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It's a New Holiday Classic
I'll break this one out around the holidays just so I can say that I get into the spirit of x-mas. You see, I'm a very aggressive atheist, so I don't do the Christmas stuff at all, but as a kid I did obtain some holiday season habits that have nothing to do with religion at all. Watching certain movies is one of them. Scrooged is a pretty good film. It's funny in parts, but for me it's mainly nostalgia. This movie hasn't nearly stood the test of time as well as I would have thought it would. It's got it's parts though. Some bits of this movie are as quotable as they come.
This is the perfect, feel good, holiday film for the season. It's non-religious except for the Christmas stuff, but, modern Christmas is about as Christian as a Slayer concert.
Sam Dunn hits it out of the park with this documentary film.
This doc is completely awesome in every way I can think of stuff being awesome. It's not even perfect, and there's some things in this film that I don't like. However, to be honest with you, most of this doc is so informative, and fun to watch that I still consider it to be one of the best documentaries ever made.
First off, let me give Sam Dunn some props. He's a lifelong head-banger himself, so he's as qualified as anyone should need to be to lead this film. I am also a lifelong head-banger. I also had to defend my love of this style of music to my parents, teachers, and friends, so I understand where his interest in this approach to the subject comes from. I'm sure most fans of heavy metal can attest to being faced with similar challenges while growing up, and it was good to see that I am not alone. This was a recurring theme in the film. That if you are a metal fan, you may be told or feel that you are weird, that you're a real outsider, but in fact, you have a lot of allies out there in the world. I also like the fact that Sam Dunn has the educational background he does, and is obviously making something productive and positive out of his life because too many people do write off metal heads as being stupid, low class, criminal, uncultured, and most likely, introverted, out of touch, and mentally unstable. He seems like a real good person in general, a friendly and talented guy, and a good person to be an ambassador for metal heads everywhere.
This doc is an investigative film that asks lots of questions, and it gives lot of answers in return. I can't imagine a true fan of music, no matter what kind, not appreciating the goals of Sam Dunn and his crew in this film. Simply, he was looking to find an answer to why heavy metal music, and it's fans, have been stigmatized and labeled as this horrible thing in our society. This is interesting stuff, and it's about time someone stood up and asked the questions, answered them, and presented it all in a package that no one can discount as being, "low-brow." Metal heads across the globe for over 30 years have been asking this very question, and it's nice to see someone really tackle it like this.
The heavy metal, "tree," is a really cool thing, and while I hate the fact that too many discussions surrounding heavy metal spiral downward into arguments over what sub-genre a certain band does or doesn't fall into, it's a really well thought out visual aid to the film. There is so many great interviews in here, and most of them are from really great people. With only a few exceptions, I agreed with the views of the people being interviewed, but there were a few that left me scratching my head and yelling at the screen. Some of them were way off base, but that's okay, it only serves to bring light to the fact that many people can't, or won't, "get," heavy metal music.
But like Sam Dunn says at the end of the film, "that's okay," and I agree with him completely in that, no matter if other people understand why I love heavy metal so much, the fact is, I do love it and I do, "get it." I'm glad I'm not alone.
Party Monster (1998)
There's nothing to spoil here.
I caught the end of "Party Monster" the movie starring Macaulay Culkin, and it sparked my curiosity to watch the documentary.
This doc is fairly bare bones looking, but it tells the whole story I think. Since this film isn't covering ancient history, there are lots of living people around that can be interviewed for fleshing out the story. However, after watching the movie for 5 minutes you realize that all of these people were more than likely completely zapped on multiple drugs while the covered events were happening, so how much do they remember and how accurate is it? We'll never know. This story sounds really simple to me, too simple really. Michael Alig became very famous for promoting parties, he had access to lots of drugs, and lots of people who catered to this party all the time lifestyle.
