Movies

Celebrity Halloween – 2015 Academy Awards

NOTE: Click pics to embiggen.

Keira Knightley as…

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…your binder in the 90’s, where the lyrics of Sixpence None The Richer’s “Kiss Me” intertwined with doodles, hastily figured math problems, and a single drop of spilled Boone’s Farm from a sleepover at Becky’s.

Meryl Streep as…

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…that moment right after Mom has downed her fourth glass of Moscato, when she loudly proclaims that she’s going to start dressing classy again, like she did in the 70’s, when it was still shocking in certain circles to wear a pantsuit, but goddammit… sorry, don’t tell your father she swore, but GODDAMMIT… she looked GOOD in a pantsuit. Mr. Brodecker in Accounts Receivable certainly noticed. He’s passed away now, god bless him. There’s more wine right? Ah, we’re having fun…. it’s good to have you kids in the house again…

Channing Tatum as…

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…the inevitable path from prep schools, to a decent Midwestern university with a healthy fraternity scene, to a job at Dad’s investment banking concern, to twenty years later, when you find yourself on the boards of museums and hospitals, forced to attend gala functions, and wishing you had gotten serious about starting that Dave Matthews cover band, because, who knows, that really could have lead to something BIG.

Naomi Watts as…

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…a Pilates instructor whose idea of dressing for a night on the town is to literally dress LIKE the town, specifically the recently-refurbished cobblestone streets in the arts district.

Chrissy Teigen as…

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…the star of the USA Up All Night classic, Undercover Boner Cops.

Jared Leto as…

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…the guy you took to prom during your “reading and not really understanding a lot of philosophy books” phase, who you learned years later died in a fire at a head shop.

Dakota Johnson as…

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…a young actress who just wanted to be in the movies like Mom and Dad, but is now in waaaay over her head and is thinking very seriously about moving out to the desert or something where it’s less likely that people will ask her direct questions about spankings and ball gags.

Ansel Elgort as…

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…the main audience for the USA Up All Night classic, Undercover Boner Cops.

Marion Cotillard as…

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…one of those really nice pasta strainers from IKEA that you really can’t afford, but… you know… it’s just so European and neat looking!

Will.i.am as…

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…a forgotten character from Thomas the Tank Engine who was cut due to the lack of opportunities wherein the concepts of scientific hip hop could be worked into the adventures of assorted anthropomorphic trains.

Uninformed Oscar Picks

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Up front, I will tell you that I have not seen any of the movies that are nominated for the Academy Awards this year. Well… I did see ONE, but… eh. It counts, but it doesn’t count. More on that later.

Now… this begs the question… why am I writing a post about the Oscars if I haven’t seen any of the movies, and am essentially flying blind with my picks? The simple answer is this: The Oscars are silly, and matter very little in the grand scheme of things, so… really… who cares?

On to my picks! 100% Accuracy guaranteed, in the sense that all of the names of movies and people are all spelled correctly.

Best Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Laura Dern, Wild
Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
Emma Stone, Birdman
Meryl Streep, Into The Woods

I was originally going to say “you couldn’t pay me to see Into The Woods,” but that’s really not true. I’d see that for money. Not for like $20 or anything… probably not even for $50. But if you gave me a crisp, $100 bill… yeah, okay… I would sit through a bunch of celebrities pretending to be singing fairy tale jerks. Or whatever. But seriously though, Hollywood… I think we’ve done all we can do with big budget musicals. Les Miserables was kind of the top of that mountain. We all saw it, we all dreamed a collective dream… mostly involving Anne Hathaway’s whole, sad face chewing up emotions and spitting them out as songs… and it was fine. But we’re good now. Actually, personally, I would have been good if we stopped making musical movies after Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, but that’s me. Dolly Parton… if you’re reading this… you are my light… you are my life.

Anyway, my pick is… Emma Stone, maybe? People seem to like her. Let’s go with that.

Best Supporting Actor
Robert Duvall, The Judge
Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
Edward Norton, Birdman
Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

I guess I need to get on that Whiplash tip, huh? The previews gave me a real Finding Forrester vibe, but apparently that’s not even close to being the case. Apparently it’s fantastic. I even read one article that said it was the best horror movie of the year, purely in terms of psychological torture. WHA HUH? So… I’m interested. Plus, I like J.K. Simmons anyway from the several thousand character roles he’s had over the years. He’s definitely due some sweet, sweet awards lovin’.

So I’ll say Simmons is going to win. Or Ed Norton. Maybe neither? Maybe there will be a surprise Best Supporting Actor coup. Insurgents will storm the stage, wrestling the trophy from the hands of the presenters, and they will lay it at the feet of Donatello from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. To be fair, he WAS the best teenage, mutant, ninja turtle on the big screen this year. So green and youthful and kicky.

YES, I know he’s technically not real. Neither is Mark Ruffalo. You thought The Hulk was the CGI part of his performance in The Avengers? Don’t be naive. Ruffalo is just ones and zeros. We’re through the looking glass, people.

Best Actress
Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night
Felicity Jones, The Theory Of Everything
Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon, Wild

Man… two of these ladies, I can’t even picture their faces in my head when I read their names. That’s not a great sign. Rosamund Pike, who are you? And you… Felicity Jones… what’s your deal? I guess they’re both good at acting. Are they the BEST at acting from this year? To be determined.

My money’s on Reese Witherspoon, though. She’s spunky. Remember that movie Freeway? That movie was fucking crazy. Also, she was in Cruel Intentions, which I maintain is the best movie that 1999 had to offer. What won best picture that year? American Beauty? Yeah, ok, good movie, but what would you really rather watch in the long term…? Kevin Spacey getting boners over Mena Suvari, of all people (remember when she was like a thing… weird), or the sexy love triangle of Reese Witherspoon, Ryan Phillipe, and Sarah Michelle Geller?

Not even a contest. So… in conclusion… Cruel Intentions is going to win Best Picture at the Oscars!

Wait, that’s not right…

Best Actor
Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper, American Sniper
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
Michael Keaton, Birdman
Eddie Redmayne, The Theory Of Everything

I would first like to state, for the record, that I do not care about Benedict Cumberbatch. At all. Haven’t seen Sherlock. Haven’t seen anything else he’s been in. I think he has a weird face. Very squinty. Kind of looks like he’s a third of the way through a wasting disease at all times. I just don’t see the appeal. But again, I’ve never actually seen him act. So I’m going on some pretty specious, shallow info here. Still though. He looks like an uptight peeled banana.

Moving on… It’s weird to see Steve Carell being serious. I mean, I assume it would be. Like I mentioned, I haven’t seen any of these movies. What am I even doing here??? Hahaha, I could be donating this time to charity. But I’m not going to because I don’t care about anyone or anything. I’m a monster, basically. A monster with a computer. #america

Anyway, my pick for Best Actor is the guy who was Sidney Bristow’s lame reporter friend on Alias, but is now somehow really famous.

Best Director
Alexandro G. Iñárritu, Birdman
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher
Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game

Here’s a thing you probably don’t know about me: For about six months in 2000-2001, I worked as an intern for Richard Linklater’s production company, Detour Filmproduction. Specifically, I worked in the casting office. Doing… stuff. I think I was mostly tasked with going through head shots and making phone calls and… you know… stuff. I was overseen by two people… a man and woman… both of whose names I’ve forgotten… but they were both extremely nice to me, despite the fact that I was pretty terrible at being an intern. Like, I couldn’t even remember to get a receipt when I went on coffee runs. EVER. Not once did I remember to get a receipt. And they were SO cool about it.

