies come from. If I walked into a men's room and saw a man standing inside a stall, telling a child where babies come from?? I would-- listen, to make sure I had the right info-- but then I would immediately knock on that stall and get some security involved.

22 min: So HERE'S our setup: The mom is going to jail for two weeks because she's some kind of eco-terrorist protestor type. Her friend, who was supposed to take care of them, just got her hands slammed in the trunk of a car by Robin Williams, which we, presumably, don't care about because the woman had a lazy eye (making her barely people). "Who am I going to get, that I trust, to take care of my kids for two weeks??" she asks in a panic. Why, the guy who knocked you up, annulled your drunk marriage and who you haven't seen in seven years and has no experience with children, of course!

23 min: More like "One Man and His Children."

24 min: Travolta's gettin' roped into it. Fine. "Two Men and Some Children." (Yikes).

25 min: Aw, shit, I just laughed at a joke in Old Dogs. Whatever. "My grandkids call me NUB NUB!!" is obviously a good and well delivered line...

28 min: Amy Sedaris lives in Robin Williams' condo complex. In related news, Strangers With Candy still isn't funny, I don't care what anyone says.

30 min: Travolta's doing some kind of "white guy impersonating a gangsta black guy" impression, but it's as if he saw a comedian do that and is now doing a "comedian doing an impression of a white guy impersonating a gangsta black guy," impression. It's embarrassing.

31 min: I don't like it when people say, "They're the original odd couple." No, they're not, The Odd Couple was the original odd couple. Well, maybe Jesus & Judas...but otherwise it was The Odd Couple. Tell me you wouldn't watch a show called Jesus & Judas.

("Do work, son!")

Or better yet:

("This is the true story...of twelve apostles...picked to live near each show what happens...when people stop being polite...and start getting real.")

32 min: Did you know Seth Green is 36? Did you know that John Travolta is married to Kelly Preston? Did you know that the daughter in this movie is their real daughter? Now you know everything.

33 min: Alright, fine, I'm ok laughing at some of these jokes, but if I come remotely close to getting choked up at any point, I'm heading straight to a therapist.

35 min: What...THE HELL...IS GOING ON?? First, Luis Guzman and Dax Shepard show up and now we're on a camping trip with Matt Dillon and Justin Long? Does Robin Williams still hold that much comedic sway even after RV, August Rush, License to Wed, Man of the Year, and his latest stand-up special?

40 min: I don't understand; why do camping and ultimate frisbee have to go together? Just because you like sleeping in the woods under the stars doesn't mean you don't know how to kick or throw a ball of some kind. Do you know why it's called "Ultimate" frisbee? Because that is the absolute most fun you can have with a frisbee. Stop trying to over sell your sport, it sounds desperate. Ya know what's better than Ultimate Frisbee? Regular Football.

45 min: The guys just took the wrong pills and are experiencing side effects. Nobody's gonna look good by my saying this but...this might be the best comedy performance Robin Williams has done in the last decade.

49 min: Sure, this is Old Dogs, but Seth Green's owning it.

50 min: Ya know, I think Christian Slater could show up at any moment and not only wouldn't I be the least bit surprised, but I'd be psyched. That goes for my every day life, too.

51 min: "You can't run a business if you can't get faxes on time!" What? Isn't that like saying, "I'll never get anything done without my pager!" or "Where will we store the images if not on a laser disc?"?

53 min: The highly-anticipated Bernie Mac! I'm sure he died content with the knowledge that his last onscreen performance came in the fifty-third minute of the movie-- nay-- the FILM, Old Dogs.

55 min: If I told you that Old Dogs needed to invent non-existent technology to fulfil its plot-line, would you believe me? Robin Williams is wearing "human puppet technology" that allows Travolta to remotely control his movements. Actually, I think my friend's girlfriend has that...

59 min: By the way, I'm assuming if you haven't seen Old Dogs, you absolutely do not give a shit what is taking place in the movie Old Dogs, so I'm not going into much plot detail.

