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Field of Dreams

Kevin Costner is a farmer who likes baseball and used to be a hippie. He even says so in the beginning of the movie. “I used to be a hippie, baseball is great and I’m a farmer.” Well, I’m paraphrasing. Anyway, this whole movie is about loving baseball and being an ex-hippie. If a character isn’t talking about how awesome baseball is, then they’re talking about the sixties. Or they’re dead. Well, dead and playing baseball. There’s all kinds of ghost baseball happening in this movie. Until Pac-man comes out and eats all the ghosts. Waka waka waka. Wait, is that Pac-man or Fozzy Bear?

I used to have a subscription to Muppet Magazine when I was a kid. And Masters of the Universe magazine. What a serious little man I was, with my little kid magazine subscriptions. I do like that the demand for Muppet related periodicals was high enough to support a magazine staff. I wonder if the editor-in-chief of Muppet Magazine got stressed about layouts and stuff. Cigarette burning in an ashtray shaped like Big Bird, photo proofs of the upcoming Miss Piggy centerfold scattered over his desk marked up in red ink. “I needed that Kermit think piece yesterday afternoon and where the hell is my Rowlf the Dog interview with Michael J. Fox?!”

Kevin Costner hears a voice in his head while he’s out doing farm stuff in the corn. The voice says, “Corn is great. You love corn, right? Cooooooooorn!” Then a dude in a corn suit starts breakdancing and popping and locking right in front of Kevin Costner and popcorn starts flying off his body. “You know you like this,” says the man in the corn suit, maintaining eye contact with Kevin Costner. Kevin Costner looks down at his shoes, which are now covered in kernels of corn. In the distance, a crow caws and beatboxes.

Actually, the voice says, “If you build it, he will come.” So Kevin Costner says to his wife, “we gotta get rid of all this stupid money-making corn, it’s time to build a baseball field because of the voice in my head.” And she goes, “Sure, buddy- but only because of the sixties. And baseball.”

Wouldn’t you know it, that baseball field is like a damn dead-baseball-player magnet. If you were the Ghostbusters and you were trying to trap a bunch of dead-baseball-player ghosts, I’d say try building a field of dreams in some good old fashioned American corn. You can’t throw a baseball in a field of dreams without hitting a baseball ghost and the rest of the baseball ghosts’ equipment. Also, for a field of dreams, there is very little sleeping and dreaming going on. It’s more like a field of corpse sports.

But that corn voice is just getting started. “Hey, why don’t you go get James Earl Jones out of his house to come check out this baseball field you built? He wrote some nice stuff about baseball one time.” Oh, right- and Kevin Costner’s wife calls a lady a Nazi cow because she wants to ban James Earl Jones’s books that he wrote in the sixties. The sixties! She was right to call that woman a Nazi cow, though. Banning books is a shitty thing to do and I’m glad this movie took five minutes to really take it down a peg or two. Go to hell, book burners!

So Kevin Costner goes and gets James Earl Jones and they eat hot dogs and drink beer and the voice says put down that damn hot dog and go pick up this old man named Doc Graham. But Graham is dead. So Kevin Costner goes back in time to talk to him. That’s right. This miraculous miracle parade of a movie has so many miracles in it that time travel is the least noteworthy thing going on it, right below corn. I don’t even think Kevin Costner stops to tell his wife, “Hey honey- I know we have a bunch of dead baseball players in our front yard, but last night I broke the laws of space-time to chit-chat about baseball with a kindly old man.”

Somehow they pick up the younger version of Doc Graham hitchhiking on the way back to the farm and he doesn’t know he’s in the future or not alive or an angel or whatever. Everybody gets back to the baseball field and holy crap I forgot to mention the whole main plot of the movie with Shoeless Joe Jackson, who stares at everyone with his piercing Ray Liotta eyes. I guess Shoeless Joe doesn’t do much other than play ball. But he’s like, really intense about it. There’s angel horns and trumpets on the soundtrack every time he kicks some dust off his cleats.

So James Earl Jones says people will come to see the space-time-vortex-Stargate to heaven that Kevin Costner has on his land, and that they’ll pay twenty bucks for the privilege!  If I had a portal to the land of the dead at my house, I wouldn’t want a bunch of people showing up to tromp around in my house, gawking at everything and peeing in the sink. You know what kind of people would show up if they heard you were charging admission to see angels, right? The kind of people who’d be okay with treating an audience with the divine like a trip to Six Flags.

I’d like to conclude by saying that while I enjoyed it, Field of Dreams is one of the craziest movies I’ve seen in a long time. Nothing was explained, nothing made sense, time and space were distorted and the sport of baseball was congratulated for existing at all. Kind of like eating mushrooms at Turner Field.

The End!

Winter’s Bone

Dogs everywhere heard the title of this movie and started wagging their tails. Sorry, cinema enjoying dogs. There are no dog bones in Winter’s Bone. There is a dog named Peanut Butter, though. So I guess you could still screen it at your dog movie night after you get done playing poker and posing for paintings of dogs playing poker.

So Ree Dolly is a 17 year old girl trying to find her father because the bail bondsman is going to take her family’s land unless she finds him, but nobody will tell her where he is. She thinks he’s been killed and all the meth-making yokels in her family are in on it. She keeps asking them if blood don’t mean nothing, but she finds out that it don’t. Now she knows how Dracula feels. Wait, never mind. Blood means everything to Dracula.

