Thursday, September 18, 2008

Top 5 Commercials That Make Me Never Want to Buy the Product

There are two reasons for commercials: to give budding actors something to put on their resume, and to sell things. In thirty seconds, an announcer/spokesperson tells us exactly why this product will make us happy/pretty/better than anyone else. When there are a dozen different versions of toilet paper, it's up to ad executives to put together an ad that will make a viewer think, "Hey, I love that bunny! I'll buy this brand!"

Simple, right? At the very least, just extolling the virtues of some product should be enough. Sometimes the execs get it really right and actually make something entertaining. (See cat herder.)

Sometimes the execs take their crack a little too early in the day.

Not only are the following commercials bad, but they actually make me never want to buy the product. Even if the actual product is okay--hey, even preferable!--these commercials have turned me off forever. These aren't just kind of annoying or lame or stupid commercials. These are opposite-commercials. The competitors might as well use them. Here's the wall of shame, in no particular order:

1) Chips Ahoy!--"If You Want My Body"

No. No, I don't want your body, you giant cookie. Your chocolate chips make you look like a pox victim. Your singing makes my brain dribble out of my ears. Also, how can someone have sex with a cookie? What was that tiny woman planning on doing? And if a real person eats the cookie in the end, who the hell is that tiny woman? Why is she so tiny? Is she only with the anthropomorphic cookie because he's the only one her size?

2) Sprite--"Obey Your Thirst--and Sumo Wrestlers"

I love Sprite. It's my soda of choice--crisp, clean refreshing. What more could I want? A fucking better ad, that's what! The idea of my face getting squished by two monochromatic sumo wrestlers freaks me out. And this is just the tip of the "Obey Your Thirst" commercial freakdom. Don't make me associate Sprite with a creepy drug trip, please.

3) Charmin--"Ultra Strong for Ultra Poop"

Cartoon animals selling products aren't exactly new. But I don't want them selling my toilet paper, especially when they're bears. It makes me think of really big, gross poop--the kind you take care to avoid and leave alone. (Also, if you see bear poop, you're probably going to get mauled, so that's not a good connotation either.) Plus, how many pieces of toilet paper are you walking around with? If that's a serious problem for you, you're just lazy and disgusting.

4) Anything sold by Billy Mays--"If I Get Really Loud, You'll Buy This"

Why is this guy selling eighteen different products? At first I thought, "Oh, it must be some cleaning product company, they're all related and just didn't want to film commercials on multiple days, so they asked the same guy to do all of them." But the slider pan? And who thought, "He'll make people excited about stuff!" More likely, he'll make me want to rip off my own head and cook mini hamburgers with that. (Although I do secretly wonder if the cleaning stuff works.)

5) Beggin' Strips--"Dogs Can't Believe How Bad This is"

I'm a sucker for a dog in commercials. Remember how I hated the bears and toilet paper? I love the puppy and toilet paper combination in the Cottonelle commercials. Put a puppy on something and I'm ready to buy. But these Beggin' Strips commercials have made me an animal hater. If this is what dogs sound like in their heads, I will not be able to get one. But if I do, you can be damn sure they're not getting these fake-bacon treats.

There were some that I couldn't find commercials online for, one in particular being an old Perdue chicken commercial in which a really annoying voice sang "Pick...pick pick" over and over while a family picked on leftover chicken. This list might have a sequel if those ever pop up. Until then, I'll be drinking 7Up.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Best Books by Indians, or About India

I just got back from a long trip to India, which included stints in Benares/Varanasi/Kashi and Bombay/Mumbai and Bangalore/Bengaluru. I have not really read enough to compile this list, but I am flush with enthusiasm for what is at least sort of my country. So here we go, in no particular order, some random highlights:

Swami & Friends, by R.K. Narayan

The pride of South India! I have read many of his novels, but this is the only one that I really love. A great book, and I think the best novel about childhood I've ever read.

The Tribal World of Verrier Elwin, by Verrier Elwin

Pretty much forgotten outside of India, Elwin was part of the independence struggle with Gandhi and Nehru, and then spent the rest of life living with the Gonds, the largest of India's remaining tribal peoples. His autobiography is beautifully written and surprisingly funny.

Our Films, Their Films, by Satyajit Ray

The most multifaceted genius that India has produced in the modern era. In addition to making his films, he composed music, drew, and wrote some extremely good short stories, along with this collection of short essays written for newspapers. I was pretty amazed at how perceptive they are, and not just about the movies.