62 min: "It's amazing. I left the kids with you out of desperation, I couldn't have imagined doing it any differently." Thanks for the thematic recap. Even Old Dogs didn't think we've been paying attention to Old Dogs.

63 min: The kids have a list they call the "Dad List" which are a bunch of things they want to do with their dad. Now, Robin Williams is making a list. If you were wondering what the creepiest thing you could ever write down and underline is, the answer is, "Kids List."

70 min: Robin Williams bails on his big business deal to go be with his family and Travolta's going with him. Hey, these old dogs are learning new-- OHHHHHhhhh! That's stupid.

77 min: Travolta, Williams, and Seth Green are trying to sneak into the zoo to get to the kids' birthday party. They shoulda called this movie, "Two Men, Seth Green, and A Coupla Goddamn Kids."

80 min: Seth Green is being rocked to sleep by a gorilla. He's freaking out and repeating, "Just go to your happy place, just go to your happy place." Is it weird that my happy place would be getting rocked to sleep by a gorilla?

83 min: Aaaand Old Dogs clocks in at eighty-three minutes. Robin Williams and his family are gonna give it a go, Travolta's marrying Aunt Becky, and I can set down the Emergency Eye Gouging Spoon I've been holding all movie (as opposed to the No Need to Rush Eye Gouging Spoon?).

I'll leave you with this bit of trivia from IMDB: "The film was originally R-rated and was to be released by Touchstone Pictures, a branch of the Walt Disney company. However, due to poor test screenings, the film was heavily cut down from 107 minutes to 88 in order to achieve a PG rating. It was then distributed with the Walt Disney label in hopes of appealing to a more kid-friendly audience." I never had any interest in seeing Old Dogs, but now that I have, I would LOVE to see the original cut. Better yet, I'd like to take just that 20 minutes of cut footage and make a short out of it. I bet it'd be amazing.

Old Dogs Go to Heaven,

Monday, August 09, 2010

Witz DOESN'T Pick: The Sweat Life

Let's kick this week off right for you all. Last week I promised you personal accounts of shame and embarrassment and that's exactly what I'm going to deliver.

A few weeks ago, it was 95 and humid in Brooklyn, an all too common combination this summer. The heat has been bad enough the last few months that both myself and many others I know have decided to wear primarily white and black shirts, with my logic being, "White and black don't show sweat." Despite the heat, I spent the early afternoon walking outside with my friend Jezter, feeling oddly comfortable, to the extent that I spoke the fateful words, "You know, it's actually NOT that hot out!"

A couple hours later, I was supposed to meet a girl a few blocks away and we were going to take the train together to Rockefeller Center to meet our mutual friends for coffee. Feeling confident in my white t-shirt and shorts, I strutted out of the air-conditioned apartment and into the heat.

Three blocks later, it began. Just a few drops on the front of my shirt; no big deal. Half a block later and I felt drops coming from my head. A few more drops on my face, a couple on my back, a couple more on my shirt. I had four blocks to go and I was sweating. The panic set in. You see, sweating is bad enough, but once you start sweating in public, you start to freak out about sweating in public which actually leads to MORE sweating. I think it's called a Mobius Fuck You, and it was happening to me. Another block and I was a disaster. Much like New Orleans, I was designed poorly, and the levees had very much broken.

It's important to note that I do not yet look like Teen Wolf. There's no doubt in my mind that in the next 50 years, my photos will play like a Devolution of Man Back to Ape chart, but I do not yet have the ubiquitous hair of my father. Nor am I overweight or chock full of salty fast food. I just have an extraordinarily high functioning, overachieving, cooling system. My sweat glands do not collect unemployment.

I ducked into a bagel shop and, wearing a pitiable face (and increasingly awkward t-shirt), asked if I could just have some napkins. "Oh damn, take some!" the woman responded, eyes-widening, and handed me a huge stack. I thanked her, left the shop and quickly went next door to an ATM bank. You see, I've always viewed my bank as sort of an embassy that I can get into for whatever I need, be it money, water, to avoid someone on the street, or a bathroom. "No public restrooms!" an employee might say, but I would simply respond, "No, no, my dear sir, it's OK. I'm a MEMBER of this bank!"

