Rocky, The Terminator, Dolph And A Wacky Little Guy Named Jong Il

August 14, 2010

So, from what I understand, the action flick The Expendables arrives in theaters this weekend. I know because I’ve been suckered into the commercial on numerous occasions the past few weeks at the first notes of Guns ‘N Roses’ Paradise City.

(I’ve often wondered if it is true that the titular city is a reference to Indianapolis, Indiana)

The first time I saw a commercial, I was surprised as it was made to appear that – aside from bringing together every action star dating back to Johnny Weismuller – the movie featured the testosterone-laden trio of Arnold Schwarzeneggar, Sylvester Stallone, and Bruce Willis.

Assuming that the movie industry is populated by the same jet-fuel geniuses that burned down the music industry, I couldn’t help but picture someone at the studio giddily punching all of the grosses from all of the films by the three into a calculator and, with great glee, declaring, “If we cast them all, we’ll make this much!”

Of course, each time I have seen the commercial since, the Schwarzeneggar/Stallone/Willis triumvirate seems to be less touted and, from what I’ve read, it’s Stallone’s flick with the other two making mere cameos.

I have no plans to see The Expendables, though. I will staunchly argue that the original Rocky was an amazingly inspired bit of filmmaking and numbers II and III retain a certain charm rooted in childhood, but I don’t think I’ve seen one of Stallone’s movies in the theater since Cobra.

(an, admittedly, regrettable decision)

But the release of The Expendables made me realize that the US is missing an opportunity to calm tensions with North Korea.

Reportedly, Kim Jong Il is movie buff and an action movie enthusiast.

And he craves attention.

We call on the aging action stars of the world for a diplomatic mission thus giving them something to do that will still keep them in the limelight.

We send Stallone, Lundgren, Van Damme, Seagal, and whoever else is willing to go to North Korea to meet with Kim Jong Il. Dear Leader would undoubtedly be willing to take a meeting with the stars of the movies he loves.

Essentially, we appeal to the egos of the action stars to appeal to the starstruck fandom of a daffy little dictator for a little time out on shenanigans.

A shot to hang with Rambo and Ivan Drago, knowing that the images and stories would be beamed around the world, would scratch Jong Il right where he itches.

He so wants to be a rock star.

He so wants to be cool.

Kim agrees to stop dabbling in nuclear rocket projects and get some sandwiches to his people and Schwarzeneggar and friends agree to spend some time being his buddy – taking him to movie premieres or for walks on the beach, going clubbing, or hitting the links.

We turn the whole thing into a reality show and the ratings go through the roof.

Everybody wins.

In the meantime, here are four songs with heroic implications…

David Bowie – Heroes
from The Singles Collection 1969-1993

It’s classic David Bowie. What more could there really be to say?

The Kinks – Celluloid Heroes
from Everybody’s In Show-Biz

Of course, there’s the downside to fame and notoriety which The Kinks capture wonderfully in the melancholic, wistful Ray Davies-penned Celluloid Heroes.

Foo Fighters – My Hero
from The Colour And The Shape

Sure, I understand the importance of Nirvana as agents of change in the musical landscape, but I’m considerably more likely to pull up something by Dave Grohl’s Foo Fighters especially if it’s from 1997’s stellar The Colour And The Shape.

Kiss – A World Without Heroes
from Music From “The Elder”

Aside from a handful of songs, I’ve never been a Kiss fan, but I do find A World Without Heroes to be compelling.

(probably as it sounds so out of place compared to the band’s catalog)

In a bid to reverse declining album sales and gain some artistic credibility, Kiss reunited with producer Bob Ezrin, who was coming off of the massive success of Pink Floyd’s The Wall, for a record that was intended to be a soundtrack to a movie that was never made.

Though it did garner some positive reviews, the album baffled long-time fans and bombed. The sparse, spacey A World Without Heroes is atmospheric, but it’s not surprising that it wasn’t embraced by the group’s fans.

I recall seeing Kiss perform the downbeat song along with a couple others from Music From “The Elder” on the late-night comedy show Fridays not long after the album’s release.

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Let’s Have John Madden Make Kim Jong Il An Offer He Can’t Refuse

May 27, 2009

So, Kim Jong Il is engaging in shenanigans again. I can’t help but think that it’s a damned shame that there’s the whole threat of an isolated, paranoid, totalitarian regime possessing nuclear toys overshadowing the amazing comedic potential of the little fellow.