The Story of My Experiments With Truth, by M. K. Gandhi

Gandhi's autobiography, and much to my discredit the only modern book on this list not originally written in English. (It was written in Gujarati and translated by Gandhi's secretary.) Until the end, when it gets bogged down in the dated exhortations of the Independence movement, the book is pretty great. And surprisingly it's a real literary success as well - Gandhi has a talent for pacing and description and even comedy, and there are indelible passages throughout.

India: A Wounded Civilization
, by V.S. Naipaul

The best book in his trilogy on India. It's pretty much a big "fuck you" to the country, but it's too formidable and perceptive an attack to be dismissed. It also contains some of the best criticism ever written about Narayan and a surprisingly appreciative essay on Gandhi.

The Mahabharata, by Vyasa

Most people prefer The Odyssey to The Iliad, but among the two great Indian epics (the other is the Ramayana) the battle story is by far the more interesting. I learned these stories from comic books, a TV serial, and from the Rajagopalachari translation, which is pretty solid. "One cannot understand India's way of life," Rajagopalachari says in the introduction, "unless one has read the Ramayana and the Mahabharata." Well, I have read both and I still don't really understand, so clearly it takes a little more...

Midnight's Children, by Salman Rushdie

I'm not sure it deserves to make this list, because I'm not particularly interested in re-reading it. But it was compulsive reading for me when I first picked it up. An incredibly compelling and inventive plot - a triumph of imagination and technical wizardly, although not really of any deeper human understanding, I don't think.

The Wonder That Was India, by A. L. Basham

Um, full disclosure, I have not actually read this book. But my Dad says it's very good, and so does John Keay, whose general history of India I am currently reading. For homegrown Indian historians - who for some reason all seem to be Marxist - I have heard good things about Romila Thapar and D.D. Kosambi. I will head to the library shortly and attempt to justify these totally unsupported recommendations.

Apologies for the complete lack of women on this list; I clearly just haven't read enough. Also, half-points go to J. G. Farrell's The Siege of Krishnapur, which is a brilliant novel but is really much more about the British than it is about India. Also, I like Edwin Arnold's poem The Light of Asia, about the life of the Buddha, as well as his translation of the Gita. Finally, G.V. Desani's "All About H. Hatterr" is very funny and now back in print. Keep 'em coming, Injuns and Injunphiles!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Top Ten Movies That Take Place In Twenty-Four Hours Or Less And Entirely Within New York City

While this list technically spans several genres (heist films dominate) all of these films deal with entrapment and liberation, and most have implicit political messages. Also, rest assured, these are not the only ten movies set in a single day in the Big Apple. Some dis/honorable mentions: Phone Booth, Panic Room, World Trade Center, Night At The Museum, My Dinner With Andre, Kids.

10. Booty Call (1997). Starring Oscar-nominated actor Jamie Foxx and Razzie-nominated actress Vivica A. Fox, this is a raunchy slapstick farce about dating in the 1990s. The funniest sequence involves a prolonged search for contraception in Chinatown. It falls apart a bit towards the end, as most farces do, but Foxx and Fox as the two no-good playas named “Bunz” and “Lysterine” carry the film.

9. Quick Change (1990). An underviewed, underrated comedic heist movie starring Bill Murray, Randy Quaid, and Geena Davis as a trio of bank robbers who can’t escape the five boroughs. Murray was co-director and does some fine work in a clown suit. Legend of the stage and screen Jason Robards also stars. The film could be seen as an homage to semi-comedic seventies -24hrs/all NYC pics like The Taking of the Pelham 1-2-3 and Dog Day Afternoon (see below), as Robards resembles Matthau’s character in the former and the final scene at the airport is reminiscent of the latter.

8. Escape from New York
(1981). The year is 1997. Manhattan is a maximum-security prison. Air Force One has crash-landed on the island, and the President is being held hostage by the inmates. The hang-gliding con “Snake” Plissken (Kurt Russell) has twenty-three hours to rescue the President and get off the island. As a college student, I spent a lot of time in NYC in the late 1990s, and trust me, this movie captures that time and place perfectly.

