Thursday, May 31, 2007

On The Editing Room Floor

Evidently this scene is cut out of the upcoming Knocked Up. Is it really or is it just another brilliant marketing scheme for this movie. Because if it is, I would have to ask why? Is it because it was the most unfunny part in the movie? If that's true then this may be the funniest movie ever created and might just be the silver lining in this big stinky turdy summer of remakes and sequels.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

An Actual Conversation About Hairspray

I swear this is an actual conversation I had with a friend about the upcoming Hairspray movie.

FRIEND: I can't wait to see Hairspray.

ME: The movie?

FRIEND: Yeah, it looks good.

ME: Yeah, the original is good.

FRIEND: It is good.

ME: Really good.


ME: So why do you want to see the new one?

FRIEND: Because it looks good.

ME: You didn't like the original?

FRIEND: I did. It was fun.

ME: Yeah, the original is fun.

FRIEND: It is. It's really fun.

ME: But you want to see the remake.


ME: Because the original was so good.

FRIEND: Yeah. I loved Ricky Lake.

ME: You know that Ricky Lake isn't in the remake.


ME: Makes sense.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A Bit Of DVD Bragging

I came across such an incredible deal on three movies that I just need to brag about it a bit.

On Monday in a BigLots! store, I was perusing the DVD selection coming across no-name actor after no-name actor. I think there were some brothers and sisters of famous actors. And then came the first find.

That being documentary The Kid Stays In The Picture for $4. The heart began pumping a bit faster and I thought, I should continue to search among the soft-core titles like The Sexologist in hopes that I come across even sweeter fare. And then came the next find.

Greetings, one of Brian DePalma's first films starring Robert DeNiro for $3. I began frantically searching then, throwing sucky DVD's off the shelves and on the floor in hopes of finding yet another treasure.

And there it was. The final find was A Shock To The System, the wonderfully dark comedy starring Michael Caine for $4.

Three great movies for under $12. It ain't much but it was nice for me. I guess I'm easy that way. I haven't opened them yet for fear that there aren't actually DVDs inside.

What Say You? Michael Moore

Michael Moore has a new movie coming up called Sicko. It's his take on the current state of health care in the United States. His big mug on the cover of Entertainment Weekly has been staring at me all week. I'm kind of on the fence with this guy. While I think he tackles interesting subject matter, I don't like seeing him in his movies. And what's more, I shouldn't have to. I have always argued that what Moore does cannot be called documentary film making. He is clearly the star of his movies and that's obviously a conflict because a true documentary should be objective in its approach. So while I appreciate some of the information he presents, I just don't appreciate how he presents it.

Am I alone on this? Should Michael Moore continue with his crusade or should he just all do us a favor and shut the hell up?


Saturday, May 26, 2007

How Cool Is This Trailer?

This is a trailer for Luc Besson's new movie Angel A that was released in select theaters yesterday and will get a general release soon. I love it because I have no idea what the hell it's about.

Is Angela an
A) Angel
B) Assassin
C) Vampire

Don't know, but I can't wait to see it.

Thanks to Nathanial over at The Film Experience Blog for giving me a heads up.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

A Bright Spot In A Galaxy Far Far Away

This is my post for The Star Wars Blog-a-Thon going on over at Edward Copeland On Film.

To me, Star Wars I, II and III are part of a great story, but as actual films they serve as a good example of a once great artist that has lost touch with his audience and with the craft of film making. It is depressing to watch the first three in the story and know that in doing those, Lucas has not only made three bad films, but the stink of those films is so strong it has tainted A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back as well. But I'm a bright side kind of guy and I like to look for the good in things. And there was good that came from the first three stories. It was in the form of a cartoon that ran in three minute stories on Cartoon Network titled Star Wars:Clone Wars. It was fantastic and seeing it for the first time was as magical as seeing the original Star Wars.

The Clone Wars Volumes I and II not only rekindled my love for the entire Star Wars story, it made me hopeful that Revenge of the Sith was going to be an incredible finale. Unfortunately what it did was show me how good Episodes I, II and III could have been under different management. That being the management of Genndy Tartovsky. If you've ever seen Samurai Jack, you know how good he is at telling stories with little dialogue, great sets and incredible action sequences.

Tartovsky takes this same approach to Clone Wars, giving us few lines and lots of action. Yet, I never felt slighted. Quite the contrary actually. I felt I learned more about Anakin's character in these two cartoons then in any of the three films. I think of a scene where Anakin is going off to fight in a war. He flies by Padme's window and places his hand on the glass of his ship as if to reach out and touch her. This simple scene, only seconds long tells me pages and pages of their relationship and the pain they feel for having to keep their love a secret.

My complaint of the first three is that I never felt like the Jedi got their due. Not so in Clone Wars. There is a chunk of time dedicated to solely demonstrating the badass that is Mace Windu. In one spectacular scene, Mace takes on armies of droids as well as a machine whose sole purpose seems to be to flatten large parcels of land. The scene feels epic in its storytelling and the fact that it's not only animation but 2-D animation makes it all the more amazing.

