Monday, January 31, 2011

I would love to live in the 1940's, but I'd have to change my name to something more Anglo and disregard my ethnicity, otherwise I'd probably be relegated to washing dishes or bagging me a funny redheaded actress

We had just watched either The Expendables or Machete, I don't remember which one specifically, but I remember it was at the Arclight Cinemas and as we headed down the parking garage, he handed me a DVD out of the blue, it wasn't even my birthday but there it was -- a DVD of Otto Preminger's film Laura, which I'd never seen or even talked about in front of him, but there it was and he was giving it to me. It was still sealed in the plastic and he was like "I thought you'd like this", so it makes perfect sense that I waited about 5 months to finally watch the fuckin' thing. Thanks, bro.

So Laura starts with this writer in his apartment, except he's a successful writer, so his apartment is much more than a fuckin' studio, it's more like a penthouse. In fact, I think it is a penthouse, but whatever the fuck it is, it's impressive. I was about to be all like Good Work Bro and raise my glass of Coke Zero to the motherfucker, but then, the first you see of Waldo Lydecker (that's his name) is him sitting in his large bathtub with a typewriter and then I was like Fuck This Guy, because really, are you that fucking good that you need to take your typewriter with you while you bathe?

I bet you this motherfucker, when he was struggling, he wrote with whatever was available and wherever he was able to. I bet you it wasn't until all the money, fame, and acclaim came his way and suddenly every fuckin' thought in his head somehow carried with it the stink of genius, every stupid quip out of his mouth was the Wittiest Thing Ever. This asshole, he waited until becoming famous to develop a stupid affectation such as having to have his fuckin' typewriter in the bathtub with him. He's so in love with himself, this asshole even thinks he's the star of the fuckin' movie because he starts narrating at the beginning of it.

That reminds me; I was reading someone's Facebook status about how he was writing at a Starbucks and felt like a douche for doing so, which I didn't understand. I don't condone that shit, but I sure as shit ain't gonna judge it. Some people need to find a place to write that isn't home, shit, maybe they don't have a home, and writing in a park is too risky and writing in a restaurant is too costly (if you're a camper and don't want to be hated by your waiter/waitress, you tip for every hour you and/or your party stays) so I guess Starbucks will do. That is different than choosing the fucking bathtub of all places to write, so this guy shouldn't be shitting on himself for writing in a Starbucks.

What I found more interesting than this guy's status update was the comments he received from his friends; mostly variations on how writing in Starbucks sucks because you have to deal with the inane babble from the people around you. And all I could think after reading those comments was Wow, I wish I could be like the people who wrote these comments, these blessed lucky few with the ability to distinguish their own inane babble from everyone else's and know the difference, these people who apparently learned their conversational skills from Mount Olympus. I guess what I'm trying to say here is that it's ALL inane babble. Yours and mine alike. Fucking cocksuckers.

Anyway, Waldo is busy typing away in his own watery filth when this detective named McPherson shows up to do some questioning or something. Turns out this broad named Laura took a fuckin' double-barreled shotgun blast to her face, which is already pretty fucked up because she was young and hot and whoever literally peeled her cap back deserves a fuckin' beating. This Waldo motherfucker (who was also her friend/kinda mentor) is like Go Find The Killer and when he realizes that McPherson is talking to him because he's also a suspect, I swear this guy's like "Whatever" because there's no way a High Society bon vivant could do something as beastly as murder, right?

McPherson is a pretty awesome guy, for a fuckin' pig; he's pretty cool and level-headed, or at least gives the impression he is, and tends to use up any spare moment by playing a handheld baseball game -- except this is 1944, it's not some PSP or Nintendo DS or even one of those shitty Tiger Electronics deals he's messing with, it's basically a small box with a picture of a baseball field and three ball-bearings to try to put in each base. You gotta use your hands? That's like a baby's toy! The only reason I think Lydecker doesn't completely wave away McPherson is probably because the detective is a noted Bad Motherfucker, but even then, Waldo's too full of himself to do anything resembling fawning over a Real Man, he's just like Get Me My Bathrobe, Slave.

I was ready to completely hate on Lydecker, but like the Transformers, there's more than meets the eye to this guy; there's a line in the movie where he talks about how the recently deceased Laura not only considered him the smartest, funniest and most interesting dude around, she also considered him a genuinely Good Person which I think fucked him up because he admits to McPherson that he agrees with the first half of that statement while trying his absolute darndest to become the second half. So I guess you can say Waldo Lydecker is like Melvin Udall and Laura Hunt was his Whoever Helen Hunt Played In That Movie because she made him want to be a better man.

Well, he certainly wasn't showing any progress by getting all up in her face whenever she had a man in her life; he was acting like her fuckin' father, telling her that this guy wasn't good enough for her and this guy's an asshole and that one's an idiot. It seems like no one was good enough for his Laura and while the movie is trying to get us to believe that it's probably because he's in love with her and he's really acting out of a You Should Be With Me tear, I can see between the lines, I know what the fuck is up. This Waldo Lydecker, he's probably good friends with J.J. Hunsecker and if you don't know what the fuck was up with J.J. Hunsecker, then you just don't fuckin' know, bro. You just don't fuckin' know.

See, this Lydecker, I thought he was just a jerk but he's probably just a scared closet-case who never acted out on his true feelings and has to hide behind the Wall Of Being An Asshole and that must really suck for the guy. I mean, somewhere along the way he fuckin' gave up on tappin' dat (man)ass and started playing the Celibacy game because he couldn't risk that shit getting out in the open. Me, I'm celibate too, but it has less to do with my possible homosexuality and more to do with telling all the ladies out there You Can't Fire Me, I Quit.

Anyway, this guy, he makes a living writing shit about other motherfuckers in newspapers and then makes another living doing radio shows where he talks about other things like he was a fuckin' expert at them. One day, eating a typical lunch alone, this hot dish comes up to him politely -- demurely -- asking if he'll endorse a writing pen that her company is doing ads for; Lydecker doesn't even look at the fuckin' dame, and every word that comes out of his mouth is dripping with poison. The message is pretty clear: leave me the fuck alone, bitch. This is how he first met Laura Hunt.

At first, I thought he was just a fuckin' player who knew what the fuck was up but was acting like a jerk because Chicks Dig Jerks and that's how a motherfucker like Waldo Lydecker gets some. But then I'm slowly realizing, this guy looked at this beautiful girl and probably got instantly jealous because she's comfortable with her sexuality and even though she probably makes in one year what he makes in a week, she lives a far more fulfilling life as a result of knowing who she is. He doesn't even know her and that's what he figures, because I bet to him all women are the same. He also brings up that she's probably some fuckin' Okie girl and that's when we find out he's one of these city assholes who sees everyone else from out of the city as primal sludge and probably wants Obama to take away my guns but I'm not gonna live in a socialist/communist society because I'm all about AMERICA, MOTHERFUCKER. Meanwhile, this poor girl just wants the guy to endorse her stupid fucking pen.

So Waldo is about to write her completely off and she straight up fuckin' calls him as she sees him, calling him lonely and saying that she feels sorry for the motherfucker. At least she didn't say she felt sorry for his mother, because for all she knows, he could also be a closet O-Dog and BLAM BLAM BLAM comes next -- or maybe he *is* a closet O-Dog and that's what happened (he's one of the suspects in her murder). Anyway, her giving him the pity business works -- either that or Chicks Dig Jerks -- and he ends up becoming her friend. I watched the extended version on my DVD, and it included a longer sequence where he basically molds her into his version of a lady while helping her make connections (as well as a name for herself in the advertising business), and in between nights out on the town, they would eat salad together and listen to records and have Girl Talk.

Everything's fine and -- ahem -- dandy between Waldo and Laura, but then awesome fuckin' Vincent Price comes in and sweeps Laura off her feet and Waldo isn't happy about it. He doesn't want to lose out on being with Laura because if she runs off and gets married to a dude, that will cut at least 50 percent out of any possible hang-out time between him and Laura. 50 percent less Girl Talk.

I'm gonna stop here and cut this one short because I want to go see a movie tonight and plus, there's so much more in Laura that I don't want to spoil, but I'll say this -- if you haven't seen this movie, you probably should because it's pretty fuckin' good. The acting is that old-school style of emoting you see in these black & white deals and there's a lot of fuckin' awesome dialogue in it. That Waldo Lydecker is kind of a douche, but damn near everything he said made me want to pin a medal on his chest for Excellence In Being A Dick. The guy who plays McPherson has a girl's name and is really solid, especially at the halfway point when you realize that even though he's a Bad Motherfucker, he's also kind of a softie and eventually starts to fall in love with the dead girl. All he knows about her are the stories from witnesses and suspects, and all he's seen of her is a painted portrait, and yet he's absolutely smitten. The girl who plays Laura has a guy's name is not only very pretty to look at, but she (and I guess the writer & director as well) does a great job making the viewer (by viewer, I mean Me) kinda understand why McPherson would want to share a milkshake with this swell corpse, even though it would require a seance to pull something like that off.

