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Fail-Safe (1964)
10/10
The most horrific film in history
23 February 2014
I will be required to add more words to the statement: There is no greater horror which lurks on a daily basis in the nuclear world. We may have grown ignorant and clouded in the mind to the potential of nuclear war. Generations don't ever think about it. This film expresses the fine line which lies between unarmed and armed weaponry, bloated to the tune of trillions of dollars out of control, atomized control, not a sort of control within human nature. This film is the embodiment of the loss of control, the realization of human stupidity, and a lesson in restraint. I have to add more lines....... Restraint restraint restraint.
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Weeds: Red in Tooth and Claw (2012)
Season 8, Episode 5
1/10
Uncle Andy, I want to keel you!
17 December 2013
Nothing else to report on this one except the absolutely infuriating scene where Andy has a gorgeous, truly gorgeous, naked woman on skates waiting for him, and he rambles on for minutes ........... literally minutes, with some weak uncharacteristic Uncle Andy monologue reminiscent of a Pinter sketch, not at all worth his season 2 salt, and nor would he waste such time when free sex was about. The writers have lost it. Uncle Andy........ ............ ........ .................. ........... ............. ..... .........NAIL HER! I have to type more lines for this to be posted, reminiscent of that speech. Oh gorgeous naked woman, I shall not ravage you, no indeed, I shall instead ramble on because I am required to fill ten lines, and minutes of bad television. Bah! Rule 1: nail her.
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3/10
God is a brand conscious uselessly random facilitating member of PETA
9 July 2013
Upstream Color is a painfully obvious, decidedly slow biblical story of Adam and Eve coupling with a 21st century sprinkling of parallel universe mechanics tossed in for nifty flavor. It reminds me somewhat of Steambath, which meets Tree of Life, all with innumerable multiple existences for forced gee whiz factor. The film essentially equates humans with swine, a not unappreciated nod to our lack of satiation in our daily existence. The creator, who seems to torture nearly all of the multiple incarnations of our two hapless and mostly miserable starring human beings, takes on the role of hog farmer. We get it, thank you... Plot does not exist, instead we are forced to gape at the endless inane realities which our daily lives might inhabit if only some pretty actors mumbled through it. You want this film to be good, to overstep the bounds of other agnostic efforts. The bummer is, it all sucks, we all are pigs (imagine!), life is just a carousel of fleeting moments of joy surrounded by the truly random humdrum of stage management by a God who could not give a pigs ass about us all. This film is a student project funded to life, but is just plain dull.
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Total Recall (I) (2012)
5/10
Quaid two point oh...
3 January 2013
"You're alone, you can't get away.... is it us?" This is actually a well done remake of a not so good film. This version has excellent futuristic biscuits, pseudo Blade Runner claustrophobia, and an excellently played pair in Colin Farrell and Kate Beckinsale. Their faux-marriage works tidily, although if you didn't know the story from Dick, you might find that her reversal is hasty and without wicked conviction. So the story is already knows: Quaid is, or is he not, a highly trained killer agent who has had his memory wiped, only to be sparked by a computer implanted vacation firm called Rekall. How he would be let near such a potentially subversive catalyst is beyond the story, and yes, he goes in for a memory vacation, just like Arnold did. The remainder of the story follows the same path, but better, and Beckinsale is truly an ass kicker. Still, Quaid follows the storybook path laid out in 1990, although with finer CGI effects and decidedly better action sequences. Yet, one waits for Quaid to awake from what we are led to believe is the Rekall spy fantasy, and you know what? He never does. It plays expectantly into the twist of the story, which is that perhaps he has never left his mind trip headset. Is the iconic end, the common factory worker Quaid winds up lost in a purchased fantasy forever, a good end? Well, that is the whole damn story, but it is an exciting journey to get to the matrix for what it is worth. Enjoy.
