Monday, March 31, 2008

Insert Gambling Pun Here


Saw the movie 21 last night. It was a fun movie. Good cast, good story, pretty pictures, nice soundtrack. It followed the formula quite nicely. And I'm no fan of Kate Bosworth, but I found her incredibly sexy in this movie. And if I were to write a serious review about 21, I might title it something a little like this:

I Gambled On 21 And Won.

Have A Chicken Dinner, 21 Is A Winner.

A Safe Bet (I read this one in the Kansas City Star)

No Insurance Needed.

Don't Split On 21.

Stay On 21. You'll Be Glad You Did.

21 Is No Double Downer.

What Happens In Vegas Happens In This Movie.

You Have To Be 21 To Gamble. But You Don't Have To Be 21 To Like The Movie 21.

Hey Kids, Don't Count Cards. But Count On 21.

Never Split 8s When The Dealer Is Showing A Face. Oh, And Don't Miss The Movie 21.

I Saw 21, And The MGM Grand Comped Me A Room.

It's Okay To Double Down On A Nine When The Dealer Is Showing A 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6.

If You Like Kate Bosworth, See 21.

Friday, March 28, 2008

It. Is. On.



VS.



Alright friends. It's time to fight. It's on between Hayley Stark from Hard Candy and O-Ren Ishii from Kill Bill Vol. 1. Read the narratives and vote for your favorite as long as your favorite is O-Ren.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Identifying Your Atmospheric Water Masses

With the addition of The Mist to the halls of cinema, it's important now that everyone be educated on their atmospheric water masses and what to do when you come upon them..




Clouds

A cloud is a visible mass of condensed droplets or frozen crystals floating in the atmosphere. Clouds can vary in size covering only a few blocks or hundreds of miles depending on the front. At their tamest, serious cloud cover can make you blue, ruining a good day of golf or a nice outing at the pool or beach. And while they might seem innocent alone by themselves surrounded by blue sky looking all fluffy like cotton candy and forming pretty things like dogs and castles, they can be a menace when they get together with their buddies. With serious clouds comes serious rain and lighting. There can be flooding and lightning can kill with a direct hit or possibly hitting a tree that might come crashing down on you or on your house, causing your house to collapse on you and kill you.

With heavy cloud cover, seek protection in your house, a building or under a shelter somewhere.



Fog

Fog is a cloud that comes in contract with the ground. It can cover several miles in all directions. Whatever you do don't go into the fog dammit. Listen to me again. Stay away from the fog. The fog contains lepers. Lepers that are pissed and they have hooks and shit and big swords and the lepers faces are all gnarled and have worms coming out of their sockets and these guys will kill you because these mothers are vengeful.

If you see the fog run away because the fog covers ground fast, filling city streets in a matter of seconds. Seek protection between your legs where you can kiss your ass goodbye because the fog comes through open doors and underneath doors and through window cracks and those damn gaping holes in houses that you were supposed to take care of last week and told your spouse that you would take care of but instead you went and saw the game with your fellas and hopefully that was one hell of a game because now the lepers are coming in through that gaping hole to kill your ass. The only hope from the fog is that the people or relatives of the people who originally pissed off the lepers make peace with the lepers and by peace I mean they let the lepers kill them. Once that happens, the fog will disappear and you can live a somewhat normal life that now consists of the knowledge that fog carries lepers.



Mist

Mist consists of small water droplets suspended in air. Like fog, mist can cover several miles of ground. When you see mist, do now gawk and kill the urge to snap pictures as the pretty mist comes down from the mountains and creeps its way towards you. Stay the fuck away from mist. Mist is evil and bad and it usually means that the military has unlocked a portal to another time and dimension. A time and dimension where giant bugs fly through the air and if they sting you you'll swell up and die and gigantic spiders shoot acid covered webs and giant cockroach like things walk amongst us and they'll rip you apart if the gigantic monster like something or others with tentacles hanging from their belly don't get you first.

When you see the mist don't decide to catch up on some grocery shopping, unless that grocery store is 100 stories below ground. You know what, screw that idea. Grab some food, dig a hole, climb into an all metal box with a little straw for oxygen, throw the box in the hole and cover yourself up until you hear a tank or something because that means that the military has resealed the portal and successfully killed off most of those nasty sumbitches so that you can once again live in peace until the portal opens back up which could really happen at any time so honestly, once you see the mist, your life will constantly be filled with dread.

