Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Tourist Trap is the greatest movie of all time

Tourist Trap is all kinds of WTF. This film is about a telekinetic mannequin making murderer. So, yeah. It feels like they were making a Vincent Price type movie but veered toward Texas Chainsaw/Halloween after those became big and threw in some Psycho for no reason. More of the traditional wax museum movies as opposed to Waxwork but with way more insanity. Not gonna lie, this disturbing flick pushed my greatest movie of all time streak, but it had enough redeeming qualities in a total shit show kind of way. Therefore, Tourist Trap was the greatest movie of all time.

Sherwood. Ger
Pros: Uniquely weird. Extremely creepy. If you are scared of mannequins, then this movie is completely terrifying. Young Midge (Tonya Roberts) from That '70s Show looking solid. Another pretty lady in this Robin Sherwood woman wearing the heart sunglasses. Get some sweet Chuck Conners yucking it up.

Cons: Killer is always exactly where he needs to be like he can teleport or something. Movie is all over the place. Last 20 minutes sort of fuck the whole movie up.

Gist of Tourist Trap, a 1979 flick directed David Schmoeller who did the first Puppetmaster movie, is that five college-aged kids end up getting off the highway when a pair gets a flat tire. While looking for the friend Woody, who dresses like an asshole and dies in the opening scene, they come across a closed roadside attraction featuring animatronic mannequins (and a swimming hole!). These mannequins come to life, sort of singing, before their creator, (Spoiler) Connors, who gives them supernatural powers and uses them to kill and create more mannequins. Again, weird shit. In addition to Connors (The Rifleman himself), Roberts (who was also a Bond girl [A View to Kill]), and Sherwood, the movie stars survivor girl Jocelyn Jones, Keith McDermott, and Jon Van Ness, none of whom I've ever seen.

One of the weird things from this movie was a scene at the beginning with promised nudity that doesn't happen. While sort of looking for their lost friend, the three ladies find this little swimming hole and decide to take a dip. The survivor girl is like, "But I don't have a bathing suit... :(." But either Midge or the other chick says something like "who needs a bathing suit" when you have gratuitous nudity! But no. No boobs. Just a lot of standing in nipple-high water. Just as well (for them) though since Conners shows up with a gun talking shit. He does manage to come off as sane though and they all go to his place while they look/wait for their friend and get their VW Thing fixed as it just suddenly died when they got to the gas station/tourist stop.

Also this happens
Most of the weirdness from the movie are a result from these damn animatronic mannequins and what they can do. For example, after the survivor girl gets knocked out, she is placed in a bed in the house of horrors. When she comes to, this woman is taking care of her. It is implied that it is Connors's wife. We later learn that Connors found his wife and his brother getting it on. This gave him "a legal right to kill them both." While this is the 1970's and possible Texas, I am pretty sure that is not a legal right you have. So what is up with that lady that was helping her? Well, we later see that dude is insane with the animatronics. The people seem super real and are programmed to basically live their best life like normal humans. This shit sort of gives Connors a Norman Bates vibe which is pretty played out. This becomes apparent at the end when one of the guys shows up to save her and Connors pulls off his arm and head and we see that dude is totes not alive and is in fact in pieces. Welp, didn't see that shit coming. Connors apparently did this in like an hour by the by.

This was one of the most WTF things I have ever seen and led to a total train wreck of a finale. So the survivor girl sort of has this mental break. Connors dances around with his wife/mannequin and she comes alive as he swings her around. It is unclear if this is really happening or if she is crazy. In any case, she snaps out of it and axes Connors in the neck, killing him and silencing the mannequins. The next thing we see is the survivor girl driving down the road with her friends who are all dead and in puppet form while she has a huge, insane smile on her face. Um, holy shit. That wasn't terrifying or anything. Jesus. Thinking about, maybe she too was a puppet, just wound up to live her best life. Maybe we all are just animatronic puppets, just looking into the abyss of time, waiting for our programming to run out. And on that...

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Waxwork is the greatest movie of all time

The cover of Waxwork scared the piss out of me as a kid. Have distinct memories of looking at it and thinking "fuck nope" as a child when we went to the video rental place down street. I maybe didn't like little people (or something) as nothing really scared me back then. But this cover, main, was too much. Up until I watched this flick I was sure that was Tattoo from Fantasy Island (the "de plane, de plane!" guy), but it's Alf (for real). I had ongoing dreams about a movie that I had mentally constructed based on this image up at least through junior high, which is just nuts. So I finally got around watching it and holy shit balls this movie was amazing. Not your typical wax museum movie, this shit complete blew me and my female companion away with its unexpected greatness. In fact--"is he gonna?" you ask--Waxwork is the greatest movie of all time.

Still terrifying
Pros: Super self-aware and humorous. Meta-horror is the big draw here, knocking it out of the park long before Scream or New Nightmare. Solid acting (with a few exceptions) with some horror chops. Unique premise.

Cons: Can't think of anything other than it's not better known.

Basic gist is that a group of unlikeable idiot college students meet an immortal/evil owner (played by David Warner from The Omen) of a wax museum who invites them over to check out his collection. The displays end up being magic death traps that ensnare most of them one at a time. If the magician/owner dude completes the set of the 18 most evil beings to ever "live", then the evil spills out into the real world and what have you.

The evil being are as follows: the Marquis de Sade, the werewolf, Count Dracula, the Golem, the Phantom of the Opera, the Mummy (which curb stomps his dude), zombies from Night of the Living Dead, Frankenstein, Jack the Ripper, the Invisible Man, some voodoo guy, a witch, a snake dude, pods from Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Rosemary's Baby, a generic axe murderer/lumberjack dude, an alien, a Little Shop of Horrors style giant talking venus flytrap, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. There were supposed to be three other displays that ended up getting left out for legal reasons: Jason Voorhees from the Friday the 13th franchise, five children from Village of the Damned (1960), and The Thing (1982). Those would have been awesome but they didn't happen.

