Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Lo, How the Mighty Have Fallen: Luke Wilson's Latest AT&T Commercial

Who offers the best 3G experience? Let’s compare. AT&T runs the nation’s fastest 3G network, lets you talk and surf the web at the same time, offers the most popular smart phones, and access to over 100,000 apps. So when you compare, there’s really no comparison. Whew, just pointing at stuff is exhausting these days… Man, I really need to drop some of this weight. Anyway, just look at some of these nifty postcards from people who actually get service on our network! Crazy, right?

[long pause]

Ahem. Everybody still here? OK good, because the iPhone exclusive deal with AT&T will expire some day and when that happens, there’s a good chance the Mac cultists in Cupertino are going to want to sell their Jesus-Phone to a carrier that doesn’t trigger a singularity when Roy in Toledo attempts to check the local sports scores in Des Moines.
I’m not talking out of school when I tell you that things aren’t exactly being managed well in this company. Every wonder what the ‘A’ in AT&T stands for? It’s Algernon. No lie. What the hell is that shit? Doesn't even make any sense!
Do you think I enjoy shilling for a lousy phone company and being more hated than the Progressive Auto Insurance chick? Well, I don't.

Let me take you though a day in the life of Luke Wilson. I wake up, I have a good cry, then I drive to the studio and film 47 AT&T commercials, each one more insipid than the last. They give me 30 minutes for lunch which I’ll usually spend enjoying a nice egg salad sandwich and trying not to think about the fact that the phrase “Fat Luke Wilson” generates 179,000 Google page hits. A couple dozen more AT&T commercials in the afternoon, then I go home, resume my squinty-eyed weeping and wait patiently by the phone for Wes Anderson to call and ask me to star in one of his movies.

....Ole’ Wes doesn’t call as much these days.

Nobody does. My brother Owen "I'm So Talented Because I Was Cast in Night in the Museum II" Wilson switched over to Gmail like three months ago and never told me. That's just wrong, man. Wrong. I'll tell ya, being the Fredo Corleone of the family is even worse when your brother is more like Joe Piscopo than Al Pacino.

How’d I get this gig with AT&T? When I read the casting call looking for someone who possessed an aura of "completely irrelevant authority," and "excelled at making unspecified vague comparisons" I knew this was a perfect fit for me. Also, I happened to be washing the ad exec’s car that day.

Look, it’s not easy being known as the plumper and much less talented Tom Cruise and I had to take what I could get. I’d tell you that this gig was a well paying one, but my lawyer fell asleep at the wheel and missed the contract clause stipulating that AT&T pay me in rum and frozen hamburger patties. Damn you, Rick Cardozo, Esq!

Would you believe that RON LIVINGSTON actually turned this gig down?! Fuck my life. You think that I enjoy being the pitchman for a company with a network that operates via a slow moving raccoon carrying a basket of ones and zeros around its neck? Shit, there he goes! Just scurrying around like he's king of the world!
Would you believe that furry little prick grossed more last year than I did? Oh you gotta be kidding me, he just stole the egg salad sandwich I packed for lunch!

Sigh… it’s OK, I didn’t need it anyway…. I'll just have a chef's salad or something, I guess. So in conclusion, I’d just like to say that I feel honored to be an AT&T spokesman. We have, like, uh, telephone poles and wires and shit.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

How Rickey Spent His Weekend: Adventures in Homeownership, Part I

The Hendersons spent the weekend schlepping boxes and other assorted miscellany into their new home. Rickey’s back hurts but his spirits are high. We’ll put up a series of pictures as soon as the interior is in a little better shape, but not yet, because it is not yet finished and in its current condition is unworthy of your critical eyes. We’re talking hideous 70’s carpeting and a paint scheme badly in need of an update.

A quick peek under the carpet reveals…

PAY DIRT. You’re looking at oak hardwood floors. Red oak, to be precise. Study and rich enough to have been felled from the forbidden forests of Mirkwood. Rickey apologizes to you ginger tops out there, but this discovery represents the only time a red tinged variety of anything has possessed any measure of social worth.

