List-o-rama: My Five Favorite Comedy Movies

Everybody loves a good comedy. People love to laugh, and if they don’t, well, that is just weird. The question is, what makes a good comedy? It starts with what type of comedy that one prefers. There are so many sub genres of comedy that there is something for everyone. There is dark comedy, slapstick, parody/spoof, dramedy, romcom, even horrorcomedy. No matter what the genre, funny is funny. I would like to share with you my five favorite comedies of all time, so far. These are the five films that I remember laughing at the hardest and longest. The one thing I think connects these movies is great writing. A lot of the funniest bits are subtle little scenes and jokes that you don’t even notice the first time you watch. If you have not seen any of the following films, please do so immediately. You will get some genuine laughs and entertainment out of them.

25tvcol-badsanta-facebookjumbo

5. Bad Santa (Directed by: Terry Zwigoff | Starring: Billy Bob Thornton, Lauren Graham, Tony Cox | 2003) Willie (Thornton) is a down on his luck, scumbag safecracker. Along with his pint-sized partner Marcus (Cox), they pose as mall Santa and elf just so they can case the place and rob them blind. Everything would go perfect if Willie wasn’t such a drunken screw-up. Along the way, a sweet kid named Thurman Murman (Brett Kelly), and an even sweeter love interest (Graham) complicate things even further. Billy Bob Thornton is perfect as the “Bad Santa”. His character is so low and disgusting that you can’t help but love him. Two late, great comedic legends also star. Bernie Mac and John Ritter play the mall employees who know that something is off with Willie and Marcus. This movie is gross, vulgar, offensive, and absolutely wonderful. Plus it’s also a Christmas movie, sort of.

nerds

4. Revenge of the Nerds (Directed by: Jeff Kanew | Starring: Robert Carradine, Anthony Edwards, Curtis Armstrong | 1984) A group of freshman nerds join a college fraternity and use their smarts to outwit the Alpha Beta fraternity of jocks and bullies. Lambda Lambda Lambda is led by Lewis (Carradine), and Gilbert (Edwards), and has a collection of bizarre geeks and loners. I probably watched Revenge of the Nerds fifty times as a kid. I recently watched it again, and it is still as funny now. Curtis Armstrong is classic as “Booger”. He is part of so many funny scenes that he steals the show. Released in 1984, Revenge of the Nerds still stands up to the majority of comedies that come out now. I have gotten rid of ninety nine percent of my VHS tapes, but I refuse to part with my copy of ROTN. It holds a lot of fond memories.

what-we-do-in-the-shadows

3. What We Do In The Shadows (Directed by: Taika Waititi | Starring: Jermaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Johnny Brugh | 2014) Shadows” is a mock documentary about four Vampires who share a flat in New Zealand. We follow their day-to-day lives, and discover that being a vampire is not as glamorous as it seems. The fellows deal with problems like in fighting, chores, love, death, and werewolves. And they do it all in hilarious fashion. The writing and acting is so clever and spot on that it is hard to not love these characters. Most people that I talk to have not heard of this film, which is a shame because it is damn funny. Director/actor Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok) and Jermaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords) have a strong background in quirky comedy and this movie is the blueprint for quirky hilarity. If you are not familiar with it, look up What We Do In The Shadows. I promise you will laugh.

maxresdefault

2. Borat: Cultural Learnings Of American Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (Directed by: Larry Charles | Starring: Sacha Baron Cohen, Ken Davitian | 2006) I have never laughed so hard at the cinema as I did when I went to see Borat. There are so many over the top, ridiculous scenes in this movie that it’s hard to pick the funniest. Sacha Cohen plays the title character, which is a “reporter” from Kazakhstan who comes to America to learn about its culture. The majority of the people in the film are not actors, and had no idea that they were being filmed for a motion picture. This results in genuine reactions to Borat’s actions. Because of Borat’s “ignorance”, he can get away with a lot of questionable things, and it is hilarious. Cohen also appeared on the talk show circuit, in character, to promote the film. I think to an extent, Borat had the same effect on the public that the Blair Witch Project had; a lot of people thought it was real. In addition to the movie being funny, it is also a commentary on the ignorance and intolerance of some people. But mostly it is just criminally hilarious.

