Monday Morning Critic – 7.6

On tap this week:
— The art of the fan boy?
— Can you top this?
— The worst kidnapping ever
And slightly much more!

Apparently there’s a Russian tradition of some note during weddings wherein you kidnap the bride at the reception and ransom her to the groomsmen in order to teach the groom that he should always keep an eye on his bride. I say apparently because that’s exactly what happened at a wedding I attended this past week.

I had no idea what was happening until Yuri, my Russian buddy, told me that I was to help kidnap the bride. I figured it’d be fun and a good excuse to get a little fresh air. What happened was perhaps the craziest thing I’ve ever had the misfortune to be a part of.

It was the wedding of my friend Gen to the love of her life, Brian. It was a beautiful ceremony and I admit that I might’ve had a tear or two in my eye. Something is special when you see two people who are truly in love make that commitment and despite my proclivities and noted aversion to monogamy in the past, true love is something special to behold. I like seeing people in love. It is beautiful to see and seeing this one special moment kind of make me yearn for one of my own.

So a couple bottles of Amstel Light into the evening Yuri recruits me to help kidnap Gen, as apparently one Russian wasn’t enough. Granted I am Polish and not Russian, but I guess for this exercise being in the approximate vicinity of the former Soviet bloc was close enough. So we grab Gen and politely inform her that she was to be kidnapped. She and Brian were not in on it, but apparently the bridal party was. Yuri and the gang behind this had set up the three wedding videographers so that they would follow three groups of people to eventually be compiled into their wedding video. One followed Brian and his merry men of negotiators, Yuri and I had a guy and there was one floating about the masses yearning for wedding cake.

I was following Yuri’s lead since he was in the crew behind it, and we took Gen to the elevator so that we could escort her to the 7th floor. Why? Because Yuri thought was where there room was. That’s what happens when you get a Russian, a Jew and a Bride in an elevator I suppose. We did get a great moment in, though. The camera was on Gen and I suggested we do a Dark Knight moment. So Gen is looking at us, arms crossed and slightly ticked, and I shaked the camera up and down while saying “Why so serious?”

I believe the point of all of this was to get Gen to sit down and relax for a bit, as everyone knows a bride runs around like a crazy person the day of her nuptials, but it didn’t mean we couldn’t have any fun. And apparently in the excitement no one had bothered to tell Yuri that her room wasn’t on that floor. So we had to get back on and go back up to the 9th floor. Prompting an awesome response from the now aggravated bride:

“You guys are the worst kidnappers ever.”

So we get her into the room and off her feet, and the negotiations were to begin. After the first round, wherein Yuri asked for a piece of bread and two pickles (as well as a bottle of vodka), we opted to get a bit more “theatrical” with the experience. The whole time Gen is really getting aggravated at this extended shenanigan, and I don’t think Brian found it amusing either (Yuri and I would later extend to him an offer of a free punch to amend things if he felt the urge, to which he declined). The video guy thought it was awesome and there’ll probably be a short film that finds itself on YouTube of this in the next six months knowing my luck.

We darkened the entire place, leaving one light on and setting it up so that it illuminated one side of the table we were “negotiating” over. It gave just enough illumination that Yuri would be in shadows and the light be focusing on the groomsmen, looking quite awesome. Then we adopted our next great measure of negotiation.

Fake, OUTRAGEOUS Russian accents that pushed the boundaries of good taste.

Yuri’s is already thick enough to choke a moose, of course, but he laid it on thicker and I aped every bad Russian accent I had ever heard in any variety of ‘80s action films for the occasion. So we negotiated even further, this time agreeing to two pieces of wedding cake. Yuri didn’t speak either during it. I was speaking for him and being an outrageous Russian terrorist, as he communicated with whispers to me. He asked for one piece of wedding cake initially and I told him I wanted one as well, and asked the camera guy too.

They depart, Gen gets more irritated and they come back to give us our final negotiated prize: wedding cake. Shots later, Gen is handed off and the shenanigans end. Though I think Yuri and I are perhaps the worst wedding kidnappers ever. But then again, my kidnapping skills kept me out of the good colleges so who am I to argue?

