Faith Can Move Mountains... But Dynamite Works Better

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Playing Dead Out On The Beach With Explosions

Director Plots Comedy Remake; Reporters Desperately Hope He Will Assume Room Temperature

Los Angeles (AP). Journalists and entertainment reporters- notice this reporter distinguished the two- were called for a press conference yesterday at the offices of Digital Domain, the special effects production company that doubles as ground zero for the biggest egomaniac in Hollywood (no, not Tom Cruise, but thanks for thinking of him) to make use of (editor: hey! I’m a Tom Cruise fan, you bastard!).

Why is this reporter not surprised by that revelation? Doomed by fate and a cranky editor with horrible taste in actors (editor: blood will be spilled, do you understand me?) to cover this sort of nonsense until the end of time just because the editor hates him (editor: if I could fire you, I would, but your iron-clad contract means I can’t, and you’re too damned stubborn to just quit, so I’ll keep making your life a living hell!) this reporter had to attend the press conference, wishing he could be anywhere else. Honestly, you laugh at a funeral just one time, and they never let you hear the end of it.

Real reporters assembled in the small auditorium. Most of this reporter’s colleagues were, like this reporter, being punished by cranky editors for one reason or another. In the opinion of all of us, editors need to get the big stick out of their.... (editor: one more word out of you and I’m going to rent the biggest Hummer I can find just so I can run you down with it!) This reporter wondered if his editor realized that constituted a death threat.

The entertainment reporters, being the dimwitted airheaded twits that they are, were gushing over what possible announcement might be made today. They were abuzz about the latest gossip out of Hollywood. Some were talking about the Aniston wedding. Others were ardently discussing the Shelton-Lambert breakup. Meanwhile, we real reporters were rolling our eyes, wondering if there was a bar nearby we could retreat to and get wasted at (editor: not on company time, you drunken bastard!). This reporter sighed, reminding his grouchy editor that he was not, in fact, a drinker, but time spent in the company of halfwit morons from Entertainment Tonight could drive someone to drink.

Finally a staffer came out to the stage, where a podium and the customary full length mirror were set up, and announced the presence of her boss. Michael Bay, director of such explosion prone roller coaster films like Pearl Harbor, Armageddon, and the Transformers films, has been exceedingly busy as of late, with many films on the go. The only announcement that this reporter would have liked to hear from him would be his immediate retirement from films and his apologies for being such a narcissistic hack (editor: hey! Art house film boy! I love Michael Bay films, so stop insulting him!)

Bay came out on stage. He was in his usual look- dishevelled hair and stubble, shirt unbuttoned at the neck, jeans and a sports jacket. He waved in that casual way of his, a demented smile plastered across his face, and stopped before the mirror. His smile broadened, and he gave his reflection a small wave and a wink. Real reporters sighed in dismay, wondering how long this travesty would take. Bay looked out at the crowd. “Hello! Welcome! It’s wonderful to see so many of you out here today to take in my latest announcement, my newest project, the thing you’ve all been waiting for. Granted, it’s going to take me a little time to get to it, what with all these other films I’m making, but you know, people will love it. The same way they love all my films.”

Bay grinned like the cat who ate the canary. “You know, I make a lot of serious hard action films, with lots of explosions and lots of girls waxing cars and lots of explosions for good measure, because as I always say, you can never have too many explosions. And while it is true that a certain degree of humour comes through in my films, I’ve never really done what can be called a comedy. At least until now. Which is what brings us to what I’m up to now, which of course is what you all came to find out about. I wanted to do a remake of a classic film. Something no one would forget, something that deserves a fresh look. Ladies and gentlemen, I’m remaking Weekend At Bernie’s.

Real reporters sighed in exasperation. The original 1989 comedy had a twisted sense of humour with two hapless young office workers having to spend a weekend with their corrupt boss’s corpse, making it appear he was alive. The movie later spawned a pointless sequel. What was the point to this?

“What on earth are you thinking?” a reporter called out in dismay.