The differences between fog and mist are subtle and whatever you do, don't get caught debating the intricacies of the two because you'll find yourself killed by a leper or a giant bug and shit, let's hope that the fog and mist don't meet and hook up because then you would have to fear a leper riding a big bug trying to kill you.

Hope this helps.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Next Sound You Hear Is The Gauntlet Being Thrown Down


Over at the Large Assoc. Of Movie Blogs, there's a fight. We're talking chick on chick action and you gotta be a part of it because there's voting involved. Two women enter, one woman leaves but she leaves with a couple of gashes and a severe limp.

Check out the fights and vote for your winner and stay tuned because my lady will be debuting soon and she's pissed.

Ah Burbanked, ya shouldn't have

It's a big blogging world out there kids. A big one. Lots of opinions, lots of movie reviews, lots of criticism. Makes you feel kinda small really. So when someone takes note, you're honored, flattered, humbled. All that stuff. And when that someone is someone that you respect, well that's reason to get all tingly good from your head right down to your big toes. I have respected and admired the blog Burbanked for over a year now. I visit often and comment even more. How can I not? Alan's writing is wonderfully flowy good, like a really nice maple syrup that's been heated up a bit - you know the kind I'm talking about. And like me, there's an idea behind his writing. It's not straight up criticism. There's an angle. A personality. And it's that stuff that keeps me coming back. But you can respect someone and not necessarily like them. This is certainly not the case with Alan, as I have communicated with him often outside the blogging world. Alan's a guy that I could hang with. Film blogging is kind of like Internet dating for frustrated movie nerds. If I should ever find myself in the Pittsburgh area, I wouldn't hesitate for one second in dropping him a line so that we could chat over some beers about this crazy business that we get all kooky about.

But enough of my jawing, Burbanked loves blogs and he pays them their due often in his posts or in his multitude of stories on the sidebars. I often write wondering if Alan will come across my post and deem it worthy of 'From The Brains Of Bloggers' - a few sentences that he lifts and links to so that others may share in his discovery. He currently has an ongoing series titled Tales Of Blogging Passion and last night he posted about yours truly. I'm part four of a wonderful group that includes Windmills Of My Mind, The Rec Show and Movie Marking Madness. The praise he showers me with is undeserving, but the passion part isn't. I'm a passionate guy and I do what I do because I love it. And I write as if I were talking to you on a Monday morning over the cubicle wall like I so often do at work. But unlike my co-workers, you have the option of turning me off. Thankfully Alan has not done so.

Please visit Burbanked for a multitude of insight and snark from a guy who can talk about Hollywood as if he worked in it... because he did. And if you get around to it, join me in basking in these few minutes of glory that Alan has bestowed upon me.

Thanks Alan

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Top 5 Tuesdays (T5T) Has One Good Eye


The eye patch. At one moment the butt of jokes, and the next... the coolest thing to ever grace the face besides a really sweet stash. Raise your hand if at one point in your life you haven't wished for a stick to get jammed in the socket or some not-to-potent acid of some kind to fall into your eye so that you could wear a patch for at least a couple of days. Alright, you may lower your hands now.

Let's celebrate those patch wearing studs. The ones that elevated the eye patch from an eye sore to a work of art. Give me your Top 5 eye patch wearing movie characters. Here are mine in no particular order.


1. Elle Driver in Kill Bill Vol. 1

2. Snake Plissken in Escape From New York

3. Franky in Sky Captain And The World Of Tomorrow

4. Big Dan Teague in O Brother, Where Art Thou

5. Emilio Largo (SPECTRE #2) in Thunderball

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Just Don't Move To Oklahoma

Evidently the last place you want to move once you become famous is Oklahoma. Or maybe this is more of a what if they didn't become famous and just moved to Oklahoma. No matter, I guess the message here is whatever you do, don't move to Oklahoma. These photos are courtesy of the blog Wintrest.


"I find a lot of comfort in my 14 cats."



"Six months ago, if anyone would've told me that humans can survive on a horse liver, I would have said they were dumb."



Works at a Potato Chip Factory. Was one of the first to try Olean.



"Just keep my sister away from Rumplemintz. You want stuff to get crazy, just give her
some of that."



"Try the ravioli."



Prom King, 1984



Whereabouts currently unknown.



"People say I married Jen because of the baby, and that's when I say 'you obviously haven't tried her Sopaipillas'"



"When I came out to my district manager, he was really nice. He let me finish my lunch
before he fired me."



