The Slap

I swore I wouldn’t do this.  I said to myself, “Self, don’t you dare!  Walk away!  Just walk away!  It’ll be over soon, and nobody will care!”  But in the end, it was just too delicious to resist, too off-the-wall funny, too hilariously 21st century to pass up.  So here are a few thoughts on The Slap.  (Notice, at a time when Hong Kong politics, Sri Lanka protests and the French election need a few words of explanation, everybody knows what I’m talking about.  Sad but true!)  Anyway:

1 – Since the Oscar altercation, both Oprah and Ellen have offered Will Smith big money – Oprah for an exclusive tell-all interview and Ellen to help with her staffing problems.

2 – I’m pretty sure that if the Rock had been onstage — instead of Chris Rock — none of this would have happened.

3 – Likewise, Wanda Sykes wouldn’t have gone as quietly as Chris Rock did.  Lay a smack on her, and she’d have let loose with a haymaker and put the boots to Smith on the way down.

4 – Plus, co-host Amy Schumer, who was making jokes about it 5 minutes after Smith went all “hands on,” confessed that the next day she felt “physically sick” over the whole event.  Amy, that’s a hangover!

5 – And “physically sick” seems to be the celebrity go-to reaction — although most of them aren’t too sick to get out of their hospital beds, get on a talk show and tell the world how “physically sick” they feel.  Oh, and get a few belated kicks into an A-lister while they’re at it.

6 – And remember these are the same people who clapped and cheered when Smith walked up on stage – the second time – to collect his Oscar, listened attentively while the recent felon gave a thank you speech and clapped and cheered some more when he was done. (Damn that subsequent integrity!)

7 – Meanwhile, B, C and D list celebrities, who were at home eating pizza the night of the Oscars, are suddenly calling Chris Rock, “Chris” and speculating on what drove “Will” to that level of unacceptable mayhem.

So, what have we learned?

1 – A celebrity assault can knock Climate Change, a Pandemic and a War off the front page — which proves, beyond debate, that we’re living in an intellectual, cultural and spiritual Brave New World, and the Betas are definitely in control.

2 – In an age when every celebrity on the planet is lip-syncing gender equality, it would have been a lot more fun if Jada Pinkett Smith had done her own slapping.  Who’s the bad guy now, Twittersphere?

Oscar 2020


Sunday is Oscar Night.  They’ve moved it up because of A.S.F. (Award Show Fatigue.)  Apparently, this is a real thing.  People just get bone-ass bored with Hollywood during their Give-Me-A-Trophy season.  (Who knew?)  It makes sense though, after the Golden Globes, the Baftas, SAG, Critic’s Choice, Sundance, TFI, AFI and an endless stream of the usual suspects, wearing enough money to feed a Malawi family for a year, striding up to the microphone and telling the rest of us to quit voting for Trump and drinking soda pop with a straw … God, take a breath, Fyfe!  You’re going to hurt yourself … It’s no wonder people tune out.  I’m probably going to watch, though, because a) I’m a dinosaur b) the Academy will do a decent tribute to Kirk Douglas (more about that later) and c) despite all my complaining, I do believe movies are important.

Movies give us something we can’t find anywhere else.  For example, every person on this planet has a least one movie that they simply don’t share with anyone else.  It’s not secret, but it’s kinda private.  It’s personal.  It’s a cozy connection.  It’s a few tears or a lotta laughs – just because.  It’s an old lover who shows up on a stay-at-home Friday night and says, “Why don’t you slip into something more comfortable and make some popcorn?  This evening’s just about the two of us.”  And for a couple of hours, you totally relax because you know everything about them (including the dialogue) and they’ve seen the holes in your underwear.  These movies aren’t necessarily the best or award winners or the critic’s choice, but they belong to us.  They occupy a place in our psyche that we can’t explain.  They are the tales of intimate strangers told to us, alone in the dark, like important whispers we need to remember.