I did get to meet Linklater a couple of times. Both times, he smelled the most like weed of any person I had up until that point smelled. Again, very nice. But really dank. And remember… this is in AUSTIN. To be the most weed-smelly person in Austin is a fucking accomplishment.

After about six months, I was told… in a Baskin-Robbins, if my memory serves me correctly… that my services would no longer be needed, and that my internship had come to an end. I kind of shrugged and went back to my full-time job of secretly consuming all of the alcohol that existed and, multitasking, also stockpiling breath mints so my friends wouldn’t know that I was constantly drunk. Ah, to be a man on the cusp of his 20’s! SO ALIVE. SO MUCH WASTED POTENTIAL. WASTED, SO MUCH.

Oh, and Linklater should definitely win Best Director. He has a good handshake. Also, he filmed Boyhood for over a decade. That’s pretty amazing commitment for a guy who’s brain is most assuredly 50% bong resin.

Best Picture
American Sniper
Birdman
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Selma
The Theory Of Everything
Whiplash

The one nominee… for anything… that I saw this year was The Grand Budapest Hotel. It was cute. Very precious. I mean, I liked it, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to defend it or anything. I definitely feel like there were other movies out there that were of a higher quality. Personally, I thought Guardians of the Galaxy was better. Or at least it was more FUN. But that’s not nominated, so it’s really kind of a moot point. So I guess me having seen The Grand Budapest Hotel counts, but it also doesn’t count because I really could care less if it wins, doesn’t win, has all its available prints put in a rocket and blasted at the moon. Whatever.

I guess let’s go with Boyhood. It’s got the nifty gimmick, plus it’s really “emotional” and “moving,” which are things that people look for in movies. It’s no Cruel Intentions, but hey, they can’t all be golden examples of cinematic perfection.

Winter Movie Spotlight 2014

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Winter is just around the corner. Or, if you live in the North like some kind of sucker, then maybe it’s already here. For YOU. Not for me. I live at the edge of the great American Southwest, where winter is like, “whatever, I’ll put on a jacket for a week, NBD.” Hahaha… you fucking people with your snow and your regret! It’s wonderful here! IT’S WONDERFUL!!! [cut to: A month from now, when Texas is buried under a freak snowstorm that makes the end of The Day After Tomorrow look like the location scouting reel from Tremors]

The point is, with the arrival of the winter months, the nation’s movie theaters begin to make transitions of their own. Gone are the days of exciting blockbusters that people actually WANT to see. Now is the time for important movies… PRESTIGE movies… movies that grasp for Oscars like a child reaching for a favorite toy that you are holding high above its head because you are a terrible parent.

Here, now, a look at the upcoming slate of winter movies that you have no real interest in seeing, because life is hard enough already without spending two hours of it watching people be miserable, but you will watch anyway because if you don’t, you will feel like a racist:

The Remembering Time – Rated PG

Several elderly people in a nursing home think back on their lives, remembering stuff from when they were young, and full of life, and music didn’t have so many swears in it. Everything is shot in sepia tones, because that’s how the audience knows it takes place in the past. Black and white film might also get used; the filmmakers haven’t decided yet. Anyway, everyone gets really bummed out and then somebody’s nephew shows up to play the violin, which makes everything worse because they can tell that he really doesn’t want to be there. The movie ends when all the main characters die. It’s just awful .

Rose’s Antique Handbag – Rated R (for explicit historical fucking)

Rose (played by Kate Winslet, though the character is not THAT Rose), embarks on a sweeping journey across Europe, Africa, and, budget permitting, Asia, to reclaim her antique handbag that once belonged to her inspirational and also empowering grandmother, also named, confusingly, Rose. High drama ensues when Rose discovers that the antique handbag has fallen into the hands of the Nazis, which is strange, as the movie takes place in 1997. Score by Academy Award winner Hans Zimmer. Cinematography by Academy Award winner Janusz Kaminski. Nazi uniforms provided by that one closet at Warner Bros. Studios that’s full of Nazi uniforms.

It’s Horseshit That Gary Oldman Has Never Won An Oscar – Rated G(ary)

Gary Oldman, one of the finest actors of our generation, has NEVER won an Oscar. Isn’t that just totally horseshit??? What’s worse, he’s only been nominated for ONE GODDAMN MOVIE. That Tinker Tailor Solider Spy movie, which, okay, I’m sure it was FINE, but c’mon. Espionage in England or something? Whooooo caaaaaares??? But, of course, THAT’S the performance upon which the Academy finally decides to bestow their oh so fucking hallowed graces. Whatever. What fucking ever. Anyway, IHTGOHNWAO is just one 90 minute shot of Gary Oldman reading a menu from Applebee’s over and over in several different accents, and with varying degrees of intensity. It will break your fucking heart.

My Friend B.S. – Rated NC-17

One man’s crippling addiction to bath salts is explored via gritty, lo-fi film-making techniques, and also some unconventional casting choices. The main part of Terry…  the man struggling with his crippling need for terrifying drugs… is played by John Cryer, in a role that will surprise you. The part of his girlfriend, Joanne… the woman who selflessly helps Terry work through his addiction and get into rehab… is played by Tabitha from Tabitha’s Salon Takeovers, in a role that will surprise you. The bath salts are voiced, dramatically, by repurposed dialogue from a DVD of Beetlejuice that was laying around the editing suite. It’s mostly Michael Keaton stuff, in a roll that will surprise you. And him, too, probably, as he was not paid for his unwitting participation.

Mars – Rated PG-13

This is a movie that takes the viewer to the planet Mars, and shows what it would actually be like to live there. The first half is kind of hypnotically dull, as the Mars pioneers go about doing, you know, regular pioneer shit but with spacesuits. But then the last half is horrifying because a bunch of Martians show up and start disemboweling everybody. Tastefully, of course. The disemboweling is mostly implied. Mostly. What’s important is that the filmmakers invented a new kind of camera for this movie and it makes everything look like it’s actually taking place in outer fucking space. Technical wizardry, bitches. Gravity can suck our 70mm IMAX 3D dongs.

The Cuteness – Rated A Heretofore Undiscovered Rating That is Milder Than G

Carefully composed scenes of brilliant, troubled people doing twee, fussy things are all strung together to the music of Juice Newton, who is an artist we haven’t heard from in a long time, but is being brought back by the filmmakers because it’s cool to do that sort of thing, as long as it’s clear they’re being ironic. Everything looks perfect, and you get that it’s supposed to be funny, but you’re really only laughing because everyone else is. That guy a few seats down is PARTICULARLY into it. He has a neatly trimmed beard and some sort of tweed jacket thing going on. He looks smart. Yeah… this movie is SO smart.

Moshe Blumenthal: A Holocaust Survivor’s Story – Unrated

You may think that it is, at best, crass to sensationalize a real-life victim of the Holocaust’s story for the purpose of winning essentially meaningless awards, but… clearly… you’re unfamiliar with how bitching an Oscar looks on a small shelf above one’s cigar humidor. Yep… things are going pretty well. Thinking about optioning the rights to Anne Frank’s diary and tweaking it into like a Bourne Identity thing where she’s secretly an assassin or something. Pretty sure it’ll be the big summer hit of 2016. Iggy Azalea would make a totally badass, sexy Anne Frank, right???