Let me put you in a two room, 1 1/2 bath, Split Level Ranch today!



Thursday Nite Karaoke Champion three weeks standing.



"When people say they don't believe they can do it, I say look at us! Collectively, we've lost 278 pounds... most of that weight coming from Catherine, of course."



"Guys think that when I say 'wanna see my award winning ferret?' it's some kind of
pick up line."



"I ate the guards. Every single last fucking one of them."



Married 1993. Divorced 1995. Remarried 1996. Divorced 1998. Remarried 2002.
Currently separated.



"A lot of people doubt my singing talent. But that's because they don't have taste like
I do in shirts."

Thanks Denise.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

My Dinner With Steve Martin


So I started the My Dinner With BLANK Meme several weeks ago and I tagged some people and they've tagged some people and they told two friends and they told two friends and those friends told others and those others and so on and so forth and where am I? And I'm pleased to say that it's still going strong. I plan an update including everyone tagged very soon. Anyway, Bob Turnbull at Eternal Sunshine Of the Logical Mind said that I should have done one myself and so I did, but it was kind of a copout really. I mean who doesn't dream of feeding Michael Bay shitty roast while his nuts are hooked up to a battery to make sure he doesn't pass out from losing so much blood because he's been beat up by some methed-up thugs and some very horny pitbulls trained by Michael Vick. So I've been doing some thinking about who I would want to REALLY invite and it's hard to choose, but timeliness is a factor and right now I think I would be most interested in having dinner with Steve Martin.

I've been a long time fan of Steve because his career has really fascinated me. Not just his film career, but his writing and stand-up as well. I just recently completed his auto-biography Born Standing-Up and I was reminded again what an incredible talent he is.

I would obviously not invite myself to his house since I have sent the invitation so it would be here in Kansas City. A direct Midwest flight from LAX to MCI would have him nice and relaxed and ready to eat and answer some questions. I would choose Arthur Bryant's Barbecue restaurant for dinner. It's extremely casual and the atmosphere is a conversation piece in and of itself. The main location is located across the street from where the old Kansas City Monarchs baseball stadium once stood. Giant bottles of the world famous sauce sit in the front windows with tin foil used as caps - I'm guessing the natural sunlight helps settle the sauce or something like that. I never really eat steak in Kansas City, but I do enjoy my barbecue and if you want to experience Kansas City and it's "cuisine", than this is the place. When and if Presidents come through, this is where they go. I'm guessing that Steve would be wearing a casual shirt with a dress coat over and a pair of slacks with wacky dress socks. He won't feel overdressed because Bryant's welcomes anyone and everyone. He'll just have to use more napkins to make sure he doesn't drop any of the sauce on his clothes - I have watched that stuff take the copper off a penny.

Next would be my questions.

1. What makes you laugh?

2. It feels as if your character Harris Telemacher in L.A. Story is literally a clash of your past and future in one character. At one point Harris' producer asks him to be "more wacky and less egg-head" because his comedy is a tad too high-brow for his audience. Is this a reflection of where you wanted to take your career? More high-brow versus wacky?

3. Which is the real Steve Martin: the one who wrote and starred in The Pink Panther or the one who wrote and starred in Roxanne?

4. You began your career at Disneyland but I want you to be objective in your answer: Disneyland or Disney World?

5. It is said that you have one of the finest modern-art collections in the country. What is your favorite piece and why?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Love Vomit. Drink It Up.

Where have I been? What have I been doing? You know what I've been doing? I've been being a cynical douchebag, that's what I've been doing. I've been telling everyone how I hate things like Be Kind Rewind, the new Horton Hears A Who and the original ending of I Am Legend. And I'm going to stop it, thanks to Stacie Ponder at Final Girl and her fantastic new formula called Hey, Internet, Stop Being Such Cynical Effing Douchebags Blog-A-Thon!


I'm just going to vomit love. I'm going to drink a whole bottle of ipecac and I'm going to let it spill. I'm going to fill buckets and when those buckets are filled, I'm going to lift up the couch cushions and puke under there so that no one really notices. And then I'm going to open the medicine cabinets and puke love in there and then close the medicine cabinet. And then when someone opens the cabinet, there will be all this puke but they'll say "oh, it's love puke" so it will smell like cinnamon oatmeal cookies and they'll want to eat the love puke but they won't because it may be lovely but it's still puke.

So here it goes.

