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There are few things more entertaining on planet Earth than watching a guy who’s recently gone through some sort of emotional distress. I once stopped by a buddy’s place after having to put my dog to sleep; clearly having no idea what the accepted etiquette in such a situation was, he asked me, straight-faced, “So, uh, how’d it go?” Luckily, guys are also especially equipped to handle such things, as they, if nothing else, probably have a horrifying movie in the cabinet to watch. Let us turn things over now to Jason Hare, who sure plays a mean pinball.
“Jesus Christ, when is she going to stop flinging poop?”
By Jason Hare
The song that reminds me of being dumped, thankfully, always ends with me rolling in hysterics on the floor.
My first really hardcore dumping happened when I was 16 years old. I was pretty much completely oblivious to the fact that my girlfriend had been cheating on me for a couple of months; I had suspicions, but this was at a time where I still believed that people, when confronted with the devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other, would head in the direction of the harp and wings. One Saturday afternoon, I got the phone call where she finally gave me the one-two punch: yes, she had cheated on me, and yes, she was breaking up with me — and not even to necessarily be with the other guy. Somehow, that made it worse.
I had that horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. You know the feeling. I got off the phone and did everything I could to hold back my tears. Luckily, I’ve always had good friends who are right there to try and take your mind off of things the minute something like this happens. I quickly called Andrew and Mike (formerly of Down With Snark) and invited them to come over and watch a movie. I was just becoming a Who fan, and decided that perhaps this would be a good time to see Ken Russell’s film version of Tommy. We were all in a band together, and all dug The Who; I figured this was a good opportunity to focus on something other than what a sucker I had been for a few months. Anything to get the day’s events off of my mind.
So we sat down to watch Tommy. Have you ever seen Tommy? If so, you’ll know it’s unlike just about any other movie. I know Who fans who insist it’s a cinematic masterpiece. However, I think it’s easily one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen.Â But thankfully, it’s bad in one of those so-terrible-it’s-funny ways. Mike, Andrew and I started laughing within the first 15 minutes of the movie, when they continuously flash back to these shots of Captain Walker screaming bloody murder as his plane crashes. The whole movie is just so awful: from Jack Nicholson’s pathetic attempt at singing to Tina Turner’s awesome-yet-frightening-as-hell turn as The Acid Queen, to Eric Clapton’s “Hey, anybody got any more heroin?” turn singing “Eyesight to the Blind.” And I haven’t even mentioned Oliver Reed.
And then Ann-Margret had her big scene. The one where she expresses all her frustration with her deaf, dumb and blind son, and…well, I’m sure there’s something else going on in there, but honestly, I’ve never paid much attention. She’s singing and acting all crazy, and it’s really not that much different from what has come before. But suddenly, the scene gets really, really weird — like, weirder than the rest of the movie. Watch for yourself. (You can skip to about 3:30 if you want to get past the actual singing.)
I know some people will cite this scene as being one of the sexiest film moments in Ann-Margret’s career, what with her writhing around in champagne, baked beans and (I guess) chocolate, and humping a huge, phallic pillow. But if only you could have seen our three faces in that moment as we watched this scene. Our mouths were dropped open, and I had that horrible feeling where you realize that what you’re now seeing, you’ll never, ever be able to erase from your memory. I guess rubbing baked beans and chocolate all over your breasts is hot, or something, but all I could think was, “Jesus Christ, when is she going to stop flinging poop?”
We all sat there, mouths agape, just stupefied at what we were watching. It made no sense to us — what the hell was she doing? Why was she doing it? Why the fuck did we keep cutting back to Roger Daltrey in a stupid hat, looking as catatonic as ever? Except for the horrors on screen, my bedroom fell silent. None of us had anything to say.
And then, of course, we started laughing again. Hard. I mean, harder than I think I had ever laughed before. I’m sure I really wanted to cry, but instead, all my sobs came out as hysterical laughter…until I was crying from laughing so hard.
I don’t listen to the Tommy film soundtrack often, although I do think it’s a great example of what Tommy sounds like if you throw Quadrophenia on top of it, but that’s another post altogether. However, whenever I happen to hear “Champagne” — which, thankfully, is not often — first, I remember that pain of being dumped. Then, I laugh my ass off.