Friday, June 23, 2017

Up, back, forward, down.

I was obsessed with stand-up comedy.

I watched An Evening at the Improv every single night that it was on. And I swear that f--ker was on seven days a week. Hell, Budd Friedman was like a second father to me. MTV, before it was (extra) terrible, used to have a show called the Half Hour Comedy Hour, and I simply couldn't get enough of that shit (and host Mario Joyner). And whenever HBO had those free preview weekends (which as a kid, was nothing short of world-changing), I would record an expletive-filled hour long special...on something called a VHS cassette, and watch that f--ker till I memorized it.

Between you and me, and this is something I'm not sure I ever said aloud...but, funny or not,...I wanted to be a comedian. That was my dream.

And I never did a single thing about it.

Eddie Edwards, fortunately, wasn't such a pussy, and as detailed in the ultimate crowd-pleasing film Eddie the Eagle, this dude straight up made his dream come true. There are lots of ways to be inspired in this world, but Eddie's story is nothing short of astonishing, especially considering how it all began.

And of course, as these movies often go, how it all ended, too.

Taron 'Eggsy' Egerton plays Eddie, whom despite a youth spent on dodgy knees, is doggedly determined to be an Olympian. While this kid might not have the slightest bit of athletic skill, he's certainly bringing home gold in biggest balls on the planet. With the help of a reluctant coach named Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman, donning the tightest jeans in the history of cinema), ol' Eddie sets the world on fire sixty-one meters at a time.

Ski-jumping. Or as it should be known, Why would anyone ever willingly do this?

While the plausibility of just about any minute of this movie seems f--king laughable, there's nothing remotely funny about what Eddie Edwards accomplished. This guy had an impossible dream and absolutely made it come by sheer force. Me? I never asked the question. This guy not only asked it, but then didn't give a f--k about the answer.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Are we good?

I saw him coming. Saw him before my dog did, in fact.

So, quickly, I followed Dodger into the backyard, hopefully allowing this guy time to stroll by without listening to the relentless barking of my forty-two pound pup. Thought I'd do each of us a solid. 

But something wasn't right. It had been more than a minute, and this guy hadn't walked passed my house yet. And it's not like I locked the front door, for f--k's sake. I honestly thought to myself, Watch this asshole be in my house. 

F--k this. F--k all of this, you know? Why do these f--king people always show up at my house? Can't they ruin someone else's night? All I want to do is go the f--king movies with my wife, and now I gotta get murdered by some dickhole in a blue shirt.

(But more on that in a bit)

My wife, yes my wife, actually wanted to see the f--king shark movie with Mandy Moore on Saturday night, but in a shocking turn of was sold out (I shit you not). Ten minutes later, and with just a few seats remaining, we trudged into an 8:10 showing of It Comes At Night

Bullet. Dodged.

Having not seen a trailer, nor read a synopsis, all I knew was that early word suggested this Joel Edgerton-starring flick might knock me on my ass. And while quite literally everyone else in the theater f--king detested the flick, I thought it f--king ruled.

Something terrible has happened in the world, and the population has drastically dwindled. When we meet Paul and his family (a wife and a teenage son), they are reluctantly putting ol' Grampa down, as a mysterious illness has ravaged what's left of his body. It's brutal, it's frightening, and utterly f--king horrific. But as you look into the forlorn eyes of the family patriarch, it was absolutely necessary too. Paul isn't taking any chances to protect his family. And surviving in this f--ked up reality has become nothing short of business. And the Paul runs things?

Business is good. Real good.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

This is not a tomb. It's a prison.

We catch up. We laugh. We bullshit about whatever.

We go out to eat (usually Mexican). We go to a baseball game. We bullshit some more.

We talk about our wives. We play some videogames. We talk about our wives some more..

And then, as is also part of the annual tradition of when my older brother comes to visit me, we go to a terrible f--king movie.

In 3D.

Last year, it was the dreadful-ass sequel no one asked for, the steaming bucket of dicks that was Independence Day: Resurgence. This year, it was a dreadful-ass reboot no one asked for, the sack full of assholes known as The Mummy

It's not that we hate ourselves, or our money, that continually leads us down this awful road of dick-punch cinema. But it's instead something that we both love (and always have): the promise of a big screen spectacle. We're men of simple tastes, and getting together always reminds us of our shared childhood thirty-plus years ago. A big-budget nod to the past should have been the stuff of dreams, right? Well...maybe if either of us could have stayed awake.

I don't think I could pass a test on the finer points of what exactly happened in the Tom Cruise-led re-imagining of The Mummy, but I'm not sure anyone involved in its production could either. 

Consider that everything you're about to read is based on the opinion of a man who saw the second half of this film through the lens of a single alternating eye. And when you're that tired, or that bored, or whatever the case may have been, you start to really get angry at the film that's keeping you awake. I just wanted to rest in peace, you know? And then this handsome, ageless prick wakes me up, and I'm thinking: I'd like to level whatever city that f--ker's in, mainly by way of a giant sand cloud, shaped like my screaming face. 

Uh, or something like that.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Your parents were obviously total failures.

My son is in second grade. Well, he was, as the school year is already over for that lucky punk. Me? I have to trudge along for another couple of days.

There are a ton of things to worry about when you send your little one off to school, and as a teacher I'm privy to some super-sketchy insider information, but my wife and I routinely find ourselves fretting over one thing in particular.

We're not sure he has any friends.

Which is entirely brutal no matter how you look at it, but unless this dude's pulling a major Keyser Soze on us, I'm telling you, what breaks my heart in half?

He's a really nice kid.

As are George and Harold, the two main characters in Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie. Well, they're at least really nice to each other. If you're a teacher, or worse, a principal, you might not be such a fan of this dynamic duo.

But somebody definitely likes these boys, to the tune of over 70 million books sold. Based on the wildly-popular series of kids' books by Dav Pilkey, this animated flick, while typically hyper-active and full of fart jokes, is shockingly (and pleasantly) a very nice story about friendship. After the dumpster fire that was the previously unmentionable kid's flick [review], my sites were pretty low...which may explain why I enjoyed the movie so much.

George and Harold have been in the same class for years. When they're not fighting the injustices of how boring and soul-sucking elementary school can be, these two goofballs are up in a rad tree house concocting yet another adventure of Captain Underpants, their homegrown comic book character.

After yet another prank has their principal Mr. Krupp threatening to separate the boys into different classes (and in their minds immediately ending their life-long friendship), George and Harold end up, of all things, hypnotizing the disgruntled head-of-school. Instead of a worst-case scenario, now our guys can instead focus on being best friends again. And endlessly embarrassing their principal along the way.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Fighting does not make you a hero.

I have a penis. And a brain, too.

I'm not 100% sure which one is bigger (or which one I use more), but that's a discussion for another day. Perhaps even another blog. 

Sometimes the top floor and the bottom floor work together, and sometimes they don't. While I consider myself smart enough to know that I'm not terribly intelligent, one thing I know for sure is that yes, I have a dick, but no, I'm definitely not a dick. 

And all nonsense means what, exactly? Well, obviously...

...that means I loved Wonder Woman. Loved almost every single thing about it. 

