Monday, August 12, 2013

Riske Business: The Hall of Kick-Ass Vol. 3

Aw, yeah! Part III. The one where we start jumping the shark, just like The Godfather, Scream and 

The Hall of Kick-Ass is back! Higher budget and diminishing returns, yo! What’s new? I’m glad you asked. We have 15 new inductees and a new (some would say “haunted”) fainting couch -- which you can learn about at the conclusion of this column.** Soak it up, celebs! You’ve earned it! You made my pants hurt. Because you kicked them so hard in the ass.

As always, inductees into the Hall of Kick-Ass are being honored for providing me with a great memory or a laugh. 

Check out the previous classes of HoKA inductees here and here! 

Note: To maximize the induction ceremony experience, listen to the official anthem of the Hall of Kick-Ass as you read.
Chicago Comic-Con Employee from the Michael Shannon Autograph Line

This induction is a little unorthodox, but provided me with a huge laugh at the Wizard World Chicago Comic-Con this past weekend. I was in line to meet Michael Shannon, whose line was right next to the one for Stan Lee. One of the volunteers, an older woman, came up to me and very sweetly asked “Are you in line for Michael?” (BTW…I don’t like when convention employees toss out first names like that…the pseudo-buddy thing makes the whole autograph experience feel sleazier somehow). I told her yes. She said “Good. I don’t want you guys to be mixed up with the Stan Winston line.” I turned to my friend Ed and laughed. “We’re going to be waiting a long time if it’s a Stan Winston line” I said. Ed correctly said “RIP” and I added, “R.I.P.D.” Because if there was anyone who could have made R.I.P.D. work, it was probably Stan Winston. How was Michael Shannon? I don’t know. I got tired of waiting in his line and decided that lunch was more important. This is now the autograph barometer. I don’t want it that bad if I am waiting in line and would rather be eating then to have the experience of meeting the celebrity. I miss Stan Winston. Consider him inducted, too.
Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon, Saw, The Color Purple)
 There are multiple reasons Danny Glover is getting inducted into the Hall of Kick Ass, and none of them have to do with my actual experience meeting him, which was fine if unspectacular. Okay, first he only was charging $30 for his autograph. That’s way underpriced for a celebrity of that guy’s resume. Freaking Zachary Quinto was charging $80-$125 for his autograph at the convention across the street. Good for you, Glover! Second, when a fan asked him (at his Q&A) about the diminishing returns of the Lethal Weapon series, Glover did not answer it from the creative/quality angle, but rather from a box office angle. The crazy thing was that off-the-cuff he knew the EXACT budget and domestic gross of all four movies. I looked it up when I got home and he had the amounts on the nose. Lastly, Glover took a phone call during his Q&A from his brother about work. The moderator was totally stumped and pissed off-laughed to the audience “Is this really happening?” It was really strange but oddly endearing. Glover’s all about business. At Riske Business, I give that my stamp of approval.
Kristanna Loken (Bloodrayne, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale) 
Kristanna Loken was really nice and strikingly beautiful in person (even more so than in movies), but the reason for her induction is because I saw something in her line that I’ve never seen before or since. Bowing. There was a man who had a stack of items for her to sign and after EACH ONE, he bowed. And each time she said “thank you,” never “Oh please, you don’t have to do that.” Just “thank you.”
Michelle Rodriguez (The Fast and the Furious, Avatar, Machete) 
I was at Coachella for a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert and, low and behold, I saw a person who kind of looked like Michelle Rodriguez. So I decided to stalk her for a minute, because I needed confirmation (and also I thought "She could go in the Hall of Kick Ass if I at least say hello to her." #ThisIsMyBrain). I couldn’t tell if it was her. I didn’t see Dom or Brian around. Then I hear her call out “Yo, JB!” and she did this dude-walk over to the beer tent. It was so Letty! It had to be her. Her and JB (not our JB, but a pink mohawked guy named JB) go over to the bartender and I got in the line next to hers. I called out “Michelle Rodriguez?” and she gave me a big tooth smile JUST LIKE IN THE MOVIES! So then I go “You want a beer?” This was a stupid question because she was holding a beer already and she said “I got a Heineken” but she says it like “CHAIY-NIK-INN.” It was so rad. I told the bartender that I got her and JB’s drinks. Then her friends swarmed in before I could say anything else. They must have known she owed me a 10 second car. 
Milo Ventimiglia (Rocky Balboa, Heroes, That’s My Boy) 