General Grievous also makes his debut here and unlike his treatment in Revenge of the Sith, he is one scary mother here, destroying Jedi left and right and displaying their light sabres on his body like badges of honor. This is not a character that runs off to the darkest places of the galaxy to hide. This is a menacing foe in which you should flee if you ever cross his path.

I am usually not one to welcome the over-telling of a story. I liked A New Hope picking up in the middle of the story and am not a fan of Lucas going back to start from the beginning. I would much rather imagine on my own how things went down. The same could be said of the Clone Wars. In episodes I, III, IV and V, the Clone Wars were briefly mentioned as these epic battles that changed every one's path forever. I liked the mysticism that was attached to those wars. The fun was in not knowing.

But now that Tartovsky has told us, I'm glad he did.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Fight Mayhem - Part 1

Don't hit at all if it is honorably possible to avoid hitting; but never hit soft.

- Theodore Roosevelt

Conflicts abound in movies. And with every conflict there needs to be a solution. Sometimes it's as easy as talking through something. Sometimes it's better to take flight as I wrote about recently here. And then sometimes, you just gotta bring a terror storm of beatings about the head and body.

That's the dance. And why do we engage in the dance? To stay alive. To feel alive. For money. For love. For reputation. And sometimes because there's no rational reason not to.

Fights in movies are planned, obviously. They are as well choreographed as a chase or a love scene. Sometimes they advance the plot and sometimes they're just there. There are lots of good fight scenes out there. So many, in fact that I'm dividing this edition into two parts, because I'm a whore that way. In both editions, I will judge all fights as they should be judged: The purpose of the fight, the length of the fight, the fighting style used, the weapons used, the damage assessment and the best line of the fight.


Purpose Of The Fight: It's Burgundy and his crew VS every other news crew in San Diego. These guys all want to be first and are willing to kill for it. This isn't world domination, but it's anchorman domination and in their eyes that's bigger. Rank: 7

Length Of The Fight: Around 1 minute. This is good old West Side Story-type fighting. I love the bicycles that Mantooth and his crew ride in on. Rank: 7

Fighting Style: This thing is gang warfare. There's hand to hand. Various weapons. Horses. A trident for god sakes. Rank: 7

Weapons Used: Everything. Bats. Chains. Knives. Nets. Grenades. Brass knuckles. A Whip. Hatchets. Fists. And a trident for god sakes. Rank: 9

Best Fight Move: Tim Robbins cuts off Luke Wilson's arm. This would be really good is Luke Wilson didn't suddenly become the worst actor in the world during this cameo. Rank: 6

Damage Assessment: Brit killed a guy. He should probably hang low for a few months. Rank: 7

Best Line: Lots of them but there are two in particular. "Come get a taste" and "No commercials, no mercy." Rank: 9

Overall Rank: 7.3

They Live

Purpose Of The Fight: It's Nada VS Frank. Tensions have been building between Nada (Roddy Piper) and Frank (Keith David) and it comes to a head when Nada tries to get Frank to put on a pair of glasses. But not just any glasses. These glasses show you that we're living in a subliminal world dominated by aliens. It would make sense if Nada would pin down Frank and try to put on the glasses, but he beats the piss out of him and then wants him to put them on himself. Not gonna happen. Rank: 5

Length Of The Fight: About 5 1/2 minutes. This is a great fight but somewhat of a pointless one. You know that Carpenter promised himself that if he was going to cast Roddy Piper, he was going to have him fight/wrestle someone. Rank: 6

Fighting Style: Hand to hand. Head to head. Knee to groin. Face to pavement. It's basic but it's good. Rank: 7

Weapons Used: A board and a bottle. After all the fisticuffs, the board and bottle are somewhat unnecessary. Rank: 6

Best Fight Move: There are impressive moves throughout but I would have to say I was cringing when Frank put knee after knee after knee into Nada's groin. Rank: 7

Damage Assessment: Bruised faces and a little blood around the nose. But the worst damage happens when Frank puts on the glasses and discovers that he's been living in a subliminal world dominated by aliens. Rank: 8

Best Line: "Either put on these glasses, or start eatin that trash can." Rank: 9

Overall rank: 6.8

Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon

Purpose Of The Fight: It's The Green Destiny VS every other weapon ever created. Jen Yu has the Green Destiny and Yu Shu Lien needs to get it back. Plus Yu Shu Lien just wants to lay down some hurt on Jen Yu who is ultimately nothing more than a spoiled little teenager. So yeah, it's a cat fight. Rank: 8

Length Of The Fight: About 4 1/2 minutes. You want girl power? This is it. Rank: 7

Fighting Style: A sword fight of sorts involving many different types of spears and swords. Rank: 7

Weapons Used: The Green Destiny and about every type of martial arts weapon you can imagine. Rank: 9

Best Fight Move: This whole scene is beautifully choreographed by Woo-ping Yuen so it is filled with incredible sequence after incredible sequence. But for my money it's when Yu Shu Lien hits Green Destiny so hard it shoots Jen Yu across the room. Rank: 8