I love that it's simultaneously breaking records and smashing barriers, love that it will likely open doors for many more female-centric superhero movies (fingers crossed for Squirrel Girl). But, yeah, what I loved the most? Watching one of the most beautiful women in the world kick f--king heaps of ass. Yeah. I loved that too.

Why someone would ever doubt a female director (or a female writer) is beyond me, and beyond stupid. But I certainly thought it was fair to doubt a Wonder Woman movie. Initially. 

First, it's part of the DCEU, which instantly had my Shitty Movie Sense tingling. Second, and perhaps even more damning, is that all I knew of the Wonder Woman character came from watching my two older pervy brothers snicker their way through episode after episode of the Linda Carter television series (when we were kids). Invisible Jet? Lasso of Truth? The outfit that would make a stripper blush? This is a joke, right? No way this is going to work.

But then we all saw Batman v. Superman [review]. And Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman was the best part. By a mile.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

This place really is the worst.

Unless you have kids, or work with them (or in my case, both), you might be blissfully unaware of the influences quietly molding the future leaders of our country. And I would argue, vehemently, that your lack of knowledge about the latest trends and fads makes you a better person. Because knowing what passes for the best thing ever, might make you want to kill yourself...

...with a fidget spinner.

If you have, know, own, or just the worst, are an elementary school student, you're likely all about Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. As a mostly-functioning adult, however, I've never read a single page of his eleven (or so) books featuring the douchey awfulness, er, wimpy-ness of one Greg Heffley. But my students have. And more importantly, my son has.

After bitterly not sleeping through Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul, the fourth film in the franchise, I'm starting to rethink my ludicrous stance of taking my son to any film he's legitimately interested in seeing. Like, majorly reconsidering. See, I'm trying to foster a healthy love of actually going to the movies (the day he illegally downloads a movie is the day we have an actual fist-fight) in both of my kids, but after director David Bowers 'film', maybe piracy isn't the worst thing in the world. I mean, that way he would have only been stealing an awful movie. But this? This robbed me of my f--king soul.

Not that you care, in the least, but here's a short summary of The Long Turd Haul. Instead of allowing her three boys to just lay around all summer and be annoying a-holes, Mom decides the Heffley's need to load up the car and head out on an epic to visit their beloved Meemaw. They're going to get off their devices and spend some time as, you guessed it, a family.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

This is the real deal now.

Earlier this calendar year, I decided I needed to lose some weight. I hadn't been on a scale in awhile, but I knew it was going to be bad news. I was counting monthly gym visits using my thumbs, and sadly recalled a trip to pick up Chinese take-out...where I stopped at Wendy's on the way. The heaviest I ever knew myself to be was somewhere around 226 pounds, and standing at a mere six feet tall, that wasn't exactly a good look.

On January 13th, 2017, I stomped onto the scale for a little friendly competition at work.

I weighed 233.2 pounds. 

After blowing their fragile little minds with the stellar (and thoroughly captivating) documentary Blackfish [review], I decided to show my Honor's class something a bit more tangible: Corbin Billings' 2014 doc, Bite Size. This flick, from 2014 and currently streaming on Netflix, isn't about the dangers of swimming with vindictive orcas, no. Instead, it's about something much less exciting, but perhaps even more life-threatening: It's about eating. Poorly.

Following the lives of four middle-schoolers, my students found Bite Size immediately compelling. Tracking the lives of drastically overweight kids the same age as they are, I quickly realized I would have their full attention. What I wasn't sure I was going to get was their respect.

Using quick-goat thinking, I had to preface the film by addressing the knowledge and curiosity level (and frankly, maturity) of my students in regard to their health and diets. While none of my current students could be considered overweight, many of them were aware that living on nothing but soda and candy was likely going to catch up with them eventually. And, Hell, let's be honest, no matter what their body-type is in middle school, deep down they could all relate to kids getting picked on, frustrated and devastated by some aspect of their physical appearance.

I mean, take it from me, it doesn't get much easier in your thirties either, you know?

Friday, May 26, 2017

Thank God you're pretty.

Many months ago, and despite my love of bad movies and great racks, a certain film was announced and truthfully, I couldn't have given a single f--k. It was based on a TV show that I never really watched, didn't even hold any level of sympathetic nostalgia for. But then certain actors were attached, and all of a sudden, the Boner Meter (or, Bonometer) not only sprang to life, but went from beloved animal funeral to college Halloween party in record time. All the show had going for it was hot chicks running around in bathing suits, right? And now we were getting a movie version of that?

How could they f--k that up?

Well, turns out, they didn't.  The shitty show...well, shocking no one, became a shitty movie.

Aw, Hell. I summered in my pants again.
Looking back at my (pathetic) life before I laid eyes on the mostly-lame movie-adaptation of Baywatch, I seriously have to ask myself, well, what the f--k were you expecting? Did you really think it would be two hours of Alexandra Daddarrio tying up Zac Efron True Detective-style? No.

I just thought it would be funny.

And there might be some boobs. Like, any boobs. 

Turns out, I was wrong on both counts. Yeah, sandwiched in between flat jokes and round (but clothed) titties, director Seth Gordon's Baywatch movie, instead sets its sights on a dumbf--k mystery absolutely no one gives a salty shit about. It doesn't even go full-parody either, and plays entirely too much of its one hundred and sixteen minute runtime a half-assed version of serious. A welcome level of self-awareness surfaces occasionally, only to be dragged under by f--king moronic themes of family and trust.

While the nine credited writers and lone director should all be drowned in a sea full of dicks floating in whale semen, the casting department and the guy in charge of the high-speed film should both be doing the backstroke in Scrooge McDuck's money bin. The cast bounces and jiggles in all the right ways, and somehow manage to all escape this film as charming as they entered it.

Monday, May 22, 2017

That's the spirit.

Sure, I've talked some shit about it before, but in all seriousness, it's really great being a dad.

Backed by an innate sense of love and protecting our offspring, us dads are afforded the opportunity to guide these little creatures from such delicate beginnings, all the way to the madness of adulthood. And it's then, long after all the wondrous efforts that go into creating them (uh, easily my favorite part of the process), when you finally reach that incredible moment when you know your work is done. You can sit back and smile with pride, as these once-little monsters you've created go out there and just f--king devour the world.

Like, literally.

After not really knowing what the f--k happened in Prometheus [review] (even after a super-smart chick once explained it to me), Alien: Covenant thankfully dumbs it down tremendously. While that might not sound like a ringing endorsement, as someone who publicly admits James Cameron's Aliens is the best in the series, it was exactly what the space-doctor ordered.

Set years after the events of Prometheus, Ridley Scott's latest tells an, at least initially, unconnected story. This time out, the ragtag crew of racially-diverse space people we're hurtling through the galaxy with has a fairly straightforward mission: get to a remote planet named Origae-6, and f--k like rabbits. Okay, not really, but the goal is to populate that shit with the two thousand (hypersleeping) peeps on board, plus the one thousand embryos just waiting to be hatched (that's how babies are made, right?). Sounds easy enough...

Well, it would have been, had some freaky shit not happened and killed a few fairly clutch crew members, you know? Oh, and not talking about acid-drooling xenomorphs, either - at least not yet. No, the real nefarious f--ker that sets this shit in motion? Uh...turns out to be an energy blast that happened at the universally worst possible time for anything bad to happen: when everybody was sleeping.

