Tuesday, October 26, 2010

If you're going to have the characters in your movie watch a movie on television, make absolute goddamn sure it's not a movie that is 10x better than yours. "Pay tribute" my ass.

No, Rogue -- I am not Rogue. So get your goddamn web advertisement off the logo and place it at the tail-end of the end credits, where it belongs.

Here's another one off the request line; this time I was asked by this gentleman to ramble about My Soul to Take. I wasn't interested in seeing this film, nor was I interested in paying the extra charge for the privilege of watching it in 3D. But then I found that one of the local drive-ins was playing this along with Let Me In, which I was interested in seeing -- and for half the price of a 3D ticket! So off I went. By the way, there are SPOILERS (slight-to-medium spoilers, but everybody's gotta get bothered by something).

My Soul to Take starts off like Mr. Brooks II: Money Never Sleeps, and yes, I’m starting that shit right now -- it will be my life goal to make Money Never Sleeps the new Electric Boogaloo, or at the very least, the new The Quickening. But yeah, it’s Mr. Brooks Deux, because we have this mild-mannered husband with a wife and a kid and a kid in the wife, but he’s also got this split personality that makes him go out and filet people with a knife that has “Vengeance” engraved on it. It says Vengeance because that way the audience can go Ooooh! when we recognize that same knife on his basement floor. Because he's the killer, you see. That's why you should go Ooooh! or Ahhhh! or Oh My God, or any acceptable variations thereof.

Mr. Brooks II begs his split personality to stop the madness, but the SP is like Fuck That Shit and threatens to kill Mr. Brooks II’s family if he doesn’t shut the fuck up, then suddenly Mr. Brooks II wakes up in his comfy bed and is all “Oh, it was just a bad dream!”, then he turns to find his wife has been filleted and he wakes up again and is all "Oh, it was just a bad dream!", then something goes BOO and he wakes up yet again and is all "Oh, it was just a bad dream!" and I’m like Cut The Shit Already. The cops show up with a douchebag psychologist (played by the asshole judge from Ghostbusters II) and stop Mr. Brooks II from traumatizing his daughter by shooting him repeatedly until he’s dead right in front of her, so good job there, guys. Only he’s not dead, he wakes back up and shoots the psychologist, then they shoot him again, only he’s not dead, he wakes back up and tries to kill a paramedic, then they shoot him again, only he’s not dead, he wakes back up in an ambulance and stabs the paramedic and I’m like CUT THE SHIT ALREADY.

I wondered if Wes Craven (the first time in a long time that he directed his own screenplay) was doing some kind of tribute to the climaxes of the Scream movies or if he was actually going to give us a horror film comprised of nothing but 90 minutes of the killer being killed and coming back again, maybe calling it He’s Not Dead Yet. Then I think what happened was that Craven found out that not only was he not the only guy out there making horror films, but that there are already about 30 years of movies built on this Resurrecting Killer premise. I’m sure the suits at Rogue gave the bad news to Mr. Craven with a heavy heart, and he was all broken up about it, not just because his film (originally titled 25/8, which probably refers to the ratio of bad dreams-to-resurrections Mr. Brooks II goes through) would need a drastic overhaul, but because he wouldn’t be able to meet the original 2009 release date. So crafty Craven then pulled a new scenario out of his ass, and proceeded to shoot that shit, which is now this shit.

We cut to 16 years later and find out that the killer and his exploits have made him a town legend; he’s known as the Ripper and since there’s nothing to do in this boring town, the kids have something called Ripper Day which is held on the anniversary of the night Mr. Brooks II/The Ripper kept refusing to die. On that same night, 7 children were born, and each year on Ripper Day one of them is chosen to defeat a fake Ripper and this time it’s some dude named Bug doing the honors, only he’s not gonna do it because he’s a pussy-ass bitch-boy who wouldn’t know how to step up and be a man if his goddamn life depended on it (well, up until the film’s climax, of course). He freaks out and cries and probably pees himself a little and everyone laughs except for his two friends and a hot Jesus Freak.

Let me talk about this Jesus Freak chick; a couple years back, I saw this flick called The Haunting of Molly Hartley and had issues with making the film’s sole devout religious character a frumpy-dressed homely girl. That’s like casting a short fat chick to play the best friend and I’m sick of that shit. Say all the shit you want about Tommy Wiseau, but at least that motherfucker threw caution to the wind and decided that for the best friend role in The Room, he would cast an actress who was more attractive than the lead girl. I'm sure he meant to do that, making him a master in the field of the filmmaking arts. But yeah, I dug the redheaded lass they cast as the Jesus Freak, she's pretty and even her conservative clothing can't hide that, and despite her predilection for speaking entirely in Psalmspeak and wearing squeaky shoes (judge not lest ye be judged, fellow squeaky-shoe wearers), she was my favorite character, which of course is why she’s killed off early. That fuckin’ asshole Wes Craven knows how to hit me where it hurts; he killed Tatum Riley, he killed Randy Meeks, and now he killed Hot Redheaded Jesus Freak.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that; it looks like the Ripper is, in fact, still alive and he’s out killing the 7 kids who were born on the day that he, uh, died. What a fuckin’ hater; he goes around looking like a shaved version of Rob Zombie's skid-row version of Michael Myers in Halloween II, chasing them around and going “ARRRRGGGGHHH, I’M THE RIPPER! BOOGIE BOOGIE BOOGIE!” or some shit like that before slicing them up with his Vengeance knife the same way the Ginsu sliced through that tomato right after it sliced through a soda can in that old commercial. It must suck for Wes Craven when he's making a Scream movie, because the Ghostface Killer doesn't say shit and keeps quiet when killing people. Craven's not used to that, he's used to having guys like Freddy and the Ripper and Shocker never shutting the fuck up while dicing up a motherfucker.

It’s OK though, because half of these kids are douches anyway; you have the Cute Blonde Whore, you have the Asshole Jock (redundant), you have Ray Charles (cuz he’s black and blind, you see), you have that kid who reminded me of Rufio from Hook but who gives a shit cuz he’s the first to die, and you have the Comic Relief who lives with the stepfather equivalent to Chet from Weird Science. Counting Bug and Hot Redheaded Jesus Freak, that's your 7 kids, and maybe they all die, maybe one survives, who knows, the suspense is killing you, I'm sure.

My fave death would have to be the Asshole Jock because you find out early on that he may or may not have knocked some chick up and is now doing the Man thing by pretending that bitch don’t exist. But just as the Ripper finishes introducing Asshole Jock’s internal organs to the concept of leaves and soil, he asks him if there’s anyone he wants to say goodbye to. “My unborn child” says Asshole Jock before expiring.

I liked that moment, it seemed very genuine and unexpected. Leading up to this kill scene, Asshole Jock was pretty much letting his guard down and telling his girlfriend (at least he thought he was telling his girlfriend, MWAHAHAHA) about how sorry he was for being a piece-of-shit as a human being. And earlier that morning, when he still thought he was invincible and a champion at life, Hot Redheaded Jesus Freak told this motherfucker (with the certainty of a True Believer) that he was going to burn in Hell for his sins. And now he’s got the Ripper assuring him of that fate. And you know what? Good, I say.

I mean, these fuckin' assholes think they rule the world, and they're right -- star quarterback in high school gets the women, gets the scholarship, gets drafted into the NFL, gets the money, gets more women. That kind of shit inflates a motherfucker's ego to the point that they think they're above such lame things like being a good person to your fellow human being, which is why I live for those rare public moments when they overstep their boundaries and realize they are not untouchable -- sorry, O.J., you can't stab your wife; sorry, Brett Favre, not every girl considers text message'd pics of your tiny penis charming; and sorry, Asshole Jock, even you are not exempt from eternal damnation. I'll give Craven points for that.

But then there are a whole bunch of other moments and lines and actions that make you wonder if this film was actually intended as a satire; there are entire dialogue scenes and odd digressions and bits that feel more at home in the Deleted Scenes section of the Hot Rod DVD, rather than a horror/slasher flick. Maybe Wes Craven was trying to channel his inner Kevin Williamson, completely forgetting that the last time he tried to be funny and scary, it was in between scenes of chicks getting stabbed and it involved Sensei Kreese and it was funny in the way that Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is funny -- in other words, fucking hilarious. I don't know, either Craven was still trying to figure out the kind of movie he was making or the man is having us on, having us on big-time, at that. It's just half the time I thought the characters were gonna start breaking into some Cool Beans kinda shit.

