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 again...in a live-action new way. So pardon me if this feels a bit...re-imagined.

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.

Alone.

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 way...it 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, man...no 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? 


CLICK ON THE BANNERS TO VISIT THE MONUMENTS

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. 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Is this some kind of bust?

A special thanks to my wife (and her boobs) for making this rad banner.
I resurrected The Mt. Rushmore of Movies as a way to once again share something with the fantastic group of bloggers I write with (and frankly, for). Three years ago, I wanted to pay tribute to them with a monument built to being a clutch neighbor. Those fellow bloggers, in my mind, were the cinematic equivalent of people who would undoubtedly lend you a cup of sugar (that sounds waaaaaay dirtier than in should), and I wanted to honor that bond. To this day, I truly value them because they inspire me to keep going when I think I should just pack it in. Hell, sometimes it's feels like I borderline love them.

[insert Happy Days studio-audience style Awwww...]

But while they might be loved, this year's monument is well, erected, for something I have always loved and will always love. 

Boobs.