movies

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.

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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.”

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. 

In Celebration Of: Maximum Overdrive

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Last night, I watched the movie Maximum Overdrive. Though I had seen it before… it was a late-night staple of my HBO-saturated youth… I hadn’t actually sat down and watched it in well over a decade. Watching it again after so long was, in a word, GLORIOUS. Herewith, a celebration of the wonderful garbage that is Maximum Overdrive:

Maximum Overdrive is a movie about machines of all types… electric carving knives, video games, ATMs, (most prominently) cars and trucks, etc… that come murderously alive. Why? A low-flying comet, because why the fuck not? What do YOU know about comets? Not much? Me either. Maybe if they fly close to Earth, they make machines try to kill us. Who knows??? Space science is a mystery and, as far as I know, has never been studied by humans. Anyway, for eight days, Earth is in the “tail” of the aforementioned comet, which is signified by some keyed-in green fog that hangs in the sky during all the night scenes. This green fog/comet tail/mid-80’s budget SFX, it is implied, is what has made everything go cuckoo bananas. It is the actual villain of the movie. I say again: The actual villain of Maximum Overdrive is this.

-If nothing else, having comet farts be your movie’s bad guy is for sure a bold stroke of originality. Most horror films in the 80’s went with a masked slasher movie-style killer, or at least out-an-out aliens (such as in Aliens). This trailblazing streak runs all the way through Maximum Overdrive and its existence is almost certainly due to lots and lots of very high quality cocaine.

-Speaking of cocaine, Maximum Overdrive was written and directed by Stephen King. Stephen King, as you are most likely aware, is a guy who is famous for writing horror novels. You are most likely ALSO aware that writing horror novels and directing big-budget Hollywood movies do not generally involve the same skill-set. Movie producers in the 80’s were not aware of this, apparently. HOWEVER… they were aware that in the 80’s, attaching yourself to the name “Stephen King” was, at least in theory, a license to print money. That is why the movie poster for Maximum Overdrive looks like this:

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And the trailer looks like this:

 

The producers want to make it VERY clear to the general population that this is a Stephen King joint, even if Stephen King, himself, wasn’t totally aware of that fact at this time. King has stated in various books and interviews over the years that the production of Maximum Overdrive dovetailed nicely with the height of cocaine addiction, and that he really had no idea what he was doing behind the camera. Both of those are things that really put a first-time film maker at a disadvantage. I should know; I went to film school.

-If you’re a fan of bad acting, Maximum Overdrive is basically a sloppy, spilling-over, BBQ joint combo platter of lousy performances. And… keep in mind… I mean that in the best possible way. At one end of the spectrum, you’ve got acting so subtle it practically counts as a bout of narcolepsy (Emilo Estevez, looking like a high school quarterback that got a punk rock haircut on a dare, and Laura Harrington, who looks like the 80’s). And on the spectrum’s other end, there’s genre veteran Pat Hingle, who is so cartoonishly villainous, he wouldn’t be out of place tying Dudley Do-Right’s girlfriend to a log in a sawmill. But the undisputed bad acting champ of Maximum Overdrive is Yeardley Smith. All of her dialogue is spoken AT THIS VOLUME and with a Southern accent that makes Paula Deen look like Benedict Cumberbatch. It also just sounds a whole lot like Lisa Simpson, who Smith has been playing on The Simpsons for the past 20 years. That is, of course, no fault of hers or the filmmakers. It’s just really funny to hear Lisa Simpson (or a bizzaro world Southern Lisa Simpson, whatever) shriek about killer trucks. Maximum Overdrive has got layers, is what I’m saying.

-Having pointed out that Stephen King was a coked-out mess of director, and the performances are unilaterally garbage, I feel like to need to say here that, despite all that, Maximum Overdrive is just TONS of fucking fun. Parts of it are just bonkers (a guy gets murdered by a coke machine, which might be my most favorite thing ever captured on film that doesn’t directly involve female nudity), and some parts… like the film’s opening-scene drawbridge disaster… are actually quite spiffily executed. It’s also worth noting that Maximum Overdrive doesn’t shy away from the gore, which I find always enhances movies like this. Fun-bad movies have to have some splatter in them to really connect with ol’ C-dog, and this one does not disappoint in that regard.

-So, if you find yourself in the mood for a ridiculous, trashy, wheels-off movie to watch, drunk, with friends… you could do a lot worse than Maximum Overdrive. And, you can watch it right now, for free, right here on Zombie Fights Shark. Inexplicably, the entire movie is on YouTube at no charge. So… here’s that. YOU’RE WELCOME:

Summer Movie Spotlight 2014

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Summer is coming, and you know what that means…? Hot days! Steamy nights! Exciting mysteries to solve at a haunted beach! Is it a NUDE beach? MAYBE!!! Drop your trunks and find out!