I stood in the room full of ATM's, basking in the frigid air-conditioning, wiped myself down with the napkins, and took stock of myself. I was soaked, embarassed, and had what could only be described as "water abs,"-- a band of water right across my middle. I could only imagine what my back looked like. I was a block away from this girl, fifteen minutes late, and looked like I'd just been on the business end of a super soaker fight. "Time to cut my losses and go home," I thought. Only, my friends were in town who I really wanted to see and hadn't seen in a long time. "Ok, time to go home, change shirts, and come back," I thought. Except, there was absolutely no reason why this exact same thing wouldn't happen again, and then I'd simply be 15 more minutes late. PLUS, if I did that, there was no going back. That's who I would be from then on. It was at this point that I took out my cell phone, so I could call my dad and berrate him for his shitty genetics.* Instead, I saw that I had a text: "What's your ETA?" I considered texting back, "Witz died, go on without him," but couldn't. It was time to be a man.

I left my embassy, no drier than before, and walked to our meeting point. When she looked up from her book, I saw the words, "Oh my!" escape her shocked eyes before they ever made it out of her mouth. I considered making a joke, saying something like, "That's the LAST time I save orphans from a typhoon!" but I simply said, "I know, I'm disgusting." She was cool, though, and we made some jokes, and she said something about getting me to a wet t-shirt competition and I said something about killing myself, and then the guy who was sitting nearby, who was ON THE PHONE AT THE TIME, stops talking on his cell to say, "Damn, boy!" while making eye-contact with me.

"I know, trust me," I said.
"Nah man, I looked like that yesterday," he continued.
"Oh yeah? Cool." I replied, feeling a little better.
"When it was RAINING!" he delivered, and cracked up. This man was ignoring whoever he was talking to on the phone to make fun of me.
"Yep, well, this is my plight," I said, taking ownership and then walking away.

We headed toward the subway, at which point I declared, "I need to buy a new shirt." This had been my plan since the ATM and I knew there was a Modell's on the way (I was literally like, "Fuck...I gotta go to Mo's"), which was great, because I only wear XXL Phat Farm and Fubu shirts... Taking longer than I needed, I sorted through the shirts I'd get my ass kicked for wearing and eventually found a five dollar white Russell Athletics t-shirt. Good old Russell Athletics, standing in the corner like a scared white boy, trying not to seem out of place while a Sean John rack sizes him up. I took it to the checkout counter.

"Just this please."
"Mmhm," she said, scanning it and handing me the shirt.
"Actually, could I have a bag?"
"Oh! I just figured you was puttin' it on!!"
"No, you're absolutely right," I laughed, "I need a bag for this gross shirt...but I love that you understand what's happening here," I added, which got a good laugh out of the generally apathetic staff, including the checkout girl.
"Have a good day," she laughed.
"It couldn't get much worse," I thought, as we strolled back out into the street...and that's when the homeless guy laughed at me.

Yep. A dreaded-hair, no shirt, bags for shoes, ratty pants, garbage bag o' stuff, burly, bearded homeless guy, walking slightly behind us, saw me, pointed and laughed mightily. I said, "Great. That homeless guy is making fun of me now," which caused my friend to turn around, which prompted him to point at me again and shout, "Daaaamn boooooy! Deeeeeaaaaaaaaaaammmmn!!"

(There's been a disproportionate number of WWF references lately...)

Feet firmly planted on rock bottom, and with my new t-shirt still in the bag, we went into the subway station right as our train was pulling away. I decided to hold off on changing shirts until AFTER we got out of the subway, since it's always much hotter down there. We waited. I paced a little, dripping sweat again in the stifling heat, and it occurred to me that white t-shirts DO, in fact, show sweat. By this point, I was comfortable with my translucence, except the subway platform actually contained good looking, non-sweating, genetically sound humans, who were giving me hesitant looks of concern. I began to worry that my shorts would get wet. If my shorts got wet, that was it-- game over, hop the track, lick the third-rail, goodbye Witz.

