The Gist: Third Test, Day 2

July 31, 2008 | Comments (0) | by Anonymous

Did anyone else catch it? An absolutely unbelievable day's cricket, full of googlys, snorters, and tea-tray bowling. Simply marvelous stuff.

South Africa really had the lads under the screws, but Freddie Flintoff really brought us back into the game late with some of the best and most aggressive pace bowling I've seen in quite a while.

What a menacing spell after tea! Simply cracking stuff... the Springboks were shitting themselves (proverbially of course: anything else would ruin the crisp brightness of their cricketing whites) as he rumbled in, over after over, with a will and a spirit that our pace attack hasn't seen in sometime. Consistently, Freddie was getting the ball in the blockhole and forcing the batsmen to nibble outside off-stump. As a fast-medium bowler, that's really the perfect area to aim at: a shade outside off-stump to the right-hander, and pitch it up so you catch 'em in two minds... do I sniff at it and cut it, or do I block it into the pitch.

The South African nightwatchman Paul Harris did a smart job to kick off the morning, putting on 53 with McKenzie before lunch, although Sidebottom swung a nifty delivery in with his loose left-arm pace bowling and beat him for pace. He went after the ball and cuffed it to third slip where Cookie got his mitts 'round it. Lovely stuff.

From then on after lunch, it was all South Africa until Freddie's afternoon spell. Gorgeous stuff in the dying embers of the sunlight. The umps held off with their light meters, and Freddie got in full swing, pocketing four wickets (four!) before the close to leave the first innings right in the balance.

Anderson took a nice caught-and-bowled off Hashim Amla either side of Freddie's first brace of wickets, but it was that last hour-and-a-half when Flintoff really made the difference. He made short work of Kallis, McKenzie and the dangerous de Villiers before the day was done, and without that, we'd be buggered.

Good show by the lads today. Let's hope they can polish off the tail in the morning session and get right back out to the crease to bat well into Day 3 and beyond.

Come on lads, get it done over the next three days!

Listen up, wankers, it's my Chariot of Fire now

July 31, 2008 | Comments (0) | by Anonymous

Oi oi, whassall this then?

Calm down, kind denizens of Planet Internet. It appears that all the bartenders are flying to Chicago for some kind of circle-jerk and back-patting festivities, and little TMS is all alone, like Amy Winehouse when her drug dealer goes to jail.

So sad, I know.

Well, fear not, because for any of you poor buggers who are stuck here, I bring you my demented TMS takeover in the form of Thunder Matthew's Pub, or TMP for short. Our bitters are cask-conditioned and served in a lukewarm, barely-washed real pint glass (20 oz, none of this lily-livered 16oz or 12 oz Yankee apportionments!). We will bring you fried food, none of which will be particularly appealing to your hot dog appetite: fried gristle, baked tripe, sauteed beef tongue, and a glorious Steak and Kidney pie await your consumption.

I'll bring you the finest in Phil Collins gossip, the latest rumblings about the new Radiohead album, a thrilling biography of the foppish genius of Hugh Grant, and perhaps some Gists of the cricket match between England and South Africa, which is currently so thrilling that I might need to change my male undergarments.

So sit back on that uncomfortable Victorian lounge chair with crown molding, and relax with me and the frumpy goddess herself, Queen Victoria. Enjoy the change while it lasts, because once those Uncle Sam idiots return, it's all back to McDonald's and Bud Light.

Surely you agree that the Pub is more appealing, no?

Oh, and don't worry about dress code. I know we're a spiffy population of tweed wearers and flat cap fans, but as my hero Phil below says: no jacket required.

Get in! Thunder Matthew's Pub is now open!

TMS Radio, Hey Wha' Happened?!

July 31, 2008 | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Some of you noticed, most of you didn't, but a while ago we stripped down the TMS Radio feature in the sidebar to just have the Album of the Week. Did all the other stations go away? Actually no, they're still around. To help folks locate the old stations I've compiled a quick list guide of everything TMS Radio has to offer. The following links will play the audio streams in either iTunes or Winamp.

TMS Radio - The Saloon's flagship station. Over 1300 songs for your listening pleasure.
TMS Crapshoot - A veritable gauntlet of music. Everything we've ever uploaded to our Mediamaster account. Over 2000 songs that will leave you bloodied, nude and inconclusive.
Go Cubs Go - The first playlist created on TMS Radio as part of our poll we had to play a new song when the Cubs win.
The Jesus List - All Jesus, all the time.
Jazz Primer - 55 selected jazz tunes to serve as an intro to the genre.
50 States/50 Bands - An assault on good taste as well as your eardrums as the Governor put together a list of bands from each state.
Best of 2007 - Over 200 songs from the Saloon's Best of 2007 lists.
Daytrotter Radio - Various songs downloaded from

Past Albums of the Week (I will update this regularly)
Tapes n Tapes - Walk it Off
Liam Finn - I'll Be Lightning
Motley Crue - Saints of Los Angeles
Beck - Modern Guilt
Okkervil River - The Stage Names
Faraquet - Anthology 1997-98
Elliott Brood - Mountain Meadows
Butch Walker - Leavin the Game on Luckie Street
Tapes n Tapes - The Loon
Delta Spirit - Ode to Sunshine
What Made Milwaukee Famous - What Doesn't Kill Us
Okkervil River - The Stand Ins
Van She - V
Metallica - Death Magnetic
Sondre Lerche - Phantom Punch
A Night in the Box - Write a Letter
Tokio Hotel - Scream

The Gist: Game 108

July 30, 2008 | Comments (0) | by White Chili

Good (opens first beer) evening Cubs fans. In preparation for Thunderfist I'll be taking care of the gist tonight with a pseudo drunken jamboree. ESPN is showing the game tonight but I've been blacked out in favor of Comcast. Trying to decide which broadcast team I'd rather listen to is like asking me which Hanson brother I find the most attractive. Screw the delay, I'm turning on the radio. Cubs score two in the first, mostly due to Jason Kendall's extra 21st chromosome. The Ninja got into some trouble early in the first but escaped while giving up only one run.

At this point I don't know what's worse, listening to the "neighborhood Old Style guy" commercials on the radio or having to watch another Mummy preview or Viva Viagra sing-a-long (opens beer number two). Apparently it's Bud Selig's birthday today. He shares it with such Hollywood notables as Arnold Schwarzeneggar, Larry Fishburne, and Christopher Nolan. I'd rather have any of those guys running the league at this point. He did say Santo belongs in the HOF so I suppose I'll cut the birthday boy some slack.


LaTroy Hawkins is acquired by Houston for cash and an unnamed minor leaguer. I guess we can finally write off the Astros in 2008. Good. Great. Grand. Wonderful. NO YELLING ON THE BUS!

Dempster looks to have calmed down from earlier and is dealing in the 4th. 1-2-3 and goodbye inning number four. Too bad we can't seem to get anybody past second base.

Beer number three ushers in the bottom of the fifth and Dempster leads off with another K. Turns out Kendall can't throw anyone out or steal either. Manny Parra now has a double and a triple. Luckily they can't bring him home.