Damage Assessment: This is to the death, but no one dies. The worst that happens is that Jen Yu finds her equal plus some in Yu Shu Lien and gets her ego bruised a bit. Rank: 6

Best Line: "Come and get it if you can." Rank: 7

Overall Rank: 7.4

There's Something About Mary

Purpose Of The Fight: It's Ted VS Puffy The Dog. Puffy is all jacked up on drugs and looking for a fight. Ted (Ben Stiller) is just checking on him to see how he's doing and gets attacked by Puffy. At first, Ted is fighting defensively, but then he quickly turns to offense and hilarity ensues. Rank: 7

Length Of The Fight: About a minute. How long would you expect a man/dog fight to go on? Rank: 7

Fighting Style: A little Three Stooges, a little World Wrestling. Rank: 6

Weapons Used: None. Rank: 5

Best Fight Move: Ted attempts to poke out Puffy's eyes and Puffy puts up the blocker. Classic. Rank: 10

Damage Assessment: Ted gets bitten in the crotch and Puffy flies out the window and ends up in a body cast. Rank: 8

Best Line: "Are you the little guy making all that big noise?" Rank: 6

Overall Rank: 7

Way Of The Dragon

Purpose Of The Fight: It's Norris VS Lee. Do we really care about the reason behind the fight? Don't worry about it, just watch. Rank: 10

Length Of The Fight: About 5 1/2 minutes. This is the heavyweight title match of the millennium in martial arts. You savor every moment. Rank: 9

Fighting Style: Martial Arts. Rank: 8

Weapons Used: Let me say this again. It's Norris Versus Lee. If they picked up a weapon they'd be booed out of the picture. Unless the kitten is a weapon, used to distract Norris because it's so darn cute. Rank: 7

Best Fight Move: Bruce Lee reaches up and gets a fistful of Chuck Norris chest carpet. Rank: 9

Damage Assessment: Norris takes a dirt nap. The kitten is forever scarred by witnessing the scene and quickly takes to a life of drugs and crime. Rank: 8

Best Line: They let their fists do the talking. Rank: 7

Overall Rank: 8.2

The Princess Bride

Purpose Of The Fight: It's Westley VS Inigo Montoyo. Westley (Cary Elwes) is in pursuit of Princess Buttercup (Robin Right Penn) but has to get through a series of challenges along the way. His first encounter is the Spanish sword fighter Inigo Montoyo (Mandy Patinkin). Rank: 6

Length Of The Fight: About 3 minutes. This is classic Errol Flynn-style fighting, with a sense of humor. Rank: 9

Fighting Style: Sword fighting. Rank: 7

Weapons Used: Swords and sharp wit. Rank: 7

Best Fight Move: As it turns out, both Westley and Inigo are both right handed. Rank: 9

Damage Assessment: These two are gentlemen. Inigo gets a bonk on the head and passes out because of it. Rank: 7

Best Line: "You seem a decent fellow. I hate to kill you." Rank: 9

Overall Rank: 7.7

Evil Dead 2

Purpose Of The Fight: It's Ash VS Ash's own hand. Ash's hand has been possessed and in lieu of a priest, Ash is going to have to lay down some harsh justice. On his hand! Rank: 8

Length Of The Fight: 2 minutes. How original can you get? The guy has to fight his own hand. Rank: 8

Fighting Style: Huh? Wha? Rank: 6

Weapons Used: Plates, glasses, a knife and a chainsaw. Rank: 7

Best Fight Move: The chainsaw of course. Rank: 7

Damage Assessment: Ash loses his hand, but it's a small price to pay to avoid complete demonic possession. And there's laughing through the tears. Rank: 8

Best Line: "U-huh, that's right. Who's laughing now?" Rank: 8

Overall Rank: 7.1


Purpose Of The Fight: It's Dae-Su Oh VS a shit-ton of guys (that's slightly more than an ass-load). This fight is about nothing more than pure, unadulterated revenge. Dae-Su Oh has been imprisoned in an unknown location for 15 years. He escapes and then tries to find out where that place was located. Well, he just found out. Rank: 9

Length Of The Fight: About 3 1/2 minutes. This is an amazing fight, shot very much like a video game in one long tracking shot. I'm not 100% sure but it looks like these guys are really connecting with a lot of these hits. Rank: 8

Fighting Style: Whatever it takes to not die. Rank: 8

Weapons Used: A hammer, knives, sticks and bats. Rank: 7

Best Fight Move: Every move Dae-Su Oh has after the knife gets buried in his back. Rank: 9

Damage Assessment: A whole bunch of people either die or are going to feel really bad in the morning. Rank: 8

Best Line: "All those who are blood type AB raise your hand." Rank: 9

Overall Rank: 8.2

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Happy Birthday Morrissey

Today is Morrissey's birthday.

I'm sure he's depressed about it.

Rarely does a band exist that transcends decades and milestones in your life. Sure I liked Duran Duran in the 80's but I get a little cringy when I hear them now. And if I do listen, it's with the windows up so no one else can hear. And I still love my DEVO, but I am among the few. The Smiths however were cool and are cool and they have stuck with me for a long time. I loved them in college. After college. During married life. After my first child. After my second child and yes even today.