gallery_movies-ghostbusters-1984-cast1. Ghostbusters (Directed by: Ivan Reitman | Starring: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Sigourney Weaver | 1984) Not only a brilliant comedy, but maybe the perfect movie. For me, Ghostbusters is at the top of the heap. The movie is full of comedy brilliance; Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Rick Moranis all bring it. Throw in a pretty lady (Weaver), a city that never sleeps (New York City), and some pretty sweet special effects, and you get an instant classic. Bill Murray is wonderful as usual; delivering his trademark perfectly timed dry humor as Dr. Peter Venkman. The premise is ridiculous. A group of down on their luck scientists decides to use their knowledge of the supernatural to devise a way to capture ghosts and house them in nuclear containment storage boiler. Sounds legit right? Well when New York City starts to get overrun by all sorts of ghouls and specters, who you gonna call? You know the answer. Call me a Ghostbusters snob, but I think the 80’s cartoon sucks and the recent remake with the all female members also sucks. Call me old fashioned but maybe I’m just a Ghostbusters traditionalist.

T.

Advertisements

Some pretty cool posters.

As I browse the internet, I come across so pretty cool images. I am a fan of music gig posters, and minimalist movie posters. A lot of creativity inhabits the world, and cyberspace is the easiest way to get your art out to the masses. As I come across something I find pleasing to the eye, I save it. Here are some of the images I feel are very sharable. I have no idea who the artists are, and I can take no credit for any of these pieces. Whoever did these, please keep up the amazing work.

9e6e9b233ada7f2f559d0da00f963fab--rogues-empire

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

9e146ab9ea440975c0117e68380e6f13--rock-posters-film-posters

True Romance (1993)

85c4fe96db5944da07b9cfe6e4651e12

Lost Boys (1987)

The-Blair-Witch-Project-Minimalist-Poster

Blair Witch Project (1999)

Screenshot_20180109-131423

The Exorcist (1973)

f041718116f4999c4871243dd48e14c1

The Shining (1980)

ede3270cb644e4784587f734cb34c969

Goonies (1985)

e9882417e548b39381a69a6616ac2a78

Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

db81d46f6db9c136c15774d9ee3d3c04

Ghostbusters (1984)

d078e5f52093c815855f28b1ec0889b6

The Shining (1980)

12429e2efb7358db9d06e12071c1b4d8

The VVitch (2016)

 

nm3-71_large

Danzig/White Zombie/Kyuss Gig Poster

melvinsmazza07

Melvins Gig Poster

image

Pallbearer Gig Poster

eb06a4eaece55ed5317d99903b3047b2

Blondie Gig Poster

f856dd754c24a2b9325d49ea0fb3f5eb

Queens Of The Stone Age Gig Poster

d38cd9a6fe845bf8d7cb476e82fda007

Queens Of The Stone Age Gig Poster

0006459572_10

The Sword Gig Poster

6839f63b48f3cb0798c052d9948a442b

Queens Of The Stone Age Gig Poster

885a91221450fe635b15dba148fde021

Beastie Boys Gig Poster

578b7ae8a1b24b94a1f2560b60b8fd37

Pink Floyd Tour Poster

0233b9db180d6070b821a3dabdc81423

David Bowie Gig Poster

221d3713b32c91a3573fa9e97001eb8f

Pink Floyd Gig Poster

60a54cbbd5962ec2bea2dbed71fef788

The Sword/Pallbearer Gig Poster

11c407ae44a22355bee294d8424da589

Queens Of The Stone Age Gig Poster

T.

