That One Guy: Black Hawk Down Edition

I got into a discussion with my boss the other day about the events depicted in the movie “Black Hawk Down.”  We’d been discussing how October 3rd through the 4th marked the twenty-year anniversary of the so-called “Battle of Mogadishu.”  Twenty years.  Mark Bowden’s book, upon which the movie was based, was published in 1999.   Ridley Scott’s incredible movie adaptation hit theaters in December of 2001.

I re-watched the movie on Netflix, and was reminded of what a damn fine piece of filmmaking the thing really is.   It reminds me of the classic 1977 film “A Bridge Too Far.”  That movie (itself an adaptation of a nonfiction book which chronicled the events of the failed Operation: Market-Garden during the Second World War) managed to weave several different storylines together into one wonderfully exciting and heartbreaking narrative.  And it did so with one of the largest casts of movie superstars at the time, including Gene Hackman, Robert Redford, Sean Connery, Anthony Hopkins, etc. without any one of them overshadowing the story.

Speaking of large casts…as I watched Black Hawk Down again, I was struck by the sheer number of people that I had forgotten about; yet there they were, happily running alongside Humvees and such.  I began Tweeting about it and quickly had to Tweet a second time,  a third time, then a fourth.  So I decided to blog it up and put all of the guys that I could recognize in one easy-to-browse location. We’ll begin with the obvious, big-name actors, then the so-called “character” guys who you’ve seen in a million different shows and movies…and then we’ll end up with the “WOW!!  HOLY SHIT!!” guys. (WARNING:  you may wear out your scroll wheel.)

Josh Hartnett, Eversmann

josh hartnettThis dude was supposed to blow up, wasn’t he?  Then he did Pearl Harbor, and…and…

Ewan McGregor, Grimes

wean mcgregorHe mainly made coffee then got knocked down.  I know he’s Obi-Wan now, but to me he’ll always be Mark Renton.

Tom Sizemore, McKnight

tom sizemoreThis was a couple of years before Tom went batshit crazy and did a bunch of drugs and lived with Heidi Fleiss.  Ah, the good ol’ days.

Eric Bana, Hoot

eric banaBefore he was the lamest Bruce Banner ever, he was a Delta hard-ass.  (Also?  My late uncle Myron was nicknamed ‘Hoot’ and he trained soldiers to jump out of airplanes.  Coincidence?)

Orlando Bloom, Blackburn

orlando bloomHe’s become a pretty big star thanks to the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’ franchises, but in this film he basically falls out of a helicopter.

Jeremy Piven, Wolcott

jeremy pivenYes, Ari Gold.  Hug it out, bitches.

Ron Eldard, Durant

ron eldardI’ve always enjoyed Ron’s work, from sitcoms with David Spade to the enjoyable role of Skank Martin in ‘Mystery Alaska’ to the alcoholic dad in ‘Super 8.’  The odd thing is that of all the big names in this movie, one of the most important roles (in my opinion) ends up in his capable hands.  Good stuff

Kim Coates, Wex

kim coatesNowadays we know him as Tig from ‘Sons of Anarchy’ but the dude has 120 credits to his name, according to IMDB.  Yes, you actually HAVE seen him in everything.

Ewen Bremner, Nelson

ewen bremnerSpud.  He will always be Spud.  I wonder whether it was Ewan McGregor, his ‘Trainspotting’ co-star or Josh Hartnett, his ‘Pearl Harbor’ co-star that got him this gig…

Sam Shepard, Garrison

sam shepardA veteran character actor who seems to specialize in authority figures, he’s also an accomplished playwright and stage performer.  But he’ll always be Chuck Yeager to me.  “Hey, Ridley…got any Beeman’s on ya?”

Ioan Gruffudd, Beales

ioan gruffuddYes, Mr. Fantastic.  Also, the “Is anyone out there?” lifeboat guy from Titanic.  In this movie, he has a seizure.  That’s about it, really.

