Men With Brooms

Ever since I saw Aspen Extreme, I was a Paul Gross fan, even before he floored most of the tv watching audiences who saw him as Constable Benton Fraser in Due South. Men In Brooms is a romantic comedy & sports related movie, revolving around the sport of curling, directed by Paul Gross as well as him being the lead actor.

The cast also includes Connor Price, Leslie Nielsen, Peter Outerbridge, Kari Matchett, Molly Parker and Polly Shannon. Members of the rock band The Tragically Hip make a cameo appearance in the film as a competing rink representing Kingston, Ontario, the band’s home city.

The plot is pretty simple: their old coach dies of a heart attack and his last wishes are that his ashes be stored inside a curling rock and that his  estranged former team – Neil Bucyk (James Allodi) is a dissatisfied mortician in a marriage as lifeless as his customers; James Lennox (Peter Outerbridge) is constantly courting trouble, and this time he’s headed for a date with a thug who’s tracking him down in search of payback; and Eddie Strombeck (Jed Rees) can’t impregnate his wife because of his single digit sperm count & skipper Chris Cutter (Gross) who left town – get back together and play for the prestigious Golden Broom championships.

What follows next is fun practicing, coaching by the evergreen Leslie Neilsen, a love relationship blossoming between Cutter & Amy, the recovering alcoholic sister of his former fiance & daughter of his old coach. Some hilarity occurs during the competition stages and ofcourse, we know that Gross and company will win the tournament. But it’s an enjoyable comedy for grownups and the main theme is novel enough to set it aside from all the other sports related movies. 7 outta 10!

A Motor Mouth From My Childhood

When I was in the 10th grade I made a friend who was new to our school. He was a loud-mouthed, arrogant yet smart & friendly former Saudi resident named Sameer Siddique. Guy was a smart ass and pissed people off at first but then they understood that he was just kidding and soon most of my classmates started warming up to him. For that year and for the next couple of years, he was my best friend.

Sameer had a volatile temper and a mouth with a motor attached to it. Petty things that 15 year old boys could dole out in class could really rile him up. And the teachers would turn to me to calm him down!  I had that effect on people (stopped when I started getting a really bad temper by the age of 25). Anyways, it was a really good friendship. My family knew him well. I got to know his sister & his mom and even went to his dad’s office (he was a heart surgeon) at times.

I hung out at his house a lot; whenever his parents & sister were away visiting relatives, I’d stay over and we’d watch movies, eat a lot of good food and talk about the future. I even went a mosque with him (I was an atheist by then but still curious). We’d go to movies together (I went to this really awful Kamala Hassan Tamil movie back in 1991) and teamed up for a couple of events at school. His sister’s first child was even named Roshanara after me despite their claims that it isn’t :)

By 1993-94 he moved to Velloor to study medicine and become a doctor like his dad. His friends would always support him and say that finally he would discover what was wrong with him once he could self-diagnose himself :P. But jokes aside, he was very single minded in his ambition to become a doctor and focused on it. I lost touch with him around that time. During the summer of 1997, he called me up and asked if we could hang out and go for lunch or something. So we hooked up with a couple of other buddies from school and went for lunch and a movie.

That was the last I saw of him. Over the years since I’ve thought about my childhood and my old friends a lot. I miss a lot of them and I miss Sameer. As I grow older I’ve begun to really appreciate the positive figures I met in my life and I’ve tried reaching out to the old friends I’ve lost touch with. I’ve tried Orkut & Facebook and MySpace in an effort to find out my old school friends. I haven’t found Sameer in any of them yet but I hope to someday.

And oh yeah – he had this big mouth so we used to call him Steven Tyler or Mick Jagger back in the day!