Friday, November 27, 2009

Top People Of The Year

Well, the 2000s are over. This decade was kind of wack chaperone. But, there are still great people out there, trying their best to elevate mankind and make life better for us all, or just being awesome. Here is my list of the best people of 2009.

Tommy Wiseau

Tommy Wiseau's self written, directed and starring first feature film, The Room exists on a plane of terribleness that is nearly incomprehensible. This is, without a doubt, one of the worst movies ever made. Extraneous exterior shots that have nothing to do with the story, subplots that go nowhere, extremely terrible softcore love-making scenes with hideous R&B slow jams theme music, stilted dialog, horrible pacing, no linear logic, you name it, this film has it in spades. Just released commercially, the movie was made in 2003 for 6 MILLION dollars and comes across as a vanity project for this eyebrowless, monster looking weirdo. I don't know whether to applaud his misdirected audacity or just shudder in disgust, but either way, he has given me a movie I will no doubt watch countless times in my life. It comes across as an R rated Lifetime movie made by a retarded person. I want to thank Bridie Johnson and Abby Ruby for bringing this film to my apartment last weekend and changing my life. Tommy Wiseau, you are a freak, and I salute you and am simultaneously disgusted by you. Not too many people can illicit that strange blend of emotions in me, so you are a top person of 2009.

Steven Seagal

After a decade plus-long run as a box office action movie sensation, beginning with 1988's "Above The Law" and ending with 2001's "Exit Wounds", Seagal fell into the world of mostly horrible straight to DVD films. Releasing as many as 4 a year, the now older, overweight Seagal looked like he was bound to fall into low budget near-obscurity. Then, out of nowhere like a lightening fast Aikido kick to the nuts, he comes roaring back into the mainstream with his new reality show, "Steven Seagal: Lawman", which exists on a plane of awesomeness that is nearly incomprehensible. Seagal is a real New Orleans cop, and has been for 20 years. Who knew? Now we are treated to a television show that is basically like "Cops" times a million awesomeness points times Seagal, which equals infinity awesomeness. Plus 1. Basically Seagal is a top person of every year from 1988 to 2001, then he kind of fell off the list for a few years, except for 2005, when he released his first album, "Songs from the Crystal Cave", and 2004, when he released his own energy drink... yeah, I think Seagal is pretty much permanently on my top people's list.

Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim

Tim and Eric are an incredibly original comedy duo, and they just keep gettin better. Their influence is wide-spread, even Saturday Night Live has been biting their steez of late. They are the masters of just completely insane, maddening, sometimes extremely dark and disturbing humor. When I first saw the "Tim and Eric Awesome Show! Great Job." in 2007, I was so thankful that something this original, bizarre and wild was on television. Its a breath of fresh, disgusting air. 2009 saw the 4th season of this show's 11 minute long blast of humor episodes, and its just as insane and uncompromising as ever. They even had another member of my Top People list (Tommy Wiseau) guest-direct an episode. That's showing cajones right there. These guys are really to be commended for putting their wholly individual vision out there, as messed up as it is. They've been slowly but surely getting more and more popular, and they say the next season of T and E will be the last one, followed by movies and other projects. I can't wait to see what these mad geniuses do next.


T-Baby's amazing song and video "Its So Cold In The D" was apparently posted to youtube in 2008, but I discovered it in 2009, and I've had it stuck in my head for the entire year, so she gets to be on my Top People of 2009 list. The story behind the song is sad, its about one of her friends that got killed, but the song is so incredibly annoying/catchy that I am in awe of her. The video is incredible, the dance moves are amazing and the chorus of the song is one of the most simultaneously grating, catchy, annoying, offensive and heartfelt things I've ever heard. T-Baby, I wish your music career all the best, but I honestly don't think you'll ever be able to match the power/annoyingness of this song.

That's all I can think of right now, and I want to eat a leftover turkey sandwich, so that's it for now. Happy Day After Thanksgiving, and I'll be adding to this list as I remember more Top People. Ciao.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

If You Aren't My Friend On Facebook, Let Me Tell You Something You Might Not Know Already: Steven Seagal: Lawman is The Best Show Ever.

