I Am The Batman

I like to think that we all have a greater calling. That moment in all our lives where we have to stop, take a step back and realize, “This is the moment I was born for”. Discovering that moment, that grandiose culmination of every life decision up until that point, is earth-shattering and will never be forgotten. You may be asking yourselves, but Mitch, how do you know so much about destiny?

Well, dear reader, it’s because I’ve discovered mine.

A few short weeks ago, I was home alone, doing what I always do.

Pretty much.

Wandering up from the basement to do a little mid-afternoon foraging, I couldn’t help but notice something strange was going on. Most notably, the kitchen was full of animal screams pouring in from the backyard. I wandered around back to discover my cat, Ned. He appeared to be prodding at an animal that he had cornered, and looked up at me for congratulations. Figuring that it was a mouse or some other woodland creature that I have no real love for, I was ready to begin celebrating over his rekindled murder lust. It had been far too long since he’d had the taste of blood on his palate.

The perfect killing machine.

Unfortunately, when I got a better look at what he had brought down, my heart sank. I found myself looking down, not at an expendable mouse or rat or baby bunny, but at a bat with a broken wing, clearly in a lot of pain, screeching its little head off. I was frozen in place. I had no idea what to do. I like bats, and I didn’t particularly like the idea of letting one die. Bats eat mosquitoes and stuff, and I hate those goddamn things.

Running through every possible solution in my cough syrup-addled brain, I could think of no possible way to save this poor creature. I gave Ned a glance out of the corner of my eye, and told him to “make it as quick and painless” as he could. Then I swallowed hard and turned on my heel, making sure not to look back.

“I shall grant you a warrior’s death.”

When I reached the back door, I discovered that Ned had followed me. Turns out he’s just as much of a coward as I, and couldn’t bring himself to “get anywhere near that little leathery toothy bird thing”. His words, not mine. After trying with no avail to find someone who knew even the slightest thing about bats, I decided that the poor bastard had suffered long enough. To prolong its pain would just be cruel and selfish, so I swallowed my pride and went to find the heaviest rock I could.

Kill stuff, open stuff, close stuff- Man, is there anything rocks can’t do?

Moments later, there I was: standing over this broken little creature, stone in hand, like some sort of drunken angel of mercy. I was ready to bring that rock down like I was trying to open a can of soup on a camping trip, when my phone went off. It was my mother, telling me of an animal rescue clinic the next town over that might be able to help. Setting down the rock and grabbing the phone, I called them immediately.

The person on the other end of the line had a number of questions for me, but there was no time for that shit. A life was on the line.

“Thank you for calling the Sandy Pines Wildlife-”

“How do you make a splint?”

“I’m sorry?”

“Wait, fuck that- How do you set a bone? I’ve got a bat here with a broken wing, and zero field experience.”

“Well, sir, we can take the bat off your hands for you.”

“Perfect! Good! Then send the medic.”

“Sir, we can’t actually come and get the bat.”

“What the hell are you talking about? Dammit, man, this bat needs special treatment!”

“My name’s Diane.”

“There’s no time for details! If you don’t hurry, this bat will be dead! Then who will eat those mosquitoes, huh? Is it going to be you? Because it sure as hell isn’t going to be me!”

“Sir, we can’t come and get the animal. However, if you’d be willing to drive it to us, we’d be more than happy to take care of it.”

After jotting down the address and gingerly lifting the bat into a shoebox full of towels, I was on the road. The wildlife centre was over half an hour away, and I only had a vague idea of where it even was. You know that scene at the beginning of Reservoir Dogs, where Mister Orange is bleeding out in the backseat and Mister White is trying to keep him calm? Yeah, that, but for forty minutes. And the guy bleeding out weighed three ounces and could fly.

“You’re not gonna fuckin’ die, man!”

After a long, arduous journey, my wounded companion and I finally arrived at the wildlife centre. The people working there wanted to just straight take him off my hands, but I wouldn’t allow that. I had grown attached to the little fella, and wanted to make damn sure that he was looked after proper-like.

“I want to see your medical wing immediately.”

“Sir, this is family-run operation. We have a barn we can show you.”

“Fine, fine. Where’s your aviary? I want to make sure Reggie has enough space to exercise.”


“The bat. Keep up, man.”

“Diane, again.”

After a brief tour of their facilities (read: barn and country house), I filled out a few forms about where and when and how I came upon poor Reggie, handed him over to the experts and bid him a fond farewell. Driving home, it dawned on me that, had I not found him, Reggie would have died an excruciatingly painful death. Whether by the sun or the cruel paws of some neighbourhood terror (though, it probably wouldn’t be my useless-as-hell cat), he would have lost his shot. But I was there, and I saved him. Why me, though?

