Saturday, June 4, 2016

Facebook ramblings - May 2016

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.)

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Facebook ramblings - April 2016

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 for Rain 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 Dynamite going 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 in Schindler'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 wir
ed 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 about Thunderbolt & 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 Hunter certainly 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 Rain really 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.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Suddenly you need Oil of Olay

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.

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 of 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 can't help but cheer on those kinds of people. 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.