Friday, March 20, 2009

Numbers must always mean something

Warning: The following post exposes me as a huge nerd, and possibly a person in need of getting his head checked. At least it is meant for whimsical entertainment purposes only.

I'm a numerologist. I should just go ahead and say it. I'm a person who likes numbers and what they may signify, even when they don't signify anything.

This is an apparent contradiction for people who know me, because they know I am primarily, publicly, a man of words. But I did do better on the math portion of my SATs than the verbal, and if you're looking for an explanation for my ability to excel in the world of information technology, then my love of numbers probably has something to do with it.

It also helps explain why I love baseball, the most statistics-driven sport, and especially why I love lists. Where an item is ranked on a list means something to me beyond the surface level.

I also love dates. I remember insignificant anniversaries, and I have a subconscious auditor continually running a check for when a friend's birthday is coming up.

And so it is that I get a little geeked for movies like Knowing, which opens tomorrow. It's all about numbers and dates.

Now, I should say I am not geeked for Knowing in particular. In fact, given that Nicolas Cage is the star, I expect it to file right in there with all the other interchangeable high-concept thrillers he's made during the last, oh, 15 years. Next, anyone? And as for this type of movie -- well, The Number 23 should have steered me clear of them for good.

But I did think the release of Knowing provided a good opportunity for letting you in on the latest obsessive list I've been keeping, because it's just the kind of thing that the hero in a good numerology thriller would do. Only, the fate of the world isn't in the balance. But my numerological list is just as ridiculous as theirs, and if you saw The Number 23, you know it can get pretty ridiculous.

As I've mentioned before, I maintain a number of lists related to the movies I've seen. I won't single them out here -- I'm sure they will come up at other times, if they haven't already. But it had been awhile since I'd started keeping a new type of list -- that is, until about two months ago. This latest is probably the most absurd list I keep, but that doesn't make it any less fun to update.

It's a list of the dates I've seen certain movies -- by date. I already had a list of the order of the movies I see, which includes their dates. But I didn't have a list like the following, and let's use today as an example:

March 19: Roger Dodger (2003), The Emperor and the Assassin (2008)

I used the movie order list to help come up with this. It was a little tedious, but it was fun.

You see, I find some inherent interest -- as insane as it undoubtedly sounds -- in whether there are (certainly coincidental) similarities between movies I saw on the same day in different years. The same year doesn't count, because I might have been watching movies according to a theme that day. Or at least you couldn't say it was totally random. If I were counting movies seen on the same day in the same year, you could argue that I skewed the results to be more interesting. And in fact, if you are really skeptical of me, you could say that I will plan viewings in the future to be interesting, now that this list exists. Which is why I'm telling you about it now -- and I promise, never again. (Maybe.)

Now, I should tell you, I've only kept the movie order list since March of 2002. So the similarities I did end up finding -- some of which are really pretty funny, most of which are just stupid -- date back only to 2002.

Without further ado, I will adopt the persona of Walter Sparrow, otherwise known as Fingerling, otherwise known as Jim Carrey's character(s) from The Number 23. You'll get the dates, the movies, and the frantic conspiracy theory on why they're related. Understand the rules? Okay, there's one more: Films seen on that date that don't fit into the "pattern" have been excluded. Believe me, you'll thank me. But not as much as you'll thank me for the warning at the beginning of this piece, which may have allowed some of you with less time on your hands to skip this post altogether.

Okay, let's begin.

January 5: Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd (2004), With a Friend Like Harry ... (2008). A man named Harry is coming to kill me!

January 31: Bandits (2004), Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2006). Those Enron guys were bandits alright! (Eh, not so much).

February 8: Lucky Break (2003), Miracle (2004). A higher power is coming to save me!

Feburay 23: The Last Temptation of Christ (2004), The Devil's Rejects (2006). God vs. the Devil!

March 7: Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter Jr. (2002) Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2008). Long titles! Names! Colons!

March 9: The Time Machine (2002), Deja Vu (2007). I know I've seen this somewhere before!

March 23: Jackpot (2002), The Bank Job (2008). Money money money!

April 3: Sin City (2005), 300 (2007). Both movies are from source material by Frank Miller! (I do think this one is genuinely weird.)

April 14: Sorry, Haters (2007), P.S. I Love You (2008). Love vs. Hate!

April 18: Big Trouble (2002), Anger Management (2003), Kill Bill, Volume II (2004). If you don't manage your anger, there will be big trouble, possibly resulting in killing! Of Bill! Volume II!

May 12: Super Size Me (2004), 28 Weeks Later (2007). Morgan Spurlock wanted to see how unhealthy McDonald's would make him 28 days later! And 28 Weeks Later is a sequel to that!

July 7: Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003), Transformers (2007). Machines are coming to get us!

July 19: Eight Legged Freaks (2002), Freaks (2006). Freaks are coming to get us! (Note: These are the only two films I've ever seen with the world "freaks" in the title. You just blew your own mind.)

August 4: Duplex (2005), Monster House (2006). Giant houses are coming to get us!

August 11: Dead Ringers (2006), The Number 23 (2007). Watch out for evil twins! (Plus, I had to get The Number 23 in there again.)

August 21: Still We Believe: The Boston Red Sox Movie (2004), The Bostonians (2005). Boston is coming to drag me back home! (Note: These are the only two films I've ever seen with the word "Boston" in the title -- and I'm from Boston. Mind blow #2.)

August 29: Hero (2004), World Trade Center (2006). Self-explanatory!

September 4: Stargate (2004), Across the Universe (2008). A stargate helps you get across the universe!

September 30: Thirteen (2003), 21 (2008). What did I tell you -- it's all about NUMBERS!!

November 8: Love's Labour's Lost (2002), How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003). Beware lost love!

November 12: The Doors (2005), Last Holiday (2006), Last Days (2008). Impending death! For Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain and Queen Latifah's woman with a terminal illness! How long will they "last"?!

November 22: Elf (2003), The Queen (2006). Beware characters in fantasy adventures!

December 26: Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004), Fun with Dick and Jane (2005). Beware Jim Carrey!

And Jim Carrey brings us pretty much back to where we started.

I sincerely apologize for wasting so much of your time.

But don't say I didn't warn you, like a good numerological conspiracy theorist should.

Several times.

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