I love the movie Roadhouse. I might say it's the best action film ever created. It's got everything. Rags to riches story, non-stop action, a bad guy that I can't wait to be killed, throats being ripped out, hot chicks topless and motherfucking Sam Elliot with a bum leg and a pony tail. Tell me that shit doesn't rock.

I love the montage at the end of She's Having A Baby where Kate Bush sings 'This Woman's Work' while Kevin Bacon thinks back on his marriage to Elizabeth McGovern. I drink in every cheesy moment until I am full and then I go and pee so I can drink in some more.



I love the scene at the end of Excalibur where King Arthur's son says "come father, let us embrace at last" and then he drives his spear into Arthur. I have often replayed that scene with my 10 year old son, complete with English accent.


I love the entire cast of Escape From New York. I believe it to be the coolest cast to ever be assembled. And Snake Plissken is my hero. If I was all damsel on a train track or something, I would want Snake to save me... only he wouldn't. He would light a smoke and then walk away because that's how goddamn cool he is. And even though I knew I was going to die, I would say "you're still my hero Snake"

I have been desperately in love with Julianne Moore ever since she went sans underwear and sans pants in the movie Short Cuts. I don't know why, I just feel more connected with her now that I've seen her nethers.


I love John Hughes happy endings. The hottest girl in school saying she loved waking up in the geeks arms. Social cliques breaking down so that everyone can become friends after only a few hours. Cameron destroying his Dad's Ferrari but everyone feeling okay about it. They are about as unrealistic as you can get, but I accept them. I accept those happy endings with open arms and some sugar cookies that are still warm and a little raw in the middle because those are the best.

I feel so much better now and I'm about 65 pounds lighter. Thank you Stacie. A much needed blog-a-thon that was not only fun, but therapeutic to boot.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Top 5 Tuesdays (T5T) Gets Beastly


Last Thursday we got a dog. I am now a dog person. My moods are now dictated by when our pooch goes poo poo and pee pee outside versus on our rugs. It's a sad life really, but damn this dog is cute. We adopted him from a local shelter and we were told he was a Lab/Retriever mix. Then we were told there wasn't much Retriever in him, but probably some Rottweiler. But then the veterinarian told us that he was more like a Lab/Shepherd mix. Who knows, but his mom obviously slept around. So this Tuesday in honor of our new dog Nutmeg (his full name is Nut Nutmeg Brazil and that's what happens when you let your 10 year old who likes the Brazilian Soccer Team name the dog) I ask you to provide me with your Top 5 Animal Movies. Can be any kind of animal.

Here are mine in no particular order.

1. Jaws Its big and scary but behind those deathly black eyes is a Great White that just wants to snuggle on the couch.

2. Babe: Pig In The City The first one is great, but there's just something about the storybook surrealness of this one that makes me want to watch it again and again.

3. 101 Dalmations One of my favorite Disney movies. Love the characters, the story and the animation. Quite possibly the perfect dog movie.

4. The Beastmaster Oh to manipulate animals for my every whim. That and to bed Tonya Roberts.

5. The Birds I still can't get over how Hitchcock made birds scary. That really is a feat. Seriously, he should have gotten a major award for this.

Monday, March 17, 2008

I Am The Real Ending of I Am Legend

Up until the ending, I Am Legend wasn't too bad. And for that reason, I don't know if I Am Legend can be called a good movie because if you miss on the ending, you've really missed the point of the story. For some reason or another, it was decided to steer clear of the book ending and come up with another one. It was another way to spin the title I Am Legend, but not nearly as interesting.

(SPOILERS AHEAD)

If you've read the the short story by Richard Matheson, you know the meaning behind the statement I Am Legend. Towards the end, the last man on earth Robert Neville discovers that the vampires are evolving and becoming more civilized. Neville is captured by the vampires and put in prison where he awaits execution. The story ends with Neville looking out his window on the hoards of vampires looking up at him in complete and utter fear. Neville has become the monster now. He is the one who threatens the new way of life. He is legendary.



