To Cathie, who unfortunately was once again unable to attend the All Night Horror Show

Posted in A Bay of Blood, All Night Horror Show, douchebag, movie marathon, Race with the Devil, ramblings of a loser, Rawhead Rex, Slaughter High, The Horror of Party Beach, Ticks, Twitch of the Death Nerve, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 15, 2016 by efcontentment

October 15, 2016

Dear Cathie,

How are you? Oh, what am I talking about — I know how you’re doing because I know you just recently celebrated a very special anniversary. Yup, it’s been one year since you received a letter from me about the New Beverly Cinema’s yearly horror movie marathon! Please keep your composure, it is a very emotional time for all of us, I’m sure. But I will try to keep the tears of joy from flowing if you can do the same.

Circumstances beyond your control with all of the control going to the powerful cold mistress of Fate kept you from attending this, the 9th Annual All Night Horror Show, and I fear that next year perhaps someone else will be writing me about the 10th. I say this because this year’s tickets were sold out online in under a minute — 45 seconds, if I heard correctly from marathon hosts Brian Quinn and Phil Blankenship — and so it has gotten to the point that by next year, seats could go to someone else aside from yours truly if for no other reason than I was a millisecond too slow on the trigger.

But that is to worry about next year! For now, let us — let me — tell you how it went down last Saturday.

Quinn/Blankenship welcomed the packed house and asked us how many were attending this thing for the first time, and I swear nearly half the place raised hands/cheered, which was cool because that meant so many people were going to have this new experience and hopefully they would enjoy it. But then there was this other dark part of me that didn’t want them to like it, anything that would cut down on ticket competition for the following year. A purely selfish thought to have, I know, but I shook it off immediately and remembered that “you can’t always get what you want”, to quote a song by a world famous band that’s made millions upon millions of dollars and made millions of fans and are loved everywhere and have gotten everything they — YOU KNOW WHAT? THE ROLLING STONES CAN KISS MY ASS WITH THAT BULLSHIT ALONG WITH THAT ARBY’S HAT WEARING SON-OF-A-BITCH PHARRELL WITH HIS “HAPPY” SONG.

Rather than focus on films that have been screened/seen ad nauseam around this time of year, Quinn/Blankenship picked stuff that hadn’t been screened in L.A. for at least ten or twelve years, or never made it out to the city at all, or if they did, they were very limited releases, or they went straight to video and never had an official theatrical release. We wouldn’t know the titles of the six films chosen until they played on screen. (Phil: “I will give one hint, though: there are *six* Police Academy movies.”)

We were given a way to guess the films via the trailers screened before each one; before the first film, we saw trailers for Lucifer’s Women, Rosemary’s Baby, To the Devil a Daughter, Satan’s Cheerleaders, and House of the Devil. It had to be something involving Ol’ Scratch one way or the other, and sure enough the first film of the night was 1975’s Race with the Devil, about a couple of Texan Men taking their Texan Ladies on a road trip to Aspen, Colorado.

To be real with you, I would’ve been fine watching a movie about these characters going to Aspen and back, and I don’t think it’s necessarily because the characters are so interesting but because the actors playing them are Peter Fonda and Warren Motherfucking Oates. Clearly I’m not alone in this thought because those two starred in three films together (the others being The Hired Hand and 92 in the Shade), but this one not only has them, it also has Loretta Swit and Lara Parker and Satan worshippers and a sweet RV so this movie is filled with all kinds of Right On.

No joking about that RV; even in its dated state nowadays, I found it impressive. It had a color TV with a good antenna and the sound system had four channels! People in the audience laughed at that the way people now laugh when Argyle in Die Hard goes on about the limo having “everything” like a CD player, CB radio, analog television and a VHS player. Me, I get wistful for a time when we were just as scared shitless then as we are now, only now we know how the past worked out so it looks much better in retrospect.

VHS and square televisions might have gone out of style, but bringing uninvited guests will always be in fashion. Por ejemplo, Oates is showing off his RV to Fonda and then we hear a noise — it turns out Fonda and his wife brought along their dog for the ride. What fucking balls to do that — to plan out a road trip with your homie and the motherfucker never thought to let you know about the four-legged stowaway until it was too late. It wasn’t even a real dog, you know, a big dog like a German Shepherd or a Boxer or a Phoebe, it was one of those little dogs but not too little. Small enough to get easily smooshed but not small enough to carry in your purse, where it would presumably shit all over your gum and tampons.

This movie would make a good double feature with Judgment Night; both are tales about why you shouldn’t drive your RV off the beaten path on the way to your destination because it will result in you and your people witnessing something you shouldn’t have seen which then means you’re going to be chased by those who prefer to remain unseen. In the case of this flick, our Texans witness a human sacrifice and because this was a White girl and not some illegal border crosser, this is a bad thing to them. This bad thing gets worse because even though they get away and report the incident to the cops, the rest of their trip is now tainted with traces of Fucking Unsettling. Every stranger is now even stranger-er and the film does a great job in making you feel that everyone our characters run into could be Satanists as well.

I like how the film starts out as a good ol’ boy fuckaround, goes into horror, shifts into a paranoia tale, turns back into horror, then goes straight out 70s car-crash actioner in the final stretch. Regarding that last section, the audience would frequently burst into cheers and applause. I think it was both seeing the baddies getting theirs while also seeing some genuine old school Holy Shit car stunts done by real stuntmen, probably some real Hooper types, you know? Like, I bet there was a lot of drinking going on after every shooting day with these stuntmen. I imagine a lot of bottles were shot at too in their off time, and no one gave a shit or called the cops because guns in 70s Texas were probably like iPhones in L.A. — who *doesn’t* have one? Well, me, for one. I roll with an Android, but I think you get what I’m saying, right?

Race with the Devil was written by Lee Frost and Wes Bishop, which meant nothing to me back when I first saw this in 2007 at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica, but a few months later a series of double-feature DVDs came out called “Welcome to the Grindhouse” (remember that brief period in ’07 when we all thought the movie Grindhouse was gonna be huge and suddenly you had DVD sets like that one and “The Grindhouse Experience” and other similar attempts at cashing in?) and it seemed like half of those movies were written & directed by Frost and Bishop.

They had a pretty good run with these 70s exploitation joints and Devil is really a big-budget studio version of those kinds of films — and it would’ve been more like those kinds of films if Frost hadn’t been fired as director. The studio ended up bringing in Jack Starrett (aka that asshole Galt from First Blood) who I feel doesn’t get enough love as a director, at least it seems that way to me. I think only Tarantino (of course) has sung his praises for flicks like this and The Gravy Train aka The Dion Brothers, which I went to see back in 2007 at the Aero Theatre as part of a double feature. That film was written by Terrence Malick under a pseudonym, but the second film, Race with the Devil was written by Lee Frost and Wes Bishop — IT’S ALL CONNECTED, MAN!

A raffle followed and prizes like comic books, shirts, collectibles, and Blu-rays were given away. We then watched a classic Popeye cartoon called “Ghosks is the Bunk” followed by another trailer reel: The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies, Muscle Beach Party, Psycho Beach Party (featuring Amy Adams!), Blood Beach, The Beach Girls and the Monster.

I started putting two and two together with the beach parties and monsters and began to get a sinking feeling. I whispered said sinking feeling to my friend and my fear became reality when the second film of the evening turned out to be The Horror of Party Beach from 1964. My reason for sinkin’ was that I had seen the film before on “Mystery Science Theater 3000” and so I assumed it was going to be one of those Manos: The Hands of Fate situations where it would be even tougher to watch a terrible movie in its un-riffed state. But hey, at least the print looked really spiffy! I said to myself.

So you have all these young gals and guys doing the beach thing in the East Coast (somewhere not too far from New York), dancing to a group called The Del-Aires and/or fighting on the sand over women who are just not worth it. Meanwhile, this town must have a 60s equivalent to Terry Silver living nearby because a bunch of radioactive waste is being dumped into the water and all over the skeletal remains of what I’m assuming was someone who snitched on the local mafiosi long ago — anyway, the toxic sludge-plus-skeletons-plus-whatever else was living under the sea end up forming into a new kind of life: walking bug-eyed scaly creatures with super-sized sausages permanently taking up residence in their wide-open maws. I’d feel sorry for these ugly/awkward things were it not for their taste for human blood.

Because this is a monster movie made long ago, these creatures prefer their blood to come from women and for the most part I think the movie has a little bit of the “eh, these bitches were asking for it” attitude. Like, this entire slumber party gets attacked and this was after we see them tee-hee’ing about the prank they were gonna pull on some visiting boys. Then later in the film we follow three independent Noo Yawkah types as they drive into town in their convertible and flirt with the poor gas station attendant who ends up ejaculating his sexual arousal all over the place except this is a movie and they can’t be literal about that shit, so instead it’s done with him accidentally pumping too much gas into the car and spilling it all over.

At the beginning of the film, we’re introduced to our main dude Hank, and he’s just about had it with his girl Tina for having fun. They argue, she tries to get him pissed off by getting some other dude’s attention, a fight breaks out between the two dudes, then the two dudes go their separate ways, leaving the lovely lady in the lurch. So off she goes for a swim to, I don’t know, find something out there to keep her nether regions occupied. Well, honey, I hope you like hot dogs because here comes a monster with a mouth full of them. Much screaming and bloody pawing ensues.

In this movie — and hell, most of these kinds of movies — if you are a girl who busts some dude’s balls or intends to in any kind of way, you’re gonna be punished for it. On the other hand, if you are a nice girl who needs a man, you’ll probably do OK and live a nice long life like our chick Elaine. Tina’s body is not even cold and Elaine is telling her scientist father about how she feels all weird because suddenly she’s catching feelings for her late friend’s boyfriend and ol’ Dad straight up hits her back with “Because he’s free now?” and holy shit we all laughed out loud in the audience.

Hell, we laughed quite a bit throughout this one; I’m happy to report that the movie is entertaining enough on its own without Mike and the Bots making quippy comments towards it. It’s a goofy low-budget movie — like many of its time — but also features some surprisingly nice visual compositions and editing every once in a while. Also, there’s the housekeeper Eulabelle who has more sense than anyone else in the movie and as far as I’m concerned is the goddamn hero of this movie, since she pretty much is the reason the scientist finds a way to kill the monsters.

I’m just bummed for poor Tina, a girl after my own heart — she liked to party and then she’d give you some alone time when you needed it. Sure, she would spend that time in the arms of another man, but hey, they can’t all be perfect.

One more raffle followed and I didn’t win anything so of course BOO All Raffles, right? The following trailer reel consisted of Clive Barker joints: Hellbound: Hellraiser II; Nightbreed — and that’s when I thought “Cool, I wonder which Clive Barker film we’re gonna watch?” Then the trailer for Midnight Meat Train came up. “OK, so I guess not that one. Maybe Lord of Illusions? Or Candyman? Or maybe one of the other Hellraisers? Hopefully the first or second.” Candyman and Lord of Illusions were the next trailers. “Uh, hmm. Well maybe it’ll be the third Hellraiser, that wouldn’t be so bad. Hell I’m willing to accept the fourth one or even the ones that went straight to video. I mean as long as it’s not –”

When the title Rawhead Rex filled the screen I found myself shouting FUCK! in my mind while most of the audience applauded and cheered even though they cheered for every movie because everybody’s all happy to be there. Let’s freeze frame on my disappointed face and go back in time to explain why:

So I’m at work, right, and as per usual I’m listening to a podcast through my earbuds because for some reason my co-workers love talking to me about the every day bullshit going on in their lives. I never asked for that but there we go. The day before the marathon I had been listening to an episode of the Outside the Cinema podcast and they just happened to be reviewing Rawhead; they trashed it mercilessly. I was familiar with the film, having seen bits and pieces of it on local television years ago while I was playing with my Ninja Turtles or something. I don’t remember giving much of a shit; I only remembered the titular monster looking both cool and goofy at the same time, oh and I remembered reading about how Clive Barker wrote the screenplay to the film (based on one of his “Books of Blood” stories) and hated the final result. Later I found out that this was the second time director George Pavlou directed a Barker screenplay; the previous was a film called either Underworld or Transmutations and Barker hated that one too. Holy shit. Fool you once, Clive….

So now let’s get back to me at the New Bev and un-freeze frame that shit to me shouting FUCK! in my mind while everybody else around me cheered. I thought: OK, here we go, a movie I recently heard about being terrible but let’s just keep an open mind and maybe we’ll get through it all right and hell, I might just like it. 

The movie takes place in a town in Ireland where some guys try to knock over this huge stone pillar, unaware that the pillar wasn’t just sticking out of the ground, it was keeping our titular pre-Christian demon underground where he’s been stewing, man, just stewing over having his big time spot taken by a couple of perpetrators named God and Jesus. Well, now he’s out and about and is making everyone shout right before he claws them and bites their faces off looking like an 80s metal album cover on bath salts and I think the filmmakers missed an opportunity to get some band to compose the music score to this film, at least whenever Rawhead showed up. It would’ve been so cool to watch Rawhead burst through a door while some long-haired coked-out vocalist high-pitches his best over some hardcore shredding on the gee-tar.

Instead you have that oh-so-orchestral score as Rawhead knocks over tables and shelves all half-assed like Tommy Wiseau at the end of The Room, and when he’s not doing that he stalks all around town because you know he’s automatically attracted to humans — he just starts killing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kill. He doesn’t even wait. And when you’re a powerful demon god, they let you do it, you can do anything. Grab them by the neck. You can do anything.

Even though the hero in this is some dude who kinda looked like Steve from “Married…with Children”, my favorite character has to be this priest named Declan who is introduced leading his parish in hymns and looking very much like someone going through the motions. Then he puts his hand on the altar which apparently doubles as a griddle (for pancake breakfast fundraisers, I reckon) because some asshole forgot to turn it off so now not only is Declan’s hand filled with burning pain but his soul is filled with the unholy ghost — and his mouth should be filled with soap for all the swearing he lets loose with throughout the film.

Yup, Declan is all about the Rex-Dawg now and it’s fucking hilarious. It’s like watching Rev. Lovejoy in “The Simpsons” when he was convinced the Movementarians were “the real thing” and suddenly he’s not about The Jesus anymore. Like Lovejoy, he gets rid of his clerical collar. Unlike Lovejoy, Declan allows his new God to baptize him R. Kelly style, all happy about it. Later on, Declan’s boss, the good Reverend Coot, finds out about his new alliance with Rex and asks him something like “What is he going to do with you when he’s finished with you?” and Declan responds with “KILL ME! (then he closes his eyes and gets all tingly inside) I HOOOOOPE!” because this is what happens when you don’t let priests get married. They get so hard up they’re either diddling the altar boys or working up some pre-cum over the possibility that their new Pagan God boyfriend is going to murder them.

Hooray for lowered expectations, because I found this watchable. Would I watch it again? Fuck no. But it didn’t hurt during those ninety minutes. The monster has funny eyes and I can see why Barker was the opposite of pleased with the cinematic look of his literary creation — or the cinematic everything of his literary creation. There are some good lines here and there, and there are elements that certainly feel Barker-esque (like the Declan character), but except for the nutty climax it all feels like it’s being performed in the key of Blah.

We saw a Laurel & Hardy short called “The Live Ghost” where our boys play a couple of fuckin’ crimps who make some money shanghai-ing sailors and we all laughed as the unconscious sailors were dumped into the cargo hold, one on top of the other, and you know that shit was real and bones were probably broken but fuck ’em — they didn’t have unions on set in those days, I bet.

Then we saw a trailer reel that had me guessing this was going to be a Mario Bava joint because the trailers were all for Mario Bava joints: Black Sabbath; Evil Eye; Baron Blood. Then the last two trailers — Friday the 13th parts 1 and 2 — helped me narrow my guess for the fourth film of the night, and so I whispered the title to my friend, who at this point was fucking DONE with the hot fetid breath of the douchebag next to him hitting his ear: the 1971 Italian film A Bay of Blood (aka Twitch of the Death Nerve aka Carnage aka so many other akas). Phil told us that he had been wanting to screen this film for the marathon for nine years and it took that long to find the absolute best print for it and it sure looked fantastic.

People who kill people are the killing-est people in the world — that’s the name of the game here. The film takes place in and around a property off the bay; you have this old rich lady in her wheelchair looking lonely, but don’t cry for her, she’ll have plenty of company soon in the afterlife thanks to some dude who suicides her. That dude then gets stabbed to death and the rest of the movie is just one person after another getting taken out hard — in one case, literally hard, as he and his lady are skewered while doing the horizontal mambo.

You know what, if I was suddenly killed right now I would be deserving of it for using “horizontal mambo”, but don’t get me wrong, I’m not Declan from the last movie, I’m not hoping for that to happen to me so allow me to apologize for that, Cathie — just in case you have the same kind of inclination to Bay of Blood the fuck out of people who annoy you.

I don’t remember where I first saw this — I want to say it was late at night on some UHF channel back in the day, maybe it was that “Horror Kung Fu Theatre” program hosted by The Nightshadow? — I just know I’ve seen it before. A Bay of Death Carnage is brought up most of the time in movie geek circles as the grandfather or godfather or much older pervy uncle to the slasher genre; some of the kills here were in fact straight up jacked and used in the first two Friday the 13ths, which is why we saw trailers to those movies in the reel. When I finally caught this film I had already been well-acquainted with how Jason Voorhees got down, so I was surprised with how effective — no, *more* effective the murders were here. Mainly it’s because Mario Bava is a much better director than Sean S. Cunningham or Steve Miner — in addition to the stylishly shot kills, homeboy is great at atmosphere and tension and all that.

(To be fair, I don’t know if Bava could’ve made My Father the Hero or Forever Young any better than Miner, but even if he couldn’t, it would’ve been an impressive effort given that Bava would’ve already been dead for over twenty years by then.)

In addition to atmosphere, I think there’s also how music is used differently between Blood Twitch Nerve and Friday the 13th; in the latter you have Harry Manfredini’s famous ki ki ki ma ma ma whispers and heavy use of strings and stings underscoring the hapless camp counselors inevitable bloody fates whereas in the former you have, well, most of the time you don’t really get anything music-wise from Stelvio Cipriani. I remember one kill that had some pulse-pounding chase music leading up to it, otherwise what little music there is usually won’t cue up until after someone is dead, and even then there’s nothing Horror about it. It’s unsettlingly lovely, sounding more sad and serene rather than sharp and scary.

This movie belongs in the 70s Italian horror sub-genre I like to call Quiet As Fuck For The Most Part; I don’t know if it’s a result of being dubbed and not adding much foley work to the proceedings or if that’s how Bava wanted it to sound but yeah, this is one of those where the only thing you can really hear in this movie is the dialogue in between the dim hissing in the background. It’s the kind of movie that you’ll probably raise the volume so you can hear what the characters are saying better and then suddenly glass will break and it will be the loudest glass breaking sound effect you’ve ever heard and you’re frantically reaching for the volume control while cursing yourself for watching this in the middle of the night with your window open so now your nosy retired neighbor is already turning his light on and reaching for the ol’ Ruger SP101 .357 Magnum.

The kills are good, the women look good, the music is good, and the ending is better than good — it’s fucking hilarious. Also, some asshole fisherman chomps on a fuckin’ squid he just pulled out of the water and I bet it’s some macho Italian thing, it’s not enough for him to gobble up some calamaaaaaaar(i) at the local ristorante. Whatever. If you can only see one Mario Bava film in your life, then you are going to die having missed out on even more good shit out there.

I don’t quite recall correctly, given that I waited too fucking long to write about this, but I think it was at this point that Quinn/Blankenship and company brought out donuts for everyone to enjoy. Tempting as it was, I ended up not partaking in all that sweet sweetness for fear of the eventual sugar crash before the end of the marathon. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, what helps me get through these marathons (which is getting tougher for me as I get older) is to keep it light in the food department and pace myself when it comes to caffeine and other stimulants.

So once I saw what we were all in line for, I got out of line to go outside and get some fresh air and that’s where I saw a gentleman by the name of Andrew with a lady by the name of Elle (I will keep their last names secret out of a sudden irrational fear that overcame me just right now that somehow being associated with this blog will hurt them in their respective careers, because really, what kind of degenerate do you have to be to be connected to me — right Cathie?). Andrew confirmed that she was indeed The Elle and so there we were.