“I’m always thinking!” Bay replied with a grin, winking at himself in a nearby mirror. “Look, it’s very simple. We have our two young heroes, downtrodden office clerks, Larry and Richard. We’ve got their boss, the aforementioned Bernie. He’s been cooking the books and doing some business with some rotten people. Let’s say they’re arms dealers, because hey, this is a Michael Bay movie, and we’re going to have to have explosions. We’ve also got Bernie’s wife Drucilla, something that wasn’t used in the original movie, because instead of one corpse to deal with, our heroes have to spend a whole weekend making it look like two corpses are still alive. When you throw in the hired gun trying to kill everyone, Bernie’s mistress, oblivious neighbours, and the object of Richard’s affections showing up at the beachhouse, you’ve got a great recipe for a big bang blowout Michael Bay film. With explosions. Did I mention the explosions? Because we’ve got a whole lot of them.”

Real reporters sighed as if wondering who they’d offended to draw this assignment. This reporter could just imagine the sneer on his cranky editor’s face when... (editor: keep it up and you’ll be a dead corpse, damn you!) This reporter shook his head, wondering if his editor actually realized he had repeated himself by using the term dead corpse.

Bay was continuing to speak. “Now then, it’s time to bring out my cast. Playing Richard, one of my favourite go-to actors, Shia LaBeouf!”

LaBeouf came out on stage, waving to the crowd, smiling like a demented idiot. Wait- like? Shia LaBeouf is a demented idiot. “Hello!” he called out to the reporters. “Shia is pleased that you have all come to see Shia!” He took his place with Bay.

The director carried on. “Now then, playing the carefree bozo Larry, I’ve brought in another carefree bozo for the role. Ladies and gentlemen, give a big hand to Seth Rogen!”

Rogen, best known for slacker and stoner comedies, came out on stage, looking stoned and as if he’d slept in his clothes. For all the reporters knew, that was probably the truth. He waved with a vacant look in his eyes. “Hey there! I’m so pleased to be in on this film!”

He stood with LaBeouf and Bay. The director picked up where he left off. “And playing Gwen, the object of Richard’s affections, you’ve seen her many times before in my films, and you’ll see her again. Ladies and gentlemen, how about a big hand for Megan Fox!”

Fox came out on stage, dressed as usual, in a much too tight little black dress that showed off her cleavage. “This is going to be a whole lot of fun,” she told the crowd. “And no, I don’t want to talk about my marriage going bottoms up, but just for the record: it was all his fault.”

Bay nodded. “You hear that, Brian Austin Greene? Your fault!” He laughed, and carried on. “Now then, as to who gets to play the part of the corpses, first of all, ladies and gentlemen, playing the role of Bernie Lomax, Mr. Nicolas Cage!”

Cage came out on stage. Real reporters sighed with exasperation. Cage himself seemed oblivious, a drink in hand. “Hello!” he called out. “It’s going to be fun getting through a whole film without having to speak after the first twenty minutes!” He stumbled over to the others.

Bay carried on. “And playing the second corpse, Drucilla Lomax, ladies and gentlemen, this is my distinct pleasure to announce. I’ve seen her for a long time in a well known television series, but I’ve never had a chance to work with her before. You loved her in CSI, so you’ll love her in this... Marg Helgenberger!”

The actress came out on stage, looking a bit uncertain of herself. “Look, I was signing a whole lot of papers, one of them was a contract to work for him on one film. Please don’t think less of me.”

Bay laughed as she joined the rest of the cast. “Such a kidder!” He smiled in his delirious way, and carried on. “One more cast member to reveal. Back in the original film there was a character named Tina. The mobster’s girlfriend Bernie was banging. The same one who ended up banging the corpse. I wanted to revisit that gag by bringing in another Tina. Now then, ladies and gentlemen, she’s had sex with dead people before in films, so this won’t be too hard for her. Working with me for the first time, please give it up for Kristen Stewart!”

The former Twilight series star came out on stage and joined the others, as devoid of facial expression as she always is, and shrugged. “What can I say, there’s no market for a Twilight sequel after the books ran out, and I got bored. Besides, when he mentioned the necrophilia angle, I couldn’t pass that up.”

Bay nodded. “This film is going to break box office records. Just imagine it: comedy, life on the beach, explosions, hot babes, more explosions, a ticking time bomb that can only be stopped by a corpse. Ladies and gentlemen, the cast of the outstanding thrill ride dark comedy Weekend At Bernie’s. This film is going to be huge! Big time! Everyone’s going to love it, including the Academy, and they’ll shower us with awards and accolades and big box office, because hey, we deserve it. After all, I’m Michael Bay... the greatest director in history!!!!