But in between your sexy sleuthing and court appearances for public indecency, you’re going to have some time to kill. Why not spend that time comfortably embraced by the cool, loving arms of your local movie theater? It’s Summer Movie season!!! Blockbusters with loud explosions! Lots of rapid edits to confuse the mind into thinking it’s having fun! Antics! Here, now, a look at the most exciting movies coming up for the summer of 2014:

BattleTrucks 2: The Battling – Rated: PG-13

All your favorite BattleTrucks are back! There’s Crimson Wind! Inferno Blast! HipHop da Ethnically-Voiced!  Gary the Truck! And even that crafty old jalopy, Uncle I’m A Car. They’ve reunited to save the world once again from the villainous DMV Employee of Destruction, who’s trying to bring down society by rejecting ALL requests for novelty license plates. It’s guaranteed to be a truckin’ good time!!! Sorry, we meant to say “a fucking good time.”

Cousin Brothers? – Rated: G (for “good only if totally baked”)

Two cousins (played by Will Ferrel and Daniel Day Lewis) (…is that right…? Daniel Day Lewis is in this…? Really…? Oookay…) discover that they are actually brothers! Complicating matters, they’re BOTH up for a big promotion, because they work at the same law firm for some reason! Talk about sibling rivalry! TALK ABOUT IT. Or we’re not letting you out of the theater. Kate Upton plays Will Ferrel’s mom, because she has a couple of thing going for her that we think will sell a lot of tickets. Yes, we are talking about her boobs! Daniel Day Lewis won a lot of Oscars!!! He was so dope as Forest Gump!

Super Bowl Monday – Rated: Something

It’s up to secret agent John McAmericanName (played by the elderly, melting mass that was once Arnold Schwarzenegger) to stop terrorists from activating a weather machine that will create a thunderstorm SO dangerous, the NFL will have to move the Super Bowl to MONDAY NIGHT. This is a big deal, as the Super Bowl is traditionally played on Sunday, as will be explained in a lengthy pre-credits text crawl and again, halfway through the film, in an animated short done in the style of Schoolhouse Rock.

Itty Bitty Titty Committee – Rated: !

Michael Cera, Zach Braff, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, James Franco, and some other guys you think would be cool to hang out with, but probably aren’t, star as buddies who love those small-ass titties! But when one of their group (Frankie Muniz, in a sensitive turn) falls in love with a girl who has big-ass titties… HIJINKS ENSUE. The psychic pressure that results from his ostracization from his circle of friends is HILARIOUS, as is the heartbreaking feeling of loneliness that eventually consumes and destroys his relationship with the aforementioned big-ass tittied girl (played by an almost unrecognizable Johnny Knoxville).

The Frog Princess – Rated: Just, like, bring your kids or whatever. Nieces. Nephews. It’s fine. The movie’s fine.

We bought a cheap, Ukrainian animated feature about frogs or some shit, and then re-dubbed it with bootleg audio from a screening of Frozen. Despite the fact that you can hear an audience member with a wet, hacking cough throughout the entire film, it’s mostly just like watching Frozen. The final thirty minutes of the movie are just “Let It Go” on a loop.

Jennifer Lawrence Eats an Entire Can of Pringles – Rated: You Perv

JLEaECoP is nothing but America’s sweetheart, J-Law, eating an entire can of CheezUms Pringles over the course of an hour and twenty minutes. We’ve done our market research, and apparently THIS is what people want to see. Thrill as she eats the Pringles one, two, THREE at a time! Marvel as she checks her email on her iPhone! At the hour mark, Jennifer Lawrence appears to doze off… but she doesn’t!!! She was in Hunger Games!!! SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK set the bar!!! IT SET THE FUCKING BAR!!!

Explosion Fighters – Rated: BOOOOOOOM

An elite squad of explosion fighters… fighters that are trained to fight explosions… fight an enormous amount of explosions, while also fighting metaphorical explosions on the home front. These explosions come from car wrecks, refinery fires, infidelities, coal mines where the natural gasses are all backed up, divorce proceedings, space station disasters, martial-based space station disasters, nuclear plant meltdowns, Goddzilla attacks (NOT Godzilla attacks, due to copyright issues), and irreconcilable differences. Topher Grace stars, in a role that will surprise you (he’s Goddzilla).

Posterized

Jersey Boys

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I have no particular beef with Jersey Boys, the Broadway show OR the upcoming movie. Though I generally enjoy musicals, this is maybe not the one I’m the MOST excited about… I never really felt there needed to be an all-singing, all-dancing version of Goodfellas, and yet here we are… but whatever. People seem to enjoy it. Especially old people. Which is FINE. They need movies too. It can’t all be found-footage horror and Lego-based shenanigans and the sexy supernatural teens that the kids sure seem to like. In the waning years of your life, sometimes you just want to watch a NICE story about some NICE boys from the East Coast escaping a life of crime through the miracle of song. And then you want a hot mug of Ovaltine, some evening news, and then maybe a little bit of fetish porn, because you’re not dead yet, DAMMIT!!!

