Who Wants to be a Millionaire? I do!

by Eric Melin on February 18, 2008

in Blogs

“Hey, who wants to be a millionaire?”

Some jackass at the Replay Lounge asked me that question last night after this article appeared in the Lawrence Journal-World. Hell yeah, I do. Are you kidding? Who doesn’t want to get paid a huge some of money for putting all that (formerly) useless movie trivia to work? Today is my first appearance on Netflix Millionaire Movie Week on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”  Click here to find out what time it is showing in your area. In my neck of the woods, it’s on at 2:30pm and 4pm.

Last year my friend Jill Ensley convinced me that it was worth getting off work early to drive up to a car dealership in Kansas City and try out for “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.” At first, I thought she was crazy, because I really don’t know enough general trivia to get on that show. (This was proved when I didn’t pass the regular test later that afternoon.) But then she told me they were also testing for Millionaire Movie Week, where all the questions would be about movies. That changed everything.

Long story short– My boss Kim let me off work early (thank you!), I went to KC, passed the movie test, and here I am today. Or, there I was in the Hot Seat in October of last year, rather. I’ve been silent about what happened on the show, but I can’t wait for my friends and family to see it so that I have no more secrets to keep. Meredith was amazing. She was totally encouraging and everyone who works on the show were awesome as well– they really want you to win tons of cash. I met a whole batch of cool movie-geek contestants, and had a great time.

More later…

eric melin millionaire movie week

2/20/08

Video Clips:

Start this video at 2:00 in to see one question right, then my ultimate downfall.

Watch Meredith read the question that tripped me up here.

Okay, so I’m not a millionaire. But I’ll take being a $25,000-aire any day. I kept telling myself over and over that I wouldn’t risk anything unless I was absolutely sure, and yet, there I was, risking huge amounts of money while trying to hold on to lifelines for later. I guess that’s why they call it a “game” show. It wouldn’t have been fun to watch someone guess everything right away and then stop when he didn’t know them anymore. Those third tier questions are designed to make you think and rethink and sweat and think some more.

One thing I noticed, but not nearly as much as when I was sitting in the Hot Seat, was how dry my mouth was. I was drinking lots of water backstage to try and compensate for it, but my mouth was dry as hell. Sometimes the body just reacts to things a certain way, and nothing I could do mentally seemed to control it. My lips were sticking to my teeth and I was licking them and moving them around and making weird faces.

The other thing I noticed is when Meredith told me I won $50,000 after a long, protracted battle with myself (where I pictured Alfred Molina in a snow speeder on Hoth fighting Imperial walkers), I went a little nuts. She did that disappointed “awww” thing to sink my spirits for just a second and then told me I was right. I screamed like a little girl and put my hands on my head. That was funny.

Meredith was hilarious. She’s so good at being charming and keeping everything moving. When the 50/50 thing didn’t go my way, she insisted (like the producers earlier) that it was a random computer program, and when the audience groaned, her reaction was very funny. She even did the “rock fist up” and the “Swiss fist” with me! She’s 100 percent on the contestant’s side, but when I was weighing my decision to go for $100,000, she egged me on there as well. She knows how to squeeze the most amount of tension out of these situations. I was worked up just watching it again, and I already knew what happened.

What a surreal exerience this whole thing has been. You have to embrace how strange life is, I think. Standing in my ripped up Chuck Taylors and shorts while sharing an elevator once with Celine Dion’s husband (René!) who was dressed to the nines and serious as a heart attack was so funny, I was giggling while he was still standing next to me. On one side, a multi-millionaire. The other, a scrubby kid who lives out of a van.

Opening for Miguel Ferrer and Ed Begley, Jr.’s rock band in Santa Monica during the grunge explosion of the early 90s was so exciting, that backstage I forgot what a bottle opener was. Thanks to my good pal Miguel, I had an open bottle of beer in no time. Most celeb sightings and stories I hear are about big stars and the like. I mean, I just interviewed Will Ferrell two weeks ago. But how many people can say that they opened up for a band fronted by a “Twin Peaks” cast member and the drummer for Spinal Tap?

