At (and in) the movies II.

This is a continuation of yesterday’s entry. It doesn’t really have anything to do with Prague, though I should give a few more props to the DVD rental shop I get my flicks from:

I also recently had the pleasure of seeing a schoolmate in his own star vehicle. While I never shared any classes with Tom Green, I was fortunate enough to attend Colonel By Secondary School at the same time as he did. I believe Tom was still doing his cable access show (which I enjoyed immensely) when I moved to the Czech Republic, so I missed out on his rise to fame. In fact, I hadn’t really heard anything about him for years until one day I noticed his picture on the cover of a Czech tabloid magazine (actually, I think his photo was in the corner, but it was definitely on the cover).

It was kinda cool to tell Jitka, “Hey, I went to high school with this guy!”

Jitka’s response: “And he’s in SPY? I’ve never heard of him. I recognize that girl he’s with though. She’s the alcoholic girl from E.T., right? ‘Phone home‚?? hic!’ heehee‚??”

Anyway, that was years ago. I finally got around to watching Freddy Got Fingered a couple of weeks ago. At first I couldn’t stand it, but then I found myself getting into it. There were only a few real laugh-out-loud moments for me, but I dug the film’s bravery. Freddy got slammed by the critics, and it certainly isn’t easy to stomach at times, but Tom is to comedy what The Residents are to music and what Suehiro Maruo is to cartooning – not just challenging convention, but spitting in its face and giving it a bitchslap for good measure; not just pushing boundaries, but utterly ignoring them to go where none dare to tread (WARNING: Suehiro Maruo’s work is not for the faint of heart – you’ve been warned).

Ok, that’s about as critical as I’ll get about the film. It was awesome seeing someone I know starring in his own flick – it made me nostalgic, and kinda proud of my hometown, Ottawa, a feeling I don’t get all that often.

Whenever I tell people that I knew Tom in high school, their first question is inevitably, “Was he always that crazy?”

I guess he seemed crazy to some people, but I never really saw any insanity in whatever he did. Sometimes it wasn’t even all that funny. But it was always interesting. Tom wasn’t a shit-disturber in high school, nor was he really a class clown (that was his co-writer Derek Harvie’s gig), he just always seemed to something that made the day just that much more enjoyable. He either made you laugh or at least gave you something to talk about.

In my opinion, the funniest stunt that he pulled at high school occurred during school elections. He was running for Grade 10 representative. I don’t remember anything about his campaign, and I don’t remember his speech, but I do remember what he was doing while the other candidates were giving their speeches. He very calmly made a tossed salad, and, if memory serves me well, ate it using his hands. Of course, the entire cafeteria/auditorium was in stitches and didn’t hear a word that any of the other candidates said. Tom ended up being our Grade 10 rep. I’m not sure how much he did for us, but it’s not like the student council did all that much for the rest of the student body anyway. Not as I recall anyway.

Sentimentality alert: my fondest memory of Tom comes from the summer of 1988 (give or take a year or two). I was working as part of the Lansdowne Park maintenance crew – painting and stenciling bleachers in the football stadium (Canadian football that is), cleaning up after Roughriders (now the Renegades) games, etc. Tom was working construction, I believe, and I’d sometimes run into him on what was probably the number 7 bus. We’d share some small talk, I think Tom cracked a rather lame joke once (it had something to do with an ad for Del Monte pineapples), but he definitely wasn’t “on” whenever I saw him on the bus. A good friend of mine who knew Tom much better than I did said that he was, and probably still is, always on, but a few minutes spent at his blog will tell you that’s definitely not the case these days.

Now that was a nice break from current events. Time for me to get ready for a trip to Strelice – just when I thought I was going to start living healthy again, my mate Robert comes back to the CR and of course he insists that I come down for a weekend that is certain to take at least two years off my life‚?? sigh‚?? Ah well, that’s the price one pays for making good friends with a Moravian.

Jul 9, 08:47 (Filed under: Personal )

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