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War Horse (2011)
1/10
The worst maudlin horse loving drivel since Death Race 2000
22 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I rented this film because it was Spielberg. My three bucks has garnered me the worst of his films, bar none. A veritable platoon of first rate actors star in this war film-cum soap equine soap opera, and it seems that the lot slink through this bloated mass of derivative waste.

Essentially, it is about an earnest boy whose old man pays a small fortune in a bidding war with his landlord for a feisty horse, who promises his father that he will not regret losing the farm due to this rampantly impulsive auction bid. Set the stage for the Little Engine That Whinnied. It basically digresses from there. Lad whispers the horse into plowing the stony, worthless field, thus saving the family plot (we guess, there is no resolution), and half the village seems to turn out to witness the inevitable plowing victory. Robbed of the brief but satisfying victory, the film instead marches forth into WWI, and our horse, reminiscent of Bill the pony in The Lord of the Rings (as if he understood), gets hauled off into service, although somehow paid for by the captain who will mount him. For the same auction sum, no less. Honestly, afterword, it drags on as the "miracle horse" charms absolutely everyone who comes into contact with him, is captured by Germans, who perform traitorous acts in order to keep him from the front line/food line/plow line. Of course, when Joey, I think his name is Joey, leads the plow dragging cannons which kill his English kin, he is heroic and driven, but horse face closeups show what might be his regret. Then, blah blah blah, our English lad is opposite the German front lines which house the horse, is maimed, the horse escapes in a Costneresque suicide sprint to the other side, and after a ridiculous moment of armistice, is reunited with his boy. Who needs this? It sucks. Truly the worst film from this legendary director.
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8/10
Score! Thief! Music! Baggins!
15 December 2012
I am a fan boy. The LOTR films are my favorite film collections of all time, including The Godfather. That said, while watching The Hobbit today on opening day, I realized how drastically important the score is to these films. Chiming back to the LOTR, the score truly drew the viewer into the heart of the film. It was the third leg of the joy and success of it, the other two being cinematography and script/acting. Now I am not complaining that this is not a copy of the Fellowship of the Ring, nor was that was I was hoping to see. The Hobbit, on the other hand, is a rather cold rendition, a rote calling in of story and plot, brutally hindered by a musical score which serves to do nothing but act as background. Howard Shore may have been under orders, or a defiant desire to create a brand new piece with little relation to LOTR musically. This musical departure was like a knife in the dark, or a shot from left field. Imagine seeing Jaws without the essential soundtrack, or Close Encounters, or Star Wars for that matter. Granted, it is a sadly focused complaint to only bitch about the score, but I'M SERIOUS, it derailed the love for The Hobbit. There were normal Jackson-esque liberties with the story, such as a completely different circumstance of Bilbo actually finding the ring (I assumed this might support Gandalf's suspicions of finding the ring in the next two films, but Jackson did lay it out in the Fellowship backstory quite clearly...) The Dwarfs are excellent, beautifully cast, and less slapstick than the book lends to. In fact, The Hobbit is much darker than the book, although there are moments of absurdity and even stooge camp. It's fun, but it is largely dialed in, dark, and seems like the first leg in an action trio instead of the first film you want to grow to love the characters and story with. Perhaps the director change from Del Toro to Jackson actually resulted into a dialed in film. There isn't much heart, but there are great action scenes. The best big bad guy of the past 20 years, the Great Goblin (Barry Humphries), is my new favorite. His quivering jowl is impossible to look away from, except his eye and expression steal the movie. We are left at a convenient spot for film 2. Jackson is going to have to work some major magic wonder in the second film to make up for the rather mundane first. The next two films, in total package, need to be better. Sorry, Pete.
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8/10
Excellent. Infuriating. Frightening
12 November 2012
Short and sweet, Park Avenue is an excellent documentary about the class warfare in existence in the US. It succinctly blends figures with interviews into a fabric of one hour of eye popping financial realities for the uninitiated. The vast sums of money at work from a tiny fraction of our nation, but imbued with enormous wealth, control the strings of democracy. This one hour piece puts it together into one very powerful, useful, and important message, culminating with the fruits of market deregulation which nearly brought down the entire nation: the Great Recession and crash of 2008. Watch it. I would challenge the conservative to view this objectively and come away with the same laissez faire attitudes toward our nation.