Elle is the lady who bestowed the name “Princess Sparkle” upon me on Twitter years ago during EFC version 1.0 but I never met her until now — then — that night. I said Hi and then I said Bye and she was nice and he was nice and even in that brief exchange I overstayed my welcome. But it was good to see her and close another chapter in that particular book.

Quinn/Blankenship let us know that as per usual, the last two films would be presented back-to-back with no breaks. The trailers preceding the fifth film were all early 80s school slasher films like The Dorm that Dripped Blood (aka Pranks); Graduation Day; Final Exam; The Mutilator (aka Fall Break); and the spoof Student Bodies. Then the Vestron Pictures logo came up which caused damn near everyone to cheer because that’s the kind of geeks we are, the kind who know Vestron means Good Times. The film was Slaughter High (aka April Fool’s Day), which I had only seen the final twenty minutes of on TNT or TBS a long time ago, back when those channels used to show cool shit late at night. (Or maybe it was USA’s “Up All Night”?) Since then, I’ve only heard about it mentioned by horror geeks on horror geek websites and such, so it was cool to finally watch the whole thing.

This is a movie that takes place in a strange high school filled with people who are so scholastically challenged that they’ve been held back over and over for at least ten years, which would explain why they would do something as stupid as prank the everlasting fuck out of the nerd-in-resident, some schmuck named Marty. It wasn’t enough that they leave him with blue balls after making him think he’s gonna get some from Caroline Munro (playing one of the assholes, not as Caroline Munro), they also pull some extra heinous shit that ends with him getting even more hot and bothered, only in a literal-type way, as he ends up getting a little acid fire action. Dude ends up getting plastic surgery for about six months or so, meaning he’s gonna have an even harder time trying to get laid.

I couldn’t tell you if that ever happens for him, because the movie doesn’t tell us. Instead it flashes forward to the high school whatever-year-reunion — the students are probably in their mid-forties by now — and as we re-meet all of these assholes, we (me) notice a couple things: first, most of them carry with them a heavy air of The Best Years of My Life Were Ten Years Ago (with the exception of Munro’s working actress character), and second, they don’t have the best grasp on their fake American accents.

That’s probably because this was a British production that tries to fool us by planting American flags around the campus, but they might as well have kept the Union Jack up on those poles because everyone to varying degrees of un-success will end certain words with a different inflection than most of us Yanks are accustomed to. My favorite example doesn’t involve the students but the rockin’ DJ on the radio who pronounces “weekend” with a kind of gap between “week” and “end” which is something I’ve noticed my cousin-in-law and first-cousins-once-removed do.

See, I have family from the U.K.; my cousin married an English girl and has been living over there for twenty-something years. Nowadays when he speaks he sounds kind of like the actors in this movie, only that’s because the English accent is creeping into him, not out of him. At most, he has that Richard Lester expat accent, where he still sounds Murican like 70-80 percent of the time. He wasn’t full of shit like Madonna back when she was Mrs. Guy Ritchie, who after two seconds across the pond came out speaking The Queen’s like a born-and-bred fish & chipper. Didn’t Elijah Wood pull that shit for a little while too after filming a movie there? C’mon Frodo, you’re better than that, bro.

Oh yeah, so, these assholes are back and they notice that the school is run down and closed down and nobody else is there except the caretaker (he’s always been the caretaker) and one classroom full of food and drink and each of their lockers containing their old gear. One of these morons picks up a Pabst Blue Ribbon, downs it, and then his stomach explodes because only hipsters can stomach that swill, not former jocks like Guts Man over here. Something’s up, and it might have to do with the masked creep wearing a letterman jacket and jester hat stalking the halls and c’mon, we know it’s Marty getting revenge — not that he actually has to do anything, because these idiots who are lucky to have made it this far in life without winning a Darwin Award set themselves up in death traps like washing up in bathtub filled with acid, or my favorite, getting it on on a bed that just happens to be there even though friends are dying all around them.

The movie doesn’t take itself seriously — Jesus, at least I hope it wasn’t — and while it’s tempting to call this a “bad” movie, I feel this was exactly the movie the filmmakers wanted to make. At times it feels like a more restrained Troma production. The three (three!) writer/directors know what you want — to see people die horribly — and they give it to you while making no bones about not giving a shit about any of the characters. These are terrible people, all of them, and even though my sympathies were mostly with Marty because of all the shit that was done to him, he takes out the caretaker who to my knowledge wasn’t involved in the pranks. That means Marty is really all about getting revenge for himself, rather than cleansing the Earth of mean-spirited fuckwads (which I would be down with) and he’d probably consider the caretaker collateral damage. Marty can go fuck himself too.

Aside from that, this is a fun and nasty ride worth a look-see; this was the theatrical version, meaning the gore was cut down but it still did the job of making us in the audience react audibly to it. I understand the DVD and streaming versions reinstate it, so I’ll probably check that version out next Halloween season.

Immediately following Slaughter High, we saw a trailer reel where all the films had one thing in common — they were all released in 1993: The CrushMan’s Best Friend; Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday; Leprechaun; Return of the Living Dead 3. I then went to the restroom to do to the urinal what Rawhead Rex did to Declan and I thought I heard the trailer to Warlock: The Armageddon, but don’t hold me to that.

The sixth and final film of the night turned out to be Ticks (aka Infested), directed by Tony Randel (Hellbound: Hellraiser II) and starring Seth Green who Michael J. Fox’s it the fuck up in his role as a misunderstood kid named Tyler who is forced by his concerned dad to join some kind of group camp retreat for fellow troubled teens. Thankfully Tyler isn’t an asshole, the way young protagonists are in these movies. Alfonso Ribeiro, on the other hand, plays a character named Panic (“…’cause I never do!”) who has a higher asshole quotient because he’s one of these guys who tries to show you how hard he is to others. While I had no problem buying Green as a put-upon kid with some issues, it took me a few minutes to buy Carlton from “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” as a muthafucka from the hood.

What I liked about their relationship is that it turns into a kind of grudging “You ain’t that bad yourself, bro” kind of deal. It didn’t turn into what I expected to be Panic constantly fucking with Tyler and pushing him towards some kind of moment where he’d have to Stand Up For Himself or something. That also goes for the relationship between them and the other problem children along for this ride into the woods — a blonde bimbo, a brown himbo, an quiet Asian girl, Ami Dolenz — they pretty much get along and they’re led by some lady and Peter Scolari from “Bosom Buddies”, a program he starred in with Tom Hanks, who by this time was winning accolades and Oscar buzz for his role in Philadelphia.

So off they go, into what I thought was the Northern California woods. I’ll be honest, I got up a couple times to get some coffee refills so I missed some details here and there. Maybe it’s supposed to be Southern California, and I think I got confused because there’s a whole subplot about marijuana farmers and I associate that stuff with the Emerald Triangle up north. All I know is that Panic gets all upset and runs off to hitchhike back to Los Angeles after his canine companion dies after getting all swollen up and jello-jiggly because of being infected by giant steroid’d ticks. So I don’t know how long of a ride he’s got ahead of him.

Not that it would matter anyway. He won’t get far, nor will anyone else in this film. Because of the titular ticks, you see. They’re giant because fuckin’ Clint Howard wasn’t paying attention while trying to soup up his killer strain of Kush, he didn’t notice the ticks were getting some of those good-ass ‘roids until it was too late. A giant egg lands on his face and it looked familiar to me, that moment, and that’s when I realized that this clip was part of the montage MTV put together for their tribute to Howard when he received his Lifetime Achievement Award at the MTV Movie Awards, joining fellow awesome recipients like Jackie Chan and Chewbacca. Howard was so genuinely touched by the honor that MTV discontinued it after, feeling there was no way to top that.

Anyway, he gets a fuckin’ egg to the face and spends the rest of the movie infested internally by these bloodsuckas. The ticks get loose and oh woe is you if you’re infested too. It’s not so bad if they just bite you and inject some of that sweet sweet toxin in you, because then you start tripping LSD-style. But most likely you’re gonna get pregnant behind the middle school from these things and then it will be very bad. It’s all very gross and a mite disturbing but this is what movies like Ticks are all about, right? Grossing you out and shit? That’s probably why sadists like Quinn/Blankenship scheduled this movie last, so close to breakfast.

This feels like a 90s version of a 1950s-60s creature feature, the way it starts off kinda slow and serious and the characters are even painted a slight shade of Human but then after the ticks show up, it all goes out the window and suddenly you have not just these things skittering about (which would occasionally bring about the occasional yelp and scream from a female audience member somewhere near the front), you then have these half-dimensional cardboard villains (marijuana farmers) and that’s when it starts getting goofy and chaotic. The kind of movie they used to make — like The Horror of Party Beach.

Clearly it’s a low-budget film, but the practical effects are cool and there’s even what looks to be front-projection and matte effects thrown in. If this were made today, it would be produced by The Asylum and it would be charmless and cynically thrown together with the amount of effort it would take to just upload footage into a fuckin’ hard drive. These kids today, they miss out on shit like this. Everything has to be fuckin’ Sharknado now.

As the end credits began to roll, Quinn showed up and told us not to leave yet because the night wasn’t officially over yet. So we sat back down, most of us, anyway — some still left and some like my friend would stand in the aisles — and we waited until the very last frame of the Ticks print. A Bugs Bunny cartoon called “A Witch’s Tangled Hare” followed, and after that, the same National Anthem film that always closes out the marathon.

As far as the 9th Annual All Night Horror Show is concerned, we made it. My buddy and I then walked down a few blocks to a restaurant called BLD; I’d heard about it while watching a rerun of “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” on the Cooking Channel. This one chef, Aida Mollenkamp, raved about the Ricotta Blueberry Pancakes there — and I have to agree. They are pretty damn good, Cathie. If you make it to the next All Nighter, you should give them a try.

Oh I almost forgot! Right after the marathon, we were each given a gift in the lobby for making it through the night: a pair of sunglasses to help our walk into the morning light. The glasses were legit, and they most definitely fit. I wore them the rest of the day even though I have a pair of prescription sunglasses, but I was so tired I forgot about those until I was driving down the freeway and noticed things weren’t as clear as I was used to seeing them. That was a fun drive. I don’t know if my friend felt the same way.

OK, that’s it. I have plenty of things to do. These votes aren’t gonna tamper themselves and these e-mails aren’t gonna be leaked on their own. Take care and be well, comrade.

Всего хорошего,


P.S. I suggest that you [REDACTED] [REDACTED] when they start to [REDACTED] everyone while the [REDACTED] [REDACTED] before the [REDACTED] in [REDACTED]. Just looking out for my friends!

Down to the twenties.

Posted in douchebag, ramblings of a loser, Sully, Uncategorized with tags , , on October 9, 2016 by efcontentment

I don’t give a good God Damn what Clint Eastwood said in that fuckin’ interview because he’s still kind of progressive for a 171-year-old man and plus he’s Clint Fuckin’ Eastwood, and better yet, his films tell me a different far more complicated story about him. And you know what else, I’m gonna tell you something, T: People his age grew up Hard during tough times and if you were one of those Hard Motherfuckers still alive in 2016 after all that, you can call anyone from a younger generation whatever the fuck you want, you’ve earned it.

And in some instances, you might even be a little right.

I mean, c’mon, fellow un-Hard young person — you’re gonna tell me that we aren’t a little sensitive in the rear-end region? Because I think we are sometimes, at least. But enough of that shit, let’s talk about some good shit, let’s talk about Eastwood’s latest film, Sully, starring Tom Hanks as Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger. Tom and Sully, hey, that’s two well-liked people right there who are an honest thought away from saying something that doesn’t quite tow the line and therefore instantly turns them into The Worst People Ever BOO These Ignorant Fucks And Burn Them In Effigy And Now Let’s Hashtag Them Into The Next Life.

But for now, they’ve still managed to keep it together. Give ’em time, though; they both have Twitter accounts and you know how *that* fucking goes; they need to replace the verified checkmark that tells people I’m A Somebody and replace it with one of those round black bombs with a lit fuse on it because that’s what you are, Celebrity, and one way or another your shit is gonna blow up and all of that fanatical love is gonna turn into a mushroom cloud of hate fueled by righteous indignation.

Sorry, we’re talking about the movie, were we not? (The royal We, obvs.)

I’m gonna be honest with you, I knew about the “Miracle on the Hudson” when it happened back in ’09 but I was so far up into my own ass that I didn’t pay much attention to it other than to get the general gist of the incident: Pilot makes emergency water landing on Hudson River, all passengers and crew survived. Then I went back to doing whatever I was doing. Good for them, I thought, now let’s get back to this new blog I recently started.

To more or less Whatever a rare bit of good news in this life was in retrospect a real sin worthy of a stint in the purgatory slam for a little bit of forever. 155 people could’ve died in a plane crash — in New York, no less, its soul still flinching after the sight of two planes slamming into what was assumed to be two invincible pillars representing American Can-Do/Still-Do.

There’s a shot in the film where some dude in an office meeting looks out the window to the sight of the Airbus A320 as it descends towards the Hudson, just missing the top of a bridge and you know he’s not just thinking “Oh my God, that plane is going to crash” he’s also thinking “Jesus Christ, it’s happening again”.

But it didn’t happen. We were all given a break one way or another — most importantly, the one-fucking-hundred and fifty-fuckin-five people on board US Airways Flight 1549 that afternoon. They were given the biggest break by getting more time on this miserable/wonderful ugly/beautiful planet.

Speaking of time, this movie doesn’t mess around by wasting ours. Including credits, this flick runs about 95 minutes. I guess that’s about right for a film about an incident that lasted 208 seconds. So don’t give me that “How are they going to make a whole movie about that” bullshit like I heard the dude behind me say a couple weeks ago after the trailer for the movie, because my response will be a question of my own: How the FUCK do you make a goddamn fucking Transformers: Wahlburgers movie longer than The Bridge on the River Kwai? I don’t have to see that piece of shit to tell you it has absolutely NO reason to run that fucking long and yet it does.

If Eastwood and screenwriter wanted to spend three hours on Sullenberger, on co-pilot Jeff Skiles, on flight attendants Sheila Dail, Doreen Walsh, and Donna Dent, on the poor air traffic controller, on the rescue workers, on Sully’s wife, etc., they would have more right and reason to do so than whatever these coke-addicted filmmakers think they need with their Optimus Prime is Awesome bullshit.

“How are they going to make a whole movie about that?” Bitch, please.

I’ll tell you how. You start on Sully already safely chilling out in his hotel room after the incident, then you follow him as he has to deal with all the media bullshit, going to interviews and wading through crowds of cameras and voice recorders and flashing lights, and then having to go deal with the National Transportation Safety Board giving him shit — we all know that to save everybody’s lives, you landed the plane on the water, but what this report presupposes is…maybe you didn’t? — and you know this poor guy is up against some scary opposition because the NTSB is portrayed by some hater who thinks he’s hot shit because he’s got Skyler from “Breaking Bad” on one side and Randall Flagg from The Stand tv-movie on the other. (To misquote Richard Pryor in Blue Collar: If I had that kind of heat backing me up, I’d be a motherfucker too!) Sully can’t even have a decent phone conversation with his wife, and on top of that he’s dealing with some of that ol’ Post Traumatic Stress giving him nightmares and daymares. And in between all that, you give us a couple flashbacks to his past, and you give us flashbacks to the incident in question. That’s how you make a movie about that — a good one and a short one.

At 95 minutes there’s no fat to this steak. Speaking of which, there’s a part where Skiles (played by Aaron Eckhart) invites Sully for ribeyes at Del Frisco’s in Charlotte, North Carolina which left me of course going “Man, I want a steak now” and even now as I’m typing this late at night I’m trying to figure out if there are any places open right now for steak or if I should just go to that 24-hour market and pick one and just grill one at home and OH MAN STEAK, BRO, FUCKIN’ STEAK. But yeah, if this movie gets nominated for Best Picture — which it probably will because it feels like the kind of movie that gets nominated — it should win for no other reason than the length. It’ll probably be like that episode of “Tiny Toon Adventures” where they had a student film festival and Plucky Duck’s five-second movie won because it was the shortest.

I think it’s a good movie and one of the better ones of 2016, but there’s always gotta be some cons and mine would be the way the NTSB is represented; they’re not the most multi-dimensional characters and the one played by Mike O’Malley (guy in the middle) comes off like a hater, like Fuck A Hero. I’m reminded of that line in “30 Rock” where Matt Damon’s pilot character says something like how a great pilot would’ve not hit the birds in the first place, and O’Malley’s character seems like someone who would genuinely believe that shit. Some of the dialogue feels a little on-the-nose, but I guess 95 minutes will only get you so much subtlety. And in one of Sully’s ‘mares, he sees a plane crash and it ends with this really cheesy shot of a jet engine flying towards the viewer like it was the Doof Warrior’s guitar coming at you in 3D and I kinda wanted to laugh at that shit. Oh, and in the nitpicking department they also fuck up during one of Sully’s jogging scenes, where he’s going through Times Square and you see Halloween ads for Party City when this is supposed to be taking place in January — or else Party City is all about getting the jump on the competition before October.

(By the way, I guess Party City is done with the Laughing Devil Baby at the end of its Halloween ads? It’s been two years and I don’t see it anymore. I miss it.)

Tom Hanks, I guess it’s no surprise to say, is excellent in this film. I give this guy the Robert Forster Award for showing that you can give award-caliber performances without raising your voice once, which is why like Forster, Hanks will probably get an Oscar nod but won’t win. (They’ll give it to Shouty McCrySob for his performance in My Emotions!). His most emotional moment is pretty quiet too, his eyes tear up but he keeps it together because he remembers he can’t beat his sobbing breakdown in Captain Phillips.

I assumed this quiet, soft-spoken dude Hanks plays is just this quiet and soft-spoken in real life (remember, I didn’t bother watching interviews and shit back in ’09), but then the real guy pops up during the end credits and he’s so boisterous and happy to be there and I can see why: He’s alive and he’s in a fuckin’ Clint Eastwood movie about his life! (Then he tells Hanks about the S.H.I.E.L.D. Initiative. OK, I made that joke before. So how about this one: After the credits, Sully is driving his muscle car down Baja and his inner monologue is going on about how he lives his life a quarter mile at a time. Happy?)

The movie shows us some of the passengers, who I’m assuming are fictionalized for the purposes of the film; there’s a lady with her mother, a dude and his dad, a woman and her baby, and their scenes feel like a set-up for some disaster film — the disaster film that is Life, muthafucka! — and even though I know what’s going to happen I still found myself worrying for them and hoping they’d come out of it OK. This is, like, the second Tom Hanks movie based on real shit of which I already knew the ending (Apollo 13 being the other) and yet I was still on edge and my nerves jingle-jangled while watching it. Watching the crew getting settled and the passengers getting on board, hearing the idling engines, all that stuff, it just filled me with dread. It also really gave me that anxious feeling I always get during that period between boarding the plane and when we’re finally up in the air. I don’t know if you get like that, but I do. Sometimes I have a pill from the doctor to take, sometimes I gotta man up and do without one. I have a flight in November, and this movie isn’t helping.

You know how they now have these super haunted houses that require you fill out some form so that the people who run those fuckin’ things can’t be sued by you or your next of kin? They’re supposed to be really intense and some are even borderline abusing you, and I even heard of one so scary that no one has made it all the way to the end, instead they give out the safe word and are taken out of there. Most of these have waiting lists and cost mucho dinero, which makes sense because I figure if you’re a privileged type then you probably have that kind of scratch to waste and you most likely haven’t ever had to deal with the real world with your coddled ass, because if you did, you wouldn’t need some fucking assholes to psycho-torture you. You wouldn’t be in need of genuine emotional trauma, you’d be going to the regular Boo! houses to escape by being scared in a fun way, like the rest of us real people who work jobs and pay rent, living in fear we suddenly won’t be able to do either.

Anyway, what I’m getting at is that for those types who dig that shit, I’ve got an experience for you: How about you pay me and I’ll put you on a plane for a coast-to-coast flight while playing sequences from this movie, Fearless, Final Destination, Alive, Executive Decision, Die Hard 2, Flight, and the entirety of United 93 on the monitors, all while the plane makes unexpected drops and turns and shit. And I’ll include sweaty shifty-eyed brown people in every row doing prayers that are absolutely weird to your All-American ass. Then after you land — if you land — I’ll greet you with a t-shirt that says “I made it!” or something and then I’ll kick you in the balls or cunt.

