Category Archives: two buck schmuck

The Hatful Eight

So, I ventured forth tonight in search of popcorn, caffeine, and a movie.

What were my choices at the lovely LaGrange Theater?

Star Wars: The Force Awakens


Nah, didn’t want to see it.  I saw this already.  It was pretty good.  I didn’t mind it.  It was okay.  I was not offended or horrified.  It wasn’t bad.


The Finest Hours



No, don’t know much about it, didn’t really wanna see it.  Hey, Disney — Mark Wahlberg and John C. Reilly and George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg called (Mark Wahlberg forgot he called the first time).  They want their mediocre storm movie from the 2000s that I never saw back.


The Big Short



I will probably will see this, because Brad Pitt wears glasses and has a beard.  Plus, I hate greed and corporations.  And how interesting does Brad Pitt look, anyways?  He looks like he could teach an art class at a local community college.  Still, not going to see this movie today.


Tonight, I wanted to see a 3-hour movie that didn’t start until 9:00pm on a Tuesday evening.  Yes, I am talking about…




I thought there were a fair amount of hats in the movie, but not enough to warrant the title “Hatful”.  Still, I liked the subtle nod to the Smiths record, as well as Kurt Russell’s character name Johnny Marr.

Speaking of subtle nods, I counted some of them.

  1. The movie takes place in a cold, snowy, inhospitable environment, like John Carpenter’s The Thing.
  2. The movie takes place with a reasonably large group of people stuck together in a small, enclosed space, who increasingly distrust and suspect each other, like John Carpenter’s The Thing.
  3. The movie prominently features Kurt Russell, the star of John Carpenter’s The Thing.
  4. The movie’s soundtrack is written by Ennio Morricone, who composed the soundtrack for John Carpenter’s The Thing.
  5. Part of the movie soundtrack was actually taken from an unused piece of the soundtrack to John Carpenter’s The Thing.

No, I didn’t look up #5 on some trivia page on the IMDB.  I have the soundtrack to John Carpenter’s The Thing on COMPACT DISC.  I *RECOGNIZED* that song.



So, there are some hats in the movie.  And also, some hateful people.  I really don’t know how I’m supposed to have a lot of compassion or even interest for people that I find exceedingly unpleasant.  I didn’t really care about anyone.  Everyone was loud, annoying, and violent.  I imagine I would have a similar experience if I ever took up Quentin Tarantino’s offer to play paintball with him and Eli Roth in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  Not gonna happen, fellas.

This felt good.  I blogged.  I did it.  If you’ll allow me one humorous gif I did not create, hey, Immortan Joe, what did you think of this, the 8th movie of Quentin Tarantino?




By The Playbook

Oh, hi.  It’s a movie review! I haven’t done one of these in a while.  In the movie reviews that I do from time to time, but haven’t done in a while, I go to a neighborhood, second-run theater and review something using a fair amount of smark.  Oh, I also include details not germane to the movie.  That’s a thing I do.

For example, did you know my hairline is very oily right now?  Oh my God is it oily!  I don’t know why.  The weather’s been hot for a few days, after a long spell of colder spring weather.  Does the change in temperature make my hairline secrete oil?  Possibly! Please remember my oily hairline.  It will come back at the end of this review.

ShesAllWrite was very sleepy after a day of gardening and being pregnant, so I flew solo on this movie mission.  What were my choices?

Oz the Great and Powerful

It’s a movie directed by Sam Raimi.  It’s his first movie since the wonderful Drag Me To Hell. This would be a good bet for me to see.  I didn’t see it!

Pain & Gain

People on the Twitter made jokes about this when it came out.  Who gives a shit!  (<—- an emphatic statement, not a question).  I don’t know anything about this movie.

The Host

I didn’t know anything about this, until I went to IMDB to copy the URL to paste above.  Oh, it’s that Stephanie Meyer Twilight author other movie thing or something.  It has no South Korean monsters or anything that I know of.   Boooooooo!

Which leaves me with:


Silver Linings Playbook
Meet Cute Probability Approaching 100%


Look at those two people  on the movie poster.  They’re pretty.  But they’re separated!  What’s going to happen?  Are the laws of romantic movies going to click and lock into place, sending them hurtling towards each other to form a composite face of blissful, Hollywood attractiveness?  Yep.