There are several reasons to love Morrissey and more specifically The Smiths, but one of the biggest is for the song titles. I've often thought it would make for a good Sgt. Peppers-like movie to create a plot based on their song titles.

Girlfriend In A Coma
Shoplifters Of The World Unite
The Headmaster Ritual
Oscillate Wildly
Barbarism Begins at Home
Meat is Murder
Frankly Mr. Shankly
Bigmouth Strikes Again
Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others
Death Of A Disco Dancer

Somewhere among those titles is the beginning, middle and an end to the most original and most brilliant movie script ever written.

The BIZARRO Blog-a-Thon

I am officially declaring the days August 27th-29th as Bizarro Days. On those three days up will be down. Right will be wrong. Black will be white. Bad performances will suddenly be good. The worst movie will be the best. The saddest movie will be the funniest. And for those three days I may actually like Rob Zombie.

Show me how much you hate some actor by telling me how much you love him/her. Give your favorite movie the worst review you've ever given. Declare Martin Scorsese the biggest hack to ever get behind the camera. Whatever you want, just bring your worst (and of course I mean your best).


E-mail if you're interested and I'll send an e-mail the day before to remind you.

Bad Bye

No Imagination Whatsoever

The wife and I had some friends over this weekend and as we were talking, we somehow got on to female celebrities revealing themselves. And I said that I was angry because these women leave nothing to the imagination. It seems that every week I can readily see Lindsay Lohan's coochie winking at me. Or Paris Hilton's. Or Britney Spears'. And then it made me mad that I was making this argument. What the hell was wrong with me? I should be welcoming public nudity from all the hotties. I should be shouting "show me your boobies and woobies" from the mountaintops (I have children so you understand my colorful vocabulary).

Just like a good movie that leaves a little something to the imagination, stars should too. And a lot of the times, they're doing us a favor by covering up. I imagined Janet Jackson having much more beautiful breasts from the picture above then she actually does, as revealed in the picture below.

And I would much rather look at this picture of Lindsay Lohan where I think she is just beautiful rather than the picture below. It's not like I don't think about this stuff, but the fun is in the thinking, not the showing.

I miss the days when I lusted after Madonna and all I had was Desperately Seeking Susan to fulfill my fantasies rather than the book Sex which left nothing and I mean nothing to the imagination. Or the poster of Farrah Fawcett that I used to have because I was young and I think it was illegal for you to be a boy and not to have a poster of Farrah up somewhere. Little skin but sexy as hell.

Word to female movie stars. Keep the privates a little less public and leave something to the imagination because in my mind, you are all 10s. So don't ruin it.

Thanks to Electronic Cerebrectomy for the inspiration for this post who recently posted this about Mischa Barton's "accidental" breast slip. And as it turns out those boys are just as gorgeous as I had imagined. Congrats Mischa.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Best Part Of Shrek The Third

The ending when they played "Losing Streak" by the Eels from their album Blinking Lights and Other Revelations.

May I recommend that you skip the movie and spend your money on this album.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Wanted: More Wall Space

If I had more money and a wife that loved movies as much as I do, I would have movie posters all throughout my house. In my bedroom. Kid's bedrooms. In the living room and the family room. In hallways and bathrooms. Hanging from doors and even in closets. I might even have posters on the ceilings. Because to me, a good movie poster is as good as the best piece of art work.

For now, I only have a few posters in my basement.

This is a perfect example of art as marketing. So simple and powerful and I love the type treatment. It's like it's yelling at you.

I really like this poster although I didn't care for Matrix Reloaded. So interesting that they cut off the face. The guns and the flowing coat also made it for me.

One of my favorite movies and I love the communist twist on the design.

Again, this is one of my favorite movies. And I love the European design of this. I'm a big fan of lots of Soderbergh posters. The Limey is also a favorite.

The combination of line drawing and photography has always fascinated me. This poster almost feels handmade. But of course it's excellently designed. Feels very much like Vertigo.

But again, if I had my way. I would love to own all these. And many more.

I saw a series of four of these posters on Hollywood Blvd and I'm bummed I didn't snatch them up right then. I have not been able to find any of them since. I really like how this captures the tone of Fight Club without showing any star photos.

I hate that this line pays off the design so much, because the look holds up so well by itself. I'm sure if I owned this poster and someone commented on it, the only thing I would say is how much I hate that line.

I have a sickness and it's called all things Disney. Before I got into film and ultimately advertising, my dream was to be the next Walt Disney. This is not necessarily my favorite Disney movie, but I love the animation of this film. Borderline chicken scratch in its approach.

I love Saul Bass and this poster is very simple. I love the cut and paste feeling of this. Almost like a ransom letter. And the poster divided into two halves also does it for me. The type is excellent and stands out as a design element rather than just credits.

This is not my favorite Lynch movie, but the photography is incredible. The two stark photos are excellent and I love that they are of different contrasts. I also love the type on this and the use of one color.

I often look for movie posters that never got a general release. This obviously wasn't the poster that was selected to promote the film, which is too bad. It's very feminine and I love the line "Kill Is Love." I also like how the type and illustration surround the photo.

