Did you totally blank on Father’s Day and forget to send something to your dad for like the 5th year in a row? You still have time to enter your dad in the Father’s Day Crown Royal velvet painting contest. See above for the details on how you can win a velvet painting that your dad will cherish more than you.
Below we have John BC. I took home a bottle of Crown Royal Wine Barrel Finished this weekend as his Father’s Day gift and you would’ve thought I got him a new John Deere backhoe. John BC went nuts over one of the coolest bottles you’ll ever see. And the giant purple bag that’s like a collector’s item in his world. He loves this whiskey.
Thanks to Crown for this opportunity for my dad. We’re so happy to be partnering with Crown Royal. It’s a highlight of dad’s summer.
It’s the fanciest bottle of liquor John BC has ever had in his house…so fancy:
Is it perfect? No. At it’s best it’s fun and light and has great characters. At it’s worst it’s downright corny and a shameless cheese-fest. But people who love it, love it.
And I love it.
Luc Besson had supposedly written it on and off since he was sixteen years old. The language Leeloo speaks is from an 800-ish word language that Besson created. So, yeah, on many levels, it’s ridiculous. But if you focus on questions «uhhhh…why is there a two dimensional border in a three dimensional space?» Instead of thinking «whoa that’s cool!» Then yeah, go watch Interstellar. But if you can turn off your brain and enjoy? Then The Fifth Element might just be your huckleberry.
There are lots and lots of positives. For example, the ultimate being is a woman . As it fucking should be! We can’t have enough of that in this era of toxic masculinity and institutional regression. I quote this movie allllll the time. When my 13 year old gets mouthy with me I chase him and grab him and pin him on the couch, and as he hoots and cackles, I hold him down and rub my nose into his ribcage. He howls and I ask, through gritted teeth:
And he makes that Chris Tucker voice as Ruby Rhod and hisses out his capitulation:
«You wanna play it soft. We’ll play it soft. You wanna play it hard. Let’s play it hard.»
And any time people ask me an open-ended question about what I am beginning with «Are you-» as in:
«Are you, like, a blogger?»
They always get the same answer.
«Negative, I am a meat popsicle.»
Rudely quoting movie lines to avoid small talk is an excellent way to alienate others, I’ve found. It’s also a super-simple way of finding your people.
Anyhoo, has it been a while since you’ve seen it? I haven’t watched it in probably two years, but let me just blast out, in no particular order, everything I can remember loving about this movie. (This is going to be super stream-of-consciousness, so apologies for the bouncing around and flagrant misquoting that’s about to happen.)
We open so fun. The light from the Mondoshawan ship blasts in and Professor Pacoli is like «Thank you, Aziz.» And Aziz looks at the pan he’s using to reflect light. Such a nice beat. That kid nails it.
The Priest in the beginning (credited as «Priest» and played by John Bennett who passed in 2005) has such a great face. When Professor Pacoli tosses aside the poisoned water? The Priest’s face is amazing.
When the Professer sees the Mondoshawans he asks if they’re GERMAN. And they sake their head no. I love how they move.
We also open with Luke fucking Perry. No, father! He stumbles and falls and shoots his Luger and the doors of the chamber close. I’m not a Luke Perry guy by any stretch, but the kitsch of it is bueno. I HATE how Luke Perry holds the pencil while he’s panic-sketching the Mondoshawans, but maybe that’s accurate? No idea. I’m a horrible artist, but I can draw a sick ziggurat.
I mean, is there a more noble race of anything in the history of space? Time not important. Only life important. Come on! FUCKING MVPS.
And Mondoshawans can knock you out by lighting up their eyes.
Leeloominaï Lekatariba Lamina-Tchaï Ekbat De Sebat. Leeloo. Mila Jovovich is radiant in this role. Bada Boom. Fifth Element. Supreme being. Me protect you. When she gets that head down, predatory look?
Multipass? I love that whole multipass scene. «Yeah, she knows it’s a multipass!» So fun.
Did you know that in Besson’s original imagining of Leeloo, she had black all around her eyes? Really changes the character’s feel.
That’s an image from the original screen test. The look never made the cut. And they vacilated about the color of Leeloo’s hair. When they settled on Mandarin orange, the dye job Jovovich got made her hair fall out, so they ended up making her a wig for half the shoot.
Tough to beat John McClane, but Korben Dallas is up there as one of the best Bruce Willis roles ever.
Korben’s Taxi? Come the fuck on.
Cigarettes of the future. Like 86% filter and a ration of four per day. Amazing.
Korben’s mom and her guilt trips?
Korben’s shitty apartment?
Jean-Baptiste-Emmanuel Zorg. Gary Oldman, you beautiful nutter. Dear god what an amazing bad guy.
When he opens the case at the end and the stones aren’t there? That fucking plastic, transluscent dome shield he wears? Fire One Million? If you want something done? DOITYOURSELF! NYAHGH! You know what I do like? A killer, a dyed-in the wool killer. Cold, clean thorough and methodical.
So so so many great lines.
DJ Ruby Rhod.
