We’re just barreling through 2012 here, aren’t we? It scares me. You understand that next year is 2013, right? What kind of freaky Kubrickian year is that? Whatever. Let’s live in the now and deny that we’re heading into a staggering vortex that will kill us all.
1770: The Boston Massacre claims the lives of five Americans, including Crispus Attucks, and it serves as a catalyst for the outbreak of the American Revolution. Just five lives? Five lives are lost during most Craigslist transactions. Hope those Dale Earnhardt hubcaps were worth it, Crispus.
1956: Teena Marie, the late “Ivory Queen of Soul,” is born. IMMORTAL JIVE GODDESS OF CAUCASIA. Here are my three favorite Teena songs: 3) “Lovergirl,” 2) “Square Biz,” and 1) “Behind the Groove.” Ohhhhh, yes. Never forget Lady T!
1960: Elvis Presley ends his two-year stint in the U.S. Army. And that’s wonderful. But let’s talk about his most frequent onscreen costar Shelley Fabares, who purred the classic hit “Johnny Angel”: Did you know that Nanette Fabray, her costar on One Day at a Time, is her aunt? And that they’re both still alive? Wow. Anyway, Go Elvis.
1982: John Belushi dies of a drug overdose at Chateau Marmont. And that’s terrible. Really. The story remains disturbing, but I can’t deny that John Belushi must be the single most overrated actor in SNL history. He is lionized simply for being loud, and not for exhibiting anything close to the range of his fellow SNL cast members Dan Aykroyd, Gilda Radner, and Bill Murray or the simple joke-telling ability of Chevy Chase and Jane Curtin.
Though he’s the proper forebear to Chris Farley, let’s not get their legacies twisted: Chris Farley was a versatile comedian who was ingeniously extreme and often devastatingly sincere. John Belushi was a bee sometimes, I guess? And a silly samurai? But most importantly, he was a total misogynist. And if you’ve watched The Blues Brothers recently, you’ve had the awful experience of realizing what an unfunny, overlong one-joke gag it is. Gilda Live, meanwhile, is still precious.
2006: Crash defeats Brokeback Mountain for Best Picture at the 78th Academy Awards. I remember the day this happened, Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper had both predicted the outcome. I’d prepared myself for the loss. And yet, I wasn’t prepared for my months-long resentment. God almighty, I love Brokeback Mountain. Every single actor is perfect — including Anne Hathaway, haters!