Have you ever noticed that we as international consumers of pop culture are exposed to an inordinate amount of things named "Oz"? There are people named "Oz." There are television shows named "Oz." There are movies released 74 years apart named "Oz." Certainly, there is an unspoken worldwide fascination with those two letters in that specific order.
It's entirely possible, in fact, that we've reached a point where we cannot move forward as a society until we have in place an unofficial ranking of all things Oz, especially with this week's upcoming release of "Oz: The Great and Powerful." There are just too many damn Ozzes (sp).
Counting down from 10-1, here is the Oz pecking order, as it stands right now:
10. Oz from the American Pie movies (as portrayed by Chris Klein)
If you want to get technical, Chris Klein's character in the "American Pie" movies is actually named "Chris Ostreicher," but he (barely) makes this list due to his phonetic nickname, "Oz." He's able to hang on at the end strictly for the thoroughly unsuccessful line in the embedded video above, but can only get the ten spot (or if you prefer, the "scooby-dooby doo-wop...Scoo-scooby-dooby dooby dooby doo-wop yeah ten spotttttttt") because he has no discernible positive qualities except that he's good at lacrosse and he seems to keep himself in pretty good shape. "Hey bro, I landed Mena Suvari, so back off." - What Oz would say to me if he read this paragraph.
9. Ozzie Guillen, Former Chicago White Sox and Miami Marlins Manager
Certified crazy person Ozzie Guillen would have been higher on this list as recently as six months ago, when he still had a job, but at his current state, he's only able to claw his way to number nine. Indeed, Guillen being the first Latino manager to ever win a World Series (in 2005 with the White Sox) is enough to keep him above Chris Ostreicher, but then, so would have winning $100 on Keno one random Tuesday in Des Moines in 1998. Please enjoy the above clip, where a reporter asks his opinion on Sean Penn for some reason.
8. "Return to Oz," (1985 film)
This movie scared the **** out of me as a kid, but then, not much didn't. Still, "Return to Oz" is a thousand times darker than the actual 1939 "Wizard of Oz," and not just because young Fairuza Balk plays Dorothy and everything Fairuza Balk does is kind of dark; it is actually somewhat frightening if you're a ten year old / if you're any age and you watched it last week by yourself in your apartment but would never actually tell anyone that it still scared you. Above is the first part of the movie, ending just before Dorothy's friend horrifically drowns in a thunderstorm. (Fun for the whole family!)
7. "Oz the Great and Powerful" (2013 film)
By virtue of the trailer looking cool (stress "looking" cool, in the same way that "Speed Racer" also "looked" cool), "Oz the Great and Powerful" comes in at #7 on our list. This one, obviously, could go in either direction: If it's bad, it could slide all the way off the list and be replaced by Seth Green's "Oz" character from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," currently slotted at #11 (or even Ozzie Newsome, GM of the Baltimore Ravens, at #12); if it's solid, it could easily work its way into the top five. Needless to say, "Oz the Great and Powerful," there's a LOT riding on this week if you want to even ponder the thought of being better than Dr. Oz.
6. Ozzie Smith, Hall of Fame Shortstop for the St. Louis Cardinals
Ozzie Smith made the greatest ever defensive play by an infielder in 1978 (embedded above), and that alone vaults him to number six on our coveted list. There's not much else to say about him other than this: It will be fun to discuss Ozzie Smith in future conversations by saying, "Yeah, I mean, he's probably a little better than 'Oz the Great and Powerful,' but not quite as cool as Dr. Oz, if that makes sense," and all of my friends will nod in agreement without any needed context.
5. Dr. Oz (Doctor, TV Host)
Dr. Oz has made hundreds of trillions of dollars by telling people who are sitting on their couch and watching television that sitting on your couch and watching television isn't good for you, but be sure to sit on your couch and tune in to tomorrow's episode of "Dr. Oz." That's not to insult the man: I can neither confirm nor deny that I'm an active "Dr. Oz's 7-minute morning workout" participant. I will say this, however: I can confirm it, and feel no shame about it. So thanks, Mehmet. Continue crying $10,000 bills, for all I care.
4. "Oz" (HBO Television Series, 1997-2003)
HBO's "Oz" was a gem, a gem that sadly no one has ever seen. It can't be syndicated because each episode would last approximately 77 seconds on cable due to cuts to its R-rated content (people on the show often use bad words; there are penises (peni?) everywhere; people are killed; etc.). For comparison, "The Sopranos" is at least watchable on A&E even if you're forced to cringe every time Tony calls Christopher a "freakin loony" or something. Good news for "Oz" fans, though: It lands at number four on this list! Dr. Oz can SUCK IT (metaphorically).
3. Frank Oz (Actor, Director)
Every time someone approaches Frank Oz and asks him to say something in the Yoda voice, he should say something like, "Why don't I just direct something in the "What About Bob?" direction, or write something in the "The Muppets Take Manhattan" tone?" then sulk away and hide in a corner until someone asks him if he wants a soda. Because while the voice of the most badass and insightful 2-foot-6 green creature of all time Frank is, a talented director the man also became. And he wrote "The Muppets Take Manhattan," which, you know, job well done on that, too.
2. Ozzy Osbourne (Singer, Television personality)
A significant percentage of the American population can name every member of Ozzy Osbourne's immediate family off the top of their heads, and it's not even weird. That's mostly thanks to the MTV reality show "The Osbournes," but now wife Sharon is on the "How the hell did they come up with that name?" daytime talk show "The Talk" and daughter Kelly judges what people wear to award ceremonies for a living for E!. There's a 77% chance that more people under 25 know what Sharon and Kelly are famous for than they do Ozzy. Rock music used to mean something. ****ing kids these days, right? Now go get me my colostomy bag.
1. "The Wizard of Oz," (1939 film)
The above clip is a bunch of people debunking the oft-told legend of the munchkin that hung himself during filming of "The Wizard of Oz." They say it's actually just a bird flapping its wings, and detailed footage shows that they're right, but (and all due respect to the family of the nonexistent munchkin) it was waaaay more fun when we all thought a munchkin hung himself in the trees of Munchkin-land. All of this is (of course) to say that after three quarters of a century, "The Wizard of Oz" remains the gold standard in Oz-dom.