Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Heaven help us all.

When I used to wear a blue shirt, and peddle electronics at a large, soul-sucking electronics superstore, the highlight of my day were the little conversations I could sneak in with fellow employees. The supervisor of the media department (video games, movies and these things called...CDs?), days before quitting (and working at a prison...across the street), wowed me with this little gem, that seven years later, still cracks me up:

So these two assholes are going back and forth debating which video game system is better. Over and over, they keep arguing, one yammering on about Playstation, while the other guy is all about the XBOX. After a couple of minutes, I've had enough. I go over to these two clowns, and tell them, Sony? XBOX? You know what you should really try? [the guys wait for an answer]


What does that anecdote have to do with Spike Lee's Chi-Raq? Not much, actually, other than how just about anything looks entirely trivial when compared to having sex. But...isn't this movie about all the senseless violence in Chicago? Well, yes. Sort of. I think so. Actually, I'm not even sure what the f--k this movie is about. So, Best Buy, right?

The South Side of Chicago, all bullshit aside, is a f--king war zone. The film opens telling us that more people have been murdered in Chicago than have died in the United States war in Afghanistan over the same period of time. At the heart of this conflict (in the movie, anyway) are two rival gangs, the Trojans and the Spartans, each representing a section of the endless cavalcade of senseless violence.

After a couple of dudes are killed at a hip-hop show, the shit really hits the fan when an act of retaliation leads to the death of an innocent young girl. Her shooting seems to be the breaking point, as not only has another person died, but yet again, no one is coming forward with information. While the gangs keep on doing the dumb shit that they do, their women decide to put an end to all the foolishness. Their play?

No peace?
No pussy.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

I ought to be God to you.

I almost died. 

Among all the stupid things people say, this one has always rubbed me the wrong way. I know it's an expression, and I also know that 80% of the actual words people say are f--king absurd when examined, but we have to bury this one immediately (along with the unholy trio of bruh, thot, and bae). 

There have been many people who have almost died and I think they might take offense (or at least raise a stitched eyebrow) to someone capping the story of sort of stumbling on the staircase (my students) or sneezing while holding a steak knife (uh, that one was me) with those three words. 

This simple, throwaway phrase, wholly undermines the epic f--king journey that almost dying surely is. And even though it was a movie, I have seen this journey. And it was so gut-wrenching, so heart-breaking, so unbelievably grueling...well, just watching it...almost killed me.

One day. One day. I too, will have ice in my beard.
By now, you've probably seen The Revenant (and know what it's about), but as the lights dimmed last Saturday, I wasn't sure what to expect. I knew it was a story of survival, I just didn't have any clue as to what that actually meant, and how f--king daunting it would be. Hundreds of films prior to director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's latest have featured a protagonist hanging on, I'm just not sure to this degree. Like, I wasn't sure actor Leonardo DiCaprio was going to make it, let alone Hugh Glass, the character he was playing. It's unbelievable, to say the least.

Balls deep in the misery known as early 1800's America, we meet Glass as he is leading a group of fur traders through the snowy frontier of the Dakotas. Minutes in, their camp is attacked by Native Americans and all Hell breaks loose. Glass and his son, Hawk, manage to get to the boat with a small group of men, some of whom are wounded in the bloody chaos. After their narrow escape, Glass makes the relatively unpopular decision to abandon the boat and head back to Fort Kiowa...on foot.  Even with everyone (momentarily) relatively healthy, this is going to be quite the bogus journey. Good thing Glass knows these woods, and as long as they can move quickly, they should be able to survive. I mean, what could really go wrong?

Oh, right. Everything.

Monday, February 1, 2016

It's like a museum of coolness in here!

Though my artistic abilities likely peaked soon after (not too mention my overall maturity level), as a kid I used to draw these epic pictures. Typically they were inspired by something I was already interested in, and usually featured robots, dinosaurs, or if I was feeling extra saucy - robot dinosaurs. Eventually, I'd ditch original creations, and instead, mash together dozens of video game characters and engage them all in bloody warfare.

There's Mario stabbing a Battletoad. Sonic being impaled by Link.  Toe Jam shooting Earl.
Friggin' Kirby being blown up by Mega Man. Let's cap it off with Earthworm Jim punting Q-Bert. Through a window.

It was some pretty hi-brow, low-brow stuff. These creations were culled from my childhood, treated with the utmost care...and then violently smashed together. My parents, not knowing any of these references, would muster an uninspired Wow...nice, before returning to their Scrabble letters and Coronas. But my friends? Kids like me? They'd have two different words for all that death and destruction.

Hell yeah.

Turbo Kid, now (thankfully) streaming on Netflix, is the moving pictures version of my lovingly-crude boyhood sketches. Crafted with impeccable care, this post-apocalyptic flick bludgeons the viewer with flawless homages to every badass flick from the mid 80s to early 90s.

