Archive for September, 2011

Worth The DRIVE

Posted in Movies on September 17, 2011 by bigdaddygouda

Once in a great while a film comes along and blows the doors off your movie going experience and makes you wanna burn the house down. I mean this in a good way, of course. Drive, the new film staring Ryan Gosling, was that film for me.

First of all the original trailers are misleading. The movie has been marketed as a Fast and Furious type film. It couldn’t be further from that. And let me say, if you like the Fast and Furious movies, and I do, but go in to Drive expecting to seen Vin Diesel rippin shit up then you will be disappointed. This film is more like a cross between The Transporter and Michael Mann’s Heat with a touch of Pulp Fiction thrown in.  Yup, it’s THAT good and worthy of those comparisons.

The film is set in Los Angeles and it looks and sounds like it belongs somewhere in the world of 80s cheese, but it clearly does not. The soundtrack is littered with synthizer driven poppy songs sung by women, that fits the mood perfectly.

Ryan Gosling plays the lead character. His name is never given. I’ll call him the driver.  A stunt-driver by day and a getaway driver for hire by night. It’s apparent from the get go that Gosling’s character is a tortured soul. But why? We are never given his back story. Maybe his parents abused him. Maybe he lost the love of his life to cancer. Or maybe, it’s simpler than that. My theory, the guy is just lonely.

The film begins with the driver on the job. He’s driving two men away from a robbery. The scene is perfect. Minimal dialogue. The speedy cat and mouse chase with police says more than words ever could.

Eventually Gosling meets his sexy new neighbor played by Carey Mulligan. He falls for the woman and bonds with her young son. Things get bad for all characters when Mulligan’s boyfriend is released from jail. His actions put her along with her son in danger. With simple facial expressions and body language it is evident you don’t want to mess with people the driver cares for. And when shits hits the fan and he starts kicking ass, those with weak stomachs may be forced to turn away from the violence.

Supporting characters in this film are a virtual who’s who of TVs most talented stars. Bryan Cranston from Breaking Bad plays Gosling’s mentor. Ron Pearlman from Sons of Anarchy is terrific as a sleazy Jewish gangster and Christina “Big Red” Hendricks from Mad Men shines as a pawn store robber. The best performance in the film however, (besides Gosling) goes to comedian Albert Brooks. He plays a sadistic ex movie producer who kills men in ways you’ve never seen on the big screen.

Get out there and see it. It’s the best film I’ve seen this year.


The Ballad of Jay & Jamie

Posted in Stuff on September 15, 2011 by bigdaddygouda

Now that I’ve had time to decompress from what can only be summed up as The Wedding of The Millenium I’d just like to share a few things I was too nervous to say in front of the hundreds in attendance and the millions watching at home Saturday.

I met Jamie when I was 16. I had a super-duper crush on her friend Becca Clock. Adam and Tai were my best friends at the time and Jamie would invite us to her home on Wilson Road to swim and hangout while I tried to get Jamie to put in a good word for me with Becca.

Years passed, but we remained friends. Spending time together at parties, mostly in Tai’s crowded room or Jamie’s backyard when her parents went away. “Dude, someone better take that bottle away from that kid…Chug! Chug! Chug!”

Our friendship endured into our twenties and then one day I met Jay. He had always been friends with my sis and she vouched for him as ” a cool kid.”

One night, like many nights, I was drinking at the Tavern. Jamie, naturally was there, and that night, instead of leaving with the group, she left with Jay, their arms were  wrapped around each other as they walked to Jamie’s Jeep and my jaw was on the floor. Mostly I was just perturbed that something like this was going on and I knew nothing about it.

“You didn’t know about that,” Tai would say. “They’ve been hooking up for a while.”

Many years later Jay would remark, “I spent my first few years out of college getting blackout drunk at the tavern…somewhere in that haze I met Jamie.” She would later remark that she took an interest in Jay because he was the only one who would do Jack Daniels shots with her.

It was no surprise that Jay and I became fast friends. We shared a love for movies, wrestling and most importantly, The New York Yankees.

To paint a clear picture of my friendship with those two I have to look no further than Valentines Day 2003. I was sitting home alone feeling sorry for myself because the girl I loved, loved someone else. My phone rang and it was Jamie. She asked if I wanted to go to the bar with her and Jay. I declined. It was Valentines Day and not a time for a depressed third wheel. That’s when Jay grabbed the phone from Jamie.