The movie managed to intrigue right from the get down, opening with murder/robbery, followed by a rich piece of shit, played by one Zach Galligan (who was the dip shit pet owner in Gremlins that got them wet and fed them after midnight), named Mark Loftmore who wants his fucking ciggy and his coffees. His mom, a real buzz kill, tells him no for some reason as he is going to be late for college like he gives shit. But his butler brings that shit out to him and he makes his way off in his Rolls Royce or whatever. Totally relatable, this guy.

Muffy from April 1
Anyway, he makes it to class and is fucking late. He gets called out for it, the professor yells at him, telling him that he looks forward to reading his research paper on whatever dude is droning on about that next morning. He doesn't give a shit though and just starts openly talking with his buddies which leads the professor to just keep tacking on pages to the punishment essay. We later see why he doesn't give a shit as he outsources the assignment out to some chick who can barely speak English. He reads it, it's all gibberish, he turns it in and the work is so bad that he gets expelled which is all kinds of funny.

Dudes friends consist of China Webster (Michelle Johnson), Sarah Brightman (Deborah Foreman who was Muffy/Buffy in April Fools whom I will be referring to as Muffy forevermore), Gemma (Clare Carey), James (Eric Brown), and Tony (Dana Ashbrook who is Bobby Briggs in Twin Peaks and, yep, I'm just going to call him Bobby for the rest of this thing here). Both Muffy and China are real lookers. They all go to watch China's, who Mark like might have dated and is still into, boyfriend play football while they just enjoy their obscene wealth or whatever. China talks about doing him, openly, while Mark gets pissed. First off, this guy is such a goddamned meathead and is revolting and vulgar AF the moment we meet him. Second, this football practice is fucking insane. They are going all out like they are playing for the Super Bowl while simultaneously never playing before. The hits are brutal and completely illegal and likely to end in injury and possibly death. Like how China's dude just fucking sucker punches a teammate during a random practice the day before a game. If you've played football you know how fucking crazy this is. This scene alone is worth the watch. I'd link it but I couldn't find it online anywhere.

Per David Warner's invite, the group shows up at the mansion at midnight. The creepy midget lets them in and acts pissed that there aren't more of them. They go explore the museum each on their own like idiots. Bobby, who is a fucking tool in this movie, is the first one to fuck up when drops his zippo behind the rope of a wolfman exhibit. When you pass through the ropes you enter that dimension is how this works. So what happens to Bobby is that John Rhys-Davies, aka Gimli from The Lord of the Rings, shows up, turns into a werewoof, and bites him. He starts to turn and some dudes come and shoot him. He is now part of the exhibit. That's how they get you, apparently. Meanwhile, China is in the Count Dracula exhibit where she is served raw meat drenched in blood. They keep saying stuff like "the sauce makes the dish," and "our guest doesn't like the sauce." She does eat it in the end (IRL it was plums and corn syrup) which she later finds out was the leg of her fiancee in the wax world (don't ask). She ends up killing a bunch of vamps but Dracula hypmerizes with his eyes and mullet.

Gimli, out of nowhere
Muffy and Mark, for their part, get locked in the Marquis de Sade exhibit and the George A. Romero rooms respectively. Mark gets out and pops into Muffy's Marquis de Sade room. He is whipping her and she is super into it. She's into some kinky shit and the Marquis de Sade boasts that he just gave her her first orgasm. Mark snaps her out of it though and they escape leaving the evil folk two short of their set but their idiot friends eventually come around to die, basically. In the meantime Muffy and Mark figure it all out with the help of some old-timey locals who are part of some secret society. Once shit hits the fan at the end with all the monsters on the loose and what not these guys show up out of nowhere and help save the day. In the battle at the end we see a dude shooting a baby and another killing a vampire bat with a shotgun at 0-range whilst throwing in a "make my day." The ending is pure chaos with ridiculous fighting, a horrible looking fire which is just like a poster with holes poked in the windows, a zombie hand that sets up Waxwork II: Lost in Time, and they throw in some blue lightning in there too as it is 1988. Again, greatest film of all time.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

So I Married an Axe Murder is the greatest movie of all time

So I Married an Axe Murderer. One of my faves as a kid. This is what I thought being an adult would be like. Reading poetry, drinking giant latte bowls at coffee shops, being afraid of commitment but still marrying a beautiful lady who you believe may be a serial killer because of some shit you read in a tabloid. Spoiler, it is! Greatest movie of all time.

Yeah... No
Pros: Nice little homage to other marital murder mystery flicks as well as a smart spoof on love in the 90's and serial killers. Harriet, played by one Nancy Travis, is a super cute lady. Stuart Mackenzie, who is Mike Myers's character's (Charlie) dad and is also played by Mike Myers, is hilarious. The character actress Amanda Plummer, who plays Harriet's sister and was Honey Bunny in Pulp Fiction, is great and unhinged, as per use.

Cons: Not exactly thrilled with how they play cute with dead animal corpses at the Harriet's Meat's of the World store. A play on meet cute that is fucking dumb and overplayed, at least now (like in iZombie). Charlie is sort of a whiny bitch. Basically everything with Anthony LaPaglia's character, Tony Giardino, is irritating.

Contemplating why she is marrying such a dip shit 
The basic gist of the film is that Charlie--who like every Gen Xer on the picture shows is a disaffected, commitment phobic cynic--a poet, meets his dream girl, Harriet ("Harriet, sweet Harriet"), but as he is wont to do, seems to invent faults that keep him from truly committing, in this case that she is a serial killer. She does move around a lot and works as a butcher, so yeah, prolly. He got the idea in his head after reading about a black widow murder in a tabloid. By some miracle it turns out he may not be that far off. Spoiler.

Overall the film has a Hitchcock/Jerry Lewis collaboration vibe, combining dark subject matter with zany comedy. It is at surreal. None more so than when Charlie volunteers to help Harriet with running the butcher shop where he does slapstick with entrails and animal bits in a disturbing take on flirting. It sort of made me sick to my stomach (I'm a vegetarian). It is supposed to be shocking, and is, but as a comedic device, real dead animals doesn't work. When the film works though it is a solid example of a murder mystery comedy reminiscent of Manhattan Murder Mystery by Woody Allen. Had Charlie been Jewish instead of Scottish then it would have pretty much been a Woody Allen movie.

