Monday, September 15, 2008

In the Midnight Hour... Rebel Yell and "Firestorm"

Rebel Yell Kentucky Bourbon  $19.99 1.75 L at New Hampshire State Liquor Store

Firestorm (1997) Rated R.  $2.99 at Newbury Comics.  

Author’s Note:  Tonight, we at Fermented Films LLC offer you a new direction in film reviews.  The author drank some whiskey, watched a movie, took notes, drank some more whiskey, now is writing this review.  The author does not want to give away too many trade secrets, but the other reviews were written the night after the viewing.  This one was written right after viewing, to bring this award winning column closer to the wire, if you will.  Either that or the film was so forgettable and the whiskey so strong that the author found that writing it out as soon as possible was in the column’s best quality interests.  This film was “Firestorm”, so the latter comment is out of the question.  The whiskey was pretty strong, though.  So, without further ado:  the Author brings you this column of majesty:  

I settled down to partake in my daily sacrament of whiskey with a half gallon of Rebel Yell Kentucky Straight Bourbon.  I purchased this jug of mellow gold for $19.99 at a New Hampshire State Liquor store after a rousing 4 day weekend building a garage with friends in Central Maine.  The Rebel Yell has a decent, balanced flavor.  What it lacks in spice, it makes up for with a nice lengthy finish and a great aftertaste.  If you can find this whiskey for less than $14 a fifth, go for it.  It retails for around $13 in most places, even Louisville, its home city.  I’ve seen it for upwards of $16 in New England, though.  For a ten to fourteen dollar bottle, it ain’t bad.  

I was about to pop in my night’s viewing when I realized that Townes Van Zandt’s “In the Beginning” album had come in the mail.  I am a huge Townes fan, for my money he is the greatest singer-songwriter of the 20th Century.  That’s saying something as the people who are his competition for that title have names like Dylan and Williams. 

This album in particular was Townes’ first studio album, recorded in Nashville in 1966 and produced by the legendary Cowboy Jack Clement.  Peep these lyrics from the ass-kicking opener ‘Black Widow Blues’:

“Got the blues sewn into my jacket sleeve

Got a goatskin full of wine

I got the hands, pretty lady

Gonna make you grieve

And the Lovin, gonna make you mine”  

If verses like that, sung over a funky ass 60s blues groove don’t get you ready to drink some goddamn whiskey and howl at the moon, you might

 wanna check your pulse.  I wanted to howl at the moon, but I was tired and I had work to do.  Like reviewing a shitty action movie and drinking then writing about it.  However, I’ll be damned if a Townes Van Zandt album review isn’t a worthwhile detour in this column.  On to business:

My very first note about the movie “Firestorm” in my viewing notes is “William Forsythe’s in it!  YES!”  

This proved to be a quite prophetic observation, as Forsythe completely dominates the proceedings and makes it his film.  I never saw this movie when it came out or since then, well, because it  stars Howie Long.  He plays an elite Smoke Jumper, a guy who parachutes into forest fires and fights em on the ground.  You may remember Long as the giant Neanderthal guy from Fox Football coverage or the guy that did all those ads with Terri Hatcher for Radio Shack.  As of looking at his Wikipedia page right now, I see that he was born in SOMERVILLE, MA and grew up in MILFORD, MA.  Awesome.  

He is a pretty horrendous actor, but he has the physical presence to make him a passable action hero.  The film is really about Forsythe, luckily, and his great performance definitely makes this a worthwhile film.  Forsythe plays Randall Earl Shay, a guy who stole $37,000,000 from the government and killed a bunch of people in the process.  The movie concerns his prison break via  a strategically lit forest fire and his overall ruthlessness.  He chews up the scenery in classic Forsythe form, spewing out lines like “You ever kill a man, Mr. Karch?  Its really quite

 exhilarating, you know.”   

If you want to see things like Howie Long being beaten with a canoe by a large Frenchman, Howie Long escaping a burning building by jumping a dirt bike through the roof, Forsythe killing tons of people and a multipart gory killing of Forsythe, this film’s for you.  Its really not very good, but I can think of far worse ways to burn an hour and 20 minutes off of your life.  And if you are a fan of Forsythe, his performance here echoes his excellent bad guy “Richie” in ‘Out For Justice’ with Steven Seagal.    

The back of the DVD says that Howie Long is “Hollywood’s Newest Action Hero!”, and apparently one of its quickest, as this was his one and only starring role.  This is the sole Howie Long vehicle, and its not really a surprise that there wasn’t another.  He can’t act worth a lick.  He’s big and muscular, sure, but Arnold could act rings around him, if that gives you an idea of his abilities.  Forsythe definitely saves the day here, turning in yet another phenomenal, unheralded performance.  

I am sweaty and buzzed and I should probably go to sleep, but I think I’ll have a short one and listen to this goddamn Townes album again.  

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