A Night at the Roxbury opens with a shot of the Butabi brothers hitting the clubs, perfecting their dance moves and bopping their heads as they drive through the city, Haddaway’s “What Is Love” blasting in the background.
Life is good, and the boys are feeling great, when suddenly, Doug hits the passenger’s side window with his head, smashing it into a thousand pieces.
He looks at his brother, Steve, sheepishly.
“I broke the window again,” he says then.
That’s one of my all-time favourite movie lines, and also one that I quote frequently. Basically, every time I do something that is moderately stupid, but stupid enough to make me swear.
I love how that one word adds another dimension to the story. Obviously, they’ve been at it before, and obviously, they haven’t learned anything. The “again” is such a clever way to convey to the viewers that these two guys are the opposite of clever.
But it doesn’t matter. They’re so happy together.
This may come as a surprise to you, but Swedes love vanity plates. That’s the conclusion I’ve drawn in my twenty-plus years driving (and sitting) in Stockholm traffic. Every day, I find myself behind someone who wants to signal something to their fellow citizens.
Since the maximum number of characters is seven, there’s not a lot of room for witticism on the plate, and off the top of my head, I’d say the most common vanity plates are people’s first names. You know, the Monicas and the Anderses. And the Ömers.
There’s a HEJ close to where we live, and a VIRGO about as close but in the opposite direction from our house. I’ve seen a SORRY and an R2D2, too.
I’ve often thought what I’d like to have on my vanity plate. I’m too private a person to have my name on a plate – I don’t want others to know my name! I wouldn’t want to have Wife’s name on the plate, either.
What about our dog’s name? That would only be funny if he also drove the car, and while he’s smart enough to do it, he’s too short.
I’ve spent two days trying to remember a line from a movie. Or a TV show. I can’t remember which. I don’t actually remember the line, either, except for two things: It mentioned Klamath Falls, Oregon and that whoever had written the Swedish subtitles had misspelled Klamath to read Clamouth.
It was – most likely – a throwaway line in a – evidently – forgettable movie or TV show and it wouldn’t matter if not for the fact that I have never heard anyone mention Klamath Falls before. And I’ve been there!
One day when I got home from school Terry was sitting in our TV chair, his feet on our dog’s back, his eyes glued to a music video on TV. On the screen, there was a man in a white shirt that was unbuttoned halfway down and sleeves rolled up to reveal his biceps. It was Bruce Springsteen “Dancing in the Dark” with Monica from Friends, even though nobody knew it back then.
And Terry certainly didn’t care. He paused the video and waited for to give him my full attention as his often did. He was about to make an Annoucement, and I’d better be ready for it.
I sat down on the sofa and listened to Terry deliver his verdict.
“Man, he’s old,” Terry said. “He must be 35. Look at his hair. I bet that’s a piece.”
“Really?” I said.
“Just look at it,” Terry said.
Then he rewound the tape back to the beginning of the song, and sang along. Except for when he came to the line, “I wanna change my clothes, my hair, my face.”
Terry exchanged “my” to “your.” We both thought it was funny.
I don’t remember my twentieth birthday, and that’s not me trying to be funny and imply I had a wild birthday party. I most probably didn’t have a party at all.
It was a Tuesday, so I probably took the subway to the university, had a few classes before taking the subway back to my tiny apartment. In the afternoon, I’d guess I drove my Nissan Sunny to hockey practice and home, and then watched the Invisible Man on Sky Channel – and waited for Monsters of Rock to begin at 1am.
A good day, in other words.
Risto at 20.
A couple of weeks ago, I traveled to Finland for the first time in 350 days and went up to the newly renovated Helsinki Olympic Stadium and its tower to see the sights.
The view is fantastic – the best in town – regardless of whether you look out south, toward downtown or east toward the swimming pool that was the venue for the 1952 Olympic water sports.
My favourite is the one to the north, toward my home away from home, the Helsinki rink. Built in 1966, the second indoor rink in the country, it’s never really even needed a name. Except “The Rink”.
In the latest issue of Empire*, English director-writer-producer Edgar Wright invites his famous friends to tell about their magic movie moments, things they remember about having watched movies with others in a theatre.
Because, as we all know, that’s where the real magic happens.
In the magazine, there’s Steven Spielberg talking about the desert crossing in Lawrence of Arabia, and Chris Evans looking back at the time he saw Neo stop the bullets in Matrix, and Paul Rudd chuckling at his memory of seeing Indiana Jones shoot the swordsman in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Every time I tell Son and Daughter that they spend too much time staring at a screen, I get a guilty conscience because I can also see a photo of myself, aged about 3, standing 50cm from a bulky, black-and-white television set, staring it, completely mesmerized.
To be honest, even the first words I learned to read were words in a TV advertisement.
But that’s probably not a surprise, considering that when I was old enough to sit by myself, when my hard-working mother needed some me-time so she could concentrate on her studies, she tied me up in a chair with a scarf (so that I wouldn’t fall down) and put me in front of a TV. Especially when the Thunderbirds were on.
In short, I was raised on TV.
It’s not easy to keep ta bird’s eye view when you’re 15. If anything, it’s hard. Time doesn’t really matter, because, what’s another year – to quote the 1980 Eurovision Song Contest song I remember falling asleep to the night Johnny Logan won the whole thing – because so much can happen in a year. Ten years seems like an eternity and yet, you’re in such a hurry at the same time.
So, when I was fifteen, I found it hard to really see the consequences of my decisions, although, I have to say that had I sat down and thought about it, I probably would’ve understood it. I probably even did sit down and think about things, and thought I understood it, but didn’t.
Or, even if I did, I just didn’t get it. I didn’t feel it.
In my defense, life’s not a straight line and even if you do make good decisions at fifteen, you still have to make new decisions at twenty, and twenty-three, and fourty-two, and some of them may be polar opposites of the ones you made at fifteen.
When Liverpool won the Premier League championship a few weeks ago, the first thing I thought of was a Kevin Keegan interview I had taped up on my wall when I was 14. Dad had cut it out because he knew Keegan was my idol and because he liked the message the headline sent: “I always keep my promises”.
But that’s not all I keep.