Not to be fucking trusted
Charlie lives a pretty sweet life. He makes his living as a poet (which is unheard of), his best friend is above the law (he's a cop), his family and women seem to like him, and he has a very sweet, very pretty lady in Harriet who adores him. Shit is pretty fucking sweet, right? Well, Charlie is one of those Gen X dudes in a film in the 1990's so he can't just chill and be fucking happy. He has to self-destruct. He is cold and a dick to Harriet and ends up leaving her. Not for the reason he should have, i.e. the horrendous meeting with Honey Bunny, who SPOILER is the killer, but instead because he is paranoid and insane, asking his cop bro Tony to fucking investigate her on these murders which he does.

Little something for the people of Earth, here, when you go to someone's home for some sexy time and there is an extremely awkward or unsettling encounter with a family member or a roommate, then you need to be on your toes because shit will go down as that person (the family member or roommate or whatever) is insane. Pro tip for you there.

ANYwho, the way Charlie wrecks his good thing is he gets all fucking paranoid about an article he opened to randomly in the Weekly World News between articles about Bill Clinton fathering Bat Boy and Elvis Presley being spotted alive at a Burger King about a woman they call Mrs. X whose husbands all went missing under bizarre circumstances. He gets cop bud Tony to fucking investigate though and he is like, "uh, it's probably not her, bra," but Charlie still acts like a freak before eventually breaking up with her over it because he is a fucking nut job.

Yeah, that's the one.
So basically Charlie is all moody and dejected throughout most of the rest of the movie until Tony tells him that a killer confessed in the Mrs. X case and he and Harriet make up and decide to get married. But dude is still a freak, with somewhat good reason as it turns out since someone, the sister, is indeed trying to kill him. But whatevs. Charlie is still an idiot, which is what makes the movie great. Also, this happens.

Just to recap, Myers plays Charlie MacKenzie, a man afraid of commitment, until he meets Harriet (Travis), who works at a butcher shop and may be a serial killer. Myers also plays his own character's father, Stuart. Very Christ like of that Myers (he fathered his child which was also himself). This character was the fucking best. I still often quote old Stuart Mackenzie saying "we've got a piper down!" every time I see someone playing the bagpipes on TV or IRL, Also any time anyone is in my way I just randomly yell, "Heeed! Doon! Noo!" Good shit. And with this, some sweet Stuart action, I bid you adieux.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

4-Day Coconut Water Fast

Listened to a podcast on The Art of Manliness network titled "Micronutrients, Genetics, and Preventing Age-Related Diseases" that featured a real medical doctor that went into detail about how stressing yourself with fasting can boost your health. In this episode one Dr. Rhonda Patrick goes over various hormetic stressors and details what happens in the body during a fast. It was pretty convincing although she did you use the word "toxins" a little much for my taste. But I was in... And a month later I did it. Yay!

For four days I consumed nothing but Nature's Nectar 100% Pure Coconut Water. It is unlikely I will ever consume this beverage again. It was supposed to be a 5-day fast but my body could take no more. "Where is the Cinnamon Toast Crunch?" asked my stomach. "How about some of that Silk Yogurt?" suggested my small intestine. "I will scream until I get my Quorn Vegan Spicy Chck'n Patties," demanded my large intestine. So forth. And that was that. Didn't quite make but got myself some quality autophagy/ketosis.

These are my notes on said experience.

Biographical info: I'm a 6'1", physically fit 36-year old man. The day before I started the fast I weighed 233 lbs with a BMI of 30.7 which is considered obese though I am not really worried about this because I'm a solid 233. My diet is already pretty much on point. I have cheese once a week (almost exclusively in the form of pizza or as a hunk with wine) and an egg (from the chickens that I raise, lovingly) once every few days. Other than that my diet is completely vegan. My caloric intake consists of 60% raw, organic fruits and vegetables (apples, avocado, naners, rainbow carrots, so forth) and
pea protein

My three big lifts as of a month ago were 335 lb bench, 415 lb squat, and 435 lb dead lift (my grip sucks) for a total of 1185 lbs. So haven't quite hit the 1200 lb club. This puts at about the strongest dude at the YMCA but serious lifters in my town go to another gym. I also did 27 traditional pull ups at one point during the winter. Last year I ran a 5K in 24:17, a lifetime best. That was before I cycled from running to lifting, which I do every fall. I usually go from 235 lbs at my heaviest while lifting to around 223 as a runner. This was at the end of that running cycle. I begin this fast a month into running thus coming in with garbage times. My all out mile time is around eight minutes. My 5K is likely around 28 minutes at present. Not going to lift after this as it isn't going to show shit since I haven't lifted in a month or so anyway and haven't lifted heavy in two months. The goal here isn't to lose weight although I am sure I will. Going in, this is how I looked shirtless.

Too sexy

Day 1 

Weight: 233 lbs

Noon Check-In: Today I began my journey without food. Never had a full day when I haven't eaten. I came close a couple of times. The first time I played basketball all day and never thought to eat. When I finally did it was too late and I got a migraine. This was seventh grade, I think. I ended up throwing up. The next time wasn't until I was in my 20s, the year after college when I had moved to New Hampshire on $100 in 2005. I moved there to teach and spent all of my money on travelling for interviews in the weeks before moving. I was told that they would have a check to reimburse me once I got there after I got the job. This was a fucking lie and I was broke as shit. I had like $3 and nothing to cook with or anything like that. After telling the Assistant Head Master, who was the one who told me that I was to get the moneys, of my situation, I was then told I would be given my due. I was not. I spent my $3 on garbage food the night before so I went to gas station with the change I had scrounged together and bought a loaf of bread and pillaged a bunch of condiments. It was fucking terrible but I ate. Now this. And it's by choice. We'll see if I make it. I feel fine-ish right now even though I've skipped two meals by this point. Work has been a bitch, super busy, so I haven't thought much about my lack of caloric intake.