It's also a good mystery in that they do a good job of creating suspects and giving you reasons for each of them to want to off Ms. Hunt without giving you any of that red herring bullshit. I hate that shit -- look over here, nope, killer's really over here! Fucking assholes. Even though I had guessed the halfway twist way before it happened (I had seen a Burt Reynolds movie and a Silk Stalkings episode with a similar plot, way before ever watching this flick), there was still a lot more to keep me interested while wondering about the motherfucker (or motherfuckers) responsible. It's got a pretty girl, snappy writing, nice music, and I was pretty high when I saw it, but I have a feeling the movie is just as good (if not better) than if I wasn't. Would the film feel just as dreamy post-THC? I don't know, all I know is if you smoke like I smoke, then you high like everyday. But if your ass is a buster, 213 will regulate.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Calm down, dear

Please pray for Charlie Sheen; it's really fucking tough to be super-fucking-rich and have top-shelf pussy delivered to your house every day like fuckin' Domino's Pizza. The citizens of Egypt are a bunch of pussies who don't know a fucking thing about having it tough, unless they walked in Sheen's designer Italian shoes. Until then, those bitch-asses will only walk like an Egyptian, not like the fuckin' Ma-Sheen.

Anyway, I went to see The Mechanic last night, which I didn't even know was coming out this weekend, but there you go. A friend texted me to join him and his buddy, so I did, hoping to see some Statham bringing down serious fuckin' ownage on a motherfucker, because Jason Statham is pretty dependable when you want to see someone bringing the pain these days. His co-star is Ben Foster, who is pretty dependable when you want to see an ultra-intense actor who looks like he needs a bath -- fuck that -- he needs a shower, because baths aren't that fuckin' clean, you know.

This is a remake of a movie starring Muthafuckin' Charlie Bronson and I guess the producers who decided to do this shit over thought it was White Boy Day, and you know what? It kinda was White Boy Day when they commissioned a motherfucker to adapt a new version of that 70's shit, because honestly, it wasn't that great of a fuckin' movie, in my most humble of humble opinions. In case you don't know the story of either version, it goes like this: a "mechanic" is a fuckin' assassin who generally specializes in making the hits look like accidents or like it was the work of someone else. Arthur Bishop is the name of the title mechanic in both flicks, played by Bronson & Statham. In both movies, Bishop takes on a young protégé and mentors the dude in the killing arts; in both movies, the young protégé also happen to be the son of Bishop's recently-deceased mentor.

As I said in the last paragraph, I didn't think the original was any great shakes. The Mechanic falls under the Ocean's 11 category of movies that are absolutely acceptable to remake because the original wasn't anything to write home about -- there's more potential to improve, less potential to fuck it up. But yeah, the 70's version was a decent flick that had its moments (and a great ending), but overall what that flick had going for it was that it's never not awesome to see Charles Bronson doing his thing -- except he wasn't really doing his thing in The Mechanic, he wasn't going around owning people, he's just turning their fuckin' stoves on and letting the gas fill the apartment so it can explode later. And for the first half of this movie, that's kinda what Statham is reduced to, for the most part, accident-ing his targets.

I say "for the most part" because I think the filmmakers felt they needed to beef up the action a tad for today's audience, so now Statham will occasionally get more hand-to-hand in his business, like wrapping his belt around a motherfuckers neck and strangling him to death with it, then hanging him with it in front of a laptop filled with porn. That's kinda fucked up and scary, I gotta admit; Statham made it look like the dude went past the limit doing the ol' autoerotic asphyxiation and now everyone who knows the recently deceased is gonna think that's how he really died, and that's what he was really into. Fuck, that must be what David Carradine's family must feel like, shit, maybe a fuckin' Mechanic took his ass out for whatever reason. Fuck, I really hope Mechanics don't exist, and if they do, I hope I don't do anything to incur the wrath of a Mechanic's employer, lest I find myself with a belt around my neck and my pants around my ankles and a naked chick on my computer screen. If I'm going to die that way, it'll be from my own shitty timing and inability to unloop the belt, not because Jason Statham made it look that way.

If this updated version is any indication, then Carradine must've been into some fucked up shit when a Mechanic got to him, because most of the targets in this movie are pretty despicable guys in a The World's Better Off kinda way. I don't remember the Bronson version ever explaining who the targets were and what they did to get got, they just get got and for all we know they could've been guys who deserved it or guys who were unfortunate enough to see/know some shit they shouldn't have fuckin' seen/known. In the Statham joint, they're guilty of being pieces-of-shit like drug kingpins, arms dealers, and cult leaders with a thing for young girls. I don't know, I guess it's a whole having-a-likable-character thing they want to add to this version, although to my friends who had never seen the original, Bishop still came off as a cold-blooded sociopath. So I guess you can say that while Bronson had ice water in his veins, Statham's blood is slightly chilled.

Bronson's Bishop eventually started getting dizzy spells and shit, took to medicating in-between glasses of wine. It's never spelled out, but I figured the job was getting to him and that's why he was getting all fucked up. In this version, it's more out there for the audience to see, it's a lot easier to gather that the life is probably getting to Statham's Bishop, because they have scenes of him looking all sad and shit while sitting on his expensive couch in his expensive house, or constantly visiting a yacht that's for sale and playing with the idea of buying the fuckin' thing and sailing off into a new life or whatever the fuck these hired assassins do when they don't want to be hired assassins anymore.

That word -- assassin -- is an awesome word, because it reminded me of the time I once had this small poster for the Stallone/Banderas flick Assassins, and one day I was bored and blacked out the first 3 letters and the last 3 letters of the title, put the poster up, and never got tired of the reactions of people who saw the poster, confused that there was a Stallone/Banderas film called Ass and that Julianne Moore would sully her respectable body of work by appearing in such a movie. What I'm trying to say is that Mike Judge stole my shit. He better watch his fuckin' back -- I got to Brittany Murphy, I can get to him. Too soon?

So Bronson is the better Mechanic, but as far as who does a better job as the young protégé, it's a tie between Ben Foster and Jan-Michael Vincent; Foster is basically a fuck-up prone to violence, while Vincent's version of the character seemed more of a fucked-up dude psychologically who took to mechanic-work like the proverbial duck to water -- that was more fun to observe. Jan-Michael Vincent only loses to Foster in that his character looked more like some rich kid while Foster looks a lot more rough around the edges, and as I mentioned before, he probably smells a little too. Funny thing is that in real life, Vincent is probably All Man who probably starts every morning with a bottle of Jack Daniels and a raw steak, while I wouldn't be surprised if Foster is one of those tofu/soy-eating motherfuckers. That sounds like something Dolemite would say: "You born insecure, tofu-soy-eating muthaFUCKA!" Rest In Peace, Dolemite -- I'll mourn ya till I join ya.

The first half is kinda dull, really; I'll be honest, maybe staged accidents just don't really do it for me, because that was kinda my issue with the original. The remake pretty much follows the main plot points of the original, which doesn't really help in this flick's favor, but halfway through, the filmmakers start bringing in more ownage into the proceedings and that slightly improved it and made it a little more fun to watch. Eventually, motherfuckers start getting blasted in the kneecaps and head and it would be even cooler to watch if it wasn't so obvious that they were using Stallone's digital blood leftovers from his last 2 movies for these scenes.

I forgive Stallone for that shit because he overwhelms you with so much mayhem and will still occasionally use a real blood squib every once in a while, but with this one, all I could imagine was a film crew happy to go home earlier that day because they didn't need to set up a fake headshot for that scene, they just had the stunt man jerk his head back and fall down and knew they could make that shit "cooler" in post. I shouldn't be thinking that, I should be all FUCK YEAH BRING THE FUCKIN' PAIN, BABY! while watching motherfuckers getting owned in action movies. At least make that shit look more real or something, I don't know, what do I know?

There's this one scene where Foster is going to start his first assignment and is told by Statham to buy a small chihuahua and take it with him every morning to a local cafe, and later he finds out it's because his target is this 6'7 300 lb. Hard Motherfucker who also happens to be gay and I was like Wait A Minute because I'm wondering if somehow having a little faggy dog = I Like The Cock. That's kinda fucked up that the filmmakers resorted to that kind of visual storytelling, like a gay dude can't be into rottweilers or something, they gotta be all about Beverly Hills Chihuahua.

But at least the target isn't some stereotype of a lisping prancer; he could probably take out 10 straight dudes without batting an eye -- you don't want to fuck with this dude, and if you're Ben Foster's character, you just don't want to be fucked *by* this dude. Seriously, I see them standing together and think, Man, That Would Fuckin' Hurt. You're using the entire tube of K-Y, is what I'm saying. I'm reminded of this one guy I knew and I would still know if it wasn't for the fact that he doesn't know how to pick up a phone. Anyway, this guy, he towers over his girlfriend and I imagine that those two going 69 on each other would be a futile effort. I want to say that True Love is knowing you can't do it but you try anyway, but what would I know about love, unless it's love of pizza or love of gold (makes the world go around, you know)?

Again, I saw this because I was invited to see it, otherwise I'd have waited for the DVD or Blu-ray and honestly, I feel I'd have enjoyed this more had I waited. Overall, it's even with the original; this version has better action and pace but the original had stronger characters and a better lead. That's what I think, anyway.

