Friday, July 30, 2021

Nightbreed is the greatest movie of all time

Nightbreed. The Director's Cut. Apparently people didn't like the original. 

"Everything is true. God's an Astronaut. Oz is Over the Rainbow, and Midian is where the monsters live... And you came to die." I loved this movie. It is batshit, but interesting and visually insane. It is at least equally as good, and way more fun than Clive Barker's better-known hit, Hellraiser

Rotten Tomato Consensus: Nightbreed's imaginative world-building and startling creature designs are no match for its clumsy, uneven plotting.

Released in 1990, most people thought it sucked. Considered a "dark fantasy horror film," it stars Anne Bobby as the female lead (only know her from this but she was in this weird show I watched in the early 1990s called Cop Rock), Doug Bradley (Pinhead from Hellraiser), David Cronenberg (the director of The Fly among other things), Charles Haid (do not recognize), Hugh Quarshie (don't recognize him either), and Craig Sheffer (the quarterback from The Program). Sheffer plays the lead. People bought a lot of Craig Sheffer stock in the 1990s. I wasn't among them, though he is solid here. 

Gist is a mental patient played by Sheffer is led by his shrink, played by Cronenberg, to believe that he is a brutal and truly terrifying masked serial killer. Fucking sweet mask, I shit you negative. Anyway, the police catch up with him while he is hiding out in a cemetery named Midian. This post escape from said mental institute where a buddy of his rips off the skin from his head. It's pretty much comedy with the guy handing it to Sheffer with a move like, "well, here ya go." (Check out the video of that below.) 

Turns out a group of monsters (who look fucking awesome) called "Nightbreed" hideout and maybe eat humans in this Midian place. One of the monsters tries to eat him but just takes off a chunk of flesh. Figures, might as well go with the cops, but Cronenberg sets him up saying he had a gun. So the cops do what they do and shoot the fuck out of the guy. But after getting bit, he becomes Nightbreed. This causes some issues and all hell breaks loose over the last act of the film in a big fucking way. 

So, yeah, the monsters look amazing. One freak has a straight-up Jay Leno head. It was to the "point" where I googled "Nightbreed" and "Leno" and this came up.

Another favorite was the one with dreads that looked metal as fuck. Then there was the "hot" one. She was like a porcupine/human hybrid. I liked how at one point she chick killed a dude with one of her poison quills and then this maniac cop who saw it all go down looks over at her. She is topless at this point and he is all like BOOBS! and he goes to grab them and dies. Fucking hilarious.  

Some serious action when everything goes to shit in that last 3/4 of the movie. Talking massive explosions, the earth opening up and swallowing trucks, trigger happy cops and militia types mowing down monsters just because (of course they are the real monsters), flamethrowers, monsters flipping cars, bazooka friendly fire. It's a half-hour of carnage. 

Cronenberg is great in this. Whoever designed his mask and the Nightbreed is a fucking genius. Clive Barker's vision was fucking sick as well... But I'm giving the MVP to the Boston Terrier. Such a sweet, cute, good boy. Bostons are the best. Always. 



Thursday, July 29, 2021

Old is the worst movie of all time

Old. AKA A Wrinkle in Time. “There is something wrong with this beach!” You've got to be fucking kidding me. 

Old was the worst movie I haven't walked out of. Jawdropping, hilariously bad. The most likable character in the movie is a guy named “Mid-Sized Sedan.” It is horrible as a horror movie. Pretty extraordinary as fully unintentional comedy. “I can’t believe he got the money to make this movie, but I'm glad as fuck he did, ” said one of my viewing companions. It has a Rotten Tomato score of 50%. That is incredible. I can't believe people aren't dunking on this movie. 

Gist of the movie is people at a resort are taken to an island and rapidly age so that a half hour is about a year. That's it. Then there is a twist. 

Gonna start with the awkwardly hilarious dialogue horribly acted in a way that takes you out of the movie. 