Ree goes around to different hillbillies’ houses on the hunt for her father’s whereabouts with her scary uncle Teardrop, played by John Hawkes. Hawkes is like an older, more badass version of DJ Qualls. Maybe John Hawkes is DJ Qualls from twenty years in the future, grizzled with experience and wisdom. Like if a seventy year old Batman came out of a time portal with a big scar on his face and he’s missing two fingers. Oh, what happened with the Joker, future Batman? “I don’t want to talk about it,” growls Batman, “Now help me get this message to Superman in Metropolis so I can get back to the year 2052.”

Before you can say Rilo Kiley alt-country O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack, Ree is all up in some country-ass living rooms watching people play the fiddle and getting nowhere with her search. Also, she makes a nuisance of herself to her crime lord grandfather who looks like Charlie Daniels. Guess that’s what all the fiddle playing was all about. Probably some kind of fiddle contest with the devil for some souls. If I was the devil I’d have a fiddle contest for more fiddles. Then flip those fiddles at an auction or something. Guess I’d make a terrible devil.

Oh yeah and Garret Dillahunt plays the sheriff. I liked him as John Henry in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Too bad it’s canceled and now Summer Glau is out on the street. She’s probably out begging for nickels wearing nothing but a barrel. You know, when I imagine a down on his luck drifter wearing a barrel I think “impoverished hobo”, but when I picture  Summer Glau in the same outfit I think “Donkey Kong/Firefly fan fiction”. Anyway, Sarah Connor Chronicles– you will be missed, for your robots and your references to L. Frank Baum’s Oz books.

Right- this is a review of Winter’s Bone. This is one of the best movies I saw all year. Rent it or OnDemand it, do whatever you got to do to watch this movie.

Get Him to the Greek

I ordered this movie On Demand because I was sick from bad food. The restaurant I ate at the night before had weird condiments. The ketchup, the ranch dressing, everything was a little bit off. The ranch dressing looked like a saucer of milk, like the waitress had mistaken me for an adorable stray cat and poured some milk out for me before asking her boyfriend if I could come live with them.

Also, the waitress looked like Cat Power. I once saw a girl at a Cat Power concert who showed up completely topless before the first song. I understand getting caught up in the heat of the moment and taking your top off mid-show, as if to say, “here is partial nudity, as a token of appreciation of your music.” But getting half-naked before the first chord is played is like leaving a tip before your salad gets to the table. Not that Cat Power wouldn’t put on a sultry bluesy show without seeing some lady’s painted up concert breasts. Unless it’s in her contract rider.

Jonah Hill is a good leading man, but he’s undeniably very large. I think he’s assisted in no small way by the thin beard. As a man with a round face myself, I know all about the thin beard and it’s fat face cloaking ways. What’s that you say? A double chin? Oh, I don’t think so. Nothing here but a debonair shadow of scruff. If you can get away with it, I say go full beard. Then there’s no telling what kind of chubby hijinks are going on under there. A full beard is essentially a gold plated ticket to Dorito town for men of my ilk, the money launderer of the fat face world, where the money is face fat and the laundering is done by simply not shaving.

I thought this movie would have a lot more of Russell Brand escaping Jonah Hill and going off and getting into debauchery, but it was apparently a pretty straightforward task to get him to the Greek theater. Incidentally, the title sounds like a late 90’s crime comedy. With Dabney Coleman as “the Greek” and Jim Carrey as the hapless everyman dragged into mafia business. Cameo by Robert De Niro. Al Pacino as the devil. Rudy Ray Moore as Super-Devil. Pikachu as Mega-Devil. Huh, sounds like a good name for an indie Sundance favorite: Pikachu As Mega-Devil. Directed by Park Chan-wook. With Dabney Coleman reprising his role as “the Greek”.

You know who the real star of this movie is? Heroin. And all the other drugs. I get the impression that this movie thinks drugs are great and have no lasting consequences. This movie was practically saying, “Haha, heroin, right? Pretty crazy. Yeah, heroin’s not cool, though- don’t do it. Heh, but wouldn’t it be crazy if we all tried some heroin? Look under your seat. There’s a bag of heroin. No pressure. Okay seriously do the heroin with me. Now.”

Oh yeah and Peggy from Mad Men is Jonah Hill’s girlfriend. She looks cuter in regular modern day clothes. Sometimes women in burlesque girl shows wear clothes from olden times and it is hot but I say present day Elisabeth Moss is the hottest of all the Elisabeth Mosses, past present and future. Except for Golden Age Elisabeth Moss when she had a crossover with Golden Age Superman and Golden Age Green Lantern. Of course, back then she was known as Spanish Moss and her first appearance was in Stupendous Tales #53: “The Creep of Justice”.

Here’s one thing I didn’t understand: Jonah Hill spends all that time and energy doing drugs, throwing up, making friends and risking federal charges just to get Russell Brand to a concert and then five minutes into the show he leaves and drives home to his girlfriend. Russell Brand is up there doing a second hand Robbie Williams meets The Verve impression and his best friend in the world is like, “I know this is the most important moment in your whole life but I for some unfathomable reason can’t be bothered to stick around for even one song. That’s right, all those adventures we just shared together can’t compel me to spend even an extra five to six minutes watching you perform even though this movie would have the viewer believe I am one of your biggest fans what with me saying as much and wearing your t-shirt.”

Guess Russell Brand should have taken his top off. Maybe he was rushing home to change into his costume as Spanish Moss’s sidekick, Wisteria. Quickly, to the tree limbs of Savannah, Georgia! Someone’s grandmother needs to take a photo to remember her tour of historical homes!

Harry Brown

Damn, what is going on in England? I feel like if I go to England I’m either going to get knifed by a gold toothed hooligan or wind up in Doctor Who’s blue police box. Where I will then be knifed by a gold toothed Doctor Who. I ain’t no Dalek, get that sonic screwdriver out of my ribcage!