I am going to sound like a downer by saying this, but I can't see any substance at all in any of the Club Kids. Was this all their lives was about? Pretty pathetic and meaningless if you ask me. Getting high and dressing up to go to get more messed up with a bunch of other idiots. This wasn't a very entertaining film to me. I guess the story is just all too familiar. Small town kid goes to the big city, gets some success, this causes a tragic spiral towards self destruction, the end. Blame it on the current state of our media if you want, but I am personally not shocked anymore by stories of drug abuse and the crimes committed by mentally unstable drug addicts.
Hilariously tragic view into "The Biz"
Over the course of three viewings I have finally seen this entire film.
The first time I started watching this film it was about the halfway point. I caught it just when things were starting to roll for the boys in the band. It was intriguing to see how arrogant and disrespectful Troy was to his band mates and friends. Yet they tolerated his abuse, and plodded on, thinking that there was going to be a big payday on the horizon that would make it all worth it. Eventually, I pieced the rest of the film together over two more viewings, and as one piece it's a doozy.
First off, I am so glad someone decided to put a camera on this whole situation. It's seems crazy at times to think that Troy Duffy would say and do all that he did with a camera on him, on what seems like an around the clock basis. I don't know about you, but I have this little voice in the back of my head that tells me not to do things, and when I am on video, that voice gets even louder. Whoever was taping Troy had to have been saying to himself, "one day, this is going to be worth it." This film goes up and down, over and over. One minute Troy is nice to everybody, he's happy, they're getting deals made, or so they think. Then a hurdle is overcome, they celebrate, the deal falls through, and Troy goes ballistic on everyone within arms reach. Rinse, Repeat.
I'm willing to bet that Troy has been in quite a few fist fights in his life. There is no way a person can walk around being that proud of themselves, despite not being a very good person, and not find a few guys willing to throw haymakers at him.
I loved how this movie brought to light how crazy the lust for fame and fortune can make people. The pursuit of fame and fortune drove Troy to be a major pain in the ass for lots of people. It also drove his band mates to tolerate his behavior. I love this movie, it's tragic and funny, it's sad and true and realistic, but I don't feel a bit downtrodden when I watch it. Even though the film doesn't show anyone but Troy acting like a obvious dick, (he kinda takes the cake for being a dick), I don't feel bad for them at all. The band must have needed him much more than Troy needed the band. Otherwise they would have dumped Troy just as quickly as everyone else did.
Easy Rider (1969)
Freedom does scare the stupid.
This film is wildly popular with a certain type of person, but it's just as easy to find "that" other type of person who can't stand Easy Rider and see nothing positive about it. After watching this film, you will no doubt have realized that there was two main kinds of characters in this story. One was the character that was open minded, tolerant, and accepting of the world. The other type of character was hateful, close-minded, violent, and very scared of character number one and all the things that those kind of characters represent.
First off, this is what today we would call an independent film. This movie was very renegade when it came out in the market. This particular DVD has a documentary called "Shaking the Cage" inside the extras sub menu. Great documentary, and the title says it all. Hopper and Fonda showed classic American balls by making this movie, and making it in the manner they did. Can you tell whose side I'm on yet? The photography is amazing. All of the road shots in this movie are stunning to look at, and the locations throughout the film are real, gritty, and distinctive. I imagine that even if this film would have had a huge budget, it still would have appeared to be very raw. Hopper obviously wasn't making a fantasy movie here, he crafted a very real story and placed it in the real world. This is a film that is intended to get the audience thinking, get them asking questions, and yes, probably make you a little angry. The activism that was born and raised in the 60's is still there in Hopper and Fonda's creation. These two men have always been involved in what has been called the "counter-culture" movement, and I guess this film is what made them household names for doing so.
Awesome soundtrack as well, and how could there not be. I own the double CD of this film's soundtrack, and it's just beautiful music to listen to. Again, listening to it makes me think, and it makes me ask questions about my country and my world. In my opinion, anyone who considers themselves a truly free U.S. citizen should be a thinker, and should always have a little skeptic sitting on their shoulder asking questions about what is going on in the world around them.
