Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Robert Zemeckis: Director/Writer/Producer/Prophet

" I wish I could go back to the beginning of the season, put some money on the Cubbies!"  And that's just what I did when I recognized what year this was.  Whether I make some money back depends entirely on Robert Zemeckis and how good of a prophet he is.  That last quote was from Part II one of the the greatest franchises in cinema history: Back to the Future.  Back to the Future originally came out in 1985.  I wouldn't be born for 8 more years.  (Don't know how the world managed.)  So I'm not gonna sit here and write about the first time I saw it in theaters because that didn't happen.  The first time I saw it was sometime in the late 90's.  My uncle had the VHS trilogy set.  I borrowed the set and didn't give it back for a while.  I've said before that Jurassic Park is my all time favorite movie, but BTTF is in the Pantheon.  Definitely top 5, but even more likely top 3.  I could write a whole paragraph gushing about the series, so I think I will.

BTTF is most likely one of the most consistently good trilogies ever made, in terms of quality.  (The best in this category are The Lord of the Rings and original Star Wars trilogies.)  Now, yes, the original BTTF is clearly the best, but the second and third are also really good movies that kept the elements that worked in the first movie without tiring out the gimmicks.  When talking about sci-fi movies I usually write how there are good "science fiction movies" that are not necessarily good movies.  Back to the Future does not fall into that category.  Back to the Future is a really good movie that isn't limited by its genre.  It's a good comedy, a good adventure, a good sci-fi; you name it.  The story captivates you as you clutch your seat belt seats in your DeLorean.  It remains one of the most original movie plots ever written, in my opinion.  At their most dramatic moments, these movies have you at the edge of your seat, face gravitating to the screen.  Even with all the time travel, space time continuum talk, it doesn't take away from the adventure for people who don't like science jargon.  (I personally like time travel theory, but that's just me.)  The characters aren't just likable; they are absolutely adored!  This isn't a hyperbole: these characters might be one of the top 5 most lovable characters in the history of film.  I'm talking about everyone from George McFly, to Goldie Wilson, to Jennifer, to even Biff.  Sure, Biff is a bully, but we all still get a kick out of him when he gets common sayings wrong.  Then there is Marty and Doc, a legendary duo that has very few rivals.  Their friendship is sincere, their bond is unbreakable and you have to really be the most evil person in history to root against them.  The actors who play them, Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd, were casted perfectly.  No other actors could have played Marty and Doc.  Nobody!  This movie should never, under any circumstance, be remade.  This whole universe was written and directed by the amazing Robert Zemeckis.  (Writing credits go to Bob Gale as well.)

Robert Zemeckis doesn't get talked a lot when discussing great directors, and that's a shame.  Put his resume up against anyone and Robby Z can hold his own.  Besides BTTF, Zemeckis has also directed Who Framed Rodger Rabbit?, Forrest Gump, Cast Away, and a whole bunch of solid films.  The guy knows what he's doing behind the camera.  The Walk recently came out, and although it hasn't has a lot of buzz at the box office, the reviews are solid.  Some have said Oscar-worthy; who knows?  What I do know is that the movies he makes are generally really good movies, and although his directing style isn't as pronounced as, say, Quentin Tarantino, when you see a Robert Zemeckis film, you know it's a Robert Zemeckis film.  So I've established he's a good writer/director/producer.  But can we add /prophet to his title.  See, in Back to the Future Part II Doc takes Marty and Jennifer to the future so that they can get Marty's son out of trouble.  The date they travel to is October 21, 2015.  (Quick tangent: for the last couple of years people on social media have been putting false dates that Marty and Doc traveled to.  It happened at least 4 times.  It got me way more upset then it should have, but whatever.  This is not a false alarm.  This is the date.)  Part II was made in 1989, four years before I was born and 26 years before this year.  Zemeckis and Gale had no idea what the future would look like, so they took a shot in the dark.

A couple of things stood out from their version of 2015.  First, the kids there were their pants inside out.  I'm doing that as we speak so we'll call that a hit.  Power laces?  I know people are making them, but they're not out yet.  No flying cars, though considering how many bad drivers there are, I'm gonna chalk this up as a good thing.  Jaws 19 isn't out yet, but I'll give the movie credit for coming up with face to face video chat.  The big thing that's missing: the hovercraft!  Aside from the power laces, the only thing I really wanted from 2015 was a hovercraft.  Yeah, I don't know how to skateboard, but that shouldn't stop me from achieving my goals.  So far, looks like Robert Zemeckis' batting average isn't very high.  But here's one way he can finally achieve that /prophet title: the Chicago Cubs have to win, nay, sweep the World Series.  It can happen still.