7 Little-Seen Horror Movies You Should Watch, Because Halloween

Halloween is fast approaching, which means that you really should be watching some horror movies in the next couple of weeks. ‘TIS THE SEASON, DAMMIT. If you’re not watching horror movies in October, you’re basically the acting mayor of No-Funnsylvania  (the elected mayor of No-Funnsylvania was impeached after the local newspaper discovered that he is actually, in fact, way, way fun).

“But C-dog, you’re so handsome, and also, what horror movies should we watch? THERE ARE TOO MANY CHOICES.”

First off, thank you for noticing my handsomeness. I have upped my candy corn intake as of late, and I think the resulting, constant sugar high has really given my skin a nice dewy glow. Regarding your second point: I know… BELIEVE ME… I know. There are SO many horror movies out there, and a lot of them, frankly, suck out loud. It can be intimidating, wading through that sticky swamp of eye-grabby titles and lurid cover art, which can lead to frustration, hopelessness, and, eventually, you just end up watching I Know What You Did Last Summer for the twentieth time because whatever, who cares, take me away, Jennifer Love Hewitt.

Fortunately, I am here to help. See, I like horror movies. A LOT. It’s my “thing,” which I will admit is kind of sad and even a little creepy 11 months out of the year. BUT NOT IN OCTOBER, BABY. The Halloween-adjacent weeks are my time to shine.

So, to that end, please allow me to jam some horror movie recommendations into your eye holes. Some LESSER KNOWN horror movies, mind you. No Nightmare on Elm Streets or Halloweens here. The following movies are ones you may not have seen, but really SHOULD see. While they might have flown a little under the radar, they are all varying degrees of greatness.

And if you HAVE seen all of these, well then… do you want to be best friends?

To the movies!

NOTE: All of these titles are available on Netflix. If you DON’T have Netflix, then… what… do you like read a lot or something? Do you hike? YOU’RE NOT BETTER THAN ME.

The Town That Dreaded Sundown

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PLOT IN TEN WORDS OR LESS: 1940’s, small-town serial killer baffles cops; terrorizes locals

If you were to take a vicious, hooded serial killer and drop him into an episode of The Andy Griffith Show, the resulting Mayberry bloodbath would look a whole lot like The Town That Dreaded Sundown. The movie is almost a horror sub-genere all its own; call it, “Slice of Life Horror.” Just small-town folks, goin’ ’bout their lives… having some laughs, some love, some joy, and some sorrow…  and every now and again, a couple of them get murdered by a psychopath. Tonally, this movie is all over the place; there are icy chills, and there are moments that can only be categorized as slapstick. To me, though, that makes TTTDS even MORE realistic, because life isn’t really just one tone all the time. Maybe it has something to do with this being based on true story? Or maybe the filmmakers were just kind of not great at their job. Either way, it works.

Also, the killer… dubbed “The Phantom” by the locals… is straight-up terrifying. His hood thing, seen in the posters, is simple, yet very effective as a part of his whole slasher ensemble. Plus, he murders somebody with a trombone. It’s weird. The whole movie is kind of weird, actually. It’s all just a little off-center. Which is nice.

Here Comes The Devil

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PLOT IN TEN WORDS OR LESS: Siblings disappear. Parents worry. Siblings reappear, but changed. MAGIC CAVE!!!

If you like your horror films slightly inscrutable and also full-to-bursting with weird, sexual energy and vaginal imagery, then, boy, you have really specific taste in horror films. Also, Here Comes the Devil is THE movie you’ve been looking for!

Now… I will admit up front that I did not totally understand what was happening in Here Comes the Devil. The ending, especially, is a bit of a head-scratcher. But that’s okay! Sometimes ambiguity is a horror movie’s best friend! Besides, I’m not very smart; it is ENTIRELY possible that this movie makes PERFECT sense, and it simply sailed over my head like a low-flying, very obvious condor.

Regardless, it’s worth a look, because there is a LOT of atmospheric, creepy ghost-style shit going on in HCTD. Oh, and it’s in Spanish, by the way. If you’re scared of subtitles, you are a weenie.

Antiviral

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PLOT IN TEN WORDS OR LESS: Celebrities infect fans with their viruses. Also, Lab-grown flesh!

Antiviral is a Cronenberg movie, but not THAT Cronenberg. This is a work by Brandon Cronenberg, who is the SON of David Cronenberg. Although, to be fair, the film-making apple did not fall very far from the auteur tree. Much like his father, Young Cronenberg traffics in body horror and ideas about “the new flesh,” all wrapped up in some rather pointed social commentary. Junior’s take is a little more arch and winking than his dad’s, but that fits well with his celebrity-culture focused plot line.

Now, I will grant you that Antiviral is technically a little more science fiction-y than it is straight horror. Here’s the thing though: Don’t worry about it. At the end of the movie, you’re going to feel pretty gross, and you’re going to really not feel excellent about life, in general, either. If that isn’t horrific, I don’t know what is.

Pontypool

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PLOT IN TEN WORDS OR LESS: Zombie virus that spreads via non-traditional methods.

We’ve all seen a million zombie movies by now, but this one… well… Pontypool is different. Giving away the twist would be, and SHOULD be, punishable by death. Your viewing experience is well-served by going in as blind as possible. So let me just say this, as a way of teasing your interest: The majority of this movie takes place in a radio station, and that setting is not an accident nor a casually tossed-off detail.

There isn’t just a ton of action in Pontypool, but it is absolutely riveting all the same. To that end, it is worth noting that this is the only movie on the list that you could stage as a theatrical production while making almost no changes to the script. That should give you a pretty good idea of what you’re in for. If that’s your kind of horror jam, you will dig the absolute pants off of Pontypool.

The House of the Devil

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PLOT IN TEN WORDS OR LESS: 80’s babysitter versus Satanic cult.

A very pleasing throwback to the Satan-crazed 1980’s, The House of the Devil feels like the kind of movie you’d find occupying some real estate on the Horror shelf of your local video store, back when those were still a thing.

It should be noted that THOTD is paced a little slower than most horror flicks. It is not, as the kids say, balls to the wall (until the final 15 minutes or so). It’s the sort of movie that you kind of just have to sink into, like a hot tub. A HOT TUB FULL OF SATAN!!! Ahem, but yes, its pacing is a little on the leisurely side. Do not get discouraged! The payoff is exceptionally disturbing.

Also, there’s a thing that happens about halfway through the movie that made me jump clean out of my skin, forcing me to stop the movie until I could find some replacement skin to wear while my own skin was at the tailors, getting the hems re-sewn. It also caused me to spill my beer. So many tragedies caused by The House of the Devil

Let The Right One In

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PLOT IN TEN WORDS OR LESS: Swedish vampire befriends child. Shit gets ugly.

Ugh, you guys, I love this movie so much. There is some shocking, violent shit in Let The Right One In, unquestionably, but also it will just absolutely break your heart. A few times, actually.

Let the Right One In is cold, sad, gory, and amazing. Watch it. DO NOT WATCH THE AMERICAN REMAKE. It is okay, but it’s NOT the original. If you watch the remake first, an orphaned child gets his favorite toys taken away from him, which sets him on the path to becoming a serial killer. DON’T MAKE US HAVE TO DEAL WITH ANOTHER SERIAL KILLER. Watch the original, deal with having to read while you watch (it’s in Swedish), and just… you know… be a better person. This movie is worth it, you turkeys!

Grave Encounters

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PLOT IN TEN WORDS OR LESS: Douchey TV ghost hunters get exactly what they ask for.

