Monday, March 27, 2017

An Ode to Patrick Bromley

by Doug Schultz
Or: 25 years of friendship as told through movie ticket stubs.


Hi, everyone! Erika here. My best friend in the world turns 40 this week. Now, he's not really a birthday guy, and public celebrations are not his thing, but he's happy to shower others with attention on their birthdays. Even though he's uncomfortable being the center of attention, he most definitely deserves our attention for this special birthday. Especially since he's created a positive, open-minded movie-loving community here at F This Movie!.

He loved writing since he first learned. (For a kindergarten project, he wrote about his love of movies and of writing.) So it makes sense that his talents, passion, and knowledge combined to create F This Movie, and it makes sense that his writing found a way to connect people from all over the world.

When we first were getting to know each other (almost twenty years ago!), we talked about movies. A lot. (Side note - he can also talk about other subjects too, which makes him even more appealing. And you thought I was just here for the sexy beard!) What I noticed right away - in addition to his incredible movie knowledge - was that he was also a good listener. He still is today - he's the best listener and most patient person I have ever met. I'm so lucky to be married to a true romantic, a fabulous best friend, and someone who will watch a movie with me at any time.

But he's humble to a fault - so I had to BEG to somewhat "take over" the site for his big birthday week! (Longtime fans know he's not comfortable with this kind of adoration; if you stumbled across this site just this week, please know it is an exception to the rule!) Many regular contributors will be sharing Patrick-themed memories, stories, or film reviews this week. I hope they bring him as much joy as his words always bring all of us.

First up is this piece by his best friend Doug ("Watchin' Trailerz With Doug," L.A. D.J.).

Patrick Bromley is the best. But you already know that. Not only is he an insightful and thoughtful movie cricket, he's also a great friend – kind, funny and smart. [And handsome. -Ed.]

I've had the pleasure of knowing Patrick since 1992 – I was a freshman at Elk Grove High School, and he the wizened, weathered sophomore. Patrick was already a star in high school – well-liked by both teachers and peers, major roles in school plays and musicals, a stellar student, and pretty girlfriends. I was a dummy who still had a lot to prove. Yet we bonded. First through music (Kris Kross' "Jump"), then through comedy (MTV's The State) and, finally (and perhaps most importantly), through movies.

Our friendship – like most of yours, I assume – can be chronicled through movies. What we saw, where we saw them and under what circumstances. Of course, most of these memories are passing feelings or quick flashes. And who remembers everything they've seen, anyway? Aside from Patrick, I mean.

Digression: dude has such a photographic memory, I often ask him under what circumstances I've seen a certain movie. He doesn't even need to have been there – he just ... remembers. I'm lucky.

Anyway, our friendship grew. As did our collective love of movies. For a while, I was nipping at his heels, keeping pace with the scope and quantity of films he consumed. But those days are long gone. He's since lapped me several times with his numbers, knowledge and comprehension (I honestly don't know how he watches SO MANY MOVIES).

But I'll always be glad for what we shared back when we were kids. It was a special (wait for it) ... era.

Enough prelude – let's get to the stubs!

Rookie of the Year
Friday, Aug. 27, 1993, 7:15 p.m.
Classic Cinemas Elk Grove Theatre
OUR FIRST DATE! I can't believe it took us nearly a year to see our first movie together. Regardless, here it is! We sat on the right side, about halfway down at the original two-screen Elk Grove Theatre (before its bourgie facelift). Beyond that, unfortunately, I don't remember much about the "experience." The memory of this movie feels like one of those telephone games – every time I remember this "event," I'm actually remembering the last time I remembered it. Or something. It's kind of sad, really. GROWING OLD SUCKS. Thankfully, we still quote Rookie of the Year to this day. Fun fact: the "F" in "F This Movie" actually stands for "FLOAT IT!"

Avatar
Saturday, Dec. 19, 2009, 11:30 a.m.
AMC South Barrington 30
This is the very first podcast released on F This Movie (on Friday, May 14, 2010), though not the first podcast recorded – that honor belongs to Mike Pomaro and Young Guns (MAKES SENSE). Listen to it! It's fine!

