me: i'm becoming a monk. again. i know i know, but this time it'll stick. it has to. i'm joining the Order of the Camel Eye in Big Sur. i even remember the wood bungalow i stayed at last time, i want that same shack that hangs above the woods. should be an easy enough trip, i have no one to say goodbye to. i just take a short plane ride to the bridge hanging between two oceans. is what i would say and do if i had an airport ticket. i don't fly not cos i'm scared, but cos it's expensive. cos i have no job.
me: a car? a car? i've never had a car. too afraid to drive. nerves. that leaves me with the most writerly thing to transport on, the train. so i book my train ticket by getting my hand bit by a noble grey dog. i scootch into the glass cabin in the butt of the train and i'm relaxed for the first time in days. i can daze, bark at the birds, close my eyes, bury my head in the sofa, warm myself by the fireplace. and think of that scene from Nymphomaniac.
me: but it's not up to me. my caboose partner is Liam Neeson. i was hoping to catch a few winks standing up. Liam inhales the smoke from the crack pipe he's smoking, perching it upon his lips after each pronunciation. puffing as he regales his tale. but Liam's cool tho, i love him.
Liam: hoping to sleep in?
Liam Neeson: man the shite i've been through. i mean why am i known for tough-guy roles? i want to play more loving single fathers. i was compassionate once, during WWII. i will not watch the Olympic downhill. i want to be compassionate again. she made me love again, she saw my soft side when my wife and ex-wives didn't, they only saw my eyes at divorce court.
me: who was she?
Liam: Barty. Ash Barty. of course Barty! look at her she's a goddessistic vision! but she was TAKEN if you know what i mean.
me: boyfriend? husband? secret lesbian paramour?
Liam: Ash was married to the state. of Australia. and her own inner happiness.
Ash Barty: gotta admit, you get flattered when a movie star with an accent takes an interest in you. that's never happened to me before. usually i just bounce around a few tennis balls in my room. but it was too much.
me: i get it.
Liam: i was so sad i turned to drugs. not a Skins party, i just want to go to a Barty Party. so the Biden Administration mailed me this crack pipe. i voted for Biden the next day in the next election FROM Australia mind you. the crack helps with my depression, eases me in and out.
Liam Neeson LEAPS from the train with a girl on his arm.
Liam Neeson: oh yeah, forgot, meet my arm candy.
it's Halle Berry.
Halle Berry: i won an Oscar, why i gotta be silent in that Caesars Sportsbook commercial?!!!
Liam: i'll never get over Barty.
the entire United States delegation at the Beijing Winter Olympics consists of Bob Costas carrying a Chuck E Cheese flag. Bob is so tiny the camera doesn't catch him.
Bob Costas: where is Deirdre Fitzpatrick's butt?
Bob Costas: ...and now the Olympic torch is being handed off to.........Peng Shuai...
Suzy Lu: i REALLY became popular during 2020 cos everybody in the world had nothing else to do but watch me on youtube.
Dirg: oh come on!!! i watched that Demon Slayer train movie out of the goodness of my own heart and now toonami won't show Season 2 so it was all for nothing!!!
Dirg: you gotta watch out online, it's "love this song" not "love this dong".
Bob Costas: every Olympian is tested. tested everyday. by the course. by the track. by the jump. by their fellow Olympians. by the drug lords. by covid.
Dr Sanjay Gupta: hey no spitting! this is a hospital not a spital!
Tara dressed in an all-blue jumpsuit: if you do your taxes with Intuit, you get me as a deductible.
Tony Robbins: aren't i a lil stinker? aren't i a sly devil? it was ME, I hooked Nina Dobrev up with Shaun White. that is my greatest accomplishment in life, not whether or not some nobody picks themself off the sticky street.
Nina Dobrev at the The Good Earth restaurant: you don't know what Vampire Diaries is?
Shaun White sticking the bread in his ears like muffs: afraid not. i was busy training during those ears. rad bread by the way.
Nina: oh it's just some dumb show that gets a billion screaming fans for no reason.