With that, Bay left the stage with his cast. Those of us who are real reporters shook our heads and wondered if anything could ever stop Michael Bay from making another film- such as a permanent coma. Entertainment reporters were too busy gushing with anticipation. This reporter wondered if his cranky editor would run afoul of an arms dealer. (editor: I’m having you sent to Timbuktu, you bastard!)

Well. That being the case, at least this reporter will be halfway around the world from his cranky editor, and far from Michael Bay press conferences. That would be a good thing.

Monday, August 24, 2015

We Should Feed Bruce Some Marketing Chimps

“I’m not going to waste my time arguing with a man lining up to be a hot lunch.” ~ Matt Hooper

“Y’know, the thing about a shark, he’s got lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll’s eyes. When he comes after ya, he doesn’t seem to be livin’ until he bites ya, and those black eyes roll over white... and then, aww, you hear that terrible high pitch screamin’, the ocean turns red, and in spite of all the poundin’ and the hollerin’, they all come in and rip ya to pieces.” ~ Quint

“You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” ~ Martin Brody

It’s been forty years since Jaws first arrived in cinemas, terrifying audiences with the tale of man versus nature and causing public relations nightmares for great white sharks. The adaptation of Peter Benchley’s novel about a small resort town dealing with the havoc caused by a shark has, like the book itself, become a classic, one that still creeps out the viewer on big screens or small screens. An early film by Steven Spielberg, it was the prototype of the summer blockbuster.

The fictional Amity Island in New England is the setting for the tale, a place highly dependent on tourist traffic during the summer so that the locals can get through the rest of the year. It’s an idyllic place when the film opens up, just before the summer season. A young woman is attacked off shore after a late night beach party, and the following day, police chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) and his deputy find her remains washed up on the beach. Upon learning the initial cause of death is a shark attack, Brody closes the beaches, but the town mayor, Larry Vaughn (Murray Hamilton), worried about the notion that the summer season could be ruined by news of a shark attack, overrules him, suggesting the death was caused by a boat propeller accident. Brody reluctantly goes along with it.

Another attack soon happens, and the townspeople find themselves stunned. A local grizzled fisherman, Quint (Robert Shaw) offers his services to kill the shark. An oceanographer is called in by Brody, arriving during the efforts by amateurs to collect on a bounty. Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) quickly confirms that despite the earlier white washing of the initial coroner’s find, the case was indeed a shark attack, and urges Brody and the mayor to take every possible step to close the beaches.

Benchley’s novel dealt with the themes of man versus nature contrasting with the politics and pressures of a small resort town. It did exceedingly well, and producers Richard Zanuck and David Brown snapped up film rights, having had already read the book before publication. Benchley, whose novels often followed stories out on the water, had a hand in adapting the book into a screenplay, along with Carl Gottlieb, who spent time during production on rewrites. Benchley even did a cameo in the film as a news reporter on the beach. There are significant changes from the book, such as some character dynamics, removal of subplots, and the fates of characters. Spielberg was brought in by Zanuck and Brown to direct, an interesting touch since one of his earliest films, Duel, had also touched on the idea of a relentless, unfeeling killer. This would be a different take on that concept, however.

Filming was done mainly around Martha’s Vineyard, and had its own issues- it was over budget and late. The mechanical shark, dubbed Bruce, had numerous issues and required much work. Spielberg compensated by working around it for most of the film, giving the viewer underwater shots from the shark’s point of view or suggesting the shark’s presence by a fin above the water- even the use of barrels to signify the shark’s presence was another such touch. In hindsight, it was the best thing that could have happened for the film, since we don’t even see the shark until late in the film, and when we do, it’s such a terrific shock. No matter how many times you see the film, you still feel a jolt as the beast surfaces behind Scheider while he’s throwing out chum on the water, and you still feel in awe as you see it swim past the boat. In having to deal with mechanical difficulties, the production made Spielberg direct more along the lines of Hitchcock, suggesting the terror than showing it, and drove the suspense up all the better.

Part of that suspense also comes from the film score by the great John Williams, which earned the composer an Oscar. The simple two note alternating pattern main theme comes to play throughout the film, associated with the shark. The theme is relentless and primal, and sends a chill down the spine anytime one listens to it. It’s unsettling- which makes it work so well. If you’re of a devious mindset, play that music out on the beach on a busy day and see how many people rush back onto land.