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Film Geek (2005)
7/10
Squeeze one off
1 October 2012
Film Geek is an excellent fantasy for any guy who has stood at the sink and squeezed one out. You know you have.... I did just the other night. That said, what the hell is wrong with a well made nerd done good story? Nothing, if it is spot on, and Film Geek is. Of course it is improbable, yet it is such a genuine sad sack coming of reckoning film, you have to like it. The absolute geek manner of Scotty, at times he even causes you to roll your eyes, whose genuine nature draws in the nerd viewer due to the purely over the top dumpkopftnedness (new word), is wonderfully earnest. He fumbles, he is quite simply retarded, he knows no boundaries. Still, this allows all of us to rest humorously in the viewing security that we ourselves, surely, didn't do so blatantly badly with women, or even the most basic social situations. In that way, we all fall in love with Scotty, which is part of the whole directive. Awkward nerds rejoice, we can still find a hopeful and victorious way out. Why not love this film? I did.
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Method (2004)
2/10
Pretentious methodical mess.
21 April 2012
Jeremy Sisto and Elizabeth Hurley very earnestly work hard to make this shockingly bad film decent, but they simply can't. It is a maudlin mess of poorly written and directed dreck from Duncan Roy. Plot summary already attached to this film's IMDb posting, I will dispense with much of the redundant plot summary, but when Hurley barks out of the shack door to drifter Sisto's character "Hey, can you mend a fey-ance?" (it is turn of the century Indiana after all, so expect heavy accents), I knew this thing was heading down state in a durn hurry. Perhaps five minutes later, gentleman callers are arranged by mail to come see the impossibly beautiful Hurley to arrange marriage. With heavy brows does our fence fixer Sisto disapprove of Hurley's mail order suitors, referred to as her brother. Do we even need to delve into the budding melodrama of this period piece? Wait! O dreaded gimmicks, worse than a triptych, first person narrative, or chapter supertitles, we are fed a steaming dish of a film within a film. My word, I don't think this kind of thing has ever been done before! Oh wait, well, you know. The only interesting things about Method are Hurley's beauty, Sisto's effort, and the infamous off screen battles between the insane director Duncan Roy and Liz Hurley. The final product, though, stinks to high heaven.
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The Benny Hill Show (1969–1989)
7/10
The man was a comedy machine, prolific and perfectly flawed
1 April 2012
Growing up in the 70's and early 80's, Benny Hill delivered nearly as much joy as the other (rightfully) more famous British comedy show Monty Python, but to compare the two is terribly unfair. Hill was a tour de force of one: a relentless vaudevillian master of slapstick in an age when the genre had already fallen by the wayside. His skill owes to ensemble hasty vaudeville comedic theater of the depression era onward, to the Three Stooges, to Victor Borge, perhaps especially to Borge. Hill blesses his audience with seemingly off the cuff witty musical comedies, almost like it is an early comedic rap. Political satire runs rampant through his shows, at times flying from his wry mouth so quickly that I suspect even normally randy BBC censors missed half of it. And women? Well, he eternally treated young women as objects to be both desired and ridiculed, just like bald old men. Is it politically correct? Blessedly not, nor would a show like his fly through the gauntlet of pursed lipped disapproval which kills shows today. Even Married With Children would fly like a lead zeppelin in the 21st century. A little ass and tit grabbing, followed by a slap of outrage, often times on an innocent balding old man, is what audiences today could use. Benny Hill delivers a variety style of show which will likely never again see production. It is crass, it is boob-centric, it is often worse than cheesy, all of which makes it a television gem. I love this show, and I love Benny Hill, no matter how hated he may have been...
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1/10
Monkeys would fling their feces at this thing.