It seems like the pitchers are the only ones getting a good look at the ball tonight. Dempster singles to left. Soriano singles to go 3-3 on the night and Theriot drives one all the way to the wall to bring both of them home. Cubs up 4-1. That'll do it for Parra. Reed Johnson adds another single and brings home Ryan. Cubs up 5-1. Add to that a wild pitch and runners move up to 2nd and 3rd. Too bad that's all the damage that gets done.

Is there any reason the Brewers keep playing Hava Nagila at Miller Park? Is there a large Jewish concentration in Milwaukee that I'm not aware of? Does Penny Marshall still work at the brewery? Have another beer? Never ask a Navy man if he'll have another drink, because it's nobody's goddamned business how much he's had already. Dempster keeps rolling and adds two more strikeouts to his total to end the 6th.

It looks like Dempster is going to be done after seven strong innings and nine K's where the only run he gave up was on a wild pitch. Chest bumps all around.


Apparently there is a deal in place that would send Hermida, possibly Jed Lowrie and several strong prospects to the Pirates, Boston would get Jason Bay and John Grabow and Florida would end up with Manny and a prospect.


Jason Bay does not equal Manny.

A double by Blanco and a single by Cedeno set the table with runners at the corners for Soriano in the top of the ninth...who is walked to load the bases. Mike Maddux heads to the mound. Note: Mike Maddux is not Greg Maddux so not to worry. Four consecutive balls later and the Cubs are up 6-1. Bob Uecker reaches for a new bottle of Jack. Fielder's choice to third and the Cubs lead 7-1. Rammy strikes out to end the inning. Enter Neil Cotts.

After striking out Braun, Cotts gives up a homerun to Fielder. Fly out to Johnson, two down. Fly out to left. Cubs win!

Now where is that broom...

Thunderfist Meetup

July 30, 2008 | Comments (0) | by T.R.

As Chip Wesley made known yesterday, the bartenders and assorted spouses and friends will descend upon the Gingerman Tavern immediately following the game on Saturday. In order to judge how truly weak TMS's following is amongst the general public, we have decided to buy a beer for each of the first five readers that introduce themselves at the Gingerman.

To redeem your beer, simply print this ticket and hand it to a TMS bartender upon your arrival. Then you will be subjected to two tasks in order to prove your valor. You must 1) match two of us to our Bartender name, and 2) name at least five War Criminals and why we hate them. If you are successful, the free beer is yours.

OJ Simpson's Low Down Dirty Shame

July 30, 2008 | Comments (0) | by Rich Funk

Whaaaaaaaaat's crackulatin'?

Does The Juice come through or does The Juice come through? Need a big Brewer error late in the game on Monday? OJ's got yo' back. Need a complete bed-crapping performance from Ben Sheets? Look no further than The Juice! Tired of your wife and want her to disappear? Well, let's just worry about the Brewers right now. We can talk after the series in my motel bathroom office.

So I guess my "bloody toy" trick didn't phase Tha' Sheetz last night, which makes ol' JO Sampson wonder about what kind of freak ass shit goes on in that dude's house. The good news was that Big Z was dealin' more than just ecstasy last night. Homie was breaking spirits, breaking bats and "breaking balls" (I'm so goddamn funny...) all night. The bad news was that Tha' Sheetz was pretty damn good too. So in the dugout before the 6th inning, I told Sheets that for every out he gets in the inning, I'd cut off one of his balls.

That seemed to be enough to get Tha' Sheetz spooked (especially since I actually showed him the knife!), and he gave up 7 straight hits. And to avoid suspicion, I went up to Sheets after the game and said "Yo dude, you know I was just playin' around with that balls thing, right? JO Sampson wouldn't touch your balls! I only touch the balls of pitchers that don't suck! Beli'dat!"

A lot of you must be thinking that I must have been shouting threats at Ryan Braun whenever he went back for a ball to left yesterday. Nope. No assistance from The Juice needed on that one. He's just that bad in the field. Lat night, he sure did murder his team's chances! Get it? Murder? HAAAAA HA HA HA HA! Oh my Jesus...this funny and a dead ringer for Denzel? Ladies, you best be comin' over to OJ's room after the game before it's too late! God damn, I'm such a catch!

As if there was any doubt, my performance last night deserves a 5 out of 5 on the OJ Meter.


But jes' because I did some good yesterday don't mean that I ain't plannin' a few tricks tonight. Manny Parra went to San Juan High School. Their mascot is the Ram. And you know how much damage your boy OJ did against the Rams in his career. Shit, those fools couldn't tackle me if I was drunk. And I know that because one time, I was! Still rushed for 154 yards though. Hey, someone had to show them fools in St. Louis how to hold they liquor. Plus, if you're really fucked up, you can puke into someone else's mouth at the bottom of a pile. Just don't do it while you're laying on you're back. You'll puke into your own nose. And that's the low down dirty shame.

"God wish you were this silky-smooth motherfucker right here."

The Gist: Game 107

July 30, 2008 | Comments (0) | by Rich Funk

Tonight's game was total domination by the Boys in Blue. Possible headline suggestions:
  • Cubs Rumple Sheets In Win
  • Soiled Sheets: Ben Sucks Again
  • HOLY SHEETS! Cubs Blast Brew Crew
  • Milwaukee Is For Dumbasses
  • Blacklight Reveals Sheets Covered In Semen
Hitting? Awesome. Pitching? Awesome. Let's get another tomorrow.

Thunderfist 2008

July 29, 2008 | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Ladies and gentlemen, Thunderfist is upon us. The single greatest event in the history of Thunder Matt's Saloon, nay the City of Chicago. In order to help you understand the what, where, when, how, and duh, I've compiled an informative FAQ for you folks as a means to better understand what Thunderfist entails and how you should prepare for this debacle.

So what the hell is Thunderfist anyway?
Thunderfist 2008 is the largest single gathering of TMS Bartenders in one place to date. 7 of the 8 main bartenders plus Tommy Buzanis plan to descend upon the Windy City. Shenanigans will be afoot. Beers will be drank, manhoods will be questioned, and Buzanis says his yacht, the 'Orifice Penetrator' will be "locked and loaded". I don't even know what that means but OK.

7 of 8 plus Buzanis? Can we get a roll call here?
Sure, Chaim Witz and Dave Thomas will represent the Chicagoans. The Hundley and myself will be proudly carrying the flag of Iowa. Brant Brown and the Governor will escape from behind the Orange Curtain, and due to the rousing success of our "Bring Funk to Chicago" pledge drive, Daft Funk will be coming in from San Diego. Buzanis of course will be hailing from an Applebees in Lombard.

What's the agenda of Thunderfist?
Well the festivities will kick off on Friday evening with a party at Chaim Witz's humble abode where we will dine on "Chicago Style" hot dogs and various alcoholic beverages. An argument about ketchup will surely unfold. Buzanis will ask for a plunger on at least two occasions, one of which will not even involve the toilet. Bartender Dave Thomas will make us all feel uncomfortable by having his shirt unbuttoned far too much.

After Chaim's, the party will adjourn to Baby Atlas where the PBR will flow like wine. At this point things will surely unravel. Chaim will have the DJ play his mixtape he made, which will consist of nothing but Phil Collins and the Spin Doctors. I will probably blackout and pour a beer on someone, perhaps myself. Buzanis will regale people with stories about his tour in 'Nam, but in reality his "tour" was 8 years ago and involved him searching for an underground child prostitution ring that Gary Glitter once told him about.