Random Thoughts of the Week

Have you ever taken a date on a completely inappropriate film? That’s a subject of debate that crept up into my office the other day. Yes, I am working now. Have been for a month, too, which is incredibly strange. Its weird being back in the work force again after nearly seven months off on an involuntary furlough, so getting back into the scheme of things is pretty trippy. I’m quite impressed that they haven’t figured out I’m an idiot, yet.

So my officemate Becca and I were discussing films that were completely inappropriate for various dates in the past. Her and her husband went to see American Pie on their first date, and she didn’t think I could top it. So I threw out the one I got Stacy, a buxom teacher, to go to. I managed to get a second date after this, too, which goes to show that she didn’t learn her lesson the first time.

Crank: two minutes of exposition, 90 minutes of insane craziness.

I didn’t think anyone could actually top it. So I started asking around. Informal surveys are usually some of the more informative ones.

My buddy Laura, who came with me this past weekend to my friend Gen’s wedding, had one: Wild Things. Neve Campbell and Denise Richards making out in a pool is still the third greatest scene in a film ever. That’s the only reason to see that crappy film.

Paul Alessi, recently of Knuckle Draggers which I reviewed, had one that was hilarious as well.

“I was a on a date with this girl I was dating awhile ago. So she wanted to see this film “Jungle Fever” that just came out and I knew nothing about it. We went to see it at Co-op City, Bronx. Needless to say we were the only white people in the audience and funny enough the police came into the movies and stood right next to us and walked us to the car. The place was very unruly and thankfully someone must have called the cops to save our lives.”

This is the point where invite anyone who is reading to share theirs in the comments field. Can you top any of these?

A Movie A Week – The Challenge

This Week’s Film – Fanboys

Fanboys Poster

What happens when four friends decide to break into Skywalker Ranch to see Episode One: The Phantom Menace? Fanboys, that’s what happens.

Held up in post-production for a long time, the film got dumped into theatres earlier in the year after several cuts of the film were put together. The big to do was about Linus (Chris Marquette) having cancer. The whole premise behind the film is that they want to steal the print so they can all watch it together because he won’t be there when the film comes out in theatres. It gives the proceedings a bit more gravitas and an underlying emotional angle to their friendships as well.

I approach this film from two perspectives. I grew up a HUGE Star Wars fan and as such the first three films hold a special meaning to me. And when the new trilogy came out, and they were all god awful hunks of garbage, it was especially painful. So I get why they do what they do and know all the references they make. It’s a love letter to the franchise that earned the endorsement of George Lucas; he lent out the Skywalker Ranch for the effects. On that level I enjoyed the film immensely. It’s nice to watch a film that embraces the sort of fandom that only Star Wars can inspire.

The other approach is one of infinite sadness. The guys in the film are so devoted to fandom that they haven’t really grown up. It’s the whole mentality of the guy who never left “x,” be it high school, college, et al. These guys are kind of sad in a way; they never moved beyond a certain point in their lives and still have to take that leap. We all know those guys and they can be fun for a while, but then the “real world” application in your brain kicks in.

The film itself is entertaining, delving into Star Wars trivia and throwing cameos from everyone who isn’t Harrison Ford, and even George Lucas gave his seal of approval by allowing the film to use Lucasfilm trademarks and effects from the trilogy. It’s a solid watch, but not quite a blind buy.

What Looks Good This Weekend, and I Don’t Mean the $2 Pints of Bass Ale and Northwestern University Co-Eds with low standards at The Keg

Bruno – Sasha Baron Cohen takes the third of the three main characters created on the Ali G Show for a test drive around America. Hilarity ensues.

Skip ItBorat was inspired. Bruno looks uproariously funny but part of me thinks that it’s going to be more mean-spirited then anything else. I just have a bad feeling this is going to be the equivalent to an NC-17 version of “Candid Camera” but with significantly more malice.

I Love You, Beth Cooper – As he graduates high school, nerdy valedictorian Denis proclaims his love for the hottest girl in school: Hayden Panettiere.

Skip It – This looks exactly like what Sex Drive would if it was designed as a breezy PG-13 film. Expect bad jokes and bare male ass instead of naked cheerleaders.

Do you have questions about movies, life, love, or Branigan’s Law? Shoot me an e-mail at and you could be featured in the next “Monday Morning Critic.” Include your name and hometown to improve your odds.

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