Thursday, August 17, 2006

Say, "Cheese"

Every so often I'll discover something new about myself, whether it be a quirk, personality trait, or some other thing that up until now has remained undefined. Recently I've come to the conclusion that I seem to have an affinity for "cheese"; no, not the dairy product, in fact despite my Italian heritage I tend to avoid that particular section of the food pyramid; I'm talking the other kind, the "so bad it's good" variety. I'm not sure when this affliction began, but the most obvious place to start would be around the 80s, when "cheese" was basically the rule, however ignorant we might have been to the fact. These days I am a huge 80's music junkie, particularly the "one hit wonders" and, even moreso, the rap music of the era. People, this IS the musical embodiment of cheese. Witness: "The rhymes I say are sharp as a nail, witty as can be and not for sale, always funky fresh could never be stale, took a test to become an M.C. and didn't fail." * I challenge anyone to find lyrics as awesomely bad as these from the last 20 years.
But my fondness for cheese didn't end there, oh no. In fact, it mutated. Fast forward several years, I find myself listening to things like Metallica, music I had shunned in my earlier years. Why was this, I asked myself? Turns out that not only do I enjoy cheesy things, but also things that are just plain over the top and ridiculous to the point of hilarity, such as the insane speed and intensity of "Master of Puppets".

So where does that leave me today? Well, In terms of music, Marilyn Manson sits side by side with Weird Al Yankovich in my library, as does Rage Against the Machine and the Monkees. Movies like Doom, Resident Evil, Ultraviolet and Sound of Thunder were purchased (never having been seen in the theatres) knowing full well how God-awful they would turn out to be. I recently dove into the new Doctor Who series, not because of any good acting, dialog or special effects, but because Doctor Who is the very essence of over the top corniness. I purchased the 10-disc collectors edition box set of the Matrix Trilogy, again not necessarily because I thought all the movies were great, but: A) because they were so insanely crammed with special effects, features and bonuses, that an effects buff like me couldn't resist; B) It came in a really cool clear cube disc holder, satisfying my hunger for cool packaging and presentation, and most importantly C) It included an obscenely ugly bust of Neo to be displayed in the case, which is so incredibly bad it's awesome! And it doesn't stop there. Nothing quite screams "painfully outdated" better than the old Atari 2600 games, which I had to buy just to remind myself how perfectly awful videogames used to be, compared to today. I also became temporarily obsessed with the game Dance Dance Revolution (having played only once) and found two professional-grade regulation size DDR Pads on Ebay just to be able to play at home. And if that wasn't corny enough, I then obtained a copy of Nintendo's DDR Mario Mix, enabling me to 'dance' along to classic Mario Bros. music! Oh yeah...don't TELL me you're not jealous!
Most recently I found a website that prompted me to write this piece on cheesiness; it's hysterically funny without ever meaning to be. It's called, and allows you to download quicktime movies that you can sing along to karaoke-style. What makes it funny, however, is the 80's sounding Casio keyboard versions of all the songs, including the afore-mentioned Master of Puppets. I don't think I've ever laughed so hard listening to music before. It truly is the epitome of Cheesy Goodness. Check it out.

(* Run DMC - Rock Box)