All posts by Jack Walsh

Fatality Moves For Beginners: Mortal Kombat At The YMCA

Fatality Moves For Beginners: Mortal Kombat At The YMCA

Derek had never seemed to really notice me before, even though we were in physical science class together. Of course, there was probably a lot about middle school to which Derek hadn’t paid much attention, since he was supposed to have been a couple grades ahead of the rest of us. But everybody knew him. He was the school badass.

The only kid in 8th grade with his license, he was busted the first day he drove to school for having a katana in his back seat. Derek claimed he didn’t mean to bring the sword to school: that he had just forgotten to take it out. This, of course, suggested that in the place where some might casually toss an ice scraper or road atlas, he normally kept a goddamn ninja sword.

Back Off, Man—I’m An Ornithologist: My Brief Career As A Teenage Duckbuster

Back Off, Man—I’m An Ornithologist: My Brief Career As A Teenage Duckbuster

He knew he was probably too late when he saw the sparks. Not just sparks, really: massive bolts of machine-made lightning, lashing bullwhips of crackling energy. At least he no longer had to worry about moving with stealth; the doctor was too consumed with the work at hand to notice him, in thrall to a task of equal parts science, black magic, and madness. A hunchbacked servant, his crooked fangs gleaming in the brilliant light, cowered in fear and fascination as the thing, the monster, convulsed under the Promethean energies the doctor had unleashed upon him. An inhuman cry filled the cavernous stone room.

“QUACK!”

Are You A Reindeer? Living Out My Sci-fi Mall Fantasy In Woolworth’s

Are You A Reindeer? Living Out My Sci-fi Mall Fantasy In Woolworth’s

“I think you boys need to leave.”

The man in the flannel shirt and baseball hat gave Luther Jr. and me a look that was somewhere between rehearsed menace and weary resignation with a touch of genuine perplexion thrown in. I really didn’t know what the guy’s problem was. I mean, yes, I had just asked another shopper if she was a reindeer, but I didn’t see how that was any of his business.

Asexual European, Often Blue: A Review Of The Trailer For “The Smurfs: The Legend Of Smurfy Hollow”

Asexual European, Often Blue: A Review Of The Trailer For “The Smurfs: The Legend Of Smurfy Hollow”

I was just about to leave the party when Papa Smurf showed up with Smurfette and a Mason jar. Not that it wasn’t a nice party. Or a nice house. But, I had already done the tour twice and had already heard about how there wasn’t very much built-in lighting.

Nothing Except Snakes, Of Course: An Essay Inspired By The Trailer For “Nothing Left To Fear”

Nothing Except Snakes, Of Course: An Essay Inspired By The Trailer For “Nothing Left To Fear”

I had never known Whit to be a prankster, but nothing else explained why there was what appeared to be a decent-sized snake hanging inside my window. Very funny, Whit.

Devil May Care: A Review Of The Trailer For “The Care Bears Movie 2: A New Generation”

Devil May Care: A Review Of The Trailer For “The Care Bears Movie 2: A New Generation”

Before we had a kid, my wife and I did some research about the best way to raise children in an interfaith family. There seem to be a number of spiritual hazards, not the least of which is confusing your kid to the point where they eventually reject their comparatively liberal, mostly Jewish upbringing and jump off the theological deep end, handling snakes, embracing polygamy, ritualistically eating peyote in backyard sweat-lodges or injecting, without irony, the phrase “Whore of Babylon” into conversations with uncomfortable coworkers.

Don’t Get Your Hopes Up, You’re A Dude: Cosplaying Against Type At Dragon Con

Don’t Get Your Hopes Up, You’re A Dude: Cosplaying Against Type At Dragon Con

“Are you okay?” the Guy With The Beautiful Eyes asks, sliding into the seat next to me, which, until just moments before, had been occupied by a Steampunk Banana.

Given that so many people roaming this and the surrounding hotels are covered in blood, many of them feigning dismemberment, and some even dragging disembodied limbs behind them, it’s surprising that my bandages would bear mentioning, but at Dragon Con, I guess this is what passes for cocktail chitchat.

Planes: Dancing Directly Adjacent To Buzz Lightyear

Planes: Dancing Directly Adjacent To Buzz Lightyear

The staff at this inflatable-bouncy-stuff-ball-pit place would really like my kid to think she’s dancing with Buzz Lightyear, just like Disney would like us to believe that Planes is a real Pixar movie.

Actually, the staff would like the little boy celebrating his birthday to think it’s really Buzz Lightyear, whereas with my daughter, they would probably prefer if she stuck with the party she’s supposed to be attending rather than horning in on yet another little kid’s moment in the spotlight. It’s bad enough that Stella already crashed a little girl’s birthday dance earlier, repeatedly cutting in on every kid who tried to dance with Hello Kitty. The remarkably patient employee sweating inside the Hello Kitty costume would indulge Stella for a moment, give her a patient pat on the head, and then turn to another kid, only to meet Stella, who had rushed around to grab Kitty’s paws yet again.