The cast are all very well chosen. Murray Hamilton as Mayor Vaughn is not a terribly likeable person- though he wants to be. He’s more concerned with the town’s image at first, terrified of the notion of the slightest bad publicity on the tourist business the town depends on. He’s not above arm twisting and doing the underhanded things a politician would do to keep such things out of the light- we can see that in the way the medical examiner quickly changes his judgment on the first attack. Vaughn’s what you would expect out of such a man: fixated on one thing so much that he can’t see the consequences of dealing with the real problem until the damage is done. Hamilton plays to that in his performance, and that gives the character authenticity.

Lorraine Gary is well cast as Brody’s wife Ellen. The two actors make the marriage of their characters feel believable and grounded (a very different take from the novel where the marriage is, in a couple of words, in trouble), and she plays the role of wife and mother as supportive. She’s not above using a sharp word- witness a stern order she gives her son upon looking at photographs of shark victims, for instance, which shifts her from being the mother who indulges a bit of play to the mother who wants her kid away from the water.

Robert Shaw is a marvel as Quint. There’s a lot of real life fishermen in the character that Shaw would have drawn into his performance, men who have lived hard lives out on the water, who have little patience for nonsense. There’s also a streak of Captain Ahab in the character- obsessive about hunting down the shark- and yet late in the film he seems a bit more resigned to the fact that the shark’s more than he can handle. The character is contemptuous of city men like Hooper, and some of that antagonism is mutual, and so it takes time before the two men can come to terms. One of my favourite sequences of the film- no doubt a favourite of many- has Quint, Hooper, and Brody sitting around the table on Quint’s boat. Quint and Hooper compare scars and battle stories, the three men end up singing a marvellously appropriate medley, and in between, Quint tells the real World War Two story of the U.S.S. Indianapolis, a tale which has a chilling, haunting effect, and certainly says a lot about Quint’s hatred of sharks. As coarse and hard as he is, there's humanity in Quint.

Hooper is much more sympathetic and likable in the film than he is in the novel, and part of that comes from the screenplay and the rest comes from the performance by Richard Dreyfuss. There’s a brash curiousity and a good sense of humour in the man. He’s smart, knows he’s smart, but doesn’t brag about it. Hooper has little patience for stupidity (I can relate to that) and is irritated by the short sighted mentality that refuses to close beaches- I like how he notes that when he leaves, Brody will be the only capable guy left on the island. The mutual antagonism between he and Quint plays to a bit of a class difference that is an underlying theme in the film, as well as the notion of outsiders- Hooper’s an outsider to the island, and in many ways, so is Brody. Dreyfuss gives the character a lot of spark and brings him to life in just the right way.

Roy Scheider was well chosen to play Chief Brody, playing the role with a sense of capability and resolve. The character is the moral force of the movie, the symbol of authority who finds himself dealing with a relentless killer unlike the criminals he dealt with in the jungles of the big city. A former city cop, he’s an outsider on this island (and doesn’t  care for water), a job that should be a sleepy, quiet line of work considering he only needs a single deputy most of the year. He’s not quite used to the politics of a small resort town, and so is taken aback when the mayor pulls strings to minimize potential public relations damage. While he initially goes along with that, it doesn’t apply when the next incident happens and Brody ends up taking on the sense of guilt and responsibility thrust upon him by a grieving mother. That reflects on his actions the rest of the movie- he’s not just a lawman, but a father, and it drives him through the rest of the story. Scheider gives the character a bit of a reserved sensibility- he’s most at ease with his wife and children, a stark contrast to his encounters with the water, where through much of the film he’s very much ill at ease.

The film is of course a summer blockbuster classic- despite its many production problems that went into the filming. It did spawn several increasingly ridiculous sequels- Jaws The Revenge seemed to hinge on the notion that a shark would happily swim thousands of miles to chase a grieving mother and widow just to make it all worse- but in and of itself, the film still creeps out the audience, thrills us, and gives us wonderfully complicated characters. And spine tingling music that shouldn’t be played on a  beach.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Theft And Flirting On The French Riviera

“I called the police from your room and told them who you are and everything you’ve been doing tonight.” ~ Frances 
“Everything? The boys must have really enjoyed that at headquarters.” ~ Robie

