Monday, October 5, 2015

And that is why I'll always love you.

If I remember correctly, we were coming back from a Red Sox game. A crushing defeat to the Twins as I recall, the Sox falling apart in the top of the ninth. Anyway, as so many douchey twenty-year-olds are apt to do, naturally, my friend and I stopped at Wal-Mart on the way buy aviator sunglasses.

While I was standing near the registers, spinning the sunglasses thingy to no avail, I noticed there was some sort of disagreement at the lane closest to me. I'm not much of a gawker (maybe if I had my aviators, I would have been), so I just kind of...kept tabs on the situation while continuing to go about my business. Suddenly, somebody put their hands on somebody else, two guys hit the ground, and somebody yelled, HE'S GOT A GUN! 

And in that moment, where perhaps my life was in the balance, I played it cool. Like, I walked away as if I'd halfheartedly forgot to buy something in produce, not as if my life depended on it. 

Maybe I like to believe in the best of people, or more likely, maybe I'm a f--king moron. 

The more I think about writer/director Patrick Brice's Creep, the more I f--king love it. Watched under the least ideal circumstances ever (more on that later), this found footage flick is about the creepiest f--king film I have ever seen. And the reason why I still shudder when thinking about this 82 minute film days later? F--king Mark Duplass.

Or should I say, f--king Peach Fuzz?

The premise is incredibly, and possibly, eerily simple: A freelance cameraman is given one thousand dollars to help a man create a day-in-the-life-of video. It turns out Josef (the chilling Duplass), has been diagnosed with a brain tumor, and has hired Aaron (Brice) to record something Josef plans to leave to his (currently) unborn son. Nothing creepy here, right? Well...

Josef is a f--king weirdo. This is painfully obvious. But he's hugger, too. And a very open guy. In fact, his transparent nature almost seems like a mental condition. It's alarming, sure, but he's so quick to thoroughly apologize, even the strangest offense is quickly forgiven. Oh, the warning signs are there, no doubt, but believe me, Aaron isn't going anywhere. Not that I blame him.


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I knew you were gonna be a good guy.

I f--ked up my senior internship every possible way I could.

Initially, I turned down ESPN. Brilliant f--king move, that. Then, at the one I actually accepted (at a rock station), I allowed some desperate chick in Promotions, to steer me away from Production. Again, totally f--king genius, assuming you get IQ points for being a f--king moron. 

But, when I actually got on the job? Even worse. I did just about the stupidest f--king thing someone working for free could ever do: I kept my head down and always did what was asked of me.

And that's it. 
It's not like I'm a total failure as a human being however, as last Saturday night I took my mom to the movies (um, for the first time ever...I should[n't] mention) to see Nancy Meyers' latest, The Intern. And while we both agreed that it's a very charming movie, it appears that, a week later, there's one thing we will NEVER agree on...but more on that later.

As the cutesy trailer and the somewhat awkward poster make painfully clear, this is that kind of movie. Old people will do things in that old-fashioned, by the book, but lovable way! and young people will be too busy tits-deep in Apple products and social media to realize they're missing out on the finer things in life. If only they could somehow meet in the middle!

Honestly, the entire setup is somewhat ridiculous and many of the smaller details infinitely too perfect for their own good, but damned if this wasn't a crowd-pleaser. If you can hate something starring an angelic-tempered Robert De Niro and an impossibly sexy Anne Hathaway then you's a hardcore motherf--ker. Me, I'm a bit of a pussy, so I actually had a pretty good time. Oh, and so did Momma Two Dollar Cinema. (Which is good...because she'd never let me hear the end of it otherwise.)

Monday, September 28, 2015

Jesus, Becca. I'm blind.

I had this post started a week ago. The anecdote was ready to go, and I thought it was going to be a great setup that would be interesting, and maybe even a little humorous at times. But then I realized....

...I already told that story. 

Sure, maybe I could jazz it up a bit, present it in a new and exciting way, but honestly, I couldn't pull the trigger. Yeah. The past is the past, but there's nothing worse than doing a shittier version of something you did years back. It's in this moment that I realized that not only am I running out of ideas, but this format I've created for myself? It may indeed be choking the life out of me.