7. After Hours (1985). There’s no such thing as bad pizza, bad sex, or a bad Scorcese movie. Sure, some might seem lousy when compared to the finest stuff, but you’ll enjoy it all the same. (With the possible exceptions of Domino’s, that regrettable night junior year of college, and The Aviator.) The movie is almost like a video game—follow the hero through the streets of New York as he tries to get home, staying mindful of the amount of money in his pocket and the time on the clock. Also, keep an eye out for the cameos (Bronson Pinchot, Teri Garr, Cheech & Chong), and enjoy this more light-hearted entry in the Scorcese oeuvre.

6. The Taking of Pelham One Two Three
(1974). A hi-jacked subway car. Walter Matthau. Jerry Stiller. Lots of bell bottoms and a funky-ass score. Can’t beat that with a bat.

5. The 25th Hour
(2002). Spike Lee Joints could dominate this list, as Inside Man is also a -24hrs/all NYC film (although sticklers could point out that it technically breaks this rule with a two-weeks-later epilogue), and his finest film of all clearly deserves top honors (see below). But this sober account of Edward Norton’s last day of freedom before heading upstate to serve out a seven-year prison sentence is bleak but satisfying. Just as Scorcese dwells on Men and Clans, and Spielberg focuses on Little Boys Lost, Lee’s movies are invariably about Adrift Men Who Face A Reckoning. Like Malcolm and Mookie, Monty is a guy who’s wasted a lot of time squandering his gifts, and now faces a decision about whether and how to do the right thing.

4. Twelve Angry Men (1957). Sidney Lumet, a man whose love for filming New York rivaled Woody Allen, somehow managed to inject shots of the city into his first film, the all-indoors jury room drama, Twelve Angry Men. Bringing a shot of the Woolworth building into the action is a way of reminding the viewer that claustrophobic, smoke-filled jury rooms city monuments as well, as they are civic spaces that hopefully demonstrate the best of the city’s citizens.

3. Rope (1948). Let’s say you and your gay lover decide to murder an old schoolmate for a thrill, a la Leopold and Loeb. What would make it more fun? Why not invite his family over to your tony apartment and serve them dinner while his corpse is in a chest in the living room? Oh, yes, and don’t forget to invite your creepy Nietzsche-spouting teacher (a miscast J-J-Jimmy Stewart) and engage him on the topic of the perfect murder. And if you’re director Alfred Hitchcock, why not add to challenge and have it appear to take place in nearly one seamless shot? As with Twelve Angry Men, New York is only really seen through a window, but it has a tangible presence all the same. The intricate, glowing background model of the city plays a crucial role, as it demonstrates the thematic descent in darkness.

2. Dog Day Afternoon (1975). Let’s say you and your gay lover decide he needs a sex change operation. Makes you a little less gay, I suppose, but the real question is: how are you going to pay for it? By robbing a bank, of course. When that turns into an armed standoff/impromptu gay-rights demonstration, I guess the only appropriate thing for the bank robber (Al Pacino) to do is to compare his plight a recent infamous prison riot. Does any of this raucous comic-tragedy (filmed lovingly, once again, by Sidney Lumet) make any sense? Of course not. But it’s a true story, man. It was the fucking seventies, man. Attica!!!!

1. Do The Right Thing (1989). Bedford-Stuyvesant reaches a boil on the hottest day of the year. Lee’s Brooklyn is hyper-saturated and scorching. The bricks glow red, the sidewalks shimmer, pizza slices glisten, and the graffiti is all in gloriously late-80s day-glo. Excellent performances from Giancarlo Esposito and Danny Aiello. Radio Rahim picks up where Pacino left off, setting off a Brooklyn riot that is of course fundamentally about race but is superficially about Mookie’s hatred of the Boston Celtics and Rahim’s constitutional right to split eardrums with his boom box. Does any of this make any sense? Well, yes, it does, especially when you consider that the small and seemingly trivial symbols are often the flash points of racial and cultural conflicts. Furthermore, it was the fucking eighties, dude. Fight the Power!!!!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

8 Terrible Movies Shown On Cable TV With Unnacountable Frequency

8. The Wedding Singer (1998). Yeah, yeah, it's a reasonably successful ($80 million) Adam Sandler romantic comedy, and cable TV loves Drew Barrymore. But still: why is this on just about every weekend, while fellow '90s Sandler mediocrity Big Daddy collects more and more dust each year? Big Daddy made $160 million! Apparently our overlords at VH1, TBS, and USA have decided that "The Wedding Singer" is the film for America to remember. Catch it on the Saturday after next on VH1.