30 March 2012
M'kay, where to begin? I should begin by stating that I have never read the books. I am told, by my extremely reliable and well read sister in law that the books are quite riveting, and I do want to read them. So then, on to the film... I have seen worse. Waterworld comes to mind, as does the music video for the 1986 Bears Super Bowl Champions, The Super Bowl Shuffle (not technically a film). The casting in Hunger Games was excellent, so there is that, and Jennifer Lawrence has an ethereal quality which is really quite lovely.

That I have not read the books is quite likely a blessing, because I can only imagine that fans of the novel would fling their own poo at the screen in outrage over this painful puke of a film. I will dispense with character development, because there is NONE, but suffice it to say that what passes as character development passes swiftly and seemingly without consequence, although I learned to my chagrin that this is part 1 of 3 anticipated films, so who knows, perhaps part 2 will be "Hunger for Character Motivation and Emotion Games". One can only hope, or not.

Everyone already seems to know the premise of this film: it is an amalgam of Running Man, Lord of the Flies, Logan's Run, and The 5th Element. In fact, the worst part of this dreck is the preponderance of foppish dandies in heavy handed 5th Element outfits and hair styles, who make up the population of what I assume was the rich and succored 13th colony in this post-apocalyptic world. The remaining 12 colonies, who participated in an uprising 75 years prior, are now being continually punished for being bad years ago by being forced to send one male and one female teen to cut each others throats in a battle to the death called The Hunger Games. The reward, perhaps, is that the colonies are all not systematically annihilated, partly in thanks for sending their best and brightest in this random drawing. Oh, did I mention that Shirley Jackson's The Lottery also plays a prominent inspiration? One credibility problem is that not one single character, or actor really, in the poorest and hungriest of colonies (number 12) looks remotely hungry. Granted, they are not as robust as I am, but as poverty and hunger are the driving influence in these people's existence, hunger and desperation should at least seem evident in them. Instead, we are given a cursory flashback of a loaf of bread being tossed to our lead teen Katniss, flung in the mud and rain, instead of to the hogs which were supposed to receive said dinner. She seems grateful, but it is hard to tell, perhaps she is just an angry teen. Point is: folks are hungry, but we can't devote any more time, screen effort, or find realistically starved acting actors to portray that state of being.

Part 2: Katniss is flung into the games themselves. She captures the wealthy dandies just by being herself. HERSELF.. imagine. "But I'm not good at making friends or talking to people...". "honey, just be yourself". Yawn. Actually, she kind of captures the crowd in part by the unmotivated aid of a drunken Woody Harrelson, who basically instructs her of the ways of TV's Survivor (oh, did I mention this is similar to Survivor as well? Except they don't kill each other in that television show, and they should). His advice: make people like you by giving them what they want: wide eyed honest hotness, young love, and shooting arrows up the wazoos of the aristocracy, figuratively speaking of course. BOOM, they love her! She gets an 11 out of 10. On to the actual battle royale, or the Running Man. Improbably alliances are formed, among the most bloodthirsty pig head crowd as well, who would kill each other in their sleep given the slightest chance, yet his gang lasts until nearly the end of the games. Wrong, the head GI Joe-Aryan boy would have quietly slit the throats of his alliance competitors in sleep and taken their stuff, but whatever, I guess we have a film to run here. Eventually, through little directly violent death, in fact the famed violence of the book is nowhere to be found in this film at all, the bad guys get it, and our victor(s) are handed the trophy of life, but only after one last flipping of the bird at the system (the freakin system, man!) by attempting to exit the game in an unexpected and unsportsmanlike manner. We are left with the clear expectation of episode 2 (boooo!), when Donald Sutherland, the President, raises an eyebrow (episode 2!), scowls, and sticks his ass to the camera and marches back upstairs to his tall tower. I. Just. Can't. Wait. Thhhbbbbpththhht.