Because I can take it. Because I’m not a hero. I am a silent guardian. A watchful protector.

I’m not saying. I’m just saying.

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This would look really unprofessional, if I was a professional…

Hello, friends. Now, I know what you’re thinking; “Hey! Who’s this guy? It’s been so long since we’ve heard from him, we presumed him dead! Haw haw.” Your sarcasm is not lost on me, and I suppose I deserve it. But I do actually have a legitimate excuse this time.

I’ve just begun studying at a new school, and the workload obviously takes precedence over some silly comedy website. But let it be known that I have not forgotten about my little corner of the Internet, and plan on updating you on as much as I can, as frequently as I can, and as hilariously as I can. I know that this post is kind of light on the humor, so in lieu of an actual joke here, enjoy a picture of a monkey smoking a cigarette and playing poker:

Pictured: Comedy gold

You can expect a new film review, several new anecdotes, and many more cheap laughs at other people’s expense.

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There and Back Again, and Again, and Again…

I must apologize for my absence of late. I promised a regular posting schedule, and I have failed to deliver on that front. But, before you hand me the sword and ask me to fall upon it, you ought to know that I haven’t been updating lately only because I have been having such grand adventures: gathering Horcruxes, taking them north of the Wall, dropping them in Mount Doom and certainly not just being lazy, watching cartoons and eating Oreo’s straight from the box can take a lot out of a guy.

Most recently, though, I found myself in Toronto for a weekend, giving me the opportunity to visit with many old friends, make some new ones, and realize that madness seems to follow me at every turn. What was supposed to be a simple weekend of catching up and getting wasted rapidly turned into the most surreal three days of my life. It truly was an Odyssey, complete with heroes, villains, monsters and magic.

And potions. Lots and lots of potions.

I arrived at Union Station Friday afternoon, and realized that I had been out of the city for far too long when I caught myself thinking, first and foremost, “Jesus, them’s some tall buildings.” I had a few hours to kill before my friends and I were scheduled to meet up, so I made my way over to Dundas Square and grabbed some dinner. From my rooftop patio seat, I could see that there was some manner of festival going on in the square: many people were crowded around a stage, where a man in a gorilla suit was leading a dozen women in some elaborate dance exercise. Across the street, I spotted Batman, Robin, Spider-Man and Spock, pestering tourists for change in exchange for a photo with them. I was slightly disheartened by this; the economic crisis must be far worse than we can imagine, if Bruce Wayne is forced to panhandle.

“I am vengeance. I am the night. I am kinda strapped for cash. Help a brother out?”

Eventually, I was joined by my friend Jacqui and her roommate Spencer, and we began to make our way down to the waterfront bar where Sara, a friend from Kingston, now worked. When we arrived, Sara informed us that there were two gentlemen on the patio, and that they would be paying for all of our drinks that night. Not being one to turn down free intoxication, I heartily accepted this odd proposal. What followed was an evening that, while spotty in actual memory, will live forever in lore and song. We moved from bar to bar, following these odd, affluent fellows’ leads, as they continued to push pint after pint at my friends and I. Whether these were two family men going through midlife crises and trying desperately to recapture their youth through a night of partying, or whether they were simply hoping to take home someone half their age, I may never know.

Before I could pry these esteemed gentlemen with questions about ulterior motives, Jacqui and Spencer whisked me away to their apartment on the other side of town. Upon arriving, we were greeted at the gate by a witch. She shot her knobby finger our way and threatened us with hexes and curses, most of which involved the word “bedbugs”. I was terrified; magic in any form frightens me, and any spell involving creatures that live in your mattress and eat your flesh can only bode ill for someone. It wasn’t until later that Jacqui explained that this witch was not a witch, but was in fact the scary, elderly, drunk woman who lived upstairs. It did little to comfort me.

When I awoke in the morning, my fears were confirmed when I discovered that I was alone. Jacqui and Spencer had disappeared without a trace, clearly the victims of a midnight raid by the bedbugs that my rubber mattress spared me from. I quickly made my escape, but before I left, I made damn sure that no one would suffer as my friends had.

Got ’em.