The train pulled up, bringing with it an amazing swoosh of cold air, and we hustled inside to the air-conditioning and onto a nice, cold seat. I slowly cooled down, stopped sweating, and maybe even (perchance to dream) started to dry off. This was when the train screeched to a halt between stations. "The train is stopped while we investigate something suspicious. Please be patient and we will resume service pending investigation."

"You're definitely the something suspicious," Pain In the Ash and nearly everyone else I've told this story to has remarked, which is absolutely accurate and hilarious, but thankfully, not the case. I was, however, getting nervous again. "PENDING INVESTIGATION??" How long does an investigation take and how much bureaucratic red tape was going to have to be waded through? How many months were we going to be on this train, and would it be long enough to turn into a reality tv series? Every minute we waited was another minute we were late to meet our friends, and that thought didn't calm me down or cool me off. The train lurched forward and a short while later, we were at Rockefeller Center, my friend dressed to fit in with contemporary fashion, and me looking like I just jumped double-dutch for an hour in the attic of a bakery.

We were meeting our friends in a Starbucks, so I decided to change my shirt in their bathroom once we got there, but you already know deep down how well that worked out, right? Because, this particular Starbucks was inexplicably attached to the NHL Store, and didn't have a public restroom. I avoided hugs from our friends, took full responsibility for being late, accrued a few more, "Oh my's," at my appearance, and headed towards where the restrooms SHOULD have been. Two employees were standing there:

ME: Can I use the restroom?
GUY: These are employee only.
ME: I just need to change my shirt really quickly.
GIRL: These are just for employees.
ME: No, I get that, but if I could just hop in for two seconds...
GUY: You can use the dressing rooms next door in the NHL Store.
ME: But then they're going to think I'm stealing clothes...
GIRL: These are employee only.
ME: Maybe I should just change right here in this nook.
GUY: I think you should use the changing room next door.
GIRL: You could use these, except they're employee only.

By this point, a few of the tables nearby were looking at us and I'd had enough. I took a step back into a semi-secluded alcove, and with the two of them looking dubiously at me, I popped off my shirt, put on my new one, and said, "I feel so much better. I think I'll get a frappuccino." The table nearby laughed, the two employees went into their employee bathrooms, and I felt as though I had a new lease on life (sadly, it turns out I just renewed the old lease).

I was welcomed back into mainstream society (temporarily) and the rest of the evening was sweat free. When I use this as the final scene in the made for tv movie of my life (I wanna be played by Scott Caan, but I know it'll be Zach Braff), it will end with all of us eating dinner, me in my new t-shirt, and when someone says, "We're just going to split the check evenly on our credit cards, ok?" I'll look up, pause, say, "No sweat!" and everyone will laugh as the frame freezes, the camera pulls back, and everything fades to black.

Somebody Make Me An, "I Sweat Humidity," T-Shirt (and then give it to me in 1998),

*After telling my parents this story, my mom, between fits of laughting tears told me that SHE actually has the panic sweat, and I couldn't blame my dad entirely. This means that my dad is like the sun (but not in a loving, metaphorical way) and my mom is the magnifying glass. Genetics is holding the glass over me and I'm the ant, getting set on fire and laughed at.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Witz Flix: Julie & Julia

Julie & Julia: A simple tale of one woman's hard-fought success that brought French cooking into the average American's home; coupled with the simple tale of an average American cooking from this book as intended and somehow writing another book about it.

So, here's what I propose. Set your laptops up in the kitchen, take out your cooking utensils and get ready, because this is what we're gonna do: first, we'll watch Julie copy Julia and then WE will copy Julie, allowing us to write the much-wanted sequel "Julie & Julia & Us." It's the Human Centipede of the literary world.

2 min: I'm not gonna lie to you. We're only two minutes in and I'm kind of excited to watch this movie. It's France in 1949, super-affable (I have to keep finding ways to not use the word "delightful") Meryl Streep is Julia Child, and the credits just told me that both Mary Lynn Rajskub (aka Chloe from 24) and Jane Lynch are in the movie. A nagging voice in the back of my head is saying, "Yeah, but what about that whole 'based on two true stories' business? That's too cutesy to be a good sign, right?" We'll wait and see...

