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As I Lay Dying Blog From the Road: Tour Movies and ‘MacGruber’

Travis Shinn

As I Lay Dying guitarist Nick Hipa returns for round three of the band’s blog from the road.
This week’s topics include tour movies, the power of suggestion, and second-guessing yourself as an arbiter of taste, so to speak. Oh, and the little-seen film ‘MacGruber.’

Hipa says:

“In the realm of socially exposing your friends to new art (music, movies, books, etc.), I suspect we’ve all had moments such as this: You put yourself out there and recommend something, say a movie. You then proceed to talk about how rad it is and how it will benefit the overall life quality of whomever chooses to watch it. Eventually, an opportunity presents itself by which you (the fan) are in a position to expose someone else (the soon-to-be fan) to this movie. Then the unthinkable happens: it is not well received. The direct result of this scenario is that you are left questioning your own personal taste, the taste of your disgruntled audience, and ultimately, the foundation of a friendship that could very well have been confused with acquaintanceship. It is awkward and defeating.

Ever seen ‘MacGruber’? This critically un-acclaimed masterpiece has been viewed more times then I would even dare to count by our entire band and crew, including myself. It seems every season of touring comes with it a cinematic marvel that never leaves our DVD player. We refer to these as Tour Movies. A tour movie is never deliberately chosen or designated, but is usually decided upon as a consequence of not having any other options and simply being what everyone feels like routinely subjecting themselves to.

‘MacGruber’ is currently enduring its third tour as our tour movie, which if momentum continues, will find itself amongst the elite ranks of ‘Blood In, Blood Out,’ ‘Club Dread,’ ‘Hot Rod’ and ‘Beerfest.’ Like all other tour movies before it, ‘MacGruber’ was brought to the table by someone — Phil Sgrosso, in this case — and suggested as quality entertainment. It received a late night showing though half of our touring party was reluctant. I, for one, mistook it for a mindless and stupid comedy with cheap jokes that I would not like. Upon watching it in a crowded front lounge, however, I realized it was a mindless and stupid comedy with cheap jokes that I ended up not only enjoying, but over time, loving! Each subsequent group viewing enabled all jokes and one liner’s to become more deeply incorporated into our daily vernacular. This is the magic of boredom and repetition. That magic, however, does not translate to everyone.

An early show in Raleigh, North Carolina, sent the majority of our entire tour gallivanting around town while the male faction of Winds of Plague and myself were left chilling hard at the venue. After a sketchy and potentially life-threatening BBQ run to The Cookout, we returned to the AILD bus where I promised all ‘MacGruber’ virgins an unforgettable hour-and-a-half of comedic pleasure. The viewing that ensued was full of long stretches of silence, an occasional walk out, and worst of all… courtesy laughs! What are surefire laugh out loud scenes for me, ended up being unanswered expressions of discontent from my new tour buds. I was failing on a recommendation, and it was excruciating. As time went on, I began regretting the days I had spent over-hyping ‘MacGruber,’ and began to make excuses mid movie:

‘Is it too quiet in here?’ as I adjusted the stereo settings.

‘Ahh you guys missed what just happened!’ anytime someone diverted attention to text.

‘Anyone else got dat BBQ-itis!?’ desperately trying to make anyone laugh.

‘It’s probably funnier when you watch it with more people…’

And that’s the one that stuck. I realized then, that I probably would have never enjoyed the terrible humor of ‘MacGruber’ if I watched it alone in my room at home. In fact, I vividly remember watching ‘Hot Rod’ and ‘Club Dread’ in theaters and not liking those either. The revelation that soon manifested before me here, is that the element of camaraderie and residual laughing that occurs as a direct result of enjoying movies with friends cannot be duplicated. Our tastes, whether we realized it or not, have rubbed off of one another to the point where we share a foundation of cinematic appreciation. Our personal tastes withstanding, we can typically all get into the same awesomely terrible stuff.

As this tour progresses, my slight embarrassment for recommending a movie that dudes didn’t like has subsided. I’m OK with people outside of my small touring bubble thinking I have terrible taste in movies; specifically because when I go to sleep every night, I know there are nine other bunk occupants around me who don’t.”

Watch the video for ‘The Sound of Truth’

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