There was no tiger owned by Iron Mike Tyson. No babies nicknamed “Carlos” crying in the closet. And, thank heavens, no family heirloom/wedding ring on the finger of a single-parenting stripper.
Other than those differences, though, the third Friday night of August 2008 was my very own prequel to The Hangover, this summer’s first sleeper-smash-hit that pulled in $45 million this weekend. More power to director Todd Phillips and the film’s team—-it’s certainly one of the funniest film I’ve seen in a long time, and closes its curtain with quite possibly the most-perfect ending credits sequence of all time. Seriously, the best possible way for the film to end, executed to “Did they really just show that?” perfection.
This isn’t really a Spoiler Alert, but I’m about to reveal just what happens over that end credits montage, so, if you want to be surprised, skip over the next few sentences. As all of the Las Vegas-set hijinx and mayhem that our three misfit groomsmen have survived concludes in typical “Hollywood happy ending” fashion, one of the leads finds a camera full of pictures taken during the course of the bachelor party that none of them can remember. Date rape drugs mixed into Jagermeister are largely to blame. Then, while the credits roll across the screen, we’re blessed with candid snapshots of Mike Tyson passed out in bed with a random chick, Heather Graham spread eagle on a stripper’s stage, and Zach Galifanakis getting head from an elderly woman (for real).
The guys make a pact to delete all of the pictures once they’ve finished looking at them, of course—-what happens in Vegas, stays there, per usual. It’s a cardinal rule for all bachelor parties, to never bring a camera. The less evidence that the groom scored a lapdance from a birthday-suit-wearing hottie with huge nugs, the better off his impending nuptials will be. Which is why I left my camera at home last August, the weekend of my great friend’s own pre-marriage sendoff bash. Down in Atlantic city, for two nights in the swank Borgata Hotel and Casino.
The first night of the pair still being a complete, shameful blur for your boy. The only clear memory of that evening was the colossal brain-scramble I felt throughout the Saturday after, a day from Hell that began with me waking up in my hotel bed with all clothes still on, and the rest of my fellow weekend warriors laughing at me and asking me, “What the fuck happened to you last night?!”
I really wish I knew, fellas. [Continued after the jump]
That Friday night’s recipe for duress: at least 12 big cans of beer, three straight shots of Jack Daniels, the strongest Screwdriver ever made, and a mixture of other shots that I’ll never be able to identify.
Instructions: crack open the first brolic beer can at 2pm, and never stop sipping for the rest of the day, right up to the point when you meet females at the bar/lounge/club who discover your bachelor party status and proceed to buy you some more shots that they don’t name.
11:45pm The clouds started forming right when we stepped foot into Harrahs Resort, where the new, aquatic-themed The Pool (at Harrah’s Resort) awaited. “The Pool Bar,” from the pictures I’ve seen online, is a gorgeous-looking venue—-bars set off as mini islands within a series of shallow pools and plastic palm trees. I’m sure the place looked great when I was there, but I haven’t the foggiest idea of what I saw in person. I can still see fuzzy vignettes playing, of me screaming at the groom to “Man the fuck up” and do hard-liquor shots in my company.
12:45am Of me stumbling away from my squad toward the exit, for no logical reason.
That’s where the whole experience became my The Hangover prequel. Just as the characters in the film wake up in extreme morning-after agony without showing the audience anything that happened, my eyes cracked open at 11:30am in a sharp state of confusion mixed with fear, sprinkled with nausea. Why are my clothes still on? Why does my head feel like a freight train is using my ears as tunnel entrances? Can somebody please tell me what the hell went down last night?
Where did these suspiciously-large cuts and scratches on my right arm come from?
My friends gradually filled in some of the blanks. As their collective story goes, I was a loud, boisterous, belligerent drunk, causing a huge scene in The Pool. Not bad enough to get the old forceful heave-ho from a bouncer, but slightly embarrassing. I started spitting some G to a rather attractive lady with nice curves and long black hair (they’re description, not my dreamland-manufactured one), even going so far as to palm her ass. The best part of the story is that this girl was totally down, not pushing my hand away or pimpslapping me like I owed her money. Would’ve been a Dwight Howard slam dunk, if only I hadn’t…..
……disappeared. Dropped the heavy-ass medicine ball. If I wasn’t so inebriated, this anonymous cutie could’ve woken in bed right alongside the guy typing right now. Shit, she could’ve been the future Mrs. Barone (a stretch, I know, I know). I’ll never know, though. Because rather than buy shots for she and I, I left The Pool alone and somehow flagged down a cab to drive me back to the Borgata Hotel. How long it took me to do so, I couldn’t tell you even if you coughed up cash.
All day Saturday, I walked around like an extra in an old George A. Romero or Lucio Fulci flesh-eater movie. No cannibalism. I snoozed eyes-open through our lunch in the hotel’s food court, my Sarku Japan-cooked teriyaki chicken entree going down with less speed than an oral sex porn scene being watched in super slow motion. My $100-plus dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse tasting wonderful yet giving me deju vu of Sarku. The lapdance that the stripper gave me in our hotel suite later that night feeling like more of a task than a tease. Trying to party up in the Mixx nightclub weighing me down like a payless job.
Unable to fully let loose over Saturday’s entirety, I was forced to overthink, mainly about the night before. After drinking gallons of water and swallowing a pile of Aspirin, I’d surely be able to piece together the chain of drunken events.
Who the hell was I kidding? All that my liquor-logged brain could muster was random scenes taking place in Borgata hallways. Hallways nowhere near that of my room’s. My hand inserting the key-card into door after door, unsuccessfully. At one point I threw up the white flag and sprawled out across one hallway’s floor for an indeterminable amount of time. I couldn’t remember my room’s number to save my own skin.
Labyrinth after labyrinth, consuming three hours, at the most. How do I know it was “three hours, at the most”? One of my friends came back to our room to get changed before he and others hit a strip club, and saw me passed out as if Mike Tyson had struck with me a right hook after doing some Phil Collins-honoring karaoke. The time of my friend’s arrival: 4:30am
Now, just imagine if I didn’t have a room key in my pocket. The likelihood of some oversensitive hotel guest seeing me passed out outside her door, vomit caked on my chin and button-up, and calling security to escort me off the premises would’ve been mountain-top high. My friends would’ve woken up and panicked, wondering where I was and if I was even alive.
The room key was clutch, but you know what would’ve been ten times more preferred? A damn camera. If one had been in my possession, pictures of the gal whose ass I cupped would serve as proof that I had a real hottie in the bag. Firsthand photos could compare and contrast the Pool Bar’s decor with the venue’s flashy, maybe misleading website. There’d be visual aid to assist my ceasing-of-intaking-alcohol ever again, despicable pics featuring me flashing a middle finger to the camera, or swigging straight from the Jack Daniels bottle, or groping the buttocks of some sloppy, fugly female that my friends talked up, thinking, “What Matt doesn’t know won’t hurt his ego.”
Driving home that Sunday morning, the credits playing as my friend’s bachelor party entered wrap city, my very own picture montage could’ve been the cake’s icing.
The Real Hangover, starring Matt Barone.