3 min: Ok, one question: Why does Julia Child talk like Snuggles the Bear after intensive oral surgery? Or The Pillsbury Dough Boy after a few bottles of whiskey.

4 min: Ugh. I just felt physical repulsion when Amy Adams showed up. Too soon, Amy Adams. Too soon since Leap Year for me to see your stupid face again. I thought we agreed, "Not to make plans," with each other? Queens, NY 2002. Delightful.

5 min: Amy Adams and her man are moving in and she's horrible at everything. To calm her down, her man says, "Repeat after me: 900 square feet." She repeats, "900 squeare feet." I just realized-- that little interaction is the dynamic of this entire movie.

7 min: They just showed Julia in gorgeous Paris in a great apartment. Then they showed a shitty Queens street, with Julie walking outside past a dingy looking pizza place. My only reaction to any of this was, "ooOOoo pizza!" Somebody count my chromosomes.

Oh, Christ-- they're bringing 9/11 into this...or at least showing Julie walking past the rubble. Is this supposed to be a metaphor for how her life is in ruins? I'm not sure you're allowed to use 9/11 as a metaphor. It's kinda like why I don't say, "Ugh, what a Holocaust of a day-- it was 95 degrees and humid outside and I caught the train at rush hour-- I thought it was gonna drop me off at Auschwitz!"*

8 min: Apparently, Julie works for a government hotline that you call regarding 9/11. Obviously, there aren't any happy callers, and I felt bad for her until she said, "Please stop yelling, sir!" when the guy was clearly not yelling, just upset. I hate that. You'll know yelling when you hear it-- it's louder.

(Julie or Miranda?)

10 min: It's like I'm watching a spinoff of Sex and the City called "Miranda: The Early Years." Amy Adams looks just like Miranda (or as Steve would say, "Miraaaaaanda." Yikes-- I've revealed too much) and then there are these three other women on their cell phones doing business, and everyone's ordering cobb salads. You can actually see the moment "Miranda" thinks, "In the future, I'm going to get dumber, less independent friends with more limited interests and a sense of humor that makes Weird Al Yankovic seem like vintage Steve Martin.

14 min: Julie and her guy are talking about writing a blog. Eeee, this is very meta.

17 min: "Ok, here's a problem-- I've never eaten an egg." Uhh, what? Really, no elaboration? "This is crazy. Is this crazy?" she asks and her husband says, "Yes." Lady, you're starting a free blog about cooking meals for you and your husband which you already do daily. There's absolutely no risk. What's crazy is that your husband hasn't left you yet.

20 min: Ahh, we're finally back to the charismatic and gregarious Julia Child!

25 min: I don't know why, but there's something very unsettling about Julia Child having sex-- especially with Stanley Tucci, who looks quite a bit like the bad guy, Fat Cat, from Chip n' Dale Rescue Rangers.**

26 min: Ah, fuck, we're back to Julie. Lesson one is basically, "Cook with an assload of butter." Julie's gonna end up with an assload of ass, and not the good kind.

28 min: Hey, alright, Mary Lynn Robzombie just asked how Julie's never eaten an egg. This movie's like The Wire, no string left untied. She tells Mary Lynn Rolliefingers that she just hasn't. What a compelling sub-plot.

30 min: You know who would have made this movie better? Jenna Fischer. Hmm...

33 min: The ambrosial Julia Child is going to cooking school with all professional male cooks! This is like "Back to School", "Norma Rae," and "G.I. Jane" all rolled into one!

38 min: I refuse to make a negative joke about the ineffable*** Julia Child portion of this movie. It's legitimately good and it's hard not to like the characters. And that's the problem with the movie; you really like Julia and her husband after watching them, and then it cuts to pain in the ass copycat Julie and her husband talking about them and making jokes, which actually made me DEFENSIVE of Julia, like she's my great aunt or something. I keep wanting to tell them to shut up-- what's happening to me??

Also Julia said, "These damn things are hot as a stiff cock!" which is kinda awesome. She sounds exactly like the Pillsbury Dough Boy when she says it, which makes sense, because I'm pretty sure he's said the same thing about his biscuits.

