Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Quick Note on Comments

I'm a blog comment whore. It makes me feel like these reviews are worth the time. So, I respectfully ask you to leave comments if you read the blog. I've run into several friends recently who told me they read it, and furthermore like it! This is great news and I am thankful for everyone who enjoys my ranting. I wish more people would leave comments, however. And if you come here from myspace, leave a comment here and not on myspace. Myspace won't ever make me møney. The best thing about blog comments is that you get to fill out a "captcha" thing, that little box with the wavy letters that you are supposed to copy to verify that you aren't a machine. Recently I have had the best blog comment captchas. I just left a comment on Trashcanland (peep the link on the right) and the captcha I got was "mendiss". An interesting turn of phrase. It could be slang for "mend this", or it cøuld mean the action of dissing men.
IE: "I really enjoyed the Spring Jam at the Smith College Quad, but some of the more butch singer songwriters were amping up the mendiss."

By far the best captcha I've gotten recently was "manhoss". That is so evocative and has real personal relevance for me. "Hoss" is a Cape Cod slang word for a, well hoss guy. Something that is hoss is something big, strong, burly. Shop kids who wear construction boots, flannels and drive big trucks. The truck itself could be described as hoss.

Upon doing a google image search for "hoss", this pic came up.

This guy's name is Hoss Lickfield, and I would say his name suits him. He is hoss.

So, leave comments, please.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Commie Red Night: Red Scorpion and Bloody Mary

Oh Dolph Lundgren. Forever immortalized as Ivan Drago in Rocky 4, he seemed poised to be the next giant Aryan, lantern jawed action hero in the action hero frenzy of the 80s. He was He-Man AND The Punisher, but he just never really blew up, he was never the next Arnold. Arnold has a surprising degree of wit and even self-parody in even his most dyed in the wool 80s actioners, and that is what made him more than just another hunk of man-meat, and arguably, it is what made him the governator of California today. Dolph has no humor to his roles, and I say it is because he is a Swede. Nothing against the Swedish people, they made Saabs and meatballs and are by and large an incredibly gorgeous group of people. They are not really known for their humor, however. I mean, neither are the Austrians, but I imagine Hitler had some interesting parlor tricks and witty anecdotes up his sleeves. I joke, I joke, I kid, I kid!

I hopped over to Woody's Liquors tonight and bought some Poland Sering vodka. Forever I thought this stuff was called Poland Spring, then my friends pointed out to me one night that the 'p' is actually a lower case 'e'. Poland Sering, what it means to rip off the logo and name of a water company from Maine. Poland Sering is gross, really gross vodka. Even in my spicy as hell bloody mary, you can taste the funk through the heat on the first couple of gulps. But, like a good Russian and a better drinker, I soldiered on, much like Dolph would have to do to survive the many dangers that await him in "Red Scorpion". (I'm not Russian, and that last sentence blows.)

I knew I was going to like this movie when Dolph got hammered on vodka in the opening scene and went on a rampage in Africa. The Spetsnaz send Dolph to Africa to help the Cubans quell the revolts of a local revolutionary. Dolph wakes up in Africa, sweating balls, and rinses his mouth with vodka. He then rubs vodka on his neck and giant pecs. He stumbles through the village and enters a bar. There, he beats the living hell out of a bunch of people and starts singing some Russian song while slamming vodka out of the bottle and throwing people hither and yon. The troops run in to stop him and he beats the piss out of them, steals one of their AKs and starts shooting shit up. More troops come in, and another big man, the late great Brion James is the guy that finally takes the giant drunk maniac down.

This opening sequence is great, and is up there with all the best drunken rampage action scenes ever filmed. Dolph gets thrown in the slammer with an African revolutionary fighter and a sweaty reporter played by the excellent character actor M. Emmet Walsh. They eventually break out and their is a slam bag truck/armored vehicle/motorcycle/helicopter chase through the desert. This movie continues the legacy started by "Predator" of people listening to Little Richard to get pumped up for battle. The action sequences in this movie are top-notch and are a reminder of how great action movies were before CGI. Nowadays, the damn movies look like video games. Before CGI, when a truck blew up, a truck really blew up, and that looks 10 million times better than some animated crap made by a worker drone in George Lucas' dungeon. For further proof of this, watch the first three Indiana Jones films then watch the new one. When you are done crying, puking and punching yourself in the testicles from how horrible the new Indy film is, you will log on to your computer, come back here and leave a comment saying "damn, you was right!"

