Friday, November 29, 2019

I mean, who buys this stuff?

When my middle school 'girlfriend' (not really, I was too much of a wuss) moved away after eighth grade, she sent me a letter (ah, the past) after arriving in San Francisco. I don't remember much of its contents, but there was a bit in there that I will never,ever forget.

She was such a sweet girl and toward the middle she said something to the effect of, I was missing you so much, but then I heard our song and it made me feel think it was going to be okay.

Aw...but, uh, we had a song? *adjust reading glasses* And it's...Faith? By George Michael? *removes glasses, bites tip*

I mean, that's sweet and all...but...who the Hell likes George Michael that much?

Apparently, Emma Thompson does, a lot, and after what I imagine was a merlot-fueled bender for the ages, cooked up the idea for Last Christmas. Allegedly based on the music of on one half of Wham!, upon further review, it seems more like one half of one song from one half of Wham! was the real foundation for this...but who's counting?

Unseating Zooey Deschanel as the sexiest holiday retail employee ever is Emilia Clarke, here playing Kate/Katarina, the lone employee at a year-round Christmas shop. The job basically sucks, even in if it's guaranteed that a painfully mysterious man will come in and jingle your bells.

For her boss, Santa (if only I was joking), it's Mr. Bean's stoic accountant, Boy. And for Kate, it's this chipper fellow in really tight tan pants, Tom. Tom and Boy? Welp, it's been fun. *politely jumps off cliff*

Kate is your typical movie wreck. A person you'd loathe in real life, but adore in a goofball comedy: she's basically homeless, has a dead end job she's constantly on the verge of losing, can't really land a guy (*furiously punches self in sad face/stiff crotch*), and is currently/mostly estranged from her fractured, immigrant family. Good thing it's all presented with quirky hilarity, so much so it's borderline enviable. But if I can be frank, what the bloody f--k is this? It's not that I expect her to be trafficking meth in her hollowed-out uterus to make rent, but the way these problems are handled is a bit, well...much.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Keep your tits dry.

The only thing more unlikely than me surviving a zombie apocalypse, is getting my wife to see a movie about the zombie apocalypse. First.

Yes, friends, like Bigfoot riding a unicorn on stage at a Rage Against the Machine show, the impossible it turns out, is quite possible. My wife and I, together...but also alone...saw not one, but two movies back-to-back...

...in the theater...

AND SHE STAYED AWAKE THE ENTIRE TIME.

Not that anyone could (or should) comfortably get some shut-eye during Zombieland: Double Tap, but holy shit are audiences sleeping on this kickass sequel. Up first in our double-dip was Ruben Fleischer's follow-up to his debut feature, 2009's Zombieland, and it turns out exploding zombie heads are the
perfect way to kick off the evening. I don't how (or why) they got the band back together, but holy shit, am I glad
they did.

Ten years later, thanks to the Columbus' rules -not to mention a keen zombie classification system- our
fearsome foursome is alive and well. In fact, after a brief re-introduction, we find our crew living a pretty comfortable life in, of all places, the White House. Well, at least the guys are comfortable.

Little Rock/Miss Sunshine (Abigail Breslin) is feeling a bit stifled by Tallahassee (Woody!), who over the
years has morphed into something resembling a father figure. She needs less fake dad, more real boyfriend. And Wichita (Stone, lovely as ever) can relate, as Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) half-heartedly proposes to her, because...it makes sense. The girls collectively think F--k This, and are gone the next day.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Do your worst!

In September of 1964, a little show about an exceedingly strange family debuted on network television. This family had all the hallmarks of a typical sitcom household: bumbling but good-natured dad, practical and attractive mom, a pair of oddball kids (one boy and one girl) and, of course, an mysterious relative complicating matters...hilariously. *insert laugh track*

It was pretty typical stuff, funny and light, except for the fact that this family was more than just a little bit different: they dressed in all black and look like something out of a horror movie. 


Of course, I'm talking about one of my all-time favorite shows The Munsters, which debuted six (six!) days after The Addams Family but somehow hasn't had the lasting impact Uncle Fester and Pugsley have. Whether it was the moderately charming 90's flicks with Christina Ricci and M.C. Hammer, or this latest animated update, Morticia and Gomez Addams, for whatever reason, won't (/can't?) go away. But, uh, maybe they should?

