So a while ago I posted a conversation with my best friend Dave about how he accidentally sat on a Hot Pocket and burned the crap out of his ass. It was hilarious and a lot of fun so I think I am going keep an eye out for gems like the one we had this morning about John Wick 2.
Dave C: Yay John Wick 2! Will it be personal this time?
Dave I: Not another dead dog!
DC: Two dead dogs and a kitten.
DC: He killed all the Russians. Nest time the Chinese blow up the animal shelter he volunteers at.
DI: What if a dog killed his dog?
DC: He goes after the breeders.
DI: What if cancer killed his dog?
DC: He goes microcellular.
DI: What if his dog was implanted with an Alien and the alien killed it when it burst from the dogs chest but it was still part of his dog and kind of cute in a dog/alien sort of way?
DC: Awesome. You should courier it over to Paramount.
DI: LOL. I see inner conflict.
DC: Maybe the dog turns into a werewolf and bites the car, making the car a werecar.
DI: What if the dog has the microbes to stop the zombie apocalypse but the only way to get them is in a big blender?
DI: What if he took the dog from the last movie to the Pet Cemetery and it became zombie dog?
DC: Oops boss just called. Gotta go.
That was pretty much the end. Bosses don’t really understand the importance of discussing motivation for Keanu Reeves characters. Alien image courtesy of the horror movie t-shirts category. Let me know if you think these are funny and I’ll keep an eye out for them.
the Infamous Dave Inman
I personally have been a fan of the show for about 5 years now, and the line “Saving people, hunting things: The Winchester Family Business since 1983” seemed especially appropriate to me as I was born on January the 17th, 1983, and the middle day of the Supernatural Convention at the San Francisco Airport Hyatt took place on my birthday. Much less like other nerdy conventions or even fan get-togethers, Supernatural Con is more similar to a 3 day rock concert with special celebrity guests on tour. This is both astounding and an enriching experience for any seasoned fan of the show, but be warned that it is one of the more costly fan expos I’ll ever attend.
I told every vendor that it was my birthday, and once I had shown proof, they even gave me discounts, and I participated in or volunteered for anything available, which also garnered me free stuff. I participated in a trivia contest with two other fans chosen from the audience (we did not win, despite best efforts. It was really hard), and I was one of maybe 100 people dressed as some version of the character Castiel, the rebel angel and sometimes ally/ assumed love interest/ big bad friend of the two main men on the show. I didn’t place in the costume contest either, though I felt really handsome in my long coat and disheveled necktie. (the zombie image from the classic horror movie t shirt I pulled just because in any nerd costume contest you can count on at least one zombie) The competition was steep and diverse, and the guy who won had made full sized black angel wings with pneumatic strings that allowed him to invisibly puppeteer them up and down.
What I object to is bad musicals like this one: tertiary stories with immemorable music in place of dialog sung by people who were hired for their star appeal rather than their singing ability. The music is non stop and takes up the space normally held by dialog (thus making every dialog another glass chewing grind fest). It is punctuated by a few moments of speaking and I was grasping on those like a man trapped under the ice trying to breath little air pockets. The songs are really just two songs as sung by either a man or woman. The female songs are all rising inflection ear bleeders and the male songs angsty suicide dirges. Also I thought it was established in Sweeney Todd that Johnny Depp can’t sing (Sorry dude. I do like you a lot but this film in not your rocket car).
Then there is the story. Honestly I have always thought a new take on a classic fairy tale cold be really cool and every time I see a new one coming down the Hollywood outflow pipe I get my hopes up. I keep hoping to see Snow White rewritten by Chuck Palahniuk and directed by James Cameran as an Alien sequel (image courtesy of the horror movie t-shirts). Instead I keep getting brain softening rehash of better Disney movies like this one. As I have said on other cruddy multi story films (cough cough New Years Eve cough cough) when you have more than one story thread you lose connection with the audience and the problem compounds itself as you add more. This film had Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, and maybe Thumbelina and honestly by switching back and forth between the stories you never connect with any of the characters enough to care. If I were someone who had never seen or read a fairy tale I would have been both completely lost and apathetic.
