That One Time When I “Met” Bob Odenkirk

A crummy week becomes tolerable in the end after helping Bob Odenkirk at Walgreens. You could even say it was all good, man (sorry, had to do it).

As you may or may not know, Bob Odenkirk was – well, still is – Saul Goodman on Breaking Bad. He’s also done other work, obviously, such as his role on Fargo (the TV show, not the movie). I think it’s safe to say he’s famous, although he’s clearly not on the same level as, say, Tom Cruise or even some of his Breaking Bad costars.

And that’s fine. I wouldn’t be surprised if he prefers it that way. Besides, Saul Goodman was good enough of a character to merit a spinoff show, Better Call Saul, so I’m sure Odenkirk isn’t losing sleep over his celebrity status.

Anyway, I was working on Friday night at my local Walgreens. It had been a rough week due to some unfortunate events – none of them serious (but still) – and there was a fairly big cloud hovering over my head. Of course, I wasn’t being a grouch at work or anything, but let’s just say my angst was not alleviated by working on a Friday (and knowing I was assigned to the cash register on Saturday and Sunday).

So there I was, walking towards the back of the store, when a guy and two kids pop out from the corner. I look at the guy and something about him is… familiar. Then, I realize: Holy shit! That’s Bob Odenkirk!

I would have said something right then, but I didn’t for a few reasons:

1. He was with his kids and I didn’t want to bother him.

2. I work at a Walgreens in an Illinois suburb. It’s not entirely obsolete by any means (especially in financial/status terms), but let’s just say I would expect something like this to happen in Beverly Hills. Not my neighborhood. Therefore, I was skeptical as to whether it was really him or not. Even though his appearance and voice matched Bob Odenkirk’s.

Also, I didn’t want to get stuck on a list like this.

3. After what happened with Kevin Hart and that National Car Rental driver, I wasn’t taking any chances. Not only is my job actually pretty decent – especially for the type of job it is – but I need that money, cuh! I wasn’t about to get fired for drooling over a celebrity!

I’m standing there, in shock, and he asks me where to find some stuff. I tell him calmly (really, I should get nominated for an Oscar this year) and then he walks away. As I’m pondering my next step, my mom shows up out of nowhere and I tell her the deal.

She says I should go say something. As usual, she’s dreaming of some type of better-than-best-case scenario, where Odenkirk and I hit it off and we fly away to Hollywood and make copious amounts of cash. Regardless, I’m still being a chicken so I say I’m not going to bother the guy.

Then, she walks over to the register where he is, and “sneakily” peeks at him. I’m not sure what the point of that was, since she has no idea who he is or why he’s on a different level than presumably you and definitely me.

He leaves, and I promptly tell all my assistant managers and Maria, the person at the register, who he is. Almost nobody is really impressed, which is both disappointing and somewhat understandable.

At the very least, I was able to brag about it on Facebook, and I was able to write about it here. In retrospect, I think I would have approached him. In fact, to be honest, this failure of mine is approaching “I like that girl but will never tell her because I’m a baby” status.

The only way I redeem myself is if Bob Odenkirk somehow finds the time to read this and is so impressed and moved by what I wrote, he and I immediately become best friends.

Or something.

Fantasy Basketball: Random November Update

This is what happens when you don’t pay attention to your fantasy basketball team.

When I started playing fantasy basketball in an ESPN league with eight strangers and one friend, I figured it would be fun. In a way, it has been fun, but the experience so far is underwhelming. Something tells me it would be much better if the league was composed entirely of people I know, instead of just one friend.

Also, I’ve been busy with schoolwork, being a newspaper’s editor-in-chief (not trying to brag or anything hehe), and I’ve drowned myself in a recent avalanche of movies, both in theaters and on DVD. Therefore, my fantasy basketball team was neglected, and I can say with complete honesty that I’ve tinkered with my lineup just a handful of times since the season started way back when.

Most of my motivation for even continuing to care is because of my one friend, James, who I’ve written about in my previous fantasy basketball posts (not sure if I referenced him by name in the previous posts, but whatever). He’s a fantasy addict with maybe five or six fantasy football teams AND basketball teams revolving like a chicken impaled in a rotisserie.

So you can imagine my heinous amusement when I’m looking at our league’s standings and I’m one spot above him, even though I’ve played significantly less games than him. And – I know this might be a little contradictory – I am finding myself slowly becoming more and more interested in how my team does, even outside of my friendly little competition with James.

Hopefully I’ll do a better job keeping you guys up to date with these fantasy basketball posts… not that anybody reads them. Well, without further ado, let’s take a look at my lineup and figure some shit out.