So I’m getting anxious watching these people get on the plane, and even stuff like hearing the doorbell sounding tone that comes up before the captain begins speaking or watching the flight attendants do the safety thing with one doing the talking and one doing the demonstration is transporting me back to my previous flights and my breathing is getting shallow — and that’s when I recognize one of the flight attendants as Molly Hagan. I know who she is and will forever know who she is because in my grade school/junior high years, the Fox television show “Herman’s Head” was my shiiiiiiiit and she was on it. If you were on Herman’s Head, I know exactly who you are and every time I see you I’ll be like “Hey, it’s (insert actor here) from Herman’s Head!” I know Yeardley Smith and Hank Azaria are famous for their voice work on “The Simpsons” but they’ll be Louise and Jay first to me.

Hagan plays Doreen Welsh, and there’s a part after the landing where it cuts to a shot of the floor as river water begins to rush in, and we see Doreen’s leg on the left side of the screen with what appears to be a couple rivulets of brown liquid running down her ankle. For a second, I thought Holy Shit they’re going for absolute realism here, considering the I’m About To Die fear she and everyone else in the plane must’ve felt. Then she yells “Evacuate!” and I’m thinking “You sure did, honey. I wouldn’t announce it to the world” but then it turns out that brown fear was actually supposed to be blood from an injury but either the lighting or post-production coloring made it look that way, kinda like the way they turned the blood in the Rollerball remake into dark liquid in order to secure a PG-13 but ended up making Chris Klein look like either hair dye was running down his face or he got a call from Mr. Shadow from The Fifth Element.

I watched this in IMAX and if you can too, go for it because it’s worth it. It’s not some wow-filled spectacle, you’re not watching Christopher Nolan flip-flopping aspect ratios on you or giant blue aliens coming at you in three dimensions or Amy Adams running around in jodhpurs, but man, it really enhances the experience and this 2D experience almost felt like 3D for me. It becomes much more You Are There with the opened up image and super loud ambient sound, and watching serious Real Life stuff going on actually felt more intense in IMAX than watching a couple of superheroes compare mothers in the same format. The plane landing sequence, which they show us like 2 or 3 times, would be harrowing enough as is on a regular television screen, but with all this pumped up picture and sound, wow. Even background things, like, in the cockpit while all this is going down you hear this computer voice saying things like “PULL UP! PULL UP!” or “TERRAIN! TERRAIN!” or “OBSTACLE! OBSTACLE!” and it’s like watching someone try to land the jet on the aircraft carrier during the most terrifying game of Top Gun on the NES.

It turns out Eastwood and cinematographer Tom Stern composed the shots for IMAX, which presents the entire film in the taller 1.90:1 aspect ratio while the non-IMAX version is presented in the 2.35:1 Scope ratio; you get more image on the top and bottom with the IMAX one. If you can’t see it in IMAX, don’t feel too ripped off about getting less image, because most of his films (and all of them since 1999’s True Crime) were shot in 2.35:1 and therefore I’d bet the Scope version probably feels more like an Eastwood joint than this IMAX one. I’ll probably check this out again in the non-IMAX version to see if I’m right or just as full of shit as I am on a typical day.

Eastwood’s films had been edited by Joel Cox for God knows how long, but for this one they brought in some new blood, some bloke named Blu Murray. Sounded like a bullshit name to me and I thought maybe it was some Roderick Jaynes or Mary Ann Bernard type shenanigans happening, but it turns out Blu is a real dude, he was Cox’s assistant editor and I guess Cox said “OK kid, here’s your shot”. At least I hope that’s what happened, either that or Cox was busy on something else. Because what I can’t get out of my head is this scene I made up of Cox getting a late night phone call from Eastwood growling “I’m done carrying you around, Cox. Time for you to hit the streets. Say hi to Sondra for me.” Click.

But even if Eastwood showed Cox the door, he kinda showed himself the door as well; Eastwood had been composing the music for his films for a while but this time he stepped aside and let jazz pianist Christian Jacob do his thing along with The Tierney Sutton Band. It’s good understated jazzy stuff, mostly piano coming in and the occasional lovely vocal, but unlike Eastwood’s usual melancholy compositions this one is more upbeat and hopeful but not in some obtrusive way that is wringing every last drop of emotion from the situation.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I mean, go whichever way you want, it’s kinda like that argument about using garlic in cooking, particularly Italian cuisine; those who feel that garlic brings out the flavor while others think little to none should be used in order to let the flavor of the rest of the food stand out. Personally, garlic or no garlic, it depends on which style you’re more skilled with and whichever it is, that’s the way I want you to make this dish and have I made it clear that I’m hungry? Now I’m thinking of a garlic infused ribeye steak GOD DAMN THAT SOUNDS GOOD With a nice cab or pinot to wash it down? HOLY SHIT

(Talkin’ about music, dude. Stop with the steaks.)

My favorite part of the music score is during the rescue, where the ferry boats arrive and people are being pulled up. Like I said earlier, the music is perfect in a low-key “Well, how about that, I guess it’s working out, huh?” way. That sequence might be my favorite of the entire film; watching how without hesitation you have these dudes working for sightseeing cruises and what-not pulling people up, taking off their jackets and hats to give to the soaked passengers to warm them up. You see rescue copters arrive and scuba dudes jumping in to get people who freaked out so much they jumped into the freezing water. Imagine that, the panic — the sheer horrific panic! — overwhelming you so much that you do some insane shit like jump into the icy river thinking you’ll be able to swim to shore.

My goodness. So much potential there for everything to go badly in the most fucked-up way imaginable — and it didn’t. If this were an Eli Roth movie, the people in the river would get smooshed by a ferry or the chopper would go out of control and slice people up with the blades, and something would explode and then the survivors would look up and see a giant tidal wave approach them while in the background one of the rescue workers is raping a pregnant survivor. And the message would be Don’t Help Anyone, You’re Lame If You Do. But my message is Fuck Eli Roth with his fucking hard-ons for misery, these same erections which I’m assuming he then uses to fuck his hot Chilean wife. I met him once and he was super nice but then again many serial killers were nice to their neighbors.

But yeah, the rescue scene. I’m watching how selfless everybody is, both the rescuers and the survivors to each other and I know it’s a movie but it’s also based on real shit. And there’s no arguing going on here about Making America Great Again, guns or no guns, liberal vs conservative vs men vs women vs transgender vs gay vs lesbian vs black vs white vs this country vs that country vs God vs No God — there is none of that shit, there is only the human race and how it takes a fucked up situation for us to live up to our positive potential towards each other. And I’m like FUCK why can’t we fucking do this all the fucking time, why does it have to be some kind of disaster as the catalyst? We have the keys to the kingdom and we’re arguing about the keychain.

Look, I know I’m Debbie Downer about us but I wasn’t always like this, you have to believe me, and little by little I feel more and more that we’re doomed. But I don’t get off on it. I’m not fucking happy about it. There’s a little dot of light in my heart called Hope, but that’s about it, really.

I’m like Mulder, man — I Want to Believe.

Only instead of a UFO it’s the human race on my fuckin’ poster.

So I’m thinking all of that while I’m watching all of this rescuing to the nice music and I begin tearing up. (This is happening a lot more as I get older and read the writing on the wall.) I then feel someone looking at me. I look over to my right at the woman sitting next to me. She’s looking at me. She saw the tears roll down my face. So I straighten up, wipe the tears away and tell her that I was crying for all the poor geese murdered by that evil flying machine because Man was not meant for the skies.

Because fuck Man — the real beauty is in Canada Geese, you hear me?!




One, definitely. Two, maybe.

Posted in douchebag, ramblings of a loser, Scarface (1983), The Rocketeer, Uncategorized with tags , , , on September 19, 2016 by efcontentment

I don’t think I’ve mentioned the Vista Theatre in this here blog, probably because I haven’t gone to it nearly enough times. It’s in Los Feliz, technically closer to me than the other cool theaters in Los Angeles, and yet here I am counting on one hand the amount of times I’ve gone there.

But now I can use two hands because I went there back-to-back over the weekend and I think I’ll go over there more now. What happened, dear reader, was that I was scared away by the parking situation; you’re looking for parking on side streets in a residential neighborhood and Parking Enforcement is ever-roving so you can’t even pull some slick shit or you’ll get a piece of paper on your windshield wiper and there you’ll be, approaching your car with dread while a part of you still hopes that what you’ve got there under the wiper is a flyer or menu — anything!

Did I ever tell you one of my greatest accomplishments in fucking up was going to Beverly Hills to throw myself at the mercy of the court over a ticket only to come out and realize my street sign reading comprehension was not strong that day and now I had a parking ticket to contend with? People walking past me had no idea why the chubby Mexican-American was applauding himself in the middle of the sidewalk, but he sure did.

So yes, parking fright. But now I know what to do — show up for the latest showing possible. Which come to think of it makes total fucking sense considering the only time I feel comfortable driving in that city — or any city! or any town! anywhere! — is late at night. Driving in Los Angeles during the day is a genuine waking nightmare for me while driving in L.A. late night style is one of my favorite things to do.

And thanks to these fuckin’ Nerds, I was able to arrive at the Vista around 11pm and find parking and get in line for a 25th Anniversary screening of The Rocketeer, the latest monthly midnight show by Nerds Like Us. Yeah, this is the one about the guy Cliff Secord who finds the jet pack (created by Howard Hughes — and I’m still upset that The Aviator skips over this whole chapter of his life) that enables him to take to the sky without burning his ass, dealing with mobsters and Nazis and a sorta/kinda Errol Flynn. Yup, 2016 is the 25th Anniversary of its release, and it’s also the 25th Anniversary of Me Wondering When Is The Sequel Gonna Come Out.

Yeah, The Rocketeer was my shit then and it’s my shit now but it ain’t no shit movie and if you think that then you, my non-friend are shit. OK, that was too much. I don’t get that upset about someone not sharing my love for a film, I just feel sorry for them. Because while they complain about there not being Rocketeer action, they’re inadvertently forest/tree-ing themselves out of so much more to enjoy.

They’re unable to take in, say, the 1938 Los Angeles settings and enjoy this sorta-idealized universe with the classic cars and where people listened to the radio instead of watching television and you dressed to the nines to take your lady over to the South Seas Club where Jan from The Office sang sadly from out of a giant clam shell and everything was Art Deco as fuck (the Art Deco movie poster for this film is among my favorite things evaaaaarrrr) and it’s a world that one gentleman may kinda secretly want to transport yourself to, were it not for the fact that as an oily Latin he would have to change his name to Eric Franklin Carson and try to Anglo that shit up and hope they give a shit about the suspiciously brown-skinned gentleman so long as he can keep playing that bass while giving us that swing! Wait! Where was I? Oh yes, these poor unfortunates who cannot enjoy The Rocketeer for what it is, and instead only concentrate on what it isn’t.

What it is is a throwback to serials of the 1930s and 40s without ever having to duplicate them — in other words, this isn’t some Grindhouse type deal (not that there’s anything wrong with that), this is more of a Raiders of the Lost Ark or Star Wars game being played here, where the filmmakers were clearly inspired by entertainment from the good ol’ days, took that retro sensibility and made something modern out of it — albeit a modern film that takes place in the past. Huh? Wha? I don’t…OK.

I’m trying to be the one posting about The Rocketeer that doesn’t use the term “gee-whiz” and would you look at that? I failed. But I’ll throw in this instead and pretend the previous sentence doesn’t exist: Sincerity. Fuckin’ film is sincere as fuck. No snark and only small traces of irony in this smooth rolled cigarette of a film,  you can take a puff and not worry about any of those additives and instead enjoy the pure richness of the smoke.

I was originally going to use a marijuana simile up there but I want to keep in spirit of the time period, and back then there were many more who believed the cheeba would turn you into a piano-playing werewolf or at the very least, made you associate with Negroes. Speaking of which, I hate when this happens but I do sometimes wonder about Secord and his hot girlfriend Jenny Blake and Peevy his mechanic/best bud and his buddies at the awesome Bulldog Cafe (it’s awesome!) and I wonder how many of them were not fans of my Black brothers and sisters. I mean, I don’t think there’s a single African-American in this film, or I wasn’t looking hard enough.

Remember, this was back when America was great and you didn’t need the Internet to hide behind, you were allowed to be open about hating on anything non-White or Christian or whatever with your fellow Joes, Jims, Janes, and Jennys (oh no, not you too, Jenny!) Whoever runs the Bulldog Cafe at least seems to be OK enough with mi gente because that place proudly proclaims tamales as one of its specialties (and besides, someone has to wash the dishes, am I right?) but I won’t eat Tamale One in that motherfucker unless my colored friend over here can join in.

So I’m cool with this sequel I’ve heard talked about, where the new Rocketeer would be a Black woman. It would at the very least, piss off all the assholes out there — but I like to imagine that my fellow Rocketeer fans carry ourselves a far more civilized about that kind of thing, rather than your average foam-mouthed rabid Ghostbusters fanatic who just couldn’t stand vaginas rubbing against the crotches of those jumpsuits.

The special effects are not embarrassingly dated, more like impressively dated; the flying effects are nice and I’m particularly a fan of some of the model work here, like everything involving that Nazi zeppelin — no, not for what it stands for, I’m just saying watching it blimp around over the L.A. skyline still looks impressive, and watching that Nazi aircraft go up in flames is pretty awesome too. Speaking of flaming Nazi blimps, I’m still trying to figure that one shot where Cliff and Jenny are standing on top of it and in the background the blimp is beginning to explode section by section, causing the giant walls of flame to get closer and closer to our hero and heroine; it doesn’t look like two different shots blended together, it looks like they set up those blasts for real and even if they told me that those charges were only set up so far, I’d still be nervous about standing anywhere in the vicinity.

(Of course, the greatest special effect in the film is Jennifer Connelly as Jenny Blake, who has one of my favorite filmic introductions ever with that wolf-whistle-worthy shot of a stocking being pulled up one of her lovely gams before finally ending on a close-up of her face. And I can wolf-whistle here because this is 1938, back when women knew their place and weren’t all about wanting to be treated equal — HA! Equal? As in the same as Men! HA HA! The kitchen is *that* way, honey!)

Before the screening they had a costume contest; the winners were a couple dressed like Cliff and Jenny, and a dude dressed like Dick Tracy — and that’s a double feature for your ass right there! I sat a few seats down from a lady who had a Rocketeer helmet and she was cool with me taking a photo of her, as were Cliff and Jenny.

They either showed us a DCP or Blu-ray at this screening (I’m betting on the latter), and while I’ve would’ve loved to see a 35mm print of this again, I was just happy to see it on a big screen in a packed house of fellow Rocketeer fans. There was even more cheering and laughter here than when I saw it back in June ’91; I hoped/expected the crowd to cheer when mobster Eddie Valentine says that “I may not make an honest dime…” line and sure enough they did — as did I — and it felt so good. It’s such an awesome moment in a film full of them, this film with such an innocence and hope to it that watching it now in these dark and hopeless times it gave me a little jolt of Hey, Maybe We’ll Be OK and I know that’s bullshit but I love those little moments in life. 

That line, which I won’t totally give out in case you haven’t seen it, is a patriotic line and it’s a fictional character in a movie about flying jet packs and giant Aryan assassins and yet I find more sincerity in it that all all the campaign rallies and speeches from the past year. I wonder how many people cheered so loudly in that theater when he says it for more than one reason; not just because we see a character make a turn not expected, but because it’s said with a kind of unabashed justified pride and it doesn’t come off like FUCK OFF YA’LL THIS IS MURICA but more like, shit, man, we ain’t fuckin’ Nazis, bro — they’re the bad guys! Shit, I don’t even believe in Good Guys or Bad Guys anymore except in movies. It’s all a matter of perspective and what side of the ocean you happen to have been born in, I’m afraid. What’s that line in Zero Effect? “There are no good guys or bad guys. It’s all just a bunch of guys”? I used to think that was a stupid line.

I noticed a small poster at the box office for a midnight screening of the 1983 Scarface and I thought Hmm…and so I went back to the Vista the following night to catch Scarface on the big screen — no, not the original Howard Hawks joint, this is the one with Al Pacino as a Cuban refugee who comes to Miami, U.S.A. and rises up to the top of the cocaine mountain and proceeds to snort All The Cocaine.

This screening was being held by the 35mm Secret Movie Club, and I’m sorry that I just blew the secret but there you go. It’s pretty cool; monthly midnight screenings of a classic film on 35mm. The ticket prices are higher than your average cineplex stub — $20 general, with student discounts and you can also get a discounted price if you use the Venmo site — but that all goes to help cover the cost of renting the print. This screening of Scarface left many an empty seat in comparison to their other screenings (which based on these videos, had far better attendance), so charging extra probably helped make that nut.

So you RSVP the Club via e-mail, and I figured it was similar to a midnight screening of The Room — just so the people behind the screening know how many to expect. But you’re actually put on a list, and since I didn’t put my name on the list but rather the name of the blog, that’s who I had to ask for upon seeing said list. The gentleman in the blue suit outside the theater manning the table and hosting the screening (I’m sure he’s the dude in charge of this) asked for my name and I had to point it out on the paper, this “Exiled from Contentment” bullshit, and he said it was “an intense name”.

When he said that, he was being friendly but I detected maybe a bit of worry in the voice? I wanted to assure him with an energetic upbeat response like: “Oh, it’s not meant to be intense, it’s the name of my blog. I came up with the name and the blog during a down period in my life, and even then, I was kinda poking fun at my situation. But out of context, yeah, I’m sure it does sound intense and yes I’m by myself on a Saturday night and yes I’ve been told I have an angry face which probably adds to it and being alone + angry face + intense e-mail name = Brooding Loner, but I’m actually OK, and I’m more of a solitary guy anyway and I’m happy to be here and I’m sure it’s going to be a good time tonight thanks for having this!”

But what I heard myself saying in response was: “Uh-huh.”

He asked me for my actual name and I gave it to him and he was very nice, as I’m sure you would be when faced with a Brooding Loner because most B.L.s own guns and you know how *those* assholes do. So I found myself overcompensating with smiles and cheer to convince him I wasn’t one of them — was I trying to convince myself DUN DUN DUN

So before the film, the gentleman in the blue suit comes out, welcomes us, tells us about some upcoming films, asks us to vote on which potential films should be the next ones screened, and then he tells us about knowing someone who worked on Scarface as an assistant editor. According to this guy, Brian De Palma shot everything with 5 cameras and ended up exposing over a million feet of film, and this guy knows because he had to sync all 1 million feet of film for the editors. The way this guy told it to him, he still sounded exhausted from the experience.

That’s very interesting to me because in interviews De Palma always seemed like he was big on Hitchcock’s approach to filmmaking, which is to say, have every shot in the film planned out and composed to get a certain effect. And I remember in Julie Salomon’s book “The Devil’s Candy”, it was brought up that because De Palma shot that way, there was very little one could do with that footage other than change the pacing.

My best guess is that De Palma does shoot that way but he also doesn’t find anything wrong with covering his ass, and I’m sure even if he is pretty sure he only wants a scene shot a certain way, who’s to say he doesn’t shoot it in various different paces or tempos — and who’s to say he doesn’t shoot a bunch of takes either?

So the film begins, and I can tell by the soundtrack (and the Focus Features logo) that this is the 2003 re-release version, which is the same movie only the sound has been remixed and some of the sound effects have been replaced or edited differently. Personally, I prefer this mix; I’m usually a purist (see my Facebook complaint about the new sound mix on the Sorcerer Blu-ray) but I always felt the only thing not over-the-top about this over-the-top movie was the sound. I remember watching this for the first time on VHS; we had just purchased a surround sound system and I was getting spoiled on watching movies with thundering bass and crisp dialogue and sounds coming from behind. And here comes Scarface with Giorgio Moroder’s awesome synth music setting me up for something awesome, and it was — until that tension-filled sequence early on in the Sun Ray Motel, as Manny sneaks up to the door with that MAC-10 submachine gun while a few feet away in the bathroom Hector the Chainsaw Wielding Colombian is about to give Tony Montana the Angel Hernandez treatment and I’m on the edge of my seat ready for some fucking retaliatory ownage about to happen.