Sitting on the set of a game show with dramatic sound effects, roving spotlights and cameras, and an audience that’s building up your confidence and cheering you on to act like a bigger and bigger imbecile ranks right up there with those surreal experiences. Getting the show’s host to make silly hand gestures that you made up with your friend one day in your living room is priceless.

What’s even more bizarre is that, when it was all over and I got my TV-sized fake check (they give you the one with your name and a million dollars on it, too, just for posterity), I was suddenly on a sidewalk in New York City, outisde the ABC studios, looking at Central Park. All my friends in NY were still at work, so I strolled on over there and spent the next hour and a half just walking around with a big grin on my face knowing that life had just thrown me another wild curveball. And why not?

It’s a good thing I decided to ask my boss if I could leave early that day in July last year.

netflix millionaire movie week

Eric is the Editor-in-Chief of Scene-Stealers.com and writes the Screen Stealers column for The Pitch. He’s President of the KCFCC, and drummer for The Dead Girls and Ultimate Fakebook. He is also Air Guitar World Champion Mean Melin. Eric goes to 11. Follow him at:

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mason Spencer February 19, 2008 at 4:17 pm

Can’t wait to get home from stupid work and see how Day 2 went! Hope you won tons of cash!

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2 Mason Spencer February 19, 2008 at 4:17 pm

Can’t wait to get home from stupid work and see how Day 2 went! Hope you won tons of cash!

Reply

3 Phil February 20, 2008 at 2:08 pm

Dude that was awesome we had the whole spot here in St. Louis rooting for you. Congrats!

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4 Phil February 20, 2008 at 2:08 pm

Dude that was awesome we had the whole spot here in St. Louis rooting for you. Congrats!

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5 Eric Melin February 20, 2008 at 2:47 pm

Thanks, Phil! It was a lot of fun; looking back it got pretty stressful towards the end! The epitome of second-guessing yourself, y ‘know?

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6 Eric Melin February 20, 2008 at 2:47 pm

Thanks, Phil! It was a lot of fun; looking back it got pretty stressful towards the end! The epitome of second-guessing yourself, y ‘know?

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7 nina February 20, 2008 at 11:17 pm

I finally got to watch the second half of the show. Nice job! I can see where the second-guessing could drive you nuts! You did great though!I mean c’mon Helena Bonham Carter was in that movie. Who wouldn’t have thought that it was a Merchant/ Ivory film? She was to MI as Funicello was to Disney. Congrats!

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8 nina February 20, 2008 at 11:17 pm

I finally got to watch the second half of the show. Nice job! I can see where the second-guessing could drive you nuts! You did great though!I mean c’mon Helena Bonham Carter was in that movie. Who wouldn’t have thought that it was a Merchant/ Ivory film? She was to MI as Funicello was to Disney. Congrats!

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9 Rich Yarges February 21, 2008 at 8:53 am

Nice job! I totally forgot we opened up for those guys in Santa Monica. That is surreal now that you mention it.

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10 Rich Yarges February 21, 2008 at 8:53 am

Nice job! I totally forgot we opened up for those guys in Santa Monica. That is surreal now that you mention it.

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11 Lauri February 21, 2008 at 10:13 am

Nice plug for your website on Millionaire. Cutest contestant by far!

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12 Lauri February 21, 2008 at 10:13 am

Nice plug for your website on Millionaire. Cutest contestant by far!

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13 Eric Melin February 21, 2008 at 10:23 am

Hi Yarges! Truck Stop Love and the drummer for Spinal Tap (if only for a momemt before he spontaneously combusted). Do you remember me fumbling with my beer, and Ferrer telling me it wasn’t a twist-off and geting it for me? I was totally starstruck.