Jason Isaacs, Steele

jason isaacsAlways plays an asshole.  Always.  Hooah?

William Fichtner, Sanderson

william fichtner

Yes, THAT guy.  The blind guy in ‘Contact.’  The shuttle pilot that wanted to shake the hand of the daughter something-something-Bruce Willis-something in ‘Armageddon.’  The guy in the bank at the beginning of ‘The Dark Knight.’  Yeah.  THAT guy.

Glenn Morshower, Matthews

glenn morshowerAlways plays a colonel or something.  Always.  CoD fans will remember him as the voice of the SatCom guy in Modern Warfare II.  He may actually be Jim Gaffigan from the future.

Richard Tyson, Busch

richard tysonThis guy has been a a ton of crap and ‘Kindergarten Cop’ where he played the bad dad.  Also, he’s been in lighter fare like ‘There’s Something About Mary.’  His hair in this particular movie was modeled on a 1977 Luke Skywalker poster or a He-Man action figure.

Gregory Sporleder, Galentine

gregory sporlederA very recognizable dude, he’s been in everything from a Sheryl Crow video to ‘The Rock’ where he appeared as one of the bad guys.

George Harris, Atto

george harrisOne of the few non-soldiers that has a speaking part.  You may remember him as Captain Katanga, the dude that basically SAVES INDY AND MARION RAVENWOOD WHEN NAZIS BOARD HIS SHIP!!!!   Yes, that’s him.  The swarthy tramp steamer captain from ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark.’

Ty Burrell, Wilkinson

ty burrellOkay, now we’re getting weird.  Yes, that’s the guy from ‘Modern Family.’  Think that’s odd?  Keep scrolling…

Brian Van Holt, Struecker

brian van holt

He’s on ‘Cougar town’ now, but he was also in SWAT (the movie) and some other things that mainly chicks would know.

Tom Guiry, Yurek

tom guiryYOU’RE KILLING ME, SMALLS!! Yes, that’s him.  Scotty Smalls from ‘The Sandlot.’  Wait, it gets weirder…

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Gordon

nikolaj coster-waldauJaime. Fucking. Lannister.  And yes, he had great hair even then.

Tom Hardy, Twombly

tom hardyTom Hardy.  ‘Nuff said.

So, who did I miss?  Yeah, I know there are some support people and such.  Maybe I missed one of the villagers or medics.  If so, leave a comment below!  We’ll have to add a whole second page, maybe!  And for shits and giggles, go back and watch this movie again. It’s a great flick, and it’s a lot more fun when you can play ‘spot that one guy!’

Things You Might Not Know

Crazy couple of weekends, eh?  Crazy.  But good.  In the midst of all the running around, doing radio, writing stuff, and enjoying the bachelor parties of various friends, some things were pointed out to me that I thought I’d share with you.

1. My Eight-year-old captured two special Pokemon.

Also, one of them has evolved. I don’t know what that means, exactly, but since his Nintendo DS hasn’t been shut off for more than an hour over the last two weeks, I guess that’s something.  Of course, by the time this blog is published, he’ll have a whole stable of the little beasties.

I think it goes something like this, but hell, I'm a 43-year-old man.  What do I know about your goddam gigapets?!

I think it goes something like this, but hell, I’m a 43-year-old man. What do I know about your goddam gigapets?!

2.  “The devil to pay” has nothing to do with Satan.

I remember reading about this sometime during college, I think.  Apparently, in old seafaring terminology, the “devil” was the seam of the keel (the bottom ridge of the boat.)  To “pay” meant to cover in pitch or tar, some sort of sealant.  Hence, to “pay the devil” meant covering the keel in pitch.  Likewise, the expression “between the devil and the deep blue sea” was a reference to being “keelhauled.”  That was a nasty bit of punishment/torture wherein they tied a rope around your ankles, ran the rope under the ship from one rail to the other, knocked you overboard and literally hauled your ass under the boat, over the keel, and to the other side.  Sometimes guys lived.  Mostly they drowned.  While the whole thing was going on, the victim was said to be between the devil and the deep blue sea.  See?  Sailing is fun!

