Thursday, June 30, 2016

I honestly didn't think that was going to work.

Twenty years ago, my older brother Bryan took me to see the first Independence Day movie. I distinctly remember three things about that day:
  1. I felt like a dickhead for not liking it. Everybody in the theater seemed to be magically sharing a collective boner for the movie that I simply didn't have. As I was sixteen years old at the time, my boner was unrelated. Basically, I thought the whole movie was pretty f--king stupid.
  2. My brother Bryan, depending on whom you ask, is a dickhead, in the fact that he is willing to embarrass himself or his younger brother at any given moment. He loved the movie and thought that it was pretty f--king awesome. He likes spectacles, aliens, and large explosions. And 3D. Like I said, a dickhead.
  3. The kid in front of us, also an idiot, decided it would be fun to lean back-and-forth in his chair super fast to the delight of his equally douchey-friends. That kid learned quickly this was a bad call, as my brother unleashed a two-footed/squat style blast to the back of the kids chair, totally spilling him out of it. The ensuing awkward silence was my favorite part of the film. But that's what you get for being a dickhead.
Last Thursday, or as we cool kids refer to it, opening night, I took my brother to see Independence Day: Resurgence. In 3D.

Bryan hadn't been down to my house in over three years and it just so happened the f--king stars aligned and we got a chance to go to place we hadn't been in two decades: a United States run by Bill Pullman. While my brother was genuinely looking forward to seeing the sequel, I can honestly tell you, I assumed it would suck a bag full of dicks. And it did. Like, a giant bag. Full of giant dicks.

Apparently in the two decades since the last invasion, the aliens have been getting ready for a rematch. Cool. Hopefully their new plans aren't foiled by a drunken asshole in the world's worst airplane, cause that would be a real bummer. 

Back on Earth, we've all been sharing Cokes and a smile. It seems that destroying an entire race of tentacled aliens was exactly what we needed to put aside an entire civilization's worth of petty differences. And it doesn't hurt that they left behind some cool tech, too. See, if there's anything I've learned about humanity from these films, it's that a group of assholes trying to take over a peaceful people by force is un-f--king acceptable. Especially in America.


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

I'm going to keep you alive.

I'm assuming that the inevitable nuclear fallout will be f--king terrible.

Like, yeah, it'll kinda suck being eviscerated at a playground outside of Los Angeles, sure, but imagine actually surviving the end of the world? F--k that. I mean who would want to live a sex-less life where they never go outside, only talk to a few actual people, eat the same five meals over and over again and only find the most marginal amount of joy in staring at a screen all day, or working on some little passion project that no one knows about?

'Cause that sounds like the worst.

This is probably the raddest poster...
that doesn't a feature a guy on a BMX bike on it.
Apparently having something (or nothing, frankly) to do with the original Cloverfield movie, 10 Cloverfield Lane is a fairly disturbing thriller from director Dan Trachtenberg (the dude who made that killer Portal short).

Lane, released in March of 2016, takes place inside of a pretty kickass underground bunker, built by Howard, a slightly less-crazy version of Walter Sobchak (a delightfully insane John Goodman). Apparently some sort of catastrophic event has occurred up above at ground level, and Howard's years of psychotic doomsday prepping have finally paid off. Well, it would have, if it weren't for those damn meddling kids. 

Locked in with Howard are Emmett and Michelle, two young(er) adults lucky enough to have made it in/out alive. Emmett helped Howard with construction awhile back, and when shit went down he knocked on the door and fought his way in. But Michelle? Well...her Golden Ticket isn't so clear. Howard claims he saved Michelle's life after finding her the victim of a hit-and-run. Moderately concerning thing is...Michelle remembers the truck that struck her. It kinda looks exactly like Howard's. Ooh, about that...

You know, I think I'm gonna remember you.

