Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sarah McLachlan does not want the doggies and kitties to die

Bill Burr was on the Opie and Anthony show once and he told them about a documentary or something about alcoholics. He remembered one particular bit where this drunk talked about going as far as drinking his beer in the shower. How refreshing a simple pleasure THAT must be, Burr thought. And so did I, for that matter, which is why I tried that out today. I took a Heineken inside and made an airtight seal with my DSL wrapping around the rim and tossed it back, cold brew making its way down my throat as the hot water rained down upon on my head. It truly was one of life's most refreshing yet simplest pleasures. See, I'm not an alcoholic because I didn't come up with the idea; I merely heard it secondhand and filed it away for future reference and the future was now and now is time to ramble about a movie I watched last week and am just getting to now.

Kick-Ass is based off a comic/graphic novel/whatever-the-fuck-you-call-them from the same dude who did the Wanted comic. They made a movie out of that shit, so now they're making a movie off of this shit. The movie is about your typical nerdy high-schooler whose philosophy gets all Edmund Burke all-of-a-sudden, so he decides to go out on the streets and become a real-life superhero (minus the super) and fight crime in his online-purchased wetsuit. Along the way, he meets a couple of costumed badasses who go by the names Big Daddy and Hit Girl (who is about 11 years old, by the way) and there's some bald Italian mafia boss who wants to know why these motherfuckers are fucking with his capitalist ventures.

For the past few months, Kick-Ass seems to be to geeks what Obama was to liberals during the '08 elections -- the greatest thing to walk on water since sliced bread. Naturally, this kind of hard sell blah-blah forces you to lower your expectations so low that they end up in fuckin' China. That's what I did and I'm glad I did, because I thought it was an above-average movie but nothing to punch Christopher Nolan in the face about. I mean, I dug it, but this is gonna go up on my I Guess You Had To Be There list alongside Drag Me to Hell because both were screened way ahead of time at geek congregations in Texas and maybe experiencing those flicks in those settings added a lot of special good vibes towards it. Or maybe those flicks are really just That Fucking Good and I'm just a fucking asshole. 

One problem was that I really didn't give much of a shit for the main character or his situation. I'd tell you about it, but I don't even fuckin' remember, that's how much of an impression he made. What this movie's really about is fuckin' Big Daddy and Hit Girl. Watching them do their thing is a beautiful symphony of ownage, but the problem is we're not here for the symphony, we're supposedly here for the goddamn acoustical performance of Green Clad Douchebag. But this coffeeshop singer is lame, I want to ask the barista to turn up the T.V. set behind him so I can enjoy the Philip Glass of Killing Criminals. Shit, that's not even one problem, that's my main problem. That's the only problem. But it's a big one.

But not nearly big enough to fuck up the movie or even threaten to fuck it up, it's just kind of a drag when you're not into this Kick-Ass dude as much as you we're into Peter Parker or Tony Stark. Stark is awesome in a smarmy asshole kinda way and Parker's got the nerd angle covered far more interestingly and sympathetically, so, yeah. I guess Kick-Ass Dude is supposed to be a normal person, the Real Thing when it comes to alter egos but if that's the case, then shit, man, like the fuckin' Weasel said in that goddamn masterpiece Encino Man, "Normal's boring".

So it's good that we have Nicolas Cage and potential Natalie Portman having far more interesting going-ons going on in this piece (and I loved how Cage-as-Big-Daddy sounded like Adam West). It's also good that Mark Strong plays the bad guy; he was also the villain in Sherlock Holmes and one of the few good things about Revolver. Both those movies were from Guy Ritchie and this movie was directed by Ritchie's former film producer, Matthew Vaughn. He did Layer Cake, which was awesome and Stardust, which I haven't seen but was told it was awesome (by the same people who were once blind but can now see thanks to Kick-Ass, so I don't know).

