Thursday, December 26, 2019

Blade Runner 2049 is the greatest movie of all time

Blade Runner: 2049. You newer models are happy scraping the shit... because you've never seen a miracle. Fuck, man. One of my favorite movies of the decade. Sequel to a top 10 of mine from all time. Totally does that film justice and stands on its own. I fucking loved it. 

Basic gist is that K, a police officer/blade runner/replicant, discovers some crazy shit when putting down a rogue replicant working on a protein farm. Buried on the farm is Rachel, Sean Young's character in the original, who it is discovered had a child, which should be impossible for a replicant. Thinks would give the replicants hope or something. They would realize they have souls and rise up and smash their oppressors. Fuck to the ye... So, K finds a little bit of evidence, goes to a place where a false memory of his actually happened (whoa), thinks, “hey, I'm that kid.” Spoiler, he is not. But it leads him to the real chosen person... Harrison Ford. Rick 'fuckin' Deckard. Who unlike Hans Solo doesn't yuck it up.

A lot to unpack here. First, the cinematography is incredible. Won Roger Deakins--his previous work includes most Ethan and Joel Coen bros movies, Kundun, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, The Shawshank Redemption, and a bunch of other stunners--an Academy Award. You need two watches for this movie just to take it all in. It's sick. In addition to Ryan Gosling and Ford, the movie stars Ana de Armas, Dave Bautista, beauty Mackenzie Davis (lots of pretty ladies in this), Sylvia Hoeks who plays Luv, Carla Juri, and lovely Robin Wright. Was a little nervous going in about Leto but this flick has a tolerable amount of Jared Leto though he says a bunch of nonsense and does weird shit... as he does.

You need two or more watches because there are things that change depending on your mood or what sticks out to you on that watching. For example, like the original Blade Runner, it is unclear whether Deckard is a replicant or not. It doesn't matter, this film says. Still human. Not the most original message, you know, but still one that we need to be reminded of in 2019, don't ya know. By the by, the first watch I was sure that he was a replicant. Thought they even said as much. The second, yeah, not so sure and what I heard was much more ambiguous. 

Then there is Joi, played by the lovely Ana de Armas (Knives Out) who comes up just short of winning the movie. Joi is the holographic girlfriend of K, whom she has dubbed "Joe", designed and sold by the Wallace Corporation, the bad guy in the film. On one hand, she is something like we think of TV wives from the 1950s. She brings him food, lights his cigarettes, makes him drinks, and listens to his retelling of the day while not sharing any of hers. On the other, there is definitely some connection and meaning there, though she may be programmed to make it seem like there is.  She seemed special. So did Joe, for a while, when he thought he was Deckard and Rachel's love child. So did their relationship. But she was wrong about him, he was not in fact the kid of replicants, and he was probably wrong about her and their relationship as well. She is the only "person" who doesn't think he is a piece of shit in one way or another. First viewing I thought that relationship could be meaningful. She seems as real as the replicants, at least. Feel it when she dies and says she loves him. Second time, she is just there to be what he wants. Programmed as such. After she dies, Joe/K walks by a Joi advertisement saying "Everything you want to see. Everything you want to hear." He realizes as much... Or maybe not. Suspect I might feel differently the next time I watch it. Next time it may seem that he is sad for the loss. Even though he has the opportunity to try again with another Joi, she won't be the same. Deep shit. That's what is so great about this movie.

Winning the movie, in my opinion was Ryan Gosling. Lot of depth with this character and his performance is moving. Joe, like Joi, is programmed a certain way. Can't really overcome that, or can he? Once he figures out that he is not Deckard's child, he still makes the decision to help Deckard find her. His experience gives him the tools to make that decision based on his emotions, rather than programming. It is quite powerful. I have a coworker who didn't want to watch the film because he didn't want to see Gosling "crying in the rain." He had also never seen the original. I told him there was an iconic scene in that film known as "crying in the rain," but he wasn't phased, saying Gosling does that in every movie. No, there is no Gosling crying in the rain. But the part and the film was more powerful than such a cliche. Great shit. 

Holiday Inn is the greatest movie of all time

Holiday Inn. It's Christmas so I'm writing about the movie with the greatest Christmas song of all time. Love a musical. Loved this movie. Most of it, anyway. Then  we get to Lincoln's Birthday (which they celebrate in February, pretty sure they are confusing it with Washington's Birthday). Then it is holy shit. The Bing Crosby character, Jim, is trying to hide the Marjorie Reynolds character, Linda, from the Fred Astaire character, Ted, because he fucking sucks. But Ted is looking for Linda as a mystery woman he danced with on New Years and wants to steal her away. Jim's idea, to conceal Linda's identity, is for him and her to dress in blackface and do a minstrel show number of the song "Abraham". It is fucked up. AMC and other channels even cut the scene out entirely. Apparently former British Prime Minister Theresa May said Holiday Inn was her favorite Christmas film, causing controversy due to, you know, racism. I mean, other than that, it is a great film. But that shit is pretty much impossible to ignore or give a pass since it isn't like this was from the days of D.W. Griffith or something.

