Yesterday I was in ugly fucking Hollywood at the American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theatre in the City of -- ah, Jesus Christ, just give me one or two names to call your theatre, people. Not this long-ass Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim bullshit. Same shit with the American Cinematheque at the Aero Theatre or the Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre. Goddammit, you guys make it worse for me and my imaginary readers when I have to type all this shit out.
So yeah, I was in Hollywood to catch the 70's flick Earthquake. Truth is, I was never that big a fan of this movie, or disaster movies in general, but I was like 12 the last time I saw it and for this screening they were going to play it in "Sensurround", so I went. This Sensurround shit was supposed to be a big deal back in the day, when some of Universal Pictures' big blockbusters would use it. I don't know the exact details, you can go to Wikipedia for that shit, but based on my experience last night Sensurround is watching a movie with all the sound coming from the front, like some mono shit. Then when something crazy happens, like an earthquake, the whole fucking theater vibrates like a mo-fo. Not only can you feel it, you can hear that shit in the air. It's like sitting on the biggest fucking subwoofer turned all the way up. If you're constipated, five minutes of Sensurround should clear that shit right out.
It's actually pretty fucking sweet. I was completely sober and self-conscious, but goddamn if I wasn't giddy like a little kid during that shaky shit. It was fun, what can I tell ya. The whole fuckin' theater shaking and vibrating while watching badly dressed 70's motherfuckers getting crushed by falling debris on the big screen is fucking Good Times. If you ever hear about a screening of Earthquake playing near you in Sensurround, do that shit, bro. Next time though, I'm taking some JD with me.
Let me Tarantino this fuckin' blog and jump back about a couple hours earlier. I arrived at ugly fucking horrible piece-of-shit Hollywood two hours early for two reasons; first, to find a good free parking spot on a side street, and second, to get something to eat at a place called Skooby's. I've seen the name Skooby's thrown around by hipper-than-thou nightclubbing L.A. assholes over at Yelp when they put down Pink's in favor of this place. Whenever I have to be in this giant turd known as Los Angeles, I try to kill a lot of fucking birds with one stone. Usually this means if I have to come here to watch a movie that will only play in the city, might as well enjoy some of the local grub that's supposed to be good.
I find a spot and walk two blocks down to this Skooby's. I get a chili-chedder dog and a large garlic-lover's fries because I'm disgusting and fat and stinky and shit. I also get an Orange Crush and an extra thing of aioli sauce. I make it to go, because what little seating they have is all taken. That's usually fine with me, I'm cool with eating in my disgusting car, but I'm worried about eating all that garlic in my vehicle. But whatever, I'll do it. I walk the two blocks back and I'm like three car lengths away from my ride when I realize that I forgot my soda. Fuck. So I walk the two blocks back and they give me my drink. I walk the two blocks back to my car and open the door and sit down -- and that's when I realize that for the first time in years I didn't check my food before leaving the establishment. I didn't check my order. I didn't check my order. I didn't check my order. I, the fucking cocksucking idiot, did not check my goddamn motherfucking order.
I open up the foil and find that they gave me a plain hot dog.
All I can do is sigh. Serves the douche right. I consider just eating the plain hot dog, but then I remember that I paid TWO DOLLARS EXTRA for chili and cheddar, so goddamn it I'm getting my fucking proper food. I get out of the car and run the two blocks back to Skooby's and when I get there, I'm completely out of breath because I'm fat and out of shape. I tell the guy what's up and he tells the grill lady to put that shit on, so she ladles chili onto the dog and sprinkles some cheese and hands it back to me. Then I walk the two blocks back to my car. So I guess it's no surprise when I tell you the food is fine, but not that fucking great, especially considering how much it costs. A chili-cheddar dog, large garlic fries and a bottle of Orange Crush came out to 12.99. Then another .25 plus tax for extra aioli. I did not know it was possible to get raped with your pants still on. But I guess I was asking for it. People seem to prefer this to Pink's because there's no line, but whatever man. I'd only go back for the garlic fries.
I get to the Egyptian, reeking of garlic, and buy my ticket. There's people already inside eating hors d'oeuvres, but the guy up front tells me they're with the Producer's Guild, so us regular folks can wait the next 45 minutes outside. I'm not hating on them, so I go to the front of the line and play Ikari Warriors on my PSP.
This older man starts chatting up a couple behind me, asking if they've ever seen this in Sensurround. They say no, and he says "I have". He talks about how he saw this at Grauman's Chinese when it opened and the couple seems a little freaked out by the Sensurround process, wondering if shit's gonna fall from the ceiling or the world's gonna end or something. You see, the poster for the movie outside also had a little warning posted about how Sensurround might fuck up your shit and that the management isn't responsible for how your bitch ass might react to it. The dude tells the couple not to worry.