This movie is a what-if regarding those countless “ghost hunter” TV shows, and what would happen if they stumbled upon an actually, really for real, haunted location. The filmmakers… the pretentiously-named The Vicious Brothers…are almost TOO good at recreating the smarmy, self-important aura that the casts of this breed of bottom-feeding shows put off. There are almost zero likeable characters in Grave Encounters.

But that’s fine! More chum for the waters, as it were. Terrible analogy, this movie does not take place on a boat, nor is it about sharks.

ANYWAY, Grave Encounters is mostly shot in the “found footage” style. This is important to note, because a lot of people find that style of movie-making to be the cinematic personification of laziness. I don’t necessarily disagree, but in this instance, it really works within the overall conceit.

Out of all the movies on this list, Grave Encounters would benefit the most from a few stiff cocktails and having all the lights in the house turned out. Doing those things will really ramp up your enjoyment of its somewhat cheesy, yet still pretty scary, offerings.

Posterized

Posterized is a column where we (me) make snap judgements about upcoming releases using their movie posters as a guide. Enjoy.

Intersteller

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[gulps whiskey, stares meanly out into the middle distance, chokes back a sob]

I don’t want what I’m about to say to be true. Please… believe me… I want to be wrong. So very, very wrong. I want, a year from now, one of you internet rapscallions to hold this post under my nose and burst my eardrums, shouting, “Smell your failure, bloggerman! SMELL IT.”

But… I have to say it… I have to make this prediction because I believe it to be true. I believe… god help my wretched soul… that Intersteller is going to be Christopher Nolan’s first creative and financial fiasco. Now… okay… calm down, everybody… just let me… hey, there’s no need to throw beer bottles… GODDAMNIT, LET ME SPEAK. I can see that several of you are wrapping lengths of chain around your fists, and that a few others are hammering thick nails through Louisville Sluggers… please, before you beat me into something resembling a dropped pizza… hear me out.  Christopher Nolan has had one of the hottest streaks in cinematic history; he literally, to date, has not made a bad movie. Some of you might point to his 2002 film Insomnia, shruggingly, saying, “That one wasn’t so hot.” NO. WRONG. Watch it AGAIN. Insomnia is an underrated little thriller that makes Alaska seem like a frozen hellscape. Granted, the real estate show Buying Alaska does that much more efficiently, and sans a budget-busting Al Pacino, but still (people get so excited when there’s a toilet IN THE HOUSE; it’s super sad).

ANYWAY, Nolan has produced nothing but quality. He’s due for a lead balloon, and, from what I’ve gathered, Intersteller might be it. Details on the plot and whatnot are fuzzy, but it appears that what we have here is a three hour movie about space agriculture. That does not sound promising. What that sounds like, to me, is a simple idea that a committed auteur will follow all the way up his or her own butthole, slapping on layers and layers of astounding visuals until everything looks like a video game and we’re all bored out of our goddamned minds. Does anyone remember Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain? It was a movie about the Fountain of Youth that doubled as an excellent example of why it’s sometimes not always the best call for a director to have complete creative control. There was so much going on in The Fountain… so many IDEAS… that it came out as a shambling, incomprehensible mess. Intersteller feels like Christopher Nolan’s own personal The Fountain. “Yes, we’re starting with an idea about agriculture in space, but we’re also going to be exploring the human spirit, and what it means to be a hero, and also what it means to be a father, and also how we define what is noble, and also mlmop mphhpll mplsblbhm [his words are muffled because he has breached the anus].”

Again… for the record… I DO NOT WANT TO BE RIGHT ABOUT THIS. I just feel like all signs are pointing to Intersteller being completely insufferable. I hate that I feel this way, but nobody ever said writing about movies on a website was going to be easy. Sometimes you have to make the tough calls. Keep this one on your FlopWatch radar until further notice.

Sex Ed

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Hey! It’s freaking Haley Joel Osment! Man… and I say this totally without irony or snark or malicious internet bile… it’s good to see that little fucker back on the big screen. Did he do some jail time for, like, drunk driving or something? I think that’s right. I don’t feel like looking it up, mainly because Googling, “Haley Joel Osment arrested” just seems like such a bummer and I don’t need that in my browser history. Besides, we’re celebrating here! That kid from the ghost movie is doing some stuff again. Less adorably so than from back in the day… he’s like a person now, and that person seems to have swelled up a bit… but it’s all good.

Whatever this movie is that he’s in looks kind of like garbage, but, you know… at least he’s working. Remember when he was nominated for an OSCAR? The early 2000’s were a crazy time.

Dracula Untold

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You know, just Dracula, pooping some bats. Or he’s made ENTIRELY of bats now? I feel like this movie is going to be playing fast and loose with the Dracula mythology. Kind of like how, as the Superman movies kept churning out, they started giving Superman powers in service of the plot instead of staying within the established cannon. Can Superman turn his “S” logo into a big plastic tarp and use it to subdue bad guys? Sure, why not? Pass the cocaine. THAT AMOUNT OF COCAINE IS TOO SMALL FOR THE CREATORS OF THE SUPERMAN FILM FRANCHISE.

Here is a list of the powers that I imagine Dracula has been granted by the creators of Dracula Untold:

-Dracula can poop bat swarms (jeez, poster… Spoiler Alert!!!)

-Dracula can fly, which IS cannon, but this time around he does it with the sleek, stylish Drac-Jet 3000, which is heavily emblazoned with the Red Bull logo

-Nothing says a modern Dracula like laser-beam eyes!

-He knows all sorts of like Kung Fu and Krav Maga shit, and also he can run up trees like in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

-Supersonic yodel.

-Dracula can turn wooden stakes into TALKING wooden stakes that are sassy, as we need something off of which to base a line of toys. Christmas is coming!

-Breathes fire, stomps buildings flat, is Godzilla.

-He can make quarters disappear, then reappear behind the female lead’s ear.

-Dracula can turn the “D” logo on his chest into a big plastic tarp that he can use to subdue bad guys.

-He can do the “Batdance.”

Let’s Talk About The Movie Poster for Sex Tape

I generally try to be a positive person about stuff… there’s a lot of hate on the internet, and hate is icky in the very same, specific way that those large wads of hair you pull from the shower drain are icky… but sometimes, stuff floats by my eyeballs that I kind of can’t let slide. Stuff like this:

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That is the movie poster for an upcoming movie called Sex Tape. It is something that someone worked very hard on, and I’m sure that person is, at the core, very decent, and donates to charities, and treats his or her mother kindly. However, it… the movie poster for Sex Tape… just SUCKS. It sucks out loud. It sucks so badly, it might set off your smoke alarm. It is to sucking what USMNT goalie Tim Howard is to blocking Belgian shots on goal; phenomenally talented but still technically a loser.

So let’s dig deep, here…

Clearly the worst thing about the movie poster for Sex Tape is the “text quotes,” but I can’t talk about them yet. Like, I’m not in a place, emotionally, where I can handle discussing why they are in front of our faces, and the evil that is rotting the souls of the men…  women… probably men… who put them there. I’ll cover it in a minute, but I need to shotgun another couple of beers first.