As Dolph, the revolutionary and M. Emmet Walsh wander the desert, it becomes apparent that Walsh hates Dolph because he is a "commie Red"! There is one great scene where they are all sitting around the fire and Dolph asks Walsh if all Americans swear as much as he does. Walsh replies "In America, we can swear whenever, wherever and however much we damn well fuckin' please! Its a little thing we call freedom of speech!" He then gets up and says he'll take 'first watch'. As he stomps off into the night he says "Fuck! Shit! Piss! Shit!" M. Emmet Walsh is basically the non-blood, non-explosion, non-drunk Dolph highlight of the film. There are some lulls in the film, as a bushman teaches Dolph the ways of the locals. The tribesmen give Dolph a scorpion tattoo, basically the same one I have. If you are a Scorpio, you need to have a scorpion tattoo, its just the way. Scorpios are notorious wackjobs and weirdos, etc. Whatever, I have the same birthday as Ol Dirty Bastard and I'm damn proud of that. Anyway, once he's been tatted by the tribesmen, Dolph throws his dogtags into the desert and becomes a full-on revolutionary fighter for the locals.

My notes say "Boring for like 15 mins, then shit starts blowin up!"
The ending sequence is more top notch action, with explosions, shootings and hand to hand combat galore. This is not the greatest movie ever, and there are about 15 or 20 boring minutes in it, but almost every other minute in the film is highly enjoyable action or M. Emmet Walsh swearing or both. So, with that, I say pour yourself a nice tall vodka drink and settle in for a mostly damn fun movie. Glasnost ruled.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hot Booties!

I added ads to this blog because times are tough and I'm trying to make money.  So, I figured putting some hot booties on here would help my cause.  I hope that hardcore film fans lose respect for me and abandon the blog.  I'm just trying to get over.

I blame this woman for dozens of failed relationships. How can any girl in the real world ever measure up to Jem?

I don't care what anyone says, Joan Jett is the hottest non-Jem girl ever.

"Howard the Duck" was an incredibly horrible, misguided 80s film, but I'll be damned if Leah Thompson isn't a beauty of epic proportions:

^ Click on lame Duck pic to see severely hot, life ruining Leah Thompson.

We could go on here, but honestly, I'm just trying to rack up points on my blog. Its a chicken and the egg question, I guess...was I always a wackjob or did Jem make me a wackjob? Some mysteries will never be explained.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Force: Five and some Damn Whiskey