Lindsey Vonn: i'm the most sexually-open athlete in the public eye of all time. i'm public-sphere sex. sphere sex. i'm an open book.
Shenmue the Animation: those Double Dragon anime vibes, right? and that vaporwave mail-letter stamp.
Dirg: i thought the back of the jacket was a chicken, not a tiger.
Laertus's dad: this takes place in 1986. so it's a period piece. and i'm officially old.
Federer: i don't want to join my friend Juan Martin del Potro in EVERYTHING.
Emmy Rossum: the mystery of Angelyne is not who's on the billboard, the mystery of Angelyne is how i got those tits!!!!!!!!!!!
Kamila Valiyeva: my secret? those Brian Boitano hands in the air straight up when i jump. i'm 15 years old, i'm too YOUNG to take drugs!!!
Dirg: when the curler Stefania Constantini starts barking orders in Italian i wish i was into BDSM.
Stefania Constantini: i'm still young. i'm still a bit naive about my looks. i still wear glasses.
Marguerite Martin: i had fun.
International Olympic Commitee: gotta have sexy skijumpers...
Germany: we are beside ourself. right next to Switzerland.
Nathan Chen: are you Lily?
Lily: yes. look at my smile. that's the most genuinely endearing smile you'll ever see, ever come across in this cynical world, as you travel on this cynical cyclical planet. not a note of artifice, it's a teenage girl's first crush. you can't fake that.
Nathan Chen: by ice.
Jacques Pepin: i won a bronze on the Olympic downhill in the '70s. they called me Alpine Allons-y. but it was at Squaw Valley so nevermind.
Eileen Gu: everyone hates me cos i give off those AOC vibes.
Cecily Strong: that's when you know you've made it on Broadway, when your stage has electronics equipment. an NFL instant-replay button. a black-and-white tv screen. not just wood.
Yuzuru Hanyu: honestly i missed that quad deliberately, i want my life back, man. yeah i got a hole in my soul but that's only cos i like math rock.
Laertus: hate to let you in on this, Dirg, but the Mystic Society is from Alabama.
Dirg: Illuminati in the South? no way i don't believe it.
Trent Reznor: ...
Al Michaels from the wood balcony: the Miracle On Ice wasn't that much of a miracle, i mean it WAS played on home ice.
Alana Haim: Suzy Lu referred me to her dentist...
Eye Luggage in a log cabin in the trees: what were we talking about again?
Abraham Lincoln: i kept letters inside my stovepipe hat. i never turned those letters into Care Bears.
Eye: Planes Trains and Automobiles and go.
John Hughes: see? i can do no teens.
Steve Martin: i consider this the opus of my life, privileged, i got to work with the legendary John Candy before he croaked.
John Candy: i'm gonna come back from the dead and haunt you, Martin Steve. your last name is Steve. you're gonna kiss a frog thinking it's a princess and that frog will be me.
John Candy: the reason i died was because i never burped once in my life.
Laila Robins: why aren't i more famous? i'm sexy as fuck. my little brother Tony told me i wasn't on the right life path so i got him a bottle of Lemon Pledge for Christmas.
Michael McKean: and they still approach me on the street and ask me why i wasn't in Fargo.
Kevin Bacon: at this point in my career i was smelling the bacon, not the rolls.
Olivia Burnette: omg remember me? i was the first Disney teen your son did it to. remember that glasses guy with the big toothy smile and shiny blond bowlcut on my Torkelsons show? no he didn't do the sequel like all of us did, the Snorks live-action movie, he went on to sell perfume with Nelly's blowjob doll.
Lee Norris: i'm not a dork no more, you bitch. i am not Chanel West Coast. i am Jerry Supiran.
Will Smith: reboot? nah. unless you gift me a vending machine of Magnum condoms.
Kevin Hart: i just did. and i sent it to Jada.
Steve Martin: no way this whole thing takes place in two days. what are your looking at, sir?
boss: i'm turning this Chanel ad upside down to get to the vulva.
Steve: that's her nose, sir.
John Candy: i'm the third man. i should've just let you have the cab, i hated being in New York anyway. being homeless in New York is no picnic.
