Sunday, December 18, 2016

Dr. Bop Tweedie, set medic


My wife thinks many of my jokes are dumb. I must reluctantly admit something that's hard for me to accept: Many of my jokes probably qualify as dad jokes.

But certain joke memes do catch on, and never seem to wear out their welcome. Possibly because we have sense enough to go to that well infrequently, not on every movie we see.

The game is to see a name in the credits of a film and pretend that the person's influence over the final product was unmistakable. It's a riff on how you might talk about obvious similarities in the work of a writer, director or cinematographer. In our game, the contributions of a particular key grip are recognizable as part of his or her signature style.

It's an easy game. All you do is latch on to a particular name in the credits and say "Oh, that lighting design was very clearly Todd Markiewicz." Or "I thought that looked like Cheryl Jones' work as second assistant director." Or even "The craft services totally seemed like they were provided by Evelyn's Kitchen." It even works without listing the job title, and with a little nod to Spike Lee. "Aha, I knew this must be a Tom Hardin joint." Tom Hardin being among a list of 500 digital animators.

This is only the context for today's post.

In poring over the credits -- something we only do every seventh or eighth movie we see, and only if we're not falling asleep or if the movie didn't make us particularly angry -- we often find funny names. The discovery of these names is ephemeral, though, as we move on to the next name down and forget about it.

Not Bop Tweedie. This post will see to that.

Bop Tweedie was the set medic on Don't Think Twice, which we watched (and really liked) last night. We weren't even playing the game, actually -- or if so, I was only just belatedly starting it, late enough that it was the set medic's turn to be credited. But it came to an immediate halt when I got fixated on Bop Tweedie.

What kind of name is that?

The answer is, a stage name, obviously. But what kind of set medic needs a stage name?

I suppose he could also just be the offspring of hippies, but that's a bit much even for a hippie name.

Anyway, I immediately started riffing on Bop Tweedie, who of course does not actually have to be an M.D. to be a set medic (and probably isn't). But it was more fun to pretend that he is. "Dr. Bop Tweedie, damn glad to meetcha!" (thrusts hand outward for a shake). "I'm Bop Tweedie, M.D. Can I take your temperature?" "Bop Tweedie here. We've got an outbreak of diarrhea on the set. I need toilet paper, stat!" (I should say that it helped in my riffing that I'd just seen a movie about improv, and was feeling both inspired and wistful about my own brief improv troupe career at a summer job back in the '90s.)

I looked up Bop Tweedie on IMDB afterward, and it was fun to note the traditional "Known for" section of the site, as if a set medic's contributions really could translate into a signature style that conveys itself to a viewer when they see his name in the credits. For the record, he has also served as set medic on Douglas Brown, The Preppie Connection, Stealing Cars, Subconscious, Two Night Stand, Days and Nights and Pretty Bird. So he's not even a set medic on good movies, or at least movies that anyone has ever heard of. Maybe Don't Think Twice is his big breakout.

Hilariously, he does have a more prominent film on his resume -- God's Pocket, the 2014 Philip Seymour Hoffman film. I say "hilariously" because IMDB actually lists him as "set medic - uncredited." How the hell does an uncredited set medic job make its way onto IMDB? It's not like with an uncredited cameo, where anybody can look at the film and see that Johnny Depp appears in it and add it to his IMDB. No, Mr. Tweedie had to do some work to petition IMDB to have his contributions on God's Pocket recognized.

I'm not "having a go" (to use the Australian phrase) at Bop Tweedie. I'm really not. Or maybe I am, but I fully recognize it's not deserved. Bop Tweedie is doing a lot more in the film industry than I am. Good on him. He probably lives quite a nice and successful life.

Really, it's just that I love his name. And yes, I'm making fun of it. But I wouldn't even be making fun of it if I didn't absolutely fucking love it.

And maybe it really is a stage name. Bop Tweedie also has four acting credits: Subconscious (in which he was also the medic), Swimming on the Moon, Brothers (1995) and Vampire Vixens for Venus.

So I just hope for the sake of Mr. Tweedie's personal equanimity that he wasn't really trying to make it as an actor. He's a lot closer to breaking out as a set medic than in front of the camera.

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