Well, everyone except Walter. The droid.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

I'm Mary Poppins, y'all!

If you were my girlfriend in middle school (or high school, or college), or, more realistically, the girl I was too much of a pussy to ask out (an thus we ended up, like, best friends), there's a good chance that I would have you made you a pretty rad mix-tape at some point in our...friendship.

The first track (on each side, perhaps) would have been that one song that we both were currently obsessed with (or at least you would have been, as I might have [secretly] hated that shit), followed up by a steady drip of similar stuff by similar bands. I mean, you can't do the exact same thing over and over again, sure, but uh...between you and me, why f--k around with a good thing?

Now, I'm not equating the clearly-talented James Gunn with a pathetic eighth grade boy or anything, but as the writer/director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, this dude's not f--king around with a proven formula. Side Two, er, Volume 2, isn't as
(incredibly) strong as the first [review], but it's still a hellluva jam, full of tasty beats and epic riffs.

After one of the best opening numbers in recent years, the second road trip with Peter Quill/Star-Lord and crew, finds the Guardians balls deep/tits up in interstellar turmoil. After completing the job they were hired to do by some golden, elitist a-holes known as the Sovereign race, Rocket not only offends their leader Ayesha, but steals some of the shit they were hired to protect on the way out. Instantly, our gang is up against droves of Sovereign fighters, until some mysterious freakshow bails them out from a distance. Oh, okay then. Thanks, stranger.

Turns out, this eccentric cowboy-type is actually named Ego, and he's pretty much Star-Lord's father. Oh, and a planet. Wait, what? See, this guy is essentially a god-like being, and he's been searching the galaxy (uh, that he created?) for his son, for like, ever. And while Ego's trying to protect Peter and maybe play catch with his boy, ol' Ayehsa has hired Yondu and his unsavory squad to have Peter catch something else instead. Something less like a baseball, and more like that rad-as-f--k spear thing, he controls by whistling.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Let's find a home for his spirit.

The last time I set foot in another country, I was seven years old.

The last trip to a place I'd never been to before, was f--king Seattle. Not exactly Timbuktu, you know?

I'm thirty-seven years old, don't even own a passport, and I'm deathly afraid that I've more or less seen as much of the world as I ever will. I once considered teaching abroad (primarily in Japan), but the one-year commitment is simply too daunting. Since I wouldn't even consider uprooting my family, I'd have to spend those twelve months a stranger in a strange place...alone. And while it would be hard enough not to see my wife on a daily basis...the real reason why I'll probably never go anywhere?

My kids, Matthew and Violet.

Not only could I never leave them behind (for more than a long weekend, I suppose), but at this rate, I probably couldn't afford to take them with me.

So I go to the movies instead, which is where I happened to stroll into a solo-viewing (of all things) of a little (/giant) flick called The Lost City of Z. Having never seen a trailer, or even glimpsed a (poorly-written) synopsis, I headed into writer/director James Gray's latest film not knowing what lay before me. Cinematically speaking, this was uncharted territory, and I totally forgot my machete.

And my cool hat.

And rad mustache.

Oh, and a half-naked native dude. You totally need one of those, right?

Percy Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam, kicking all kinds of ass) is a good man, undone by a bad name. A bad family name, that is. Passed over for promotion after promotion, seemingly because of something his father once did, Fawcett is a gentleman of the finest sort. Hell bent on improving his lot in the world, he enthusiastically throws himself into any situation he's tasked with, no matter how daunting. In 1906, a few years after we initially meet him, he's assigned to lead an expedition into South America. There, his map-making abilities will hopefully quell an impending border disagreement between Brazil and Bolivia. Apparently there's money to be made down there, as long as war is prevented.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

I'll tell you what: I'm never eating at Benihana again. I don't care whose birthday it is.

The things we do in the middle of the night.
Sometimes we regret them in the morning, but sometimes...they change our lives forever.

Six years ago tonight, Two Dollar Cinema was born in the darkest of dark alleys. It was an unremarkable delivery, with a hairy little post barely making a sound upon its arrival into the world. It weighed in at a mere 270 words, and sadly, it looked just like its father.

Unfortunately, no one was present to see it. Luckily, times have certainly changed.

While we're trying not to separate anything patting ourselves on the back, this is the one night a year that I reflect on the year that was. Sure, it's a bit of a (douchey) tradition (check out TDC's first, second, third, fourth and fifth birthdays), but a party's still a party. Even if you throw it for yourself.

Alright, let's cut the shit, shall we? In the last twelve months of this blog, the following thirteen (yes, thirteen...f--ker) films were my favorite. And yes, Observant Reader, I didn't say best. Oh, and don't stress too much about the order, okay? We're six years old, for f--k's sake. We're not really paying attention to anything.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

If you do your shtick the whole time, then it will no longer be a shtick.

Even if I only reach one...

As a teacher, there are times that you know your lesson is a dog. You realize that most of your students will not only be unable to appreciate or understand the material you're presenting, but that they simply won't give a damn. Yes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him appreciate how that water will make him a more-balanced horse that could potentially grow up and do things to help all the other horses, or at least not be a f--king drag on everybody else in the stable.

And so you tell yourself, in between taking shots of paint thinner and calculating the years til retirement, it'll all be worth it, if one of the kids milling around your classroom, just one...actually gets it.

I had a plan going into last Monday morning. It was a week where we were finally finishing up standardized testing, and to keep things moving  (and dare I say, not academic), I was going to show the kids a documentary called Batkid Begins [review]. It was going to be great. I printed out some higher-level questions, made a cool graphic for my home slide, and was literally making sure the assignment stacks were looking good, when I realized that I had already shown the documentary this year. To these kids. Aw, shit.

So, with less than five minutes before it was go-time, I pulled Most Valuable Players out of my sweaty ass. Even before understanding what it was all about, I headed to Common Sense Media (the best website alive for a slacker teacher) to check the content. Some brief talk about gay students, someone says 'maybe we're bitches?' and the use of the word kick-ass topped the list of questionable occurrences, and away we went. Now all I had to do was make it fit.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Three is the perfect number

None of my friends are divorced. Yet.

None of my co-workers have been let go or asked to retire early. So far.

But I do know this one dude who was totally replaced by someone younger, seemingly out of nowhere.

His name is Matthew Brown.

And he is my son.

Though the ubiquitous trailer was amusing enough, I had very little desire to actually see DreamWork's latest animated flick, The Boss Baby. But when rain cancels baseball practice on Bargain Night, it just seemed like the logical thing to do. And while my family ending up at the movies (on a totally calculated whim) should surprise no one, the amount of heart and smarts in this comedy just might.

Timothy Leslie (ha!) Templeton had it all. A nice house, a cool room, two loving parents that doted all over him day and night. But then - the worst thing possible happens - a new baby arrives by taxi, and Tim's perfect world is knocked out of its orbit. This adorable little creature, known only as The Baby, instantly demands all of his parents attention, leaving Tim, for the first time in his life, desperate and alone.

It turns out this chubby-cheeked cherub is, of all things, a secret agent. His mission? To derail a hush-hush plan for total domination by, you guessed it...puppies. Yep, it seems that baby dogs have finally become cuter than baby, uh, babies, and the future of every would-be ankle biter is in jeopardy. And with Tim's parents being important cogs in the puppy machine, it looks like in this all out war, Poor Tim's happy life is collateral damage.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

I should be the one that's writing angry letters!