“AHORA TU!” shouts Hector the Chainsaw-Wielding Colombian.

And then we see the glass-shuttered door to the motel room split in half by Manny’s MAC-10, only, uh, only I’m not hearing any serious rat-a-tat coming from that weapon. I’m hearing something akin to a sheet of paper being torn right beside my ear while someone drop dishes on the floor a few feet away. This is gunfire? I asked myself as this happened — and I would ask myself again anytime someone fired a weapon during this film. OK, sure, I acknowledged. It was always kind of a secret bummer for me, even though I was a fan of the movie. Even my first time watching it on the big screen (December ’02 at the Egyptian Theater with a Steven Bauer Q&A) in a 35mm print featuring an impressive four-track stereo mix, it would bring the enjoyment down a tad when they busted out that sub-1960s sound effect library for the gunshots.

But they fixed it with the new (well new in ’03) mix, so now when Manny gives that door a 9mm knock-knock, it sounds like it should: Fucking Awesome. The first time I heard it, I was like “Wha…?” and I wasn’t sure until a couple seconds later when Manny then ventilates Grace Zabriskie’s Cracked-Out Colombian Cousin aka “Marta” and I was like Hell Yeah That’s What I’m Talking About!

I’ll be honest, they did fix some things I would’ve preferred unfixed — like that weird moment during the final shootout when they cut to a close-up of a long-haired assassin who has just been shot up by Tony and he’s clearly dead as he slides down the barrier, glassy-eyed and slack-jawed and yet he gives out this loud “AUUUUUUGGGHHHH!!!” That’s gone in the new mix, but hey, it’s a fair trade for some awesome gunfire and an opened-up more detailed-sounding music score. That’s the peace I’ve had to make after I tried and failed to make Fetch happen by having Dead Guy Goes AUUUUUUGGGHHHH become the new Han Shot First.

(They also took out the funny “AYYYY!” yelp Tony makes after he’s hit in the shoulder by a bullet during the same shootout, replacing it with a more theatrical “AAAAH-AHHH”)

You want to hear something fucked up? Well, you can’t — because this is a blog with written words, not a podcast with me saying shit. Anyway, I’ve never seen the original 1932 Scarface starring Paul Muni. I will fix that someday. No, really, I will. I have, like, 50 movies on my DVR, 200 DVDs, and 800 DVD-Rs, and dozens of movie files on various flash and hard drives — but I’m sure I’ll get to that movie soon.

But I’ve seen this on VHS twice; the first time in ’95. It was one of the first films I bought on laserdisc and suddenly friends were coming out of the woodwork asking me to dub it on tape for them. I’ve seen it on the big screen about, let’s see — Egyptian, New Beverly, Magic Johnson, Arclight, Brea Plaza, Vista — six times, at least six times if I’m missing any other screenings. It’s good times, dude — an over-the-top glorious three-hour spectacle of foulmouthed excess full of “chicas, champagne, flash”, early 80s pre-Miami Vice style (the role of Miami played by Los Angeles), endlessly quotable dialogue by a recently sober Oliver Stone who still had plenty of residual coked-up vibes to spare, Brian De Palma’s pitch-perfect operatic direction, and lots and lots of beautiful fine white COOOO-FUCKIN-CAINE! and it never got boring for me. I’m beyond/beneath being able to tell you if a movie is good or bad — I can’t tell you if Al Pacino’s performance is genuinely good or not, for example — just that I got entertainment value out of it, and holy shit am I always entertained by this film. The history of my Scarface viewing, by E.F.C., lady and gentleman!

Something that never fails to amuse me is whenever Tony goes to visit his mother. She’s played by Puerto Rican actress Miriam Colon and she’s definitely better at the accent than Pacino; everything she says is tinged with Cubano but her words are as clear as Crystal Geyser. On the other side of the accent spectrum, Tony Montana’s all EY FAH KJOO MANG JOO FAHK WEETH MEE JOOR FAHKEENG WEE D BESS and I’m thinking maybe that garblespeak is a result of his mixed-up upbringing with his American dad taking him to Bogart movies? Or maybe it’s because Colon’s character Mama Montana has been alive longer so then she had more time to improve her English over the years? But that’s assuming that when they’re speaking English to each other, De Palma’s not pulling a Red October for the audience so in reality they’re speaking in their native tongues — which would then mean that when she says “Five years. Cinco anos.” she’s really saying “Cinco anos. Five years.” and now I’m even more tired now than when I started this shit.

Mama Montana tells Tony that it’s Cubans like him who make their people look bad, those who work hard and obey the laws and speak English without sounding like half-a-stroke-victim. There’s also another part in the film where a Cuban-American fed angrily tells Tony something like “You make a real Cuban throw up” and I guess stuff like that is the filmmakers trying to cover their asses so people don’t walk away thinking this is a representation of your average Cuban in the United States. But my favorite example of Ass-Covering is the disclaimer that they wait until after nearly all the end credits have rolled up and you know the name of every one of those awesome songs they blasted at the Babylon Club and even then it’s like ten seconds. It’s cool because that means the many ushers around the world came away from that movie knowing #NotAllCubanAmericans when it comes to cocaine and chainsaws.

And that’s because it was Colombians that were rocking the ‘saws.

I have no idea what you mean by “Facebook ramblings”, sir. You are mistaken.

Posted in Captain America: Civil War, Central Intelligence, Free State of Jones, Ghostbusters: Answer the Call, Independence Day: Resurgence, Jason Bourne, MST3k, MST3k reunion, Rifftrax, Star Trek Beyond, The Legend of Tarzan, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 7, 2016 by efcontentment

It’s been a miserable fucking summer during a miserable fucking year if you’re into hope and faith in your fellow human being, but enough of that, no one wants to hear that. Hi lady and gentleman. I hope you are doing well. Here are my ramblings on some of the non-Nice Guys movies I watched this summer. Because I watched The Nice Guys four times this summer, meaning this summer was the summer of The Nice Guys. The Mad Max: Fury Road Holy Shit You Saw It How Many Times?! award goes to…The Nice Guys.

Hey wait a minute! You know what kind of took me by surprise (the way I just took you by surprise by not talking about movies like I just said I would)? The school year beginning earlier than I expected. I mean, I’ve been out of school for the longest and so I wasn’t aware of how much changed between back then and right now. In my day, the school year ended in early June and began again after Labor Day. College was similar, with summer break beginning mid-June and ending mid-September. (By the way, I’m speaking of school in the United States of Soon To Be Great Again Murica, I don’t know nor give a shit how other countries do it because that’s how Murican I is.)

Now kids are going to school in mid-to-late August, which kinda bummed me out until I thought of how these kids don’t even know about how shit used to be, this is normal for them. This is their paradigm. You deal with the bullshit until mid-May, I guess, and then it’s summertime and the livin’s easy until mid-August. It appears Hollywood has made this easier for them by releasing summer movies earlier than ever, because I remember in my day summer movies didn’t come out until Memorial Day at the earliest.

But then you have something like Captain America: Civil War out in early May and here we go. I enjoyed CA:CW (as we in the know call it, I’m sure), and at this point Marvel has their assembly line working tip-top top-of-the-line A-number-one and you get what you want from these films. What really stood out for me was how this movie felt like a big Fuck You to the DC Cinematic Snyderverse — with a middle finger stretched out to Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

I’m sure it’s all a coincidence, given how both films came out a few months of each other, but who knows, bros? Who’s to say that Marvel’s spies weren’t scanning script pages of that film during production and they made sure to do the opposite of whatever the fuck DC was doing. (Don’t Do What Donny “DC” Don’t Does.) It’s like they read this script about a superhero who wasn’t sure whether or not he should intervene in big time situations that could benefit from his help, whether or not he should step in and save lives — and they answered back with a movie filled with characters that would give you a look, smack the shit out of you, followed by another look for even entertaining those kinds of thoughts.

Fuckin’ Supes is all mopey on a mountain with Kevin Costner’s ghost crying about “Oh woe is Me with these superpowers”, while Tony Stark and Captain Muthafuckin’ America are way past that shit — they’re like “We have the powers and the tools and we know what we gotta do” — and instead they’re about to throw down with each other about whether the Avengers should be allowed to get involved in Worldly Bad Shit free agent-style or should they have some fuckin’ middlemen giving them the go-ahead. (And they give good arguments for both arguments; ultimately I’m on Captain America’s side but the movie gave me totally understandable reasons as to why Tony Stark would feel the opposite way.)

I’ll be honest, I still am not totally convinced about Cap’s love affair with Bucky the Winter Soldier being so strong that he’s willing to overlook all the previous murders that motherfucker’s committed. I mean, even Winter himself says something to the effect of “Yeah, I know I was being mind-controlled, but I still killed all those people” but hey, that’s me and my belief in paying what you owe and making things square with the house again — in movies, anyway.

It’s good stuff, fun stuff, this Civil War stuff. My only problem is that the first half’s action scenes are shot in that bullshit high shutter stutter style which does not lend itself well to the quicky-quick-quick editing, nor does some of the bullshit “let’s film this awesome shit in close-ups rather than pull back and let us see what’s going on” camerawork. The filmmakers finally snap out of it by the midway point, thankfully before we have the centerpiece rumble between Team Cap and Team Stark. It’s also by that point where it really gets fun, because that’s when they bring back Ant-Man and introduce the latest model of Spider-Man, adding a welcome helping of Funny and Gee Whiz to the going-ons.

I like how some people were giving shit about Marisa Tomei as Aunt May being too hot and too young for the part — in this universe protected by hotness such as Black Widow and Peggy Carter — even though in reality she’s actually closer age-wise to your usual aunt and might even still be on the older spectrum of Parent’s Siblings but that’s OK with me because age ain’t nothing but a number AM I RIGHT, FELLAS? — unless the number is under 18, then you’re dealing with a new number, like Prisoner Number 9428441 or something. Say hi to Woody and Roman for me, cuz.

My current abode had to have its air conditioning fixed in June, and it was still being fixed when I came home one Friday afternoon after work so I left and used the time to go check out whatever was playing at the local cineplex. Whatever turned out to be Central Intelligence, starring walking Alpha Dwayne Johnson and current It Funny Black Guy Kevin Hart.

It started off pretty strong with a flashback to the 90s introducing us to our main characters in high school where Hart was the super-popular jock and Johnson was an overweight nerd and the principal was played by the principal from Election. But what started as promisingly funny/dark in an almost lighter Heathers sort-of-way then downgrades to harmless and forgettable, which kinda stung a bit because this really could’ve been so much more — especially once the premise gets established (Hart is bummed out about being 20 years past the best years of his life, while Johnson is now a badass-yet-still-socially-awkward CIA agent who needs his help). It felt like the kind of movie that probably had a stronger and sharper and darker script when it was greenlit but then got studio’d down many hack rewrites later into a nice easy-to-swallow bland foodstuff for the masses, like Soylent Green except instead of people this shit was made out of dead high concepts.

It has its moments, though; Johnson’s character has a thing for the film Sixteen Candles, and there are occasional references to it that gave me some chuckles. There are also a couple of uncredited cameos I wasn’t expecting, and those appearances were among the few and far between moments when the movie felt like it was amping up to get better. In retrospect, I’m getting kinda pissed off because Hart and Johnson were so obviously up to the fuckin’ task but the movie let them down — fuck it, it let ME down. I told a friend around the time that I saw this that I thought it was entertaining in an “I need to kill two hours in an air-conditioned theater” sort-of-way, but now I’m thinking fuck this movie.

I also watched Matthew McConaissance in Free State of Jones, which was a lot bleaker and non-summer-ish than I expected — I guess this was that “counter-programming” I hear so much about in the movie biz lexicon. The movie takes place during the Civil War, but we ain’t talking some Iron Man and Captain America bullshit, this is the real one, the one that I was taught about in school and was told ended with the Union winning over the Confederacy. And it was back then, in my young book-learnin’ years that I had this strong, so very strong belief that because it was so long ago, clearly everyone moved on for the greater good. We moved forward. We became better people. Smarter people. More compassionate. Willing to learn from our mistakes. We improved. We grew stronger. We became united. We evolved.

My man McC plays a dude named Newton who was a medic for Johnny Reb, but after losing a brother or cousin or whoever that guy was, and seeing how the Confederacy is fucking over his fellow peeps with taxes and what not, he lickety splits and eventually finds himself hiding out in the swamps with some runaway slaves. The main slave is this dude with a fuckin’ Goodbye Uncle Tom-style cage on his head, that’s how I know he must be the main slave. I could only imagine how much more horrifying it could be for that guy if someone decided to put a covering over that cage and then dump some bees inside that thing to turn this poor brotha from Luke Cage to Nic Cage.

Newton and his new slave friends hook up with other Rebs who don’t want to fight anymore and end up going Wolverines! on any Confederate troops who try to break up their little slice of Freedomtown they call Jones County. Every once in a while, the movie flashes forward to the 1950s where some White dude is on trial for wanting to marry his White girlfriend, because it turns out he might actually have enough African-American blood in his ancestry to qualify him as Black enough for prison, because once upon a time we were assholes like that about race and it’s a good thing we don’t have any of that racist residue left on our souls.

It’s a good film, but like I said it’s as bleak and ugly as life itself — which makes sense considering this is some real life shit we’re watching here. It’s the kind of movie where nice Black people get hung from trees and the next morning Matthew McConaughey finds the body and weeps below the dangling legs and the White people responsible probably grow old and die loved by many and I’m filled with rage and sadness walking out of the theater at all the injustice while the people most in need of seeing a movie like this won’t ever bother.

Matty M is great in the film, as is everyone else, but this deliberately paced drama with the occasional moment of gunfire probably had a better shot coming out around Oscar season, rather in the summer where it would probably bewilder audiences who were expecting something more like The Patriot (the Roland Emmerich one, not that Seagal bullshit) because honestly, that’s what the trailer makes it look like. This movie isn’t even loud, it’s so quiet you can hunt rabbit while watching it and not fuck up your game. So guess who felt like quite the douchebagga in the audience with his popcorn and nachos? What can I say? Tasty snacks help the racism go down easier.

Speaking of war and racial strife, I also caught the Rifftrax/MST3K reunion that was being broadcast live in theaters. The Rifftrax trio of Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett were joined by their former MST homies Joel Hodgson, Trace Beaulieu, Frank Conniff, Mary Jo Pehl, and Bridget Jones-Nelson. They also brought in the host of the new incarnation of MST3K, Jonah Ray.

They riffed various shorts in pairings; Hodgson & Ray, Beaulieu & Conniff, Pehl & Jones-Nelson, and the Rifftrax trio. Their riff quality ranged from Cute to Very Funny, with Beaulieu/Conniff being my faves. Then at the end, they all joined together to riff two more shorts: an old Superman one starring that one guy who shot himself, and one about the many uses of grass (the kind from your lawn, not the kind that makes you forget you’re living in a real life cartoon populated by one-dimensional characters).

Now I’m a fan of Rifftrax but I do admit it’s not as funny as MST3K and this reunion was an unintentional example with contrasts and comparison to help you make this conclusion. From what I understand, Rifftrax’s riff tracks are written by Nelson, Corbett, and Murphy and a few more writers who are new blood/younger generation types that weren’t involved with MST3K. Which is all fine and dandy but you can tell it’s not quite the same. There is this mistaken belief that because Mike Nelson was the credited head writer of Mystery Science Theater 3000 that meant that he wrote the bulk of the jokes and that is as wrong as the thoughts that go through my head when I look at my female boss because I’m telling you, I’m getting vibes from her, I think she fuckin’ wants it, bro, I knew she wanted this dick the second she caught a whiff of my AXE Body Spray. Oh, so yeah, Mike Nelson as head writer would compile the best riffs for the movie, that is my understanding.

I don’t know who does the head writing for Rifftrax now, but the fact that so many of the MST writers are no longer involved, you don’t get the same kinds of jokes being thrown a movies way. I also notice that your average Rifftrax riff can get a little long-winded. But it’s still good, I’m just saying, you know, it’s a solid B compared to the A game MST3K was usually pulling off. This reunion was some A game stuff, though, and it was clearly because you had the old gang adding in their style of riffs to the movie-mocking bouillabaisse. Rifftrax needs Beaulieu and Conniff to join in, at least as writers if not fellow riffers. They already have Pehl and Jones-Nelson riffing shorts for Rifftrax, but they do it on their own, not with the trio; I’m assuming this is a scheduling thing, otherwise I think having Pehl & Jones-Nelson join the guys would make it even better AND let’s get Beaulieu & Conniff while we’re at it! OK, that’s it, I either made sense or I didn’t, I’m moving on.

The Biggest Disappointment of the Summer award (aka The Spawn) definitely goes to fuckin’ Independence Day: Resurgence, which rarely felt as fun and goofy as the O.G. ID4. Really, the only time I got that old lame magic back was when Judd Hirsch’s character showed up and even then, the Komedy didn’t go Full Borscht Belt until Hirsch and Goldblum’s characters were reunited. By then it was too little too late as I had to deal with a far more glum and listless film (yet barely clocking at two hours!) focusing mostly on a bunch of young generic good-looking twenty-somethings and all I could think about was the litany of Young Adult Dystopia Movies they probably worked on and would go back to after this movie, and how I wouldn’t recognize any of them if I even bothered watching any of those fucking movies.

And yeah yeah, I know what you’re gonna say: “This was intended to be the second film in a planned trilogy and what’s wrong with the second film in a trilogy being the darker one, I mean, fuckin’ Empire Strikes Back, motherfucker?!” Well, first off, have you seen the box office tally for this? I wouldn’t hold my breath for Independence Day: Re-Resurgence anytime fuckin’ soon. (But then again, they made a sequel to the remake of The Mechanic, so who knows?) And second, The Empire Strikes Back was dark in a good way, the way a good movie can be dark. This was dark in the way that a really shitty Syfy movie with no sense of humor tries to be dark.

I really wanted to have a good time with this flick. I went all out on snacks. I was gonna get all sugar’d up, all carb’d up. OK fine, what else is new? Only this time I was doing more of that shit.

You know what? I’m gonna give this movie a break. I’m thinking about it, and I still don’t like it, but it’s probably not that dark or terrible. I think it was seeing Robert Loggia’s weird silent barely standing-up cameo in the film that fucked up my mood, because I knew that in order to pull that off meant they either CGI’d Robert Loggia into the film or they got the real Robert Loggia who was at death’s door rockin’ full-on Alzheimer’s and probably thought the cameras were giant cannons and he was surrounded by the Japanese demanding he surrender to Tojo or something. Either choice equals A Case of the Sads for me.

The screenplay is credited to five writers which I feel is three writers too many because when it comes to Independence Day, the only names that fucking matter to me are Roland Emmerich and most important of all, my man, muthafuckin’ Master of the Dad Joke Mr. Dean Devlin. And maybe that’s what happened, that with the three other writers this movie wasn’t getting full-on Devlin’d. Whatever. In conclusion, I sincerely no-bullshit believe that their version of Godzilla was a better sequel to Independence Day than this sequel to Independence Day.

So then came July, and I got to celebrate my birthday by catching a midnight showing of Inglorious Basterds at the New Beverly Cinema. The last time I got to see a midnight show on my birthday was in 2011 with a screening of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Good times then, good times now. Basterds holds up, man, it’s really really good; I actually came out of it thinking I cut Tarantino too much slack on The Hateful Eight as a result.

Christoph Waltz was such a terrific villain in Basterds, and he’s no baddie slouch in The Legend of Tarzan either. His character looks like he might be one of those weak types who needs bigger stronger men to do his fighting for him, but looks are deceiving because he handles himself pretty well. Watching him in any movie is good times, and this movie? The Tarzan movie? It’s good times too, man, a good old fashioned example of summer movie entertainment. Fun, respectful of its audience, well-made with cinematography that let you take in the sights and editing that let you register the sights you just took. I felt like I was watching a good summer movie from the mid-90s or something. It would make a good double bill with The Phantom, and if you didn’t like that movie then you better duck before I slam the evil out of your ass.

Wow, that was quite the Tobias Funke sentence I wrote up there, wasn’t it?