Vaughn also wants you to be very aware that he's married to Claudia Schiffer because he has a whole fuckin' scene take place next to a billboard featuring the sexy lass. I mean, Good Work Bro, but that reeks a tad much of showing off. Motherfucker probably goes around at parties constantly introducing himself and his wife with "Have you met my wife, former supermodel Claudia Schiffer?" and even if they've already met, he'll remind them "Oh by the way, my wife's a former supermodel, you know. Her name is Claudia Schiffer. Isn't that right, former supermodel Claudia Schiffer?". Shit man, I don't even know if she's former or whatever. All I know is that she sure as shit ain't sucking MY cock, she's sucking Matthew Vaughn's cock and I'm here alone writing bullshit on a blog and calling both Schiffer and Vaughn cocksuckers for two completely different and wrongheaded reasons. Digression acknowledged.

As awesome as Hit Girl was killing people and looking absolutely pedo-tastic while doing so, I actually got annoyed by her casual use of bad words like Cunt. Don't get me wrong, I don't get offended by little girls swearing or killing people (like Roger Ebert did in his review of this movie -- slightly reminiscent of his pan of Blue Velvet -- so offended was he that he watched the entire film with his jaw dropped) but it seemed a little too much of a Yeah Man, We're Naughty And We Don't Give A Fuck vibe from it. "Look, we have a little girl using words that'll make your grandma shit and piss herself -- more than usual, anyway" is what it comes off to me like and they didn't need that because they already had her blasting and slicing up so many low-lives in so many nifty ways. Actions speak louder than words, people. Unless the words are louder than the actual action you're going to perform, like "Hey I'm going to pull this tissue out of the box" and then you pull the tissue out of the box and that particular action is like, practically whisper-quiet. Whatever, that's not a valid argument, skip that.

Christopher Mintz-Plasse is here too, and the funny thing about his role is that it could've been played by someone far less McLovin and far more McSteamy. What I mean is that I figured since it's McLovin, this dude's gonna be like a real nerdy klutzy type and even the trailer plays up that angle with the part where he hurts himself jumping off a dumpster. But his part is pretty much the James Franco part from Spider-Man, a rich kid with a father he looks up to, and maybe he's not seen as strong or capable as his old man, but he's itching to give it his all in trying. I don't know if his character in the comic was also a nerd or if he was a Franco, but if I can get  retrospect armchair quarterback on this shit, they didn't have to make him a nerd for us to visually get the idea that he was incapable of running shit; he's a rich kid, and as we all know, all rich kids are pussies. I know this because I read it somewhere.

I understand the early screening at the AICN Butt-Numb-A-Thon was of a print that used source music from superhero flicks like Superman and Batman, and I swear I also read that they also used that great song November Rain by that piece-of-shit Axl Rose. I don't know if it was just a temp track thing they were doing or if the filmmakers actually tried to use those themes in their movie and maybe the studios/owners of said music were either like "Fuck you, you ain't getting shit" or "Pay us a shitload of money if you want it that bad, and by the way, fuck you", but those compositions didn't make it into the theatrical version, but the music they used in its place sounds enough like those tracks that you get the idea.

Anyway, I liked Kick-Ass but I didn't love it. I took like five paragraphs to get to that one sentence opinion but you probably know how I roll in this motherfucker anyway and should be used to it by now.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Grafted in a jiffy


So last Friday, I went to the Art Theatre in Long Beach to watch The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, which I had never seen. I'd been to this particular place once before, to catch Sunshine Cleaning for the 2nd time before visiting my friend to watch a bunch of motherfuckers beat the shit out of each other on UFC. I remember liking the place but hating the parking, and as it turns out, this time the parking is even worse now that they closed the small lot behind the fuckin' place. As I walked towards the ticket booth, a homeless dude using his coat as a mattress started mumbling to me something about my cigarette, so I gave it to him. For all I know, he could've been warning me about the dangers of smoking and probably thought I was being a dick for handing over my cancer stick, but whatever, he was mumbling. Kinda like what I'm doing now with my typing.