Bradley Cooper’s character Pat has problems at the start.  He’s bipolar.  He’s getting out of a mental institution.  But don’t worry.  His mental condition will be fine.  He’s cute crazy, not oh-man-I-hope-he-is-okay troubled.  And Jennifer Lawrence’s wounded character will heal.  And the characters will embrace at the end, and everything is going to be alright.

Is that so wrong?  I don’t know.  I don’t want it so easy.

I like several of the films that director David O. Russell has made.  They are occasionally unpredictable, but you can see the happy ending of the movie in the movie poster, and that fact itself is kind of sad.

After I got out of the movie I went to the bathroom.  I looked at my hairline — even oilier.  I popped a small pimple, left the theater, ran through the rain, got in my car and drove home, a little more bummed out than I was before.

As I’m writing this, I’m listening to The Bats’ album Daddy’s Highway.  ShesAllWrite is watching Party Monster and Dylan McDermott’s in the movie and he’s wearing a goddamned eyepatch. And that makes me happier.

Look at the low-res picture I found on the movie’s IMDB page.  I mean, come on, how does that not make someone happy?

Party Monster




The Social Kvetchwork

This is not exactly a movie review, but it will be in parts. And parts of this post will be all over the fucking place.

I sat at home on the night of January 16th. I checked in on my Twitter feed. It seemed like everyone who I followed was tweeting about the Golden Globes (#GoldenGlobes!). They were making snarky observations. I got tired of all the ha-ha’s, and turned on the TV, watched a little of the show.

I strongly disliked it. I might have even hated it. Of course I had to voice my displeasure on Twitter. I tweeted, “I don’t like these people.” I wasn’t being funny, I was registering my unasked-for opinion like a good Internet denizen does.

I logged off and decided to go see The Social Network (TSN) at the LaGrange. And maybe I would write about the movie in one of my blog’s long-abandoned regular features, Two-Buck Schmuck, where I watch films at a second-run theater and comment snarkily about them on my blog.

The irony of leaving a group of people being snotty about the entertainment industry online to go forth with the purpose of being snotty about the entertainment industry online was not lost on me.

The people I gravitate to on Twitter are funny people. I love to laugh. And the person who I am, the person who I used to express more regularly on this blog, is the person that writes on the @isplotchy account on Twitter.

I am also a member of Facebook. I’m on it. But I don’t really care about it. Twitter and Facebook have decimated the blogosphere. I’m not sure which has had more of an effect — probably Facebook. Many once-active blogs are now dormant. Perhaps their typists found whatever need they had to express themselves online satisfied by the Facebook. (NOTE: As I learned in TSN, Facebook used to be called The Facebook, which justifies my prior obnoxious use of the word “The” preceding it up to now, and into the foreseeable future).

I don’t really care one way or the other about the disintegration of the blogosphere, I guess. My involvement in the blogosphere was waning already when everything started shaking up. I mean, I took a long break from my days (1999) to the start of my blogging days (2007). I don’t have a constant web presence, folks. Where we go, we go.

I guess you could say that the blogosphere has been revitalized somewhat with the explosion of Tumblr blogs, but I just fell asleep as you were saying that.

I thought about blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc. as I watched the movie. I know it’s impressive how fast and far The Facebook has spread, but, well….. MEHHHHHHHH. This MEH applies to The Facebook and not necessarily TSN. The Facebook has given lots of people a foothold to self-expression on the Internet, where they perhaps might not have had one before. The Facebook has brought people together, too, I suppose. I do not care about these people. Okay, they’re okay. And I am friends with the drummer from the Feelies on The Facebook, which thrills me to this very day. But The Facebook is not to me what it might be to other people.

I liked doing the self-expression myself. And I like self-expression deriving from an amalgamation of my various writings, and hopefully you sometimes can get a sense of my “me-ness” from reading the things I write. And I like linking up with people who are sharing something very personal, interesting, which more times than not I have found in the blogosphere. I like reading good writing. And I connect with people whose writing touches me, reaches out to me, etc. I have felt connections to others on Twitter, I guess, but it’s not quite as rich a connection, if that makes any sense.