You know what? I think I'll have to take back what I said about Hot Redheaded Jesus Freak being my fave character. I'm not ready to knock her off the pedestal, though, she will share the slot with another character. It's a tie, is what I'm saying. I'm talking about the character of Fang, played by a girl who kinda reminded me of Rose McGowan, back when she used to look like Rose McGowan. Fang is a hot popular chick who runs the school like a mafia don -- she's part Mean Girls, part Jawbreaker, all Win.

The entire high school is Fang's oyster, so I guess the girl's restroom is the pearl within that oyster, because she spends a lot of non-excreting time in there, holding court among the toilets and tampon dispensers, ordering her lackeys, underlings and minions around. One of the stall doors has a handwritten sign that says "Fang Zone" or something like that. For reals, yo. If the sign also said "No Boyz Allowed!" or "Kool Kidz Only!" and each letter was written in different crayon colors, it wouldn't have made much difference. Asshole Jock is one of her enforcers, and she orders him to give hurtings to undeserving nerds and various other unpopular types, even going as far as to assign the amount of pain each person should get based on a number scale (Comic Relief character, for example, gets a punch to the stomach that measures an 8).

Just when her character can't get any better, you then find out late in the film that Fang is 19 years old! I haven't had that big a smile since the last time I had that big a smile. How beautifully pathetic; all the kids in high school either worship her or are afraid of her, and I don't know if she's stupid and got held back or just doesn't want to give up a good thing. Fuck, talk about reigning in Hell vs. serving in Heaven. She's not that much older than the other kids, but fuck man, it makes a world of difference in high school if they knew. Or maybe they do know, and they're too stupid to see the big picture, instead they choose to look at this chick as the embodiment of Awesome because she learned to drive before they did, or because in a couple years she'll be able to legally buy beer, I don't know.

I'm gonna switch topics, as I am wont to do, and tell you about some shit that happened about 10 years ago. I used to drive a 1964 Plymouth Valiant; it was old and it was a convertible, so I guess that made it all right. Anyway, my aunt visited (the same aunt who is going to die from cancer soon, because God likes to reward nice/generous/kindhearted people with Slow Painful Death, the fuckin' asshole) along with my 15-year-old cousin, who had also brought along his friend. He and his friend were chilling outside while I was inside with the family, and later on, when I went outside, my cousin went up to me and shared the following exchange he had with his friend earlier when they arrived:

FRIEND: Whose car is that?
COUSIN: It's my cousin's.
FRIEND: Man, he must get ALL the pussy!

Oh, to be young and innocent! He did not see me for the pathetic douchebag that I was (and still am). If he only knew that my luck with the ladies only went as far as being lucky enough not to have one get the dry heaves upon my asking them out for a date. As far as he was concerned, older-than-him Me was Mr. Cool, taking his pick among all the beautiful babies out there who wanted to party. I guess what I'm trying to say here is that I can feel Fang's secret pain, and since she's 19, I'd like to feel a little more than that, if you get my drift -- I'M A GENTLEMAN! Anyway, Fang is awesome, Fang rules, and you should try to be Fang when you grow up.

Bug has this thing for birds -- he listens to a radio show called The Birding Hour, seriously, for real, that's what it's called and it airs at 2 am which sounds about right -- and he especially has a thing for condors, even going as far as to whip up an elaborate and complicated condor costume for a school project that is due in few hours. This is supposed to mean something, I think, the whole myth about condors taking in the souls of its prey. I think the Ripper does that too, but I'll be goddamned if I can explain how. If it was ever explained in the movie in terms more specific than HE'S EEEEVIIILLL! then I missed that shit.

Bug also has this habit of breaking into sudden impressions of the recent victims, which I think might have something to do with the fact that he's possibly possessed by the Ripper's soul or something like that, I don't know, all I know is that he comes off like he's trying to be the next Robin Williams with his manic gift for mimicry. He'd look right at home making an ass of himself alongside Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg for the sake of the homeless, is what I'm saying. Anyway, I guess Craven could've called this movie Operation Condor or Condorman, except those titles were already taken, so he went with My Soul to Take.

People have been going on about what a crushing disappointment this movie is for a director of Craven's caliber, talking like he was Martin Scorsese or somebody. The guy's always been hit-and-miss for me, hot-and-cold; for every Nightmare on Elm Street and Last House on the Left, there's also a Deadly Friend and Vampire in Brooklyn. This movie leans toward the latter category but not entirely; it's an odd movie, that's the best way I can describe it. It wasn't scary, and it certainly wasn't good, but I can't completely dismiss it because it has enough WTF/interesting moments sprinkled throughout to make it worth sitting through.

Looking over what I wrote about him, I realize I gave Bug a lot of shit, but he's actually a pretty likable guy, and finding a character you like and don't want to see harmed is nowadays worthy of being considered a cinematic miracle. I also found it kinda endearing that he not only gets a cell phone on his birthday from his mom, but that he's genuinely stoked about it. Maybe it's because I assume the kids today take that kind of shit for granted, they take everything for granted, especially in movies. Kids gotta be so fuckin' cool and with it in movies today; I hate that shit. They all have Blackberries and nice cars, but you never see the behind-closed-doors shit, when they were begging Mommy and Daddy for the hookup on that shit, it's all assumed they got that shit through osmosis or something. Little bastards. Nice clothes, it must be nice to afford nice clothes, where do you work to make the money to buy those nice clothes? Wait, you don't have a job? Hmm. I wonder how you got those clothes, then. Yeah, that's what I thought. Not so cool, now, are ya?

I guess what I'm trying to say is Kids, Get Off My Lawn.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Savoir-faire

This lovely lady has decided that until I step forward and introduce myself to people, I will be referred to as "Princess Sparkle", which the other tweeps have picked up on. So when I heard Phil Blankenship asking if Princess Sparkle was in the audience at the end of his intro to the 3rd annual All Night Horror Show at the New Beverly Cinema this past Saturday, boy-oh-boy was I amused/mortified. A brave man in the front row jokingly claimed to be Sparkle and while I was disappointed about Phil not believing him, I was happy to see that Mr. Blankenship seemed to be in better spirits (as usual). Last year, it seemed like he knew ahead of time the reception Tales from the Crypt was going to get and that's why he seemed down that night.

Following trailers and a Woody Woodpecker "cartune", was the first film, Dario Argento's Tenebrae (or Tenebre, if you want to be that way) which opens with a black gloved hand tossing a book into a firepit like it was a Qur'an in Florida, then we're introduced to the character of murder-mystery writer Peter Neal. He's the kind of guy who will ride his bike (as in bicycle) to the airport, happily riding along in the middle of the road, keeping hard-working truckers behind him. What an asshole; these guys are blue collar men trying to put food on the table for their families and this fuckin' rich cunt is slowing them down in the name of...Fitness? Nope, there's treadmills and stationary bikes for that. The environment? Nope, because this MOTHERFUCKER had someone drive his luggage to the airport behind him. That means he rode his bike to the airport simply to fuck shit up for people who drive for a living and/or who are trying to make it to the airport in time. There's your protagonist, people.

In a rare departure for Argento, this film features scenes of people dying harsh deaths at the hands of a killer wearing black leather gloves; someone is killing people in Italy and sending letters to Neal (who's there promoting his new book), informing him that he will be the last to go, because they're all filthy slimy perverts and he's the corruptor or some shit like that. But never mind that, let's talk about the best character in the entire movie -- let's talk about that awesome fuckin' Doberman.

There's a scene where this cute jailbait chick (I can say that because I'm sure the actress was above legal age -- I hope, otherwise Chris Hansen's gonna walk in and ask me to take a seat over there) is walking home and she gets a little too close to a fence. RAWR RAWR RAWR goes the guard dog Doberman, and rather than keep walking, Cute Jailbait Girl picks up a stick and starts banging it against the fence. What the fuck, Lolita? That dog is just telling you to stay away, fool ('cause love rules, at the do-oo-og shack) and you gotta get all indignant on homedog? He's just doing the job he was hired to do; he's a blue collar dog trying to put Alpo on his litter's table. Oh, you sure showed him.

Well, this dog, he's not having it, he jumps the fence and runs after her -- what's up now, bitch? At one point, she climbs over a tall fence and you figure that's the end of the line for the Doberman. Nah man, this dog, he walks up to the fence, looks it over, does the calculations in his dog brain, backs up a couple yards, runs and fuckin' parkours that goddamn fence. This dog rules. Even when she hides inside the killer's Underground Room of Murder Planning, that dog still manages to find a way to get to a window(!) to show her that he hasn't given up. The Doberman can't be bargained with, it can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, remorse, or fear and it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are bitten numerous times. That's what he does, that's all he does!