Today the Cubs play Game 4 against the Mets down 3-0 in the NLCS.  A daunting task but if the Cubbies rip off 4 in a row they are in the World Series.  I like the Mets.  Daniel Murphy has been an absolute stud in the playoffs.  Yoenis Cespedes is still my dude.  If they end up winning it all I'll be really happy for them.  (In fact, I have no problem with any of these remaining 4 teams winning the chip.  Yes, even you KC.)  But I gotta pull for the Cubs here, both for Zemeckis' sake and my wallet's sake.  I know the odds don't look favorable and teams rarely don't come back from 3-0.  But I recall one team that did.  They named rhymed with Loston Led Lox and they had not one a World Series in 86 years.  They were down against the Yankees in the ALCS and things looked bleak.  But they beat the curse and ended up winning the World Series.  You know who else hasn't won a World Series in a long ass time?  The Cubbies!  The last time they won the chip was 1908.  I don't think I know anyone who knows anyone who was alive when that happened.  But the thing about fate is that it doesn't make any sense.  If Zemeckis is right then his name will be sung in Chicago.  They might erect a statue or even name a cocktail after him.  If he's wrong, no biggie.  He's still the guy who made the Back to the Future trilogy.

El Guapo is a talented blogger on the rise, regarded by many as a cross between Bill Simmons and Socrates.  Through real life experience and expertise in many facets of life, the Guaps aims to provide readers with unique takes that will enhance the way they think and live.  Keep up with his main blog Infinite Wisdom From El Guapo’s Brain.  NBA fans have to place to go with his basketball blog, Infinite Wisdomon the NBA.  Like him on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter and Instagram.  Leave comments in the section below.  Stay Guapo out there!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Jay Cutler: American Role Model

The following is an exclusive interview I had with Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler.  On Monday night we met in an abandoned parking lot in Inglewood for reasons Cutler would not disclose.  I told him we could have met at my apartment or a local Denny's but he insisted.  We talked about football, important issues, his wife, and his position as a role model.  

El Guapo: Well, Jay.  Let me just start off by saying thank you for meeting with me.  I know you are a busy guy, but it means a lot that you would take the time to talk to me.

Jay Cutler: No problem.  I wasn't doing anything anyway.  The hotel I'm staying at doesn't have a lot of channels, so...

EG: Right, I get that...

JC: Plus, my agent said you've been emailing him every day for the last month...

EG: Well, I'm persistent...

JC: Not sure how you even got his contact number...

EG:... and resourceful...

JC: ... and in the last email you said that for everyday you don't hear back, a Bears fan dies.

EG: Well, my words were twisted there.  See there it sounds like I made a threat, when in reality...

JC: Honestly, I don't give a shit.  Fuck Bears fans.

EG: Snap, crackle, pop!

JC: Yeah, well, they've never really shown me love.  That kind of sucks.

EG: I feel you.  I've always said you're the most under appreciated QB in the league.

JC: Thank you, Del Taco.

EG: It's E... it's El Guapo... but that's fine too.

Jay Cutler shrugs.

EG: I shouldn't really be talking to you.  Especially after yesterday.

JC: What happened yesterday?

EG: You kidding me?  You guys beat my Raiders!

JC: Oh.  That's who we played?  I honestly never know.  I just care who's on my team and who's not on my team.  It simplifies things for me.  Knowing the names of 32 NFL teams is a lot more work than it's worth.

EG: I guess, but the name of the team is on the jersey.  You could just read it.  It's not like you have to memorize it or anything.  I would understand if the jerseys literally just had a number, but it has a name and a logo.  You have to at least recognize the logo, right?

Jay Cutler shrugs again.

EG: You're doing great by the way.  Speaking of yesterday's game, you threw an interception.  It seems to happen a lot with you.  Bears fans certainly don't like it.  I have you on my fantasy team as my QB2, I don't like it.  Yesterday I did like it, but any other day I don't.  How does it feel when you throw an INT or even worse, a pick 6?

JC: It feels a lot like buying 1% milk.  I don't really mind.  The way I cope is I usually just tell myself that I made a completion to Sherman or Revis, or whoever I just threw it to.  Then I go back to the bench, drink some Gatorade, hang out with teammates, until I'm called back to the field.  Then I just see where it goes.  If I throw another interception, I throw another interception.

EG: ... So what I'm internalizing is that you have a positive outlook on life?

JC: Most definitely.  Look, I get paid millions of dollars to play catch.  Sometimes with my team and the other team.  Chicago is kind of a cool city.  I found $20 on the floor on the way over here.  Plus, have you seen what my wife looks like?  Have you seen her?  (Singing) I'm waaaay up, I feel blessed.

EG: Oh, I have definitely seen her.  I am Googling her as we speak...

I'm looking at photos of Kristin Cavallari.

EG: Oh yeah.  She is... Mhmm... I bet you don't fumble those!

JC: Come on.

EG: Sorry, I got a little carried away.

JC: I mean, that's my wife, and I don't even know what that means...

EG: I said I was sorry.

At this point it gets quiet for about three and a half minutes.  Jay Cutler checks his phone a couple of times.

EG: So what you looking at?

JC: Fantasy football.  Checking my standings.

EG: No way!  You do fantasy?  I have you on my team as my QB2.

JC: Yeah, you mentioned that.  Who's your starter?

EG: Drew Brees.  I mean he had a hell of a game yesterday.  I was kind of worried last week because of the injury.  I ended up starting Blake Bortles because you were out too.