The crazy hair, the diminutive stature, the dubious stylistic decisions – Dear Leader is a craze waiting to happen. With the proper marketing campaign, there wouldn’t be a car in this country without a facsimile of him hanging from the rear view mirror or a puppy without a Kim Jong Il chew toy.

Unfortunately, there is that whole nuclear weapon thing.

Kim actually is not so dissimilar from an icon in the American sports world – Al Davis.

Davis, of course, is the owner of the Oakland Raiders, once one of the premier franchises in the National Football League; now, the organization is an isolated, paranoid, totalitarian regime.

Like Kim, Al has crazy hair, though he opts for an oily, slicked-back coif as opposed to Kim’s towering wall of hair.

Sartorially speaking, Al has his infamous white jumpsuit and granny glasses on a chain. Kim, too, also favors jumpsuits, albeit of a more drab variety, and shades.

Both are also obsessed with the vertical game – in Kim’s case, its intercontinental rocketry; for Al, its rocket-armed quarterbacks and track-star wideouts.

Al even once had a quarterback nicknamed The Mad Bomber.

(I must consult with my intelligence expert – don’t laugh, I have one – and I hope to find that Kim has a rocket expert nicknamed Darryl Lamonica)

Now, as both North Korea and the Oakland Raiders are failed, rogue states, isn’t it possible that the solution to the angst caused by both men is connected to the uncanny similarities between this dynamic, diminutive duo?

Before he became a video game inventor, John Madden proved adroit at working with Al, managing to coach the Raiders to a Super Bowl win. Madden is now retired.

Bring him into the mix, have him broker some kind of treaty between the two figureheads. Maybe it’s as simple as having Kim own the Raiders and Al lead North Korea.

Both would still receive the attention they so desperately crave.

Al’s good at rattling the cages of the powers that be and thumbing his nose at popular opinion. Kim has managed to drive an entire country into despair and destitution.

(ask any of the demented, psych hospital escapees that make up Raider Nation if that doesn’t sound familiar)

Maybe the two are too alike. Maybe the result of a swap would be status quo.

But consider the hilarity as draft expert Mel Kiper, Jr. bursts a blood vessel in his eye as he goes all apoplectic if Kim uses the sixth pick in next year’s talent hunt to select some unknown receiver from Southern Idaho State named Ray Ray Gorgonzola simply because he ran a 4.22 40 at the Combine

Tell me that wouldn’t be preferable to where things stand now.

Kim and Al might not have the market cornered on inexplicable behavior, but, when it comes to crazy, they certainly have the makings of a good cartel. So, here are a few songs for them…

Francis Dunnery – Crazy Is A Pitstop
from Let’s Go Do What Happens

I posted a track from Dunnery’s solo debut, Fearless, awhile back. This trippy little number comes from his second album and both are worth seeking out – very talented fellow.

Crazy might, indeed, be a pit stop, but it seems like an awful lot of folks treat it as a parking lot.

Nazareth – Crazy (A Suitable Case For Treatment)
from Heavy Metal soundtrack

As a teenager, Heavy Metal was among the favorites for movie rentals with me and my friends. The movie’s soundtrack was far more diverse than its title implied, ranging from Devo and Stevie Nicks to Donald Fagen and Blue Oyster Cult.

As for Nazareth, my best friend in our neighborhood as a kid had an older brother who we all held in awe. He had sideburns, sunglasses and a Camaro. And usually blaring from that Camaro was Nazareth’s Hair Of The Dog (on eight track, no less).

Paul Davis – I Go Crazy
from Singer of Songs: Teller of Tales

If Gordon Lightfoot’s The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald is the light rock Stairway To Heaven of the ’70s, then I Go Crazy is…what? I do remember when this was a hit in ’77 and it was inescapable. It seemed to always be playing over the loudspeakers at our town’s public pool that summer (and on the radio of our bus returning from swim meets).

Bob Marley & The Wailers- Crazy Baldhead
from Rastaman Vibration

To Rastifarians, a baldhead is someone without dreadlocks, a non-believer. I have no idea what Kim Jong Il or Al Davis believe and, whatever it is, it’s likely mentally inscrutable to the sane.

However, I have no doubt that the two could benefit from throwing on some Bob Marley albums and blazing away. As hilarious as Harold And& Kumar Go To White Castle was, someone needs to draft Kim & Al Make A Taco Bell Run. It simply must be done.