Michael Caine is Harry Brown, according to the minimalist opening credits. You think we need big fonts and colors? Hell no. We got classic understated type here, y’all. Harry Brown is a pensioner (yeah, British talk!) who goes straight up vigilante on some British hooligans. They probably listen to The Streets or Lady Sovereign or Ratatat and call themselves “chavs”, according to some mp3s I downloaded in the year 2006. All I know is they sell heroin and look like Dudley from Harry Potter.

Harry Brown wants to walk through a pedestrian walkway but the street toughs hang out there all day and night terrorizing “the estate”. Man, even a description of British housing projects makes them sound like a place where the Queen just got done pouring tea out of a hollowed out bust of Winston Churchill. Speaking of elegant busts, I always thought Posh Spice was the cutest Spice Girl. I like how she ended up being posh for real. She didn’t just start singing in the Spice Girls out of her mansion, right? I think she was just a regular girl first. That’s like getting a millionaire costume and then everyone starts thinking you’re a millionaire and next thing you know you’re smoking a cigar and a stripper is doing your taxes. Thanks, Party City! Next I’m going to get a Ghostbuster costume.

Harry Brown’s elderly best friend goes down to confront the thugs with a bayonet and gets killed then they pee on him and film it all on their “mobiles”. Well, there’s your problem. Don’t take a knife to a gun fight. Don’t even show up to a gun fight. Stay at home and watch British shows like “Chesterfield Acres” or “Chimp Takes a Suitor” or “Gross Lower Class British People In Their Garish Clothing Smoking Cheap Cigarettes” or “Ricky Gervais”.

Harry Brown is all, oh I’m ex-military I thought you knew and starts killing the hoodlums. Here’s a fun game. Pretend this movie is Batman Minus Batman and Harry Brown is Alfred living in England under an assumed name. Ooh and his wife who dies at the beginning is like Catwoman or something. Which explains why her last words were meow meow meow meow. Just like Rap Cat. I once had a bet with my friend Rich that whoever lost a ping pong match had to listen to Rap Cat on repeat for a solid hour. After he lost, I got him album art for iTunes and everything. He ended up briefly being the top Rap Cat listener on Last.fm.

The fact that he is no longer the top listener means that someone out there listened to Rap Cat so much they’ve surpassed a man who played it on repeat for an entire hour. The dude who wrote Rap Cat hasn’t even heard it that many times. I bet he’s sick of Rap Cat. Waking up in the morning, the first thing he sees is Rap Cat. He sleeps with the Rap Cat puppet, I guess. Then he takes Rap Cat into the bathroom and brushes its teeth. “I hate you, Rap Cat,” he says to the Rap Cat puppet, his mouth full of toothpaste. And Rap Cat just stares back at him in the mirror, gold chain luminescent under the bathroom light.

Spoiler Alert

After killing a gang of teenagers, Harry Brown gets to use the pedestrian walkway from now on. Batman is still at large. Posh Spice remains the most attractive Spice Girl. Rap Cat is survived by his widow Mrs. Rap Cat and two kittens.

Little Monsters

Fred Savage makes friends with a horned blue-skinned monster from under his bed, played by Howie Mandel. Mandel takes Savage around his monster world playing monster baseball and ruining people’s lives and doing gross stuff. People who make entertainment for kids must think kids love anything repulsive. It’s like a children’s television executive saw a kid pick his nose once and said, “Eureka! Kids are disgusting and love disgusting things! All of em! To the exclusion of all other things! These urchins are barely more dignified than a mangy orphan dog riding the rails with his owner, Nick Jr. the Hobo.”

The first time Fred Savage meets Howie Mandel’s monster (could have phrased that better), he watches him burn nearly to death in the sunlight like a vampire hunter watching his nemesis fry after years of hunting and battle. Damn, kid- you just met this monster, you don’t know if he’s good or bad. Check out Fred Savage’s dead-eyed implacable expression as he watches the monster beg for mercy. If that kid doesn’t grow up to be a Christian-Bale-in-AmericanPsycho style investment banker businessman, then he’s going to make some Geek Squad dudes real unhappy as a Best Buy manager.

Oh yeah, and the fat school bully drinks monster pee thinking it’s apple juice. Then Fred Savage wakes that kid up to take him to the underworld at the end of the movie to help fight monsters. When they get down there, he’s like, “oh by the way, if we don’t make it back to the surface by sunrise, we turn into monsters.” That’s right, school bully. A passing acquaintance at your school is not only involved in a battle against monsters in which his very humanity is at stake, but he’s willing to gamble with yours as well for the sake of having someone hold an extra flashlight. Fred Savage’s character in Little Monsters is one of the most ruthless and calculating figures in the history of gross kid cinema.

The final boss monster is dressed up like a British schoolboy except he’s a grown man with makeup on and his brain is sticking out of the back of his head and his hands are all corpse-like. I want to know this dude’s back-story. He shows up for five minutes then he gets (spoiler alert, I guess) murdered by Fred Savage and his friends. Savage is right. Ain’t they got a police force down in monster town? They need to hide their monster kids, hide their monster wife and hide their monster husband cause Fred Savage is killing every monster up in here.

Also, when Howie Mandel is helping Fred Savage escape at the end of the movie before the sun comes up he stands there and gives a twenty minute speech on friendship. Friendship can kiss my ass, he needs to get the hell out of monster town. There’s no time for hugs and gifts of jackets! I kind of get the impression Howie Mandel was stalling so he could keep Fred Savage talking until the monster police showed up to bring him to justice for his crimes.