OK, it wasn't an epic fail, like Job Bob Jones, or whatever that Disney flop is named right now, and there were a few genuine moments of excitement and tension, but three exciting scenes does not a quarter billion dollar film make. Between those sort of decent moments (which held whispers of First Blood and even Avatar) was a giant tedious mess. Also, the Truman Show-inspired all controlling and hovering Big Brother/show producer/God aspect was distracting and unfair to the premise of the games to begin with. Yes, it was like a Death Race 2000-esque television show for the sweaty gambling masses, complete with betting odds, but I actually turned on my phone to see what time it was and thus how much longer this thing had to continue on. Blurg. I'm sure a much better adaptation could have been made.
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7/10
Delightfully made with tongue in cheek talent
20 March 2012
Very short review, more of a simple yawp of praise. These kinds of fan based productions are amateur jewels made on the passion and dedication of everyone involved, even coughing up their own cash. Trek Phase 2 is filled with gloriously, and I think purposefully, skewed acting and dialogue, sprinkled with surprisingly good special effects. In fact, they are far better than the original, and dialed back for our retro enjoyment. The cast rotates in both an effort to find both cohesion, but also a dedicated group donating their time and talents. It varies, and also improves. The best part of this series is quite simply that these people are creating a labor of love. It reminds me of The Lord Of The Rings: The Hunt For Gollum, another fan based production which was a pure joy. Negative critics and poo-pooers of Star Trek Phase 2 should just shut their yaps, because I have no doubt that all of them, universally, are not contributing toward anything even approaching to this level, for free no less, to the ungrateful and testy internet world. Dog bless EVERYONE involved with this production, because it is simply wonderful. Thank you.
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Drive (I) (2011)
5/10
A man with no name and no script and a ridiculous soundtrack.
18 February 2012
I truly wanted to love Drive, but it fails in numerous ways. Everyone reading IMDb reviews already know the film, or rather, no one is trawling the database reviews for popcorn night ideas. You've already seen it. So, dispensing with story lines, all I can say is that Drive was speed-bumped first and foremost by the implausible love motivation of the driver, and his single mom neighbor with a heart of gold. This man is stone cold, yet rather instantly succumbs to her withheld charms, and further, her son takes familial interest even sooner. Enough. It was a cheap device to propel the vacuous story. Second, I have never been so gagged by a soundtrack. It reeks of cheap 80's rom coms, Valley Girl coming to mind. There are some excellent second chapter tracks which cement the grit of the middle of the film, but the beginning and end both SUCK with bad musical choices. In fact, they ruin the film. Sorry, but it is true. So, bring a Hot Wheels pre-pubescent tough guy car fantasy into a train wreck of the sound of 80's angst, and you have a pile which could have been wildly better. Ruined by sound? I'm afraid so. A decent film could have been made great here, but it just didn't happen.
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8/10
A gorgeous lesson in the question of human existence
3 January 2012
To give much credence to plot, or a lack thereof, is to do a vast disservice to The Tree of Life. In fact, plot is irrelevant. Character is, in part, also irrelevant. The crux of the film is simply to impart the lesson that existence is small, simple, non-magical, inevitable, yet also worthy of real moments, and worthy of love. Beyond that, life is unanswerable, and to even deign to ask the question of "why are we here?" is a futile hurling as time and space move about us without regard and impact from ourselves. Two questions are asked which bring focus to the entire piece: "Why was he born?", with regard to Brad Pitt's seemingly harsh and dispassionate father character. The other, non question rather statement, is "The only thing to do is to love." There is no point in asking why, what for, how come, to what ends, from what beginning? We just are, suck it up and face that fact. We do have the capacity to love, to do good, or ill, and this is the only gift and point that we are given. This sums up Malick's lesson in humanity. Otherwise, to not love, well, you pass through your human experience in swift uselessness. I found this a beautiful exercise in the letting go of ego, and accepting the chaotic nature of life, the universe, and everything.