On Saturday, the crew will attend the Cubs vs. Pirates and sit in the bleachers. Heckles will be tossed about, Old Styles will get warm and inevitably spilled, Chaim's brother will be made fun of for being an honest to God Pirates fan, and in a bout of drunken confusion a "Thunder Matt" chant will likely be started.

After the game we will be heading to the Gingerman for after-game libations. Things will then turn into a battle of wills, determination and stamina as we forge ahead in an alcohol-soaked afternoon of mayhem. Over/under for number of folks cashing out by 5pm is currently 2.5.

This all sounds fabulous, can I join you and have the honor of buying a round of beers?

Sure, while Chaim's party and Baby Atlas will be private gatherings you're more than welcome to find us at the game or at Gingerman afterwards. We'll be the drunk guys wearing the Cubs paraphernalia. Honestly I'm not sure how you would spot us. My only recommendation is to randomly shout "THUNDER MATT!" at Gingerman or in the bleachers and see if one of us acknowledges. To help narrow the search, we probably will be sitting in left field (pouring out a little Old Style in memory of Murton).

Seriously though, by all means try to find us. We'd love to talk to some of our readers, if only to verify our writing can appeal to readers that are in fact not mentally challenged.

So who's NOT going to be at Thunderfist?
Lingering Bursitis will be the only one not attending, although The Hundley will be in limited attendance due to him really being in Chicago for Lollapalooza. The likelihood of TMS turning Limey by our English bartender is high. Prepare for a weekend's worth of posts about Scotch eggs and soccer while we're away.

Shit, Lollapalooza is going on too?
Yes, we had talks with Perry Farrell to postpone Lollapalooza to a later date but to no avail. Whether or not Chicago can withstand this much awesomeness in one weekend is unknown. There is also an issue with Buzanis being in town the same time as G. Love and Special Sauce since a restraining order was put against him by the band after a 1999 incident involving a drunk Tommy rushing the stage and attempting to play air guitar and sing "Cold Beverages".

Also apparently the Warped Tour is in town as well. This was planned so the large influx of emotards would neutralize the amount of testosterone Thunderfist will bring.

So brace for the worst Chicago. It's gonna get rowdier than "free cocksock night" at a Boystown bar.

Here are some artist's renderings of what Thunderfist may look like.

Feel free to check out our commemorative Thunderfist 2008 t-shirt at the Saloon Store.

OJ Simpson's Low Down Dirty Shame

July 29, 2008 | Comments (0) | by Rich Funk

Whaaaaaaaaaaat's crackulatin'?

So here I am in the Brewers' clubhouse a few hours before game time. I'm writing this from a bathroom stall so I can get some privacy. My new teammates keep asking me "Why you bringin' a laptop into the bathroom stall?" I tell them "So I can jerk, son! Why else would I do something like that? Now get out before I whack you so hard your daddy's balls get sore!" Shit, son...ain't no one givin' no one else no privacy these days.

And as far as doin' my business in a bathroom stall, well you know...that's just the JO Sampson way. Because that's my name for truf and all. Yup. I'm definitely JO Sampson.

(Hey gys...I'm just kiddin'. It's really me, The Juice! I'm just pretendin' to be someone else so I could get into this crazy clubhouse! Foolproof logic, son!)

So yeah, your boy has spent some time in jail before, and it really ain't too much different than this Brewer clubhouse. We got a bunch of dudes runnin' around playing grabass with each other. There's 2-3 guys in here givin' ol' JO the sex eye (If JJ Hardy winks at me one more time...). And this Prince Fielder fatass...I served time with his daddy once! Yeah, he and I used to rough up the locals at the nearest Bennegans with Buzanis back in the day. Oh, and don't forget all the sodomy that seems to be a regular thing here in Milwaukee. Nasty.

So get this...did you like the number I pulled on the Brewers last night? I started out by telling Sabathia that Soriano ain't got nothin' and that he should just lay a fastball right in there to him so that he don't walk nobody. Later on in the game, when D-Lee was groundin' into another twin-killing (which your boy OJ knows a thing or two about...), I yelled out "Shit! Reed Johnson's GOT A KNIFE, SON!" and made the Brewers fuck up on defense. Then before Salamander Torres (That's the prison name I gave him) came in for the 9th, I slipped him a little LSD. Shit son, you try to find the damn strike zone when you're trippin balls out there! Probably made that midget Fontenot look like Barry Bonds or some shit. Speaking of Barry, that dude owes me $50K...

I think I did a pretty good job throwin' the Brewers off their game. Let's check the OJ-Meter to rate last night's performance:

Shit son, I'll take 4.5 out of 5 any day. Damn, that OJ Simpson dude is a fine lookin' sonofabitch! Underage ladies everywhere should call that dude up tonight!

Anyway, I've got a few more tricks up my sleeve for tonight's game. Ben Sheets? I know where that motherfucker lives! All I gots to do to distract that dude is sneak in and steal his kid's favorite toy. Then I'll slap some blood on it (Don't ask where I'm gettin' it...I gots my own ways that you don't even wanna know...) and give it to him before the game and say "Dude, I found this by your locker. Some shady lookin' dude left it behind and then ran away. Probably the same dude that killed OJ's wife!" Two birds with one stone? Legit!

I gotta go. Fielder's knockin' and sayin' something about taking a shit the size of a Heisman. I know what that's all about. Too bad mine sold at auction. And that's the low down dirty shame.

You Make the Call

July 29, 2008 | Comments (0) | by White Chili

Prince Fielder.............or................Prince Fielder

The Gist: Game 106

July 28, 2008 | Comments (0) | by Rich Funk

Jesus Christ...who needs a cigarette/shot of Jack/Valium?

The words "playoff atmosphere" and "playoff intensity" are thrown around far too often, usually by ESPN when the Yank-Me's and Red Sox play. But tonight, at Miller Park, the calendar may as well have said "October".

It was a back-and-forth game between two teams built to clash with each other. Word out of Milwaukee was that Brewer fans/radio personalities were assuming this morning that games one and two of this series (with Sabathia and Sheets going) were already in the bag and the Brew Crew only had to focus on winning the last two. Hopefully, tonight's game was a wake-up call. On second thought, hopefully it wasn't.

Coming into tonight's game, I felt like the pressure was actually on the Brewers. Forget that the Cubs have been scuffling lately, the game was in Milwaukee and the Brewers have been on a tear lately. The biggest news in this rivalry so far this season was the one-upmanship that was the Sabathia/Harden saga. Their "big guy" was up, and they were still looking at our asses in the standings.

The Good:

  • Alfonso Soriano is showing signs of going on one of his patented tears. I thought that he'd struggle coming back from injury, but he's looking like he's stepping right in where he left off before his injury. And all that time nursing his hand may have let his legs come back. He at least felt good enough to steal third.

  • Ted Lilly was a gamer. He struggled early in the year, but Ted's been just as good as last year since May.

  • We beat the Brewers' shiny new toy. They also left that shiny new toy in to throw 124 pitches in less than 7 innings. If you take a look at Sabathia's pitch count from his last few starts, it looks like the temperature recordings taken during summer in Arizona: 124, 106, 110, 122, 97, 123. In fact, Sabathia's only thrown less than 100 pitches 4 times this season. Whoever signs this guy long term this winter is buying damaged goods.