A few hours later, I met with another friend of mine, Andrea. I tried to explain to her that downtown was compromised and that we needed to evacuate, contact the national guard and maybe just glass the city from orbit, just to be on the safe side. Andrea dismissed my claims, arguing that I was “being irrational” and “probably off my meds again”. She suggested instead checking out Luminous, a week-long arts festival that takes over downtown Toronto every summer. There were some truly impressive pieces to be seen, as well as tons of nearly-free, delicious food to eat. I’m sure I would have enjoyed myself, but it was really hot out that day, and my flamethrower was bastard heavy. Andrea insisted I didn’t need it, and that I was probably going to be arrested, but I wasn’t about to take any chances.

We eventually found ourselves in the Distillery District, being led into a small white room called Airship 37. Before I could question anyone as to how exactly a building could qualify as an airship, I was silenced by several stunning, wall-sized paintings of women’s faces. They were very impressive and distracted me only briefly from the two women sitting in the middle of the room, wearing all white, drinking milk (I hope) from martini glasses, and wearing hair pieces that would make Lady Gaga’s head spin.

Pictured: Lady Gaga. I think.

After wandering about downtown for a few hours, Andrea and I made our way north, towards my old stomping grounds at York University. We parted ways, and I began to wander about the campus, looking for a place to rest my head and maybe grab a bite to eat. It wasn’t until that point that I realized just how tired I was. The ordeal with the witch and bedbugs the night before had kept me wide awake for most of the night, and I was long overdue for some shut-eye. Eventually, I found a couch hidden down a back corridor of an arts building, set up camp and immediately fell asleep, being sure to lay as many tripwires as I could.

I awoke a few hours later and, to my great surprise, none of my nice things were stolen. I decided that I had tempted fate for long enough, and met with my friends, Josh and Amelia, for beers. Josh informed me upon my arrival that they had purchased a hedgehog a week earlier, and that I was going to meet him. Amelia was sitting on the couch, gingerly petting a small bundle of itty-bitty spears curled up in a blanket. She placed this ball of pain that they affectionately referred to as “Bruce” in my lap, and it immediately began to hate every fiber of my being. It growled, huffed, hissed, and spat. It went through its entire repertoire of “please bring your hand a little closer so I may bite the holy shit out of it” noises, before I handed it back to Josh. The three of us then proceeded to drink beers and talk about how much of a shitheel Bruce was before going to bed.

Don’t let the adorable visage fool you; he feels nothing but contempt for humanity.

The morning of my last day in the Big Smoke, I joined Amelia grocery shopping before bidding her farewell and making my way back towards downtown. Sara had invited me to join her, her boyfriend and several people with “Mc” and “O'” in their names to watch Ireland face Croatia in the Euro Cup. When I arrived, the place was bathed in green and orange. People hung Irish flags from the rafters, and everything smelled like urinated whiskey. Behind the bar, the soccer game was being played on the largest screen I’ve seen outside of a movie theatre. I found Sara at the head of one table, her face all covered in paint and an enormous beer in hand. Her boyfriend, who was actually Irish, already had a decent drunk on, and spent the duration of the game roaring advice at the best athletes in the world. While Ireland didn’t actually win the game, the whole experience was more than enough to get me enthusiastic about a sport that I barely knew anything about. After that, I got some street meat, bid my friends farewell and boarded my train home.

Looking back on the weekend, it’s clear now that I only took away one lesson from the city of Toronto; it is a weird, cursed place that should be feared and observed only through binoculars. Get too close, and you may be eaten by beasts or converted into a sports enthusiast.

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Puff Puff Pass The Freaking Bill Already

In the spirit of the season, I’ve decided to rant and rave a little bit about the legalization of pot. Just like every middle-class twenty-something with a partial education and a liberal mindset, I am a pot smoker. It makes bad movies watchable, my posts funnier and it’s not hurting anybody.

Now, many of you probably remember a few posts back, where I talked about burnouts and how they were kind of douchebags.  It’s people like that who are responsible for weed still being illegal.There, I said it.

What governmental body would legalize a substance that turns its users into lumps of giggling, all-consuming meat with blood-shot eyes and an unexplainable appreciation for Phish? It also doesn’t help that the die hard advocates for the legalization of marijuana are not exactly the most professional-looking bunch. How does your dreadlocked, hackey-sacking ass expect to be taken seriously in front of the Federal Senate, anthropological degrees be damed.

Now, I have a few friends (shocking, I know), many of whom indulge more than I. Some of these people continue to function perfectly well, some even better than the average person, despite how much they smoke. They maintain steady work, make rent payments on time, have an active social life, continue their educations and even have enough time at the end of the day to take their pet for a walk. The fact that they smoke weed seems almost incidental when everything else is taken into consideration.