You know what? I’m kind of self-involved and self-important on the Internet. It’s true! I like having my own blog. MINE. It’s mine alone. I remember being really pissed at something filmmaker/playwright Neil LaBute contributed to the blog Six Sentences. Here it is, it’s short:

i stand all amazed

it’s astonishing how needy people are. i had no idea. it was a technical advancement like anything else — the microwave or the radio. the blog was born and millions of gasping little voices appeared, spilling out of their journals and crying a chorus of ‘me, me, me!’ so many electronic hands reaching out. some collective ‘i was here.’

I was pissed off when I read this back in 2007. But in some ways, I guess he was right. This blog *is* me saying, “I was here”. On some level I probably realized there was some truth to that. I guess the issue I had with it was, why the fuck *can’t* I say I was here? Why not?

The blog is a way of sharing my creativity, sense of humor, worries, thoughts, etc. How different is that from making a film, writing a book, a song, whatever? And what are other creative endeavors? Aren’t they in some ways a way of saying “I was here.”? Aren’t you conveying your viewpoint of the world? Aren’t you saying, hey everybody, have you thought about it this way, i.e. my way? You know what? Fuck Neil LaBute. I’m still mad at that douchebag.

Because I am operating under a rigid framework on Twitter and on Facebook, I feel like I am just renting space. Okay, this blog is technically running on someone else’s website. OKAY. I WILL GRANT YOU THAT. But do you get how I can think of it as my space (MySpace!)?

But I digress. Or I digressed up until now. Okay, the movie. The review of the movie.

Actually before that, my car ride to the movie. I came to the lovely train tracks in my town, and counted 1, 2, 3 fucking freight trains moving hither and fro (there are a total of four tracks side by side). With only minutes to get to the movie theater, I said to myself, “Fuck that!”, and followed another car who seemed to know where it was going.

Ah ha! I remembered, there was a way of going under the train tracks a half-mile west of where we were. So this car and me, its shadow, went zig-zagging towards the underpass. The car came to a one-way street that it could not turn down. This was the street that led to the underpass, but you had to take a circuitous route to get there. So the car turned left instead of right. And do you know what I did, dear readers? I TURNED RIGHT GOING THE WRONG WAY DOWN A ONE-WAY STREET. I didn’t kill anyone or anything. Was this action-packed driving drama worth all that Facebook/Twitter/Blogging preamble you waded through? OF COURSE it was.


The movie was okay. I got tired of Jesse Eisenberg and the Aaron Sorkin dialogue he was forced to spew. It was all like “wabbity wabbity wabbity wabbity” and “wibbity wibbity wibbity wibbity”. Enough with the wibbity wabbities, Sorkin!

Lessee. Justin Timberlake was the Napster guy. Hey, Internet. Hey, everyone who has an opinion. I don’t like Justin Timberlake. I don’t care how talented you say he is. Fuck him and the boy band he rode in on. Okay, he was alright, I guess. But I don’t like the fucking guy. I DON’T.


A chunk of the movie takes place in the wintertime. They apparently shot some of the outside scenes when it wasn’t wintertime and/or cold out, and in order to placate viewers who would expect to see the characters exhale visible breath, they CGI’ed the breath. THEY CGI’ed THE BREATH.

I’m done reviewing now.



(and don’t look for Splotchy on Facebook, he is not there)

Couples Retweet

I only have to work Monday this week, so the rest of my time leading up to Thanksgiving can be devoted to developing my eight-pack abs and watching shitty movies.

Okay, watching shitty movies.

What were my choices?

Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs – Nope!

This Is It – I’m pretty sure it isn’t, but thank you.

Where The Wild Things Are – I was all excited about this until I realized it was not in fact a sequel to The Wild Life.

Couples Retreat – LET’S GO.

I got the great idea of live-tweeting my moviewatching experience. I sat near the back of the theater and got my phone and my typing fingers ready.

Sadly, during the film I realized that to properly live-tweet a movie, you have to be sitting in the VERY back row of the theater. Unless, of course, you don’t mind getting repeatedly punched in the back of the head by people who for some reason don’t like the life-giving glow of your mobile phone.

Regardless of this, I’m going to let my Tweets stand as a review of this film. Enjoy!

7:10pm – Live-tweeting Couples Retreat in a cheap theater. GO

7:10pm – It is only me & 4 annoying teens here.

7:11pm – Wait! A “couple” just walked in.

7:11pm – Bob Marley’s Legend on the sound system.

7:12pm – Another couple-

7:12pm – I have always loved “Stir It Up”. Genuinely.

