Exploitation Retrospect | The Journal of Junk Culture and Fringe Media

Dante's Inferno01/09/01: What the Hell Have these Teams Won ... I Can't Believe My Ears ... This One Goes to Eleven

It's a sad week in the Delaware Valley as the Eagles were exposed by the Giants for exactly what they are: well-intentioned overachievers. Yes, I too got caught up in the moment and expected the MacNabb-led Birds to rise above the Kerry Collins-led Large People. Sure, the special teams and offense let us down and gave up the two TDs that made the difference. But, the lack of a big play deep threat and a reliable running attack let the Giants D collapse on and spy MacNabb, dooming him to a day of getting chased and dumped.

My guess is the Vikes will return the favor and expose the Giants' own weaknesses, and none too soon I might add. Do you really want to be sitting in front of the tube on the 28th watching a Giants/Ravens Super Bowl? God help us all. I think I'd rather slit my wrists than watch a QB matchup of Collins and Trent Dilfer!

The biggest question raised by Sunday's games should be obvious. No, not "what did the Eagles get John Runyan for?," but, what do these teams think they've won? The Ravens - led by former double-homicide suspect and Defensive Player of the Year Ray Lewis - took advantage of a handful of Titans mistakes and landed a berth in the AFC Championship Game. So, let's give Coach Brian Billick a Gatorade bath?! The Giants, on the other hand, beat a team they've owned for four seasons, a team they should beat, a team nobody figured would get this far this soon. So, what do we see? Not just one Gatorade bath (for Coach Jim Fossel) but one for their Defensive Coordinator, too!

Raiders QB Rich GannonMaybe I'm mistaken, but I don't remember seeing any sports drinks poured on the heads of Denny Green of the Vikings or John Gruden of the Raidahs on Saturday. If I was coaching one of these gangs of mercenaries, violence junkies and physical mutants, I'd instruct them: "Hey, if we win the Super Bowl you can pour whatever you want on my head. But until then, we haven't won anything."

In fact, this quote from a cbs.sportsline.com article on the Raiders' chances reinforces that attitude: "Following Saturday's 27-0 rout of Miami, most Oakland players were surprisingly quiet and reserved. There were smiles and high-fives, but players understood unfinished business remained and tempered their celebration."

Were I a betting man (ahem) I'd say Raiders over the Ravens by a touchdown and change, call it nine. The Vikes, who seem to be able to score at will, have all the weapons the Eagles needed to defeat the Giants: a handful of speedy deep threats, a back that can pound the ball, and a QB that can take advantage and make the defense pay. If the weather cooperates, the Vikes will win in a romp. If it's rainy, snowy or windy in the home of Jimmy Hoffa, it'll be a different kind of game...get the ball to Moss or Carter early, then cram Robert Smith down New York's throat like you're force feeding an IRA prisoner on a hunger strike! This is war, kids, and don't forget it. Few teams get this far and even fewer win. Either way, it's Oakland vs. the Vikes on the 28th.

And while our friends in Tennessee are still flabbergasted about getting bounced from the playoffs by the boring Ravens, a couple things crossed my dek this weekend that blew my mind, too. First off, the rumors of the last few years are apparently true: Tommy Stinson, former bass player for the God-like Replacements, is actually in the new and, well, new Guns and Roses. Yeah, you read that right. After a Salinger-like seven year hiatus, Axl Rose emerged from the shadows on New Year's Day to play a set with the new GNR at the Las Vegas House of Blues. From initial reports, the set was a sizzler, with the band mixing in old faves with tunes from 'Chinese Democracy,' the opus Rose has been working since the rest of GNR departed for, well, pastures nearly a decade ago. Rumors surfaced a couple years back that Stinson was playing in the band, and longtime 'Mats fans were stunned. It seemed like an unlikely place for the scissor-kicking, spike-haired thumper to end up after the breakup of his own post-Mats act, Bash N Pop. Then again, 'Mats producer Jim Dickinson once remarked, "Tommy Stinson is rock and roll."

The second "what's that I hear" moment of the weekend occurred on Saturday when I caught Chevrolet's latest commercial featuring "Happy When it Rains" by fuzzed-out popsters The Jesus & Mary Chain. And not as background music...it's like a frickin' music video! Hot on the heels of songs by The Cult and Buzzcocks also being used in car commercials, it makes you wonder what's next? The Dead Boys' "Caught with the Meat in Your Mouth" for the Beef Industry?

DVD of the Week: Now that we've picked up a DVD player, I have to justify the expense (which wasn't really that much), and my insistence on now viewing everything on DVD. Maybe that'll limit the number of craptastic Full Moon releases Kaki'll make me watch! So, we'll be spotlighting a DVD of the Week, whether it's a special edition with cool bonus features or just a snazzy flick that looks even better on widescreen DVD.

This is Spinal TapThis week's disc is the seminal mockumentary, THIS IS SPINAL TAP. Up until last week I thought we all knew the story behind this classic of modern comedy. Until, that is, I had to explain to co-workers that Spinal Tap isn't a real band, and the whole thing was a goof, sorta like BEST IN SHOW or WAITING FOR GUFFMAN. This eliminated a big hurdle from their enjoyment of the flick, since they simply thought the band members were just "really stupid."

Watching TAP for the first time in about five years reminded me just how "really stupid," but endearing and lovable, the boys in the band are. Especially Christopher Guest's Nigel Tufnel, a metal-loving guitarist who's just a bit denser and "confused" (as bandmate David St. Hubbins gently puts it) than the average person. It's easy to forget how many great pop culture moments emerged from THIS IS SPINAL TAP (directed by Rob Reiner and also starring Michael McKean as St. Hubbins and Harry Shearer as Derek Smalls, the "lukewarm water" of the band). As a bonus on this Special Edition from MGM Home Entertainment, you can sit back and enjoy almost two hours of extras including an hour of cut footage, a new interview with Reiner, the "Flower People" press conference, trailers, tv commercials, music videos, and the band's hysterical appearance on the befuddling 'Joe Franklin Show.' Despite dialogue that gets a tad lost at times, this one goes to eleven.

And what would a Dante's Inferno be without a little shameless self-promotion? Not a Dante's Inferno at all! I'm pleased to announce the launch of soberbrothers.com, our new pop culture outpost featuring everything from sports collectibles and zines to comics, videos, cds, moovie posters, toys and more. Inventory is a bit, how shall we say, thin at this point, but we're adding merchandise from our vast collections every day! If you're looking for something in particular in the world of Atari cartridges, incredibly strange music, sports cards, pulp novels, and board games, drop us a line and we'll see if we can help!

Until next week...

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