Friday, February 18, 2011

Hey, That’s My Name!

Dr. Martin HarrisThere’s a new movie that’s hitting theaters this week featuring a central character who just happens to share my real name. Not only that, the movie appears to be a thriller in which the hero’s identity gets stolen (or at least it seems that’s the case from the trailer). No shinola!

The movie -- Unknown -- has the tag line “Take back your life.” Seems like it might at least partly recall Alfred Hitchcock’s North By Northwest, a movie in which an ad exec named Roger O. Thornhill (Cary Grant) gets mistaken for a certain George Kaplan, thereby finding himself unexpectedly enveloped in a complicated tale of international intrigue part of which will involve Thornhill fighting to get his identity back.

I’m just guessing, though. Could be this movie goes in a completely different direction. In any event, the trailer is exciting enough, with a lot of folks running around and plenty of urgent-sounding music to heighten the drama. Near the end of it, Frank Langella turns up to proclaim (creepily) “There is no Martin Harris. He doesn’t exist.”

Kind of thing gets your attention, particularly if you happen to share that name.

I’ve had a few people already ask me if I’ve heard about the movie which stars Liam Neeson. Perhaps more will start asking me about it if it turns out to be a hit. I guess I kind of hope it doesn’t. As I told my brother -- who’s getting a big kick out of it all -- “I don’t want this turn into a Michael Bolton situation.” (Those who have seen Office Space know what I’m talking about.)

Actually my brother got an even bigger kick out of a previous instance of my name turning up in popular culture. As it happens, there was a famous figure in the history of Mormonism -- one of the witnesses to Joseph Smith’s finding the golden plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated -- who was also named Martin Harris.

Amid a fairly comprehensive satiric evisceration of the religion on an episode of “South Park” a few years back, there appears a song which includes the much-repeated refrain “Martin Harris dumb dumb dumb, dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb!” (The song turns up in this clip, if you’re curious.)

I suppose some viewers found the episode funny, others less so. Regardless, for reasons not intended by the South Park guys, my brother found it friggin’ hilarious.

The other day I was playing in one of Kevmath’s home games on PokerStars, which have turned out to be a lot of fun. Have gotten to play and chat with some folks I know, as well as with others who I’m just starting to get to know as we play.

Someone asked me during the most recent tourney about my name. Thinking the question was about my Stars username, I answered by explaining its origin. Then the person asked again, this time putting it something like “what’s your real name?”

I instinctively answered “Shamus” since I figured that would be the name that would be more readily recognized (which it was). Felt a little funny, though, to say that was my “real” name.

Because it’s not. I mean, I don’t think it is. Is it?

Uh oh.

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1 Comments:

Blogger Gene said...

Funny, the other day I was washing dishes with the TV on the background and heard Langella intone, "There is no Martin Harris..." and I kept scrubbing for a few seconds before I said, "Wait...what?"

2/18/2011 3:31 PM  

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