“I take it you were a sort of modern Robin Hood, you gave away most of the proceeds of your crimes?” ~ Hughson 
“Kept everything myself. Well, let’s face it, I was an out and out thief, like you.” ~ Robie

“Don’t you think it’s foolish to remain here without knowing what will happen to you? But if you were in South America with me, you will know exactly what will happen.” ~ Danielle

“Sorry I ever sent her to finishing school. I think they finished her up there.” ~ Jessie

“Hold this necklace in your hand and tell me you’re not John Robie, the Cat. John, tell me something. You’re going to rob that villa we cased this afternoon aren’t you? Oh, I suppose rob is archaic. You’d say, knock over?” ~ Frances

“You know, I have the same interest in jewellery that I have in politics, horseracing, modern poetry, or women who need weird excitement. None.” ~ Robie

To Catch A Thief is the 1955 romantic thriller by Alfred Hitchcock, pairing the director of suspense with actors he’d worked with on other occasions- Cary Grant and Grace Kelly. The film, which plays with the innocent man wrongfully accused storyline, is set in the French Riviera, concerning itself with a series of crimes being committed by a burglar, crimes that have the hallmark of a retired cat thief. Delightfully brisk and with a lighter touch than many of Hitchcock’s films, the movie is a pleasure to watch.

The story opens with crimes underway, the theft of high end jewels from visitors and residents in the area. The police suspect and try to arrest John Robie (Cary Grant), a former thief with the nickname the Cat, who spends his life quietly tending his vineyards at his villa in the hills. He gives them the slip, meets up with his former associates from his days in the French Resistance. Many of them resent him, because with these new crimes, all of them are under suspicion- the entire group was paroled after their wartime service, and yet still come under suspicion when crime waves happen. He does receive aid from the daughter of one of the gang, Danielle (Brigitte Auber), who has a thing for him.

Robie decides the best method to prove his innocence is to catch the new Cat in the act. He enlists an insurance man, H.H. Hughson (John Williams), who assumes Robie will only end up incriminating himself and provides him with a list of expensive jewels on the Riviera. Among the list are those belonging to two Americans, a mother and daughter, Jessie and Frances Stevens (Jessie Royce Landis and Grace Kelly). Robie steps into their lives, quickly charming Frances, and being charmed by her in return, all the while working to uncover the truth behind the new burglar.

Hitchcock took on the film, based on a novel of the same name by David Dodge, which was adapted as a screenplay by John Michael Hayes. With a good deal of location shooting on the Riviera, the film fully exploits the sophistication and beauty of its surroundings and the story plays on the suave charm of its leading man. There are signature Hitchcock notes to the film- the brisk pace, the required cameo by the director early on, the wrongfully accused plotline, innuendo, dashes of suspense, and the dry sense of humour, with some differences as well- the psychological aspects of films like Vertigo or Psycho are not in play here.

Hitchcock’s crew certainly showed their worth here. The film won an Oscar for Cinematography, and it’s certainly beautifully shot, and so the award is well earned. The attention to detail is well taken care of- this being a high society sort of environment, the clothing looks well tailored, and the attire for a late in the film masquerade ball that is an essential element of the film is lavish. Oscar nominations were also in play for art direction and costume design, and the nominations are well deserved.

The cast is impeccable. John Williams had previously worked with Hitchcock, most recently in Dial M For Murder. His character is a reluctant source of help for Robie- as an insurance agent, he’s naturally suspicious of the notorious thief at first, and wary of the offer being made. There’s a mannerly keep-calm-and-carry-on sort of manner to the character, which Williams plays to, and as the film goes along Hughson proves to be an indispensible ally to Robie. I like the dry sense of humour for the character- his reaction to Robie’s revelation about his housekeeper’s wartime exploits is wonderfully rendered by Williams.

Jessie Royce Landis would work with Grant again some years later, playing his eye rolling mother in North By Northwest. Here she’s a different kind of mother, playing the role to Grace Kelly’s Frances. Her take on Jessie Stevens is both down to earth and with a good sense of humour. The character is one who came into money as opposed to inherited it, so she doesn’t have the polish that years of finishing school have given her daughter, but she’s likable, wise in her own way and likely to wisecrack. Her daughter, on the other hand, is more given to roll her eyes in exasperation at Jessie’s remarks.