It never ceases to amaze Rickey that people carpet over perfectly good hardwood. Yes, there’s the age old excuse of “they had kids,” but so what? Do the floors need to be covered in bubble wrap in order to safely raise a child? Rickey thinks not. Rickey looks forward to the day when he can sit his son on his lap and sagely advise him, “Boy, life is hard… and so are our floors.”

So the Hendersons are calling in a professional to finish these stunning timbers with a triple coat of semi gloss polyurethane. Then they find a painter in to work their magic on the walls. Before any of that can occur however, there was a little item to attend to.
Yeah, what the fuck indeed. Who puts a half wall directly to the left of an entryway? Yes, if the Hendersons were operating a Chinese takeout business from their house, this would be perfect, but they’re not, so this ugly bastard simply had to go. And so, a hammer was hefted and the proper attire was donned. That’s right, it’s Bob Villa time, bitches.
Just a half a year ago Rickey was telling wedding guests that he’d be mailing them tiny little cards with the web address of a flickr account to upload their photos of the wedding to. All together now, everyone: fuck. that. shit. That was not the sort kind of thing that Rickey was put on this earth to do. This demolition thing? Far more enjoyable. Drywall is a helluva lot easier (and fun) to punch through than one might suspect. It appears to be hard and yet it's spongy and gives way easily, much like Carlos Beltran's right knee.

Keeping up the intensity.

Sometimes, Rickey would peer at the wood like this, as if it would somehow give deeper insight on it's motivation and how it would best come apart.

What, you mean to tell Rickey that Calvin Kliens aren't appropriate attire for a work site? Note Rickey's wombat-like grasp on this piece of wood.


And here are the shots where Rickey looks like an 80 year old man:

Push, wench, push!

Yeah, you know what honey? Maybe it's not a such a hot idea to hammer that live 200 volt electrical outlet...
And here's your obligatory awkward concluding shot:

Just look at how much more space we have for ACTIVITIES!

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Mandatory Real Estate Closing Post Which I am Unable to Come Up with A Witty Title For

I have done a great many things in my life.

I have swum with dolphins. I have been yelled at by Andy Rooney to quit smoking. I have been jailed for driving on a suspended driver's license. I have dyed my hair blond. I've climbed to the top of a frat house roof and yelled "you can't run off ugly!" at a passing jogger. I have read "Ulysses." I have wed, and shortly thereafter, I have traded my wife for a horse. I have grown a beard. I have worked in libraries, restaurants, materials testing companies, housing agencies, and government entities. I have picked the names for my two nonexistent sons. I have attended Palm Sundays and Passovers. I have been a recluse, a socialite, and a gleeful introvert. I have never once gotten through an entire issue of the New Yorker. I have seen Paul Oakenfold spin at the Ministry of Sound. I have broken my sibling's arm. I have learned how to tie a windsor knot. I have vomited consecutively in three adjacent bathroom sinks. I have watched Carlos Beltran get called out on strikes. I have seen old cats put down and young pups brought up. I have voted Democrat in every election save one instance when I crossed party lines to vote for the judge who officiated my wedding. I have clogged toilets 347 times in my life*. I have stood within thirty feet of Keanu Reeves and Katie Holmes. I have joined a gym. I have never knocked on wood. I have watched the sun set in the Valley of Fire. I have been three feet away from a moving propeller while scuba diving. I have played three instruments. I have plagiarized. I have been linked to by the New York Times. I have learned to enjoy eating swiss chard. I have dived headfirst into the water from the upper deck of a pirate ship. I have reached the rank of Master Mason. I have born witness to countless acts of deceit and love. I have seen the green flash. I have been called "Rickey," "Fluffer," and "The Phantom Shitter." I have donated blood. I have almost been struck by lightning at the summit of Mt. Helvellen. And I stand here before you, a moderately better man for it all.

But, friends, the one thing I have not done is purchase land. Today, all that changes. Today, the wifey and I acquire a third of an acre of 100% unadulterated manifest destiny Americana. Our very first plot of land. And hey, there just happens to be a nice little structure with four walls and a roof sitting on it! That's right, today, we buy our first house. Needless to say, I'm pretty goddamned excited. As we speak, things are being stowed away in boxes and naturally, I'm following the old adage of making certain that the corkscrew is readily accessible once we unpack. Priorities, people. And with that, I'm off to the closing to sign a million pieces of paper until my arm goes numb and my bank account runs dry. Wish us well.

