MeekinOnMovies’ Midnight(ish) Magical Mystery Movie Marathon: Part 2

I played ‘Journey’ yesterday. It’s a platforming game on the PS3, focused on visual beauty and abstract emotions, kind of like porno. While there are very few specifics about who you are, or where you are, you do, in a sense, know where you’re going. I mean, whatever your culture, you get the gist of what  ‘toward the light’ means, ya know? 
It’s a Hornswoggle short game, but upon beating it, I found myself filled with a warmth I’m pretty sure wasn’t pee. You know how when you hear a song with no lyrics it still makes you feel…things? That’s Journey. You don’t know why, but without a single line of dialog, it reaches out and touches you like that time at Summer Camp.
As I continue to tackle the mountain of movies I haven’t seen as a proper adult,  I’m gravitating to the unique, visually interesting, or foundational – Like Journey is. Casablanca, The Good The Bad and the Ugly, and more modern movies that transform a camera lens into a portal to impossible sights and unexpected thoughts are the word of the day. I’d rather watch a flawed movie like Ender’s Game over something like ‘Primal Fear’ which is a more profound movie, but ultimately kind of flat in the visuals department. Big Fish entertained me more than Good The Bad and The Ugly, even though Ugly is clearly the more important and ‘better’ film. 
Thus, presented for your dada-esque entertainment, another selection of movies seen by me in the past couple of weeks. Lets get started.

 

Guardians Of The Galaxy
Director: James Gunn
Run Time: 122 minutes

‘Well, on my planet, we have a legend about people like you. It’s called
Footloose. And in it, a great hero, named Kevin Bacon, teaches an entire
city full of people with sticks up their butts that, dancing, well, is
the greatest thing there is.’ – Peter Quill, aka Star Lord, ‘Guardians Of the Galaxy’

  
Southeastern Massachusetts is not a hotbed for comic nerdom. In 2013 I
attended the ‘Avengers’ marathon in a packed theater in Chicago, and a few months later attended a “Dark Knight Rises” marathon
near my hometown, and there were seven people total.Yet
within an instant of buying my ticket, there was a strange energy
surrounding Guardians of the Galaxy. 

I’ve never seen so many ‘admit ones’ in my life. This
means we were all pencil-necked geeks with no life, hoping to get a gleam at Zoe Saldana’s perky gamoras, or we
believed so hard in the Marvel Cinematic universe, we chose the closest,
crappiest theater, one that still had ‘Ride Along’ standees in the lobby and
a “Carnevil”
arcade game charging 75 cents…erm, ‘3 tokens’ a play, to show our support.

And my Thanos, was our faith rewarded. Guardians Of The Galaxy is a ribald, silly, and ultimately warm space adventure that feels a bit like Star Wars had a baby with a Disney animated movie. 

Our Guardians are Star Lord / Peter Quill, played by Chris Pratt who
brings a nonchalant but cocksure vibe to the role. There’s a lot of Han
Solo and Mal from Firefly in his character. Abducted from Earth in the
1980s as an adolescent, his most precious possession is a walkman and tapes of classic pop
songs his mother made for him before dying of cancer. In fact, it’d make
sense if he modeled most of his adult ‘persona’ on Solo considering his frame of reference. 

There’s Rocket Raccoon and Groot, who give off a strange “Of Mice and
Men” vibe if Lenny was allowed to be willingly violent and George
was…a raccoon. Rocket is great, and Groot steals the show
multiple times, yet again adding another notch in Vin Diesel’s belt of
awesome performances where he has less than a page or two of true dialog
(see also: The Iron Giant).

Then there’s Drax, played
by Grandpa Dave with a deliberate earnestness. His character is reeling
from the death of his wife and child, and revenge is on his mind. He
also has trouble with metaphor, which results in a bevy of creative one
liners and gags. Imagine if Spock
had an anger problem and an HGH prescription, and you’ll get the idea
here. Zoe
Saldana adds green to her color-coded career, after Avatar blue and
Star Trek Red, and is a perfectly serviceable straight man to the
surrounding cast of crooks, losers, and fauna. 

 

The cast has great
chemistry, especially when you consider two of our Guardians are
computer generated voodoo. How this group of misfits grows together and eventually fights and cares for one another I’ll leave for the movie to explain, but it’s worth noting that it never felt forced, the characters bicker and annoy each other for a majority of the run time, and the antagonism is great fun. 

The plot is complex, and involves all manner of Macguffiny names and objects and characters, but the casual chatter between the characters and rapid fire gags keep everything from feeling self important or exposition heavy. Even if you’re not invested in things like the infinity stones, Thanos, or credit cookies, you’ll have a great time here based soley on how well this cast plays off each other – to the point where you almost bemoan the fact it’s an action movie with space battles.

A little thing about action movies; Generally speaking you’ll have 2-3 ‘set pieces’ per action flick. Iron Man 1: The escape from prison, the Iron Man flying around taking care of business bit, and then the big fight with Iron Monger. The Incredible Hulk: The fight in the factory, the fight outside of the university, and then the big showdown with Abomination. This is the language of action cinema, and while Marvel is many things, they are not in the business of breaking the mold regarding how action movies are structured and escalate.

And while the action falls into familiar tropes of escaping a prison or saving a planet or assaulting a space station, at least they’re done in a left-of-center way that makes them pop. James Gunn has his roots in indie cinema, and happily subverts cliches while at the same time delivering some great action movie visuals, like a sequence where Star Lord ventures into the bleakness of space to save a character he isn’t even sure likes him. Interesting is the fact this scene works. A moment ago he was mumbling about Footloose, and now, bathed in the vastness of space, he looks like an actual action movie hero.

The above scene (and many more) because the movie is flat-out funny. There’s gags and pop culture references galore, and it’s easier to make you cry for someone after you’ve laughed with them. By not taking itself very seriously, and making us laugh so hard, this flick ends up
getting you in the feelings quite a few times, mostly because we didn’t
expect to be got there at all. You will feel true empathy for Rocket, Groot, Drax, Gamora, and Quill, and
will likely relate to them all in personal ways, too. At one time or another, haven’t we all felt like an alien amongst our people?

I find myself forgetting that these Marvel movies are for kids too. Sitting in that theater, giggling out loud at the ballad of the great hero Kevin Bacon with a group of 60 admit ones, feeling sad for Rocket, or mouthing “What..the.fuck..?” uncontrollably every time Drax opened his mouth, made me feel like a kid, I can’t imagine actually being one, and how wide open my mind would be blown. 

If I was 10, or 11, or 12, seeing this movie would have been foundational to my personhood. It’s silly, sweet, edgy, poppy, and above all else, actively wholesome – It would be the movie I’d play with friends while running around the back yard, arguing about who got to be Star Lord and wear my dad’s leather jacket, tasking the tallest kid to stick some twigs in his hair to be Groot, and arranging the chairs on the front deck like the cock pit of The (Alyssa) Milano.

I’d hate to be JJ Abrams right now, because I think Guardians just out Star Warsed, Star Wars.
——————————-

Super
Director: James Gunn
Runtime: 96 minutes
A lot of folks probably haven’t heard of, or blew off, James Gunn’s indie film Super. Super follows Rainn Wilson’s religious Frank, a well
meaning but weird (and he knows it) fellah whose Wife, played by Liv
Tyler, leaves him for a drug dealer played by Kevin Bacon. After mourning, and a feeble attempt to get her back,
a vision of God and his friendly tentacle helpers cut Frank’s head open
and touch his brain with apparently devout power. 

