Mom Escapes Jury Duty

Mom was called up for jury duty, again. Right now, my days are mostly free, and I’d love to get paid to sit in a courtroom. It’d even help me with paralegal stuff. But no, I haven’t been asked to serve on a jury for over 20 years.

Anyway, Mom knows several lawyers and judges, and so chances were good that she wouldn’t have to serve, but you never know. I don’t understand jury duty. Like I said, I have never gotten a summons when I could actually participate. I’ve been several states away, in college, or in another city (please update your records, you guys), or starting a new job. When I could actually serve (like now), and have endless free time (well, not so much, but I could MAKE time for a paying gig, no matter how little it pays), I never get tapped to serve. Ridiculous. I wouldn’t mind doing my civic duty. Of course, I’m what lawyers Do Not Want. I read the news, I read true crime novels, I’m fairly bright, and I’m going to be swayed only by known and demonstrated facts, not courtroom antics and speeches.

My mom had to sit for nine hours, then–immediately upon entering the courtroom–she realized that she knew the judge (as usual; she’s lived here a long time) and had even taught the judge’s children. Dismissed! They could have saved a lot of time by asking if any of the jury pool knew the lawyers or judge right off the bat.

Another issue that bugged her was that the case was about an assault in the parking lot of a big box retail store, and the jury pool (approximately 36 people) were asked if they’d ever been assaulted. Over a third had. One had been beaten up while walking home from a frat party. Several women had been beaten by spouses or boyfriends. Some had been mugged. Another guy got into a tussle leaving a bar. My mom was a bit surprised to hear that violence was so common “these days…oh, what a world we live in.” I think we’re just lucky that statistics haven’t caught up with us yet.

The Defense wouldn’t have wanted her, anyway, because the defendant was, according to her, sitting there looking bored and smirking the whole time. She wasn’t impressed. Way to take your trial seriously and not antagonize the jury, pardner.

As a personal favour to me, can you guys refrain from mugging people or beating them up at the Wal*Mart? Thanks. Like I even have to ask, I know. Who are these people going around beating on other people? Do they have blogs? Are they on Facebook or Twitter? Probably so, as I suppose anything is possible.

Just don’t do it. Don’t assault or batter anyone. My faith in humanity is already at a low ebb. Thanks.

I Believe You Have My Stapler

Was in the mood to re-watch “Office Space with added FLAIR!”

It is rather sad how much I relate to this film. I’ve had this job (see above) several times, AND I’ve worked for Initech-like corporations. One of my old bosses WAS Bill Lumbergh.

A small sampling of the stuff I have on my DVD shelves:

24 Hour Party People, Π, Adaptation, After Hours, All of Me, Almost Famous, American Beauty, Angels in America, As Good As It Gets, Austin Powers, Back To The Future, Basquiat, Beetlejuice, Being John Malkovich, Benny and Joon, Better Off Dead…, The Big Lebowski, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Blade Runner, The Blues Brothers, Blue Velvet, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Breakfast Club, Bridget Jones’ Diary, Cape Fear, Catch Me If You Can, Chasing Amy, A Christmas Story, Citizen Kane, Clerks, A Clockwork Orange, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, The Crow, The Crying Game, The Cube, Desperately Seeking Susan, Dogma, Dogs In Space, The Doors, Dr Strangelove, Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, Election, Fahrenheit 9/11, Fargo, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Filth and the Fury, A Fish Called Wanda, Four Rooms, The Fugitive, Ghostbusters, Ghost World, Go, Good Will Hunting, Grosse Point Blank, Hair, Hairspray, Happiness, A Hard Day’s Night, Harry Potter (any), Having A Wild Weekend, Heathers, Heavenly Creatures, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Help!, High Fidelity, Hollywood Shuffle, How to Get Ahead in Advertising, The Hunger, Hunting Venus, Jackie Brown, Jawbreaker, The Jerk, L.A. Story, Light of Day, Little Shop of Horrors, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, The Lonely Guy, The Matrix, Memento, Men in Black, Mommie Dearest, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, My Friend Totoro, Mystic Pizza, Natural Born Killers, Nightmare Before Christmas, 9 to 5, Office Space, Pecker, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, The Pianist, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Philadelphia, The Princess Bride, Pulp Fiction, Quadrophenia, Raising Arizona, Repo Man, Reservoir Dogs, Rock and Rule, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Rushmore, Say Anything, Schindler’s List, Se7en, The Shawshank Redemption, The Shining, Sid and Nancy, The Silence of the Lambs, Sixteen Candles, Sixth Sense (even though I guessed the “surprise” right away), Sleepy Hollow, Snatch, Sugartown, Swingers, This Is Spinal Tap, Trading Places, Trainspotting, Tommy, Top Secret, Unprecedented, URGH! A Music War, Valley Girl, Velvet Goldmine, The Virgin Suicides, War Games, Wayne’s World, Weird Science, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?, When Harry Met Sally, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Wilde, Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory, Wings of Desire, Withnail and I, The Women, The Wrong Trousers, Xanadu, Yellow Submarine, Young Frankenstein, oldies like the Thin Man movies, After Hours, Better Off Dead, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy BBC series, Fun With The Fab Four (“Oh, Thisbe!”), Made In Sheffield, Live Forever: The Rise & Fall of Britpop, Suede: Lost In TV, Blur: The Best Of, Shawn Of The Dead, V For Vendetta, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Pulp Fiction, Thank You for Smoking, Art School Confidential…etc., etc.

Some simple guidelines:

If it is a quirky film, I probably like it.
If it is a weird film, I probably like it.
If it is a depressing film with flawed and tragic characters struggling for redemption against bad odds, I probably like it.
If it is stylish, I probably like it.
If it is funny but has a minimum of gross-out scatological humor, I probably like it.
If everyone in the film is wearing bad 80’s clothing, I probably like it.
If everyone has a British accent–even if they are awful, fake, ultra-plummy British accents–I probably dig it the most, baby.
If it is a “rock and roll movie”, I probably like it. Even if it sucks, like “Light of Day”.
If Pixar studios made it, I hate myself for being a dorky adult liking a kid’s movie…but I still like it.
If Disney studios made it, and Randy Newman wrote the theme song, I probably don’t like it much.
If it’s a brainless chick movie (a.k.a. “romoporn”), I probably won’t like it if it takes itself too seriously. Heck, I probably just won’t like it at all.
If it has Jackie Chan in it, I don’t care how bad the plot is, I like it. Jackie Chan is The Nazz. Ash even wrote a song about the guy. ‘Nuff said.
I also like Tommy Lee Jones and Harry Dean Stanton. Maybe it’s the three names.
If it is a big budget summer blockbuster, I probably don’t have much of an opinion about it or I hate it. Titanic. Yawn. Whatever.
If it has Tom Cruise in it, I probably hate it.

I occasionally get in the mood for an overdose of James Bond flicks, but not the ones that are rubbish. I’m one of those people who actually enjoy student art films, documentaries (especially political ones), “oldies” and subtitled foreign films.

I also am one of those people who always have hard luck and manage to sit near the herd of loud-chatting, popcorn-throwing, plot-spoiling, soda-flinging people with a colicky baby, a toddler asking “Why?” umpteen times, and / or a ringing mobile phone (which these boorish clods will inevitably answer, the better to carry on a loud conversation no one wants to hear them having) whenever I do go see a movie. As a result, I am hard-pressed to find anything I want to pay $10+ to go see in a theatre.

Movies I hated (for various reasons): Disney’s The Black Hole, C.H.O.M.P.S., Raise the Titanic!, Reds.
Movies that are so bad they are good: Plan 9 from Outer Space, Barbarella, The Forbidden Zone
Movies I never have seen in their entirety that I am sick of anyway: Purple Rain, Dirty Dancing, Bridges of Madison County.