But, that being said, every coin has a flip-side. I’ve seen people who just become so cripplingly burnt out that they don’t take care of themselves, they can’t hold down steady work and their social circles drop down to just their dealer. They miss rent payments, get booted from apartment after apartment and, eventually, get so apathetic towards everything that they barely ever leave their beds.

“Aha”, moos the barnyard cow from atop his soapbox. “That must be at least a part of it. Why would the government legalize a substance that has the potential to transform people into low-functioning, lazy zombies that do nothing but damage themselves and everyone they know?”

Okay, says I from atop my much larger, more well-constructed soapbox, then riddle me this: why do we have bars, clubs and liquour stores? Why do we have casinos? Why do things like World of Warcraft and Second Life exist? Why are the tobacco companies still churning one of the biggest profits on the planet?

There have been more deaths related to alcohol than marijuana, by an enormous margin. Whether it involves impaired driving, sudden bouts of drunken anger, depression leading to suicide or a person simply drinking themself to death, pound for pound, alcohol has one of the highest body counts in the world as far as legal substances go. Gambling, too, is another completely endorsed method for ruining lives. How many stories are there of people losing their whole fortunes in a single night of blackjack or craps? A few years back, a Korean man killed his neighbour over an item in World of Warcraft. Not video game killed. Actually murdered. Like, with a hammer, I think. While this is obviously an extreme case, people do spend thousands of dollars of real world money to improve the lives of their online avatars. I’m guessing I don’t need to explain why cigarettes are bad. The staggering body count should speak for itself.

What’s the difference between these and pot? Pot isn’t regulated by the government, while all the others are (with the exception of online gaming, which is regulated by the gaming company). Their distribution is monitored and controlled, their usage is taxed and limitations are put in place to at least help the users keep from going to extremes.

Now, here’s the system that I think ought to be in place. And I know the chronic users and burnouts might get mad at me for what I’m about to say, but that’s alright. I’m not too worried about being violently attacked on the street by people who are still having difficulty finding outside.

Get a system set up like the one in the Netherlands, where weed is perfectly legal, but regulated. Set up similar coffee shop-type places here in Canada (or wherever you’re reading this), and allow the government to maintain control over pricing and distribution. This plan would, in one fell swoop, drop the crime rate, stimulate the economy and create massive turnover for Kelloggs, as Pop Tart sales blast through the roof. It’s not a perfect plan by any stretch of the imagination (pot would definitely become more expensive, for starters), and there are still going to be uninterested parties, but it makes the most sense to me. You disagree with me? You want the world to know what you think? Write your own fucking blog.

While we’re on the topic of uninterested parties, let’s take a good, hard look at the biggest argument against legalization: marijuana being a gateway drug.

I once heard a parent tell her child that it has been scientifically proven that people who smoke marijuana are guaranteed to want to do harder, more dangerous drugs. This is almost completely untrue. Weed has less to do with the pursuit of more dangerous substances than how susceptable a user is to peer pressure, and the fact that pot smokers are just more likely to be exposed to things like cocaine or ecstacy. It has nothing to do with pot making you crave other drugs.

The one time I was offered a hit of coke, I declined outright, and I was already a little high. Maybe it was due to my lack of interest in being accepted into that crowd, or maybe it’s because I used to look a little bit like Chris Farley, and I know an omen when I see it. Regardless, I would never touch anything harder than marijuana. You can keep your cocaine, inevitable arrest and heaps of prison rape. I’ll stick with my bong, a bag of Doritos and Dark Side of the Moon on vinyl.

Happy 420, everybody.

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The 1980s: A Better Time for Villainy

Everyone loves the 80s. For some mysterious reason, even people who weren’t around to remember them make jokes about this oft misunderstood decade. Take me, for example. Having been born in the slightly less revered decade of the 1990s, everything I know about the 1980s comes second-hand. Some through hazy recollections by my parents, some through my ever-growing collection of Duran Duran memorabilia. But mostly, through its cartoons. Everything was bright and colourful, people’s motions were looped and awkward, and nobody seemed all that coherent or sober.

The best thing about these cartoons, though, was their bad guys. Whether they were multidimensional conquerors, or giant robots from a dead planet, or an international terrorist organization. They all sound marginally threatening at worst, or pants-shittingly terrifying at best. And yet, for whatever reason, the bad guys in these cartoons continuously fail outright, being thwarted by plucky teens or half-baked Jesus metaphors, proving time and again why villains like us just can’t have nice things. Take, for example…

Skeletor (He-Man and the Masters of the Universe)

Skull for a head. Lives in Snake Mountain. Legions of evil henchmen at his beck and call. Has a ram’s head on the end of a stick that he can shoot magic from. Oh, yeah, and he has a fucking skull for a head. Skeletor is the arch-nemesis of He-Man, and seeks to control all of Eternia by accessing the ancient secrets and powerful magic held within the walls of Castle Greyskull. At least, that’s what he claims. Personally, I think he just feels that a guy who is literally a chattering skull hovering in a hood would be better suited to living in a skull-shaped castle than a snake-shaped mountain.