He decides to become a
superhero, and we’re off to the races. If by some chance
you have seen the trailer, you’re probably thinking of it as a farce and
a knock off of 2010’s Kick Ass. It’s not. This is Taxi Driver in Spandex.

Early in the film a young
Frank is whipped by his dad for having naughty pictures of Heather
Locklear under his bed, because it wasn’t right in the eyes of God. This
scene explicitly details how Frank could become a person mentally
unbalanced enough to put on a red suit and hit people in head violently the name of
justice and God.

Super
is profound in that it works on several levels. As a new-moon dark comedy,
character study,  and yes, superhero movie too. There are creative and brutally realistic action sequences, but perhaps
the most surprising level is one of poignancy. If Guardians of The Galaxy is warm and wholesome, Super is understated and painfully somber. We feel for Frank and understand him.

See, Frank is very binary. Whether you’ve killed, or cut in
line, or dealt drugs, you’re getting the same punishment; a pipe wrench
to the skull. You’re either in the wrong, or you’re not. There’s no
degrees, no slaps on the wrist, and as Frank says, “The rules were written a long time ago,
they do not ever change” – we just assume certain rules are more breakable than others. Frank does not.   
He’s
clearly a mental case, but an understandable one. By the end of the
movie, after everything has resolved itself, you’re left feeling the kind of peace that gets caught up in your throat as you try desperately not to say something retarded like “that was beautiful,”.

Because
Frank and the other characters are unbalanced and flawed, and the fact that this
movie is, well, a movie and not a franchise, I found myself caring for
the fate of everyone. In Batman you never felt Batman
was in any real danger. You really think they’ll knock of Spider-Man
anytime soon? Here, all bets are off and there is no smart money.

I
loved this film, and I loved Rainn Wilson in it. Director James Gunn takes us into the nitty gritty of a well intentioned sociopath who thinks being a super hero is a good idea, and when Wilson takes on a side-kick, who is equally as crazy, played by Ellen Page (who does a truly frightening maniacal laugh) you get a sinking feeling these folks are not long for this world.

Special mention goes to the music and score, and the ‘two perfect moments’ theme that runs throughout the movie is uplifting, serene, and the kind of melody you hear in your head when pondering the life, universe, and everything. Two Perfect Moments

Anyway, if you’re looking for something a little insidious that pairs well with psychological study or a big fat pound of existentialism, this is for you. It’s an adult movie
for adults about the fine line between nobility and insanity. No tie-ins, no action figures, no happy meals. This isn’t a
franchise, it’s a film, and a damn good one at that.
———–
Big Fish (2003)
‘And what I recall of Sunday school was that the more difficult something became, the more rewarding it was in the end.’ 

Big Fish is essentially ‘It’s A Wonderful Life” if none of that bad stuff ever happened to George Bailey, and Frank Capra dropped acid watching The Wizard Of Oz, then made a movie right after. It’s the story of a son who’s attempting to make heads and/or tails of his Dad, who has a habit of telling a story about his life, then expanding it in a way that is seemingly impossible. He tells tall tales. Big fish stories, if you will.

But really the plot is just a setup for awesome vignettes, all delivering an old-fashioned
earnestness that harkens back to simpler times that never really were. There’s
a scene where Ewan McGregor ganders at a girl at a circus. Their eyes meet
in the crowd, time slows down, and in a flash, she’s gone. He falls instantly in love with this woman in the way we were told
it would happen, but rarely does.

What follows is a series of events that would make anyone’s heart grow three sizes that day. To a bright smile juxtaposed elephant poop, to a field filled with a sea of bright yellow daffodils, to a monologue that is so sweet it gives you cavities, to a fist fight McGregor refuses to take part in because ‘he made a promise’, Big Fish becomes movie Synethesia. 

Synesthesia causes your brain to correlate sounds into shapes, colors, and patterns, you see. It’s nature’s Winamp visualizer, and only one in two thousand people have the right hardware to run it. This movie does the same thing, but it goes from your eyes and ears to your soul. On the surface this means the flick wants to make you feel sad, or excited, or scared, but there’s an involuntary element, too.

There’s no telling what specific sliver of your psyche a powerful scene will slam into windshield of your mental dashboard. In this case, the scenes involving this grand romance will remind you of the one who got away, or the one you caught and held onto.

Big Fish is great at doing this kind of thing, all the while never explaining its motivations, so everything is ambiguous enough to keep you guessing. Is Spectre a metaphor for heaven or hell? Does it matter? Does it matter if the stories real as long as the morals are? 

And God help you if you’ve lost a parent at any point in your life, getcyha tissues ready. By the end of the flick you never do get the answers to the questions the movie asks, but that’s okay. In this case, the questions let your imagination fly high and wide, and answers would only bring you back to boring, bland, droll, reality. 

Best Scene:

———————

O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
“Though the road may wind, yea, your hearts grow weary, still shall ye follow them, even unto your salvation.”

If
for some bizarre reason you wanted a window into the
kind of thing me thinks is sexy, look toward the scene
above, in which three ‘sirens’ sing an old Irish lullaby and prowl
toward the three protagonists of O Brother, Where Art Thou, drenched in
water and bathed in sultry allure. If everything but my voice hadn’t already hit puberty, the
sequence depicted in the above picture would have kicked it through.

For
the past week or so, my subconscious has barnacled itself to this
scene, and this movie. The acting, the music, and the dialog. Especially
the dialog, as characters
talk in a southern-fried poetic verse. It’s fitting a movie
based on an epic poem (Homer’s Odyssey) is
written in this tense. The whole endeavor is an LP in movie form. Like an album, it stirs your emotions without being specific, with the poetic nature of the dialog allowing for
some wonderful lines that would only make sense in such tense,
including my favorite, “They desecrated a burning cross!”, which is a
turn of phrase worthy of celebration.

Because the dialog and images and motions of the movie are unfamiliar, they’re more stark when you see them. Even if you don’t like this movie, you have to admit there’s nothing else quite like it. As a bonus it serves as a great gateway to getting into old works that
may be a little…tricky on the ears. It may take a moment to parse the
accents and the vernacular, but once you do, you’re treated to some
sparkling exchanges. Even better, if you can get into how cool this
movie sounds, I would suggest running to your closest theater company
that specializes in Shakespeare and take in a show. 

Best Scene:
——————————————-
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966)
There are two kinds of people in the world, my friend: Those with a rope
around the neck, and the people who have the job of doing the cutting.
At one point I found myself in the mood for an old movie. I gave The Thomas Crown Affair a shot and disliked it quite a bit after sitting through the whole thing waiting for a payoff that never came and sitting through Faye Dunaway’s ‘acting’, and figured the mother of all westerns would be a nice change of pace.

And that it was. I’ll avoid getting into an argument about iconography here, but I will say the impact of the whole ‘dollars’ trilogy on our world is too massive to quantify, especially the music, which has been heard in so many different places I didn’t even know it was from *this* movie until watching it. 
Specific mention who goes to Clint, and seeing this flick is sort of like seeing the genesis point for literally every stoic action protagonist ever. Snake Plissken, Aiden from Watch_Dogs, Spike from Cowboy Bebop, and on and on and on and on and on. 