My only issue with this whole enterprise really is the poster. SO CHEESY. “We’re just doo-wopping undah the streetlights, ma! 1950’s-ing it up, that’s what we’ah doin’!!! I’ve got my hip cocked, so you know I’m the trouble makah!”

Just a huge bowl of melted Velveeta, this poster. But… again… whatever. I’m sure this movie is going to make a lot of people very happy, despite it not containing a carnivorous plant monster with the voice of Levi Stubbs, or a Dolly Parton-run, Texas-based whorehouse, or a bunch of murderous women in prison and slinky flapper gear. But we all want different things from our musicals, I suppose.

As Above, So Below

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This movie looks straight-up terrifying. I’m not going to link to the trailer or anything, because the trailer is maybe a touch too spoiler-y and I don’t want to enable your constant need to ruin surprises for yourself… I mean, maybe THAT is a reason why you’re so unhappy all the time. Ever think about that? You never just sit back and let things happen… you never just ENJOY. “Oooh, let’s look at these set photos from Avengers: Age of Ultron! Maybe I can decipher some plot points from a grainy shot of Robert Downey Jr. drinking a cup of coffee while standing near a car! IS THOR IN THAT CAR OR POSSIBLY DARTH VADER??? Star Wars/Avengers crossover, y’all! NAILED IT!!!”

Anyway, the trailer is out there, if that’s the kind of life you want to lead. You could also just trust me, and trust this weird, monochromatic poster full of upside-down French things and skulls (also presumably French).

Now, I will say that there’s a chance… a CHANCE… that this movie only looks terrifying to me because it appears that the majority of the story takes places in dark, small spaces. I do not like dark, small places. Some would say that I am claustrophobic; I would say that the rest of the world is not claustrophobic ENOUGH. Having lots of space around you is, last time I checked, a good thing. People are always climbing into caves and running around in tunnels and GETTING IN SUBMARINES, oh my god, I would have to dig out parts of my brain with a grapefruit spoon if I ever found myself in a submarine. Fuck that.

Oh, but anyway, this movie is about “urban archeologists” [jerk-off motion] who go exploring for treasure [other hand joins in the jerk-off motion] deep within in the Paris Catacombs [hands stop making jerk-off motion, and instead cover mouth to stifle a girlish scream]. Once they’re all up in that claustrophobic death trap, they get menaced by… I don’t know… Gallic ghosts, or some shit. Who cares. The scary part is the endless miles of catacombs and how once you’re in there… a long, ways away from the surface lights… you’re probably never going to breath fresh air again. You’re going to die, afraid, so very alone, and in the darkest dark you’ve ever known. And no one will ever find you.

Great, I just fear-peed all over my laptop.

Blended

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Well, this is just a mess.

I encourage you click on the poster for a larger version.

Did you click on it? Does it feel like your eyes have been misted with vinegar? Did you get that icepick pain right behind your eyeballs, like you just took too hard a pull of a delicious cherry-flavored Slurpee?

I’m sorry I did that to you. That was mean. But you needed to see what I had seen, and I do not regret sending you out into the path of the sniper’s bullet (metaphorically speaking). Because now you KNOW. You’ve seen some shit, man. Literally, you’ve seen what might be the shittiest poster ever created with limited Photoshop skills and no sense of decency or good taste.

I’ve been forcing this poster on other people, too. I took a giant copy of the poster for Blended, an actual movie that real people spent a lot of money to make, out into the streets. I showed this poster to the masses in an effort to gauge what kind of reaction awaits Blended on its opening day. Herewith, the responses:

“What kind of God would allow something like this to happen?” Harold P., age 37

“I just realized that I have never loved my wife. So many wasted years…” Ezra L., age 76

“I was eating a cheeseburger when you showed me the movie poster for Blended, and now the cheeseburger literally has no taste at all. I can tell that it’s still warm, but the flavor has completely drained away. It actually has taken on a grayish pallor, too. That is very upsetting.” Ellen S., age 17

“If you come near me with that thing again, I will snuff out your life with as little thought or care as I would give to blowing out a candle. You are a monster. THEY… [points at poster, veins distending on neck]… THEY ARE ALL MONSTERS.” Hugh B., age 24

“Drew Barrymore is still ALIVE? No… that’s not possible… this poster is a sick joke, mocking the deceased. You’ve got a LOT of nerve, buddy.” Jenny C., age 45

“I’d probably rent that, but I wouldn’t pay movie theater prices to see it.” Steven D., age 32 [it should be noted that when I approached Steven D., he was wearing nothing but an extremely ill-fitting, faded Strawberry Shortcake babydoll t-shirt and some orthopedic running shoes, and was in the middle of diarrhea-ing into an open dumpster]

Warner Bros., you have my permission to use any of these quotes in any future advertisements for Blended.