My Favorite Films of 1991

Ninety One was a good year at the cinema. Here is a run down of the five I enjoyed the most.

fghdkjfh345

5) Point Break (Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, starring Keanu Reeves, Patrick Swayze, Gary Busey) I love a good heist movie, and this is one of my favorites. A young Keanu plays Johnny Utah, an FBI agent who goes under cover to infiltrate a band of rogue surfers who may also be bank robbers. Patrick Swayze plays the antagonist, but plays it really cool. Point Break has a really good cast: Gary Busey, Lori Petty, and John C. McGinley also star. It has a total 90’s feel, and even has a guest spot by members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. This film is a good waste of a couple hours.

boyz_n_the_hood_kids

4) Boyz n The Hood (Directed by John Singleton, starring Cuba Gooding Jr., Lawrence Fishburne, Ice Cube) This inner-city drama is a sobering reminder that every action has a consequence. Boyz is a coming of age story about the struggles of growing up in a dangerous community, raised by single parents, and just trying to stay alive. Cuba Gooding Jr. and Ice Cube are amazing as friends growing up in the Crenshaw district of Los Angeles. The movie captures the racial and economical tension the city endured in the early 1990’s. A very serious tone and some gritty performances make this must watch.

wpid-20150330__150403wl-capefear_deniro

3) Cape Fear (Directed by Martin Scorsese, starring Robert DeNiro, Nick Nolte, Jessica Lange, Juliette Lewis) This beauty is Scorsese’s vision of the 1962 Cape Fear that starred Gregory Peck and Robert Mitchum. Both versions are based on the John D. MacDonald novel of the same name. I have watched the majority of Robert DeNiro’s films, and I have to say that his portrayal of ex-con Max Cady is in my opinion, his best. He plays a smart, cunning, intimidating, and savage man obsessed with getting “revenge” on his defense attorney, played by Nick Nolte. This is how a thriller should be made. DeNiro is far and away the best part of the film, and the Max Cady character should be considered one of the greatest movie villains of all time.

eqkdezqkf0p7v7iyf7bu

2) Silence of the Lambs (Directed by Jonathan Demme, starring Sir Anthony Hopkins, Jodie Foster, Ted Levine) Silence of the Lambs was released on Valentine’s Day in 1991. That would have been a hell of a date. Based on the Thomas Harris novel, this almost flawless film is an example of all aspects of a movie coming together brilliantly. Besides the 1986 film Manhunter, Silence of the Lambs was the first mainstream introduction to Dr. Hannibal Lector. I don’t think I need to tell you what he is about. Sir Anthony Hopkins nails the character, and gives us the chills with his portrayal. Jodie Foster is amazing as the naïve rookie FBI agent assigned to interview Lector. The character of Jame Gumb (aka Buffalo Bill) is a turbo creep, and created many moments that are still relevant in pop culture. This film spawned a bunch of prequel/sequels, and a television, show which deserved a much better fate than it received. From top to bottom, Silence of the Lambs is about as much bang for your buck you can get out of a film.

620x400xthe-doors-pagespeed-ic-y8lflbhdk3

1) The Doors (Directed by Oliver Stone, starring Val Kilmer, Meg Ryan, Kyle MacLachalin) The Doors movie is not the best movie on this list, but it is my favorite. Around this time in my life, I was obsessed with Jim Morrison. The music, the lifestyle, the debauchery, it all spoke to me. This film basically put all the things that I imagined into something that I could visualize. My friend Brian (also a huge Doors fan) and I probably watched the VHS every weekend for months. It was a ritual. It was a time and a place in my life that I enjoyed. Val Kilmer was the perfect choice to play Morrison. He looked and sounded so much like the “Lizard King”, that he did the majority of the singing in the film. Director Oliver Stone is a master at capturing a certain time period, and the 60’s come to life in this movie. The Doors is also a tribute to Jim and Pamela Courson’s devotion to each other, even as dysfunctional as their relationship was. That is my kind of love story. This is my favorite movie of 1991, as well as my favorite music biography turned film. It showcased the defiance of a tortured artist, which is the way I thought I felt as a 16 year old dumb kid.

T.

My 2 Cents: Molly’s Game

mollys-game-poster-horozontal

Molly’s Game (2017)

Directed by: Aaron Sorkin
Starring: Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner
Distributed By: Entertainment One (Canada)
Run Time: 120 Min.