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Priest (2011)
5/10
Not vampire, and just wasted film
31 December 2011
Christopher Plummer does not make many appearances in vamp films today. In fact, he never does. He knows well enough to stay away, generally, but this was a big budg piece of plonk which must have offered the whole of the cast a hefty paycheck. There is no serious character development, which forces the viewer to assume either mullet head acceptant crap, or slack jawed viewing crap. The first 50% of the film asks that you ride the trail of the second half which should be equally good. It's just not. Yes, lots of good actors exercise their skill here, especially Bettany, but the latter half of the film just completely loses any tension and flavor.
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5/10
Such a weak film of an otherwise wonderful musical
28 December 2011
Inexplicably, Robert Morse is ruinously cast in the lead role of what is an otherwise wonderful musical film. Smarmy, greasy, snotty, and any other number of descriptors can be stuck to his performance of a role which can and has been played so lovingly and better by less obvious actors. J Pierpont Finch is written as a sort of everyman who earnestly seeks employment and advancement in wide eyed but nice moves inspired by a self improvement tome with the film's title. Morse rather develops a brown-nosing loveless character who holds no more sympathy than does the clear douchebag of the musical. Pierpont should be a lovable kid who is working systems he doesn't necessarily fathom. He is not a jerk as written, but Morse just makes him gross. The musical itself is wonderful, and could be considered a classic. If the producers required more friendly performances, what they got instead from some was simplified and goofy indicating acting. I have seen stage versions which were so so much better when played with a genuine awe-shucks approach, which nailed it. This film needs redoing. I believe in you.
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Lunopolis (2010 Video)
8/10
One of the better of its genre.
1 December 2011
Lunopolis is a superior and riveting sci-fi exploration into the docu- style which was soundly poured all over the popular film scene by The Blair Witch Project, and since carried on many times since. But, The Witch Project has absolutely nothing on Lunopolis. This film both pulls you wonderfully and helplessly in, yet also introduces a few mind bending quantum concepts (multi-verses, time travel, even what we call ghosts) into a gaping spectator style film perfect for the somewhat jaded elder infoweb generation. The story involves the crew who in their relentless curiosity, unlikely find an object which may alter space, time, and perhaps all of history. Still, this discovery becomes almost secondary to their genuine fear, insatiable childlike need to know, and pervasive want to bail out on the whole thing and save their asses after they realize that they are not alone. They do not want to believe, yet they are forced to run when pursued by a largely ineffective sorta Mormon-esque Scientologist Lunarian hit men squad (and why so merely verbally menacing? are they there to just push them forward?). They miraculously escape again and again. That they are spared does not detract from the inevitability of their quest. They meet strangely learned people, but they remain shrouded and not overly helpful. Thankfully, no cinematic, physics or sci-fi theoretical concept is slathered in sugar and dragged excessively across the stymied crew's faces too greatly, and the pacing is quite relentlessly perfect. It's an excellent film to gape slackjawed at, be a little wowed at, and yet still believe in it's possibility. X Files fans might definitely like this. The fourth wall, being broken by the nature of the film in the first place, never tires, nor is burdened by any overly prescient character narration. It's a great watch, a late night movie to enjoy.
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Hi Ralph!
4 September 2011
This is Shepherd's first full length American Playhouse film, and all the stops are pulled. The great James Broderick establishes the original Old Man, a performance to which the other Old Men strive to hit. Everyone loves Darren McGavin in A Christmas Story, but somehow Broderick best captures the ennui of the real character: life is hard and it happens, and it's best to look from a slight distance with awe and amusement. These films really are about the Old Man, as narrated by Ralphie, relating the fast and bewildering trip from childhood into adulthood with nostalgia and soft focus. There are more hard lessons and subtle narrative humor truer to Shep's radio programs in Open Hearth than the subsequent, but also glorious films. This one sets the bar, with a shoestring budget, Orpheum organ music, perfect narration, and loosely connected stories. It's much like the sleeker and loved films from the 80's, but with a freshness that the others can't beat. Meet the leg lamp, meet mom and the Old Man, meet nearly silent Randy, and of course the earnest rube Ralphie. This one is low budget joy, and because it is great, it gave birth to the rest. "It was alive, unparalleled glory..." Yes it was. See this. It's now full length on the infoweb.
