Oxford Blues

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It sounds crazy, but I’m convinced that way back in 1986, when Andre Agassi was just a skinny kid boarding at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy, he and a couple of his fellow racket brats saw this movie somewhere like the DeSoto Square Mall in Bradenton one night, and just like that, the rebel “ANDRE AGASSI” was born.

In Oxford Blues, a cocky kid from Las Vegas with outrageous hair and a love of acid-washed denim falls through the looking glass and ends up at Oxford University in England. He doesn’t exactly fit in, and by refusing to give even an inch to his host country’s traditions and mores, he makes things extremely difficult for himself until he ends up being shunned and reviled by all. Then after a period of time, he realizes he was wrong, learns to embrace all those stuffy conventions he had once fought tooth and nail, eventually claiming victory in true underdog Yankee style.

I’m telling you, it’s the story of Andre Agassi and Wimbledon! Las Vegas native Andre saw this movie, immediately identified with Rob Lowe’s character Nick DeAngelo, and decided to be that character. Right from the start, he wielded a big Prince tennis racket of contention with the All-England Club—the dress code was “depersonalizing,” bowing towards the royal box “degrading,” forcing world-class athletes to subsist wholly on strawberries and cream for two weeks “downright dangerous.” He refused to even go there for a couple years, but he eventually (just like Nick!) came around, started behaving himself, and in 1992 won his first Grand Slam victory at the very Major he seemed least likely to.

Hooray for Hollywood!

Friday the 13th

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It’s pretty well established that the 80’s slasher flick phenomenon started in 1980 with a shabby little film called Friday the 13th. It was a summer camp movie, just like Meatballs was. But, you see, the counselors at Friday the 13th’s Camp Crystal Lake aren’t quite the innocent and playful nitwits that Bill Murray and his fellow Camp North Star counselors are. In fact, you could say they are downright rotten. They engage in unprotected sex, smoke “doobies” (home-made cigarettes packed full of the illegal drug marijuana) and swear like Marseille dockworkers. The whole lot of them are so absorbed in rabidly pursuing their own gratification that properly looking after their flock of campers becomes an afterthought. And because of this, a young boy drowns. Well, it’s a tragedy for sure, but, hey, what can you do? Accidents happen, right? And by the way, pass over that Thai stick, maaaaan.

It all would have ended then and there except for the old camp cook–mother to the drowned boy–who knows exactly what the counselors are like, and so takes action. Many deaths result. Friday the 13th is really a lesson of sorts for thoughtless, reprobate teens. If your job is to look after kids, tend to them, DON’T sequester yourself away playing strip Monopoly and shot-gunning cheap domestic beer. Because payback is a bitch, especially when it is rendered unto you by one mean bitch with a Dutch surname and unhindered access to archery equipment. Just ask Kevin Bacon.