I do appreciate that the final scene of the movie involved a wino asleep on the beach and a Talking Heads song, which is how every movie should end all the time. Except for movies that are already about winos, like Leaving Las Vegas. Or the Andy Capp movie, if they ever make one. And a Lockhorns movie. Wait, are they winos? I think they just hate each other. Well, they can be winos for the movie. Like the Bukowski-penned movie Barfly. Loretta Lockhorn saying, “if another man came along with a fifth of whiskey, I’d go with him” to Leroy Lockhorn. Damn, that’s grim.

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian

In Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, Ben Stiller’s kid gets the floor plans of the Smithsonian’s underground federal archives from the Smithsonian website. I went to the Smithsonian website and didn’t see any links for “detailed maps to a literal treasure vault of our most valuable and important works of art”. I did see a link to their twitter account. Maybe they tweet the map? Find us on Facebook! Also, find our most priceless items and wander in whenever you please because our lowest level night watchmen have key card access to our underground bunker of artifacts and paintings. PS… no cameras! We literally leave the Smithsonian abandoned and unobserved for the night so Ben Stiller can run around with Amelia Earhart. Seriously. Your grandmother’s AOL email account is more secure than the Smithsonian at night. A rare diamond wrapped in a silk bow thrown into a hole dug in the ground and filled with hobos and pawn shops is more secure than the Smithsonian after the sun goes down.

The kid gives Ben Stiller directions over the phone for a few minutes and is never seen in the movie again. He doesn’t even show up at the end when Ben Stiller goes back to his job as the night guard and lets the general public in after dark so they can mingle with the magical museum displays that come to life. Not only has he decided to unveil a verifiable water-to wine-walking-on-water-Harry-Potter-just scored-ten-points-for-Gryffindor miracle to any man, woman or child who walks in off the street, but he neglected to invite his OWN SON to the grand opening of this colossal mistake and possible herald of the end of civilization as we know it and the dawn of the age of magic. If that kid doesn’t end up a museum arsonist, then I just don’t know how museum arsonists are made in this world. Other than beating him with a Magritte painting and giving him a pack of matches and saying, “Hey kid why dontcha go burn down some museums or something? With these matches.” Who is going around trying to turn kids into museum arsonists?! Carmen Sandiego, I bet.

When Owen Wilson’s little cowboy was trapped in an hourglass and hourglass sand was falling on his head, why didn’t he get out of the way? He just stood there and let sand fall on his tiny cowboy hat. Maybe it felt good like being in a hot shower. He didn’t really react to it at all.

Director: Okay, Owen Wilson, now in this scene you’re about to drown in hourglass sand. Your life is in danger. Of ending. Because of the drowning in the hourglass sand.
Owen Wilson: Yeah, sure. I’m just going to act really chill about it and not wave my hands around or scream or cry into my tiny cowboy hat.
Director: Brilliant.

Later, Owen Wilson is rescued by his Roman soldier friend. A Roman soldier rescues a cowboy from an hourglass. Sounds like a powerful metaphor, right? Or a scene from a movie that’s king of all the other movies. Bum ba bum bum bum! All rise for the movie that’s king of all the other movies! Please turn off your cell phones and melt them into the basic metals and alloys with which they were made. Now fashion jewelry out of them and present the jewelry to the movie that’s king of all the other movies. Now shut up. The previews are on.

Greenberg

The last time I watched a Noah Baumbach movie was with this girl I was dating who wasn’t that into me. One time we got really drunk and she said, “tonight is the night I’m going to invite you into my bed.” Ahh yes, I drunkenly thought to myself. An invitation into the bed. You are cordially invited, sir. Phil Collins “No Jacket Required” invited. Aaand absolutely nothing happened. I slept in my rumpled clothes. The next morning I caught a glimpse of her underwear clad butt Scarlett-Johansson-lying-on-her-side-in-the-opening-scene-of-LostinTranslation-style and thought, ‘well, that’s the last I’ll see of that.’ Then I walked home hungover and sad. Like Phil Collins “I Wish it Would Rain Down” sad.

So Greenberg (Ben Stiller) had a nervous breakdown and now he gets to stay in his brother’s really nice house, walk his brother’s big friendly dog and have sex with his brother’s improbably sexy young assistant who brings him whiskey and ice cream. Oh no, Greenberg! How will you manage?!

First of all, Greenberg is supposed to be facing the perils of aging, but he’s still a really good looking guy with all his hair. He doesn’t have a potbelly. He’s got all his cool hair. Looks to me like he won the middle aged lottery. Second of all, he talks all this shit to this beautiful girl and she still loves him and sleeps with him. Third of all, he’s supposed to have just gotten out of a mental institution but it must have been the most laid back insane asylum ever. Maybe he overheard someone at the Apple Store say, “it’s really crazy in here today” and took it literally.

Yesterday in the Apple Store I went to pick up a repaired iMac for my office and got halfway to my car when I realized they forgot to give me the power cable. So I went back in and said, “You forgot to give me my power cable!” This greasy haired dude with giant holes in the lobes of his ears who wanted nothing more than to escape me and my cable was all “well you can wait in line at the genius bar” and I said, “Hey- I’m not interested in waiting in line for something YOU forgot to give me.” So he went in the back and brought me a cable and I got back to the office and found the old cable which had been there the whole time, so now I’m going to take the extra cable and plant it in the ground and hope another iMac grows there. Or maybe a beanstalk that takes you up to the Apple Store that giants use.