The actor who plays Peter Neal had this slightly George Takei-esque way of pronunciation that I'm going to probably mimic for the next few days in everyday life. What else, oh yeah, pretty much all the women in this film are attractive in a They Probably Don't Shave kinda way, even this flashback sequence chick who's pretty hot for having a dick and balls in real life. The title more or less translates as Darkness, so naturally Argento had his cinematographer blast everything with bright light, thinking he was trying out some daring shit but ultimately giving the proceedings a look reminiscent of low-budget Mexican genre films.

The camerawork is still aces, though, especially that There's-No-Reason-To-Do-It-This-Way-Except-That-It's-So-Fucking-Cool shot where the camera starts at one end of a house, goes over the roof, then ends up on the other side; Johnny La Rue would've killed for that kind of crane shot. This is one of my favorite Argento flicks, the print looked great (it came from Australia) and I'm pretty sure nothing was missing since this wasn't the U.S. Unsane edit of the movie.

After a break, we had more trailers and commercials; there was an old one for Schlitz beer that was pretty awesome, even more so when you consider it was about to make a choice product placement in the next movie, The Gates of Hell aka City of the Living Dead aka The One Where The Chick Pukes Her Intestines Out. This was a Lucio Fulci joint which means that if you came for logic, Fulci would grab his balls and tell you that he's got your logic right here, only it would be in heavily-accented English because he's from Italy, plus he's dead now, he's not grabbing anything, let alone his balls. Anyway, Fulci also makes a cameo here (which was greeted by some applause), playing the same role he played in The Beyond and Zombie: a man who speaks perfect English because he's being dubbed by somebody else.

Catriona MacColl aka Katherine MacColl aka The Chick From The Unofficial Fulci Trilogy plays a psychic who, during a seance, sees not only a priest in the small town of Dunwich hang himself, but a large tombstone that's written in English yet makes no sense whatsoever. This overly baffling one-two combo of confusion literally scares her to death, which is quite a feat because she lives with this Crypt Keeper-looking old woman, so you'd think she'd be past getting scared by anything. Meanwhile, in Dunwich, shit's starting to get scary; teleporting zombies (How About That, I ask the running zombie haters) show up out of nowhere, grab people by the back of the head and yank out a piece of brain; Zombie Priest stares at this woman (played by that chick who always dies gruesomely in Fulci movies) and she literally pukes her guts out; fat old white guys sit around, drinking beer. Also, the town pervert is running around and acting a stupid asshole and doing stupid asshole things like getting a poor nonjudgmental girl killed by Zombie Priest.

If you're lucky, the teleporting zombies just scare you to death, but if it's not one thing, it's another, because then you end up in this funeral home under the care and supervision of this super-creepy-looking mortician. I look at this creep with his creepy eyes and his creepy smile as he applies lipstick to the Poor Nonjudgmental Girl's lips and all I could think about was that this creep is soooo going to have sex with this dead girl, you can just tell by looking at a motherfucker like that. In the next scene, her parents and little brother (named John-John) are grieving over her and I'm like "Why is her mouth open? Is this acceptable? Am I missing something here? HER FUCKING MOUTH IS WIDE OPEN!"

The recently-deceased psychic chick wakes up in a coffin -- she was dead...but she got better -- and freaks out because, really man, there's no reason to be in a coffin if you're not really dead, not unless you're Bela Lugosi giving it a test-run or something. Lucky for her, her family paid for the Silver package, not the Gold package, which means you don't get embalmed. Even luckier for her, Christopher George was hanging around, probably coming home from working on another Italian horror film, and breaks her out (using an ill-advised method similarly employed in The House by the Cemetery).  So off they go to Dunwich to stop the end of the world, joined by a psychologist (Carlo, you always play psychologist with us!) and his loony patient who has Men issues and Why Didn't Daddy Fuck Me issues and she paints fuckin' awesome paintings of giant rhino heads hovering over landscapes. She also wears pantsuits, so you know what's up.

Fulci's a specialist in setting up a gag, then prolonging the fuck out of the buildup, before he finally sucker-punches you with the punchline. Some guy is about to get drilled through the head, so we get a slow zoom-in shot of the drill, shot of the guy, shot of the drill, shot of the guy, shot of the drill, shot of the guy, back & forth, back & forth. Just when you're about to throw your hands up and scream Get On With It -- BOOM -- motherfucker gets a drill through the head. Goddamn Fulci KNEW what he was doing, he was purposely fucking with us, the sadist. He's also great at creating atmosphere; I loved those shots of Dunwich at night with its empty spooky streets and neighborhoods shrouded in mist. There's also these odd bird calls on the soundtrack that would suggest Dunwich is a town located somewhere in the Amazon, not Massachusetts. Or maybe that was Fulci's way of telling the characters (and the audience) "You know where you are? You're in the jungle, baby! You're gonna DIIIIEEEE!"

This was my 3rd viewing and my opinion remains the same; I like it but always felt it kind of petered out about 2/3 of the way in, not keeping up with the cool gory/tense/WTF set-pieces that preceded it. As the credits rolled, some dude turned to me and my buddy to share his WTF feeling about the WTF ending. I once had a dream that involved me at a family reunion and it was a good dream, yet I woke up completely freaked out. I don't know why that happened, I don't remember it ending badly, maybe it did and I immediately forgot the shock ending upon waking up. All I know is I didn't want to go back to sleep. So personally, the ending works because it reminded me of that dream -- the on-screen events suggest a happy ending, yet with the help of a cheap, lame-ass optical and a couple sound effects, that fuckin' diabetic eye-tie managed to turn it into a negative one with his last-minute idea. There's also a cute kitty cat in the movie, so yeah.

What snobby filmgoers choose to call Hell, a geek calls home, and that's the snob's loss because the 3rd film of the night, The Evil was a solid haunted house movie. Richard Crenna shows up playing a psychologist (Richard, you're always playing psychologist with us!) who decides to take his wife, some former junkies, a grad student with awesome button jeans, the grad student's student girlfriend, a German Shepherd named Kaiser (probably a former Nazi) to this old abandoned mansion (as they tend to be in these movies) so they can spruce it up like that montage scene in Revenge of the Nerds when the nerds find that house and fix it up while that One Foot In Front Of The Other song plays in the background. Except in this movie, they face something far more evil than Ogre and Jefferson D'Arcy, they face *the* evil.

Crenna wants to turn this place into a rehab clinic, because he's a decent dude, he's not some asshole who thinks these sick people should be thrown into jail (that's me projecting), but the spirit of the man who built this house long ago wants them to get the fuck out. Emilio Vargas is the name of the spirit, and he had this huge beautiful mansion built by the time he was 30 years old, proving George Lopez's point that if you want quality construction done fast and cheap, you hire raza. What is it with being a spirit/ghost/spook that takes away your ability to just be straight out about shit? The guy wants them to leave for their own safety, but he's gotta be so fuckin' vague, leaving clues and shit. Motherfucker, this ain't Midnight Madness, just Beetlejuice these assholes out of your fucking crib! The only time he does something serious (barbecuing a handyman) nobody's around to see it. As it is, he can only communicate with the help of Crenna's wife, who's a believer (she's got the big cross around her neck to prove it) while everyone else is a bunch of Godless liberals who probably hate America and love paying taxes and want to take my guns away.

This movie was written by the guy who also wrote Superstition, which in retrospect, makes sense because there are similarities like the Super Cross (except this one doesn't have that awesome ability to open the fuck out of locked doors), the haunted house setting, and relatively likable characters getting killed off with extreme prejudice. I don't remember an Asian-looking student (or maybe he's just a Jimmy Kimmel type) lovingly gaze at his grad student teacher with his finger in his mouth in Superstition, though, so I guess that's where the similarities end. I dug The Evil, it's a good haunted house flick for the most part (the climax was a little too goofy for me) with the occasional nasty surprise popping up. According to Phil, this is the only print in existence, acquired from Uruguay (probably in some dead Nazi's closet) and while it was a little red/pink at times and one slightly bloody moment appeared to be trimmed, it was in pretty good shape.

