January 26, 2001

Viewer Discretion Advised

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The days of sleeping ’til one o’clock, doing nothing, playing Nintendo, doing more nothing, going out with your buddies, passing out and then waking up at one o’clock are over… unless you’re a senior … and we’ve all returned from civilization to refill the study halls of this great university. I hope that everyone’s vacation was as productive as mine.

Over the vacation, I worked on getting my father and grandfather to experiment with DVDs and psychedelic drugs. My first attempt took place on the 7th hole of the Boy, Dewey, Haytwerck and Howe Memorial Golf Course in Retiredville, North Carolina. Unfortunately, the drugs threw Grandpa into a paranoid frenzy, during which he wrestled our golf cart for 40 minutes, then ate a six iron, and finally passed out in a sand trap, buried up to his neck. My father’s swing developed a slight hook, which upset both men, and caused them to want to return home.

At home, I tried to introduce the two to DVD, which I tried to explain was nothing like PCP, but they just wouldn’t have it.

“Why don’t you play a classic game, like chess?” Grandpa asked.

“I thought we just played a classic game, called ‘Golf,'” I replied.

Before Grandpa could throw his first punch, Dad came over with the chessboard and set up the pieces in standard position. Like most adults, he wasn’t impressed when I reset up some of the pieces in missionary position and made humping noises. Nonetheless, we proceeded to play the game as it has been played since its invention, well before the 6th century.

Chess is a game of thought. It is a game of strategy, observation and skill, and as hard as I tried, I couldn’t turn it into a successful drinking game. Spending free time thinking was truly Cornellian, and I stopped to ask my grandfather: “At what point did we as a species give up on chess and adopt Candyland and Hungry, Hungry Hippos?”

Grandpa looked at me with his deeply stoned eyes and said:

‘Bradley … we never gave up on it … it’s (Grandpa then started to laugh uncontrollably) … it’s a classic.”

At that point, I remounted the Queen atop the King, stood up and gave my two forefathers a lesson in classics.

This week, two essential classics are out for public consumption. The first great flick is . . . And Justice For All with Al Pacino. This is the story of a young lawyer who battles the uncaring courts in an indictment of the justice system. The combination of the sharp satire, downbeat drama, and Pacino’s scene stealing will surely delight anyone looking to view an intelligent portrayal of the innards of our system. This disc also includes audio commentary by director Norman Jewison, talent bios, and the original theatrical trailers.

The other DVD out this week is The Untouchables. This is director Brian De Palma’s (Scarface) work of art, featuring Sean Connery and Kevin Costner, about a naive federal agent battling the mafia in ’20s-era Chicago. The DVD includes shoot-em up violence, an accurate depiction of the vintage police crime war, and the original trailer.

When it comes to spending your free time thinking, there is a game of chess or a good movie. When it comes to spending your free time doing something else, consider watching Coyote Ugly or Battlefield Earth. Officially, watching them constitutes a waste of your free time, but if you care to enhance your viewing of the films, feel free to try psychedelic drugs … right Grandpa?

Archived article by Bradley Werner