Good thing I'm not the only one.

Outside of a few jump scares and a general sense of what the f--k is going on here?, I was bored out of my skull during M. Night Shyamalan's latest horror/comedy flick, The VisitAnd this is coming from a person genuinely happy just to be near a movie theater, let alone f--king inside one. Well, not f--king inside one, but...nevermind - you know what I mean.

Clearly ol' M. Night is taking everything less seriously these dayswhich I support wholeheartedly, but this found-footage flick needed an edge. Or something. The setup is laughably absurd, the performances peak at not terrible, and the patented surprise ending made me wish I was dead people. And that's without mentioning all the white-kid freestyle rapping, for f--k's sake.

If you haven't heard (lucky!), The Visit is about two teenage siblings heading to their grandparents house...for the first time ever. For a week. Many years ago, their mom had a falling out with her folks, so these wascally wabbits decide to get to the bottom of this family squabble and document the entire thing. Sounds like a perfectly acceptable plan, right? Right.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

A perfect storm of really fantastic awesomeness.

Assholes. F--kers. Miserable, rotten bastards.
Bags of all varieties, Douche, Scum and sometimes I'll even go with Shit.

There have been many things I have called Philadelphia sports fans in my life, and quite frankly, they've deserved every label thrown their way. I've sat in the Vet and Citizens Bank to see the Phills battle my Red Sox and it's rarely a nice time. Some guy called me a f--king piece of shit...because I clapped for a third out. Hell, I've even risked my life watching the Bruins play the Flyers from the last row. I don't want to even mention the things I heard up there.

Through it all, I've always left the stadium, in victory or defeat, thinking, these people are the most joyless souls on the planet. I mean, do they really even like sports? The answer is simple. No. 

They f--king love them. Almost more than anything.

After watching the film, there's really only one thing left to do...
Get the Jolly Franklin tattooed on my chest.
Oh, or...go to a game. I guess I could start there.
Thirty seconds into the preview, I was totally sold on the sports documentary, Sons of Ben. I'm sure it doesn't hurt that I'm a huge sports fan, or the fact that I currently live in Pennsylvania (and used to live right outside of Philly). But even if none of the above were true, this film wouldn't be any less compelling. And remember, this is coming from someone who generally hates those cheese-steak eating sons of bitches.

Sons of Ben tells the unlikely story of Bryan James, a Philly guy and avid soccer fan, who cooks up just about the most ridiculous idea ever: he decides to root for a team that doesn't exist. No, not a Super Bowl Winning Philadelphia Eagles team, silly, but a Major League Soccer team. Years back, James and his friends had caught wind that the MLS was thinking about expanding, and their mission was simple: support the team. With as many people as they can. And then...maybe, just maybe they'll actually get one.

James wagers everything he has on this absurd idea of the Sons of Ben, this passionate group of soccer fans, armed with every component of fandom except a team to root for. He launches a website, creates an insane amount of merchandise, and rallies the troops over and over to desperately try to catch the eye of Major League Soccer's commissioner. But even though it's a great story, and possibly even a nice hobby, this film shows us the harsh reality of wholeheartedly believing in a dream.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

HHFF Feature: Ghosting

Many years ago, in this mythical place known as high school, I developed an unflinching love of photography. Not only the freedom that came with walking around like an a-hole and sticking my camera wherever I felt like it (at 16, this felt like immense power and privilege), but I was enamored with the process of composing a shot. The idea in that a single frame anything was possible continues to consume my imagination to this day.

So much's almost scary.

Also borderline frightening, was the feature film my wife and I caught at last weekend's HHFF, Kevin Alexander Boon's Ghosting. Filmed over 18 days with essentially no budget, Boon's film is a throwback to old-school horror (with some elements of a typical episode of Scooby-Doo). There's a spooky bad guy, naturally, but that sumbitch ain't coming out till the very end.

Matt (an effective and intermittently sweaty Michael Mowen) is a college student, simply trying to hold it together. School's okay, but his home life is f--ked. His dad is a drunken asshole, and his mom is becoming increasingly adrift in the throes of schizophrenia. Late for class, Matt ain't (though it doesn't hurt that his best friend is a hot chick, I'm sure).