If the recipe called for a mix of Mad Max and The Goonies, the chefs behind this one went ahead and dumped in generous portions of Rad, The Karate Kid, Big Trouble in Little China, and maybe even a sprinkle or two of The Wraith and a pinch of Over the Top. Shit, there's probably even more nods and references, but it's hard to keep count when you brain explodes out of your ass.

Set in futuristic 1997, Turbo Kid takes place after some cataclysmic event has crippled the world's water supply. Swinging the biggest dick in town is Zeus (Michael Ironside, doing what he does so well), a one-eyed man running the barren wasteland with the help of some masked goons (and a device that extracts water...FROM PEOPLE!). Unsurprisingly, these are guys you don't want to f--k with.

Unless you're a BMX-riding, comic-book obsessed teenager, with a hard on for Small Wonder. Cause that dude, along with a mysterious cowboy from Down Under, are all about f--king with Zeus and his crew. C'mon, you f--kers think that just 'cause a guy reads comics he can't start some shit?

Saturday, January 30, 2016

I'll take no pleasure in it, I promise.

I hate other people's houses. Clearly there's something (potentially very) wrong with me, but I never quite feel comfortable in someone else's home, no matter how many times the host insists the opposite.

If their house is nice, it's this tangible reminder of all the poor decisions I made in my life, and how I really wish I had a fireplace. And if their house is rundown, or inadequate in some way, I'm generally overcome with some weird guilt thing, which makes me mad because it explicitly lets me know I'm a giant asshole. Either way, I generally punch the ballot for let's get the f--k out of here, asap. 

Oh, and in the unlikely situation that their house happens to be just like mine (read: shitty), then I'm stuck thinking, I had to get in a car for this? (And I can't even take my pants off?)

But worse than other people's stuff, in other people's houses?

Other people's kids. 

And it's not even close.

I didn't really know anything about The Boy heading into it, outside of the one-sentence summary the Regal Theater app afforded me. Despite strolling into a late Tuesday night showing of director William Brent Bell's latest horror flick essentially blind, it wasn't what unfolded on screen that really surprised me. Nope. It was the fact that I wasn't utterly f--king alone in the theater. In fact, it was damn near sold out. 

What the f--k is going on around here, exactly?

Which is what our protagonist Greta (the doe-eyed Lauren Cohan) would have asked, repeatedly, had this little horror flick not been reaching for all that PG-13 cash. Instead, she wanders through a creepy-ass house, owned by creepy-ass people, while taking care of their creepy-ass...son?

See, Greta, after some domestic event that led to a restraining order back home, arrives/flees to some mysterious (and cavernous) English manor. Her job? To watch an elderly couple's son as they head off on a much needed holiday. The catch? Their son, this cheeky little wanker named Brahms, just so happens to be a f--king doll. Yeah. you read that right. And after a quick rundown of how to take care of little Brahmsy, his parents get the f--k out of Dodge, leaving Greta (and the paying audience) thinking...where did I go wrong in my life?

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Now you'll learn what's Hell in Yankee Land.

Apparently, there's a drug problem in this country? Wait. What?

Now, I'm not much of a drug user, legal or otherwise, but I may just know a few people who dabble in such adult-oriented activities. I may even be related to some of them. Maybe it's my defeatist attitude, or general lack of interest in others, but people are going to do what people are going to do, regardless of the what the law says. .

Especially if it makes them wealthy, feel good, or...both. Even I personally don't agree with it, as long as there's a buyer, there will always be a seller. I'm sure of it. And you'll never be able to stop it.

No matter how big you build that wall.

Director Denis Villeneuve's 2015 thriller Sicario may not be about blowhard political candidates, but it's equally frustrating and hollow. Taking place on and around the border between the United States and Mexico, Villeneuve's latest effort depicts the ugly politics behind the even uglier war on drugs. It's an incredibly tense ride, that unfortunately ends right where it begins: somewhere f--king hopeless.

Emily Blunt dials down the badassery of the Full Metal Bitch only a notch or two, playing tough as nails federal agent Kate Mercer. Kate  is a pro, specializing in the kidnapping and rescue side of the drug trafficking business. After a raid in Arizona goes tits up, the straight-laced Kate is recruited by the extra slick, and vaguely-titled, Matt Graver (a moderately slimy Josh Brolin). You can imagine Matt as equal parts of each Jeffrey Lebowski, a laid back goofball who conducts business with little concern for the proper channels. Joining the aforementioned duo is a mysterious man named Alejandro (Benecio Del Toro, fulfilling his destiny), and let's go ahead and file everything about this dude as questionable. 

Mercer, after begrudgingly agreeing to join Matt's unit is thrust into the murky waters of unofficial business. Matt and his crew are getting things done in Mexico, but ethics and transparency were left at the border. Behind her unblinking eyes and unflattering gray t-shirt, it appears that Kate should have stayed behind, too.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Y'all wanna lie on the ground and make snow angels together?

