Tuesday, May 30, 2006

I Love It When a Weekend Comes Together

I love Memorial Day weekend, the three-day bonanza when we pause to reflect and remember all the brave men and women who died building the Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials. Thanks for all your hard work, they look and smell fantastic.

It also means an extra day of sloth, another afternoon spent 'round a grill in a lounging and/or reclining position. Mom Cowboy jokingly calls me "America's Guest," a reputation I upheld graciously this weekend as a participant of three separate barbeques in three different parts of New York State (Lawn Gisland on Saturday, Westchester on Sunday and an NYC roofdeck yesterday). And I added nothing of value to any of the three, besides my good looks and rapist wit.

But perhaps my favorite part of the weekend was during the few hours I spent inside: I woke up to an A-Team Marathon on Monday morning before the final 'cue. I rose from a fitful slumber earlier than planned, flipped through the guide and saw "A-Team, A-Team, A-Team" on Sleuth TV, channel 102 on your NYC Time Warner system.

(Interestingly enough, there actually is a Sleuth TV network, which right now consists of The A-Team, Knight Rider, Simon & Simon, Miami Vice, The Equalizer and a bunch of shitty two-hour USA Network-type movies. Call me when you get some Banacek or some Columbo up in that piece, fuckers.)

Let me give you an idear of how psyched I was at this brush with serendipity: If I were a teacher, the first question I'd ask all the parents of the kids in my class on Open School Night is whether they watched The A-Team as children. For the parents that watched it, I'll give their kids an automatic A. For the parents that didn't watch, I'll not only flunk their offspring, but I'll beat them regularly with a metal-tipped yardstick. So, yeah, I was pretty excited about the marathon.

But I quickly realized how ridiculously easy it was to make a formulaic television show in the 1980s. Apparently, as I learned from re-watching one of my favorite childhood shows, inconsistencies and believability just didn't exist before the Interweb. In this era of Lost and Alias and 24 and The Sopranos, we pick apart every last detail and run from watching one little box to typing on another little box, just to complain about how "JJ Abrams is a fucking hack" or "David Chase lost his fucking magic, brah."

Yet on The A-team, you're supposed to accept that a more-than-middle-aged Hannibal can knock out a 30-something criminal with one punch to the jaw. Or that B.A. Baracus could've worn all that jewelry in the military. Or that someone as fragile as Face would've been in the military at all. Or that people find Murdoch remotely funny. Okay, I'll even buy the minor stuff, to play along.

Here's where they got me: In a special, two-hour episode that takes place on the Amazon, the A-Team helps an archaelogist escape from a makeshift jail to find a "lost city." The bad guys let them escape, though, in an effort to tail them and find the lost city themselves. So Hannibal gathers the group and says, "I expect Doyle and his men to be here any second." Any second.

What ensues is a four-minute 80s-style montage of The A-Team and their friends positioning perimeter defenses. Hannibal's chopping down trees, BA's pushing and hoisting huge boulders to the top of trees to set up these intricate traps all around the island, Murdoch and Face are buttressing their bunker and setting up ambush spots. And after they finish what would take ordinary humans about three weeks to set up, Doyle and his henchmen arrive to take on The A-Team, just as Hannibal expected, "any second."

Hannibal & The Gang save the day, as per usual, and in perhaps the biggest example of believability gone awry, they hit BA lightly over the head with a switch in order to get him in the air (for those that don't remember or know, this military man has a tremendous fear of flying and "ain't gettin' on no plane, Hannibal"). One light tap and Mr. T is out like a light.

Still, I found myself loving this fortuitious find. I realized Murdoch wasn't nearly as funny as I thought he was, and that Hannibal was much older than I remembered his character. But it didn't deter me from sitting there in my boxers for four hours watching the ingenuity and brute force of The A-Team, eschewing the first few innings of Randy Johnson's no-hit bid in favor of my old gang, a true treat.