Wild Things
Friday, March 20, 1998, 10 p.m.
AMC South Barrington 30
The first movie we ever saw at what would soon become our second home, the then-brand-new AMC South Barrington 30. Man, back in 1998, that place was an AIRPORT – it was so big. The student rate was only $4.75! We were also joined by this cute girl, Erika. I WONDER HOW THAT TURNED OUT. The movie itself is good – sleazy and sweaty in all the right ways, with a great cameo by Bill Murray that doesn't get talked about enough. "But what about Denise Richards, Doug? Aren't you going to talk about her threesome with Neve Campbell and Matt Dillon? I can't believe you, Doug! You're such a pervert, and yet, here you are, NOT commenting on Lt. Carmen Ibanez's debut nude scene! I'm disappointed in you, Doug!" -you.

Showgirls
Saturday, Oct. 7, 1995, 7:45 p.m.
Lowes Sony Rolling Meadows
My 17th birthday! How serendipitous was it that I turned 17 on the very same day this classic NC-17 film was released? We were first in line, and I was all set to show my ID. Like, "Hey, ticket seller, even though I look 12, I'm actually of-age, and this government-issued ID proves it!" And then – for real – the ticket seller didn't even ask to see it! What an asshole! Patrick, ever the gentleman, soothed my bruised ego by cutting a hole in the bottom of his popcorn bucket. FULL SPANO!

Pearl Harbor
Friday, May 25, 2001, 5:15 p.m.
AMC South Barrington 30
Would this be the film that catapults Michael Bay into the arena of respectability? The trailers sure made it appear so. Serious. Epic. Japanese. Despite the movie's spectacular set pieces, visceral action sequences and copious amount of Vaseline smeared on the camera lens, it fell short. I mean, it includes the classic line, "I think World War II just started." WITHOUT IRONY. Did the critical rejection of Pearl Harbor further cement Mr. Bay's worst instincts? For that answer, go ask some respectable film critic! I'm only here for the animal crackers. And yes, I know that's a reference to Armageddon!

Private Parts
Tuesday, March 18, 1997, 9:40 p.m.
Marcus Addison Cinema
Watching this movie in 2017, I can so clearly see the blatant attempt – on behalf of director Betty Thomas, producer Ivan Reitman and Stern, himself – to normalize the "shock jock" personality of "Howard Stern," the brand. Sure, it's a love letter to his (now ex-) wife, but it's also about introducing the celebrity to a wider audience by softening his edges. And it works! I think the movie's great, but, then again, I'm a Stern fan. Beyond my familiarity with his morning show, I think Private Parts is successful because it's so studio. It's about something more than the stupid shit they do on the radio. With solid performances from the stars themselves – not to mention Allison Janney, Mary McCormack and Paul "Pig Vomit" Giamatti (W-eeeeeeeEEEEENNNNNnnn-BC) – and glossy direction from Thomas, Private Parts is a movie I find myself turning to whenever I'm in the mood for a quality biopic.

Reindeer Games
Saturday, Feb. 26, 2000
AMC South Barrington 30
I should've done more background for this column (i.e., talking to Patrick), but doing so would've ruined the surprise! In any event, I think I saw this movie with Patrick? But I'm not 100 percent sure. Regardless, I'm including it here as a shameless plug for our very first Christmas commentary track. Listen to it this December, won't you?

BASEketball
Friday, July 31, 1998, 10:15 p.m.
AMC South Barrington 30
This movie's funny, for sure. That much is obvious ("Ohmygod, you are so obvioush!"). But why are we still talking about BASEketball in 2017? Maybe this movie's stayed with me for so long because I can see a little bit of "Patrick and Doug" in "Trey and Matt." Maybe I've always been a little jealous of their success (starting with the excellent Cannibal! The Musical up to and including their most recent season of South Park). Maybe I'm constantly amazed by their consistent quality output (they really haven't slowed down or "Gone Hollywood"). And maybe, JUST MAYBE, I want to kiss Patrick inside a giant papier-mâché flower beneath exploding fireworks during a luau. WHO ARE YOU TO JUDGE?