Gravity: Never Mind The Bullock, Here’s The Space Panic

Gravity: Never Mind The Bullock, Here’s The Space Panic

Space travel has never really seemed like it was in the realm of possibility for me, but then again, I never thought the future would bring me a tiny espresso machine that could fit in my car’s cup holder. Actually, I don’t have that, but thanks to Facebook’s targeted advertising, I now know that I am, apparently, the kind of person who should want it. There are no pitches for space tourism yet, but that’s just a matter of time. Allow me to preemptively click “no thanks.”

When I was little, my first exposure to the terrors of outer space (or, at least, the ones that I didn’t learn about in Star Wars movies—watch out for monsters in trash compactors, by the way) came from a National Geographic coffee table book.

Pacific Rim: Lizard-Fighting Muscle-Men Do Not Exist In A Vacuum

Pacific Rim: Lizard-Fighting Muscle-Men Do Not Exist In A Vacuum

The boy is up to something. He usually yells and goes running for the lady who puts me back in the see-through box. She puts on yellow gloves first. That’s fine. I don’t want to touch her either.

But this time, I didn’t like the look in the boy’s eyes when he found me in the middle of the den. There was no Mom! Paco’s out again! Mom! Come get the iguana! Nothing. He just crept back out of the room quietly, and he’s been gone for too long.

Where’s the woman? Come to think of it, I haven’t heard her for a while, either. She’s probably off with the one who sleeps over sometimes. The turd. This is what the bigger boy, He Who Feeds Me, calls him under his breath sometimes. He Who Feeds Me was here earlier with the little one, but then the thing in his pocket beeped and chattered and he left without locking my box.

After Earth: I’m Pretty Sure This Is What The Guy From The Spin Doctors Was Thinking Of When He Wrote “Two Princes”

After Earth: I’m Pretty Sure This Is What The Guy From The Spin Doctors Was Thinking Of When He Wrote “Two Princes”

Do Will Smith’s kids, as heirs to his throne, have titles? Is the one in After Earth the Fresh Prince of Wales or is he just a duke of some sort because he’s not first in the line of succession? I don’t know what shocking twist M. Night Shyamalan has planned for this film, but I hope it involves both the ladies that played Aunt Viv.

The Conjuring: Vera Farmiga’s Eyes Are The Window To The Soul, Because Regular Windows Are For Souls To Throw Kids Into

The Conjuring: Vera Farmiga’s Eyes Are The Window To The Soul, Because Regular Windows Are For Souls To Throw Kids Into

I’ve always found Vera Farmiga’s eyes frighteningly compelling. Seriously. Limpid pools. I could drown in them. Or be attacked by eels in them. Or something. The prospect of seeing her as a tormented paranormal investigator in The Conjuring kind of chills me to my soul.

My wife and I have a recurring discussion whenever we see a promo for a horror movie that looks disturbing or super creepy or has somebody doing that freaky, jerky crawl-walking thing, but that ends up being rated PG-13.

“How is that just PG-13?” my wife asks, wincing. “How is that not rated R?”

“I dunno. They probably don’t curse that much or there’s no boobs or not a lot of blood,” I reason, not without adding a condescending chuckle. “You can’t rate something R just for being too scary.”

Then I read somewhere that The Conjuring had received an R-rating just for being too scary, a fact I’ve not, of course, called to the attention of my wife.

This was surprising, because the first trailer, completely devoid of Vera’s eels/eyes, could best be summarized as, “If you’re spooky and you know it, clap your hands.” This is rated R? Surely a bloody, naked woman drops the F-bomb at some point, right?

It all makes a little more sense after seeing another, much scarier trailer. At the very least, it definitely makes The Conjuring seem more exciting than the* paranormal investigation I’ve been on. I met up with some ghost-hunters at an old cemetery in the woods where they said they would look for “orbs” and record Electronic Voice Phenomena, ghostly whispers allegedly hidden in the ambient noise of audio recordings.

But, before we could get to any of that, it really needed to get darker first, so they suggested we hit Hooters for dinner. Do they sell buckets of oysters there? I’m not completely certain, but I seem to remember sitting for ages picking at a terrible chicken sandwich while one of the Junior Necromancers slowly worked her way to the bottom of a giant tub of shellfish. I do, however, distinctly recall the ghost-hunter with a mullet flaunting his pistol to me when we finally got back to the cemetery. It wasn’t for the ghosts; by this point, it seems they had all called it a night. He said it was to keep rednecks from messing with us.