Rotten Tomato Consensus: With the combined might of Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, and Irving Berlin working in its favor, Holiday Inn is a seasonal classic -- not least because it introduced "White Christmas" to the world.

Gist of the flick is that Astaire can dance and Crosby can sing. They both pursue the same ladies, Linda and Lila, played by Virginia Dale, who can do both, basically mesmerizing them with their insane crooning or dancing, depending on the guy. First it is Lila whom they go after. When she breaks Crosby's heart, he goes and opens a hotel that has large, extravagant holiday shows. This with the help of his new love interest, Linda. After the Astaire/Dale pairing falls apart, Astaire weasels his way into the Holiday Inn where he ends up dancing with and instantly falling in love with the Reynolds character. Crosby tries to hide her identity for a while but Astaire eventually finds her and more or less demands that they immediately go to Hollywood to work in the pictures and get married.

The plot barely matters as this is just a vehicle for Crosby to sing and Astaire to dance and those two do the shit out of those things. But if you pay attention to the plot, the movie is pretty fucked. You've got your overt racism. Then there is what a son of a bitch Astaire's character is. His modus operandi is basically wait for Crosby to get serious about a girl and then do everything he can to steal her, even as Crosby shows him insane kindness for someone who does this twice in the same movie. Dude needs his ass kicked and Crosby needs to learn to be a fucking man. Eventually, Crosby grows some balls and tells his "friend" to go fuck himself. He then gets with Lila or Linda or whoever and Astaire gets with the other one. Happy ending all around.

Of note, the song "White Christmas" came out of this movie. After Irving Berlin wrote it in some California hotel, he went back to the office and told his secretary that he "just wrote the best song I've ever written." Adding that "heck, I just wrote the best song that anybody's ever written!" Not a modest one, this Berlin. And, at least in pure numbers, he was right. The Bing Crosby version is the all-time best-selling single with sales in excess of 50 million copies. Was extremely popular with the soldiers away at war during WWII. Combined with other versions of the song, we are talking in the 100 million range. Crunched some numbers and did some half-assed internet research to put this in perceptive. A single goes "Gold" when it sells 500,000 units. "Platinum" when it sells 1,000,000. A single goes "Diamond" when it sells 10,000,000. Only like 20 something songs have ever done this. This is the only song that reached over 25,000,000. No one else have even come close. Not even half way to 25 mill. That is insane. For this alone, going to say that Irving Berlin won the movie. For creating the Christmas song to end all Christmas song.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Elvira: Mistress of the Dark is the greatest movie of all time

Elvira: Mistress of the Dark. How's your head? I haven't had any complaints yet... If they ever ask about me, tell them I was more than just a great set of boobs. I was also an incredible pair of legs. Not going to win any awards but it was a lot of fun. A lot of talking around Elvira's breasts, which are stunning. Witty one-liners a plenty with some semblance of a plot. That'll do. Greatest movie of all time.

Gist is that Elvira inherits her aunt's dilapidated mansion in an uptight New England town. The treasure, however, is her book of "recipes" which consist of spells. You see, her aunt was a witch and her surviving uncle, who wanted the book for himself, a necromancer of some persuasion, tries to steal the book and kill Elvira. That is the gist but the flick is mostly humor that comes out of Elvira being an outrageously groovy chick in the repressed town that was probably a lot like the one in Footloose. Also, dudes are basically constantly trying to rape her.

In addition to the lovely Cassandra Peterson (still gorgeous as a senior citizen) as Elvira, more on her later, there are actually some actors I recognize. Some include Edie McClurg (she was a high school student in Carrie and was the one who called Ferris Bueller a "righteous dude" in Ferris Bueller's Day Off) plays one Chastity Pariah, the guy who played Kenickie in Grease (his name was Jeff Conaway), Frank Collison who I think of as the "she r-u-n-n o-f-t" guy in Oh, Brother Where Art Thou and the guy obsessed with hotdogs in The Happening, William Morgan Sheppard who is such a that guy, Kurt Fuller who always plays someone who is super punchable, and Dick Miller, he was the guy that knew what gremlins were in Gremlins, is in a movie that Elvira watches at some point.

