Big Fish: Telling the Truth Your Own Way


It was a Thursday night one January when I arrived home from a trivia night with some friends. Everyone was asleep, everyone but my father. He sat me down and asked me a question: What was I going to tell people about him when he’s gone? What a heavy thing to ask your 29-year-old son after a night of drinking. Nevertheless, I answered and he liked what I had to say though he made some suggestions which I took to heart. Less than two days later he’d die in his sleep. I would go on to eulogize him and afterwards I received many remarks about how similar I was to the man. I’ve always felt like I took after my mother but could it be that in death I’d finally begun to embrace my father?

Sometimes you see a movie and something about it resonates even if at the time of viewing you can’t really relate. I remember seeing Big Fish for the first time at a movie theater in Edison, New Jersey with some friends who were home for the holidays from college. I remember leaving the theater and it was snowing, and I had left my headlights on, and miraculously my car’s batter hadn’t died. I remember a film about a father with a larger than life personality who told many tall tales and his son who struggled to accept this. I remember a film about the stories we tell and the truths behind them. I get now, why it resonated. In telling the story of your life you’re afforded a good deal of poetic license as long as the truth is in there somewhere.

Towards the end of the film the father character is on his deathbed, his son by his side. The father asks the son to tell him how he’s going to die. The son, for the first time, goes on to tell his own tall tale. A frantic escape from the hospital, a car chase, and a burial in a river among loved ones. The father likes the sound of that and then dies. A proper memorial service follows and the film ends. Sounds about right. Death truly is the end of a story and of its teller and someone has to actually bury it all.

I sit here today thinking about what I have in common with the son in Big Fish and it’s obvious. We were both afforded the opportunity to eulogize our fathers before they passed. Through this we were both able to demonstrate our own embrace and understanding of the men, allowing them to stop telling their story, as it was time to let the boys tell their own. My father made his mark on the world and he left it all with us. We were to pick up where he left off.

These are all gifts. This movie. That moment with my dad before he died. My embrace of him, my understanding, and how he is reflected through me. I think of what stories I might want to tell and the truths behind them. I think of the truths. The truths my father spoke. The ones I need to realize. I think of them too much. The truth does hurt, but it’s the stories that help…not to mask it, but to process that hurt and heal of it. Words, thoughts, stories…they swirl over my head like a cyclone. I realize my own purpose: to keep discovering these truths and figuring out how to talk about them, how to write about them, how to sing about them. One day I’m going to want someone to pick up where I left off and leave them a piece of me to embrace. I suppose that’s going to have to start with embracing the truth. I could make the rest up as I go along.


I’ve Seen The Last Jedi Twice. Let Me Answer All Of Your Burning Questions!


Hey everyone. Did you know that I’ve seen The Last Jedi twice??? You know all those questions you have? Well, I had them too…until I saw it for a second time. For the benefit of those of you with considerably less time on their hands than yours truly I will now answer all of those questions in no particular order.

  1. What was the significance of the old guy with the binoculars on Crait?


Oh, you mean General Caluan Ematt? Yeah, he’s a General so he’s a pretty big deal and here you are asking about him. With the loss of Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo due to her immense courage, General Ematt is kind of king shit in the Resistance. I mean, everyone else who didn’t have secret force powers already died when the command bridge of the Raddus got all blown up. And well, Holdo is a complete badass so she’s dead too. General Ematt, the “old guy with the binoculars”? This wasn’t even his first fucking movie. He was in The Force Awakens. He was in the first one! Were you all asking who the fuck Wedge was when you saw Empire Strikes Back? No, you weren’t, because he was in the fucking first one. Pay attention, I have more important questions to answer.

2.  We’re going to find out who Rey’s REAL parents are in Episode IX, right?

I’m pretty sure we found out who they were in Episode VIII. They’re in a pauper’s grave in the Jakku desert! They sold her for drinking money! Rey is a nobody! I guess there exists a remote possibility that Kylo Ren was lying to her but I don’t think so. Her parents were real fucking shitheads, he knows it…she knows it, and he decides to prey on that by suggesting that she is somebody but only to him. Hmmm, seems to fit character-wise and it makes sense from a narrative standpoint…which is why it’s obvious that her parents are really someone else and Kylo really is lying! Who could her parents be, then? All the likely candidates are already dead. Han, Luke, Ackbar, Leia (I don’t even want to think about how they kill her off). I guess it could be Nien Nunb. You’re looking for that “Luke, I am your father” moment where it doesn’t exist. Jesus christ, weren’t you the same people complaining that the The Force Awakens was too similar to the old movies and now here you are two years later clamoring for all of the same beats. Speaking of which…

