Wednesday, December 29, 2010

It was like he shouldn't have even bothered, he thought to himself

Like last December, my buddy was housesitting for someone else who had places to go for the holidays, and it was the same place, a nice place and because this guy has access to screeners, it was like, fuck yeah, let's watch some fucking screeners again. How can the same thing happen to the same guy twice?

It was only a one-night triple feature this time, so I had to tell Sofia Coppola, Julie Taymor and that dead dude who directed Casino Jack to go fuck themselves, but in actuality I was telling myself to go fuck myself because I'll probably end up seeing their films anyway, only I'd end up paying for the privilege.

First film was Black Swan, directed by that asshole who bangs Rachel Weisz, that's why he's an asshole. If you're banging a famous chick I want to bang, you're an asshole and that's why I like Ryan Reynolds again. But the guy who knocked up Natalie Portman? Fuck that guy. No, not you Natalie, you've done enough damage to yourself taking that advice.

Anyway, Black Swan is not about some racist asshole falling in love with some rich black chick, instead it's about this bundle of nerves who wants to be the best ballet dancer ever or something like that. She wants to be perfect, and if that means starving herself and vomiting up what little she eats, then so be it. Poor girl, there's a part where she's going to eat a grapefruit for breakfast and she's looking it over and doing the whole Happy Girl Yummy thing and I felt bad for the little swan. Her mother is played by Barbara Hershey who is now one of the most awesome people in the world because she signed my DVD of The Stunt Man at the New Beverly Cinema. Richard Rush and Steve Railsback signed that DVD too, but they aren't in Black Swan, Barbara Hershey is. It was strange trying to figure that character out, because on the one hand you think she's one of these stage mothers who force their kids to live out their own fantasies and maybe she is, but if that's the case, it's gotten to a point where she realizes she has created a Frankenstein. That's right, she's created a mad doctor intent on bringing the dead back to life.

Fuckin' Aronofsky would be my bro if he wasn't already betraying our brotherhood by turning Rachel Weisz into a baby machine. What I mean is that he casts some cute fuckin' ladies in this flick; Natalie Portman is super-skinny but she wears her bones well, making her and Angelina Jolie the only skeletons I find hot. Then you have Mila Kunis who not only looks like she enjoys the occasional cheeseburger but even eats one in the film; if you want to amuse yourself, go look up any YouTube video where they go behind-the-scenes of Family Guy and read the comments, because it's like every other comment is "OMIGOD MEG IS ACTUALLY HOT IN REAL LIFE" and then they skeet all over the keyboard and that's a bitch to clean up, even with a Q-tip. It's too bad those losers aren't badass sex machines like me. Excuse me while I take a break from writing so I can go have sex with a sexy girl. I'm so fuckin' awesome, I never call them back.

I think Mr. Requiem For A Wrestler's Fountain knew I'd be pissed at him and he tried to triple-combo his good graces into my heart by casting Winona Ryder as the 3rd part of the Why Aren't You Girls Making Love To Me Like Right Now trifecta. She's, like, 40 now but I'm not hating, she's still got it, plus 40 is the new 20. Didn't you know that? I know that because a 40-year-old told me. I Heart Winona and if I had the bank account, I'd open a chain of stores where she can shoplift to her pretty little heart's content. One of my cousins, on my dad's side, used to always say "Winona Ryder? I'd ride her" and that's just one of the two reasons I haven't spoken to him since 1998. The second reason is because he and most of my dad's side of the family are all cunts and I don't speak to any of them either. Thanksgiving is awesome now, thank you very much.

So Portman's got the lead role in Swan Lake and she's trying to be all perfect and shit and she's getting all fucked-up in the head over it. She's finding these weird bloody scratches on her back and since she wasn't having sex with me, she figures there's got to be another way she attained these minor scrapes. She's also got a bad case of They're All Coming To Get Me; seeing weird shit, having weird dreams, wondering if Mila Kunis' rival ballet-girl is out to help her or out to fuck her over. Meanwhile, Winona is all pissed about her upcoming retirement, because it's one of those retirements where the retiree is the last one to know. Then there's muthafuckin' Vincent Cassel, goddamn Mesrine himself showing up as the director of the ballet company and this guy, he's surprisingly not a Gay but then again, who knows? I mean, you figure this guy is trying to bang Portman and he's tired of banging Ryder but that shit's never confirmed, he puts the moves on a motherfucker but then it seems more like he's just doing some head-game shit to get the best out of his ballerinas. Ballerini?

I liked the movie, but like Aronofsky's wrestler movie (I think they could actually play very well together, they've got similarities, says I), I think the performance makes the film. Wait, that doesn't sound right -- the performance and the film go very well together. It's some perfect one-in-a-million kismet shit; if Natalie Portman didn't exist, they'd have to invent her for this movie, otherwise you could never make it. Mr. Weisz does a very good job making you feel almost as fucked up as Portman's character, putting you into her increasingly fragile mindset, but I was more impressed with Portman. I don't know who the fuck else is possibly up for an Oscar, but they better be fuckin' phenomenal because I think Natalie did a pretty good job throwing down the fuckin' gauntlet like a fuckin' boss. Mila Kunis is very good too, especially in one scene between her and Portman that has little to do with acting dialogue-wise, but a lot to do with, uh, physical acting. If that's a spoiler, then fucking Life is a goddamn spoiler and I'm getting fucking sick of it and want to punch every sensitive motherfucker in his mother's cunt. I'm being serious, people. Your Mother's Cunt. Pow.

Quentin Tarantino probably loves this flick because there are a lot of shots of feet in it, and since they're ballet dancers, their feet are pretty jacked, but anyone who's seen Kill Bill knows that QT doesn't discriminate. If you are in possession of a vagina and have feet, he'll probably be all over them. If I was a chick and I offered my bare feet for QT to do with whatever he pleases and he turned me down, I'd throw myself off of a tall building and with my luck end up splattering all over some passing automobile with a podiatrist inside.

My friend and I then ate shitty delivery pizza which I still gobbled up 4 slices of because I'm a smelly disgusting piece-of-shit with no self-respect, then we popped in True Grit, starring Jeff Bridges, or as we all like to refer to him as, the President of the United States in The Contender. Every dispensary I go to is always playing The Contender, either that or Pineapple Express. Bridges must get tired of people coming up to him all "President, yeeeeeeaaaahhh!".

So Bridges plays Rooster Cogburn, this badass U.S. Marshal who gets the job done, but he plays by his own rules, so I guess he's the original cliche. Only he's not some psycho Riggs or ornery Harry Callahan; when you give him shit about the people he's killed/wounded, he seems almost like a forgetful grandfather who didn't know his glasses were on his head the whole time, like Oh Yeah I Forgot About That. We all have grandfathers like that, I'm sure.

When I was 14, I thought chickens gargled in the morning based on a cartoon I saw, but the 14-year-old girl in this movie, she probably rips the heads of off chickens everyday to prepare that evening's supper. I guess hard times create hard people, and she's kind of a badass herself. After her father is killed, she goes to town and looks to get some justice against that bad Josh Brolin, and this chick is fuckin' haggling prices and not backing down like a goddamn angry pro. If this chick existed in the 21st century, she'd be giving seminars on not being a fuckin' pussy when it comes to dealing with asshole car salesman (redundancy). She talks to adults like she was older than any of them, and she has no problem sleeping in a room full of corpses, she can handle that shit. I wonder if she was always this way, or if the murder of her father (at the hands of the aforementioned Brolin) increased that shit. She mentions that her mother is pretty much inconsolable and her sister (or brother, I forgot) is too young, so whatever the case, it's safe to say it didn't take long for her to declare herself as the man of the house.

This 14-year-old, she gets Rooster to go on the hunt for this father-killing mofo and even though he doesn't want this girl to cramp his style, he lets that slide, he abides, just like The President in The Contender. They go from place to place, meet people, get in adventures, like Caine in The Man Who Would Be King. Joining them on their journey is my man, the fuckin' Bourne Identity himself, Matt Muthafuckin' Damon. Fuckin' A. I'd like to add that guy on my shortlist of people I'd like to play me in a movie, alongside the late great Brother Theodore and the drunk rich lady from Will & Grace. If I ever meet that guy, I'm gonna give him a high-five that he will not return, he's gonna leave me hanging but I'm gonna be OK with it because he's Matt Fuckin' Damon.

I don't like the taste of John Wayne's cock, and that's probably why I haven't seen as many of his movies as I guess I should, so I've never seen the original True Grit. But from my understanding, that version wasn't as faithful to the book as this version is. Talented assholes Joel and Ethan Coen helmed this shit, and they must be related to God because like Him, they like to put their creations through fucked-up shit and probably get off on it. Anyway, with the exception of some annoying guy who makes animal noises, it didn't feel that Coen-esque in terms of quirky shit, but it's definitely a Coen Brothers film in that it's Good Times.

These guys, I don't know how they do it, I think while everyone else is drinking Hater Juice or Haterade, these guys are drinking straight-up 100-proof Champion, because that's what they are. They did cut down on the consumption when they made Intolerable Cruelty, but they're probably mainlining that shit now. Is it a masterpiece or a reinvention of the Western or whatever else these jackass critics always say about these things? No, I don't think it is, it's just a damn solid 2 hours of entertainment. There's not that much action, but that's OK because the interactions between the characters was more than enough to keep me happy. 

Wait, I take it back a bit -- it is more of a Coen Brothers film than I thought. You see, these guys, they like being assholes and have to find a way to amuse themselves at our expense; the reason you and me haven't beat the shit out of them by now is because they make cool movies. Well, here I think they have their fun by having every character who isn't a 14-year-old girl speak like they have shit in their mouth. Bridges is so awesome an actor that he can make Cogburn's dialogue sing (sample dialogue: "Gwarhss woit popadonsh umfff batahgh dogsh rawrff") and then I bet my man Damon thought he dodged a bullet with that shit, but then the Coens probably did a rewrite and halfway through the movie he ends up biting his tongue and for a while starts cotton-balling his lines as well. Fuckin' Brolin? Same shit, only it sounds like he reached a compromise with the Coens by only doing it at 50% power and making up for his increased grasp of diction/enunciation by doing a Ted Levine impression.

The 3rd and final film of the day was The Fighter, starring the precious Amy Adams and two other guys. Now I thought the title of the film was referring to the Clooney-fighting/Tomlin-angering/Nolan headlocking director of the film, but it's not. The Adorable Amy Adams plays Charlene, a bartender in the city of Racism who probably drinks as much as she sells and one day Mark Wahlberg shows up, being all nice to her the way he was nice to Reese Witherspoon in Fear. During their chat, some douche shows up trying to be stupid with Wahlberg and smart with Adams, so Wahlberg grabs this punk and makes him feel the vibrations. Turns out this Wahlberg, he's this potentially awesome boxer who's being held down by his once-potentially-awesome older brother, played by a crackhead who looks like a balding Christian Bale.

In between these brief moments with The Adorable Amy Adams, we have these long periods focusing on Wahlberg and his brother who might as well be the white Flavor Flav. There's one scene where she and Wahlberg are about to do their impression of me on any given night by sleeping with each other. Ms. Adams is wearing only a bra and panties and she's crawling on the bed toward Wahlberg and just then, my friend is all like "I bet you like this, don't ya" and I actually had to put my foot down (I had it on the table) and tell him he was kinda wrong.

