Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Fistful of Shat! (Brad's Picks)

For five years I've hosted a movie night called Shat Attack.  It's a celebration of all things William Shatner.  It started out as a fairly small gathering of friends willing to subject themselves to a marathon of my choosing.  I stole the idea from Matt's Hest Fest and for the second Shat Attack I kinda went mad collecting the craziest bits of Shat memorabilia and artwork; splattering our shared apartment (at the time) with the craziest of the crazy.  Now we're five years into The Event and Shat Attack has grown into a behemoth (more on that during my Week in Dork) and I find myself looking at my William Shatner love and asking why?  How?  I did not grow up obsessed with the man.  It was a passion that came to me in my late 20s.

After my first Hest Fest in 2007 I remember thinking, who would I center a movie party around?  Sam Jackson?  Lee Marvin?  Gene Hackman?  I had just purchased seasons 1 & 2 of TJ Hooker and was enjoying the hell out of those crazy weird episodes and it suddenly clicked.  I love Star Trek.  I love this TJ Hooker.  These would be fun to marathon with a group of people.  And from that thought sprang a movie night that would eventually grow into a movie weekend compromising 31 Hours of straight William Shatner consumption.  "Madness."

5.  Thomas Jefferson Hooker:  This show is so wonderfully, goofy 80s.  Shatner's TJ Hooker begins the series as a bitter, violent Dirty Harry still battling the nightmares of the Vietnam War and taking out his anger on the worst scum on the streets.  Partnered with Adrian Zmed's always-looking-to-strip-his-shirt rookie and Heather Locklear's fairly pointless desk jockey, Shatner attempted to cure crime with zealous conservative rage but also remembered to end each episode on a laugh.  It's a lark of a show and often peppered with fascinating genre guest stars like Sid Haig, Robert Davi, Jim Brown, etc...

4.  A Killer's Impulse:  Wow.  I discovered this gem while hunting for Shat Attack II programming.  Honestly, it just has to be seen to be believed.  William Shatner plays a sexually traumatized son of a prostitute who can't seem to help killing people while attempting to scam housewives from their life savings.  The film looks terrible, the dialog is atrocious, the fashion a genuine nightmare.  But every moment of this dreck is hilarious.  Yes, you're laughing at The Shat.  But you also have to give it to the actor.  He's throwing himself whole heatedly into this abomination and he earns every dollar of his probably measly salary.

3.  Rock It Man:  Another key moment in the growth of my Shatner love was the acquisition of his second album, Has Been.  I was already well versed in the oddity that was The Transformed Man but I was not prepared for the intelligence and emotion to be found in this Ben Folds produced saga.  Partnering up the talk-singing of Shatner with musicians like Henry Rollins and Brad Paisly was just genius, and if you can manage to pry the irony out of your ass than you might even discover a real piece of performance art.  And Has Been lead to some really wonderful Shatner moments like the Gonzo Ballet, the Cee Lo Green Fuck You, and his eventual Headbanger of the Year award.  Weird, wild stuff.

2.  Denny Crane, Denny Crane:  Boston Legal was a show I started watching out of my new found Shat Attack love of Shatner.  And outside of Captain Kirk, no other Shatner persona has affected my heart as much as the mad cow inflicted Denny Crane.  And he might even be Shatner's crowning achievement--strike the "might," I know it to be his finest hour.  And when my Wife discovered the show and fell in love with the plutonic love affair of Crane & Shore as well-that just sealed the deal.  She might even love their antics more than I do at this point, and that make me one proud dork husband.

1.  Admiral Kirk's Search For Spock:  Captain Kirk was my first Shatner love.  I grew up a real Star Wars nerd, but as the love of that debacle began to fade with the Special Editions and the Prequels, my love of Star Trek grew and grew.  I love the TV show, I love the movies.  Star Trek II is one of my top ten favorite films of all time.  But the film that really showcases the might of Shatner is Star Trek III.  The emotion he has to choke on while betraying the Federation for his not-so-dead friend Spock tears me up inside.  And the final moment of the film where Spock says "Your Name Is Jim" gets me every time, no dry eyes here.


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