Instead of a ticket, the girl stamped my hand and I was in. It was a decent turnout and I ended up sitting near the female lead of the movie, Caroline Williams. She was chatting with the people sitting beside her and was in very good spirits. Two of the guys who worked on the makeup effects were there as well, Bart Mixon and Gabe Bartalos, but I wasn't sitting next to them, so who knows if they were in good spirits or not. At least up on stage, they seemed cool, but Madam Williams wins the award for this night. She was awesome. There was a giveaway of DVD's for those who got the trivia right, and I ended up winning an autographed poster of TCM 2 because I was the only one who raised my hand as opposed to yelling out the answer (which I didn't know until I heard it yelled). I won for demonstrating good manners while swooping in and owl-ing that shit from a motherfucker. Lesson here, kids: Raise Your Hand.

I really liked the movie, really liked it. I can understand why this flick might have rubbed many a horror fan the wrong way back in '86, considering that it's basically for the most part a piss-take on the first movie. I mean, it still has some genuinely shocking moments, but for the most part it feels like Tobe Hooper made this because he had to, not 'cause he wanted to, and so he decided to have some fun with it. But even if that wasn't the case, it's kind of an uphill battle to follow up such a classic. So why not take it to a different fuckin' playing field? Anyway, while I can understand someone not liking this movie, I do not agree with them. This fuckin' movie rocked and I'm definitely buying the special edition DVD with the shitty Saw design.

Something I noticed during the viewing was, well, two things I noticed. First, they must have blown out one of the speakers of something, because there was a weird crackling coming from the front throughout the whole fuckin' movie (the 35mm print looked great, though). Second, I realized that Rob Zombie owes a shitload of his film career to this goddamn flick. Holy shit, was this motherfucker influenced by what he saw here. I mean, there was a lot of The Devil's Rejects in here with the half-crazed Texas lawman avenging his fallen family member(s), the use of Bill Moseley, the unsettling mix of horror and goofy, colorful language, people forced to wear other people's flesh, etc. Both TCM 2 and Zombie's Halloween II even have a similar directorial tone of Fuck This Shit, I'd Rather Be Doing Something Else But I'll Give You A Fuckin' Sequel To Remember, going as far ending their follow-ups with straight-up closure, all the baddies dead and no room for further sequels (which doesn't mean a fuckin' thing to the studio, 'cause there's always a way to continue). I guess what I'm trying to say here is that if they've never met, and in that case, were to meet one day, it would make perfect sense if Tobe Hooper's first words to Zombie were to be "You're welcome".

The next day I rented The Collector, because this gentleman had tweeted its praises. It was written by the guys who wrote Feast and directed by one of them. The movie is about this dude named Arkin working construction/renovation shit on a house in the woods owned by a family with money, but what they don't know is that once they take off for vacation, homeboy's gonna come back at night and jack everything in the safe. It's kind of a scummy thing to do, but the fact that his baby mama owes a shitload of money to some undesirables helps you want to see him pull it off and get away with it. And he would've gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for that darn mysterious masked man in black already inside the house and torturing said family.

Yup, it's the title character and it's people that he collects; he likes to slice them up, beat them up, and stitch their mouths shut. Arkin tries to get the fuck out of there, but suddenly it seems like every other step he takes is thisclose to a deathtrap that didn't seem to be there a minute ago. Suddenly there are spikes sticking out of the stairs, razor blades hidden between the planks of the boarded up windows, needles attached to the phone, etc. Arkin is trapped and I guess there's the whole human being side of it that makes him want to help these poor people out, in addition to getting the fuck out of there before midnight (that's when the loan sharks are coming to either collect from his woman or break her fuckin' legs). But there's also this Collector dude stalking around the whole joint that he has to contend with.

This was intended to be a Saw prequel, but for whatever reason, that shit didn't happen. So here we are with this movie. Ultimately, it wasn't bad, I thought it was OK and worth a Saturday night rental. It's a short movie, and fast at that; this one felt a little more torture porn-y than others of its ilk.  There's a really creepy motif involving spiders and even the Collector himself looked a tad arachnid. Even some of the traps give off a spider web vibe where once a poor motherfucker goes in, there's no getting out; rooms are suddenly lined with tripwire and one fucked up trap involves the floor of a room being covered in some yellow sticky substance (it's like flypaper, this shit) and as a special bonus, this stuff is like acid and starts eating away at your feet once you're stuck. Even a poor fuckin' cat is stuck to this shit and doesn't sound too happy about it.