BBQs and TV...I love it when a weekend comes together.

Slack Link of the Day: An example of why teenagers can fuck up even the easiest tasks...the ING Ottawa Marathon was ruined this weekend when the lead runners took the wrong route. Why? "Marathon organizers said the confusion occurred when a group of high school students left their post at a barricade to talk to some friends at the next corner. While the volunteers were gone, a motorist moved the barricade." No AM/PM. Was not the snooze.

Slack Video of the Day: Ever hear Stevie Wonder rip up the Sesame Street song live on the show? Neither had I, 'til this morning. He absolutely blows this song out of the water, a funky rager in every sense of the word. Anyway, here's Stevie tearing through the Sesame Song, and here's a special Superstition bonus from the same show. (BUT, he's gay. I mean, he's gay. Excuse me, he's blind).

Slack Song of the Day: Everyone loves Wilco. I'm just lukewarm on 'em. I like them, I respect them, I think Tweedy's ridiculously talented, but they're just not the total package for me. (Ir)regardless of my calculated indifference, here's my favorite Wilco tune, live at Union College in 2002: Jesus, Etc. For more live Wilco, click here.

Slack Obit of the Day: "Paul Gleason, a veteran of 60 movie roles including the detention-dispensing school principal in 1985's The Breakfast Club, died in a Burbank hospital Saturday of mesothelioma, a rare form of lung cancer linked to asbestos..."


At 12:33 PM, Blogger Matty Mac said...

This is creepy. Yesterday I caught a "Top 100 Funniest Movies of All Time" show on some forgotten channel. As soon as I tune in, they'r etalking about "Trading Places" and interviewing Paul Gleason about it. The first thing I thought to myself was "this guy's still alive? He looks like hell." Well, now I know why. And no, he's not alive, to answer my own question. Craisins.

At 12:44 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

I saw 51-100 of that list, and then I read the Top 50 this morning. What a horrible fucking list. Seriously, nuns and robots could make better lists of comedic movies. Holy shit, WHERE'S FLETCH?

I dn't even wanna discuss that list anymore, it angered me to no end. Not really, but for effect, let's say it angered me to no end.

At 2:21 PM, Blogger ScuffyMcgee said...

Wow! Deputy Chief Dwayne T. Robinson is no more, I can't believe it. Slack, you know about my obsession with that movie so I'm sure you understand my grief, please just don't tell me that Argyle or the guy from The Money Pit are on their way out.

"Looks like we're gonna need some more FBI guys!"

"Christ Powell, he can be a fucking bartender for all we know!"

"We've got a hundred people down here and they are all covered with glass!"

At 2:59 PM, Blogger MDS said...

And the winner of the '80s costume contest is... The A-Team with a real black guy!

Could you guys link to the 100 funniest movies list? I'd like to see it. (I assume you're not referring to this list.)

At 3:21 PM, Blogger Matty Mac said...

Sorry to be a putz here, but I wasn't able to find a great link to the list, but I did find the list right here

At 3:50 PM, Blogger MDS said...

Wow, that is a terrible list. You could pick those titles out of a hat and you'd have them in a more correct order of how funny they are, and I don't even want to get started on the omissions.

At 4:16 PM, Anonymous MacGuyver Still Rules..beotch said...

sleuth tv is owned by nbc who also owns usa network, hence the crappy usa movies. gotta love how the bad guys can do double drop kicks to ba's face and he just brushes it off but a 95 lb former mental patient or chain cigar smoking 65yr old man can knock him out with one shot.

At 4:31 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

Yeah, MDS, it's best not to get too riled up about this stuff. I'm thinking about putting up my own Top 10 tomorrow, so I guess you should all save your fury for my shennanigans.

Thanks for the info on Sleuth, J$. The funny thing is, I didn't even know they were actually USA movies, I just thought the titles sounded like suspicious USA movies. I'm glad facts bore me out on that one.


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