Thursday, February 5, 2009

Slaves to the Tin: Part 1

We always had a problem. See, with over a thousand DVDs, fifty blu-rays, a 73 inch HD television and four people with an incredibly diverse taste in movies, we could never settle on what we should watch on those lazy nights when we're all home and have no desire to leave. It always turned into an argument.

"You want to watch 'The Rocketeer'? I don't want to watch 'The Rocketeer.'"

"Well, what do you want to watch?"

"How about 'Crank'?"

"No, 'Crank' sucks."

"Have you ever seen 'Crank'?"


"Then how do you know it sucks?"

"I've seen enough to know it sucks."

"Where did you see some of it? On HBO?"

"I don't know. I guess on HBO."

"HA! It was never on HBO! It was a trick question! You've never seen any of 'Crank'!"

And so on and so forth.

So, about a month and a half ago, Angel came up with a solution.

We would each write the names of ten moves on a slip of paper. We would put these slips of paper into a Christmas cookie tin, which would be securely placed on top of a DVD shelf, next to a framed photo of Skeletor...

Whenever the four of us were together, we would pull out a slip of paper. This would be the movie that we all had to sit down and watch together. We couldn't get up. We couldn't leave. We couldn't make an argument for another movie. We were SLAVES TO THE TIN.

Just before we sealed the tin, Brian and Patrick suggested a radical idea. We should each write down a movie that we've never seen, but have also never, ever wanted to see. Four incredibly bad movies. As I scanned through our DVD collection, I saw nearly a dozen awful movies I have never wanted to see. 'Red Sonja.' 'Kingdom of Heaven.' 'Domino.' Finally, I wrote down my choice... 'Varsity Blues.'

Now, it was time for the first tin pull. We decided to go in age order, from oldest to youngest, so Patrick pulled first. He shook the tin up, reached his hand inside and pulled out...

Patrick had actually written "From Russia With Love" down, so he was happy to pull it.

Next, I, Steven Tsapelas, stuck my hand in the tin. I mixed the pieces of paper around, clamped my fingers around one and pulled it out...

"Blackhawk Down."

I screamed.

Now, for years, Angel and I had been arguing about "Blackhawk Down." You see, when it came out in the Winter of 2001, I saw it in theaters and didn't like it. Angel also saw it in theaters, but looooooved it. One Friday night in college, Angel wanted to see the movie for a second time. However, he didn't have a car. So, he came into my room and asked if he could borrow my car to drive to the theater and see "Blackhawk Down" by himself. I told him, "No." This turned into an hour of back and forth whining where he said, "Come ooooooonnnnnnn Steeeeeeeevvvvvvveeeee." And I said, "No. Maybe if it was a good movie, I'd let you borrow the car," to which Angel replied, "You saw the 'Royal Tenenbaums' 10 times!" I said, "Exactly, that's a good movie," and Angel continued to bitch and complain that 'Blackhawk Down' was also good. I eventually gave him the car, but have disliked "Blackhawk Down" ever since.

So, that night, I was incredibly frustrated with myself for picking 'Blackhawk Down' And I was vocal about it. So Brian and Patrick came up with something called "lifelines."

Basically, if you don't like the movie you pulled, you have two lifelines.

One is called "THE TEAR," wherein you tear the sheet of paper, and it is never allowed to be viewed again.

The other is called "THE YANKEE SWAP," where you put the piece of paper back into the tin and get a second shot at pulling another movie.

Now, the interesting thing about the lifelines, is that we each only get to use them once in the entire run of the tin. So, if I "Yankee Swapped" 'Blackhawk Down,' I would never have another chance to use the Yankee Swap again.

Guess what? I used the Yankee Swap on 'Blackhawk Down.'

It wasn't just that I didn't want to watch 'Blackhawk Down.' It was that I couldn't believe I pulled it.

I reached my hand back into the tin and pulled out another movie...


Boom! I had actually written that down on a sheet of paper. I was as happy as a pig in shit.

Our first double bill went off pretty well. Sure, "From Russia With Love" bored everyone but Patrick, but the "Dick Tracy" follow up treated us all well.

Through the subsequent weeks, more movies were pulled.

Our second round led to a double bill of 'Good Night and Good Luck' and 'They Live.'

Our third round led to a double bill of 'Varsity Blues' and 'The Warriors.'

Our fourth round led to us watching 'Equilibrium.' Patrick wrote that one down. He loves 'Equilbrium.' Have you ever seen 'Equilibrium'? It sucks. It sucks really hard. Why didn't Christian Bale flip out on the set of that one?

Last week, however, the shit hit the fan.

See, somewhere along the line of the tin, we came up with a new lifeline.

It's called "THE COCK BLOCK."

Basically, if a movie is about to be put in that you didn't pull, but that you have no interest in watching, you can COCK BLOCK it from being put in. However, you only have up until the movie is in the DVD player.

So, around 5PM on Saturday, Patrick reached into the tin and pulled out "The Quiet Man." We had never seen "The Quiet Man," but it's one of Patrick's favorites. It's a John Ford movie which stars John Wayne. Multiple Oscar winner. A real classic. We were kind of excited to be watching it.

That is, until 8PM. When Angel, lying on the floor, half asleep, took action. Just as Patrick was kneeling down to put "The Quiet Man" into the DVD player Angel yelled, "COCK BLOCK."

On "The Quiet Man."

He COCK BLOCKED "The Quiet Man."

It was the first cock block ever used, so it was a big moment for us.

Patrick had to reach back into the tin and pull out a new movie. He pulled out "Better Off Dead." Patrick had also written this one down. He's apparently a big fan of "Better Off Dead." I'd seen it before. I think it's just, "Okay." Brian and Angel watched it that night. They also thought it was just "Okay."

It was around 10PM at this point and we decided we had enough time to pull another tin movie. It was my turn, so Brian shot this little video of the tin process...

The Goddamned Tin from Ragtag Productions on Vimeo.

The moral of this story is that while waiting for CBS to greenlight your pilot, you end up with a lot of free time on your hands.


Angel said...

I never said I was "bored" with FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, and I liked BETTER OFF DEAD more than "okay".

Devon said...

You guys are way too entertaining.

PS: I probably would have thrown the tin out the window after the whole 'cock block' thing.

Z said...

Good luck with CBS.

I'd love to see more of your work.

WNG is still my favorite piece of Web 2.0 culture.

Oenone said...

Angel, you COCKBLOCKED "The Quiet Man"!!!! You've got to be kidding me! That movie is AMAZING! That's unforgivable. Absolutely unforgivable.

Pump up the Volume said...

I kind of love you crazy as watching RIDICULOUS amounts of movies back to back is :)..its awesome...perhaps I shouldn't equate it with a Saved by the Bell marathon..hmm.
AND CAN CBS HURRRRRRRRY UP? I've been yearning for some WNG. ..yearning is a weird word...different connotation than i was going for. I be tired. bye.

Anonymous said...

ah glad to hear from you guys! Its been almost 2 months!

and haha Angel's idea of using the tin is brilliant, but the whole cockblock thing is unacceptable! It killed the purpose of having the tin at the first place lol

Can't wait til the greenlight! Waiting for new WNG for ages!