I'm a sucker for medical illustrations for some reason or another. I think I like the humor associated with the illustrations because they try to look human but they come off so cold. Plus, this is such a unique approach to marketing a movie, I would just have to have it.

I love James Bond and I would choose this poster for one reason and one reason only. "Everything he touches turns to excitement." What a great line.

I have to admit I'm not a big fan of the original poster but I couldn't have a bunch of posters throughout my house without having a Carpenter movie in there somewhere. This oversized poster was for sale for months at a used record store here in town and I never got it. True, it would probably just end up rolled up in my basement somewhere but like an alarm system, I would feel good knowing it was there.

Will The Real Joker Please Stand Up?

The blog I don't like Renee Zellweger posted that this is the real picture of Heath Ledger as The Joker. Is it? Go to and judge for yourself. The site doesn't really seem legit to me, but that might be on purpose. And if it is, it's genius.

Friday, May 18, 2007

A Study In Unpreparedness

This marks my second entry in The Misunderstood Blog-a-Thon over at Culture Snob.

Want to know how well the United States will deal with Bird Flu? Small Pox? A dirty nuke?

Watch a zombie movie. Watch Dawn Of The Dead. Day Of The Dead. Return Of The Living Dead. Or better yet, the recent 28 Weeks Later. These are not horror movies, these are testimonies to our state of preparedness when disaster strikes.

While we don't always know how zombies come alive, we know how they spread. From a virus. A fast spreading virus. An epidemic of epic proportions. Yes, we have had 9/11 and as a result we have created Homeland Security to deal with worst case scenarios. And that's supposed to help us sleep better at night, but watch 28 Weeks Later and see just how far we have our thumbs up our asses when the shit hits the fan. A woman that is a known carrier of the Rage virus is left unguarded for her husband to come in, kiss her on the lips and become infected. When the military knows there is an outbreak, they shut the electricity off, making it nearly impossible to tell the difference between the innocent and those infected. In Day Of The Dead the military is left in charge and quickly eases into the role of dictator. Suddenly, any kind of civility is thrown out the window and most of them don't hesitate to threaten death with no thought towards the already dwindling population.

The ultimate message of every zombie movie is that we should be just as scared of ourselves as we are of the monsters. That message if none more clear than in Night Of The Living Dead as locals take great delight in re-killing the undead. In Return Of The Living Dead, a military general does not debate the casualties of a missile taking out a large part of town in order to get rid of a few zombies. In 28 Weeks Later, lives are compromised as London is carpet-bombed only moments after an outbreak of the Rage virus. When disaster breaks, we are motivated by testosterone and not brain cells. Judgement looses and fear wins. Thinkers are soon enough put down and it's the shoot first and ask questions later guys that live to tell the tale. And suddenly, our advanced society doesn't seem so advanced anymore. And that's when the line between living and undead starts to get pretty fuzzy.

The truth is, we can try to think about the unthinkable all we want. To hope for the best, and prepare for the worst. But when trouble hits, we are simply unprepared because we have not accounted for the scariest part of any scenario. Ourselves.

Cronenberg's battle against obesity

This entry is part of The Misunderstood Blog-a-Thon over at Culture Snob.

David Cronenberg's films have been called lots of things. Bizarre. Unnerving. Brilliant. Shocking. Grotesque. And I would like to add educational. Yes educational.

Word to the National Health Organization. Put down your signs that say "exercise more" and "eat your veggies" and don't worry about getting all those vending machines out of schools. Shut down the Weight Watchers and the Jenny Craigs and tell Kirstie Alley to shut up. If you truly want to solve the obesity problem today, buy up a shit-load of copies of eXistenZ and Videodrome and show them often.

At first blush, these two movies seem to embrace technology and its advancement. Max Renn (James Woods) and Allegra Gellar (Jennifer Jason Leigh) are striving to bring the next big thing to the masses. And at first they are successful. But as they become more entwined with the technology, it begins to reveal itself for what it really is. The TV is nothing more than a box that creates brain tumors causing hallucinations brought on by brain damage. Video games are nothing more than false realities that feed off your body and cause you to lose grip with society and will probably eventually get you shot dead.

Death to the demoness Allegra Gellar.

Death to Videodrome.

Long live the flesh.

The battles that rage in Videodrome and eXistenZ mirror the battles that rage in current society. Television and video games are bad drugs that at first seem harmless and fun but then eventually send you down a rabbit hole of self-destruction from which you will never escape. Parents deal with this reality every day with their children. And deal with it with themselves as well.

Cronenberg is not so literal as to show the body getting larger as these characters become more involved with the technology. But the bodies do change. These characters make sacrifices of the flesh. Portals are permanently drilled into the back to tap the spine. Vaginal like slits form in the belly. Brain tumors form that create false realities. Enjoyment like this comes at a price and it ain't cheap.

Consider when these movies were made. Videodrome (1983) created the multi-channeled world long before the thousand channel boxes we have today. And eXistenZ (1999) examined a parallel gaming world long before World Of Warcraft and Second Life were ever created.