      1. Ok, but who exactly is Snoke?

He’s some 7 ft tall force wielder in gold slippers that got bisected by Anakin Skywalker’s lightsaber (RIP btw, I guess we’ll never know how it ended up in the bowels of Maz Kanata’s castle). Or he’s Darth Plageius. Except that he’s not because no one would give a flying fuck about that reveal. Remember Emperor Palpatine? Remember how we had no clue who he was? Then the prequels came along and we all wished we still had no clue who he was. See what happens when we start asking ridiculous questions? We get ridiculous movies as a reward. Snoke was the leader of the First Order. Kylo Ren killed him and took his place. Then in an ultimate act of bravery, Vice Admiral Holdo piloted a Mon Calamari Cruiser through his flagship at light speed. But he was already dead so I doubt he cared. He was just some old powerful guy that looked like he should be dead and now he is. I hope he takes that Ric Flair robe to whatever hell he’s currently residing in. I can’t believe I just spent this much time talking about Snoke when there are much better characters like Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo to talk about.

      1. Why didn’t Vice-Admiral Amilyn Holdo tell Poe what her plan was?

The question that’s on everyone’s minds. If she had just told him the plan, he would have went along with it, so why didn’t she just tell him? I mean, let’s just ignore the fact that he just sacrificed Cobalt Squadron in its entirety just so he could take down a Dreadnought, right? He was demoted from Commander to Captain. There’s something else too…wait, it’s coming to me. Oh yeah, he’s a fucking sexist piece of shit. The first time he sees Holdo he’s gets all “Her???” like she’s fucking Ann Veal. Yeah, she’s got purple hair and a turtleneck that goes on for days. So what? The leader of the Resistance is a fucking Princess…we should be beyond this crap at this point. You’re part of a resistance against a fascist military junta, you’re supposed to believe in things like gender equality by now! Holdo didn’t have to tell Poe the plan because he hadn’t earned it yet. She didn’t owe it to him. She was an Admiral and he was just a Captain, he should have stayed in his lane. He was really an asshole about the whole thing too, what with the mutiny and all. And after all of that bullshit he put her through, she still forgave him! He tried to mutiny her and she still liked him! She got over having a blaster pointed at her very quickly. Poe should be thankful, fucking ingrate that he is. I don’t know, maybe he learned something about leadership through the whole ordeal but I’m pretty sure he just ended up stealing her speech about how the Resistance will be the spark almost verbatim. You know, he just adds some of his trademark male bravado to make it his own. If fedoras existed in the Star Wars Universe , Poe would be wearing one. It’s ok though, really, some of our heroes can be total fucking assholes like Poe just was. We’ll always have the Amilyn Holdo’s of the galaxy to balance him out.

      1. Fair enough, but why didn’t Luke tell the Resistance he was just trying to buy them time to escape?

Do any of you even watch movies? I’m not even going to dignify this one with a response.

      1. Are Poe and Rey going to become an item?

Jesus christ. They just fucking met. They said hello. There’s one movie left. It’s not happening. Neither is Rey and Finn or Finn and Poe.

      1. You’re probably right but Kylo and Rey are totally going to kiss?

Ok, fine, I’ll bite. Kylo Ren and Rey aren’t just the Force sensitive power couple that we deserve, they’re the one that we need. Before going any further let’s keep in mind that Kylo isn’t entitled to a date with Rey just because he killed the Supreme Leader of the First Order for her. Doing nice things for her isn’t enough! There has to be something deeper, a real connection, ya know? Luckily for them (and us) that their connection is as real as it gets. They can see each other in their minds! That’s literally a real connection! She knows what he looks like without a shirt! Their hands touched! They killed all those red guys together! They are totally going to smooch and we are going to get to enjoy every minute of it. I wonder if using the Force makes you a better kisser? Were those really Ancient Jedi Texts or were they Ancient Jedi Books About Kissing? I can’t wait to find out!