JC: Yikes!  You lose?

EG: What you think?  And I didn't start Alfred Blue and he got something like 26 fan points.  I thought this way gonna be my year.  Who you got on your team?

JC: Well, I got myself.

We both chuckle.

EG: So who was your first round pick?

JC: Uh... me.  And then I auto picked the rest of the way.  So I'm not sure who is on my team.

EG: So I'm guessing you're in last place.

JC: First, actually.  4-0.

EG: Wait, how?!  I carefully and meticulously researched my players by reading a magazine and watching Hard Knocks and I'm sitting at 2-2.  You drafted yourself in the first round and auto picked the rest and you're undefeated?  How in the world is that possible?

Jay Cutler lights a cigarette.  He sticks it in the side of his mouth, not really inhaling.  The cigarette is just an extension of his existence.

JC: I guess I'm just naturally talented at life.  I once showed up an hour late to my SAT, got nearly a perfect score.  I've never lost at Bingo.  When I went to Vanderbilt...

EG: Oh, the uh... Commodores? Right?

JC: Who fucking knows?  But when I went there I had a lot of free time on my hands.  I sometimes went to practice.  Girls would come by my place and, you know.  I'd Cut them up.

EG: Clever.

JC: I decided at some point to try out for the university play.  Why not?  Never acted before.  Tried out for Raisin In the Sun.  Got the part of Walt.

EG: But you're not black...

JC: No.  I'm Jay Cutler.

EG: So you played the lead black character in a university play with no acting experience and played football?

Jay nods.

EG: Sounds like college was fun for you.

JC: Big time!  My friends used to say, "J!" My friends called me "J"...

EG: Jay is your name.

JC: No, not Jay. "J".

I stare blankly.

JC: Like, the letter.  That was my nickname.

EG: Sounds the same though.  Why would that be your nickname?  Let's just move on.  Now, Martellus Bennet recently compared you to Jesus Christ.  What are your thoughts on that?  I mean, your initials match.  Coincidence?

Jay laughs.

JC: He also compared me to Keanu Reeves.  Both are high praise.  Did you ever see the Matrix?  So fucking awesome!

EG: Don't get me started on that!  I wrote an entire blog about the movie.  You should read it!

JC: I don't like reading.  It's not fun.  But I do like watching movies and TV.  I started watching Empire and I realized that it's a lot like the NFC North.  See Aaron Rodgers is like Luscious Lyon.  We are all trying to take his spot.  Matthew Stafford is like Andre.  Teddy Bridgewater is like Hakeem.  I'm like Jamal.

EG: Interesting.  I've never though of it that way.  Why is Matthew like Andre?

JC: No talent.  Shots fired!  Actually, I'm changing my pick.  I'm like Cookie.  No, wait.  I'm Jamal.

EG: Final answer.

JC: Jamal.

EG: Why Jamal?

JC: Because Jamal takes over the Empire.  Just like I'll eventually take over the NFC North.

EG: I think I'd be Bunkie.

JC: Why would you be Bunkie?  Doesn't he die in the first episode?

EG: I don't know.  I just wanted to be a part of this metaphor.

Jay Cutler shrugs yet again.

EG: I know you're a busy but just one more topic.  I've told people before that I look up to you as a role model.  I mean, your life is great.  You're basically Tom Brady without the talent or cheating.  Or rings.  You have this nonchalant approach to life that I just find inspiring.  Should people be more like Jay Cutler?

JC: Short answer: yes.  The Cutler way of life is hard to master, but once you do, everything around you takes care of itself.  I could go home and cry in the shower like Andre after I throw an interception.  I could.  But you know what I do instead?  I go home, Cut up my wife...

EG: Brilliant... Again...

JC: and light a cigarette.  Life is so much better when you give zero fucks.  I got mail saying I had jury duty last winter.  Do you think I showed up?

EG: No?

JC: Hell no!  Well, not initially.  It's a long story I won't get into.  But do you know that song "Don't Worry Be Happy"?

I nod.

JC: That's the soundtrack to my life.  I play that before games, after games, on the way to the bank, during the baby-making process.  I even played it after I accidentally ran over my neighbor's cat.

EG: You know, I had a high opinion of you coming into this interview.  I never thought that opinion would change.  But after hearing everything you've said, so apologetically I might add, the only thing left to say is that you're the greatest human being to ever grace the gridiron.

JC: Thank you.  I appreciate that.

EG: We should go eat together sometime.  Maybe bring Kristen too?  Make it a double date?

Jay Cutler shakes his head.

EG: Well, thank you anyway for stopping by.

El Guapo is a talented blogger on the rise, regarded by many as a cross between Bill Simmons and Socrates.  Through real life experience and expertise in many facets of life, the Guaps aims to provide readers with unique takes that will enhance the way they think and live.  Keep up with his main blog Infinite Wisdom From El Guapo’sBrain.  NBA fans have to place to go with his basketball blog, Infinite Wisdomon the NBA.  Like him on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter and Instagram.  Leave comments in the section below.  Stay Guapo out there!