Skeletor has come up with a few plans that, if put in the hands of a competent evil mastermind, would probably work. For example, in the very first episode, he traps the king and queen of Eternia in an alternate dimension using a magical gem stone. A smart man would read up on this incredibly powerful and potentially dangerous weapon. Maybe figure out if there was any way the stone could be broken to free those trapped within. Maybe even take precautionary steps to ensure no one fucks up your plan. But no, Skeletor doesn’t have time for stupid shit like research and forethought. He’s more of an ‘in-the-now’ kind of thinker. However, while thinking like that works great for impulsive Friday nights out, it proves slightly less effective when attempting a planetary takeover. Sure enough, He-Man prances into the scene, shatters the stone, frees the king and queen and saves the day.

You'd think a sword-wielding barbarian riding a giant armored tiger would be, you know, cool.

This happens every single episode; Skeletor is consistently thwarted by He-Man and friends, even when the odds seem overwhelmingly stacked in his favour. How does he let this happen over and over again? Simply put, Skeletor is kind of an idiot. But at least he’s relatively level-headed. Not like…

Cobra Commander (G.I. JOE)

Ruthlessly evil and dangerously unstable, Cobra Commander is the leader of COBRA (Because that motif hasn’t gotten stale yet), the unreasonably well-funded terrorist group that wants to take over the world. With legions of mercenaries, weapons designers, spies and assassins at his disposal, Cobra Commander appears to be a genuine threat to world peace.

At least, he would, if he wasn’t crazy as a shithouse rat.

COBRA appears to have billions of dollars in financial backing. They have dozens of forts and bunkers all over the world, fleets of warships, whole battalions of tanks, a standing force of at least a hundred thousand troops, and whatever materials you need to mass-produce laser rifles. If a man with even a shred of military know-how was in charge of COBRA, they could potentially take over the world in a long weekend.

"Hi. We are COBRA, and we are in no way fucking around."

Unfortunately, Cobra Commander isn’t quite Sun Tzu. More accurately, he’s that crazy guy on the street corner that smells like soup and waves his penis at traffic. To illustrate this point, in one episode, the guy gets his hands on a population-melting superlaser. Rather than use it to, say, take Washington D.C. hostage, the guy decides a better use of this technology would be to carve his face into the fucking moon. This would be effective if A) people still thought the moon was a giant space-god, and B) he actually had a face.

Though, to be fair, having this guy leering down from space every night would probably just mean no one would ever sleep again.

Cobra’s lieutenants seem to be aware of their leader’s madness, and constantly try to go behind his back and undermine his command. However, he manages to keep his troops in line, largely through threats of death by firing squad that will totally be followed through with. Which brings me to…

Megatron (The Transformers)

Megatron, for the none of you that don’t know, is the leader of the Decepticons, a race of shape-shifting alien robots hellbent on ruling the galaxy and defeating the Autobots, their good guy counterparts. They have come to Earth as conquerors and pillagers, stripping our planet of its resources and enslaving its inhabitants. Megatron is completely remorseless, can transform into either a giant gun or a tank (depending on how feisty he’s feeling that day), and generally seems like he could lay a pretty severe smackdown on the human race all on his own. Of course, the Autobots are there to try and stop him at every turn, so he naturally needs an army.

But, therein lies the problem.

Pictured: The problem.

That’s Starscream, Megatron’s second-in-command and possibly the biggest piece of shit in media. He is constantly going behind Megatron’s back, disobeying his orders and generally being the worst soldier any commanding officer could ask for. He’s not even subtle about it, either; at least once an episode, the following conversation will undoubtedly take place:

Megatron: Yes, the Autobots will never stop us this time!

Starscream: If I was in command of the Decepticons, the Autobots would have been defeated eons ago!

Megatron: Starscream, shut the hell up or, I swear to God, I will blow your goddamn head off.

While I may be paraphrasing, you get the gist: Megatron comes up with a plan, Starscream sasses Megatron, Megatron threatens Starscream’s life. If Megatron had any common sense, the conversation would go a little differently:

Megatron: Yes, the Autobots will never stop us this time!