7:13pm – Movie is supposed to start at 7:15pm.

7:13pm – This is kind of like live-tweeting Crank 2, except not really.

7:14pm – I hope I anger no one. I’m a sweetheart.

7:15pm – lights out

9:12pm – Sorry, somebody sat behind me. It was shittt

9:12pm – shitty

Law Abiding Shitizen

Ahhhhhh! How long has it been since I reviewed a movie? TOO LONG.

What were my choices?

Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs – No thanks, I’ve eaten and been rained on!

Couples Retreat – This would be awful, I do not doubt. Still, no.

(500) Days Of Summer – I wouldn’t mind seeing this. However, I would be afraid if I said anything negative about the movie, I would make Zooey Deschanel sad. And that, my friends, is too much burden for me to bear.

Law Abiding Citizen – YES! YES! YES!

So, I roll into LaGrange in my fashionable cobalt station-wagon. Christmas lights have been strung in the village of LaGrange, and the town is a prematurely winter wonderland.

How about those mediocre-looking pics, huh? I took them with my FUCKING PHONE! Hello, 21st Century!

So, the LaGrange is really not the friendly, very slightly grimy theater I toiled away in as the Two Buck Schmuck. They have done some quite lovely renovations. Okay, I’ll admit it. Things are different.

Remodeled lobby, with ticket enforcers

Remodeled hallway

Some restored frescoes. Yeah, fucking frescoes!

New inside theater marquee

The Bob Seger Theater was largely unaffected by the renovation. Except, instead of playing Bob Seger tonight before the movie they were playing the Temptations.

The movie choices are better now. I mean, they played the latest Hayao Miyazaki film here, for Christ’s sake. Do you know how hard it was for me to find a boilerplate revenge drama with suspect philosophical underpinnings? It wasn’t easy.

Okay, to the movie! So, Gerard Butler is this loving dad whose wife and child are killed in the first few minutes of the movie (pre-credits, even!). He spends the rest of the movie punishing the rest of the world for not properly serving up justice to the guys that killed them. I’m not sure if it was cut out in the version I watched, but the movie seemed to be missing that hilarious scene with the vibrating panties.

I knew absolutely nothing about the movie going in, so it was kind of nice wondering where it was going. It wasn’t obvious at first, at least. We flash-forward ten years and see the two thugs that did the killings die — one gets death by lethal injection (a very painful one, thanks to that sneaky Gerard), the other gets gradually amputated to death (also by Gerard). Gerard likes his justice served gradually!

Oh, Jamie Foxx is actually the star of the movie. He’s was Gerard’s lawyer. He is a hotshot lawyer. He didn’t do right by Gerard, so this movie is pretty much geared to teach Jamie Foxx that the only true way to justice is to gradually cut someone’s limbs off.

Gerard lets himself get caught, and then engineers a whole lot of mayhem from within his prison cell. Oh, before I forget, there was a “Hello, ladies!” moment in the movie. So, Gerard pretty much leads the police to himself. For whatever reason, as he is waiting for them, he strips completely down, giving the viewer a nice backside view. As he is taken from his house in custody, he is shirtless but in jeans. What the fuck? They make him put on pants, but they say, “No, a shirt will not be necessary.” I was hoping he would wink at the camera in his shirtless glory, but I guess they did not want to break the fourth wall.

So, most of the movie is just him killing lawyers and shit.

Oh, you end up finding what Gerard does (or did) for a living. He was basically a genius guy that worked for the government, figuring out ways to kill people. He was essentially an assassin. Now, the whole point of the movie, the whole motivation for his character killing all these people, is that justice was not done when his wife and child were killed. The movie *completely* misses any of the irony, that this self-righteous douchebag would in his job routinely kill people extrajudicially. The movie is totally on his side, too. The movie is like Se7en, except you are being asked to sympathize with Kevin Spacey. Yeah, man! Put Gywneth Paltrow’s head in that box!!!

