This past week, Washington
As Mr. Stern has no power here, let us take a look back on guns in the workplace as they relate to the cinema. We are not talking about professions where guns are a necessity like the military, law enforcement or action hero super spies. Nor are we considering serial killers, mobsters or those concealing them out of self defense. Nope, just the everyday, out-of-nowhere brandishing of guns on the job. Maybe Mr. Arenas can get a few chuckles out of it.
1. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy - When Brian Fantana revealed his firearm to us at a party (just before introducing his testicles), little did we know that it was going to make a second appearance during a full-out melee between the Burgundy and Mantooth crews. Plus the Spanish Language News and PBS. Comically surreal in nature, it led to burning bodies, severed limbs and a man getting stabbed in the heart with a trident. But it was all in good fun.
2. In The Loop - Perhaps Brick Tamland got that grenade from David Rasche's Linton Barwick. Rumored to keep a live grenade on his desk as a paperweight, what greater metaphor could you make for a warmonger in the U.S. state department? "In the land of truth, my friend, the man with one fact is the king," Barwick says as he manipulates the powers that be into a vote to go to war. Just goes to show you that one doesn't need to hold a weapon or move a sheet of power to kill thousands.
3. Bowling For Columbine - In the opening of Michael Moore's Oscar-winning documentary, he is seen responding to a Michigan bank ad that offers a free gun with the opening of a CD. Whether you choose to believe the logistics of how this moment came to be or manipulated in any way, Mr. Moore is seen being handed a Weatherby Mark V Magnum rifle for a $1,000 deposit and the prologue ends with the immortal question, "Do you think it's a little dangerous handing out guns at a bank?"
4. The Big Lebowski - As a bowler myself I have no restrictions on rolling during Shabbos. But don't you dare put a toe over the line during a league game or you will be entering a world of pain. However, I've never taken it to the extreme like Walter Sobchak and pull a piece on my opponent. Maybe because one of my coaches was also a cop. Sobchak faced possible disqualification for his actions. In real life though, this aggression would not stand.
5. The Paper - What is it about newsmen and their guns? Columnist Michael McDougal carries one in his pants while hanging around Henry Hackett's office, saying he's worried about the parking commissioner coming after him for all the negative write-ups. To break up an all-out shouting fest in Henry's office, McDougal doubles up a stack of newspapers and fires a single shot into it. With Henry's pregnant wife present. After leaving unquestioned, a security guard is mistakenly sent to the office of manager Alicia Clark where he tries to frisk her. "We're having drinks later," she says.
6. (tie) Any Given Sunday / The Last Boy Scout - 10 years before Gilbert Arenas joked about the gun accusations by using his fingers to produce a double-barreled salute in the huddle, a player on the Miami Sharks in Oliver Stone's football tale celebrates a touchdown by mowing down his teammates with an invisible machine gun. Maybe not such a big deal back then, but it was still nothing compared to Billy Cole's playbook for running over blockers. On his way to the end zone, Cole pulls out a handgun and mows down three opponents with bullets. One to the head, the second to the shoulder and the third to a knee. Cole did score the touchdown but at the price of blowing his own head off. "Ain't life a bitch?"
7. Milk - On November 27, 1978, Dan Brown climbed through a window at San Francisco's City Hall hoping to reverse his resignation. When he was refused, he pulled out a loaded gun and killed both Mayor George Moscone and city supervisor Harvey Milk. The events were depicted in Gus Van Sant's biopic and carried out by Josh Brolin as Brown.
A sobering real-life reminder to Mr. Arenas that it's all fun and games until someone actually pulls the trigger. Maybe next time he will remember that the only joking that should be done about guns should be left within the confines of the movies.