If you take all that extra-textual stuff away and survey it as a regular movie, it’s pretty good, but a bit dated, and really long. Both of which are fine with me. I enjoy movies that are ‘epic’ and good and ‘different’, and this got me itching to see Lawrence of Arabia again, and put Patton in my Netflix Queue. 
The finale of the movie is a classic stand off with a twist for the ages, too, and worth the ride alone if you’re into seeing foundational films that are great in their own right.
——————————————
Coming Soon: Casablanca / Enders Game / Face/Off / Now You See Me / Thor: The Dark World / Desperado / Jackie Brown / Reservoir Dogs
/ Dusk Til Dawn / Pulp Fiction / Inglorious Basterds / Death Proof /
Django Unchained / In Brughes / No Country For Old Men / The Fifth
Element / Zodiac / Kill Bill Vol. 1 / Kill Bill Vol. 2 /Apocalypse Now /
Pain & Gain / The Talented Mr. Ripley / Das Boot / The Fan / The Departed

MeekinOnMovies’ Midnight(ish) Mushroom Movie Marathon: Part I

“It’s unfortunate what we find pleasing to the touch and pleasing to the eye is seldom the same.”

After May and June, months where I wrote about 60 thousand words, I was pooped. Kaput. I had ideas and thoughts and topics I could write about, but they
were weak, listless, and got jumbled up somewhere between my brain,
arms, fingers, and keyboard. 

So for the first time in a long time I said fuck this being a writer thing foe a minute, got a big ole bag of
shrooms, and spent all my free time watching every movie I could get my dilated
pupils and rapidly growing and shrinking and breathing hands on.

5 days and 30 movies later, I was a new man. I discovered filmmakers I disregarded, re-discovered movies I had seen as a kid but never understood, and studied any detail I could. This wasn’t a vacation, it was meditation. Picture someone stranded in the desert with tattered clothes, coming
across a can of soda, popping it, drinking it, and making that
“Ahhhhhhh” sound of refreshment. That was me.

I was watching to enjoy, not review – but I am who I am, so here I am
anyway to tell you about why you should see these flicks if you can. The first batch of movies I watched were 90s flicks. Maybe it’s the lack of CGI, maybe it’s the idea that an ‘action’ movie back in those days weren’t all slam-bam action epics, and maybe it’s because I grew up hearing about all these movies as a kid, and wanted to go check them out as an adult.

Thus presented for your apathy are interesting takeaways from the first portion of my fungi-infused sojourn. I hope you enjoy.

 I’ll Do Anything (1994)
Before “As Good As It Gets” James L. Brooks made this movie. This movie,”I’ll Do Anything” was initially filmed as a big-budget musical before test audiences reacted with such vitriol he axed the musical numbers and re-wrote a bunch of scenes. 
This sounds like a recipe for disaster, but instead what you get is a movie with the whimsy of a musical, where characters are a bit more animated, a bit more eccentric, monologue often with wonderful results, and the score feels like a carnival.
For starters, this flick was written by James L. Brooks who had his hands in ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’ and ‘The Simpsons’, and a bunch of other TV properties too. Regarding ‘The Simpsons’, it turns out the episode Brooks had the most to do with, creativly, was the “Lisa’s Substitute” episode If you’re seen it, you know he knows his way around a joke as much as he does a tender moment. 
The plot concerns a struggling actor who through a series of circumstances ends up responsible for his daughter, and is woefully unprepared to be a full time father. He eventually ends up dealing with a big time movie exec played by Albert Brooks, gets involved with the ‘who the HELL is that foxy lady’ Joely Richardson, who toward the end delivers an emotional reaction to a certain character’s actions that deserves wild praise.
And then we have Nan, played by Marge Simpson herself, Julie Kraver. Kraver is damn brilliant in this movie, and she is worth the price of admission alone. It’s impossible to find clips from this movie online for some reason, so here’s some choice dialog from her character: 
Matt Hobbs: (asking Nan about moving from Washington DC to Hollywood) Washington, boy, that must have been a big adjustment.
Nan Mulhanney: It wasn’t that bad. Both places have a lot in common: Over-privileged people, crazed by their fear of losing their privileges. Alcoholism. Addiction. Betrayal. The near total degradation of what once were grand motives. The same spiritual blood-letting. I kind of do miss the seasons, though.

Burt: Wanna have a little sex?

Nan: You know, I’ve never hung up on anyone in my life. Because what if the next thing they said solved everything? But I feel I must end this conversation.

Burt: That’s “no”? Hello…?
Anyway, if you’re looking for a surpsingly warm and silly and laugh-out-loud hilarious movie that’s right up the alley of film buffs – including a wonderful scene that explains how ‘acting’ works in a way that makes total sense, I’d seek this one out. If you have Comcast On Demand you should be able to find it under the “MoviePlex” premium channel. 

Trailer:

Shroom Thought: The fact this movie isn’t more popular is a travesty, and I must now Tattoo Nick Nolte’s mug shot on my body.  
—–

Out of Sight (1998)
“It’s like seeing someone for the first time, and you look at each other for a few seconds, and there’s this kind of recognition like you both know something. Next moment the person’s gone, and it’s too late to do anything about it.” 

I caught this movie on Crackle, which is kind of like the Salvation
Army Thrift Store of movie apps. As a kid I remember this flick getting
previewed over and over again on the guide channel, using words like
slick and steamy and sexy.

For what it’s worth, I generally dislike ‘sexy’ movies. In much the
same way  a strip club is an expensive way to get an unusable boner, a
movie featuring a lot of soft-glow love scenes feels like a good way to feel like sleezeball in front of strangers. If
I want to watch people having sex, I want to watch them having sex for real, presumably on a porno site, not
pretending to have sex. So when stuff on Showtime or HBO has that mandated 2-3 minutes of boobage you’ll see in pretty much any of their shows, I’ll roll my eyes.

It’s not that sex in movies is bad, it’s just sex for the sake of sex is bad. In a movie like Jackie Brown, the lone sex scene is played for laughs and conveys something about the characters, instead of conveying naked bodies to the eyeballs of the audience.

So when I say that ‘Out of Sight’ is one of the coolest, sexiest, slickest
movies I’ve seen in quite some time, I mean it. The plot features a
professional bank robber, prison escape, and diamond heist, but is more
about the moment to moment energy of the characters. The way they talk,
the way they act, how they zag when we expect them to zig. 

I’m reminded of something billionaire philanthropist Montgomery Burns said, about how in his day the starlets could tantalize the audience by simply raising a finger or showing a little leg. Here, all it takes a trunk, a little red lighting, and a conversation between Clooney and Lopez that’s weird, esoteric, and forces a smile on your face like you’re watching something you shouldn’t.

In addition to the trunk portion of the flick, there are two scenes, the opening bank robbery, and another involving a ‘date’ between Jennifer Lopez’s character and George Clooney that belong in “That was so fucking cool!” wing of the library of Congress. 

You can watch this movie, for free, right now, and quite frankly, it may be the most fun two hours you have all week.

Best Scene:  



Shroom Thought: Hey, is Michael Keaton playing the same character from Jackie Brown?! (He was!)
—-

Crimson Tide (1995)

Yeah, horses’re fascinating animals. Dumb as fence posts but very
intuitive. In that way they’re not too different from high school girls:
they may not have a brain in their head but they do know all the boys
want to fuck ’em.