But I have to admit Greenberg really hit home for me. I’m a grown man with adult friends who are having children and getting married as I while the days away playing video games and wearing t-shirts. I’m also notorious for refusing to drive anywhere, and wouldn’t you know it Greenberg has his friends drive him around everywhere. You might not get much out of it, but Greenberg for me was like looking ten years in the future if I don’t get my act together.

Unless that cable blossoms into a tree that grows Apple products. Then I’ll be set for life. I imagine Steve Jobs hanging out underneath it in a shining white toga. “Jason,” he says, “tonight is the night I’m going to invite you into my bed.” Nooooooo!

Kick-Ass

Kick-Ass got lost in the mail, so I reported it to Netflix. So they sent another disc. Then the old disc showed up. But I didn’t know that and tried to OnDemand it with Comcast. But OnDemand was broken. The whole world of buying and renting movies is a spinning wheel of broken splinters. And on that wheel rides the oxcart of our hopes and dreams. And pulling that oxcart is the ox of freedom. I could have kept the disc I reported lost in the mail but instead my heart was pure and true, so I sent it back to Netflix. They should give me a medal of valor because I really enjoyed Kick-Ass.

Not to mention I was hungover when I watched it. If you want to feel better the day after drinking too much, you have to eat a hearty meal. Real manly food. Like a bag of mashed potatoes served out of the front of a bulldozer. Or a steak wrapped in a tie and garnished with a cufflink and every time you take a bite a stripper punches you in the face. I had a regular old hamburger with my girlfriend and her amazing Chinese Crested, Spacedog. A titan of testosterone am I.

Speaking of a punch in the face, “A Punch in the Face” would have been a fine title for this movie. Haven’t seen it? It’s super violent and bloody. So if you clutch at your lacy underthings at the sight of awesome fights, then maybe you should reinforce your garters because a lot of this movie is stabbing and burning and shooting.

That pleasantly round faced kid from Hot Tub Time Machine is in this movie. I bet he got at least one kiss from a fan as a result. Not me, though. I’ll never kiss someone just because they were in a movie. Unless it’s a movie about kissing me. Working Title: Smooch Patrol.

I felt like Big Daddy’s mustache extensions were gross. But I think spirit gum is gross. Just a weird minty caramel goo on your face. Makes you feel like you had a threesome with a Werther’s Original and a York Peppermint Pattie. Also, Hit-Girl made weird faces when she was murdering criminals. Like a Japanese doll and one of those kid beauty pageant contestants and an actress in a soda commercial acting all refreshed all rolled into one off-putting expression.

Spoiler Alert

In some ways this movie was really Big Daddy’s story. It’s his crusade for revenge against D’Amico that Kick-Ass gets swept up in and ultimately finishes. I like stories where the main character tries to escape a mundane existence and stumbles into events bigger than himself- oh, you want to get off the boring farm and have a life of adventure? Here you go, kid: you’re a Jedi and the son of the most powerful and evil man in the galaxy. What’s that you say? You’re tired of taking care of a dumb old pig and want a life of adventure? Turns out that pig is the key to a cauldron that makes undead warriors. You’re welcome.

I beg your pardon? You’re sick of tending all these oxen? I’ll have you know that’s the ox of freedom! And that’s the callback, folks. Goodnight!

Stephen King’s It (movie)

I had an upsetting dream about getting my feet stuck in a bag of pistachios last night and then today in the grocery store I got stuck in line behind an elderly woman who smelled like old wet towels. She took twenty minutes to write out a check! On the drive home, my air conditioning failed in the summer heat and I held my face up to the vents blowing out hot air hoping for a miracle. I guess I think my face can heal air conditioners. The Cold Air Kid, they’d call me. Maybe I’d get a blue superhero outfit with puffs of frosty air around the muscles. Sorry, I meant “muscles”.

So here’s my review of the movie adaptation of Stephen King’s “It”. As opposed to the movie about Stephen King’s “thing”, starring Tim Curry as Stephen King’s penis.

The ponytail that actor Richard Thomas was wearing was so crazy that it startled me when he turned his head and revealed it. Do you know what it takes to surprise me with a ponytail? Other than this movie, it takes an actual pony hiding in the bushes ready to swat me with its tail. And to that pony I say: have as many sugar cubes as you like, for you have gotten the best of me in our game of barnyard hide and seek. Whereas to Richard Thomas I say: you look like a Whole Foods cashier with a hard drive full of upskirt pictures. To his credit, he was much better in Wonder Boys.

Harry Anderson not only is in this movie as Richie Tozier, but he has a Berkeley Breathed mustache. Or a Bill Watterson mustache. The kind of mustache that funny men of the 1980’s and 1990’s seemed to take to. Or the dad from Calvin and Hobbes. For a brief shining moment, that sort of mustache was actually kind of cool and commonly worn by shabby men of the comic arts. Not so much anymore. A beard is still safe territory, though. Because it’s what your face wants to happen! If you just leave your face alone, a full beard will arrive like a weary traveler looking for a home. All other facial hair styles are contingent on the year and social conventions and fashion and what not, so time travelers take care to do your research.

A young Seth Green plays the kid version of Tozier. It’s weird but you can kind of see the origins of his voice work on Family Guy and Robot Chicken when he does the wacky voices his character requires. You can also see the origins of the cage that Tim Curry will inevitably be locked in and placed miles beneath the surface of the Earth because he is completely convincing as a horrifying monster. Someone needs to wrap him in a bag of pistachios and throw it in the ocean because he is truly terrifying. Sorry, Tim Curry’s loved ones. You know you were thinking it.

Oh yeah- the amazing John Ritter is in this movie rocking a leather vest. Ponytails, vests, mustaches- the costume designer must have just got back from a magician’s conference. Or a country music line dancing conference. Or some horrible combination of the two. I bet they would call it The Magic Line. The only problem with that is that in order to dance you need to get within twenty feet of a woman, so… sorry magicians!

