Saturday, December 31, 2016

Did he put his puppet in your mouth?

If each of our lives has a million moments, the moment your child is born is like, top two or three. I know it's cliche as f--k, but of my thirty-seven years on this planet, the births of my two little ones are battling it out for the image most seared into my memory.

The making part is a bit blurry (I was going to say fuzzy, but opted against it), sure, but the moment those punks entered this world is simply unforgettable. Especially if you're down low. For my son Matthew, icechips in hand, I stayed high. Whispered little bits of encouragement into the bravest person in the room.

But for Violet, perhaps seeing the fear in my eyes, the doctor nudged me with her left elbow and gave me this nod like, get in there, P-ssy (poorly phrased, I realize). And so I did.

And what happened next...changed my life forever.

While I'm not really well-versed in the series, it's safe to say the events of Bridget Jones's Baby will also alter some lives forever, I'm just not sure which ones exactly. See, it appears that after a couple of incredible (and altogether improbable) evenings, the 43 year-old Ms. Jones has found herself rather knocked up. As any expecting mother north of 35 would tell you, this is a high-risk situation. And that's assuming you already know who the father is.

As yet another of my seasonal cinematic olive branches extended to Mrs. Two Dollar Cinema, I thought this one would be an excellent pick. Consistently charming and just funny enough, the third (right?) Bridget Jones flick essentially delivered what each of us were looking for. For her? A delightful comedy about having a baby starring two handsome men. For me? Two more hours with Dorothy Boyd, all grown up, and with a British accent. 

Though the narrative flow was interrupted by my wife's predictable flat-lining (and me immediately switching to Train to Busan), Bridget Jones's Baby quickly locks you onto the edge of your seat. Even if you don't find the jokes all that funny, or if the constant profanity turns you off, I'd put money on the fact that you'd still be interested in seeing who the father ends up being. Maybe it was predictable, or maybe it was something everybody already knew, but I was nervously rocking in my seat, waiting for the big reveal. 

Or maybe I thought that sound outside was a Korean zombie, coming to eat my face, Either way, I needed some f--king answers.

It's a crucial period for her, too.

If movies have taught me anything, there's an undeniable magic when it comes to riding the rails.

Literally so, I suppose, when Harry and Ron first boarded the Hogwart's Express. Or when those creepy dead-eyed kids headed to the North Pole with Tom Hanks in The Polar Express.

Remember the trip the three brothers took through India in the Darjeeling Limited? It was so enchanting it made trekking through the set of Slumdog Millionaire look something I'd give my right arm for. Hell, even in something like Nymphomaniac Vol. 1 [review], a simple commute home from work on the train had the chance to be a (mind)blowing experience.

But what movies have also taught me about the train? Well, when it's not romantic and whimsical?

It's an inescapable, unrelenting clusterf--k of pain and suffering, where your life expectancy goes from number of years to number of cars in an instant.

So, yeah. It's pretty f--king magical regardless.

Yet another foreign film that could have killed at the domestic box-office if given the chance, South Korea's Train to Busan is everything action/horror junkies could ever ask for. Set aboard a high-speed commuter rail in the early stages of a zombie outbreak, Sang-ho Yeon's flick is as brilliant as it is relentless. Even if bloodthirsty Koreans aren't chasing you down, this is one train you've got to catch.

Yoo Gong (the dude from Silenced [review]) plays Seok Woo, a father so entrenched in work that his family has become an afterthought. After yet another dismal birthday has left her broken-hearted, Woo's lovely little daughter Soo-an begs to be taken to her mom's house as soon as possible. It's an hour's train ride away, but Woo has no choice. They'll leave first thing in the morning.

Like any of us getting up to travel when it's still dark, Woo is a bit bleary eyed as they board the high speed train. He doesn't even notice the weird lady who staggers aboard as they are just about to depart. Hell, he doesn't even notice the incident unfolding at the station they've just left. He's got to be at work soon. Just a quick round trip to Busan and it's back to the grind, you know? No big deal. Hell, he might even catch a few more winks once this train gets moving.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Real talent. From real life. That's what audiences want to see.

I was kind of all in with Justin and Kelly. Even hung around for Ruben and Fantasia, if you can believe it. Eventually though, like the rest of the world, I grew tired of singing competitions. It wasn't ever the music, frankly, as I unabashedly love a good pop song. I've even been known to belt them out on occasion.

In my car. Loudly. Every single day of my life.

Horrific visuals/sounds aside, the real reason I've thrown in the towel on these damn competitions is every single thing about them other than the singing. Sure, that story about the kid from the small town with big dreams was compelling the first twenty times. But now? Who gives a shit. Sing the f--king song and shuffle back to your van down by the river, okay?

Keep your (nicely packaged) personal tragedy personal. Because, between you and me, I'm just here for the music. I ain't got time for all that other stuff.

Unfortunately, that other stuff comprises way too many of the one hundred and eight (!) minutes of Illumination's latest animated feature, Sing. With a moderately charming trailer (that has been seemingly placed in front of every movie I have seen theatrically since 1985) full of adorable singing and dancing animals, it seemed like writer/director Garth Jennings' flick would not only charm Paula and Randy, but also that a-hole in the v-neck, Simon Cowell as well. Uh, no. Not so much.

*holds hand in air* Thank youuuu....

After a fairly rad opening sequence swooshing all around town and introducing us to the major players. Sing inexplicably rushes through the auditions to instead focus on the failing theater of Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey). Moon, despite being a wee bit sheisty, is a likable little koala desperately holding onto an old theater that's been in his family for years.

Maybe there's an interesting story there, sure, but it grinds any joyous momentum to a screeching halt. Combine this with the fact that our half-dozen contestants are secretly trying to win a separate contest of being the most uninspired cliche in the history of modern cinema, and this one is way off key. And trust me, I know off key.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

If you put your Bat-Signal in the air, I'll be there.

I don't care what your eyes (sometimes) tell you. Or what your heart says half the time. Or what the news says always.
And that one guy you work with? He's an aberration. A glitch in the Matrix, I'm sure of it.
Oh, and forget everything you've ever read in a comments section, or just about any interaction on the internet in general. I'm telling you...right here and now...

...the world is a very good place. 

And it's filled with very good people.

At least it was at one point in November of 2013, where thousands of people came together to do something good...for someone other than themselves. Batkid Begins, an endlessly inspiring documentary from 2015 (currently streaming on Neflix), captures a moment in time where all the darkness of the world seemed to magically vanish under the bright lights of the Bat-Signal.

Quietly a love-letter to the bittersweet brilliance of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Batkid Begins tells the story of then 5-year-old Miles Scott, a little dude fighting the good fight against childhood leukemia. When contacted by the charitable organization, Miles' wish was, on paper, rather simple: He wanted to be Batman. Oh, so like, he wants to dress like The Dark Knight? No problem. No, no. He wants to be Batman. Like, the real Batman. Oh....*crickets* Uh, okay. We can come up with something...right?

They do. And as chronicled here, this seemingly little endeavor spirals out of control in the best possible way. Like a giant Katamari ball rolling down the hills of San Francisco (and only picking up the best parts of humanity), Dana Nachman's film shows not only what is possible for one little kid, but what might also be possible for the rest of us.

Friday, December 23, 2016

This is not a slice of pie. This is a slice of heaven.

Wait, you're saying he took her out on a date, in the daytime and....and had thoughtful conversation about relevant topics? What? And people voted for him?