Evening Check-In: Ran four miles. Time was fucking shit, 39:37. Definitely lagging as last week I ran four miles in 35:53. Did fine at trivia, which I do on Tuesday nights. Shout out to Player's Pub Trivia here in Bloomington. I came up with the answers that were rattling around in there but was slower to pluck them out than usual. My team fucking won by the way. Not as chatty as I usually am, so I am told. That is because I am feeling hangry AF and have to spend all of my mental energy thinking about not eating. This isn't easy but I keep telling myself, "hey, maybe you won't get cancer." Supposedly all mortality is decreased by 40-80% according to some studies, though the jury is still out on that shit, so I guess I'll have a 40-80% greater chance of living forever. So I've got that going for me.

Day 2

Weight: 223 lbs

Noon Check-In: Last night I had a lot of trouble sleeping. I was too hungry to turn it off mentally and then when I finally did get to sleep I woke up every hour or so dreaming about food. It sucked and I came pretty close to breaking the fast. As far as work goes, I've had trouble getting my shit together though I did finish a blog entry on Avengers: Infinity War.

Evening Check-In: Working out was a real mistake. I feel sickly and I hurt. I biked for a little over an hour. For the first 45-minutes I was rocking and rolling. Zipping from here to there at a solid 16 MPH average. I always turn it on at that point but tonight it was a chore just finishing the last leg at a slow as shit pace. When I got home I did a bit more research and apparently it is not okay to workout without food. Shan't be doing that shit again. For the rest of the night I just sort of rolled around clutching my gut.

Day 3

Weight: 220 lbs

Noon Check-In: I'm dying. Not feeling so good. I was promised that Day 3 is when things get easier. Not so. So hungry. Super crampy. All I can do is chill here and do nothing. Can't focus. Like at all. Can't move. I have no interest in being alive anymore. Everything hurts. Beyond torturous. Work has been a blur. My productivity has been shit. I am worthless and want to die.

Evening Check-In: Watering the garden was pretty difficult. Basically everything is hard as fuck. I just sort of lay around. It sucks. Tonight I tried to book a room with Airbnb. I tried four times and it kept erring out. The final time I switched browsers and then sort of raged. Not exactly sure when that surge in energy is supposed to kick in but it aint Day 3. I'm sure as shit not going through this another fucking day. If this is what tomorrow brings, I'm breaking tomorrow night.

I reached out to a buddy of mine who has experience with fasting like this who advised me to try drinking a bit of salt water. This instantly took the edge off and I was able to make it through the night although it was pretty rough.

Day 4

Weight: 219 lbs

Noon Check-In: I feel better than I have but still not feeling amazing like I've been promised. Also not feeling super productive either. Basically feeling equally productive as a normal day. More than yesterday, for sure, but no more than usual. Getting light headed a lot. Not very stable on my feet.

Epilogue: I survived... So success! Sort of. I did quit a day early at Day 4 instead of Day 5. So, year, eating is overrated. Need it to survive and all but still.

This is how I look shirtless now.

Still Captain America
Basically exactly the same. Maybe slightly leaner but more less the same. Still, though, I'll probably do it again. Fun times! But without food!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Avengers: Infinity Wars is the greatest movie of all time

Avengers: Infinity Wars. Spoilers. Mad spoilers, bra. With a decade of Marvel Studios flicks, Marvel Cinematic Universe has all been building up to this. To give you an idea of the size, it is one of the most expensive movies ever made, Wikipedia lists the budget at $300-$400 million, it has the highest grossing weekend of all time and is already in the top 50 highest-grossing films ever. Most critics love that shit, too. All the action. All the feels. Greatest movie of all time.

Rotten Tomato Consensus: Avengers: Infinity War ably juggles a dizzying array of MCU heroes in the fight against their gravest threat yet, and the result is a thrilling, emotionally resonant blockbuster that (mostly) realizes its gargantuan ambitions.

Pros: Story is fucking solid. Even though there are like 400 people in it they do a good job of getting everyone a lot of screen time and telling how everyone sort of fits in. So much star power it is insane. Some truly shocking moments that are quite emotionally affecting. Thor continues to be hilarious and awesome.

Cons: Feel sort of nitpicky listing any of these as "cons" because the movie fucking ruled. It was just with the movie being so long there were just several little things to list, some more valid than others. First, I was not emotionally ready for the ending. Plus, knowing the bare minimum about comics, the weight of that ending is undercut by the fact that no one in comics ever dies. Thanos is sort of lame. Too much of the story relies on us giving a shit about Gamora (who probably gets the most screen time) which is tough because she has basically just been the love interest up to this point. Not enough Captain America and his click.

Gist of the Infinity War is that most but not all of the Avengers (notably missing were Ant-Man and Hawkeye) and some of their super buddies (the Guardians of the Galaxy, basically, and Dr. Strange and some Black Panther) get it on with the most powerful villain in the Marvel Universe, Thanso, who is going about trying to complete his little set of Infinity Stones which he wants to use to kill half of living things in the universe because of resources. Like Killmonger in Black Panther, he's not wrong, he's just an asshole.

The movie was directed by Russo bros Anthony and Joe features the ensemble cast of all the usuals. Going back over the cast, this shit is insane. Basically this is a who's who list of Hollywood talent. See it listed is pretty cray. A partial list, in alphabetical order, includes Dave Bautista as Drax, Paul Bettany as Vision, Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther, Josh Brolin as Thanso, Don Cheadle as War Machine, Bradley Cooper as Rocket Raccoon, Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Strange, Benicio Del Toro as The Collector, Vin Diesel as Groot, Peter Dinklage as Eitri, Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Evans as Captain America, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Danai Gurira as Okoye, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Tom Holland as Spider Man, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Anthony Mackie as Falcon, Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch, Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, Chris Pratt as Star-Lord, Mark Ruffalo as Hulk/Bruce Banner, Zoe Saldana as Gamora, and Sebastian Stan as Bucky. This only scratches the surface.