  • Anthony Davis is a killer; it looks like he made that vaunted leap everybody was speculating about. Also, people kept saying how he was going to eventually usurp LeBron and Durant as a perennial MVP contender and this is the first season of that subtle power shift, especially with LeBron adjusting to his new team and Durant, you know, having a broken foot.
  • I have a lot of power forwards and centers, which I’m fine with. It’s just a shame Thaddeus Young is out, although we should all offer our condolences for his mother’s death last week. Now I’m stuck at the SF position.
  • And speaking of being out, what the shit Jose Calderon!? I trade for you and this is how you treat me? I am literally shaking my head.
  • Trey Burke apparently doesn’t know how to shoot, which is why he’s on the bench. Although… I hear he poured it in last night (or recently).
  • I was skeptical whether Kevin Martin would be worth keeping; he’s putting work in. Nice.
  • I traded Tyreke Evans for Joe Johnson. Suck it James!!!!!!!! Joe might have a contract that overshadows the value he provides to the Brooklyn Nets, but I think he’s underappreciated and maybe even underrated. Hey, haters gonna hate.

There you have it. That’s my team’s 2015 season as of the middle of November. Although I’m in eighth… out of ten slots, I take great pride in being ahead of James. I know for a fact that he bitches about it when he’s talking with some of our mutual friends.

Poor guy; keep him in your prayers. At this rate, he’s gonna get an aneurism or something.

“John Wick” and the Beauty of Efficient Violence

Keanu Reeves emphatically joins the surging, stylish, and gritty action/revenge genre.

There is a 2010 Korean film called The Man from Nowhere and it features a fairly quiet – but emotional when necessary – individual who goes on an extremely efficient rampage of destruction. In that film’s case, it was to rescue a little girl, a girl that was the only connection to the civilian world for the main character.

In John Wick, Keanu Reeves goes on a murdering spree to deal with the angst of losing his wife (Bridget Moynahan) and the puppy she posthumously sends him as a gift after her death from cancer (I think – it was some disease). That’s an important distinction to make, because a lot of people have been scratching their heads over the oversimplified notion of somebody shooting up a bunch of people (bad people, but still) just because they killed his dog.

But you have to think in John Wick’s shoes. He’s a premiere assassin – one of those characters that gets described as “the best in the world” – and is so good his nickname is Boogeyman. For years and years he’s only known the life of guns and destruction. Eventually, he wants a normal life and gets married.

She dies, then after her funeral he is delivered a puppy, presumably under orders from her will. He is surprised, emotional, and undoubtedly believes the puppy to be a kind of extension of his wife’s existence.

Then a bunch of pricks break into his house, beat the shit out of him, kill the puppy (a ridiculously cute one too), and steal his awesome car. I mean, what do you expect a former killing machine to do?

He deals with it the only way he knows how. He comes back.

Going back to The Man from Nowhere, I brought that movie up not only because the main character is similar to John Wick, both in terms of their aesthetics and personalities, but because of the fight scenes. Oh my goodness, John Wick features some of the most entertaining scenes of carnage I’ve witnessed in quite some time.

In a world where fights are increasingly involving superheroes and entire cities getting annihilated (looking at you, Man of Steel), it’s always a good feeling to get back to the basics and see some good, old-fashioned, choreographed stunts.

If you’ve ever seen The Man from Nowhere, you’ll remember the knife massacre in the last third of the movie. It is, without question, one of the most brutal displays of violence you will ever see. It is also one of the most efficient.

John Wick is just as efficient, only his primary weapon of choice is a gun. He pops people like nobody’s business, often employing variations of the Mozambique Drill. As it happens, the movie’s directors, David Leitch and Chad Stahelski, are both from the underrated and underappreciated world of stunt work.

The film is highly and expertly choreographed. Combine that with the film’s relatively brief running time (101 minutes) and it all flies by before you can say, “Whoa.”

Willem Dafoe and Adrianne Palicki add to the fun with their own killer roles. Palicki in particular has a great fight scene with Keanu, and the directors made sure to justify her taking him head-on, given John Wick’s legendary status even among his fellow assassin brethren.

I wish she'd take me on...

I wish she’d take me on…

This film is entertaining as hell, skillfully utilizing the barest of character and plot developments. It knows what it is and stays within its role, which is something many other projects often have difficult with (like the “character building” in the second season of The Walking Dead).

While I hesitate to demand a sequel, especially after the spectacle with Taken 2 (and presumably Taken 3), I can honestly say I wouldn’t mind just sixty more minutes of John Wick plowing through bad dudes in some more nightclubs and churches.

Also, kudos to Reeves for delivering in this film. He is somebody with an inexplicable set of public opinions directed towards him; you know, the whole “his acting is stiffer than cardboard” and “he seems like a genuinely nice and perpetually lonely guy” or whatever.



But really, he brings it. Feel the heat in John Wick.

Let’s hope he comes back in the future.