Last year, upon the successful completion of kindergarten, my wife and I decided to give ourselves yet another living creature to care for our young son Matthew a fish, as a (sort of) graduation present. Immediately exiting the school parking lot (er, vacant lot across the street), we headed to the pet store where Matty promptly selected a mostly blue beta fish, despite each of us trying to persuade him on prettier ones. Milo, as he was instantly (and oddly) named, instantly became a member of the family.

Cut to just over a year later, and our dear Milo Ren (he's since got a last name), after a seemingly easy transition from plastic cup in Petco to our esteemed kitchen island, has become quite ill. He's a bit swollen and rather uninterested in eating. And while I'm doing all I can to nurse the poor duder back to health, the reality is we may have to do this whole fish thing one more time.

And if we if our forced to get another one, we certainly won't rush into it. We will take our time, and follow up our first beloved sea creature with an even better one.

Finding Dory, perhaps surprisingly, is the rare Disney summer sequel that is easily as good as the original, if not actually...better. While for some of you die-hards out there that previous statement borders on blasphemy, personally, I never really cared for Finding Nemo. It's not that it's a bad film by any stretch, but as far as Pixar flicks go, it's always been near the bottom for me.

This time around, it's Dory's turn to get lost, as the blue tang merrily stumbles through infinite adversity in the quest to find the parents she hasn't seen since she was a giant-eyed, wee one. As her dodgy memory comes and goes, Dory conjures up just enough information to get her, Marlin and Nemo headed toward a marine life institute in California.

Sure as shrimp, they get separated and Dory heads inside the institute for treatment, while Nemo and Marlin eventually find themselves headed to...Cleveland? The journey is consistently perilous, and as much as the familial bond between Dory, Marlin and Nemo is what ultimately keeps them together, there's also a bevy of newcomers that show up to lend a hand, er, fin/tentacle.

Monday, June 27, 2016

I think the history I know is a little different.

If given the opportunity to undo large portions of the past, I really don't know where I'd start. I've lost a few extremely important people along the way, so that's the obvious answer. But the (unintended) ripple effect of bringing them back may undo something else. But rules are rules, and they must be followed. It can be hard work, though, you know? I mean, you can only carry so many personal versions of the McFly family picture around, before time travel becomes a real bitch.

But a simple thing I wish I could go back and change? Something that wouldn't likely make it rain donuts or change the genders of my kids? That's easy.

I'd un-watch about three quarters of the films I've seen. Starting with...oh, I don't know...

X-Men: Days of Future Past probably isn't a boring film, but holy blue Beast shit did I have to labor to complete it. Watched over three nights with maximum effort (think a milder version of the Ludovico technique), seeing 2014's hit sequel was supposed to pump me up for a theatrical viewing of the new one. But instead, left me like Storm's accent, uninterested and incomprehensible. 

Actually, the story isn't all that hard to follow, as long as you know the rules of Hollywood time-travel (as opposed to what other time-travel, I'm unsure). Shit has been hitting the fan in the future, er, present day, as the gigantic, super-adaptive Sentinels have been exterminating mutants left and right. Seems these Iron Giant-looking motherf--kers were made using fluid found deep inside Mystique's mammary glands (a boy can dream, right?) back in the 1970s. So our guys, in the future, er, present, send Wolverine back to prevent all this nonsense.

Uh, well...they try to, anyway. While the future, er, present is a Sentinel-laden shitstorm, the past isn't exactly a warm summer breeze, you know? Wolvie, with vast knowledge of what is to come, has to convince a young, upright Charles Xavier (currently hepped up on goofballs) and the federally-imprisoned Magneto to check their egos and cast aside their differences. But, as it always appears to be, we're balls deep in an era where anti-mutant sentiment is as high as ever (um, it seems no matter the decade the world collectively thinks, f--k all mutants in their gifted arses). Will this patchwork plan succeed? Or will all the mutants die awesome, fiery deaths, thereby devastating the only non-Marvel studio franchise that anyone seems to give a (relative) shit about?

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Pluck my life.