I mean, even with the harsh "real" setting and the real "harsh" unflattering cinematography, Ms. Adams looks nice and even though Mr. Huckabees told her not to get in shape for the role, she still looks like a real girl who I'd hit up and get turned down by. I told my friend that I don't really think of her in that way, it's more of a sharing-a-milkshake-with-2-straws kind of deal I have with her. I know I've said that before, but I'm pretty sure you guys never read the previous references anyway, so it's all new to you, right? I guess another way I can put it is that I'm gay for Amy Adams, even though I'm technically straight. I say "technically" because I'm really just a compliment away from going either way, know what I'm saying?

I've never had a fuck-up brother, probably because I am the fuck-up brother, but it didn't stop me from feeling about this movie the way I felt about it. There's a scene where Bale's character is being a fuck-up once again and his mom picks him up, and she's ready to go off on him and he manages to win her back over by singing to her. You get the sense that this is a song he's sung to her since he was a kid, and she probably loves it every time he does so. It's genuine, but at the same time, I bet you he knows that the song to him is like a smoke bomb is to Batman -- distracting shit that works every time.

It did get me thinking though, that as much of a fuck-up that I am, my parents are cursed with this unconditional love for their child. Most parents have this curse, I think. They can read the writing on the wall all they want, but they might as well be wearing Nostalgia Goggles when they look at you; because you're always their little boy or little girl, albeit one who needs money because he/she went into debt for the umpteenth time and/or need to be picked up from jail. Anyway, I think that's what's going on between the mom in this film and the balding crackhead who looks like Christian Bale.

It's that kind of love that is keeping Wahlberg's character true to his bro even though the motherfucker is keeping him from achieving something other than getting his ass kicked by a boxer he's 20 pounds too light to fight. The Adorable Amy Adams, she's trying to help him see the error of his brother-loving ways, but I also like that she's not perfect either, and that in some cases she can be as demanding and overpowering as his family. Still, though, it's Amy Adams and I don't know about you, but I'd do whatever she says. Leave my family? Bye family. Learn Mandarin Chinese? 当你的愿望。Put a gun into my mouth and pull the trigger? It'll certainly be the most adorable suicide ever.

It's a good movie with great performances, particularly from Adams and the crackhead, the latter is even more impressive when you watch his real-life counterpart show up during the end credits and realize that he got that motherfucker down cold. Wahlberg's pretty good too, I like sincere Wahlberg and prefer sincere Wahlberg to badass Wahlberg. I saw Melissa Leo's name in the credits, then forgot she was in the fuckin' thing until I saw her name again in the credits -- that's how good she was, I thought they got some Boston broad off the street for that part. For real, I'm not bullshitting or speaking in critic-speak. I think they did cast some real Bostonians in this, though, because those badly-bleached locks of hair, greasy faces and jelly rolls can't be created even with the best Hollywood has to offer. Also, one of Wahlberg's sisters is played by Conan O'Brien's sister; she's the one who looks like Conan O'Brien.

I like how all the screeners had opening disclaimers from studios that assume you're going to destroy the DVD's by a certain date. Would I? Maybe to upgrade to Blu-ray, and even then, I'd probably just give that shit to family members. That's probably how piracy keeps going, I don't know. The studios were pretty good about not interrupting the movie too much with the on-screen For Consideration/Don't Bootleg This Shit disclaimers; True Grit came up every 10 minutes at the bottom, wasn't too distracting. Black Swan only came up at the beginning. I don't even remember The Fighter having one.

Order of preference:

1) True Grit
2) Black Swan
3) The Fighter

That was that, the movies were watched and my friend had to take off to go see family -- it was Christmas Day. Me, I drove around for a bit and eventually went to a discount house, where I ended up seeing Skyline. I didn't want to see Skyline, but the other movies already started and I didn't want to wait 90 minutes for the next showing, so there I was, watching Skyline. It was decent, which I guess is to be expected when your expectations are below zero and you only paid $2 to see it. There was raza in the cast and not only did he represent, he was probably the best character in the fuckin' thing, so that was nice.

After, I drove over to the burg of Chino to look at the Christmas lights because that's what they do over there in Chino, overdo it with the Christmas spirit -- but I love Christmas, so overdo that shit all you want. Great displays, and even one house had a group of carolers in front. I got too close and one of them snatched me like a frog's tongue to a passing fly and he gave me a card from the Church of Latter Day Saints. My favorite display was the one done with a Nightmare Before Christmas theme, complete with Jack, Sally and a giant Oogie Boogie.

The last time I went to see the lights in Chino, was about 20 years ago. I went with my aunt and my cousins, right after catching a special Christmas show at a local college's planetarium. That was awesome and so were the lights. We then stopped at a neighborhood pizza joint and stuffed on pepperoni pie while watching a Beauty and the Beast rerun on the establishment's big-screen television; to think that there was once a television show starring Hellboy and Sarah Connor and not enough people watched it. Anyway, 20 years later I was feeling nostalgic and looked for the same pizza joint, and there it was, and sure enough, they were open. The only difference was that they replaced the old projection big-screen with a plasma HDTV. I ordered a pie and while waiting, I told the owner my story which I guess amused him. He said that the pizza is just as good as it was then and wished me a Merry Christmas. I returned the sentiment and then played Galaga. He was right, the pizza was just as good. Only the company was lacking, in that I was lacking it.

I'm pretty sure this is my last post of the year, so I'll just say Happy New Year and all that. 2008 was terrible, 2009 was horrible, but 2010 was interesting. I lost a close family member in her late 50's while watching another family member who will never enter the neighborhood of Close or Loving get closer to the age of 100. Even then, the year left me with a slight minute modicum of a tiny glimmer of hope. Better than the previous two years, that's for sure. Anyway, that's all for now. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and go fuck yourself. Say hello to Satan for me.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Something about being paved with good intentions

The Holocaust was not one of humanity's proudest moments, or it is, if you think we're only capable of committing evil shit to our fellow innocents. You read about some of the horrific shit these assholes did in service to that one-testicle-having cocksucking piece-of-shit vegetarian and you wouldn't believe any of it, if it wasn't for the fact that it really did happen (unless you're Mel Gibson's dad or someone like that, then no, you wouldn't believe it). But when it comes to the Toy Holocaust, though, you might as well call me Bobby Fischer because that shit? Never fucking happened.

I don't give a fuck what The Nutcracker in 3D aka We Fucked Up So Badly With This Movie That We Had To Hold It Back For A Year So We Could Convert It Into 3D And Change The Title So It Reflects That It Was Always Intended To Be In 3D is trying to tell you, that's part of the fuckin' Toy Conspiracy. They control everything, these Toys, they control the media with all the commercials and ads for Toys R Us, making people think that we need Toys for our kids. They make movies like Toy Story 3 that are outright fallacies created to make us feel sorry for them. The shopping malls used to be havens for bookstores like B. Dalton and Crown Books, it was their rightful place. Then the goddamn Toy stores came in and took it over, kicking them out or putting them out of business. Now the book stores are relegated to doing business outside of the malls; Barnes & Noble can only find a home in shitty shopping centers, sometimes having to coexist in a symbiotic state with Starbucks in order to get by.

According to this film of lies, some guy named The Rat King took over with his Nazi Rat stormtroopers and they rounded up all the toys and piled them up. Then they would pick up all the toys and dump them at the Smoke Factory, a crematorium where the toys are burned and giant plumes of smoke fill the sky (the Rat King loves smoke and hates toys -- it's a 2 Birds 1 Stone deal for him). I don't know who this Rat King was, but it's probably bullshit, because the only Rat King I know of was the dude from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and he wasn't so much evil as he was just a creepy motherfucker. The Rat King in this movie, on the other hand, is one of those evil & fey motherfuckers; he's played by Andy Warhol but they misspell his name in the credits as John Turturro, a fine actor who would never lower himself to acting in this garbage just to collect a paycheck, therefore sullying a spotless Curriculum Vitae that included such productions as You Don't Mess With The Zohan and the Transformers trilogy.

What a piece of shit this Rat King is! He's dressed like a Bond Villain and he even has a shark tank in his lair, which he then proceeds to electrocute for shits & giggles, dancing and singing about the "thousand-year" empire he has created, while poor Jaws is floating lifelessly in the water for everyone to see. The one cool thing about him is that he has a mural in his hallway that is made up of close-up pictures of crying children, that was pretty awesome. Whenever he has the opportunity, he will snap candids of sad kids on the street; they are to him, what I think sunsets are to me. In addition to his Nazi Rat stormtroopers, he has packs of robot Rat Dogs that sniff out Toys and Toy Sympathizers and dig holes where they need to be dug. Rat-Faced Nazi Warhol also has his 2 best minions flying around in winged jet-packs, looking like Michael Ironside's 2 minions from Highlander II: The Quickening. There's also the Rat Queen, some old hag who looks really disgusting and disturbing (like most of us will look when we get old) and that's before you realize she's wearing stripper boots and whore stockings.

The liberal Toy-run media try to soften the Lie Hammer by presenting this as some kind of dream world, and meanwhile, in the real world, we have Nathan Lane hamming it the fuck up as Albert Einstein. They never actually say it's Albert Einstein; his nephew calls him "Uncle Albert" but you know it's him. He's got the hair and he's also got the douchey habit of writing E=MC2 on his nephew's kids' blackboard, in case you (or they) weren't aware of who the fuck he was. And even then, he will insist on singing some bullshit song about how Everything is Relative. Oh yeah, there's singing; this is kind of a musical, as something called The Nutcracker would tend to be. To my knowledge, The Nutcracker is a magical ballet with beautiful music composed by Tchaikovsky but in this film version, those sneaky crafty Toy people decide to shit on it by including retard lyrics by Tim Rice, who must have written this shit following a stroke that rendered him incapable of having talent.

Oh, that lovable Uncle Albert, with his Fuck Realism accent and his occasional breaking of the fourth wall by addressing the audience! He comes over to his nephew's house (nephew played by Withnail, house played by a soundstage in Hungary) to watch over his nephew's kids and to give them Christmas gifts. The kids are a brother & sister duo; the sister is a nice girl played by Elle Fanning and the brother is a fucking asshole played by I Don't Know And I Don't Care. This fucking asshole kid brother likes to break and destroy shit; he takes the fairy from the beautiful Christmas tree that was just put up and tries to burn it at the fireplace, just because he felt the need to, I guess. Later, Uncle Albert gives Elle a Nutcracker doll as a gift and Fucking Asshole Kid Brother breaks the jaw off of it. Elle understandably freaks out, and Fucking Asshole Kid's response is "Just a stupid toy!" and I'm like "And you're just a stupid mistake who only exists because you have wire-hanger-dodging abilities".

The way the Nutcracker doll is introduced, you'd think you were watching a horror film. The fuckin' thing looks scary with its creepy demon soul-sucking eyeballs; you half-expect Uncle Albert to tell a tale about the killer Nutcracker who comes alive to slaughter bad little boys by living up to it's name, so be good for goodness sake! At the very least, it would look right at home in a circa 1970's Dario Argento joint. It eventually grows to human size and begins to talk (voice supplied by this chick who played Moaning Myrtle in the Harry Potter movies but much much more importantly, was in Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day) and takes Elle on a magical journey of amazement and wonderment and other shit like that.