1408
Saturday, July 21, 2007, 11:40 a.m.
AMC South Barrington 30
One of the few movies on this list that I saw separately from Patrick. Yet, it's part of this column because it's a movie Patrick enthusiastically encouraged me to see! "You'll love it, Doug! I guarantee it! When have I ever let you down? By the way, don't buy JUST Eyes Wide Shut; buy the whole Stanley Kubrick box set!" -Patrick Bromley, probably. Turns out, not so much! Oh well, pobody's nerfect! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

That Thing You Do!
Date illegible, 1996
Cineplex Odeon Woodfield
I wish Cineplex Odeon had better tickets, because half of the ones I've saved were printed with DISAPPEARING INK. It's like, get it together, dot matrix printers of the mid-90s! That Thing You Do! is a warm, comfortable hug of a movie. It contains catchy music, wonderful performances and a happy cast against a cozy backdrop of early '60s optimism. It's so good, it almost makes me forget that Tom Hanks also directed Larry Crowne. That movie is a piece of shit! But not That Thing You Do! I also have a fleeting memory of watching this back-to-back with Bordello of Blood (another shitty movie). Could that possibly be?

Dead Man on Campus (TWICE!)
Friday, Aug. 21, 1998, 12:30 a.m., and Saturday, Aug. 22, 1998, 12:30 a.m.
AMC South Barrington 30
Did we watch this movie twice in two days because Patrick had an appendicitis, or did Patrick having an appendicitis make us watch this movie twice in two days? See? These are the kinds of mindboggling riddles I'm simply not capable of answering, BIRTHDAY OR NOT!

Varsity Blues (TWICE!)
Saturday, Jan. 16, 1999, 10:50 p.m., and Friday, Jan. 22, 1999, 12:20 a.m.
AMC South Barrington 30
I've said it before – Varsity Blues is a movie with everything: bone-crunching football action sequences, a great villain (Jon Voight), Ali Larter's whipped-cream bikini, a stripping teacher, "My Hero" by Foo Fighters, "I don't want your life," a cartoonish performance by Ron Lester (Billy Bob) BEFORE he underwent duodenal switch surgery (losing 348 pounds!), the Beek ... what was I talking about again?

Natural Born Killers
Saturday, Aug. 27, 1994, 1:20 p.m.
Lowes Sony Rolling Meadows
One of our (at the time) favorite (local) movie critics (not Roger Ebert) famously (to us) called this movie, "avant-garde with its guard down." Very clever! At the time, we both disagreed. I remember really liking it. Then again, I was 16, stupid and just getting into more "serious" movies, so Natural Born Killers pressed all the right buttons for me. I don't think I've seen it since 1994, so I have no idea if it holds up. "This is the perfect opportunity to plug the podcast, Doug!" YOU'RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME.

Pulp Fiction
Friday, Oct. 14, 1994, 10 p.m.
Cineplex Odeon Woodfield
Patrick and I had both previously seen Quentin Tarantino's first movie, Reservoir Dogs, separately. My brother Rich introduced it to me one lazy weekend afternoon. We watched it with a group of his friends and my dad. It was probably the most "grown up" movie I had seen up to that point, and my mind was blown. I loved it. All the talking, the minimal sets, the crazy violence – everything. I'm not exactly sure how/when Patrick had watched it, but I do know that – as we were becoming friends – we both pointed to Reservoir Dogs as an important touchstone. Naturally, when Pulp Fiction came out, we saw it together opening night. And, really, what more can you say? It's a perfect movie.

Starship Troopers
Friday, Nov. 7, 1997, 10 p.m.
Cineplex Odeon Woodfield
I love this movie. And what a great movie-going experience! It's been talked about on several podcasts (and our Starship Troopers episode, in particular), but I'll never forget the moment – about 30 minutes into the film – when Patrick and I looked at each other with "Holy shit, this is AMAZING" looks on our faces. One of my top five movies of all time, Starship Troopers still kicks all kinds of dick. For the longest time, it was one of our litmus tests for new friends/potential LOVERS – if they watched (AND LOVED) Starship Troopers, we knew they were Starship Keepers.