WHEEEEEEEE!!!!

WHEEEEEEEE!!!!

3.  You’re pronouncing “Dr. Suess” wrong.

No, smartass, we know:  his real last name was Geisel.  The dude used his middle name, Suess, as his nom de plume.  The thing is, he was of German descent, and pronounced it “Soice.”  Everyone got it wrong, though, and he eventually gave up trying to correct people.  He then died drunk, penniless, and indigent.  (I made up that last part.)

See?  It's a cat.  In a hat.  (No, eff YOU!!)

See? It’s a cat. In a hat. (No, eff YOU!!)

4.  Two wrongs don’t make a right.

But three lefts do.  (That’s also how people navigate downtown Ft. Wayne.)

As you can see from this handy image, Ewing street now has a stop sign.  Progress, people.

As you can see from this handy image, Ewing street now has a stop sign. Progress, people.

5. Frank Black from the show Millennium was named for the guy from The Pixies.

X-Files mastermind Chris Carter created this not-really-a-spin-off show, Millennium, which debuted in 1996 and ran for about three seasons.  The main character, played wonderfully by the creepy android Bishop, was named Frank Black.  Chris Carter named him after Black Francis of super underground subbacultcha rock band The Pixies.  Black Francis was actually Frank Black.  I also once read that Chris Carter’s last name used to be Black, but it got changed somewhere along the way because reasons.  I don’t know if that’s true, so I just stick with that Pixies thing.

Look at this fucking ROCK STAR.

Look at this fucking ROCK STAR.

6. I made up a new word whilst typing that last bit.

I make no secret of the fact that I’m a piss-poor typist.  There are probably three different typos in this blog alone, not to mention gross abuses of grammar.  Hey, I type as I think, and my little digits can’t keep up all the time.  Anyway, I was typing “mastermind” when describing Chris Carter, and accidentally wrote “Matermind.”  I’ve since corrected that mistake, but have decided that “Matermind” is a great way to described someone who is borderline retarded and/or loves the comedy stylings of Larry the Cable Guy.  In a sense, “Matermind” is the exact opposite of “Mastermind.”  Feel free to use this new word with impunity.

Still a better movie than "Planes."

Still a better movie than “Planes.”

Video Breakdown – Material Issue, Valerie Loves Me

I had a blast breaking down the perplexing nonsense of Belly’s song “Slow Dog” because, well…the nineties.  The thing is, I really enjoy that song.  But early-to-mid nineties music and fashion, however enjoyable it may have been, invites people to make fun of it.  As a former college radio DJ and flannel-and-Doc Martens-wearing “alternative/punk” kid, I still create Pandora stations that sound like the legendary KROQ must’ve sounded back in the Jed the Fish/Rodney on the ‘ROQ days.

But the videos?  Man…they were usually ridiculous.  They were all grainy, shaky handicam shots or some asinine attempt at edginess.  Sometimes they told a story.  Sometimes they just put the band in wacky situations, like a piss-poor version of the Beatles’ “HELP!”  Sometimes they borrowed form all these formats and added some ‘live’ performance shots of the band itself.

For example:  this.  “Valerie Loves Me” by Material Issue.  One of my favorites from that era. The first time I heard the song I was POSITIVE that the band was one of the hot English acts: bands that cropped up in large part thanks to the “Madchester” scene that gave us Happy Mondays, Blur, Inspiral Carpets, and later branched out to the Soupdragons, the Farm, and Oasis under the group heading “Britpop.”  Material Issue fit nicely into that sub-genre of Alternative music, and I was stunned to learn that they actually hailed from Chicago, Illinois.

Huh.