This is another one that flies under my personal radar but when I see it I love it. If I ever had the guts to shave my head I would totally do a Ruk costume for a convention. I definitely have the size. However it will always be Sherry Jackson in the x-costume that I remember most fondly. It pretty much introduced me to the concept of side boob.
That being said the story was great and I loved seeing Lurch in a different role. Ted Cassidy was great as a character actor and actually you would benefit from reading his Wikipedia article. He was a very interesting person and had a cool life. He was also very intelligent. I think the coolest part of Ruk was seeing bald Lurch as he could look when angry. A pissed off 6’9″ Frankenstein-ish monster is not something you want to deal with. (classic image courtesy of the Horror Movie t-shirts)
This was kind of a ground breaking episode as it set the tone for every machine intelligence episode that followed. The whole question of the Doctor’s humanity from Voyager can be seen as started here. The morality of the concept was better explored in the Ultimate Computer but the actual sentience was first looked at here. Once again Star Trek breaks new technological ground that we are dealing with today.
the Infamous Dave Inman
I’ll give it a B- for effort but an A+ for marketing.
It seems to me a middle ground has to be struck between the producers of a film and the producers of the advertizing trailers as to how much should the trailer give away. Some movies give hardly anything away leaving you with (a) the fact that a movie was made, (b) the title of the movie, and (c) someone who may or may not appear in the film (let us not forget how Bryan Cranston was all over every trailer for Godzilla possible only to vanish after about 20 minutes of film leaving us with a cast of characters I couldn’t give less of a damn about. Image courtesy of the horror movie t shirt category). Some trailers suck every ounce of nourishment from the movie like a starving vampire and leave the actual film lying on the screen like a dedicated corpse. And of course the optimal trailer hits that sweet spot right in the middle with just enough to peak your interest but not enough to make you feel like you just saw the whole film in 60 seconds.
Dumb and Dumber To unfortunately falls into the second camp. There were three really good jokes in the film but unfortunately I had seen them about 30 times each thanks to trailers and when they came up in the film I could almost speak the lines myself. The rest of the jokes were meh-tastic so I guess someone in marketing knows what he or she is doing.
I think I have come up with a perfect analogy to describe most of the jokes in this film. Imagine you have graduated high school and moved on with your life with nary a look behind you. You attend the 20 year reunion and at that reunion you end up sitting at a table with the party guy of your class who is desperate to recapture a moment of how cool he was back then before a lifetime of working at a local surf shop and he keeps telling stories that all begin with “Remember the time when…”. “Remember the time when Eric puked into Gary’s tuba?” You smile and nod with the vague sense of nostalgia normally reserved for finding a half cup of leftover mac n cheese in the refrigerator. It’s amusing in a “technically funny” way but the timing is grossly out of whack and at no time do you feel the need to burst out into belly busting guffaws of laughter like when you first saw Gary blow into a vomit filled tuba.
Season 1 is such a wealth of great episodes (well, except for the Alternative Factor and This Side of Paradise) and this one is is near the top of that list. I loved this episode. Of course the whole “crash landed shuttle craft” theme was then stolen by every series following even shows that really had no business exploring stuff (I’m looking at you, DS9) and even surfaced in Fallout 2.
It should be obvious to any of my four regular readers that I am a huge Spock fan and this show was all Spock. He is extra cool in this one and the fact that the human crew don’t understand his flawless logic even in doing something illogical shows how much he is at a higher level.
On the other hand this episode was kind of hard on red shirts. One thing I’ll give Next Gen and the later shows is they gave their shuttle craft more equipment than six phasers and some retro 70’s post modern furniture. Seems like had they had even one mounted phaser they could have used that to shoot the bigfoots or even drain the battery for more power (image courtesy of the horror movie t-shirts).