Actually, it's kinda cool because somehow the Christmas tree in the house is now over 200 feet tall and it reaches towards the starry night sky and you can climb it to the very top. On the way up, NC (that's what the Nutcracker prefers to be called and it's also a way to make all this shit more Hip and Now to the young kids today -- yo yo yo, NC is in the hizzy!) and Elle Fanning run into some suicidal Russians who happily throw themselves off the tree. I think that kinda kills the tree-climbing mood for them, so NC & Elle decide to take a flying sleigh (or something) the rest of the way. At one point, NC turns to her and remarks "You're very pretty" and the way he says it and the way he's shot when he says it, led me to believe that in another five minutes he's going to be dragging the poor girl's mutilated remains in a bag, on the way to the fireplace to be disposed of. It would later be found out that the Nutcracker Killer was responsible for a rash of similarly gruesome murders of similarly Elle Fanning-esque victims who were all similarly dressed like 80's-era Madonna.

NC doesn't do that, though. Instead, he introduces her to the Sugar Plum Fairy and for a brief moment we hear that lovely Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy song and then suddenly here comes that fucking Shit Singing again. I want to hear this beautiful music, but the assholes on-screen insist on singing these fuckin' precious lyrics over it. Shut the fuck up! Nobody shuts the fuck up; if they're not singing bullshit, they're talking bullshit. NC invites Elle to the doll house where he resides and the tenants are making a goddamn racket; you have a monkey man named Gielgud (named after the actor who would turn this shit down if he was still alive to do so), a morbidly obese gay clown (singing Pagliacci, natch), and a Jamaican kid who apparently doesn't want to work because all he does is bang on his fuckin' drums all day (NC refers to Rasta Boy as being "the least reliable" which to me sounds like code for "Blacks Be Lazy" -- another tactic of the Toy Conspiracy is to create racial strife where none exists, the better to control us).

Eventually, Elle joins NC on a quest to fight back against the Rat King's reign of terror; the Asshole Kid Brother gets involved, toys are getting burned, some motherfucker's head gets torn off of his fucking body (it's a family film!), Gielgud hurts his balls and exclaims "Oh my bananas!" (because he's a monkey, you see), there are Prince of Darkness-style mirrors that lead to the other side, and the climax involves explosions and toppling buildings and fuckin' Rat-Faced Nazi Warhol flies a helicopter that I swear was inspired by Opa-Opa from the Fantasy Zone video game. In other words, it's EXACTLY like the ballet it was based on, they didn't try updating it or making it more exciting for the kids. Sigmund Freud is in there somewhere as well, just so Elle's mom could say something like "Maybe Freud was right about..." and Withnail cuts her off with something like "Shut the fuck up about Sigmund Freud, bitch! FUCK Sigmund Freud and FUCK his coked-up bullshit!". I'm paraphrasing.

Now that I've established that this movie is Toy Propaganda comprised of lies, I will discuss its quality. It's a weird movie, really fuckin' weird; I can't say it's bad, but it sure as fuck ain't anywhere near the vicinity of Good. I'm watching this and I'm numb to it all; I see the Christmas trees and lights and hear the music, and yet I feel no holiday spirit. The characters are making lots of noise and some of the proceedings have the appearance of humor without actually being funny. The music from the original ballet is great, while the singing is ugh. The movie works best when it's scaring the shit out of you with insane moments like when the Rat King is speeding down a sewer in his Ratcycle, firing twin Gatling guns at the good guys, while his Rat Mouth suddenly transforms into a horrific mutated monster version of Rat Fangs as he screams wildly. Goddamn, that would scare any kid, except for that kid with leukemia who sells pictures online of monsters he likes to draw, because he's not scared of monsters, he loves them -- except for the monsters currently living inside his body, eating him alive.

But was that the intent, to make a horror show disguised as a family film? I don't know. Part of me thinks the writer/director wanted to make an update of a holiday classic, he wanted to make it great, something the whole family would enjoy and perhaps watch every year. Instead, somewhere along the way, his admirable goal became a bad idea and this motherfucker kept zigging when he should've been zagging. Perhaps he lost his way, and the results are Massive Fail. If that's the case, I want to say to him "How could you do me like this, Andrei Konchalovsky? You directed Runaway Train. Muthafuckin' Runaway Train! That's one of my favorite movies of all time! Sure, you also made Tango & Cash and it's a shit movie but it's a fun shit movie and I gave you props for that, but since then I don't know what the fuck happened to you, bro. I feel like Samuel L. Jackson in Jackie Brown and you're Robert De Niro. What the fuck happened, man? Your ass used to be beautiful!"

And yet part of me thinks this was all intentional, and maybe Konchalovsky wanted to compete in the WTF division with the big boys. Maybe he got tired of making respectable awesome shit like Runaway Train and Maria's Lovers and Siberiade. He got a taste of the good stuff with Tango & Cash, but then he got fired from the picture, and he's been steaming ever since. He's like "I'll show you some fuckin' unintentional good times, I'll show you what I'm made of!" in a thick Russian accent. Motherfucker then took this classic tale of The Nutcracker, threw a live grenade down its pants, and shoved it down the stairs -- the results being muthafuckin' F.U.B.A.R., big time. If that's the case, then I want to shake the motherfucker's hand for doing it this way, for quite possibly being the maddest Russian genius who ever lived since muthafuckin' Rasputin.

I was all alone in the theater during this movie, which is awesome for me but not-awesome for the film's financiers. I try not to bother with the shitty upconversion 3D flicks; only animated films look best in that format. Live-action 3D only looks good when shot with 3D cameras, like Avatar and Resident Evil: Afterlife. But since I was so interested in seeing a new Andrei Konchalovsky film play on the big screen (he made Runaway Train, people!), and since they were only showing it in 3D, I gave it a shot.

Well, it looked just as shitty as the other upconverted flicks; the characters looked unnatural, they either looked like someone was standing directly behind them or their faces looked weird because their nose is like, right in front of you and their eyes are all the way back, giving the impression that a side profile would reveal the person to have an unnaturally horizontally-elongated head. After the movie ended, after sitting through the end credits -- the best part of the film, by the way, because it's the only time you can hear Tchaikovsky's music without someone singing over it -- I left the auditorium and dumped my RealD glasses inside the recycle bin they have in front (those things cost money, you know). Those glasses sounded so lonely when they landed at the very bottom of that very empty bin.

There's a scene near the end of this film, where Elle's character slides down a chute and lands in a pile of dolls and toys. She's in the belly of the beast, the Smoke Factory. Up ahead, she sees NC (who's unconscious or dead or something) on the conveyor belt that leads to the incinerator. I hadn't been this caught up in a cinematic predicament like this since watching Andrew McCarthy try to save Kim Cattrall from a similar fate in Mannequin. Anyway, she quietly sneaks toward the conveyor belt, so as not to alert the nearby guards. The shot that follows is from behind her, as she crawls on her hands and knees with her skirt hiked up -- we're basically looking at underage girl ass now -- while on the other side of the frame we see NC and a bunch of other toys headed for fiery death. That shot? That's the movie in a nutshell.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

And if you complain once more, you'll meet an army of Milla

I've been to this particular discount theater before; I watched The Haunting of Molly Hartley and Changeling back-to-back and it only cost me like, two bucks. You have to buy your tickets at the concession stand, which means you get to stand behind the girl chatting away at the counter guy who's only listening to her bullshit in the off chance it'll increase his chance of finding out what it feels like to be inside her -- then eventually he'll notice you and charge you the $1 ticket fee + a $2 3D surcharge. What -- a 3D theatrical experience for three bucks?! Hot damn. Out-of-focus projections of scratchy film prints are the norm at these joints, but this place was showing Resident Evil: Afterlife in RealD 3D or whatever the fuck that shit's called. I'm assuming you've seen the previous 3 Resident Evil movies, as I have, so keep pace or don't. There be spoilers.

George A. Romero is right; when Zombie Armageddon arrives, it's gonna be us -- the people -- who are going to fuck it all up. But where he has it wrong is that it's not going to be because of class differences, or race differences, or the inability to forget that these monsters are no longer our friends & relatives and must be disposed with extreme prejudice. No, that's not what's going to lead to humanity's demise. You know what's gonna do it to us? No one's going to fucking agree on what to call them -- we're going to be too fucking busy having pissing matches over whether to call them zombies or infected or whatever the fuck you want to call them. While we fight over that, we're going to be too distracted to notice the army of Bad News slowly approaching us. Then it'll be too fuckin' late.

But it won't end there, because the zombies/infected/whatever are also going to be fighting amongst themselves on whether they should tear the living apart or eat them, and if they eat them, should they eat the flesh or the brains or both? And then some of the zombies/infected/whatever will be having arguments because one is shambling while the other is running and it's like Make Up Your Mind and What Kind Of Zombies Are We and I'm Not A Zombie, I'm Infected and The Fuck You Are, You're A Zombie and meanwhile you have the teleporting Fulci zombie laughing at all of them. 

So, the movie. The world's been taken over by whatever you want to call those creatures, and in the meantime, the underground headquarters for Umbrella Corporation in Japan is under attack by a group of Milla Jovovich clones. I'm looking at all of these Millas in their black skintight ass-kicking uniforms, shooting/stabbing/kicking the shit out of people, and I'm thinking to myself that while dying really sucks and I don't look forward to it (not anymore, at least), if I had to go -- well, being killed by a bunch of scowling Milla Jovoviches wouldn't be a bad way to go, especially in the Resident Evil universe, where you're very likely to get eaten alive by a pack of zombies/infected/whatever. I'd rather that the last thing I see before moving on to the next world (or eternal darkness, depending on your beliefs) be a lineup of hot angry Millas (Milli?) aiming their blazing MP9's at me, not a pack of asshole zombies.

These Millas, they were created at the end of the 3rd Resident Evil, and I don't know if they have souls and I don't care, but they sure as fuck are the same as the original Milla in every other respect, right down to the mannerisms and even the supposedly tough/funny one-liners. They're as human as human can get, minus the whole God Created Me deal (or not, depending on your beliefs). Being human beings, I'm sure they have needs, these Millas. And every available man in this post-apocalyptic world is either a zombie, a bad guy, a S.T.A.R.S. member about to valiantly sacrifice himself for the greater good, or Mike Epps. Pickings be slim. I guess what I'm trying to say here is, uh, I'm sure that in between sparring and shooting and training for future bad guy ass-kickings, they probably got to know each other very well. At least in my cut of the movie, they would. And shut the fuck up about me being lonely, I'm just saying. We should see that shit, it would be beautiful.

It doesn't happen, though. They all get blown up by some fuckin' Chad in sunglasses and long coat. Wesker's the name of this fuckin' asshole and he's probably a Gay, that's why he blew them up, because you don't blow up Milla Jovovich X 10, you just don't -- what you do is call up a couple of your bros, bring out the booze and crank up the Journey, 'cause it's Party Time. The only awesome thing Wesker does is shoot one of his own men in the head for committing the cardinal sin of questioning an order. I love when Big Bads kill their own men, it shows how evil they are.

It turns out that the real Milla, she's still alive and she almost takes the motherfucker out but she fucks up by trying to pull some "Any last words?" bullshit and you KNOW how that shit fuckin' works. There's a brief scuffle and it ends with Wesker the Chad injecting Milla with some kind of serum that neutralizes the T-Virus cells inside her, and whatever the fuck it is, it ends up sapping poor Milla of all her super-abilities and telekinetic powers. It allows Wesker to not have to worry about her fucking up his plans for World Domination, but more importantly, it allows writer/producer/director Paul W.S. Anderson to not have to worry about explaining why Milla's character doesn't just use her superpowers to get out of the many jams she's going to end up in for the next 90 minutes.