So let’s talk about what this movie poster is selling us: Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel, and how it is funny that they are fucking. Because it is SO FUNNY. Don’t you see the wacky props? There’s some roller skates, and also a sombrero. The implication is that they were wearing those when they were fucking! And… AND… they broke the bed! WITH THEIR FUCKING! In the sex tape! THE TITULAR SEX TAPE. [hits you over the head with several million dollars worth of promotional material, including billboards, again and again until you are a broken mass bleeding on the floor]

Look… no matter how hard Hollywood tries… sex tapes aren’t funny. At most, they’re kind of awkward-giggly, and even then it’s just because you feel SO BAD for the people that are doing these things to each other on your computer screen. It is a weird paradox that watching real, actual people have real, actual sex is terribly unsexy. They’re into it, so… by all logic… YOU should be into watching them. But it doesn’t work out that way. It’s a lot of bad angles, and disconnected moaning, and unflattering expressions passing across faces that are not very expressive. DO IT LIKE THE PORN STARS DO IT, you scream at your computer. Fake sexy is real sexy because it’s acting. Actual sex, when you’re not the one doing the sexing (key difference), is just uncomfortable and often gross. And here’s where the problem lies with making a Hollywood movie about a sex tape… it’s not going to be like what I just described. AT ALL. It’s going to be, at least minimally, artfully shot. It’s going to be flattering to its stars. It’s not going to be any semblance of real. It’s going to be fake sexy… ACTOR SEXY… which is essentially what porn stars do… which is not a sex tape. So why the hell are we here? Flawed premise, Sex Tape… flawed premise.

Not helping matters is that we’re being asked to accept the idea that Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel are a couple. Okay… so here is where I admit that I have what might be considered a teeny, tiny bias against Cameron Diaz. I do not care for her. At all. Sure, she had a little something going for her back in the days of The Mask, but… last decade or so… she’s morphed into that next stage of Famous Ladyhood where they just look like they smoke a lot and are mean to waiters. Rich and Mid-40’s go together shockingly poorly for ladies; it’s not fair at all, and I hate pointing it out because I don’t like painting with such large strokes, but… you know, all the evidence. Rich ladies in their mid-40’s have to work really hard to overcome that stereotype (which is a THING, right… I didn’t like just make this up?), and some of them do, OF COURSE, but a lot of them just lean into it like it’s the sea-salted breeze coming over the railing of a private yacht in St. Barts. Or whatever horseshit rich ladies like leaning into. I don’t know. Not my world.

So what they’re asking us to buy is this: A lady like that… a sender-back of multiple entrees and a devotee of Virginia Slims… is married to, and actively fucking, a guy who is basically a man-sized Muppet, so much so that he has LITERALLY BEEN TURNED INTO A MUPPET? That is a large, unwieldy pill to shove down our throats.

Now… I will concede that I haven’t seen the movie yet. Obviously. Maybe their chemistry is balls to the wall. Stranger things have happened. Look no further than this summer’s A Million Ways to Die in the West… a so-so movie that featured bizarrely excellent emotional and comedic chemistry from, of all people, Seth MacFarlane and Charlize Theron (I know… I watched the movie with my own baby blues, and I still don’t understand how they pulled it off).

But I feel like I’m hitting the mark here. Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel don’t go together, like a tuxedo and flip-flops.

That dearth of chemistry is mirrored in the way they’re presented on the actual poster itself. SO FAKE. Heads photoshopped on casting-call bodies… necks weirdly twisted and strained… faces exaggerated, yet dead behind the eyes. The only thing this image truly represents is the exact feeling two cousins have when they are forced to hug each other at a family reunion. It’s so poorly crafted, it bleeds the color out of the rest of the poster; we’re basically looking at grey flannel after we really take in what Diaz and Segel have been digitally manipulated into doing.

Which brings us to the “text quotes.” [slams down beer can; takes a long pull from a bottle of rotgut bourbon, makes peace with his God]

Who…?

I mean, how… right…?

Like… I GET IT… texting is… it’s 2014, for fucks sake… EVERYONE does… texts…

Oh god, I can’t even talk about them as a whole entity. They’re just so… shit-mouthed… so FALSE…

Okay, new tactic… one by one…

“This is def going viral!”

THAT IS NOT HOW PEOPLE TALK. That is how guys in the advertising business think people… the youth of today… talk. All of this is them, speaking at us like they ARE us. “They shorten their words! Everything is going viral all the time now! Reflect that in this new account, or you’re out on your keister! Bring me another in an endless parade of highballs and pastrami sandwiches!”

“What did your boss think of it?! [Smiley Face]”

“Mackenzie… are kids still doing the smiley face thing? What? Emoticoins, sure whatever? Is that still a thing? It’s NOT? What do YOU know, Mackenzie? I’ve been at Schweiber/Mellon Advertising since 1981! I know what’s hip! Now here… peck daddy on the cheek, and you can take out the Benz. Be home by midnight! Don’t do any weed, young lady!”

“Can’t wait for the sequel!”

“See, what we’re doing here is using synergy to integrate the idea of sequel right into the brand’s advertising message. These are the kind of ideas that have kept me in my position here at Schweiber/Mellon for 30 years. I’m an innovative thinker, even when we’re doing… what’s this about…? A SEX TAPE? Well, whatever kids like doing with tape during sex… as long as a movie about it makes us that moolah, am I right, gentlemen? Who want’s a cigar???”

“Was that yoga??!!”

“I don’t know what it means either, but the girls down in the bullpen thought it was a scream. My little girl came up with it! She keeps me young… through Mackenzie, I’m always in tune with the kids and what they want to see in the ads. I love that kid; should probably tell her that one of these days.”

“Best. Spam. Ever.”

“What the fuck does lunch meat have to do with… DAMN IT, MACKENZIE… have you been messing with daddy’s work stuff again??? One good idea about yogurt doesn’t make you an ad exec, missy! I HAVE THE PARKING SPOT AT SCHWEIBER/MELLON, NOT YOU.”

Oh god… what if I can’t get Advertising Executive Guy out of my head. I feel like he’s just squatting on my brain now. Waiting… synergizing… getting wet pastrami all over my occipital lobe…

Anyway, the movie poster for Sex Tape is an insulting rats nest of bad ideas, clueless actions, and mediocre design skills, is all I’m saying. People in Hollywood should try to not make movie posters like that, because it’s way too easy for wise-asses with websites to goof on them on the internet. Also… Sex Tape looks like garbage! Let’s all not go see it! SPHERE OF INFLUENCE!!!

Worth Your Valuable Time: Obvious Child

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When we talk about movies that come out in the summer, we are usually talking about HUGE movies; blockbusters, with special effects out the yang, fast food tie-ins, and, more often than not, a screenplay that is several shades stupider than it really needs to be. And I’m FINE with that. I like those kinds of movies. For example, Transformers 4: Age of Extinction opened this weekend. I will probably see Transformers 4: Age of Extinction because I am a big fan of watching robots fight each other, and when said robots TURN INTO DINOSAURS FOR SOME REASON… well shit, I’m only human.

But we’re not here to talk about aggressively loud and dumb blockbusters today (though again, those kind of movies are OKAY; I am no advocate for change). We are here to talk about the OTHER kind of movie that comes out in the summer… the counter-programming to the fighting robots, fighting superheros, and fighting 50’s doo-wop groups that exists because occasionally you want to be entertained by something that wasn’t created solely as a means to sell action figures.  Specifically, we are here to talk about Obvious Child, a movie that is the exact opposite of Transformers 4 in every conceivable way. It is showing, hopefully, at an art-house cinema somewhere near you, and you really need to go throw your money at it. And make your friends throw their money at it too. MAKE IT RAIN on Obvious Child. Because Obvious Child isn’t just a great movie (though it IS that, big time). It is the very essence of independent cinema.