The director of the original was Michael Winner, who is a winner to me because he's got a second career going nowadays as an asshole who goes around being an asshole about other people's food. He's either the Simon Cowell of food critics or Simon Cowell is the Michael Winner of record executives, I'm not sure, all I know is that Simon Cowell did not direct Death Wish 3, therefore fuck that born-with-a-silver-spoon piece-of-shit. Michael Winner, on the other hand, did direct Death Wish 3 and that means he is Awesome For Life in my book and if he ever wanted to come to my place, eat my spaghetti carbonara and then call it garbage, he is welcome to do so and I will be happy about it. The director of the remake is Simon West, who did not direct Death Wish 3, but did direct Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, so fuck that guy. If he ate my food and critiqued it afterwards, I'd punch him in his fuckin' limey face and tell him to get the fuck out of my house.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mexicans will shoot you in the face through a pillow

Why does seeing a guy in flip-flops make me want to punch him in the fucking face? It's like Zuckerberg in The Social Network didn't even have to do anything else in that fuckin' movie, because I judged that fuckin' book cover as soon as I noticed he wore flip-flops most of the time. I'm getting ahead of myself, I'll get to that motherfucker in a bit.

Edgar Wright co-wrote and directed the film Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, a film that made less money in its entire American theatrical run than Paul Blart: Mall Cop made in its opening weekend, which means that the latter is a way better film than the former, and Mr. Wright should be ashamed of himself for wasting his time on adapting Bryan Lee O'Malley's work when he really should've been working on cool ways to film Kevin James falling down. But at least Mr. Wright is trying to atone for his obvious cinematic sin, by hosting another two-week run of cool movies at the New Beverly Cinema -- The Wright Stuff II -- and I went to see a double-bill of The Driver and Duel. In attendance was the director of the first film, Walter Hill, along with two of the actors, Bruce Dern and Ronee Blakley, and producer Frank Marshall. They would give a Q&A and tell stories between films.

So yeah, I noticed a dude in line wearing flip-flops and shorts on what felt like a crisp night and it just made me want to have sex with him tell him to put some pants on. Instead, I did nothing; judge not lest ye be judged, they say, and since I'm a fat fuckin' douche, I have no right to judge. Instead, I asked my friend about his day at work and pretended to care.

Walter Hill is a great fuckin' filmmaker because he tells two-fisted, double-barreled stories about Men doing Man shit and the best part is that his tongue is not anywhere near his cheek as he does so. Sure, these things take place in fantasy worlds, as Hill himself admitted during the Q&A, but he goes with the fuckin' fantasy, he doesn't stand back and play off some Yeah, I Know This Is Bullshit kinda vibe. His second film, The Driver, takes place in a downtown Los Angeles where apparently the population is like, 27 people or something, and the people in the movie are always wearing the same fuckin' clothes. Marc Heuck brought that up during the Q&A about the clothes being like the characters' uniforms, and Hill was like Fuckin'-A They're Uniforms and I don't know about Marc, but if I had been the one to bring that up and get that response from a fuckin' filmmaking god like Hill, well, that shit would've made my fuckin' month.

But yeah, in this movie people have on their uniforms and they don't have names, they have descriptions. The main character is called The Driver, and he's played by Ryan O'Neal, who unfortunately is now best known as the motherfucker who says OH GOD OH MAN OH GOD OH MAN in Tough Guys Don't Dance. A lot of these young punks, they go on the YouTube and they watch that shit and laugh their asses off, never knowing that this guy was a fuckin' badass in at least one movie. They don't know that there are two sides to his nature -- the enforcer and the maniac -- and they never met the maniac. But you know, back in the 70's, O'Neal probably had to deal with that kind of shit for different reasons. He was known for playing pretty boy pansies in pretty boy pansy movies, and I guess he wanted a shot at playing Hard Motherfuckers, and along came Walter Hill's script for The Driver.

Bruce Dern plays The Detective, an awesome motherfucker with a shit-eating grin (probably because he knows how awesome he is) and a hard-on for catching The Driver. Hill said later during the Q&A something about Dern's character hating on The Driver for this kinda pure Zen lifestyle he's got going; The Driver gets paid big bucks for being the wheelman on heists, yet doesn't appear to spend it on much. The fuckin' guy stays in cheap motels (not even paying the extra $1 for a television set) and doesn't appear to own any belongings. You never see him reading a book or doing a fuckin' crossword puzzle. He certainly doesn't need to own a car, he'll boost one if he needs a ride somewhere. All he has is that suit and a tape player with the same fuckin' song playing from it. So it leaves a motherfucker wondering -- what does The Driver get out of this life, enjoyment? Fuck no, this guy wears one of those Perpetual Blank Faces that Alain Delon probably gets royalties from every time a motherfucker in the movies puts one on. Is it a rush for him? I really doubt that, I never see anything resembling emotion coming from him before/during/after the job. It's just what he does.

The Detective sees this as a game, one that he Just Fucking Knows he's going to win. It's pretty awesome how he looks down at his fellow detectives, calling them losers and I bet he sees himself as being pretty fuckin' generous when he tells one of them that he's going to teach him how to be a winner -- then manages to keep that shit-eating grin while downing an old-school glass-bottled Coke. Fuckin' ace, man, fuckin' ace. He also likes referring to The Driver as a cowboy, which is funny because I don't think Driver likes being called that. I mean, I would guess that "cowboy" is synonymous with reckless assholes who fuck it up for everybody else, and if anything gets him out of his Perpetual Blank Face, it's dealing with cowboys.

This guy, Mr. Driver, he'll pick you up from the robbery you just committed and bail you out from certain capture by the cops, but because you took your sweet time and fucked up the timetable, he'll never work with you again. "You were late" he tells a couple cowboys, and that's all he really has to say. Later on, you see that he has a real dislike for one potential client, eventually knocking him the fuck out for trying to scare him into doing the job. But just in case the audience didn't get that you're not supposed to like Potential Client ("Teeth" is his given moniker), they cast raza in the role, so all the Harolds and Sylvias watching can go "Of course he shouldn't trust him, he's a filthy Hispanic". I kid, this movie is full of equal-opportunity criminals, but I'm sure some people watching did probably go Mmm-hmm and nod regarding Teeth's scumbaggery in connection with the ethnicity of the actor portraying him.

The Driver is one of my all-time favorite movies; the old-school car chases are super-fuckin-tense and I'm always reminded that these movies back then, they didn't need fuckin' Cuisinart editing to get the fuckin' point across. Most car chases nowadays don't do shit for me, the last car chase I remember really getting into was Tarantino's Death Proof and that's because he knows what the fuck is up, he doesn't roll Michael Bay-style. The main character is one of those awesome Men Of Few Words; Wright brought up how the guy never has any witty comebacks or shit like that, he'll just look at you for a bit and then just walk away. In the rejoinder department, he's not James Bond -- he's Golgo 13.

The main chicks in this movie don't wear skirts, they wear pants. I think this a way for the filmmaker to get across that even the women in this movie have balls. Isabelle Adjani (her character: "The Player") is smoking hot in this (she's still smoking hot if you like plastic surgery), and in a way her uniform is kinda like the female version of The Driver's; she and O'Neal look badass together and in the cinema of my mind, there's a sequel to this movie about their continuing adventures and it's even better than this damn-near-perfect film. It's the stripped-down simplicity that does it for me, I think. The mise-en-scene manages to be basic yet stylish-as-fuck, the settings and locations are underpopulated, and the dialogue is minimal (O'Neal hardly talks in the fuckin' thing; line-wise, this movie shoulda been called The Detective).

Hill mentioned how lots of actors turned down the film (Robert Mitchum met with Hill for six hours, sharing a bottle of frozen vodka while discussing possibly playing The Detective), probably due to its "experimental" nature and Wright brought up the European feel of this movie (later he referred to it as the French feel). Hill insists it wasn't intentional; while he's a fan of guys like Jean-Pierre Melville, films like Le Samourai are totally influenced by American movies, and Hill, he was tapping that shit at the source, so to speak. Hill thinks that casting a French actress like Adjani probably added to the European feel of the film. By the way, forgive me for using "mise-en-scene" earlier, I just noticed that right now and feel like an even bigger ass than usual. I don't even know what that fucking means!

The Q&A, what else happened during the Q&A? Oh, OK, Bruce Dern did most of the talking while Hill took most of the time talking, because one talked much faster than the other. Dern is one of my favorite character actors and he should be one of yours too, and he's a very funny dude too. He had a couple nights devoted to him at the Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theater in Los Angeles California on Planet Earth (or something like that, it's a long name) and I'm totally kicking myself right now (figuratively) for not going because I bet that guy had some great fuckin' stories. He's the kind of awesome guy who will give a name to his particular kind of ad-libs -- "Dernsies" -- and not come off like a douche for doing so. He's the real fuckin' deal, people. Look at his resume and check out the motherfuckers this guy's worked with. Stories, motherfuckers, the stories this guy must have. I've read other interviews with the dude and he doesn't mince words, and the fact that he speaks nothing but praise for Walter Hill just proves, that, well, you know, that Walter Hill is just that fucking awesome.

I loved it whenever he got worked up about something and his voice would get louder and he would work gesticulations into it; favorite moment was when he talked about how there's a scene in The Driver where someone gets killed in a pretty sudden/brutal manner, Dern said that only Walter Hill would let the scene continue after the death. I can't do justice to how worked up he got at this point, but the gist of it was basically ONLY WALTER FUCKING HILL WOULD HAVE THE FUCKING BALLS AND UNDILUTED MANHOOD AND OVERALL I-DON'T-GIVE-A-FUCK HARDNESS TO NOT CUT AWAY FROM THE SCENE. ALL OTHER DIRECTORS ARE FUCKING PUSSIES COMPARED TO THE MANGOD THAT IS WALTER HILL. Fuckin'-A, Bruce Dern, fuckin'-A. I'm not a sports fan like you, but still, we gotta hang out some time, Bruce Dern -- and introduce me to your daughter, while you're at it.