Anyways, Jamie Foxx finally figures out one of Gerard’s plans, to blow up the mayor with a homemade napalm bomb. So, please bear with me — Foxx takes the bomb to Gerard’s solitary confinement cell, which Gerard is not in because he left through a tunnel he made years before being arrested to allow him to move freely from the jail to the outside world. Foxx hides the bomb in Gerard’s cell and waits for him. Gerard eventually makes it back, Foxx asks him not to detonate the napalm bomb (via a cellphone call) to kill the mayor, and Gerard says sorry, and detonates it. Then Gerard realizes the bomb is in his bed as Foxx hightails it out of the cell and locks the special fancy door Gerard built. The napalm bomb explodes, in a prison, a FULLY-POPULATED prison, mind you, killing Gerard and probably a whole lot of other inmates. Then, Jamie Foxx goes to watch his daughter play in a cello recital.

So, Jamie Foxx has learned some valuable lessons in this movie. One, you can blow bombs up in prison, and two, really, see your daughter’s recitals. They’re only young once!

The Awesomest Group Since The Legion Of Doom

I don’t have high expectations of this snowballing into something cool, but I’ll try it anyways.

There are oodles of movie reviewers, professional and otherwise, in print, online, by the water cooler, everywhere.

Still, I really dig my Two Buck Schmuck movie reviews, and haven’t really read anything quite like them. I’m attached to a particular second-run movie theater, and in my reviews I often try to give a sense of time and place outside just the movie-watching experience.

I inhabit the strange limbo between first-run moviehouses and DVDs. It’s a place I really enjoy.

I sure as hell am not the only person who goes to see cheap movies. And I’m probably not the only who has an opinion about these cheap movies.

So, I am creating a group. It will be international in scope. In fact, I am calling it the International Federation of Second-Run Movie Critics (IFSRMC).

If you want to be a member, let me know. I’d be happy to have you on the team!

A logo for this group is forthcoming.


The LaGrange has now resumed normal operating hours, which has made it easier to indulge in my affections for the second-run cinema.

I had some time Friday night, so I decided to hoppity hop hop on over.

What were my choices?

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past – Just the words “Matthew McConaughey” are enough to cause painful boils to erupt on my body (yes, boils just erupted on my body after I typed his name). I can’t handle a whole movie of that lazy, doe-eyed sack of meat.

I Love You, Man – I’m kind of sick of bromance movies, even if this turns out to be the Citizen Kane of bromance movies (or even The Magnificent Ambersons of bromance movies).

X-Men Origins: Wolverine – Hmmmm. Tempting.

Obsessed – Holy shit, get out of my way! I’m going to see Obsessed!

I just knew a little about the movie. Beyoncé is in it and she may or may not get into a catfight with Ali Larter, which was enough for me. It seemed like it might be a nice trashy, sorta dumb movie, the kind that I enjoy on the cheap.

I get to the theatre and see that most of the renovations are complete. Some of the architecture of the original theater is now exposed, which has some nice details, including some paintings I didn’t look too closely at. The previously bad amateur art that adorned the walls of Theater 3 is now gone, replaced by tasteful curtains. I arrived kind of late, with previews already in progress, so I cannot tell you whether the music of Bob Seger plays before the lights go down (one can only hope).

The ticketing situation is a little funky. There are a couple registers in the front of the inside of the building, which isn’t really conducive to retarded patrons (such as myself) efficiently forming lines. We sort of draped out across the carpeting inside the front doors, hindering both the entrance and exit of dissatisfied/soon-to-be-dissatisfied moviegoers.

The prices had been increased from $3.50 to $5.50. I had known the price increase was coming, but I had forgotten that it was going to be $5.50. I had $2.00 in my wallet and a large jangly pile of quarters in my right pocket. I had enough.

But, it pisses me off. They are fucking with my name. I was Two Buck Schmuck. Then they raised the price to $3.50. Three Buck Fifty Schmuck sounds horrible. Now, Five Buck Schmuck sounds perfectly fine. Hell, even SIX Buck Schmuck sounds nice. But Five Buck Fifty Schmuck? It sounds like a fucking Van Halen album. I DON’T LIKE IT.

They fixed up the concession stand a bit. I was running late so I didn’t take any time to peruse it, but I saw that 1) they have nachos now, and 2) they still are using the RC Cola. If you want some reporting on concessions in a future review, please let me know, and give me some money for snacks.

So, Obsessed. It was kind of boring. The mysterious Idris Elba (mysterious because I don’t know who he is) plays an absolutely perfect husband. I just looked at his IMDB. Hey, he’s Stringer Bell from The Wire! I just started watching that show. Did you know that my TV watching habits have no place in a movie review? It’s true!