The monster at the end [spoiler alert] is pretty lame. I remember watching this with my mom when it first aired in the 1990’s and she yelled, “Come on!” at the screen in disgust because of how cheesy it looked. Yeah mom! To hell with those bad special effects! My mom demands better standards from the prop department. That thing looked like the ant from Honey I Shrunk the Kids after ten years of stripping in ant strip clubs. The Thorax. The Broken Antenna. The Heavy Crumb. It’s a seedy world in the ant adult entertainment industry. Stay in school, ants! Also, aunts.

and there was still time to kill the wizard

Reviews of Movies I Will Never See

Avatar: The Last Airbender

Huh. Everyone says it’s terrible. But it looks great! Look at that dirt flying around! Like an enormous dog burying a giant bone! Maybe it’s the bones of M. Night Shyamalan’s directing career. And water is whooshing up like the very big dog just jumped in the bathtub! Get out of that tub dog now you’re covered in suds! I guess I’m thinking about Marmaduke. Is that a movie?

Marmaduke

Well I guess it is. I wish Marmaduke was an actual Duke, like a foppishly dressed lord of the manor but doing dog stuff and living in a tiny wooden house in the yard because a wizard tricked him. The Duke of Marma. I bet a wizard tricked Owen Wilson into doing this movie. Alakazam, I got your signature, bitch!

Knight and Day

Hey get on my motorcycle I’m Tom Cruise and shooting and grinning like an idiot with my pearly teeth. HAHAHAHAHA I’m crazy for real. Bullets, I guess too! I kill people but I’m a good guy probably! Zoooom.
Maybe in some alternate dimension this movie is about Felicia Day and her best friend a medieval knight who gets punched in the face and then his visor drops down and he stumbles around in his clanky armor and falls in a soapy tub of water. Once at Dragon*Con I mistook Veronica Belmont for Felicia Day and shall regret it until my last breath upon this earth.
I went up to her and said, “Ummm…pardon me for asking but are you Felicia Day?” and she said “Fuuuck!” and even after that she was really nice about the whole thing and super cool and let me take a picture of her holding a drink.

The Karate Kid

You know what would be crazy? If Will Smith kissed Jackie Chan on the lips at the premier of this movie in front of everybody. Not in a romantic way, but like the way that men kissed each other on the lips in the days of the Old West, in order to secretly trade beef jerky or ammunition or little folded up pieces of paper with messages. And then Jackie Chan would pull the paper out and read it and it would say, “Thanks for putting my kid in this movie.” Then Jackie Chan would look down and realize he was sitting in a soapy tub of water on the set of Shanghai Noon with Owen Wilson, and there was still time to kill the wizard.

Inception

A man named Cobb who steals ideas from inside of dreams takes a job where he has to plant an idea instead. So he hires a crew and builds a three layer dream so he can trick a businessman. But his dream wife shows up and keeps interfering with everything. Not the woman of his dreams, an actual dream manifestation of the woman he was married to.

A woman I dated years ago shows up periodically in my dreams, sometimes. Once, I called out her name while I was sleeping in bed next to another girl I was dating. That didn’t go over well. Fortunately, that kind of thing hasn’t happened with my current girlfriend. Maybe I should yell out the names of every girl I ever dated before I go to sleep to be safe. But let’s be honest, I’d be up for hours doing that. Have to pull out one of those parchment scroll lists like Santa carries.

Speaking of lists, Inception just joined Children of Men and Mass Effect 2 on the list of movies and games I consider science fiction masterpieces. Aka the world’s most effective aphrodisiac. If future generations don’t consider Inception a work of art, then all the idiots of the world must have been the ones to have children and all the smart people must have died or gone off on a rocket to a smart person planet, because Inception is one of the best movies I have ever seen, even considering the porno genre. I guess a porno of Inception would have to be called “Insertion”. And the tagline would be “An idea isn’t the only thing he’ll put inside you.” Don’t steal my porn movie spoof idea, pornographers!

Some goofus with spiky hair sat in front of me when I went to see this in the theater and his hair was so spiky that the spikes actually came up into the lower part of the screen and this movie was so amazing that I didn’t give a shit. I did occasionally entertain the notion of reaching forward to smooth down his hair with my hand, but I think he would have mistaken that as a gesture of tenderness and turned around and punched me in the face before I could say I was just trying to fix his hair. Has that ever prevented a fight? “I’m just trying to fix your hair!”

Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s fight scene floating around in that hallway was incredible. I was leaning forward in my seat with anxiety. I might have held my hand to my face in astonishment. Now I want every fight I ever see to be in zero gravity. Where is my Zero-G fighting arena?! Makes me want to steal a space shuttle and start a fight club in it. Oh yeah and Leonardo DiCaprio’s chase scene in Mombasa where the guy gets hit in the face by a van. Holy shit, right? Me and my friend both went “Ooh!” at the same time.

Spoiler Alert

Just wondering, when Cobb’s team was being attacked by the manifestations of Cillian Murphy’s subconscious, why didn’t they dream up better weapons to fight with? They were already found out, so why not go full on Harry Potter and make lightning shoot out of their hands? Brrrzzapp Pew Pew! Guess that’s why Christopher Nolan isn’t blowing up my phone asking for screenwriting help.

When Leonardo DiCaprio spins the top in the final scene of the movie and it wobbled and cut to black everyone in the theater audibly gasped. Like a fancy woman at the opera who just heard overheard a joke about a lady’s bustier.