Inside, there's a few introductions before the movie begins. One by a Cinematheque staff member, another by this dude who is producing a week of disaster movie screenings at the Egyptian, and then another by Laurent Bouzereau. If you don't know who he is, then you just don't fucking know. But I'll just say he's the best in the business for "making-of" documentaries and interviews for DVD's and laserdiscs. He's written some cool movie books as well.
Le Bouz then goes on to introduce one of the stars of Earthquake, Genevieve Bujold. Ms. Bujold doesn't so much introduce the movie as she gives more of a Lifetime Acheivement Award speech. She talks about how she moved from Quebec to L.A. to shoot Earthquake, was only supposed to stay 3 months but has now been living here for 35 years. That's it for Earthquake related stuff. From there on, she talks about getting married, having a kid, staying busy, and at the end she thanks the audience from the bottom of her heart. Then she says "God Bless Barack Obama!" and most of the audience goes fucking nuts. That was pretty ballsy of her, so she gets my props for that. I'm sure there were some hardcore Charlton Heston fans in the audience who were like "shut up and sing" or whatever those fucking assholes always say when it's not someone on their side. This Bujold lady seems like a real spitfire, a genuine Broad, and I can totally see her busting her directors' and co-stars' balls back in the day for underestimating this tiny woman. She was supposed to play Capt. Janeway in Star Trek Voyager, but left after a few days, so you probably know how THAT fucking went. Anyway, she's really cute in Earthquake.
Yeah, Earthquake. They actually played that Sensurround warning before the movie, which made everyone laugh and clap afterwards. Then, the movie. It starts with a shot of downtown L.A. and everyone just fucking laughs. I think it's because this made in the early 70's and L.A. back then just looked so fuckin...spare. There's buildings and high-rises but not as many as now. Later in the movie, there's a helicopter shot of Sunset Blvd., and you see the Cinerama Dome and I'm like "Holy shit, there's so much fucking ROOM all around the joint!". It's beautiful and kind of sad, really. I wonder if I'd hate the city so much if it was more like the way it was back then. Probably. But I'd love to imagine it anyway.
Chuck Heston is this former NFL player now turned architect, and you find out that his wife is also his boss's daughter. That's right, Friendo -- he married into it. But because Chuckie Baby's the fucking man, he's also got a little something on the side, played by our gal Genevieve. He fucked up though, because not only is she an aspiring actress, she's also a single mom. If only Tom Leykis had been on the airwaves back then to give homeboy advice, but Leykis was probably too busy beating his second wife at the time. Allegedly.
Anyway, Chuckie's wife is on to him, but you're not on her side because she's a boozing drama queen. Come to think of it, I'm a boozing drama queen too. But yeah, Booze Queen looks like the type of Older Rich Lady who would stand outside at 9 am in her robe with a glass of vodka rocks in her hand watching Javier the pool boy clean up and then afterwards she would ask poor Javier if he would like to come inside for some "lemonade" and Javier would just respond "Que?" and she would let out that deep laugh of hers that only years of smoking Silva Thins would give you, then she would lead him inside to begin work on earning his citizenship the hard way.
George Kennedy is a cop who the audience is supposed to cheer for when he beats up criminals after a long car chase, but yet when cops do this in real life, it's fuckin' Riot Time in the ol' town tonight. So now, he's under suspension and drinking it up in a bar with motherfuckin' Walter Matthau. Matthau's the silent comic relief, so in between shots of people screaming as the cold arms of Bloody Horrific Death envelop them in its icy embrace, you have shots of a completely shitfaced Walter M. dressed like fuckin' Huggy Bear, trying to down another shot of booze. Komedy!
There's this skinny white dude who looks like what John Holmes probably looked like on his deathbed who works at a grocery store and you know there's something up because his apartment is nothing but weights and karate weapons and pictures of male bodybuilders. The one picture he has of a half-naked woman is hidden in his closet. Hmm. He gets picked on by Disco Stu and two other guys who would only exist in the 70's, and they call him "fag", so they're all right with me. Later you find out Dead John Holmes is in the National Guard and after the earthquake he puts on a uniform (and a short wig to hide up his hippie hair), straps on his M-16, joins his brother soldiers and busts some caps into Disco Stu and the boys when he runs into them later on.
Dead John Holmes has a thing for this smoking hot chick with awesome 70's fro-hair. Fro-Chick is broke and in need of money and goes to the movies alone, which means she and I are made for each other. Of course, a hot chick who goes to the movies by herself automatically turns Earthquake into science fiction, but just let me have my illusion. Fro-Chick is also the sister of a dude who's partners with the Black Evel Knievel. She also likes free donuts.
We sit through all of these assholes' soap opera bullshit for about an hour and then it's fuckin' time for the Big Shakedown. The earthquake sequence goes on for about eight minutes, but I'm sure it's not really supposed to be that long, and the film is just showing us what happens at the same time to the different characters during the quake. Kinda like in The Fast and the Furious, when you're watching that street race and you're thinking "Dude, they've been driving at top speed for two minutes. They'd be in fuckin' El Monte by now, not just down one block!", but you know that's not what's really happening.