6. (tie) Daredevil (2003), The Punisher (2004). On the surface, this isn't so surprising, since the American public's appetite for mediocre movies based on comic books is apparently endless. But these movies were laughingstocks from the beginning: Daredevil, along with Reindeer Games, will continue to serve as a Ben Affleck career punchline for the next twent years (OK, OK, I guess Armageddon, Changing Lanes, or just about any Affleck movie could probably serve as a Ben Affleck punchline. Still: the point stands).
The Punisher, meanwhile, featured a star-not-making performance by someone named Thomas Jane, who spent waaaay too much time in the weight room preparing for this role only to find himself, two years later, eking by with guest appearences on CBS's "Medium." Fat-faced John Travolta is also around, smirking unconvincingly, wearing a black suit with a black shirt and a black tie (get it? He's BAD!), and collecting his check.

In any case, despite Affleck, Jennifer Garner, and major summer-movie hype, Daredevil raked in just $78 million at the box office. The Punisher, in a comically feeble performance for a comic book movie, made just $33 million. People just don't want to watch these terrible movies. But don't tell FX, which is showing both of them before the month is out (in fact, if you're free on Sunday April 27, you can see both on the same day!). It's mysterious to me why they both get oodles of cable TV love, while the flawed-but-semi-interesting Ang Lee/Eric Bana Hulk is mercilessly mocked and very infrequently shown...

3. (three way tie) Navy Seals (1990), U.S. Marshals (1998), S.W.A.T. (2003). Even more than Drew Barrymore, cable TV loves action movies about military or police units, especially when the movies have simple titles reflecting those same military or police units. I have some can't-miss ideas for Hollywood: how about Mark Wahlberg in U.S. Army? Ed Norton in Homeland Security? Ashton Kutcher in Coast Guard? Wait a minute -- they made that last movie, except they stupidly called it "The Guardian." Now we never get to watch it on Spike!

Anyway, there's not much to be said for (or, really, about) any of these films. I'll nominate Navy Seals as the most watchable of the three, simply beacuse of the inevitable Charlie Sheen-as-crazy-early '90s-wildman sighting. Is there anything more tame, or less threatening, than Charlie sheen as a crazy early '90s wildman? In this movie, if I remember right, Sheen demonstrates his "wild and rebellious" side early on, primarily by carrying on excessively in his Jeep convertible.

If you're in the mood for a military-police action movie with a military-police organization title, you can check out Navy Seals on AMC this weekend, or S.W.A.T. on FX Somehow U.S. Marshals isn't on TV for the next two weeks... get ready for a triple-bill in May!

1. (tie) The Wedding Planner (2001), How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days (2003). Matthew McConaughey! Matthew McConaughey! Matthew McConaughey! This guy knows how to get himself on cable TV. If he ever did a romantic comedy with Drew Barrymore, I think they'd have to start a totally new network devoted strictly to screening and re-screening that movie.

Both of these movies did pretty well at the box office, but really... do they justify this kind of treatment? If I have to channel-surf past that brutal Wedding Planner scene where McConaughey and J-Lo 'accidentally' take dance lessons together one more time, I think I'll spontaneously combust. McConaughey plays a doctor in this movie. A fucking doctor! (This would rate highly on a possible future list of 'Most Implausible Performances By Hollywood Actors Playing Characters With Advanced Degrees'). How To Lose A Guy... was a bigger hit, I think, but that doesn't explain why it is literally on TV once every two weeks. It's like you're watching an actual TV series or something, except the show bounces around between TNT, USA, TBS, AMC, FX, etc, and in every single episode Matthew McConaughey takes Kate Hudson to the fucking Knicks game, only to miss the buzzer-beating shot. Man, that's frustrating! I need to watch it again in two weeks!

Fortunately, I'm in luck. How To Lose A Guy... is actually airing (twice!) on USA next week.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Best Unfinished Works of Art

I've always loved that Borges story about the author facing the firing squad to whom God grants a year to himself to finish his play (just in his own mind, in the half-second before the bullets are fired). Standing in that courtyard, he completes the play mentally to his satisfaction, and the guns go off as soon as he gets the last line right. Anyway, it got me thinking about great incomplete works of art. Here are some that I like:

1. 9th Symphony, Anton Bruckner

Possibly my favorite symphony. Bruckner left some sketches for the last movement but they are apparently not nearly as good as the first three (he was pretty sick at the time). I recommend the cheap and wonderful Tintner recordingon Naxos, if anyone is curious.