Talking? Art exhibits?  Community organizing? A f--king Spike Lee movie? Really? I thought when Presidential types were interested in a woman...well, I thought it was much simpler than that.

I mean, that's a lot of work. Don't you just grab 'em by the p---y?

As the Obamas prepare for their last day in the White House, Southside With You carefully chronicles their first day together outside of it. Director Richard Tanne's feature debut is much like the future couple: fairly reserved, undeniably picturesque and for some, endlessly inspiring.

In the summer of 1989, Michelle Robinson has been assigned to keep tabs on a charismatic young law student named Barack Obama. You may have heard of this dude. Even though she's his advisor, Michelle begrudgingly accepts his invitation to attend a community meeting in a rough part of town. This area is trying to keep their kids safe, but due to a lack of funding, can't get the kids a rec center. This is an important meeting, sure...but it's not a date.

Well, it wasn't supposed to be, but ol' Barry picked up Michelle about four or five hours before the meeting....and well, they had to make a day of it. Going to a gallery to see an art exhibit? Enlightening, sure. But not a date. A quaint walk through a sunny park? Totally serene. But not a date. But by the time that Barack takes the podium at the meeting and does his thing? Still, not a date. 

Okay, fine. Maybe just a little bit...

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

I fear nothing. All is as the Force wills it.

There's nothing like a surprise ending in a film. You're sitting there, comfortable in every sense of the word, and then bam! You get blindsided in the best possible way. You look at the person next to you like, did that just happen? and you almost want to run out of the theater to immediately talk about it.

For me, The Sixth Sense and The Usual Suspects are two examples of films that basically made my damn near ending it. And while I'll always love an unexpected finale...

...there's something to be said for the direct opposite.

It doesn't matter what galaxy you're in, nor your proximity to it, even in space, war is Hell. In the first of likely many, many Star Wars Stories, Gareth Edward's Rogue One eschews the good times, adorable droids and cherished nostalgia of The Force Awakens [review] and shines his lightsaber on the dark underbelly of the Resistance. For those looking for a more serious Star Wars film, these are the Droids you're looking for.

Wait. That doesn't make sense, does it?

What does make sense, like, in every possible way, is the exceptionally reverse-engineered story of episode III and a half. Maybe you serious types might have some quibbles with some of the finer plot points, but from my seat in Auditorium 1, everything checked out (and stop being such a dick about everything, okay?)

Galen Erso, is a principled/handsome family man living a quiet life on a remote planet. Unfortunately for Erso and his family (but fortunately for the rest of the galaxy that enjoys being alive) he's also a badass scientist and engineer. And when he's recruited by the Empire to help build an enormous weapon, his small family is quite literally torn apart. But what looks like a sad ending...will turn out to be something worse, actually. Much worse.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

No one wants to see your dick, dude.

I get it ladies. I do. And I don't think there's anything to be ashamed of. In fact, as long as I can remember, I knew there was something a little bit different about me. Yep. It's true.

I love dicks.

Especially the handsome pair featured in Shane Black's consistently hilarious 2016 comedy, The Nice Guys. Criminally under-seen and brimming with one great bit after another, Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe knock it out of the f--king ballpark. If it's not the outright funniest movie of the year, it's pretty damn close.

Los Angeles in the late seventies was a pretty gnarly mix of sex, drugs and rock n' roll. And pornography. Somewhere way down from the bright lights of the Hollywood sign, we find two rival private detectives, Jackson Healy (Crowe, kicking ass) and Holland March (Gosling, also kicking ass) balls deep in unsavory types, you know, deplorables. Healy's the type of guy that's going to talk with his fists, while Holland's more likely to talk out of his ass. When unforeseen circumstances force these two together, things go from pretty f--king funny, to no, no. I just spilled my drink in my lap. (and yes, I just happened to be drinking piss).

Crowe plays the strong, silent type as well as he ever has, but surprising no one, Gosling is the real star of the show. March is more or less a total piece of shit, but he's an insanely likable turd that we can root for rather easily. Combining his total lack of scruples as a detective with his efforts to be a responsible single father, elevate the character (and the film) to something beyond what you'd typically expect from a buddy-cop flick. Oh, and he never utters a bad line....ever.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

I need to get a life of my own. And so do you.

In my previous post, I went on an on about how Mom is the real hero of the family. Always has been, always will be. Mom deals with everything that bothers everyone, day in and day out, whether you want her to or not.

Messy diaper? Mom deals with it. Messy room? Mom deals with it. Messy life? Mom deals with it. The list is endless, and likely goes far beyond what my simple one-track mind could even fathom. But don't dismiss Dad just yet, okay? Because there's one problem that the ol' big guy tackles every day of his life, too.

He deals with Mom.

Look, I wasn't going for a continuing theme of motherly trials and tribulations when I picked up The Meddler, I just saw Rose Byrne's name and mashed RENT. Thinking this was a film that my wife and I could swap war stories after (you know, those of the oh, you think you're mom's crazy... ilk), writer/director Lorene Scafaria's 2015 indie-flick gave us surprisingly little to say to one another afterward. But maybe that's what happens after hearing Susan Surandon talk for 100 minutes straight,

Surandon plays Marnie, a widow who has just relocated to California after the death of her husband. Apparently this dude was a good guy, and has set up his wife with everything she needs. At least that's what she keeps telling herself, and us, as Marnie attempts to pass the days being there for her daughter Lori. Maybe if it's not your mom doing the hounding, you might think Aw, I wish I had a mom like that!, but Lori is straight-up worn down by Marnie's relentless quest to help. Eventually Lori skips town back to New York City, where a show she has written has gone into production. Marnie is all alone out west. With no one that needs her.

As a guy, I'm thinking And this is a problem how? But I'm Dad. Dad likes to be left alone. Mom? Not so much.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Moms don't quit!

Don't tell anyone, but being Dad is the best. Wouldn't trade it for the world.

Oh, not like, actually having kids or anything, as they're a huge pain in the ass, but more in the simple fact that I'm not Mom. Cause being Mom? F--king blows.

Mom ends up with all the dirty work, and it starts from day one - Hell, moment one. From the second that adorable parasite passes through the ring of fire, Mom is at Current Threat Level Red for the rest of her life. Her brain will be consumed by not only being the lifetime CEO of a small dysfunctional company, er, family, but she'll also have all the responsibilities of a functioning adult, too.

And, well, she'll have to know where everything (and everyone) is at all times. Always. Because the rest of us are incapable of looking. Or caring. Or caring to look.

But Dad? When he inadvertently looks up from his phone? He might roll up his sleeves and pitch in.

I mean, these Redbox movies aren't gonna rent themselves.

Bad Moms isn't a bad movie, but it could have been much, much better. A clunky ode to modern motherhood, this little flick takes an idea ripe for relevant satire and instead goes for full-raunch and cheap laughs. It could have taken place in reality and perhaps meant something, but instead exists in a world that might as well have been recorded in front of a live studio audience! But we're not firing up Bad anything (be it Moms, Santa, Ass, Grandpa, or Lieutenant) for realism, are we? Of course not. We just want to see rotten people do rotten things. And in that regard, Moms delivers.

Amy (Kunis) is a relatively young mom. She has two ungrateful kids and f--king dog stricken with vertigo. Her husband is a tool and let's just say that it's not his weight he's constantly pulling. Eventually Amy has had enough of everyone's bullshit, and basically abandons her family. No, she doesn't go out for some cigarettes and never come back (isn't that Bad Dad's finishing move?), but instead stops giving a f--k about everything. She's pretty much Peter from Office Space, you know? Except with way better tits...