Paul W.S. Anderson is also married to Milla, and he even tried ruining her by impregnating her, but what I was left thinking about while watching all the Milla clones get shot, stabbed and blown up was if this was just an excuse to watch his wife die a bunch of times. I mean, even the happiest couples have their disagreements and maybe watching Milla #6 end up a twitching bloody mess on the floor brought a smile to his face as he remembered the time Real Milla didn't let him hang out with his mates (he's a Brit) because she's a wife and that's what wives and girlfriends do -- not let you hang out with the homies unless they're along for the ride. I'm not bitter, Stacy. I'm not. I'm sure he and fellow on-screen-wife-killing director Stuart Gordon would have quite the chat over a couple of pints (Paul's buying).

Anyway, Milla flies a Zero plane from Japan to Alaska, in search of the previous film's survivors (they left for a supposed refuge paradise called "Arcadia"), but upon landing, she finds nobody except for Ali Larter (also from the previous film). Larter can't remember shit because of some mechanical spider hooked up to her chest, and immediately begins fighting Milla, grabbing each other and rolling around on the ground, causing my special parts to feel funny. Because she's Ali Larter and not Muhammed Ali, Larter gets knocked the fuck out and Milla takes her along for a ride on her Zero. Usually when I see Milla Jovovich and Ali Larter flying, it's in my dreams and it's usually without the aid of an airplane and their destination is the city of Me. But in this case, they're flying to Los Angeles for whatever reason. They end up landing on top of a prison and hook up with the survivors inside, which comprise of an asshole movie producer, his bitch-boy intern, a Brit aspiring actress, the token Mexican Played By A Spaniard, some bald guy who I thought was the sports guy from Frasier but wasn't, and Wentworth Miller (whose full name is Wentworth Earl Miller III but was changed from his original birth name, Sir Fancy Britches Britchardson the IV).

The prison survivors are disappointed to find out that Milla and Ali are not there to rescue them, but are probably happy to see that the girl/boy ratio just rose up and gave the dudes better odds. Not only that, but what fuckin' odds! It's the end of the world and there's only 3 women with them, and they're all hot. Fuckin' A. You'd think these girls would stick together, forming some Girl Power shit, but it's all a front. When one of them ends up getting chowed down by the monsters, a minute later, one of the survivor girls is cracking wise again. It's like the poor girl never existed. Yet, when one of the guys is presumed dead, this same chick who was making her fucking stupid one-liners, she immediately gets borderline-weepy, proving once again the 2nd eternal truth that Women Secretly Hate Each Other. (For the record, the 1st eternal truth is I Don't Know Shit About Women.)

I forgot to mention another survivor; he's a basketball star and he's a likable dude for an athlete -- he's more Shaq than Kobe. He escorts Milla to the shower room and tells her that the prison has running water (even though it's cold) and I think this is probably his way of hinting to her that while she might look like Milla Jovovich, she currently smells like present-day Michael Jackson. I mean, she puts enough thought into her appearance to continue using make-up and get her hair done, but it looks like she only changes outfits between films. We're talking years here. That's something that I always think about when I watch these post-apocalyptic films, is how bad everyone must smell in these worlds. The survivors are not the lucky ones, if you ask me. 

Anyway, zombie/monster/Chad nastiness ensues, most of it in slow-motion and set to a driving tomandandy score. In addition to Wesker the Chad and the zombies, there's also these scary dudes with tentacle maws who like to burrow through walls and floor so they can get at you. If they don't get you, there's also a couple of those monster dogs that split open to reveal more teeth. Every monster in this movie has teeth to spare; there are jaws within their jaws. There's also this creepy giant dude with a makeshift axe/hammer deal; he's like 10 feet tall and doesn't talk and I don't even think you see his face in the entire movie. I wonder if Anderson forgot that he was making a Resident Evil movie and ended up dipping his toe into Silent Hill waters with that motherfucker, but it turns out that the creepy giant is an actual Resident Evil character. I don't know which game he was in, because I'm only familiar with the 1st one and part of the 2nd. What can I say, I was more into movies than video games at that point. I don't even know how true these movies are to the video games anymore, and I don't know if it even matters, because people are watching the shit out of them either way.

I remember looking up Army of Darkness in John Landis-lookalike Leonard Maltin's movie review guide; he complained that the movie became dull in between the set-pieces, which saddened me because it meant that Leonard Maltin was smoking crack. This is why when I met him in person at the American Cinematheque, I looked at him with pity as he happily held the door open for me as we made our way into a screening of Los Angeles Plays Itself. I regret not turning that screening into an intervention. Anyway, I bring up that review because I kinda feel the same way about the non-action stuff in this movie. If there were any fucks to give during the dialogue/character scenes, I couldn't find them. Thankfully, there's enough action to balance that shit out in the movie's favor.

This entry is a lot more Matrix-y than the previous films, with all the slow-mo and the 360-degree freeze-frame shit and some of the characters pulls some Agent Smith bullet-dodging shit. Now that I think about it, maybe the Resident Evil universe takes place in the Matrix. That would be a mind-blower. It amuses me to think that some 10-year-old kid (there was a little girl with her cholo father in the audience) is going to watch this movie, have his-or-her world rocked by it, and then years later he-or-she is gonna come across The Matrix (which he-or-she has never seen), pop it in, watch it, and then go "It was all right". What was Totally Fucking Awesome to you or me is going to be merely OK to him-or-her. I know this because it's happened to me with other classics I finally got around to, after having grown up watching the imitators and the inspired-bys.

Like the previous Resident Evils, all the going-ons are happened-befores -- we've seen some of these plot elements and scenarios in other movies of similar genre. Having said that, I had lots of fun with it. Sure, I've seen a hot chick in a leather outfit jump backwards out of a plate glass window and fall a great height while firing two automatic weapons before -- but this time it's two hot chicks, and they're both Milla Jovovich. The Resident Evil flicks were never the most original, or even the least original, but they're good fast times. Shit, the fuckin' games they're based on aren't exactly reinventions of the wheel, either.

Some of the action scenes feel like they were directed by Zack Snyder and The Wachowski Brother & Sister, and since I like those guys (and girl) and it's done well, I was cool with that. It's when someone tries aping a motherfucker's style and fails miserably at it that I have issues. P.W.S. Anderson's a ripoff artist, but he's a pretty good one. His movies have always been a decent night of entertainment for me, so I've no reason to hate on the guy -- except for Soldier, where Kurt Russell wins the EFC Award for Best Performance in a Piece-Of-Shit. I know it sounds weird to applaud a filmmaker for being adequate, but I feel a need to do so because this dude is straight-up HATED by so many. Don't know why, unless all the hate is for Soldier.

I'll go you one further -- I don't get the Uwe Boll hatred either. Yeah, I said that shit. I've seen, like, 3 of his movies before I learned my lesson, but while I didn't like them, I didn't think they were affronts to the artistry of cinema. Maybe it's because he made his Bad Filmmaker bones with video game movies, which are a risky endeavor unto themselves. If there's two things I've learned in this world, it's that you don't piss off a woman (sorry, Stacy) and you don't make a video game movie, because Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned or a geek disappointed. Maybe it's because his shit is so mediocre, maybe that's a bigger crime than outright incompetence; this would also explain why people happily worship Ed Wood and Tommy Wiseau, while wanting to disappear Boll and his whole family off the face of the Earth.

If people felt that way about me, I'd punish the world by making bad taste movies about fat girls and Auschwitz too; might as well play the Asshole card, which I suspect is Boll's game nowadays. This Kraut motherfucker is happily going to play the I'm A Shit Filmmaker Who Doesn't Give A Fuck part for as long as his name continues to be met with boos. And don't give me this shit about purposely making movies that suck because of some tax-shelter bullshit as being a reason to hate the guy. Unless you work for the German government or pay German taxes, you have no dog in that fight. Did you know Uwe Boll stole a fuckin' 35mm movie camera from a film school -- probably fucking over an eager film student in the process -- to make a movie? No? Well, that's because it wasn't Uwe Boll, it was Werner Herzog who did that shit. But I bet if you thought it was Boll, you were all like What A Fucking Asshole. There's a point in here somewhere, go look for it, I'm too lazy to make one.

In conclusion, I want to play video games and smoke pot with a bunch of Milla Jovovich clones.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

“Cunt” is an awesome word simply because you can say it to someone on the road after they cut you off, and they have no idea what you said because it’s hard to read my lips when I say “Cunt”. I can say it loud too -- with the windows rolled up and my lame-ass music blaring. All this person can see is that my mouth is slightly open.

It rained that night, the night they screened the 1993 John Woo film Hard Target at the Nuart, so the guy who was going to intro the movie (from wasn’t able to make it. I’d like to think lots of people were unable to make it for that reason, because even though there was a decent turnout, maybe there would had been more, but you know how it is in L.A. -- they take that term “acid rain” literally, given how scared people are to go out in it.

Anyway, this guy (I think it was this guy) intro'd the movie in the BD dude’s place, and he mentioned the rain and the effect on attendance. He also brought up how easy it was to get Universal to get a brand-spanking-new 35mm print struck for this showing; “Because it’s Hard Target” was their response and I’m still not sure if they meant it in a good way or a bad way. All I know is that I saw it back in '93 and it made a depressed lad (it was August and school was going to start in a couple of weeks) happily skip out of the theater like the fairy that I was, not knowing that it was about to get a whole lot worse before it ever gets better.

I used to complain about the attitude Marc Heuck seemed to have when intro-ing a flick at the Nuart, but I think I know why now, and I’m guessing it came from years of doing this shit. Everybody thinks they’re funny, especially at a midnight show, and unless you lay down the fucking law with these savages and pronounce every adjective and verb with a healthy amount of I Don’t Like You, they’re going to look at you like they’re better than you, and then think they can fuck with you. I noticed that kind of shit happening to the dude who was doing the intro to this movie. He was being too nice and you can sense the noxious fumes of disdain in the air coming from the audience. There was a quiz to give away some shirts for movies like Megamind and The Expendables which I think resulted in some of the audience happily putting their Ironic Douchebag hats on and being all “Yeah, I really want a fuckin’ The Kids Are All Right t-shirt“ and to that I say, Why Not? I was happy to win an Avatar shirt from one of those midnight Regency shows and that shirt is great for when I’m chillaxing around the house or washing my car. By the way, put a bullet in my head for using the word “chillaxing". In fact, give me two and then finish it off the Chinese way by billing the bullets to my family afterwards. That's what they get for raising a douche.

If you haven’t seen Hard Target, you’re probably still familiar with the story because it’s based on an old film called The Most Dangerous Game and many other updates and ripoffs of said film. There’s actually a short story of the same name that predates all the movies, but you didn’t read that shit, so don’t front. I remember the following year after Hard Target, there was another TMDG update called Surviving the Game, that’s how popular this premise is. Basically, a human being (or human beings, depending on the film) is being hunted by another human being (or human beings, depending on the film -- unless the film is Predator) for sport. That’s it, and it’s up to the filmmakers to put their own stank on it. For this one, they got John Woo fresh off the boat to tell this story as his 1st Hollywood film. Of course, once it was finished, the studio cut a lot of stuff down due to test audiences not giving a shit and then after that, the MPAA had their way with it. Welcome to America, muthafucka.