I discovered this original ending at Firstshowing.net last week. In the post, Alex Billington praises this NEW original ending for claiming that it is more true to the short story. The post has over 500 comments. Good Lord, let me say that again. 500 comments. I'm raising a toast with 12 comments and these guys pull down 500 comments. Anyway, most everyone in their comments praise this new ending claiming it to be amazing. While it's different for certain, and more risky as it relates to a Hollywood-type movie, I still don't see it being faithful to the original story. Yes it's true that this new ending at least attempts to explain that the infected have evolved. And yes it's true that in this version Neville has reached legendary status among the infected for creating the havoc that he did. But in this ending, he re-infects the woman who he was saving and gave her back to the lead vampire. He leaves untouched and drives off into the sunset with the woman and the child. So are we to believe that he will live in co-existence with the vampires? Live to fight another day? If that's the case, that's nothing like the ending of the story. What makes the ending of 'I Am Legend' stick with you long after you've finished reading is the idea that the monsters and the victims can switch places. That the vampires could evolve to a place where they want to begin a new and that Neville was a threat to that. This new ending may be a little bit darker. A little bit more nontraditional. But it still isn't the ending that should have been.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Horton Say Wha????


I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that Horton Here's A Who is not going to be a very good movie going experience if you're over the age of 10. I could be wrong but I follow this simple equation and it has yet to fail me.

Jim Carrey/Mike Meyers + Anything related to Dr. Seuss = Suck

Whenever the names in the movie are bigger than Dr. Seuss, then we're all in a lot of trouble. Dr. Seuss does not need big stars and big names. He just needs a good visionary to bring his work to life. Instead of dropping money on movie tickets, why not rent The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. It does the Dr. Seuss name proud and is entertainment worthy of both children and adults.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Gyllenhaal Imbalance

My New Plaid Pants has dedicated quite a few posts in honor of Mr. Jake Gyllenhaal. I have no problem with that, but unfortunately it has created quite a large Gyllenhaal imbalance in the world. Because of this, I am forced to post these pictures of Maggie. I don't want to do this, but I feel I have to to make sure that the world is at Gyllenhaal peace. Again, let me stress that I'm only doing this as a responsible citizen. It has nothing to do with my personal feelings about Maggie.







Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Why George Clooney Is The Coolest MFer On The Planet


In a recent interview for Esquire magazine, Clooney was shown a website called George Clooney is GAY GAY GAY. While Clooney read the site, the interviewer asked him if there was any truth to it? Clooney responded with "No. I'm gay, gay. The third gay - that was pushing it."

Top 5 Tuesdays (T5T) Salutes Badass Babes


I've been a member of The Large Association Of Movie Blogs for a couple of months now and let me say that membership has its privileges. Just the other day my Jeep broke down on the side of the road somewhere just outside Darfur and well, I made a quick phone call, spoke with a woman named Judy and before I knew it there was a chopper hauling me to the nearest Hotel/Spa where I got a free night's stay and a nice warm meal. Okay, okay that's bullshit. It wasn't a Jeep, it was an 85 Escort and it was just outside Oklahoma City and the hotel was more like a motel and the spa was a functioning bathtub, but still.

Actually, being a member of L.A.M.B. means I get to participate in kick ass bloggy type thingys like Sirens Of The Lambs. It's a one on one fight between various movie femme fatales that have been pre-selected and then randomly drawn to duke it out. So anyway, if this sounds like something for you or if you're looking for a little extra traffic to come your way, you should become a L.A.M.B. Don't delay, become a L.A.M.B. today!

Okay, I'm derailing here because this is Tuesday and Tuesdays are all about lists. And this list is going to be about Kick-Ass Females in movies. Ladies who you would not want to meet in a dark alley. This lady might be all hot and you may want to entertain a little sack time with her, but do it with one eye open and one hand under the pillow with a dagger under there, because these women are bad. Bad all the way down to their beautiful bone structures.

So this Tuesday, give me your Top 5 Badass Females. Here are mine.

1. O-ren Ishii from Kill Bill Volume 1 That sweetness. Those freckles. The way she can lop off a head like it wasn't even there.

2. Nikita from
La Femme Nikita Don't let the doe-eyes fool you, this woman is cold blooded and aces with a rifle.

3. Geum-ja Lee from
Sympathy For Lady Vengeance This woman is an absolute angel... of death.

4. Molotov Cocktease from
Venture Bros If this woman doesn't kill you in ways no one could have ever imagined, she'll leave you cold in bed.

5. Ellen Berent Harland from
Leave Her To Heaven Ellen is picture perfect wife, but if she asks you to go swimming, you need to run away.