  • Derrek Lee came through with a clutch hit when he could have easily grounded into another double play.

  • Marmol, while still shaky, nailed down the save again.

The Bad

  • Bob Howry = Career Fail. His ERA is almost 6. Fuck him.

  • If not for a sweet hard slide by the Pride of Riverside, Derrek Lee would have grounded into his 4,325th double play of the season.

  • Russel Branyan? Seriously? He's like 90 years old.

Tomorrow has the best pitching matchup of the series (at least, on paper) with Big Z and Ben "OW!" Sheets. And don't forget about our secret double agent who will be checking in from time to time, Mr. J.O. Sampson! He'll be "brewin" up some trouble for the home team.

That was way lame. Looks like my time is up. Rockies in 6.

EDIT: In our excitement, Chip Wesley Gisted the game at the same time as I did. His is also excellent. I leave you with his immortal words:

I know what you want. Hot bullet point action.

  • Hello, my name is Alfonso. I don't give a shit how many straight complete games you've pitched. I own your tubby ass!

  • Salomon Torres earned me -7 points in a fantasy league tonight, and I couldn't be happier about it.

  • Corey Hart, still has a midget face.

  • Why the hell did Mike Quade wave Lee home in 6th? He was running all gimpy and everyone knows Cameron has a good arm. That was just asinine.

  • More on Lee. He was damn lucky Reed Johnson slid hard into second to break up that double play. Derrek has been getting a bad wrap lately for hitting into so many DP's, and rightfully so as he leads the majors in GDP. But honestly people. This is more fluke than anything. Looking back at the past 5-6 seasons, aside from Miguel Tejada or Paul Konerko, very few guys are consistently at the top of the league in GDP. I say cut him some slack, and hope Reed Johnson murders the shortstop on his slide more often.

  • A few months back in a fit of frustration I deemed Mike Fontenot "Lou Piniella's Neifi". I would like to have that statement stricken from the record.

  • Offensively, the Brewers do have an intimidating lineup, but honestly, can you really deem a team a postseason threat when they're handing the ball to Eric Gagne in the 8th inning?

  • Chad Goddamn mows down the heart of the order with a dick-dropping 3 strikeouts in the 8th. For those scoring at home, Chad now has two more wins as a Cub than Rich Harden.

  • Brewer fans leaving early in the 9th with 2 outs and the tying run at the plate was priceless. Jesus folks, I know it looked dire, but try to show some faith in your damn team.

  • We got Ben Sheets tomorrow. Ben is 10-7 lifetime against us and has been a Cub killer in the past. But we got Fat Z pitching tomorrow too, and more importantly hitting. In 14 plate appearances against Sheets, Carlos is batting a fat .357 against him.

Cubs win 6-4. Thanks O.J- I mean J.O. (wink).

I'm out, Rockies in 6!

I have come to hit home runs and dance with your dates.

OJ Simpson's Low Down Dirty Shame

July 25, 2008 | Comments (0) | by Rich Funk

This week's series against the Brewers is easily the biggest of the year to date. While we have all the confidence in the world in the Cubs and their ability to pound the Losers to the North for 4 games, it never hurts to have a little insurance. That's why, due to popular demand, we're bringing back our #1 undercover spy to do whatever is necessary to give the Cubs a slight edge. Ladies and Gentlemen...O.J. Simpson!

Whaaaaaaat's crackulatin'?

So there's been a lot going on with The Juice since I last checked in. I'd like to say that I've been spendin' all my time playin' golf and polishing my Heisman Trophy. But since I'm broke, I've been hanging out around the mini-golf place looking to cruise the 14 year old hotties and the only "polishing" I do is "off another bottle of Ten High."

But over the weekend, I got a call from the guys over at the Saloon and they said they might be interested in my services. I happen to have a recording of the call so I can share it with you. I record all of my phone calls. Why? Because I think the voice of one of the debt collectors that calls me every week is ten kinds of sexy and I like to have her soothing tones on tape. OJ = J/O!

Now let's see how that call went:

OJ: What's crackulatin'?
Daft Funk: Is that how you actually answer all your calls, or did you see it was me on caller ID?
OJ: Caller ID? Shit, son...this is a payphone!
DF: Look, we've got a series with the Brewers coming up and we need some kind of edge, legal or not. Think you're up to it?
OJ: Damn, you know me! There's only three things I'm good at. One is Hertz commercials. The other is stabbin' suckas!
DF: That's only two things. What's the third thing?
OJ: The third thing is shut your mouth before I stab you.
DF: Look, OJ...we have no problem hiring you, but the last time you worked for us, the Brewers still won 2 out of 3. I'm sending you over the Brewers media guide. Make sure you get the job done this time.
OJ: Yeah, I'll give yo mamma a job.
DF: OJ, I can still hear you.
OJ: Aw, shit...

Ain't no one got no faith in OJ these days. Well guess what? Im'a come through this time and show y'all that The Juice on the loose is still dangerous as a Bengal Tiger! I've even got a foolproof plan. Since them Brewers know me on sight, I'm gonna have to come up with something clever to get close to their clubhouse.

Ladies and gemtlemen, meet J.O. Sampson, the newest AAA player to be called up to the Brewers. All I gotta do is kill talk my way past the clubhouse security, and I'm gonna blend right in. Legit!

So that Sabathia fattie is starin' tonight? Yeah son, I'd keep a close eye on that bastard after OJ gets to work on him. Yeah, you can't pull fat like you can a muscle, but you can bury a pencil into it 10 minutes before gametime. And you can threaten to kidnap that fat's family too. Works every time.

I ain't gonna let you Cubs fans down again. OJ's gonna rise from the ashes...the ashes of my double wide, that is. SHIT! When did this shit burn down again? I must have left my skin mags too close to the hot plate again. Ain't that about a bitch!

And that's the low down dirty shame.

TMS Top 30 Movies

July 25, 2008 | Comments (0) | by T.R.

As none of you have surely noticed, we've yet to finish the TMS Top 30 Movies list. The original end date was last Christmas. We apologize. We've decided to pull a Kevorkian and end this lifeless idea. Better late than never. We left off at #13, Predator. On to the rest...

#12: Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang
This film marks Robert Downey Jr.'s triumphant return to notoriety. A damn good film, with the added bonus of Val Kilmer playing a homosexual private eye named Gay Perry.

Actor/Actress the Bartenders Would Most Like to Bed: Michelle Monaghan
Honorable Mention: Corbin Bernsen

#11: Good Will Hunting
Oh, you know who wrote this and starred in it. A fine film, regardless of Ben Affleck's presence.

Actor/Actress the Bartenders Would Most Like to Bed: Robin Williams
Honorable Mention: Matt Damon

#10: The Blues Brothers
One of the only musicals a man should ever watch. Near and dear to anyone that is from Chicago or loves Chicago.

Actor/Actress the Bartenders Would Most Like to Bed: Aretha Franklin
Honorable Mention: Ray Charles (alive)

#9: Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
Though the trilogy kicked ass, this is the one that finally got the Oscar love. Viggo Mortensen is dreamy, but I hated that whole cop-out with the green ghosts suddenly showing up and killing all the bad guys.