Starscream: If I was in command of the Decep-[Interrupted by Megatron blowing his goddamn head off]

Megatron: Now, anybody else wanna mouth off? No? Didn’t think so.

You never saw Soundwave pulling any bullshit like that.

So, yeah. Skeletor’s dumb, Cobra’s insane, and Megatron is just far too liberal with his second chances. But these guys are at least dangerous and, despite all their flaws, still pretty awesome. And that’s what makes a good villain, right? Tell that to…

The Misfits (Jem and the Holograms)


Yeah, yeah. I’m a little ashamed that I know this show exists, too.  The Misfits are a punk band that compete with the far more successful Jem and the Holograms for gigs and recording deals, even though their genres are completely different and they’d probably have two completely separate fan bases. Ignoring how awful it is that this cartoon stigmatized people who were different, the Misfits were just awful villains. In fact, I wouldn’t even call them villains. They’re more just catty bitches that hate seeing other people achieve success. Man, girls really got shafted when it came to cartoons.

As a side-note, the show would be infinitely more entertaining if the bad guys were the actual Misfits, wouldn’t it?

Every episode would end with Danzig chucking an empty 40 of Jack at Jem's head.

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A Rant: Clint Eastwood is My Favourite Person in Hollywood


I have to admit, the reason I’ve been slacking off on my post schedule is because I haven’t watched many shitty movies lately. As much as I love them, it’s important to take a break and re-watch the classics. With the garbage that pollutes modern movie theaters, it’s nice to remind yourself why you, at one time, loved cinema.

With all the classic pieces of cinema history I’ve been watching, I’ve started to notice patterns. For one thing, a hell of a lot of them involve this guy:

That’s Clint Eastwood. Actor, director, musician, cowboy, and stone cold badass, he is the King Midas of Hollywood. Think about it. Have you ever seen a Clint Eastwood movie and thought, “Man, what a piece of shit THAT was”? No, of course not. We love his movies, whether he’s in front of or behind the camera. Chances are someone within twenty feet of you is quoting one of his movies right now. He is a staple of pop culture, loved by young and old alike.

In addition to becoming the epitome of raw, rugged manliness, he’s become a universal symbol of cool. Everybody just sort of knows it, but nobody really seems to question why. What makes him different from the countless other action stars of cinema? Well, for one thing…

The Guy is Actually a Good Actor

Say what you will about stars like Schwarzenegger and Seagal. Sure, they’ve both made some great action movies and have loads of charisma and are super-entertaining, but let’s face it- neither one of them is a particularly good actor. They’ve got a shtick that they perform in their movies. They’re the ass-kicking super-cop or the ass-kicking super-soldier or the ass-kicking super-cook, and if they ever try to deviate from that role, the results are awkward at best, and Steven Seagal’s solo album at worst.

And yes, I will concede that Clint does have something of a role that he plays as well. He’s the scruffy hardass that takes no shit, talks with his teeth clenched and shoots first while asking questions never. And while that would be enough for your average action star, Clint has proven many times that he’s capable of much more than that. He’s done comedies, romances, and tragedies. The dude’s even played a country-western singer.

And sure, the other action stars I’ve mentioned have forayed into other genres. Schwarzenegger has done comedies where he doesn’t even punch or shoot a single person. He was even pregnant in one. Sylvester Stallone did a comedy where he was upstaged by an eighty year-old woman. But these characters were all cast for a quick laugh. For whatever reason, movie producers think we’re all Caligula and want nothing more than to see actors we love humiliate and degrade themselves for our amusement.

The modern equivalent of public executions.

The difference with Clint is, when he slips into a new pair of shoes, you buy it. You totally believe that he’s a drunk musician, or a lost pensioner on a road trip, or a boxing legend, or even a trucker that hangs out with an orangutan. It takes a high caliber of acting to be able to jump into a new role and make it believable and entertaining, especially when your career up until that point has largely involved revolvers and sneering.

He has two Academy Award nominations for his acting, and they don’t exactly hand those out to whoever wants them. And while he didn’t win either of his acting Oscars, he still has two adorning his trophy case for Directing, as well as two Best Picture Oscars, because…

He Can Tell an Excellent Story

Clint doesn’t even need to show up on camera to make a really good film. Aside from the two directing Oscars that he has for Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby, he has also been nominated for Letters from Iwo Jima and Mystic River, neither of which he acted in.

"Oh, these? I was doing some bicep curls."