At night Matt works at a local picture printing place, and after bagging order after order, he discovers the same random guy is appearing in photos from people all over the country. Being that that's totally f--ked up, of course, he goes to his boss and says something to the effect of, you see this creepy shit? To which his boss, a kind of creepy guy himself says, the f--k you talking about, son? Yep. Matt's seeing shit that ain't there.

Thanks, Mom.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

HHFF Block C Recap: Shorts

In what could (hopefully) become an annual tradition, my wife and I attended our first film festival this past weekend. In a bit of good fortune, the Harrisburg-Hershey Film Festival was held on the weekend immediately prior to my birthday, so it would seem the almighty Movie God (thanks, Dell) was kinda looking out for yours truly.

I wasn't the only virgin there, as this was the inaugural event dedicated to celebrating Central Pennsylvania's (relatively) modest film industry. And as much as I wanted to attend as Blogger Guy, I instead dialed it back and went as Random Dude, though between you and me, it was more like Young(ish) Random Dude, as the crowd was more likely born in '36 rather than celebrating turning 36.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Try not to die, okay?

Even though I'm not really plugged in any more, seldom do I get a chance to see a movie theatrically that I know absolutely nothing about. But after checking my phone and clearing it with Mrs. Two Dollar Cinema, I decided to head to a late showing of a film that I quite honestly had never heard of. Never saw a trailer, didn't catch anyone out promoting it.

I saw the title, looked at the cast, shook my head at the rating, and just f--king went for it. Better judgement be damned. Yeah, I probably wasn't the ideal age to undertake such an endeavor, but f--k it, you know?

I wanted something to write about. 

A Walk in the Woods isn't about a stagnating thirty-five year old movie blogger, but late Sunday evening, it sure as shit could have been. Instead, it tells the story of an aging writer who after attending yet another funeral decides to go for a walk. Well, more like a hike, actually. A two-thousand, one hundred and eighteen mile hike to be exact. At least he didn't go alone. I mean...that'd be embarrassing.

Robert Redford plays real-life author Bill Bryson, a nice-enough guy living out his days in a picturesque New Hampshire town. We meet Bryson on the set of a morning talk show, where the only person less interested than being there than he is happens to be the person interviewing him. Bryson has released an anthology of sorts, and we come to find out the only writing he's been doing for the last couple of years has been for other people's books. He's bored, and it's all too apparent that the thought of being at home with his wife may indeed kill him. So he does what any man would do in that situation: he gets the Hell outta there. 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Somebody needs to sort that prick out.

While Japan and England are essentially neck and neck for the place I'd most like to visit, next up on that list would have to be Australia. I'm not sure what exactly intrigues me so much about a sunburnt country, but for whatever reason, I certainly feel compelled to see it before I die.

Maybe Paul Hogan milling around my formative years had something to do with it (if I had a nickel for every time I butchered That's not a knife...I'd have a shitload of nickels), or Steve Irwin's presence when I was in college, but there's a certain undeniable charm to Aussies. And that's just a couple of random dudes.

But the women? That's a completely different story.

They'd probably kill me. 

Infinitely better than it's current 9% on Rotten Tomatoes, Kill Me Three Times is further proof of how the ladies from Down Under can be bad for your health. 

Set in the Western Australia town of Eagle's Nest, this breezy flick features a pair of lovely ladies that f--k, and/or f--k over, just about every guy around them. Some of their dastardly deeds are intentional, but for the most part, this flick features a series of unfortunate events, each culminating in the untimely death of some poor sap. And I thought a walkabout was brutal...

Even in a small(er) role, Simon Pegg gets top billing, as his hitman character, Charlie Wolfe, is the common thread tying it all together. It seems ol' Charlie has been hired by Jack (the gigantic Callan Mulvey) to kill Jack's wife, after he suspects she's running around on him. But before Charlie can actually kill her, the unlikely duo of Lucy and Nathan intervene, as they need the wife's body as part of an insurance scam they are running. And it just so happens that Lucy is Jack's sister...not that that really matters. I think.