Hellloooooooo everybody. I know every dork with a blog from Boston to Bosnia has attemped a mailbag at some point. Some became huge, some were so brief they were almost a mirage. Regardless, I felt like giving it a whirl.
Like I mentioned in my blog announcing the mailbag, "You can ask about any topic. Romantic advice. 1970s film. Guy Lafleur. Vices. First third of "The Simpsons". Vacations. Whatever. But if it's fucking stupid, it won't get used. Just keep that in mind." I might add, keep them short.
I not only got a good amount of questions pretty quick, but a very nice mix of quality ones. So let's get this bitch fired up...
(Quick note: there are italics and bolding issues on blogging dashboard so there are inconsistencies in the blog.)
You and the boys rock. There's nothing I look forward to in the week more than Monday and Thursday mornings. What's some random life advice you've gotten that has helped you or what advice do you wish you had gotten in say your early 20s? I know it's a boring and recycled question but I think your perspective would be super interesting.
Hope to get an answer! Keep up all the hard work.
A good time to point out that punctuation and form matter. Jon here knows how to properly write a letter and didn't send a 317-word sentence. That counts. And he's sharp enough to recognize I'm a weirdo and might have an interesting perspective to offer. Also, the stroke-offs never hurt.
There's not one piece of life advice I look back at and think "shit, that helped" and, frankly, I don't remember any non-generic thing that really stuck with me. (Of course, I'm closer to 50 than 40 and have spilled more bud than you smoked so I could've been given the meaning of the life in my mid-20s and just totally fucking forgot it.) But there is one piece of advice that I didn't listen to and I really regret that I didn't.
Before I left home for STATE, my old man suggested that I keep a journal of my time there. Now, I had no history of writing save for one, three-page high school paper that kicked ass...
and an English assignment that ended up in the school paper...
I never spoke of any writerly desires like many new college students do (ironically, most of those kids suck at writing lol). He correctly thought it would be a good idea. But I foolishly thought "journal = diary" instead of "journal = incubator for possible novel/screenplay some day". By not doing so, I shudder to think what I could've wrung from it given what transpired over the next 4.5 years. I know most folks think their college experience was just "the best" (and that's how it should be). Because boy, I seen some shit I'd really wish I'd written down. But the fact is, you just won't remember it all.
Now as for what advice I wish I'd gotten in my early 20s? I wish somebody said to me
as I say to young hoppers now and depress the fuck out of them, "you're going to blink and you're going to be in your mid-40s". And I'm dead serious. I compare time to a roller coaster. The slow chugga-chugga-chugga as you're going up that first, steepest hill is the first 22-25 years of your life. Once you graduate college/snag your first 'real job'? That's you bombing down that first major hill. It's fun as shit but boy the time is flying. All the subsequent hills after are the various ups (partying/sex in 20s, weddings, kids) and downs (deaths, heartbreaks, weddings, kids) that life throws at you. And all of it fucking goes by in the blink of an eye.
I was actually shocked at how quick the first 20 years after college flew by. Then you realize just how arbitrary time actually is. One year just isn't a long time. Nobody told me I'd go from 20-something poon-hound to boring married guy essentially overnight. But that's how it's gonna play out. Consider yourself warned and plan accordingly.
Way back in the day? Hell yeah. Before busing, which was implemented in the mid-'70s, irreparably damaged Boston Public Schools and eventually killed off almost all of the HS hockey teams, South Boston High School and Charlestown High School had arguably the best hockey rivalry in the state. The two teams were made up of mostly talented, mostly 1st-, 2nd-, and 3rd-generation Irish-Americans with snarl and attitude that essentially came from the same stock and used to ice some of the best players in Massachusetts (each neighborhood would send players to the NHL). Their contests were wildly entertaining and there were many more skirmishes in the crowd than in the game.
But because of the chaos of busing and school assignments that sent kids across the city to inferior schools (inferior because the city refused to upgrade schools that needed upgradging), kids were no longer assured of playing for their home neighborhood's HS team. So the more talented players among them who could afford to went to the more talented teams at Catholic schools like Don Bosco, Catholic Memorial, Malden Catholic, and Christopher Columbus. Or their families moved to suburbs with good teams and better opportunities. While the rivalry didn't die completely, it would never again reach the same levels as it did pre-busing. Southie and C'town still battled for city supremacy in the '80s and '90s but were no longer the powerhouses they once were. As Boston got more and more gentrified and thus produced fewer city HS hockey players, Southie High shut down its hockey team for good in 2009, a few years after Charlestown did the same.
My question is a short one....Pete Rose, in or out? Why?
Bill from Halifax
In. 1. 4256 hits won't get sniffed let alone broken. 2. No proof he did bet against his team then managed them to lose.
What’s up RA,
My question for you is, if you can’t stream movies and only had DVD’s—watch one, shelf one, throw one away:
Slapshot, Youngblood, Miracle
Easy as pie: Watch SLAP SHOT, shelf MIRACLE, throw away YOUNGBLOOD. Sorry to Rob Lowe. At least you're still a man rocket.
First off, huge fan of yours (and the pod of course). I’m a journalism student, Bruins fan, and movie nerd so I love all of your shit. Keep it coming my guy.