A lot of stuff I have been thinking about that I loved here. First, the film is book-ended by two scenes that were shocking as fu-uck. The one at the beginning which was just fucking nuts was when Thanos, already with the Power Stone in hand, hops on the spaceship with all the Asgardian refugees on it following the events of Thor: Ragnarok to strong arm the Space Stone in that there old Tesseract cube from the various flicks. In the process Hulk comes out of the woodwork to end this bullshit and gets beat the fuck down which was a serious WTF moment. With him out of the way, Thanos and his group of underlings called The Children of Thanos (consisting of Corvus Glaive, Ebony Maw, Proxima Midnight, and Cull Obsidian), they easily bitch Thor, kill Loki (played by Tom Hiddleston), and Heimdall (played by Idris Elba) before blowing up the ship, killing everyone but Thor (who just floats through space until the Guardians find him) and Hulk whom Heimdall beamed to Earth with the Bifrost before he met his end. Hell of a way to start things off, I'll tell you.

Then there is the ending which was a complete fucking shock. Obviously spoiling shit here so don't give me shit. At the end we have all the characters coming together in Wakanda, getting it on with Thanos, and seemingly sort of stopping him by destroying the final stone in his collection, the Mind Stone, by killing Vision. Woohoo. No. Thanos, who can bend time, space, reality, so forth, but generally chooses close quarter hand-to-hand, turns back time reassembling Vision and plucks the stone from his melon, killing him again. If you've seen Dr. Strange you should probably sort of expected this but if you are like me then you didn't think of it until it went down. It was cray AF. Thor shows up here with his newly forged hammah and smacks the shit out of Thanos who teleports the fuck out of there. Sort of think it is over or whatever but then they start disintegrating with half of them and half of all life in universe fucking dying. When Black Panther blew away it was too much, main. "No!" I yelled in my car at the drive in. We also lose all the Guardians except Rocket. Damn. But, yeah, after it's over its hard to know how to take all this death/the movie in general. Obviously all the ash characters can't stay gone. There are two more Black Panther movies coming out for Christ's sake. 

Anywho, another thing of note here was that Thanos knew Tony Stark by name, which is interesting. Tony, for his part, claims that Thanos has been "inside my head"--or something like that--for six years which was the whole shit that went down in New York in the first Avengers movie. Thanos, on the other hand, seems to only have respect for one human,Tony, whom he sees as the main Avenger aka protector of earth or whatever, I guess. Regardless, they are obviously connected and what not and I'm thinking Tony will have to sacrifice himself or some such shit since Dr. Strange gave up an Infinity Stone to save his life though he said he would not do that just a few scenes before. But after Strange had his little vision, which is the only way it played out that they defeat Thanos, so he must need to live for that shit to play out. 

Chris on Chris action
Some other shit that I'll mention was that Dinklage shows up out of nowhere. He is a fucking dwarf but is a giant dwarf. He ends up being the tallest person in the movie which is probably a fucking wet dream for dude and what not. The best shit of the movie though was the Chris Hemsworth vs Chris Pratt doofus off where they both crack wise at each other despite Thor having just lost all his people in mass genocide and Star-Lord having just caused the end of half of all life in the universe because he is an idiot.

The last thing I shall mention is that this flick has really put out some dank ass memes. Most of them revolve around Thanos either looking ridiculous or being an asshole or obsessing over his stones. I leave you with these, some of my faves, for your viewing pleasure.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Jason Goes to Hell is the greatest movie of all time

So... Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday. This would be the ninth Friday the 13th movie but Paramount still owned the rights to the title "Friday the 13th". Time to wrap it up again but not really I guess was the thinking here. Which is weird because New Line Cinema, fucking Bob Shaye's production company AKA the Nightmare on Elm Street folks, bought the story line. One would think they would go right into a Jason vs Freddy situation but that wouldn't happen for a decade. Everyone was trying to get their shit together for this movie for years, since at least Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood, and this was their fucking chance. Sean S. Cunningham, director/producer of the original Friday the 13th, saw the potential here and wanted that movie fucking made. He specifically did not want another generic Jason movie, which is what fucking happened. This was the result of who else but Bob Shaye who ruined many a New Line feature. Instead of the FvJ that everyone wanted, Shaye recruited Wes Craven to sort of reboot the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise to do with it whatever he wanted. The result was one amazing movie, Wes Craven's New Nightmare, and this one instead of the FvJ which we got in 2003 anyway. Despite Shaye's efforts, it all worked out in the end, that is assuming you agree that Jason Goes to Hell is the greatest movie of all time, which it is.

Also, there was apparently a lot of confusion and anger regarding the title. People, especially critics, thought that Jason was literally going to Hell and that the movie would be set there. When it wasn't people got pissed. Weird that people took the title so literally when in just the movie before, Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, the dude doesn't go to Manhattan until the last 1/3 of the movie. But as they say...

Pros: The concept is pretty cool. Definitely the most unique film of the franchise. Would have worked as a non-Jason movie making me think New Line sort of sandwiched Voorhees into an already written script (a la Die Hard with a Vengeance) which works out in the end. At times unintentionally hilarious making for some pretty entertaining moments.

Cons: Confusing as fuck. All over the fucking place. Jason is barely in the movie (the killers are just random, unremarkable nobodies). More or less no gore or nudity.