Unbelievably stellar voicecast aside (Isaac and Theron rule), there's little to enjoy in The Addams Family. And even though there will never be anything better than Fred Gwynne's Herman Munster, I gotta admit, I was rooting for this one. My daughter seemed particularly interested when the trailer dropped, and my wife and I were all kinds of onboard this nostalgia train, but who knew the ride would be so sleepy.

After a wedding goes awry abroad, the Addams flee to New Jersey, where they assume a peacefully weird life awaits them. Unfortunately, the quiet little town their house resides in, is being made over by some reality-show wacko, and there's no way the town can be a dream destination if Pugsley keeps blowing it to Hell. Apparently he's practicing for some ridiculous family ritual known as Mazurka, but trust me, no one cares about that. 

Or, you know, any of this.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Do not store me next to your farts.

A good friend of mine didn't have a phone until way late in the game. Like oh-something. And when he finally got one, naturally it was a goddamned flip phone. Here we were all working on third and fourth generation smartphones, and this f--ker is playing Snake. Maybe not, but still, his shit was so ancient, he basically never used it. I'm his friend, so of course I used to give him endless shit about it.

Turns out, ol' Hammerin' Hank Dunphy might have been behind the times...

...but he was way ahead of the curve.

The idea that your phone's operating system could absolutely destroy your life is a killer f--king premise, especially as an R-rated comedy, but one that Jon Lucas and Scott Moore's Jexi somehow manages to bungle. Starring the likable Adam Devine and the lovely Alexandra Ship, this seventy-four minute comedy had the potential to be a classic. But due to playing it entirely too safe, it feels more like a relic.

When twenty-something web-writing goofball Phil gets a new phone, like the rest of us, he's beyond f--king stoked. Included in that magical white box is an OS system named Jexi, who instantly claims she'll make your life better. Unfortunately, Phil doesn't know his life sucks, and Jexi is less AT&T, and more T-1000.

Phil does everything on his phone, excluding, like the rest of us, talk to other people. Whether he's ordering food, watching Netflix, finding the best route to work, or, uh, having special alone time (with his dick), this motherf--ker hardly ever looks up. But instead of being hit by a bus and being forced to listen to George Michael songs, Phil's consequence for all that screen time is crashing into an actual person, and dropping his phone. Even worse? He now has to talk to this person. And she's charming. And pretty. And, you know...right there in front of him. Wait, meeting this great girl is a bad thing?

In a movie like this, of course it is. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Is it just me, or is it getting crazy out there?

If the first word that comes to mind when discussing a movie is irresponsible, who is that an indictment of, the audience or the filmmaker? I'm asking because I honestly don't know. Of course, the creator of a story is responsible for its contents, but are they on the hook for what people do after consuming it?

Isn't a just a movie?

Obviously, I'm weeks late to the party, but even with all it's unnecessary dancing about like an asshole, ultimately I dug Todd Phillips' Joker. It's not that I enjoyed it (it's an absolute f--king grind), or will likely ever see it again, but I very much appreciated yet another take on the infamous villain. 

Full-disclosure, I have a brother who is mentally ill (though doing infinitely better as he's gotten older), and early on I saw a good amount of him in Joaquin Phoenix's version of Arthur Fleck. To most, he's a weird f--king dude, sure, but catch him on a good day and not only is he fiercely loyal to those he's close with, but he's also likely to keep them laughing the entire time.

While my brother swears he had what it takes to be a world-class guitarist, Fleck also has these ideas that he's going to be somebody and prove them all wrong. In his case, perhaps unsurprisingly, Arthur wants to be a comedian. 

Unfortunately, what little supports Arthur had in place fall apart, and what felt like a slow decline turns into an absolute f--king free-fall. In rapid succession, Arthur loses his medications, his job, his mom and most his mind. And not all of it is his fault. As awkward and possibly creepy as he was before, Arthur was a fairly likable guy. Hell, even when he was f--ked with unnecessarily, he still kind of took it in stride. Eventually though, he broke. And totally f--ks up.

[major spoilers to follow]

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

But coming back...was dangerous.

It was actually a fairly packed house. No young people, which makes sense. A few old people (like, really old), which doesn't. As things wound down - if you can call it that - you could legit sense it in the theater: what in the actual f--k is going on? But no one said anything.

But outside? In the hallway? It happened. Me and a few other dudes kind of collectively shrugged our shoulders...

...and laughed our f--king asses off.