Crimson Tide is what I like to call a TNG movie. When Star Trek tossed the science with the 09 reboot, a little part of me was sad. I grew up fascinated by the inner workings of the Enterprise, specifically the Enterprise-D and getting into the nitty gritty of how all the fictional systems functions.

Crimson Tide does a lot of the same things, replacing a space ship with a submarine, and fictional techno babble with, well, real techno babble. If you’re the kind of person inclined to watch a movie because you like a good story, AND you like to know how something foreign and complicated works a bit better, Crimson Tide is one of those ‘entertaining and unintentionally educational’ flicks. The recent ‘Captain Phillips’ was a lot like this too – showing us a lot about how a giant barge and its crew actually functions and works, so when stuff goes haywire, we understand the hows and whys.

Of course that’s just a potato bread bun surrounding the beefy acting of Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman, both good men acting in what they believe to be the best interest of their country, and their duty to the Navy. The tension between the two is like a tea kettle. It boils over, simmers, and after the dust settles both men realize the other was only doing their job to the best of their ability.

This is a wonderful thriller and great fun to watch with parents or loved ones who don’t like hyper violence or intense vulgarity. There’s also some great talking points to pull out of the flick if you’re looking for them. But even if you’re not rest assured you don’t need to look very hard to enjoy this movie a great deal.

Best Scene:


Shroom Thought: I wonder if modern day Submarines get good Wifi?
—-

 A Serious Man (2009)

“…with the right perspective you can see Hashem, you know, reaching into
the world. He is in the world, not just in shul. It sounds to me like
you’re looking at the world, looking at your wife, through tired eyes.
It sounds like she’s become a sort of… thing… a problem… a
thing..” 
There’s a girl I’ve known for about a decade now who is essentially a big yellow light. We’ll go to a salmon run, watch the fish, and she’ll sit a bit away from me, then message me the next day saying I should have kissed her. A few months later I’ll suggest we go look at the stars in a field and smoke hookah, and she’ll decline, only to text me the next day saying how beautiful the sky was and wondering if I saw it. 
I *hate* yellow lights. Which is a problem, because A Serious Man is essentially Yellow Light the movie. There are no real answers to the biggest questions, and you can either soldier through crises or become paralyzed trying to make concrete sense of it all. Either way, you’ll never know.
This is a two paragraph way of saying fuck those cock-teasing Cohen brothers. 
With due respect, of course. Normally I can understand when a movie is good and not my cup of tea, or bad but enjoyable. But for whatever the Cohen brothers are laying down, I’m not picking up. On the first try at least. The Cohen’s make me feel like a moron. I haven’t seen their entire catalog, but what I have seen has always left me with a “huh? Did I miss something?”.
The Cohens remind me of the Hemmingway short story ‘Hills Like White Elephants’ about a couple waiting on the train tracks on their way to get an abortion or on their way back from one. Nothing is every directly communicated about the abortion and the schism in their relationship, but the characters, prose, and construction of the story make it clear what they’re upset about, even though you’re never told with 100 percent certainly. 
And while I appreciate the sentiment, life has enough uncertainties as it is. ‘A Serious Man’ is about a man in a crisis of faith and confidence, as every one of those uncertainties break in the worse possible way. It’s ultimately a bleakly dark comedy with moments of gentle insight and understanding. There’s a scene involving an elder Rabbi, a tape recorder, a stoned boy on his Bar Mitzvah, and a surprising display of respect for Jefferson Airplane that touches the soul like an unexpected compliment from your company’s CEO. 
Still the movie requires studiousness to understand and find fully enriching, and it may not hurt to have someone well versed in religion to ask questions of, depending on your ability to pick up on the definitions of things based on context.
Regardless, the sign of a great movie is that you’re thinking about it days after you’ve seen it, as I have. I don’t know what to think, but I like that its making me think regardless. I’d check it out.
Best Scene:
Shroom Thought: I think having an Italian mom is like having a Jewish mom except you eat better and she has a mustache.

Coming Soon:  Desperado / Jackie Brown / Reservoir Dogs / Dusk Til Dawn / Pulp Fiction / Inglorious Basterds / Death Proof / Django Unchained / In Brughes / No Country For Old Men / The Fifth Element / Zodiac / Kill Bill Vol. 1 / Kill Bill Vol. 2 /Apocalypse Now / Pain & Gain /

QOTD: Multiple Movie Viewings

Dammit, do I gotta do EVERYTHING on my own blog?  
OK, question of the day that sprung to mind while I was at Thor 2:  Thor Harder last week.  What is your stance on going to movies multiple times in the theater?  What movies have you seen the most times in theater?  
For me, I find that since my time is at a premium now that my life revolves around a toddler, I don't tend to go to the same movie more than once.  The way I figure, who knows when we'll get a babysitter again, so we might as well see something new.  However, back in the free-spirited days when we could just go to movies at night willy-nilly, there ended up being a ton of stuff I saw more than a few times because it was great or I had other friends who wanted to see it or whatever.  For me, the most times would probably be the original Star Wars, which I saw once as a very young lad in theaters (yes, I'm old enough to have seen Star Wars in theaters, fuck off) and then roughly 6 more times on the original re-release.  Nothing else comes close to that one, although I saw the 2009 Star Trek three times in theaters, each Lord of the Rings movie 3 times due to non-intersecting groups of friends, the first Iron Man 3 times for similar reasons, The Dark Knight three times because the first time we had shitty seats opening night and we wanted to get the best experience.  Plus a couple of cases like 300 where we saw it twice in regular theaters and then again in IMAX when we were on vacation in Edmonton.  

Man Movie Encyclopedia – Die Hard

With the recent love for Die Hard in the previous thread, I got a couple requests for the MME article on it. Now we can talk about men’s fashion and industrialization all day.

Year: 1988
Director:
John McTiernan
Star:
Bruce Willis
“40 Stories Of Sheer Adventure!”

Really, what you’ve got here is the Holy Grail of action films. A film so revolutionary that it created a sub-genre, launching millions of different action films that were described as “Die Hard on a _____”. The funny thing is, the plot is so absolutely simply, it’s shocking no one came up with it before.

John McClane is a New York cop who’s marriage is on the rocks, due to his wife not being happy with just being a homemaker. Pssh, just like a woman. So, he’s heading to LA in order to try and patch things up, because God-forbid Holly do it! Once he touches down in Los Angeles, he gets himself a limo with a talkative driver named Argyle. He instantly wins my respect by listening to Run DMC. The place John is dropped off at is The Nakatomi Plaza building where Holly’s Christmas party is going down. Since John is unsure whether or not he’s going to get busy with the Mrs, Argyle offers to hang out until he knows the deal for sure.

Now, while John is heading up stairs, playing meet n greet, a team of German terrorists are infiltrating the building in order to load up on the $640 million dollars worth of bearer bonds. The leader of the group is Hans Gruber, a smooth talking bad-ass who loves to wear a good suit, and isn’t afraid to put a bullet in someone should it seem fit. He’s got along with him many a thug, as well as a computer/electronics savant who’s here to break into the major vault.

As Holly & John are seemingly on the mend, gunfire erupts out in the banquet room as the bad-guys make their presence known. John takes the split second he has to duck out into the stairwell, and try to mount a plan. If it were me, my awesome plan would have been to run down the stairs screaming a combination of rape & fire.