Anyway, great episode and one I enjoy a lot.
the Infamous Dave Inman
That is not to take away from writer/director Dan Gilroy. The script and screenplay were excellent. The direction nigh flawless. This is his first directing debut and honestly I can’t wait to see what he does next. Given the amount of raw sewage that is pumped out of Hollywood on a weekly basis it’s very refreshing to see someone with talent get his moment to shine and not blow it.
In a normal review this is where I would say something like “for all that it did have a few problems…” and then list them in detail but I honestly can’t think of one. If I were still doing the old stars/black holes system this film be one of the very rare zero black hole films. The only criticism I can offer is while I enjoyed all 117 minutes immensely I honestly don’t feel any need to go back and see it a second time. I don’t think there will be anything to gain from a second theater viewing and will be happy to watch it on a couch at movie night. I felt the same way about Argo (another film I verbally orgasmed about) whereas certain movies (Guardians of the Galaxy) keep sucking me back into the cinema.
I’d like to offer one more comment and that is how much I enjoy seeing Bill Paxton in films like this. I’m sure everyone remembers him as either Hudson from Aliens (“Game over, man! Game over!” Image courtesy of the horror movie t-shirts category) or Chet from Weird Science (“How about a nice greasy pork sandwich served in a dirty ashtray?” but I became a fan when he played Severen in the greatest vampire movie of all time, Near Dark (basically white trash vampires with guns. “I hate ’em when they ain’t been shaved.”)
The story. A girl (Shelly Hennig) plays around with a Ouija board by herself and kills herself. Her best friend Laine (Olivia Cooke), Laine’s sister Sarah (Ana Coto), and three other Red Shirts (Daren Kagasoff, Bianca Santos, Doughlas Smith) try to use the board to contact Debbie but instead contact the ghost that killed her. The kids start dropping off one by one like participants in a game of musical chairs and it’s up to Laine to figure out what is going on. At this point just switch over to any vengeful spirit episode of Supernatural and substitute two hot sisters for the two hot brothers and you are good to go. Turns out the last occupant in the house was a medium who had two daughters and killed one of them while talking to spirits and the other daughter killed the mother and the girl is buried in the basement and they need to release the spirit and then they need to burn the body Supernatural style and…
I’m sorry did I fall asleep there? Looks like there is a limit to how many cliches I can recount in a day before falling into a coma. So how about this movie you ask? Meh. The atmosphere stuff works really well and if being startled by a door shutting and showing you a creepy man/boy who wasn’t there a second ago (it was just one of the boyfriends) gets your blood pumping you won’t regret it. However if you are looking for either an original story or a body count movie this will bore the crap out of you. Acting wasn’t bad nor were the special effects given the budget (I can literally see the PA in my mind they had thumping on walls and floors). However the formulaic nature of the film and the gore smothering PG-13 rating will leave you with nothing to grab onto. See it if there is nothing else good on but honestly I’d rather have seen John Wick a second time. 2 of 5 Phasers.
Looks like kind of a lame movie weekend honestly. I have a couple of cultural commentary blog I have been thinking about so maybe I will do those this weekend. I suppose I should go see Box Trolls and am excited about Nightcrawler so I will have something for you this weekend. Thanks for reading.
the Infamous Dave Inman
(BTW the image is actually a t-shirt we have in the horror movie t-shirts category. Even I get surprised by what we have sometimes).
SPOILER ALERT (if you want to miss them skip ahead to Part 3) Plot holes aside (I actually spotted two) the movie is brilliant from a technical point of view and the first half will draw you in like a tiger pit baited with bacon. The first half is the gritty crime drama that has everyone doing things as smart as possible and are dealing with a near criminal genius. The husband manages to make some boneheaded mistakes but it’s the same kind of mistakes anyone would make in a difficult circumstances. The wife has her dark plot going (that’s the spoiler. I hope you headed my warning) and the lady cop is super smart and doesn’t miss anything. In fact during the set up and dark reveal the plot is nigh flawless and intriguing.