Now that doesn’t mean that Hard Target is some kind of neglected masterpiece, we’re not talking about The Magnificent Ambersons getting cut in half or The Red Badge of Courage being cut down to practically TV-drama length. No way. No way Jose. Story-wise, this is some Chuck Norris shit except Cannon Films wasn’t releasing this one, it was a Universal Picture, and since they aim higher, they hit up Kurt Russell but since he turned it down, they aimed lower and got Jean-Claude Van Damme instead. Basically, you got Lance Muthafuckin’ Henriksen running a business where rich motherfuckers pay him top dollar to set up hunts. He supplies backup, weapons, an air-tight alibi, and most importantly, the prey: combat veterans. The vets are picked from the street and they’re not hard to convince to take part in this shit because they’re homeless and they get $10k if they make it to the other side of town without, you know, getting killed.

Real quick, in case you didn’t already know how fucking awesome Lance Henriksen is -- the motherfucker let himself get set on fire for this movie. It’s actually him, it’s not some CGI bullshit, it’s not Black Dynamite’s photoshopped head on top of Spawn’s body going WAAAAANDAAAA while he burns to death, this dude has flames covering the back of his body, from the back of his legs to the back of his head. Holy shit. I don’t care if you can see the protective jelly covering him, that shit is bad-fucking-ass. The Jackass crew should make him an honorary member for that shit. Hollywood should just give him 20 million dollars as a kind of retroactive payment for previous awesome services rendered.

Anyway, the beginning of the film starts with this bearded homeless vet getting chased around New Orleans, eventually getting owned by some rich asshole with a rifle that shoots arrows. The actor playing the soon-to-be-deceased vet is also the writer of the film. Chuck Pfarrer is his name and he’s a former Navy SEAL who went on to write Navy SEALs but more importantly, he also co-wrote muthafuckin’ Darkman. They say if you survive the Nam, you get to live forever, but in my eyes, if you’re involved in Darkman, you live forever in my mind. Speaking of Darkman, muthafuckin’ Sam Raimi was one of the executive producers of this flick and his editor, muthafuckin’ Oscar-winning editor Bob Murawski was the, uh, editor.

Then you have Ted Raimi, Sam’s brother from the same mother, in a super-brief role as this flashy dude who’s out on Bourbon Street trying to have a good time with his girl before some wounded homeless vet stumbles up to him for help, effectively cockblocking him. My boy Ted’s trying to ignore him, then he’s trying to shoo him away all cool-like, but that shit ain’t working either, so he turns around and loudly declares to Smelly Bloody Vet that No, I Do Not Have The Spare Change That You Require. What’s even more awesome about that moment is that you know that flashy Ted Raimi isn’t lying, but he ain’t telling the truth, either -- sure, he doesn’t have jingle-jangle money on him (what self-respecting player would?) but you Just Fucking Know this dude’s got a fat billfold on him.

What was I talking about? Oh yeah, anyway, Yancy Butler (Red Mist's mommy from Kick-Ass) plays the daughter of the vet who got killed at the beginning of the film, driving her Z28 Camaro into The Big Easy to go look for him. Apparently, the cops in New Orleans have watched Robocop 1 & 2 and decided it was a good idea to go on strike, which is one of the reasons Henriksen and company can get away with their hunts and it’s also why Butler’s only help on the force is the director of Eve‘s Bayou. Somewhere along the way, Butler discovers her father became homeless and maybe I missed something here or I’m some kind of asshole, but the moment she finds this out, the whole audience was like BWAHAHAHAHAHA DAT’S SUM FUNNY CHIT MAN and I was like Wow, how very sad. Maybe they thought her reaction was too much? Really? I don’t know, man, let’s find out what faces you make after I tell you that someone close to you is now sleeping under newspapers in the cold, eating rotten food from the garbage cans, you fuckin’ piece-of-shit goddamn Every Movie That Plays At Midnight Is The Room To You Assholes asshole. Try throwing spoons at that shit and see if the pain goes away.

I’m not trying to be the muthafuckin’ humor police, but if anything in this movie is guffaw-worthy, it’s JCVD’s kickass combo mullet/jheri-curl, that shit is both Stamos-esque and Soul-Glo-riffic all at once. Yeah, so JCVD plays a merchant marine named Chance "My mama took one" Boudreaux, who needs to ship out soon to make some bucks, because paying for coffee with spare change sucks dick. I guess he’s kinda famous around these parts as a badass ass-kicker (yet that still doesn’t stop some asshole with a Big Stick and his Boyfriend from starting shit with him, rather than finding a bus to catch), which is why Butler pays him to help find her Daddy. By the way, is it a New Orleans thing for so many adults to refer to someone’s father as Daddy? At first I thought it was just a character thing for JCVD to do, much like how he always winks at people in this movie, maybe he just talks like that. But then Detective Eve’s Bayou solemnly refers to Butler’s father as Daddy as well. I don’t know, maybe it’s a N’awlins thing. Maybe my sister is from New Orleans, then.

Anyway, while Butler and Van Damme make like Nancy Drew and one of the Hardy Boys (after a stroke rendered him incapable of speaking clear English), Henriksen and his boys (including straight-to-video Peyton Westlake) are out looking to set up some other poor homeless vet so they can get another hunt started for another rich asshole. There's a lot of talk about killing between Henriksen and the hunters, about how it's like a drug to bring a man down. Normally, you figure it's some bullshit the screenwriter types down so the characters sound hard, and that's pretty much the case with this film's dialogue, except that the dude who wrote it, he has first-hand knowledge on this shit. Look up this dude, he's been in the shit, I bet you he's been close enough to feel a motherfucker's last breath hit his face, to paraphrase a great line from a great movie. There's something eerie about that. There's also something Pretty Fucking Cool about that, too. If this was real-life Hard Target, he'd probably be able to take out Henriksen, straight-to-video Darkman, Van Damme, and those asshole rich hunters without breaking a sweat. Then he'd probably go over to Yancy Butler and not give half-a-shit if she was married or not, he's taking her. I know he's in John Milius shape now, but that still doesn't mean he couldn't pick up a rifle and pick me off like a tick on a dog. I ain't fucking with him.

Whether it’s action or drama, John Woo only operates on one level -- absolute fuckin’ sincerity. His films are kick-ass spectacles bathed in pathos and melodrama, and if you go with it -- if you fuckin’ allow yourself to go with it -- then you are going for a fuckin’ ride. We Americans don’t want that shit, not in our action movies, at least -- we love that shit in a movie about football-playing retards like Forrest Gump or The Blind Side (aka My Pet Negro), but as far as action movies? Fuck that -- don’t fuckin’ put your peanut butter in my chocolate, Mr. Woo. I don’t think you can show something like Bullet in the Head to a contemporary American audience without them reacting to it like those studio execs in Ed Wood, when they were watching Glen or Glenda.

I shouldn't judge others; maybe it's because I grew up watching telenovelas with my parents that I can stand for some overdone dramatics. I know he overdoes it with those fuckin’ doves, but when it comes down to it, I think John Woo is too pure for the United States, especially with this generation of moviegoers. I remember some interview where John Travolta was practically in tears going on about what a beautiful man John Woo is. Michelle Yeoh once talked about how if you go over to John Woo's house for dinner, the motherfucker makes like Martin Yan and prepares you a huge delicious feast. And he makes mostly good movies. He doesn't deserve to be treated like an asshole by some guy who can quote lines from Tim and Eric, Awesome Job You're Show Makes No Sense On Purpose! And you know what? I love those fuckin’ doves. Yeah, I said that shit. Doves forever.

Supposedly, Woo wasn‘t really that hot on the script for Hard Target, or on casting JCVD in the first place (or second place), and because Woo didn’t have complete control and kinda had the balls taken from him and put away in some studio head's drawer, the end result is this weird hybrid compromise of an ass-kicking JCVD movie with the kind of movie that lingers a little too long on shots of homeless people sitting in their own filth, looking like all the hope has been sucked out of their bodies by one of those Lifeforce vampires. It gives people the giggles, is what I’m saying. I don’t know what I’m saying. I never do. Neither do you, because you're not here. Is that you, John Wayne? Is this me?

Having said that, it’s still a badass flick, especially when you compare it with the kind of action movies that played that summer of ‘93. Shit man, compare it with action movies today and it still holds up. Is it ridiculous? Fuck yeah, it’s ridiculous -- but this is mostly a ridiculous genre. You gotta remember this was back when people actually got up, went to the theater and paid money to buy tickets to see guys like Van Damme, Schwarzenegger and Chuck Norris do their thing, and they were completely sincere about it -- irony never entered the motherfucker. Back then, people went to see a Sylvester Stallone action movie because it looked like it was awesome, not because it was some kind "how quaint" throwback to a simpler time. I remember watching this with my dad and right after Van Damme stands on top of a motorcycle and shoots at the SUV like he was born to do that shit, and then rolls over the truck, falls on his ass, rights himself back up and proceeds to plug an entire clip of 9mm bullets from his Beretta into the truck and causes it to explode, my dad was like "Oh Come On". Really Dad, “Oh Come On“? Of course it’s Oh Come On! The entire action genre, fuck, the ENTIRE EXISTENCE OF CINEMA ITSELF is Oh Come On!

I've seen the longer workprint version, and I would say that's the one to catch if you haven't seen Hard Target before, except for one caveat: the final showdown between Van Dammage and Henriksen is shorter and slightly anti-climactic in comparison to what was added in the studio cut. But then again, there's a lot more overkill and bloody squibs and a higher body count and even a couple extra crashed cars and motorcycles, that it more than makes up for the end. There's also an overseas version you can get on DVD if you have a multi-region player; it's basically the NC-17 version of the studio cut (still missing the ear cutting, though). Wow. I just realized I've seen this movie 4 times already: theater in '93, VHS workprint in '99, uncut DVD in '05, and now theater again in '10. What the fuck, I'm like a fuckin' Hard Target historian in this motherfucker.

After the movie, I overheard the intro dude talking to Marc Heuck in the lobby about, I'm guessing, his hard time doing the intro. Heuck said something like "sometimes it can be a meathead convention" and either he was referring to the audience or maybe a bunch of Rob Reiner lookalikes show up to these midnight screenings sometimes. Some other dude then looked at Marc and nodded, which I guess was his way of agreeing or maybe it was some kind of prelude to a threat, I don't know, what do I know, I'm drinking free water while checking out the cute concession girl with the low voice over here.

Anyway, if you like movies where lots of people get lots of holes put in their bodies in slow-motion, see The Killer. But if you don't like looking at Asians, then see Face/Off instead. But if you saw that one already, and/or you've always wanted to see that Quaker Oats-eating, Cocoon-using, Diabeetus-suffering motherfucker put arrows into anyone who isn't Chance, then see Hard Target.

Friday, November 19, 2010

In the quiet of the night is when the snake is in the crawlin'

There's this surgeon in Germany who specializes in separating Siamese twins. His name is Dr. Heiter and I bet during one social function with his fellow surgeons, some fat blowhard made some kind of drunken comment to Dr. Heiter about how it's much harder to put things together rather than separate them, and that overall it's easier to destroy rather than to create. Goddamn. Can you believe that shit? If that was me in that fictional scenario that I just made up, I'd throw my fuckin' drink in that asshole's face. I bet the other surgeons laughed with Fat Blowhard after he said that shit, too. Meanwhile these guys spend their weekdays making overweight people look thinner and old people look like they're in a permanent state of surprise -- who are they to judge and make those kind of comments? Fuck man, separating Siamese twins is incredibly difficult and risky; Dr. Heiter is saving some goddamn lives with his expert techniques, give this motherfucker his due. Like John McClane in the first Die Hard -- Dr. Heiter was pretty fucking unappreciated.