“Where are the resort people? I think we all have to leave this beach.” 

“Wait, why?"

“They left already?” 

“Whahappened?” 

Points to a corpse in a blanket. 

Obviously truly mesmerizing dialogue. Overall a fascinating movie. Not for good reasons though. 

At first you think the kids (who start out YOUNG and end up in their 50s) still have a six year olds understand of the world. But then they are like wise, problem solving old people. Also, everyone is a fucking expert about this place. I mean, I like a mystery and thinking the fuck out of it over an afternoon. Especially science shit. Like figuring out how the stars rotate in the sky over the course of night/day. But I don't think I’d be able to logic what's going on out when I'm getting old and developing Parkinsons. But these guys get all of what is happening on the nose and how to escape it. Exposition, I guess. Gotta know why this is happening for the inevitable twist. That's my guess. 

Spoiler from the trailer so not a spoiler, I guess. When the young chick shows up pregnant, it was more like, “ok, we are indeed really going there. That’s weird. Oh, it's over.” Completely gratuitous and unnecessary. Also forgettable somehow. Reminded me of The Blue Lagoon but way fucking crazier. Yep. The twist at the end is completely unnecessary, by the by. M. Night Shyamalan could have lopped off the last half-hour and no one would have noticed. But he needed to dial up the WTF just a little more. 

This movie is batshit. BA-nanas. It was completely unlike anything I've ever seen before. That's for fucking sure. I wasn't bored. But goddamn. Maybe I sort recommend it for a hysterical laugh fest. I also like how the little boy ages into Stanley Tucci. Not literally, but he looks enough like him I heard other people in the theater whispering, “that’s Stanley Tucci.” 

Favorite unintentional comedy moment was when a woman with a calcium deficiency is freaking out at the kids, screaming “don’t look at me.” Something you have to know here is that everyone heals like Wolverine, more or less instantly. Anyway, this lady went from being an actress who was one of the concubines in Fury Road to being wrinkly with a hunchback. The kids, now in their early 30s, of course keep lighting their matches to look at her. She gets progressively more pissed and starts throwing rocks at them. The rocks get bigger and bigger until she has a giant bolder over her head. Except her brittle arms can't sustain it. Her arm breaks and she falls, breaking the other arm. The kids light another match. She rages the fuck out. Just flailing her broken limbs around in a full-on tantrum. Quite an impressive and dissonant meltdown. 

The film stars Gael García Bernal (Amores perros, Coco, The Science of Sleep, Y tu mamá también) who is not good, Vicky Krieps (never seen her), Thomasin McKenzie (Jojo Rabbit), and Alex Wolff (main dude in Hereditary). Rest of the cast includes Rufus Sewell (lead in Dark City), Abbey Lee (one of the escapees in Mad Max: Fury Road), Ken Leung (the asian-american guy in Lost), and Eliza Scanlen (the crazy murderer girl in Sharp Objects), among others. 

MVP of the movie is that Rufus Sewell guy. He's actually pretty good. Whenever he shows up I always think that guy is pretty solid, where do I know him? Why isn't he more famous?

Anyway, yeah, hilarious, zany comedy. Shit serious horror movie. I mean, they knew this was bad while they were making it, right? 

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Soundgarden - Superunknown

Saturday night listen. Have a habit of going out. Popping some Delta-8. Making a cocktail I chase with a beer. Firing up my kick ass JBL portable. Putting on something from my youth. Lighting up a C-gar. Putting the wheels up and rocking out. Did that shit this evening, let me tell ya.   

Universe was telling me to revisit Superunknown by Soundgarden. Bartender last night was wearing the shirt, then I caught Fear Street: 1994. So here we are…   

One of my first CDs. Got it back when the way you stole music was 12 CDs for a penny under a fake name. Columbia House was so fucking stupid. Had maybe five CDs before that. Those 12 were all classics. Didn’t care for the Aerosmith one though. Wasn’t my taste. I’ll maybe do the rest soon.   