A guy like Dern, you need to give him the spotlight and let him talk for as long as he needs to; as it was, he was sharing the stage with others, so the rest of the Q&A basically went like this: Edgar Wright asked a question, Walter Hill slowly/thoughtfully/carefully answered, then Bruce Dern interjected with a Walter Hill anecdote that always ended in effusive praise for the man. Occasionally, Frank Marshall would say something about the production and Ronee Blakley would try to chime in but a Soft & Sweet voice will always lose to Fast & Loud and Slow & Booming every fucking time.

Blakley did manage to get one story out, though; she had decided that her character in The Driver (her character's name: "The Connection") should carry a gun at all times. Hill disagreed, and she decided to carry a prop gun anyway because it would really help her performance, only she would hide it and wouldn't let the director know. No one would see the gun, only she would know that she was carrying -- The Connection would never want anyone to know she was strapped --  so it's not like it would fuck up the movie if no one could see it. Well, in between camera set-ups she started doing some calisthenics and sure enough, the fuckin' gun comes falling out and Hill was all like What The Fuck, Lady?

We found out that Walter Hill doesn't like to rehearse the actors, he treats the first take as a rehearsal and only shoots about 2 or 3 takes before moving on. Also, according to Dern, Walter Hill is a funnier guy than Eddie Murphy -- while Murphy would crack wise at a mile-a-minute, Hill's humor is apparently more of a quality-over-quantity approach. Dern and Hill haven't seen each other in a while, but they appear to be very much friends (eventually Hill started warming up more during the Q&A and would occasionally make a joke at Dern's expense), and Hill said he would've used Dern more in his movies if he wasn't so busy on other projects.

They also talked about about how the car chases were meticulously planned out, everything was written down and diagrammed and every precaution was taken -- Bruce Dern compared Hill's way of working with a football play called "organized mayhem" or "organized chaos" or something like that -- but in the end, someone died during the making of the movie anyway, but it wasn't from a stunt, it was an unfortunate crew member who died from a high fall while setting up a light. I wonder how a filmmaker deals with that, losing someone on the set; I guess most just move on because there's millions of dollars at stake. But does it get to any of them afterwards, or is it just considered an unfortunate accident? I thought I read somewhere that Richard Lester pretty much retired because an actor died on the set of one of his movies. I'm too lazy to Wiki that shit, you do it.

So, that was it for the Q&A. People went up to talk to guests and Wright, and I saw one guy carrying what appeared to be his entire fuckin' DVD collection (and a couple posters) to be signed. I'm one to talk -- I had my DVD of The Stunt Man signed at a New Bev screening -- but I don't think I have it in me to bring every goddamn movie the actors on-stage happened to be in.

Before the next movie, the European theatrical print of Duel, Mr. Wright read an e-mail from the director, some unknown fringe filmmaker named Steven Spielberg. The e-mail detailed the 11-day shoot (I think it was 11) and how they got so much done in so little time (they shot with 5 cameras) and then Wright joked about giving out Spielberg's e-mail address, saying how funny would it be if it was actually stevenspielberg@aol.com.

The trailers that followed were for similar vehicular horror flicks; The Car, starring the big-screen version of Pee-Wee Herman, Christine (I got a kick out of the Coming Soon card being in the John Carpenter font), and a trailer for Maximum Overdrive, which consisted of footage from the movie intercut with Stephen King going on about how he directed this film himself because it was the only way to get a Stephen King story on film done the right way. He looks really scary here, probably because he was a cokehead at the time, and also because standing in front of that Green Goblin truck, you realize that he very much resembles said Goblin.

It's also funny, because he keeps going on about how he's going to scare the shit out of you with this movie. I miss that kind of showmanship, that whole "If This One Doesn't Scare You, You're Already Dead" kinda deal. More movies should straight out declare that they're gonna fuck you up from how scary they are. I think the next step is to warn the audience that they will literally shit themselves from fright, but that kind of sell has to be done with the utmost sincerity, you can't be winking at the audience talking that kinda shit.

I first watched Duel on television when I was 4 or 5 and according to my parents, afterwards I wouldn't refer to trucks as trucks, I'd call them "duel". We'd be on a road trip and I'd see a passing truck and I'd get all excited and shout "Mom, Dad! Look, it's Duel!" Once I found that Duel was available on VHS, it became one of those movies I made my folks rent every time we went to the video store. I would re-enact Duel scenes using my toy cars. I'm telling you, man, I loved me some fuckin' Duel. The last time I watched that film, I would guess I was probably 10 years old. Man, I wished the little kid version of me was at the New Beverly last night, rather than the current jaded douchebag adult version, because....damn. I hate to fuckin' say this, but...fuck. I, uh, I didn't like it nearly as much as I did back in the day. I know! What the fuck, right? I still dug it, though. I'm just saying.

The first 20 minutes or so are fucking fantastic, with fuckin' McCloud on the road, dealing with this asshole trucker hogging up the road. He passes him, which I guess makes the trucker play the I Have A Bigger Dick Than You card and he passes McCloud in return. McCloud doesn't have time for this shit, he's got things to do, so he passes him once again and I guess that offends the trucker, who now demands satisfaction and the titular Duel is fuckin' on. This mainly consists of Asshole Trucker speeding up right behind McCloud and scaring the shit out of him and maybe trying to do a little more than just that.

In his e-mail, Spielberg praised McCloud's "game face" throughout the fast-paced production; me, I want to praise his performance. I'm watching this guy McCloud, and I can't think of anyone else who could play that part, because McCloud is very convincing as this business-type dude who straddles the line between non-confrontational and total pussy. There's a scene earlier where he's talking to his wife on the phone and I guess they had an argument the night before about how a co-worker of his was getting a little too touchy-feely with homeboy's wife at a party. She thinks he should've done something about it, and I agree.

That's your fuckin' woman, chief -- I'm not saying deck the guy, but step in and be all good-natured while telling him that's enough. I bet you this fuckin' McCloud, he didn't have the stones to take care of business but he sure as fuck raised his voice with his wife afterwards, when she was giving him shit for it. So in a way, this whole truck duel deal can be a way for him to prove his manhood or something. I mean, the motherfucker's name is Mann, the least he could do is try to act a little bit like one (albeit spelled with one less "N").

But for the majority of the movie, McCloud's getting more and more freaked out and the sweat stains on his corporate shirt are getting bigger and bigger and that fuckin' Asshole Trucker isn't going away. Kinda like how Black Swan puts you in the increasingly fragile mindset of poor, sweet Natalie Portman, this fuckin' movie (when it isn't boring the shit out of you) is putting you in the increasingly frazzled mindset of McCloud's character. At one point, I swear the motherfucker is actually squealing from fright and all I could think is There But For The Grace Of God And My Giant Testicles, Go I.

I don't know, maybe it was because it was following The Driver or maybe I'm not as easily amused by shots of trucks driving down roads, or maybe (most likely) I'm just an asshole, but whatever the reason, Duel did not hold up for me as much as it did back when my life was simple and happy. Which is not to say that I thought it was a bad movie, far from it, I just wasn't as into it as I was back then. It's still worth watching because it's Spielberg's first film and it's a trip to watch a fuckin' master doing his thing back during a time in his life when it was probably harder for him to get laid.

The guy had something like 11-16 days (depending on where you get your info) to shoot the fuckin' thing and the fuckin' thing is definitely well-made. This was made-for-TV but looks like it was made for the big-screen, and you can tell Spielberg was giving his all making the motherfucker; there's one of those long take deals where McCloud's character walks into a restaurant, goes into a restroom, washes up, has one of those internal monologues, dries off, walks out the restroom, through the restaurant and then looks out the window. I doubt some old pro television director would've even bothered doing it that way.

After the movie, Mr. Wright thanked everyone for coming out (while they were turning their backs to him and walking away) and thanked his guests for being cool enough to do a Q&A (while they were probably already at home, fast asleep). As my buddy and I walked down the sidewalk, I looked over at the residential street and how narrow it was, made even narrower with the parked cars taking up both sides. A car going down one direction would have to practically make contact with one of the parked cars just so the car coming down from the opposite direction could get through. Jesus Christ. I'm not from this city, and I don't live here. How do you people fuckin' do it? Every fucking day, you deal with this shit? Should I be surprised that you're not all Asshole Truckers as a result? Is that you, John Wayne? Is this me?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I've given up on ever seeing Alien Love Triangle by now.

The first time I went to see 127 Hours, I didn't get to finish watching it. There was a couple near the front, talking throughout the film, mostly narrating the on-screen events or clarifying the on-screen events to each other. It's gotten to a point that I've lost enough love for my fellow man that I tend not to put up with that kind of shit anymore. The days of Gandhi-ing these motherfuckers are long lost and gone. I'll either tell them to shut the fuck up or I'll throw M&M's at the offender's head until he or she departs the theater. One day I will carry with me a taser gun, and I will shoot a motherfucker with it to prove a point. Then the motherfucker's friend will pull out his shitty .380 pistol and fill me with the entire magazine to prove his point. I will most likely die, but no longer will I have to put up with the bullshit anymore. There is a peace in death, I believe, unless you write blasphemous-yet-respectful ramblings about Christian movies, then you'll (and by you'll, I mean "I will", because I've done just that) end up in Hell and since Hell is other people, it'll probably be an eternity spent watching your favorite movies with an audience of non-stop talkers. I will be watching Brazil with an audience from The Room.