John: Peter Griffin was based on me, that's why that Family Guy spoof episode of this film is so organic.
Steve: you sell the shower experience?
Federer in Tokyo: ...
John: rainfall showerheads. everyone thinks they're expensive but all you have to do is buy the head not the whole system. ten bucks at Home Depot.
Ben Stein: i've been an airport screener and a teacher, i really need to start getting appreciated for my job, so i'm looking into Wall Street...
Diana Dill: i bribed Kirk Douglas with my pickle.
Laertus: i mean that intense scene is so awkward and hurtful and sad. when Steve lays into John. you can see the utter pain on John's face. don't knock barf bags, Steve, they can save your life when an airbag fails.
John Candy: *crying* i like me. i'm compassionate like Liam Neeson. my wife likes me, she said so 8 years ago on our first date.
Boc: so many things wrong with these sequences of scenes here that are considered the movie's hallmarks. first the underwear scene, that's just fat-shaming. and the thing with the buttock cheeks not being a pillow, and degaying with a Bears game, i mean that's homophobia for laughs. quintessentially '80s.
John: at least we had a nice meal at the IHOP when Miami was still not crazy.
Steve Martin and John Candy sit with Charles Dickens on the train.
Charles Dickens: it changed me. when that train crashed, i shouldn't have survived. but i took it as a blessing and i wrote King Lear. i saved everyone onboard and became the inspiration for Hercule Poirot. it changed my life, i couldn't drive, nerves. i became bothered and isolated. luckily the first brothel opened up in London. life hack: don't inhale train smoke.
Tom Hanks: the crash won't kill ya but the train smoke will.
Laertus's dad: only in the '80s could you see two punk kids making out in public on a bus. i saw it and was jealous.
Dirg: the Flintstones theme, of course, they couldn't use anything else. there weren't a lot of songs back then, there wasn't the clog of channels there are now, the glut of cable entertainment.
Eye: i gotta say these departures are killing me, each one when the fellas don't work it out and leave each other. two fellows rather.
Steve, angrily: why are you away from your wife and kids?!!!
John: cos you killed them.
Steve: fucking rental car!!!
Puddy from Seinfeld: what seems to be the problem? you have to ask in a soothing voice like mine.
Edie McClurg: gobble gobble. fuck is not a funny word. fuck is a very serious word.
John Hughes: as you can see i'm REALLY into those punches to the camera.
Laertus: okay i gotta admit, the freeway scene is HIGHlarious. the backwards driving, and that fucking SPIN!!! that SPIN is laugh-out-loud funny! like it was done in Claymation or something!!! hilarious.
John: well at least we know the glovebox works. kept those cigarette butts nice and tight and locked. and warm.
cabbie in Christmas-lit cab: i thought you'd like to take the scenic route. aren't you that Chevy guy who killed his whole family by driving backwards?
Laertus's dad: oh my god, CREDIT CARD IMPRINTER!!! so classic! the swipe! swiper swiper!
John: sorry, Steve, i didn't know that credit cards melt.
John: i'm okay in the cold, i got a lot of blubber. my wife, i'll never see you again. at least not for a LOOOOOOOONNNNGGGGG time, hint hint.
Mardith: i must admit, those little tiny motel bottles of alcohol are not enough.
John: remember, friend, family is everything. family is the only thing. you can sell pizza by the road but you still have a wife at home who loves you.
Cooper Hoffman: i REALLY gotta call Alana Haim on the curly phone.
Steve: my wife she thinks i'm seeing other women on this unusual unexpected trip and will divorce me upon arrival when i get home. that was a deleted scene.
Dirg: see? more redneck discrimination, more redneck abuse, making fun of the slow in America. not all hicks are like that, EVERYONE chews their tobacco like that, even on Madison Avenue. they chew it like gum, build up a large wad, then spit it out to break the dam. it becomes a lake of saliva, that one in western Pennsylvania that has that Indian name of 45 or 63 letters.
John Candy: i've secured a trucker to take us home. don't worry he's not Canadian.