Actor/Actress the Bartenders Would Most Like to Bed: Billy Boyd
Honorable Mention: Sir Ian McKellen

#8: Schindler's List
Utterly depressing. But you know, good in that way that monumental movies are supposed to be.

Actor/Actress the Bartenders Would Most Like to Bed: Embeth Davidtz
Honorable Mention: Ben Kingsley

#7: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Never saw it. Heard it was good though.

Actor/Actress the Bartenders Would Most Like to Bed: Kate Winslet
Honorable Mention: Elijah Wood

#6: Pulp Fiction
One of the classics of our high school/college years. Tarantino hasn't done anything of quality since this one.

Actor/Actress the Bartenders Would Most Like to Bed: Bruce Willis
Honorable Mention: Bruce Willis

#5: The Royal Tenenbaums
This is still Wes Anderson's masterpiece, and will probably never be eclipsed. A fantastic ensemble where Gene Hackman shines and Ben Stiller is actually funny because he's not supposed to be funny.

Actor/Actress the Bartenders Would Most Like to Bed: Anjelica Huston
Honorable Mention: Gwyneth Paltrow

#4: Seven
Brad Pitt before Brad Pitt was Brad Pitt. Morgan Freeman shines though the movie is bleak, culminating in us putting Gwyneth Paltrow's head in a box after her honorable mention.

Actor/Actress the Bartenders Would Most Like to Bed: The fat guy that died of gluttony
Honorable Mention: Kevin Spacey

#3: Shawshank Redemption
A masterfully emotional film about hope and the triumph of life. Lots of shivs.

Actor/Actress the Bartenders Would Most Like to Bed: Um, Rita Hayworth?
Honorable Mention: Tim Robbins upon first entering the prison

#2: Swingers
The guys movie that taught us everything we need to know about women. Assuming you live in Los Angeles and like the Squirrel Nut Zippers.

Actor/Actress the Bartenders Would Most Like to Bed: Heather Graham
Honorable Mention: Skinny Vince Vaughan

#1: The Big Lebowski
One of the biggest cult classics of all time, and possibly the most quoted movie ever. A bevy of bowling, cultural references, and showdogs with papers.

Actor/Actress the Bartenders Would Most Like to Bed: The Asian Carpet Pisser
Honorable Mention: Tara Reid

A Thunder Matt Movie Minute

July 25, 2008 | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

Step Brothers

IMDB Cribbed Synopsis: Two spoiled guys become competitive stepbrothers after their single parents get hitched.

Review: I really, really wanted to love Step Brothers. Due in part to a string of exhausting Will Ferrell "sports comedies", which ranged from pretty good (Blades of Glory, Talladega Nights) to pretty bad (Semi-Pro, Kicking and Screaming), Ferrell's street cred has taken a major hit.

Then along comes the red band trailer for the R-rated Step Brothers, and hope is revived. Whispers of a comeback begin. An unshaven Bret Favre puts a glass up to the door to listen. Low income children vandalize fire hydrants so that they may prance though the gushing water in celebratory glee. Alas, instead of loving Step Brothers like a biological brother, I ended up only loving it like, well...a step brother.

I really feel no need to expand on the IMDB synopsis, even though it's only one line. This is the kind of movie where the plot exists solely to set up the next gag and most of the best stuff is in the trailer. Another film about arrested development and men acting like boys. Poop, fart, shit, dick. Although, unlike a movie like Knocked Up, this tale of suspended adolescence has no sense of reality to ground it or conflict to move the plot forward. It's just one crude gag after another. Not that I have a problem with absurdist, raunchy humor when done right.

Don't get me wrong, there are certainly moments of gut busting laughter. When Dale (Reilly) compliments Brennan (Ferrell) by telling him that his singing voice is "a combination of Fergie and Jesus"; well that's right in my wheelhouse. Brennan watching Rock of Love? Swish! Chewbacca masks and home-made rap videos? There's some good stuff here for sure. Just watching Reilly and Ferrell play off of each other (you get the feeling that 75% of the stuff they used was ad libbed) can be a treat.

But soon the law of diminishing returns sets in. A well placed f-bomb can be comic gold, but when you're 50 minutes in and you're averaging one 'fuck you' a minute, the jokes begin to lose steam quickly.

This film is like recent Pearl Jam studio albums. The first single is always great, which leads you to believe that they've finally returned to form and crafted another masterpiece. Then you buy the album and there's like 3 or 4 good songs and the rest is forgettable filler, much as you hate to admit it*. But dammit if I don't keep giving both of them another chance.

*Except for Binaural. That album is criminally underrated.

Thunder Matt Rating: 3 Bunk Beds Out of 5

Lightning Round:

The Wackness: Ben Kingsley's over-the-top performance as a pot-smoking shrink almost makes up for the fact that his foil, a slack-jawed, fleshy, teenage pot-dealer, is one of the most annoying and lifeless characters ever to grace celluloid. Lots of references to this new guy 'Biggie Smalls' help establish that this movie takes place way back in 1994. Also, lots of smoking in this film. Where are those 'Truth' ads when you need em? Wait for this one to debut on FX in like 3 months and go buy the soundtrack instead. 2.5 Stars Out of 5.

American Teen: The big hit of Sundance, this documentary follows around 5 Indiana high schoolers (jock, nerd, cheerleader, alt girl, and the heartthrob) for their senior year. It's like one of those MTV True Life shows, but done really well and with a hip, indie soundtrack. I didn't want to like this, but by the end you become genuinely interested in these people's lives and chances are you'll have a couple of acne filled flashbacks. The whole thing is ripe with cliches, but then you remember, high school really was one big cliche. 3.5 Stars Out of 5.

Tommy Buzanis Takes the Motherland

July 24, 2008 | Comments (0) | by Tommy Buzanis

Though I am a man who knows the United States (and Chaim's mother) intimately, Tommy Buzanis does not like to travel internationally. If there isn't an Outback Steakhouse within 10 miles, Tommy doesn't need to visit. So when I was offered the opportunity to head to London in late May for the U.S. vs. England soccer match at Wembley Stadium, Tommy was understandably skeptical. England? The home of Elton John? Poor dental hygiene? Socialized medicine? This didn't exactly sound like Tommy's cup of tea (no pun intended).

But then Tommy got to thinking...the home of the scotch egg? A general acceptance of binge drinking? Blurred lines of sexuality? Maybe this could work out. When Tommy found out that Virgin Airlines served complimentary cocktails for the entire flight it was good bye New Jersey (and Norma Jean); I was airborne. (As it happens, Virgin Airlines is not afraid to suspend cocktail service if passengers become intoxicated and make jokes about joining the mile high club with Princess Diana - Tommy learned this the hard way.) Anyway, join me on a brief, ale-fueled jaunt across the pond to visit our fore-skinned fore-fathers' motherland.

Tommy and Co. pre-game at Wembley. I originally arrived wearing nothing but an American Flag g-string. Hooligans fear the g-string.

I guess this is a cultural shot. If you ask Tommy, you could get just as much culture at an IHOP in Sandusky, Ohio at 3AM after a two week long bender...but that's just me.

Shortly after this shot was taken, Tommy challenged this knight to a joust. As I was led away I shouted "Freedom" just like my hero Mel Gibson did to the British some 400+ years ago.