Frequency
Monday, Aug. 21, 2000, 9:25 p.m.
Classic Cinemas Elk Grove Theatre
"He talks to Johnny ... on the radio ... in the future!"

Entrapment
Friday, June 4, 1999, 12:15 a.m.
AMC Cantera 30
One of only two movies I ever saw at this (now-closed) theater in Warrenville (the other being 3000 Miles to Graceland), and both with Patrick! What's there to say about this forgettable caper movie, except, "Entrapment is what cops do to thieves!" Yeah? Well, "Checking is what Doug does to nostalgia boxes."

Battlefield Earth
Friday, May 12, 2000, 1:45 p.m.
AMC South Barrington 30
Could this be the next Starship Troopers? Only one way to find out – go to the first showing on opening day (didn't we have class or a job to go to?). Alas, we're still chasing that high, because Battlefield Earth is a sweaty armpit of a movie. Ugly, poorly acted and not nearly enough references to "Leverage!" I don't even think I realized it was a movie about Scientology at the time. But now that I do, that's just one more reason to forget this boring hair piece of a film. SAT Answer Key: "Battlefield Earth : Starship Troopers :: High School High : Billy Madison."

High Fidelity
Thursday, March 30, 2000, 7:30 p.m.
Marcus Westown Cinema (Milwaukee)
The only Milwaukee venue to appear on this list, Patrick and I drove up a.) to see High Fidelity one day early, and b.) to spend time with Erika, who was studying at Marquette at the time. Erika arranged for one of her friends to join us, too – a nice girl named Elizabeth – who, as Erika explained, was "wife material" for me. It was a blind date! Kind of! "She wants to have lots of kids!" A ringing endorsement for any 21-year old, to be sure. While my burgeoning relationship with Elizabeth didn't exactly pan out, the experience of watching a sneak preview of High Fidelity was certainly awesome. If I recall correctly, Patrick also won a special prize for answering a trivia question correctly before the movie.

Gone in Sixty Seconds
Friday, June 9, 2000, 8 p.m.
AMC South Barrington 30
I remember NOTHING about this movie. But, for our particular group of theater-goers, Gone in Sixty Seconds takes the prize for the most annoying preview of 2000. "The time it took you to buy your ticket." Uh, stop being so terrible? Gosh, was there ever such a manic time in MTV-caliber trailer editing? The Adobe plugin footage of a countdown clock, the staticky nonsense clips, the jittery text – it's all the worst! And yet we still saw it opening night! We were (are?) the worst.


The Brown Bunny
Friday, Sept. 3, 2004, 7:45 p.m.
Landmark Century Centre Cinema
Let's be honest. We all went to this movie for the same reason. And when it happened, it was weird. I'm sure the ushers were rolling their eyes at the dumb "students" who ventured to an arthouse in the city in order to pay $7.50 to watch some other guy get a blowjob. Well, yeah. NO RAGRETS!

Good Will Hunting
Friday, Feb. 13, 1998, 10:40 p.m.
Sony Streamwood Theater
I got the Vickers last night, so I'm regurgitating Gordon Wood this morning! We just recorded a podcast on this movie, so I encourage you all to listen to it here!

Dude, Where's My Car?
Sunday, Dec. 17, 2000, 10 p.m.
AMC South Barrington 30

"NO AND THEN!"


Gridlock'd
Wednesday, Jan. 29, 1997, 10:15 p.m.
Sony Streamwood Theater
Watch/listen to us recount our unique experience of watching Gridlock'd one late Wednesday night in a socioeconomically disadvantaged suburb only four months after Tupac's untimely passing. This story has everything: fighting, smoking weed, hurling beer bottles at the screen, a police foot chase and, of course, Patrick and Doug!

