January 18, 2004
First of all, I need to make a late, completely unexpected addition to my list of My Favorite Films of 2003. I'm not a particularly big fan of Tim Burton, though I did love "Ed Wood" and "Beetlejuice," and almost definitely wouldn't have gone to see "Big Fish" unless D'Lish wanted to (and unless my brother could get us in for free). Which means that I never would have even known that I missed one of the most wonderful, magical films of the year.
It does drag a touch in spots and there is a little too much Billy "Spoilsport" Crudup (though he eventually makes up for it), keeping it from true greatness, but I can't remember the last film that I enjoyed so much, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I even got a little misty-eyed towards the end (though maybe it helps if you grew up with a father who constantly told stories that you assumed to be b.s. but which turned out, in an even more disturbing way, to be true). A great performance by Ewan McGregor, owner of the brightest smile in the business. Obviously highly recommended.
And then things started to get a little weird... After the movie, Jahna and I were hoping for a nice relaxing dinner involving huge piles of meat, so we headed across the parking lot to Famous Dave's BBQ. Little did we know that our meals would be in the hands of Fernando, the world's neediest waiter.
Now, do get me wrong: he was a really nice guy and a good waiter. It's just that having him serve us was like going back in time to spend an hour with my most-clingy girlfriend, but with upsell. Jahna later surmised that the fault was entirely mine, as I shattered the barriers of our waiter/waited-upon relationship when I let him sit down next to me in the booth while taking our appetizer order (hey, he said he was tired!). This was some sort of signal to him, as he seriously must have made anywhere in the range of 15-20 visits during the course of our meal.
Which is all well and good, and he was trying to be helpful, but there was actually a point where I was unable to eat because of the endless visits. There was a problem with the appetizer and the entree; no big deal, and it was quickly straightened out (and the app cost taken off the bill), but the way Fernando and his manager kept coming over and carrying on about it, you'd have thought they ran over my baby with a truck. I mean, it's okay, just let me eat my frigging ribs! And if you are coming over to apologize, it would be a lot more sincere-sounding if you didn't end every sentence with an upsell exhorting me to try the Long Island Ice Tea or some Kickin Chicken Fritters. Between the apologies and the serialized version of his life story, I thought we had gone to some crappy dinner theater. Normally I feel bad about stiffing a waiter as nice as Fernando on the tip, but this time was different.
And finally from the conversation: three extremely odd yet effective vocal decisions: Prince singing "Kiss" in a super-falsetto; Mick Jagger's strange off-the-beat timing in "Shattered;" Roger Daltrey's "My G-G-Generation" stutter.
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