Then the wife starts making some boneheaded mistakes starting with making friends with white trash losers. Her carefully constructed plot unravels and she has to improvise. She makes a huge raft of errors (this is where that one big and one sort of big plot hole crops up) but somehow everyone else gets stupider. The female cop, who until then was hard driven to find the truth and a Sherlockian genius in spotting clues, turns stupid and helpless. The husband, who given the same set of circumstances any normal human would have immediately denounced his wife and run screaming into the night rather than spend ten minutes alone with her, bites his tongue long enough for her to implement her next dark plot. The film transforms into a cool innovative movie with amazing potential to another lazy Hollywood script counting on deus ex machina and a complete disregard for character motivation to move the plot along.
What were the two big plot holes I spotted? Well, we are well into the spoiler zone so I assume you are OK with me dropping them. So the wife calls up her old high school boyfriend Doogie Howser (Niel Patrick Harris but his character name is Dezi) in order to have some resources and eventually graphically cuts his throat (this is the pivotal scene that had the whole audience laughing ant the exact moment that the film turned into a dark comedy. The Halloween image I pulled from the horror movie t shirt collection), claiming he kidnapped her the day she disappeared and kept her as a sex slave and rape victim. However she meets up with him weeks after her disappearance in a casino (well known for video cameras). So the police made no effort to track Doogies movements? She later uses the cameras at his lake shore mansion to make it look like he raped her but there would also have been footage of her arriving happily with him weeks after her supposed disappearance. A couple hours worth of police work would have uncovered that but no one seemed interesting in investigating the death of a wealthy person with no prior record, especially when she flubbed badly in her interrogation.
The PG-13 action was particularly galling. Somehow Hollywood has come to the conclusion that if they mash all the action into an incomprehensible scrum of quick cuts and uber dense CGI shots we the audience might not notice that no one seems to be bleeding or losing significant anatomy. The veins of every casualty in this film could have been filled with Kool Aid as far as I could tell and on the rare occasion they were forced to show blood (you know, that pesky vampire drinking thing) it looks like the props guy ran down to the nearest Napa Auto Parts as it all had the consistency and color of 10/40 motor oil. Black and viscous. All this to cater to the kiddie winks. Let me clue you parents in on something. Your kids have no business being at a movie about Dracula or anyone who’s nickname is “the Impaler”. In fact I think your kids should be at home watching Barney videos until the day they turn 18 and then join the army (either that or locked in the Skinner box of your choice. Thanks, dad. Dracula image courtesy of the horror movie t shirt collection).
The plot holes were numerous and annoying. So the dark, head vampire is trapped in a cave at the top of Broken Tooth mountain and can never leave, yet somehow managed to sustain himself on human blood for centuries and decorate his home in a skull and broken bone motif like he found the legendary Ikea “Desecrated Corpse” collection. Um, how did he get all those fools up to his dark and foreboding man hole? Vlad had to literally free climb a cliff but the vamp ate a battalion of Turkish scouts the week before. Was there an escalator on the other side of the mountain with a sign adverting great hot wings Vlad didn’t know about? So the vamp is trapped in the cave until he finds some sucker to take on his “curse” of immortality, super speed, super strength, and the ability to transform into a swarm of bats (um, can someone email the definition of the word curse to the writers please). Gee, how about the hundreds of skulls you have been playing bocce ball with for centuries? Surely one of them at one time was inside the head of a living human who might be willing to live forever, freeing you of your imprisonment.
Incidentally, do you know how long it takes to mobilize a medieval army of 100,000 men and march them from Turkey to Transylvania? If so can you write Legendary Pictures and tell them because they seem to think it can be done in three days. Also if you are doing a historical movie about the Turkish army it is OK to have them look Turkish, not like a Aryan Army rally. They are so afraid of offending the Turks (and by extension the Muslims) that most of the Turkish cast looked like they rounded up a collection of A&F models. The film also couldn’t seem to decide on an accent for any part of the late 14th century subjecting us to American, British, Russian, very indeterminate Arabic, and at one point I swear German. The casting director clearly just wanted accents and didn’t care what kind. I wish someone who spoke fluent Klingon had applied.