But this time I couldn't tell them to shut the fuck up, because, well, because they were old. Really old, elderly old. I understand that we got to Eat All The Old People but I'm not really in agreement with that sentiment because I still have some bullshit principle about respecting my elders; even my cunt grandmother gets plenty of respect from me (nobody said you can't talk shit behind their backs, though), but part of it probably comes from having old parents and coming to the sobering realization that their medicine cabinet actually is a medicine cabinet nowadays. So I couldn't tell this old couple to cut the shit or I'd take their dentures away and they'd have to gum their popcorn, I couldn't. I actually felt bad, because it was probably a hearing problem issue (combined with their lack of respect for their juniors, of course). So about 20 minutes into the movie, I could hear the rest of the audience getting uncomfortable and the most someone would muster was a Shhh but that was it, really -- until Laura Linney stepped in.

See, there was a woman in her late 30's/early 40's who would be played by Laura Linney in the movie of her life, but for the sake of my recollection, I'm going to say it was indeed the star of You Can Count On Me who was sitting on the other side of the row from the old couple. Ms. Linney decided she had enough and loudly asked (so we can all hear it) the couple "Are you going to keep talking throughout the movie? That way I can leave right now, if you're going to keep talking". The old woman then turned to the old man and asked him "What did she say?" and at that point I wanted to crawl under my seat and die among the discarded chewing gum and popcorn. The old man then went on to tell his old lady, "I think she's saying we're too loud" and at that point I wanted to dig a hole in the floor and take it as deep as I could take it. Instead, I left the theater and got my money back. No I didn't, I got what they call a "Readmittance Pass".

Anyway, I finally got around to watching Danny Boyle's new joint (co-written by Simon Beaufoy, who also adapted Slumdog Millionaire for the big screen, but more importantly, co-wrote Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day), starring James Franco, a great-looking young actor with a reputation of being an insufferable shit and a genuine eccentric -- a shit eccentric -- and somewhere along the way started doing more fun movies and started giving off the vibe that he might be kind of a cool guy but is probably still a weird douchebag. So he's the new Val Kilmer, basically, only he hasn't gotten into his Fat Kilmer stage yet.

Whatever, no one's asking me to have a conversation with the dude, so whether he's a Good Guy or not shouldn't/doesn't matter to me, not as long as he's not bringing his doucheyness to the screen and inflicting it on the audience, whether or not the role calls for it. Nah son, that's Ashton Kutcher territory, and THAT motherfucker is gonna live for at least a hundred years. Think about that: Ashton Kutcher will live approximately 10 Christina-Taylor Greens, that's 10 nine-year-old girls who will never have a chance to have their first kiss, never fall in love, never drive a car, while Punk'd the Douchebag will always remain to unpleasantly surprise you with his stupid douchebag face on a poster of the newest Natalie Portman movie. I don't know what sweet angel Natalie Portman did to deserve that fate. Oh wait, I know -- she said yes to a fuckin' Ashton Kutcher movie. Enjoy your pregnancy, toots.

God, how I wish I was Ashton Kutcher.

Yeah, so the movie. I finally caught up with it and I have to say, I wish I just saw the shit at home. Don't get me wrong, I really ended up liking this movie but it's one of those movies with lots of quiet scenes, and movies with quiet scenes are either best seen at a film festival, a critic's screening or in the privacy of your own home, otherwise you're watching it with a noisy public audience. I didn't have an old couple to deal with this time, I had a father in his 40's or 50's and his wife and kids and believe it or not, the fuckin' kids were the quiet ones. Meanwhile, this basso-profundo-voice-having bald-headed fuck was chiming in with some bullshit every once in a while and if it wasn't for the power of the fuckin' movie, I'd have conjured up a tack hammer with black magic and cave in that giant flesh-colored melon he calls a head with it, right in front of his well-behaved kids and probably-scared-of-her-husband wife. His exposed brains would probably pass for a delicacy in some cultures, the dumb bastard.

It's a true story, this 127 Hours, and you probably already know it so I'm not spoiling it by giving a synopsis, and if you think I'm spoiling it, then stop reading this and go take a flying leap into a fuckin' canyon crevice and I hope a fuckin' boulder meets you on the way down and tries to give you a handshake -- which by the way, that's what happens to this dude in the movie. He goes rock climbing or something in Utah, falls in a big hole, gets his hand stuck between a rock and a hard place, eventually severs his fuckin' arm off because it sucks drinking your own piss. Also, the Titanic sinks in Titanic and the crew of Apollo 13 make it back home in Apollo 13.

So, this James Franco motherfucker plays Aron Ralston, and I figure that some audience members would be all like Fuck This Guy (well, I did anyway), so I think the filmmakers wanted to make sure that we know that Ralston's a charming motherfucker, that he's something more than just some XXXXTRRREEEEEME type of asshole, which he isn't. The dude eats shit early on while riding his bike and he just laughs at what happened and takes a picture of it, he doesn't yell out how Fucking Extreme that was. It sucks that he crashed, now he's gonna take a picture to show friends how dumb he looked at that moment. I don't think he's about bro-ing out with his fellow fratbros and circle-jerking in the Congo and how fuckin' Extreme everything is, he's about doing this shit alone, it's probably a Proving Yourself kinda thing. I'm sure this is further explained by Ralston himself in that book he wrote, but we all know how I roll in this motherfucker, he might as well have written that shit on sky-paper in invisible ink.

He runs into a couple chicks on his solo trip, and after swimming with them and NOT fucking them, one of them remarks something like "I don't think we figured into his day at all", and she might be right. I mean, he helped them find what they were looking for and showed them a fun time, but whereas most dudes in this kind of situation would be more about trying to work out a plan to Luke Skywalker their penis into the Tauntaun that is the chick's vagina, this guy Ralston just wants to show them a cool swimming hole they never would've known about otherwise. He's a sincere dude, so you're with him or at least I was with him, even though you find out later that he committed a massive fuck-up before he left that ends up making his eventual shitty situation even more shitty of a shitty situation. What happens is that the motherfucker never told anyone where he was going, and even if he had fuckin' GPS, he'd probably ditch that shit because he'd probably consider that shit defeating the purpose or something. What an asshole.

But at least Ralston realizes he fucked up badly, and the filmmakers use that moment for what I'm guessing was a Boyle/Beaufoy creation, where Aron interviews himself like he's in a cheesy talk show; watching Ralston pretty much call himself a stupid asshole for making his situation worse would make even the most staunch member of the Fuck This Guy club in the audience reconsider his or her initial thoughts on the dude. Poor Aron, if he only left a fuckin' note or answered his poor mother's phone calls or told his sister where he was going, then maybe he would still have a right arm -- but then the movie would've been called 62 Hours or 80 Hours and you'd end up with pissed-off motherfuckers demanding their money back because they thought they were gonna see Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy wreck shit up again, not watch some asshole get really thirsty.

Speaking of thirsty, I was pretty fuckin' parched watching this movie, I drained my Cherry Coke like it was, well, like it was Cherry Coke. The motherfucker didn't have that much water with him when he got stuck, he had to make that shit last, and that resulted in him having thoughts/dreams/hallucinations of Coca-Cola or Mountain Dew or ice cold beer. Movie theaters must love this fuckin' movie with all of the product shots of delicious beverages, that's some straight-up advertising that should send the audience to the concession stands. I don't think it's some kinda canny corporation/filmmaker alliance to scratch each others back though, it makes perfect sense that a dehydrated motherfucker would think of those things, and it's not like he's gonna think of some generic shit. While Aron Ralston was stuck in the hole, thinking of the party the girls invited him to, the party that's currently going on while he's in his predicament, I doubt he was thinking to himself "Man, I wish I had some fuckin' Generic Brand Cola up in this bitch."

But I bet you there are still some motherfuckers out there who saw the movie and went Hey Maaannnn, What's With This Corporate Bullshit, Maaannn! because everything to them is a goddamn conspiracy to turn us into mindless zombie sheep consumers or something. You gotta calm down every once in a while with that shit, man -- and quit acting like you're better than me just because you buy your shit at Whole Foods. Oh wow, you know what the fuck is up because you only eat organic food, oh you're the man now, dog. If you really want to do something good for the world, dig a big hole, jump inside, kill yourself, have someone cover you with all the dug-up dirt, and do your best to decompose quickly. That's some organic shit right the fuck there, good for the planet and the soul of your fellow carbon-based lifeforms.

My buddy brought up Danny Boyle's visual style as a director (as opposed to his visual style as a gardener) and yeah, it's true that he can be a flashy motherfucker sometimes, and yet I've never had a problem with it and I've never found his style intrusive to the story he's trying to tell in any of his films. This guy, he's so good he knows when to dial it down, when to ladle it on, and when to find a happy medium. This guy, he won Best Director at the Oscars a couple years back, and you know what? He fuckin' deserved it -- not just for that movie, but for all of them, even the ones that weren't as hot as the others. He's fuckin' solid, man. What's interesting is that I think the guy is in his 50's now, but he's got a young style -- young but not desperate. It never feels like he's trying to keep up with the cool kids, kinda like what Tony Scott's been doing since the new millennium. 