I think Milo Ventimiglia and I could have been actual friends under different circumstances. When I met him, we had this weird bro conversation about Gilmore Girls. I was like “Dude, I started watching Gilmore Girls around the time you were on it and after that I just crushed the rest of the series” and he was like “Yeah, man, good characters, good writing…” We also talked about how he should do another Rocky movie and he said “Yeah man, I’d love to do another one with Sly if they’ll have me” and he continued “Did you know that Sly wanted to die at the end of Rocky V?” and I was like “He can’t go out at the hands of Tommy Gunn” and Milo’s like “Yeah, no way.” Then he gave me a bro handshake and I like split and stuff.
Patricia Quinn (The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Shock Treatment, The Lords of Salem) 
This woman is bonkers, but in a delightful way. I had maybe a 10 minute conversation with Magenta about her new movie The Lords of Salem. I tried to leave several times at natural breaks in the conversation, but she kept going and going. She told me that she liked the movie but there were too many naked witches running around. She mentioned that her nephew was in the band Snow Patrol and then said his band is “a bit dull.” Then came the crowning jewel of the conversation. I thought we were getting on pretty good, so I asked her what she thought of my interpretation of the theme of The Lords of Salem (metaphor for drugs) and she said “What are you talking about?” She was actually angry. “It was a dream!” she said to me incredulously. 
Ralph Macchio (The Karate Kid movies, My Cousin Vinny, The Outsiders)
 I asked Ralph Macchio two questions when I got his autograph (which reads “To Adam, Wax-on”):  1) was Thomas Ian Griffith (who played villain Terry Silver in the underrated Karate Kid Part III) scary in person like he is in the movie? Macchio’s answer was “You kidding? He’s a musical theater guy.” and 2) Elisabeth Shue – hotter in real life or in the movies? Macchio replied “She’s pretty good all the time.” When I got out of line, two guys said to me “Wow, he talked to you for a long time.” And I said “Yeah, I’m a really good person” and walked away.
Tom Atkins (Night of the Creeps, Halloween III: Season of the Witch, Creepshow) 
Tom ‘Thrill Me’ Atkins is awesome! I met him at a convention a few years ago, where I asked him which of his other movies he would recommend I watch next (I had just seen Night of the Creeps and Halloween III for the first time) and he said, “I don’t know, they’re all fuckin’ good.” This year he was at another convention and I went to his Q&A. It did not disappoint. The moderator asked him what his reaction was to horror fans who were pissed off that Michael Myers was not in the third Halloween movie. His answer? "Tough shit." Later in the Q&A when he was asked why he got into acting, he said “Chasing the tomata.” I have a high tolerance for vagina synonyms (e.g. Busch Gardens, Asiago Roast Beef) but I don’t know – "Chasing the tomata? makes me throw up a little bit. I have re-watching Halloween III: Season of the Witch on my Scary Movie Month list for this year (yes, I’ve already made ‘the stack’) and every time there’s a Tom Atkins love scene I’m going to think "He’s living the dream, this is why he got into acting." Oh, I almost forgot; here’s Tom Atkins on fellow actor Patrick Macnee: “Really old, wonderful Irish actor; I’m sure he’s dead...” (He’s not).
Tommy Davidson (In Living Color, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, Bamboozled)
 Tommy Davidson was on my flight to Las Vegas earlier this year. I saw him at the gate but I was too nervous to say anything to him. However, as I boarded, I walked past him in coach. What was he doing in coach? Doesn’t he have Booty Call money left over? I said, “Excuse me, are you Tommy Davidson?” and he looks around a bit like he doesn’t want to make eye contact. Then he asks me “Listen, what seat are you in?” I told him row 30 and he goes “Oh, I’m trying to sit by somebody.” I didn’t get what he meant. Did he have an empty seat next to him and he wanted companionship for the flight? Did he have someone specific in mind that he wanted to sit next to? If so, why didn’t he ask the person in THAT seat to switch? Why is he taking random, half-hearted stabs in the dark on where to sit? I sat in my seat and puzzled over his question for most of the flight. What the hell was he talking about? 
William Forsythe (The Rock, The Devil’s Rejects, Dick Tracy) 
When I met William Forsythe, I just wanted to know one thing – is Steven Seagal an asshole? Forsythe replied “Let me tell you a story…” He continued that they shot the movie Out for Justice mere blocks away from the Brooklyn neighborhood where Forsythe grew up. One day, Seagal went up to Forsythe and said “I want you to go home tonight and work on your Brooklyn accent.” Forsythe said to Segal “No, YOU need to work on YOUR Brooklyn accent.” Forsythe then told me that a promoter recently asked him if he would do a joint signing event with Steven Seaga,l to which Forsythe made an "Are you serious?" face at me and said “Fuck, seriously? No.”