He’s also proven with his films that he’s not afraid to tackle complex stories and deep, sympathetic characters. Unforgiven shattered the conventions of the Western genre by delving into the story of a retired gunman, looking back on a life of murder and crime. It explored the philosophy of taking a life and, in doing so, became Clint’s masterpiece. In Gran Torino, he managed to generate sympathy for a character that, in any other movie, could very easily pass for the villain. You actually start to like Walt Kowalski, despite the fact that he is an unabashed racist and probably about two really bad days away from shooting up the nearest Chinese buffet.

Pictured: A sympathetic character

Oh, yeah. Walt. You might want to remember him. Because later, I’m going to do this thing where I blow your fucking mind. But first, let’s talk about one thing that everybody agrees on…

He is An Awesome Character

You know the character. You love the character. You love that he hasn’t seen a razor in months. You love that he probably smells a little like whiskey and menthols. He shoots bad guys, he scowls, and he looks cool as all hell doing it.

Clint, seen here looking cool as all hell.

It’s the kind of character that’s carried Clint through the bulk of his career on-screen, and it has never really gotten old. When stars like Sylvester Stallone or Harrison Ford tried to rehash their characters of yesteryear, we got Rocky VI: Rocky’s Fat and Senile and Indiana Jones: Indy Hallucinates About Aliens While Dying from Radiation Poisoning, respectively.

"Lead-lined? Yeah, that ought to do it."

For whatever reason, whether it be some underlying layer of charisma, or our insatiable desire to be like him, Clint Eastwood has always been, and forever will be, a character that audiences want to watch. And while I’m sure Clint would love to keep making movies where he is a shit-kicking murder machine, sooner or later,  age gets the best of us. He knew he couldn’t keep making these movies forever, but he wanted to leave his fans satisfied, without necessarily needing more.

Which Is Why [SPOILER ALERT!] Walt Dies At The End

Gran Torino is an awesome movie for a couple of different reasons, but the biggest one is it’s protagonist. Walt Kowalski is such a cool character; an incredibly racist Korean War veteran and gun enthusiast who is pissed off at how lovey-dovey the world has gotten and hates literally everyone. He slings racial slurs, he loves his car, and don’t you even think about stepping on his fucking lawn.

Then, the young Vietnamese boy next door starts to fall in with the wrong crowd, and Walt becomes the reluctant hero, saving a life that he could otherwise give two shits about. Things continue to escalate and the gang violence in the neighbourhood worsens until Walt, finally having had it with this shit, heads over to the gang’s crib to teach those snot-nosed punks a less- oh, what? He didn’t shoot a single one? He got shot a bunch and died?

Yes. Yes, of course he did. And here’s why: it was this character’s time. Clint knew that he was getting too old to keep making movies like Dirty Harry. So, rather than letting that bit fade into obscurity, or keep hashing it out until he dropped dead or we stopped caring, he brought the character arch to it’s logical conclusion. And sweet mother of God, what a conclusion. By standing up to these punks and sacrificing his own life, he saved the neighbourhood from terror and crime. These little assholes would be brought to justice, and the kids he had grown fond of would be safe. It makes perfect sense for a character who, while not everyone may see eye-to-eye with his beliefs, is good at his core and simply wants to see justice done. The kind of character that Clint is best known for, and most loved for, playing.

Clint hasn’t acted in a movie since.

It was Clint’s way of giving his fans a satisfying end to someone they’ve loved for years. He knew he was getting too old for this shit and, rather than just retire and fade away, he wanted to end on a high note. Killing Walt was his way of transforming the character he’s been playing for years from badass to tragic hero. We’re sad to see him go, but we’re so glad he did the way he did.

Incidentally, did you know they’re making a Die Hard 5?

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Night Clubs: A Case Study

My age group’s fascination with night clubs has always baffled me. Perhaps it’s just my primitive reptilian brain, but I can’t understand the appeal. Standing in line for an hour, paying a certain amount just to be let in, only to buy ludacrisly marked-up alcohol. Which, incidentally, you’ll need to tolerate the thumping, sirens and wob-wobs that make up club music. That is, if you can even make it to the bar through the enormous crowd of sweaty, obnoxious people you don’t know. It’s like going to the world’s shittiest amusement park, only there are no roller coasters to ride, or mascots to crane kick.

I’ve been tricked into going to a few night clubs over the course of my life, usually by drunk female friends who are suddenly struck by the uncontrollable urge to dance. I’ve usually polished off a few drinks myself by that point in the evening, so I tend to agree to go along. “What the hell,” my brain thinks. “Maybe this time I’ll actually have fun.” If you’re like me, this is officially the high point of the evening. Things are only going to get worse from this point on.