Boyle's able to adapt his style depending on the kind of story he's trying to tell, it's never just one speed, and that's why I feel that while his movies definitely have the Flashy factor in common, I never feel like they're movies from the same director (in that it's the same ol' tricks from the same ol' fuckin' trick bag). It's gotten to a point that every fuckin' Michael Bay movie is gonna operate at the same speed/same style, whether he's telling a story about a bunch of fuckin' oil drillers trying to blow up a giant asteroid the size of Texas or a story about a love triangle set in 1940's Pearl Harbor. I used to love M. Bay and I used to love T. Scott and hopefully I will never have to "used to" anything involving D. Boyle. As far as I'm concerned, Danny Boyle is always welcome to my Scooby Doo party anytime, while Bay & Scott will have to bring some booze, weed or chips to even be considered entrance to the motherfucker. I will say this, though: Boyle's got a thing for contrails because I think he's done it in at least 2 movies now, this movie and 28 Days Later. If he makes a movie with the number 26 in the title, I bet you'll see contrails in that shit too.

There have been reports of people fainting, freaking out, and probably losing control of their bowels/bladder towards the end, when Ralston decides to lose some weight the hard way. In the grand cinematic scheme of things, it's not that bad. Sure it's gory, but compared to your standard zombie movie, visually it ain't no thing -- and yet, it feels pretty fucking horrible, shit, it feels a lot fuckin' worse than watching the undead chow down on a motherfucker. I think it's because you've been with this dude for the past hour and fifteen minutes, you've been watching all the shit he's gone through, and you've gotten to really know him by watching him reminisce about those close to him, like his family (his dad is played by Treat Williams and his mom is played by Kate Burton from Big Trouble in Little China (which was based on the real-life story about her truck driving brother)). It's one thing when it happens after you've been in his shoes (or shoe, actually) and been along for the ride, so when he does what he does, it fuckin' hurts.

Also, the fact that this really happened probably adds a lot to it. While this motherfucker starts cutting into his arm as if it were the driest, rubbery, burnt sirloin steak ever (a woman screamed in the audience at this), hundreds of miles away he has a mom, dad and sister wondering and worried about where he is, and hoping that he's OK. I teared up and had a lump in my throat by the end of this movie -- didn't think I was going to feel that way over someone I dismissed as some thrill-seeking douche in the trailers. But I doubt I'll ever have moistened eyes over the victims in Saw. Why? Because they never fuckin' existed. So go suck a dick, Jigsaw.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Not-So-Quiet Earth

Left Behind: The Movie is based on a series of books of a similar name (I think the print version is called Left Behind: The Book), but they might as well have been titled Hotcakes because that’s how they fuckin’ sold, like muthafuckin’ hotcakes. Some dudes decided to make a movie out of it -- a trilogy of movies, eventually -- and that was ten years ago (TEN YEARS! TEN YEARS!) but I’m finally watching it now because my sister asked me if I could burn a copy of her copy for someone else to have a copy, and what could I do, NOT watch the fuckin’ thing?

Kirk Cameron, he’s like the Tom Hanks of Christian entertainment, so he stars in this movie as Ace Reporter, the ace reporter for fake-ass news network GNN and he’s in Israel interviewing this old scientist who created some kind of formula that will allow people to grow food even in the most barren lands.  They call this shit “The Eden Formula” or something, so you know what the fuck is up. Then the sky turns Wesley Snipes and then a bunch of CGI jets fill the air, headed to bomb the fuck out of Israel, but something happens that causes all of the Evil Jew-Hating Jets to explode. Ace Reporter, his middle name is Fearless, so he takes his fuckin’ Canon XL-1 and starts filming himself give a live report while the EJHJ’s are falling around him. He’s so into the scene, he doesn’t notice that he’s giving a report using a disconnected microphone from the camera, but I guess such is the power of the Holy Spirit that he still manages to make himself heard through the airwaves. That’s real Phantom Power right there, bitches.

Some old bearded guys in rags walk past the wreckage and one of them starts talking to Ace Reporter’s camera in English, even though later on when AR plays that shit back for his peeps in Chicago, the shit comes out in Hebrew. AR then meets up with one of those Jittery Smoking Whistleblower types who’s freaking out about some shit he found out about but he’s not sharing it. For reals, yo, this guy carries a small disc inside his fake expensive watch and Neener-Neeners it in front of Ace, saying it’s too important for him to share it or some bullshit like that.

The other star of the movie is Brad Johnson, a dude lucky enough to get cast in a big role in a Steven Spielberg movie, except the movie was Always and that was pretty much it for the guy as far as Big Movies went. Anyway, he’s this pilot who gets bitched at by his wife because he’s off to a last-minute gig flying from Chicago to London, even though today is his son’s birthday party. The son seems cool with it, he even asks Dad to bring him one of those big fuckin’ Beefeater hats those assholes wear. Moms, on the other hand, she’s not having it, she’s like How Dare You Go Work Hard To Put Food On Your Family’s Plate. She’s like How Dare You Go Off On The Job That Paid For This Big House, How Dare You! And rather than pimp-slapping this fuckin’ nag across the nag-hole, he’s like Whatever, Honey. He also has a teen daughter who straddles the thigh between Responsible and Rebellious. What I mean is that she wears a nose ring but she also has college exams to take and she’s serious about that shit.

What she and her pilot Daddy don’t take seriously, is Mom/Wife’s devout Christianity. I liked how Daddy Pilot and Pilot’s Daughter never specifically mention it, they just refer to “those people” she has over and the virtues of listening to them and pretending to give a fuck versus not even bothering to listen. Mommy also receives regular visits from a reverend played by Theo from Die Hard; Theo comments to DP how he hardly sees him at home nowadays, and DP’s response is something like “People still fly -- even on Sundays.” OMG -- the quarterback is toast!

Whatever, that was probably DP’s way of telling the reverend that God or No God, Chick-fil-A has no business being closed on Sundays. Literally, no business -- because they’re closed on Sunday. What the fuck, what is this day of rest shit, what is this bullshit? It don’t matter to Daddy Pilot. By the way, when DP is introduced, he’s washing his face even though he’s already dressed for work. I don’t know about you, but to me that looks like a clear case of I Didn’t Shower. He probably just sponged the more stinky areas but to me that’s a slap in the face to your fellow man. Fuck Daddy Pilot and his non-believing/non-showering ways.

So, Ace Reporter is on Daddy Pilot’s flight for whatever reason, and we’re introduced to a flight attendant played by Kirk Cameron’s wife, which I guess makes her like the Rita Wilson of Christian entertainment. Turns out she is Ace Reporter’s favorite flight attendant, and I know this because the first thing Ace asks her is “How’s my favorite flight attendant?”. He’s not bullshitting either, because thanks to him making some phone calls, Favorite Flight Attendant is now about to embark on a new career working for the U.N., even though she should find a new career in making bad choices because I think she’s banging Daddy Pilot, or trying to bang him, at least.

An old lady asks Ace Reporter to help find her husband, who it appears has disappeared without his clothes. Suddenly the other passengers start to freak out because their loved ones have disappeared sans clothes as well. Everyone starts crying and shit, looking for their babies and shit, no one knows what just happened. One fat goateed fuck even goes as far as being completely balls-out nuts, trying to open the hatch because he doesn’t want to end up like the missing passengers. This asshole must be the grandson of the asshole passenger from Airport, you know the one.  Anyway, it takes both Daddy Pilot and Ace Reporter to wrestle this fat red-faced fuck from opening up the emergency exit.

So it turns out that this shit is happening all over the world, approximately 142 million people (including every child on Earth) are now gone, vanished without a trace. We see lots of crying people, parents grieving over empty baby carriages, sad dogs stumbling around with loose leashes, etc. Back on the ground, DP goes back home with AR tagging along, and finds that nobody is home. He goes to his bedroom to find an empty bed with only his wife's nightgown and wedding ring left on it. Oh, and her cross pendant is delicately placed in full view, giving us a big hint as to what or who caused this shit. Naturally, this is too much for DP, who then grabs the nearest bible and Tommy Wiseaus that shit to the nearest mirror, shattering it (the mirror). Then, what I think happens is that DP is so impressed by the damage the bible made to the mirror, that he then picks it up to take a better look, then decides to read it from the very beginning.

During the first night of this, uh, happening, the country (I think) goes under martial law and Ace Reporter nearly gets shot for committing the crime of being outside his home after curfew -- either that, or the military guy with the rifle is a big fan of Julie McCullough and wanted to give this Kirk Cameron-looking motherfucker a piece of his mind. Anyway, turns out Pilot's Daughter is still around, so she and Daddy Pilot have the tearful reunion and try to figure out what the fuck is going on, while Ace Reporter charters a private plane in his attempt to figure out what the fuck is going on. Meanwhile, some foreign dude with blue eyes and blond hair is hooking up with the U.N., trying to save the world from starvation, in addition to trying to figure what the fuck is going on. His name is Nicolae Carpathia, by the way, just thought you should know.

You wanna hear (read) some fucked-up shit? Turns out Reverend Theo from Die Hard did not disappear, even though his family did and so has his entire parish. He ends up making like Harvey Keitel in Bad Lieutenant and does the whole Why God/Fuck You God/I Love You God spiel. His crime, apparently, was that even though he spent every Sunday giving sermons and having answers for people, he never had complete faith -- he had doubts, the motherfucker -- and you know how it is with that asshole, if you're not with him 100 percent, then you don't get to share in His Kingdom, the motherfucker. Quit being such a needy fucking child, God.