Brigitte Auber’s Danielle is remarked upon by Frances as a child during the film- ironic, as the actress was in fact over a year older than Grace Kelly. Her character has the look of a teen, though, and particularly the attitude- impetuous, sarcastic, and flirtatious. There’s more to her, and the actress has to keep things close to the vest as the movie goes along. One must wonder on the odd occasion why Robie doesn’t take her up on the whole going to South America thing.

Grace Kelly had worked with Hitchcock previously on Rear Window and Dial M For Murder. This was one of her final films- within a couple of years she married Prince Rainier of Monaco. Her character Frances is more mature than her mother, with the sophistication that comes from finishing school. She’s wary of the attention of men- are they after her or after her money? There’s a dash of mischief and spirit in the character early on, in how she banters and flirts with Robie, or spars with Danielle. She sees right through Robie’s cover story, teases him with an unusual offer, and yet turns on him when events take another turn. And yet she’s not so proud that she can’t admit to a mistake. Kelly brings great warmth into the character as time goes on, and she’s got great chemistry with Grant.

Cary Grant’s take as Robie is one of his best roles, with the actor as suave, charming, and debonair as you expect. He’s rather graceful and calm under pressure, more self assured than the character he would later play in North By Northwest, where he comes into his own gradually as events become chaotic around him. Robie is a resourceful man, quick thinking and able to improvise, and Grant gives him a nicely dry sense of humour- perhaps best summed up in one facial expression before the screen fades to black. I like the nuance he gives to the character- that even though he’s been pardoned for his crimes in the past, he lives out his life always under suspicion when a crime spree happens, and it’s a status that bothers him- he has to prove every day of his life that he doesn’t belong in jail. I like the way he relates to Frances- playful and flirting, trying to resist temptation on one occasion, and able to forgive at another crucial point.

This is one of my favourite films from the master of suspense. Hitchcock gives us a film with a delightful touch, a brisk pace, and wonderful leading actors. The film is more romantic thriller than psychological melodrama as some of Hitchcock’s other works, but it does have the tell tales of his style, and it’s a treat to watch the story unfold. There are many reasons this film’s a classic, and all of them work so incredibly well.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Day In The Life Of A Cubs Fan

It's been awhile since I've done one of these, so here we are. Fans of a certain baseball team in the Mid-West might want to kill me for this.

10:05 AM. At home gettin’ ready. Big day ahead. Big day! Our boys are playin’ those rotten Cardinals tonight, and for once, we’re not at the bottom of the standings. Sure, we’re quite a few games back, and the season isn’t gettin’ any shorter, but hey, if we win every single game from here on out, we’re a sure thing to win the World Series. This year, baby! The World Series is comin’ back to Chicago! Yeah!

10:21 AM. Puttin’ on my Cubs jersey. Joe and Harry are comin’ over before the game and we’re goin’ out to Wrigley. Might stop in at the bar beforehand and have a round or three. Then more after the game. I mean, hey, if there’s one thing Chicago fans can do, we can hold our liquor. Unlike those fans in New York or Boston or St. Louis. Am I right or am I right? Of course I’m right!

10:51 AM. Puttin’ in a lunch order over the phone. Chicago boys gotta have their energy before a big game. Then time to settle in, look over the Tribune, see what the columnists gotta say about the game today. Yeah, baby, we’re gonna win. Nothin’ can stop those Cubs now! Even if they’re playing the top team in baseball.

11:01 AM. ****in’ columnist, suggestin’ those Cards might be trouble for our boys. You know what that is? That’s ****in’ treason! Treason, I tell you!

11:48 AM. Lunch shows up before the boys do. Deep dish Chicago style pizza! Just the way it’s supposed to be. There’s a whole ****in’ ritual to this whole thing, am I right or am I right? Of course I’m right! The delivery guy looks at me like there’s somethin’ wrong with me. Maybe the stupid ****er is a White Sox fan. Hey! Cubs forever, buddy!

11:56 AM. Joe and Harry turn up. About time, boys! I was gonna get started on this pizza myself!

12:15 PM. Me and Joe and Harry eat and talk about the league standings and the games left to play. Hey, come on boys, we’re in August, our boys have been playin’ good lately, and unlike those Reds and Brewers, we’re just a few games outta first, not over twenty! This is our year, boys! What Cubs fans have been waitin’ generations for! The World Series is comin’ home to Chicago! Yeah!