Tommy & Co. post game at Wembley

God Save the Queen? More like God Save Queen. England would win the match 2-0 but this didn't stop Tommy from continuously decrying taxation with out representation through out the second half. Tommy also taunted the crowd, loudly explaining that the whole stadium would be speaking German now if it wasn't for Tommy's grandpa who "stormed the beaches at Normandy". (Editor's Note: Tommy's grandpa never served during WWII - he was left home because of his rampant alcoholism).

The crown jewels are housed there...Tommy lets his crown jewels roam free, unburdened from the shackles of undergarments. Editor's Note: Shortly after taking this last photo, Tommy was assaulted by a man named 'Big Ben'. Tommy mistakenly took the man's inquiry as to "where I can find some good bangers and mash" as a sexual come on, which led to fisticuffs and eventually, Tommy being thrown over the bridge into the murky waters below.

TMS Beer Project: Sierra Nevada's Southern Hemisphere Harvest

July 24, 2008 | Comments (0) | by T.R.

With the name Saloon included in our moniker, one could surmise that we here at TMS like to drinky drinky. One that would make such an assumption would be correct, thereby throwing out the whole, 'when you assume you make an 'ass' out of 'u' and 'me' bullshit. We also like to plagiarize each other. In the same vein as the Wrigleyville Bar Project, we are proud to bring you another installment of the TMS Beer Project. The premise is simple: we review beers. Each rating will feature a variety of scores from 1-10 and comments from the bartender. This is a public service damn it. We don't want you to be the sucker who pays $15 for a six pack of some overrated Belgian cat piss. Now, we all drink massive amounts of beer so we know what we speak of. Each of us seem to have a favorite style of beer though. I myself like cerveza from south of the border. Will we be reviewing macrobrews like Bud and Coors? Oh you bet your Aunt Susie's ass we will. For purposes of this science experiment, and it is in the name of science, those will be the "control" group. Use them as a base line for when we review lesser known imports and microbrews. Without further ado, I bring you our next beer:

Southern Hemisphere Harvest

Brewery: Sierra Nevada, Chico, California
Type: Specialty Hop Ale
Recepticle: 24 oz. Bottle

Drinkability (1 being Jim Jones' kool-aid, 10 being the nectar of the gods): 8 - Really this is a matter of personal preference, but to me, the Harvest goes down really smooth. While still bitter the spice snaps on your palate and dissolves, quickly leaving the aftertaste commonly associated with a pale ale.

Heartiness (1 being fresh mountain spring water, 10 being a pureed British steak infected with mad cow disease): 5 - The Harvest is fairly moderate, not so dense as to frighten a weaker man, but thick enough to tell you that it shouldn't be taken lightly or chugged. The hops from this beer were harvested in New Zealand and flown to California to be brewed.

Intoxication (1 being your friend's weird pentecostal grandmother high on Jesus, 10 being Boris Yeltsin on a week long bender in the Crimea):
8 - On a clean, filtered stomach, I'm feeling pretty good after 12 oz. Two of these bottles would get you a long way toward a hangover. 6.7% alcohol by volume.

Celebrities You May See Drinking This Brew: Any celebrity that is a closet pot-smoking hippie. Celebrities that like camping. Emile Hirsch comes to mind, but only because he played that selfish Chris McCandless asshole in that movie last year. The book was overrated too.

Affordability ($ being chicklets in Tijuana, $$$$ being diamond encrusted braised lamb shank from a trendy cafe on the Champs d'Elysee): Well, it's $3.59 for 24 oz., and considering the alcohol content, you're getting your fucking money's worth. I'd rate it at $$ for these purposes. You're getting a lot of bang for your buck.

Overall: 9 - Maybe this seems like a high rating, but considering the size, the taste, and the alcohol content, this beer is fantastic. Though this is Sierra Nevada's initial stab at the Southern Hemisphere journey, I'd like to think that it will not be the last. I could see this as a seasonal specialty in the future. The hops in New Zealand are harvested opposite of when they would be harvested in the U.S., so assuming sales met expectations, it would hopefully be worth Sierra Nevada's while to make this beer a yearly treat.

Chaiming In: Reader Participation Required

July 23, 2008 | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

Today dear reader, I assault you with a variety of trivial questions, to be responded to in kind via the 'magic comment' feature. I expect, of course, the sounds of crickets and an orphan gently weeping. On to the show.

-The Cubs are faltering more than my old 1980 Ford Granada. Get the D-Bags out of my life. Something about them just ain't right. They reek of an Independent League team (Schaumburg Flyers) that crashed Bud Selig's non-alcoholic kegger. Now I'm saddled with flashbacks of both Nam' and the 07' NLDS. These kind of annual hitting slumps are usually reserved for the blustery throes of April. Also, either every honkey on the Diamondbacks has a goatee or they're showing an inordinate number of shots of Chad Tracy. Either way, I'm filing a grievance.

-The details shall emerge soon (I'm confounded as to why they haven't already), but the first weekend in August marks an epic gathering in Chicago of nearly all of the Saloon bartenders, dubbed 'Thunderfist 08'. Everyone from Tommy Buzanis to our California brethren will be in attendance. Cubs vs. Buccos, bleachers on Saturday, August 2nd. If you're a local, or happen to be in town, we encourage you to meet up with us at The Gingerman Tavern after the game so that you can buy us a round of beer and breathlessly tell us what your 'favorite column EVER' is. We'll make sure we all wear Cubs shirts so that we're easy to spot.

-Ladies and gentlemen, Tommy Buzanis is about to dock the Orifice Penetrator and come straight into your living rooms (Literally. Look behind you He's passed out standing up behind your curtains.) Look for Tommy's account of his recent trip to England (for reals) tomorrow. It's short, filled with mishaps, and contains lots of laughs, much like his sexual endeavors.

-If you still have that damn Mamma Mia! song stuck in your head (thanks Funk), re-read my review of The Dark Knight. Judging from the box office numbers, many of you probably saw TDK. What did you think? Did you need to wear a jock strap to keep your dick from getting dirty?

-Apparently everyone is going ga ga over this Watchmen trailer. It peeks my interest enough to make me think about my first graphic novel purchase. (Nerd siren sounding.) Has anyone read it? I even noticed on iTunes that the Smashing Pumpkins song used in the trailer is one of the Top 10 downloads of the week.

-My overtly creepy man-crush on bearded comedian Zach Galifianakis has been documented on this site before. His three new web commercials for Absolut Vodka are a study in subtle humor. Genius! (And suitable for work viewing) Watch them here, here and here. On the not-so-subtle comedy spectre, I'll review Step Brothers later this week.