*Also I would like to immediately induct Larisa Oleynik (a J.M. Vargas nominee), John Carpenter (a Mike Pomaro nominee), William Katt (a Tim Luz nominee) and Dumbo the elephant into the Hall of Kick-Ass. We love you all. Thanks for being kick ass! 

Your turn! Who have you met that is awesome and worthy of joining the Hall of Kick-Ass?

**Meet Juliette Rochefort. Juliette was a flapper in 1920’s Eugene, Oregon, prone to bouts of the vapors and a devil’s thirst for cool lemonade. One night, Juliette found out her fiancée Dylan Grape was sporting with her sister – the voluptuous Babette. Juliette poisoned her sister and her fiancée by giving them a tray of Nightshade muffins on her sister’s 21st birthday. With a dubious alibi, Juliette knew she would be apprehended for the crime but before Commissioner Thackerry Whistley battered down the Rochefort estate’s doors, Juliette drowned herself in a pitcher of lemonade on the family’s fainting couch. Commissioner Whistley closed the case by saying “Juliette’s head was small, otherwise it would have not fit in a pitcher of lemonade.” The couch was sold at an estate sale and resold countless times over the decades by people claiming Juliette’s ghost would whisper sweet nothings into the ears of all who sat on the fainting couch. I picked it up at a flea market for $30 and all members of the Hall of Kick-Ass are free to use it.


  1. I believe that with "yeah, I'm a really good person" you just entered yourself into The Hall Of Kick-Ass. Awesome. Take a look back at the comments on the first HOK-A, I had a very similar experience with William Forsythe. He was the BEST.

  2. I gotta say, it kinda grosses me out that these guys charge money for their autographs and if it were up to me I'd boot them all of those ones out of the Kick-Ass Hall of Fame. They've already made money from their fans - most of them are pretty fucking wealthy (from playing make-believe!) because of money from their fans - the LEAST they could do is spend a few days a year GIVING their autographs to anyone willing to stand in line and get it. Pay back a little by letting us bask in their charismatic glow for a moment or two. There isn't a star in Hollywood I'd give a nickel to for their autograph.

    Sorry to be a wet blanket but something about it just bums me out. I do like the random encounter stories though!

    1. I agree with this wholeheartedly, regarding selling autographs. It's not like most of these guys don't already make tons of money, the least they can do is be willing to give away their signature for free to repay the fans. Celebrities who charge for that sort of thing are the worst!

  3. @Sol and John - I see your point but I'd like to chime in on a couple of things. Virtually every celebrity at a show charges for their autographs. Is it right/wrong? To me, it's fine but I completely see the opposite arguement. Also, many of the people charging for autographs at horror conventions, for example, are not wealthy. They are people who were in a few movies years ago and are not consistently working on projects that earn them big salaries. I honestly believe the money they make at these shows pays their bills. For example, Danny Glover is wealthy but Miko Hughes (the kid from Pet Semetary and Kindergarten Cop) is probably not rich.

    1. You're right - some of the genre folks I would give a pass to. E.g. I am pretty jealous of Patrick's photo with Kane Hodder and wouldn't feel bad paying for one myself. Guys like that, who probably haven't gotten compensated in proportion to how much I've enjoyed their work, are still cool with me. I'd feel like I was helping to support their doing stuff I love that isn't necessarily that lucrative. I wasn't really thinking of them when I wrote my comment.

      But Danny Glover, Zachary Quinto or Michael Shannon? Come on guys, that's some tacky shit!

  4. This was all an excuse to brag about the people you met this weekend, wasn't it? I approve.

    Especially since it gives me an excuse to tell my Andreas Katsulas story! I met him at a Dragon*Con back around 2002, where he was manning a table full of Bablyon 5 photos and the like. Now, I'll freely admit I've never seen Babylon 5, but I was much more interested in asking him about Next of Kin*. I complimented his mob boss work in it and he just laughed and said, "You're from Chicago, right? You guys are the only ones who ask about that movie and there's one at every convention!" Damn nice guy. We chatted a bit about The Fugitive as well and I bought one of his Bab 5 photos just 'cause.

    *The fact there there's a movie that has Patrick Swayze, Adam Baldwin, Ben Stiller, Bill Paxton, Helen Hunt, Liam Neeson, Ted Levine, Michael Pollard and the one-armed-man from The Fugitive seems like it should be better remembered.