The Fast and the Furious
Friday, June 22, 2001, 7:15 p.m.
AMC South Barrington 30
I remember having zero expectations for this movie – if anything, I assumed it was a silly teen flick with ham-fisted action scenes. Boring at best; insufferable at worst. I was wrong! While not a "classic" (yet?), it's obviously not bad, and it has spawned one of F This Movie's favorite action franchises. On a personal note, I had just purchased a 1981 Avanti II from an eBay seller outside Baltimore one month earlier. My brother and I flew out there in May, bought the car and then drove it home. It was awesome. I would never describe myself as a "car guy," but I was definitely "in it" that summer – I loved driving my Avanti around, doing burnouts and basically acting like an annoying 22-year old. The Fast and the Furious features high-performance [mostly] Japanese cars – four-banger "rice burners." The Avanti is definitely not that (picture a James Bond car, only weirder looking, with a big V-8, a dual carburetor and glass packs). After walking out of the movie, the AMC parking lot was FILLED with supped up coupes – the kinds with cartoonish spoilers and ground FX. Dozens of gearheads walked around from car to car, acting tough and cool. Patrick, Erika and I walked to my (by their standards) "antique," and did a few obnoxious laps in the parking lot. It was so stupid! But it was also fun! So much so that we continued the idiot party at a nearby mall – Streets of Woodfield – where even MORE 10-second cars were showing off for one another. They must've known how big a movie The Fast and the Furious would turn out to be. So, just like them, we tooled around a bit, revving the engine ... and THAT'S when my exhaust disconnected. Before you knew it, all we were smelling was that sickly sweet gas smell all throughout the cabin. Erika – pretty bird – sitting in the backseat, got it the worst. So, we called it a night. I soon got my exhaust system replaced, but we never were able to recapture that special something-something. I sold the Avanti in 2010 to help pay for my wedding. Like a chump. "Ah, youth is wasted on the wrong people!"

Thank you for taking this walk down memory lane with me. Hopefully it wasn't too "Inside Bromleyball." I would like to sincerely wish Patrick Bromley a very happy, health and prosperous birthday! I am honored to be your best friend, and I love you!

"Have I led a good life?" -Patrick. "WHAAAAA?!" -me.

12 comments:

  1. I remember the story about the High Fidelity prize. I think it was either just answering that it was directed by Stephen Frears or that the original book was written by Nick Hornby.

    Also, Reindeer Games would have been great if only it had MORE DARTS!

    This is fantastic and I can't wait to read all the Patrick love!

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  2. I started watching Reindeer Games on Netflix one day just so I could listen to the commentary afterwards, but then I realized the version on Netflix is a "director's cut" or something and considerably longer than the theatrical, so the commentary wouldn't match up. I didn't finish the movie.

    Someday I'll get my hands on the theatrical version.

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  3. Brilliant, I like how you keep your stubbs from over 20yrs ago, your first date, epic, nice words Doug

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  4. I loved this article :)
    Happy Birthday, Patrick!

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  5. This is heartfelt and amusing. Love you guys and your movie love. Happy birthday, Patrick.

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  6. "But I'll always be glad for what we shared back when we were kids. It was a special (wait for it) ... era."

    This thing has permanently messed up my brain. Now in everyday life when someone uses that word, in my head I hear Patrick or Doug's voice repeat, "era." I've even found myself involuntarily saying it out loud in response to people who use this heretofore innocuous vocable, resulting in some very strange looks. This is some Pontypool-type sh*t right here.

    I misread the title of this article for a second when I saw it on my phone and thought it said An Odie to Partrick Bromley. Is Doug the "purebred clown" to Patrick's tabby?

    Many happy returns to Patrick "It stinks!" Bromley, movie cricket extraordinaire.

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    1. That's Patrick "It's Fine" Bromley to you, sir or madam.

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  7. haha Nothing like a good bromance. Love it! Happy Birthday Patrick.

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  8. Awww, this is so sweet - I wish I had a best friend with an unnatural obsession about everything we did together and a hoarding problem - Patrick is a lucky dude. :P

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  9. This is great Doug! Always hilarious. My response to Erika's reminder that Patrick doesn't like to be the center of attention: Fuckin'deal with it brah!! Your podcast/site are the tits dude!!

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  10. Happy Birthday Week Patrick. May 2017 bring movies that were "made just for you."

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  11. Ah... this takes me back to the good ol' days when a movie ticket for an evening showing used to cost $7.50. Now a standard 2D movie is like over $13 at AMC South Barrington. Jeez... But hey, friendship never goes up in price.

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