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

There is nowhere you could go, that I won't be with you.

In fifth grade we had this lady named Kumu Liana as our Hawaiian Studies teacher. She had light brown skin and wore a straw hat with a lone red and black feather sticking out of one side. Even as a kid I knew she wore too much makeup, sure, but it wasn't the local legend's looks that dazzled me. It was her recounting of many legends of the Pacific. She was an incredible storyteller.

And while she certainly looked and sounded the part, the next year we would get Kumu Pili, an oddly effeminate Asian man, likely in his early twenties. Kumu Pili didn't appear to be someone that would tell you an epic story of religion and humanity, but rather someone who would gently knock and your door and give you a pamphlet about one instead.

But even the Good Book shouldn't be judged by its cover, as Kumu Pili would tell my sixth grade class the most insanely riveting story of the gods and goddesses of Polynesia and Hawai'i, He never consulted any notes, never stammered or stuttered one bit. He just glided into the room, sat down, and spun a tale that we didn't believe...

...and couldn't forget.

Disney's latest animated feature, Moana is a lot like one a lesson from Kumu Pili, except, well, he didn't break into (an impossibly catchy) song every nine minutes. Set on and around the fictional island of Motunui, the latest Disney tale celebrating girl power checks all the boxes we've come to expect. And that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Moana is your typically antsy teenager, finding herself trapped in the purgatory of burgeoning freedom at the same time her family is asking the most from her. Somewhat luckily (for her), she gets to finally leave home, but only in a desperate attempt to save her dying homeland. The Gods are angry for some reason, and it's up to this relentless young woman to set things straight. First stop? Find the jerkface responsible for this whole mess in the first place.

That dude just so happens to be a demigod by the name of Maui, and he isn't exactly psyched to see Moana. Yeah, he's a legendary figure responsible for many of the gifts bestowed upon mankind, but he's also a legendary jerk. A huge one, actually (uh, in just about every sense of the word). Begrudgingly, he signs up for Moana's mission, but only after she convinces him he'll be worshiped because of it.

Weak move, bra. For reals.

Friday, November 25, 2016

I ain't got the brains to make this up.

I was definitely late to the party the first time. Very late.

I wasn't even sure what the Hell the big deal was, honestly. A series of beloved books being turned into an epic film anthology? Uh, I'll take the one with Samwise Gamgee, thank you very much. Who needs a bunch of wee British wankers wankering about with wands and brooms, when the fate of Middle Earth was in the balance? Dumbledore's a fine gent, sure, but he ain't got shit on Gandalf,

But this new party? The one firmly out of the shadow of Mordor? I refused to be late. Hell, I might have even got there early.

Maybe too early, in fact.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a film that many people were counting the days till its release, but one I was counting the minutes till its conclusion. Impossibly long and unnecessarily dull, J.K. Rowling's latest entry in her Wizarding World is (hopefully) the Phantom Menace of a new series of epic adventures: brimming with lame exposition that will ultimately pay off years from now.

Instead of the Daniel Radcliffe's Harry Potter constantly brooding through his time at Hogwarts, Beasts gives us Eddie Redmayne's Newt Scamander, awkwardly shuffling through the streets of early-twenties New York City. The title and trailers may lead one to believe that Newt's on a mission to gather up, um, fantastic beasts, but he's actually there to leave one behind. It's when he accidentally loses the world's shittiest briefcase that the few creatures actually get out and wreak havoc. The quest to collect them all!, howeverseems oddly secondary, as Newt inadvertently wanders in the plot of all the X-men films instead. We're more focused on politics, equality and us vs. them than as Jay from Life Vs. Film puts it: Newt Scamander playing Pokemon Go. Which is totally what I thought I was signing up for...dammit.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Dazzle them with the basics.

I don't want to know. Ever. I've got enough to worry about as it is.

Overwhelmingly joyous, or heart-crushingly awful, please, whatever you do, don't ruin the ending. Whether we're talking a DVR'd sporting event or a new theatrical release, the less I know the better. And if this happens to be Big Fish and you're the old lady with the eye, do us both a favor, and don't flip up that patch. There's not a single cell in my brain curious to know when my heart will beat its last beat.

But when we do get to the end, when the big show's over and the house lights come on? At that point? Yeah...

...feel free to explain everything to me.  And don't leave anything out.

I'm not entirely sure what to make of many of the events in director Denis Velleneuve's latest film, Arrival, but I'm quite positive I loved what they coalesced into. Bordering on hypnotic, this mysterious piece of science fiction has stayed with me long after the credits rolled. And try as I might, I can't seem to shake much of what I saw...even if I can't make sense of it.

Amy Adams is Dr. Louise Banks ('plays' felt like the wrong word), a linguistics professor quietly trudging through life at a small university. Shortly after twelve massive spacecraft appear all over the globe, the United States military recruits Dr. Banks in an attempt to communicate with the extraterrestrial visitors. Banks is reluctant, but knows she is the best person for this impossible mission. Moments after taking the job, Banks is whisked away to Montana, where the 1,500 foot ship awaits her.

Like falling down a rabbit hole in glorious slo-motion, Arrival has this dreamlike trajectory that is simultaneously serene and utterly intense. At first glance, a film about the relationship between words (and time?) may not seem like something to propel one to the edge of their stadium seat, but exhausted as I was, that's where I found myself. Every action, every conversation, Hell, just about every moment carries a weight that's rare in a mainstream science fiction film. From start to finish, everything matters. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

There's always a bright side!

As a kid, coming home covered in it was likely the sign of a very good day at school. Probably made something really nice for mom to stare at for years to come.

As an adult, coming home covered in it was likely the sign of a very good night after work. Probably stared at a really nice mom while trying not to...nevermind.

If there's one thing in this awful world that makes everything it touches infinitely better...'s glitter. Lots and lots of glitter.

Movie God may strike me dead for even typing the words (and the blogging community may stone me in the streets), but I doubt there will be a movie I enjoy more this year than Dreamworks' Trolls. Arguably the most consistently charming film I have ever seen, this little animated flick was exactly what a post-election crowd needed: an effervescent rainbow of joy suggesting, no, demanding, that no matter what, if we work together, everything is going to be okay.

The Bergen are a miserable race of hideous creatures slogging through a joyless life (no, they're not public school teachers [I checked]). Soon, it is discovered that these sorry bastards can actually get a taste of happiness simply by eating a Troll. The Trolls aren't exactly thrilled with this, and get the Hell out of Dodge right before the annual Troll-eating holiday (uh, Trollstice) commences. Their escape, is literally balls out.

Twenty years go by and while the Bergen's lives have somehow gotten shittier, the Trolls, despite being borderline homeless, have overwhelmingly prospered. Seriously, these day-glo f--kers perpetually exist in the raddest rave ever (assuming, of course, your idea of a kickass soiree is scrap-booking and elaborate dance numbers where everyone is high as a f--king kite...on positivity). If you don't smile during at least one of their jams, do the rest of us a favor, and find a bridge to live under. Or a wall to build.

Monday, November 14, 2016

All I need is...possible.

For a couple of months in my twenties, I worked in the dank bowels of an urban hospital. It was mindless, windowless work, where I essentially shuffled pink papers for eight hours a day. My female co-workers had a little more responsibility than I did (I didn't even have a computer), which led to very few conversations among us. And if I ever did start talking to one of the ladies, each feature of the supervisor's face instantly converged on one another in an attempt to stifle rage, and I would quickly stop talking and pray she didn't dragon punch me in the chest.