One of John’s first plans is to pull the fire alarm and get some attention to this situation. Naturally, the baddies are on top of this, which should have been obvious because Hans is wearing a suit. You wear a suit, you know the score. So, Hans tells one of the fellow bad guys to check on the situation, and gets his neck broken for his troubles. That’s why I’ve never done anything my bosses have ever told me to do. I’m not getting my neck broken.

It’s now known by Hans and the group that there’s something afoot, due to John writing “Now I have a machine gun, ho ho ho” on the dead guys sweat shirt, and sending him down the elevator. Meanwhile, a simple beat cop known best to the World as Carl Winslow of Family Matters’ fame, has been called to check out the situation at Nakatomi Plaza. For his troubles, he gets his car shredded with a few machine guns, and ran off an embankment. After calling in the troops, he’s able to communicate with John who snatched a radio he nabbed from a dead guy.

So, the troops come in, and try to work this situation out. By work the situation out, I mean get knee capped, and have their LAPD tank blown to hell with a rocket launcher. John answers back with thee ol’ C4 & computer monitor trick. I’m sure in this day and age he’d tie it to an iPhone or something. Ellis, perhaps the greatest representation of the 80’s yuppie, does a few snorts of coke, and tries to work out a deal with Hans & the gang. I never knew just what the hell kind of deal he was gonna strike. Although his 10,000 watt smile could damn near soften the heart of any terrorist. Except Hans, he blows his brains out because John won’t give up the detonators he boosted from one of Hans’ henchmen.

The FBI finally arrives, and they zap the power to the building, which is exactly what Hans wanted. Now that things are on their way, they split up to check on things and make sure shit is going down. Hans checks out the C4 on the roof, and happens to run into John. Naturally. John assumes that everyone is a terrorist, and doesn’t trust Bill Clay for a minute. That proves to be fruitful, as Hans tries to shoot John, only to realize the gun has no bullets. Before anything else can go down, the rest of the crew show up and shoot the hell out of the office, layering the floor in shards of glass. Which will prove to be detrimental to John’s shoeless feet. The gang manages to get the detonators back, and leave John to bleed.

They finally break through the safe they’ve been trying to crack, and start loading up the loot. Meanwhile, John figures out that they’re going to blow the roof when all the hostages are up there. That way the FBI thinks everyone has died, and will take a while to try and track them down. He runs up stairs, and gets the group to head the hell back downstairs. Of course, since there’s women, they won’t listen unless John is firing a freaking machine gun. Now that it’s all clear, he gets to jumping off the roof with a firehose tied around his waist. If it were me, they’d probably only have a garden hose, I’d only be able to jump about half a foot, and also get rubber burn. And I don’t think there’s much lotion in Nakatomi Plaza.

Well, it’s game time, the showdown between Hans & John McClane. Since John is the smartest motherfucker alive, he has a gun taped to his back, and blows some Germans away. I have a ton of back hair, and I can tell you how that plan would have gone. The tape would have adhered to my back hair so strongly that when I pulled on the gun I would have given myself a front flip.


Man Movie Encyclopedia Tally:

1-Liners:
3
Guys Beat Up:
4
Guys Killed:
21
Swear Words:
98
Boobs:
4
Explosions:
5
Slow-Motion Scenes:
10
Car Chases:
None
Chases on Foot:
2
Broken Bones:
1
Fight at a Motel?
No
Guy Get Girl?
Yes
Guy Smoke Cigarettes?
Yes

1-Liners:

Tony: …there are rules for policemen.
John McClane: Yeah, that’s what my Captain keeps telling me.

Marco:
Next time you have a chance to kill someone, don’t hesitate.
[McClane pumps about 6 shots into him]
John McClane: Thanks for the advice, pal.

[after some cowboy talk, John pulls the gun from his back and shoots Hans]
John McClane: Happy trails, Hans.

Man-Facts:

The original poster release didn’t feature Bruce’s image, because the studio thought it’d hurt the box-office, since he wasn’t an action star.

When John falls down the elevator shaft, you see that he misses the first air vent. That was actually a mistake by the stuntman, as he didn’t grab it in time, but they dug it so they left it in.

Bruce was the 7th choice for John McClane. 7th, motherfucker. The line went like this;
Arnold, then Stallone, then Burt Reynolds, then Richard Gere, then Harrison Ford, then Mel Gibson. I don’t get it, how could you read this script and think “feh”?

This was originally meant to be a sequel to Commando.

The centerfold that John sees in the elevator shaft is that of Playboy’s Miss November, 1987, Pamela Stein.

The reaction that Alan Rickman has when being dropped is genuine. He was held 21ft above an airbag, and the stuntman let go at 2, not 3.

The Director, John McTiernan decided to change Hans & the gang from political terrorist, to dudes just out for a score. He felt it would be easier for people to enjoy a simple caper film.

Box-Office Business:
Created on a budget of $28 million dollars, Die Hard was released on July 15th, 1988 to 1,276 theaters. It opened up at #3, earning a weekend total of $7,105,514. It ended up earning a grand total of $140,767,956

C’mon Bennet, Let’s Party!:
Seriously, there’s nothing I could say that would do this film justice. It’s an absolute masterpiece. It’s not only one of the Top 3 action films of all time, it’s one of the Top 10 films of all time. There’s absolutely nobody who can’t enjoy this. The plot was so simple, but executed so goddamn well. There isn’t one gripe about this film, as it’s flawless from beginning to end. John McClane is one of the burliest movie characters of all time. Hands down.

5 Head-Butts Out Of 5.

My editor Steven Ferrari didn’t edit this, but I’d still like to make mention of how I met him, which was when my brother-in-law, and good friend’s wife died, and he asked myself, and Steven to help him raise his 3 daughters. Have mercy. 

Hope you guys dug the article. For those that did and want more, you can read this very entry, plus the rest of the original Die Hard trilogy in my book The Man Movie Encyclopedia, available at amazon for 99cents. 28 classics are covered, from First Blood, to Robocop, Commando, and Predator. It’s been endorsed by Scott Keith, and New York Times Best-Selling Author, Maddox. Hell, even Fuj gave it a thumbs up.

For more Die Hard fun with Caliber, check out 12 Reasons Why Die Hard Is The Best Christmas Film Ever.

Any requests, questions, QOTDs, send’em on over to [email protected]

Movie questions

To break up the monotony:

In the space of four years, John McTiernan made three of the best action movies of that generation: Predator (87), Die Hard (88), and Hunt for Red October (90). Each movie is awesome in its own particular way.

So two questions:

1) What happened? Did Last Action Hero kill this guy in Hollywood, or did the action genre move in a different direction with Cameron's Terminator 2 in 91?

2) The big decision: Die Hard vs. Predator, you have to pick a winner. Which do you choose and what's the argument (we already know your affections for Predator)?

1

)  Oh yeah, the action movie landscape changed in a BIG way around that time, which kind of bummed me out as a kid who had grown up watching the MANIAC COP genre.  I think it was actually Die Hard that killed the superman-with-a-badge deal, because it presented an everyman hero who WAS vulnerable, and then we started getting every permutation of "Die Hard On A (Blank)" studio pitches.  Also, I will defend Last Action Hero to my death as a decent movie.  Yes, it was stupid and nonsensical and poorly acted at times, but I always thought it was more the movie equivalent of all the poor bastards who released hair metal albums after Nevermind came out.  
2)  I have affections for Predator, but Die Hard is one of my favorite movies of all time, full stop.  Better plot, more layers, more memorable one-liner, better acted, much better sequels.  