I don’t know who this Skarsgard is, all I know is that my coworker has the hots for him which is why she saw the movie, and that he was good in this movie as Tarzan. He didn’t annoy me by being douchey, and neither did the film, for that matter. This movie wasn’t some overly long two-and-half-hour commercial that openly hated its audience and shat out pure contempt and smugness with a look that said “See you in two years when we throw more of this slop at you!” It was no Transformers, this flick. But this movie? The Tarzan movie? I would totally line up to see if they made another one.

You know who else I liked in the film, aside from everyone else? Margot Robbie. Like Skarsgard, I wasn’t left thinking “I’m supposed to like this jerk?”, no way Jose, I was totally with her and not only that, her Jane can handle her own — for the most part, because this is still a Tarzan movie. I mean, yeah, she gets jacked by that bad Christoph Waltz, but she certainly doesn’t make it easy on him. No, she doesn’t do that struggling “let me go, you creep” thing, she’s looking at every angle, exercising every option on either Getting The Fuck Outta Here or Fucking This Dude Up. She’s not so much scared by the situation — she’s biding her time. Also, she’s very pretty. Please don’t hashtag me out of existence for that, people. I’m merely a man with needs and wants and the ability to have physiological reactions to elements that please me.

I didn’t know Samuel L. Jackson was in this, which is a foolish thing to say because he’s in every movie, right? He also does those credit card commercials. I can’t help but think of an interview he did where he said something like how he was paid a big salary for the Shaft remake, which meant that his wife started spending more money. The problem, he said, was that because he likes to work he would also do lower budgeted non-studio-backed films that interested him but paid less, and yet his wife kept spending like he was still making Shaft money on every one of those films.

I dug that they didn’t go full origin story with this Tarzan, the filmmakers assume you know his deal, and even if you don’t, they do cool flashbacks that don’t take away from the story or the pacing. They pick the right moments to take a break and give you piece by piece on how the legend began. But if that’s still not enough for you, I don’t know, go watch Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes and just change the ending in your mind and treat it like a prequel. That might work well enough, and besides, we all need some more Christophe(r) Lambert in our lives. Isn’t that right, Chris?

Near the end of the month, I had myself a double feature — that’s two movies for the price of two! — beginning with Star Trek Beyond, which I hoped wasn’t going to be too confusing for me, on account of my not really having seen the previous Trek, Into Darkness, where I instead had it on in the background while I was cleaning my place. But this new one holds up on its own without any knowledge aside from what was gathered from the ’09 film. You have your main crew and they’re pretty much the same as the Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Uhura, Scotty, and Chekov we’ve known from the old television and film series with only minor variations and then you have Sulu who doesn’t come off very much like the Hikaru we’ve seen back in the day — and that’s because you can’t duplicate The Takei, nor should you ever try.

Speaking of trying, I guess the filmmakers tried to make the Trek universe more openly diverse by giving Sulu a husband or boyfriend or baby papa, because that’s what they did. You see Sulu happily greet his man but I don’t recall seeing them smooch or anything like that, I think one put his arm around the other, which is kinda playing it safe, isn’t it? That way your more conservative haters can interpret as the two men just being really good bros or something. Anyway, I guess George Takei was disappointed by it because he preferred to see a new gay character be introduced into the series. I get where he’s coming from but at least they didn’t queen Sulu up all of a sudden and now he’s mincing about like he’s onboard the U.S.S. Birdcage or something.

I’ll tell you what, if I were a nameless small fry crew member, I would be praying to every God — human or alien — that I end up on the U.S.S. Birdcage instead of the Enterprise, because based on the last couple films, that ship must have the highest mortality rate in all of Starfleet. The last couple Treks, man, you have lots of red shirts being blown up, shot up, sucked out into the merciless void of space, etc. In Beyond, they also get their life forces sucked out or disintegrated by some kind of fuckin’ nano-bees, because that’s how the Big Bad in this movie gets down.

Anyway, it was good, man. If you liked the ’09 Trek, you’ll probably like this one. If the last one was Wrath of Khan All Over Again, then I guess this one is Search for Spock Except Spock Is Already With Us So Let’s Get The Fuck Outta Here. Two things bummed me out, though:

1) seeing the late Anton Yelchin as Chekov


2) watching this alternate future world populated with human beings who have moved past The Bullshit long long ago and instead are out on spaceships and doing far off galaxy exploring and what not — something that I used to believe as a kid would happen sometime during the existence of our species but now I’m slowly feeling that we never will, and we sure as shit won’t live to see a hint of that possibility so if you ever want to see what wonders our species is capable of accomplishing, then you can go see that shit in a movie, along with the rest of the fake ass fairy tales. But hey, I guess Hooray for Movies, right?

Because, really, what’s the point of evolving when we have bigger fish to fry — like these fucking bitches thinking they can rape my childhood by taking my Ghostbusters away. Don’t these slits understand that Rape is a man’s sport?

Seriously though, the idea of a Ghostbusters reboot not only didn’t bother me, I thought it was the right move. Harold Ramis is gone. Bill Murray wasn’t interested in doing another one, he didn’t even really want to do part II. Sure, Dan Aykroyd was excited about making a part three but why wouldn’t he be excited with some more of that shining spotlight plus millions of dollars more in the bank to share space with those House of Blues and Crystal Skull Vodka ducats? Then you have my man Ernie Hudson who likes to work, so why not? And Sigourney Weaver’s like Whatever, I’m probably gonna be in the next Alien film and they’ll probably Obi-Wan Kenobi me into the Avatar sequels, so I’m good either way.

Meanwhile, Rick Moranis is too busy living life and not giving a single solitary fuck about some fuckin’ movie.

But here we have Paul Feig and company busting out with Ghostbusters: Answer the Call, trying something new with it and holy shit here come the haters. I’ve never seen any of Feig’s films because Melissa McCarthy was in them, but I understand they’re all very funny, so I figured this joint was in good hands. But my hatred for dickheads getting pissy over some bullshit is stronger than my dislike of McCarthy, so I went to go see it.

All this bitching and moaning and no one ever brought up the real crime committed by this film: associating with Papa John’s Pizza. Yup, our ladies are munching on that bullshit pizza in the movie and I even caught an advertisement on television featuring the company’s founder/spokesman, John Schnatter playing a Ghostbuster, and no one batted a goddamn eyelash. This is the dude who shows up in all the commercials for that joint, and back when Obamacare was going into full effect, he made some comment about how in order to cover his employees health care he was going to have to raise the cost of pizza something like 15 cents. Paying an extra 15 cents so someone making minimum wage can go to the fuckin’ doctor doesn’t bother me a bit, what bothers me is Shithead McCuntface saying that shit like it was a negative, like he thought customers would get pissed about it and stand behind him, when in reality you can tell it was just him being annoyed that he had to pay for someone else’s health insurance. Why, that money should be going to buying me a bigger boat! he probably thought, this walking shit stain. Because Left or Right, it doesn’t matter — it’s your money, it’s your business, do whatever the fuck you want — but if you own a popular chain of eateries and you’re the public face of the chain whether we like it or not, have the decency to be a private cunt, don’t be open and proud about your cunt-ery.

Look, for all I know, the late Wendy’s founder/spokesman Dave Thomas hated the concept of a living wage and he probably dreamed nightly of building a wall between Mexico and the U.S. made out of petrified burger patties bonded together with gallons of leftover Frosty to keep the mojados out but you’d never know because he never talked about that shit in public.  Sony and Feig, you fucked up — you can cast any lady you want to bust ghosts in your movie, but when you pick a business headed by some attention-seeking anal wart of a man as a sponsor, you’re crossing a fucking line that you cannot come back from nor erase. That and there’s like one too many fart jokes in your movie.

But aside from that bullshit, I dug it. It’s fun. It’s Ghostbusters. To be real with you, I never worshipped the original GB joints the way many do. The original was an above-average Bill Murray joint, one of his better ones, but it was never my childhood. I mean, if we’re talking mid-80s comedies with dashes of the fantastic that reek of My Childhood, I’m more of a Back to the Future dude, yeah that’s what I’m talking about! And you know what? I wouldn’t have Problem One if they ever remake that with women so long as they have good peeps on both sides of the camera. Shit, let’s really get some knickers in a twist and cast a Black actress as Marty McFly. Hell yeah! (Except I fear a film where a young black person is doing nutty shit in the 1950s would have a much briefer running time and a much sadder ending.)

I liked Ghostbusters: Answer the Call and if they make another one, I’ll check it out. But honestly, I’d much rather see a spinoff featuring the characters played by Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon, or pull a G.I. Joe: Retaliation and kill off Kristin Wiig and Melissa McCarthy and make it about Jones/McKinnon only, or fuck it, forget Ghostbusters entirely and just make a buddy movie with those two because they were awesome. Jones has this way of just being naturally funny — you know, just being herself — that had me laughing at the way she reacted to all the supernatural weirdness going on. It always felt, I don’t know…true. Everyone else is kinda playing it as a Character but she comes off like a relatively normal person in this universe except Normal doesn’t equal Boring. McKinnon had a touch of the chaotic agent in her, throwing things off kilter the way fellow Agents of Chaos like Harpo Marx in the pre-MGM Marx Brothers films, Johnny from Airplane!, and Wakko Warner from “Animaniacs” — to name a few — did in their worlds. She came off to me like a character from a Buckaroo Banzai movie we never got to see or even knew existed, like she would’ve felt right at home as a Hong Kong Cavalier or a Blue Blaze Irregular or HOLY SHIT — as Buckaroo Banzai herself.

Haha, it’s too bad The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai in the 8th Dimension wasn’t a blockbuster smash, because it would’ve been worth remaking just to see all those sensitive-assed Reddit-types beating their heads against a wall (while beating their meat) over remaking that shit with a girl.

OK, maybe I went too far there. Peter Weller is the man and I’d love to see him come back as Banzai, so maybe they can bring in McKinnon as his daughter or one of the other aforementioned roles or a villain! Just put her in a Buckaroo Banzai movie, is what I’m saying. Make another Buckaroo Banzai movie is what I’m also saying. And Leslie Jones needs to be in this Buckaroo Banzai film too! But keep McCarthy away. I don’t like her.

But I do like Jason Bourne, both the character and the movie. My viewing of this film was preceded by a steak lunch and bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. I was going to have a couple glasses, but I looked at the price per glass versus the price of the bottle and it was just better savings to go all the way — that is to say, savings in the wallet if not savings on my liver. And so I stumbled down the block to the movie theater and I bought a Cherry Coke for a little caffeine jolt to keep me from going into a red wine slumber or getting a red wine headache.

That was a long way of saying I was a bit (a bit?) tipsy when I watched this film, this film that I liked but not as much as the other three Jason Bourne flicks. It didn’t feel like it went up another level, it’s really just more of the same. Now that’s fine because that means it’s a solid Bourne film, which I guess are probably going to be like Bond movies or Fast & Furious joints now if they keep this up; some will be awesome, some will be shit, and some will be fine. Jason Bourne is fine. And Matt Damon is fiiiiiiinnnneee!

OK, that’s kind of a joke (or is it?). But he does look good and I actually think a little more age on the face makes him look more badass. I haven’t seen the first Bourne in over ten years but I bet if I put it on it’ll be like watching a baby play spy, in comparison to the bad motherfucker in this film. But then again, in this film they’ll cut occasionally to Tommy Lee Jones’ weathered-as-fuck visage and Damon’s back to looking goo-goo-gaga again.

Paul Greengrass has to stop with his shaky camerawork and edit-whatever-you-want style, it’s actually coming off more lazy than planned out. Fuckin’ Captain America: Civil War looks like fuckin’ Ozu’s best compared to this shit. I’m sure the previous Bournes didn’t look this bad, or maybe they did and it didn’t bother me as much. But it bothers me now. There are fight scenes that are expertly choreographed — at least that’s what I read in the making-of articles, because I certainly can’t tell in the movie. It’s all close-up-close-up-medium-close-up-close-up-extreme-close-up with the sounds of kicks and punches to help you put it together. There’s what I’m guessing is an awesome car chase through the Las Vegas strip but again, I’ll just have to assume based on the snippets Greengrass and his ACADEMY AWARD WINNING EDITOR allow us to glimpse at. No joke, watching the action scenes made me wish I was some kind of Howard Hughes type holding the purse strings on this production so I could fire the director and editor and hire someone else to reshoot those scenes.

So this is a movie where I was more into the lead-up to the action than the actual action itself, because the lead-up is that fucking good and the action is that fucking bad. I’m not kidding when I say the Vegas Strip airplane crash landing sequence in Con Air made more visual sense than this shit.

I dug the story, if not necessarily the action. If I recall correctly, his character was believed to be dead at the end of the last movie (I haven’t seen The Bourne Legacy, so for all I know JB pops up in that one after the credits to tell Jeremy Renner about the S.H.I.E.L.D. initiative), so based on what he’s doing here at the start of the film, then I guess you can say that the afterlife for the now deceased Jason Bourne is to be stuck in a purgatory consisting of your average 90s direct-to-video kick-puncher about underground fights for money where the rules are There Are No Rules. Thankfully, Julia Stiles is busy being involved in some Snowden-esque fuckery and she ends up having to call on Bourne for help, otherwise we’d have no film.

And it was when I saw Julia Stiles show up that I remembered she and I are both the same age, and when I first saw her in a film she was a teenager which meant that I was teenager. But I see Julia Stiles today and it hits me that she is no longer 10 Things I Hate About You Julia Stiles, she’s Old Enough To Run For President Julia Stiles. She’s looks like a 35-year-old woman — which is not a bad thing nor some kind of negative comment. I’m saying that it reminded me that I am 35 too, at least in age, if not behavior or intelligence. I’m impervious to seeing people like Matt Damon get older because Damon’s 10 years older than me, which might as well be 50 years away. But Julia Stiles is MY age. And seeing similarly aged friends or relatives or anyone else I grew up watching in movies & television and actually noticing that they look older, well shit, that’s getting a good long look at my own personal Dorian Gray painting right there.

Then I go back to what I said about Damon being 10 years older and I remember that just yesterday it was 10 years ago and Children of Men had just come out and in a few months Grindhouse would be hitting theaters and fuck yeah it’s going to be so awesome!

2006 was last night. I’m sure it was.

My God. The time. It’s going faster.

35 years old.

My father was 72 when he passed.

He never did drugs and wasn’t a super-boozer.

I had already earned master degrees in both by my 20s.

So let’s say I have until 70, tops. And that’s if Crom doesn’t go extra cruel and take me earlier.

That means I’m already halfway through my life. It’s halfway over. But it only feels like I’m a quarter into it. And what have I accomplished? There’s so much to do! I’m just getting warmed up! It can’t be halfway done!

My God — if there even is one.

Shit, if this fear keeps up I know I’ll end up running arms wide open into religion or I’ll go mad in another way.

What does that song say? “If I live too long, I’m afraid I’ll die”.

Too fucking right, chief!

It’s feeling warm in here. I’m sweating. Now it’s humid. So much green.

Jesus Christ.

Where am I?

Facebook ramblings – May 2016

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 4, 2016 by efcontentment

In which our blogger posts his mini-ramblings from Facebook on some of the films he watched that particular month.

The Specialist (Rewatch. DVR.)

This was during that ’94-’95 period of movies about bombs going off. When I finally caught it on VHS, I thought it was OK. Today, I liked it more. I think my problem back then was that there really wasn’t much action in this Stallone flick, practically non-existent compared to Demolition Man and Cliffhanger before it.

But I get it, Stallone was probably trying to wean us off the macho shoot-em-up/beat-em-ups with stuff like this and Assassins, but he overestimated his audience, who complained about the lack of action and so that’s why there are two scenes in this film that were added way after the fact in order to beef up the beat up.

The first is the scene on the bus where he kicks a motherfucker out the window, and the second is a hotel kitchen scrap where he kicks a motherfucker into a vat of boiling water that was just there, just standing there and boiling, waiting for some poor soul to fall into it — and then, oh man, and then it was time to boil a motherfucker. Evil Boiling Water Vat. It is coming to get all of us. Turn your back on it long enough, and that’s your ass.

It’s never boring, that’s for sure, getting goofier as it goes on, and getting awesome whenever James Woods popped up. Oh man, that scene with him on the phone with Stallone while trying to get a trace on him while trying not to lose his shit is in and of itself Good Times. Even if you haven’t seen the film and don’t want to, I highly recommend finding his scenes on YouTube, because sure enough, there are clips of his performance there.

Man, that Sharon Stone, huh? Believe it or not, she did nothing for me back then, probably on account of that I was gay. But since then Jesus Christ has shown me the way and I now drink the gay away and try not to take it out on my wife and kids during our picnics on the way to see Joel Osteen live.

(Just don’t tell anyone that once I’m at the Osteen event, I excuse myself to the bathroom for a little foot-tapping action.)

Watching her now, though, wow. I still don’t quite agree with her and Stallone banging on a hotel shower floor, I don’t care how nice that hotel is, even nice hotels are dirty. I once lost my good judgment one late night in Ensenada during Spring Break, after I stumbled into the hotel room we were all staying at and crashed on the floor because I was hammered. When I woke up and realized I was cheek to cheek with the carpet with nothing between us, I reacted as if I were the girl in Creepshow 2 who was laying on the raft when that oil blob thing got her.

Whatever, Stone looked great and so did the whole film. I really liked the look of the movie, particularly the night scenes with Miami done up with neon lights. The music is fucking great too; you got some good John Barry shit here (sounding like some 70s/80s Bond work) as well as a great soundtrack produced by/featuring the Estefans. I didn’t care for the cover of “Turn the Beat Around” but that might have to do with me not liking that song in its original version either. Not an active dislike, it just didn’t do much for me, like Sharon Stone back when I was gay — OK, that’s a joke that I’m about to run into the ground; what it really was was that Winona Ryder was more my speed back then. Hell, she’s my speed now.

Holy shit, David Fincher at one point was going to direct this but the studio couldn’t stand the stench of Alien 3 on him. So they hired Luis Llosa instead, and I guess hiring him was as brown as it was going to get for this production because they got Eric Roberts and Rod Steiger to play Cubans, but it’s cool because Eric Roberts is my dude and Steiger apparently thought he was in Pawnbroker 2: Still Brokin’ which means he’s fun to watch. I dug his Cuban accent, particularly when he tells Woods to “take the bitch” except it comes out “take de beeessssssssh”. His final scene is Good Times x 2 too.

Anyway, this would’ve played better as one of those made-for-cable movies starring Pierce Brosnan, during that time in his career when he was keeping himself limber for his eventual call to James Bond duty.

Thief (Rewatch. Blu-ray.)

Man, that Mann was sure something. Still is, but I’m just saying his last couple films weren’t OMG SO GOOD quality but I dug ’em all the same. Anyway, this mofo came out fuckin’ blazing with his first theatrical film. It holds up, man(n). Stylish as all get-out, and if you ever here anyone tell you that it’s kinda cold and methodical, then Anyone clearly wasn’t paying attention to that incredible scene in the diner between James Caan and Tuesday Weld.

Hey, so that postcard Caan’s character carries with him, that would qualify as a “vision board”, wouldn’t it? I never heard of a vision board until I heard the comedian Maria Bamford talk about them. I guess you create a collage from pasted pictures out of magazines and other stuff of what you want in your life and I guess that manifests itself eventually. Which sounds a little like that “The Secret” bullshit.

I keep calling stuff like The Secret and vision boards “bullshit” but then I look at the last ten years of my life and I think, shit, maybe I’m the asshole here. At least Caan’s character had the excuse of being in prison. What did *I* fuckin’ do?! So excuse me while I go out and make myself a vision board. And if you haven’t seen this film yet, go manifest yourself a copy of Thief with a vision board before I turn your whole family into Wimpy Burgers.

The Quick and the Dead (Rewatch. DVR.)

I saw this back during my “I Don’t Get Sharon Stone” days, but I saw it because I sure as hell got the fuck out of Sam Goddamn Raimi.

I think I know why I wasn’t that big on Stone back then; I remember reading on some AOL movie message board about how she wasn’t the easiest person to get along with on a movie set, and the guy who posted on the message board admitted to pissing into a bathtub on the set of Allan Quatermain and the City of Gold (along other members of the crew) before she got in it for her scene. Stuff like that and other shit in the news made her basically like the Anti-Triple A for me, so maybe that’s why she wasn’t jangling my chain, regardless of her looks.