My life is like SOOOO weird! OMG, LOL, ROTFL, TTYL, WYLITATALIY (When You Look Into The Abyss The Abyss Looks Into You). Nah, but the last entry I wrote for this damn blog was about "Gymkata". Soon after writing that entry, I went on a spirit journey to Halifax, Nova Scotia, a trip that was incredibly fun and nearly got me landed in the slammer. But that's another story, for another time. On the way up to Nova Scotia, I pulled off the highway somewhere near Portland, Maine to take a leak or get some gas or take a gas or get some leak or something. As I was driving to wherever I was going, I noticed a little, old timey (if you consider the 80s 'old timey') video store. I pulled in on impulse, thinking that they most likely had some old VHS tapes for sale used for cheap. They had a couple racks and some definite great finds. One tape didn't have the sleeve, just the clear rental case. It was from 1981, from Media Home Entertainment and was Rated R. It was called "Force: Five" and for a buck and a quarter I figured it was worth the gamble.
Flash forward a week. (My blog is pretty intense with all these personal recollections and flash forwards and flash backs and shit. Its like Quentin Tarantino on acid.) I'm watching "Force: Five" and drinking me some damn Old Crow bourbon. It occurs to me that tons of people in this silly kung fu action flick were also in "Gymkata". So, as I sit down to write this blog entry. Here I sit under God, and I look up this flick on IMDB to validate the idea that these movies are connected. The same guy that directed "Gymkata" directed "Force: Five" and tons of the same people are in both. Robert Clouse, you really know how to make a shitty karate flick! Wait, after looking at his IMDB page, the guy made "Enter The Dragon"! Holy moses. He went from making a classic to a slew of crappy low budgeters, shit, that's pretty sad. Now, I kind of took awhile getting to that point, but I think its pretty weird. Pick up a movie you've never heard of in a little video store in Maine to review on your little blog and it turns out to be a predecessor to your last reviewed movie.
Anyways, I really like Old Crow, it is the very first whiskey that I got into. At Umass Amherst, in that last, insane, tragic, hilarious and beautiful year that Butterfield dorm was still Butterfield dorm, I had my first tall styrofoam cup of Old Crow and ice from the ice machine in the basement. I was only 20 at the time, and pretty much drank only beer. The beer would always run out, and on many late nights, my friend Jason Koning would pull out his bottle of Old Crow and offer a drink. I remember actually thinking that drinking whiskey was an old man's thing and that it would be years before I embarked on such an endeavor. This is because all the other times I had drank whiskey it was in shots or pounded out of a bottle to get extremely drunk extremely fast. I had never hung out and really sipped and enjoyed whiskey. After a couple of good Old Crow nights, with Mike Watt's "Contemplating The Engine Room" playing or Jon Keane and Jason and I watching classic films like "Rappin'" and sipping the Old Crow on ice, I decided that I definitely loved whiskey.
I definitely think that memory and nostalgia affect opinion. I know that Old Crow isn't a good whiskey to some people. In fact, I've heard many people say that it is in fact, really bad. To me, its gentle flavor is what opened the door for the Eagle Rares, Buffalo Traces and Balvenies of the world for me. It was my first whiskey love, and I love it to this day. Old Crow is best sipped out of a large glass (or better yet, styrofoam cup), with tons of ice. You fill the glass with ice, pour the Crow in about 75% to the top of the ice and let the ice get to the whiskey. The result is a smooth sippin, ice cold drink, best enjoyed very slowly. Drink it like its 2 in the morning and you are hanging out with friends and you want to stay up til at least 4 and there is no more booze at all. In other words: sip it.

Now, ons to the movie. "Force: Five" is in no way a good movie. It makes "Gymkata" look like Oscar material. But, it is definitely goofy, low budget fun with tons of unintentional laughs and one actual intentional laugh. (Which I noted in my notebook: "Intentional Laugh!")
It concerns an evil Asian cult leader who owns an island and courts spoiled, upper crust young people who he then fleeces for their inheritances. He also is a karate master and has a giant army of gi sporting karate warriors. Sort of like a Jim Jones/Symbionese Liberation Army/Han from Enter the Dragon combo meal of a bad guy.
The action is plentiful, though not very gory, except for a bad guy who's head-a-splode. The acting is horrendous all around, but especially with the main star, Joe Lewis, yes Joe Lewis, but not the Brown Bomber. I never thought you could over act the action of pulling a lever, but he does. The movie gets its title from the fact that Joe Lewis recruits five "very special people" (insert retard joke here) to put an end to nefarious shit that is afoot on the cultist island. The movie should really be called "Force: Six" as Joe Lewis is the leader and the aforementioned five are helping him out. But then, it really wouldn't have the brilliant alliteration of "Force: Five". So, I don't know, maybe call it "Society: Six". Pretty lame, but "society" was the only word I could get out of the thesaurus (WHICH I NEVER USE) for "group" that starts with 's'. Let me try looking up "Force". How about "Strong Arm: Six"? I like that, and its more accurate than the actual title.
I don't want to give too much away, because I'm sure that my minions of readers will go and watch this movie, but at the end its revealed that the cult leader has magical powers, which he uses in a battle with Joe Lewis.
Overall, a pretty crappy movie, but its full of action and goofy fun. Definitely an okay flick to watch while sipping some delicious Old Crow.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Gymkata: Nonsensical Gymnast Karate Fantasy with Mullets