Anyway, kicks off with “Let Me Drown,” which rocks the fuck out. The hits were incredibly solid. “My Wave.” “Spoonman.” “The Day I Tried to Live.” “Fell On Black Days” was a difficult listen with the way Chris Cornell eliminated his own map. Still a good song though. “Black Hole Sun,” fuck yeah. Used to playfully mock my sister with this diddy, “Summer stench,” I’d sing. She is a @girlnamedsummer.  

Deep cuts I loved but forgot about over the years include “Mailman,” “Half.” “Head Down” is a personal favorite.   

Overall, still really good shit. It’s grunge though so a major fucking downer. 

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Desperation by Stephen King

Desperation. Stephen King. Published in 1996. My third reading of this novel. Still scares the shit out of me. This novel is pure horror. Has a companion Richard Bachman (Kings alter-ego) book, The Regulators. The two novels represent mirror universes to one another, and most of the characters present in one novel's world also exist in the other novel's reality, though the circumstances are very different.  Haven't reread The Regulators, if that tells you anything. Though I found it enjoyable when I read it in 1996. 

Gist of the novel is a group of people are abducted by a giant, possessed cop, Collier Entragian--great name--while traveling along the desolated Highway 50 near Reno, Nevada. We first meet this guy in terrifying fashion when he pulls over a couple after the license plate falls off of their car as they make their way across country. He finds weed in their trunk and drops shit like "I'm going to kill you," into their Miranda rights while taking them back to town. He also "saves" a family from a highway shooter, only to terrorize and murder them once in the fictitious Desperation. Turns out he is possessed by this horrifiying demon thing Tak that feeds on and uses meat suits while causing real damage in the desert. Once locked up with the other King usuals, a young prophet and novelist among them, the group fights to free themselves while trying to figure out what the fuck is going on. They also get messages from capital G God along the way. Some heavy shit. 

Turns out Tak has single-handedly wiped out an entire mining town in the course of a lazy afterrnoon. It is fucked up. When the novelist is arrested is some next-level gruesome, triggering shit. Just a heads up. 

Inspired when King drove across-country in 1991, during which he visited the small desert community near U.S. 50, just like the one in the novel. While there, he thought the town's inhabitants were all dead. He then asked who had killed them, and the idea that the town's sheriff had done so popped into his head. Thus a story was born.

Tight, claustrophobic, creepy, and effective. This is a slow, methodical burn with segments of true terror. One of my favorite of the 20 King novels I've read. I find it strange that it isn't ranked higher among his oeuvre. 

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie is the worst film of all time

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (French: Le Charme discret de la bourgeoisie). "I really don't like Jesus Christ. Even as a little girl I hated him." All I can say is, "what the fuck was that?"

This was a movie night pick, the first fully vaccinated one I've had with guests. Good food. Good wine and bourbon. It was bougie as fuck. The way we do movie night is I pick ten films. We watch the ten trailers. Everyone picks two. A couple usually get left out. Of the remaining, everyone vetos one. Then we vote on the remaining. This was the movie we chose. My bougie professional and artist friends and I didn't get very far. Light on plot that makes sense, the film is mostly just a shitload of allusions and weird class things. But I came back and rewatched it on my own. No points in heaven for finishing this shit though.

Gist is a group of bourgeoisie frienemies keep trying and failing to have a dinner party while some sort of unexplained war is going down. Woven in there are dream sequences of minor characters and from the bourgeoisie themselves. Directed by the surrealist filmmaker Luis Buñuel, the film won the 1972 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and was nominated for Best Original Screenplay. Watched this on the Criterion Channel. 

The film is a lot of rich people trivial outrage with some shots at organized religion's place among the elite. A lot of not getting what they expect as their right. They end up shitting on each other and being terrible. Once or twice they get really close to eating, but then something happens and then bring on the outrage as they don't really have anything else to talk about, queue a scene of the group dressed to the nines, walking down a country road that goes nowhere, and repeat multiple times. Reminded me of Beckett some change of scenery. But I like Beckett infinitely more. 