Being a Canadian, I had never heard the story of Molly Bloom. Molly Bloom is a former competitive skier turned high-stakes underground poker game “facilitator”. For seven years, she hosted celebrities, athletes, and rich businessmen each week in Los Angeles, and then moving the game to New York. Eventually. Members of the Russian mob became involved in the games, which in turn attracted the interest of the FBI. In 2013, two years after Bloom last hosted a game, she and a number of other people were arrested and charged with illegal gambling, sports betting and racketeering. Molly’s Game is alleged true story based on the book of the same name.

This is the first film I went to see in 2018. I had some pretty high expectations because of the writer/ director’s history of spinning a good yarn. Aaron Sorkin is a master at taking a true story and turning it into great film. He is the man who wrote Moneyball, The Social Network, and A Few Good Men. Molly’s game is his directorial debut. It is a hell of directorial debut. The movie clocks in at about two hours and twenty minutes, but it does not seem to be that long at all. Great pacing, interesting characters, and the narration makes the film fly by.

The acting is also great. Jessica Chastain is the main star of this film. She carries the load. Along with her voice over narration, her portrayal of Molly Bloom made me instantly love the character, and encouraged me to learn more about the real person. Chastain is also one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood, and she looks amazing throughout the whole movie. Molly’s attorney, Charlie Jaffe, is played by actor Idris Alba (The Dark Tower). The chemistry is good and their one on one scenes are the best parts of the film. Kevin Costner, Michael Cera (Scott Pilgrim) and Graham Greene (Dances With Wolves) also play small but important roles.

Beyond the reasons I have stated, there are a few other reasons why I found Molly’s Game to be very entertaining. I am a sucker for a movie about or involving poker. Rounders (Matt Damon, 1998) is one of my favorite movies, and Casino Royale (Daniel Craig, 2006) is the best Bond movie. Secondly, I am a sucker for a movie about common people who catch a break and become rich. Wolf of Wall Street (Leonardo Dicaprio, 2013), Joy (Jennifer Lawrence, 2015), and Citizen Kane are good examples of these films.

I will probably see over fifty plus films at the theatre in 2018, and I have a feeling that come the end of the year, Molly’s Game will be in my top five. If you enjoy an intriguing story with a good balance of emotion and danger, please check out Molly’s Game.

T.

The Best Things of 2017

Well, it has been an awfully long time since I have written anything for my opinion column, and quite frankly, did anything really constructive. It was a shitty year for me personally, and I kind of lost my desire to write. As cliche as this sounds…new year, new leaf…right? I’m not hear to bitch about my life. I’m here to provide you with my thoughts and opinions. In 2017, the world seemed to be on fire (literally, and figuratively). Political chaos, disasters, and man-made tragedy seemed to rule the calendar in 2017, but as it seems to do, this rock we live on just kept turning. Not everything was bad over the past three hundred and sixty five days. So to ease myself back into the pool, I present to you something lite and arbitrary; my favorite things that happened in 2017. These are in no particular order.

qotsa-teaser-interview-album-villains-2017

Queens of the Stone Age Release New Album On August 26th, QOTSA released their seventh studio album Villains. At first I was not convinced that I would love this effort. It was pop’d up and polished, and seemed to lack the grit and darkness that has made Queens my go to band. Then I realized that the new album is just the latest personality in a band that has been constantly transforming since their inception. There is a swagger involved now, and Joshua Homme flexes his muscles on every aspect of the album. Not my favorite QOTSA album, but it is still better than 98% percent of the mainstream garbage you hear nowadays. Best songs – Feet Don’t Feel Me Now, The Evil Has Landed.

An Enjoyable Year At The Cinema – Something I did do in 2017 was see a lot of films. I would say I went to see movies once a week, sometimes more. The movie theater is really the only time I can truly shut my brain off, so I enjoy that time. Here is my good and bad lists for 2017.

keanu2breeves2bin2bjohn2bwick

Enjoyable

Blade Runner 2049 superb atmosphere, acting captures the magic of the original film.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri quirky, dark and absolutely charmingly funny.

Wind River – Based on true events. Gritty thriller was a pleasant surprise.

The Disaster Artist – The movie about making a movie. The most I laughed all year.

The Shape Of Water A romance, a spy thriller, a monster movie, and science fiction all rolled into one. Michael Shannon is damn brilliant.