Yeah, so that's the deal, by the way -- it's the Rapture that happened. The believers, the people who accepted Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior and had ABSOLUTE COMPLETE UNQUESTIONABLE FAITH have been swooped up into Heaven while everyone else is assed out having to spend the next 7 years living through Tribulation, which means all the bad horrible shit with the Antichrist and all that fun shit, that frankly, is probably at least a tiny bit awesome to experience. I remember Patton Oswalt had a bit about something similar, something about how those who live long enough to experience the Apocalypse are gonna have some awesome stories to tell about it afterwards.

But on that tip, that always made me wonder about those who have to go through Tribulation, let's say they find Christ during that period, so they suffer through all the horrible shit that the other Christians didn't have to suffer through because they were all about the Notorious G.O.D. ahead of time -- wouldn't the Tribulation-era Christians (or Tribbles, for short), wouldn't they have, like, serious bragging rights?

O.G. CHRISTIAN: Welcome to God's Kingdom, so happy to finally see you here, my brother in Christ. Tell me about your last days. 

TRIBBLE: Man, I was starving and stinky, I watched loved ones die slow horrible deaths, then these assholes got me and beat me for days, and then after the beatings, they tortured me, and after all that, they chopped my fucking head off because I refused the Mark of the Beast. And now I'm here. Praise God. How about you?

O.G. CHRISTIAN: I went to church every Sunday, where we sang happy songs, listened to inspirational sermons and ate delicious meals after the service. 

TRIBBLE: Seriously? That's all you had to do to get here?

O.G. CHRISTIAN: Yup. 

TRIBBLE: Man, that's some bullshit right there.

O.G. CHRISTIAN: Hey, we gave you so many chances to do it the easy way. 

TRIBBLE: I had things to do...

O.G. CHRISTIAN: Sir --

TRIBBLE: ...and it all just sounded so goofy...

O.G. CHRISTIAN: Sir, please -- 


TRIBBLE: ...plus I always sleep in on Sundays --

O.G. CHRISTIAN: Listen to me, ya deaf fuck! We offered you a chance when we coulda done something, we offered you a chance to give your life to Jesus Christ and you BLEEEEEEWWWWWW IT!!!

See that's why people like Daddy Pilot and Ace Reporter and Fake Pastor and Pilot's Daughter were Left Behind -- they weren't down with all that business, but after watching a videotape that was, uh, left behind by another pastor (played by real-life stereotypically fat & sweaty pastor Pastor T.D. Jakes), they realize that it wasn't radiation or aliens that took everyone else away, it was the Rapture, yo. The Rapture, muthafucka, back in yo ass in the 2K. DP now admits that what bothered him about his wife's beliefs was that it meant that she was looking to something else other than her husband in the Things To Look At For Help department. What an asshole. But that's all good now, because he's got a Bible practically fused to his hand now, plus, his daughter doesn't have that heretical nose-ring anymore.

Ace Reporter tries digging deep into Nicolae Carpathia's business, despite finding his Jittery Smoking Whistleblower friend dead in his apartment and while dodging the World's Worst Sniper. At one point, he enlists the help of a GNN colleague and I thought it was interesting that said colleague is a woman with henna tattoos on her face and hands, and weird might-as-well-be-Pagan symbols hanging from her neck. She also has a sassy black roommate and I think I was able to put 2 and 2 together there as far as what the movie was trying to tell me about those two characters -- and more importantly, why they were not among the Rapture's chosen. You know what the fuck is up. They shoulda just cast some lisping prancing dude and include a scene near the end where Kirk Cameron shakes his head and looks at the poor homo with pity and say something like, "It's not too late to change your life" and then the gay guy's like "Change? What do you mean? I was born this way!" and then a lightning bolt comes down and sets him on fire, and while Mr. Alternative Lifestyle is running around, screaming in fiery pain, Cameron looks up to the sky and winks and then a giant hand reaches down and they high-five each other. At least in Mel Gibson's version, it would play like that.

I'm getting tired, so I'm gonna wrap it up sooner than intended. In the end, it's a whole New World Order conspiracy that involves international bankers, the U.N. going bankrupt, and Nicolae Carpathia suddenly turning from Brother Teresa to a creepy piece-of-shit talking about how everyone will now look to him for guidance, since he was the one to get a 7-year peace treaty set up in the Middle East. Also, he has this plan to use the Eden formula to grow food in 10 various plots of land around the world that he happens to own. Yeah, you know what the fuck that means.

What's interesting is that all this shit basically happens at the end; the climax is really about Ace Reporter accepting Jesus Christ while shitty Christian Rock plays on the soundtrack, while the denouement is about Carpathia letting his Antichrist flag fly (Favorite Flight Attendant is among those poor souls choosing to be on Team 666). The movie ends with AR meeting Daddy Pilot and Pilot's Daughter in church, while AR's narration basically says that the next 7 years are really going to suck, but at least he has his faith and faith is all you need and now he knows and knowing is half the battle G.I. JOOOOOOOOOEEEEEEEE!!!!!

According to Wikipedia, the guys who wrote the book series ended up suing the filmmakers because they thought the movies were shit. It basically came down to them thinking that in addition to watering down the story during the adaptation process, the movie was ultimately way too cheap for its ambitions. They want to see these movies get a much better looking treatment. I kinda agree with them; I never read the books, and since I don't read, I probably never will, but I think the premise is kinda cool -- how would something like the Rapture happen in real life -- but yeah, it's kinda cheap-looking and occasionally dull. I also have a feeling that the filmmakers told, like, half of the book's story in this movie, which is why this shit ends on a bullshit Golden Compass note. It wasn't that bad though, it was watchable enough for me, also it wasn't like I had anything to do at the time, so that helped. It was watchable enough that I'll probably watch the other two sequels, just to see where they're going to take this shit next, and whether or not they have the budget to pull it off -- plus, they're on Netflix Instant, so yeah, that would've happened eventually.

More entertaining was the 20-minute video of the film's premiere, included in the DVD special features; you had some chick host who looked like she could be related to Cheryl Hines talking about how this 100-million-copy-selling series of books is now a big movie, and then they interviewed some of the actors and premiere guests. They interviewed Tom Selleck, who it turns out, is a friend of Brad Johnson's and figures that the movie must have some value since his friend chose to be in it. They also interviewed actors like Corbin Bernsen and Nick Mancuso, who also seemed to play things on the secular side, saying that it all comes down to whether it's a good story well told. I think Johnson, Bernsen and Mancuso attend the Church of As Long As The Check Clears, so that's where they're coming from. But then they interviewed Lacey Chabert, who was pretty open about reading the books and believing in the message. Supposedly, she was gonna play Pilot's Daughter but scheduling issues prevented her from doing so, which is why they cast someone else who was vaguely Chabert-esque.

The DVD also included trailers for Christian movies starring the aforementioned Bernsen and Mancuso (the latter apparently playing the same role in three of them -- Satan and/or the Antichrist), in addition to Kirk Cameron, formerly nutty-but-now-just-merely-kooky Margot Kidder, annoying OCD-having piece-of-shit Howie Mandel, and last-but-not-least, Sir Gary Busey. I'm gonna be honest with you, I want to watch these movies, for the same reason I want to watch movies in general -- because they're movies. I don't know if they're any good, and I wouldn't bet any money on them being good, but Jesus Christ, they've got to be entertaining one way or the other. It's all I ask of these motion pictures.

In short, if you like late 90's/early 00's Christian pop music, then you'll love the DVD menus for Left Behind: The Movie.

Friday, January 7, 2011

26 reds and a bottle of wine

His Kind of Woman stars Robert Mitchum as this fuckin’ Robert Mitchum-looking loser who just came back from doing a brief stint at a prison farm for the crime of doing “nothing”. This is probably like a wink to the audience because a couple years back, Mitchum had to do the prison farm thing for the crime of smokin' Mary Jane like a fuckin’ champ. Crazy how people thought that shit made you turn into a werewolf or something, committing some evil shit, and that was back when weed wasn’t even that strong. Folks, the most evil shit I’ve done while high is make some questionable food combinations once the munchies set in. Like, most recently I ate homemade French Toast followed up by that Green Hornet Chicken Tenders combo at Carl's Jr. Fuck man, every morning (or night) when I look at my fat belly in the mirror before hosing off my disgusting body, I never look at it with surprise -- on the contrary, I’m like, Of Course I’m A Fat Fuck.

You know, I look at myself now and think what the fuck happened? It’s not like I was a fuckin’ Adonis with Brad Pitt’s face back in the day but at least I wasn’t betrayed by my metabolism yet, at least I had that going for me. Apparently, I had it going on enough that I once got a letter in the seventh grade from this chick in my math class, it was this handwritten letter she gave to me with a smile and when I read it, I was like Holy Shit because she actually wrote down “I want to fuck you so bad”.  She then went on to write that all her friends thought she was desperate but that she wasn’t, she really wanted to get with me. I ended up turning her down because I was a combination of Cowardly and Gay back then, and plus I think her popular reputation of being a seventh-grade whore who always wore torn stockings, biker boots and too much eye-shadow skeeved me out, believe it or not. I actually had this weird bullshit thing some people call “standards”. What an asshole. Anyway, a year later, she got pregnant from this other dude who, like me, was an unattractive piece-of-shit, so I guess I dodged a bullet with her even though I carried the same Sheik condom for 3 years in my wallet, so maybe I‘d have been more careful about it. I ended up burning that letter for some nonsensical reason; an act I later regretted in high school, when I would’ve needed it the most on those lonely Friday nights.