Really disliked this movie. I know Buñuel is considered a master of French cinema. Maybe this wasn't a good introduction to his work. Also probably not the best movie to host a group of well-to-does after a pandemic. It was the movie we chose though.  

There were a couple of funny moments, funny in that, "oh, that was sort of funny" way. Like the diplomat's standard-issue diplomat bag that he uses to smuggle cocaine or the dream where everyone gets shot down by the military and the sole survivor gives himself away by grabbing for meat from under the table. But yeah, wouldn't say it was worth it. Didn't enjoy spending time with these people that are indeed the worst. Rich people. Am I right?

Thursday, July 1, 2021

What I Watched: June 2021

Here are the movies/television programs I watched last month. Giving each a one-word review, where I watched it, and when it was made. Going to make this a thing...

The Times of Harvey Milk - 1984 - Criterion Channel - Good

They Come Knocking - 2019 - Hulu - Okay

Kemper on Kemper - 2018 - Oxygen - Good

A Quiet Place II - 2021 - AMC - Good

Class Action Park - 2020 - HBO Max - Great

The Woman in the Window - 2021 - Netflix - Bad

Mare from Easttown - 2021 - HBO Max - Great

Promising Young Woman - 2020 - Plex - Great

Who Killed Garrett Phillips? - 2019 - HBO Max - Good

House (Japanese) - 1977 - Criterion Channel - Great

Time Bandits - 1981 - HBO Max - Great

War Dogs - 2016 - Netflix - Good

Good on Paper - 2021 - Netflix - Good

It Cuts Deep - 2020 - Shudder - Terrible

Lenny Cooke is the greatest movie of all time

Lenny Cooke. "Like on Christmas Day, you think you’re getting this toy, and then Christmas comes, it’s not under the tree. It breaks you down emotionally. I broke down, realized I got bad advice. But you wonder, why not? Why didn’t my name get called?” Because you can't fucking play. 

Directed by Josh and Benny Safdie, the guys who did Uncut Gems. Liked that better but this is apples to oranges. The film follows this high school basketball player, Lenny Cooke, for about a decade of his sad life. In 2001, when the film starts, Cooke is one of the top ranked high school basketball players in the country. At that time he has ladies hanging on him, asking what team he plays for and shit like that, living it up with his boys. 

He thinks he is going to get picked in the 2002 NBA draft, but goes unselected. From there, we see him play in a series of minor leagues, getting fatter as times goes on, before finally he quits basketball. By the end he is living in some shit town in Virginia with his fiancée, who is getting tired of his shit while working two job, and his many children.

This guy. The takeaway is he thought he was going to the NBA out of high school with no fucking game. The little bit we see when he played LeBron when he was a senior and LeBron was a freshman shows that dude would never be able to hang. Meanwhile, the idiots he surrounds himself with tell him he is a shoe-in to go pro. None of these people know anything. The people that do are to polite to say he is garbage now. 

The end is pretty brutal. Dude got fat and just lived off his glory days. No job and no prospects at 30. Goes to an NBA game and meets with Joakim Noah and Carmelo Anthony after. Basically to say, "remember how good I was, lets go out to get fucked up." Noah is like, "nah, man." Then he talks shit to his friends for not visiting him enough. Looks like a tight hang. 

Finally, there is a scene where they superimpose Cooke talking to his younger self at the Five Star Camp. Basically an old man rant. Dude is a horrible public speaker, but that is apparently what he is doing for a living now. 

Pretty hard watch. Like Hoop Dreams mixed with a documentary about meth or something. It is solid though. 