I've heard about "Gymkata" for years. I remember seeing it in the store back in the day, but even as a kid it looked a little lame to me. I mean, a gymnast action movie? As an adult I have sought it out, but never "lucked" out and found it at the exact moment when I had the money to buy and I was in the mood to buy it. That moment when the stars aligned just so and Gymkata and I were inexorably drawn to one another. That moment occurred this past summer while one of the greatest video stores on earth, Video Galaxy XVI was closing in Yarmouth. Video Galaxy towered above Route 28, which runs through Yarmouth like some sort of cancerous growth. In fact, it was located right across that evil thoroughfare from a McDonalds and a Blockbuster Video. In an example of bullheaded stubbornness, sticktoitiveness or a combination of these traits, the owner of the Galaxy refused to fold when the evil Blockbuster moved into town. That shitty company claimed the lives of the best video stores in my home town of Orleans: Video Empire and East Orleans Video, so I love to see people fighting back.
I first entered Video Galaxy in the summer of 2003, a summer where for whatever reason, I watched alot of movies. I would drive the 20 minutes from Orleans to Yarmouth to RENT movies from this place. That's how good the selection was. All the titles were faced sideways and the shelves went from the floor to like 10 feet in the air. You had to get up on something to reach the top two shelves. It was one of those now scarily rare video stores that had opened in the early to mid 80s during the VHS boom and had purchased damn near every video ever released. They had stuff in there that I've never seen anywhere except recently on places like the excellent Critical Condition website.
This place was really classic, and sadly, it recently closed. They were doing fine business, but the owner, who was a really cool old guy, was just too old to run it anymore and nobody would buy the business from him. Finally the slime buckets from Gotcha Video, a porn shop, bought it. I don't call them slime buckets because they ran a porn shop, they were just really slimy, gross guys. Anyways, they bought it and started selling off the inventory. I thought they would try to turn it into a giant porn shop, but they just wanted to sell all the movies and close it up.
I believe they started selling the inventory in March, I didn't find myself in there till around April, and even though it had already been picked over, there was still enough great stuff in there that I would go up every two weeks or so and buy like 10, 15 videos. I'm still getting through them.
I guess that just recently the place finally closed its doors. I would just like to say R.I.P. Video Galaxy XVI, it was the best video store on Cape Cod, and one of the best I've ever been to. At least since the 80s.

