Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Best. Weekend. Ever.

Hello my dear friends -

As you know, last weekend I went back to my old stomping grounds - Ann Arbor, Michigan - to see Clerks 2 with Nerdy P and to go to the Ann Arbor Art Fair. I had the best time I've had in a while... so allow me to share with you some insight into what I constitute as a "great weekend":

1) The train from Chicago to Ann Arbor was only a half-hour late.

I think I can, I think I can... be... on... time.Now, anyone who has ever taken Amtrak should know that that is either a miracle, or a sign of Armageddon. I used to take the train all the time and it was never less than 2 hours late... even getting up to 5 hours late. ONE time, in the dead of winter, the train's power completely shut down and we stopped on the track in the middle of a cornfield. I was like, "Oh, I am so going to die." I had already envisioned some scene out of Children of the Corn with Malakai busting through the train window and mauling me. Obviously that didn't happen and I survived, but my point is that the weekend got off to a great start because the train was actually fairly on time.

2) Six magazines down!

Those who have visited my condo know that I have a serious magazine-hoarding disorder. I subscribe to tons of magazines, and then my neighbor leaves me magazines he gets, and then I usually also get a lot from the gym. So I literally have a stack of hundreds of magazines in my front room. On the train ride there I got through 2 Us Weeklys, 1 Life & Style, 1 OK!, 1 Entertainment Weekly and 1 Real Simple (and those are big). Oddly enough, I felt a huge sense of accomplishment when I got off the train.

3) e's ideal dinner.

There's booze in the blender!My friend picked me up from the train station and we went to dinner a little while later. One of the best things about having friends who accept all of your strange quirks is that you can do things like order a frozen strawberry margarita, a broiled scallop appetizer and a side of mac 'n cheese, call it a meal, and they will not be embarrassed by you in a restaurant. So that was my dinner and it was delicious and we had a fun time getting caught up and planning the coming two days.

4) Deep conversation.

Yes, I wear more make-up than Tammy Faye.
"Dave Navarro looks like a girl!"
"I actually like Pamela Anderson."
"The Britney Spears/Matt Lauer interview was awesome - "We're COUNTRY!""
"The best is when Gordon Ramsey adds "YOU DONKEY!" when he's yelling at people on Hell's Kitchen."
"Star Jones looks like an alien."

These were the important topics and issues covered Friday night as we read a few more magazines before calling it a day.

5) Two good nights of sleep.

My overactive imagination and high rating on the "worrier" scale bring with them a wicked case of insomnia, typically. But I slept like a little baby at Nerdy P's, BOTH nights. Bliss. Bye bye extremely dark and puffy bags under my eyes!

5) The Art Fair and/or Wearing Shoes Thin Hauling Nerdy P All Around Campus.

I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE the Ann Arbor Art Fair. I know diddly about art, so it has nothing to do with that. Basically I just love Ann Arbor, spent 4 of the best years of my life at the University of Michigan, and like to run around the campus and be able to justify eating a bunch of unhealthy food because I'm covering many miles by ensuring that I see ALL of my old classroom buildings and hang-outs. Poor Nerdy P was a good sport, smiling through "Do you mind if we just go over and look at the Business School?" ..."Oh, I just want to see if Mitch's is still there..." (it's not)... "Is Pizza House still there?" (it is), etc., etc. Five hours later, our feet were about to fall off, but I was a happy camper.

Then we had Clerks 2 to look forward to. But before I get into that, let me just review with you what I ate on Saturday, because quite honestly, it's amazing that I didn't throw up.

Breakfast: Ate at a great diner called Northside. Had my usual Earl Grey hot tea, and then two scrambled eggs, wheat toast, bacon and most of a buttermilk pancake.

Name me another place that hasn't upped their prices in 14 years?!?!Rest of day (continual eating, so there were no real "meals" after breakfast): Waffle cone of cookie dough ice cream at Stucchi's (I can't go to Ann Arbor and not get Stucchi's!!!), slice of cheese pizza at Backroom ("Holy Crap! It is STILL only $1?!?!?!?!"), Mrs. Field's FROSTED chocolate chip cookie ("I cannot resist this frosting, even though I think my stomach is going to explode..."), part of Nerdy P's lemonade from the art fair stand that is always there ("This is the best lemonade ever - not too sweet, not too watery"), hot pretzel at the movie theater ("I want the fresh one! Add salt!"), and then finally, a waffle cone with one scoop of fudge ice cream and one scoop of berry ice cream at Ben & Jerry's after the movie. If I could always eat like I did on Saturday and suffer no consequences, believe me, I would.

6) The Clerks 2 Experience.

Nerdy P and I had a loose bet about whether or not there would be a line for Clerks 2. As I have written about before, I am kind of a freak about getting in line early for a movie on its opening weekend. I was positive there would be a huge line. Nerdy P thought that that would only be the case in Chicago, but not at the theater in Ypsilanti where she had bought the tickets.

So we get to the theater ONE HOUR AND FORTY MINUTES EARLY. There is definitely no line. I played three rounds of Area 51 (I have lost ALL my skills, so sad) and then one of Ms. Pac-Man (played respectably well at that), and then we settled into some chairs and read magazines (I always come prepared) until about 10 minutes before the movie.

