Thanks to everyone who joined me Friday Night (is for the drinkers) at Summit Coffee Co.! It was my first official show in the Charlotte area and I couldn’t be happier to kick off this new season of my life and this new chapter in my music career. When I actually sit down to think about it, I feel very blessed to have lived the life I have and to have experienced the hospitality of nearly 10 cities at this point. Chronologically, Horicon/Mayville, WI, Madison, WI, San Francisco, CA, Los Angeles, CA, Seattle, WA, New York City/Brooklyn, NY, Portland, OR, and now, finally, and probably lastly, Charlotte, NC. Each city has welcomed and embraced me and my music (especially New York and Charlotte, seems like I’m an East Coaster at heart). Also, looking at that list, I realize my propensity for moving long distances, including three trips from coast to coast. I hope to never experience that again. As a younger man, it simply involved shipping my musical equipment, books, records, etc. to a FedEx store and flying myself, but as an older man, it’s slightly more involved as I now have years of merch, musical/sound equipment, and even furniture I’d like to keep, to move across the country. I hope, and feel, that this move to North Carolina is my last. All of which is to say, thank you for supporting my musical journey and I hope to see you again soon. It hasn’t been a normal life, but it has been an incredible one, that I’ve lived up until this point. I’m proud to say this kid from a town of less than 3000 people in rural Wisconsin has played hundreds of shows across this great country, sold thousands of records, heard his songs played on the radio (in the U.S. and Europe) and lived more than his fair share of life in his limited time on this earth. So, thank you Charlotte, for welcoming me one more time and I know you’ll be proud of me when this thing is through…
OK, enough of the mushy stuff, why are we here today? (Editors note: I forgot yesterday was Monday due to the holiday, which is why this is a day late) The answer is a question you’ve all been waiting with bated breath for me to answer: what are your top 5 (I love lists) favorite Arnold Schwarzenegger movies?
OK, so maybe you haven’t felt like living your life has been a lie up until this point, when you can finally put your mind at ease about Bradley Wik’s top 5 Arnold movies, but I’m sure you’ve spent many a sleepless night trying to pare down his amazing career into a top 5 list? No? Just me? I’ve literally (cue Rob Lowe from “Parks and Rec” who now owns the word “literally” the same way Wallace Shawn owns the word “inconceivable” from his turn in “The Princess Bride”) lost many hours of sleep on this topic but then again, that may just be a weird, Aspergian obsession that comes and goes. If you’re a regular reader of the blog, you’ll know I love lists, hence:
Well, you get the idea… So, here’s the fucking list:
Ivan Reitman directing, Emma Thompson, another Danny DeVito pairing, and wait, buried the lede, a fucking pregnant Arnold? Of course this made the list. Probably, didn’t think it would be in my top 5, but it definitely is. I have to turn this movie on whenever it’s on cable (which is almost never). One of my favorite podcasts (and based off its popularity, many people’s favorite podcast) “How Did This Get Made?” even on gave this movie its blessing by mocking it. It’s absurd, ridiculous and implausible but also hilarious, ridiculous and so damn entertaining. Kind of misogynistic, but dumb enough to get away with it. I wish I was in the room when someone said the words “Picture this: Arnold is pregnant, Danny DeVito is his co-star, Emma Thompson is acting like Arnold looks like Robert Redford and the plot makes no sense, but who cares…” OK, maybe that wasn’t the pitch but it could’ve been.
4) Jingle All The Way
This was hard to put this low on the list. I know, given Arnold’s amazing career, how could this even crack the top 5? Well, this is my fucking list, so deal with it. Every year, my wife and I have a list of Christmas movies we can’t wait to watch (which includes all of the new cheesy/shitty Hallmark movies) like “Elf,” “Christmas Vacation,” “A Christmas Story,” “Die Hard,” “The Santa Clause,” well, you get the idea. But, of all the holiday movies, “Jingle All the Way” might be my favorite. Phil Hartman, the Seth McFarlane lookalike in the caroling scene, Sinbad acting, well, insane, Arnold fighting a room full of Santas… It’s all so amazing. A true Christmas classic… Who am I kidding, I mostly just love how Conan did his bits where he would pretend to interview Arnold and the always-cracking-up voice would say “Jingle all the Way!” more times than I can count…
3) Kindergarten Cop
This might have been my toughest decision, “Jingle All The Way” vs. “Kindergarten Cop.” But, after intense debate with myself, it came down to the fact that the “Kindergarten Cop” sequel starred Dolph Lundgren, which is awesome, and the “Jingle All The Way” sequel featured Larry the Cable Guy, which also happened…
2) The Terminator
I know, I know, how is this not #1? In fact, how is “The Terminator” and “Terminator 2” not #1 and #2 respectively? Well, despite it’s amazingly wonderful and random soundtrack (as a kid, I had a shitty Casio keyboard that had a record feature. But, it was also monophonic, meaning it could only record one note at a time. So, I would hit record, press all the keys as fast as possible and was constantly fascinated by how weird and random the recording playback would sound. But, years later, I realized that those recordings sounded similar to the Terminator soundtrack. Apparently, I could’ve made a lot of money pressing random keys on a keyboard/synth…), the incredibly original screenplay/story and the actors just fucking killing it, there is a movie of Arnold’s that I love more…
1) Total Recall
This movie embodies everything I love about the late 80’s/early 90’s. It has the huge set pieces, the ridiculous but engrossing (and mystifying) story and world-building, the action, the gore, the the-governments-out-to-get-us theme, the weirdness, a.k.a. a mutant with a genius baby growing out of his stomach that eventually gets shot in the head, a thrice-boobed lady and many shots of peoples eyes being sucked out of their heads by the oxygen-deprived Martian atmosphere, the overt product placement (Pepsi, Jack in the Box, Sharper Image, Miller Lite, etc.) and just plain insanity that makes movies teeter on the precipice of amazing/campy. I still can’t believe they remade this movie as it was perfect in its original incarnation. It’s the type of original storytelling that our current movie scene could use. I wish they still funded weird/creative as fuck projects like this nowadays. We could all use a little Arnold, hot Sharon Stone, badass Michael Ironside (as if there’s another kind…), Paul Verhoeven-directed madness in our lives. “See you at the party, Richter…”
Honorable mention goes to: “Terminator 2,” “Twins,” “Predator” and “Conan the Barbarian”
(dictated but not read. Well, this one was kinda read, but not totally, so excuse the msitakes)