For those months, my only friend was the pleasantly monotone female voice periodically emitting  from the loudspeaker. She didn't say much, other than page three of the (in my mind, anyway) most handsome and heroic doctors on the planet: Dr. Burns, Dr. Watts and Dr. Quick.

Paging Dr. Burns. Dr. Burns. Dr. Burns to the cafeteria.
Paging Dr. Watts. Dr. Watts. Dr. Watts to the basement, please.
Paging Dr. Quick. Dr. Quick. Dr. Quick to the third floor.

Man, I loved those guys.

Well, until I found out a little more about them, anyway...

Also aptly titled and also not very heroic, is Marvel's latest cinematic hero, Doctor Strange. Somehow, the faceless behemoth that decides what C-list comic book character is suddenly our total favorite! threw a dart made exclusively of Bald eagle talons and landed on Stephen Strange. Dr. Stephen Strange, that is, who just so happens to be the least likable character Marvel has ever rammed down our throats. Like, even worse than Terrance Howard's War Machine. Or the guy that kills an adorable sheep in Ant-Man [review].

While I would have been happy with Black Widow leaning out of a steamy shower to tell Bruce Banner something along the lines of Hey, we got a new guy on the team, an asshole who makes portals with his jazz hands! (and Bruce indifferently going oh, then returning to beakers full of green stuff), we're instead treated to yet another mostly lifeless origin story. Though this time, with more Tilda Swinton!

The short version goes like this: brilliant brain surgeon/ overwhelming douche Dr. Strange is crippled in a fairly rad car accident. When he comes to, his hands look like he put them in a wood-chipper, thereby making his entire life not worth living. He makes an shitty comment to a physical therapist, travels to Nepal, and realizes he has super powers that could save the world from inter-dimensional danger. He doesn't care about that, however. Instead opts into returning to full-time douchery. For the most part.

Friday, November 11, 2016

You're all barely-functioning, self-absorbed weirdos.

A couple weeks back, my good friend Dunphy finally got married to his long-time girlfriend, Julie.

And while it looks to be one of the last weddings I'll attend (that I'm not paying for), I learned some valuable lessons that late-fall evening that I'd like to share with you, if that's okay.

  • Do get a wedding card at Wal-Mart on the way, as no one really gives a f--k about a piece of folded cardboard (especially if you write that you got it at Wal-Mart inside the card).
  • Do eat beforehand, even if it's at a gas station, as no one wants to be that guy just f--king killing hors d'oeuvres at the reception.
  • Don't forget your dress shoes at work, as no one should wear Converse sneakers to a wedding that isn't a little kid or fat, mustachioed hipster. (I'm neither...for the most part).
  • Don't change your entire outfit while driving down a fairly busy Schuylkill Expressway, as it's not only unsafe, but it's borderline impossible to not look like an unemployed gigolo upon your arrival.
  • Don't enter the front doors of the church, as you'll pretty much be a part of the ceremony. The worst part. 
But most importantly? Like, tattoo this shit on your f--king arm and never forget it level of importance? 
  • Don't, as a married man with kids, absolutely don't... go to a wedding...without a f--king date.
While my wife bailed on me for Dunphy's wedding, she hung in all the way through the decidedly-average raunch-com, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates. Essentially a movie I pledged never to see, Mike and Dave ends up being charming enough and watchable, thanks solely to, well, Mike and Dave.

Handsome man-children that they are, older brother Mike (Adam Devine) and younger brother Dave (Zac Efron) simply can't be trusted at family events. And when their baby-sister announces she's having a destination wedding in Hawai'i (naturally), the gang's father demands his sons get their shit together. The deal? Bring respectable girls to the wedding, or stay the f--k away.

But Mike and Dave don't know any respectable girls, silly goose, (who knew being young and handsome was such a downer), so before going to bed they throw an ad on Craigslist and assume a few ladies will hit 'em up in the morning. But that shit totally goes viral, and soon enough, Mike and Dave are the talk of D-list New York. 

Catching wind of this potentially free trip to the most lovely state in the Union, are two hardcore stoner chicks, Alice and Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza and Anna Kendrick, respectively). This pair may look the part of nice girls you could bring home to Mom (after hosing them down 12 Monkey's style, anyway), but surprising no one, they ain't. Unless your mom's into 27 year-old women that act like eighth grade boys, of course. Oh, she is? wanna hang out later, or...stuff?

Sunday, November 6, 2016

You got anything better?

Fifteen to twenty years ago, they were gonna kill us with battery-sized tumors forming on our brains.

Now, it seems they'll help us kill more than just ourselves, as we barrel down the highway at eighty miles an hour with our foot on the gas but our eyes in our laps.

But the way cell phones will really end humanity? They'll be so f--king all-encompassing, basic human interaction will be entirely superfluous. You can't create a life...

...when you don't f--king have one.
Where's J. Lo when you need her?
In the latest quietly-shitty movie adaptation of a fairly-rad Stephen King novel, a mysterious pulse transmitted through cell phones has turned most of the world's population into something resembling a zombie. Cell, from director Tod Williams (dude's apparently too cool for that second d) is a direct-to-video thriller, low on budget but high on intrigue. Initially, anyway.

After landing in a Hallmark Channel version of Boston's Logan Airport (maybe he flew Sandpiper Air?), graphic novelist Clay Riddell (John Cusack, playing Bitter Guy We Like for the 900th consecutive time) attempts to call his wife and finally share some good news. Their relationship is on the rocks, but Clay's desperate to see his young son again. Maybe the fact that his book is getting published will turn things around for the couple.

Unfortunately/fortunately, his phone dies, and in the midst of attempting to call her back, everyone in the airport loses their shit and kills each other in hilarious fashion (think The Happening with less lawn mowers). Rightfully so, Clay gets the f--k outta there and heads to the subway station and hooks up with Tom McCourt (Samuel L. Jackson, playing a...guy). These two quickly decide they need to make like David Ortiz and leave Boston in utter shambles.

Sorry, I've got something in my eye.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

You know we're going on a special trip, don't you?

While I might be a tad cautious with actual currency, I tend to lose my f--king mind when given a gift card. Even the most trivial thing can seem like a sound purchase when it's somebody else's non-money. Oh, what's this? Utter trash that I don't need and will lose interest in as soon as I'm holding its receipt? Well, I've have had this gift card in my wallet since Christmas....

Netflix, though something I actually pay for, is the cinematic equivalent of the gift card. I often find myself indulging in something that I wouldn't normally, solely for the fact that it's, in my stunted mind, totally free. The only thing I'm wasting is my time. And if you've read this blog, clearly that's something I'm a fan of. A big fan.

But when I do something more than press that big red triangle? When I actually get out my wallet and pay good money to have a bad time?

That's f--king madness.

Horrid crushed-alien face or not, I ain't turning down the sponge bath.
Some of you motherf--kers swear Silent Hill is a good horror movie, but I think this 2006 shit-show is f--king terrible at best. Sure, not many genre flicks are as good as they were ten years ago, but I have a hard time believing anybody liked this one in the first place. This movie, coming in at a staggering 125 minutes, couldn't end fast enough. 

How bad is it? I'd honestly rather sit in a bottomless chair and have someone swing an original PlayStation controller into my ballsack Casino Royale style for two hours than to ever see a minute of this movie again. It doesn't even have to be Mads, either. Just like, a regular, non-handsome Dane will do.