-Finally, I leave you to chime in on a debate that has raged amongst the Saloon bartenders via email thread for a solid month now. Chicago Style hot dogs. Yep, that's right. It started months ago, when Governor Gray Davis outed himself (in more than one way) as a ketchup sympathizer, slathering the red sauce all over his juicy wieners. As both a Chicagoan and someone over 5 years of age, I cried 'blasphemy'! A raucous and rather mean-spirited debate followed, with lines drawn in the sand and brass knuckles polished. It had seemingly died down until I mentioned that for our Thunderfist 08' meal at my humble abode, the menu would include, yes, 'Chicago Style' hot dogs. I was chastised (mostly by the Californians) for the use of the term 'Chicago Style'; as if I had somehow made it up on a pretentious whim and that it hadn't originated as far back as 1929. I mean c'mon. Chicago style pizza. New England Clam Chowder. New York Style Pizza. Philly Cheesesteaks. Kansas City BBQ. Iowa Tenderloins. Listen California, I'm sorry that you're more famous for silicone (not that we Midwesterners can't appreciate that) than good cuisine (LA Style Red Bull? The Hills Style Parliaments? The California Roll? Rice A Roni?); but until you can contribute more than just Cobb salads and Tofu burgers to the national consciousness, you have no say in the palettes of grown ass men. So I open it up to the floor. How do you like your wieners? That seems like a good question to end on.

Rants: The Cubs lack of hitting, the post 9/11 recession

Raves: The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth, American Teen, MGMT, Dunkin Donuts Iced Coffee, Palermo's frozen pizza

*In keeping with the 'reader participation' idea, feel free to share your rants and raves too.

Now here's a background template that I can get behind. Hi-Yo!

Death League Update: Estelle Getty

July 23, 2008 | Comments (0) | by T.R.

No, Estelle, Thank YOU for being a friend.

E-Claire: Estelle Getty – known to most as the feisty Sophia on The Golden Girls – passed away at the age of 84. I am particularly saddened by this…If you'll allow me to explain:

When I was younger, The Golden Girls aired in repeats on Lifetime. You know…That network that always seems to be showing depressing movies of the week about women who can't stand up for themselves? Anyway, the reruns used to come on right as my sister and I were getting home from school. Now, when you're about 13, and your sister is about 10, you don't necessarily have a lot in common. I was sort of starting to be interested in things like boys and school dances, and she was still into things like Barbies and such. Needless to say, many arguments used to break out between the two of us. However, the one thing we had in common is that we enjoyed watching reruns of The Golden Girls after school. Lord knows why we related to a bunch of 60-something women (my therapist and I are still trying to figure that one out), but we did, and we had a good time watching the show.

Now, my sister and I are older, and we're a lot closer than we were at times in our youth. But I will always remember us watching "The Golden Girls" together. She even called me today to see if I had heard the sad news about Estelle. So Estelle Getty, thank you for creating a childhood memory for me and my sister.

Brant Brown: How can anyone say anything bad about Estelle Getty? She was a trooper, ready to dish out a witty barb at a moment's notice. Little known fact: She was not the oldest of the four Golden Girls. Bea Arthur (who played her daughter) and Betty White both had her by a year. They're expected to pass soon.

Apparently Getty had been diagnosed with Lewy body dementia, which is akin to Alzheimer's disease and sounds equally horrible. Doctors suggested that she may have acquired said dementia shortly before agreeing to play opposite Sylvester Stallone in Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot.

As the twisted mind of Fortuna would have it, Estelle Getty died three days before her 85th birthday, meaning that she scored 4 points for Tommy Buzanis instead of 3. Well played, Buzanis.

The Gist: Game #100

July 22, 2008 | Comments (0) | by T.R.

Quick thought to kick things off: Can we "forget" Bob Brenley in Arizona. Just sort of overlook him when they're throwing the baggage on the plane tomorrow? Probably not I suppose.

Apparently Fukudome is trying out other players' bats. Talk about a guy that needs a Slumpbuster. If the bats fail, his interpreter tells us that he's going to start trying other players' wives.

Yuseirmo Petit is starting for the 'Backs. You know what that means; guarantee loss for the Cubs. We never fare well when we face middle relievers or rookies that are thrust on the mound. This graphic shows what I mean. Naturally, the Cubs are retired meekly in the 1st.

Jason Marquis. Can you imagine the glee in the Arizona clubhouse when they realized that after facing Harden last night, they get the pleasure of destroying Marquis tonight? Conor Jackson promptly hits a solo shot.

I love that when WGN shows a Scrubs commercial, they tell you that Scrubs is presented to you by Vagisil. Totally fits for Zach Braff.

This isn't really a drunk blog or a running diary of the game, I'm just shooting from the hip before I move on to other more important tasks, such as the Estelle Getty writeup.

Theriot in the top of the 3rd screws his hips and pulls a ground rule double. No part of the preceding sentence was meant to sound sexual. Fukudome then draws a walk, which is about as good as we can expect from him lately.

Fontenot triples, scoring DeRosa to put the Cubs on the board in this series. Hooray for Mike Fontenot. He very well could be the next Thunder Matt, the beloved gamer in all our hearts. God bless him and his big league cut.

Derrek Lee grounds into another double play in the 5th. The good thing is that for every double play, he's donating an additional $1,000 to his daughter's charity. With a little luck Leber's congenital amaurosis will be cured by the end of the season.

Good Lord our offense looks anemic right now. Len and Bob were just discussing Soriano and the possibility of him joining the big club and hitting leadoff tomorrow. Normally I'd be opposed to rushing him back, but at this point, on this road trip, I'm all for it. Someone needs to light a fire under the asses. If Lou won't do it, hopefully Soriano can.

For the love of...the Cubs heart allowing runs. My God, Marshall is shitting the bed at this moment. Orlando Hudson jacks one to make it 5-1 D'Bags. Why do the Cubs seize up and die in this ballpark? We're heading to the 8th and things are looking dire.

Yay, Daryle Ward with a meaningless solo homer. The Cub fans in the desert rejoice...but not for long.

I don't know, multiple D'Bag runs score in the eighth. I'm calling it a night with the score 8-2, but I leave you with this:

Thunder Matt, Updated

July 22, 2008 | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

Sad to report dear reader, that Thunder's career is faring about as poorly as Daft Funk's ABBA tribute band. As of this writing, the Crimson Warrior is only hitting a paltry .130 as an Athletic, mired in a 2-18 slump that could only be described as 'frustrating at best'.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to how this Child of God can break free from the shackles of oppression and low on-base-percentage?

Looks like somebody needs a Slumpbuster!*

*I of course, refer to The Hundley's bat project, not a gross fat chick to have sex with. That is against the teachings of the Bible.

Site Update: That's weird. When I went to write this post the site had the poop brown background of yore. Then I hit publish and it goes to this new one that our leader, Chip Wesley has been working diligently on. So reader, we ask of you. Which do you prefer? The brown look with the picture of the old timey ballplayers or this more modern look, which I shall henceforth dub 'French'. Vote in the comments. Thank you.

Mamma Mia! One Heterosexual Male's Journey Through Swedish Pop History In Loose Narrative Form

July 22, 2008 | Comments (0) | by Rich Funk

The annual "Who's Film Career Is Less Relevant?" Contest!

I found myself in a darkened room surrounded by many strange women that were easily more than twice my age. I could just make out their silhouettes from the meager light given off by the projection onscreen. The film, set in Greece, was a harrowing look into the past of a woman's sexual history and the toll her promiscuity took on the relationship she was trying to forge with her daughter. On this bleak island paradise lost, three of this woman's past conquests come out of the woodwork, each laying claim to her 20 year old daughter.

Art house flick? Hardcore German pornography?

Not quite, loyal reader. That's just a small sample of the twists and turns one runs into in the recently-released movie musical Mamma Mia!

