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    Thursday, January 21, 2010

    TV: The Greatest Broadcast in the History of the Medium 

    Five years ago today, a landmark broadcast went out over the airwaves ... of digital cable. An episode of the Independent Film Channel’s Ultimate Film Fanatic, featuring yours truly as a contestant.

    The strangest thing about the show is that a few weeks after it taped, Rosemarie was selected to be on Jeopardy! Making 2005 our year of game shows.

    UFF’s entire run lives on via YouTube. So I might as well mark the occasion by embedding it here. Again.

    Two vital points before watching –

    1. I now have the sense to wear contact lenses.
    2. Also, my hair looks much, much better.

    First, intros and round one: trivia. We were asked to come up with our own opening lines, which the producers then “improved.” Still, I sell the moment and cap it off by staring down the camera Lee Van Cleef-style.

    I had a strategy in this round. My competitor is Tom Tangney, critic for several Seattle radio stations, and I knew from our pre-show conversation that he was an erudite gentleman of taste. I therefore decided to force him to answer questions about crappy thrillers, which I regard as my forte. Watch as careful planning almost blows up in my face.

    Round two: debate. (Spoiler alert: I make it through round one. To this day, I can’t believe I remembered the name of that damn doll.) Your celebrity judges are Academy Award winner Tatum O’Neal and certified badasses Keith David and Henry Rollins.

    The producers stopped tape before this round to ask for topic suggestions. I confess that Kevin Costner was my idea. Again I had a strategy, namely degree of difficulty. If I could ably defend an unpopular position, maybe I’d earn the judges’ respect. For the record, I stand by the argument I made and would add the additional exhibits of The Upside of Anger and Mr. Brooks. As for Rumor Has It ...

    Round three: obsession. Or as I thought of it, collections.

    In a rare moment of prescience, I announced to Rosemarie after my audition, “If I get on the show I’ll make it all the way to the third round, then crash and burn.” Which is exactly what happened. See for yourself. Any of the other contestants would have fared better than me in this section.

    Problem #1: I don’t collect things. Scrounging up three items was a reach. (BTW, the key broke on the flight home.)

    Problem #2: I’m up against Tony Kay, now host of Seattle’s Bizarro Movie Night. I didn’t stand a chance.

    Note the raw sexual chemistry between Tatum and myself. What Rollins says about me is still one of the high points of my life. It was almost worth losing the five grand in prize money to be spared his scorn. Almost. And my popcorn line was used in TV spots throughout the season, so I won the battle for airtime.

    In closing, my hair really does look better now. Honestly. I can’t stress that enough.

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    Hard to believe it's been five years!


    If I'd had a vote in the debate, you'd have got it. Costner may have made enemies in the business with Waterworld and he was certainly miscast as Robin Hood. I may be the only fan of The Postman in the world, I really liked it. And yes, I had read the book before seeing the film. But his classics - Field of Dreams, Untouchables, Bull Durham, Open Range, JFK - along with lesser roles in Upside of Anger, Tin Cup, and Silverado, all mean this guy will always be a favorite of mine. His list of good movies is certainly longer than the list of bad ones. When I look at his resume, I wonder why the guy gets so much criticism.


    You should have won, man.

    Although that "Santa Claus" lobby card is nothing to sneeze at.


    Christ deep-fried on a stick, time flies. Thanks for the memories. I was gonna do something like this, and you plumb beat me to it:)...

    Oh, and let me just re-state for the record that your hair looked right swank on the show. Not quite as lustrous and sexy as now, but damn close.


    A perfect World is the best Costner for me but I could do with golf or films about golf.

    Good show Vince!




    Damn. Five years?

    And I do sense the sexual tension between you and Tatum.


    Never saw this before. I'm impressed. That Tatum O'Neal is a fine looking woman! I hope you haven't let Rosemarie see this.

    PS. Never saw most of those movies. An entire warped lifetime of watching The Wrong Stuff, I fear.


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