The secret mystery movie was up next, and Phil asked the audience that if they liked what they saw, go up and tell him, but if they don't like it, shut the fuck up. He was referencing a little moment during last year's All Night Horror Show, when one audience member voiced his disapproval in a rather douchey way. There was a cartoon about this little girl witch ("Lil' Hermione", my buddy called it) and it was called "Trick or Cheat" and that was Phil's sneaky way of telling you what movie we were about to watch.

The DEG logo came up, which tells you straight off the bat that this shit is from the 80's and was most likely shot in North Carolina. The movie was Trick or Treat, which I'd never seen, but is at the very least, much-loved by one individual, based on the incredibly loud reaction from the guy on the other side of the theater ("YEEEEEEEAHHHHHHH! THANK YOU!" or something like that, and I think he proclaimed his love for Phil as well). Skippy from Family Ties plays this high school metalhead and it really sucks for him because it's 1986 and he's attending the one high school where apparently there are no other metalheads to hang with, because he has only one friend and that guy doesn't look so much like a metalhead but a guy who merely appreciates metal. There is a difference, you know. Poor guy gets picked on by the guy from Melrose Place and that Desperate Old Whores & Felicity Huffman show or whatever it's called, but at least there's a pretty girl who seems to have a thing for him.

Anyway, this metal god that Skippy's all gay for dies in a fire and he's all bummed out about it. He goes to his radio DJ friend (played by Gene Simmons) to cry about it and Simmons gives him the last song the guy ever recorded. I'm sure there were people in the audience who looked at that 12-inch vinyl platter and had no idea what it was or how it worked. Turns out that the metal dude's soul or something is in that record, and playing it backwards allows Skippy to talk to the dude and get advice on stuff like getting back at the bullies. It's all good at first, but soon Skippy finds out that his hero has ulterior motives, and like most awesome musicians, is really just an evil selfish asshole. You know who isn't an evil selfish asshole? Ozzy Osbourne. If you disagree with me, then you're wrong. That guy rules and will always rule and his cameo as a preacher was pretty damn funny as well.

I didn't expect Trick or Trick to have a relatively light tone, I don't know why I always assumed this was a straight-up horror film. It's actually kinda funny at times and it doesn't take itself too seriously. Maybe it played a little scarier and darker back in '86, back when people still thought these metal dudes were in league with Satan and back when shirtless long-haired guys in leather pants were actually considered cool-looking motherfuckers. I don't know, I'm pretty sure director Charles Martin Smith saw through that shit and made it kinda goofy on purpose, he seemed more intent on having you walk out with a smile on your face, not shivering from having the shit scared outta you. I enjoyed the movie, and I'm glad Phil picked it and I'm glad I finally saw it; this was easily the best secret movie of the past 3 All Night Horror Shows.

I think at this point the breaks ended and the movies were going to play straight through, back-to-back. The Giant Claw was next; a black-and-white movie from the 50's about the fakest-looking giant bird creature ever. It goes around doing awesome shit, attacking planes and turning them into shitty models on fire, then swooping on the parachuting survivors and nom-nom-nom-ing them with a satisfying CHOMP sound. You hear that super-squawk and you better hope you're not in the sky, otherwise that's your ass. Some French-Canadian motherfucker calls it La Carcagne, after some old myth; it's a harbinger of doom because those who see it, die soon after. In that case, that fuckin' Schlitz beer sign in The Gates of Hell was a harbinger of doom as well.

In between those mercilessly brief Giant Claw attacks, we get these long dialogue sequences that don't feel as long they could've been because some of the lines are slightly tinged with awesome; I remember something like "Keep your shirt on and I'll put my pants on". You can also play a drinking game for every time someone says the word "battleship", holy shit, they don't stop about this fuckin' battleship -- it's a flying battleship, good luck with your flying battleship, I didn't say it was a battleship, is that your battleship, a bird as big as a battleship, you sunk my battleship -- BATTLESHIP BATTLESHIP BATTLESHIP BATTLESHIP. I have had it with these motherfucking battleships on this motherfucking battleship!

The hero of the movie -- who looks like what you'd get if you picked up Cary Grant and Spencer Tracy by the ankles and swung them at each other until their heads connected in a violent KER-SMOOSH-- he's an electronics expert and he's always engaging in flirty 50's-speak with the mathematician broad. I don't think the General in the movie appreciates that, he might have a thing for Cary Tracy because he's always touching up on the dude, grabbing his shoulders, putting his hands on the back of his neck, staying in contact a little too long. Don't ask, don't tell, I guess.

All the guys in this movie must spend half of their income on Brylcreem because these are some buttered-toast-hair having motherfuckers. God, I wonder how their pillows looked -- white man's Soul Glo. During the dialogue scenes, I would just stare at Ms. Mathematician Broad, not just because she was a dish (to use the parlance of the times), but because it meant I wouldn't have to look at all that greased-up hair and go GODDAMN how much do you use?! At least when Jack Deth slicks his shit up, he has a great justification -- dry hair's for squids -- but God forbid one of these guys has to scratch an itch on his head, because then he wouldn't be able to have a firm grip for at least a week. I wish there were more Giant Claw attacks, those were cool to watch, but I still thought this was a fun cheesy 50's monster movie. The print for this one was beautiful, by the way, the best looking one of the entire night.

Breeders is not a movie about how heterosexuals are assholes who have lots of kids, it's about how aliens are fuckin' asshole rapists who go around knocking up our women -- and by "aliens", I mean in the extra-terrestrial sense of the word, not the Glenn Beck definition. There are a lot of virgins in Manhattan, according to this movie, and that's good for the alien because he needs virgin women to do his thing. He's like Telly from Kids, this asshole, he thinks he's the muthafuckin' virgin surgeon. I watched the fuckin' thing and I'm still not sure how he does it, but I think what he does (I'm calling it a He) is somehow parasite his way into a human host (like a kindly old man) and then when he finds a proper fit virgin girl, he tears himself out of the flesh (sucks to be you, human host) and attacks. Someone says as much, but all I could understand was "RARARAARARARRGHUUUUAAAAHFFREEE---PAAAARRRAAASIIIITESS---ARRRAGHHH!"

This movie does a shit job on practically everything; it's not until the midway point that the movie appears to pick a main character, until then, it cuts between different characters and yet manages somehow to fuck it up so it doesn't feel like an ensemble piece. The heroine is this doctor who works at Manhattan General Hospital but might as well be called St. Hottie's Hospital or better yet, Our Lady of the Hot Chick Who Can't Act For Shit because it seems to be populated and staffed with attractive women who are all graduates of the Chuck Norris School of Acting. The main doctor chick, in particular, is either very bad or very good and it was the director who told her to play it like a hostage being forced to read a prepared statement on video about how she's being treated well by her terrorist captors and that the Western evil will be demolished by Ammala Bulla Bulla or something. That's me being sensitive.

I'm trying to be positive here, so I'll just assume that the writer/director of Breeders is working from the Andy Kaufman playbook and purposely trying to get the audience to ask What In The Holy Name Of Fuck. There's a nurse who reminded me of Anne Carlisle from Liquid Sky and when she comes home from work, she takes a huge pot out of a refrigerator, like she was gonna have some leftover bouillabaisse from Casey Ryback and sets it on the stove while she undresses. This is even weirder to see on-screen, my words can't do it justice.

Quentin Tarantino loves feet, so he always finds ways to put a girl's tootsies up on that screen, but I have to give him credit for finding justifications for those shots; Uma Thurman had to un-atrophy those atrophied muscles and Christoph Waltz had to confirm that the shoe did indeed fit a particular lady's foot. But the guy who made this movie was like, "You know what? I want to see a chick paw herself" and he didn't even wonder if it would make sense for the model chick to suddenly do that after a photo session. I guess the justification was that she just did two lines of blow and that got her in the mood. I'm not complaining, I was grateful that he gave me something to get off on laugh at, but still.

I looked the director up, and it appears he makes his living shooting porn now, which makes perfect sense because this looks, feels, and plays like porn with the porn cut out -- except for the climax of the film, where the alien's stable of bitches end up bathing in this giant organic pod filled with a sticky white substance. That's right, they are swimming in money shot. I was totally with him as far as the naked chick angle goes, but the whole raping-a-virgin angle combined with that alien bukkake madness, that's where I excuse myself from this particular cocktail party conversation and head over to Richard Crenna, where we'd tell each other religious jokes. I mean, there are so-bad-it's-good moments in the movie, but eventually I just wanted to kick Breeders in the balls and tell it to get the fuck outta my face.