I'm not kidding when I say that the Sensurround could've gone eighty minutes and I would've loved it. During those quake sequences, I almost came close to understanding those assholes who drive their shitty cars with the crap music all the way loud and bumping that fuckin' bass for everyone in a five-block radius to feel. Almost.
You can probably see a person's true colors in times of danger, and based on that, the character of Booze Queen's father is a Solid Dude. He's on the top floor of a high-rise office building during the quake, and while everyone else is running for their lives and screaming and falling and doing everything else EXCEPT ducking under a desk or doorway, Dad is reaching out through a broken window trying to pull the poor window washers inside. He fails, but c'mon, who do you know who would put themselves out for their fellow man during some crazy shit like that? Then after the quake, while everyone is freaking out, homeboy takes charge and starts delegating and shit. He gets everyone off their ass and working on getting the fuck out of there and to a safer place. Of course, a couple women (probably Black Friday shopper-types) run without paying attention and end up falling to their deaths. And it was here that suddenly "9/11" flashed in my mind and my movie buzz was completely killed. Dead. Goddammit.
I wish I was joking but that shit did remind me of that day. It sucks when Hollywood escapist shit can't accomplish it's goals because some overly sensitive asshole like me thinks of THAT shit. Sucks for me, anyway. If I'm watching a movie with a friend and something like that happens, I usually make the asshole move of looking at my bro and shaking my head and putting my hand over my eyes like I want to cry. Because it's funny to do that, but also I think, as a self-defense mechanism. But I was watching this shit alone, and I wasn't going to risk pulling that on the stranger next to me. I mean, what if he takes me seriously and puts his hand on my shoulder and tells me it's okay to cry? I guess I can tell him to "take your hands off me, homo", but then that would be TOO funny. I guess what I'm trying to say is fuck Osama bin Laden.
Anyway, this dude falls off a building but manages to hang on to a railing. Everyone else is freaked out and watches this poor guy hanging on for dear life, but then here comes Dad, pushing everyone aside so he can try to help the dude. This guy rocks! Remember, Dad is the chairman of the board, the main dude at Chuckie's workplace, a man with power, money and respect. Usually this kind of character would be played off as some rich uptight scumbag who's only looking out for himself, but not Dad! Besides, they already have that character in this movie. His name is Mr. Cameron and he's the kind of asshole who won't put in the money to retrofit his buildings so they can be earthquake proof. This asshole probably works from his home anyway, so of course he wouldn't give a fuck. And in case you didn't get what a fucking prick Mr. Cameron is, during the quake he pushes aside a lady so he can get the last spot in a crowded elevator that was rightfully hers. Well, he did that broad a favor because the elevator ends up plummeting down and I guess no one tried jumping up at the last second because they all go splat and goofy cartoon blood fills the screen. It's really funny shit, as long as you don't think about all the sad mothers and fathers and daughters and sons who will eventually be notified that their beloveds currently resemble a pile of mashed-up cherry pie mixed with bad 70's fashions at the bottom of an elevator shaft. It's unfortunate collateral damage from the hard takedown of Mr. Cameron.
Well anyway, Dad once again fails to save a dude from falling. Just like George Kennedy fails to save his job, or how Black Evel Knievel fails at his latest stunt, or how our gal Genevieve fails at keeping Chuckie Baby, or how that old Doctor fails to keep the injured alive or how ultimately Charlton Heston and his wife just straight out Fail. It's pretty fuckin' downbeat for a "fun" movie, but then I've never been a fan of disaster movies to begin with. Aside from the awesome Sensurround, there's really nothing else in this flick to stand out from the rest of the genre. If you like this sort of shit then I can see this being worth a watch with some friends and some booze. Make sure there's some chicks in your group too, so they can laugh at the goofy looking '70's clothes the women wear in the movie. I understand chicks like to point that shit out, or so I've heard from people who actually talk to chicks. I'm losing steam with this blog entry, maybe my heart was never in this one, but I had to justify that 12.99 at Skooby's somehow. Maybe I'll come back and re-write it, maybe I won't.
I probably won't. I'm sorry.
But I'll finish it with this true story. The first time I saw this, I was about 5 or 6 years old, and I was watching Earthquake with my mom, my sister and my aunt. There's a part in the movie where some goofy truck driver hauling cattle loses control of his truck on the overpass when the quake hits. They cut between the unfortunate cows and the truck swaying back and forth on the freeway. Finally the poor dude loses control and the truck goes flipping over the overpass with all the cows still mooing. Crash and smash. Everyone else in the room laughed because the cows were not only still mooing by the time the truck was upside down in the air, but they remained standing on the back of the truck. I guess it's a force of gravity thing. Well, I got mad at them for finding it funny. Not only was I saddened by all that bovine death, but I then completely lost it and started to cry. For real. So whenever some dude tries to insult me and calls me a sissy, I guess they're kinda right.
13 hours ago