“You’re coming out with us,” he said. “We’re not in to Valentines day!”

Eight years later, that is definetly the best Valentines Day I ever had. I don’t think I paid for one drink that night and every time I turned my head there was suddenly a shot or a Redbull/Vodka in front of me. If I never thanked them for that day I’m doing it now.

A few years ago we celebrated Cooters 30 Birthday with a surprise party at The Village. It was planned by his girlfriend and future wife, Erin. In the middle of the festivities I turned to Jamie and said, “Since I don’t have a girlfriend it’s up to you to plan MY 30th.”

I was only half telling the truth, but sure enough, 5 months later Jamie threw me a rager at her home, preceded by a surprise birthday dinner at Fuji. To this day the best birthday I’ve had in my 34 years on this planet.

Through all the parties, Yankee games, movie nights,  wrestling pay per views, U2 concerts, mutual love for TV shows, and laughing and laughing and falling apart, I must say being a part of Jamie and Jay’s wedding was very emotional for me. I was there from the beginning when they stumbled out of the bar, arms intertwined just starting out on their grand adventure and I was there, front row Saturday, with a lump in my throat as The Imperial March gave way to the wedding march and Jamie, flanked by her father, came walking down the isle looking beautiful as Jay stood at the altar with a goofy grin on his face.

I’m never giving up my front row seat to your life guys. I can’t wait to see where you go next.

All the Best, Enjoy You’re honeymoon because when you get back, we have a Halloween Party to plan.

“Nobody on the road…Nobody on the beach”

Posted in Stuff on September 2, 2011 by bigdaddygouda

Ah, Labor Day Weekend, the official close of the Summer. Here is a brief rundown of my summer.

Memorial Day weekend kicked off the summer in style. I traveled to Mass. to spend the day camping with some friends and had a great time watching the kids play. Later that weekend I caught The Hangover 2 with a big group of friends and laughed my ass off.

Aidan, Grayson and Ollie celebrated their respective birthdays in June with a great party. They also received a swimming pool as a gift and this summer with all the heatwaves I definitely took advantage of that gift through out the past few months.

My mother had a Fourth of July party which also doubled as my niece Bella’s first Birthday party. What a difference a year makes. Last year she was two days old on the fourth of july and barely moved. This year we had to take turns chasing her around the backyard.

Speaking of my mom she gave me a great 34th birthday gift by cleaning my apartment and filling my cabinets with some much needed groceries.

A much needed gift landed in my lap in late July. I was in the process of searching for a second job when out of the blue my cell phone rang. It was my old boss from Nicholas Pizza who offered me a few shifts a week because someone had quit out of the blue and he didn’t want to go through the hiring process. It feels good to be back there, if only for a few nights each week. I REALLY need the extra money and don’t think I could survive financially without it.

But it was the month of August where things really got rolling.

The month kicked off at Infinity Hall in Norfolk sitting in the third row with four of my best friends watching Toad The Wet Sprocket. I believe I stated before, if they ever made a movie about my teen years the music of Toad would provide the soundtrack. (and yes Bub, I know I still owe you for the ticket)

The following weekend I had one of the greatest nights in the last 10 years as we hit up NYC for Jay Marcoux’s Bachelor Party. The festivities kicked off with a Yankee win at the stadium and we pretty much went dark after that. Im sure I could write a great book about that night. The cockroach, Tullock’s front row seats, Bank of America with Chop and the bum, walking the streets in the pouring rain at 4 am searching for a deck of cards….etc etc etc.

Speaking of Jay Marcoux, he and Jamie and a great Jack & Jill with excellent food from Salerno’s in Torrington. We raised the happy couple about $1,500 and that’s not even counting the money I embezzled out of the money box or the booze Copeland drank from the prize table.

Andy and I weathered Hurricane Irene in style. We had plenty of snack food and watched movies all day. That is until Aidan and Grayson came to visit because they lost power in Morris. I introduced the boys to some great Simpsons episodes on DVD and then ate a tasty spaghetti dinner courtesy of my generous landlord.

And that about sums up The Summer of 2011. While I could have used a bit of a summer romance, it was still an above average couple of months…

Maybe I’ll see some of you this weekend, if not… See most everyone next Saturday at, what is sure to be the Wedding of  The Century, where not only are two of my favorite people in the world tying the knot but Ash and I are going to make a baby that very same night.