46 min: Oh good, now her blog is super popular and she's cocky about it. THE WHOLE POINT OF THE COOKBOOK IS THAT IT'S ACCESSIBLE!

52 min: Fine. I'll tell you. I giggled like a third grader a little bit when Julie said, "I have to bone a whole duck! Can you even conceive of boning a whole duck?" It's important that you know this wasn't intended to be funny.

54 min: Julie is crying on the kitchen floor because she dropped the chicken. She has hundreds of readers and she "doesn't see what the point is." I mean this in the nicest, most compassionate, heartfelt way: Julie needs to kill herself.

57 min: Jane Lynch is DOROTHY Child! (Which for some reason reminds me of James Bond, Jr.-- like she should have her own movie later). I kinda get the feeling they didn't give her any lines and just told her to improvise with Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci, but she's Jane Lynch, so she's awesome.

61 min: Dorothy's getting married! More like "based on THREE true stories" MOVIE.

70 min: Julie has the empyrian Julia Child's first editor coming to dinner. She cooks boeuf bourguignon the night before and falls asleep, so it burns. I'd feel bad for her, but you know the old saying..."Don't fall asleep while you're cooking boeuf bourguignon."

79 min: The editor bails at the last minute because it's raining, which is probably for the best, because (and again, I'm not trying to be mean, but...) with her hair and clothes, Julie is starting to look a lot like Chaka from the Land of the Lost movie:

82 min: Huh? Inexplicable fight between Julie and her husband who calls her narcissistic and says that he can't wait until the year with her blog is over. I mean...he's right to be upset, but they had absolutely no set up for it. Julie talks with Mary Lynn Razor-ramon about it and they agree that she's a bitch. So that's somethin'...

103 min: "I have 15 days and 24 recipes and...I still have to bone a duck..." Hehehehe.

105 min: The New York Times writer came and loved Julie's story. She gets tons of phone calls from literary agents and editors and producers for tv shows. "I'm gonna be a writer!" she exclaims. "Christ," I reply. Is that the type of thing you have to do to be successful? I guess so. Do you know there's a blog out there called Gum Alert? It's My-Friend-Formerly-With-A-Pool said it best, "There's a site called People are going there to get gum alerts."

106 min: Yes! A newspaper writer spoke with the emphatically uplifting Julia Child and asked about Julie's blog. Julie gets off the phone and tells her husband, "She HATES me!" I'm honestly not saying this is a bad movie, because I like the Julia part, and I'm honestly not a bad person, because I pay my overdue fines at the library even though they have absolutely no military branch with which to threaten me, BUT-- this was the only moment I've laughed out loud in the entire movie.

115 min: Big finale-- she bones a duck. It's...fairly anti-climactic.

120 min: Julia's book is published, everybody is ecstatic, my eyes are only watering a little because I yawned (I swear), and they fade to black. Text appears telling us that her husband lived to be 92 and Julia died in 2004 at the age of 91. They then say something confusing:

"Julie Powell's book Julie & Julia was published in 2005. She and Eric still live in Queens, although they no longer live above a pizzeria. She is a writer."

So...mixed news, then? I'd hope my ending goes something like this:

"Witz's book, These Things Happen: True Stories of Shame and Embarassment, was published in 2011. He still lives in Brooklyn, but now lives above Grimaldi's Pizzeria. He is a writer...and also plays center field for the Boston Red Sox...and is an astronaut...and a pirate...he's an astronaut-pirate."

Julia Child Was So Butter (Remember That Year Kids Said, "Butter?" As Slang?),

*Funny Auschwitz related note (I know what you're thinking: "Just one??"): I was signing up for a website and when the username "Witz" was taken, they suggested I use "awes_witz." AUSCHWITZ?? Really??

**Alright, which came first: Chip n' Dale cartoons or Chippendales strip club? If it's the latter, why the hell were two chipmunks given the same name as a male strip club? And just so you don't have to google it, the female chipmunk's name was Gadget, and yes, she WAS hot.