Zombieland

Columbus is a skinny virgin with a nervous stomach and a shotgun. Tallahassee is heavily armed and has a cowboy hat. They team up to look for Twinkies and fight zombies. Hot girl con artist Wichita and her sister Little Rock trick them out of their guns in a grocery store but then they all decide to fight zombies together.

I went to a zombie prom last year at Dragon*Con but there wasn’t much dancing going on. Lot of people dressed as zombies, though. I kept thinking about what it would be like if a real zombie got loose at an event where people were already dressed as zombies. I think you’d have to just set a curtain on fire and lock the door. Man, you better hope I don’t ever come to a zombie prom and mistake someone for a real zombie because apparently I will burn it to the ground without a moment’s hesitation.

In the movie, electricity was still running in spite of the zombies. Does the power grid go on auto-pilot if left unattended? In the event of a zombie outbreak, I always pictured a blood spattered electric company helmet hanging askew on a computer monitor blinking red warnings: SHUT-DOWN IMMINENT, that sort of thing. Maybe the electricity stays on for years. Also, what happens to the internet? If it does stay up, I bet survivors would spend a lot of time looking at porn. But then you’d be looking at porn of someone who is probably a zombie now. Well, that ruins the mood. You know what would be crazy? If you got on Chatroulette and every third webcam was a zombie because nobody bothered to turn off their computer before they caught the virus. That would be an improvement to what you see on every third webcam now on Chatroulette.

Zombieland is a really good movie. The slow motion zombie chase scenes, glass flying around everywhere, zombies on fire, playful use of typography. Playful use of typography? Good lord am I writing a review for Fussy Little Critic Monthly?! It’s a very popular magazine. It comes wrapped in a lace doily, the paper is made of compressed bee whiskers and every issue is hand crafted by a fair maiden who thinks only of her true love’s kiss.

Anyway, when I went to see this movie in an Atlanta theater some guy in the back row kept talking on his cell phone. At one point he was actually giving someone directions to someplace else other than the theater. When there was an onscreen kiss the dude in the back yelled, “ONLY IN THE MOVIES!!!” Yes, exactly. That’s where we were. THE MOVIES. Not the headquarters of Google maps.Maybe he got confused because there were nerds there to see Zombieland. Oh shit look at those dorks, this must be Google. When I watched Zombieland again last night, I kept wondering what I was missing and then realized no one was ruining it for me so I yelled, “ONLY IN MY APARTMENT” for old times sake.

Spoiler Alert

Wichita and Little Rock leave Tallahassee and Columbus (and Bill Murray’s mansion) behind to go to an amusement park because they heard there were no zombies in it. They get there in the middle of the night and turn on all the lights and get on the rides. Why would they just throw all caution to the wind like that? They just got done surviving a zombie outbreak, why would they think the loudest brightest place in town was the best spot for a zombie free experience?

Far be it from me to judge, though- I love Six Flags and White Water even though nobody will go with me anymore. I’d probably go in the middle of a zombie uprising, too. Get chased around by that old man from the Six Flags commercials. Dude in a Bugs Bunny suit with blood on his fur. Damn, now I’m scaring myself. And White Water would be even worse, with the clutching rotting hands of the dead rising up from the lazy river. I would still get on at least one water slide. The Tornado, probably. That’s a slide shaped like a giant megaphone and you have to climb all these flights of stairs to get to the top. I bet you’d have to fight all kinds of zombies in your swim trunks to get up there.

Damn, it’s hot this summer. I might fight some living non-zombie people to get to the top of that thing. Who wants to go to White Water?

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Wolverine and his brother Sabretooth get born in the olden days. Lil’ Wolverine can regenerate and push claws out of his knuckles. His brother can grow filthy ass fingernails at will. Wolverine kills his real dad by accident. A montage ensues! Cigars get chomped on. Even better, they’re the cigars of WAR.

Now the brothers are on a team of mercenaries with Ryan Reynolds and his amazing swords. And a gymnastically inclined fellow who can shoot guns while doing flips. Pshaw. I could strap a revolver to a dolphin and get the same result. You picked the wrong SeaWorld to fuck with, son. One time I fed a dolphin some fish at Six Flags. He never hooked me up with any people food, though. What do I look like, a dolphin waiter?

Oh, guess who else is on the team— teleporting ass Will.i.am in a cowboy hat. Only problem is, every time he disappears, he keeps coming back and reappearing again. Wolverine’s old boss Colonel Stryker says let me put metal on your claws, okay? Then he recites a poem:

Let me put metal on your claws/let me get in your drawers/ Wolverine let me hold your paws

Wolverine gets adamantium bones, which is better than the experiments they did on Don Draper where they gave him Mad-Men-tium bones. Just makes him drink and smoke a lot. Next thing you know, Wolverine is all “Schkkk” and “Flckk” with the claws. Wait I forgot what happens next.

Oh yeah his girlfriend gets murdered in the woods because he’s a lumberjack but they found him, I don’t know how but they found him RUN FOR IT MARTY! Ryan Reynolds gets turned into Deadpool, a villain with all the powers of the other mutants.

SPOILER ALERT

So the brothers team up to fight him on a nuclear reactor. Oh right— Wolverine’s girlfriend was never dead. She was a skin hypnotist. One touch and you don’t know whether you’re coming or going. I guess Wolverine was mostly coming.

Colonel Stryker kills his girlfriend and shoots Wolverine in the head so his brain will have to regenerate and he’ll forget all the bad stuff that Stryker did. That’s pretty surgical shooting there, Tex. When Wolverine comes back to life he can remember how to talk, motor functions, the English language, how much he likes cigars, etc. But not the events of this film.