No, seriously. This show reaches levels of amazingness never even dreamed of by even hardcore Seagalogists like myself. Vern, you need to write another book. Seagal has unleashed another level of awesome for us all. Basically, its Cops, but with Steven Seagal. "Big Deal," you might say, but have you given this any thought? Have you really pondered just how awesome that is? Well, if you haven't, let me tell you, its pretty awesome. Now you don't have to ponder.
In the late 80s, Seagal was filming a movie in New Orleans. The police of Jeffereson Parish asked him to teach them some self defense moves. They hit it off and made Seagal a deputy. Ever since, Seagal has made some classic movies, and tons of pretty bad straight to DVD movies (though I consider many of these classic as well), but the whole time, he was secretely a New Orleans cop!!!
So, basically, Seagal rolls around in an S.U.V wearing cool yellow sunglasses with his fellow cops in "The 'jects" (his words, not mine), busting criminals, being wicked awesome and saying things like "Aikido is the way of peace and harmony. What we are doing out here is bringing peace and harmony to these areas by removing the crime." (Might not be an exact quote, I watched the first episode last night and I was pretty drunk.) I think when I heard that, my mind was made up. Best show ever.
He doesn't beat people up, like you'd think, he's like a real cool cop. When the other cops are tazing the hell out of a suspect, Seagal stops them by yelling "Everyone just cool down!" And they stop tazing him. Awesome. On a domestic disturbance call, everyone winds up laughing and asking Seagal for his autograph. This plus sized older black lady keeps yelling "Get back here, Steven, I need you!" as he's leaving. She also shakes his hand and says "Damn! That's a big hand!"
The power of Seagalogy brings peace and harmony to very ugly situations. In some of his movies, Seagal talks with a southern accent, I always thought it was just him hamming it up, but it kind of makes sense now. I mean, he really is a New Orleans cop.
There's a scene in a police conference room where they are going over things to look out for, etc., before they go out for the night. Seagal is really studiously asking questions about suspects and taking notes and wearing eyeglasses. In a voiceover he says "Information is golden. The more we know, the better cops we will be." (Again, this is a wine-influenced memory of the quote, so it might not be exact. I know he said "Information is golden," which is awesome.)
Oh, and also he's an incredible handgunner and he teaches his fellow cops to use Aikido concentration techniques to shoot better. There were tons of awesome quotes during the gun training, and Seagal looked amazing with a towel wrapped around his neck and yellow safety glasses, peering down the barrel of one of his trademark 1911 .45's.
I'm Seagal's friend on Facebook, and he invited me to watch the sneak preview last night online. The show will premiere on December 2nd on A&E. If you don't watch it, you are doomed to never experience how awesome it is.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Esham Puts Out Awesome Horror Album

