Column, Movie Diary

The Movie Diary: I’ll stand by you

 During college, a friend and I got into a bit of a predicament after a long night of partying. We were highly compromised and foolishly thought it might be fun to break into the school’s gymnasium to shoot baskets.

At the time, I was in charge of the men’s intramural basketball program and therefore had keys to the gymnasium (so the idea of “breaking in” wasn’t entirely accurate). However, even though I had keys in my possession, it was expected that I only use them in accordance with my duties. 

Back then, there were no security systems or cameras, so if you could get into a building, you were pretty much free to roam. It was also the 1980s when minor offenses were still being shrugged off as long as no harm was incurred. These two points made the idea of trespassing easier to swallow. And given that I was barely 20 years old, intoxicated, and working without a fully developed frontal lobe, it was easy to understand why this felt like a legitimate idea. 

After stumbling over to the gym, I opened the door, turned on one set of overhead lights, and grabbed a couple of balls from the rec office. We then proceeded to shoot around. As expected, this quickly devolved into trying to make baskets from the bleachers and other unlikely locations. 

At one point, I wandered over to the water fountain to get a drink. As I was gulping up water, a loud, angry-sounding voice suddenly bellowed through the gym. When I turned around, a campus security guard was walking onto the court toward my friend.

My first instinct was panic, which caused me to freeze. However, as he was interrogating my friend, I slyly shuffled to the side of the bleachers where I could observe the confrontation undetected.

I could hear the guard chastising my buddy and asking him how he got access to the building. It was hard to understand their conversation given the echo in the building, but my friend was obviously taking the heat and not admitting to my presence.

After a brief interchange, the two walked to the doors where the security guard ushered my friend out. He then walked back into the gym and started to inspect the area. I could see his location through the slats in the bleachers where I stood motionless. After a few minutes of investigation, the guard headed to the doors, turned off the lights, and left. 

I stood under the bleachers in the dark for what seemed like an eternity. After I was sure the guard was gone, I snuck into the rec office to look out the windows. It was still dark outside, but the first glimpses of the sunrise were sneaking in, allowing me to determine that the coast was clear.

I quietly opened the door and exited the building and then quickly headed for the first set of dorms, even though they were not in proximity to my apartment (I knew I had to blend in fast to not bring attention to myself). 

Thankfully, I never saw another individual on my journey back to my dorm room. 

The next day, my friend showed up to my room while I was still asleep. I apologized profusely, thinking that he was going to be angry that I never ‘fessed up to my presence. Instead, he found the whole thing humorous, joking that the security guard was borderline inept because he easily fell for my friend’s excuse that the gym door was wide open and that he wandered in out of curiosity. My friend also said that he knew my job would be in jeopardy if I got caught, so he was happy to take the fall for me. 

When nothing became of the event, we surmised that the security guard must have thought that he left the door open and that it was better for him if the whole episode just disappeared, which we were happy to oblige. 

But the greater lesson for me was the importance of being friends with people who have your back if things get rough.  

In this week’s feature, “Ricky Stanicky” starring Zac Efron and John Cena, we meet another loyal individual who always seems to be covering for his hapless friends. 

From the comedic mind of director Peter Farrelly (“Dumb and Dumber,” “There’s Something About Mary,” “Shallow Hal”), “Ricky Stanicky is just as offensive and unruly as you would expect. Thankfully, there’s plenty of laughs intertwined. 

John Cena is the main comedic driver in this film, proving once again that the muscle-bound wrestler has the chops to carry a major Hollywood production. There’s more to this guy than most people realize, although he’s making it hard to ignore with each successive portrayal.

Check this one out if you’re looking for a solid comedic release. It doesn’t reach the upper echelon of Farrelly’s best projects, but it is goofy enough to keep you entertained. 

A “C+” for “Ricky Stanicky,” now available to stream on Amazon Prime. 

Got a question or comment for Dom? You can email him at

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