WWE To Team Up With The Flintstones For DVD Movie

– It was announced today, via press release, that WWE & Warner Bros are teaming up for a new Flintstones film that will be released in 2015. The film, which is expected to be straight to DVD, is described as follows…

Fred, Barney and the whole Bedrock gang join up with Vince McMagma
(Vince McMahon), and WWE Superstars and Divas including John Cenastone
(John Cena®) and CM Punkrock (CM Punk®) as part of the very first WWE
main event.

Michael Luisi, President, WWE Studios had the following to say about the project….

“WWE is family-friendly entertainment, so partnering with Warner
Bros. on a Flintstones/WWE project was a natural extension of our Scooby
Doo deal. This new, animated feature allows us to showcase our brand
with young fans and loyal Flintstones enthusiasts alike.” 

Source 

I’m a big fan of both WWE and the Flintstones, so this sounds awesome.

MeekinOnMovies’ Date Movie Diatribe #1: Silver Linings Playbook

The
date movie. We’ve all been here. Be it a night out with your wife or
hubby, a first date with someone you met online, or simply something you
enjoy doing with your boyfriend or girlfriend, oftentimes seeing the
right kind of movie can enhance your romantic endeavors for the evening,
and seeing the wrong kind of movie can damn them completely. Some
movies are romance neutral. I don’t think anyone seeing “Parker” is
going to come out of that movie questioning the very fabric of their
lives, for example. But, some are profound. In a series of articles
highlighting the good date movies, the bad date movies, and the kind of
date movies you should really only watch after a couple of tequila
shots, I intend to provide you with a primer. These will be broken down
into three categories: 

The Flick: The movie, is it good, what makes it good 

The Chick: Who is this movie right for? Couples? First Dates? What does it mean if your date doesn’t like the movie? 

The Stichk: What
are some pull-aways from the movie. Conversation topics, recommendations
for other movies you may enjoy as a couple if you enjoyed this one, and
so on.

So, here goes!


The Flick:

Typically,
David O. Russell has been romance neutral. While a phenomenally
talented (and infamously hot-headed) director, there’s really nothing in
“Three Kings” or “The Fighter” or “I <3 Huckabees” that would lead a
couple to seriously ponder their romantic predicaments. This, alas, is
not the case in his new film “Silver Linings Playbook” a romantic
not-quite-comedy about mental illness, family, and the Philadelphia
Eagles. 

            

Silver Linings Playbook
Director: David O. Russell
Runtime: 122 minutes

After
being admitted for violently beating a man he caught in the shower with
his wife, the high-strung Pat (Bradley Cooper) is discharged from a
mental hospital after his parents agree to take him in and keep an eye
on him. Following his incarceration, Pat appears to be a changed man –
he’s working out religiously, and reading classic novels regularly, too –
the problem being that all this positive energy comes from the
misguided notion that he could win his wife back if he was just a little
stronger, and it turns out all those books he’s been reading are ones
that appear on the syllabus his wife made for the English class she
teaches. It turns out Pat is fairly obsessed with his wife, and despite a
restraining order, is intent on seeing her again. Pat brings her up
consistently throughout the course of the movie’s first two acts,
delusionally believing that if he could *just* talk to her, he’d be able
to explain everything.     

The
fact is Pat is mentally ill, and refuses any sort of medication –
leading to a variety of incidents with his family, psychiatrist, and
former co-workers. On top of this, Pat is somewhat of a pariah in his
own town, as the community is very well aware of his horrifically
violent outburst and trip to the loony bin. Following a dramatic
outburst over the inability to find his wedding video, he’s forced to
start taking his medication. But crazy doesn’t stop with Pat and
Tiffany. Pat’s Dad (Robert DeNiro) is his own kind of high strung and
obsessive, particularly about the Philadelphia Eagles (and betting on
them), going as far as to arrange the remotes a certain way on the
table, and consistently clutch what appears to be a decades old Eagles
hanky.   

Eventually Pat runs into widower Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), and they inadvertently bond over all the various medications they’d been put on (and hated) throughout the years.
Lawrence and Cooper have great chemistry, and you root for them right
off the bat.  Lawrence is a real gem, playing Tiffany as a disaffected,
sexy, totally-lacking-in-social-filter, but still very obviously damaged
kind of gal – the sort of woman an Everclear song would pine over.
Cooper’s Pat is unsettlingly high-strung, and despite the strong
bravado, has a very dangerous self-hate bubbling under the surface about
the very horrible things that happened to him, and what they caused him
to do. These characters click like lego bricks. Pat, deliberately
chaste and obsessed with his wife, initially looks at Tiffany like the
dorky girl down the block – annoying, nagging, and bothersome, whereas
Tiffany, a sex-addict, finds herself intrigued by the only straight man
on the planet that doesn’t want to sleep with her. Which is partially
true. A particularly pivotal scene in a diner during a not-quite-date
between the two eventually degrades into Pat living vicariously through
Tiffany’s sexual exploits, then feeling immensely guilty after realizing
he’s allowed himself such lustful thoughts about a woman that’s not his
wife.

Director
David O. Russell has a knack for demanding perfection from his
performers, and it may actually be working against him because it almost
seems *too* easy. Despite the big names in the movie, you ultimately
forget that Bradley Cooper is Pat and Jennifer Lawrence is Tiffany. For
the time they’re on screen, they become real people, with real problems,
and real depth. They turn performances that are instantly immersive and
captivating, but not showy, and as a result you may not notice how
triumphant they really are. Part of the joy of “Silver Linings Playbook”
is how both Lawrence and Cooper work very hard to slowly let their
character’s guard down, as they come to trust each other and just
possibly learn to function as relatively normal human beings again. To
be fair,  DeNiro is always DeNiro, but that’s more the fault of his
incredible legacy than anything else.

Thanks
in part to the performances and a stellar script, “Silver Linings
Playbook” is incredibly funny in a natural way. A lot of uncomfortable
humor is extracted from the obsession Pat has with his estranged wife,
and with the initial antagonistic relationship with Tiffany. There’s a
sequence toward the end of the film at a Philadelphia Eagles tailgate
that is simultaneously hilarious – and heartbreaking.

 
In
the end, “Silver Linings Playbook” is, well, hilarious, heartbreaking,
and ultimately uplifting. Lets face it: we’re all crazy. We all have our
idiosyncrasies, obsessions, skeletons in the closet, shameful memories,
and regrettable choices. These issues can be paralyzing, preventing us
from reaching out to make a connection with someone who may just be, if
not the cure, the salve, for what ails you. It’s rare a movie tackles
such serious subject matter without a smidge of heavy handedness,
unintended camp, or actions that ring in-authentic to the characters in
the film. You may not notice it at first, but “Silver Linings Playbook”
is a great movie, regardless of the company you may or may not keep.