Esham, the rap kingpin of Detroit, isn't for everyone. The only other person as bizarre as he is in hip hop is probably Kool Keith, and Keith is probably even more bizarre, but they are very different. (Keith and Esham collaborated on Keith's classic album 'Spankmaster'.) Esham is pretty straightforward, a straight gangsta rapper, but his natural eccentricity comes through on all his projects. The beats are on some other, other, other isht and Esham raps alot about demons, ghosts, evil spirits and so on. I haven't peeped too much of his stuff in recent years, mainly because he aligned himself with the ICP crew... though he recently made an album dissing ICP and distributed it at the Gathering of the Juggalos, which is pretty awesome and ballsy. ICP would be the first to admit that they wouldn't exist without Esham. I know to most people that probably makes Esham sound somewhat terrible by association. Esham's first album "Boomin Words From Hell" came out in 1990, when Esham was like 13 years old. I have it on cassette. You can't really blame him if some lame people were influenced by him. I mean, Eminem was influenced by him. So, he was one of the very first 'Horrorcore' rappers, he's from Detroit, one of the scariest places, period, and he has just released a horror concept album. Each track is about a different horror icon/theme and this has to be the only rap album to ever sample "Ichi The Killer". Its pretty obvious that I love it. Its pretty amazing. Who else besides Esham would make a rap song called "Attack Of the Blob", where he rhymes about being not only the blob, but a crime kingpin. Yeah, he's got the whole city covered, so he's the "Blah-blah-blah-blah-blah blob!"?!
Then there's a song called "Evil Dead", where one of Esham's boys with a wicked cool accent raps about being Ash and he takes it right from 'Evil Dead' through 'Army of Darkness'.
Then there's "Freddie Krueger" where someone named Dr. Hustle rhymes "I'm Freddie Krueger with a brand new Ruger/leave that ass stinkin like a pile of manure". Horror nerds would argue that Freddie would never just shoot someone, but I think that's a pretty good rhyme.
Then there's "The Invisible Man", which is, of course, about what the Invisible Man would do in a strip club. Seems like a wacky premise, but remember, Esham is from Detroit. This is a family oriented blog, so I won't go into some of the racier details, but a guy at the bar says "Yo, who just drank my drink?!" and Esham says "The Invisible Man!" Awesome.
This is a very entertaining horror-rap album. It kind of tries to be serious at the same time as being 'creepy', which might turn some people off, but for me it just kind of made it more fun. My favorite horror-rap album of all time is Kool Keith's turn as Dr. Dooom: "First Come, First Served". Keith's brand of horror-rap is more like a totally over the top Troma movie, so out of control that it is impressive but doesn't actually scare you (although some of the tracks reach such a level of dementedness that they actually are pretty disturbing.) This is more like a gangsta guy that loves horror movies paying homage to the genre. Might not be for everyone, but I like it. If you like hardcore rap and horror movies, you'll probably like it too.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Movie About a 13 Year Old Boy with Male Pattern Baldness. What's Not To Like?

So, I have the Netflix thing going on now. (I'm late in the game, just joined like a month ago.) Its really cool because you can watch movies on your computer. Now before you accuse me of being some corporate shill for them, I will say that the selection of movies they have for instant viewing is pretty bizarre. Like, you can't watch this but you can watch this . Or this movie Harold, a comedy about a 13 year old boy with male pattern baldness. He's bald, he's got bunions and he dresses like an old man. He moves to a new town and has trouble making friends. The movie is really not that funny, but there is just something so awesome about this premise that it kept me glued to the screen. Cuba Gooding Jr., continues his non-Oscar worthy material spree as a cool janitor that befriends Harold. Everyone in the movie thinks he's 'creepy'.
This is basically a kid's movie, but with lots of swearing, inappropriate humor and weird, gross sexuality. Its PG-13 but almost seems like it should be rated 'R'. So basically I liked it. If you have nothing better to do, its worth a peep. Tons of high-profile guest stars are in it as well, like Chris Parnell, Dave Attell, Rachel Dratch and Colin Quinn. Like I said, not amazing or anything, but definitely not a waste of time, either.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Top Ten Movies of the Oughts: Number 10

2000 to 2009. A decade that I rank as pretty lame, as far as pop culture goes. 9-11, cell phones, the death of the recorded music industry, George Bush destroys the world, Friendster, Myspace, Facebook, Obama. That's basically it. For a cinephile, the past ten years make the 70s, 80s and early 90s look like an amazing golden age of amazingness, which they were. Amid the crappy remakes, CGI fueled brainlessness and nonstop plundering of past eras which were far more creatively fertile, there were some really, really good movies. Or at least movies I liked. Here's my list of the top ten, in installments. I promise I will finish this list by the end of this rad decade.