Of course, nowadays one wonders if in fact she was really that difficult or if it was a case of a woman being judged on some shit that a guy would be excused for. Or maybe not. I mean, the crew pissed into the scotch bottle of one of the male directors of His Kind of Woman and that was back in the 50s. I guess the lesson here is don’t piss off the crew members or you’ll get pissed back. (Or worse, if you act shitty to them.)

Anyway, Stone watched Army of Darkness and said “That’s who I want to direct my Western” so that makes her cool enough in my book. She also paid Leonardo DiCaprio’s salary to be in the movie because the studio didn’t want him, so that’s pretty stand up of her. Nowadays I bet you those same studio guys (if they even still have jobs) are kissing Leo’s ass and I don’t remember Leo thanking her — or the female director of his real first film Critters 3 — in his Oscar speech so I guess you can’t take the posse out of the pussy, eh?

I hadn’t seen this movie in about 16 years and I liked it even more this time. It’s got that awesome Raimi style to it but he also tones it down by keeping most of the Evil Dead-ing to the duel sequences. He held his own and proved that he could do Acting as well as Action, getting a top-notch Boo-Hiss performance from Gene Motherfucking Hackman, who reportedly didn’t make easy on the Raimster. But then again, Hackman’s never been known to make it easy on anyone.

By the way, has anyone seen this supposed episode of “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives” where Gene Hackman pops up as a patron of one of the diners human-Smash Mouth-band Guy Fieri was douching up? I can’t fucking find it, so clearly this means it doesn’t exist.

Whatever. I dig this flick. I’ll admit that it’s one of those movies where all the elements are A-level (acting, directing, cinematography, editing, production design, music, etc) but the script is more like B-level — but it still makes for a fun watch. It’s great gun-porn too, with all those beautiful revolvers. Goddamn, those were beauties — particularly that Schofield. It’s enough to make a motherfucker wanna jizz all over his NRA towel.

You know what, I was hard on Smash Mouth.

The Place Beyond the Pines (First time. DVR.)

I forgot to take a pic of the movie so here’s an unrelated photo of a vampire cat rising from its slumber, ready to feed for the night.

This was the follow-up for the director of Blue Valentine and in my opinion he didn’t disappoint. It’s a film that feels like a novel, and I’d explain more if I were not afraid of spoiling it. That’s why I won’t. I’ll just say that like a novel it’s long. But there ain’t no chapter titles either, because this isn’t a Tarantino joint.

If you haven’t seen this film and you’re going to, know as little as possible going in. Don’t even read the synopsis, not even the capsule one they have on cable/satellite because even that one gives away too much.

What I will say is that I dug how most of the characters are presented as human in that they are neither entirely bad or entirely good. And those in the film who look at people in those black & white terms, well they tend to be the ones who really are All Good or All Bad. I guess it’s that whole thing about how usually people who are the least trusting or assume the worst of others are also the ones who do others dirty.

This is a movie about — among other things — the guilt that follows a motherfucker after the actions he or she takes and how that shit can affect said motherfuckers, even for years.

I didn’t know half of the actors in this movie were going to be in this movie. I just knew Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes were in it but many more familiar faces pop up and they’re all excellent in their roles. I also dug the music by Mike Patton who proves that he can score more serious-minded films and not just Neveldine/Taylor joints. It’s a shame he hasn’t scored more films and I wonder if that’s a result of his schedule or that most filmmakers don’t know a good composer if it hit ’em in the throat with a timpani stick.

If I had any problems with the film they came in the last 40 minutes and they all came in the form of a character who I just wanted to get punched and punched and punched all the way until the end credits rolled, and then following the end credits I wanted a Marvel-style post-credits stinger of the character getting punched one more time followed by Nick Fury stepping in to tell the puncher about a new initiative devoted to punching this annoying douche-twat for time immemorial.

I honestly considered stopping the movie because of this character. I knew guys like this. Guys like this were the reason why I almost got kicked out of school, on account of them getting the better of my temper — followed by the worst of my punches.

But I hit Pause, gave myself 30 seconds to breathe, and then I unpaused, followed by muting the movie and reading the closed-captioning as a sort of compromise. That way at least I didn’t have to listen to his voice.

By the last 15 minutes or so I put the sound back on and everything was OK. I made it out. And I’m glad I did, because I was rewarded with a satisfying ending to a well-told tale.

Rob Roy (First time. DVR.)

I missed this in theaters, then I missed it at home because this was around the time we got a laserdisc player and the only video store that stocked laserdiscs only had this movie on Pan & Scan. I never understood that. This place stocked laserdiscs, but if a movie came out in both letterboxed and pan & scan, they chose the latter. It was frustrating. And in my young youth, I had principles about that. So I never rented it, and I soon forgot it.

All I remembered was that this was seen as the cooler, better alternative to Braveheart, which came out around the same time. I haven’t seen that one in over a decade, so I couldn’t tell you how they hold up against one another, in kilts, enjoying the warmth of each other. I couldn’t.

All I know is that this was Good Times. The first 20 minutes is pretty much Liam Neeson stabbing fools and then lecturing the fools he didn’t stab. Then they introduce a walking cunt named Cunningham (played by Tim Roth) whose all about fucking and killing — so naturally I hate him for living my life. But I’d like to think I’d treat people better than he did, and I certainly would use protection when it came time to bang a chamber maid or two.

Neeson’s Rob Roy MacGregor though, that there is a Man. A man of principles, which according to this film, was just as lacking in most men back then as it is today. So of course, this means that he is going to get royally fucked as a result of having principles because Human Beings are garbage people and guys like Rob Roy are the exception, not the rule.

This was one of those movies that I could practically smell, and that’s unfortunate because this takes place in the 1700s, so you know how people back then got down with bathing. I mean, this is a fucking dirty-ass smelly movie full of bodily fluids and functions and excretions and where you Just Fucking Know that even the cleanest people in this movie smell terrible.

So when the movie was over, I took another shower, but it was a victorious shower. I was fucking walking on air in that shower because I watched Rob Roy take it to The Man and I got to watch the occasional moment of Ownage too. Even Jessica Lange (who’s great here) was like “hey don’t Bogart that Ownage, Liam, let mama dole some out!”. It’s really funny at times too, which I didn’t expect.

The director of the film is Michael Caton-Jones, and up until Rob Roy, homeboy was consistent with quality. Before that he made This Boy’s Life and before that he made Doc Hollywood and before that he made Memphis Belle. Good flicks, all of them. Then he followed this one up with The Jackal and I guess that’s when the consistency stopped. He eventually ended up directing Basic Instinct 2 starring, yup, you guessed it — Sharon Stone.

The Outlaw Josey Wales (First time. DVR.)

All the Eastwood joints I’ve seen, and yet I never got around to this one. I gotta give him the Big Balls award for taking the story where the main character — the good guy — joins a guerilla army of Confererate-loving Bushwackers and the bad guys are Union soldiers. But never do you get the sense that the filmmakers are some South Will Rise Again assholes, nah, Eastwood was looking to make something more complicated.

What you get is a man who loses everything — his wife, his son, his shitty farm — and wants something that sounds like revenge but really seems more like a reckoning he wants to give out to anyone unlucky enough to be wearing the same colors worn by the men responsible for his current state.

So what you get throughout this film is Eastwood shooting, shooting, and shooting some more. He’s either shooting bullets at his enemies or he’s shooting chaw at the ground, insects, shirts, even a dog. Josey Wales is cooooold-blooooded!

What surprised me is that what starts as a pretty grim movie slowly loosens up as it goes along, and as the film does, so does Eastwood’s character, and what starts out as a revenge tale ends as something kinda deeper and touching as Josey Wales finds a more meaningful endgame for his life — while still giving us plenty of Eastwood owning motherfuckers as if he carried receipts on all of them in his back pocket.

It’s good stuff, man. This is the one where Eastwood says “Dyin’ ain’t much of a living, boy” and you bet your ass I was jumping on my couch like goddamn Tom Cruise when he said that shit.

The Outfit (Rewatch. DVR.)

Saw this back in ’10 at the New Beverly along with Point Blank and that my friend was Good Times. Here’s another adaptation of a “Richard Stark”/Donald E. Westlake book, and like all the other cine-adapts this one changes the name of the Parker character. Here, Robert Duvall plays “Macklin” and he’s out of the joint and out for revenge in the form of $$$ because The Outfit killed his brudda.

Here’s some good ‘ol old-school tough guy crime shit that feels just like the Parker books, even with the changes made between page and screen. This is a cold environment where even the warmer characters are quick to do wrong shit like knocking a woman out just because she’s in the way. This is the kind of movie that devotes large chunks of time to the characters purchasing firearms and automobiles for their jobs (with the option to sell them back after the job is done) and I’m a sucker for that kind of thing.

The old school feel is made older with the casting of classic genre actors like Robert Ryan and Jane Greer. There’s also a bit of a The Killing reunion with Marie Windsor, Timothy Carey, and Elisha Cook Jr.; unfortunately none share any scenes together.

Another sign of being made from Another Time is that the lead is Robert Duvall, who you completely buy as someone who could be from that world, Crime World. His crime partner is Joe Don Baker, who was almost ruined for me by MST3K on account of all those jokes about him in Mitchell and Final Justice. There’s a part where Baker holds a rib-chopping cook at gunpoint, then tells him “Go on back and chop them ribs” which I found myself completing out loud with “…because I want some to go” — damn you MST3K!

Karen Black is the main dame here and like the rest of the cast, she’s a Great Face who probably wouldn’t have much play had she came of actress age nowadays. Young Karen Black in the Year 2016 would probably play a lot of wacky best friend roles today.

Joanna Cassidy is the head crime honcho’s moll in the film, and yet despite that role or her iconic role as Zhora in Blade Runner or any other role in her long career, all I want to do when I see her is yell “I’m right on top of that, Rose!”

The late great John Flynn wrote and directed this, and man oh man, there are not enough articles written about this dude. He made this, followed by Rolling Thunder and Defiance. Right on. He also made my favorite Steven Seagal movie with Out for Justice. He’s worked with Sly Stallone, James Woods, Tommy Lee Jones, Rod Steiger, William Devane, Brian Dennehy — all of them real Guys. Then he made Brainscan starring pretty boy (at the time) Edward Furlong and I don’t think he ever recovered from that. To make things worse, he met me at a screening and signed my Lock Up dvd. Then he died.

London Has Fallen (First time. Theater.)

Caught this yesterday at the discount theater, where there were stains splattered on the lower right side of the screen and a crazy witchy woman in the front row making comments. This plus popcorn plus M&Ms plus Cherry Coke only added to my enjoyment of this film — and I’m sure my Diabetes-in-progress got a kick out of it too.

Despite being distributed by Gramercy Films (remember them? yeah, they’re back!) this is a Millennium Films production all the way and you know these MF’rs might as well be Cannon Reborn and this movie may well be their most Cannon-y joint yet.

Shit, this might actually out-Cannon Cannon because at least Golan & Globus shelled out enough ducats on quality visual effects for big-budget fare like Lifeforce. Here, someone must’ve taken the money for convincing blood hits and explosions and had themselves the mother of all parties over in Dubai or somewhere.

Gerard Butler has to be — I mean he just has to be! — in on some kind of joke with his performance here, like I think he knows this is a silly movie. Some of his line deliveries feel like something you’d see in a spoof about overblown actioners such as this one, or like something you’d see in the spoof trailers at the beginning of Tropic Thunder. Whatever the case, I’m glad he’s doing it that way because his is absolutely the only way one should act in this movie.

Every time a new character pops up, their name and job appears on-screen (example: “Lynne Jacobs – Secret Service Director”) despite most of them being characters from the first film — and that’s when I realized that this movie was playing the Stand Alone Film game. The events of Olympus Has Fallen are never mentioned or even alluded to, I mean, it gets to the point that I left convinced this movie takes place in an alternate universe where Olympus always stood proud with nary a stumble. Every once in a while President Harvey Dent clutches his pearls whenever Secret Service Agent Spaaaaaartaaaaa! gets down with a little sado-murderiffic ownage on the baddies, which made me almost yell out loud “Dude, don’t you remember what he did in the last one!?”

I sure remember — and I loved it. Killing people with such an evil glee, that guy. And I’m happy to report that Agent Spaaaaartaaa! is still a sadistic fuck in the sequel. My favorite kill might be when he sloooooowly sticks his Rambo knife into a wounded terrorist, almost as slow as that German soldier did to the Semitic homie in Saving Private Ryan — only in that film it was an evil Nazi trooper and here it’s the hero of the film. I actually could’ve used some more of Butler killing bad guys with the psychotic glee and zeal usually exhibited by Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees.

And yeah, he does actually tell a bad guy over the walkie talkie to go “back to Fuckheadistan or wherever it is you come from”, after which I almost stood up and did that dramatic slow clap in the audience with a tear rolling down my face, because I have to applaud a movie that gives us the winning combo of Culturally Tone Deaf and Painfully Enlarged Testicles. We’ve sure come a long way from John McClane saying “Yippee Ki Yay Mother Fucker” to Hans, that’s for sure.

The first act introduces a whole bunch of other characters at various locations in a way that made me feel that I was watching a 70s-style disaster movie. Half of them are played by people I’m not familiar with, so I felt it was a lost opportunity to get whoever the 2016 version of George Kennedy or Richard Chamberlain or Stella Stevens to play those roles. But the other half consist of names like Morgan Freeman and Angela Bassett and my man, Mr. Robert Forster, who I’m always happy to see in any movie (even if he barely has any lines).

At least Forster has lines. Academy Award-winning actress Melissa Leo hardly says a word, but she looks happy to be there, so they must’ve paid her very well to be silent. Oh, and Jackie Earle Haley is picking up a Shut Up and Cash The Check part here too, which reminds me — he and Forster were in Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence, which would make a decent double bill with this movie.

I say that because MC3 was a direct-to-cable genre film from the 90s, and London Has Fallen is in spirit a direct-to-cable genre film from the 90s working from a script left over from Cannon Films in the 80s. Chuck Norris would’ve jizzed all over his camo pants had he been given the script back then, because London isn’t so much a pro-Murica film as it’s pro-Western World & anti-Derka-Derka and you know the Chuckster’s down with that.

They throw in a chick MI6 badass and some SAS commandos into the mix so it doesn’t seem all about America Saving The Muthafuckin’ Day. Maybe that’s why this one actually did a lot better overseas than the first one.

In conclusion, some dude texts the name “Aamir Barkawi” on his phone and it wasn’t corrected by spell-check, so that was nice. I wish my phone was that chill about spelling.


Listen to Me Marlon (First time. DVR.)

So what we have here is a failure to communicate between a genuine Game Changer in the art of playing pretend, but thankfully Mr. Brando was far more open with himself and his tape recorder — and that’s what this documentary is all about. Dude left hundreds of hours of confessionals and ramblings and selected bits play out over home movies and on-set footage and archival clips spanning most of his life. Sometimes you also see a weird monochromatic digi-Brando head reading along to the recordings, looking assed out because he wasn’t invited to kick it with Hologram Tupac or Hologram Whitney Houston.

It’s a bit of a cheat that at least a third — if not half — of this stuff is actually from interviews he did, so you’re not listening to purely his audio bloggings, and this film was approved by his estate so you know you’re not gonna get all of the goods. And you know it ain’t gonna get darker if the estate is approving what gets used and what gets put aside in the Destroy pile. As weird as he might’ve been, the film has to ultimately paint him in a more positive shade. Shit man, who knows? Maybe that’s closer to the truth than what a cynical fuck like moi assumes about him — and everyone else on this planet, for that matter.

But as it is you get plenty, man. I felt I got a decent sense of him — at least more than just the weirdo who loved giving film sets a hard time. I didn’t leave thinking his behavior justified, I just saw his side of it and got an idea of why he would be the way he was.

Of course a success like Marlon Brando came from shitty parenting, and he claimed that that is what made him forever search for happiness in the arms of as many women as he could embrace and between the legs of as many fried chickens as he could wolf down. I can make the fat jokes because I’m kinda like Marlon Brando when it comes to food. (It’s in the Women department that I’m trying to be more like him.)

Say what you will, but I felt that even when he was pulling that cue card bullshit that he was committed to his craft — or specifically, he’s the only one I would excuse/believe his idea that it added to the spontaneity of his performance. And even if it really didn’t, the guy earned the right to pull that off. I think you have to be an actor of Brando’s caliber to do that, especially when you’ve already had a long career preceding you. Some actors today — and I’ve witnessed some of this myself — want to immediately riff and You Just Fucking Know it’s because they didn’t really learn their lines.

This wasn’t in the movie but I remember Sidney Lumet (in his book “Making Movies”, I think) saying that Brando knew when he was working with a director who knew his shit. He would give the director two different line readings that were damn near indistinguishable from each other — but there was a difference. And that difference could only be picked up by someone who truly not only understood the material they were working from, but who also had true knowledge on acting. If the director picked the “correct” reading, Brando felt he was in good hands and put in 110-percent. If not, he’d just sleepwalk through it because why bother pouring out your heart and soul into every line and movement? It’s not like the director would even notice!

One last food thing: Brando claimed that as a kid he’d open the fridge at night and it would feel as if the food were talking to him like “Hi Marlon, it’s me, Mr. Cheese!” or something like that. He felt food was his friend, but really, who does that to their friends? Who chews their friends up, swallows them, digests every good part, then shits out their remains? (Aside from show business, of course.)

Facebook ramblings – April 2016

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 5, 2016 by efcontentment
I’ve been posting mini-ramblings on my Facebook page along with an accompanying snapshot of the films I’m mini-reviewing (not pro screenshots, I’m just snapping them off the wall they’re being projected on with my cheap phone). For those who don’t have me as a Facebook friend, no sweat, I get it — Facebook is the Devil. So I’ll gather them up at the end of the month and post ’em here. If you thought my regular ramblings were incoherent, try ramblings with little to no explanation of what the movies about!

Trancers II: The Return of Jack Deth (Rewatch. Blu-ray.)

Filmed in 1991, hence the mom jeans and high-waisted pants.

Not as good as the first one, and sometimes it’s outright terrible. For some reason, director Charles Band films nearly all the close-ups damn-near Jonathan Demme style, with the actor thisclose to looking directly at the camera. But at least it feels like a Trancers movie and they got most of the original cast back, so it’s fun enough to almost make you forget about the wack-ass script — I’ll give points to the wack-ass script for making the villains environmentalists and having a really old-school insenstive attitude towards homeless people and the mentally ill.

The audio commentary with stars Tim Thomerson and Megan Ward is fun too. Too bad the director is taking part as well. He’s never as funny as he thinks he is, or anywhere approaching funny (he continues the tradition from the first Trancers commentary of pointing out random actors and situations as “gay” — my sense of humor isn’t politically correct, I’m just saying put some thought into your gay jokes, my fellow bros) and he’s fond of interrupting Ward & Thomerson’s genuinely entertaining interactions usually to have them be quiet for a line he finds funny. Except he hasn’t seen the film since completing post, which means that they have to be quiet for about a minute or so before the line finally happens — or in one case, before realizing that the line isn’t even in this particular scene.

One day I’ll get married to Megan Ellison or someone like that and after the divorce I’m gonna use my half of the money to create my own boutique label. I’ll buy the rights to some of these movies with the intention of having do-over commentaries recorded for them. For Trancers II, I’ll only invite Thomerson & Ward and I’ll sit in to pester Thomerson about everything he’s worked on and most likely I’ll creep out the lovely Ms. Ward. And if you don’t like it, then you can find your own money and create your boutique label.

Artists and Models (First time. DVR.)

The first film Martin & Lewis made with director Frank Tashlin and the second-to-last they made together (they were pretty much done with each other by the follow-up, Hollywood or Bust). I’m gonna be honest with you, I never really got into Jerry Lewis except for the films he directed himself and his work with Tashlin. It’s like Tashlin was the only one who operated on the same level with him and I guess it’s because his experience animating/directing Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck helped him understand a human cartoon like Lewis.