The final movie of the night (morning, really) was called The Outing and it's kinda like Wishmaster, except I think the genie only grants like, one wish here; most of the time it's just killing people. The movie starts out with 3 redneck burglars breaking into a house and killing the old lady who lives there. One of the burglars finds a lamp, rubs it, the spout of the lamp begins puffing out smoke and somethi--JUMP CUT NEXT REEL-- suddenly it's the next day and the house looks all fucked up and there's cops and ambulances all over. One detective asks "What the hell happened here?" and the other responds "Your guess is as good as mine" and the whole audience laughed.

We then watch the tragic story of 2 high school (or college, I don't remember) bullies who are both closet cases; one of them looks like Freddy Lounds in Manhunter and he's all pissed off because the Final Girl used to date him, but not anymore. I think the movie is trying to say she dumped him because he's an asshole, but we can read between the lines, this chick was tired of being his beard and told him he should just come out of the closet and live his life. But this guy Freddy Lounds, he doesn't want to do that, he's too fake-macho to admit to that shit, especially here in Texas. He fears that she's going to tell her friends the truth, so he and his not-so-hetero lifemate follow the Final Girl and her friends around and try to start fights. Like somehow beating the shit out of them or running them off the road is going to change everything.

Each of his attempts end in Fail; he gets stopped by a cop during the car chase, and the fight he starts in the locker area turns into a goddamn Tsui Hark fight scene with everybody suddenly kung-fu fighting. Then the principal comes in to stop it, and fuckin' asshole Freddy Lounds calls him a "nigger". Jesus Christ, Lounds -- you of all people should understand the pain a derogatory word can cause. Please stop being so angry with others because you're ashamed of who you are. Dude, there's nothing wrong with how you were born, but there's plenty wrong with trying to deny it. I guess what I'm trying to say Lounds is, it gets better. It gets better.

The lamp ends up in a museum, where the curator also happens to be Final Girl's daddy. She sneaks her friends in after hours (they don't know she's under the genie's control at this point), while Freddy Lounds and his very close friend sneak in ostensibly to fuck with the group, but again, we all know what's going on here -- he thinks she's finally going to tell her friends the truth about him, hence his attempt to stop...The Outing. He goes about it the wrong way, attempting to prove that he and his lover are not gay by attempting to rape one of the girls. It's a good thing the detective from Breeders wasn't on the case, he'd see through that clever act. Did I mention the genie/jinn/djinn going around killing everyone? I just did.

This movie was half-decent, nothing that rocked my world (well, there was a cool dolly shot involving the curator and another dude, almost like a mini-Touch of Evil moment) but I didn't hate the goddamn movie. It was OK.

They played a Mr. Magoo cartoon, and another Woody Woodpecker cartoon where our bird is nice enough to make some stupid witch a broom, even though the factory wasn't open yet, and this cheap daughter-of-a-bitch tries to take off without paying the 50 cents. What an asshole. Finally, the All Night Horror Show ended with the National Anthem, which I am happy to report the audience (what was left of us) sang along to -- it helps that there were on-screen lyrics, I guess. The lights then came up, the projectionist stepped to the front and thanked us, and then we left. I told my friend about the running theme between some of these movies, and he backed away with a very serious look on his face and told me he didn't catch the same theme I caught, and maybe I was seeing what I really wanted to see in those movies. I laughed and told him that wasn't true. Then I kissed him.

Click here for Cathie's far more detailed -- yet far shorter -- recount of that night. She, and the Doberman from Tenebrae are, like, my heroes.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

"Maybe you all are homosexuals, too."

I'm about to ramble about the movie Commando, which is about a guy who decides to go through the day without wearing underwear, and the only reason I'm even going to do this -- especially since it's been written about and talked about many times before by better people than me -- is because this kind-hearted soul asked me to. She seems awesome but because she takes Korean classes, I figure she's some kind of commie working for this guy and I shouldn't be doing this because Better Dead Than Red, I say. But I'm also afraid that she'll use her Korean connections and have me Oh Dae-su'd if I don't comply. Fuck that, I don't need that shit in my life, so here goes.

The main character is introduced carrying a huge log on his shoulder (from a tree) and it's done in a manner similar to something Leni Riefenstahl did in her movies, at least that's what director Mark L. Lester says on his commentary. Where do I stand on Riefenstahl? Preferably over her grave. You know, I never liked the term "guilty pleasure" because I don't think such a thing exists. If you like it, you like it, fuck what everybody else thinks, everybody's always going on about what everybody else thinks. Yet, these same assholes who would call something like Big Trouble in Little China a guilty pleasure, they're the same assholes who would call Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will a cinematic masterpiece with a straight face. Shit, if any movie deserved to be called a guilty pleasure, it should be THAT fuckin' movie, a movie about how awesome Hitler and the Nazis are -- that movie, and Feds.

Our soon-to-be-former governor plays John Matrix, who came to the States from East Germany, where rock n' roll was considered subversive and I guess that's why he got the fuck out. Anyway, he has a daughter played by Alyssa Milano, who at the time was just a cute little girl but eventually grew up to become to athletes what Winona Ryder was to musicians -- just something to be used and passed around like a joint at a Bob Marley concert, and I say this as someone who still considers Ms. Ryder to be one of Earth's most precious assets. It didn't surprise me that she was caught shoplifting because the little lass had long ago stolen my heart.

Anyway, Matrix and his daughter are out living the kind of life that comes off like Full House Goes To The Wilderness; they're hiking and swimming and doing karate and feeding wild animals and wasting perfectly good ice cream by shoving it in each others faces even though meanwhile in Africa some poor child with a distended belly and a fly on his eyeball just wants a grain of rice to chew on. This is apparently the kind of retirement life a member of the Special Forces gets after deciding he's killed enough brown and yellow people for the government.

Like a Joe Walsh song, life's been good to Matrix so far, until his former superior, General Franklin Kirby (I think General is his first name, which kinda sucks since he's only a Major; a kid is fucked at birth if you give him a name like that, setting him or her up for some lofty position in life without knowing if he or she is capable or even wants to), shows up to give him some bad news; his former teammates have been killed and he's the only one left, so you better watch out and here's a couple of lame-ass soldiers to watch over you until we can get you the fuck out, OK bye. No sooner does Colonel Trautman-lite take off when the bad guys pop out and immediately dispatch those two guards and it's fuckin' on. Matrix manages to get a rifle from Charlton Heston's outhouse and shoots an unarmed Mexican in the head in cold-blood and then finds out the hard way that it's probably best not to put a Ford in neutral and send it careening down the mountains just because they kidnapped your precious "Cheeny!" even though her name is Jenny.

She gets kidnapped and Matrix is forced to go to the fictional country of Val Verde to assassinate the president, even though he and his merry band of World Police helped the prez come into power after deposing the dictator (played by Cher's dad from Clueless) who up until then had been running shit. But because this is Arnold the fuckin' Matrix we're talking about here, he's not gonna play that shit. Helping Cher's Dad is Bennett, a former member of Matrix's unit and I guess since I just typed the words "member" and "unit", this is as good a place as any to talk about the character of Bennett.

Much has been made about Bennett probably being gay and he's probably in love with Arnold and he probably got kicked out of the unit because he made a move on the Matrix, but the official reason was that he enjoyed killing too much or some bullshit like that. I can see why people would say that about Bennett's sexuality, what with all the dialogue between him and Arnold dripping with sweet, sweet subtext and that outfit he's got on: cutoff shirt, cotton netting vest, a chain necklace with a huge pendant that people think is a lock but isn't, weightlifting gloves, and um, leather pants. Fuck. Take out the leather pants and that could be me during the few times I gave working out a try. Goddammit -- looking at his fat gut and skinny arms, I realized I could've played Bennett. In that case, he looks less like some gay dude on the prowl and more like the kind of guy who dresses like he works out, only he doesn't work out, he's the kind of guy who goes to the gym dressed like that and spends most of his time bullshitting with people; the sauna is probably the extent of his workout.

I noticed during this viewing that Bennett is always fondling his knife or his gun. Yeah, that's not very phallic. Yet, I won't jump on the gay train (hmm) because I will take Mark L. Lester's word that he intended Bennett to be the most macho guy around. Well, he succeeded in creating a macho man all right -- as in the Village People song. Plus, once he and Matrix get it on (fighting), with all that talk about "Put the knife in me and look me in the eye and see what's going on in there when you turn it...don't deprive yourself of some pleasure. Come on, Bennett. Let's party." it's really hard (tee-hee!) to not take it a certain way. Look at Bennett's face, I swear he's fighting not to bust a nut right then and there. But I'll side with Lester and consider it unintentional gayness.