      1. Porgs tho, amirite?

Yassssss, Porgs 4 Life.

Cold Open

It’s 8 o’clock in the evening on a Monday night and I’m out running errands. Having four cats means a fair amount of my disposable income is spent on things like catnip, laser pointers, and kitty litter. I love my babies and will do anything for them. I’m also a selfish prick and whenever I do something responsible I feel like I owe myself one. Yep, that’s me. What should I treat myself to now? I completed a task like a good boy. What do I deserve as reward?

A trip to Toys R Us, of course! Because I’m a fucking child.

Now, I have no real agenda so I just kind of make my way towards the video games and the action figures because that’s all I really care about and they’re conveniently located right next to one another. I go towards the video games first. The set up is nowhere near as cool as it was when I was a child. Remember that long glass case with displays of all the consoles? Or how about how you’d have to grab like a ticket with the name of the game you wanted on it and they’d have to go look for it…that was way cooler than hoping to find someone with a key to slowly unlock the case and who you actually have to speak to. I’m rambling.

There’s still no sign of the NES Classic Mini! What a missed opportunity that was. There are hundreds of Amiibo, however. I’m bored. Time to revisit my first love: Action Figures and Accessories.

Marvel, DC, Star Wars, WWE…all the standards are there. But holy shit the prices on some of this stuff is ridiculous. 100 bucks for Captain America’s shield seems reasonable enough, but $150 for a TIE Fighter? 200 for Kylo Ren’s shitty lightsaber? $249.99 USD for a fucking AT-ACT? That’s not even a real thing, it’s some variation they came up with so they could sell another toy. Do parents buy this stuff for their kids?

Time to hit the clearance racks. I’m not leaving this place empty handed. I spend the better part of the next hour browsing and here is what I end up coming away with.

World of Nintendo Microland Gold Series Minifigures


I don’t know why I even bought these, the price was right but kind of pointless to own as I can’t take these out of the packaging. I don’t have a good history with tiny toys like this and I’m gonna go ahead and guess that not much has changed now that I’m an adult. I also have four cats and when you have 4 cats one of them is bound to try and eat these things. Then my sensible $2.98 purchase becomes a $1200 bill for emergency veterinary services. At least I own a golden goomba, I’ll always have that.

Guavian Enforcer


What we have here is a clear case of milking a film for all of its merchandising worth.

Was anyone clamoring for more of the Guavian Death Gang, so much so to justify this absolute nobody being mass produced? I didn’t think so. I couldn’t imagine myself 20 years ago begging my mother for this thing every time we went to the local Walgreens like I did with Grand Moff Tarkin (spoiler alert: She eventually relented). But you know what? At least Tarkin was kind of a big deal. He ran the Death Star! Darth Vader listened to him that one time! He blew up Alderaan! I had good reason for wanting an evil senior citizen in diminutive form.

These guys on the other hand had all of three minutes of screen time before being eaten by a plot device and look like a rip off of the Cyborg Ninja from Metal Gear Solid. I’m sorry. I’ve already wasted enough of my time and yours talking about this.

General Armitage Hux


General Hux is what happens when you allow the Alt-Right to have a platform.

Oh, we’re nothing like the Imperials, they probably hate us”, he’ll say.

And we’ll be stupid enough to defend him with platitudes like, “We don’t agree with the systemic extermination of the Jedi but we’ll fight to the death for your right to talk about it”.

The next thing you know he’s hooking up with some angsty dork with a lightsaber and a 20 foot tall hologram with a cleft palate that he calls “Daddy” and they’re blowing up entire solar systems.

This is why I support the efforts of General Leia Organa and her Resistance. Sure, there’s concerns about whether or not they’re paid to do what they do but they do some good work. What’s that you say? “Their use of violence makes them just as bad as the Neo-Imperials who aren’t even Imperial anyway, they’re the First Order and it’s totally different.” Ok, the Rebels are exactly the same as the Imperials or whatever the fuck they’re calling themselves.

Just remember, when some gigantic fucking laser is pointed at your planet and you’re counting your precious remaining seconds that it was you and your absolutist, peak liberal stance on free speech that lead to this. Look at that picture up there, he literally has a loaded weapon pointed at us and you think we should engage in a dialogue. Ugh.

And welcome to A Winner Is Me, where I ostensibly talk about toys. Thanks for reading!