I get it. I do. It may sound strange to you...but I'm cool with it. It's just how some of us deal with things, I suppose.

See, in a way, I also write letters to the universe. But I write mine because I have kids, you know? This dumpster fire you're currently standing in is a gift for them when I'm gone (Dad, you shouldn't have. Like, for real. Stop.), whatever the circumstances may ultimately be.

Yet, even though no one owes me a response, I'm not gonna lie: I certainly welcome it.

Collateral Beauty is the 2016 bullet point on Will Smith's resume of annual holiday-season/feel-bad movies. Released this past Christmas, the once freshest of princes plays Howard, a father still mourning the loss of his young daughter to cancer. Howard hasn't moved on, and we find him quietly drifting through his life at the film's outset.

Personal tragedies are typically just that - personal - until three top execs at Howard's company have finally had enough of his downward spiral. Turns out, it isn't exactly top form that their former fearless leader spends days in his picturesque office setting up and knocking down dominoes. Oh, it's totally rad, sure, but cost-effective it ain't, and they decide to walk the dangerous path of proving he's mentally unfit to steer the ship.

Knowing their boss has actually written letters to the universal concepts of Life, Death and Time (the former benchmarks of their advertising firm), these three kooks cook up a wickedly deceptive, three-step plan: 1) hire three actors to play Life, Death and Time 2) film their interactions with Howard on the streets of NYC and 3) digitally remove the actors making Howard look like a f--king psycho.

Wait, what?

Monday, April 24, 2017

People need their history. It gives them strength.

I can hear Jimi.

Many years ago, when I heard this certain exchange in Ron Shelton's White Men Can't Jump, I thought I understood it. See, the two main characters, Billy Hoyle and Sidney Deane were arguing about music when Billy, a goofy white dude (Woody Harrelson, my hero) claimed that he too loved Jimi Hendrix. Sidney, a super-smooth black dude (Wesley Snipes, also my hero), essentially states that that's not possible. And as your typical (cluelessly) know-it-all high-schooler, I got the joke but disagreed with Sidney. Anybody can get anything, and it was unfair to think otherwise, you know?

But now I'm older. Not only do I know what I know, but more importantly, I know what I don't know. I'm with Sidney. I think it's entirely fair that where you're born and raised can exclude you from really knowing about something, right? But even more telling?

When you were born and raised.

As much as it's possible to enjoy a two-hour funeral service, I liked last year's Jackie a good deal. Like the rest of the world, I was hopelessly transfixed on the stellar performance of Natalie Portman, I'm just not sure I can fully appreciate the film surrounding it. Oddly enough, I was born just thirteen miles from where JFK was assassinated, but sixteen years after it happened.

Set before, during and after the horrific events of November 22nd, 1963, Pablo Larrain's meticulous film plays like a documentary at times. Juxtaposing the nationally-televised version of our then First Lady with the determined (and at times, despondent) mother and wife behind-the-scenes, is a harrowing yet inspirational view of the iconic Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Obviously, any person dealing with that unimaginable level of shock, grief and despair would struggle immensely. But Mrs. Kennedy? At that time? And on that stage? Her response is nothing short of breathtaking. She's entirely (and deservedly) overwhelmed, but somehow, she keeps it together.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

It's not possible for you to be here.

"I time every journey, to bump into you...accidentally..." 
                                       - Franz Ferdinand's Dark of the Matinee.

I suppose, like anything (and uh, beauty), romance is in the eye of the beholder.

After becoming impossibly smitten (sounds way better than obsessed, right?) with a young woman I went to college with, I began to have a lot of official business...that would perhaps make an encounter with her possible. Or, probable. She worked on campus as a S.T.A.R. (a student something-something resource), and all of a sudden, I had a lot more work to do in the library. And the computer lab. And just about wherever I learned she would be. I wasn't quite moving tiny pieces around a map of southern Connecticut while wearing a bicorne, but it might have been close. Even if it ultimately worked out, getting a girl to notice you probably shouldn't be so...


While that girl and I have since pledged til death do us part, my initial pursuit of her anyway, didn't immediately jeopardize her life-expectancy (though the act of marrying me may ultimately be hazardous). In 2016's ill-received Passengers, however, falling in love goes hand-in-end with a fiery death, as two potential lovers find themselves awoken out of hyper-sleep ninety years too soon. You had me at 'we're going to die alone'.

As the megaship Avalon majestically soars through the galaxy toward a better life, an asteroid strike results in one of the 5,000 sleeping, uh, passengers, to awaken. Jim Preston (the now unlikable? Chris Pratt), a mere mechanic, comes to to find himself utterly alone in space. Initially, it's kind of cool having the ship to himself, but even Kevin McCallister eventually got tired of eating junk and watching rubbish. With over 90 years left in the journey to Homestead II, and any hope of correspondence taking almost as long, Jim's left with a tough choice. Die alone. Or...

...kill someone else.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

I don't relate to that as much.

Ninety-five percent of my 'professional' career has been in education, so I've only experienced a true office party once. It was lame as f--k, having to make nice with the endless slew of elderly women I worked with. Hanging out with your grandma can be taxing enough - but multiply that (potential) nightmare by six...teen, and I'm thinking all I want for Christmas is a bullet in my face.

But the worst part - and I've said this before - is that I don't drink. Never have. So even the warm embrace of public intoxication couldn't shield me from hours of idle chit-chat about diabetic cats and UCONN women's basketball. Oh, and if somebody mentions a recipe they have, I might set this whole f--king place on fire.

When did something called a party become so lame and uninspired?

And worse, when did 'comedies' about these parties follow suit?

Despite a solid cast and a highly-exploitable premise, Office Christmas Party, while entirely watchable, plays it safe. Too safe. Sure, cocaine in the snow machine, gun-toting lady-pimps and 3D printouts of cock'n'balls may not seemed restrained, it sure as shit feels like it. Maybe my expectations were too high, or my testicles too low, but I didn't find directors Josh Gordon and Will Speck's film all that funny.

But...somehow...I still kind of enjoyed it.

When word gets out that his branch may be closed down and his employees laid off, the bumbling head honcho of Zenotek's Chicago branch comes up with a last-ditch plan to save the day. Against his bitchy sister's wishes, he's going all in on the office Christmas party. Er, non-denominational holiday get-together. Not only to cheer up his shitty employees, but in hopes of wooing a big client who values family over business as usual.

From there, it's just the kind of nonsense that you'd expect in a (bad?) holiday film: lessons will be learned, family will finally trump money, love will be found in the most unlikely of places, and most obviously, everyone will be just a little bit nicer, because, you know, it's Christmas! for f--k's sake. Or it was, as I saw this movie a few days ago. In f--king April.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Bonnie needs his Clyde.

Even though I have dreamed of a better life for me and my family, I have never done what (bad) movies tell me to do: hastily rob a bank, likely with the dumbest people I know. But I have thought of how I would do it...

When I was a kid, someone (allegedly) robbed the First Hawaiian Bank branch in my hometown. Rumor has it that some dude strolled in - never said a word - and placed a note on the counter informing the teller that he had a gun. She complied, and he ran the Hell out of in hand.