Rae Dawn Chong seems like a groovy lady and she's pretty funny in the DVD interviews (fave moments include her referring to Bill Duke's lips and the climax involving a bunch of Mexicans getting blasted by Arnold) so it's too bad her career didn't continue as well as she had it going during the 80's. Here she plays a stewardess who ends up having a pretty shitty day, I mean, it's already a bummer if sleazy fuckin' Sully (played by the motherfucker who shot Cyrus) calls you a "fucking whore" after you rebuff his advances, I can imagine it getting even worse if some fuckin' Austrian tears the seat out of your classic ride and makes you drive him to the mall. 

I just realized that I'm doing a rundown, which I haven't done on this poor excuse for a blog in a long while. This might come as a shock to you, so you might want to sit down for this, but I don't plan these things ahead. If you need time to get over that bombshell I just dropped, go ahead, I understand.

There's a security guard at the mall, and he might be my favorite character in the entire film; he has a goofy way of speaking ("...one gigantic moth-er-fuck-er") and a very healthy amount of self-esteem ("Wanna see me kick some ass?", he asks two girls he'd been chatting up). Overall, he has a decent day, aside from getting punked out by Matrix (the way he uses his super-strength to push away an entire group of security guards is a particularly awesome bit of awesome) and watching a couple of his fellow $3.35/hr. guards take about $5 worth of bullets.

On the other hand, one of his fellow guards manages to put a bullet into some guy who was doing business with Sully, even though the guards weren't after that particular individual and probably didn't know or care that he had a briefcase filled with loose cash (the better to scatter in the air with), he just started shooting at them, the moron. The goofy guard can tell this story to his grandkids one day, about the shootout/fight at the mall that he was a part of, and how the scary gigantic motherfuckin' Austrian pulled a Tarzan with one of the big balloon decorations, and how the scary gigantic motherfuckin' Austrian used his strength to lift a phone booth up from the ground and flip it over -- with a guy inside, mind you -- and how that same scary gigantic motherfuckin' Austrian got fuckin' slammed by a speeding Ferrari and said To Hell With Internal Bleeding and went after the little motherfucker who hit him.

Ernie Kovacs was a pioneer from the Golden Age of Television that a lot of older comedians who aren't funny anymore looked up to; he did a lot of crazy experimenting with the format, mostly visually but also pulling shit like talking to the crew off-screen or ad-libbing or even test-piloting some of that Adult Swim type of humor where it doesn't have to be funny, it just has to be weird and off-putting and only amusing to the creator (kinda like this blog). Anyway, it's too bad Matrix wasn't around to chauffeur him around because maybe Kovacs would've survived *his* head-on collision with a telephone pole and live long enough to die of cancer from smoking all those goddamn cigars, rather than getting assed out of existence on his way home from a Milton Berle party. Half of the stunts in this movie, I don't know how they could've been accomplished without killing a few people; that car crash looks like they killed an Arnold lookalike and I swear the poor Rae Dawn Chong stand-in had her torso severed, because you can see it rocket out of the passenger seat. Anyway, Matrix teaches Sully a lesson in how to increase your body's flexibility so that when you're dropped from a cliff ("I lied"), you resemble a dummy.

Two guys who eat too much red meat beat each other up in front of a fucking couple (a couple in the midst of fucking) in a motel room until one of them lands on something he shouldn't have landed on. Exit Bill Duke and score another for Matrix. The way Duke said "Fuck you, asshole!" sounded like some hard shit coming from a hard man, but when Matrix shoots that shit back at him, he sounds like maybe some of Bennett rubbed off on him, if you know what I mean and I think you do.

He sounds a little gay, is what I mean.

Matrix and RDC sneak into a warehouse full of illegals and poor Branscombe Richmond gets knocked the fuck out, and it's a good thing RDC happens to have a pilot's license, because she's going to fly Matrix to the same island where the real life Citizen Kane built his real life Xanadu, so you know there's some evil shit going on there.

Surplus City is where you go to get high-quality goods if you're a survivalist or an Angry White Man. They have knives and MRE's and vests. I'm sure it's the kind of place a disturbed middle-aged guy can go to browse around for a pair of hiking boots while the owner fucks with the gay guys -- C'mon, make your play, make your play!  -- then they knock over the sunglasses on their way out. Matrix knows of such a place (as he should), so he hops on a bulldozer that happened to be in the area and smashes that fucker right through the storefront and now it's like the final part of Supermarket Sweep, only instead of Rice-a-Roni, it's military surplus that's on the shelves. The best part is the secret room in the back with all the heavy artillery; machine guns, rifles, shotguns, rocket launchers, grenades, fuckin' claymores -- from my cold, dead hands! -- this was obviously all the stuff that wasn't for sale, instead this was where the owner stored all the hardware for the upcoming Race War, of which Matrix was privy to since he is not only the Aryan ideal, but also a card-carrying member of the Angry White Man underground.

The worst cops in the world arrest Matrix for breaking into Surplus City; these guys must've figured that searching the perimeter was a waste of time, because after all, it's not like there would be some Rae Dawn Chong-looking chick hiding out in a convertible with a rocket launcher. So I have no pity for them when RDC blasts their bread truck with the launcher (after accidentally firing it the wrong way and blowing up a bus stop, killing many an innocent 3rd shifter waiting for their ride) and breaks Matrix out. I wonder if she was even trying to break the dude out in the first place; she had driven up to the cops and got all flirtatious, probably because she was free of Matrix and she's newly single from what was probably her lesbian lover (she goes both ways, keeping with the film's subtext, according to me because I just made that shit up) that she was talking to on the pay phone in her introductory scene.

In response to Chong's comely come-on, one of the cops looks over to his partner and says "hooker" and they both have a laugh, obviously too blind to notice that she's wearing a fuckin' flight attendant uniform (which would explain how they were able to not notice RDC hanging out behind Surplus City in the first place). I don't understand confusing RDC for a prostitute because I paid for it once and while the woman was attractive in a single-mother-office-worker-supplementing-her-income-because-she-has-3-kids-to-raise kinda way, she certainly wasn't pretty enough to be in Soul Man. Anyway, that's not the first time someone referred to her as a Lady of the Night ("you fuckin' whore" sayeth the late Sully), but it's sure as hell gonna be the last time, so, KABOOM.

A couple of dead blown-up Mexicans later (they're all Mexicans in this movie, let's be real here; any Spanish-speaker in a movie -- and real life -- is a Mexican to the rest of the world anyway and even Rae Dawn Chong admits as much in her DVD interview), Matrix and RDC are in the air in their newly-acquired airboatplane, headed to real-life Xanadu to save Matrix's daughter and send the motherfuckers there a message. Patricia Hearst was unable to relay a message of her own via Matrix, but the sentiment is surely the same, I'm positive of that. On the way, Bill Paxton radios to inform them that they're flying over the Danger Zone, and it's common knowledge among many an airliner that the Navy shoots the shit out of any plane flying through this restricted airspace, they just do. Matrix, though, he don't give a fuck about that shit, he knows how to handle it by backseat driving RDC into flying low enough to blend in with the waves and there you go, the airboatplane is off the radar. That's the 2nd time Paxton gets fuckin' assed out by Arnold (1st time was The Terminator), you'd think he'd learn by now not to fuck with the Oak, but it apparently took getting the piss scared out of him in True Lies to get there.

If you want to get the point across that the setting is somewhere in South America, just add chickens, or at least give the impression/feel that there are probably chickens in the off-screen vicinity. That's how we know that we're in Val Verde where a couple of rough trade-looking dudes (I would know, right?) find out that the plane Matrix was supposed to be on, well, he's not on it, leaving behind the dead pimp-looking motherfucker that was supposed to escort him. Rough Trade #1 calls Cher's Dad to inform him, which leads to Bennett being given the order to take out Matrix's daughter, and I don't mean take her out for ice cream -- HA HA YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE, I'M AWESOME! Ugh.

Having left RDC on the airboatplane to radio for the cavalry, Matrix arrives on Xanadu in his speedos and Goddamn is he in good shape, I can see why Bennett wants to fuck him so bad. He then takes all that shit he jacked from Surplus City in one of the most awesome loading-up-for-battle scenes ever. It's a bunch of close-ups of Matrix's weapons being loaded up, camouflage being applied, grenades being attached and it ends with a shot of Matrix walking off with 50 pounds of Death on him. According to the commentary, Arnold ended up stabbing his hand somehow when he tried shoving the knife into its holster, which made me wish I was on the set that day to find out if Arnold did that weird foreign-tinged AAAAEEEEGHH noise he does in his movies. He looks ridiculous, by the way. When I saw this movie as a kid (my parents were cool/didn't give a fuck about my watching R-rated films), I thought he was the most badass-looking motherfucker on the planet with all that hardware, now in my bitter adult age, he looks more like he came out of a parody of this kind of movie, which I guess this movie is -- a parody of itself.