Fuck yeah
The opening of this movie is insane. We get a chick staying in your typical murder cabin on Crystal Lake. We slowly see her do stuff when Jason shows up. This is the early 1990s so basically instant nudity. Eventually she Carl Lewises it across the camp area like that literal whore from that Nike commercial (see below) from back in the day. That commercial is almost certainly taking its inspiration from this scene (which is insane). But in this version, Jason catches her and just when he is about to make the kill, SWAT shows up and guns him down. They shoot him like 100 times and then blow him up for good measure. It is a pretty bitching explosion. While all that is going on, this black cowboy guy (apparently the actor demanded he get to dress up as a cowboy) just chills in the shadows like a spectator or some such shit. He is a Jason expert of some kind named Mr. Duke. How did he know that SWAT was going to gun Jason down there? If he knew where Jason was and was presumably wandering about, then why didn't he get macheted down? These are questions that don't get answered. Anyway, we find out this guy is like a world famous bounty hunter and he thinks Jason is pussy which is fucking mind blowing. At one point he is asked by a reporter about Jason and he says that the not exactly media savvy supernatural killing machine makes him "think of a girl in a pink dress." Is he trying to get in Jason's head or something? It's not like Jason is reading the paper or something.

Me after using too much Dave's Insanity Sauce
So they take Jason's body, in pieces, to... Youngstown, Ohio? Uh, ok. Everyone should be freaking out but isn't. This is a medical marvel who has extreme supernatural powers but they leave the autopsy to one dude (Richard Gant who was the black cop during the "business papers" scene in The Big Lebowski) who doesn't know not to eat Jason's beating heart. Ridiculous. This exact thing, minus the heart eating, has happened before in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter. The unfortunate act there leads to the dude being possessed by Jason. He like wears meat suites which sort of could explain how he keeps getting exploded and all that shit and keep coming back, which is sort of cool. We also get a cameo of Kane Hodder, the dude who played Jason in most of these flicks. He is one of the cops standing guard that gets killed.

Hater of the year, this guy
We meet more of the characters, most of whom show up in this Jason themed diner. As previously mentioned we have Mr. Duke (played by Steven Williams who was Leroy Hanlon in It, Rufus Turner in Supernatural, and Mr. X in The X-Files), the young hero/scapegoat dude played by John D. LeMay from the Friday the 13th: The Series program which had nothing to do with the movies, and Leslie Jordan who is the little guy in like half the seasons of American Horror Story. Never seen any of these other people before in my life but all the chicks wear flannels and those high hipped thongs that you only saw in the 1990s. In there we get a group of hitchhiking idiots who go to Camp Crystal Lake to bone and such. LeMay, still living his glory days wearing his high school letter jacket and all, picks them up, turns down sex, and takes them to the camp. They get got by Gant's Jason. He starts jumping bodies at this point and ends up jumping a shit load of times throughout the flick. Sometimes he is able to talk and act like a normal human and stuff too. It is weird. Just roll with it.

LeMay, for his part, has a baby momma who is I guess Jason's niece or cousin or something. Her, her mother (who works at the Jason diner, which is fucking insanity), and her baby are like super hosts or something. Anyway, the mom, Jason's sister I think, ends up dead (killed by Jason who is wearing a cop meat suite) and LeMay gets blamed for it but he saw and knows it was Jason. His baby momma and daughter shows up to the house and sees all this carnage. LeMay runs them out while the cop is coming at them obviously trying to murder them. After they escape the baby momma, her husband is this cheating dickbag by the way who is obsessed with airing/creating Jason news for ratings and such, fucking ditches him. He eventually gets caught and no one fucking believes him, of course, and he goes to jail and meets Mr. Duke who is still chilling there after telling the sheriff to go fuck himself in the diner. LeMay wants out and such to save his baby and baby momma, Mr. Duke reveals that only a relation can kill Jason and a special knife has to be used. He tells him all this "for a price" which is a broken finger. He appears to be a sadist until it is shown that dude planned this to help him escape by having this injury or whatever. It is stupid but works. And the movie becomes Terminator 2: Judgement Day as Jason shows up at the police station to find and kill this film's Sarah and John Conner. This is a good place to reiterate that this movie is all over the fucking place.

Wrong movie yo
Any who, he eventually does make his escape and makes his way to the Voorhees's family cabin that is still chilling there near the camp and has all the family's shit still in it including the fucking Necronomicon from The Evil Dead and this supernatural dagger that can kill Jason or whatever. Why they have this, you know? But yeah, as he bumbles around in there, the newscaster dickbag shows up and talks about how he stole Jason's sister's body from the morgue to drive up ratings or something just to make himself more unlikable, saying "I stole her body from the morgue, then I went home and fucker her daughter." Just why? I guess they wanted to make him as shitty of a human as possible for when Jason shows up and passes his demon heart thing to the dude. Once this happens the cop who was possessed melted by the by. It is gross and sort of impressive.

LeMay eventually finds his baby momma to warn her about all this and her possessed fiancee shows up to kill her. He saves her, again, and off they are on the high way. However, once they are out of danger, the chick attacks LeMay and fucking ditches him him on the side of the road. She loves leaving this dude high and dry.

Starting to wind down here. Things start getting really strange at this point. They all end up back at the family cabin or whatever where the mom's body is chilling, waiting for the cop Jason dude to show up which he does, eventually. But first the foursome of baby momma, LeMay, Mr. Duke who meets up with all of them when shit goes down at the diner (just going skip over that whole mess), and baby prep. This is cut short though when Mr. Duke falls through a trap door for no reason. He is injured when a pair of cops, one is the dead mom's husband so baby momma's step dad, while the other is this idiot cop that LeMay tricked during his great escape. Everyone is collectively like, "uh, one of you is obviously Jason even though you are both talking at which is a very uncharacteristic move for the silent assassin." Baby momma, who ditched LeMay yet again, chooses to shoot her step dad or whatever. The quick decision is indeed incorrect and the other cop goes right at the baby and tries to make out with it (i.e. give the demon heart/tongue thing). This doesn't work though and the demon heart gets chopped. We see it and it is this weird demon baby thing. Uh, what? It scurries off and possesses the mom which means Jason gets his body back, woohoo. And he looks like shit. He is all bloated and not tough. Plus his death is garbage and completely anticlimactic. They sort of unceremoniously kill him with that dagger and roman candle fireballs shoot out his chest whereupon he gets dragged to hell by these little shitty stone handed demons. The fucking end. ... But wait, we get a closeup on Jason's masks and what comes out and grabs the fucking thing? Freddy's fucking glove. Ah yeah. Sets up Freddy vs. Jason which comes out 10 years later and ignores this movie, Jason X (the Jason in space movie), and New Nightmare all nice like. Yeah, greatest movie of all time!!!

