Thursday, September 19, 2013

"How Much Do I Owe Ya?"

I was at softball the other night because I'm a grown-ass man and I can't live without it. I had written a check for the league to our team captain Todd the previous week, and Todd asked me if I remembered what I had written on the "Memo" line. I honestly couldn't rememeber, but apparently I had scribbled "Keep the change, ya filthy animal!" Todd said the bank teller started cracking up when he saw the reference to Home Alone.

After Todd finished the story, a slew of similar quotes obviously followed. "Leave it on the doorstep and get the hell outta here!" "How much do I owe ya?"* "Acey said 10 percent." "...Little Moe with the gimpy leg, Cheeks, Bony Bob, Cliff..." 

*Convenient title, eh?

So, a group of 25-and-older men* went on like that for two full minutes before my buddy Ken asked, "Was that movie around before Home Alone, or did Home Alone invent it?" A great question!

*This post could easily be an addendum to my post about the '90s.

I looked up Ken's question, and according to multiple sources, the movie Angels with Filthy Souls is a fictional gangster film that was made specifically for Home Alone. There is also a sequel to the film, Angels with Even Filthier Souls, in Home Alone 2.

So there you have it. To me, Home Alone's film-within-a-film topples Hamlet's play-within-a-play atop the Something-Within-That-Same-Thing Pantheon.

Here's the list:

5. TV Show-Within-The-TV Show:
Newsnight on The Newsroom
I've written before that Jeff Daniels is typecast as Harry Dunne from Dumb and Dumber. Still, Daniels has been great in the last few episodes of The Newsroom. He carries the fictional show Newsnight despite having to work with morons like Maggie and Reese. Newsnight narrowly edges the books of Kurt Vonnegut's recurring character, author Kilgore Trout, because The Newsroom is way fresher in my mind than any of Vonnegut's books.

4. Game-Within-The-Game: 
Situational Baseball
Baseball writers and announcers talk ad nauseum about the small battles between pitcher and batter; manager and manager; fielder and base runner; etc. Here's one of my favorite writers, Jonah Keri, talking about the game-within-the-game:

"[T]here's something about the interplay of pitcher and base runner, the holds and looks over, leads and jumps, the constant cat-and-mouse game between a mindful hurler and a master thief that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up."

Now that, my friends, is a writer that loves his subject.

3. Cartoon-Within-The-Cartoon:
The Itchy and Scratchy Show on The Simpsons
Cartoon violence at its finest. The Itchy and Scratchy show is Matt Groening's perverse answer to Tom and Jerry. 

2. Play-Within-The-Play
The Murder of Gonzago in Hamlet
The drama about G-Man's murder held the top spot in the Something-Within-That-Same-Thing Pantheon for almost 400 years, but Home Alone kept it from reaching its quatercentenary.* I wonder if Johnny let The Murder of Gonzago have until the count of 10 to get its keister off his property.

*Don't worry; I checked the spelling.

1. Film-Within-The-Film
Angels with Filthy Souls in Home Alone (and their sequels)
I'll let Johnny do the talking here:

And here:

I love when everyone looks at Cliff's badge. Hysterical every time.

Also, we still remember that was you, Rob Schneider.

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