But yeah, this Mitchum, he hooked up with this broad named Lila Leeds and they were gonna fuckin' straight-up sesh with some friends and I guess it might've been a set-up because the cops came in around that time, or after, I don’t know, and then he went to jail. That was a big deal back then, a celebrity going to jail; nowadays, that's what a motherfucker does on his way to coming back hard as the box-office-smash star of the Iron Man movies or on his way down as the former box-office-smash star of the Blade movies. While he did his time, motherfuckers like Don Fuckin’ Siegel would visit him and sneak in candy bars and shit because it was Howard Hughes' idea that the candy bars would help keep Mitchum's strength/energy up, and because it was Hughes saying that shit, it probably sounded like this:

“Give Mitchum some candy bars. Give Mitchum some candy bars. Some candy bars. Some candy bars. Some candy bars. Some candy bars.”

Poor bastard. At least DiCaprio played him in the movie of his life. I could only be so lucky.

So yeah, Mitchum is back in L.A. and he’s both broke and in debt to the kind of guys you don’t want to be in debt to. Poor schmuck tells all this to a black dude at a diner (working behind the counter, natch), and all I could think about was how it must have sucked to be a black actor back then. You have Robert Mitchum doing a scene with you, acting all chummy with you, but then I bet right after "Cut!", the motherfucker was probably all "Outta my way, spade!". I think of that every time I watch an old movie, I think about whether or not some of these much-loved movie stars were racists or not.

I mean, at the very least, even when being respectful they probably called the black actors "Negroes" or "Colored", that's as good as it would get for them. And even if a black dude was considered OK enough to hang with a white motherfucker, they probably still had to put up with a lot of jokes, kinda like Sammy Davis Jr. put up with all of the other Rat Pack making colored/Jew jokes. That's the best you could hope for back then, I guess. Hey bro, I love your music and we can jam together, but don't forget your place, either. I know Hollywood was still liberal enough to be accused of harboring dirty evil Commies, but still, they probably had a separate craft service table for my brothers.

So Mitchum's luck looks to be changing for the better, because some other shady dudes come up to him with the offer of $50,000 for traveling over to some nice Mexican resort and chill while waiting for…who knows what. He goes over there and he meets up with Jane Russell. Man, what a hot piece-of-ass Jane Russell was! I don't know if she still is, but even then, she's probably more of a Helen Mirren type. Mirren's the cat's pajamas and all, but I never totally got the HOLY SHIT I WANT TO FUCK OLD HELEN MIRREN vibe that apparently many do. I mean, if I was in my 60's, then fuck yeah, I could only be so lucky to have a similarly-aged lady in that kind of shape. OK, I take it back, I shouldn't be acting like I'm in a position to turn down a senior citizen; I could only be so lucky to have Helen Mirren point at me and go "Tonight, you", I understand. Seriously, though, I watched this movie after watching Jane Greer in Out of the Past and all I could think was Goddamn, I don't know what ladies did back then, but I wish they were still doing it.

Anyway, she and Mitchum do the whole flirty thing, even though she’s not currently available to him because she’s busy trying to hook up with a famous movie star, played by famous movie star Vincent Price. Price's character starts out as this pampered celebrity who plays badass asskickers in the movies, and you think he's going to be some kind of fake, but he isn't. I mean, he goes around on hunting expeditions all the time, shooting deer and fowl like he was fuckin' Ted Nugent in this bitch, and you think that's good enough for him, but it isn't. He not-so-secretly harbors a desire to be as badass in real life as he is in the movies and I got a kick how that played out in this movie.

Man, what an awesome guy Vincent Price is (was); I’ve always dug that dude and now that I think of it, he’d be one of those living-or-dead people I’d like to have dinner with. People always pick dudes like John Lennon or Jesus Christ but I never understood that. I mean, I love Lennon’s work but that guy could be an insufferable wife-beating prick (unless your name is Yoko Ono, then you can do no wrong in his eyes) and if I had dinner with Jesus Christ, I’d probably make it uncomfortable because I’d just be staring at Him the whole time, angrily, waiting for Him to explain Himself and His father for all of this bullshit. You got a lot to answer for, J.C. But Vincent Price? Holy shit, that guy would probably be all fuckin’ charming and shit and have a bunch of stories to tell. Plus, the guy’s a gourmet chef, he’d probably cook the fuckin’ meal and I bet it'd be really delicious.

This resort, I think it was called Morro’s Lodge and goddamn that was a nice-looking place! It’s introduced in a long tracking shot that starts outside at the beach and then through the pool area and then inside the bar and then finally it ends on Mitchum ordering a ginger ale (his character quirk, I guess, is that he doesn't drink booze). It’s even cooler because this was all done on a soundstage in Los Angeles, because that’s what they did back then, they weren’t traveling to faraway lands for real just to impress us assholes, they didn’t have to yet. But then, for another 40 or 50 years, they would shoot this kind of film at a real Mexican beach, and that would be a big deal in the ads, you know, something like "Shot in the beautiful Mexican resort of Buenavaca!" or some shit (because back then, Hollywood still had the Good Neighbor policy going on, they wanted to give audiences the impression that South America was an awesome place to be at. Once that shit ended, filmmakers went from trumpeting movies set South Of The Border as being "shot in the beautiful South American jungles" to "A film that could only be made in South America, where life is CHEAP!". It was like these Yankee cocksuckers resented having to be P.C. and were storing up all the hate).

But somewhere along the way, they went the other way -- they would go back to the soundstages but stop trying to build a real-looking beach like they did for this movie. Now it would all be CGI. Think about that -- if they made Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure today, that Warner Bros. studio chase scene would be super-fuckin-boring because it would consist of Pee Wee riding his bike through stage after stage of green screens & people wearing unitards with ping-pong balls all over. They’d have to work in a bit where Pee Wee rides through a bunch of cubicles in the CGI building, disrupting all the nerds trying to make Godzilla look photo-realistic on a computer monitor. Not quite the same effect as fucking it up for some poor Japanese grip trying to hold on to the ropes controlling Ghidorah.

In addition to Vincent Price and Jane Russell, Mitchum also runs into Thurston Howell from Gilligan’s Island, basically playing Thurston Howell minus Lovey. I don't remember much about Mr. Howell in this movie, or what purpose he served, other than be kind of a douche. The story goes that Howard Hughes (who was running RKO Studios at the time, pretty much making him Mitchum's massa) ordered the fuck out of reshoots, rewrites, and recasts for this movie, because that's what motherfuckers like Hughes did (you saw The Aviator, you know how he rolled). Maybe in the original version, Mr. Howell had more to do. I don't know.

Damn man, to think that they used to junk most of this footage. Too bad they didn't have DVD back then; it makes you wonder how much of this fabled lost footage for these flicks we could've seen. The fuckin' Magnificent Ambersons, for example, probably woulda had a special edition with Welles' original cut on it, except they'd release that shit a year after the theatrical cut and then everyone would bitch on the Internet about "double-dipping" and that it isn't presented in "uncompressed PCM" (whatever the fuck that is) but since the Internet didn't exist yet, they'd be bitching about it, on, I don't know, short-wave radio or something.

Didn't expect this movie to be as double-dipped in Good Times as it was; the dialogue is endlessly quotable in the way most movies of the time were, and the performances are a lot of fun. Mitchum does the whole I'm A Cool Motherfucker thing he does and Russell is not only hot but she's kind of a Cool Cat herself during the proceedings. They look really good together and I liked how for the most part, she never plays it like she needs this fuckin' guy like a fish needs water. I mean, I think most guys like watching the female co-stars get all weak-kneed & googly-eyed towards their male counterparts, but to me, that shit is kinda tired. Plus, I don't think you could buy Jane Russell being needy, she can take care of herself, thank you very much.

I swear, it probably took an hour or so before the actual plot kicked in; it's like the first 15 minutes are plot-heavy setup, and then they just decided to chill for the next 45, before continuing with some ridiculous shit involving Nazi anesthetic and Mexican cops taking orders from American civilians. I found it funny that in one scene, Russell's character critiques a 90-minute movie she just watched as being too long, when this movie is 120 minutes long. Was that moment -- like Mitchum's character's backstory -- an inside joke, maybe one that was added late in production when they realized the length of this caper?

Whatever the case, those 45 minutes or so don't kill the movie at all because it was entertaining all the same -- particularly the stuff involving Price's character. This motherfucker is hosting a screening of his latest film at the resort, and you can tell he digs watching himself kick ass Errol Flynn style; at one point he gets so caught up in his own on-screen shenanigans that he busts out into applause, then realizes what he's done, looking all embarrassed and shit. Later on, when he gets into The Shit, he starts fuckin' quoting Shakespeare while loading up his guns and telling women to stand aside because this is "man's work", I was like This Motherfucker Is Stealing The Fuckin' Movie And I Love Him For It.

In conclusion, if you like Robert Mitchum acting like he doesn't give a fuck, nervous black actors, Vincent Price being totally in on the joke, hot chicks with big tits, or Raymond Burr playing a sweaty eye-tie, then I don't know, His Kind of Woman maybe?