Roughly thirty years ago, I fell in love with a storytelling genre I didn't even know existed - the murder mystery. The film that opened my eyes had this small cast of eccentric characters, a story that occurred over just a few short hours, and was set entirely in one location. I sat there, wide-eyed and completely riveted, desperately trying to figure out who did it (where and with what). For a kid, the back-and-forth among the colorful characters was compelling, not to mention consistently hilarious. I wanted to tell everyone (meaning: my parents) about this amazing film, but there was one part I was unsure about. I mean, at one point, someone got shot. Once. 

And I...laughed? Was there something wrong with me?

Hey, what do you expect from a (until that moment) Clue-less seven year-old?

Wait, I know this one. Not much.

For Quentin Tarantino's eighth film, however, I was expecting quite a bit, honestly, and for the most part, I got it. The Hateful Eight delivered on all the things that make a Tarantino movie a Tarantino movie, without skimping in the least. In fact, the only real problem may be how much it delivers, as ol' QT makes a fairly simple story f--king epic.

Kurt Russell (and his infinitely badass mustache) plays John Ruth, a veteran bounty hunter hauling in a huge score going by the name of Daisy Domergue (a gnarly-ass Jennifer Jason Leigh). We're not sure what crime Domergue's responsible for, but the bounty is ten grand, and as were not far beyond the Civil War, that's a nice piece of change. While this bitch is certainly one, Ruth's got 99 other problems, too. An impending snowstorm is somewhere on that list, sure, but at the top? Well...motherf--kers keep showing up needing help. And even though pretty much everyone involved is some kind lying, racist asshole, there's an odd code-of-honor that exists among all of them. .

Hey Lloyd, look there's some people that want a ride, too! Pick 'em up!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Scouts forever!

As kids, we weren't exactly encouraged to participate in any extra-curricular activities. On the off chance that one of the five of us inadvertently signed up for some after-school endeavor, the news would be met with only a passing curiosity. Not about the activity we longed to be a part of, no, that was irrelevant. The real burning question my parents always had?

So, how do you plan on getting there? 

Somehow, I managed to play varsity basketball in high school. And somehow, I actually held an after school job (cleaning the school, by the way - and you high school chicks are nasty). But that was when I was older and had a license. As a younger dude? No such luck.

No karate.
No swim club.
And worst of all?

No Boy Scouts.

Not that I was desperate to be a Boy Scout at fourteen, but after catching the f--king ridiculous 2015 horror-comedy Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, I'll go ahead and fill out the application now. Scouts are cool as shit on a normal day, but when their town is taken over by the undead? Well, these dudes become f--king legendary.

Like a more hardcore version of The Monster Squad, Scouts Guide tells the story of a small group of social outcasts using their nerd-powers to save the f--king day. It's consistently funny, intermittently charming and I imagine (though I will never confirm) insanely re-watchable. I finished it at damn near three in the morning and actually considered watching it again. Immediately.

Ben and Carter are juniors in high school, and according to Carter, it's time to bail on being a Scout. But being that tonight is the night that their 'buddy' Augie is reaching Master Scout (or some shit), they reluctantly decide to set up camp one last time. Until Augie's asleep, and then they'll ditch his goofy ass and head on over to a top secret party across town. Ben's the honorable, straight-man of the group (as opposed to Carter, who's an obnoxious a-hole), and doesn't really support this. But...Carter's sister is going to be there, and well, she's pretty frickin' hot. That Massive Boner Handler badge isn't going to earn itself.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Whose juices have I tasted?

Oh God, yes. 

I don't even have to ask myself the question anymore. But the answer? It's always there. Momentarily shoving aside any rational thought I was in the midst of, I come to this conclusion with the speed and calculation usually reserved for...blinking. It happens all the time, and even if I really concentrate...there's little I can do to stop it.

And when I told my older brother of how this process, he nodded. No shit. We all do that.
And when I (innocently/foolishly) told my wife of this process, she frowned. What's wrong with you?

Clearly, there's something wrong with me, but I'm just thinking if I'd have sex with the women that cross paths with me, not when. Or where. And there's a million caveats to my imagined scenario (like, assuming I'm wasn't married, for example).

Sleeping with Other People, on the other hand, presents us with not only with the wandering eye of your typical guy, but also his wandering dick. In addition to the oh-so-typical womanizer we're used to, the charmingly sleazy Jason Sudeikis, here he has a female counterpart, played by Alison Brie. Even in her attempt at monogamy she is missing the mark, as her guy belongs to someone else: His wife.

As convoluted as that may sound, it really isn't. After a brief hook-up in college, both then-virgins Lainey (Brie) and Jake (Sudeikis) go their separate ways. And after a chance encounter (at a sex addiction meeting, no less) they reunite, only to do what people in movies do: have an entirely meaningful relationship...with zero sex (wait, they're married?). Yeah, it's one of those plans that even on paper is terrible, but somehow two moderately-functioning adults would agree to. Hmm..I wonder how it will end?