Our world is filled with many wonderful combinations: David Bowie plus Queen gave us "Under Pressure"; pizza plus bagels gave us the pizza bagel; and Jack O'Brien plus a huge bag of X gave us a Cracked office party that we're still not allowed to blog about.
Ah, memories ...
But what about all the unsuccessful combos? Times when two great things are combined, and despite all expectations, the result sucks far harder than either of those things separately. And to be clear, I don't mean things like drinking and driving or government and religion. I'm talking about great things, thrown into the mixer of awesome, whirled together with high expectations, but producing only a viscous sludge of failure.
#5. Chris Cornell Plus Rage Against the Machine = Audioslave and Sadness
I fully believe Soundgarden's Chris Cornell is the most talented human being in the history of hard rock. The greatest lead singer rock has ever produced, surpassing Robert Plant, Roger Daltrey and Steven Tyler. Just as important, his songwriting prowess rivals Jimmy Page's, and he's penned a tremendously diverse and impressive catalog ranging from speed metal to blues, gospel and folk-influenced songs.
Rage Against the Machine, although holding a smaller place in my heart, has an undeniable musical legacy. Tom Morello is an inventive and unique lead guitarist of tremendous power, and Rage's rhythm section reliably delivered a powerful hard rock stomp.
So at that magic point in the early 21st century when Soundgarden was no longer a band and Rage's lead singer Zack de la Rocha left to pursue dreading his hair and being angry about Latino politics full time, it seemed a wonderful opportunity to make this thing happen. Hell, even superproducer Rick Rubin thought it would be a great idea. What if Rage suddenly had a lead singer with an actual vocal range who wanted to write about things besides that time Mexican soldiers raped his grandma? What if Cornell, who had experimented with a more mellow solo album, returned to just kicking ass?
Zach getting irate about Sandinistas. (Educated guess.)
Well, after three albums, it's clear that what would happen is nothing special. At all. The union produced fairly mediocre hard rock that lacked any of Soundgarden's musicianship, groove and subtlety. Rage fans were also disappointed by the departure from the four on the floor, take no prisoners RATM stomp. And Zack de la Rocha fans missed seeing a dreaded Muppet strutting around stage ranting about Simon Bolivar or Che Guevara or, OK, I'm not really sure.
#4. Board Games Plus Movies = Clue, Battleship, Cancer (Probably)
You know how in every Cracked list there's an entry that doesn't quite fit with the others? No. No you don't. That never happens. And it's not happening now. But I must admit this entry's kind of less specific than the rest because when it comes to the concept of combining movies (big fan) with board games (big fan), how can I pick just one abortion? They're all terrible. There's Clue and Battleship, and soon we'll have another Clue, plus Candyland, Monopoly and Ouija.
I'm not sure how this keeps happening. These games have no story. They have no protagonist. They have no dialogue. There is nothing to actually adapt, just some vague name recognition. It's the stupidest idea for someone to sink money into ever since somebody decided to start a website based only on the name recognition of a magazine that no longer existed.
"See, in the movie, Ouija is a plucky Midwestern girl who wants to make it in the big city!"
Nevertheless, I'd like to formally announce right here that I am currently pitching a movie based on Ants in the Pants that follows Seanbaby's heroic exploits as he engages in a Muay Thai death match with his pubic lice.
My money's on the crabs.
***UPDATE: Wow, I had no idea so many people loved Clue. Well, I love the cast, but for me it was always mediocre because each of those actors was in earlier movies I enjoyed more. Also, the movie itself is a lot like one of my favorite comedies of all time, Murder By Death, except not as funny. I wasn't trolling you with this. I was trolling with the Zach de la Rocha jokes that apparently bothered no one.
#3. Mick Jagger Plus David Bowie = "Dancing in the Streets" and ... Oh My.
Chris Cornell might be my rock-and-roll hero, but David Bowie is my God. I don't think there has been another artist who's had a greater impact on every aspect of how I live my life.
For example, here I am on the way to my prom.
There's far too much ink on Bowie's diversity and importance for me to waste everyone's time reiterating it here. But if you're reading this and think of Bowie as only the dude from Labyrinth or Let's Dance, you're missing out on an awful lot. Download Hunky Dory, Ziggy Stardust, Heroes and Scary Monsters. Four completely different, incredibly important and influential albums. But despite all that innovation and bravery, somewhere around 1983, David got a taste of American mainstream mass success and lost his damn mind. He wandered the halls of musical mediocrity for six years until Tin Machine saved his soul in '89. But before that happened, he teamed up with his old pal Mick Jagger.
Mick Jagger's a rock-and-roll legend and lead singer of the Rolling Stones -- y'know, that band that contrarian douchebags like to say is the greatest band ever because they think it's cooler than giving the Beatles as the right answer. Anyway, Bowie and Jagger got together in 1985 to cover the classic Martha and the Vandellas song "Dancing in the Street." This was the result:
Years later, Bowie's ex-wife would claim that Mick and Dave had sex in the '70s, but I promise you that even if she filmed the two of them in the throes of a passionate 69, that footage would not be nearly as homoerotic as this video. And this is not the good kind of gay, either. This is not the glam rock Ziggy Stardust sexuality that embraces both genders and all intergalactic species or the Oscar Wilde uber-sophisticated kind of gay associated with wise and witty zingers. This is the swishy kind of gay that belongs to a beauty salon queen, booking appointments while bitching for a full 10 minutes about how the Starbucks barista didn't leave room for milk. Also, on a musical level, it sucks. We all agree on that, right? I don't need to, like, give reasons, do I?