I bet you that shit comes brimming to the surface with the few people he's close to; if he had a wife, she probably heard his bitching about it day in and day out. Poor woman probably tried to set up date nights with the guy, and then he'd come home complaining again about the crack Dr. Braunschweiger made, then walk straight to bed -- leaving the poor lady in her sexy-but-not-slutty outfit standing over a candlelit dinner in the dining room that he all but ignored. Eventually, he'd notice the cracks in the marriage and decide to take an extended leave from work in an attempt to fill those cracks (both figuratively and literally), but by then it was too little, too late. At least their one kid (daughter Savina, 22) was already out on her own, living in the U.S. and working for some kind of liberal organization, so at least they weren't creating a broken home for the little girl by divorcing. They were just gonna make it a little difficult for her to visit them, come the holidays.

So my main man Heiter is living all alone now, in his nice house in the woods. Even with his 3 awesome Rottweilers to keep him company, it can get pretty lonely out there. He needs something to occupy his time and it's not like he could just come back to work, those fuckin' assholes would just give him shit about his stupid job destroying his marriage -- they're Germans, after all, they can get pretty dark in their humor. And he can't do the Mountain Man thing either, he's not built for that kind of shit. A man can only play with his air rifle and shoot darts into the trees for so long. He does have a neighbor, some old retired dude a few minutes away from his pad, but he creeps Heiter out. Every time the doc pays him a visit, the old dude immediately wants to show him some new porn he downloaded on his computer. Fuck, I hate that shit. I dig porn as much as the next masturbator, but I get kinda uncomfortable when a friend (or in my case, a friend of a friend) is all eager to show me an AVI file compilation of nothing but chicks getting jizzed in the face. Hey Bro, Isn't That Awesome? he would ask while putting his arm around me in brotherhood, while spilling his beer. Living around people like that, it's no wonder Dr. Heiter eventually started hating on human beings.

Being lonely and mad and bored is probably what led to Dr. Heiter's idea of attaching his dogs together in a sort-of doggy train -- a Doggy Centipede, if you will. It would take a lot of time to plan and a lot of time to perform, but in the end, it would be worth it. He could invite his asshole colleagues over and show them, finally show those piece-of-shit swinefuckers that he's not just about separating shit, he can put shit together and then some. The dogs, though, I don't think they had the heart to live like that, it was enough for them to have to deal with getting neutered and having their doggie tails clipped -- now they would have to live attached to each other? Sure, they're used to sniffing another dog's ass, but permanently? Fuck that shit, you never go anus-to-muzzle!

I figured they killed themselves and that ended up crushing poor Dr. Heiter; the guy is now sitting in his sleek ultra-clean Mercedes, parked on the side of a road, choking up over a picture of his beloved 3-Dog much like that motherfucker in The Big Blue cried over a photo of some fuckin' dolphin. He spots a dirty trucker pull up behind him and walk over toward some bushes with a roll of toilet paper (I bet you that skeezy fuck isn't even going to wash his hands afterward, he's just gonna keep on truckin' with those shitty hands and personally hand-deliver vegetables to a supermarket), and that's where Heiter gets the idea to take his Three Times The Fun plan to the next level.

Anyway, that's where this movie starts, this movie called The Human Centipede (First Sequence) and after the doc trank-darts the truck driver in mid-shit, we're next introduced to a couple of American chicks who are spending Daddy's money by vacationing through Germany in their Let's Dance And Turn Down Guys After They Buy Us Drinks world tour. Driving down a dark road in the woods, their car ends up getting a flat and because they're party girls, they have no fuckin' clue as to how to change a tire. The car engine might as well disappear, for all the good it'll do now. Heiter's perv neighbor drives up and rather than offer some help, he starts talking mad shit in German to them, some pervy sexual shit, and why not? It's not like they'd understand. You got these young party chicks, and you're an old perv who ain't getting any, so have your fun. He ends up driving away, but I bet you when he goes home, plops down on the recliner, flips on the boob tube and finds Abel Ferrara's Bad Lieutenant playing on Sky Deutschland, he's gonna see that scene where Harvey Keitel pulls over the 2 girls and go "Awww, that's what I should've done with them!"

The girls stumble around the dark German woods, looking for someone to help them call a tow truck or something. I guess there was probably a deleted scene during this sequence where they passed by this really pretty dark-haired girl going the opposite way, soaking wet, and they asked her if she could give them a ride. This chick, turns out her name is Suzy and she's all "I was about to ask you the same thing" and then she starts rambling on about some fuckin' ballet school and witches and You're Going To Meet Death Now...The Living Dead but then the two party girls start giggling and are all like "Whatever, drunky" and they leave her standing there like a dumbass. Whatever, Suzy ended up getting the last laugh because she eventually found a small inn a few miles away. The innkeepers took her in, heard her story, and offered her a warm meal while she waited for the authorities. Upon noticing that the meal consisted of baked white fish and a glass of red wine, Suzy was like "Can't I just have some pasta and a Coke up in this muthafucka?"

So yeah, the two girls. They end up finding my homeslice Dr. Heiter's pad, and he lets them in, because really, who doesn't want to turn down the possibility of writing a Penthouse Forum letter that for once isn't full of shit? Also, he wants to get started on that Human Centipede deal, because that's the title of the movie. I don't see anything wrong with this, because the way I see it, these girls don't scream Making A Difference In The World -- one of them would probably forget to use the pill one drunken night and end up pregnant and the dude who knocked her up will support her, so she's taken care of. As for the other girl, she'll probably end up as one of those cute dental assistants who'll silently judge me because of my bad oral hygiene while the dentist points out cavity #12 and informs me that my insurance will only cover, like, 20 percent of my bridge. Anyway, Dr. Heiter's got two girls, and since it didn't work out with the filthy trucker, he's now just one Japanese dude away from getting the Human Centipede in full effect -- that is, if a couple of cops who look like they should be roadies for Scorpions don't fuck up his shit by sticking their snouts where they don't belong.

I finally caught up with this flick on Netflix Instant Streaming aka The Greatest Invention Of The Past 50 Years. I love Netflix Instant, and if I could marry it, I would. I would go through the proper channels to make the marriage official, and they'd ask "Is Netflix Instant a man or a woman, because if it's a man, we can only recognize your union as a domestic partnership" and I'd tell them that Netflix Instant is not only a woman, but if they made a movie about her life, she would be portrayed by the equally lovely & adorable Amy Adams.

Maybe it's the lowered expectations, but I was surprised by how much I ended up liking it. Sure, it doesn't stand up to much scrutiny; you'll start to see all the flaws and question some of the bullshit things that happen simply because it was written that way in the script. But then again, questioning the logic in a movie about a guy who attaches 3 people through their asses and mouths so that they share the same digestive tract might be considered, at best, a useless action. The guy who wrote and directed it, Tom Six, might be some Panama hat wearing douche, but the motherfucker's talented. He definitely has a future making generic serial killer movies for Hollywood, should he decide to go that way. Visually, the film has a great, clinically sterile feel to it (as a film about a surgeon should, I suppose); lots of super slow dolly shots and low-angle perspectives to always keep you in that disturbed mood, waiting for something to happen -- and it will.

Aside from a couple moments, this wasn't really a gory movie, I've seen much worse. It didn't make me gag or anything, but there were some wince-inducing moments, much like seeing some douchebag skater boy eat shit (not literally) on Spike's Most Amazing Videos would make me wince. It plays more on what you're imagining rather than what you actually see, it's surprisingly restrained for a movie called The Human Centipede, even when someone has to eat shit (literally). One thing that I expected and was not looking forward to was 90 minutes of muffled cries of pain and anguish, and thankfully, that's not the case here. It's more like 20 minutes of un-muffled cries of pain and anguish followed by 45 minutes of the aforementioned muffled cries of pain and anguish. Because of this, only some of my high was killed, not all of it.

The 2 actresses playing the party girls were not very good, at least for the first half of the movie when they're doing the Woo! I'm A Party Girl thing; they got better as the movie went along and their predicament went from bad to worse to I Get It God, You Hate Me. The guy who played the front of the Human Centipede was better than the girls, acting-wise, probably because most of his acting consisted of doing that rapid-fire yelling/growling the Japanese do that sounds very scary/intimidating when the men do it, but super-adorable when the women do it. He has a pretty good moment near the end, where he starts wondering aloud that perhaps he deserves this horrible fate (worse than death, I tells ya!) for all the fucked up shit that he's done in his life.

What really helps this from becoming 90 minutes of pure hopeless misery and despair is the awesome motherfucker who plays Dr. Heiter. Dieter Laser is his name, and that's an apt last name for him, because it's like he used a laser to pinpoint my heart. I know that's some Gene Shalit shit to write, but the guy's retiring soon and I'm trying to get his job in an attempt to follow my own star. Anyway, I hope Mr. Laser (which I pronounce the same way Dr. Evil pronounces the word) wins the Academy Award next year for Most Awesome Guy In A Movie. He manages to be scary and funny while still maintaining 100 percent believability and sincerity. I mean, he's doing some mad scientist shit, and he's certainly wearing some mad scientist clothes, but the dude never gets total Dr. Frankenstein on us. OK fine, he has this one moment where he's like "I DID IT!" but shit man, what else was he supposed to do, quietly nod? It's a Human Centipede!

This guy, Laser? They oughta cast him in a buddy movie with Christopher Walken. There could be a scene where Walken cooks 3 chickens and Laser attaches them together from end-to-end. Then both of them can turn towards the camera and give a wink and then all of us in the audience laugh and then some Ke$ha song begins to blare on the soundtrack and then the end credits swoosh onto the screen in a big fat stupid font -- Written & Directed by Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer -- and then a Browning M2 .50 Caliber machine gun is brought down from the ceiling and BOOMBOOMBOOMBOOMBOOM proceeds to turn us all into obliterated waves of splattered cherry pie because we deserve it.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A fake country-music song by Robert Altman is one that feels way too real for the hatefully sober and sensitive

After picking up my ticket this past Saturday night for the 5th Annual Dusk-to-Dawn Horrorthon at the American Cinematheque at the Aero Theatre, a zombie walked up to me. Rather than begin the expected process of chowing down on my flesh or tearing open my skull to get at the chewy brainy goodness inside (joke's on him, I say), he was actually very friendly with me. Either that or he wasn’t in the mood for Mexican. He told me about the 35mm print of Fright Night, and how great it looked, and I told him about how I’d only seen it twice -- once when I was 6, and the second time when I was 13 (around 5 am on Cinemax on a Friday morning). It was then that I discovered of my rare ability to bore the shit out of anybody, even the undead. So I went inside and sat down.

Before showtime, the audience did what they could to distract themselves from the acoustic droning of some morose self-fellating-songwriter bullshit music coming from the speakers. Even the zombie made a comment to the audience about it, the kind of annoyed criticism disguised as a good-natured joke. I wanted to locate this depressed Cat Stevens-wannabe singer, throw him out of a goddamn window, and watch him fall to his death as he flails his oversized arms like Dick Jones at the end of Robocop. I could imagine Elliot Smith listening to this shit on that fateful day, while his girlfriend was in the shower. Hey, I like a lot of lame shit too, but I'm not inflicting it on anyone -- headphones are my friends. Texas is the reason why the President is dead. It soon dawned on me that we were listening to acoustic covers of songs by The Misfits. And I like The Misfits. Wow.