OK, those were my brief thoughts on the movie itself, but I want to get into the revelation of who the Collector is and what I got out of it, so, again with the spoiler warning. So it turns out that the Collector ends up being the pest control dude who was working alongside the construction guys. He's played by character actor Juan Fernandez, who you might not know by name, but you've sure as shit seen his face, usually as a bad guy. Shit, I think he's only played bad guys. Anyway, being that this dude is raza, I wonder if the movie is trying to say something about how most of you motherfuckers see the brown dude who is cutting your grass, or the lady who watches your kids, or yes, even the Latino who is killing your bugs. You better watch the fuck out, people. Respect these motherfuckers, be kind to mi gente and don't ever look down at them just because you might make more money and have a better job/life situation and because you're not a dirty wetback. Don't be like that. Or they will put bear traps all over your foyer.

I understand this movie made its money back and they're considering a sequel. Good. I want this to become the new Saw. I want more and more people to know about the Collector and I want the movie to make people aware about the ethnicity of the actor playing him because what would come out of it would be just so darn amusing. I can see it now; upper-middle class/wealthy liberals will kowtow and walk on eggshells so as not to annoy Lupe the nanny. I can see similar tax-bracketed conservatives using The Collector as another reason why we have to close the borders: "You see, people -- these illegal Mexicans will come over here, take our jobs, live off our socialist/communist/fascist health care that our son-of-a-bitch president Obama has forced us to live with, and then they'll lock us up in trunks in an attempt to lure more rich White--ahem, I mean fellow Americans into their deathtraps!"

I don't want to see paisas get mocked for wearing their cowboy hats and gigantic belt buckle and snakeskin boots and driving their old Ford pickup with a 2 foot Virgin Mary on the dashboard and blasting some fuckin' ranchera music. I want them to be feared. I want to see people get nervous at the possibility that Jorge the kindly gardener will own their fuckin' ass, should he ever feel like it. This is the kind of change I believe in.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The thievery of ambition, and other things like that

(This entry has fuck-all to do with movies and is more of some regular life shit, so you can stop reading at this point. Thank you.)

I don't know what the ratio of Bullshit-to-Genuine is when it comes to people who get Medical Marijuana recommendations, and I really don't care. I just know I wish I was one of the Bullshit patients, but as a recent unplanned doctor's visit turned out, I happen to have one of the ailments that is legally recognized in this great state of California when it comes to the MM. It's something I figured I was dealing with as far back as high school (what a surprise), but never really did anything about it until now. So I decided to turn lemons into a refreshing citrus drink (the name of which escapes me) and figured I should try getting a bona fide Medical Marijuana recommendation.

For the record, my weed intake is pretty low and not at all resembles anything routine or consecutive. I still rank as an amateur in this sport. It is merely one of many weapons in my arsenal in the on-going War Against Sobriety I've been fighting half of my life. I just like the idea of having the ability to acquire this shit in a far more legal manner. To know that you *can*, is sometimes enough for you to go on.

So I did the research and looked up the places, settling on one that I will not name for reasons I'm not entirely sure of, but it's better to be safe than sorry. I called, made my appointment for the following Saturday and then Saturday came and I went. The location was inside a bank building in a nice business section of town; I went to the office and was greeted by an attractive blonde in her mid-to-late 20's with a Midwest-Gone-California feel about her. She gave me some forms to fill out and told me there were more seats further down the office. I passed by a lady in her 40's and a young dude who looked early 20's and very much from the Bullshit echelon, but then again, this is me judging a book by its cover like some kind of asshole who judges books by their covers. I sat down at a table and answered the questions such as what ailment do you suffer from, who is your health care provider, are you taking any medication, have you taken marijuana before as a substitute/avoidance of said medication before, and some other shit I can't remember because I smoke da reefa. There's also a bunch of shit to initial, making sure that you're aware of both the possible benefits and drawbacks of Doctorological Mary Jane.