Anyway, here’s the lackluster video to the amazing song.  Watch it, then join me for the breakdown.  Then watch it again and go “Oh, yeah!”

Okay, we begin with…RUN!! IT’S ENGLISH PEOPLE!!  (Editor’s note: we’ve already established that this band is from Chicago, not anywhere in England.)

:05 – Oh, hey!  It’s not English people, it’s a Liv Tyler look-alike!

:10 – Thank goodness.  The lost Gallagher brother.

:23 – Freddie Highmore is now in a band, but cannot afford a shirt that fits.  Perhaps he will grow into it?  Let’s hope!

D'awwwww...they grow up so fast!  (And unattractive!)

D’awwwww…they grow up so fast! (And so unattractive!)

:29 – Remember when you had two hoop earrings in your left ear and none in your right?  Remember?  God, I do.  I also rocked the glittery Ankh on a French hook because ALTERNATIVE!

:33 – Sorry. It’s not Liv Tyler, it’s Ally Sheedy circa Short Circuit.

Seriously...is this even the same girl?!

Seriously…is this even the same girl?!

:59 – Young Ric Ocasek is just plain creepy.  Give her some space, dude!

Who's gonna drive you home NOW, bitch?

Who’s gonna drive you home NOW, bitch?

1:02 – Ally Sheedy says “Ha ha!  AS IF!!  L8R, sucka!”

1:23 – Uh-oh.  Mike Ness’s bastard kid is creepin’ in the girls’ room.

1:26 – My bad.  It’s really Arnold Horshack.  And he is SO BUSTED!

1:52 – “Hey, you gotta quarter?”

2:03 – It’s either “Hey, look at that hot piece of ass!” or the “Hey, why am I wearing sunglasses inside a dim, smoky bar?”

[INSERT CSI: MIAMI 'YEAAAAAHHHH!!!! HERE]

[INSERT CSI: MIAMI ‘YEAAAAAHHHH!!!! HERE]

2:12 – Air/Water.  Your choice.  Fuckin’ England. (Ed. note:  Chicago.)

2:18 – DOUCHENOZZLE ALERT!!

Beard?  Check.  Tie?  Check.  Shades?  Check.  Conclusion: 100% douche.

Beard? Check. Tie? Check. Shades? Check. Conclusion: 100% douche.

2:30 – One of my favorite parts of this song is completely wasted in this video.  Jim Ellison screaming “VALERIE LOVES ME!” is such a powerful, anguised counterpoint to his usual sing-song English (CHICAGO!) style of power-pop…and he doesn’t even get a closeup or a camera-shake.  Lame.  Probably why Ellison took his own life in 1996.

2:35 – That guy is totally rocking a Kurt Cobain-style shirt.  Man…the nineties…

2:45 – OH SHIT! GUYS!  SHE’S HERE!!

2:47 – The Aryan Drummer Brotherhood approves.

"Ich liebe Valerie! Und so spielen sie auf dem Schlagzeug!"

“Ich liebe Valerie! Und so spielen sie auf dem Schlagzeug!”

2:49 – Jesus, Horshack, could you be any creepier?

2:56 – “HA HA!  LOOK AT THOSE DWEEBS!  NICE SHIRT, HIGHMORE!”

We are totally going to be in that new 4 Non Blondes video, girl!

We are totally going to be in that new 4 Non Blondes video, girl!

3:04 – She is totally fucking with them.  “RUN, GEEKS!  RUN ALL THE WAY BACK TO ENGLAND! (Chicago.)

FADE OUT.

Conclusion: great song.  Average video.  They get points for almost having a narrative.  The loveable losers in the band crush on Valerie (Fun fact:  all the girls in the 90’s were either named Valerie or Veronica) and spend the video trying to woo her, only to have her drive off at the end.  And you know she’s totally gonna hook up with that douchebag with the tie.  Fuckin’ ties, man.  That’s life, man.  That’s life.

But Valerie loves me…