Baby Driver – Great pacing, great cast and stellar soundtrack. Great popcorn movie.

John Wick: Chapter 2 – So much glorious violence!

Get Out – Really cool concept, and very gritty.

brody-star-wars-the-last-jedi

Not So Enjoyable

Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales – A very tired franchise. Seems like the same movie with each sequel.

It – Not a terrible movie, just very over-hyped. Disappointingly average.

Kingsmen: The Golden Circle – Pales in comparison to the first Kingsmen film. Predictable.

The Snowman – So much promise, but falls so flat on it’s face. Everyone in Norway has an English accent.

Leatherface – The “prequel” to the original 1973 Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I found it unwatchable after an hour.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi I hate putting a Star Wars film on a list like this. Not a bad film as far as regular films go, but not a great Star Wars film. Too much going on, too long, and a lot of unnecessary scenes. I didn’t hate it, but I also did not love it.

WTF???

Mother! This movie is a mind fuck. Two months later and I still cannot process it. It was polarizing.

rickandmortys2_4_2

Discovering Rick And Morty – It took me a couple of years to catch on, but I finally watched an episode of Rick and Morty. The animated serious about a brilliant, drunk scientist Rick Sanchez and his dullard, gullible grandson Morty who regularly save the planet earth from a variety of hilarious threats. The writing for this series is brilliant, and has so many memorable characters, it is hard to pick my favorite. There is three seasons at ten episodes each so far. NOT NEARLY ENOUGH! Friends, if you have not watched this masterpiece of humor, go now. Hurry.

 

audio-technica-at-lp120-usb-923714

My New Turntable – That is correct. My new turntable made the list. It is an Audio Technica AT LP-120. I love this thing. My record collection probably grew by thirty percent in 2017, so I figured why not listen with a turntable that kicks ass. The sound quality is amazing, and what else matters in life?

Screenshot_20171113-184452

The Dying Buffalo – I got a new tattoo this summer, and it is magnificent. It covers most of my shin. I chose the Buffalo because that is the animal I identify with most. Large, strong, and peaceful. The arrows and tears are just a dramatic touch, but as I think about it, perhaps it symbolizes the struggle that 2017 was. Check out the artists work on Instagram – @missmelissatattooer .

mi0001416005

Depeche Mode Trip In late October, two friends and I traveled to Edmonton to see legendary electronic band Depeche Mode. The last time I saw them was in the summer of 1990 when I was fifteen years old. It was fun and nostalgic, and I look forward to my next musical road trip.

60244

Discovering Great Music In 2017 I discovered a lot of great artists that I didn’t really know about of didn’t really listen to in the past. Mining music is one of my favorite things in this world. I am also a strong supporter or the featureon Spotify “Related Artists”. Sometimes I fall down that rabbit hole for hours. Some of the new stuff I found this year included: King Dude, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Death By June, Anatomy Of The Bear, Godspeed You Black Emperor, Sigor Ros, Alcest, Gone Is Gone, Witch, Red Fang, Black Mountain, Crystal Fairy, and so many more.

Photography – Over the last year I did a little messing around with my cameras, as well as editing the photos I took. I think I am developing quite an eye for producing good imagery. This is something I absolutely enjoy, and plan to continue nurturing going forward. If you care to browse some of my work, check out my Instagram – @how,heavy.this.axe

And I also had a part in this.

Typically, I don’t really care about New Years, and resolutions. To be honest, I am very glad this year is over. I can reset and focus on things that bring me happiness and make me content as opposed to dwelling on negative and stressful things. Until this year, I did not know how anxiety felt. I experienced it, and I am not a fan. This year calls for enlightenment, learning, creativity and love. To be perfectly blunt, I am going to make 2018 my bitch. Beast Mode.

Thanks for stopping by. Cheers.

T.