I don't know what came of that f--ker (the next closest town is twenty miles away [with absoluteldy nothing in between]), but I seriously commend this dude's non-violent efforts.  Me? I'd follow a similar tactic.

I'd just do it on Super Bowl Sunday. In the city of the underdog. At kickoff.

Wait. A movie starring almost exclusively SNL alums isn't great?
Since when?
Masterminds isn't about a bank robbery, but instead an inside job at an armored-truck company. Set in the super-rad year of 1997, this (alleged) comedy follows all the familiar beats of most amateur heist films, but cranks the incompetency to eleven. Though the cast is loaded with bankable talent, you might not want to peer into this cash bag. I hear that ink is a bitch to get off.

David Ghantt (Zach Galifiankis, tucking in his t-shirts) is a nice-enough guy living a quietly miserable life in Podunk, North Carolina. He and his bearded-lady face are getting married to Jandice (Kate McKinnon, in full sketch-mode), which like the rest of life, seems void of any real excitement. Even his job is boring, as David's lot in life has him peaking as a super-employee at Loomis Fargo of all places (aka that armored truck company you see everywhere).

Even though she gets fired after only four months on the job, David's (former) co-worker Kelly Campbell apparently made quite the impression. When she eventually hooks up with some slime-ball named Steve, er, Geppetto (Owen Wilson), they devise a plan to rob an armored truck, with love-struck David as their in. It's actually a pretty no muss, no fuss plan, or it would be, you know, if everyone weren't a f--king moron.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

I've gotta spend the rest of my life with myself.

I, like everyone else who has ever jammed their phone in your face, have two wonderful children, one almost eight, the other almost four. These two cherubs are the best, smartest and just the nicest little kids on the planet. They really are a reminder of the beauty the world possesses.

Until you put both of them in the same room - then they're little shits. They make you wish that beautiful planet would drop out of orbit and careen directly into the sun.

And while I'll never understand firsthand what it's like to love/hate (mostly hate) a sibling to that time? I was pretty f--king close.

See, when I was in 7th grade my brother had already graduated. But his super-hot girlfriend, Dana? She was a senior. At my school. When he picked her up so they could go have sex during lunch, he was on my turf.

So...yeah. I...get it. Because as a fat middle-schooler, clearly I had a chance with this fine-ass chick my brother was banging. Clearly. *runs off to bedroom crying*


The Edge of Seventeen, while consistently f--king hilarious, isn't a comedy - it's a horror film. Written and directed by Kelly Fremon Craig, this coming-of-age tale routinely terrified me by perhaps foreshadowing what my life will be a dozen years from today. *Shudder* According to this film, my son will grow up to be a quietly confident dude (fingers crossed [ever-so-tightly]). But my daughter? After being the raddest of little girls? She will destroy everything - and everyone - in her path, Godzilla-style.

Good thing I don't plan on dying before then (fingers gnarled into knots), as it's the sudden death of her loving father that sends Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld, f--king born for this role) into the years-long downward spiral we find her in. While that'd be enough to do just about anyone in, at that point the camel's back was only sore. It's when her best/only friend hooks up with her idyllic brother, that that f--ker is snapped in half with the speed and viciousness of a Mortal Kombat fatality. FINISH HER!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

How can I be strong, when you make me so weak?

Many people, okay - a few people (nerds, mostly), love to argue about what Disney film has the best villain. While I guess it's fine to waste valuable life time to debating such trivial matters (this is my 623rd blog post, by the way), I'd like to discuss something much more pressing. Like, serious serious business: What Disney princesses I'd like to hook up with.

My number one has always been Ariel. Long red hair, big round...uh, eyes, clam-shell bra worn as everyday attire, and a voice that's either angelic and melodic or totally mute. Regardless, add all that up, and she's the total package.

Number two? Jessica Rabbit. Okay, fine...she's technically not a princess, but everything about her gives me a royal boner. And clearly she's down, I mean, her boyfriend is a rabbit.

But number three? That's where me and the other eleven (voices in my head) lock the doors, and begin to deliberate fervently. Is it Jasmine and her olive skin? Mulan and her boyish good looks? Pocahontas and her...uh...okay, I never saw that one.

Honestly, those three? I think I'm gonna go with no..., no! and no? The answer is actually quite simple. Number three all-time?

Hermione. I mean, Belle. Number three is Belle.

I'm not sure what side of the fence I'm on when it comes to the influx of live-action remakes Disney is unleashing on the masses. While the risk seems to be low, the rewards apparently are quite high, as once again, Disney has broken the bank with a modern retelling of a beloved classic. Pulled from Walt's moneybin vault, Beauty and the Beast follows the formula from last year's The Jungle Book [review] to the letter: famous songs and famous scenes, now filled with famous faces!

Typically I'm wasting your time with poorly-written plot information anyway, but describing the story details of Beauty and the Beast seems like cruel and unusual punishment. Basically, a nerdy girl is held hostage by a hairy a-hole and all his friends until she loves him unconditionally. Sure, that doesn't sound super-romantic nor the ideal way for a romance to blossom, but being that the guy it totally rich, f--k it! There's a part about the girl's cockblocking dad being committed (or hanged, or something), but no one really cares about that guy anyway. Oh, and there's another giant prick that's in love with this girl, but no one really can figure out why.

Monday, April 3, 2017

I'm a fan, by the way.

Seventeen years as the same amazing character.
Seventeen years of routinely delivering the most bankable performance in a gigantic movie franchise.
Seventeen years making sure that no one walking this planet will ever best you in such an iconic role.

Seventeen f--king years, man. This role has a part-time job, a license, and all kinds of hair on its (gigantic) balls.

And while doing something magnificently for almost two decades is incredibly admirable, ending the entire run on the highest of high notes is bitter f--king sweet, you know? You finally knock me on my ass...and now you're walking away? Have you no consideration for my feelings, here? Seriously, I don't think I'll ever be able to love anyone else the way that I loved you. Just thought you should know that...mister. 

I know, I know, I'm focusing on the pain. But it's the only thing that's real, you know? At least I have my memories of you to keep me upright...

Your stoic presence. Your unflinching loyalty in the face of adversity. Those eyes, the fire that's burned behind them since the turn of the f--king century- I'll never forget them. And oh God, that voice. Stops me right in my tracks every single time I hear it. But the most memorable part of the role you were absolutely born to play? Easy.

That bald head.

I like how this poster implies that the little girl isn't an absolute death machine.
While my adoration for Patrick Stewart's run as Professor Charles Xavier may surprise you, the real shocker is how f--king good Logan is. It's quite honestly the best Marvel movie ever made. And yes, Stewart again commands the screen as the near-the-end version of Professor X, but all (wholly unnecessary) misdirection aside, the real star of this movie, and this franchise, has been and will always be Hugh f--king Jackman as Wolverine. I'm almost certain no actor has ever given more of his life to a role in the history of modern cinema. And to it finally come to an end is, personally, two things: incredibly exhilarating...

...and totally f--king devastating.

