Indiana Jones ruined my life.
There I was, my little finger claws clutching onto the carpet in front of the hulking television in my mother’s parlour, watching this charming unshaven man win the hearts and minds of the students in his class during the week and then sailing off on adventures to recover lost and stolen ancient artifacts. Indiana was my kind of hero. He didn’t win every fight. He got his ass handed to him several times, yet, he always made it out by his wits, generally with a attractive young lady (who mysteriously disappeared at the start of the following film, expect in The Last Crusade, when she fell to her Nazi sympathizing death after leaping after the Holy Grail).
Last year I did a series of blogs regarding the numerous characters in the films of my youth that lead me to believe that life might end up slightly different than it is now for me. That’s right. No whips, no fedoras, no crazed Nazis or Hindu Fanatics.
No Belloc (the best bad guy in 20 years).
Now it’s just bartending and Williamsburg, long nights at Cyn Lounge talking to the Bartender’s Bartender (who knows more, apparently), and the only exotic lands I get to see these days is The Wreck Room in Bushwick.
It begs the questions: what other films must have persuaded me that joining the league of the Service Industry would be some kind of gloating adventure? What possibly could have tricked me into the land of the “Golden Handcuffs” (a term coined because of the ease of the fast ‘that day’ cash bartending provides. Direct Deposit, what the fuck is that? How ‘bout direct to my wallet…)
So knocking back a bottle of wine to the head at the Subway Bar the other night, my mind drifted off in a tannin haze of memory as I tried recall the finest Hollywood jaunts celebrating the elaborate and often horrid profession of bartending for a living. And I asked myself: Who is to blame?
Here are some of the usual suspects that could have convinced my formative mind that wasting away pacing back and forth on greasy bar mats was the way to go:
You knew this would be on the list.
Let’s paint the picture.
It’s 1988. You’re a cocky Tom Cruise (is there ever another kind?) fresh from the United States Army wanting to take on the Big Apple in business, but because of the ‘tough economic times’ has to become a bartender to make ends meet.
The beginning sequence of young Flanagan (Cruise) being trained by the Aussie-accented, tussled haired, sarcasm-filled, all knowing barkeep played by Brian Brown is the most accurate depictions of the ravenous thirsting anger a bar crowd resembles in those early fledgling moments of becoming a bartender and learning what the job really is about: the people. After that however, the rest is just a painful example of Tom Cruise’s waist swaying, strange monkey-grinning face looking all too cool behind the bar somewhere in Jamaica, trying to put the moves on Elizabeth Shue, a dainty patron who succumbs to the greatest lie most other young women patron’s do: that their bartender is somehow a person of charm and sexual interest, not just a degenerate failure who somehow stumbled into the profession by fluke and circumstance.
There is no gayer movie than Roadhouse. I don’t know how anyone could have confused Patrick Swayze’s bouncer-guru tale as anything but pure homoerotic fodder for future bloggers. Yes, it’s about rough and tumble honky-tonks down south. Yes, it’s about hard drinking and blondes with eighties tits (there’s a difference) slinking around with teased hair and tight skirts. But there are more queer-oriented references in this two-hour romp than Priscilla: Queen Of The Desert.
Here’s a Roadhouse parlour game I want you and your friends to try some cold and dark winter night. First, grab a whole bunch of whiskey; drink 3 shots immediately to loosen up. Good, now get out a pen and paper, roll up a spliff, and press play on your VCR (sorry, stuck back in 1989).
The game is simple. Every time there’s some kind of gay allusion (such as Swayze himself, men telling each other they are going to “take that ass”, or yes, the brazen “I’ve had guys like in prison”) make a little check on your gay Geiger counter. If it’s not the Kelly Lynch love interest who looks like a total post-op tranny to Dalton character (Swayze) repeatedly having men tell him “I thought you’d be bigger”, Roadhouse is filled to the brim with homosexual imagery trying to disguise itself as a hardcore action movie. There’s even a monster truck somewhere in the film. And there’s nothing gayer than a fat lumberjack in overalls driving a monster truck to Ben Gazzara’s party mansion. Bear much?
We did this experiment one day and in the first 10 minutes had already 17 hits on the gay meter. You try it, and let me know how many you catch during the full feature length (not a dirty pun, I promise).
This goes out to anyone who dated me during my own barfly days (particularly between the years 2008 and 2011). Apparently, I would drink until I couldn’t stand up, write extremely dramatic stories and poems at the local dive bars till the wee hours of morning, all the while forcing any woman that went home with me to watch this fantastic tale of drinking and writing starring Mickey Rourke as Charles Bukowski’s literary alter ego Henry Chinanski and a ghostly Faye Dunaway plays a trashed out nihilistic lady drunk.
So as the drunken legend goes, I would demand these poor women to watch this sad and depressing tale (I think it’s awesome) on my shitty little TV/VCR (Barfly is only available on tape). Since I’ve watched the film about 75 times, I would pass out, leaving a very unsatisfied and frustrated women to view this deranged boozer narrative about a local drunk whose only goal through the entire film is drink as much as possible and fight the cocky bartender in the back alleyway (wonderfully played by Frank Stallone, yes, that Stallone family).
Now I’ve cleaned up most of my act (and stopped forcing this film on unsuspecting dating partners) and those dark barfly days are now memory, I think fondly to those debauched evenings, and let this entry be a small and meaningful apology to the myriad of women who had to not only watch Barfly but sleep next to one, thoroughly unsatisfied.
The Martini Shot is a film industry term for the final shot in a production, and signifying party time for the crew to celebrate. There is usualy a party, where the cast and crew gather together and everyone gets around to what is loosely refered to as their "Wrap Party Fuck", the person that have been waiting for the production to conclude and have passionless sex with. The film world is a shallow and dirty world. And these are the films that have contributed to my bartending fantasies. Even if that's what they were, fantasies.
THANKS TOM, YOU MADE ME WANT TO WEAR BLACK BUTTON UPS AND QUAFF MY HAIR!
SWAYZE. JESUS. SWEATY, YOGA FRIENDLY, INTO TRANNIES, RIPING OUT THROATS. THE 80'S WERE CRAZY, MAN!
THIS GOES OUT TO ALL MY FAYE DUNAWAYS!