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In the parking lot, we had nothing.
9 August 2011
I admire gatherings of misfits, especially those who know they are nothing more than nerds, geeks, slackers, slobs, and loving brothers of such a strange and lonely tree house. The Parking Lot Movie appeals to the D+D player, the skater, the self titled hermit who holds some small sway over the flood of money, cars, and assholes which roll incessantly over us all small people. These parking lot attendants hold sway over those otherwise removed and privileged SUV driving douche bags in a delicious and terrible manner. Fine, who needs further fuel to fan the flames of their disdain for the sorority chick, the frat boy, or the soccer mom? No one, but you can't help but love these fantastically over educated, smarmy snidely lords of the lot. It makes you want to lose any drive, and sidle in with a group of smack talking punks of your own. You know you know them, or knew them, and you want to be a part of their lordship. It is as endearing as anything I've seen in the past year, and they don't pretend anything at all. It's just a fracking parking lot, yet they rule, and they all love it. Fun doc to watch.
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10/10
The finest Jean Shepherd film ever.
17 July 2011
The Great American 4th of July reigns supreme as the best of the Jean Shepherd films, including A Christmas Story. It is a very rarely seen creation of Shep from the American Playhouse series of films with PBS, never ommercially released, but blessedly is now on you tube in sequential parts. This is a MUST SEE by any fan of A Christmas Story, Jean Shepherd, or Matt Dillon for that matter. Dillon can't be a day over 16 in this when he played Ralphie, older here than in the Christmas Story setting, but better than Dillon, the great James Broderick plays "The Old Man" to such a fine degree that lovers of Darren McGavin's performance might change their loyalty.

The film loosely revolves around the 4th of July and more of Shep's stories, but its joy is the simple, classic Shepherd narrative story telling and characterization. That Dillon and Broderick starred in this glorious piece firmly places it in the ranks all time no-budget glory. They are perfect. The film is perfect. Plot matters not at all as does the sheer urgency of seeing it. It's another amalgam of Shep's stories which are welded together in film. It's all brilliant, touching, hilarious, and so wonderful. You may find yourself repeating "Hi Ralph!" after watching, for the rest of your days, and that would be a good thing.
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8/10
It is OK to get high and hurt yourself with laughter
23 June 2011
There is no chance that Tiger Lily has "lost it's luster" with age. In fact, you can see it's influence on the Police Squad genre of absurd discordance, Farrelly brothers crudity, South Park, Robot Chicken, and any other irreverent, politically incorrect gutter swamped comedies. It is so funny from start to finish (except for those Lovin' Spoonful inserts) that you won't even hit all the jokes with two viewings. Watching What's Up Tiger Lily is better than bong hitting your way through Big Bambu on tape, in a dorm room, when you hear new jokes every single time you laugh through it. Far better. That Allen and company layered so much satire and subtlety in one film is astounding. There is no reason to explain the plot, as there really isn't one, but that is not the point. This is absurd to the extreme, and you can't sell me enough egg salad to prove otherwise. Get baked, and bust your gut watching it. You will never forget your first Tiger Lily...
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Takers (2010)
4/10
What happens when manic direction ruins a decent core film
27 May 2011
This will be short and sweet. No power cast, including the always fine Matt Dillon, can save this film driven over the edge of mania. A solid heist plot, cop/buddy internal affairs drama, this film might have been good, but it is just ruined by what can only be a drug fueled spasm of style and direction. It runs in 6 directions at once always. Never does it allow for any sort of character or plot development, nor does it use its few well staged and located action scenes to any ends but terrible chaotic editing which derails every possible scene. Under other hands, slow hands, this could have been a tense and well acted (which it is) Heist meets Heat film. Unfortunately, it's a mess. A cocaine fueled Hollywood waste of money and talent. Watch it and sigh.