Though it pains to me to even get into it, the short version of director Christophe Gans' Silent Hill goes something like this: a thoroughly-determined mother heads into a deserted town to find her creepy as f--k adopted daughter, who disappeared after a one-car accident. The closer she gets to the girl, the further down the rabbit hole she goes. And like a good number of dirty holes, this one is entirely full of shit.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Tell me something good.

At the one end, you've got Professor X. He's invading minds, looking dapper, and pretty much better than you in every single way. At the other, you've got this poor kid at Camp Crystal Lake, getting a knife buried in his head before he rolls down the longest staircase in North America. In the f--king rain, no less.

Cinema has given us quite the wide-range of wheelchair-bound gentlemen to root for, but rarely are we cheering for them to get the girl.

And as a person who often favors checking run-times over reading plot synopses, I was quite surprised (and delighted) to find myself able to be firmly in the corner of a disabled man in his quest to fall in love with a pretty young woman. It's soooo romantic.

I mean, what a happy story, right? Right?

What the f--k, Me Before You? You had one job, one job! and you totally f--ked it up. You were supposed to be a delightful love story set to the poppiest of pop songs and take place in a world where even a torrential downpour would make you feel happy to be alive. Wasn't that what I signed up for? Wasn't that what we all signed up for?

And you, with that poster, and those famous faces, you were supposed to make me, sitting there with my exhausted wife, in our messy house, on our shitty IKEA sofa, you were supposed to remind me that no matter what happens in this cruel conquers everything. You totally f--king failed, didn't you? Didn't you?

But guess what, Me Before You? Even though you left something in the bed that would even gross Spud out, and even though you ultimately might not deserve it, well...

I f--king love you. With every fiber in my decaying, hate-filled heart.

I do. And I always will.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Quit being so f--king mysterious.

Election season is a real punch in the dick. And even if you don't have a dick, I'm sure there's a dick you'd like to punch. Candidates spend hundreds of millions of dollars vividly describing the limitless Hell we've found ourselves in, or will find ourselves in, assuming the other party wins. But cast your vote for me, angel, and we can both ascend together.

But that miserable f--king Hell is surely a relative place, right?, as likely half the people either didn't think it was so bad, or, maybe worse, didn't know until you told them. And we do this awful dance every four years, hoping things will change. 

Or...stay the same. For the most part.

It's like this endless f--king loop, that while truly inspiring (or awful) at times, ultimately ends up with all of us right back where we started. Which begs the question...

...why bother in the first place?

Seriously, that tagline should probably be plastered all over the polls in Nov.
Fine, Southbound, a 2015 horror-thriller, isn't actually about a certain political party here in the US, but it may or may not share some key features with it. Namely, narrow-minded murderous cults, a person who should not be in any hospital performing surgeries, and most obvious, a pair of decaying skeletons, flying over the Midwest terrifyingly eviscerating what's left of humanity. 

Though I counted four, apparently Southbound, something of a horror compilation, contains five interlocking stories, all set in a nameless shithole of a desert town. 

Our first story opens with a bang, as two bloody and battered dudes attempt to leave the aforementioned town, after some gnarly shit apparently went down. Off in the distance, some scary ass demon/skeleton thing is waiting for them, and eventually things get...well, messy.

From there, we get a couple of groovy minutes with a girl band, until their van breaks down along an isolated stretch of dreary, desert highway. Along comes a horribly Ned and Maude Flanders-esque creepy couple, promising to take the girls to the local the morning. After freshening up at their house, of course, and presumably taking long hot showers where each lady takes an environmentally-damning amount of time scrubbing their filthy bosoms. Oh, my bad. I was transcribing my dream journal again. Dinner is served, and chaos ensues.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

My wife doesn't act like this.

Our photographer sucked.
We didn't even get a videographer.
I failed to invite any of my co-workers, some of whom are now basically family.
And my actual family?  Most of them didn't even bother to show up. Or send a card.
The guy who officiated the whole thing? Totally went off-script during the ceremony.

But the number one regret I have about my wedding? My Friday wedding?

The only place I went away to, afterward, was straight back to work on Monday. In a f--king middle school.

While we absolutely got what we wanted months after our wedding (uh, exactly nine months after [Will Smith ain't the only Deadshot]) with a healthy baby boy, we never got what we wanted days after, as a romantic getaway simply wasn't in the cards. But after finally digging up/into my first scary movie of the season, well, I might be okay with that, actually. More than okay.

In 2014's Honeymoon, young couple Bea and Paul take their post-marriage bliss to a cabin by the lake. Not only to get away from it all (and f--k like rabbits), but also as a bit of a f--k you to Indian food, as previously ingested spicy dishes shit all over prior plans to go camping. 

As newlyweds, they aren't exactly living inside of dead horses or finding mysterious stick bundles, as Bea's family has a fairly rad cabin. In the woods. And outside of some non bra-less sex (read that again) and a brief run in with a former...friend who was a boy, the whole getaway is perfectly romantic. But like any guy who thinks he's going to have days and days of uh, passionate love-making (I'd be more vulgar, but...I'll save it for the locker room) with his wife, something unexpected comes along and majorly f--ks up everything.

Let's just say long hairy things are supposed go in that opening...not come out of it. (Unless I've been doing it wrong all these years...)

Monday, October 10, 2016

You have never been a more endangered species than you are at this moment.

When a major Hollywood studio remakes something that people consider a classic, it's supposed to end up some soul-less cash grab that everyone rightfully hates.

And when that wholly unacceptable remake features live-action talking CGI-animals that occasionally break into song? We're supposed to collectively jettison the entire project to the darkest depths of movie Hell, and pray it stays down there for at least twenty seven years.

These are the rules, and it's foolish to even question them.

Well...unless the movie's really good. Then we're really f--ked.

Jon Favreau's The Jungle Book is really, really good. So good in fact, it's sure to only have the powers that be crank the Live-Action Regurgitron 5000 to eleven and churn out the remakes at warp f--king speed. But if they're as good as this one? Well, go ahead and pencil me in for whatever's coming next.

(Uh, after Beauty and the Beast that the Beast looks like a Saint Bernard had sex with a goat in the Upside Down.)

You know the story, but here goes, anyway. Young Mowgli was left alone in the jungle as a toddler, only to be rescued by a panther and raised by a pack of wolves (an origin story that probably describes a quarter of my previous students' upbringing). He's doing well as the only man-cub in the jungle, but unfortunately, the times they are a changing. A mean-ass tiger named Shere Khan shows up, and doesn't exactly want a human at the top of Pride Rock. So, Mowgli's got to go.

While his wolf-mom's not too hot on that idea, it's in the best interest of everyone. And on the way out of town, that nasty tiger shows up (out of nowhere, my goodness!), and attempts to kill the kid, but the super-rad panther Bagheera holds off Kahn long enough for Mowgli to tumble away on the Wildebeest Express.

Monday, October 3, 2016

There's something wrong with this place

If you ever get the chance, look up the story of Centralia. It's a small town in Pennsylvania that has been all but abandoned after a series of awful decisions led to what some would call an outright environmental disaster. Basically, the town sits on an underground mine fire, one that's potentially going to keep burning for the next two-hundred years.

Basement walls were hot to the touch, the ground began to crack, a sinkhole opened and tried to eat a kid, and as a result the state bought the whole town and told everbody to f--k off.

Not all of them did.

Apparently, a handful of people, not concerned about their health (or the fact that the town has been taken off maps), still live there today.

Sounds like a great setting for a scary movie, right? About that...