***Which doesn't mean: "One who you are not able to have sex with" despite how it sounds.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Witz DOESN'T Pick: Robot Apocalypse (Yet again...)

What part of Terminator DIDN'T the Japanese understand? They seem to have a preoccupation with inventing a predator that can destroy humanity. I get it-- you're good at robots-- but if the Predator movies taught us anything, it's that WE DON'T WANT TO BE PREY. And yet, time and time again, I see new videos of robots doing more and more human acts, proving to me that it's only a matter of time before the Great Robot Rebellion of 2012 that sends us into extinction or mass slavery (and I would make a TERRIBLE slave. I'm barely alright working for a salary with vacation days). But you can see for yourself-- introducing ASIMO (Note: this post contains numerous youtube videos, so if you're reading on facebook, click this to read and watch the videos through

More like AWESOME-MO! Am I right?? Look, ASIMO is kinda adorable, and I do appreciate the fact that there is someone out there looking whiter than me when they dance, but they're only cute until the moment when they decide to kill us all. Did you see the way they clap? They don't actually touch hands, they leave a little space for where a human skull would be. We even taught them to climb stairs so we have nowhere to flee (we actually played that song for my great-grandma every time she went up and down the stairs; so inspiring). Yeah, yeah, I know what you're thinking, "But robots don't have free will, so we're safe." Oh yeah? Check this video out:

They're already rebelling!! ASIMO drops that bitch's mail and then does a little "Fuck You" curtsy, turning its back on the human masters. "But why would they want to kill us?" you ask? Ohhhh, I dunno, how about this:

Yyyup! It's literally just 54 seconds of ASIMO holding out a fishtank. I'D start killing humans if someone made me just hold out a fishtank for a minute. Besides, that's not even impressive. What's impressive is my friend passed out, balancing a beer bottle on his blacked out fingertips:

The only reason that we're still alive today is because they are still working out some issues with the robots...

Hehehehehehehehehe...awww...that's good stuff.

Only one thing could concern me more than making robots that resemble humans-- robot snakes. But why would anyone make robot snakes? I mean, they'd be exactly like regular snakes only made out of a strong metal, be impossible to kill, and could attack for whatever reason it wanted since it wouldn't have reptilian instincts directing its actions...

Well, fuck my abbreviated-snake-robot-ended life.

How Many of You Would Name Your Robot Isaac ASIMO? Neeeerds,

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Witz Pickz: Like Cheers, but with a low-brow Sandwich Franchise...

I'm back from vacation and have some posts in the works for the coming week, but for today, here's a post I found from a few months back that I forgot to finish and put up:

I've always wanted to be known at my local establishments, and today that dream came true, as I paid for my sandwich at a small sandwich shop down the street. Maybe you've heard of it, it's called Subway? Yep-- the Subway people know me. Not only do they know me, but they are psyched to see me, in a way that is borderline condescending-- like, they can't honestly be as excited to see me as they appear. Most of my friends aren't as excited to see me as these people appear. I mean, yes, I'm awesome at the ordering process: I know which bread, meat, cheese, veggies, and sauce I would like and I know what length sandwich I want the magic to happen on. That is still no reason for the enthusiasm I elicit from these people.

As far as I can tell, this store is owned by an Indian family-- the husband works the register, the two daughters work the sandwich line, and the wife alternates between various tasks, generally taking bread out of the oven and aggressively delivering streams of native language to or at her husband. As I've entered the store in the past, each one has at some time greeted me with a smile of recognition a genuine sounding greeting. When I stepped up to the counter last week, the wife smiled broadly and said "Hello, hello!" to which I replied, "Hi, how are you?" to which she replied, "Good!" to which I awkwardly replied, "I'd like a footlong turkey on wheat, please!" because there's really only so much a Sandwich Orderer/Sandwich Maker can talk about. I mean, I wasn't a dick about it-- I didn't say, "Well, I'll tell ya what, I'd be a lot better if you'd hurry up and slap a disturbingly thin layer of third-rate turkey on that bread and make me a G.D. sandwich!" but I still felt bad that I didn't have more to say to demonstrate my cordial nature.