We go show our ticket stubs and walk down the hall to theater 18. We noticed that unbelievably, there was a line outside theater 20 for "Lady in the Water," which has gotten HORRIBLE reviews. I was perplexed.

We walk into theater 18, and it's one of the HUGE screens. As we are heading up the side ramp, I say to Nerdy P, "You know, there could be a packed house in here because we actually might have waited too long."

We rounded the corner with bated breath... were we going to be able to find a seat???

There was:




We both just started dying laughing and I covered my head with my hands and slumped down over the railing. It was a very classic moment.

Literally about 10 seconds later, a group of people started filing in, and we realized that that line we saw actually WAS for Clerks 2, and we just totally blew by them (hey, the ticket-taker didn't say anything?!?!). Nerdy P overheard a few people grumbling about it. But the theater wasn't even 1/5th full, so it really didn't matter.

On to the movie itself... Hmmm... how to explain this... (and don't worry, I will give absolutely nothing away).

Best tagline ever.Nerdy P and I loved it. I thought the ending sequence (last 30 seconds or so) was especially BRILLIANT, and the last 15 minutes just pulled together many things in a very cool way. The beloved characters - Dante, Randal, Jay and Silent Bob, were exactly as they would be 12 years later, were they actually real people. So Kevin Smith definitely stayed true to the original. The new characters also fit in wonderfully.

Two highlights for me were:
1) A Ferris Bueller's Day Off "Twist & Shout"-esque scene in the middle of the movie, which came outta nowhere, and
2) An anti-Lord of the Rings rant by Randal, provoked by fellow burger-flipper Elias holding up an onion ring and chanting "ONE RING... to rule them all!!!!"

However, after saying all that, I think that Nerdy P and I are perhaps the only people I know who would like this movie, so I would not recommend it to anyone else. Well, except Uncle Grambo, who was lucky enough to interview Kevin Smith!

I think the only people who would like this movie have to fit the following criteria:

1) They must not only have liked the original movie, but they must have LOVED it and it must have remained in their "favorite movies of all time" list for the past 12 years. That's the kind of love I'm talkin' 'bout that is needed here.
2) They must have no aversion to extremely disgusting dialogue - because just like the first one, they held nothing back this time, and it actually got worse.
3) They must be between 31-35 years old (more on that later)
4) They must currently be going through or have recently gone through some sort of mid-mid-life crisis where they wondered if they were taking the right path with/making the right decisions in their life.

I strongly feel that the only people who will like this movie must fit all four criteria. I know that there is a group of people 5-7 years younger than me who liked the first movie, but I have a feeling that they will not like the sequel, because they just won't "get it." Why? Because unless you are in your 30s (as in, past 31), you most likely haven't needed to do much introspection about your career path or your life in general. When you turn 31, all of a sudden the novelty of the "big 3-0" wears off and you're like, "Oh, crap - I'm really technically an ADULT in every way shape and form now, even though I may not feel or act like one!" I would welcome comments from those who have seen the movie and liked it who didn't fit the four criteria. Prove me wrong!

7) Lazy Sunday.

On Sunday, we hung out until lunchtime, and then went to a really good place to eat - where I got... mac 'n cheese once again (I kind of get on "kicks" with my food) and a cheeseburger. Then we went to see "Lady in the Water," because we wanted to give ol' M. Night a chance despite the horrid reviews. I have loved ALL M. Night movies I've seen (The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Signs and The Village), and outside of The Sixth Sense, they all got bad reviews. I think people hold him to crazy-high expectations.

Anyway, we both did like the movie, but once again, I don't think most people would. To like this movie you need to:

Get that woman an umbrella!1) Enjoy fairy tales
2) Tolerate M. Night's self-importance (he himself plays a major role in the movie, and also not-so-subtly bashes movie critics in a few key scenes)
3) Be able to completely suspend disbelief (as in, not be bothered by the fact that everyone just accepted the fact that there was a "Narf" in their complex's swimming pool rather than anyone suspecting she may just be some crazy chick on drugs...)
4) Have a lot of patience - the story unfolds tediously, and is fairly complicated

After the movie, we went back, read a few more magazines, and then I was on my way home to Chicago. The train was ON TIME; I'm still in shock over it! And, I finished all of the magazines I had brought with me (about 20), on top of getting a few chapters into a new book.

So there you have it, that's what I call a great weekend (the weather was also beautiful the entire time). Aren't you jealous?

- e


Anonymous said...

It was a great weekend, Nerdy E. I couldn't have enjoyed Clerks 2 fully with ANYONE else.
Thanks for coming!

Jake said...

That got me all nostalgic and you're four years older than me! I can't imagine how I'll be four years from now. Good stuff!

Anonymous said...

i hear it is the only movie where you can see an act of beastiality and still leave the theather with a warm and fuzzy feeling.

Anonymous said...

I also appreciate the AA nostalgia. However, I have one criticism - you should have had Stucchi's TWICE. Eating at the stupid B&J that set up shop next door is Ann Arbor sacrilege!