These are the three things that you need to know about Obvious Child:

Obvious Child is about abortion, but it isn’t an ABORTION MOVIE -Plainly put, this is a movie about a woman who… after getting pregnant from a drunken, one-night stand… decides to have an abortion, and is okay with that decision. The decision itself is at no point in question during the course of the movie, and… though it is what drives the engine of the plot… the act of this woman getting an abortion is kind of beside the point. Now… I will concede that not everyone will be entirely comfortable with that idea. As far as hot-button issues go, abortion is one that, when pushed, can launch nuclear bombs. There are going to be those that will not care for seeing such a weighty, divisive topic handled… not lightly, per se… but with heaping handfuls of comedy and good-nature. “It’s about abortion!  There should be weeping! Wailing! Gnashing of teething, and maybe a little rending of garments for good measure!” If that is what you’re looking for, then Obvious Child is maybe not the movie for you. Although, I think you should watch it anyway… different points of view are a good thing. An enriching thing, even. So just be cool… just everybody be cool.

Obvious Child is devastatingly funny – I am about to make a big, bold statement, but… hell, this is my website, and if you can’t be bold in your own house, why even bother HAVING a house. You might as well live in a puddle. Anyway, here goes: Obvious Child is the funniest movie of the year. Period. I just don’t see anything out there that’s going to beat it. Now, granted, I haven’t seen EVERY comedy that’s been released since January, nor will I see every comedy that gets released before the end of December. But… call it a gut feeling, or a hunch, or, screw it, call it a ROCK-HARD FACT. You are not going to find a funnier movie than Obvious Child in 2014. And now that I have made this big, bold statement… because I am a inherently a worrier at heart… I feel like I am dangerously close to overselling Obvious Child, which would be doing the film a major disservice. But whatever; you need to learn to manage your own expectations, anyway. Consider this an object lesson in doing that. Because I really believe in that big, bold statement… Obvious Child is simply hysterical. It is funny in a vital, honest way that I haven’t seen on the big screen in a long, long time.

Obvious Child SHOULD make Jenny Slate a very big star – Jenny Slate is a comedian who mostly does stand-up, but who also has a decent side career going appearing in small roles on popular TV shows. Bob’s Burgers, Parks & RecThe Kroll Show… she’s been around, but never the main event. Obvious Child is going to change that. Or at least it SHOULD. Sometimes the world just doesn’t recognize a talented entity, because the world isn’t a fair and just place. And it would be PARTICULARLY unfair in this case, because the performance that Jenny Slate gives in Obvious Child is as textbook a definition of the term “career-maker” as there has ever been. Slate is electric in Obvious Child. Hers is a performance that is completely, refreshingly free of actor-ish pretense, and one that crackles with energy and life. Watching Slate in Obvious Child makes you want to watch her in everything else, forever. If the world proves itself once again to be that unfair, unjust place, and she never really makes an impact on the larger world of cinema… it will be a fucking shame wrapped in a miserable bummer shrouded in lameness. And it will also be the world of cinema’s loss.

Now, to wrap this thing up, I feel like I need to justify something I said earlier, that Obvious Child is the essence of  independent cinema. When I wrote that, I hadn’t really thought out exactly what I meant by it. It sure SOUNDED good… real film critic-y… so I patted myself on the back for being quite the insightful lil’ wordsmith, and then I moved on. But, pulled directly from my butt or not, the statement isn’t without truth. “Independent cinema” is a catch-all phrase that generally means, “movies with small budgets that aren’t about fighting robots.” But what the phrase REALLY means is, “movies that are small, but powerful, and mostly about humans that could be real, but it just so happens that they aren’t.” That is Obvious Child, to the letter. It isn’t a huge, epic film… it makes you feel real feelings (joy, heartache, delight… all the good ones)… and everyone in it SEEMS like they exist in the real world, even if they actually don’t. Obvious Child IS independent cinema, and all that it strives to be, boiled down into a tight, 90 minute package.

So, again… I’m not saying you should skip the Summer Blockbusters. I would never try to take dino-bots away from you (or from me, for that matter). I’m just saying that you should ALSO make a little room in your schedule to take in a screening of Obvious Child. It is most definitely worth your valuable time.

A Definitive Ranking of Every Song From Grease 2

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Grease 2 gets a bad rap. People shit on it because it’s “so inferior to the original” and “awful in every way imaginable,” and… okay… sure… if you hold it up to conventional standards, Grease 2 is definitely going to be found sorely lacking in, among other things, overall quality. HOWEVER… if you choose to look at Grease 2 like I do, as a very colorful, peppy multi-car pile-up where nobody gets out alive… then you will start to come around to the fact that Grease 2 is actually a strange blend of madness, camp, good intentions, and sexual metaphors that deserves your attention. Your DRUNKEN attention… don’t try to watch Grease 2 sober, you guys, seriously. Grease 2 only fully blossoms when the viewer is hammered. Sorry… should have mentioned that up top. Nonetheless, it’s true… Grease 2 is an underrated movie. A hidden gem, if you will, provided your bar for the phrase “hidden gem” is firmly locked into the lowest setting.

Now, having outed myself as a Grease 2 apologist, I feel like I should also admit up front that the only thing I really like about the movie is the songs. The script, the acting, the way that everything kind of looks cheap and flat… yeah, it’s all pretty bad. BUT THE SONGS. Some of them are top-notch! And soooo bizarre. I can only imagine the breathtaking majesty of the mountain of cocaine that was required to come up with some of these production numbers. They are, mostly, truly entertaining. So… as a way to honor Grease 2… and to maybe get some other people to watch it, so I’m not like the ONE person holding down the Grease 2 table in the Great Hall of Fan Enthusiasms… let us now take a hard look at the songs from Grease 2, ranking them from worst to best, and reveling in their weird-ass glory.

A Definitive Ranking of Every Song From Grease 2

12. Who’s That Guy In a movie that has its share of dead spots, this is the deadest. When a mysterious motorcycle guy appears on the scene (SPOILER ALERT: it’s a plot contrivance!), the entire cast sings a song wondering… hey… who’s that guy? That’s it. That’s the sum total of the song. Its reason for existing in Grease 2 is so that we, the viewers, will understand that the characters on-screen would like to know who that guy is that just showed up. Pointless! And also poorly constructed as a set-piece! During the song, the mysterious motorcycle guy does a bunch of tricks and stunts on his motorcycle to embarrass a gang of thugs, and also to evade the police. Grease 2, it seems, did NOT have the budget for a motorcycle stuntman of any real caliber, so the tricks and stunts are massively awkward, slow, and about as awe-inspiring as a Boy Scouts pinewood derby.

11. Charades Technically, THIS is the worst song in the movie. It’s drippy, poorly sung, and there’s so much reverb added to actor Maxwell Caulfield’s voice that it’s hard to understand exactly what he’s droning on about. However, Maxwell Caulfield… though a few quarts low in the charisma department in Grease 2… is the same actor that plays everybody’s favorite rock n’ roll lady-killer, Rex Manning, in Empire Records. Nothing involving Sexy Rexy can ever be the worst… so “Charades” gets a bump up the list by default.