When you do get to the night club, there is a line. Fine, whatever, you knew there would be. It’s a Friday night, after all. And it seems to be moving at a steady pace. You won’t be outside for too long. It is always a mistake in thinking this, as in between you and the door, there are approximately fifty people, and forty-five of them have an issue. After the fourth or fifth obviously seventeen year-old girl with a fake ID gets turned away and drunkenly sobs on the curb, you start to realize that this is going to take much longer than you had originally anticipated.

"Man, all this standing still is sure filling me with the urge to dance."

When you do get to the door, after what feels like about a week, your feet are sore from standing for so long. You no longer feel like dancing at all. Why would you? Your feet hurt. It’s like asking someone who just broke their wrist to give you a handjob. At the door, you have your first interaction with the people of the club: the bouncers. This is always a treat for me personally, because bouncers at night clubs crack me up. With their tight black t-shirts and ear pieces, they carry themselves with the attitude of a man who got a lot of C’s in high school and, thusly, couldn’t become a skull-busting cop like they wanted. So now, they must make the world a better place by harassing patrons and hurling drunks into piles of garbage bags.

"Sir, I'm going to need to see some ID. Don't make me over-react and throw you into the alley headfirst, because I totally will."

After paying to get in (again, not unlike an amusement park), the first thing you notice is the bass. It is relentless, consistant and approximately a jillion times louder than it needs to be. The second thing you notice is the heat. The mass of gyrating bodies in the middle of the room has generated enough body heat to melt nickel, and you are now expected to hop around in there. “Jesus,” you think. “I was wrong. This place is the worst. I need a drink.” So you immediately make your way to the bar… only to find yourself standing in yet another line with a thousand other thirsty assholes who had the same idea as you. You crane your neck to see just how far away the sweet embrace of intoxication is, and notice that there is only one bartender. Serving a hundred thousand pushy, horny, drunken twenty-somethings. And you’re at the back.

"Here you go. That'll be all the money, please. Yes, all the money."

After another week or so, you finally make it to the bar and order a drink. It’s nineteen dollars. Fuck every last ounce of that. It is at this point that you can finally make your way on to the dance floor, but after one look you begin to question whether or not you want to, or even whether you can call that a dance floor. Ballrooms have dance floors. What you are looking at more closely resembles some kind of horrifying Roman orgy. What these people are doing is not dancing. Women are tossing their hair around like there’s a bat in it and pressing their asses against the crotches of men, who are no doubt either bouncing up and down in place or pumping their fist in the air, like they’re desperately trying to punch the ceiling. The heavy concentration of sweat, hair product, cologne and liquour in the atmosphere, combined with the heat of the room, has somehow managed to make every surface in the club just sticky enough for it to be noticable and creepy.

There’s no escape at this point, and you begin to realize it. Your mind begins to break down. “Oh, god, what have I done? What the hell did I just step in? Why is the booze so expensive, and so far away? My god, I just saw far more of her than I had ever hoped to. I didn’t even know you could get that pierced. I’m pretty sure that DJ Whoever-The-Fuck already played this song. Oh, wait. No, he didn’t. They just all sound the goddamn same. Get me out of this place. I can taste the air in here, and it tastes like a homeless guy’s pocket.” Then, everything becomes a blur. Your female friend has abandoned you, and you are now alone in the most evil place you’ve ever been. You begin looking for your friend, hoping she’ll come to her senses and the two of you can leave this den of sin. You brave the Fuck Sea, searching, hoping, praying. Then you feel the bodies of people you don’t know against yours. You are now one with the night club. You have been absorbed into the mass of writhing, shapeless figures. You are lost.


The next morning, with any luck, you wake up alone in your own bed, with all your own clothes and minimal vomit stains. Your head is pounding, but you only had two drinks because you’d have to take out a bank loan to afford any more than that. The bass will continue hammering through your skull for the next few days, and your wallet will be completely empty. You reach for your phone and see that there is a text from your female friend. “OMG last night was sooooooo much fun that guy i danced with was SO HOT😛 did you have fun too?”

No, you think. No, I did not. Last night was an exercise in hedonistic debauchery not seen since the days of the Marquis de Sade. I feel like Gary Busey looks. I’m broke and broken. My soul needs a shower. You will never drag me to one of those places again, you miserable harpy.

"These eyes have seen the end of days. There's a lot of tequila and LMFAO does the soundtrack."

But as you lay your head down and close your eyes to begin the recovery process, in the back of your mind, you know this is untrue. And you silently dread the next time you find yourself in the scariest, loudest, stickiest place on the planet.

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