It’s top notch Martin & Lewis; the songs are catchy (Martin crooning the bejesus out of “Innamorata”, Lewis hey-ladying the fuck out of whatever the fuck he was singing) and the gags are a-plenty, only this time with Tashlin it mostly feels like a live-action cartoon.

It looks beautiful too! It’s photographed in VistaVision with candy Technicolor and the production design is old-school studio work that I am always a sucker for. You can tell they put some serious money into this. There’s also plenty of eye candy with attractive women all about the proceedings (Dorothy Malone! Anita Ekberg!) and hey, Dean Martin ain’t a bad looker either. See, this was back when guys looked like men, none of this skinny tight pants wearing six-pack abs-having motherfuckers who can’t fight worth a shit, says the guy with a big gut and a violent temper.

Tashlin might be the earliest example I can think of a director putting up what gets him off on-screen. Shameless leg shots and sexy costumes everywhere! Even one shot of a bound and gagged 21-year-old Shirley MacLaine wearing a tight fitting costume and hosiery made me feel funny/weird, in a Quentin Tarantino foot fetish kinda way. Shit, I think I had a similar kinky spider sense tingling when a similarly-clad Scarlett Johansson was tied up in Marvel’s The Avengers. Jesus Christ. I thought I knew myself already. Thanks a lot, Tashlin, for giving me yet another feather to stick in my Sick Fuck cap.

This was my first time watching it, so maybe it’s too early to tell, but in comparison to Hollywood or Bust, this one doesn’t quite match up, maybe because Hollywood had a giant Great Dane in it and this one doesn’t. You give me hot chicks and an awesome dog and I’ll give you a happy man.

By the way, to my fellow heteros and lesbians and animal lovers (but not in that way); do you ever find yourself walking or driving and suddenly you see an attractive woman walking a dog? And because you only have about two seconds to enjoy this, you have to make the Sophie’s Choice of ogling the sexy lady girl or going AWWWW over the doggy dog dog bow-wow? Or is it just me?

Anyway, Artists and Models is good times if you can stand Jerry Lewis’ style of comedy and plus he calls himself “retarded” at one point, so there’s that too.

House of Games
(Rewatch. DVD.)

The plays and films of David Mamet are like tuna fish sandwiches: you either like them or you don’t. Me, I love tuna fish sandwiches. I’d eat one right now except I’m under the weather (thanks to the constantly changing weather! one day it’s 90 degrees, the next it’s cold and rainy!) and therefore I wouldn’t completely enjoy it.

But I enjoy David Mamet’s work, sick or no sick. So I revisited this one and had a good time with it, even though the surprises are no longer surprises. To be honest with you, the surprises weren’t really that surprising even when I first saw this in the late 90s, because by then I’d seen enough rug-pullers inspired by this one to be kind of savvy to them.

It’s a trip to watch the different styles of reciting Mamet’s dialogue. There’s a spectrum at work in his films; in this one, you have Lindsay Crouse on one end of the Mamet spectrum, giving herself over completely to the Mametspeak, its rhythms, and all that that entails (the character is defined by words and actions at the moment PERIOD; no character history or anything like that). This has been confused for bad acting but if you see her in other joints she does all right. (This goes for Rebecca Pidgeon as well.)

On the other end of the spectrum, you have Joe Mantegna who is able to do justice to the Mamet style while still being Joe Mantegna. He’s able to bring his own personality to the proceedings while doing the rhythm thing. Plus it makes sense that his con artist character is a bit more loose while Crouse’s psychiatrist is more uptight in comparison.

Or maybe I’m just making excuses because I dig this motherfucker Mamet.

This movie was made in 1987 and it definitely has a late 80s feel, but not in the usual pop flashy way. I mean, this movie feels like it takes place in a world occupied by, well, think of what your average middle-to-upper-middle class person who enjoys PBS and NPR would look like, dress like, circa 1987 and there you go, if that makes any goddamn sense.

In conclusion, there’s an actress who says “A Waldorf salad” and it’s one of the best line readings, like, ever.

Riding with Death
Agent for H.A.R.M.
Prince of Space
Horror at Party Beach

(MST3K versions. Rewatch.)

And so, what I hoped on Friday were mere allergies having their way with me has since turned into a full-blown badass Cold of All Colds. I missed out on seeing my sister and having a little Siblings Day hugfest with her as a result. But that’s OK, because I texted her and we’re on for next weekend and I can ride this cold thing out with my usual chicken soup for the soul, MST3K episodes. See, I have this thing about not watching new films when I’m sick, because I feel I have to be 100-percent, says the guy who went to Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Half-Naked Amy stoned to the gills.

Anyway, because of that weird sorta principle I created somewhere along the way, MST3k reruns are my go-to sick viewings. So I had a little marathon that will probably continue tomorrow because I’m calling in sick to work.

You might have noticed the old Sci-Fi Channel logo on the lower left corner. That is because I have damn near all the episodes collected from the Digital Archive Project and burned onto DVD. This was back in the late 90s/early 00s when very few episodes were available. Since then, I’ve bought the new stuff from Shout! and some of the old stuff too — because it’s better quality than my old DAP discs, not because I’m trying to Make Things Right. That would mean I have some kind of a conscience. HA!

I might have to change my No New Movies When Sick rule, though. I mean, one of my favorite movie-views was catching a late-night R-rated pan-and-scan showing of Dario Argento’s Trauma on Cinemax when I was 14 years old and getting my ass kicked by the flu. I had just woken up from a fever dream only to end up watching another one on television. Or at least it felt that way; I’ve never seen the film since because I’m sure it won’t match up to that sweaty, doped-up-on-Theraflu experience and I probably never will. But it got me to look up what this Dario Argento dude was up to. So I don’t know where the hell I got this idea of not watching new shit when I feel like shit.

Maybe I should just downgrade it to movies I wasn’t particularly looking to watch, but hey, it’s on Lifetime and that chick from that show is on it, know what I mean?

In conclusion, achoo.

Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (Rewatch. DVD.)

I think it was Quentin Tarantino who said that Michael Cimino’s The Deer Hunter was a “character study shot like an epic” or something like that, and that’s kinda what Cimino did here as well with his first film.

You spend something like an hour watching these two driving from small scenic town to small scenic town before the plot actually kicks in, but it’s time well spent because you get to watch Clint’s character pretty much fall in Like with his new friend without ever saying it. It’s all small gestures and actions and it’s some of Clint’s best understated work. People don’t give my man Clint enough props for this kind of acting, which is its own kind of difficult to pull off. Jeff Bridges is great here but it’s kinda like how Hoffman got all the attention forRain Man while The Cruiser was knocking it the fuck out as the, uh, straight man.

Funny thing is, Bridges would do something like that again in John Carpenter’s Starman, which I would consider a good double-feature with this one. That one is also a road movie with a great showy Jeff Bridges performance that overshadows an even greater subtle performance by his co-star, Karen Allen

Man, that’s a movie right there for you, isn’t it? A movie about Clint’s awesome glare and Karen Allen’s heartwarming smile.

This is definitely a Cimino film, filled with big skies and beautiful widescreen landscapes and dashes of macho cine-energy thrown in here and there. It also has many visual/character/location elements that you’ll see pop up in his later works, like speeding cars leaving trails of dust, attractive women with legs that go all the way up, shitkicker bars, pool tables, diners, John Holmes-sized firearms, war veterans, and various other things I’m in too much of a hurry to write out.

There’s also something else that pops out at me, given recent stories about M-Cim; so I guess he’s spent the last 20 years or so going under the knife and losing weight, and it’s gotten to the point that he’s been looking rather femme nowadays and there are rumors of him getting or going for a little bit of the Caitlyn Jenner action.

Well, I couldn’t help but think of that when later in the film one character has to dress in drag, so maybe that was always something Cimino was into or at least considering, I don’t know.

The story goes that Clint kept Cimino in check, limiting him mostly to three takes max and speeding him up if he was taking too long setting a shot up. The climax of the film was supposed to take like a week or something to shoot but Clint last-minute gave Cimino only two days and they pulled it off.

Anyway, I like the movie and come back to it every couple years or so. It’s very much a Sunday afternoon kind of joint, so of course I watched it Saturday morning.

South Central (Rewatch. DVR.)

This one came out back in ’92, between Boyz N The Hood and Menace II Society. Some of the acting is really good (particularly the star, Glenn Plummer aka Tuneman from Speed) and some of it reminded me a bit of that English chap in the beginning of Black Dynamitegoing on about how he has to go “back to the streets, where I come from suckas”, and maybe that’s not too much of a coincidence since the co-writer of that movie is the co-star of this one.

I liked it back in ’93 on VHS and I liked it now in HD, but nowadays it does feel a bit more artificial and theatrical in comparison to the more natural Boyz and Menace, but if you can get past that then you’ll probably be OK with this film. What this movie has in, uh, spades over the other ones is a stronger humane message — and yeah, I know, it was this kind of stuff that the parody DON’T BE A MENACE… poked fun of, but that’s to be expected from a bunch of genuine assholes like the Wayans Bros.

I mean, I think DBAM is funny but when you really get down to it, the idea of making fun of movies about real violence going down in South Central L.A. is up there with, I don’t know, making a parody of Holocaust films. Call it Holocaust Movie and get Friedberg/Seltzer on it and have them make fun of scenes like the Nazi gun jamming inSchindler’s List only this time the gun shoots out that Bang! flag or something.

Anyway, at times South Central can feel like a Christian film with the porn cut out, so to speak. Or actually it’s more like a Muslim equivalent to those kind of films, but like I’ve said before, even the most obvious and well-meaning preached-out messages don’t make them any less true.

So in a way it makes sense that Oliver Stone, a man who shotgunned Subtlety in the dick a long time ago, helped get this film made.

Plus, they shoot fools using guns with potato suppressors on the barrels, so you gotta give ’em points for that.

In conclusion, to quote home-Muslim in the film: Bless yourself by helping someone else.

Owning Mahowny (First time. DVR.)

The last time I gambled, I mean, with money, like, in a casino was back in 2012 at an Indian casino on my way home from a road trip. I played a few hands of Blackjack, playing with only $20 and making small bets, and got up to $120 before finally losing $20. It only made sense to walk away at that point while I was still ahead, and I thank the Maker that I’m wired that way, as opposed to people like Dan Mahowny (played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, who unfortunately did not quit while he was ahead on sobriety).

Mahowny is unfortunately one of those people who, to paraphrase what one character says about him, wants to win in order to have more money to lose. This poor schmuck is a degenerate whose bookie will even cut him off from time to time because he feels bad taking bets from someone who is clearly not well.

Hoffman is great here as a guy who can be quietly charming and likable so long as he’s not gambling. But when he’s in bettin’ mode, he gets cold and shuts the world around him off, and the only other emotions that might come out of him are muted annoyance or douchey petulance if you’re in the way of his robotic card-playing.

This is based on a true story and the way the movie plays this out is as if the film itself were a stranger at the casino lightly nudging your shoulder then whispering to you “Hey, check out the guy over there at the craps table. Can you believe that guy?”, as opposed to some bro shoving you and going “FUCKIN’ A, DUDE! LOOKIT DAT GUY! HE’S GONNA FUCK HIS SHIT UP, MAN!” the way I would if I saw some shit like that going down. This is probably because this is a Canadian film directed by a Brit, rather than some all-American razzmatazz-ery

Everyone else in this movie is just as good as The Hoff-Man, like John Hurt as the casino boss who is amused by Mahowny but is still angling to take this motherfucker for all he’s worth, and Minnie Driver as Mahowny’s long-suffering girlfriend. You’ll also see a few familiar poutine-eating faces, like Bianca O’Blivion from Videodrome and the late great Maury Chaykin as the bookie.

Part of the ending kinda annoyed me, but what can you do? Aside from that, it’s a good flick, you should check it out. Oh, and at one point Mahowny asks for a plate of ribs (no sauce) and a Coke, so guess who’s now in the mood for both? Fat fuck.

The Deer Hunter (Rewatch. Blu-ray.)

It says a lot about the power of cinema to focus on a bunch of loud-mouthed, beer-drinking, reckless driving assholes who are basically the 60s/70s version of Extreme Bros Who Go WOOOO! At Everything for three hours and leave you caring for them (or most of them, anyway).

Or maybe it’s because you only get that Bro shit for the first hour or so, and then you watch the Bros get PWNED by Vietnam, to which a harder man would say “Serves them right. They went in there wanting the whole blood & guts experience, and that, by God, is what they got” but I’m not gonna be that guy at this moment and instead I’ll defend them by saying that this was back when people still believed in the idea of Going To War For God And Country because most people hadn’t realized yet that we had been sold a bill of goods by The Powers That Be and that Eisenhower was right about warning us about the Military Industrial Complex, but like most warnings given to us precious humans, we just chose to ignore that shit and now the Big MIC happily feeds on the poor and naive and BOY OH BOY is this a tall soapbox! I better get off of it carefully before I fall off and land on my giant ignorant ass.

What was I saying? Oh yeah, watching these guys get fleshed out while their souls are flayed alive by Real Life In The Shit followed by Real Life In What Used To Be Our Playground is what makes this movie the masterpiece that it is. As mentioned in my ramblings aboutThunderbolt & Lightfoot, this film is a character study dressed in Epic Cinema clothing, and despite spending some time over in The Nam, this is not at all a war movie.

It’s been said that this could’ve easily have been about the characters going through some other major violent ordeal but Vietnam was the most recent, so it made sense to make it *that*. This unfortunately has led to criticisms about the portrayal of Non-Muricans as bloodthirsty Russian Roulette-betting assholes, which I understand but, hey, what are you gonna do? I mean, maybe if this was about the fictional Mexican Border War and it was Javier doing this shit then maybe I’d be like FUCK THIS MOVIE, but it isn’t, so I’m not.

But if I can be George Lopez for a second: Latinos, we wouldn’t do that to others — Russian Roulette was something we played at home with our friends when we were drunk and bored AYYYY CHOOOOOOOWWWWW *cue Jarabe Tapatio*

But you also have some of the Whites back home talking shit like “Kill some for me!” and stuff like that when talking about these dudes going to war, and I doubt statements like that are meant to be taken lightly, right?

All movies are flawed in one way or another, and The Deer Huntercertainly carries its fair share of Huge Gaping Maw flaws, but if you’re lucky enough to be like me and see the forest for the tree, then whaddya know, you’re a poet and didn’t know it OHHHHHHHH

This was Michael Cimino’s second film and because he didn’t have Clint Muthafuckin’ Eastwood pulling on his leash, homeboy was already doing the overbudget/overschedule thing here — only it worked out for him because the movie was a hit and Oscars were passed out to the production like candy.

It wouldn’t be until his next movie that his extravagant filmmaking style would finally reach Cimino’s buttcheeks, open its jaws big and wide, and chomp down hard on the motherfucker.

Purple Rain (Rewatch. Theater.)
Because I wasn’t going to use my phone’s camera smack-dab in the middle of the theater (or the movie), that’s why.

I hadn’t seen this one since the early 90s and so I was seeing it again for the first time, to use the tagline of the Molested Trilogy. You bet your sweet seat-warmer that I blasted my Prince mix CD (circa 2003) on the way to the theater, and blasted it on the way back — but don’t get me wrong, I had my windows rolled up, I’m not a complete savage who needs to share his tunes with the world.

My feelings on the film are the same, only stronger; what Purple Rainreally has going for it is the music and the presence of His Purple Majesty at his most Publicly Majestic. And Apollonia Kotero’s outfit during “Sex Shooter”. And Morris Day, my spirit animal. And intense-ass Clarence Williams III. And poor ignored Jill Jones. And Olga “Chick Who Got The Wood Splinter In Her Eye In Zombie” Karlatos’ dubbed performance. And Bobby Z.’s sad attempt at looking like a Prince impersonator. And Wendy and Lisa giving off a Sapphic vibe the whole time. And Billy Sparks with those sunglasses. And that vaguely European sedated club announcer.

Prince could’ve tried to make his “character” in the film Mr. Misunderstood and have the story be about how everyone else needs to operate on his wavelength and put up with his shitty behavior. But no, for the most part he and the filmmakers avoid that trap; this dude has issues and it’s an everyday battle for him not to become like his father — or worse, some new crossbreed of Douchebag that has new Dickhead elements added to the original Father model. And I like that the movie basically ends with him beginning to improve, rather than completely turning into a new man. Or at least that’s how I prefer to interpret it, because there are signs here that maybe I’m supposed to be A-OK with him at the very end and I’m not.

I’d call this a Style Over Substance film if the Substance we’re referring to is the screenplay. But if the Substance in question is made of Prince’s songs and Michel Colombier’s score, then no, it is a Substance Over Style deal.

But I gotta give points to director Albert Magnoli for putting in 110-percent on the visual side of this joint (with the help of d.p. Donald Thorin) and he did a great job editing this flick too. I remember reading somewhere that Magnoli was brought in to complete Tango & Cash after the original director was Creative Difference’d off the project, and after watching this again, I can totally watch that movie now and point out which scenes are his with total-fucking-confidence.

Anyway, I’m happy to have had the opportunity to watch this movie again and be taken back to a time when the worst thing he did was take a guitar and jerk it off until it jizzed all over a worshipping audience, rather than today, when the worst thing he did was die.

In conclusion, Prince in Purple Rain is to pacing back & forth in a room as Elizabeth Berkley in Showgirls is to putting ketchup on french fries.

Trancers III (Rewatch. Blu-ray.)

That dude in the picture just watched a violent bar brawl that ended with a man impaling another man with a pool cue stick then flinging the impaled man across the room. At least the woman next to him registers *some* kind of concern on her face. Man, had I been there to witness that, I’d have run halfway to Buenos Aires by the time the impaled man hit the floor.

Anyway, it was a wise move on Charles Band’s part to let writer/director C. Courtney Joyner step in and new blood this third (and final, in my opinion) chapter in the series. 

Joyner took a page from the Halloween/Highlander series playbook in making a sequel that more-or-less pretends the previous one didn’t happen (but could still work in series continuity if you want to be that way) and he flashes his Not Fucking Around credentials damn near immediately, right after he flashes his I Don’t Give A Fuck credentials upon introducing us to a Latino “scumbag” holding up a Chinese store owner — and when it returns later to that scene, throwing an unsympathetic asshole White police officer into the mix.

This is a better shot film than the last one too; more moving camera and less Jonathan Demme-style close-ups. This feels more like a comic book come to life than the other films; some of the compositions could pass for splash pages (albeit low-budget splash pages) and some of the dialogue could’ve/maybe should’ve been posted as thought bubbles above characters’ heads.

Since the last Trancers, Helen Hunt’s star had begun to rise, appearing in critically acclaimed films like The Waterdance, Bob Roberts, and Mr. Saturday Night and at the time was co-starring in the NBC show “Mad About You”. Some actors would’ve pretended Trancers never happened as soon as they got the seventh lead in some low-rent sitcom on a wannabe network, thinking themselves too big for that bullshit. Hunt, on the other hand not only said yes, she gave up her free time while working on the latter to go work on this film AND she did her own hair. And, if star Tim Thomerson is to be believed on the last film’s commentary, she doesn’t mind that he calls her “Dolphina” because of her forehead. Ladies and gentlemen, Helen Hunt is a motherfucking soldier.

Speaking of soldiers, Andrew Robinson is lots of fun as the Colonel/Creator of All Things Trancer. I’d say he’s the best villain in the series and I would’ve liked to have seen more of him — I would’ve liked to have seen more of everything in this film, to be real with you.

I dug this film and my only real issue is that this story needed a little more breathing room both in scope and budget to really work the way it should, but you know that shit wasn’t gonna happen in a Full Moon production. Whatever, I should just be happy they got that much to spend at all, compared to what passes for a Full Moon budget nowadays.

Oh yeah — some of the shootouts are The Naked Gun/Police Squad! ridiculous, with the sedated bad guys about five feet away from Jack Deth as they fire and miss. But that’s its own kind of fun.

Thankfully, Joyner also replaces Band on the audio commentary with Thomerson. While it’s not as goofy/jokey as the last two commentaries, its still fun to listen to because clearly these two are more in sync with each other than Thomerson was with Band.

In conclusion, there are no mom jeans here, no sirree bob — Lieutenant Helen Hunt is rocking stirrup pants instead.

Suddenly you need Oil of Olay

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on March 27, 2016 by efcontentment

I was going to see this but then I wasn’t going to see this. Then I was. Or I wasn’t.