Paranormal activity remained minimal to nil, and even with guns, the Hooters girls, and the looming specter of Deliverance-type shenanigans, I don’t think we pushed past PG territory. But, I shot some footage with one of those greenish night-vision cameras, so it looked like everyone had really scary eyes. Take that, Vera. In theaters July 19th.

*I say “the” singular, but it’s actually “one of the,” because I’m that much of a sucker.

Freaky Friday (1976): They’ll Play Batdance At Our Funeral

Freaky Friday (1976): They’ll Play Batdance At Our Funeral

In which Jason and Jack Walsh review the 1976 trailer for Freaky Friday. Part of a series of trailer reviews for body-switching comedies of the 70′s, 80′s, and 90′s. 

JASON

Jack, according to the trailer, here’s what we know for sure about the events of Freaky Friday—Barbara Harris is a teenage mother, Jodie Foster is a middle-aged daughter, and John Astin is a “confused male chauvinist.”

Listen, Jack—John Astin’s not going to let a little thing like not having any idea what’s going on stop him from sexually harassing you. He really captures the befuddled horniness of the 1970’s. If he was being drawn by a caricaturist, he’d have a cartoon question mark above his head and a huge boner.

Also, is that a witch on water skis jumping over a guy buried in the sand? Now I’m the one who’s confused with a boner.

JACK

I knew I should have trademarked the phrase “Confused With A Boner” before I put it on my business cards. Now everybody’s throwing it around like just another “YOLO.” It’s just as well, I guess. Angry phone calls from the manager of Chili’s were all that tossing that card into the “Win a Free Lunch!” fishbowl ever seemed to get me. But, what can you do? CWAB, baby!

When I agreed to review the trailer for Freaky Friday, I’d assumed that it would be the full theatrical trailer and not a quickie TV spot. There’s hardly anything to go on here, especially since I’ve been asked not to mention Lindsay Lohan in this, the one Scene Missing trailer review where it would have actually made sense. Are you sure I can’t convince you to do the trailer for Gorky Park like I wanted to? What if I told you that it’s a changing-places movie, too, and that William Hurt and Lee Marvin do the old Moscow Switcheroo? I mean, I know that isn’t the case, but even if Hurt and Marvin were just to walk past each other in the film, it would have to be a more convincing persona-swap than the one suggested by the special effects in the Freaky Friday trailer.

You know what was a real missed opportunity back in the day? A Lee Marvin/Lee Van Cleef switch-up. I always got those guys confused because a) Lee, obviously and b) they were both in movies with Clint Eastwood that my dad made me watch. Now I’m kind of sad that the world never got that iteration of Freaky Friday. Then, instead of somebody really getting into Jodie Foster and shooting President Reagan, you would have absolutely nobody getting really into Lee Marvin and shooting anybody. Except in The Killers, where I’m pretty sure Lee Marvin shoots Ronald Reagan. But maybe, just maybe, it was Lee Van Cleef all along.

Plunging Fully Into The Meese Hole Of Adulthood: Jack Walsh’s Summer Of Krull

Plunging Fully Into The Meese Hole Of Adulthood: Jack Walsh’s Summer Of Krull

When I look back on childhood, I realize that some of the best memories I have are from summer camp. There were the pillow fights, the scavenger hunts, the dance at the girls’ camp across the lake, and the zany hijinks we pulled during arts ‘n crafts. The look on the counselor’s face that time! And then, of course, there was my bunk-mate Rudy, who spent the first half of the summer dragging me along on zany escape attempts, but by Family Visiting Day, we realized we were having the best summer of our lives!

Of course, it’s possible that I am remembering my repeated readings of the children’s novel I Want To Go Home by Gordon Korman, a Canadian author whose books were all I wanted to read as a kid. That seemed like a fun camp.

As for my other camp memories, I recall a bench outside the mess hall that I always stuck my face up against because it kind of smelled like pancake syrup. There was a swimming hole I never wanted to go in, although it occurred to me some time later that it was probably named the “Meese Hole” after the owners of the adjacent piece of land and not because of some infestation of grammatically incorrect plural mice. I remember an eleven year-old who was said to give out handjobs to younger boys who inchwormed their sleeping bags over next to hers, although I don’t think I knew what a handjob was at the time. That might be about all I’ve got, despite having returned to the same YMCA camp year after year. But, this stands to reason, as I only got one-third of the true camp experience, anyway. See, I was a day-camper.

It Would Be Lazy to Name This “Bringing Home the Bacon,” So I Won’t

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As an overly sensitive young boy whose natural propensity for interspecies empathy was amplified by a fondness for Disney movies and a long-standing subscription to Ranger Rick magazine, the idea of hunting appalled me. With a kid’s logic, I’d decided that killing animals was unspeakably cruel. Now, please pass the bacon.