As the only feature in Block E at the Harrisburg-Hershey Film Festival last month, Lotus Eyes certainly had my attention. Set in a future ten years after peak oil (and filmed in and around Centralia), director Joshua Land's film feels appropriately desolate and unstable. But, unfortunately, it also feels aimless and decidedly low-stakes.

Simon is a typical teenage boy, awkward around girls and uncertain about his future. When his mom's struggling business is robbed...again, Simon decides it's time to leave his shitty, dilapidated town and head south to uncle's idyllic commune. Despite the world being in a steady state of upheaval, his uncle's farm promises plenty of work, and even more enticing, plenty of food.

After a spectacularly awful attempt at getting the local hot chick to come with him, Simon loads up his backpack and begins the journey on foot. Lucky for him (and us, as watching this dude walk around alone for eighty minutes would have had me begging for the end of the world), he quickly runs into two twenty-somethings having a bit of car trouble on their way to wherever. Though Simon can't get a girl, he's a master at revving actual engines, and the three head out to a local campsite for the evening before parting ways in the morning.

Sounds cozy, right?

Thursday, September 29, 2016

HHFF 2016 Block E Recap: Shorts

A year ago, on the weekend prior to my birthday, my wife and I attended our first film festival, the Harrisburg-Hershey Film Festival. Though, like any sequel, this year's birthday plans were going to be bigger and feature not only a trip to the groovy Midtown Cinema for the festival, but also an intimate appearance by Coolio, Tone Loc, and Vanilla Ice (among others). Unfortunately, thirty four sixth graders intervened as my birthday just so happened to fall on the dreaded back to school night, sadly devastating our plans to see the 90's hip-hop show mere blocks from our house. Fifty percent of my thirty-seventh birthday plans? Devastated. This was certainly no Gangsta's Paradise.

Luckily though, no children, not even my own, could impede our attendance to the film festival, as Block E was slated for Saturday afternoon at three o'clock. With the kids dropped at my mom's house and the twenty-five minute drive north to Harrisburg complete, we we're officially go for launch. Now, all Movie God had to deliver was 120 minutes of compelling, low-budget cinema.

About that...

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

I eyeballed it.

As I write these words (well, wrote), I'm anxiously waiting aboard Flight 5065 (with non-stop service to Charlotte) for the flight attendant to shut the cabin doors so we can get the Hell outta this place.

Wait a second...ah, nevermind. For a minute there it looked like that beefy dude outside was going to leave my luggage just sitting there on the runway, but he finally tossed it on the conveyor thingy.

Anyway, on the way into the plane, I managed to catch a glimpse of the pilot. He looked like a competent enough guy, with a profile landing somewhere between Harold Ramis and Jim's Dad, Eugene Levy. And as I stared at him, I couldn't help but think, no matter how good he is at flying airplanes, it's highly unlikely he's the best.

How can I now sit aboard his plane and have the stones to say such a thing? Well, to be quite honest, I've already flown with the best pilot ever. And judging by the box office numbers...a lot of us have.

And that guy looks a lot like Tom Hanks.

I don't know (or care to know, frankly) what liberties were taken in bringing Sully to the big screen, but whatever was added or omitted, the result is a fantastic (though thoroughly gut-wrenching) film. Under the direction of the legendary Clint Eastwood, something I never wanted to see in the first place became don't blink cinema. Happy endings aren't supposed to be this sad.

I'm sure you know the story, but if not, he's the short version. After a routine take off on a cold January morning in '09, Captain Chelsey Sullenberger's plane suffered total engine failure as a flock of Canadian geese flew into and disabled both main engines. With only moments to spare, Sully and his co-pilot decided to land the plane on (in?) the Hudson river, and unbelievably, everyone survived.

"And that's where the story ends. Sully was a hero for a couple of days, and everyone lived happily ever after. I guess. [flicks cigarette]. Are we done here?" -m.brown, the world's biggest a-hole,, had you asked him about the Miracle on the Hudson.

Okay, speaking of miracles, our flight attendant is super hot. She just literally handed me my nuts.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

You tell me what God would allow this?

There was a very short time in my life (basically a weekend...or two) where my friends and I would wait until it got dark and watch people in their homes. The rumor was that this one woman in this one house walked around naked, and as seventh graders, the idea of exposed breasts was seemingly worth committing a misdemeanor.

As it was laid out by my older, moderately sketchy friend, it seemed like the perfect plan. We would wait until it got dark, take our ready positions, and boom: boobs. It would take all of like, five minutes. Sure, as the super nerd of the group, I was totally scared about getting caught, but everyone else in our crew basically told me to shut the f--k up. We'd get what we desperately needed, and she'd never even see us. 

What could possibly go wrong?

Don't Breathe is f--king crazy. Like, an absolutely hold-your-junk, try not to piss your jorts, f--k all of this shit level of crazy...and I loved every second of it. And possibly even more f--king insane? My wife liked it, too. A lot.

And she (supposedly) hates scary movies. A lot. 

Three young kids of varying levels of sketchiness seem to have being f--k ups down to a science. Alex, basically the brains of the operation, sets up low-risk/high-reward burglaries for he and his two partners, Rocky and Money. It's a pretty sweet setup, as Alex is able to get his crew in and out using insider information from his father's security company. Dick move, sure, but he's a kid. Those skinny jeans aren't going to by themselves.

Rocky, the poster girl to the left, is your typical moderately hot home invader. She's probably smart enough to do something better with her life, but is basically looking for the fastest way to get the f--k out of Dodge, er, Detroit, as her homelife is a real shit show. Oh, and surprising no one, Alex totally has a boner for her, and he reluctantly keeps up the burgle business to get her more money. Lower case money, that is, as the dude named Money is a real f--ker, and consistently ruins...well, just about everything. And I'm pretty sure he's banging Rocky (I guess he has a thing for young Jodie Foster, huh?), but it's been three weeks so I might be a little fuzzy on that one.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

If you must blink, do it now.

I love a good story. Always have. But if there's one thing that I love more than a good story, it's a good storyteller. If only they weren't so elusive...

When I listen to my students tell stories (something certain kids love to do), they all too often inject their tale with lies and half-truths because they lack confidence and live in fear that their audience will turn against them. My son, who's seven, tends to lose track of where he's headed, and I generally (and impatiently) take over, leaving him to fill in the blanks. But my daughter? All three years of her? That little girl can spin the most elaborate tales I've ever heard.

Too bad they're all make believe. Like, over-the-top dogs broke into my room and bit all my dresses level of imagination. Hopefully, I'll still be alive...

...when she finally starts telling the truth.

Kubo and the Two Strings isn't like any other animated movie you'll see this year. While the breathtaking visuals and stellar voice-cast are beyond reproach, other top-tier animated films can boast similar accomplishments. Kubo distances itself by not only having a living, beating heart and soul, but a willingness to explore what it is to be alive...when everyone you care about is dead.

Despite living with overwhelming adversity in his daily life, Kubo is a good kid. A really good kid. When he finally reaches town each day (after a brutal hike from the cave he lives in with his sick mother), he earns what little money he can by wowing the villagers with brilliant tales of mystical heroes. While any good storyteller can make their characters feel alive, Kubo's actually are. Sort of, anyway, as he possesses the ability to make beautiful origami creations actually act out his captivating narrative. It's a great show, and even the most downtrodden members of his village get the chance to escape their troubles for a moment and be enthralled with the adventures of Hanzo the legendary samurai. Good storytelling, it seems, is pure magic.

But so are the evil forces that are coming after Kubo when he fails to come home before dark.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Horrible feedback from everybody.