2. The Castle, Franz Kafka

He never actually finished a novel, did he? The Trial does at least have a conclusion written, and one could imagine him filling in the gaps pretty easily. I'm not sure how this novel could end, though.

3. The Triumph of Life, Percy Shelley

Written on loose scraps of paper, and covered with sketches of the boat that he would soon die in (with Keats's poems in his pocket). I also love the famous little "To the Moon" fragment...

4. Norham Castle, Sunrise, Joseph Turner

Part of a huge collection of canvases that he never finished. I believe he also left behind a huge sheaf of dirty drawings that were only recently discovered.

5. The First Man, Albert Camus

Found handwritten next to him in the car that he crashed in and published decades later. It would have been a masterpiece, and even as it stands is my favorite book by Camus.

6. I'll Keep It With Mine, Bob Dylan

I refer to the stopgap version on the 2nd volume of the bootleg series. I realize that there is a "completed" piano version, but it is not nearly as good as this was about to get before he stopped recording. She's Your Lover Now is a damn great fragment as well.

7. In Search of Lost Time, Marcel Proust

Very close to done, but there are still huge unincorporated chunks, characters that die and reappear, and other little humps that Proust could have fixed if he'd had another year or two. This should probably be higher on the list than, say, a single Dylan song, but let's ignore that.

8. Quartettsatz, Franz Schubert

A lovely first movement for string quartet. That symphony he never finished is good too.

9. Last Essays, George Orwell

His wonderful essay on Waugh breaks off mid-sentence, and the unpublished drafts of things like "Such, Such Were the Joys" are some of the greatest things he ever wrote. He really deserved a little more time. But then I suppose he did already survive being shot through the neck.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Best Story Songs

The only rule was that there had to be a fairly coherent narrative that was continued from verse to verse. And I left off show tunes since the narrative isn't entirely contained within the song.

1. Johnny Cash, The Streets of Laredo

A traditional song, but it's entirely his - especially the cover on American IV. Cash changes the lyrics a little - the cowboy has been shot instead of cut down by a venereal disease - but the original lyrics would have spoiled the mood, as venereal diseases so often do. Cash's cover of Long Black Veil might also belong on this list, despite the fact that he starts laughing in the middle (another mood spoiler).

2. The Wrens, 13 Months in 6 Minutes

This song has one of the best sets of lyrics I've ever seen - even if you have to read the liner notes to follow them at all, since they are mumbled and low in the mix.

3. Joni Mitchell, Green

Pretty heartbreaking.

4. Bruce Springsteen, The River

Another unbearably sad story. Story songs tend to be either incredibly sad or funny. As a corrective that doesn't merit being on this list, here is Ray Stevens singing I Am My Own Grandpa.

5. Loretta Lynn, Van Lear Rose

A love story about her own parents. Country music seems to be the only genre (with the possible exception of rap) that doesn't seem to have given up on the story song.

6. Outkast, Da Art of Storytellin' (Part I)

Actually two stories back to back - its place on the list is largely merited by Andre 3000s contribution (the second verse).

7. Bob Dylan, Clothes Line Saga

I realize that Dylan has probably written "better" story songs, but I can rarely listen to Hurricane or even 115th Dream without wishing them a little shorter (Lily + whatever + Jack of Hearts I skip entirely) - this song I always listen to, and I can't imagine anyone else even trying to imitate it, let alone write it.

8. Townes van Zandt, Pancho and Lefty

His version at the Old Quarter is far superior to every cover I've heard.

9. John Prine, 6 o'clock News

Prine is another great narrative songwriter. The song follows a boy from birth to death ("Wanda had a baby, in 1951 / the father was a stranger, a stranger was the son") - with each repetition of the chorus going back to the moment of the boy's conception ("C'mon baby, spend the night with me").

10. Ron Sexsmith, Strawberry Blonde

Another tale of childhood, happier this time -- seeing a girl from elementary school years later grown up with her own child. The element of time can lend story songs a special poignancy that can't quite be duplicated by non-narrative lyrics, I think.

11. Gillian Welch, One More Dollar

A tale that everyone can relate to - an early frost prevents us from getting work picking fruit trees, and so we turn unwisely to gambling to try to pay our way back home.