These movies represent more than your average science fiction. They are forecasts for where we have already gone and where we are headed. Technology created by us for us to later sacrifice ourselves to. Cronenberg creates a future that is much darker than anything the Wachowski brothers or Ridley Scott ever dreamt up. A world that is not filled with spaceships and robots and laser guns. It's a world that is only a few years away.

A very real world we are traveling towards like a bullet train.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Going Back And Forth

Does time travel truly exist? And if so, can someone explain it to me please. The movies have it all wrong. Or at least I think they do. Shit, I don't know.

A friend of mine recently e-mailed me to clear up a debate he and another guy were having about the time travel of The Terminator. According to the official rules and regulations of basic time travel (don't go looking for that) there exist three time lines. The past, present and future. Easy enough. But unfortunately it's not that easy. At least not in the movies.

In Ray Bradbury's short story A Sound Of Thunder, hunters go in the past to hunt dinosaurs. Things are set up to make sure that the hunters don't disturb the natural evolution of time. Special paths are set for them to walk on and they are only allowed to shoot and kill dinosaurs that were set to die of natural causes around the time of the hunt. Of course, a hunter strays from the path and steps on a butterfly and that sends a ripple through time changing the future forever. I would say that the Bradbury story is probably the most accurate and most diligent as it relates to time travel. And I'm not sure that's saying anything. It seems for the most part, movies get kinda lazy when it comes to time travel. Or over-think it. I guess if time travel plot lines all followed the basic rules, there wouldn't be any need for movies like Time Cop and wouldn't that be a crime.

It's an interesting concept and makes for some good sci-fi, but it's like the writers in an effort to make time travel so important and so epic, they make it so complicated that no one can understand it. But maybe that's the point. If you don't understand it, you won't question it.

For example, the movie Primer, which I love, still confounds me. It's fascinating and there's a lot of talk about how time travel works in the movie, but I still don't comprehend it. I think I should get it because they talk about it throughout the whole movie, but still I'm at a loss. I think I understand the Back To The Future time travel. I know that when Marty changes the past, his future is better. But it was dicey there for a moment. But what if Marty went to the future and screwed that up so bad that he changed the past. I mean so bad that Marty no longer existed? Would he still exist in the future? And come to think of it, how did the monkey suddenly become Abraham Lincoln at the end of the Planet Of The Apes? Sure it makes for good drama, but does it make sense? And good gawd, please don't ask me about Donnie Darko. Time Bandits, now that works for me. Midgets go back in time and run into John Cleese as Robin Hood. I can dig that.

So back to The Terminator. For the longest time I didn't even question or care about the time travel issue for fear that I would get a headache. To me, it's like a very complicated math equation and while I was in advanced math in second grade, I've sucked ever since. So when I got this e-mail from my friend, I thought about it for a bit and then I decided it makes no sense. No sense at all. According to the plot of The Terminator Kyle Reese was sent back in time by John Connor to protect his mother Sarah Connor. And in protecting Sarah Connor, Reese falls in love with her and they have sex and make a baby. That baby is John Connor. So how does that happen? If Reese didn't know about Sarah Connor without John Connor telling him about her, how does John Connor exist because (oh, oh here come the dizzies) he was the one who in effect introduced the two, yet Reese is John Connor's father. Wouldn't John already know that? And so then wouldn't Reese also?

Who knows. All I know is that I'm going to set my watch ahead 15 minutes and see how it goes. If I don't write anything else after this post, then you'll know it went bad.

It's Blog-a-Thon time!

Today begins the Misunderstood Blog-a-Thon over at Culture Snob. It's a cool subject and I will be participating very soon.

Check it out.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Top 5 Tuesdays (T5T) Part 13.

I have done a fair amount of beating up on sequels and remakes this past week and jeez, I guess I feel kinda guilty. It is summer after all and since we all need to get comfy in our sequel/remake beds, let's not shy away from this. Let's instead embrace it like a warm fuzzy blanket. So give me your Top 5 Best remakes or sequels.

1. The Thing - This is still a showcase for some of the best special effects ever in a movie. And the paranoid theme is timely.

2. Godfather II - Yeah, yeah. Shocker.

3. Aliens - A rare case where the second story actually built on the previous and made the whole even better.

4. Cape Fear - A remake of a story that updates it and makes it creepier. "Hey Max, what about your books? Already read 'em."

5. Ocean's 11 - Soderbergh did an excellent job of capturing the cockiness of the first while still making the characters likable. Plus it's just a fun as hell movie. I watch this often and it always makes me want to wear a really big pinkie ring after.

There are others, I know. But I can't think today so this is what I got.

And Ash Continues To Bathe

A while back I caught an incredible spot for Old Spice starring Bruce Campbell. You can find it here.

Well thanks to Red Right Hand, I've discovered there's another. Here it is and it's better than the last. Damn, it's good.

Damn, it's good.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Plot Farm 1.3

Okay, it's been awhile so let's kick Plot Farm back up. I give you ten words or phrases and you create a truly original movie plot from them. You can keep it short and sweet or make it as long as you want and remember, you don't have to use all the words or phrases if you don't want. If you need or want some help, check out past posts here, here and here.