I am sort of in love with Elvira/Peterson here. Doing half-assed internet research I saw that an unknown Brad Pitt auditioned for one of the teenage boy roles. Peterson thought he was way too hot and felt that Elvira would not be interested in Bob if Pitt was one of the teenagers trying to get her. On her casting notes of his audition, she wrote next to his name, "Yum Yum!" She is a different breed, this one. Into horror, has a cool-ass dog, gorgeous, funny, lovely assets, you get the idea. A lot like my female companion, now that I think about it. Two things cemented it for me though. The first was her dance at the end, which is just indescribable. Then, whilst reading her Wikipedia page, I saw that she is a vegetarian who appeared in a humorous Halloween-themed ad for PETA. Right on, girl. Also saw that she was scalded on over 35% of her body in a kitchen accident when she was little. She said that her Elvira costume "showed only the good bits" but there isn't much you don't see in the movie. Anyway, totally wins the movie and life.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Chopping Mall is the worst movie of all time

Chopping Mall. Let's send these fuckers a Rambo-gram. It is bad. Also, it is very bad. Not a single chop was made in this film. Was pretty sure they came up with the name of the movie, which is amazing, and then built a film around it. That, however, was not the case. Laser Mall or Fire-Extinguisher Throwing Robots Mall doesn't have the same ring to it. But yeah, worst movie of all time.

Gist of the movie is a shopping mall installs a trio of robots to police the mall at night, killing anyone that isn't an employee that is there over night. But them shits malfunction and then just kill anyone in the mall. Alright to kill anyone breaks in in this universe. Killing employees of the mall that are there to bone in a furniture store, that shit is fucked up and wrong though. Instead of smoking cigarettes and drinking, though, post-coital activities for these kids includes shooting at robots trying to kill them and dying. The robots malfunction after the building gets struck by the infamous blue lightning, ever present in the 1980s, which gets featured a lot in electrocution scenes in this flick.

Directed by one Jim Wynorski, a guy out of the Roger Corman school of film making, has over 150 titles to his name. Kelli Maroney, who plays the part of Alison, and Tony O'Dell, as Ferdy, are the survivors who are notably the only pair of "teens" that don't get it on. O'Dell is one of the Cobra Kai punks in The Karate Kid and is also in the YouTube spinoff Cobra Kai. You may recognize Maroney from Fast Times at Ridgemont High or as one of the leads in dope 80s horror flick Night of the Comet which I'm going to have to rewatch. Director Wynorski claims to have cast her because he wanted to date her. That is one way to do it, I guess. Get a Dick Miller cameo. He was the guy that knew what gremlins were in the movie Gremlins. There are a couple attractive ladies in the film who have a little bit of gratuitous nudity but the only one I recognized was Barbara Crampton who is horror royalty in my book. She was the lead chick in Re-Animator and Castle Freak and more recently was in You're Next. She is great and very beautiful but was pretty annoying in this flick. She completely gets herself killed in a grossly unnecessary way. Her and the other girls are on their way out of the mall via the air duct but she keeps saying shit like, "my boyfriend needs me, I have to go help him!" She tries and immediately gets herself killed although the dudes have the situation sort of in hand at that point.

There is this raging asshole who is boning the mall owner's daughter who I thought was funny as a character. This was the guy with the mullet played by one John Terlesky. Oh he is over-the-top unlikable and offensive. You don't mind when he gets killed after going out to get the lady he just boned smokes out of an old fashioned cigarette machine. He has a super solid one-liner to the robots when they ask for his badge which is what I think set them off to rampage. When he shows them his badge he tells it "Klaatu barada nikto" which was the phrase used to stop Gort, the robot in the 1951 film The Day the Earth Stood Still, from destroying the world. It was also the line that Bruce Campbell flubs when he picks up the Book of the Dead in Army of Darkness which I am sure is also a reference to the Cold War-era film. This guy's girl's death is pretty solid, too. She gets shot with a laser and her head explodes. Always solid.

With a brief 77 minute run time, I still felt they could have tightened this movie up. Not a great sign. Also, nothing with the killer robots really makes sense. Deploying killer robots to work security at the mall, what could happen, am I right? Pity, that this movie isn't more watchable with a cast that includes Crampton and Maroney. Maroney, I guess, wins the movie though there really aren't what you would call winners here. She also has the worst camel toe I have ever seen in khakis of all things. It is fucking crazy. Googling that I see there was a How Did This Get Made? where this phenomenon in the movie was discussed. Will need to give that a whirl.