Question: With movie theaters declining recently and people talking about their possible demise altogether, can you recall your favorite experience you’ve had in a cinema over the years? Some movies are just a ton of fun to see in the theater (ex; Avengers opening night), its about the whole experience, as you know.
Thanks for keeping everyone entertained right now, too. Weird times.
Aw, man. Great question because it allows for so many answers. First, I gotta say that I out-and-out stopped going to the movies for awhile because the American movie-going public is, generally speaking, obnoxious, selfish, and was ruining what was once my second favorite solo activity. (By the way, there's nothing wrong with going to the movies by yourself. Once the movie starts, we're all alone anyways.) If you have to take out your cell-phone during a movie in an intentionally-darkened theater and, thus, ruining it for others, then don't fucking come.
But then I figured out that early week matinees are the way to go (especially Tuesdays, where prices are lower at some chains). There's generally nobody in there. And the only people talking are olds who have no fucking idea why John Travolta is back onscreen after the DIE HARD guy already killed him but they're fucking old so they earned it. Or I go to a theater more likely to have fellow cinephiles who respect the code (like Kendall Square in Cambridge) and aren't making Tik-Tok videos allowing them to do the Macarena in the Mos Eisley Cantina or some shit.
So where was I? Oh yeah, favorite experiences. I'll give them individual awards.
The "Most Collective Laughter By An Audience" Oscar goes to: THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY. Me and a few of my boys went to a jam-packed pre-release screening for the Farrelly Brothers classic. I still have yet to come close to hearing such uproarious, unanimous, riotous laughter as I did at that screening. Pounding the armrests. Seizure-like convulsions of laughing fits. People falling out of their chairs. Missing jokes because of laughter. It wasn't Saturday at the Apollo---it was Tuesday in the 'burbs. I went back after it opened to catch the jokes I missed as well as laugh my balls off again.
The "Most Mystified I Left A Theater But In A Good Way" Oscar goes to: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. I saw this right around my 8th birthday at the old Charles Cinema on Charles St. where that Whole Foods mall set-up is now. [SPOILER ALERT] After Darth Vader hits Luke with some Maury Povich drama, I remember not believing for a second on the ride home that Luke Skywalker was the son of the Darth Vader. He was the baddest bad guy ever! You can't fucking take his Force-chokin' ass word on anything! This went on for, oh, the next three years. Alas, at my 11th birthday party three years later at the old Assembly Square theater, it was proved that Darth did in fact have relations with Luke's unknown moms
and we would never meet her either because those godforsaken prequels never actually happened and were just a bad dream that coincidentally a lot of people had.
The "First Time I Heard Crying In The Theater" Oscar goes to: THE CHAMP. I saw this 1979 sports classic (actually a remake) with my aunt and her friend. [SPOILER ALERT] [SERIOUSLY, DON'T WATCH THIS UNLESS YOU WANT TO BLUBBER ALL OVER YOURSELF RIGHT NOW] At the end, when precocious son Ricky Schroeder is trying to wake dead boxer dad John Voight to no avail, the theater sounded like a cocaine convention with all of the sniffling. "Why's everyone crying?" my dumb 7-year-old self asked my aunt and friend. I would've just left me there after that question. But my aunt nicely explained, "Because he died". RA's Childhood Empathy: 0.4 Balls.
The "First Time I Cried In The Theater" Oscar goes to: GHOST. Bet you didn't see that one coming. And shit, neither did I. Yeah, the Swayze-Goldberg-Moore weeper is definitely wired to turn your face into a faulty sink. But in a lifetime of theater visits, not only did I never cry, I never came close (see above). And this ain't some hardo proclamation. I was just able to compartmentalize real from pretend pretty well. But a few months before GHOST came out, I went through a death in the family for the very first time. Immediate family. So I went and saw it with two of my girl friends (i.e. friends of mine who have vaginas, not ladies I was dating). [SPOILER ALERT] So when ghost Swayze shows up at the end to get proper closure with boys regular Demi and get one last smooch, I looked like Ricky Schroeder in the clip above. Sometimes, you just don't know you're in an emotionally-heightened state until ghost Swayze shows up then all bets are off. I don't think I've cried at a non-documentary since. #Hardooooo
The "First Time I Metaphorically Shit My Pants In The Theater" Oscar goes to: KING KONG (1976). I saw this remake of the ground-breaking 1933 masterpiece with Paulie Walnuts (my bro), family friend and neighborhood icon Jack the Barber, and his darling wife Chris. Although I was physically in a theater before this, KING KONG was the first time I registered being in one. And that was because of this...
I jumped right on Jack's lap when the man in the monkey suit busted through the trees and it stuck with me ever since. But it was an awesome moment because it showed me what movies were capable of. Been in love ever since.
Finally, "The Most Blown Away I've Ever Been In A Movie Theater" Oscar is a tie between GOODFELLAS and PULP FICTION. Both of these perfect movies left me looking like Cleetus the slack-jawed yokel at the end. Stunned by the former, mind-blown by the latter, I saw both of them two more times in the theater just to make sure I wasn't imagining that movies could be this fucking awesome. Both pictures were reminders of just how transcendent a trip to the cinema could be. Also, this is the answer to your question.
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