*OK, that one is kind of a guesstimate really.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Rickey’s Film Corral: Round up Movies You Were too Damned Lazy to See

[We know, you’re downright elated about Sarah Palin’s new media gig. Look at you, you’re practically bouncing up and down. But if you can pry yourself away from Fox News for juuuuuust a second, we think you’ll enjoy Rickey's in-depth analysis of the various cinematic offerings currently available for your viewing pleasure. In this column, Rickey will attempt to use his critical skills to weed out the dreck from the moderately watchable, thereby saving you money and vastly improving your quality of life. Don't say we never did anything for you, OK?]

Fitzcarraldo. This was one of those movies that Rickey has been informed by individuals far more cultured than himself that he simply must see. And sure enough, those individuals, despite being unbearably smarmy, were right. The movie revolves around one batshit crazy man (actor Klaus Kinski) and his quest to build an opera house in the heart of the Amazon jungle. The movie is filmed by another batshit crazy man (ahem, we mean noted Teutonic director Werner Herzog) who decided the centerpiece of his film would feature a 320 ton steamboat being dragged up the side of a mountain via an elaborate pulley system. No models, no camera tricks, no special effects. Just one crazy man’s film telling the story of a crazy man’s quixotic quest. People love to rave about James Cameron’s overbearing obsession and how his newfangled cinematic technique and plot in “Avatar” are so closely connected. To this, Rickey says, “have you not seen FITZCARRALLLLLDO?!” People were freaking injured making this movie. If possible, rent the version of the film with the director’s commentary on it. In it, Herzog talks about amputated body parts, tropical diseases, and threats of murder with an almost alarming nonchalance. Sure at one point, most of the film’s crew almost died while filming a crazy waterfall sequence, but hey, they got the shot! Who knew the Germans could be so cold-blooded?

Revolutionary Road. Rickey started watching this one lazy Sunday morning as Mrs. Henderson departed for work. And sweet fancy moses, Rickey wishes he hadn’t seen this movie alone. “Bleak” doesn’t quite begin to describe it. Directed by Sam Mendes, this movie, much like his “American Beauty” is a grim look into deep rooted suburban discontent. Leonardo DeCaprio plays the unhappy office drone who aspires to some vague career different from his current one while Kate Winslet plays the discontent wife whose dreams of acting have been sacrificed for the hausfrau lifestyle. With kids in tow, and in their 30s, the two slowly realize that they hate their jobs, themselves, and ultimately, each other. There’s talk of rekindling the spark from their earlier lives with an impulsive move to Paris, but then things turn seriously tragic and even more unimaginably bleak. The movie demands that we ask if it was society that doomed these two or if it was simply their own inability to adjust. Or maybe they just should’ve gone out for tacos and a movie every now and then. We’re sorry, but on the cusp of buying his first house, Rickey can’t relate to this sort of self-pitying melodrama. Suburban life may not be Sam Mendes’ cup of tea, but that doesn’t mean he needed to make a horror movie about it. Rickey supposes that the one good thing about this movie is that it caused “Titanic” fans rooting for a lovey dovey Jack and Rose reunion to storm out of the theater in tears. So, uh, there’s that at least.

Spartan. When Al Bundy storms into a dimly lit basement office in suit and tie and says “Where’s the girl?” in quick succession three different times using different inflection, you immediately know that you’re watching a David Mamet flick. This movie, Mamet’s take on the spy-thriller genre, is a serious treat for those who love modern day film noir. The criminally underrated Val Kilmer plays an unnamed government agent in search of the President’s kidnapped daughter. A guided missile of a man who utters witty cryptic comments, there is nothing Kilmer’s character won’t do to accomplish his mission. There is action. There are reversals. There is Mamet-speak. Rickey really enjoys the droll Mamet-speak. Here’s little excerpt:

Random Army Dude: Nice knife.
Val Kilmer: Yeah. Got it off an East German fella.
Random Army Dude: He give it to ya for a gift?
Kilmer: No. As I recall, he was... rather reluctant to part with it.