Yes, I love her. A lot. But work with her? Professionally? No f--king way.

Oh, it's happened once, no twice before, but we were young. When you're a kid, everything your girlfriend says and does makes them even more amazing, you know? But when it's your wife? That same shit can be...well, maddening.

We waited tables together in Hawai'i (awww) in our early twenties, and later on worked at the same insurance company in Connecticut (uhh...awww? ewww?). Now the only job we share is raising two little kids, and let's just say the pay totally sucks. 

Why my aversion to working with the person I live with (and the person I occasionally to)?

All that time together would likely lead to mixed results. I mean, even in a best case scenario, you can't exactly bring it, when you've already got it.

It's okay, I'll watch them for you.
It's probably been three weeks since my wife and I rented and watched 2016's redemption comedy The Boss, and the reigniting of my professional fire has left my willingness to blog charred to a crisp. But with The Boss, I'm back...and better than ever*.

[*same shit, probably worse]

After the steaming shit show that Tammy [review] turned out to be, I was actually surprised that Melissa McCarthy would so quickly star in another film helmed by her husband Ben Falcone. The good news, is that they've apparently learned a thing or two from their past transgressions on movie-going audiences. The bad news? They've still got a long way to go. 

And the badder news? They're trying again. But more on that in 2018.

After ruling the financial world for years, Michelle Darnell (McCarthy) abruptly finds herself locked up for insider trading and loses her entire empire. Upon being released from prison, Darnell turns to the only person in the world who can stand her, her long-suffering, oft shat-upon, ex-assistant Claire Rawlings (Kristin Bell). Claire, a devoted single mom, isn't exactly thrilled to see her old boss, but at the urging of her pre-teen daughter, takes her in anyway. If only you knew how this would end...maybe you wouldn't have to actually watch it.

About that...

Saturday, September 3, 2016

That would be absurd. Think about it.

I think the obvious answer is a monkey, as it's basically a lateral move. And you can pretty much play with yourself at all times and it's totally acceptable. Even high school boys have to occasionally stop touching it.

But if coerced by a stern British woman into something a little more...exotic? I'm all in on dolphin. Mainly because of that rad thing they do where they wiggle across a pool with 90% of their body out of the water, but also because of the fantastic noises they make. Oh, and these dudes love the ladies. Sometimes...more that one.

At a time.

Sure, imagining myself as a dolphin simultaneously f--king two other super-sexy lady dolphins seems kind of weird and random, right? Of course it does. But that imagined scenario can't hold a candle to the consistently bewildering reality of director Yorgos Lanthimos' latest feature, The Lobster.

Sometime in the near future, perhaps in a parallel universe, society has broken down into two distinct groups: those who are in a committed relationship and those who are not.  Couples live in a very typical city, while single people reside in the woods like wild animals...uh, mainly because they are wild animals. Literally.

David's wife has left him for another man. And when we meet this odd fellow, he's checking in to a mysterious hotel completely forlorn and defeated. While maybe clean sheets and a hot maid who is totally willing to twerk all over your boner sounds like a nice combo for any (newly) single (or happily married, ahem) guy, this place is different. Way different. This facility, er, hotel, comes with a catch: you have forty five days to find mate for life (with one of the other prisoners guests naturally)...or you'll be turned into the animal of your choice.

Wait, what?

Monday, August 29, 2016

Sunshine Blogger Award (2016 edition) You shouldn't have. No really.
What the f--k, man? I hate flowers.
Sati, my dearest friend and head-honcho at the insanely rad blog, cinematic corner, recently dropped ye' old 'blogger award' on ten quality blogs...and Two Dollar Cinema. 

The catch, and there's always a catch, is that you can't just shake hands, thank the other nominees and head backstage to do some blow off the back of an overpriced hooker. Uh, no. There are rules for accepting it. Like, you gotta know the password or something. And it isn't fidelio. I already tried it.

Actually, it's a lot less complicated than that.

As given, every award has a set of tiny rules for accepting it, here are the ones for Sunshine: 

1. Post the award on your blog
2. Thank the person who nominated you
3. Answer the 11 questions they set you
4. Pick another 11 bloggers (and let them know they are nominated!)
5. Set them 11 questions
6. Don't feed them after midnight

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Against the Crowd '16: BLOGATHON

My main man Dell (and his co-host KG) is once again hosting his annual Against the Crowd blogathon, and even though I'm very much up against the deadline, it's impossible for me not to participate (at least without being an asshole in the process).

Everything you need to know is in the title (and banner), but just in case, they explain the rules here.

But as I just said, I ain't got time for that noise, so here's the abbreviated, moronic version of the whole thing:
  1. Pick a movie that the world f--king despises and let every single person on the planet know how absolutely stupid they are for feeling that way.
  2. Pick a movie that the world has a giant boner for and dragon-punch it squarely in the twig and berries.
  3. Lose all credibility in the blogging community, seek refuge under a bridge.
Let's start with utter cinematic perfection, masquerading as a stupid action movie starring Jenny from the Block. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

There's a dead woman in this house. And you let her in.

In addition to the required elements of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, I'm utterly convinced that my family tree was also fertilized with a generous scoop of utter f--king insanity. Swinging from the branches with dead-eyed smiles on their faces, there are a host of unstable folks littered throughout my esteemed lineage. Fine, they're not total f--king psychopaths or anything, but we've definitely got some real...weirdos.

And while that should be rather unnerving, the older I get, the more I realize that just about everybody is going to end up crazy in some way. And since I'm a guy, mine is likely going to be some silently inward thing that is generally acceptable, or at the very least, tolerable.

But the ladies? My goodness. Their crazy is often this all-consuming force that drives the regulars to the brink of madness. Yes, bad things have happened many years ago, but do we have to dwell on them all of the current days? I mean, we're all haunted by demons from our past, sure, but at some point, you've got to move on and let them go.

Especially the literal ones.

With my last (summer) Bargain Tuesday staring me in the junk, the only movie I was able to finagle my way into (and still manage an on-time pick up of Matty) was director David F. Sandberg's horror flick, Lights Out. I'd like to say that nothing can be too terrifying on a weekday morning, but that was before I overheard that the next screening of Nine Lives was totally sold out. *shudder* Apparently, where I live, people love cheap pussy.

Lights Out opens exactly where you'd expect it to, a poorly-lit, mostly-deserted, textiles factory. Yep, that old place. And as yet another day of making...uh, textiles, ends, it's clear that shit ain't right. At all. Lurking in the shadows is some evil demon-thing, apparently pissed as a motherf--ker. Maybe her scarf came in like, regular black, not Satan's Heart. Whatever the case is, this lady, made entirely of the absence of light totally kills some f--king dude with her shadow hands...and we're off. Sort of.

Turns out this demon chick, (the extra dirty) Diana, is the best friend of definitely single/definitely crazy mom, Sophie (the always reliable Maria Bello). Sophie might have an old cheerleader uniform in the attic that she'll put on and show you her bushy old pom-pom, but as the mother of young kid named Martin, she ain't exactly getting it done. Unless, of course, when Diana isn't terrorizing the f--k out of ol' Marty, she's heating up Bagel Bites and checking his math homework. If only there was another, (possibly sexy) family member that he could also be haunted with go stay with. If only.

Friday, August 19, 2016

The great beyond is bullshit!

If the only thing that awaits us at the end of our lives is certain death, it's fairly reasonable to say that we should all just be cool to each other and enjoy the ride, right? But if ultimately, we're totally f--ked anyway, there's also the notion that how we treat one another doesn't really matter. At all. 