The Chick:

If
you’re bringing a girl you’re fixing to romance to this movie – make
sure she’s interested in *you*. There’s nothing worse than taking a girl
to the kind of movie that makes your mind wander to the lost romances
of your life, and finding out your date still isn’t quite over her
breakup from Tommy who works at the Starbucks. Thankfully, if she digs
you, there is a lot to be sappy over in this movie. On more than one
occasion you’ll very likely hear sniffles and “awww”s from the audience
during the movie’s tender moments, that are like music to the romantic’s
ears. Take note of when your date makes these noises, and try to use
them to your advantage for strategic hand-holding and
arm-around-shouldering – certainly the key to any successful movie-date.
Similarly, you’ll be able to gauge your potential mate’s penchant for
intelligent movie-going by her engagement. While compelling, funny,
human, and enthralling, “Silver Linings Playbook” isn’t very exciting.
If you look over to find the harsh white glow of a cell-phone, you may
want to bail out on any potential relationship.

“Silver
Linings Playbook” is ultimately a great first date movie for a few
reasons. It’s touching, romantic, celebrates love and family – and it’s
sexy too. While certainly more than eye candy, Bradley Cooper and
Jennifer Lawrence are incredibly attractive people, and certain scenes
in the flick feature palpable romantic chemistry that may very well get
your libedo beating faster than the drums in a White Stripes song.  

While
I’m not a doctor or even in a relationship, I worry if perhaps that if
viewed in the wrong light, this movie could be potentially damaging for
mid-to-long-term couples and married folks. Especially if there has ever
been infidelity or a tendency for bursts of anger or violence on the
part of either mate (TAMMY SYNCH FOR EXAMPLE!). “Silver Linings Playbook” hammers home the fact
that we’re all crazy, and that love can and will conquer all, if not
most. The problem is that while the movie is very natural and
believable, watching it with someone who you know to be unfaithful could
rend an incredibly painful experience for both parties.

Also,
often times relationships that are emotionally abusive find themselves
in a situation kind of similar to what “Silver Linings Playbook”
presents toward the end of the film. Bradley Cooper’s Pat is violent,
and crazy, and is ultimately saved, in a sense, by Jennifer Lawrence’s
Tiffany. That whole “We’re both crazy, baby” kind of mentality is what
allows an insecure gal to stay with her boyfriend through his
semi-regular fits of anger that may very well land the family cat in the
E.R. – and if taken in the wrong light could reinforce a person’s
commitment to making a poisoned relationship work.

But,
if you’re happy and married, or headed down that road, well, you can’t
do much better than “Silver Linings” Playbook. While sexy, it’s not
deliberately misogynistic, and there aren’t really any shots or
sequences in the film that exist solely to show off the sexy bods of
Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence – which some movies are wont to do,
and there’s enough comedy, romance, humor, and sports talk to satisfy
even the most cynical of men.   

The Schtick:

There’s
a lot you can talk about coming out of “Silver Linings Playbook” the
first topic which may very well be “That got nominated for a bunch of
Oscars?”. It’s true, “Silver Lining’s Playbook” is up for 8 Academy
Awards, including Best Picture. As mentioned above, the movie has a
habit of making it look easy, to the point where you may not even
realize how great the movie really is. Really very few films are capable
of balancing the subject matter of obsession, mental illness,
competitive dance, romance, family, and self-betterment in a way that
doesn’t come off ham-handed or just simply awful. A single wrong turn
would have derailed the entire shebang, and if you want an example, give
“Friends With Benefits” a watch and watch the entire film come crashing
to a screeching halt upon the introduction of a sub-plot involving
Alzheimer’s disease.

If
you’re looking to impress your date with your knowledge of the
cinema-scape, David O. Russell is probably one the best Directors to
read up on – and talk about. He’s notoriously difficult to work with.
You could mention how the guy got into a fist fight with George Clooney
on the set of “Three Kings”, or about the viral video that features an
tirade of epic proportions toward Lily Tomlin on the set of “I
Guys,
also be prepared to talk about “Hunger Games”. Sorry fellas, there’s no
way you’re getting out of it. If you haven’t seen it, “Hunger Games” is
a movie about a bunch of teenagers who compete in a brutal fight to the
death in order to win fabulous cash and prizes. It’s actually pretty
awesome – though I think girls are in it for the empowerment, love
triangle, and crazy futuristic fashion (Psh, wearing real burning flames
after Labor Day? That’s so 2029). While the movie featuring Jennifer
Lawrence was middling at best, there were highlights, and if you want to
sound like a movie buff, talk about how great Stanley Tucci was in the
flick and that you think Josh Hutcherson was an insufferable cad.  

Girls,
get ready to talk about “The Hangover” and get ready for drunken
college stories from your date. Bradley Cooper made a name for himself
in both “The Hangover” and “The Hangover Part II”, and while you
completely forget it’s the same guy during the course of “SIlver Linings
Playbook” inevitably some time after you leave the theater, your beau
(or potential beau) will talk about how “Epic” those movies are and very
likely relate them to some surely exaggerated debauchery from his own
life. A key thing to look out for here is that you very much want to
hear him say that the first one was better than the second – this is a
universally accepted truth. If not, well, you may have yourself a man
with bland tastes.

If
you and your date thoroughly enjoyed “Silver Linings Playbook” and
you’re looking for another movie to watch, but don’t feel like diving
into David O. Russell’s back catalog, “Bridesmaids” pairs delightfully
well with “Silver Linings Playbook”. Both films, while on appearing on
the surface to be romantic comedies, are quite a bit deeper than you’d
initially give them credit for. “Bridesmaids” trends closer to being a
flat-out farcical comedy, but both films subtextually fixate on
accountability and taking responsibility in their own slightly slanted
ways. “Silver Linings Playbook” takes a messier approach; by the end no
one is “cured”, and surely the ghosts of past transgressions will haunt
the characters even after the happy ending. “Bridesmaids” seems to have a
weird AA undercurrent going throughout the film, with Kristen Wiig’s
character being a self-blaming not-quite-sad-sack throughout the film
until she learns to respect herself and take responsibility for her life
and actions – Salvation is only for those who help themselves, and
such.

But
the main reason for watching “Bridesmaids” after “Silver Linings
Playbook” is that the one-two punch of Cooper and Lawrence’s chemistry
and Kristen Wiig and Chris O’Dowd’s adorable courtship is simply too
authentically romantic to resist. If you and your date make it all the
way through both movies, and no-ones made a first move, either play
two-person “Spin The Bottle” or call the whole thing off because the
sparks simply aren’t there.
There’s
a lot to pull from “Silver Linings Playbook” and if you feel like
talking about the movie and seeing where the conversation could take
you, there’s obviously quite a lot you can discuss, or expect to discuss
as you can see above. But like good movies, good dates can sometimes
wash over you, a cavalcade of sights and smells and sounds and moments
that form together into a distinct mood, and leave an impression on your
psyche that’s everlasting. If that’s the case, I hope I helped.

Paul Meekin is a writer, producer, editor, and all around nice guy. You can like him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter  and check out his other writing at Hollywood Chicago  and Starpulse.com 

(those are all click-able links by the way)  

(Editors
Note: Above is a preview of a column I’m going to be writing for
starpulse.com that’s going to be posted this coming Saturday morning. My
editor seems a bit…trepidations about the length and content of such a
series, but I think a little movie-dating advice could do wonders for
the awkwardly single (not making a joke about WWE fans here), married,
and those inbetween. So, if you like it, feel free to comment below, and
hit up Starpulse.com on Saturday and comment on it when it goes up!) 

