by A.G. Hurt
Lifestyle column, lifestyle column. This writing all the time thing is quite a bit harder than Hollywood makes it out to be. Wait, I think I’ve got it.
This past Saturday wasn’t a particularly pleasant day for me. I had one of those hangovers which makes you wonder if maybe death wouldn’t be better than the current state of affairs. I hadn’t actually had that much to drink the night before, just an ill-advised combination of virtually every type of booze that was on hand. I didn’t make it to bed until around five.
It was a long effort to get out of bed, those precarious early moments of a hangover as you cautiously feel out just how miserable you’re going to be. It took an hour or so to finally make it out of bed and another half hour to make it through the normal morning routine with the hope that a shower would make me feel better. It didn’t. It wasn’t long before I found myself sprawled out on my couch, trying to concentrate on willing myself to stop feeling nauseous.
I’d intended to clean my kitchen, do laundry and read basically an entire book but it was becoming increasingly obvious that none of that was going to happen. What better to do, then, with a terrible hangover and no will to accomplish anything than to browse through my local cable options. As always, despite having hundreds upon hundreds of channels, very little was appealing. Oh, by the way, I guess I’ve got all kinds of spoilers here, but I don’t think that counts for films that are older than many people attending this university.
Eventually, I settled on Tango and Cash, the Sylvester Stallone/ Kurt Russell comedy-action cop movie from 1989. The plot has something to do with an overly dramatic, ethnically diverse criminal syndicate conspiring to set up the main characters and oh god it doesn’t even matter at all. Russell and Stallone wear wife beaters, punch people, shoot things, blow stuff up, all the standard action movie tropes. Let’s review the end of the film to put things in perspective: the duo breaks out of prison (yeah, they wind up in prison), kills everyone in their way and blows up a private airfield. What sort of punishment awaits (I swear I’m not making these names up) Detectives Ray Tango and Gabriel Cash after this flagrant disregard of dozens of laws? Why, reinstatement to the police force and a commendation, of course. This further proves that Hollywood police work is that much more awesome than the real thing.
Two hours down to a prototypical action movie. How was the hangover doing? Still terrible, so I struggled through making a cheap frozen pizza and settled back into the same action channel, now showing True Lies, the 1994 Arnold Schwarzenegger spy/action/comedy vehicle. In a film that could only exist before September 11th, Arnie fights offensively stereotypical Arab terrorists who have gotten their hands on a few nuclear devices. Again, rather than extensively explaining the plot, I’ll just say the filmmakers cast Tom Arnold as a spy and culminates with Arnold attacking an office building with a Harrier jet while a young Eliza Dushku clings to outside of the plane. I mean really, Tom Arnold as a spy? I could buy the plane thing but suspension of disbelief much? (Ed.- We realize most of you have never heard of Tom Arnold. This is probably for the best). Anyway, compared to Tango and Cash, True Lies is a masterpiece. It’s fairly well written, despite genre clichés, and the film is well paced and fun to watch.
Still firmly in the thrall of hangover misery, I got ready to settle into Hellboy next, the 2004 adaptation of Mike Mignola’s anti-hero demon crime fighter. Unfortunately, given that I could probably easily write a whole column about Hellboy, I fell asleep. By the time I woke up, the credits were rolling, and I switched to the food network for a few episodes of Restaurant Impossible, that Hell’s Kitchen knockoff, the one without Gordon Ramsey yelling at everyone. After a few episodes of that, I was actually starting to feel functional again but, to my dismay, that was right when my girlfriend got home, apparently horribly sick herself. And so the cycle began anew for the next day, although in that case there was less movie watching and more frantic medicine runs and making up for wasting a whole day Saturday. The lesson? Don’t mix your booze.