Anyways, Elba is rich, he’s thoughtful, he’s faithful, he sends flowers to Beyoncé EVERY FUCKING MONDAY. Annoying, isn’t he? We learn that Beyoncé met Elba when she was temping in the office. So, Ali Larter is now a new temp and has she got it bad for Elba.

Elba’s best friend at work (of course played by the radiant Jerry O’Connell), upon learning she is a temp, retorts, “yeah, she’s a tempTRESS.” ZING!!!

So, Ali comes on to Elba several times, she tries to kill herself, blah blah blah. Elba keeps this from Beyoncé, which he shouldn’t have done, because it’s fucking Beyoncé, right? Nobody puts Beyoncé in the corner.

Anywho, Beyoncé finally finds out about the crazy tempTRESS and kicks Elba out of the house for three months (which really makes no sense unless Beyoncé says it makes sense). They eventually reconcile and then Ali starts fucking with both Beyoncé and Elba, etc.

The thing is, the tempTRESS is never even remotely threatening. She’s not scary, she’s not anything. Even in the final catfight with Beyoncé (yes, there is one!), Ali spends most of the time just trying to get away.

The movie did an interesting shift once Beyoncé becomes aware of the tempTRESS. Elba, who was heavily featured in the first half of the film, falls further and further into the background.

At the end of the movie, when Beyoncé emerges from the catfight largely unscathed, and Elba runs up to hold her, we freeze frame on Beyoncé in the husband’s arms. The funny thing was, we don’t even see his full face. The frame literally cuts off the top half of his head (and you can see by the poster above he barely manages to keep his eyes in frame there).

It’s all about Beyoncé, folks. It’s all about Beyoncé!

Seeing as the prices just got raised, I felt compelled to sneak into the 9:15pm showing of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, already in progress. I saw a fair amount of mutanty action, including the stupid Gambit. There was a guy Deadpool, who a comic book nerd told me they completely fucked up in the movie. There was one cool part where he got decapitated while shooting Cyclopsy lasers from his eyes, which entertainingly demolished a tower at Three Mile Island. And Liev Schreiber as Sabretooth was okay.

I skipped out before the end, because Wolverine started getting teary-eyed with a woman who had betrayed him. I don’t know if the filmmakers know this, but nobody puts Wolverine in the corner.


I Cannot Pan Adventureland, or Who Watches The Watchmen For Twenty Minutes?

So, it’s been a crazy amount of time since I have been back to the LaGrange. Between my schedule and the theatre’s schedule, it just hasn’t worked out until now. The LaGrange is currently undergoing some major remodeling, which has resulted in it being closed for days at a time. Theatre 1 is currently torn up, and the lobby is unrecognizable.

La Grange Theatre renovations in the home stretch

Agh! According to the article, after all the remodeling is done they will bump up their prices from $3.50 to $5.00! It’s following the path of the Davis Theater! Oh, mercy!

Alright, anyways, what the hell were my options?

Taken – Seen it!
Watchmen – Seen it!
Adventureland – Okay!

So, Adventureland it was — a movie following a guy out of college who is forced by circumstances to work the summer at an amusement park in Pittsburgh. I had the same problem with this movie that I had with Juno. Too much fucking music that I liked being plugged into every stray silent moment. I felt like I didn’t have the opportunity to interpret moments myself, I had to have the Velvet Underground tell me what to feel.

I know how powerful music can be when accompanied with a giant moving image, and know the allure it must have to a lot of filmmakers. But still, I don’t know, it can be awful if it’s overused.

Adventureland wasn’t a great movie, but I feel like I can’t really be snarky or snide to it. It wasn’t awful, certainly. This is one of those really personal coming-of-age films. I felt like there were strong emotions and experiences behind this story, but they didn’t resonate in the movie for me (maybe they did to other viewers).

I never felt more than when I was young, when everything seemed to hit me so hard, and my emotions were bigger than anything else. I had one of my most “human being moments” as a lowly worker retrieving shopping carts from a supermarket parking lot during sunset. I want to like movies that deal with that time of life, when you’re just this raw nerve experiencing the world for the first time.

It’s one of the reasons I like Almost Famous so much. It’s not made by Cameron Crowe the-guy-who-directed-Jerry-Maguire, it’s by Cameron Crowe the-kid-who-was-painfully-awkward-and-alive.