Set many years after the last (mostly shitty?) X-Men film, Logan finds Jackman's Wolverine literally limping through a quiet existence somewhere along the border between Mexico and Texas. Working as a chauffeur, Logan is doing all he can to take care of a dying Professor X, whose telepathic superpowers are completely f--ked up and endanger anyone near him. It's a sad state of affairs, as two of the world's greatest heroes are living out their days like distinguished veterans of an army for a country that was blown off the map years prior. It's not how these guys were supposed to go, but if they can just scrape together enough cash to buy a boat, perhaps they'll be able to die with a little dignity. Assuming, of course, that a self-inflicted adamantium bullet to the brain is dignified.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Can you stop touching me now?

I feel like I've been down this road before, but since this is a site about movies, it kind of goes with the territory. At this rate, you can be considered a breath of fresh air if you when you say the same shit over a live-action new way. So pardon me if this feels a

The thing about messing around with someone's childhood, is that it turns out, get this, we're all different ages. That thing I hold so near and dear, might be something you've never heard of. And your beloved childhood memory? It might be something I didn't give a damn about in college.

In fact, my only memory of today's subject, occurred sometime in or around 1996. As some of my classmates and I descended into our school's computer lab, we were challenged to try our hand at this new thing called the world wide web. Our teachers promised us this was a place where we could find whatever we were looking for. And the first thing I recall that ever made the Netscape N pulse was when some horny a-hole typed in these three words:

Pink Ranger NUDE.

While I remember the ensuing (and very pixelated, uh, when it was instantly printed) image quite vividly, I'm can't exactly recall if they used all caps on the n word. But when it comes to my enjoyment of the re-imagined version Power Rangers, please excuse me if I turn on Caps Lock the rest of the way (and type the rest of this review with my johnson), even if doesn't feature a topless chick.

At the behest of my phone promising me buy 1 get 1 free tickets, not to mention a bored seven year-old boy at home, I essentially had to see this movie. And while I thought it might be decent enough (the early reviews weren't kind) to snicker at behind a bucket of popcorn, let me go on the record as saying I f--king loved this movie. It might not be for everyone, Hell, anyone, but it was tailor-made for dads to take their young sons, too. *squeals*

After a jarringly-intense opening, Power Rangers quickly becomes a re-imagining of The Breakfast Club, versus the lame Voltron ripoff you might've been anticipating. A bunch of (supposedly) do-nothing kids are lumped together in Saturday detention, likely counting the days until they can leave this town forever, man! *flicks cigarette, er, e-cigarette* Quickly, our main crew is established: Misunderstood Jock, Hot Chick, Weird Chick, Quiet Asian Guy w/ Sick Mom, Funny Autistic Dude/Black Guy/the Nerdy One...and we're off.

Sort of.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Rach, I don't think you're helping anybody.

For most of my adult life, work has been at least a forty-five minute commute. By car. And being that I'm a (shitty) teacher, the idea of living close enough to walk to school is the stuff of nightmares. So in that regard, I enjoy the time behind the wheel. In theory.

The reason I mention this, is the last film I saw made me realize that I have never been a fixture on public transportation. F--k the bus in it's stinky ass, but the only steady train ride that ever became something resembling old hat, was when my cousin and I would take the T to Red Sox games all summer.

When I wasn't fantasizing about a Sox victory, or getting Rebecca DeMornay'd in a tunnel, I would stare out the window, enviously longing to live along the Green Line. There was this one typical New England house in particular I always had a boner (that should read bonah, or wicked haad on) for: the one with the basketball hoop. I'd imagine shooting jumpers on that sumbitch, draining threes as people on the train were awed by my Bird-like skills. It would be the coolest shit ever, likely prompting a sexy young co-ed to de-board and repeatedly box me out. The drawback?

I always imagined my errant shots getting crushed by a train.

Oh, speaking of a train smashing my balls and ruining my idea of a good time, what the f--k is with the cinematic adaptation of The Girl on a Train? While I didn't read the book it was based on (it was all I could do to not passionately murder those desperate to recommend it), when it comes to f--king up a good book with a bad movie, my uh, spider sense is tingling. With the novel, I'm gonna go out on a limb in assuming you actually wanted to find out what happened next, right? Or is that a stretch?

Because what is certainly a stretch of many things (including my attention span), is about four-fifths of what's presented in director Tate Taylor's 2016 'thriller'. Set along the idyllic Metro-North line, the story takes us through the bizarre journey of Rachel Watson (Emily Blunt, always looking like yes, she yet again shat her pants), a seemingly bored woman obsessing over the lives of the people living along the tracks of her commute.

While that I could potentially swallow, these aren't just random people that live their lives as Watson chugs by at a speed typically reserved for Roombas. Instead these passionate individuals are all inexplicably linked to one another...on the same f--king street. And at time, in the same f--king house. It's so incredibly stupid, even as a someone who doesn't drink, I was thinking I should ask my wife, you wanna do some shots? Liven this f--ker up a little?

Friday, March 24, 2017

You here now, that's all that matters.

Remember to always be yourself. Unless you suck. 

- Joss Whedon

Knowing what I know, and working where I workI'm very much on the fence of fully supporting the notion that we should all be ourselves. Sure, living a life that isn't yours seems to be nothing short of tragic, but have you spoken to some of these motherf--kers walking the planet these days? They're terrible human beings. Like, the absolute worst. And trust me, anytime someone announces that's just the way I am, it's usually code for I'm an unapologetic dickhead, and I could quite honestly give a f--k about you or anyone else.

So, again, I'd like to support you being you...but, uh, like my man Jospeh Hill Wheldon says, not if you're a shitty person.

No lie, this one gets my vote for top 5 posters ever. 
As the main character of the Oscar-winning Moonlight, Chiron isn't a shitty person, but instead appears to be a good person dealt a shitty hand (perhaps the shittiest of hands, frankly). The film, broken into distinct acts, chronicles Chiron's life at three pivotal moments: adolescence, high-school, and adulthood. In these stunningly captured scenes, we're given a window into the broken life of a little boy as he tries to navigate the depths of poverty, drug-addiction and homosexuality.


While not quite the relentless gut-punch that was Manchester by the Sea [review], Moonlight instead breaks your heart just as quietly, but on a much larger scale. For Lee, it was essentially a singular incident that ruined his life. But for Chiron, his life is a mess for countless reasons, any of which could destroy a little kid. But piling them all together? It's so f--king one-sided, it's not even funny. And what's worse, it's likely a situation that is mirrored all over this godforsaken country. Hell, even if Chiron didn't have narrow-ass shoulders, the weight of the world this young man carries would still drive him straight into the warm ground of southern Florida.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

When something terrible happens, what does he do? Fends for himself, he does.

I don't care what country you're from, in the streets, you gotta be careful, you know? All kinds of bad things can happen out there. You need to keep your eyes open, stay sharp, or frosty. Or both. And if things get really bad, you might even have to call in the Regulators and mount up. Assuming, of course,  someone interferes with the consumption of evening skirts.

And there's one street in particular, where you better be extra cautious, because you can end up on your butt before you even know what hit you. One street that's in my neighborhood, and yours too. It's quite possibly the toughest street of all.

It's called Memory Lane.