Placing things in a proper perspective is supposed to make you feel better. You're knee deep in shit? Well, at least it's not up to your neck. F--k, now it is up to your neck? Shoot, somewhere a dead guy is wishing he was buried in shit. At least you're alive, you know? [Technically...that dead guy is a selfish asshole, as he's already buried and now he wants to choose in what.]

Anyway, this game(/entire wesbite) is pointless, until you're willing to admit, you don't have it so badly. I say this, because I think I was witness to a new low in cinematic awfulness. And while I would love to be able to say my most recent watch was truly absolutely f--king awful, I guess, of course...

It could be worse.

It's no accident that he's shaped like a dick.
Where I used to be fine with lamenting Hollywood's massive cash-green boner for making sucky film versions of better books and better films, now I officially can say that I long for the days when they'll make films out of better...apps? Yes friends, with The Angry Birds Movie I'd love to tell you we've catapulted through rock bottom (one handed, while taking a dump), but I'll hold my tongue till the inevitable sequel is eventually released. In Hell.

(Or in three to four years, when the decide to reboot The Angry Birds Franchise with younger actors)

But enough about that, I mean, the real question here is why the f--k did you see this what, dammit, is the movie actually about? Well, since you asked so nicely...

On a small, picturesque island in the middle of nowhere, a bunch of birds are living their stupid, miserable little lives. One day, a mysterious pig shows up like an asshole. He and his friends want to have a massive rave. Sounds...uh, cool, I guess. Except that he also wants to steal and eat all the birds' eggs (which, as we've seen in the opening two minutes, contain fully-functional, doe-eyed adorable little baby birds). So, yeah. This is basically a horror movie.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

We were very cool for our school district.

Stop me if you've heard this one, but my parents used to send me across the country to visit my grandparents for the entire f--king summer. Alone.

While my dad's side (located in Bristol, Connecticut) was all about dinner (at five?) together, planned outings, and a general sense of structure, my mom's side was the opposite. Temporarily residing in Charlestown, Massachusetts (not the nice part, either), the unspoken law of the land seemed to be, do what you want and try not to die. Oh, and dinner's whenever. Probably. 

Being that it was hot as balls, and pretty much the f--king mean streets, I quickly came up with a plan. I would walk/run the two plus miles to the movie theater damn near everyday, and I would buy one ticket. And I would stay there as long as possible, hopping from one screen to the next. And in the summer of 1991, a movie I watched on more than one occasion? Madonna: Truth or Dare

I was eleven. 

While Madonna sucking off a mostly empty bottle (I dare you click here) was part of an actual documentary, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, while equally ridiculous, is straight fiction. At least as far as I can tell.

Conner Friel has musical talent. Or did. As the pseudo-documentary details, Conner has already experienced early, group-based success in the nineties (with the Beastie Boys-esque Style Boyz) and followed that with a meteoric rise as a solo-artist. Simply put, the world f--king loves this dude. And has for some time.

Like so many artists before him, Conner decides to turn his back on all the things that made him famous in the first place, including his long-time manager and childhood best friend(s). But when his sophomore album drops, the long-awaited Connquest, and is utterly f--king rejected by fans and critics alike, Conner folds like a cheap hooker who got hit in the stomach by a fat guy with sores on his face.

While there is a plot and a serviceable story, the real question about Popstar is whether or not it's funny. Well, you likely can't (and shouldn't) trust the grown up version of a perverted eleven-year old Madonna fan, or someone willing to drop a Friends quote two decades too late, but in my opinion, this f--ker was pretty damn funny. While not all the jokes are going to land, they come so friggin' quickly, it won't matter. Short version? I was consistently laughing my ass off.

Oh, and this one time? I almost choked to death on a dick...joke. As once again the big unit is played for even bigger laughs. Usually, I don't find other guy's dicks all that hysterical, but I'm telling you I actually cried during this scene. Unbelievable.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Dude, I'm just pissed that you don't suck.