10. Wrong Turn (2003).

Female lead Eliza Dushku is from Arlington, MA

Horror nerds and Rue Morgue Magazine subscribers (same thing) are no doubt turning their noses way up right now, but I'll tell you something. For you spoiled little pricks that just got into horror movies yesterday because the tranny you are dating likes them, there was a time when hardcore, gory, gritty, horror movies were a thing of the past. I've been a horror movie fan my entire life, and in the late 90s, early 00s, the genre was dead. I had no interest in the endless stream of lame teenie bopper horror films like I Know What You Did The Last Time You Frosted Your Tips, Urban Blemish, and so on. Basically every single 'horror movie' from 1997 until this one featured about 6 or so faces that would be recognizable to basic cable subscribers on the cover all in the same lame lineup. Lame. The whole idea of 'grindhouse, hardcore, gory, shocking' horror was completely missing from theatrically released films. I was "helping" my friends move out of our house on Logtown Road in Amherst, summer of 2003. I was mainly helping by going to Video Gallery in Belchertown (they had weird, crappy stuff that Video To Go didn't even have) everyday and renting 5 horror movies, then getting drunk and watching them with my friends at the house. Needless to say, we didn't get our security deposits back. I glanced at the free, weekly tome of effete bullshit (except for Jon Keane's old food column) which was "The Valley Advocate" and saw a review for something called Wrong Turn. Those snobby pricks gave it 1 star and said that it was a trashy, gore-filled, brainless backwoods slasher film that harkened back to the 80s and 70s. I showed it to my friends, and we immediately agreed that we needed to see it. Horror movies were so incredibly lame at this point in time that we were completely prepared to be let down. We made some mixed drinks, and just settled in to watch some crap. We were surprised. That movie kicked ass. Supremely gory, suspenseful, just cheesy enough but not intentionally cheesy.... I remember being really impressed with how irony-free this ridiculously gory and nasty film was. It really was the first American horror film that ushered in this "let's take it back to the 80s" movement. I feel that that trend has run its course, with everything down to Nail Gun Massacre getting a big budget, music video director remake these days. Not to mention all the wussy Twilight style crap out there. (I like True Blood, but that show is awesome and not wussy and lame at all.) On that August night, which does not feel like it was 6 and a half years ago, in the Hadley Mall, with a rum and coke in my hand, I had one of the most fun times I've ever had at a movie. Sneer all you want, horror nerds, but I love this movie, and it holds up really well. You can watch it today and its way better than many of the other 'throwback' horror films that followed in its wake. People love this movie, as well. Nobody I've ever shown it to for the first time has not liked it. Including people that thought it looked terrible.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer + Ten High + Bubba Cola= A Good Afternoon

I recently moved to the scenic, tree lined streets of Roslindale, a Boston neighborhood that borders Roxbury, JP, Mattapan and Hyde Park. You can look it up on wikipedia if you need to know more about it. I haven't found a job yet, so I decided to hit Save-A-Lot in Roxbury and buy, among other things, a 2 liter bottle of Bubba cola. How much, you ask? 79 cents. Yep. A bottle of Ten High bourbon, left over from my boy Jayck Deez' visit last week and some star and heart shaped ice cubes from my dollar store ice tray, served in a TWA Germany glass (one of a complete 'Cities of the World' glass set that my girlfriend's mom so graciously donated to our apartment) kept the cold wetness of the afternoon at bay. To watch, a straight to dvd horror flick entitled "Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer".

This movie is the rare modern horror film that gets the horror/humor thing just right. The humor is light, and not too cheesy, which all too often takes away from the horrific aspects of films that attempt to blend laughs with screams. The horror is gory, and very well done. Its basically about a plumber named Jack Brooks, who is messed up in the head because his family was killed in front of his eyes by a monster when he was a kid. He goes to community college, where his professor is Robert Englund. The professor turns out to be evil and insane and has Jack over to do some plumbing work, where the mayhem begins. There is very little CGI, which made me very excited. A good rubber suit looks better than CGI any day of the week, and this film proves it. The story moves fast and is surprisingly intelligent. The direction is good, the film looks great, the acting is good, there is basically nothing wrong with this movie. The DVD cover art is wack, with an obviously fake 6-pack plastered on the hero's torso. Why the hell didn't they use the cool-ass art that I included at the top of this bloggin? Don't worry, there is no homo-erotic chest baring going on in the movie. No homo-erotic male nudity, no CGI, this movie is just about the polar opposite of "300", and that's a good thing in my book!

This is basically a great movie to kick back with some cheap cola and cheaper whiskey and have a great unemployed afternoon with. The ending leaves the opportunity for a sequel wide open, and I hope they make one! This is a fun horror movie, under-hyped and under-seen, and I couldn't recommend it more! I really look forward to anything new from the creative team of Jon Knautz and John Ainslie. This movie kicks major tookus.