So, I settled down to watch "Gymkata" with some PBR last night. There really isn't much to say about PBR that hasn't already been said. I love it. Its cheap and it tastes good. I would like to pull hipster rank and say that I started drinking it way before it was popular. Like 99. People at Umass thought I was fucked up for drinking it, then they found out it was $9 a case and everyone started drinking it. Not saying I'm responsible for its now ubiquitous stance in the "hip" world, but I'd say that I came to the realization that it was delicious and cheap without anyone else telling me that. I was 19 at the time and simply gave my buyer $10 and told her to get the most beer she could for the money. Once I had my first PBR night, I preached it like the gospel. I can remember going to Westfield State and bringing PBR and my friends there thinking I was from another planet.
A beer as good as PBR sells itself, though, its too good for how cheap it is. Its like crack. The first guy that did crack then told everyone how great it was doesn't deserve a trophy. But I do.
Anyways, "Gymkata". I knew that this movie was about a gymnast who does like gymnast/karate, but I wasn't prepared for how totally bizarre it is. The opening has a gymnast doing flips on the high bar in slow motion. It cuts from that to a bunch of Mongolian looking dudes on horses chasing a guy down in slow motion. "Wha?" I asked the TV.
Turns out, the Gymnast and the Mongolians will collide! The Mongolians are actually residents of a place called Parmistan (is that where Chicken Parm was born? Eh? Eh?), a tiny mountain nation in the Hindu Kush range. (Is that where the Purple Kush comes from? Eh? Eh?) Parmistan looks medieval, but the film is set in the current 1985 world. The Parmistinians have something called "The Game" that everyone who enters the country must compete in. The Game consists of the newcomers running through a big obstacle course with ninja looking warriors chasing them. If the newcomer lives, he is granted one request. If he loses, he dies. No foreigner in 900 years has won.
Secret agents want to put a Star Wars station in Parmistan, and they figure a goofy gymnast with a mullet is just the guy to compete in the game. So, we have the inevitable training montage. His trainers are a big black guy and a little Chinese guy. The Chinese guy makes him chop wood, and sits nearby with an eagle (this is never explained and we never see the eagle again), telling him to listen to the sound of the axe cutting the air. As the gymnast gets better, he wears weirder clothes, eventually settling on a sweater that looks like something from a Renaissance fair.
So, once he's good enough, they send him to Parmistan. There is a strong anti-American sentiment, and he and his friends are ambushed. There is a great scene where a group of bad guys are chasing him and he ducks into an alley. There just happens to be a high pole there. So, he jumps up and starts doing gymnast stuff. As he flips around he kicks each bad guy in the face. Then he kicks a guy riding a bike by the alley in the face. It doesn't sound too funny on paper, or whatever they print websites on...air? Circuits? Anyways, its a really funny scene, mainly because the direction in this film is really inept so everything looks goofy.
Finally he makes it to the secret capital of Parmistan where the game takes place and hangs out with the Khan, who just kind of looks like an old Jewish guy with a bad comb-over but wears big fur hats like Genghis Khan. There are some lame plot developments that I won't go into, but I'll say that the Khan's right hand man, Zamir, looks like a buff Kenny Loggins with a rattail. Oh, and there is another bad guy named Thorg who looks awesome. The film goes forward with standard "most dangerous game" action where the ninjas and Zamir hunt down the contestants and the gymnast advances by the skin of his teeth.
The film takes a serious turn towards the bizarre when the gymnast stumbles into a town where Parmistan has placed all of its criminally insane. There is way too much insane imagery and strangeness in this sequence to write about here, but I will say that it makes the entire movie worth watching. One thing worth noting is that in Crazy Town, they have a stone pommel horse in the center of town, which helps the gymnast out quite a bit, because then he can do pommel horse shit and knock twenty people out with his feet.
The gymnast wins the game and gets the princess and that's it. Its an incredibly weird and bad film, but besides the Crazy Town segment, not quite insane enough to get my full recommendation. Still an alright flick to pop a few tops to.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I'm officially an actor now

Man, I am on an adrenaline high right now. After last night's election, I woke up hungover and excited. Afterall, I was about to act in my second film. 4 years ago Justin Reichers and I were extras in "Fever Pitch". It was fun, but we didn't get to really act. We just sat there with our pretend girlfriends. (Who were wicked hot.) The scene we were in was cut, so I was yet to grace the silver screen. Yesterday I answered a Gig ad on craigslist to appear in an indie comedy being shot in Southie. My part was advertised as "Road Rage Guy". I sent the director a picture of me making a mean face and they chose me. The director and main star of the film, Arthur, is deaf. This made my first experience as an actor very interesting. In my scene, he is eating lunch in his black 1970 Continental and his middle finger is broken. Its bandaged up, sticking straight up. I pull up in my car, yes my real car, and think he is flipping me off. I yell at him "Nah, dude FUCK YOU! Fucking cocksucker, what the fuck is your problem? JESUS CHRIST!" then I drive off fast. I can't wait to see what this looks like. I think it was a great first experience as a speaking actor and I might even try to get more work doing this. I just hope I get to scream at people everytime.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Whiskey and Elections Part 1

I'm not going to post my definitive election night blog right now. I have five pages worth of hand scrawled notes and am drunk on whiskey. I will say this: FUCK YEAH! This is great, at least in the symbolic sense. I am excited about Obama winning and the brutal whipping the Republicans took. I am not excited about Obama echoing Nixon and Bush in his first speech as President-Elect. But hey, he represents a good feeling in America, and its been a long time since we had something to feel good about in national politics. But, as a serious cynic when it comes to world politics, I can already see Obama using his good vibes to continue the horrendous New World Order foreign policy of the Bush bastards. As exciting as tonight is, and as excited as I am about Obama beating McCain and the retard, I want to reinstate my deep mistrust of any President. After the sullying that our most powerful national office has taken after 8 years of the decaying shithead corpse from Texas, I don't think I'll ever trust a President again. Which is a good thing, I think. The biggest mistake we can make is putting absolute trust in our national leaders. Yet again, though, I am very excited that Obama won.