Directly across from me was the entrance to the physician's office, and I knew that because a deep booming voice could be heard from behind the door, saying things deliberately slow and overly enunciated like "But you have to tell me if it's pain that you believe can...". During this, another gentleman entered the room and was welcomed by the receptionist. This guy was either hard core Genuine or really trying super-fuckin-hard to sell the Bullshit, because the entire time he was filling out his forms a few feet away from me, he kept muttering to himself, and it there's such a thing as violent muttering, that's what THAT motherfucker was doing.

The door to the physician's office opened and out came two men of the Asian persuasion, escorted to the receptionist/secretary/important papers lady to cross some T's and dot some lower-case J's (one acted as a translator for the other, hence the slow/deliberate talk from the doc). His next patient was the Shoulda-Been-A-Cougar-But-Isn't, and they both walked in and the door was closed. It really did no good, this door; you can hear everything. This made me nervous. The young stoner in his early 20's then made a comment to the blonde, something like "I bet you don't get people like that much in here, huh?", referring to the two men from Southeast Asia. "I'm from Oklahoma and I've heard every kind of accent, but I never heard something like *that* before!" she responded. They giggled the kind of giggle that had nothing in common with each other; her giggle was coming from a "Those wacky Chinamen!" vibe and his was more "It would be so awesome if we fucked."

He then asked her if in addition to her office duties was she also a patient, which to me seemed a little too personal a question, I don't know. But she didn't miss a beat, she told him she was and he then asked her what the difference was between certain kinds of plants and she straight out demonstrated her expertise in that shit. It might as well have been math equations this chick was talking about, otherwise I'd kinda remember it enough to write it down. Me, I just know the difference between an indica and a sativa. These two were becoming fast friends, whereas I was sitting a few feet away from a man I was hoping to God was actually having a Bluetooth conversation rather than an imaginary one with God himself.

Meanwhile, it wasn't sounding so good in the office; in an even-tempered but booming voice, the doc was telling Cougar Town that he needed ANY kind of medical record from a doctor or chiropractor that said she had what she claimed to have. Shortly after dismissing her ("She's *mad*", remarked the blonde after the lady's departure), the doc told Blondie what had happened. Turns out that Stiffler's Mom was trying to get a rec. for her back pain with only a bottle of Ibuprofen from Costco to back her up. Oh, what laughs the doc and Blondie had (along with Skater Dude who was trying to bang this broad)! I was next.

So we go into his office, and in addition to his large desk and two large comfortable leather office chairs, there was an examination table to the side as well. Up until my arrival, I kept expecting someone like Dr. Lexus from Idiocracy or Jack Elam from Cannonball Run, but instead I got a man who looked to be in his late 60's and looking as doctorly as a doctor could look. He looks at my form, and I tell him my story. As I do this, he would occasionally go over and scribble notes and make comments on how it sounds like a clear case of >>CONDITION REDACTED<< and that these >>SYMPTOMS REDACTED<< I've recently been having are obvious >>DETAILED SYMPTOMS REDACTED<<. I had a copy of my medical record and a prescription bottle, which he looked at, and told me that in his opinion, I could benefit from Medical Marijuana. The doctor then went on to tell me the potential risks and benefits of medicating with dank; he spoke loud and clear and carefully, like he wanted to not only make sure that you understood everything he was telling you, but make sure that in case you were recording any of this, he would be legally free and clear and that there was no shenanigans involved with my diagnosis.