Thanks, Lauri-
I’m surprised you caught “scene stealers.” It’s hard to picture the correct spelling when you say it out loud, and it went by so fast. I also got shout-outs to my friends Steph and JD, so that was fun, too.

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14 Eric Melin February 21, 2008 at 10:23 am

Hi Yarges! Truck Stop Love and the drummer for Spinal Tap (if only for a momemt before he spontaneously combusted). Do you remember me fumbling with my beer, and Ferrer telling me it wasn’t a twist-off and geting it for me? I was totally starstruck.

Thanks, Lauri-
I’m surprised you caught “scene stealers.” It’s hard to picture the correct spelling when you say it out loud, and it went by so fast. I also got shout-outs to my friends Steph and JD, so that was fun, too.

Reply

15 Eric Melin February 21, 2008 at 10:24 am

Nina-

I had it narrowed down to ‘Wings’ or ‘Picasso,’ but I just wasn’t thinking straight because they are all trick questions once you get that high…oh well. As Queen said, “Play the Game.” I think they were talking about love, though.

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16 Eric Melin February 21, 2008 at 10:24 am

Nina-

I had it narrowed down to ‘Wings’ or ‘Picasso,’ but I just wasn’t thinking straight because they are all trick questions once you get that high…oh well. As Queen said, “Play the Game.” I think they were talking about love, though.

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17 nina February 21, 2008 at 6:25 pm

Eric-I would’ve chosen ‘ Picasso’ as well and you’re right they do get very tricky. I automatically associate Carter with Merchant Ivory for movies back then and that would’ve thrown me. Now I associate her with Burton. You did great though and I just wanted to say I agree with Lauri.
Also, Queen quote applies to all. Happy spending to ya!

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18 nina February 21, 2008 at 6:25 pm

Eric-I would’ve chosen ‘ Picasso’ as well and you’re right they do get very tricky. I automatically associate Carter with Merchant Ivory for movies back then and that would’ve thrown me. Now I associate her with Burton. You did great though and I just wanted to say I agree with Lauri.
Also, Queen quote applies to all. Happy spending to ya!

Reply

19 Megan June 2, 2008 at 10:31 pm

I am watching you and thought “isn’t that the dude from Fakebook?” and it is. And I also know Jill from high school in all her goth glory. She taught me what oral sex is…not like, a demonstration. Just in conversation.

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20 Megan June 2, 2008 at 10:31 pm

I am watching you and thought “isn’t that the dude from Fakebook?” and it is. And I also know Jill from high school in all her goth glory. She taught me what oral sex is…not like, a demonstration. Just in conversation.

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21 Eric Melin June 3, 2008 at 3:25 pm

Megan-

I am indeed one of the dudes from Ultimate Fakebook. Did you go to high school with me, or did you just know my friend Jill (very well, it sounds like!)?

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22 Eric Melin June 3, 2008 at 3:25 pm

Megan-

I am indeed one of the dudes from Ultimate Fakebook. Did you go to high school with me, or did you just know my friend Jill (very well, it sounds like!)?

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23 Charles Gooch November 11, 2008 at 4:36 pm

That show is still on the air?

Just kidding. That’s pretty damned cool. Congrats.

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24 Charles Gooch November 11, 2008 at 4:36 pm

That show is still on the air?

Just kidding. That’s pretty damned cool. Congrats.

Reply

25 Phil December 16, 2008 at 11:56 am

That “Phil” up there isn’t me. Dear Lord. Anyway, I’m reading this now ’cause of your “Slumdog Millionaire” review and wondering how well I would’ve done on that show. Better than that other “Phil,” I’m sure.

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26 Phil December 16, 2008 at 11:56 am

That “Phil” up there isn’t me. Dear Lord. Anyway, I’m reading this now ’cause of your “Slumdog Millionaire” review and wondering how well I would’ve done on that show. Better than that other “Phil,” I’m sure.

Reply

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