10. Rock-a-Hula LuauThis song is so unnecessary to the plot of Grease 2, I couldn’t even find a clip of the production number on YouTube. Think about all the garbage that’s on YouTube. There’s a whole galaxy of useless crap on there, yet “Rock-a-Hula Luau” doesn’t make the cut. That’s pretty sad. Anyway, this song’s sole purpose is to establish that the characters are at a Luau. And, hey, it does establish that pretty thoroughly! Essentially, the song goes: “We’re at a luau, hey look… we’re at a luau. Do you understand where the characters are at? A luau!” And then there’s some vaguely racist stereotyping of Hawaiians. Good fun, though… again… totally unnecessary.

9. We’ll Be TogetherBy the time this song rolls around, I’m usually pretty drunk… so… I don’t have any specific memories of it being awful, or wonderful, or anything at all. My guess: It explains that all the characters will be together, giving us, the viewers, peace of mind that everything’s going to be okay once the credits roll. That’s very thoughtful of the Grease 2 creators, thinking of our needs like that.

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8. Love Will Turn Back The Hands Of TimeMichelle Pfeiffer’s second big solo number (we’ll get to the first one in a minute), “Love Will Turn Back the Hands of Time” is a ballad that her character sings after she thinks that her mysterious motorcycle lover guy is dead. It’s kind of a whatever song, but it’s elevated by a fantasy sequence that takes place in MOTORCYCLE HEAVEN, which I have put in all-caps to denote my enjoyment of such a stupid concept. Said mysterious motorcycle lover guy appears on a pile of crashed, white motorcycles in a shiny, silver version of his bad-ass biker ensemble, and then they dance around in the output of a whole fleet of fog machines. It’s very silly, but it’s played SO straight-faced. MOTORCYCLE HEAVEN IS REAL, YOU GUYS, STOP LAUGHING.

7. Back To School Again The big opening number! And, for an opening number, it’s kind of… I don’t know… unfocused, I guess? I mean, there’s certainly a lot going on. Everyone in the cast is involved, plus SO MANY EXTRAS. The “Back to School Again” ensemble makes the Helms Deep battle from Lord of the Rings look like several guys hitting each other with pillows. The entire high school population is out there shaking their butts, sometimes together… sometimes not… sometimes in big groups… sometimes in smaller groups. Everyone is just kind of everywhere doing their own thing, and the overall effect is sort of like a very rhythmic rush hour at Grand Central Station. Also, the song is sung by The Four Tops, who are not at any point on screen during this number. So all the teenagers are just dancing around to disembodied voices, which breaks like eleven rules of the Cinematic Musicals Universe. Not a great way to start things off, Grease 2… ah, but you’ve always been an outlier. Doing things your own way. Rascal.

WARNING: From here on out, the songs get extremely catchy. ZFS is not responsible for whatever tune gets stuck in your head like an errant lawn dart. Proceed with caution.

6. Girl For All SeasonsThis is the song that the Pink Ladies, a girl gang, sing at Rydell High’s talent show. In the world of Grease 2, the annual talent show is the Super Bowl, or at the very least, the Nathan’s 4th of July Hot Dog Eating Contest. It’s a BIG DEAL, mainly because the grand prize is “100 long-play records.” Which I guess is something to get excited about? Man, the 60’s seem like bummer. Anyway, “Girl For All Seasons” is a perfectly fine song… pretty, pleasantly melodic… plus, the girls dress up in some wacky outfits to denote the different months of each season. One has a giant catcher’s mitt on her head. Another is dressed up like some kind of weird, George Washington/quarter thing that looks the the result of a Seth Brundle telepod mishap. It’s all very strange, particularly when you consider that these are supposed to be teenagers, yet they have the costuming and makeup budget of an Off-Broadway production.

5. Cool RiderThis is Michelle Pfeiffer’s big, showstopping solo number. It is about her desire for a “cool rider,” which sounds like a very unpleasant sexual maneuver involving Icy Hot, but is actually just a dude with a motorcycle. The song itself is catchy enough, but it’s made that much better by Pfeiffer, who totally commits to the cause. You are TOTALLY on board with her needing a cool rider in her life. Look at how she climbs, then straddles that really tall ladder like it’s a motorcycle! BOLD ACTING CHOICES. The best part of the song, however, is the ending. As “Cool Rider” fades out, Pfeiffer dances off into the middle distance, still quite involved in selling us this number, as everyone else just goes about their business while totally ignoring the fact that a crazy person is currently boogieing across the quad to a song that is presumably in her own head. Or maybe they CAN hear the song, and are just totally over it. “Oh hey it’s that girl who’s super into Cool Riders. What’s that again? A sex thing involving sno-cones and a BMX bike? I wish she’d stop singing already; we’re trying to have outdoor study hall over here!”

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4. Prowlin’This would be the T-Birds entry into the Rydell High talent show. The T-Birds, by the way, are the male equivalent of the Pink Ladies, i.e. what passes for a gang in the early 60’s. They are, to say the least, about as a threatening as a kitten licking a marshmallow, which would be fine… I don’t look to movie musicals for gritty street gang realism much like I don’t look to Boys N The Hood for jazzy tap numbers… if they weren’t posited throughout the entirety of the movie as the baddest motherfuckers on the planet. The T-Birds make the Jets and the Sharks from West Side Story look like the Ching-a-Ling Nomads, but whatever. As for their big song… “Prowlin'” could easily be filler for a Brian Setzer Orchestra album, plus there’s some nifty shadow work towards the end. A respectable theatrical effort from such tough-as-nails bikers.

3. Score TonightThis song is about bowling, but it’s REALLY about fucking. They’re gonna score tonight! GET IT. “Score” means “fucking.” Anyway, this is where Grease 2 moves into Aggressively Cheesy territory. “Score Tonight” basically beats the shit out of you, the viewer, with a cinder block forged from pure, uncut campiness, and yet it’s all palatable because the cast is SUPER into it. I don’t know if they all really believed they were crafting the next, great Hollywood musical, or if they’re all just like Daniel Day Lewis-levels of committed to their performances but… yeah… I believe that THEY believe that they’re going to bowl/fuck the ever-loving shit out of tonight. Oh, and a special nod here to Lorna Luft as Paulette… she gets to sing like six lines in the whole movie by herself, but she sings each one of those six lines like Ethel Fucking Merman as Mama Rose. You go, girl! NO SMALL PARTS!!!

2. Do It For Our CountryEasily the best song ever written about a guy using nuclear war as a method of getting into a girl’s pants. Seriously though, this song is greatness. It’s clever, funny, and just generally working on a higher level than the rest of the movie. It really does feel like “Do It For Our Country” time-warped in from a better, more cohesive musical, and I feel like if that musical actually existed, it would be my favorite musical of all time. Instead, we have this perfect castoff of a song… one excellent musical number in a movie that most of the time tops out at mediocre. So why is it on the list at number 2? Because number 1 is…

1. ReproductionIs “Reproduction” the absolute best song in Grease 2? No. But it secures the number one spot because “Reproduction” IS Grease 2. It is its essence, boiled down into one extremely silly, radioactively catchy, bad-idea of a song that is made excellent by a game cast with zero sense of shame. Look, this is another song about fucking, and it’s essentially just one long lyrical string of sex jokes and innuendos. On paper, this is the stupidest song ever written outside of “Me and You and a Dog Named Boo.” But when the full-force commitment of the Grease 2 ensemble is put behind it, “Reproduction” just… works. It REALLY works. For a few giddy minutes, you forget that you’re watching a pretty terrible movie. That’s all you can ask for from a musical number in this context. And having us forget that we’re watching something awful because of something SO GREAT… that’s all that Grease 2 can ask of us. 