1:36 PM. Cab comes to pick us up to head down to Wrigley. I mean, hey, we gotta be responsible, and odds are what with all the drinkin’ we’re gonna do, we can’t be trusted to drive, am I right or am I right? Of course I’m right. And of course all the drinkin’ we’re gonna do is gonna be in celebration of a big victory over those rotten Cardinals.

2:16 PM. Down around Wrigley Field. Lots of time before the game, boys. Hey, why don’t we go get a beer? Maybe pick up some ladies. Any woman in her right mind would want guys like us. I mean, we’re all winners, right boys? Just like the Cubs.

3:05 PM. Hey, boys, see her? That babe over there with the come hither look? Yeah, that’s the one for me. Wish me luck, boys. Of course, I don’t really need luck. I’m a Cubs fan.

3:06 PM. Just got shot down by that babe. Says she doesn’t date Cubs fans. Thinks we’re all losers. Hey! We’re doin’ better than those White Sox this year! Or are you some kinda Cardinals fan? Because that’s a betrayal of the great city of Chicago, lady!

3:07 PM. Return to the boys. Hey, what can I say? She’s a White Sox fan, must be, can’t stand true greatness or somethin’. Never mind that, boys. We’ll be laughin’ it all off tonight after the game when our boys win and we get lucky with three ladies who love the Cubs. I mean, this is our year! Those Back To The Future movies said the Cubs win the 2015 World Series, so if it happens in a movie, it's gotta be real!

5:35 PM. Okay, boys, listen, it's near time to get movin’. The game’s gonna start sometime soon, and we’re a bit tipsy. Lou! Some coffee for the road, somethin’ to sober us up before the game.

6:03 PM. Steppin’ into hallowed ground. Back into the stands at Wrigley Field. This is where baseball fans come to die... I mean, dream! Dream! Not die!

7:03 PM. National anthem bein’ sung. Thousands of Chicago fans sing along. Chicago fans singin'... this must be what heaven is like.

7:06 PM. Thousands of Cubs fans take out their Steve Bartman voodoo dolls and whack them over the tops of the chairs in front of us. It’s not like we can take knives into the ballpark anymore and stab the stand-in Bartman, right?

7:10 PM. First inning just about to start. Okay! Let’s play ball! Go Cubs! Kill those rotten Cardinals!

7:21 PM. Boys? Somebody tell me how we can already be six home runs down and the first innin’ ain’t even over yet.

9:36 PM. Humiliatin’. This is just ****in’ humiliatin’. How the **** could we be losin’ twenty four to zero in the eighth? Look at that ****in’ bastard Martinez. He’s lookin’ at pitchin’ a perfect game, boys! A perfect ****in’ game! Hey, it’s not over til it’s over, right? Maybe our boys can still score twenty five runs in the ninth, right?

9:51 PM. We’re done. Done! Those ****in’ Cardinals not only beat us with a perfect game for their ****in’ pitcher, they broke a record for a lopsided win. ****in’ thirty four to zero. This is humiliatin’ boys! Humiliatin’!

10:03 PM. Filin’ outta Wrigley with thousands of other downcast fans. Foul moods, grumbling, lots of grown men cryin’. This is a travesty. A travesty, boys! I don’t know about you, but I gotta get myself totally wasted.

10:21 PM. Back into the bar with Joe and Harry. Lou! Beer here!

11:48 PM. Havin’ another round. I’ve lost track of how many we’ve had. Harry and Joe and me, we’re grousin’ over the ****in’ game, wonderin’ how the ****in’ hell this coulda happened. You know what I think, boys? I think there’s a conspiracy. A big ****in’ conspiracy to keep the Cubs from ever winnin’ the ****in’ World Series again. And it’s been goin’ on for a century, boys. Well you know what? That’s not ****in’ acceptable.  I say we go down to Cooperstown and burn the Baseball Hall of Fame to the ground in protest.

2:45 AM. Stumblin’ in the front door. Managed to get outta the cab without throwin’ up in the ****in’ backseat. Of course, I threw up on the neighbour’s ****in’ front lawn instead. Man, am I gonna have a bad ****in’ hangover tomorrow. Oh well, the only cure for that is the hair of the ****in’ dog that ****in’ bit you.

Maybe when I’m awake I won’t remember how ****in’ bad our boys lost tonight. At least until I see the mornin’ ****in’ sports page headline, that is.