Regarding the need to be popular in high school, I heard it once described as running for mayor of a town that won't exist in four years. Not that I harbor any resentment for my high school days or anything (I don't in the least), but that same sentiment easily applies to many of the days after graduation. There are a lot of things we put time into, f--king lose our minds over, that simply won't matter in the end.

There's two main ways to go about this monumental wasting of time. You can plan, scheme, and bitch your way into making things just so. Or you can simply avoid any and all confrontation. Who needs to have a big discussion? Who needs closure?

Instead of swimming against the current, instead of taking on that massive Perfect Storm wave every single day of your life (which some people seem to relish), you can just spread your arms and legs out wide and go with the f--king flow. Yeah, you might hit some rocks along the way, but sometimes just floating around? feels pretty f--king good.


Save the Date, an indie rom-com from 2012, takes a look at that seemingly arduous time of pseudo-adulthood, known by some of us as those fantastically underappreciated years before getting married and having kids, or for short: your twenties. You'll never understand how truly amazing (and precious) that time is until it's gone, but there's basically nothing you can do except totally f--king waste it. I know I certainly did.

Sarah (the lovely Lizzy Caplan) and Beth (Alison Brie, also lovely) are sisters. And opposites. Sarah is cruising through life with her lead-singer boyfriend Kevin (the gangly Geoffrey Arend), while Beth is waging war on the rest of the planet whilst planning her wedding to Andrew... the drummer in Kevin's band. 

Sarah seems like a chick that would dig the front-man of groovy local band, as she's this laid back cartoonist/book-store manager type, essentially the lowest of the low-key. It's a little less convincing, however, that not only would the uptight Beth ever be caught dead in a club that would feature a group like Wolf Bird, let alone opting to f--king marry a member. But hey, what do I know? The ladies love them some bearded musicians.

Despite being told to abort mission, ol' Kevin decides, after a killer set, to publicly propose to Sarah. And it's not much of a spoiler to tell's a f--king disaster, and the final nail in the coffin of their moments-prior normal relationship. Sarah moves out and moves on, mostly, leaving the shaggy vocalist a Muppet of a man.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Do yourself a favor, and just go with it.

In politics, it's like the worst thing you can be called. If you dare to change your mind about something (assuming, of course, after careful consideration) people rally around the idea that you're some kind of pushover, or that you simply will say anything to appease the masses.

But if something was a bad idea on paper, executed to something only marginally better, I believe it would be totally reasonable to not jump up and down and support it. If after a few years, however, the idea was revisited, tweaked, and made better, is it really a sign of weakness to now fully endorse it? I don't think so, but Hell, what do I know?

I'm a flip-flopper.

Yes, after seeing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows with my son Matty, I'm now fully on-board with the live-action reboot of the old cartoon classic. Walking back from my general dislike of the first Michael Bay-produced Turtles flick [review], which I saw without him, by the way (he was too scared...bawk bawk bawk), I now one-hundred percent support these hideously ugly monstrosities known as the modern day Ninja Turtles. They have my unwavering and enthusiastic affection.

Unless the third movie sucks, of course. Well, assuming they make another one.

While the first flick was, at times, too serious for its own good, Out of the Shadows is sweet, stupid fun. The whole thing is incredibly easy-breezy, with the action and laughs coming early and often. Again, it didn't hurt that my goofball son was along for the ride this time, but even if you don't have a nerdy six-year old with you (he now has a Star Wars shirt that he plans on wearing to every movie we see this summer), this one is still a solid action-comedy.

This time around, with the origin story complete, the already established Turtles can get right to it. No back story, no silly brooding, just bad jokes and good action. Oh, and Megan Fox in the tightest of facial skin clothes never hurts, either.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Every word is part of a picture.

Is there a movie for this book?

