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Sunday, August 9, 2015

100 Scenes I Love: #1. Cassandra's video shoot (Wayne's World, 1992)


Over the years I’ve presented and ruminated upon the literally hundreds of songs I love; gushed over my most beloved episodes of televised entertainment; listed the hundreds of snack foods I know I shouldn’t introduce into the Wonderland that is My Body, but have anyway because crunchy/salty/greasy/clogging things are absolutely scrumptious (chemicals make ‘em that way!); poked all manner of pop culture with the sharpened stick of wit, from reality TV to video games, situation comedies to movies for dum-dums, entertainment “news” to reality TV; and tackled some of societies biggest problems with the seriousness and aplomb of a seasoned reporter (like the time I used the "Paula Deen making racist comments" debacle to make fun of fat people!).  Well, now here’s something else.

Today begins an in-depth exploration of the 100 Scenes I Love, those pivotal moments in motion picture history that have moved me to tears or laughter or vomiting or teeth chattering or hysterical giggling that lead to a brief period of unconsciousness that one time.  These are the scenes that sculpted the goofy brain of the weird man who occasionally posts on this ridiculous blog.  Most of the entries in this exclusive series will not mention Taco Bell, dentistry, the television program Mystery Diners, Bush’s-brand baked beans or Juggalo culture, so, sadly, very few folks will just happen across them while sailing across this great World Wide Web we all love so much.  But maybe they will come, after all, I am building it, "it" being a place for lovers of fine scenes to come together and read short blurbs about things I like, from movies I enjoy.  Maybe you’ll find that you and I share the same love for a particular scene.  Maybe you’ll think that makes us soul mates.  Well, I’m flattered, but I’m happily married.  Take that soul mate shit somewhere else.

I thought the best place to begin this magical journey would be with a movie that is actually more of a collection of scenes rather than a traditionally structured film with a satisfying story arc and genuine pathos.  Of course I'm talking about Wayne's World, the 1992 film based on the popular Saturday Night Live sketch that gave young Americans so many of our favorite comical, early-90's phrases, like "schwing" and "not," which when strategically placed at the end of a sentence, negates all information in said preceding sentence.  Gosh, I miss "not."  NOT!

Funny side story about Wayne's World:  In middle school, the Drama teacher would occasionally convince a handful of teachers to throw their lesson plans in the garbage for the day and drag their respective classes down to the cafeteria to watch the Drama students perform short sketches and scenes they had written and rehearsed.  I know this because I took Drama and was part of one of these sketches.  I was in a scene with a bunch of upperclassmen--8th graders--a scene in which I had very little say, but oddly enough, the role of the de facto narrator.  The scene involved four or five Mafia bosses, each one of which had a body guard.  Obviously, the 8th graders were the the bosses and us lowly seventh and sixth graders were the body guards.  I remember exactly nothing about the scene, only I introduced the action and closed the piece with a short, closing monologue, both performed in front of the curtain to a dark room full of disinterested middle school students.  I don't think there was a written script, I think one of the 8th graders told me what to say.  It was dumb.

Anyway, before my involvement in said class, as a sixth grader, I remember my best friend Graham and I watching a Drama class performance, and two exceptionally creative young men decided to forgo the heavy lifting involved in creating their own original scene, and just did Wayne's World.  Again, I don't remember any of it--I assume there were a lot of "schwings" and "as ifs" and "nots" and Top 10 lists--but I remember me and Graham thought it was funny.  I should add, neither of us knew what Wayne's World was.

"What was that?" Graham asked as the curtain closed.  He had obviously perceived something I had missed.  He had figured out there was no way in Hell a duo of 8th grade doofuses had come up with something so funny on their own.

"I don't know," I answered, wiping the tears away from my eyes (probably).  "I guess they made it up."


And then, like an avenging angel from on high, a faceless classmate turned in his seat, looked at me and said, "It's from
Saturday Night Live, stupid!

Saturday Night Live?  I'd never, ever heard of something called Saturday Night Live.  That weekend, Graham slept over and we watched Saturday Night Live for the first time.  I wasn't allowed to have a TV in my room, but my parents, understanding that the main focus of this particular sleepover was to watch and initiate ourselves into the cult of SNL, let me borrow the portable, black-and-white television they kept in their closet for the occasion.  It was love at first sight.

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If you've seen
Wayne's World--and who the hell hasn't by this point?--you know the good parts, have them eternally burned into your brain.  Every time "Bohemian Rhapsody" (a title I used to, in my brain, see as "Bohemian Rap City," and was honestly perplexed when there didn't seem to be in rap involved in the song anywhere--it took getting a copy of the Wayne's World Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to set me straight) comes on the radio, American citizens of a certain age can't help but immediately picture five grown-men-as-teenagers headbanging in the Mirth Mobile (complete with it's own red licorice dispenser--man oh man, I wanted one of those).  And everyone loves the not-subtle stab at product placement in movies, a scene that many of you probably assumed would be the subject of this first entry into the 100 Scenes I Love canon.  I'm not going to lie, it almost was.  I decided, however, to go a different route because the product placement scene is the one everybody talks about all the time.  It is great and funny, but it's been done to death.  Oh, you know what's also good?  Wayne's interview with Noah Vanderhoff where he's added offensive remarks on the backs of the interview question cards.  Or when Wayne and Cassandra have a conversation in Chinese, but then settle on reading the subtitles because it's easier.  OH, or when Stacy buys Wayne a gun rack and he has that great line.  OH, OH, OH, or Ed O'Neill being creepy.  And who could forget Alice Cooper chatting with our heroes about the origin of the name Milwaukee?

All great scenes, yes, and I like them all, but I'm partial to the scene in which Wayne takes one last stab at getting his girlfriend back, visiting her on the set of her band's first music video.  I couldn't find a clip of the complete scene, but I did find my favorite part:




The absurd amount of film shooting out of the camera and coiling on the ground make me laugh every time I see it.  There's also a bit before where Wayne questions the validity of said video shoot by pointing out that none of the other members of Crucial Taunt appear to be on set, just seconds before the band strolls by and exchanges pleasantries with Wayne.  The moment is silly and dumb, and it makes me so happy.

In fact, this scene, in particular the ridiculous stream of film spilling everywhere, reminds me of a scene I love from another movie, but I don't want to get ahead of myself.  We'll get to that in the installment of 100 Scenes I Love.  

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