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Friday, May 8, 2009

Friday Night Remote Fight: Best Movies to Kick Off the Weekend

The post you are about to read contains dangerous levels of sugar and caffeine. Side effects include lethargy and feelings of euphoric childhood fantasies.
Consult a blogger.

Friday night. It’s a magical and mysterious thing. Surviving another long week seems almost worth it when you have this to look forward to. Some people have big plans to hit the clubs or some other event. Here in Pittsburgh, there’s a little thing called the NHL Finals going on and we’re down a game to the Capitals, so you know a majority of Pittsburghers will be either in the Mellon Arena at the game, outside the Mellon Arena watching the game on the Jumbotron, or in a bar watching the game on television. But what about the rest of us?

There was a time when I lived for Friday nights. Somewhere in my socially deprived mind I thought that if I didn’t go out somewhere, anywhere, on Friday night I was missing out on some sociological event that would go down in the annals as EPIC! Usually, that meant hanging out at the mall or even in my day, the roller rink. Yeah, for a brief period between the years of 1986 and 1990 I would make it a point to go to my local rink and just be. Of course, that meant be by myself, spend a couple dollars on Rolling Thunder or Xenophobe, watch other people couple skate, and then go home.

Then there were some Friday nights, during my early teenage years, that I just spent up in my room. Ok, it’s not what you’re thinking. This was about 1987 or 1988 and my brother had been in college at the time. Our first home computer took the form of an Apple IIc and my brother’s roommate had volumes of floppy disks with games on them that he copied for me. Now, the degree of advanced graphics and sound cards were still years away but even the simplest of games like Conan or Bruce Lee kept me busy for hours. It would be nothing for me to grab a can of Pepsi, a bag of Doritos, turn up my RUSH tapes, and not be seen again until Saturday morning at 7:00 AM when I had to get up for my paper route. How pathetic is that?

What kind of childhood was that? It was like the real life equivalent of the first twenty minutes of Weird Science, before the bras on the heads. Although, I kept waiting for my bedroom door to explode and have Kelly LeBrock standing amongst the smoky rubble just waiting for me to utter the simplest command. Never happened for you either? John Hughes was such a lying prick, wasn’t he?

Still, I remember, with fondness the days, when Friday meant I was done for the week. It was the time when my brain could just shut down and I could spend the next two days just crashed out in my “play clothes.” There wasn’t a child that needed tending to. There wasn’t a yard that needed to be mowed. I wasn’t responsible for taking out the trash or making sure the litter boxes were clean. It was all about the pleasure principle, and I don’t mean a Janet Jackson album.

Looking back at my childhood, I continually mount a pretty good case for being born too soon. There was of course the Power Wheels defense of 1983. That was just the tip of the iceberg, the smallest visible portion of the massive amount of technological innovations that developed over the years of my life. Those advancements in fun always seemed to be geared towards the demographic just below my age range, robbing me of the latest and greatest in media, toys and other escapist devices. While video game consoles are probably the greatest missed opportunity, the advancement in home theater and movie offerings through DVD and cable providers ranks a close second.

Yes, young Whipper Snappers, you there with your Twit-ster and Space-Book have all the hook up in gadgets and distractions of heroin addict whose house just landed in a Ozian poppy field. OhgodohgodDorothyDorothypoppiesfieldpoppiesfield... (ten points for you old timers that get that moldy oldie reference to geekdom.) I’ve become the Luddite equivalent of my parents talking about walking to school, uphill, both ways, in three feet of snow, but I’m explaining how, in my day, we had to sit in a certain order on the couch and touch the lamp just so we could keep our fuzzy reception of HBO visible. We dared not move or the audio track would go from somewhat discernible to that repetitive “cheet, cheet, cheet,” sound. It was like the whispers from Friday the 13th, set to the speed of Chipmunks and blasted like a Greek chorus, chanting over and over again that we were “cheating” the cable company, yet we continued to fine tune our

I mean, God help me if I was alone. I had the skills of a SETI radio technician, fine tuning the little knob on the device that clipped onto the back of our television, just so I could see the glimpse of a fuzzy pair of breasts from Revenge of the Nerds late at night. You kids, with your DVRs and your Blu Ray. Bah! You don’t know how stressful it was to have only five minutes to return a VHS rental and then realize you had to rewind the damn thing. If only I would have been born in 1985 I’d be knee deep in WoW and failing my Rocks for Jocks that I needed to graduate with a degree in Undeclared Arts. I’d be Netflixing the entire Second Series of Dr. Who while searching for another little jug of iced tea from 7-11. This would all be done simultaneously while texting my friends and updating my status while recruiting more people for my Mafia and send them all flair based on how much I hate Twilight.

But, I’ve gone completely off the point as I tend to do in my pop culture dementia. The entire point of this ever disintegrating rant is to highlight a selection of popcorn confectionery cinema treats that are best served reheated and with copious helpings of greasy, shop delivered pizza and carbonated beverages. This selection is a prime example of a childhood gone completely off the reservation. This is the kind of pre pubescent nostalgia that has you up until way past midnight, fixated on your glowing screen in a quasi reversed Ludovico technique. Instead of causing an aversion to the images and acts on screen, you wake the next day and head out into your backyard or neighborhood, engrossed in an intense imaginative state, reenacting the best scenes from the film. In your possession is a broken stick that doubles as a sword or rifle and you are clad in a newspaper hat and a cape fashioned from your Mother’s hand knitted afghan.

So, here we go. Settle down into that butt shaped groove you’ve made into the couch, Rochambeau your loved one or best friends for the remote with that killer Paper/Lizard/Spock combo move you’ve developed and let the brain take the night off, you deserve it. Now, I’m sure I will have missed some more of the classics and well established films but this is just a sampling.


Dude, where’s My Car?
Half Baked
Old School
(Could technically be listed under Sci-Fi)
Weird Science (As could this)
Big Trouble in Little China
Shaun of the Dead (
It splits the genre with Horror)


Evil Dead I and II
(Dead By Dawn is more comedy but let's keep it where it's at)
The Lost Boys
Halloween (1978)
The Thing
The Frighteners
Bubba Ho-Tep
Night of the Living Dead
Cabin Fever
Final Destination


Raiders of the Lost Ark
National Treasure
The Goonies
The Mummy
Jurassic Park
Romancing The Stone
The Three Musketeers (1993)


Kill Bill
Kung Fu Hustle
Die Hard
First Blood
Point Break
Bad Boys
Hot Fuzz


Fellowship of the Ring
The Running Man
The Matrix
Escape From New York
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Independence Day
Six String Samurai
The Black Hole
Back to the Future

Those of you who can’t turn your mind off for 2 hours.

Donnie Darko
12 Monkeys
Strange Days
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
North by Northwest
Close Encounters of the Third Kind


The Princess Bride
The Wedding Singer
Sleepless in Seattle
Only You
One Fine Day
10 Things I Hate About You
Failure to Launch

Just be sure to wipe the drool from the corners of your mouth when you're done. Have a good weekend and Let's Go Pens!

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