Reluctant, yes, BECAUSE HE KILLED HIM! HA! HA! How is it that no one writes sleek minimalist dialogue like this anymore? This movie harkens back to a time when meaning could be derived what characters didn’t say and do rather than what they did. Sure it’s a little hard to discern the meaning from all the minutia, but that’s half the fun. The implied meaning. It’s a helluva lot better than Jerry Bruckheimer angrily dangling his balls in your face for two hours. Go check this one out, pronto.

Tell No One (or "Ne le dis a Personne" for you cheese eating surrender monkeys out there) is another film that falls squarely the "noir" category. Mrs. Henderson, having read the book this movie is based on, recommended that Rickey check this one out and he's all the better for having done so. Without giving too much away, Rickey can tell you that the film's tagline reads "8 years ago, Alex's wife was MURDERED. Today... She e-mailed him." Think the French version of "The Fugitive" and you're on the right track. Particularly enjoyable is the film's soundtrack, which tosses in some great tracks from U2, Ottis Redding, and Groove Armada. There's one terrific scene following a harrowing chase where the protagonist unwinds in the backseat of a car driving through the outskirts of Paris with "Hands of Time" by Groove Armada playing in the background. A very chill breather scene. You don't see that sort of thing much in movies. This one comes highly recommended by Rickey.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Rickey's Letter to the Landlady Attempting to Break His Apartment Lease

January 13, 2010

Dear Aged She-Wench of Indeterminate Eastern-Bloc Descent,

Rickey is writing to inform you that in the event a replacement tenant is not secured before March 15, 2010 to assume Rickey’s lease agreement with you, Rickey fully intends to terminate his lease on that date. While Rickey understands that his current lease agreement is binding through October of 2010, Rickey is simply unable to pay both the mortgage on his newly purchased house in addition to rent at your incomparably shitty property for a longer period of time than this. Rickey’s Xbox Live subscription fees and Warhammer 40K expenses are simply too high to accommodate both a mortgage and lease simultaneously, you see. Having been born under the reign of the Hapsburg Empire, one can safely assume that you are unfamiliar with these entities as well as modern concepts of property ownership altogether, however please rest assured that this does not negate their existence.

As per your request, Rickey provided you with two months notice on November 30, 2009 that he intended to vacate the premises on January 31, 2010. Granted, Rickey had indulged himself heavily in a bottle of Harvey’s Bristol Cream Sherry at the time and was somewhat difficult to comprehend. Nonetheless, notice was given and to date, a replacement tenant has yet to be found.

Rickey understands that this is a difficult time of year to secure new tenants and therefore is willing to continue to pay rent to you for up to an additional two months after closing on his new house on January 15, 2010. Rickey will also forfeit his security deposit of one month’s rent in the event that a new tenant is not found. This constitutes a full three months rent. Rickey believes that in your unidentifiable yet vaguely Germanic country, one would refer to this offer as fair and reasonable and possibly even “das große Los ziehen!” Or something like that.

Rickey feel that this constitutes a perfectly acceptable offer and has been a tenant in good financial standing with you and pays his monthly rent in a timely fashion. Rickey has been tolerant of your decision to bake bread each and every calendar day of the year and you have been tolerant of Rickey’s reluctance to wear pants or draw the shades to the apartment, all the while bellowing “No-Pants Henderson!” at high volume.

Rickey is hopeful that a new tenant will be found prior to him vacating the premises and has made good faith efforts to facilitate this by placing an advertisement for your apartment rental on Craigslist with the permission of your realtor. Rickey’s also posted the ad under the “Casual Encounters” section of Craigslist, and apologizes in advance in the event that a burly man named George shows up at your doorstep and informs you that he is “seeking fellow grizzlies.”

Rickey will return the keys to the apartment on March 15, 2010. Prior to that, Rickey would appreciate it if you would schedule an inspection of the rental unit before he vacates to ensure that you are satisfied with its condition and that it meets your strict Teutonic standards. Rickey trusts that you will be tolerant of the maps of the Dharma facilities from “LOST” that Rickey painted on most of the walls. In Rickey’s defense, these maps are only visible in the event of a new tenant installing black lights throughout the apartment.

Rickey thanks you in advance for your time and consideration.


Rickey "No-Pants" Henderson

Stumble Upon Toolbar