12. Richard Thompson, Beeswing

A gorgeous gorgeous song. It's pretty amazing how long he's been good.

13. Guy Clark, Let Him Roll

A little sappy, but everyone needs that sometimes. "It was white port wine that put that look in his eyes, that grown men get when they need to cry..."

14. Pulp, Disco 2000

It is dangerous to attach a year to a song, but for some reason it works on me even more now, since I have to think about how long ago I listened to it. Won't it be strange when we're all fully grown?

Friday, December 21, 2007

10 Most Awesome Moustaches In History

Some of my friends and I are going to enjoy a mustachioed New Year's Eve, and in honor of our approaching festivities, I thought I'd compile a list of the ten baddest moustaches in history. Let's get started:

10. Adolf Hitler. I wanted to keep him of this list, but it would be dishonest. The slim shrub of hair on his upper lip barely counts as a moustache--it's more like a northerly soul patch than anything else. And yet Hitler owns it. In the sixty years since Hitler's death, no one has worn "the Hitler" except Hitler impersonators. No other facial hair style can possibly evoke such horror.

9. Joseph Stalin. Let's dispense with the dictators. Martin Amis has a terrific passage in Koba The Dread where he compares the evils of "The Big Moustache and the Little Moustache." Brief recap: Hitler was worse, but Stalin's moustache was better.

Trivia for all of you: name three current world leaders with moustaches. Answer in white text on this line. Pervez Musharraf (Pakistan), Mahmoud Abbas (Palestine), Joseph Kabila (Democratic Republic of the Congo).

8. Genghis Khan. Damn, what is it with moustaches and evil conquering assholes? I'm guessing that Genghis didn't actually, uh, sit for this portrait -- and some representations of him show a full beard -- but I'm going to give it to him anyway. That mean slope on those whiskers says only one thing: Tatars of the steppe, you better watch your motherfucking backs.

7. George Harrison. Not all moustaches are bloodthirsty. Who could be a better antidote to Adolf, Josef, and Genghis than The Mildest Beatle? Lots of rockers attempted the long-hair-and-stache look in the mid-70s, but few wore it better than the Dark Horse.

5. Rollie Fingers. The first closer in baseball was also the owner of the best moustache in sports history. Grab a hold of them handlebars, baby!

Trivia: who was the last MVP of each major pro league (NFL, MLB, NBA) with a moustache? (Answers in white). NFL: Randall Cunningham, Minnesota Vikings, 1998. MLB: Jeff Kent, San Francisco Giants, 1990. NBA: Karl Malone, Utah Jazz, 1999.
4. William Howard Taft. Eveybody talks about Teddy Roosevelt, but Taft was our last president with facial hair. His moustache also kicks the hell out of T.R.'s comparatively feeble whiskers. Who doesn't love a fat man with a bushy mustache? It's possible that William Howard Taft came closer to looking like an actual walrus than any human being in human history.

Trivia: who was the last major-party presidential candidate to wear a moustache? (Answer in white) Thomas Dewey, 1948.

3. (Tie) Burt Reynolds and Tom Selleck. The Bandit vs. Magnum, P.I. Smoldering machismo vs. smoldering machismo. The '70s stache vs. the '80s stache. Burt's whiskers have a blog; Tom's have a rock band. How do you choose? You don't. You sleep with both of them.

Incidentally, both Burt and Tom won serious cred by holding onto their whiskers well past the period of fashionability. Tom wore his well into the '90s--including his memorable guest-stint on "Friends"--and Burt was still sporting one as of the latest "Dukes of Hazzard" movie. These aren't fly-by-night facial-hair phonies, people. These are Men of the Moustache.

Trivia: Who was the last man to collect the Academy Award for Best Actor while wearing a moustache? (Answer in white). F. Murray Abraham, "Amadeus," 1984. Paul Newman may or may not have been wearing a moustache in 1986, when he won for "The Color of Money," but he didn't show up to the ceremony.

1. Otto von Bismarck. I guess you could go with Chaplin or Dali or Zappa here, but while those guys were probably all assholes, the #1 moustache should go to an asshole who made war. Moustaches are apparently much more belligerent than watching a lot of gay porn might lead you to believe: Hitler, Stalin, Genghis Kahn, Bismark, Saddam Hussein, and the list goes on. I have a feeling I'm going to start acting like a total cock on New Years' Eve for no apparent reason.