People go on about Why Do People Love Commando When It's Just A Shit Movie and to that I respond with Silence You Commie Motherfucker. The movie is 92 fast-paced minutes of ownage, and if you didn't feel that way for the first two acts, you'll sure as shit feel that way about the last act, because that's all it is, ownage. Supposedly the original script for this had a more serious tone and I think it took place in Israel, which to me sounds like it would've played like The Delta Force -- not nearly as fun as you'd think it would be. Thankfully, Joel Silver stepped in and had Steven E. De Souza do his thing, which is take everything out but the bare bones, and put in a bunch of one-liners. Works for me.

He claymores the fuck out of a couple huge barracks (Matrix, not De Souza), and all I could think about during that bit was all the soldiers inside who were chilling out. I bet you there was a South American version of Biloxi Blues going on inside that bitch, with the evil Latin version of Eugene Jerome playing that game with his bunkmates where they'd all have to talk about what they would do with their last 5 days on Earth, not knowing that it's more like the last 5 seconds on Earth and they ain't gonna get to do shit because Matrix is about to activate those fuckin' claymores and create two incredibly awesome explosions. Sky full of smoke.

This movie should please anybody who isn't an asshole who likes watching waves of bad guys getting killed. It becomes a video game in the way Matrix goes through each of his weapons -- assault rifle, grenades, machine gun, that bullshit Desert Eagle, shotgun -- firing bullets that cause the receiver(s) to perform acrobatics upon being struck. At this point Matrix is an invincible Angel of Death, nothing can touch him as he places periods at the end of the sentences that represent the soldiers' lives. I swear, at one point Matrix turns around, sees a bad guy coming toward him, ALLOWS the bad guy to get off a few shots, and THEN he fires back. He knows he's that fucking good. He knows how this movie will end, he's read the script.

The last time I watched this film was at a midnight screening at the New Beverly (back in '08, I believe), and during the climax, around the time Matrix was about to rocket-launch a jeep into oblivion, the film stopped and the lights came on. You can just about hear the collective sound of every guy's erection immediately going limp and flopping back against their thighs. It was a cruel moment. Thankfully, the film came back on a couple minutes later and we were back to getting off on all that violence.

Somewhere along the way, he gets grenade'd and the only place to hide is inside a shed. Oh sweet Jesus, that shed scene should be placed up high in the AFI's Top 100 Scenes of Straight-Up Fuckin' Ownage, as Matrix is surrounded by a group of soldiers that consist of some white dude with a spray-on tan and a fake mustache, some Joe Dante-looking motherfucker, another white dude they didn't even bother to spray-on tan, and the leader, played by the guy who usually plays Latino scumbags but got to serve Keanu Reeves coffee once in a rare non-scumbag role ("Jack, you forgot your muffin."). Matrix uses the tools in the shed to dispatch each of them; he pitchforks one in the chest, transforms Joe Dante into Clint Howard with the use of a saw blade to the scalp, and chops off the leader's arm. According to the commentary, Arnold wanted to smack the guy in the face with the severed arm, and in a wrongheaded display of restraint, the director decided against it -- that's right, the man who directed Showdown in Little Tokyo thought it was too much. Someone please steal that idea and use it wisely, I want to see that shit happen in a non-horror film.

More carnage ensues with Matrix blasting more soldiers, at one point firing through a garden of roses, which in my humble opinion, is as close to Film As Art as you can get. Anybody who isn't Jenny bites it hard, including Cher's dad, who takes about two too many shotgun blasts to the chest, but I understand where Matrix was coming from; you don't fuck with family, you know? Then comes the final fight between Matrix and Bennett, which as I mentioned way earlier (remember back in the day, when you started reading this entry?), is pretty much about one man's unrequited love for another. So strong is Bennett's passion for Matrix, that not even 100,000 volts of inconveniently-placed electricity will stop him, no, it will only make him stronger.

Matrix finally objects when Bennett declares that he's going to shoot him between the balls (reneging on the original plan to shoot Matrix between the eyes), so he penetrates Bennett with a piece of steam pipe, which I guess would kill him. Anyway, Matrix gets Jenny, tells General Franklin Kirby to lose his number and off they go in the airboatplane, where I'm guessing Matrix introduces Jenny to RDC aka New Mommy while some 80's rock shit plays and the credits roll, The End and all that and I guess that's it. I mean, I like the movie and all, but I don't know how I'm going to end this, so I'll end it with this video that amuses me to no end.

Oh wait, I remember something -- back when I was a kid, my cousin used to have a Commando action figure. It came with a little comic booklet that was pretty much a condensed, PG-rated version of the movie. The only bits I remember about the comic booklet was that rather than impaling Bennett with the steam pipe, Matrix uses it to blow steam in his face. Also, Matrix doesn't drop Sully, he lets him live. In other words, he doesn't let him go, he...uh...lets him go.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Behind every great man, there's a woman who kicked him to the curb and next thing you know, all my friends are like "Ugh, forget MySpace, you gotta go on Facebook now!", so maybe you shoulda just given him an HJ or BJ or something to calm him down before hitting the road. I'm just saying.

The theater was fairly packed when I got there and I managed to get a good seat. It was a young crowd, which I guess is to be expected for a Thursday midnight show, and they were very chatty. There were 3 trailers that had a similar theme of being the kind of movies you don't expect to be directed by the director who's directing them. Ron Howard, James L. Brooks and Ed Zwick are tossing their hat into the Young People RomCom ring -- although to be fair, I take back Ron Howard because I think the leads in his film The Dilemma are all late-30's/early 40's and the guy made Night Shift and Gung Ho and EdTV so I can see him making this one.

The opening scene of The Social Network hits the ground running, or maybe a more appropriate term should be "hit the air flapping", as in flapping one's lips because this film is letting you know from Frame One that TalkTalkTalk is the name of the game in this flick. Some people weren't so sure about David Fincher directing this one but I think it makes perfect sense; he can balance out all the talking with some great looking visuals and he's really good making movies about asshole people.

Aaron Sorkin wrote the screenplay, based on some book I probably won't ever read and his dialogue in this bitch is high-octane and fast and you better get adjusted to it because this movie will not wait for you. Someone's gonna ask the person next to them "What did he just say?" and that person won't be able to respond from fear of losing his or her place. Sorkin created The West Wing, which I understand consists of people briskly walking down hallways while talking and that's gonna be you while you watch this movie, hurriedly trying to keep up with the rapid-fire dialogue as if it was President Bartlet himself. The audience of texters and chatters I watched this with immediately shut the fuck up and put away their Blackberries upon realizing this during the opening scene and it was beautiful to experience. What a concept -- an audience giving its full attention to the on-screen events.

The Social Network is about the guy who created Facebook, and me, I couldn't give a shit about the behind-the-scenes of Internet social networking sites, so this was all news to me that the motherfucker more or less jacked the idea from a couple of twin golden-boy Chads while at Harvard and improved it, put some stank on it, changed the name, and that's how we now have Facebook. The guy's name is Mark Zuckerberg and like most nerds, he's a complete utter disgrace to the idea of Being Socially Well-Adjusted and yet he's got the balls to put down his chick in the opening scene. Motherfucker, you should not only be on your knees every morning thanking God, you should be on your knees five more times throughout the day thanking Allah because you have a cute girlfriend who is giving you the time of day.

But no, Mark Zuckerberg, you gotta fuck that shit up by making her feel like an asshole for a hundred stupid reasons, one of them being that she goes to Boston University and you go to fuckin' Harvard, therefore she's below you. You need a beating Zuckerberg, you need a motherfucker like me to take you outside and teach you some fuckin' manners, kid. Except that would prove your fuckin' point that a stupid guy like me can only defeat a smart guy like you by using violence, which I will accept and then demonstrate with a nice punch to the throat.