Tyzik: okay this is WEIRD, have you ever seen a movie do this? there is an actual RECAP of the movie at the end! recycling old scenes the audience has just seen! it's like a bad episode of anime!
Rubikon: i can't hate, i didn't see that coming. that surprise landed and LASTED all these years for me as someone who never saw this. the wife being dead the whole time all along, that got me.
Madame Pons: John Candy plays a serious role SO well, i feel so bad for Del, Del has the most tragic life. there's something about fat guys with pornstaches that brings out the pathos.
Mary Elizabeth McGlynn: ooooh, see how Laila Robins greets the wayward passengers? game recognize game. Neal's wife has that SMOKY voice, very sexy and loungesingery. she would get it. very milfy.
Steve Martin: two questions remain unresolved: who was your wife?
John Candy: Edie McClurg.
Steve Martin: and what the fuck was in that trunk?!!!
John Candy: a body. don't worry, not my wife's body.
John Candy: one left. once again it's left to me. i'm the king of the sequel. so how would the sequel to this go? it'd be two hours of me trying to bang Steve's wife. hey i'm a grieving widower cut me some slack.
Michael Weiss wearing plaid on ice: now when you go home from college and discuss politics with your uncle you can never again say that a Thanksgiving movie does not exist. g'night folks.
i get clogged. so i call the abbot up on the curly phone at the Amtrak station.
abbot: are you satisfied with your mode of transport?
me: i'm exhibiting the sadface emoji in real life. what's with these truckers?
abbot: ah the joys of living in a monastery, no more politics to contend with ever again.
me: i mean it's one thing to block the interstate, but the train tracks? i've lost all sympathy for their cause. when you mess with my peace you get my war.
Highway Thru Hell guys: hey we're not a part of this!!! we have to CLEAN UP this mess afterwards!!! with our trucks. don't know why it's thru and not through.
Melissa: we're building a truck that runs only on maple syrup.
Chad: sticky gas tank if you know what i mean.
Melissa: and mops for tires.
me: i'll see you in a few. weeks.
i finally make it here and can't wait to collapse on my straw bed. the abbot knocks on my cottage door at the edge of the forest.
abbot: call me Butt. i just think it's novel, abbot, a butt. it's funny and ironic and knowing for a man of the cloth.
me: okay, Butt, but i'm not in the mood. for jokes. listen i don't want to go into the logistics. the moving in. the luggage. the furniture. i just want to be settled. in my life.
Butt: our roof is being remodeled. it's being done. redone, replaced. the roofers started today. there's gonna be a LOT OF CONTINUAL NOISE for two weeks.
me: monastery noise?!!! great. doesn't it take 3-5 days to roof a roof? how do you cope?
Butt: it makes our prayers stronger. during praytime we focus the mind not to focus on the noise, good practice for the real world. why are you here?
me: the real world. it's too much.
i notice Maiara Walsh sitting down in the center of the jungle on my first gander at the view from my balcony. i wave to her, she waves back and smiles so genuinely it alters the rays of the sun.
me: nice to see a friendly face. how's the circus coming?
Maiara: it's a circus. i think i'll try spirituality next. 5 cents for advice, that sort of thing. how hard is it to be a life coach? why is it so hard for the world to understand? we are all ONE. we are all in this thing together. this existence thing. of course we help one another cos we're actually helping ourselves, it's the only way TO help. we're all parts of the same organism, pieces in search of a plug. we help each other with jobs, auditions, car rides, part-time work, gatekeepers. we find the opportunities for others.
Mesay in a joker jumpsuit: your eyes...
Maiara: enough about my eyes.
Mesay: okay then i have to pee.
Maiara: this saucer is special! this bowl is beautiful it's not for just number one! wanna sit on my jazz toilet that's out in the middle of the jungle outside?
Mickey Rooney: ...
me: maybe some other time. inspiration has struck.
i set up my easel on the balcony of my cell. adjust the blank beige board. i get out my sleds of fingerpaint watercolors. and begin painting. painting Jennifer Pizarro by moonlight.
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