I think this film will stand the test of time as not only an entertaining film, but a fairly accurate historical document that covers a very turbulent and important time in our nation's social history. If for no other reason than to take a glimpse into the late 60's to early 70's, this film is worth watching. You will no doubt find yourself clearly on one side of the fence or the other about Easy Rider, there is no fence sitting. If you like it, it's brilliant, but if you hate it, it's boring hippie garbage. It is what it is.
The Tao of Steve (2000)
I, sadly, am a Stew.
How many times have I seen this movie? Somewhere between 25-50 viewings, with an additional "who knows how many" occurrences wherein I starting watching this movie with the explicit intent of falling asleep to it's indie soundtrack.
I was turned on to this movie in the very same way I have discovered most of my favorite films. It's late night, I'm flipping channels, or to be completely honest, I was browsing the DirecTV guide. Most people, including me, still say flipping channels, like we actually take the time to go through all the channels, but we all know damn well that we just cruise through the guide to find something to watch. I guess I'll have to start saying "scrolling the guide" instead. Anyway, I'm getting sidetracked and I apologize.
Like I said, I was "scrolling" through the guide looking for something comfortable and familiar that wouldn't challenge me too much, and I failed. I had to use that damn "info" button when I saw the title, "Tao Of Steve", so I guess I let my curiosity get the best of me. Thank Science it did.
As is my custom, I normally catch these late night gems at some point in the middle of the movie, and I spend the rest of the movie struggling with the decision to either finish what is shaping up to be a great movie that I missed the beginning of, or jot down the title and catch it from the start the next time it comes on. I decided to watch the rest of it, and then just buy a copy on DVD. Does that tell you how engaging and entertaining this movie is? First off, I have a lot of respect for Donal Logue as an actor. He's done a wide variety of roles in several different kinds of media vehicles, from TV to blockbuster movies, and of course, the classic Jimmie the cab driver shorts on MTV. He was spot on in this role, he has that charisma and confidence to be able to convince you he has what it takes to bed down with any human being sporting an XX chromosomal set, unless they are wearing Doc Marten's and a flannel shirt. What can I say, he's a funny actor, and I suppose he's a fave of mine, because I have liked him even in the bad stuff he's been a part of in the past.
Supporting cast was full of friends and local actors from the NM area, and while there aren't any household names in the bunch, they more than hold their own in delivering believable characters who are just what they are supposed to be, regular Joes and Janes. I have already mentioned that the soundtrack was indie, and while I am not an authority on indie music, I can recognize it. I can't say whether it was great, good, or bad, but I liked it. I also liked that the band featured live in the reunion scene was from Oklahoma, my home state.
The most striking thing about this movie for me was it's beautiful photography and wonderful selection of locations. Although it was been a while since I watched the commentary, I am fairly certain it was filmed entirely in the Taos, New Mexico area, or maybe it was Albuquerque. If you've never been to NM, then GO now, it is awesomely beautiful and full of tons of stuff to do. It definitely scores some cultural points with me, as I am a big fan of the American West. The colors of the landscape truly come through the lens with full strength, and I just love the way this movie looks. I can't help but feel that the physical environment is an important ingredient in the "Tao of Steve", which is a real thing conjured up by a real man. In fact, the house where Dex lives is the actual house of the real life person who Dex is based upon. He makes a cameo during one of the poker scenes, and on the commentary he provides some interesting insight into the movie, the character Dex, and of course the "Tao of Steve".
The plot is actually the only weak part of the movie, as a story, it's predictable, but I think that's okay because I found it more interesting to delve into unanswerable questions concerning the characters, and of course, as a hopelessly single young man who has never been able to get the ladies, I spent much time asking myself, "will this really work in real life, ..my life?" Well, according to Duncan North, the aforementioned inspiration for Dex, it does work, and he's living proof. So stop listening to Professor Tom Leykis you bitter bastard, and start watching the, "Tao of Steve". It has all the lessons you need.
THEKEETH, (who is shockingly, still unsuccessful with the ladies)