The music finally ends and Grant comes out to do the intro. I haven’t been to the Aero since ‘07, and it was nice to return and to see a familiar face like Grant doing his thing. Yet somewhere along the way, the guy appeared to trade his McConaughey-esque demeanor for one more befitting of Al Pacino, post-Dick Tracy. The microphone worked and so did the speakers, but it didn’t matter, Grant was going to bring you Death Wish At 120 Decibels. Every word from his mouth was never spoken below the volume of Total Fucking Carnage and Nuclear Fucking Weapons as he paced the stage back and forth, up and down, like some dynamite big-shot comedian in the 70’s. I will hopefully never witness the sight of Dane Cook and Robin Williams having a night of wild, sweaty unprotected man-sex, only taking breaks in between orgasms to suck in Scarface-sized piles of coke and to watch that scene in There Will Be Blood when Eli Sunday was giving his fire-and-brimstone sermon -- but after tonight, I certainly know it would sound something like what we in the audience experienced.

Then came the first of many giveaways; the man hurtling bags of Reese’s Pieces, Tootsie Pops, and DVD copies of Door Into Silence at people like he was goddamn Nolan Ryan. You want free prizes? Be careful what you wish for, assholes. It was scary. Some guy and his date turned towards me and we shared a WTF look between us, worried that the next prize would have our name on it. You never hear the bullet that kills you, which is why my eyes widened as I turned back to see a DVD of Nightmare Castle heading towards me at 110 mph. It was by the purest grace of God that I managed to avoid having it smash through my head; I ducked and it hit the seat instead, bouncing back to the floor where I immediately dove for it and snatched it away before my partner in fear had a chance (sorry buddy, every man for himself).

Based on what I experienced at the ’07 Horrorthon and this recent one, it appears to be a tradition to play random clips and short films created specifically for the event between films, rather than movie trailers. The short films were by Mr. Damon Packard; they were a couple clips from T.J. Hooker where Packard made fun of the endless credits that continue way past the start of the show by providing his own. One involved some poor girl having a bad trip on the high school roof, the other involved Alex Rocco and his boys shooting the fuck out of a van that Shatner and Adrian Zmed were inside of, but thankfully they survived and Shatner put that Moe Greene motherfucker in his place. The non-Packard clips included:

-- a commercial for Red Roof Inn that past attendees of the Horrorthon are familiar with by now, everyone joining in with "multi-tasking" or "remote"

-- a marmot trying to catch Alan's attention

-- a really badly acted skit on the show Homework Hotline, couldn't find that one, but I'll link the one that played previous Horrorthons.

-- constant loops of what appeared to be a commercial advertising various food products

-- some song from some fuckin’ kids show about juggling and how you have to go about it “one by one” or “step by step” or something

-- a report on ABC 7 news about coyotes prowling the streets; some lady saved her dog from being taken away by one by threatening to “Eat. It.”

-- another quick snippit of a ABC 7 news report about how apparently the British like to fuck.

-- this clip from a movie called Going Bananas

-- a quick 5-second commercial spot begging the viewer to stop using dirty catheters

-- “Kids Talkin’ About Death” or something like that, where kids did just that. This was either real or some fuckin’ Wonder Showzen type of shit. One kid talked about how screwdrivers reminded him of death because they can be used as a stabbing weapon.

-- a clip from some 70’s or 80’s television show where this old guy who had Vaudeville written all over him would douche up the first class section of an airplane with his neverending joking and mugging and flirting. This is the kind of guy who makes it a point to be the life of the party, yet he probably has an alcoholic wife at home and a daughter who doesn’t want to talk to him. Anyway, Vaudeville ends up getting a stroke, which is God’s way of saying How Dare You Make Lemonade Out of Life’s Lemons How Bout You Chew On This Muthafucka, I'm God Nigga, Don't You Dare Enjoy Your Shit Life.

-- a video called “Strong on Crime” hosted by an ultra-intense former law enforcer named Sanford Strong. He extolled the virtues of having plans in mind to avoid possible crimes being done to you and your family. The main rule he tries to instill in his rapt audience -- while wildly over-gesticulating at every given opportunity -- is “My safety first, their feelings second”. In other words, if you’re in a car and some dude walks up to you asking if you can give him a jump because his battery died, you hit the fuckin’ gas and leave the motherfucker. Who cares if he’s assed out, he could’ve been a carjacker trying to fool you. I kept expecting him to Shake The Crime Stick, but alas, he did not.

If there were any more clips, I don’t remember them, which is odd considering that these clips were played over and over again, between every film, all night long. Sometimes they’d repeat the same clip, and then repeat it again, and then repeat it again, and then repeat it again. It was like they felt that after hooking us up with free Peet’s Coffee and Monster Energy Drinks and tea and Oreos and chocolate chip cookies and chips and pretzels and deli sandwiches and Little Caesars Pizza (did I mention this was all free?) in addition to the free DVD’s and candy being fired at us during the breaks, lots of stuff, all for free -- we also deserved some kind of PSYOPS style of punishment for putting them out like that, so that by the end of the night we would be brainwashed enough to be subservient to them. It must have worked, because right before the last movie, Grant had the zombie return with some more DVD’s and told the audience that the zombie would only give them to those who begged enough for them, and like good little sheep, we did. And that’s how I scored my 2nd DVD of the night, Psychomania.

The first film of the evening was Fright Night, starring Herman’s Head and Marcy D’Arcy. Herman thinks there’s a vampire living next door to him, but I think he’s just jealous because the new neighbor is played by that smooth motherfucking Chris Sarandon. Goddamn, this guy’s awesome, he’s got that 80’s good-looking cool about him with his nice 1985 clothes and his awesome tape deck stereo system taking up a couple shelves. He’s also got this tall goofy-looking dude who reminded me of homeboy from Truth or Dare?: A Critical Madness living with him, and you figure these dudes probably live a life of tagging chicks at the same time from both ends while high-fiving each other.

Unfortunately, Herman’s Head is right; Sarandon is a vampire and it’s not easy convincing anyone -- not his girlfriend Marcy D’Arcy, nor his future gay-porn-acting best friend -- about the poor hot prostitutes who are walking into his neighbor’s house in miniskirts and high heels, but exiting in garbage bags. So he goes to see awesome Roddy McDowall, playing a dude who’s like Vincent Price or Peter Cushing except his film career hit a skid somewhere and he’s now hosting a local horror movie show on television. This was a fun film back in the day, when I saw it on pan-and-scan video, and many years later, I think it’s actually gotten better with age and is even more fun to watch. The movie’s over 20 years old, making it old-school, but I wonder if it felt old-school even back in ‘85. It’s funny and scary, and it’s beautifully shot too (the print looked great).

It’s also realistically acted, these actors (not to mention Tom Holland’s writing/directing) make the characters come off like real human goddamn beings; Herman’s Head isn’t some annoying asshole prick, he’s just overly-curious about shit. Marcy D’Arcy is understandably frustrated with the motherfucker for concentrating on his neighbors when she’s finally ready to put out, but she tries to be civil about shit when he starts crying Vampire, she doesn‘t immediately get all Get Out You Crazy Creep. Gay Porn Guy is the comic-relief nerd who seems content with his status in high-school life, but later that smooth Chris Sarandon calls him on it, and he’s right -- it’s all a protective shield from being ostracized for being different, for being a weirdo, and that’s when the people in the audience start giggling because you can look at that scene as the Gay City Mouse opening up a new world of acceptance for Gay Country Mouse. Even the vampire isn’t above such human frailties; I really dug how his character wasn’t so much Evil as he was just a real asshole -- and you can tell he enjoys being an asshole. He’s at peace with what he is; he has to kill people in order to drink their blood and survive, why should he put up any airs like he’s a decent dude? Decency left the building a long fuckin’ time ago. Might as well go with it, play it to the hilt, and enjoy yourself.

During the 1st break, I saw that someone showed up dressed as the dog from Beethoven. What a fantastic costume, I thought. Very realistic. Then I got closer and saw that it was actually a real St. Bernard, with a harness that declared it a “Safety Dog” or "Service Dog" and asking us humans not to pet her so she can do her job. A couple of people Aww’d and the owner said it was OK to pet her and then gave the dog (Phoebe, I believe) the command to chill. Phoebe wasn’t a seeing-eye dog; I didn’t hear all the details but she was needed to help with another kind of disability the owner suffered from. Phoebe eventually rested on her side and stuck her paw out for one of us to shake. Phoebe knew not to pass up a good thing, so she rolled onto her back so that her paws were up in the air, happily accepting belly rubs from people. Phoebe the Dog was awesome.

The 2nd film of the night was Don’t Look in the Basement, a 70’s film that takes place in a sanitarium out in the middle of nowhere (an old 2-story house, actually) where all the doors are opened and unlocked and the patients are allowed to roam freely. This is the kind of bullshit hippie idealism that gets a motherfucker killed, and that’s exactly what happens to the head doctor when he hands an axe to a patient and goads the poor schmuck into chopping wood and then makes the mistake to turn around to brag to a nurse about how awesome he is.

Since the asylum is down 1 head doctor and 1 nurse (who tried to quit but was then fired, the hard way), the head nurse is now in charge (and the only staff member left). Why she won’t call the authorities and tell them what happened is entirely up to you to figure out, you’re smart. What she didn’t expect was the arrival of Hello Nurse, this hot young blonde who was hired about a week before the head doc got the literal axe. Hello Nurse should be a model or a porn star but she’s probably got this stupid I Want To Help People deal going on, so she’s doing this kind of gig. She meets the various nutters -- there’s some asshole who looks like the offspring of Richard Simmons and Marissa Ribisi when she was in Dazed and Confused, a nymphomaniac who can‘t get any play from anyone, some asshole who either used to be a judge and still thinks he is or never was one and thinks he is, some chick who thinks her doll is a baby, some John Coffey Magical Negro type who has a thing for popsicles, and I don’t remember who else. It’s a crazy place filled with crazy people.

Basement was a pretty decent film, one that I don’t think deserved as many catcalls and comments throughout the running time. I mean, it definitely has it’s WTF moments and flaws, but I think the problem here (one that continued throughout the night) was that those weird pre-show deals with the ALAN ALAN ALAN marmot and the repeated catheter commercials pretty much set the tone for the evening, and that tone was Let Your Douchebag Flag Fly, Baby. You rile up the audience to the point that they’re singing along with the juggling song or going “Remote!” and “Mulllllti-tasking!” and then repeat the shit ad nauseum? Of course they’re going to carry that behavior over to the movies themselves. I think the audience eventually started going with Basement near the end, when it all came together and the main character realizes what we kinda already guessed about an hour ago. The laughter and cheering at this point no longer came from an ironic standpoint, it came from a Hey I Liked That standpoint. Also, the nurse was very pretty.

The 3rd film, Candyman, I caught once during Thanksgiving weekend in ‘94 with my cousins and I dug it. 16 years later in 35mm, I’m going as far as to declare it a goddamn genuine horror classic. Holy shit, was this a good movie! If you’re like “Whaaa?”, then you’re probably thinking of the sequels. Forget those sequels, the 2nd one was ehhh but at least it got Bill Condon’s career going -- it led to him making Gods and Monsters and to us watching Jennifer Hudson sing her goddamn fat heart out in Dreamgirls (a scene I am still teased about to this day for digging). The first film, on the other hand, aged like a fine wine -- and the cork on the bottle is Ted Raimi's brief appearance as a motorcycle jacket-wearing badass. His HEY MAN! I AIN'T GOT NO CHANGE, MAN! scene in Hard Target is still my favorite thing he's done.