Stay tuned for my Sirens Of The Lamb entry where O-Ren Ishii takes on Hayley Stark from Hard Candy.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Best Thing About Be Kind Rewind

First, let me say this. The Alamo Drafthouse in Austin is amazing. Not just the venue, but the innovation they use to keep films new and interesting. For example, they have a Rolling Roadshow Tour that takes movies all over the country to places like Devil's Tower for a screening of Close Encounters or to Iowa for a screening of Field Of Dreams. And when they're not out of town, there's stuff like Fangoria Weekend, Sing-A-Longs and Weird Wednesdays among other things. The main reason I saw Be Kind Rewind was because it was at the Alamo and I just wanted to visit while I was in town. The movie was a bust, but the previews before it weren't. The Alamo Drafthouse sponsored a film competition called Rewind Kindly sponsored by Filmmaking Frenzy. So the "sweded" versions of famous or infamous movies played before the film. I saw the Die Hard entry and thought it was hilarious. You can find a slew of them on YouTube.

Here are a few that stood out.

Top Gun



The Princess Bride



Most of the videos I've seen are funnier than the ones in the movie. On the other hand, they wouldn't have been created without the movie so it's entirely possible that Be Kind Rewind was a success after all.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Be Kind and DE-stroy


I was skeptical of Be Kind Rewind from the beginning. A movie about a video store owner Mr. Fletcher (Danny Glover) who still rents VHS... because, you know, it is secretly a superior technology and jeez have you seen the high prices of those DVD players? Some go for as much as $75. His right hand man Mike (Mos Def) is friends with Jerry (Jack Black) who lives by heavy power lines which he is convinced are creating tumors in his head yet he continues to live by them in... get this... a mobile home. The operative word here being mobile. Meaning he could move it if he wanted, but he doesn't. See... that's funny. Mr. Fletcher leaves town and asks Mike to be in charge while he's gone. And that's when the hi jinx ensue. Jerry becomes magnetized from all the electricity and he erases every VHS tape in the store. In an effort to keep the store running, Mike and Jerry make their own versions of the movies on a VHS Camcorder. Let me say that again, a VHS Camcorder. They didn't have to break any glass to fetch it out of the Museum Of Old Fashioned Electronic Equipment, it was just there by Mr. Fletcher's desk. And damn if everyone doesn't like them more than the original because you know, Camcorders are better than those big clunky film recorder thingys and who editors when you can do it in camera.

Evidently Michel Gondry believes his audience is as stupid as the people who still have functioning VHS players because this movie is completely void of anything resembling entertainment. The character development is awkward. The acting strange. The direction amateur. And most importantly, it's not funny. Not in the least. It's obvious that Gondry was going for something different here. But what? Complete and utter isolation from his audience? This movie was so bad it could not be ignored. Could not be passed off as simply just bad. The more I watched, the more angry I got. I had to leave for fear that I might set the theater on fire. This was not a cast of nobodies directed by someone who had turned in hack projects before. This movie should have been something. And that's probably what made me the most angry - a collection of talent like this with the result of Be Kind Rewind is unforgivable. People need to be punished for this kind of work and I have some thoughts.

Let's start with The Greenlighter who gave this piece of shit the thumbs up. He/she should have both his/her thumbs broken so they can never greenlight another picture again.

Then there's Jack Black. His agent should be fired and Jack Black should be forced to have a cat scan because I'm convinced a lobotomy occurred overnight that is affecting his judgement in movie choices. This guy has yet to even come close to the promise he showed in High Fidelity.

The producer Georges Bermann should be beaten with a big red flag and taught to raise it when he sees a movie like this start to fall off the tracks as it did continuously.

And then there's Michel Gondry. As the writer and director of this mess, his punishment should be the worst. First, he should be forced to watch Eternal Sunshine Of A Spotless Mind to see how quirky characters can function in real life situations and still be entertaining. Next, he should be forced to direct Daddy Day Care 3 just so he doesn't fuck up like this again. Then, he should travel the world and collect every print of this film. He should personally refund the price of the ticket to everyone who saw it and then personally apologize and promise to do better. Then the movie should go straight to VHS for the 3 people out there who still have a working player to rent and watch.