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8/10
A teaching of the Yaqui Way, Yooper style. Excellent.
5 May 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Escanaba is really a wonderful, existential exploration into Yooper mysticism, if such a thing truly exists. It takes place in the hunting cabin handed down through generations, to which such local importance is placed on "bagging the buck" that our hero (Jeff Daniels) is effectively made a local leper for never shooting one. He is presented with a gift of sorts to remedy this malady. Yes, it has glorious fart jokes, indecipherable up north speak, euchre (for those who know, it's a great euchre scene), and basic base dumb guy humor. The undercurrent of this film runs far deeper, and shouldn't be dismissed as it is by the detractors here on IMDb. Strains of family ties, disappointment, and self loathing dominate, but also love binds this film into a strange but cohesive journey toward one mans self discovery through attempted slaughter of a buck. This is far deeper than the casual viewer might give it credit. It takes fantastic, surreal turns. In other stories, similar characters to Jeff Daniel's Reuben traverse the sojourn into the metaphysical state fueled by various psychedelic drugs, cacti, or what have you. In this case, it seems to be fueled by porcupine pee and other unsavory fluids, drunk by all and sundry in the hunting cabin. All participate in what might be called an ongoing porcupine fueled group hallucination, but is it? In the end, as we might expect (and hope), Daniels finds his redemption. I defy anyone not to be happy in this conclusion. I loved this play adapted to film, and I fling poo at those who call it "bad", they just don't get it. Escanaba In Da Moonlight is wonderful.
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Mala Noche (1986)
8/10
You drive like you f**k
29 April 2011
There are few gay, or straight, films which fling such disturbed and desperate lead characters into the sparkly gutter like Mala Noche. That summary is trite at best, but to watch this movie is to fall into a film noir which won't give you any love back. Excellent and gobsmackingly short-ish cash register rings of warning. Don't embrace these sickly, nasty characters, but do get enveloped. You can't help it. Everyone sucks, everyone is dirty, nasty, and sadly dreamy. Gus made a gorgeous pile of human stink with this one, and it is completely addictive. Fabulous film. Gus Van Sant may have jumped the shark with some later stuff, but this, boy, this is good. Fans of grit say: Must see.
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Bad Boy Bubby (1993)
10/10
So good, it sets the bar for cult movie status henceforth
1 April 2011
Bubby is a nightmare of a feel good film. It begins with our boy Bubby as an abused, starved, manipulated man child who sees the world in colorless, abstract extremes of terror. He clings to moments of the rare affection with his horrifically bad mother, who then turns back onto him with viciousness and confinement. He is physically an adult, but emotionally and intellectually a compulsive, neglected idiot child beast at best, retarded by one of the worst mother characters in film history. Utterly panicked by his mother's mysterious warnings of the outside world, which is to be feared and will kill you with poison. Eventually, through an extraordinary series of unforgettably nasty and undeservedly violent homeward events, he escapes and is forced to confront his fears and reality. Reality becomes bent around Bubby's innocent and pantomimic experience with the world around him. He is both taken in to be cared for, and abused, always with guileless acceptance of the innate harshness of the world by our protagonist. He knows no judgment, and has nothing to measure his experiences to. Eventually, for lack of a better explanation, he becomes a rock star cult hero. Bubby is attributed with mastery of art and magnetism of which he knows nothing, but which is sucked up by a seething popular audience. The popular turn in his fortunes still don't affect him at all, and he wanders around his world with the gaping comprehension of no more than a mirror. Human love and emotion eventually find him, and he grasps this in a very unconventional way which would find the "normal" man in the loony bin or prison, Bubby finds fulfillment, love, and redemption. Honestly, Bad Boy Bubby is the most disturbing feel good film I've ever seen. Further, the first 30 minutes are a great litmus test of whether or not your friend/lover/film buff can handle your appreciation for twisted art. Truly awesome.
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