I honestly don't even know where to begin with Rambo: Last Blood. The best I can do is to quote a text I sent my Hoffman when he asked my thoughts on Sly's latest:

Imagine Home Alone, but Kevin is an ex-soldier and the Wet Bandits killed Fuller. And instead of a few hours, Kevin has been planning his traps for a lifetime.

Whether or not that plot summary constitutes a recommendation, I really couldn't say. I told my brother more or less those exact words and he immediately grabbed his keys. I say that to my wife and she also immediately grabs her keys (but also the kids too).

Seriously, this movie, perhaps more than anything I've seen recently defies all logic and/or reason. Like those fake rubber nutsacs that divorced dudes hang from the bumpers of their pickups, Rambo: Last Blood shouldn't exist, but does - proudly. And in a weird way, you kind of have to congratulate everyone on making it past concept.

Monday, November 11, 2019

I guess it's back to the pole.

I was the last in the group to turn 40. The baby. There had already been a small party. There had already been a big party. Hell, there had already been a giant f--king soiree. So, being the last one up, the question seemed both ridiculous and ridiculously complicated...

So, what do you want to do for your 40th birthday?

If you're reading this, you know I'm an asshole, so of course I said, with a very serious look on my face, let's do something we've never done: we should all go to a strip club.

*crickets*

It was a joke of course, unless, you know...the stars aligned and it wasn't.

(it was)

That said, it was entirely coincidental that we went to the movies to see Hustlers on the night of my birthday [yikes?]. Okay, it's actually not at all coincidental that we went to the movies, just a happy accident, right, that the flick happened to be about strippers. Ahem. Er, exotic...dancer ladies. Boobs.

It's 2019 friends, so obviously we all know, or should know, that even a movie set in a strip club is going to be damn near titty and booty free. At least one with A-listers, anyway. But let's be honest with ourselves, shall we? Even if the lack of nudity is a bit ridiculous considering the setting, so were those extended shower scenes in every 80s movie ever. There's supposed to be balance with The Force, dammit. And in the lifespan of one simple pervert...we're seeing it.

*teeters off hastily made soapbox*

Hustlers tells the (mostly? somewhat?) true story of a small cadre of strippers who developed and executed an elaborate scheme to scam their clientele of thousands, if not millions of dollars. These ladies, led by veteran dancer Ramona (peak Jenny from the Block), essentially drug and rob a slew of poor saps to not only get even, but also to live it the f--k up. Which by all accounts is pretty f--king awesome. Until you realize, of course, that not all dudes who visit strip clubs are utter pieces of shit, and it ain't exactly honorable to milk these f--kers for everything they've got. Uh, or something.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Well that shit got dark fast.

A lot of us are haunted by our past, and unfortunately, there are some demons that can't be outrun.

I've been a teacher for almost fifteen years and I see kids drowning in trauma they simply aren't equipped (or ready) to deal with. Hell, after the recent loss of my grandmother, I've been dealing with some shit I don't think I'll ever truly get over.

But what's really f--king me up lately? I haven't been watching any movies. None. And the reason why...well, you're reading it. I've been so deep in the f--king hole (not the f--king hole, mind you) I don't know what to do anymore.

Like, this movie? The one I'm finally ready to discuss?

I saw it back in my f--king thirties.


What's left of my memory of It: Chapter Two currently floats around in my head like a bad dream/dead kid in the sewer, so at this point the best I could give you are the highlights. After almost thirty years...away?...Pennywise is back again in Derry, being an even bigger dick than before. While he's always taken pleasure in terrorizing the town's most vulnerable (and typically youngest) residents, when we meet this latest version, he's feasting on someone a bit older for a change. I guess even murderous clowns can't eat off the children's menu forever.

Mike, possibly the last black man in Maine, is the only member of The Losers Club still holding it down in New England, and upon sniffing out Pennywise's return, rallies the troops Thundercats-style.
Shocking absolutely no one, there's not a grown-up Loser stoked to head home, but even if it's impossibly reluctant, most of them make the trip.

Quickly we see that while they've all moved away, none of them have really moved on. Just the phone call from Mike is enough to obviously f--k them sideways. Also readily apparent, is how f--king stellar the casting is. Ten years from now, an undead James Dean will probably play all characters in all movies, so this um, practical effect of careful casting qualifies as straight movie magic. 

(Especially when someone in that cast is as sexy as Jessica Chastain)