Thursday, April 26, 2018

The Thing is the greatest movie of all time

Oh The Thing. One of my faves. I've long been sort of obsessed with Antarctica and so want to go there (shout out to the book I'm reading, To the Edges of the Earth: 1909, the Race for the Three Poles, and the Climax of the Age of Exploration by one Edward J. Larson about the first expeditions to the North and South Poles and the top of K2). Though the best thing to come off the continent, in my opinion, is still the 1982 John Carpenter film The Thing which is still just wow. Scared the shit out of me as a child. Scares the shit out of me as an adult. One of Carpenter's best, which says a lot. Ditto on Kurt Russell. Gotta love Keith David and oatmeal/diabetes man Wilford Brimley as well. This shit will scare the shit out of you. Isolation, dudes in crisis, aliens, melting, shape-shifting, body snatching, heads that pop off and grow crab legs, bodies that grow mouths and bite hands off, this movie has it all and is the greatest film of all time.

Want to hear some crazy shit about this movie? Well, it is tradition at the South Pole Telescope for scientists to watch The Thing every February. This is the time of year when the polar winter begins and the sciency folk are cut off from the rest of the world until summer begins in November. I feel this is just asking for trouble and freak outs but these are people with a bunch of PhDs so I'll trust they know what they are doing.

Did someone say crab legs?
Rotten Tomato Consensus: Grimmer and more terrifying than the 1950s take, John Carpenter's The Thing is a tense sci-fi thriller rife with compelling tension and some remarkable make-up effects.

Pros: Scury as hell. Great cast (although it is all-male). Special effects (by one Rob Bottin) are fucking sick (literally and figuratively). Extremely cool gore. Super tense. Relentlessly fucked up.

Cons: Pretty much a perfect movie.

Gist: An Antarctic crew of laborers get attacked by a nearby group of Norwegians in a helicopter who are coming after their dog, firing at it from a helicopter. After the Norwegians blow themselves up/are shot in the face, the crew goes to their base camp where the entire crew is dead, killed by some sort of alien that they pulled from a crashed saucer. Soon the men discover that the dog was not what it seemed and is really some sort of parasitic "thing" that assimilates and impersonates other life forms. Wilfred Brimley, a scientist, crunches some numbers on his Atari projects that it is very likely that several of them are infected, oh those 1980s computers on film, and that "IF INTRUDER ORGANISM REACHES CIVILIZED AREAS... ENTIRE WORLD POPULATION INFECTED 27,000 HOURS FROM FIRST CONTACT." Bummer. From there paranoia and infighting take hold as no one trusts that any of the others aren't the Thing.

The movie was based on a 1938 work by one John W. Campbell Jr. called Who Goes There? which was also the basis for the 1951 sci-fi thriller The Thing from Another World which leads people to  mistakenly call this rendition a remake. The film stars Russell as R.J. MacReady the team's helicopter pilot/quasi leader, Wilford Brimley, T. K. Carter, David Clennon from Gone Girl, Keith David from They Live/Future Man/Community, Richard Dysart from LA Law as Dr. Cooper who famously gets his hands bit off in the film, Charles Hallahan who looks old as fuck but is in his 30s here, Peter Maloney, Richard Masur who I mostly think of as the adult Stanley Uris in the 1990 It miniseries, Donald Moffat who played LBJ in The Right Stuff who plays the leader of the expedition, Joel Polis, and Thomas Waites. 

The movie opened to awful reviews and also under-performed at the box office, going head to head with E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. It came in eighth its opening weekend meaning it was a fucking flop which is a goddamn travesty. Hell of weekend to come out though. Beating it out in ticket sales were E.T., Blade Runner (which is genuinely a top 10 of all time flick), Firefox (whatever the fuck that is), Rocky III (the one with Mr. T), Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Annie, and Poltergeist. Shit, that's rough. A lot of early (and later) reviews focused on the erroneous but persistent myth that this was a remake. The two movies used the same source material but went completely different directions. That or critics focused on the grotesqueness or nihilism at the heart of the film. Know nothing Roger Ebert wrote that "Because this material has been done before, and better, especially in the original The Thing and Alien, there's no need to see this version." Um, what? I mean, it's no Valley of the Dolls. Anyone who doesn't think this is a masterpiece needs to rethink their career as this is maybe legitimately the greatest horror movie of all time.

Moving on. There are three scenes that are fucking unbelievable. The first is probably the most memorable from the film and even people that haven't seen the movie have seen or are familiar with this little bit. This is the "chest chomp" scene (see gifs below) where Norris, played by Hallahan who was the old looking dude, has a heart attack and keels over. Dr. Cooper goes to revive him with a defibrillator when Norris's chest-mouth opens up with these gnarly teeth and bites the dude's hands off. Once this happens they torch Norris whose head comes off, grows spider legs, and walks about the room before they find it and torch that too. Fucking nuts.

From there they decide something has to be done and Russell's character, MacReady, comes up with a solid plan that sort of holds up when you think about it. Basically, according to his logic, this based on the creature's head coming off, ever bit of the creature, including its blood, will fight for its own survival. Basically all of the Thing is an individual life form with its own survival instinct. His idea then is to take samples of everyone's blood and stick it with a heated piece of metal. Everyone's blood passes the test until they get to Palmer (played by Clennon) who freaks the fuck out and turns into the monster who kills and starts assimilating Windows (played by Waites). MacReady then torches the pair of them. The thing that is so terrifying and fucked about this is that all except for a couple of them are tied down while they perform the test. Those guys that are tied down are just forced to sit there helplessly as the monster changes and starts killing right before their eyes. The bear scene in Annihilation was very much a nod to this scene and was equally as unsettling.