Plastic comb

A Flashlight


A fuse

The 1950s


An engraving



Good luck.

Again With The Blog A Thons

There are a couple of things happening here that I wanted to make note of. It's more of a blogging post then of a movie post, but when I wrote my story about the Time article, Neil over at The Bleeding Tree added his thoughts and said that what Time missed in their lazy reporting was a story about Film Blog-a-Thons. He said that was the new phenomenon and that "fanboyism" (good lord I really hate that statement) was a bit done to the point of being crispy. And I thought that the Blog a Thon would make a really good story.

Meanwhile, Filmsquish recently traced the history of the Film Blog-a-Thon. It's a very interesting article and fun to see how it became (Showgirls was the inspiration. But isn't it always) and where it's gone.

So there you go. The beginnings of one hell of a story. Is somebody going to run with this?

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Movie That Jacked My Childhood

So yesterday I drop my son off for baseball practice and I go run some errands. I'm a coach myself, so it's a benefit to my son that I do not stay at practices because I spend most of my time telling him how to do things.

Anyways, I go to peruse some DVDs because right now I feel my collection is filled with all the good DVDs I want and I just have a hankering for some really bad DVDs. Bad cinema if you will.

So I'm in the horror section when I come across the movie that is single-handedly responsible for most of my childhood angst. The reason I ran up the stairs so fast as to almost trip for fear that a monster was right at my heels. The reason that every light in our house was on when the sun went down. The reason why I spent many a night at the foot of my parents bed. And that movie is called Trilogy Of Terror. It's a made for TV movie. A MADE FOR FRICKIN TV MOVIE. That's the movie that tortured me. The movie that still haunts me today. Not Halloween. Not Jaws. Not the Exorcist. It pains me to reveal this but perhaps by doing so I can put the old demons to rest.

It was 1975 and my brother was babysitting me. I was to be in bed, but I snuck downstairs to see my brother watching it and he let me sit there with him. I was four years old. Let me say that again, I was four. I curse my brother to this day for letting me watch this. Thirty two years later, it's like it happened yesterday because it has been branded into my brain. I can't even remember the first two stories, because they were so bad, but I remember the last story because that's the one that got me.

All three stories star Karen Black in different roles. The first story is about blah, blah, blah I care. The second story is blah, blah, blah, blah and again with the not caring. The final story involves Karen Black as a woman who has purchased an African fetish doll for her boyfriend. Now who in the world would do that? I love you sweetie, put this scary as shit doll on your bedside table and think of me. The doll is wrapped in chains and there's a note that says don't remove the damn chains because this doll is going to come to life and fuck some shit up. Of course Karen removes the chains and the thing comes to life. It spends the rest of the show chasing her around the apartment and in remembering the doll (I have only seen it once more and have chosen to leave it be in my adult life for fear that if I see it again I will curl up in a ball under a desk somewhere and possibly pee myself) it's not terribly frightening as it moves around the apartment (they used a wooden puppet and most of the shots were tight close-ups of its face) but it's what the doll did that scared me. First, this doll is pissed. I mean really pissed. Evidently, it didn't have a good life before it got all chained up and sold to Karen Black because it comes after her fast and furious and with its mouth a chompin. When Karen does get away from it and manages to get into a room, it throws its little body against the door and runs its little dagger under the door in hopes of cutting Karen's feet. It's a pretty scary visual and makes me shudder thinking of it now. At one point Karen tries to drown the thing in the tub or the sink and I can remember seeing her struggle to shove its head underwater while it furiously tries to bite her. Again, with the shuddering. Eventually Karen looses and in the end, the doll inhabits her body and makes her hair all crazy and her teeth all jaggedy (oh no spoilers!!!! give me a break). She sits in the middle of her kitchen and repeatedly stabs a knife into the floor with an evil smirk on her face. All I can say is that boyfriend must have been something to risk and eventually lose to demonic possession.

That's the movie and more specifically the story that haunted me in my waking life as well as my sleeping. It may not be as scary today as it was in 1975, but I'm sure as shit not going to risk it. I was able to actually see the doll in person when I went to Universal Studios as a teenager with my Mom. Needless to say, I kept my distance from that rotten little bastard.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Somebody Shut Those Movies Up

It's summertime and that pretty much means the line-up of movies is brim full of remakes and sequels so let's talk about that, shall we? Recently as I wrote about sequels and the sequels of sequels, Damian at Windmills Of My Mind brought up an interesting point which I would like to expand on. Damian said that sometimes audience members can be "like spoiled children or gluttons" when it comes to stories. They are always wanting more. To be fed and when they're full they move on to something else.