Some people think composer Philip Glass is a piece-of-shit no-talent and I am not one of those people. I think he’s awesome. Maybe I’m a fan because I’m like the Philip Glass of conversations; always repeating myself, always restating statements that I had already stated many times previously, the same shit, the same words, over and over in these fuckin’ arpeggios of pointless stories and anecdotes I tell. It's a similar reason as to why I won't eat crab, I'm a Cancer. That makes no sense to me either. Anyway, the audience seemed to dig Glass too, because they applauded when his name came up (they also applauded Clive Barker’s name, and yet, only a smattering for writer/director Bernard Rose).

That fine Virginia Madsen plays a graduate student, which is an awesome way to not have to go look for a job, besides, her man Xander Berkeley is paying the bills with his job as a college professor. Anyway, she and the future director of Eve’s Bayou are trying to go out and finish their thesis on urban legends, basically saying that they’re all bullshit because they don’t have any sister’s boyfriend’s uncle’s roommate telling them not to look in a mirror and say “Candyman” five times otherwise Sammy Davis Jr. comes out and guts you like you were a fish who said something about his eye. 

There are jump scares and the occasional gory kill, but what I really dug about Candyman was the increasingly hypnotic feel it had going on (Philip Glass' score! Tony Todd's voice! Virginia Madsen's face! And titties!) as the film went on. I’m also a sucker for movies that put the main character through that horrible, maddening I’m Not Crazy, Why Won’t Anyone Believe Me peril too. It’s also got some things to say about class/race differences; you got a pretty white girl like Madsen traipsing through the projects of Cabrini Green without a care in the world, like she never heard the last part of Naughty by Nature’s “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright (Ghetto Bastard)” before. Then you have the whole backstory about Candyman, a real fucked-up tale about the son of a former slave who grew up with money (daddy invented some kind of shoe-making thing) and attended the best schools, yet made the mistake of getting some white girl pregnant, and you know what that means. You know what that means. We wouldn’t have a movie otherwise. At the very least, you gotta give it up to Madsen and that badass Tony "You know how this shit works?” Todd for allowing live fuckin’ bees put into their mouths and all over their faces. What the fuck, that’s some shit you gotta pay me extra for, or at least give me the weekend off.

As I helped myself to some free Little Caesars Pizza and pocketed extra cans of Monster in my coat, I noticed two pretty girls standing together, one dressed in all white, the other dressed in all black. The only thing betraying their color-coordination was their brown shoes. I also noticed the pretty girl working behind the counter, wearing a black leather jacket. It was tough, but between those 3, I designated the leather jacket concession stand girl as my Imaginary Girlfriend for the night. Shut up, asshole, I know I’m lonely, I don’t need you snickering that shit behind my back.

The 4th film was Bloody Birthday, which I've seen before and I’m not really that big a fan of. It’s OK for what it is, I guess, but I hate movies about evil kids killing people, probably because they always end with them getting away with it while smiling and because I think the idea of “evil kids” is fuckin’ redundant at best and annoying at worst. Little bastards. I always want to see them get the shit beat out of them. I know he's not an evil murdering kid, but I loved that scene in Friday when that bike-riding asshole kid gets his ass whipped by Chris Tucker. HA HA HA.

So we have 3 kids, all born at the same time during a solar eclipse, and ten years later on their birthday they suddenly start to indiscriminately kill motherfuckers. Sheriff Daddy? You dead, sucka. Hot Sister? No prom for you, hussy. School teacher? School’s out forever, bitch. They’re like junior mafia hitmen, they’ll take what they can get and make it work. If they can’t shoot you with a gun, they’ll strangle you with jump rope or bash your head in with a shovel or impale you through the fuckin’ eyeball with a goddamn arrow. The coldest badass of the group would probably be the nerd in glasses and Members Only jacket, but my fave would have to be the blonde girl, she was really creepy. The Blues Brothers dodged a bullet with that girl. Anyway, this was a good-looking 35mm print and if you like seeing adults getting owned by kids, then by all means, acquire the print, unspool it and rub it all over your naked body. Me, I prefer Home Alone, even though it's sorely lacking in Julie Brown nudity, which Bloody Birthday has.

There was an on-stage skit between movies, where a booming voice on the speakers called Grant out for his behavior, then they crowned the evening’s Mr. Horrorthon. Some guy was pulled out of the audience and put into a robot-like costume made of cardboard boxes and decorated with flyers and candy boxes (I think, I was pretty far from him). Then Grant sang the Mr. Horrorthon song while the winner showed off his unwieldy costume and took the box of prizes that came with the honor.

Hey, real quick -- Hooray For Boobies. I’m just now remembering that all the films, or damn near all the films, featured titties. I know we can see naked breasts on the internet now, shit, that’s probably the tamest thing one can look up on the Internet, nowadays. But what Mr. Skin and all these other assholes fail to realize is that there’s something magical about seeing jugs projected onto the silver screen in 35mm. It’s a different thing altogether, even different from seeing them in real life, where you would then fumble with them and constantly apologize while she looks at you with disdain and boredom, right before wondering aloud whether or not she should try being a lesbian. Wait, that's just me? OK, fine.

The 5th film was Phantasm and this is where I invite hisses and booing after admitting to never having seen it, nor any of the sequels. I don’t know, it just worked out that way. I did see one scene from Phantasm III on cable where Reggie Bannister meets up with these two militant black chicks, and looks-wise, one was the Mary and the other was the Rhoda -- and the Mary immediately gets killed off! I was like Fuck That Bullshit and changed it to whatever was on USA’s Up All Night instead. I was a different person back then -- I hadn’t seen the original Phantasm yet, I did not have the proper respect.

So this kid wants to know what the fuck is going on at the local mausoleum; there’s coffins minus the bodies, small Jawa-like motherfuckers are running around, and there’s this scary old man roaming the place and picking up occupied coffins like they were paperweights. He tries to get help from both his Knight Rider-looking brother and some dude who drives an ice cream truck (played by the above-mentioned Reggie Bannister) who's a friend of the family.

From what I understand, the ice cream guy gets to do a lot more in the other Phantasms, and if it’s true about the shit he pulls off in those flicks, then I consider him a blue-collar badass and that makes him A-OK with me. Ash from the Evil Dead series started off the same way, paying the rent by working at the local S-Mart, and while he was a little bitch in the first one, he becomes All Man in the 2nd and a fuckin’ God by the 3rd. Then you have big-rig driver Jack Burton in Big Trouble in Little China, totally out of his element when introduced to Lo Pan, the Wing Kong, and the Chang Sings, but by the end of the movie, when the chips came down, he did his part and paid his dues in spades (the check was in the mail, remember?).

Phantasm might not make the most sense storywise, but it’s got a very unsettling feel from beginning to end and that is what ends up working for it. There’s an odd, otherworldly feel to the proceedings; everything is so fucking quiet and spare and underpopulated, there’s hardly any music (which is moody and subtle for the most part) and even the brightly-lit daytime scenes feel dark (if that makes any sense). Plus, you never know for sure what’s a dream and what isn’t -- something weird and/or fucked up will happen to someone, and then it’ll cut to the next scene with that same character going about his business, like nothing ever happened, never acknowledging what happened before. It’s like the director had an outright religious hatred of those moments in movies where a person wakes up in a cold sweat after a nightmare, he hates that shit and he sure as fuck won’t have that shit in his movie. I like that.

Writer/director Don Coscarelli seems like a really nice guy, but with Phantasm, it’s almost like he’s sitting behind you in the movie theater, smacking you in the back of the head once he senses any confusion in you, screaming “Whaddya want, you want me to draw ya a fuckin’ roadmap? Get da fuck outta heah!” and then he storms off, angry at your stupid wanting-to-be-spoon-fed ass. On his way out, the ghost of Lucio Fulci looks down at Coscarelli, smiles, and declares “Thatsa my boy!” even though Fulci was still alive at the time Phantasm was released. This was a pretty fuckin' awesome flick, perfect viewing in the dark at 5 in the morning. Can't wait to be disappointed with the sequels.

They played a video of our zombie co-host shambling around the Santa Monica Pier, then we moved on to the last film of the evening, Cemetery Man (or Dellamorte Dellamore everywhere else) starring Rupert Everett and directed by the guy unfortunate enough to be in the car with the chick that pukes her intestines out in The Gates of Hell (aka The One Where The Chick Pukes Her Intestines Out), even though you'd think it was directed by Peter Jackson or Sam Raimi with all the inventive camera movement going on.

Before he became the Gay Friend Of The Stars (from 1997-2001), Everett played the caretaker of a cemetery that's plagued with the pesky problem of the undead. It seems that some of the new inhabitants rise from their graves after 7 days, which means that Everett has to either shoot them in the head or split it apart with a shovel to put them back to bed. When we meet Everett's character, he's already been long used to having to deal with this bullshit, and the only reason he hasn't taken this Living Dead problem with the mayor is that filling out the paperwork is a bigger pain in the ass than just shooting the zombies. Plus, he's afraid if this issue becomes public, they'll close the cemetery down and he'll be out of a job. If that doesn't make things worse, his partner is some fat bald mongoloid that made me feel like an asshole because everyone else in the audience is going Awww when he grunts something and I'm like You Disgusting Piece Of Shit Get Outta My Face.

It took me a while, but eventually I was able to settle in with this one. A big part of it is that Cemetery Man's one of those movies that doesn't have anything resembling a Three Act structure -- not that it's required, I'm just saying that in some of those cases, the movie ends up feeling kinda aimless and all over the place; just a string of random vignettes that end up making the movie feel much longer than the running time. Once I told myself not to look for a plot (besides, there's plenty of plots all over the cemetery), I was able to sit back and trip out on Everett, because ultimately this is a character piece, and what an interesting character he is! He's got women problems (all the women he gets involved with are played by the same actress) and somewhere along the way, it gets kinda heady when he starts wondering what's the point of it all -- his life, his job, the world in general. The way he decides to deal with this existentialist funk is pretty fucked up, but thankfully, the movie plays it in a mostly comedic sense (and a pitch black sense, at that).

This was one of those flicks that I liked, but didn't love -- yet as the days go on, I find myself thinking about it more and more, and my opinion of it growing higher as a result. I'll probably check this one out again. It's gross, absurd and funny -- but it's also really fucking sad. At least to me it was. The final shot of the movie kinda fucked me up with the thoughts it left filling into my empty head, especially given some recent shit that's gone on in my life. Listen, Cemetery Man, I mean no disrespect, you're a good movie and I know Martin Scorsese is a big fan of yours, but fuck yo' mama.

The lights came up, and the 5th annual Dusk-To-Dawn Horrorthon came to an end. It was now Halloween morning. There were free donuts in the lobby to accompany the coffee and tea. It was a good time, even with Grant's over-the-top This One Goes To 11 hosting. Whatever. I'm just being a wet blanket; nobody else seemed to have a problem with it -- aside from the guy sitting next to me with his date. Maybe I'm just becoming one of those old guys telling you kids to keep it down (I already told you kids to get off my lawn). Sigh. Whatever. When it comes down to it, I enjoyed 6 movies (well 5 out of 6), free coffee, free snacks and free pizza, and I walked out with 2 free Monster Energy Drinks and 2 free DVD's and my way of saying thanks is to point out that maybe our gracious host was enjoying himself too much? Yeah, I know what I am.

I didn't take a donut, because I wanted to leave some room for a meal at a nearby pub I wanted to try out. It was nine in the morning. Inside this place I found some Brit expats at the bar, watching soccer on the monitors (they call it "football", how cute!) and the waitress was wearing a sexy cat costume and kept calling me "love". For some reason, all I could think about while I tucked into my Full English breakfast and downed my beer was the movie Frenzy. I don't know why.