So, I wanted to experience Adventureland like I was that young man in the amusement park, but I just couldn’t get to that space. I don’t know if it was the distraction of Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig as his bosses, the overuse of music, or what. It just didn’t feel real to me. I am sorry to the filmmaker for not feeling it — I wanted to.

So the movie lets out and I slip into Theatre 4 for some of the Watchmen. As I sit down Malin Ackerman gives a brutal bonesnap to a dude in an alley. Stinky. I saw this movie halfheartedly in a first-run theater a while back, and the twenty minutes I watched didn’t really change my opinion of it. I was annoyed by Dr. Manhattan’s muppet-on-lithium manner of speaking, I was annoyed by every little facet of the guy playing Ozymandias, and well, I still liked Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach.

Ah, you don’t need to hear my opinion about the damned movie. Here’s what you need to know — some pieces of work are such sublime examples of their medium that it really is quite silly to adapt them to another medium. The Watchmen is one of those pieces of work. The Watchmen movie doesn’t offend me, enrage me, whatever. But I don’t need it. You don’t need it, either. Read the comic.

118 Minutes Of The Stinkeye

Ah, the holidays. What would they be without bad, cheap movies? I guess they would be pretty much the same, but without the bad movies that are cheap.

What movies did I have to choose from on Thanksgiving Eve at the Lagrange?

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist – NO.

The Dark Knight – I already saw this (twice!)

Eagle Eye – Yeehaw!

I knew very little about this movie. I had a vague idea that it was like Enemy of the State, a Tony Scott movie I had improbably given a good review when I saw it at the Davis nearly a decade ago.

It stars the iridescent Che Le Boof as slacker copy store worker Jerry Shaw, who gets involved in a ridiculous plot to do something-or-other.

Oh, I’m going to be giving away a spoiler soon, so stop reading if you still want to see this turkey (get it? Thanksgiving? Turkey? Get it? Huh? Huh?). Jerry is manipulated in a very particular and annoying way, by a seemingly omniscient antagonist. This antagonist communicates with Jerry mostly via his cellphone, but also uses any random electronic device that’s handy. It can make a screen read “Jump, Jerry Shaw!”. It can make all the cellphones in Jerry Shaw’s vicinity broadcast “There’s Jerry Shaw!”. It can hijack digital bus marquees to display “This bus will not take you to the mall, Jerry Shaw!” Jerry can’t make a fucking move without being spotted and fucked with.

Oh, there’s a woman in this movie, too. She is also fucked with in a similar manner to Jerry Shaw. She has an annoying, befreckled son that is on a train to play his stupid trumpet in Washington, D.C., and the antagonist threatens to derail the kiddie’s train if she doesn’t cooperate.

Wow, derailing a train — that sounds implausible, doesn’t it? Wait, there’s more. There are other people that are also being fucked with. One of them is a guy who is forced to meet Jerry and the mother in the middle of the desert. The environment is very similar to the final showdown in Se7en — basically a barren dry area among high tension power lines. So, the guy doesn’t do what he’s supposed to do, so the antagonist overloads the precise power lines near the guy so the cables fall down and electrocute him. Yes, that’s what happens.

How could a human be so devious, so cunning, so in control of the fate of Jerry Shaw and That Mother? What if…. it was a COMPUTER?!!!!

Yes, it’s a government supercomputer that is engineering the assassination of the president and his cabinet. Why? Please don’t ask. Just know that it somehow involves Michael Chiklis. That should be enough for you.

So, this supercomputer (whose voice is a woman, so you wouldn’t get confused that the HAL 9000 was being ripped off) is pushing all these human beings into different actions in order to kill all those executive branch guys.

That Mother and her Befreckled Son figure prominently in the plot, as the mother is given a necklace made of an incredibly powerful explosive that looks like a diamond (yes, I am serious), while her son has his trumpet modified without his knowledge to contain a sonic mechanism that acts as the trigger to the diamond explosive necklace (yes, I am still being serious).

Now, I don’t know much about computers and any artificial intelligence they may have, but I feel relatively comfortable in saying that making a mother explode by the trumpeting of her son is a pretty goddamned dickish thing to do.

Oh, before I forget, Billy Bob Thornton and Rosario Dawson are in this crap factory. Thornton plays a really old government investigator or something that apparently cannot delegate ANY part of his investigation to anyone else. Dawson is a poorly-acted excuse for an FBI agent, that actually manages to disable the supercomputer by stabbing it in a globe.