Tonight took things to a whole new level. First, however, a quick detour, because the guy in front of me was too good to be true. A dead ringer for Mr. Magoo, he loudly began to order a six-inch turkey sub.

OLD MAN: Gimme the turkey sub-- the sixer on the oats!
OLD MAN: Ya know what, toast that first-- before ya put the stuffing on.
GIRL: Ok. What kind of cheese?
OLD MAN: THAT, miss, will be discussed after you toast my bread.
GIRL: Ok. (she toasts the bread)
OLD MAN: Good. Now. Cheddar.
OLD MAN: But BEFORE that, why don't you go ahead and put some of that chipolte* on there?
GIRL: The sauce?
OLD MAN: Yep, and put a lot on there.
GIRL: Ok. (pours a reasonable amount on the bread)
OLD MAN: Both sides...come on, don't be afraid, really get in there with it!

At this point, the girl pours an exhorbitant, laughable, cartoonish amount of chipotle southwest sauce onto the six inches of bread; at least a quarter to half inch thick layer of dressing. I let out a brief shock of laughter and quickly look away to avoid eye contact with the bemused girl or the deadly serious old man.

OLD MAN: That a girl! That's good, that's good. Ok, now the turkey. (The girl puts on a comically thin layer of turkey. I start to shake and my eyes fill with tears of contained laughter.) Good. Now-- ya know what? He'll help me with the rest of it. (The man gestures to the other guy behind the glass who is currently helping another customer.) He's a chef! He knows how I like it-- he does somethin' with it.

The girl stares at Mr. Magoo to see if he's serious. When it's clear that he is, she looks confused and slides the sandwich towards the other sandwich maker. While I order my sub, eyes red and teary as if I either find the plight of sandwiches unbearable or the art of the sub incredibly beautiful (both of which are true), I keep an eye on Mr. Magoo's meal. "The Chef" looks at the sub, puts on two pieces of cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions, and THAT'S IT.

OLD MAN: Just how I like it!

The old man pays and leaves, unfathomably content, and I can only hope that the world is so magical and...specifically pleasing when I am his age. I hope that happiness is just a fuckload of chipotle sauce and a pathological misconception of what constitutes quality.

This is when things get weird. As I step up to the register, the husband gives me a genuinely pleased smile and asks, "Hello, my friend!"

"Hi," I reply, "How are you?"
"Good, very good. How have you been?"
"Good," I reply, followed by the brilliant, "Yeah, I...haven't been in here in a while." Conversational. Wizard.
"Yes, yes..." he responds, still staring at me and smiling. I take this opportunity to take the conversation in a new, but familiar direction.
"I got a footlong turkey..."
"Excellent!" He rings me up, and just as I'm saying thank you and leaving something entirely different happens.
"Take care, my friend!" the man says, and EXTENDS HIS HAND TO ME. I reach out and shake it, completing our transaction...our It was unorthodox, to say the least, which might be a sad commentary on our society, but it was also oddly comforting. Shaking a stranger's hand, warm with heat and kindness, somehow made the entire world seem like a happier place. Also, I think I might be married to one of his daughters now, it's unclear, but that'd be great because I could really use some a that Subway money.

Subway: When You're Here, You're Family...and Clearly Broke,

*spelled phonetically-- does anyone know how to properly pronounce chipotle? I keep hearing people say "chiPOLEtay" and I want them to be wrong. It's one of the reasons I'm going to die before my time...

BONUS MATERIAL: I should also add this: Older Indian Women LOVE me. While in Palo Alto, I entered my (mom's recipe) Death By Chocolate Trifle in my apartment building's dessert contest and won (obviously; some people entered brownies, some people entered pudding or candy. The trife is brownies AND pudding AND toffee AND whipped cream. It's essentially the Grilled Cheese DoubleMelt of desserts). Afterward, several people came up to me to say how good it was, including a quite elderly looking Indian woman who took my hands, shook her head, and, her eyes brimming on tears, simply said, "So good. So good." So...I might have two Indian brides now, it's all very confusing.