In other words, being a nice guy isn't any better than being a giant douche in the grand scheme of things.

Well, f--k me, then. (I wonder if there are any comfy railroad tracks around here?)

Unless, of course, there's something more out there. Something that could pick us up and restore our faith in the world and the (potentially awful) people that inhabit it. But not just some thing. If only there was...some place. Some place we could go every week together for a few hours and hear amazing stories crafted by divine individuals that would speak to what's good and true in our own lives. Some place like...

...the movie theater.

It's almost a week later and I still can't wrap my mind around the animated what the the f--k-ness? of Sausage Party. Caught on a busy Saturday night with my wife in a sold out theater, Seth Rogen and his crew have delivered another raunchy, laugh out loud, stoner the form of a religious allegory of all things.

Wait, what? The f--king movie with the talking hot dogs is a morality tale? Uh...yes? Yes it is.

Hold on a second. See, before you put on your Sunday best (for me, that's my nice t-shirt), or inexplicably bring your f--king children to this, let me be clear: it's primarily about guys wanting to get high and get laid, okay? But when these tasty treats realize that waiting for them in the great beyond is actually a brutal f--king death at the hand of one of their gods (, everything totally changes. For some of them.

I will readily admit the whole concept is rather clever, and I certainly laughed my ass off at times, but between you and me, I was kind of expecting more. Yes, I realize that expecting um...much/more?...out of a movie with that poster and that concept is probably as logical as eating half the shit I willingly consume (what adult eats Chicken McNuggets?). But when early word got out about this one, I was half-expecting something utterly f--king transcendent, you know?

Something I'd bring my kids to. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

You're pretty good at whacking guys off, bro.

Founded by Peter Jackson in the late nineties, the island nation of New Zealand is one of my (current) favorite places on the planet. Oh, I've never been there, and know absolutely nothing about it, but in all seriousness, it's the current epicenter of shit that I find cool as f--k.

And if you can't trust the opinion of a guy in his mid-thirties who watched human beings judging dancing horses on television today, then who can you trust, right? While I don't know if New Zealand competed in f--king individual dressage or not, I do know that with Hunt For the Wilderpeople [review], they've already won the gold medal for my favorite movie of the summer.

But what's even more shocking? They might have just won the silver, too. 

I didn't really know what I was getting into when I cranked up 2015's Deathgasm a few nights ago, but it took all of ten seconds to know that I'd made the right choice. Recommended to me by Brittnay Brittani over at Rambling Film [her rad post], writer/director Jason Lei Howden's feature debut is an absolute face-melter.

After his mom gets locked up for trying to blow a department store Santa, young Brodie is totally Harry Pottered and forced to live with his uptight uncle who's balls deep into Jesus. Even worse, is his douchey cousin, who may or may not be dating the hottest girl in his new school, who always feels the need to give Brodie shit.

Initially, Brodie handles all the the adversity well, and after meeting Zakk, a fellow metalhead, the two even start a band named Toothed Vagina Murder Boner  Deathgasm. It's literally a garage band headed nowhere, until Brodie and Zakk stumble upon some ancient lyrics to something known as the Black Hymn.

This epic song, apparently, is the equivalent of saying Beetlejuice three times in a row, and after a pretty f--king rotten day at school, Brodie hastily decides to play it and inadvertently unleashes Hell upon their small town. And while undead residents making the streets run red with blood totally f--king sucks, Brodie's got even bigger problems.

Zakk, it turns out, is a total f--king a-hole.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

For two sweet seconds, I had hope.

I've spent the better part of the last week driving in one massive f--king circle. I've driven in torrential downpours, immense fog, utterly blinding lightening storms and I damn near killed a dude who was probably playing Pokemon Go (might have done that guy a favor, honestly). Hell, I (knowingly) went the wrong way in a parking garage just to get the f--k out of it.

And, no bullshit here, I swear to you, I almost hit motherf--king Big Bird doing ninety miles an hour on the Massachusetts Turnpike (seriously, somewhere John Hammond is missing a prehistoric gull).

Why would anyone put themselves through that level of aggravation? Why would anyone give up their precious time in the summer to do something they know is going to be an absolute f--king disaster?

You know the answer, but I'll tell you anyway: to see family. Oh, sure, it's basically the same f--king people every year, just different versions of familiar faces. You know how it's going to end, even before you leave your house. But, you go anyway. Because you have to. You'd regret it if you didn't.

But the hardest part about the whole thing? Is getting home to realize you did all that...and only a few of them even made an effort. The rest of them? F--king useless. Shit.

Well, at least I heard a lot of a good songs along the way...

I hope who ever designed this falls off a mountain.
While I would never say it to any member of my family, I have no problem saying F--k off to David Ayer's latest film, Suicide Squad. Months and months of hype and anticipation, and a trip to the movies that will likely damn me forever (in the eyes of my mother-in-law [I went the night before we left...oops]) have all been in vain, as this flick is a Bat-punch straight to the dick. And remember, this is coming from someone who liked Are You There God? It's Me, Martha [review].

Look, before I really begin, let me just say two things, maybe three. One, outside of a childhood obsession with the Batman movies (Keaton, etc.), I really don't know dick about DC. If you feel the need to enlighten me, go ahead, but know that I'll be painstakingly laying out a massive circle of guns and knives while you do ('cause I'm f--king intense, okay?). Two, I went to this movie wanting to like it, like, like-like it, like, more than a friend. And that was after I heard it was a fistful of shit-covered kryptonite. Three, it's a f--king movie, so if this one means a lot to you, don't take any of this shit seriously, all right? I don't want your mom to have to tape all your Killer Croc posters together again, okay?

Thursday, August 4, 2016

How can any man be in love with such a disgusting creature?

As a high-school sophomore in 1995, I took my first film class. Somewhere early in the syllabus, our teacher, Mr. Clarke, dropped The Little Mermaid on us. We were going to examine the underlying messages in the Disney classic. Wait, what?

Not only was this dude my hero, he was also a recent USC film school grad and instantly dove into dissecting the film's themes and symbolism in a way I hadn't even considered possible. His psychotic ramblings sort of opened a door in my mind that was previously only used to poorly quote Clerks and analyze the breast size of my female classmates. 

And while he was talking about Ursula metaphorically raping Ariel and robbing her of her voice, I thought I'm not smart enough to truly understand film in any educated way. And then I thought, man, Ariel is really hot, right? Like I would totally have (consensual, ahem) sex with her...

And that was before she got legs.

In order to break up the crazy string of theatrical releases, I dove headfirst into the murky waters of the deadly abyss known as Netflix. But I didn't swim over to Killer Mermaid with my eyes shut like I usually would. Nope. I actually gleaned a few reviews to make sure this wasn't a huge steaming bucket of shark shit. And guess what the internet said? It's actually pretty f--king good. And guess what else? F--k everyone the internet.

With a nod to old-school slasher films, Killer Mermaid begins with the mysterious murder of two young lovers. See, while these two were f--king on the dock in front of a motorcycle, someone or something showed up and slaughtered them. Aww. Typical mysterious, boner-killing beginning.

And if you've ever seen a low-budge horror movie, you know what happens next. Yep, we cut away from bloody nighttime violence to some beautiful, picturesque scene with two totally different characters. These girls have names, I'm sure of it, but basically there's the Hot One and the Smart One (not pictured). One of them will be killed by whatever the f--k that thing was from the beginning and the other will face her fears and just barely make it out alive. You look pretty smart, so I'll go ahead and let you figure it out.