That’s what I tell the various people who ask me about problems with their computer — “Just stab it in the globe!”

Some Righteous Shit

It’s been over a month. Let’s go to the La Grange!

What were my choices?

Mamma Mia! – No, not for mia.

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 – I still haven’t seen Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 1.

Ghost Town – I saw this already.

Righteous Kill – Hell yeah!

Ah, the title of this movie. For some reason it brings to mind some made-up phrase a surfer or skateboarder would use in a retarded screenwriter’s mind. This would be the perfect title for a sequel to Gleaming The Cube. Actually, the perfect title for a sequel to Gleaming The Cube would be Christian Slater Sits On A Sharp Pole For 90 Minutes.

But I digress.

This isn’t a skateboarding movie, though a skateboarding pimp does make a brief appearance before he is shot to death. No, he does not have the time to say to his murderer, “Dude, that was so not a righteous kill!”

I’m going to give one or two spoilers in this review, so if you don’t like shitty movies spoiled, stop reading now (and I feel sorry for you).

This movie has everything. DeNiro! Pacino! Gugino!

Gugino? Yes, this movie has Carla Gugino. If you’ll allow me to briefly objectify women, she is one of two women on my “list”. In other words, hubba hubba to the nth degree. This movie may have resulted in her being taken off the list.

Let me explain. We are introduced to her character as she comes home at night. As she is taking off her coat, etc., a hand reaches around her mouth and grabs her. Later we learn, oh, that was just her boyfriend, Social Security recipient Robert DeNiro. Oh, and it turns out she likes getting grabbed in her apartment.

And she likes being treated roughly during sex. And she gets turned on when DeNiro beats up people. She essentially functions as an object of hostile male sexual aggression throughout the movie. And she is screwing an old guy. Ewwwwww. So, my objectification of Ms. Gugino has been ruined by this stupid movie. And her role actually gets even worse (see below).

Regarding DeNiro and Pacino, holy crap did I not give a shit that these two “legends” shared screen time in this movie. I remember when people oohed and aahed at the restaurant scene between them in Michael Mann’s Heat. I thought, “Who gives a shit?”

Well, this movie was an hour and a half of “who gives a shit”. DeNiro was puffy, and Pacino was decrepit. Absolutely decrepit. These guys are supposedly seasoned detectives of the NYPD. The seasonings have not done a good job of masking their putrefaction. They are old. The film opens with a montage of them at the shooting range, gleefully destroying targets, interspersed with scenes with DeNiro coaching girls’ baseball and Pacino playing chess. Who gives a shit?

The source of the supposed drama of this turkey is that you are given the impression that DeNiro has been killing criminals extrajudicially for a period of time, when the stupid good-for-nothing ineffectual justice system does not do its job of properly convicting them. We see criminal after criminal implausibly killed by an unseen unassailant. Each victim is left with a small handwritten poem.

As the movie progressed, it got so boring that I thought to myself, “Well, they probably are going to reveal that it’s not DeNiro doing the killings, because this movie is so fucking boring.” Sure enough, it’s not DeNiro. Is it Gugino? No, it’s not Gugino. Is it Pacino? Yes, it is Pacino.

Eventually somebody gets the crazy idea that it might be a cop doing the killings. Do they look at handwriting samples of the various police officers, to search for a match with the handwritten notes? No, why would they do that?

So, Pacino is like an avenging angel or some such shit, killing the bad people. As we near the end of the movie, the filmmakers apparently felt the need to up the “suspense” and “drama”. For no discernible reason, Pacino visits Gugino and beats up and (I think) rapes her. He rapes her? Why the hell would he do that? Maybe they should have called this movie Righteous Kill and Inexplicable Rape. That sounds like a superhero team or something.

How does Pacino’s action remotely line up with his motive for killing criminals? It makes no sense. And it only further emphasizes the state of Ms. Gugino as the (beat up and raped, even!) objectification of a non-human woman. Terrible.

Oh, speaking of objectification of women, Pam Grier is the other one on my list.

Coffy is the color of her skin!
Coffy is the world she lives in!


Holy crap, I just realized this movie was directed by Jon Avnet, who also directed the equally awful Al Pacino vehicle 88 Minutes! Awesome (in a bad way)!