Sunday, February 21, 2016

We will conquer this wilderness. It will not consume us.

There are some moments only the forest can inspire.

These are the words the breathy narrator utters about half-way through a radio commercial I hear every single morning on my way to work. Initially, I'd find myself laughing at the whole premise, as this ad is a thinly-veiled plea to bring your damn kids outside. But I get it. Our national forests are amazing places to bring the kids.

Assuming they come back.


While The Revenant [review] may have dampened my enthusiasm about the woods a bit, Robert Eggers' beautifully unnerving film The Witch has f--king destroyed it. Sure, angry momma-bears and Pocahontas' dad aren't to be messed with out there among the trees. But trust me, neither of them have got shit on the mysterious forces waiting in these woods. *shudder*

After some sort of disagreement with the town's leaders, William and his family leave the small, religious society and attempt to make it on their own. Without a doubt, times are tough for William and his brood (five kids, a dog and wife), but with steadfast 17th-century determination, and a firm belief in God, it looks like they're going to make it afterall Well, it did, until William's infant son is kidnapped and presumed dead.

Sadly, the best case scenario is that an animal dragged the young boy off, but depending on whom you ask, it was most certainly a witch. William's bratty fraternal twins are quick to finger their oldest sister Thomasin (the lovely Anya Taylor-Joy, looking like she could be Katherine Heigl's kid sister), but she vehemently denies having anything to do with it. Her younger brother Caleb believes her, but only when he's not staring at her uh, blossoming womanhood. 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

I got the cure to el everything.

Sitting in the theater last Thursday night, I got to rub elbows with some die-hard comic book fans. Literally, mind you, as the f--king place was sold out and I had to sit next to another human being that wasn't my wife. Bullshit, right? Of course it was.

And while I'm there, alone in a sea of red and black, enjoying the final bits of a montage of dirty sex, another patron made that awkward shuffle in front of us, likely headed for the restroom. The guy two seats to my left, loudly whispers to his friend sitting next to me, he's probably going to go jerk off.

I did all I could not to crack the f--k up at that dude's comment.

Crude? Yes. Immature? Definitely. But also kind of hilarious. And perfectly timed, too.

All of which apply to the R-rated juggernaut currently tea-bagging movie-goers everywhere, director Tim Miller's debut feature, DeadpoolStarring that handsome Canadian devil Ryan Reynolds, the origin story of the merc with a mouth is killing it at box-offices world wide. Shit. Imagine if it was really good. 

Ryan Reynold's is f--king perfect playing Wade Wilson, the low-rent mercenary hired to shake down f--k ups. And after Wade finds out he has late-stage cancer and undergoes an experimental procedure, Reynold's is even better at the fourth-wall breaking Deadpool, Wade's alter-ego anti hero. Frankly, this is some top-shelf, pitch-perfect casting, that fanboys should (and did) cream their pants over. Myself included.

But outside of Reynolds (and the majority of the cast, to be fair), lots of profanity and violence, and a killer opening car chase, their isn't that much to Deadpool. Sure, that's the price we all pay for origin stories, but for f--k's sake, the baby geniuses that marketed this film made for damn sure that we knew Wade's story before we got there. They absolutely f--king nailed it. Which made sitting there and slogging through it again...kind of feel like being shot. In the butthole.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Of course they're kooks. It's all make-believe.

It's safe to say that I'll never run a company that makes movies. But...but...I almost ran a company that shows movies. At least, I had a chance to. 

A couple of weeks back, I entered an essay contest to win a movie theater in Houlton, Maine. I think the current owner needed just over three thousand entries (along with the 250 word essay, and a hundred bucks) to pull the trigger, but alas, he fell short, and cancelled the contest. But in the ten days between my entry being accepted and the dream-crushing cancellation...the possibility remained. 

Regarding the movies actual people see, I was going to be the one calling the shots.

Sounds least for a little while, right?

Unless, of course, you're Eddie Mannix in Joel and Ethan Coen's latest comedy, Hail, Caesar!, then it's all bad, all the time. Played with a steady dose of stifled bewilderment by Josh Brolin, Mannix is the guy behind the guy. His job? Keeping the highly dysfunctional movie studio, Capitol Pictures, running in 1950's Hollywood. With a host of characters having a host of problems, Mannix's own included, keeping this ship afloat is going to take an effort of Biblical proportions. If only I knew anything about the Bible...

Not quite as slapstick-y as I would have liked, Hail, Caesar! is still a good time, and perhaps a great time, if you're able to catch all the winks and nods. The Coens' latest basks in not only satirizing old Hollywood (and the America it existed in), but contemporary religion as well. While the latter was mostly lost on me, being the heathen a-hole that I am, the final line and shot of the film knocked me on my ass due to each being utterly perfect. Quite the epiphany it was...

See, Mannix is dying for a multitude of sins at his job, the so-called 'fixer' for Capitol Pictures. Initially, it's a starlet posing for lewd pictures at odd hours, but the hits just keep coming. From a sexy actress from the 'mermaid pictures' getting knocked up out of wedlock, to a hayseed (actual) cowboy being cast as the debonair lead in a Lawrence Laurentz picture, Mannix is putting out fires left and right. Hell, even his home life is kind of mess, when he's there anyway, not to mention the relentless pursuit of a Lockheed Martin job-recruiter.

But his main concern, one that twin (gossip?) reporters Thora and Thessaly Thacker pether him inthethently about? The alleged disappearance of leading man Baird Whitlock, played by non other than Coen mainstay George Clooney.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Heaven help us all.

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

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


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

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

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

No peace?
No pussy.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

I ought to be God to you.

I almost died. 

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

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

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

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

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

Oh, right. Everything.

Monday, February 1, 2016

It's like a museum of coolness in here!

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

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

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

Hell yeah.

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

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

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

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