(NOTE: That exclamation point is actually part of the movie's title and in no way am I adding it for effect. Haphazardly throwing around exclamation points would be the first step down the long and winding road paved with declarations of "OMG!" and photographs of celebrity babies that would end in a clearing with me standing face to face with Perez Hilton.)

Yes, I saw Mamma Mia! on opening night. No, I do not own any pink shirts, or pastels of any kind for that matter. Yes, I am heterosexual. Don't think those things can co-exist?

See that spot in the middle? It exists and as far as I know, I'm one of very few people that lives there. So how did I find myself knee-deep in ABBA last Friday night? I'm sworn to secrecy, but it involves direct orders from the CIA and something about checking out the movie to make sure it didn't contain any Swedish brainwashing or propaganda set to infect America.

And so, it is with great honor and humility that I bring you the first ever review of Mamma Mia! to hit the internet written by a straight male, age 18-30.

The movie follows a woman named Donna (Meryl Streep...who knew she could sing?) and her soon-to-be-married 20 year old daughter Sophie (Amanda Seyfried, known best as "Naked Girl In The Pool" from 2007's Alpha Dog). Sophie wants her father to give her away at her wedding. The only problem is that she doesn't know who her father is. Making things more complicated is the fact that her mother used to be what the kids these days refer to as "easy". Finding her mother's diary from the summer she was conceived, which must have read like the Ulysses of erotic fiction, Sophie narrowed it down to 3 potential dudes. She invites the three of them to her wedding, thinking that none of them would even respond. Instead, all three potential fathers (Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgard) show up. As you may assume, hilarity ensues.

I knew a few things going into this movie. I was aware of ABBA and a few of their songs, and I knew that this musical used pre-existing ABBA songs in place of original tunes. I wasn't expecting the story to be great, seeing how it was just a vehicle to get from one song to the other, but it actually kept my attention. There are enough mistaken identity jokes and tomfoolery by the island natives to keep the non-ABBA fans in the audience engaged. And the twist at the end of the film? Easily one of the classics in modern cinema. Now I'm not saying that this twist is better than the twists at the end of The Sixth Sense, The Usual Suspects and The Empire Strikes Back all rolled into one, but I'm not not saying that either. Of course, I'm not not not saying that as well.

Let's move on.

The Good:
  • My Three Dads: Brosnan, Firth and Skarsgard are all fantastic and fit their parts to a T. They are a bit typecast as the suave dad, the uptight British dad and the adventurous traveling dad respectively. But to those of you who would complain, I say this: Your mom is also typecast. Deal with it.
  • Unintentional Comedy Abound: Look, you can't take a band's greatest hits album and decide to make it into an entire musical without having to make some crazy leaps in logic within the story. And any time you get Meryl Streep chewing the scenery in a musical as over-the-top as this one, you're going to get a lot of laughs in places they weren't meant to be. Well, it may be just one laugh. And that laugh will be mine. Everyone else in the theater stayed silent. Am I the only one who finds humor in a mother's efforts to come to terms with the consequences of sleeping around? Answer: yes.
  • Bachelor Party Hijinx: Just like in this movie, when I go off to my own bachelor party, I want about 11 shirtless dudes to show up in boats and drag me away, but not without doing an impromptu jig atop a nearby dock before jumping into the water. Except instead of guys, they'll all be women. Or midgets. Either one would work for me.
The Bad:
  • Brosnan Comes Alive!: I don't mind Pierce Brosnan. I thought he was shit as James Bond, but he's got some decent performances in him, like his turn as an alcoholic hitman in The Matador. Pierce Brosnan can act. Pierce Brosnan cannot sing. It was kind of funny at first, but eventually it sounded like someone was standing around beating a baby with a cat. Now I know you may be saying to yourself, "Mr. Funk, you can't sing either. Maybe you should go easy on the guy." Well if Pierce Brosnan wants to start a blog and criticize me on it, I guess I'd have to be ok with it. Fair is fair, no?
  • "What the fuck was that???": I've seen a few musicals in my day, and one of the things that's commonplace is that people are just going to randomly wander onstage from the wings and sing and dance around. This is a bit harder to do in film since there's not really a "backstage". How did Mamma Mia! handle this? By having random people pop up from behind walls and into doorways in mid-song and seriously creeping me out in the process. Upping the creepy factor was the fact that it was rarely an entire body popping into view. Most times, it was just a head appearing from behind a wall or into a window. The fact that they were looking directly into the camera and seemingly right into my very soul only made things worse.
  • Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner: Luckily the musical number "The Winner Takes It All" was toward the end of the film, because it stopped the movie dead in its tracks. A note to the director: If you have someone singing a giant climatic song toward the end of your musical, don't set the number in a location where all the person singing can do is just stand there. Putting another person in the scene standing blankly next to them only makes it worse.
  • "It's Not Your Fault, Will...": I know this is no one's fault but mine, but I could not for the life of me look at Stellan Skarsgard in this film and not think to myself "That's the stuck up math professor from Good Will Hunting!" Every time he was onscreen, I was waiting for Matt Damon to show up and ask him if he liked apples.
  • "9 Goddamn Seats?": The theater was surprisingly packed, but seats were found in the back...or so I thought. "These seats are all saved!" said the old lady who I easily could have taken in a fistfight. "All of them?" I asked. Yup. This one lady was saving NINE. FUCKING. SEATS. Look, if you're saving three seats, that's ok. Four? A bit of a stretch, but I'll allow it. But nine seats? Come on, lady. I did tell her that I had saved a seat for her mother and proceeded to point directly to my crotch.* I guess my humor is wasted on the elderly.
*May or may not have actually happened.

The Ugly:
  • Just Gross: Stellan Skarsgard's bare, tatooed ass makes an unwelcome appearance. I wanted to check and see if the female portion of the crowd agreed with me, but I was too busy lighting my eyes on fire.
As someone that couldn't even be regarded as a casual ABBA fan, I would give this movie a solid C. Sure, it had its fill of ridiculous moments, but intentional or not, there were quite a few times where I chuckled. And the people in the audience with me seemed to enjoy themselves.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to work. Next summer, make sure to catch Use It Or Lose It: The Motley Crue Musical! at your local theater.

The Gist, Game #99

July 21, 2008 | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

D-Bags 2, Cubs Nada
Two brilliant starts by Richard Harden and no wins to show for it. After pitching seven masterful innings and striking out 10, Harden left trailing 1-0. One freaking hit is all he gave up. Of course, that one hit was a donkeypunch to some dude I've never heard of. Ceasar Romero or some shit like that.

The Cubs were stymied offensively by the the fugly likes of Randy Johnson, Micah Owings (huh, isn't he a starter?) and Chad Queefy Qualls. Ugh.

When your offense only musters two hits and they're by Reed Johnson and Jim Edmonds, you know that Fortuna's Wheel is spinning downward.

Aramis Ramirez, batting .188 in July. Mark DeRosa, .204. Fukudome, .182. I mean, seriously, what the crap? For those keeping track at home: CC Sabathia, 3-0 for the Brewers. Rich Harden, 0-1 for the Cubs. Cubs offense? FAIL.

Dammit Fortuna, do not make us bring back OJ. Don't think we won't do it.

*On a postive note, I was able to find the picture above by Googling 'hot chick in Cubs gear'. Oh Google, what did we do without you? Use