Before we begin, a few random notes:
–I saw ‘Walk The Line’ last night, the biopic of Johnny Cash. Definitely worth the money as Phoenix and Witherspoon are awesome in telling the story of a rock and roll couple that followed the almost paint-by-numbers tale of how messed up superstars get together. You know, without drugs, alcohol or any of the other pratfalls that rock stars have to deal with, we wouldn’t have good movies. Thanks heroin!
With the success of ‘Line’ and ‘Ray,’ it got me to thinking about who could next on the big-screen blockbuster list. My Top 5 in no particular order:
-Bob Dylan (entitled ‘Blood On The Tracks’)
-Bruce Springsteen (entitled ‘Born to Run’)
-Mick Jagger (entitled ‘Street Fighting Man’)
-James Brown (entitled ‘Awwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!!’)
-Dolly Parton (entitled ‘Twin Peaks’)
(side note: I’m guessing that the Man in Black wouldn’t be happy living on the East Coast. You know, all that road salt and all during the winter would get all over his clothes.)
–I’ve been bouncing around Rhapsody listening to some random new releases and listened to the Rolling Stones’ latest new album, A Bigger Bang. Surprisingly, it’s pretty damn good. What makes me laugh though is how awesomely ridiculous some of the lyrics are and what a guilty pleasure it is listening to Jagger sing them. I give you the opening lines to “Rough Justice,” the first single off the disc, complete with his drawn-out accentuation:
“One time, you were my baby chicken/Now you’ve grown into a foxxxxxxxx/And once upon a time, I was your little rooster/Am I just one of your cockkkkkkkkkkkkkkssssssss?”
Ladies and germs, a new worldy poet.
–Are Christmas cards for those people that want to say Merry Christmas to friends and family, but don’t think of them as gift-worthy?
–As another great HBO series wraps up another season (Curb Your Enthusiasm), another one prepares to return after a long hiatus – The Sopranos. Somewhere along the way, I lost track of this series because a) I didn’t have HBO and b) everyone said that the show sucked in recent years. Honestly, I have zero idea what I saw and what I remember, so I’ve decided to use my OnDemand to rewatch EVERY episode so I can be caught up in March. Looking back, you can see what caught on with the American public as the first season features some fantastic character development and writing. You know a show is good when you hate to see the end credits. Having said that, I’m preparing myself for immense disappointment with future seasons. I am interested to see exactly how this show translates into syndication with all of the violence and language.
–Staying in the boot of Italy, I caught about 30 minutes of another great mob spectacle, GoodFellas. I can’t remember when the last time I saw this was, but I was hella young and found that I was way more interested now than my first viewing. It got me to thinking about what other movies would rank high on the ‘Rewatch When Older’ list. ‘Heat’ would be up there, along with ‘Basic Instinct’ which I saw when I was 14 years old after tricking my mom into renting it for me when I was sick. (I distinctly remember being the king of the school bus for the day after revealing the plot.) Then, there are those movies you wished you hadn’t rewatched (i.e. most movies with special effects or your ‘favorite’ movie which ends up not resembling anything that made you like it to begin with).
Around this time of year, it’s always good to give thanks. At least, that’s what religion, the media and Hallmark tells us anyway. There’s one bit of business that I always give thanks for, right around the late summertime. An 11-letter word, its definition is fun, hazy and just plain ahhhhhhhhwwwweeeesome:
While just a party to some, for others like myself, it scratches an itch that can’t be itched by anything else in the whirlwind of life. It’s hard to explain to non-Milleystock alumni members, but let me see if I can sum it up in a few paragraphs:
It started as a simple statement by a not-so-simple person: Ronald Atkinson Milley, the man who was Van Wilder before the movie ever came out. (Really, he spent seven years in college and never got more than a bachelor’s degree.) The spring before our final summer as undergrads in 1999, Milley and I were hanging out in the three-bedroom place we stayed in talking about nothing in particular. He casually looked over and said, “Dude, we should do a big party this summer,” to which I eagerly said yes. He reiterated, “Dude, a REALLY big party.” I’m paraphrasing here, but anyone knows R.A.M. can probably imagine the glint in his eye – similar to how Ashley Judd looks at a doing a detective movie with Morgan Freeman or how Nicole Richie views a toilet after eating. This wasn’t going to just be a party – this was going to be AN EVENT.
Getting together a group of college kids to come hang out at a sunny lake during the summertime might not seem like a tall task, but let me tell you….it actually was. But while Milley was the grinning face that put his social stamp of approval on the party, there was plenty of behind-the-scenes work to be done. I bought into his vision of doing something big, so I got involved by putting in a lot of cell phone minutes and word-of-mouth. During those long summer months, I was working at an Enterprise in Rockland, ME, as a intern renting cars, smoking Marlboro Lights and sleeping on a friend’s couch in a one-bedroom place with no computer. Not to mention, his girlfriend loved to watch Growing Pains and Escape From Witch Mountain. Needless to say, I needed something to pour myself into and this party – coined Milleystock – was it.
After the first one became a huge success, we were all-in for the next one which became a bit more challenging with everyone’s recent graduation. The next one was even more difficult to get solid commitments on, but we still had big numbers as anywhere from 100-125 people attended the three-day fests at a small lake house in the woods. But after three big Milleystocks featuring everything from bands to boats to babes, it was time for a break as Milley got married and our summer get-together turned out to be the wedding/bachelor party combo. While we had an awesome time, you also got that feeling – like Tony and the bosses talking about the good old days of the Mafia – that we had probably seen the last of the ‘Stock events and that Ron and his wife Leigh would settle into the married lifestyle, satisified with remnisicing rather than putting on another one.
Then, 2005 happened and Milley said, “It’s on.” The summer event returned successfully and once again, became the most-talked about weekend of the summer. We hope to keep it going and constantly evolve into something that could even be *gasp* passed down to our kids? Well, not my kids, but I promise I’ll contribute a dog or llama to the festivities.
You might be asking what this has to do with anything. Well, as one of the guys that helped co-found this thing, I tend to think of it as more than just an excuse for a bunch of people to get drunk on a weekend. There is something that we’ve been able to instill in people when talking about the Milleystock ‘brand name’ where they get excited just talking about it. And the reason they get excited? A few reasons: this weekend is about reconnecting on a level which you only experience once in your life with a certain group of people. It’s about an extended form of family that is excited to see one another and disappointed when one of their ‘brothers or sisters’ can’t make it. It’s about not forgetting the past, but embracing a time and era when all we cared about was staying out late, sleeping in and being within just a few miles of everyone you really ever needed. To take another page from The Sopranos, it’s family. Redefined.
So it’s on this cold December night that I give thanks for what I consider my real family reunion – Milleystock – and all of the fun, light stress and anticipation that comes with it.
Thanks for reading,
p.s. In Blog Icon Lavar Burton’s infamous words, “If you want to read more about Milleystock, you can go to www.milleystock.com and check it out for yourself.”
Next week: The Hall of Fame.