Tuesday, June 22, 2021

House (1977) is the greatest movie of all time

House. "The girls will wake up... when they are hungry." "Bananas... everywhere!" This movie is fucking bananas. It is out there. Obviously influenced some of my favorite horror, but this was something else. Definitely a lot of fun, but I'm not sure it is good. Basically takes the whole haunted house trope, and turns it into a zany movie of extremes that I guess are sort funny. Like Evil Dead II, but not nearly as good. I was really feeling it and then the last 10 or so minutes were terrible. 

Gist is a young woman and six of her schoolmates travel to her elderly aunt's home in the country, which, indeed, turns out to be haunted. Thats one way to explain it, I guess. But what ensues is pretty indescribable. 

House is made in 1977. The Japanese horror comedy was directed, written, and produced by one Nobuhiko Obayashi. It came about after a film company approached him (he was previously a director of commercials) about writing a script "like Jaws." When he came back with the screenplay for this nonsense and the company was like, "what the fuck is this shit?",  and he figured he'd have to make the movie himself if he wanted his vision to come to life. 

Amateur actors are okay, but the real MVP of the movie has to be Obayashi for getting this psychedelic flick made. It is also pretty engaging and beautiful. From the trailer, I was expecting way less in terms of plot, not this this has a real coherent narrative or anything. It is worth a watch if you are into extremely weird shit. 

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

What I Watched: May 2021

Here are the movies/television programs I watched last month. Giving each a one-word review, where I watched it, and when it was made. Going to make this a thing...

Thunder Force - 2021 - Netflix - Okay            

Sullivan's Travels - 1941 - Criterion Channel - Good        

Class of 1984 - 1982 - Shudder - Good        

The Regan Show - 2017 - Amazon Prime - Good        

Cemetery Man - 1994 - Plex - Terrible        

Bad Trip - 2020 - Netflix - Great            

Sons of Sam - 2021 - Netflix - Good            

The Lady Eve - 1941 - Criterion Channel - Bad        

Happy Death Day - 2017 - Plex - Great        

The Mitchells vs. the Machines - 2021 - Netflix - Good        

You Only Live Once - 1937 - Criterion Channel - Good        

The Disappearance of Crystal Rodgers - 2018 - Peacock - Good        

Maniac Cop - 1988 - Shudder - Good        

Hemingway - 2021 - PBS - Great        

Army of the Dead - 2021 - Netflix - Okay        

What Keeps You Alive - 2018 - Netflix - Good        

Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight - 2020 - Netflix - Okay        

The Clovehitch Killer - 2018 - Netflix - Okay        

Truth or Dare - 2018 - Netflix - Terrible        

Hard Eight - 1996 - Criterion Channel - Great

Monday, May 31, 2021

The Clovehitch Killer is the greatest movie of all time

The Clovehitch Killer. "The first murder happened before I was born. The killer called himself Clovehitch, after his favorite type of knot. Our town lived in fear. And then, ten years ago, he stopped."

Rotten Tomato Consensus: The Clovehitch Killer patiently dials up the tension with a story that makes up for a lack of surprises with strong performances and a chilling wit.

Gist of the movie is an Eagle Scout type kid named Tyler finds disturbing images depicting extreme bondage hidden in his father's shed, and he begins to suspect may be responsible for a series of unsolved, serial murders in their rural Kentucky town. Share a lot of DNA with BTK, that piece of shit. 

Film stars Dylan McDermott as the killer dad (who was great), Charlie Plummer as Tyler (whom I've never seen but was stellar, Samantha Mathis as the mom who has a face that I can't place, and Madisen Beaty as a victim's daughter who helps Tyler in his investigation who I immediately recognized as the one with the hair from Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood. MVP is a tough call. McDermott is great but is basically playing hero ball. The two kiddos were both phenomenal and more subdued. Ultimately, giving it to Plummer who has to carry a lot of the emotional weight of the film. 

I thought the movie was fine until the third act when it really stepped it up a couple of notches. Would have been a pretty forgettable disturbing movie otherwise. Type of low-budget flick that you think of as quintessential independent. One big (ish) named star. Solid upstarts. I liked it.