This sort of ushers in the end of the movie which is super fucking dark even by John Carpenter standards. The remaining survivors go to administer the test to Wilfred Brimley who freaked out earlier and had to be isolated. When they get to his shed, dude is gone and has built himself a little spaceship to fly to the mainland, I guess. He was obviously assimilated by this point (when exactly, again, is hotly debated) and has the idea to kill the power to the facility, freeze itself, and wait out the winter. They all get it on at the end there as they do in these things and two men remain standing, freezing to death in the ice. However, one of them, Childs, Keith David's character, it is hinted may have been assimilated.

Is this a black dude who lives to the end of a horror movie?
The theory goes thus, when Childs finds MacReady at the end, he says that he saw Wilfred Brimley in the snow and got lost chasing him. Stuck outside, sure to die of hypothermia, MacReady tells Childs that distrust at that point is worthless and they have a drink while the cold closes in on them and the camp burns. People point to several pieces of evidence here that suggest Childs was indeed killed and was being imitated by the Thing. First, Childs's coat changes color from navy blue to white. When other characters get got, that person's close would change as he would die horribly and the Thing couldn't walk around covered in blood and all. Second, most significantly, at the end when we see Childs, his breath does not fog up which suggests he doesn't have to and is indeed an alien. This could be some sort of oversight or something, and not to mention that when another character, one Bennings (played by Maloney), gets assimilated, his obvious imitation breaths and has vapor. So who knows but I think going with the vibe of the film, Childs is likely a fucking alien. Pessimistic as fuck.

Something else of note here is that the movie is supposedly part of a trilogy, this being the first in Carpenter's "Apocalypse Trilogy" along with 1987’s Prince of Darkness which was meh and the 1994 film In the Mouth of Madness which also scared the fuck out of me. Might be rewatching those again at some point as I've seen all of those individually and couldn't imagine them in the same universe.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Super Troopers 2 is the greatest movie of all time

First off, if you haven't seen or didn't like the original Super Troopers, then there is no reason for you to see this movie as it is more of all that. Gotta say that I was pretty worried that this movie was going to be garbage. I fucking LOVED the original Super Troopers and the two other movies of their's that I've seen (Beerfest and Club Dread). Though their movies are never very highly regarded among critics, Beerfest is their highest rated film on Rotten Tomato scoring a 41%, but what the fuck do they know. Those movies were awesome. But the trailer for this one... had me super worried indeed. That whole "feather duster croissant Les Miserables fart catcher Luc Robitaille perriere Fran Tarkenton something something parfait," bit was anti-funny. Thankfully, that was the only part that was like that and even that scene was one they end of salvaging when they told the couple they had pulled over that the secret to life is "happiness in your household." Trust me, they turn it around. Regardless, I was LOLing pretty much the whole movie. I guess my sense of humor is still one of slapstick and one-liners. Greatest movie of all time.

Rotten Tomato Consensus: Meow that the wait for Super Troopers 2 is finally over, all but the most devoted fans mustache themselves why they waited so long for such cruel and tragic shenanigans.

Pros: Funny as fuck. The opening scene was great. Features one very pretty lady. Absurd in a good way. Solid stoner humor.

Cons: It's super asinine/juvenile but what are you a film critic? Not as rewatchable as the original.

Gist of the movie is the US and Canadia are in the midst of border dispute whereupon the super cops--Captain O'Hagan (Brian Cox), Farva (Kevin Heffernan), Foster (Paul Soter), Mac (Steve Lemme), Rabbit (Erik Stolhanske), and Thorny (Jay Chandrasekhar)--are put in charge of policing the area while the area transitions from Canadian land to American. The Canadian townsfolk, especially the Royal Mounted Police whose jobs they are taking and the mayor of the town Guy LeFranc (played by Rob Lowe) who has a lot of stuff going on that would become illegal when the town moves to the states (i.e. brothels, 10% ABV beer, so forth). As they settle into their new temporary positions, the group uncovers an international smuggling ring that's pretty reminiscent of the original. On comes the high jinks and hilarity and so forth.

Chandrasekhar (Thorny) directed the film which also stars Lynda Carter (who was the original Wonder Woman in the TV show) as the Governor of Vermont, Emmanuelle Chriqui who plays the very pretty French chick Genevieve Aubois, and Tyler Labine the pudgy bearded guy in Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, Hayes MacArthur who is the partner in Angie Tribeca, and Will Sasso who was the big guy from MADtv played a trio of Mounties.

We also get cameos from Clifton Collins Jr. who is one of those "oh yeah, I recognize that guy" dudes who I most recently remember from the series Westworld where he played El Lazo/Lawrence, Marisa Coughlan who was Ursula in the original, stand up comedian Jim Gaffigan who was Mr. Larry Johnson that they pulled the meow prank on in the original, the unfortunate Fred Savage who plays himself, and Jimmy Tatro who was the alleged dick drawer Dylan Maxwell in American Vandal.

What was easily my favorite scene in the movie, which sets the tone up nicely, also features cameos from Seann William Scott (Stiffler in the American Pie movies) and Damon Wayans Jr. where they are cops that pull over and kill one of the super cops, Mac, during a high speed chase. This is during a dream sequence where the group is a world famous police band. The guys then use Mac's corpse as a distraction that they throw out of the back of the bus onto Stiffler's squad car. It's surreal and hilarious. I LOLed.  

Nothing to complain about here. This is a movie I've wanted for years. They did it and it is funny as hell. Almost didn't happen either. For the last 15 years or so the group had been working on a sequel with rumors circling that it was just on the horizon. But it kept not happening. At one point Chandrasekhar expressed doubts that it was going to every happen, saying at Comic-Con in 2006 that the movie "has sort of a special place in a lot of people's hearts, so all we can do is mess it up." But then they got a script written along with the rights to film. However, no one wanted to fund it saying that no one would go see the sequel that in their opinions was a decade too late. But around that time crowdfunding became popular and they tried it out and boom, they raised close to 5 mill and that was that and they were able to produce the greatest movie of all time.

So go see that shit. I want to keep seeing Broken Lizard's absurd AF flicks.