 

 

 

 

My Two Cents: M. Knight Shyamalan’s SPLIT

shyamalan-split

Split

Directed and written by: M. Night Shyamalan

Starring: James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Betty Buckley

2017 Blinding Edge Pictures, Blumhouse Productions

When you go to see an M. Night Shyamalan film, it’s like a roll of the dice. His first few films were a safe bet. Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, and to an extent, Signs, are all good films. Lady in the Water and The Happening, not so great. His second to last release, The Visit, was decent enough that I was looking forward to seeing M. Knight’s latest; Split. The trailers looked good and the concept plays well as a horror/thriller.

Split is the story of Barry, a man whom has twenty-three separate personalities. The majority of harmless, but a few of the personas have malicious intentions. The movie begins with three young women being abducted, and the story unfolds from there. We soon learn the background stories of Barry’s many personalities, and one of the captives, Casey Cooke. There is really not much more I can speak of without ruining plot twists. However, I will say that Split contains one of Shyamalan’s signature twist endings which features a familiar face, and perhaps sets up a possible sequel for at least one of M. Night’s films.

All in all, Split is enjoyable and has enough suspense and story to keep the viewer interested. James McAvoy portrays Barry. He does an amazing job playing essentially a half dozen characters. Anya Taylor-Joy, who shined in last years The Witch, shines again as the captive with a past just as dark as her captor. The pacing is great and the story translates well on the screen. I do, however, have a couple of things that bother me about the film. We only get to see one third of the personalities that inhabit Barry’s brain. I think it would have been interesting to see a glimpse of each of the twenty-three psyches. I do understand that the director needs time for character development, but just a peek would have been nice. I also thought the film lacked violence. Not because I am a savage, but because it would have lent nicely to the mystique of one of Barry’s personas (for sake of spoiling, I cannot say which). A little more violence would also have intensified the already satisfying suspense.

To recap, the high points are the performances of James McAvoy and Anya Taylor-Joy. They dominate the screen, and their characters have compelling stories. The Shyamalanian twist at the end is also worth the watch. This is even more true if you are a fan of his movies, as it ties two of his stories together. Split is not The Sixth Sense or Unbreakable (both amazing films), but it is a million miles better than the happening. In a time (January and February) when crappy films are released and usually die, Split stands out and will hopefully succeed.

T.

List-O-rama: Top Five Favorite John Carpenter Films

Five Favorite John Carpenter Films

n-john-carpenter-433-1Mr. John Carpenter is the man. What else can I say about a writer/director who has manufactured so many brilliant stories, and memorable characters. His full-length film debut, Dark Star, was in released in 1974. Since then, he has treated movie-goers to thrills, chills, comedy, horror, science fiction, and just pure cinematic beauty. And despite what Hollywood has become over the last couple decades, Carpenter keeps it real and does it his way. Also, yesterday was his sixty-ninth birthday. Let’s celebrate with a top five list of my personal favorite J.C. films. You may or may not agree with these choices, so feel free to comment. From five to one…

5. Escape From New York (1981 MGM) – Kurt Russell, Lee Van Cleef, and Earnest Borgnine? This is top five on that merit alone. Basically, the President of the United States crash lands in Manhattan. Sounds simple, but Manhattan in the future is now a large maximum security prison, and the inmates have the commander in chief. A one-eyes bank robber named Snake Plissken is sent in to retrieve the captives and the downed airplane’s cargo. I get a Mad Max, Man With No Name feel whenever I watch this movie. Amazing Soundtrack, a bad ass anti-hero main character, and Donald Pleasence as the President. I think I have proven my point.

4. They Live (1988 Universal) – Humans are being kept under sedation by a race of alien creatures through subliminal messages that appear on billboards, television etc. Nada (played by the late, great Roddy Piper), a down on his luck blue-collar guy finds a pair of sunglasses and soon uncovers the brainwashing and manipulation. I love this film because it does star “Hot Rod” Piper, but I also appreciate the Twilight Zone vibe it gives off. They Live is an alien movie, but it also a social comment on how society is told what to do through advertising, and we don’t even know it. Also contains one of the longest fist fight scenes in the history of film. You cannot argue with that.