Posterized

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

Into The Storm

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Sometimes, nature gets mad at us. With good reason, of course… we generally treat the planet we live on like frat guys treat an old couch. We beat it all to hell, we dump our shit (sometimes our literal shit) all over it, and then we’re like, “whatever Couch Earth, you smell bad, let’s get wasted on grain alcohol pizza drugs! WE ARE YOUTH!!!”

So, because we as a people are generally thoughtless assheads, the Earth occasionally tries to kill us all. Sometimes with tsunamis, sometimes with Lava Monsters (oh, they’re real), but sometimes… when the Earth is REALLY fucking cheesed at us… it will try to kill us with tornadoes. Tornadoes are terrifying. They are literally the manifestation of the concept of “destruction.” Maybe I’m just sensitive to their particular brand of horror because I grew up in a part of the world that is usually besieged by tornadoes every Spring, but they are, to me, the epitome of nature’s righteous hate. I pee a little when I hear a tornado siren, but don’t tell anyone I told you that.

Despite there literally being nothing scarier than a tornado… literally NOTHING, fuck your clowns and snakes and serial killers… MOVIES about tornadoes are a decidedly mixed bag. It’s no easy thing to capture that almighty fury. Twister did an okay job… probably the best out there… but it also took some pretty serious liberties with science all in the name of making Helen Hunt do her squinty Drama Face. I love that movie, don’t get me wrong. It’s just kind of brain-damaged. Plus there’s an “evil” storm chaser. C’mon.

ANYWAY, Into The Storm is about tornadoes. I guess it’s a found-footage movie? The trailer makes it look kind of okay. It appears that they’re treating tornadoes like they’re wind-based Godzillas, which is ENTIRELY ACCURATE. So good job, filmmakers!

Maleficent

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I don’t think I really “get” Angelina Jolie. I’ve enjoyed her presence in exactly ONE movie (that would be Hackers), and even in Girl, Interrupted, for which she won an Oscar, I’m not entirely sure she was aware she was being filmed for a film. Frankly, she has always seemed to me like an insane person who was lucky enough to be considered attractive by a large portion of the planet’s population, so… CONGRATS, HERE’S YOUR FAME. That’s the other thing; her looks. I’ll admit that she’s striking, but… and I guess this is just a testament to how the varied tapestry of human opinion is a multifaceted and wondrously unquantifiable thing… I don’t really find her all that attractive. For one thing, crazy is just such a weenie-shrinker for me. I’m not 21 anyone more. Crazy isn’t exotic. It’s exhausting. LET’S ADOPT MORE KIDS, AND HERE WEAR MY BLOOD!!! Please, lady… I have to work in the morning. Also, I don’t really require of the opposite sex cheekbones that could thinly slice beef.

NOW… with all that being said… I have to admit that there has quite possibly never been a more perfect Actor/Role match up than Angelina Jolie and Maleficent. Look at that fucking poster? She IS Maleficent. You could even say that this is the role Jolie was born to play, especially if you believe my admittedly-unproven theory that she is actually an Evil Queen in real life. Her on-set trailer was littered with cursed spinning wheels and poisoned apples anyway, so they might as well make a fucking movie about it.

Side Note: How close to the release of Maleficent will our nation’s fetish shops and sex toy emporiums start stocking movie tie-in latex and rubber bondage gear? I expect replicas of that horned headdress thingy to be atop the noggins of many a kinky weirdo within in a week of Maleficent hitting theaters.

The Other Woman

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This is a poster for a movie about… well, who gives a shit? It’s a movie poster that is made up almost entirely of Emoji. THAT’S all you need to know about The Other Woman. 20th Century Fox had all the advertising options available to them, and they went with Emoji.

So… I mean… what else is there to say? You can sit there at your computer, and you can read all my extremely obvious thoughts about how massively insulting this is, and about how it’s one of the most patronizing marketing moves I’ve EVER seen from a major motion picture studio, and how simply LOOKING at this poster is like rubbing crumpled tinfoil across your eyes until your vision is permanently warped and whitish goo is leaking from your pupils, OR… OR… you can just watch this video of a Panda doing “The Nae Nae:”

Watch it a few times right in a row. See… that’s such a better use of our time! And… BONUS… it’s not a thing made of fucking Emojis!

We got through this one together, guys. We’re forever bonded, like war veterans. EXACTLY LIKE WAR VETERANS, don’t sass me. I can see it in your face, mister and/or missy. You got a sassy face.