I have several movies like this.  Yeah, believe it or not, I wasn’t always the party animal you see before you.  I’ve had my fair share of stay-at-home Friday nights.  I’ve sailed El Carib with Captain Ron and danced with Marlene Dietrich on more than one occasion.

So, on Sunday, after the Red Carpet, I don’t really care if some guy in a tuxedo scolds me about my promiscuous use of plastic.  I’m there for the movies.  And when they eulogize Kirk Douglas, along with Spartacus and Paths of Glory, I hope they remember 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.  It’s a remarkable tale of an ocean adventure, told to a kid from the North American prairie who’d never seen the ocean.

Random January Thoughts


It’s January, and it’s snowing – a rare occasion in Vancouver.  So rather than risk starting a Netflix binge that could last all week, here are a few random thoughts on a frozen winter morning.

I’m old enough to have survived the great Jennifer invasion.  Remember those days?  You’d call “Jennifer” on a crowded street, and 30 teenage girls would turn around; teachers were numbering their female students and it got so bad parents were spelling it with a “G” (Gennifer) or a “Y” (Jennyfer) or both (Gennyfer.)  Ah, the good old days!  Currently, le nom de jour is Ryan, and I don’t think anyone saw that coming.  After all, Ryan O’Neil is too old to stir the imagination of young parents, and Saving Private Ryan is – uh – just strange.  Either way, our world is up to its elbows in Ryans.  There’s Ryan Reynolds, Ryan Gosling, Ryan Hansen, Ryan Merriman, Ryan Guzman, Ryan Kwanten, Ryan Rottman, Ryan Eggold, that “I’m no genius” swimmer Ryan Lochte, and for you older folks, Ryan Seacrest.  There are even a couple of women, including Ryan Newman.  But the weirdest thing about this phenom is Ryans seem to love to play hockey.  At last count, there were 57 Ryans in the National Hockey League.  That’s more than all the Johns, Dons, Rons, Steves and Toms put together.  In fact, you could field an entire team with nothing but Ryans on it.  Go figure!

Although I spend a ton of time complaining about millennials, I really have no idea who they are.  Honestly, once Gen X was over, I kinda got confused.  Especially when Generations Y and Z started to run together like eggs beaten into cake batter.  (Yeah, they’re different, but good luck trying to separate them.)  And now, apparently, there’s a Post-Millennial generation.  This is too much for my brain, so, like most people, I work on the assumption that if you’re younger than me and an asshole, you must be a millennial.  It just makes things a lot simpler.

Have you ever noticed, in the movies, when Satan comes back to rule the Earth, Hollywood always blames the Catholics?  It’s always some medieval Vatican screw-up that leaves a loophole in the space/time continuum for the Prince of Darkness to slither through.  You never see Tom Hanks trading riddles with the Archbishop of Canterbury or Arnold Schwarzenegger duking it out with a bunch of Baptists.  Protestants are cool and all that, but I’m pretty sure that when the Apocalypse shows up, they’re going to get their fair share of fire and brimstone.  You’d think Hollywood would know that.

And speaking of Hollywood, the Academy Award nominations came out this week, and everybody west of San Bernardino is already starting to apologise — too white, too old, too male – the list of Oscar’s offences is never ending.  Ironically, the only person to ever out and out refuse an Oscar was an old, white male — George C. Scott.  (FYI, it’s a popular misconception that Marlon Brando refused the award.  He didn’t.  He just sent somebody else to get it for him.)  And, incidentally, rather than having to fire another host for 10 year old Tweets or risk a Ricky Gervais ass-kicking, Oscar has decided to go host-less again this year.  If this keeps up, eventually, the Academy Awards are going to be Drive-Thru.

And finally:

Harry, the Englishman formerly known as a Prince, has decided he doesn’t want to be a royal anymore.  I’ve always liked you, Harry, but I don’t have a lot of boohoos for your predicament.  Yeah, it’s tough living in a fishbowl, but if you’re serious, you might wanna think about paying back all the taxpayer money you spent on The Wedding and renovating that house your grandma gave you.  Just sayin’!