WHERE’S MY GUN? Ha ha I kid. I watched this movie on HBO HD hungover and enjoyed it.

The Road

Uh oh somebody broke the whole planet. Now it’s mass hysteria: fires and cannibals and ash sandwiches. And Viggo Mortensen is a man trying to keep a little kid alive in all that. Hey kid, have some crumbs and spiderwebs. Hope that holds you for a month.

At least Mortensen had Gandalf’s help the last time he was trying to keep a little person alive in that much smoke and sadness. This time it’s just him versus roving bandit gangs and starvation. Oh yeah and he’s already dying anyhow, of some kind of coughing disease. No wonder, he’s using plastic bags and duct tape for shoes and bandages. Guess CVS probably isn’t open. Y’all got any band-aids? Oh, it’s a cannibal house now? I guess the skulls on sticks outside should have tipped me off.

Well, well- if it isn’t Robert Duvall, playing against type as a grizzled old man. Usually he’s so flamboyant and foppish, but he’s all rugged grit in this role. He really goes to town on a fruit cup in one scene. I’m not sure why I added that, but he really does get fruit cup everywhere.

And look who else it is, it’s Viggo Mortensen’s backside and testicles, playing against type as a grizzled old set of testicles. Usually they’re so flamboyant and foppish, but they’re all rugged grit in this role. His “fruit cup” really goes to town in this movie.

The end of the world I pictured in my head was more hellish than the one in the movie. I was thinking darker skies, blacker soil on a desolate Earth. Ruination. Pits and ribcages. A kingdom of bones into which this father and sun must carry the spark of compassion and love. Death. But not for you Gunslinger, never for you. But hey, who am I to ask, “could you make your apocalypse a little more miserable? Right now it’s got a ‘living inside a wet autumn leaf’ kind of feel but I think it could go darker.'”

Viggo Mortensen and the kid break into a house looking for food and find a cellar with a padlock on it. It’s not full of your grandma’s preserves. Unless your grandma was into capturing and eating people, and in that case your grandmother was a witch. As a kid in preschool nothing scared me more than the idea of a witch cooking me in a cauldron. When the Hall & Oates song “Maneater” came on the radio, I’d get scared thinking of a stringy haired witch who lived in a cave and only came out at night, presumably to eat people, as evidenced by the “watch out boy, she’ll chew you up” line.

Hall & Oates had taken to the radio to warn us all: there is a man-eating woman, she comes out in the evening, she eats children, mostly boys, and we should all exercise caution. I guess I assumed they had narrowly escaped her no doubt bony clutches and had written a life saving song about it.

I like the idea of Daryl Hall and John Oates collapsed on a rock in a dense jungle, breathing heavily, faces scratched, clothes torn. “Did we lose her?” asks Hall. “Shhhh quiet for a minute!” says Oates. A tattered black shape flies high overhead, cackling madly. Hall & Oates don’t move a muscle. “Okay,” says Oates, “I think it’s safe to go back to the boat.”

Cast Away

Tom Hanks wears a big Christmas sweater. He works for FedEx motivating Russians. Hey Russians move those packages faster, nyet! Nyet! He gets on a FedEx plane and it crashes on an island. Ain’t gonna need that sweater now, Tom Hanks.

Tom Hanks makes fire. Tom Hanks steals a dead man’s shoes. Tom Hanks makes a spear out of a stick. Tom Hanks is now an island man. He finds a volleyball in a Fedex package, puts a bloody hand-print on it and names it Wilson. Now he has a best friend.

Four years go by and Tom Hanks grows a beard and dreadlocky-hippie hair. Look who’s ready to go to Bonnaroo! He gets really good at spearfishing. He stuffs Wilson with sticks. Now Wilson has a new hairstyle made out of sticks. I wish I could get a haircut with sticks in it. Oh my, look at my edgy summer do’!

When I was a kid my grandmother would take me to get my hair cut by a chain-smoking woman named Dean in a Southern ladies’ beauty parlor in the back of a house. I’ll never forget the Georgia heat baking the pavement outside the screen door as we walked into the velveteen darkness of the front hall, inhaling the scent of baby powder and hair products, antique furniture still and silent as a tomb in the main parlor. Whoops, I accidentally started writing my memoirs there for a minute. Dean refused to give me a rat-tail, no matter how cool it looked.

A big chunk of a port-a-potty floats up on the beach and Tom Hanks says that would make a good sail so he makes a little raft and sails away from the island. One thing I liked about the island is there were no smoke monsters or time traveling or caves of light. Mostly fish and coconuts, like the inside of Aquaman’s walk-in closet.

I’ll tell you what Tom Hanks’ situation reminds me of— the Tori Amos song Cool on Your Island. Prepare to have chills run down your spine as I quote a Tori Amos lyric like a 1994 college feminist studies major:

We could buy an airplane/Build a home in the sand/You could tell your secrets/I could understand/But then by the morning/Comes crumblin’ down/And as your leavin’/Wait

If you changed “buy an airplane” to “crash in an airplane” and “tell your secrets” to “tell your secrets to a volleyball”, you’d practically be reading the script for Cast Away. I say they should change the title of the movie to Cool On Your Island.

When he gets back to the real world he delivers a package to a lady who makes art with wings on it. She kind of looks like Tori Amos a little bit. You know they are going to get together, but then again he did just buy a new volleyball so only time will tell if he cuts his hand open to make a new friend. Oh, who is the best man at your wedding? A blood caked volleyball with some sticks coming out of it. Who is the Maid of Honor? A Lady Speed Stick deodorant tube stuffed with flowers and rocks.