Rajiv Answers His Own Questions: #1

I’ve now recorded 35 episodes of my weekly hour-long podcast.  I’ve dropped one every Thursday (with perhaps two weeks off for Thanksgiving and Christmas) since last July.  I’ve also been publishing a blog post every Monday in the new year.

My podcast currently has 30 questions that I ask my guests.  (They’re listed in the link above.)  The show is dually entitled, “The Funny Indian Show Podcast” and “The Tangent Show.”  The latter has a double entendre, indicating that we go off on tangents and that I’m a tan… gent.

Since we do veer away from the questions or take one and run with it for minutes on end, we don’t always cover them all.  And that’s fine.  The questions start relatively easy and then become more difficult.  The idea isn’t to stump my guests but rather to banter with them and then try to shed some light on the things in this world that I’m trying to figure out.

Someday, I’ll probably do an episode in which I provide my take on the questions.  But for now, I thought it’d be neat for me to take them one-by-one on this blog.

I redid the numbering of the questions and may even do so again.  But for now, this is question one (and yes, sometimes each question contains multiple queries within it).  Here goes:

1.  What are your 3 or 4 favorite comedy flicks?  What’s the scariest movie you’ve seen?  What’s a movie you haven’t seen that you think everybody else has?

My favorite comedy flick is still National Lampoon’s Vacation, the Chevy Chase movie in which the Griswolds go to Wally World.  I believe nostalgia plays a bit of a role in many things we consider to be our favorite.  But I honestly don’t think I’ve seen a funnier one.  My top six are… and I’ve written a post on this before:

  • Vacation
  • Fletch
  • Coming to America
  • Waiting for Guffman
  • Airplane!
  • Swingers

The scariest movie I’ve ever seen is The Shining.  Some people are freaked out by phenomena that can actually occur (serial killers, mass murderers, etc.) whereas others are more spooked by the supernatural.  I’m the latter.  But this movie has both.  I stay in a lot of hotels and every time I turn a corner and walk down a long hallway, I’m haunted by that little kid on his big wheel and those two little girls asking him to play.  [Shudder.]

I saw A Nightmare on Elm Street when I was eight.  I would never let my kids see such a terrifying movie so young.  Somewhat ironically, my parents and brothers and I were at a typical Indian Saturday night dinner party.  And all the kids went to the basement to watch this thing.  Some of them were quite old – 15 and whatnot.  But I was 8 and my brothers were 4.  4!  I never watched it again and never saw any of the sequels but I can recall entire scenes of the movie very vividly.  I was scarred for life.  Years later, a show called Freddy’s Nightmares premiered on TV and those same kids used to watch it late at night.  But it was an exercise in branding for me.  Freddy Krueger played the host of the show and it was so lame and stupid that I lost all respect for him.  It definitely helped.  But the images of a girl rolling around in blood on her ceiling or one being chased by Freddy around the boiler room at school or by an arms-outstretched Freddy when throwing the garbage at night or suddenly finding herself in a ten-foot-deep bathtub… those are all here to stay.

Here’s a bit of trivia, btw.  Did you know where the phrase “A Nightmare on Elm Street” comes from?  It’s the road on which John F. Kennedy was shot.  A real-life nightmare.  Neat, huh?

I was also frightened of Children of the Corn (saw half of it and read the short story) and that witch in The Wizard of Oz still gets me (not the monkeys, though – I was never afraid of that part) and Red Dragon.

My favorite drama is The Silence of the Lambs.  Because I’m not really that horrified by things that can actually happen, I’ve watched that many times by myself at night and then just gone to bed.  But there was a blog post long ago (that I can no longer find) that compares it to Se7en (another one I love) and uncovers the reason it’s so scary – it contains all the major fears a person can have.

I’ve never seen The Exorcist or The Omen or Saw or Hostel or Texas Chainsaw Massacre or The Ring.  I saw 15 minutes of Friday the 13th Part II, watched Jason Voorhees bury a hammer in the back of a cop’s head, and turned it off.  I’m not really into the genre.  Ever since I was 8.

I’m sure I’m leaving some out but I’m not Googling this.

And segueing into the last part of the question, I do like to play that game in which you name a movie you haven’t seen and you get a point every time everyone else in the group has seen it.  I’ve never seen any of the Lethal Weapon series.  And at the risk of compromising my reputation as a movie buff, I’ve also never seen:

  • Scarface
  • Bull Durham
  • Rocky IV
  • Top Gun

People are routinely shocked at that last one.  I used to win points every time I’d say Pretty Woman and Dirty Dancing and Fatal Attraction but I went back and saw those.  Admitting I rented those first two is probably a bigger admission than telling you what scares me.

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