After inexplicably (to her) having to drag me to the movies (this is the first time in the history of my life this has happened, I'll admit), my wife was fairly (and surprisingly) pissed that I didn't love one of her all-time favorites, Mary Poppins. Showing downtown for one night only!, the Saturday night screening was the first time I had ever laid eyes upon Disney's beloved, fifty-three year old classic, and while this is apparently blasphemy, I thought it was terrible.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Before you punch your screen in the face, put down those lube-covered bed knobs and broomsticks and hear me out, will ya (wrong movie, right?)? This is not a movie I was indoctrinated into by the unquestioning dead-eyed, smiling Disney humanoids you likely call(ed) parents. My folks had no known reverence for any of the flicks from Walt's vault. My older brothers showed me the classics. And it wasn't a spoonful of sugar that made the medicine go down. It was friggin' Rocky fighting Apollo, microwaving Gremlins, or a dancing Ferris Bueller that made me feel better, you know?

I didn't even spill my Kool-Aid, dammit. I wasn't offered any in the first place.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

What God made these things?

Work can easily be the death of you.

Maybe you hate your job so much, showing up everyday kills you just a little bit at a time. You know, death by a thousand cuts.

Maybe it's not your soul that's at risk, but that your sorry ass may actually die on the job. Be it explosion, exhaustion, or some sad combination of the two, for some of us, being stretchered out of the office is a distinct possibility. And worse, no one will ever give a f--k that you were offed, on the clock, outside of your hungry, miserable family.

Or maybe, just maybe, you'll actually finish the job, and even get paid handsomely, but the final project will be so bad (or so insignificant), you'd simply wish you were dead.

Matt Damon's face. Selling tickets for over two decades.
In ancient China, workers that died during the construction of the Great Wall allegedly had their corpses tossed into the f--king thing. And for a minute there, it seemed like Matt Damon's career would meet a similar fate in his own version of that 5,500 foot long behemoth. Routinely derided by Jimmy Kimmel during the Oscars, Damon's decision to make the Chinese ponytail movie instead of Manchester by the Sea [review], feels like a legend that may haunt the actor for years to come.

But let me be clear (for a change), it ain't that bad. And all bullshit aside, I kind of liked it actually.

Sure, The Great Wall isn't a good movie, at all, but with the right expectations, it isn't a bad time. In fact, I was alone in the f--king theater, and still managed to have a lot of fun. But then again, when you take your pants all the way off, smiles are pretty much guaranteed. Or awkward cringes...but whatever.

Damon plays William, a (possibly Irish) mercenary schlepping around ancient China with a ragtag crew of dirty European bastards. While they could all use a bath and haircut, instead it's the acquisition of black powder that tops their to-do list. Unfortunately, after a campfire run-in with am indecipherable green monster, William's crew has gone from a wild bunch to a hairy pair. And after William murders the f--king thing that took his men, he and his buddy Tovar need to get the f--k out of Dodge, asap. If only this giant f--king wall wasn't in the way.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Now you're in the sunken place.

When I finally went home to meet my then-girlfriend's family, I think we had already softened the blow by a neutral-ground introduction beforehand. Maybe. [F--k, the timeline's all jumbled in my head, and I'm not up for losing another conversation at the moment, so let's just proceed accordingly]

Anyway, when I (possibly) first met her parents, it was in a hospital recovery room of all places, where her father had just gotten out of surgery. Conversation was tough, but we could always fall back on ye ol' So, you're doing okay, sir? bit of friendliness. It was a solid distraction, as opposed to the knowing glance of So, you're the guy who's f--king our daughter? But outside of that tiny elephant in the room, everything else was easy-peasy, you know? I mean...

...we we all white together, got along just fine. I mean right. We were alright together.

Prior to hauling ass out of town for a romantic weekend, er, Saturday, I strong-armed my wife into accompanying me to that dreamy rom-com lighting up the silver screen, Jordan Peele's smash hit, Get Out. Fine, it may not be a contemporary version of Meet the Parents (as I tried to sell it), but she didn't need to know that. Had she caught wind that it was scary, I never would have got her to go.

But after her spider-sense tingled, she sneaked off into the kitchen to watch the preview on her phone (insert Muldoon's Clevah Gurl), and I was sunk. 

At least initially.

Like any guy trying to get a girl to do something she doesn't think she'll enjoy (in my case, marry me), I didn't give up. And as we sat down in Auditorium 7, she had already psyched herself out. When I tell you she jumped early on, let me be clear: not just one cheek, not one and a half, no. Her (sweet) ass entirely left the seat. On more than one occasion. 

Chris is a good dude, holding it down in the city as a photographer specializing in, you guessed it, black and whites. Rose, well I'm not sure what the f--k she does, is his girlfriend, and when we catch up with them, they're just about headed out the door for a romantic weekend of their own. But instead of a blustery Baltimore like me and my lady-friend, they are instead headed upstate to her childhood home, er, family estate, to meet her parents. While most guys might be thinking I wonder if her Pops is gonna like me?, Chris is locked in on, Does her dad know I'm black? Rose assures him, it won't be a thing. Or a thang.

Uh, about that...

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Murder is the worst sin of all.

Depending on the situation, I'm not sure what makes one person a hero, yet another person a total f--king moron. Is it the intent? Or the result? Or something else entirely?

Let's look at that classic scene in Jurassic Park, for example, when the T-Rex breaks out of its pen during the storm. Lawyer Guy runs out of the truck and hides in the bathroom, negating any hero status off the bat. He leaves the kids behind, hiding on the shitter like a little bitch. (Way too many minutes later) Dr. Grant steps in, and using his vast knowledge of ancient beasts, leads the T-Rex away with a flare fastballed into the jungle, momentarily cementing his hero status. But then, of course, the misguided yet sexy Dr. Ian Malcolm attempts an act of bravery, and basically f--ks up everything. He not only locks in his status as not a hero, but he quickly becomes an accessory to murder, which in most cases is most unheroic.

See, so what I'm saying is, the difference between bravery and stupidity (and to an extent, selfishness)

Yeah, I have no f--king clue.

It's been a few weeks since I've seen the Oscar-nominated Hacksaw Ridge, and it'll likely take me a lot longer to decide whether or not real-life protagonist Desmond Doss did something really, really stupid, or really, really brave. Honestly the answer's pretty straightforward (this guy's got balls the size of boulders, for f--k's sake), but had it ended a different might've been hard to defend what he did. But what I can say rather definitively, is that Mel Gibson's latest is a Hell of a movie.

When he was a little kid, Desmond almost killed his brother in a seemingly insignificant front-yard scrap. Rightfully so, this event fully changes the course of the rest of his life, and he takes the Thou shalt not kill commandment to heart. For the rest of his life, Desmond will never, ever hurt another soul. He will never touch a gun, never fire a bullet. Seems reasonable, right? Right.

Until he enlists in United States Army. During f--king World War II.

Desmond is an amazing person, and possibly even a better American, as he patently refuses to sit out the war (despite his oath to never kill). The other young men in town are going, and he reckons it's his duty to go, too, despite what his parents or his bride-to-be insist. War is Hell, they'll tell Desmond, especially if you refuse to defend yourself. 

Saturday, March 11, 2017

I'm just a backup.

If you don't have kids, in a way, I totally envy you. You and all your disposable income are bound by nothing. You can come and go as you please, do basically whatever the f--k you want. Oh, and don't even attempt to mention your cat or dog as a burden, okay f--ker? No one (with kids) cares.