So, American Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is like Fuck This Shit and rightfully dumps Zombieland's ass and hits him with one of the best lines I ever heard in a movie because it's so fucking true about a lot of motherfuckers, both penis'd and non-penis'd -- something like "You're going to go through life thinking girls don't like you because you're a nerd, but that's not true. It'll be because you're an asshole" and I was like FUCK YEAH, TELL THAT MOTHERFUCKER WHAT'S UP. And I guess Zuckerberg decides not to prove her wrong by going on his blog and talking fucked-up shit about her. I would go on about what a cruel, cowardly thing this is to do, except I think I have like 100 examples of me doing the same shit on this blog, so in that case, rock on with your bad self, MZ.

Long story short, he does the Facebook thing (for a while it's known as "The Facebook", like some unhip older dude trying to reference it; "Oh yeah, I heard about The Facebook while I was on The Twitter, which I found on The Google") and we watch him as he displays some hardcore Asperger's symptoms towards his fellow man, even though I don't think he suffers from Asperger's. By the way, Asperger's is awesome because it allows you to get away with being an asshole, and you know what, from now on, that's my official reason for why I am the way I am: I've got the Aspergers. Me, Zuckerberg and Abed from Community -- we will rock the aloofness to da break of DAWN, baby!

Somehow, Zuckerberg has a friend, and because he's his only friend, that also makes him his best friend. His name is Eduardo Saverin, and because David Fincher hates the dirty ethnics (he also cast a white Brit to play an Indian dude and probably jizzed himself in the editing room every time those two super-Aryan Chads appeared on screen), he got the new Spider-Man to play him, some limey. Man, I gotta tell you, aside from American Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Saverin's the only other person I felt for in this movie. He comes off like a decent dude, but he's ultimately some kind of needy pussy with daddy issues and maybe that's why he takes Zuckerberg's shit and I think MZ knows it and takes advantage of it with the aforementioned shit-giving, not to mention making passive-aggressive remarks like "It's probably a diversity thing" after congratulating Saverin on getting accepted into one of those awful elitist college "final clubs".

There's a scene where they're having some beers in the dorm and if you pay attention to their actions, it kinda tells you everything about Zuckerberg's and Saverin's friendship. MZ is looking for something to open the beer with and Saverin tosses him a bottle opener, and a few seconds later, MZ forcefully throws the fuckin' bottle cap at Saverin, and you get the sense he's done that often, treating Saverin like a wastebasket. Why did he have to do that? What the fuck is your problem, Zuckerberg? How about just saying "thanks", you piece-of-shit? Argh! Jesse Eisenberg does such a great job being this guy, I seriously considered walking out of the movie about 10 minutes in, I couldn't stand this motherfucker. I've always found Eisenberg to be very likable in his other movies and here, holy shit, here he proves he can basically use the same delivery and body language and come off like the most unlikable guy in the room simply because of the lines given to him.

I didn't even know about or care about the real Mark Zuckerberg before this movie, but I kinda hope for the benefit of my fellow human beings (and for his own welfare) that he really isn't like his portrayal in the movie. MZ isn't a Revenge of the Nerds nerd, he's not a nice nerd (until it was time *not* to be nice, of course), this isn't a guy who tried killing other motherfuckers with kindness after being left out of the cool kids' reindeer games and/or being made fun of in school. This guy, I figure this guy decided somewhere along the way to justify his being ostracized by putting on the Fuck You For Not Being Me cape, as opposed to the far more acceptable Fuck You For Not Getting Me cape.

But you can only put on those I'm Not Impressed airs for so long before someone shows up to rock your world, and next thing you know, you're doing the last thing you'd expect to do, like fawning over a motherfucker. And that's what happens here, when Justin Timberlake shows up to bring sexy back and to play Napster Man, who smooth talks his way into MZ's life and convinces him that Facebook has the potential to make billions. Saverin doesn't care for the dude, sees him as a flashy all-talk paranoid douche who's in love with himself, not to mention kind of a sleaze (drugs and possibly underage trim). But because I guess this guy kinda represents what Zuckerberg wants to be like, MZ is drinking the Kool-Aid and going along with it.

It's interesting, though; with the help of Saverin's deep pockets, Zuckerberg eventually scores the house with the babes and the swimming pool and the music and the big-screen tv and the giant bongs, but he never partakes, choosing instead to spend his time working on his site. MZ appears to be less into scoring with the opposite sex and partying all night and more into the idea of knowing that he could if he wanted to. I wondered if this was yet another example of his narcissistic I'm Better Than You attitude; later on during one of the depositions he casually mentions that he has enough money now to buy the house of the Chads final club and fuck it all up, that is, if he was into doing that sort of thing.

The filmmakers find a pretty cool way to tell the story; somewhere early on you find out that this is all being told in retrospect during 2 different depositions. Sorkin and Fincher find the perfect balance of this, cutting between the past events and the depositions, sometimes cutting from one deposition to the other just to bridge sentences and statements together, or to get another person's side of the story. The more I think about it, the more I gotta give Fincher and Sorkin major fuckin' props for making some really intriguing shit out of what basically amounts to a film about people sitting around a table talking and talking and talking. It made me glad that SPOILER AY DIOS MIO SPOILER they never go to trial because the real-life motherfuckers saved us from watching yet another courtroom drama.

The movie has this almost clinically objective point-of-view on the events; Kubrick could've made this movie. There is plenty of emotion in the film but it never leads you down the path as to what to feel, it really comes down to what the audience brings to it, the emotion is there to be found but it depends on what kind of person you are, really. It's almost Rorschach-test-like in the way it presents certain images to you; some of the people in the audience would laugh or applaud at something Zuckerberg would do, while others (like me) wouldn't give the motherfucker the time of day (in an audience reaction kinda way).

Maybe this is why there were just as many haters with Fight Club; Fincher never hit you over the head and said Ok Guys, Hope You Had Your Fun But Ultimately This Is Wrong, he left it up to you to come to that conclusion by yourself and that's why you got guys like Roger Ebert and Lisa Schwarzbaum frothing at the mouth that it condoned and encouraged that kind of behavior and mentality. With the exception of his Benjamin Button movie, all of his other flicks have had that same approach, and you can even argue that Button was his worst movie because Fincher isn't built for that kind of emotional manipulation. Kubrick had that same criticism, and I'm sure Fincher knows this since he seems to be going for that style of filmmaking, from thematic sensibility to shooting an insane number of takes. But both Kubrick and Fincher will never defeat the master of insane take-shooting -- muthafuckin' Jackie Chan, who shot a fuckin' badminton-type scene 2900 times for a movie called Dragon Lord. GodDAMN, Jackie Chan; for a guy who often declares "I don't want any TROU-ble!" you sure go around looking for it. But I digress.

I think some people will be on Zuckerberg's side, and that's OK, that's just how they are. I can certainly admire him from an entrepreneurial perspective; the guy busted his ass since he was a kid working on shit like this and you can't deny he is as brilliant and driven as they come. And there's a twisted kind of logic that I'm afraid to admit I kinda agree with, when he says the only reason the Chads are pissed at him isn't so much because he stole their idea but because for the first time in their privileged upper-class, final club member, row crew team 6'5, 220 lbs, 3.9 GPA lives, for the first time things didn't go their way.

Having said that, I can't totally give it up for him because he's such a disagreeable human being. When it comes down to it, he is no different from the Chads of the world, because while they might act all superior over you with their connections and their high status, Zuckerberg is gonna always look at you like some goddamn insect and your worth depends on what you can bring to the table. Some jock bully might beat you up and stuff you in a locker, but Zuckerberg would post blogs about what a cunt you are for everyone to read, and that my friends, is just as bad if not worse. He's not even an asshole like American Girl With The Dragon Tattoo said, he's a prick, that's even worse because I can still come out admiring a motherfucker simply because he's an asshole (aka the Daniel Plainview clause).

But even Zuckerberg can't maintain prick status, and by the end of the movie, he's managed -- well, the movie managed, not him -- to have you pity the motherfucker, but not the good kind of pity, I'm talking the even worse kind of pity, the Mr. T kind of pity, there is no bright side to this pity. I still wouldn't want to hang with the motherfucker, not unless he had some cash to give me. The final image of him in The Social Network is beautiful in how ultimately pathetic and sad he comes off, and the song that accompanies this is goddamn perfect. It's irony and sarcasm and pity and Fuck You all rolled into one. By the end of the movie, Zuckerberg has gone from being an asshole, to being a prick, and now he's just a fucking douche who needs to wake up and smell the coffee on the wall before it's too late. If I could mix drinks as well as I mix metaphors, I'd be Tom fuckin' Cruise in Cocktail, baby.