Typically this question is uttered in that annoying why me? tone that most eleven-year-olds almost exclusively speak in (a voice-level most adults reserve for emergency situations of actual peril). Occasionally, however, sometimes, they actually opt for a query that isn't overwhelmingly douchey. Turns out, these same kids actually possess a voice that sounds almost...what's the word...oh yeah, curious. 

And as a teacher, there are two ways to handle the movie/book question: a) ignore it.

Or, the more professional response: b) lie your ass off.

Released in 1998, director Peter Chelsom's film The Mighty is based on the state-mandated/totally rad novel Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick. Set in a grimy section of late-nineties Cincinnati, this coming of age story tells of the unlikely bond between two social outcasts, soon-to-be eighth graders Max and Kevin.

While there is no doubt that the novel is infinitely better, The Mighty somehow manages to still be a fairly solid companion to Philbrick's novel. Likely due to the young leads (the insanely likable Kieran Culkin as Kevin and familiar face Elden Henson playing Max) and a shockingly legit supporting cast, the bittersweet story is a improbably compelling watch. After you've read the novel, naturally, because as my (now former!) students consistently lamented, THEY LEFT SO MUCH OUT!

Max Kane is a big kid with an awful past. Currently being raised by his grandparents, Grim and Gram (years after the murder of his mother/their daughter), Max is doing all he can to simply drift through middle school, perhaps even life itself. But when the hyper-curious and obviously disabled Kevin moves in next door with his pretty mom, Gwen, this massive wallflower begins to blossom.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

I think maybe we should only see other people.

Sorry, ladies. I'm totally married. Have been for...uh, almost eight years. I think.

But prior to putting a ring on it (a phrase I f--king hate hearing anyone say, by the way), my wife and I have been/lived together since late 2000. Yeah, she got a look at me and thought (for a long time), I guess he'll do. 

My point, is that I haven't been available this century. I hardly knew the rules back in the f--king nineties, so when it comes to relationships today, I pretty much only have two things locked down: f--k and all 

Hell, in my day, we used to talk on the phone for hours ( hang up), rent VHS tapes at Blockbuster, and maybe make-out for little while, before things got x-rated, you know? You kids? Shit. Conversations might consist of a few emoji-filled texts (is there an emoji for raging boner?), maybe twenty minutes of finding something to 'watch' something on Netflix, and then it's straight into ass-to-mouth filled three-ways.

Uh, I mean, I guess. It's not like I've thought about this endlessly before.

I've always been irritated when the names don't match the position.
And yes, I'm an asshole.
How to Be Single probably isn't an accurate (or reality-based) look at single life in the Big City, but as far as movies go, it's pretty f--king textbook.

Cute Girl moves to a climate controlled New York City, basically never f--king works a minute of her life, and somehow manages to incessantly frequent cool rooftop parties and trendy bars, all in hopes of meeting Mr. or Mrs. Right (not that marriage is in the table, for f--k's sake). Lots of handsome men will cross her path, her quirky friend will have all the answers, and at the end of an hour and forty minutes, she'll learn who she truly is. And zero f--ks will be given.

Friends, this one isn't all bad, honestly, mainly because the good folks who cut previews these days don't leave anything to chance. I knew it would be stupid, I knew it would be shitty, but I also knew it would be something my wife would probably enjoy. Oh, and I also knew she would fall asleep, leaving me to finish it all by myself.

Christian Grey's boner garage (Dakota Johnson), breaking free of her sexy shackles, dumps her nine-foot tall boyfriend at the end of college, and makes the head-out-of-the-cab move to NYC. Immediately, she lands a job at a law firm, solely for the purpose of meeting Fat Amy, who apparently does nothing but f--k any man she meets. Fat Amy dispenses knowledge of life in the big city like a less attractive Pat Morita, encouraging Daniel-son to not only trim her bonzai, but to wax on and wax off every eligible bachelor in the Big Apple. Yes, friends. F--k first, ask questions later.

Which begs the question, why couldn't I have been born fifteen years later? 

Or handsomer.