3. The Fog (1980 Embassy) – The plot sounds crazy; one hundred years ago, a ship of lepers bound for the shores of Antonio Bay, California are deliberately guided to crash into the rocks along the coast, and thus left for dead. Now as Antonio Bay prepares to celebrate it’s centennial year, a ghostly fog washes across the seaside town. What is inside this fog now seeks revenge for the wrong doings of the town’ ancestors. A spooky ghost story with some creepy atmosphere and strong female performances make this one of Carpenter’s more underrated films. Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh, and Adrienne Barbeau star, even though the real star of the film is the ambiance and mood.

2. The Thing (1982 Universal) – Claustrophobia and paranoia make for brilliant film. John Carpenter’s The Thing is chock full of both these elements. An American research station in remote Antarctica is confronted with a being not of this earth. Soon, it is all out panic and mistrust as the alien begins to take on the forms of the research team. Trust is lost and all hell breaks loose. Carpenter favorite Kurt Russell is R.J. MacReady, and Keith David is great as Childs, the two men who take it upon themselves to flush out and destroy The Thing. This is not only a great Carpenter film, but one of my favorite science fiction/horrors. If you have not seen this film, go watch now.

1. Halloween (1978 Universal) No big surprise here. The film about babysitters being stalked by a man wearing an expressionless mask, made on a shoe string budget, snowballed into a massive hit. A simple story about a boy, Michael Myers, gone wrong, locked away in an institution, only to return home fifteen years later to murder his estranged sister. It sounds like anyone could make this movie. Unfortunately, not just anybody is John Carpenter. On a low budget, Carpenter squeezed out all he could and the result is a true classic. To the point acting, an iconic soundtrack, and the quintessential slasher is the perfect storm. Sure, the Halloween franchise has pretty much spun out of control, but that has nothing to do with Carpenter. If you are a fan of bare-bones horror, I’m sure this film is right up there on your list as well.

The Reboot.

After almost one year of being unemployed after a layoff (I got a sweet severance package), I started a new job this past May. Basically, I have been working ten hour days, five days a week. After having all the time in the world to write and basically do whatever I want, I have been trying to readjust back into the land of employment. I don’t have a lot of time to do much after work, but I absolutely miss writing my blog. Thus, I have decided to reboot, and begin doing some stuff on this site again. Since I started doing this a year ago, I have always found it therapeutic to find the right words and string together to talk about the things I admire and appreciate. There are so many things I find interesting in this world, and talking about them is pretty cool. If you were a reader, I am sorry I have been absent. If you just discover me now, welcome. Either way, let’s have a good time.

But in the meantime, here is this…

T.

List-O-rama: My 5 Favorite Werewolf films

wolfman2b19412b14b

Movies based upon the shape-shifting, village terrorizing beasts are far and few between. Although most of them are pretty terrible, once in a blue moon (pun fully intended) you get one that is a real howl (that is TWO puns in one sentence, for those keeping score).

My 5 Favorite Werewolf Films

1)  An American Werewolf in London (Dir. John Landis, 1981) This dark comedy/horror is the top dog of all werewolf films. Two American students are hitching through Northern England, and are mauled by an unknown beast. One man is killed, while the other survives. He wakes up in a London hospital to realize that he is no longer the man he was before the attack. David Naughton and Griffin Dunne are stellar as the college friends who end up in the wrong part of the Yorkshire moors. American Werewolf has three things I admire in a film; dark comedy, disturbing imagery, and savage violence.

2)  Ginger Snaps (Dir. by John Fawcett, 2000) Outcast sisters, obsessed with the idea of death, try to navigate their teenage years. Things get even more complicated when one of them bitten by a werewolf. As Ginger, who is bitten, becomes more of a danger, sister Brigitte must find a cure before it is too late. The performances by Emily Perkins and Katharine Isabelle are real and convincing. The story is surprisingly original and darkly twisted. Also, Ginger Snaps is a Canadian production, and me being a proud Canadian makes me like it even more.

3)  Dog Soldiers (Dir. by Neil Marshall 2002) A company of British soldiers are sent on a weekend training mission in conjunction with a Special Forces unit in the Scottish wilderness. As it turns out, this will be anything but a routine military exercise. The soldiers discover the remains of the Special Forces team, and realize they are being hunted by something that is not human. They hole up in a farmhouse and try to keep the beasts at bay until the sun comes up. This is a gritty, violent film with some good twists, and lovely special effects that kept me interested from the start. The portrayal of the British soldiers is very believable. A very original movie directed by the great Neil Marshall (Descent, Doomsday).