3/3/3 – Monsters

3/3/3 is a new series on Zombie Fights Shark where we take a look at the top 3, bottom 3, and most overrated 3 entries in a given category. The categories will cover the entire spectrum of pop culture, plus food & beverages, and even simply life itself. Let’s have some highly subjective fun, shall we?

MONSTER SQUAD

Top 3 Monsters

3) Aliens – Look, if something’s going to eat me to death or, at the very least, stab me into a pudding-esque consistency, I want it to be something FROM THIS PLANET. Maybe that’s me being outer spacist, but I don’t care. Ugh, and aliens are usually so slimy, too. And they’re weirdly textured, and some of them have eyes that are like, “What? HOW ARE THOSE EYES, THEY LOOK LIKE BUTTHOLES???” Alien butthole-eyes chill me to my very core.

2) Kaiju – You know, like Godzilla, or the thing from Cloverfield… big-ass monsters, is what I’m getting at. SO SCARY. SO MUCH STOMPING. Having to fight something that’s the size of a building is kind of the apex of terrifying. You have to use like bombs or giant robots to kill them, and that’s assuming that they can even be killed! Some of them just don’t die. Plus, movies don’t ever talk about Godzilla poop, but you have to KNOW that’s a major issue.  I don’t know, man… I’ll take a Freddy or a Jason chasing my sexy buns around a dreamscape or a campground any day.

1) Ghosts – Ghosts are the number one top monster because you can’t see them. That’s all it takes, folks… if you want to be the king, you need to be fucking terrifying (a given), but also you need to have invisibility powers! That amplifies the terrifying-ness by 1,000,000. Because the thing is, ghosts are invisible… until they’re not. SUDDENLY THEY’RE VISIBLE RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOUR FACE. Not joking, I got fear shivers just Googling for that image. Stupid fucking scary ghosts. Last piece of evidence: You know how I know ghosts are the most scary? Because in all the Paranormal Activity movies, they made daytime, static shots of empty suburban living rooms THE STUFF OF NIGHTMARES because there was a possibility that there might be a ghost somewhere in there amongst the tasteful furniture and fancy home electronics. Turning the ordinary into the horrifying: The hallmark of an excellent monster.

3 Most Overrated Monsters

3) Zombies – I love zombies. See: This website’s name. So please know that it kills me to put zombies in the “overrated” category. Literally, typing these words is draining out my lifeforce. LITERALLY. But they never said blogging about monsters on the internet was easy; sometimes you have to make the hard calls. Zombies are done. DONE. They were scary, but they’re played out now. Case in point: They have an app for phones where you can go for a jog and the app pretends that zombies are chasing you. I mean… once you’ve crossed into the health & fitness merchandise realm, you’re not really a scary monster anymore. You’re a brand, and brands aren’t scary. Okay, Ronald McDonald is a LITTLE scary, but that’s only because clown makeup dissolves your soul.

2) Frankenstein – Or “Frankenstein’s monster,” whatever. You know what I mean. Greenish guy, bolts in the neck, made from OPP (other people’s parts). That dude. Cool in concept… anything having to do with grave-robbing is inherently spooky… but, I don’t know, there’s something kind of lame about how they always try to make him the good guy. “Oh, he’s not evil, he just wants a friend!” “He’s just lonely, let’s make him a wife!” “He’ll help the Monster Squad by dragging Dracula into the time portal (SPOILER ALERT FOR A 30 YEAR OLD MOVIE)!” I mean… monsters aren’t supposed to have childlike souls that just want to love and be loved. Just not very monstrous.

1) Vampires – People shit on Twilight for turning vampires into buttwads, but… let’s be real, here… Twilight was just the last step in a long process of buttwad-ification that started decades ago. If anyone is REALLY to blame for vampires being overrated, it’s the man who mired them in a swamp of psycho-sexual lust in the first place: Bram Stoker. Have you ever actually slogged your way through Dracula? It reads like a Halloween episode of The Bold & The Beautiful, and it is SO. GODDAMN. BORING. Anne Rice didn’t really help the vampire’s cause, either… goth-ing them all up, and making them “erotic.” Look, vampires are creatures that EAT BLOOD. That’s fucking awesome. All vampires should be like the ones in Near DarkMean. Nasty. Evil as fuck. Real-deal monsters, in other words. Vampires shouldn’t be swanning around in velvet, inspiring waves of lonely nerds to buy scented candles. That’s too Hot Topic-y for an undead thing.

Bottom 3 Monsters

3) Sasquatch/Bigfoot – A monster that lives in the woods is okay as far as concepts go (I guess), but man… the shine has really worn off the Bigfoot name, lately. Have you seen that reality show about hillbilly goobers that are actually, in-real-life spending their free time and money hunting through the forests of the Pacific Northwest looking for Bigfoot? And do you realize that things are so dire,  I should be specifying WHICH Bigfoot-themed reality show I’m talking about, because there’s like 147 of them. Including one hosted by Dean Cain!!! UNACCEPTABLE. If there’s a line that a monster shouldn’t cross, it most definitely involves aligning yourself with a former cast member of Lois & Clark.

2) Werewolves – Unless we’re talking about Teen Wolf, werewolves can get the fuck out of here. OOOH, I’M POWERED BY THE MOON. So are the tides. You’re basically just hairy water. Teen Wolf was cool, though, because it proves my whole point about werewolf powers. In the film’s grand finale, Michael J. Fox discovers that the much-needed, game-winning basketball skills were inside of him all along! HIM, as a human person. Not the titular teen wolf side of him. He didn’t NEED the werewolf powers at all. Ergo, werewolf powers are bullshit. Teen Wolf says so. Also, sorry about spoiling another 80’s movie for you guys. I don’t know what’s wrong with me today.

1) Mummies – All you need to know about mummies is this: They only attack you, or curse you (or whatever), if you dig them up and/or disturb their tombs. Essentially, mummies are old-ass burglar alarms. That’s it. They’re not out hunting… they don’t feed on you… they don’t DO anything. They’re just like, “oh hey, you’re here… whelp… I guess you’re cursed now. Have a nice day.” Most of the time, they’re just napping in some sand. It gets no lamer or less frightening than that. Plus, they make me think about dirty Band-Aids. EWWWW.

10 Surprising Moments in the New Godzilla Reboot

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-Tender love scene between Bryan Cranston and Mothra

-Informative, though totally unnecessary, animated sequence detailing how a bill becomes a law.

-Big damn Godzilla panties.

-In an amusing cameo, Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt reprise their roles from Twister after Godzilla farts out an F5 tornado. “Here we go again,” they say, directly at the camera.

-Seven minute drum solo.

-Godzilla voiced by Penn Jillette

-Climactic battle is just old footage from a WWF “Hell in a Cell” match featuring Triple H and Cactus Jack.

-The final third of the movie is just people who were displaced by Godzilla’s rampages applying for housing with FEMA representatives.

-A title card in the credits that reads, “Godzilla will be back in Godzilla 2: Havana Nights.”

-A post-credits scene that appears to be hidden camera video of Guillermo del Toro angrily tearing up a Pacific Rim movie poster, then weeping while eating an entire rotisserie chicken.

NOTE: All kidding aside, the new Godzilla reboot is pretty outstanding and you should go see it. Spring for the 3D showing, too; it really jazzes up the spectacle.