This thought leads me to what I think is the root of all evil in film making. And that is the sequel and the remake. Damian went on further in his comments writing that the concept of a "sequel" is strange in itself because stories are supposed to be self-containing. I couldn't agree more. When a movie gets big and they decide to make a sequel, the purpose of creating a sequel is usually not for the purpose of advancing the story, it's in re-creating what was liked before. For the most part, when someone makes a sequel or re-makes a movie, it's purely for monetary reasons. That's a pretty big blanket statement I realize, but I would say for 80% of them, it's a fair assessment. And sometimes disguising that motive is hard. Spiderman 3 is a perfect example. I'm sure it became evident to Raimi that there wasn't a new story to tell. So what does he do? He fills the movie with bad guys. With remakes, the writer attempts to broaden the story to justify the remake somewhat. And that's usually at the cost of a good movie.

Take for instance the upcoming Halloween remake by Rob Zombie. He is re-imagining it so that we can better understand Michael Meyers childhood to see why he went so wrong. Michael Meyers could have been a bullied, cross-dressing perv with an abusive drunk father and a whore mom and I wouldn't give two shits about it. I just care that he scared the bejesus out of me. In the remake of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Tim Burton added more back story of Wonka's father to help explain the reason why Willy is the way he is. There is talk of remaking The Birds (God help us) and in doing so they are going to explain why the birds go crazy. And in maybe the worst offense, Thomas Harris, acting not like the great writer that penned Red Dragon and Silence Of The Lambs, takes a trip to hackville by writing Hannibal Rising, helping us better understand why Hannibal came to be.

I loved that Lucas started the Star Wars series in the middle and now hate Lucas because he's gone back and given us the beginning.

As always there are exceptions to this. I think about two of Scorsese's films: The Color Of Money and Cape Fear as good examples. In The Color Of Money, we continue the story of The Hustler with Fast Eddy now becoming the money behind the hustle. It's a fantastic story that doesn't seem forced and makes sense. Notice that no one chose to show Fast Eddy growing up and showing why he decided to become a hustler in the first place. In Cape Fear, Wesley Strick gives us more of a dirty underbelly to the family. He updates the story a bit with natural friction in the family unit to show their vulnerability to a stranger.

And I'm not sure the blame lays with the audience so much as it does with the studios. It's funny, a studio has a hit and instead of trying to create a completely new movie that's just as good, they want to ride the coattails of the hit with the same story in different clothing. I don't think there are a bunch of people sitting around saying "make a sequel to that" once they've seen a good movie. They're just appreciating a good movie.

So I say shut up Hollywood. Quit telling me so much. Stop remaking and sequalizing and go out and make more original movies because the path you're currently taking is so well traveled that the carpet is worn through and I can see the ugly floor boards beneath.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Speaking of Famousosity

You should know this about me. I'm famous.

I don't have to wear big sunglasses when I go out and pump gas and I don't get asked for autographs or to pose in photos (although I did pose in one photo because these women were on a bachelorette party and they said they needed a photo of Drew Carey on the scavenger hunt and I'm often told I look like Drew Carey) and stuff like that but I know a lot of people. I'm making the air quotation marks here around the word people because if you're talking about someone famous you're not really talking about people... you're talking about people (and again I'm making air quotation marks). And because you know me, you know these people (again with the air quotation marks) because of all that six degrees stuff. Here's a list of people that I have encountered in my life thus far. Just don't go calling on them because they may not remember me.

I met Kim Fields at an ABC All-Stars Olympic kind of thingy in California. She was nice. And sweaty.

Talked with Buck Henry for quite some time about ragtime music in Sedalia, Missouri. He's a big fan.

Used to deliver newspapers to David Doyle's (Bosley) brother. I don't think he took the weekend paper and was an okay tipper when I collected.

Met John Leguizamo when he was in Lincoln shooting To Wong Foo Thanks For Everything Julie Newmar. He was not in drag.

Jodi Foster said "hi" to me as I walked out of a theater at the Telluride Film Festival. Her movie Little Man Tate premiered there. I have loved her ever since.

The rapper Fat Joe said "whasssup" to me as I passed him on the stairs of our hotel in Miami. It was around 3 a.m. and he was blasting the stereo of his car so loud I could hear it in my hotel room. I called down to the front desk to complain.

Shook hands with Bruce Campbell and told him how much of a fan I was of his movies. He asked my named and then told me I was a good man.

Rode down the elevator with Busta Rhymes. He is a very large man.

Stood in line to a movie with Amy Irving. I attempted to have a conversation with her which evidently bugged her and caused her to move to the front of the line. Bitch.

Partied with Kelly Lynch's sister at a Country Bar in LA. She's as hot as Kelly Lynch by the way.

Stood next to Laura Dern and told her how much I enjoyed her in Rambling Rose. She was sweet like a Georgia peach.

While at a blackjack table in Vegas at about 3 a.m., I watched Vince Vaughn flip a cigarette into his mouth and then give me the shooters. I gave him the single shooter back and raised him a wink.

Met Paul Rudd in a bar in LA. We talked Jayhawk basketball.

Although I have never met Stanley Tucci, I have seen him twice at two separate restaurants in New York within one week. I think maybe he was stalking me.

And most recently at the Grindhouse premiere, I was walking over to meet Kurt Russell when I ran in to Quentin Tarantino instead. I told him I loved the films and he thanked me for coming. Never did meet Kurt Russell.