Somewhere in this pile I'm sure there's a message about the state of entertainment today and how people are craving something so new and so different that they will settle for shit on VHS. But in the process Gondry created something worse than any of that and tried to pass it off as profound art.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

For Your Consideration: A Zombie Western


It's March and I can't frickin' stop myself from thinking about zombies. Those damn undead things. I finished 'World War Z' and now I want to revisit every zombie movie ever created. I watched Day Of The Dead yesterday and want to watch Diary Of The Dead soon. AND IT'S MARCH!!! I should be thinking of flowery shit and pink teddy bears and butterflies and new dew dropping from emerging flowers. Instead I'm thinking of rotting flesh and worm holes and plagues. Maybe its this shitty weather that won't go away, I don't know. But here I am, talking again about zombies. So bear with me and maybe this will pass soon so I can write about unicorns and pillows with really inspirational sayings on them. But until then, here's death and decay.


It's no secret that John Carpenter is a fan of westerns. More specifically, a fan of Howard Hawks westerns. One of his first writing gigs was for a student movie titled The Resurrection of Broncho Billy. He would later write El Diablo and Blood River for TV. But probably his greatest tribute to the western genre would have to be Assault On Precinct 13, Carpenters second feature film. A film about an L.A. gang descending upon an abandoned police precinct in the middle of nowheresville. Switch out badges and tattoos for cowboy hats and war paint and you've got yourself a regular western. There's no doubt it's written from the white-mans point of view. The gang members are a faceless menace without care or feeling. It's a very traditional and shortsighted take on the enemy and could easily be chalked up to pure homage to the genre. Looking at it again though different glasses though, Assault On Precinct 13 is not only a modern-day western, it's one hell of a zombie movie as well.


Early in the film, a frantic father kills a gang leader in retaliation for the death of his daughter and then retreats to the abandoned precinct to seek protection. The gang trails the father and declares that they will stop at nothing to get revenge. From here on out, we do not see faces, only shapes that scurry between cars and surround the precinct in an attempt to destroy any living human inside without discrimination. True, there is not the scary makeup, no flesh eating to speak of, but these killers are without emotion. Without fear. They are machines: one goes down and there's another climbing over the body to fill his place. Not unlike every other zombie movie ever created, the living are a mixed bag consisting of cops, a couple of secretaries and a few inmates. But unlike every other zombie movie the enemies are truly the gang members, not the survivors themselves. Staying true to the western genre, Carpenter is not interested in distention within the ranks. The internal squabbling is kept to a minimum as the group bands together to take a stand against the endless stream of enemies led by Ethan Bishop and Napoleon Wilson, Carpenter's version of two modern day John Waynes. One by the book and the other an outlaw.


The movie is not without its flaws. The dialogue is atrocious at times and the acting is mediocre at best, but Assault On Precinct 13 is not about its parts, but the idea itself. As a hint of things to come in his future films, Carpenter traps his characters in close quarters and asks them to scratch and claw their way out. When I first saw this film, it was terrifying to me that such a large mass of people could attack a structure without anyone noticing. The gang uses silencers and approaches the precinct behind abandoned cars that they use a stealthy shields. When an outsider comes by, everything is as it once was. The cars are back in place and no one is to be seen for miles. It speaks to the strength of Carpenter as a director that you can take away the scary makeup and the spooky lore of the undead, and he can still scare the bejesus out of you.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

A Zombie Proposal


Dear Mr. Brooks,

May I call you Max? Anyway, I've been a big fan of your Dad's work for a long time. It's still a toss up between Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles as my favorite comedy of all time. And your Mom was about as beautiful and talented as they come. But look at me, yakking about your parents when the true reason I'm writing is because of you. I just finished your second book 'World War Z' (I finished your first book late last year) and let me say it was a fantastic read. I have been a longtime fan of zombies in general, yet no piece of entertainment out there (there might still be as I have yet to experience it all) has dared to approach the plague on such an epic scale. It has always been dealt with on personal levels, little corners of the world. I found 'World War Z' to be both personal and epic, demonstrating how the plague effects everyone all over from the smallest of details to the largest of scales.

As I flipped through the pages, I couldn't help but imagine this as a film. Maybe three films. A pre-plague version, a full-on plague version and a clean-up version. But I fear that time may have passed and it will be too tempting for a director to use the zombies as a parody of current life or worse yet, the war. Something that you thankfully avoided. I also considered that your interview narrative lends itself so well to individual stories that I wondered if this might make a great series on HBO or Showtime. Each episode dedicated to another story that helps build the arc overall. It's a heck of an idea really. One that I hope is already in the works. And if it isn't and this letter helps spark a deal, I'll take 15 percent and some points on the back end.

So anyways, hi to the wife and kids. And keep up the good zombie work. You've breathed new life into a genre that I thought was as dead as the zombies themselves.

Yours truly

Piper