As I was going to tell the gentleman on Facebook in my comment when asked if I was serious about not seeing this film, before I realized this was better off posted on my blog: I’m afraid, Kris. So very afraid. Afraid to sit there after paying for the ticket, the popcorn, the soda, the candy — all that to make the experience easier to sit through — all that time and money and end up with the feeling that I’ve been had.

Because of the reviews, oh man, those reviews. I wasn’t surprised, because in the comic book movie family, compared to goody-two-shoes Marvel Films, DC Comics is more like the fuck-up brother with moments of potential but mostly he needs a boot in the ass to help get his shit straight. But wow, these are particularly toxic, these reviews. If there were ever road signs telling me that there’s rocky terrain and an unfinished bridge up ahead, the reviews for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice were it.

I kinda liked the last one, Man of Steel, even though I had some serious issues with it — namely, for a “fun” superhero movie it was pretty goddamn gloomy. But then maybe I’m the asshole here and it was never supposed to be fun, maybe Snyder & Nolan felt like the kids today, they’ve had enough fun in their lives and it’s time to smack ’em with harshness. Times have changed, bitches, and it’s time to toughen up, knuckle up, and pull yourselves up by your bootstraps: You want Reading Rainbow to help you enjoy books? Kickstart it with your dollars, kid. You wanna go to Sesame Street? Subscribe to HBO, you little lazy bastard. And you want a nice Superman who stands for Truth, Justice, and the American way? Watch the old shit, you young fuck.

Where was I? Oh yes, this film and why I was torn between seeing it and not seeing it. If you are a regular reader than you see this coming much like I saw most of this film coming, even though I never watched a single trailer. You know what I’m talking about — you know who I’m talking about.

amy-adams easter bunny

Oh, Amy. Why do you have to be such a talented — but more importantly, sincere and likable! — actress who seems genuinely appreciative of her success and carries no airs of fakery? And if you’re just that good at hiding the fakery, then you are in fact the greatest actor ever because even the best thespians of either gender fail miserably at doing that.

Meryl Streep is my jam, but man oh man is she suspect whenever she doesn’t win something. And remember Anne Hathaway’s shameless attempts when she was racking them up for Les Miserables? Or remember your co-star Melissa Leo winning Best Supporting Actress for The Fighter? Oh man, she was the worst at that. Her high/low point was singing along at the end of the Oscar ceremony to Over the Rainbow, holy shit, she thought we would buy that OMG DREAMS DO COME TRUE look on her face.

What I’m trying to say is that I’ll follow you anywhere, but wow, it would’ve been so much easier for me to wait for the R-rated Blu-ray of this movie, rather than deal with the rest of the country going to see this at the same time when I already knew who was going win and lose between Batman and Superman: The studio over the audience. But you’re in this movie, Amy! Anyway, sorry for using my one straight-up question as an excuse to mostly put down others. Sorry about that, Amy. That was very un-Amy with me and I need to fix that.

Take care and be well.

Signed, Me.

The Adorable Amy Adams returns as Lois Lane, but I wasn’t that hot on seeing the sequel in the theaters and the reviews only made me colder to it. So then I’m in the position of only being interested in seeing this film because The Triple A is in it and even then, what if she isn’t in it that much? What am I left with? Something so cynically put together then thrown at the great unwashed masses with such overflowing contempt towards us that it might as well have been directed by Transformers-era Michael Bay and titled Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice on the Fallen Dark Moon of Extinction Fuck You Dummy Dumb Dumbs Stupidheads We Love You As Much As Politicians Do So Go Get Fucked You Morons And Shove It Down Your Entrance And Shove It Up Your Exit And Thanks For The New Cars And Houses You Bought Us We’ll See You Next Time With The Next Bucket Of Cine-Slop You Cuntfaced Pig Headed Sheep People?

I remembered feeling burned by the second Transformers garbage bin that was Revenge of the Fallen and I swore I was done with that series, but then people kept going on about how the third one was actually the one to watch. What to do, I wondered. Am I actually going to have to see this one? So I hedged my bet by taking some of that fine green herb with me and toking up like a muthafuckin’ soldier in the parking lot. And you know what? The movie wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t that good, but it wasn’t that bad either.

Since then, I’ve cut down — way down — on the ganja. Once upon a time I approached Wake & Bake levels and then I surpassed it, then I realized I was becoming one of those weirdo stoners that I can’t stand and I started to exhibit behavior I loathed in my fellow pot-smoker. So now it’s relegated to the occasional Saturday night/early Sunday morning nightcap, or the occasional legit bout of insomnia.

Or a movie I’m not too sure about.

And so, I got up Saturday morning and drove to the 9:00am IMAX showing of BvS: DoJ, playing “The Love Movement” album by A Tribe Called Quest, which turned out to be their final album. (RIP Phife Dawg!!!) I arrived at the theater by the time “Find a Way” was ending (it wasn’t a long drive) and in the parking lot I busted out the vaporizer and got to work inhaling as much as possible in the short time window available, turning the greenery inside into a nice toasty shade of Fall leaves.

Then I ambled my way inside and you bet your ass I bought some nachos and a two-bladder sized Camelbak of Cherry Coke. I found a good seat and in a couple minutes I was surrounded by children — kids to the left of me, kids to the right, and here I am stuck in the middle of a good-fucking high. I felt irresponsible but fuck it, these kids need to learn about this shit. I figured I was OK so long as they don’t have some weird law I’m not aware of, like, I don’t know, like if being stoned near children qualifies as a Sex Offense or something and next thing I know I’m locked up with Popeye from Blood In Blood Out except he has higher standards than my ass, so instead he just beats the shit out of me.

I actually watched the trailers, except for the Captain America: Civil War one, because audio can’t really spoil shit for me, except for when the kid next to me screamed out the name of someone who pops up at the very last second; Suicide Squad looked interesting; Ghostbusters looked funny and as far as that movie is concerned, I’m good to go despite Melissa McCarthy being in it. The kids around me were pretty hyped up about it, and they were all boys, so take that you adult jagoffs who can’t take females bustin’ ghosts.

Anyway, for these ramblings on Beavis Dodge below, keep in mind that I was as high as Terence Herman Edward Dickens when I watched all of this.


The film begins for me with The Adorable Amy Adams and we’re following her as she interviews an African warlord over there in the African Outback or whatever they call it, and it’s a pretty awesome entrance or maybe it was a decent one but because it’s Our Amy that ups it like 50 percent. So anyway, during all this it’s revealed that her photographer’s camera has a tracking device in it, so naturally the warlord does his thing (it’s noon and he hasn’t killed anyone yet) and puts a .45 slug into this photographer-about-to-become-a-corpse’s head.

Now get this — that guy who just got killed? I find out later that was Jimmy Olsen. No shit. Jimmy Fuckin’ Olsen. I guess that was supposed to be a Holy Shit moment except, uh, I don’t remember this dude in the last film and they didn’t give you any establishment of his character here — not even a hint or clue. So it’s not really a Holy Shit moment, at least not until you look it up online because you saw Jimmy Olsen in the end credits but didn’t remember seeing him in the movie. I honestly don’t know if that was a Fuck You from the filmmakers or a We Just Don’t Give A Shit from them, whatever the fuck ever; Lois ends up getting saved by Supes, so it’s all good.

You know who also doesn’t give a shit? Superman. Later on, Lois has an awkward conversation sitting in a bathtub while Clark Kent (played by The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) stands over her, and she talks about how Senator Holly Hunter is having press conferences featuring Stock African Townspeople saying Fuck A Superman, He Didn’t Save Shit and Clark’s like I Don’t Care.

You sure don’t, Clarky. I wish you did, I wish we saw more of you actually doing heroic stuff and not just the aftermath where Mexicans touch you like you’re The Jesus, and I wish you were portrayed with the same vim and vigor that Henry Cavill brought to the U.N.C.L.E. joint, and I swear sometimes it felt like somewhere off-camera there was a gun being pointed in Cavill’s direction, with some sweaty guy whispering “That’s right, limey, you keep not enjoying yourself. If I see even a speck of light in your performance, it’s curtains for you! Now jump into that bathtub even though you’re wearing clothes, because that’s as lighthearted as it’s gonna get!”

Hey I don’t mind seeing Amy Adams in a bathtub, but it’s not you get to see much anyway, but if you’re into hot dudes then you get Clark standing in his underwear and cooking eggs which didn’t seem very smart given all that hot oil that could potentially burn him but then again, he’s Kal-El, what does he care? He might as well crack eggs on those fuckin’ washboard abs and fry ’em with his Evil Devil Eyes Heat-Vision and forget about ever washing dishes.

Meanwhile in Gotham City — just located across the water a few miles away! — Batman (played by Argo) is doing his thing saving people and branding a fucking Bat logo on the criminals before sending them to prison (where the identification will get them killed). I guess tattooing a number on them before sending them off to a place full of similar folk to be murdered would be too much work. Even Alfred (played by Dead Ringers) is put off by this branding shit; he tells him that he wasn’t like that before and Bruce pretty much gives him some bullshit about how things are worse now so I guess he has to be, uh, worser. It’s also kinda hinted that Bruce Wayne is a drinker, like Affleck in real life.

Ah, I kid the rich and handsome actor and director of Academy Award-winning films who wins at life while I just blog about it. Sorry for hurting your feelings, Ben. I remember when the news came out that he was going to portray Batman, and I never had a problem with it. If anything, my only complaint was that he should be directing the movie because he’s a damn good director. As it is, in his actor-solo mode I thought he was really good and it kinda bums me out there isn’t a solo Batman movie featuring Affleck doing some more stabbing and shooting and bone-breaking and setting people on fire.

It’s a trip, man, it’s like Snyder and company thought the already controversial Burton/Keaton Batman was a pussy. But love it or hate it, you gotta give points to this Batman for using an electronic voice modulator so he doesn’t have to do that lame growl voice that Christian Bale had to do. One day, when I’m ready to die, I’ll find Bale at a bar and walk up to him and give him sooooo much shit about that voice.

Or maybe I won’t give him shit, because according to those e-mails that were leaked out of Sony, my man C.B. stepped in and gave a little of that Light Trashing magic to that niece-molesting actor-bullying fuckhead David O. Russell for making The Adorable Amy Adams cry. HE MADE HER CRY. This shitmouth has a history of this, and it takes a Bale or a George Clooney to ring this asshole’s bell every once in a while which is not nearly enough. So I’m happy his ode to poor Stockholm Syndrome-suffering Jennifer Lawrence, Joy, underperformed at the box office, because the more of those he makes, the less The Powers That Be will throw dollars at him, and the sooner he becomes Yesterday’s News — at least until a decade or two later when when his old movies become popular again and he tours the revival cinema circuit to blah blah the packed enraptured crowds, the way we do with Former Hot Shit/Terrible Human Beings like William Friedkin. And I say this as a major, major, major fan of William Friedkin — the filmmaker.

And I think you see a bit of where my crush on The Adorable Amy Adams comes from: the possibility that maybe she’s a genuinely decent human being and yet she managed to find success in a business where nice people finish last and walking twats win awards and get away with terrible behavior. I’ll always cheer on people like that. This blog entry will be hilarious to read after it comes out that Amy Adams is like a secret Nazi or something, or she does something stupid and open up a Twitter account and have an opinion. Then that will be the end of The Triple A.

Anyway, fuck those guys. As much as I think the movie really begins with Our Amy, it actually begins with this cool sequence that goes back and forth between Young Bruce Wayne at his parents’ funeral and the night they were shot dead by Joe Chill (after Thomas Wayne makes the incredibly smart move of taking a swing at the handgun-toting Chill). Then it goes into him falling into that bat pit and getting all batted on and I guess he’s the King of the Bats or something now because they encircle him and levitate him up towards the light.

It worked for me, and it made me think for a second that I was actually watching a straight-up new Batman reboot (which I guess it is, but it’s also a Superman film, a Justice League film, etc.), but then it goes into the events of Man of Steel, when the World Engine is fucking up Metropolis and I guess it wasn’t doing a fast enough job, so here comes Superman and Zod to speed up the destruction process.

While this is happening, Middle-Aged Bruce Wayne is driving his SUV trying to get his people out of one of his buildings, but hey, he’s the star and they’re just bit players. Doesn’t take Neil Degrasse Tyson to figure out how that’s gonna work out — and that’s because he’s too busy making a cameo in this film. I gotta say, I thought all of that worked but that could be because 9/11-style imagery mixed with a soon-to-be-smooshed dude praying to God to save his soul is gonna automatically give me a case of the Strong Emotions. (I don’t think this film is gonna play very well in Pakistan at the moment either. Sigh.) Call it cheating, call it good filmmaking, but mostly I prefer to call it bad-taste ballsiness. This film? This Batman v Superman film? It’s actually kinda fascinating.

For example, check out Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, and then go nominate that dude for Best Supporting Actor or give him two in the back of the fucking head so he never does it again — either way I’m fine with it. Because never have I felt like jumping at the screen and tearing it to shreds the way I felt while watching him, ruining my goddamn high, this fuck. His Luthor is an absolute shit of a human being in every goddamn way: the way he walks, the way he talks, the way his face will twitch. It got to where it was starting to hurt me watching him breathe.

His Lex Luthor is this super-rich kid with eccentricities upon eccentricities multiplied by many social anxieties and everybody puts up with it because he’s a Master of the Universe. I guess that’s why he has this hard-on for Superman, ’cause he’s going on and on about how people see Supes as a God and this bothers him. Maybe the idea that someone could be on a higher plane than him really rubs Lex raw. So he disguises this player-hating as looking out for the world, because you can’t have this being roaming around with the potential to burn it all down to the ground whenever/if ever he felt like it. That’s why he has his people locate Kryptonite and that’s why he tries to get Senator Holly Hunter to get with the idea of keeping Supes in check with the green shit. But in the end, he’s setting up Supes and Bats to fight it out because Man Must Fight God, and if God Is Dead then ZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzz I really didn’t care and plus I was too high to really pay attention to any scene that wasn’t focused on the star of Enchanted.

Oh by the way, for those who’ve seen this film: didn’t you think those Polaroids that Lex had of Martha Kent being held captive were a touch much? Poor Diane Lane, but I guess you take what they give ya. I mean, they were really freaky and looked like something out of some serial killer/rapist’s collection. Again with the bad taste and insanity of the film — and the filmmakers.

This may not be the most popular opinion, but I never felt so much hate towards any of the Marvel film villains, or any hate at all, compared with how I felt about Lex-Dog. So I’m giving DC the award for having the better bad guy in a comic book film. He was so cartoonishly evil and petty, he almost seemed like a real human being. In other words, Eisenberg’s Luthor was absolutely Shkrelian.

There’s a nightmare sequence where Batman is living in post-apocalyptic Wherever and he’s searching for the last piece of Kryptonite or something, but it turns out to be a setup and suddenly he’s surrounded by black-clad soldiers with Superman arm patches and they start beating the shit out of him — and then! Then these winged devils or whatever the hell they were swoop in and start pulling bodies away and it’s all so very insane.

It felt like something out of the most expensive Christian-exploitation movie never made (or if some billionaire asshole funded a film adaptation of a Jack Chick cartoon tract) where it’s the near-future and the poor Christians are being hunted down for being down with G.O.D. (Happy Easter, btw) and they have to take the Mark of the Beast and they just got caught trying to smuggle The Last Bible In Existence, because all the bibles are being burned and crosses are being destroyed and then on television Dictator-For-Life Obama is talking about bringing our former enemies together and now abortions are mandatory (for men and women!) and our national flag is now the Islamic crescent moon & star and Oh My God The Poors Have Health Care! And the Homos Are Getting Married! And if only they let me keep my guns and my Jesus, this would’ve never happened!

By the way, The Poors Have Health Care! And the Homos Are Getting Married! sounds like the most fucked-up Andy Milligan film ever.

Speaking of fucked-up, there’s also some disturbing undercurrents? and metaphors? or hidden messages? in this film. What I’m saying is that Lex’s plan involves blowing up the Capitol Building in order to drum up more hate against Superman, and it got me thinking of the conspiracy theories about various False Flag operations like, well, like 9/11 and how it was done in order to justify going over to Fuckheadistan (thanks London Has Fallen!) and get that sweet sweet guzzleline, and I wondered if that was the purpose of Snyder and company or maybe I’m just falling into the stoner trap again, forgive me.

Oh, another thing about the Capitol Building scene; I saw a name plate for someone named “Sen. Purrington” and I decided that if I ever decide to get a cat, that’s what I’m going to name it.

So what of the ultimate showdown? It was OK. Pretty much what I expected, with a couple cool gadget traps being used by Bats and Supes using his powers to punch him back about a couple miles. It’s all technically awesome but I didn’t really give that much of a care about who would win. All I could think about was the tagline to Alien vs. Predator: “Whoever wins…we lose.”

You have the two comic book titans facing off against each other — thankfully this time they’re in an abandoned part of town, the better to lessen collateral damage — and yet I was more into the scenes of Lois Lane walking around holding this Kryptonite-tipped spear and she looked awesome/adorable doing so. Where’s that movie? Shit, I’ll direct that spin-off, if they’ll let me.

It’s like Snyder read my ramblings about the last film and kept in mind that I really dug seeing The Triple A walking around with a space blaster thingamajig and thought “Hmm, how can I please ol’ EFC with this one?” and he certainly did. So thanks, bro. See you at the gym tomorrow, where we’ll bench press some heavy weight and laugh at the skinny flabby weaklings — where’s my high-five, broseph?

There are no stingers in this film, which I found out with my trusty RunPee app, which not only told me not to bother sticking around after the end credits, but also let me know that Kevin Costner’s Pa Kent showed up to pep talk Clark while I was busying emptying the ol’ bladder. So yeah, no stingers, but that’s because there’s a sequence late in the film that feels like all the stingers put together; this is where you see the rest of the Justice League like Aquaman, The Flash, some Black dude all chopped up and with wires sticking out of his body cavities looking like Murphy in Robocop 2, and Diana Prince aka Wonder Woman.

Almost forgot about her: Wonder Woman shows up to join in on the CGI-fighting shenanigans and it all looks good in a visual sense, and while the soundtrack was telling me DUDES! DUUUUUUDES! WONDER WOMAN IS HERE! SHE’S KICKING ASS WITH BATMAN AND SUPERMAN! AND SHE’S SMOOOOOOOKIN’! ISN’T THIS AWESOME! I nodded and said to no one “Hell yeah, this is awesome — dipping the jalapenos that came with my nachos into the melted cheese was an excellent idea!” Don’t laugh, lady and gentleman, these jalapenos went above and beyond the call of duty and I applaud whoever grew them and whoever was in charge of picking them for this movie theater establishment.

Say what you will, and I’m gonna say what I will: Zach Snyder is now an honest-to-goodness genuine auteur. Triple-feature this film, 300, and Sucker Punch and you’ll know more about this guy than he probably even knows about himself. Among many things I learned from his two Superman movies is that Snyder’s favorite Superman is the drunk & angry people-hating one that split from Clark Kent in Superman III, the one who will punch a hole into an oil tanker because Fuck The World.

Like I said earlier, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was a fascinating film to experience. If you’re too much of a comic book fan or love the older incarnations of Supes and/or Batman too much, maybe you should stay away. No, you should definitely stay away. But on its own, the movie does a good job taking a long time telling a simple story, but it’s redeemed by the whacked-out style and perverse decisions that I can only describe as…well, I don’t know how to put it succinctly (he says after spending numerous paragraphs going on and on and on). Is it a train wreck? Um, maybe — but it’s more like a train derailed by gigantic testicles. People are dead and the train is destroyed but wow, look at the big balls on that guy, I didn’t know they made them that big! Not for nothing, but Snyder’s production company is called “Cruel and Unusual Films” — which is right on the goddamn money, Zachy.

So I liked the movie, but not for the reasons that your average Batman and/or Superman fan would want to like it, let’s put it that way. As it is, my commitment to this particular galaxy in the DC universe is probably going to last as long as Amy Adams is involved. But what do I know? The kids seemed to bounce around like crazy during the BvS stuff, and fidgeted like mad during everything else.

In conclusion, I hope Soledad O’Brien made it out OK.