UGA vs. UF: Pop culture showdown
As previously noted, this weekend is the big ol' Georgia-Florida football game. Now, I don't have much interest in college sports. I haven't lived in Athens long enough to be too interested in the Dawgs, and the primary impact of gamedays on me is a lack of downtown parking. Since I know absolutely nothing about either football team, how to pick a favorite? Going to ESPN.com would be too easy, so I'm going to rely on what I do know something about -- pop culture. So, Athens or Gainesville?
My first instinct is to compare music scenes, but... come on. While Gainesville has its leading lights (Tom Petty, Sister Hazel, Less Than Jake), Athens is Athens. Let's turn instead to the neutral ground of TV and film. Completely arbitrary, but whatever. Which city has served as the backdrop for better productions? IMDB knows all....
Motion picture comedy
Athens: Road Trip (2000)
Gainesville: Parenthood (1989)
Solid entries here from each contender. UGA hosted filming for parts of the Stifler/Tom Green college romp, most memorable for Green's "Unleash the fury!" cry. While Road Trip might win if Gainesville lacked a strong counterpart, it was one filming location of the Steve Martin classic Parenthood. Despite the fact that Road Trip included both Andy Dick and Tom Green, I'll have to go with Parenthood. Sorry kids.
Unleash the fury:
Athens: Cobb (1994)
Gainesville: Just Cause (1995)
Two forgettable films, but some star power. Cobb was a Tommy Lee Jones vehicle that also included Robert Wuhl. Not so bad. Just Cause, however, was loaded -- Sean Connery, Laurence Fishburne, Ed Harris, Ned Beatty, and a very young Scarlett Johansson. No contest.
Oh, and Gainesville also had the Keanu Reeves, Al Pacino, and Charlize Theron film The Devil's Advocate. While I didn't select it as the city's candidate, that's a winner too.
Athens: Athens, Ga.: Inside/Out (1987)
Gainesville: The Allman Brothers Band: Brothers of the Road (1985)
Quality entrants here, but gonna have to go with Athens. I haven't seen the ABB doc, but it's a band I'm bored with performing a decade past their prime. Inside/Out, on the other hand, was an important and seemingly prescient project capturing a blossoming music scene.
From Athens, Ga.: Inside/Out:
Comedy performance film
Athens: An Evening with P. Oswalt (2007)
Gainesville: The Tom Green Cancer Special (2001)
Tom Green making an hour's worth of jokes about testicles, or Patton Oswalt being Patton Oswalt? Patton it is.
Patton likes Athens too:
Athens: "Trading Spaces"
Gainesville: "Rescue 911"
This one's harder than it seems. "Trading Spaces" can be addictive even if you can barely pick up a hammer, and features some serious eye candy. "Rescue 911," however, has William Fucking Shatner. A tough contest, but this one goes to Athens. Put Shatner in a Starfleet uniform and I'll reconsider.
Let's add up those final tallies, shall we?
Athens 3, Gainesville 2. Classic City by a nose.
I doubt they'll let me pick the Southeastern Conference champ with such criteria, but I'd be willing to give it a shot.