When I saw Chris Tucker pull this off and then saw him in Rush Hour I was like «this guy is going to have a huge career.» I have no idea why it never reached those heights. The character of Ruby Rhod is so magically well drawn. Some people find him irritating but I think that’s the point. How would our twenty-first century ears tolerate a twenty-third century performer? It feels right to me. Everything is faster and more inane. Lightning-quick repartee that has to pop-pop-POP! Constant sound effects. Everything has to be green. He buzzes people away. He signs autographs with a paintbrush while walking. He’s mic’d everywhere. He’s surrounded by sycophants. It’s a magical character. KORBEN MY MAN! I HAVE NO FIRE! Chris Tucker said the outfits from Jean-Paul Gaultier really helped him get into character, and that he imagined the character as something he created by thinking of Michael Jackson and Prince.
I love the partnership between Korben and Ruby Rhod.
I love when Ruby Rhod is on the table and Korben shoots the floor our from under him.
I love this spiky grenade thing.
I love when the deaf football player dude rolls him billiard balls instead of the gun.
I love the negotiation. I forget what the numbers were, but I love how Korben pops his head around and basically slays five guys.
I love that Mangalores won’t fight without a leader.
I love the ship Fhloston Paradise.
I love the name Fhloston Paradise.
I love the robot helmsman of Fhloston Paradise.
I love the Rastafarian airport workers who load cannisters of fuel and burn off space barnacle thingies.
I love that, oh just casually, SIR IAN HOLM is in this movie. Yawn. He’s only amazing in everything he does. Priest Vito Cornelius couldn’t have been played more masterfully by anyone else. When he whacks Korben on the head to steal the tickets and crosses himself first? Talking to the robot bartender? He’s unreal.
The cops in this movie are so badass and fucking disgusting.
The traffic in the city, with just hundreds of levels of craziness? And the fog at the bottom? I shudder to think of the atrocities in the fog.
Mr. Kim floating his food junk up to the side of your house?
The mail system?
And how good is Brion James as General Munro? He’s sooooooooo great in this. I love his relationship with Korben. I love the fourteen-foot long list of all Korben’s qualifications. I love the woman he brings to set up as Mrs. Korben Dallas. I love that he rigs the Gemini Croquettes contest. I love the name Gemini Croquettes. I love that he gets stuffed in the icebox. I can’t think of a role I didn’t enjoy Brion James in, but this was a great one. He passed away in 1999 at only 54 years old. Such a bummer.
And how about Charlie Creed Miles as David, Vito’s assistant?
And oh, let’s just toss in Christopher Fairbank as Mactilburgh. That’s not an embarrassment of riches or anything.
And what about Tiny Lister as President Lindberg? He was note perfect.
How about the Mondoshawan tomb key?
Or the Mondoshawan ship itself?
Or the elemental stones?
Or Diva Plavalaguna, played by Maïwenn?
The stones are in me? Her blue blood?
The fact that Mangalores can shapeshift?
Or Korben’s blaster?
Or the dude that always tries to rob him with the hallway hat? The mugger? GIMMETHECASH!
Did you know that was Mathieu Kassovitz? I had no idea!
If you’re a fan, there’s so much here to like. Yes, it plays like a story dreamed up by a teenage boy, and while that lends itself to being a bit all over the place, kind of campy and untethered, and immature, it also captures the sense of wonder that we lose as we age and become more reasonable.
The Fifth Element is pure, ridiculous fun, and even though I have the DVD and you can pretty much watch the whole thing for free on the internet, I’m excited to just take a couple of hours to enjoy something I’ve loved for a long time in its native habitat.
Wow, did I pick the wrong time to write this post.
Yesterday, Head Overlord and All Around Great Person Dustin Rowles wrote this piece about trying to reach people with whom we disagree, instead of just writing them off as racist/sexist/queerphobic/all of the above garbage. And he’s right. Because he’s right, I’m trying really hard to take that lesson to heart. To explain my position to people not in ways that show my ethical or intellectual superiority, but in a way that effectively conveys why I believe what I believe. That kind of arguing requires that you believe the person with whom you disagrees: 1) truly wants what is best for most people, and 2) will respect you enough to believe the same of you. That’s a really tough olive branch to extend to Trump supporters people with whom you have deep disagreements.
And as Dustin already stated, this default faith in people doesn’t mean we have to excuse racist behavior. It’s about trying to really reach someone by showing them a better way. It’s also why listening to this week’s This American Life made me want to say «Fuck that» and start lighting matches.
Ah-yep. See, Act One of the show this week was about Australian professor Eleanor Gordon-Smith, armed with a tape recorder, trying to convince men on the street that they should stop catcalling. It did not go well. Or more accurately, it went exactly as well as it could given our unwillingness to admit wrongdoing. A large portion of the Act was just a conversation Gordon-Smith had with one catcaller name Zac.