But, in a weird way, though I would never say this to your handsome face, I also feel bad for you. Sure, doing whatever, whenever (and to an extent, whomever) you please, absolutely f--king rules, but holy shit, kids? Really? Ever? You're hardcore.

If you have kids, on the other hand, there's nothing that needs to be said. You've been to the puppet show, you've seen the strings. You know all about the highs and lows of raising/managing those lovable little bastards. I could tell you it's the most rewarding/thankless job on the planet, but I'd just be wasting everyone's time. I'll just give you a silent nod and keep it moving, because we both probably have some shit to do.

But if you had kids? There's nothing I could ever say to you. Nothing I would ever say to you. In fact, I might give you a pass on just about everything you'd do from that terrible moment on. Including being an aimless drifter, just trying to get by.

Near the top of my personal 'movies I loved...but never, ever want to see again' list.
I had heard the legend of Manchester by the Sea, heard all about how depressing a film it was, and thought I was prepared for an emotional story. But after I found myself sobbing yet again, tears quietly streaming down my face, I realized this film was about the thing that terrifies me more than anything. Typically, seeing a father die in a film makes me brood over own mortality (perhaps even the inevitable death of my own father), but in Sea, it's an entirely different feeling. And frankly, I couldn't shake it. And maybe still haven't.

Casey Affleck plays Lee Chandler, a quiet man floating through the drudgery of an invisible life just outside of Boston. You might assume that he's unhappy about his lot, but the more we get to know Lee, the more we realize this is exactly the way he wants it to be. He's alive, but might as well be buried, as his days being a handyman likely peak with an evening drink and a bar fight.

Even the death of Lee's beloved older brother, Joe (Kyle Chandler), isn't enough to shake him, and he perfunctorily heads north to the hospital morgue. Joe had his affairs in order, for the most part, with only one glaring omission: who was going to take care of his 16 year-old son, Patrick. Maybe everyone else knew it was always going to be Lee when Joe passed, but this is news to his baby brother. Awful news.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

That kind of pressure's not helpful.

Although it pains me to admit it, I've probably ordered a half-dozen items from QVC in the thirty-seven years I've wandered this planet. Of the two orders I can actually recall, one was a four pack of kick ass NIKE posters that upon their arrival, I immediately thumb-tacked to my bedroom wall (the crown jewel of the set being that MJ from the free-throw line pic).

The other order I vividly remember, was an autographed David Justice rookie card. I didn't even like David Justice, or the Atlanta Braves, but for whatever reason I was so utterly compelled by what they were saying, I raced upstairs and begged my mom to pull the trigger. It was 'only' seventy dollars, and it was guaranteed to be authentic.

Because, you know, authenticity is everything.

I wasn't exactly stoked to see David O. Russell's 2015 directorial effort, Joy, when my wife and I fired it up a few weeks back. It wasn't that I've kind of soured on the whole Russell/Cooper/Lawrence thing like some of you, but more about the fact that I loathe fake stories about real people. 

[uh, that, and the fact that everything Russell makes lately seems to absolutely reek of Scorsese (which the trailer fully conveyed]

While I had heard some talk about the movie being overrated (which I could give a damn about, honestly, as it's a year after the fact), what really chapped  my ass was the whole idea of basing a mostly-fictional character off of an entirely real person. I know, I can hear myself, and you're right, I sound like an asshole. But see, what made this movie intermittently compelling, was the idea that this shit actually happened!

Turns out, however, that most of the time? Well...that shit didn't happen. At all. Or at least not in the way we're led to believe.

But letting that go, and the whole Yeah, Dave, I've seen Goodfellas a million times, too aspect, there is some joy to be had watching this flick. Assuming of course, you're a fan of Jennifer Lawrence, as her performance here is easily the best of her career. Fine, second best. She was the bomb in House at the End of the Street, yo [review].

Friday, March 3, 2017

The Mt. Rushmore of Movies '17 LINKS

To honor the great leaders of this country, uh, the Presidents (I know, I was thinking handsome people who get paid to tell stories, too), I resurrected a blogathon idea from 2014 affectionately known as The Mount Rushmore of Movies. Last time, we had an excellent turnout, with great writers at great blogs crafting, you guessed it, great monuments. 

In this installment, some people have actually crafted their second monument, meaning they've been kicking rocks past this dump for years. These are some of the best people I have never met. But it's not just those sexy (and mysterious) individuals I'd like to acknowledge today, as many other fine authors also contributed as well.

Below, in the order I read the entries, are links to each of the blogs that submitted a post to the 2017 version of The Mt. Rushmore of Movies. Please visit and support these sites, as everyone really delivered this year, and it might help them recoup their $200 entry fee. You guys read the terms, right? 


created by: Sati
Monument: The Mt. Rushmore of Ed Harris characters
Materials: Soul-piercing eyes and quiet intensity
When visiting: Leave your wife in the car, and make sure you don't litter, graffiti, of any kind of general disrespect. (the park ranger, after unleashing a scream that only dogs can hear, will f--king murder you)

created by: Dell
Monument: The Mt. Rushmore of Mt. Rushmore scene
Materials: laziness, brilliance, superheroes and Cock. 
When visiting: Get the camera ready, because those faces might not be there long...

created by: Mettel Ray
Monument: The Mt. Rushmore of Four Characters with Great Beards
Materials: Testosterone, invisible jawlines
When visiting: Hands to yourselves, ladies.

created by: Sonia
Monument: The Mt. Rushmore of Food Scenes
Materials: Hungry Elves, Abiding Dudes and lots of carbs
When visiting: Come hungry as the menu truly has something for everybody, assuming you're not lactose intolerant...or afraid of lobsters.

created by: Allie
Monument: The Mt. Rushmore of Movie Cameos
Materials: actors who don't take themselves too seriously, bad wigs and good times
When visiting: Stay off the internet beforehand, you f--king killjoy! And when you leave, keep your damn mouth shut before Cena puts his foot in it.

created by: Brittani
Monument: The Mt. Rushmore of 'Modern' Musicals that are not La La Land
Materials: Anna Kendrick, unrequited love and spontaneity
When visiting: Be quiet, please. No one wants to hear you sing (along)

created by: Big Screen, Small Words
Monument: The Mt. Rushmore of Romantic Comedy Leads from the 21st Century
Materials: Big smiles, full hearts
When visiting: Try not to say awww too much.

created by: Dan
Monument: The Mt. Rushmore of Movies Where the Romantic Leads Don't End up Together
Materials: Jerk writers, a healthy dose of reality and a deluge of audience tears.
When visiting: Bring tissues. Lots of tissues.

created by: Drew
Monument: The Mt. Rushmore of Great Opening Scenes
Materials: Immediate intensity and perspiration
When visiting: Find your seats immediately, as tardiness will have major consequences.

created by: Steph
Monument: The Mt. Rushmore of Movies about Print Journalism
Materials: Facts, an honorable desire to share/uncover the truth
When visiting: Make sure to pack three things: spellcheck, caffeine (it's gonna be a late night) and a rolled up, long-sleeved dress shirt.

Thanks again to the great blogs that participated. You guys and your great sites all combine into one massive, sundress-wearing Helen Hunt. Meaning?

You make me want to be a better man.