All the best this blog had to offer from the Year of the Horse. Shalom.
Artisanal Life Hack (Sorry Not Sorry): 2013 In Review
Unsolicited Notes / Thoughts On We’re A Happy Family
JG2’s Top Ten Albums & Singles Of 2013
Unsolicited Thoughts On The Price Of Gold
Q: Have You Met Carrot Top?
Derisive Names You Can Use For The Super Bowl
Area Man Acknowledges Ninja Turtle Reboot
Greg Rivera: The JG2Land Interview
“You Traded Peña?”
Unsolicited Thoughts / Notes On Dookie 20 Years Later
In Praise Of Harold Ramis
Unsolicited Thoughts / Notes On Going Berserk
An Annotated History Of Never Realized Book Projects
2001: A Ranch Odyssey
Commence au Festival
“You Really Embarrassed Me Tonight At Red Lobster.”
On Erdélyi Tamás
Mashed Potatoes Can Be Your Friends
Fifteen Hall Of Fame Drummers From The Past Score & Five
Unsolicited Thoughts / Notes On Grease 2
Boo, I Tellsya: The Absolute Toppest Horror Movies
Monte Melnick: The JG2Land Interview
Unsolicited Musings On GTA V
Unsolicited Blah Blah Blah On “The Larry Sanders Show”
Ancient Central Florida Secret: The Splendid China Winn-Dixie
Unsolicited Free Floating Vapors On Feigbusters
Unsolicited Musings On Humanoids From The Deep
– even though this 1983 comedy was meant to be some kind of breakout for Candy and his fellow “SCTV” co-stars Joe Flaherty and Eugene Levy, it is established within the first several minutes that Going Berserk takes place in the same fictional universe as “SCTV”; this is odd because the majority of the film’s events occur in Los Angeles and none of the characters these men made famous on “SCTV” make appearances (unless you want to count Candy’s admittedly hilarious impression of Jerry Mathers)
– I suppose placing Going Berserk in the “SCTV” canon allowed Candy et al a license to bend reality in the same manner that garnered them so much acclaim on the small screen, but the movie (which centers around Candy’s pending marriage to an influential politician’s daughter) never commits to being a total bonkers spoof or something grounded in reality that’s simply decorated with wacky elements (it’s sort of like Rock n’ Roll High School in that respect)
– whatever issues GB has (tone, budget, script) the nucleus of Candy, Flaherty, and Levy is potent enough to make it work; watching these guys mine hard laughs out of what is often thin air made me upset they didn’t get a chance to put something like this together in the early ’90s after Candy had become comedy royalty
– even if our Canadian heroes had failed (yes, I know Joe Flaherty’s from Pittsburgh, shut up) there is plenty of nutso window dressing to justify this movie’s existence: we have the Ernie Hudson sex scene; the Dixie Carter make-out scene; the Alley Mills nude scene; Lee Ving attempting to parody punk rock / himself with the song “Mom Is Dead”; the rap that describes the entire plot of Going Berserk and plays over the opening credits; the movie-within-the-movie, Kung Fu U, about a college for martial arts experts; and of course mustache-free Pat Hingle (never a safe bet)
– according to the Internet Movie Database, at one point Going Berserk had the working title of Numbnuts; maybe this film would be better known today had they stuck with that moniker
– press me to grade Going Berserk and I’ll give it a solid B (which does not actually mirror my intense fascination / obsession with this project)
Egon Spengler has always been my favorite Ghostbuster because Harold Ramis molded him into a person who could be both intensely smart and deftly funny. It’s clear the other guys die like carp on a dock if Egon isn’t there to do all the math and glue everything together. And yet Egon is no soulless drone; mostly through body language he exhibits many of the endearing ticks we associate with the other allegedly more humorous Ghostbusters.
Egon’s sarcastic: see the way he pokes that guest while investigating the hotel haunting. He’s slick: see the way he signals Venkman like a baseball coach when the Ghostbusters are discussing ghostbusting fees with the hotel staff. Egon’s also dopey: that look he gives in the second movie after he starts his proton pack in the court room, like yeah, y’all didn’t think so, but I’m a bad motherfucker…I vote that the best part of Ghostbusters II. Egon could have turned out another super nerd stereotype but Ramis bucked that, giving him these great little personality flourishes.
After falling in love with Harold’s portrayal of Egon I was flabbergasted to discover how much other great stuff he had his name on. Animal House, Vacation, “SCTV,” Groundhog Day, Stripes…god, he reigns supreme in Stripes. Again, the body language. I think about that scene where he meets Judge Reinhold’s character. The grin, the head bob…it’s like he’s trying to be “the cool guy” who’s on the younger guy’s level, but he’s also mocking him and/or that entire concept. Later, when John Candy gives that speech in the barracks, and they keep cutting to Harold’s sarcastic reactions, how can you not lose your shit?
Offscreen, Harold was apparently a friendly, happy guy who was eager to talk to fans and just enjoy his life. That’s evident when you Google Image Search HR and see that he’s got what appears to be a completely genuine smile in nearly every candid or non-promotional shot. He radiated warmth and good vibes, which is something this world could always use in extra supply.
I’m pretty trampled by Harold’s death. He left us with plenty to chew on, though, and because of that he’ll never really die.
Nice working with you, Dr. Spengler. See you on the other side.
But he never meant shi But I only like his movies so-so.
JH was a phenomenal writer, and there was certainly a point in my life wherein I lived and died by the films bearing his name. Lately, though, I’m of the opinion that the literary world lost a formidable talent when Hughesy decided to churn out all those middle class Illinois teen-centric talking pictures. Sure, they were smarter and more sympathetic than your average Scott Baio horn dog panty raid flick, but I can’t say I can watch Dutch these days without wondering how it would have spilled across a page in short story form.
Here’s a link to the Hughes-authored Nat’l Lampoon piece that was later spun into Vacation starring Chevy Chase. Maybe I’m crazy, but I think it blows the movie out of the water (save Beverly and her yummy D’Angelos). I feel like it gives you more bang for your buck, and it also has a more authentic voice. Then again, what the hell do I know? I’m just some chump with a blog.
On a related note, I’ve been having this huge internal debate for the past few months regarding John Candy’s greatest film performance. I’ve whittled the list down to three standouts: Uncle Buck, JFK, and Planes, Trains & Automobiles. Would I be crazy if I chose Uncle Buck above those other two? Is that the film audiences generally pick as the Cand Man’s best? Is there another contender I’m forgetting? Please, I would appreciate any and all feedback.