He escorted me out and gave the forms back to Blondie, then went back in with Skater Dude. Blondie asked me for the $150 fee (you pay only if you get the recommendation, which is only fair) and had me sign a few things with her pen that had a weird bubbly kooshball at the end of it. Among the documents I received was my official Medical Marijuana recommendation/Physician's Statement (doctors can not actually prescribe it to you), a wallet-sized version of said Statement, and a glovebox version of the statement -- all signed by the doc. I also received a Patient Handbook with all the info one would need about this whole thing, in case you didn't know any of it; laws, effects of marijuana use, web addresses to relevant sites, methods of use and medicinal effects of particular kinds of bud. There was also an application for a Medical Marijuana State ID, which I'm not yet sure about signing up for. On the one hand, it renders you practically bulletproof with John Q. Law. On the other, you're officially noted with the State of smoking pot and even though I'm legit, I still feel uneasy about those motherfuckers knowing that shit. All this is good for a year, then I'm supposed to come back in about a year for a renewal (and I'm guessing another sitdown with the doc to catch up).

You should already know where the dispensaries are, and legally, the people at this joint (see what I did there?) can't tell you anyway. I had already looked around online and was surprised by the sheer number of them in my hood. It was interesting to be able to price compare items with names like OG Master Kush and G13 and Buddah Kush and AK-47 online, you couldn't do that on the street unless you really felt like giving the guy and yourself a hard time. Half of these places cleverly(?) give themselves names that spell out THC in acronym form or have the word Green in there; if there's a place that manages to spell out WEED, that's like, well that's like Wow as far as I'm concerned.

An hour ago I was sitting in a pot doctor's office, filling out forms. Now I was walking to one of my many local pot dispensaries. A security dude kept watch behind a desk in the large lobby (about 2/3 of the entire space, of which 1/4 was being used) and there was a bank teller style window to walk up to. The guy behind the glass showed up with a shaved head, goatee and basketball jersey; he asked if it was my first time and then had me fill out a form while he checked out my Physician's Statement and driver's license. I sat down on a couch in front of an HDTV and a table with free cookies to fill out the form. After giving the form back, the guy buzzed me in and I walked inside to the room of weed.

The room is as big as someone's bedroom; glass display counters with different kinds of bud in jars. On top of one of the counters was one of those magnifying glass/light deals you can check the weed with, should you so desire. The guy behind the counter was nice and looked to be in his late 40's/early 50's, and looked like someone who probably knew Cheech and/or Chong personally. The basketball jersey dude told him that it was my first time here, so the counter guy gave me a free pot cookie with my purchase. The corner of the room had one of those multi-screen security monitors, because you just never know, I guess. He invited me to smell the buds and check them under the lamp. And even though I just wanted to get this shit, get outta there and just fuckin' blaze -- schwag or dank, be damned --  I took him on his offer. Every once in a while, Basketball Jersey Dude would suddenly exclaim "Ice Cream and Cake! Ice Cream and Cake!" like that Baskin Robbins commercial, for reasons known only to him.

I ended up getting a gram of an indica and a gram of a sativa; Buddah Kush and Maui Wowie. It was still early in the day, and I figured I would take advantage and catch a movie while enjoying my free pot cookie. In the end, I went with Clash of the Titans in 3D. Even though I heard horrible things about the last-minute post-production 3D, I didn't care. It's not like I really wanted to see this goddamn movie in the first place, shit, I'm gonna commit some motherfuckin' sacrilege and confess that I admired the original more than I actually liked it. I mean, I love me some Ray Harryhausen, but that's pretty much all the love that flick gets and I don't jizz all over that movie the same way I geek-bukkake over something like say, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. I just wanted to trip out on something after ingesting some cannabis Mrs. Fields. It must have been some good shit too, because not only did I really dig this fuckin' movie, I don't get the hate over Jake Sully's acting either. Again, that cookie was some good shit.

Come November, there is a possibility that this shit will get even more legal in the state of Caulyfoneeya (Schwarzenegger pronunciation, please) for those over 21, that is if the proposition passes. I'm betting that it will; in the same way that Obama did his Health Care Reform thing right around the time that I FINALLY got health insurance after a two-year period without it, now every fuckin' adult is going to be able to walk into a joint for a joint now that I scored a MM rec. Just my luck -- and everyone else's for that matter.