It’s an exercise in frustrating near-futility. Below are some of the more headache inducing quotes:
This is Zac and Mike. Zac and Mike shouted at me as I was walking across an alleyway.Eleanor Gordon-Smith: Do you want her to have fun, or are you just doing it for you? Zac: Oh, you know, I want her to get enjoyment out of what I yell at her. I don’t want her to be — in no way I want her to be offended, or feel in any way insecure about anything I say. It’s always — like, I’m never going to say anything rude or abusive. It’s always for the good of the night. Eleanor Gordon-Smith: OK. So it matters to you that she had fun? Zac: Yeah. 100%. Eleanor Gordon-Smith: OK. And do you, like, — do you count yourself as a good guy? Zac: Fucking oath, the best
Zac: I’ve done rude things, like I’ve run along to groups of girls on the street, and, like, complete random, and smacked one of their asses, like, one out of about 10. And all the rest are, like, fixated on, oh, my god, why was her ass slapped? And it’s enjoyable.
But it’s only enjoyable, he says, if the woman’s part of a group. He knows there’s a line you don’t cross. He’s just drawn it in a weird place.
Zac: Yes, if you single out a girl and slap their ass, it can be a little bit creepy. But I wouldn’t do that. I only slapped one ass of one group. I’m a one ass, one group guy. OK? Eleanor Gordon-Smith: Would you have slapped my ass if I’d been closer to you? Zac: If you were in a group, yes. If you’re on your own, no, I wouldn’t. Eleanor Gordon-Smith: Why not if I was on my own? Zac: It kind of takes away the fun of it. The fun of it is your ass — it’s not saying your ass is not hot, but your ass is the hottest of the group. Therefore, I’ve slapped it. Eleanor Gordon-Smith: Did anybody hit you, or yell at you, or tell you not to do that? Zac: No. No, no, no. I’m not doing anything wrong. I’m complimenting a girl’s ass in public. Eleanor Gordon-Smith: You think that smacking a girl’s ass in public isn’t doing anything wrong? Zac: No.
Eleanor Gordon-Smith: Can I tell you I found this stuff really depressing? Zac: Depressing? Eleanor Gordon-Smith: Yeah. Zac: Why? Eleanor Gordon-Smith: Because I feel like I’ve been walking around for days now believing that people want to be nice, and believing that it comes from a good place, and believing that guys are just trying to have fun and compliment people. But it’s real, real hard for me to keep believing that when I tell people how angry it makes us, I tell people how sad it makes us, I tell people about sexual violence statistics, and the reaction isn’t «that matters to me, and I’m going to stop.» The reaction is, «That doesn’t matter to me.» And it makes me feel like I’m walking around begging people to take people like me seriously, and they’re choosing their fun over how I feel. It makes me feel so small. Zac: I know. That’s fucked. That’s fucked. Well, that’s kind of just the selfishness of the world. People know how fucked up — how bad of things have happened to people. But it’s still not going to hinder the way that they are or anything like that. That’s just like human selfishness. Eleanor Gordon-Smith: But I don’t want to talk about humans and selfishness. I want to talk about you. Zac: OK. [LAUGHING] Eleanor Gordon-Smith: You going to stop? ‘Cause I’m not playing. Zac: Yes. I’m not going to slap any more asses. Compliments when I feel they are appropriate, and they’re not too suggestive in any way, they’re very lighthearted, I think I’m still going to do. Eleanor Gordon-Smith: Can you shake my hand and promise me you won’t slap any more asses? Zac: Yes, I can shake your hand. I can shake your hand. I am not going to slap any more asses.
After he left, I sat on the curb surrounded by fossilized bits of chewing gum and watched the traffic go by. This was the most success I had with any of the guys I talked to. It took 120 minutes of conversation with one man to get him to commit to not literally assaulting women.
At this point, I feel the need, as Professor Gordon-Smith did, to point out that Eleanor actually likes Zac. She thinks he’s funny and charming. Nice even. And she believes that he doesn’t want to harm women.
He’s just doing it anyway.
I could get into the way that all humans rationalize their own behavior, how societal constructed roles have conditioned men and women to behave, or how people who put their own sense of fun over the well-being of others are total assholes. But in an effort to take a higher road, I’m going to try to explain it in a way that respects Zac’s ethics.
I know you think of yourself as a good guy. I believe you even are a good guy. But I don’t know that you’re a good guy when you run up to me on the street and slap my ass. I don’t know that because I know literally nothing about you. If you truly want to put yourself in my position, or the position of any woman you might have «complimented» over the years, you need to tell me why I should feel good about you slapping my ass, and none of the answers can have anything to do with who you are. Should I feel good because you picked my ass as the best? Because I don’t know that. Maybe you picked me because I seem like the least likely to fight back. Or because I actually have the worst ass and you were trying to insult me. Should I feel OK with you shouting something at me because you’re a good guy? Because I don’t know you. I don’t know that you’re a good guy. You might want me to have a good night, but you also might be using my rejection of your compliment to harass me. I have no way of knowing. Do you want me to feel special because you «picked» me? Because I have no idea how many woman you’ve «picked.»
If you want to continue shouting at strangers on the street and physically assaulting them, then you need to figure out a way to actively communicate to them that you are a moral person whose ethics dictate that you pay us compliments, and assure us that we are completely safe despite the fact that a strange man just ran after us and shouted at us.
And if you can’t do that, then you need to knock it the fuck off.