4)  The Wolf Man (Dir. by George Waggner, 1941) Along side Dracula and Frankenstein, The Wolf Man is a cornerstone in the Universal Monsters franchise back in the golden era of cinema. This true classic is the Story of Lawrence Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr.), who returns home to Wales upon the death of his brother. During a visit to a gypsy camp, Lawrence saves his friend Jenny from a wolf attack, but is bitten during the struggle. Talbot is now cursed, and transforms into a werewolf during each full moon. Lon Chaney Jr. is amazing as the man burdened with the fact that he is no longer human. This was one of my favorite movies as a kid, and continues to inspire me to this day. The Wolf Man runs really short at seventy minutes, but that does not take away from it’s legacy.

5)  WolfCop (Dir. by Lowell Dean, 2014)  Another gem of a Canadian film, everything about WolfCop is ridiculous. If you are a small town police deputy with a pretty severe drinking problem and really nothing to look forward to, what do you do to turn things around? Correct, you become a werewolf. Lou Garou is no ordinary werewolf. He is a Wolf cop with a strong sense of the law and a lust for the ladies. This movie had me once the scene came on where WolfCop makes love to a lucky gal while the song “Moonlight Desires” by Canadian legend Gowan plays in the background. He also rips a dude’s face of during one scene. Pretty impressive, very ridiculous.

T.

 

List-O-rama: My favorite films of 1989

LIST O RAMA 2

My 5 Favorite Films of 1989

maxresdefault
“This town needs an enema!”

Batman (Directed by Tim Burton | starring Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson) The first true comic book blockbuster, Batman still holds up today. I am not entirely sure on the exact number of times I saw the movie upon it’s release, but it is the most I’ve gone to see one movie in the cinema. With a flawless portrayal of the Joker by Nicholson, Batman is super stylish and one of my all-time favorites.

 

 

charliesheenmajorleague300
“Wild Thing” Ricky Vaughn

Major League (Directed by David S. Ward | starring Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger) This movie is number 2, next to Slap Shot, as best sports comedy of all-time. A great cast and clever writing make this story of the downtrodden Cleveland Indians baseball clubs worst to first comeback story very enjoyable. It is very much an updated version of the Bad News Bears. This is a love story intended for every viewer who is a diehard fan of their home town team, even if the suck terribly.

 

 

back-to-the-future-part-ii
Marty’s get rich quick scheme backfires.

Back to the Future II (Directed by Robert Zemeckis | starring Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd) The second of the time travel trilogy, this film is the glue that holds it together. I am not saying I don’t love the other two films, but Back to the Future II has a certain charm. The writing and references to the future are clever, and Biff Tannen is one of the all-time villains. Even though the Cubs did not win the World Series in 2015 like the film boldly predicted, it is still a hell of a time waster.

 

 

312ae6d716264ae4a2d8ec01c7650125
The Stones have nothing on the Stallyns!

Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (Directed by Stephen Herek | starring Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter) In 1989, a gift was given to the world, and that gift was Keanu Reeves. This comedy features such names as Napoleon, Billy the Kid, Socrates, Genghis Khan, and George Carlin as Rufus. Bill and Ted travel time in a phone booth. Sound familiar? This excellent adventure features one of film’s greatest fictional bands; Wyld Stallyns. Good, mindless fun. You’d have to be a medieval dickweed not to enjoy and appreciate this history lesson.

 

ps10
A hellacious cat named Church. Poetic.

Pet Sematary (Directed by Mary Lambert | starring Denise Crosby, Fred Gwynn) This film is based on the Stephen King novel of the same name. In my opinion, this is the best of King’s work turned movie. I saw this one at a drive-inn double feature and it scared to crap out of me. Pet Sematary still has an unsettling effect on me. This film features a ghost, reanimation of dead things, a demonic house cat named Church, and a toddler on the loose with a scalpel.

 

 

 

T.