Vince: The Movie!

A couple of Vince questions for ya…


1) I remember reading an old Raw review of yours where you covered Vince interviewing Brian Pillman's clearly hysterical wife on live TV the night after he died… And how Vince kept nudging her to publicly declare that Pillman has had previous heart conditions to make it clear that Pillman wasn't taking anything at the time of his death, all to take the heat off of himself. Which was obviously a sickeningly scumbag move. A lot of people probably don't remember this incident… Which brings me to my question: What are some of the lesser known acts of villainy Vince has committed over the years?

2) When do you think we'll ever get to see a Vince McMahon (auto)biography and under what circumstances (and authorship)? Vince has to know this would have huge mass-market appeal (even outside of wrestling fans, likely) so the thought must have crossed someone's mind. And if not the McMahon family, do you think any other WWE affiliate or Vince confidant might eventually come out with an honest to god tell-all book about his life (as opposed to the distorted, self-congratulatory fluff piece I'm sure anyone involved with WWE would release)? 

Thanks!

1)  By his own admission he had sex with a LOT of Divas over the years.  In his Playboy interview he pretty much said he'd been unfaithful to Linda for the entirety of their marriage, and there's been stories about women getting fired for not agreeing to perform various sex acts on him.   
2)  Closest one I've read is Sex Lies and Headlocks, which paints him in a REALLY negative light, but generally people who are impartial enough to write that sort of a book can't get close enough to him to do so.  I think we'll get the WWEized Saint Vince version after he dies, but nothing else.  

X-Men Movie Rights


Hey Scott, 
Saw this article about who owns the rights to what comic properties and wanted to get the comic readers on the blog's take on it:
http://uk.movies.yahoo.com/blogs/movie-editors/why-spider-man-avengers-never-team-112908050.html
My questions are:
Has it ever been established what X-Men, Fox has the rights to?  
If Marvel creates a mutant today (August 2012) does the movie rights go right to Fox?

Just wondering because there so so many mutants and I am sure Marvel themselves could make a movie using a secondary X team like X Force using mutants that Fox does not have.  

Fox clearly has the rights to Deadpool as well because they were going to make that movie before the deal fell apart.  Plus Blade and Punisher both reverted to Marvel recently.  So it's a big mess all around.    
The question of ownership of the X-Men is far too complicated for me to settle, and even the studios, apparently. I'm assuming that when they bought the movie rights it came with a big list of people they could use, because Hollywood tends to be specific with stuff like story elements and characters and who can use what.  For example, the original screenplay for Thunderball (the Bond movie in the 60s) actually ended up getting split off into two different movies because certain "elements" were owned by different people:  So we got Thunderball and then a couple of decades later, Never Say Never Again.  So I'm thinking any "new" X-Men would be owned by Marvel, but if they made a movie they couldn't call them an X-Man because Fox owns the rights to that name.   

4 Movie Plots That Came True

Hey, all. 
Before we get into the article, I thought I’d do a little mailbag action. 

“hey caliber. i didnt want to bother scott with this question and thought itd be more suited for your posts. i was reading recently that james cameron is in talks with arnold to do t5. i think its a huge mistake because the 4th and the 3rd one sucked. id like to know what you think as well as the other guys on the blog”
Honestly, I like the idea. I have no idea what they’d do at this point, but, c’mon. Cameron & Schwarzenegger, what more could you ask for? I loved T3. I think it’s the best of the series. You have incredible action, well done humor, and the T-800 has been dialed in to perfection. Terminator Salvation wasn’t perfect by any means, but I enjoyed it for what it was, and don’t regret buying the DVD. Now, as for T5, I guess they’d still work with things after Judgment Day. How they’d explain the T-800 looking as old as he does now, is beyond me. Perhaps they could say that he was a model designed to look old, or something, I don’t know. Cameron doesn’t make mistakes it seems, so I don’t think he’d step into this half-assed. How say you guys?
Anyone else that wants to have their very own question featured in a Caliber article, feel free to email me at [email protected] 
4 Movie Plots That Came True
Sometimes movies are based on real events.
This time around, we’re gonna have a look at movies that were originally fiction, but then became based on real stories.
So, if you’re ready to get crunk, let’s turn the volume dial to 7, baby. Spoilers are ahead, so don’t be a bitch about it.
 September 23rd, 1994
Star[s]: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman
The Film:
I’m sure everyone knows the film. Originally a tale by Stephen King, the
movie is about the events that go on in a Maine prison over the course
of 20 years, as a group of friends deal with a crooked warden & and a
borderline psychotic whom is basically The Big Bossman.
Tim Robbins plays Andy, a man who’s been
framed for the murder of his wife, and is now the Warden’s book-keeper.
Being such, he’s become prevey to all the Warden’s illegal activity with
the state’s money. As such, he’s basically f’ed, and will never see
outside of the prison walls because of what he knows. So, over the
course of 20 years, Andy has been digging through the wall in his cell,
and carefully plotting his escape. One morning, they go to check Andy’s
cell, and he’s gone, as they realize that the posters he’s had of the
“it” girls over time, have instead just been a cover-up for his awesome
hole.
The Real Shawshank:
On December 15, 2007, Otis Blunt and Jose Espinosa were not in their
cells, as once promised. After some investigating, they found escape
tunnels that were covered up with posters of chicks. They were able to
dig their way out with the use of two different tools; a thick metal
wire they used to scrape away the motor between cinder-blocks, and a
10lb steel water-shut off wheel that they used to crush the
cinder-blocks with. Once they got outside, they ran in opposite
directions.
Alas, a little more than 4 weeks later
Jose was discovered in a cheap motel in Mexico. While Otis Blunt was
found in a basement, a cool mile from the jail. What the f. Not
exactly the awesome ending we saw in Shawshank.
February 19th, 1999
Star[s]: Jennifer Aniston
The Film:
I saw Office Space 3 times in the theater. I loved it from the get go,
however, the public wasn’t sharing the same affection that I had. Hell,
one of my friend’s who’s a big fan of Office Space, hated it when we
went to see it. It’s just one of those films that you love right from
the start, and it gets better with each time, or you hate it, but it
grows on you each time.
The story is about a man named Peter who
lives a pathetic life, pathetic in that he hates everything about it,
yet he keeps doing it. After getting hypnotized, he basically turns into
me. He does what he wants, when he wants, so long as he doesn’t hurt or
bother anyone else, and things end up kick ass for him. He gets a bit
ballsy, and tries to scam Initech with a computer virus, an idea he got
from Superman 3.
Well, as it happens, Peter and his
friend’s mess up, and end up taking a lot more money much faster than
they intended. Well, a fellow named Micheal Largent must have always
fallen asleep before the pivotal lesson is learned.
The Real Office Space:
Here’s the quote I got from a news site:
“Largent used a massive fraud scheme
to trick Google Checkout and online brokers like E-trade and Schwab to
send him the sum, a few cents at a time.  The fraud was made possible by
a common practice relatively unknown to the general public.  When users
open up accounts with these sites, the site sends a tiny payment from a
few cents to a few dollars to the user.  The payment is meant to verify
that the user has access to the account and that it’s active.

By opening 58,000 such accounts, Largent funneled money through
the channels into a few private bank accounts.  Largent raked in $8,000
from Google’s Checkout alone.”

Man, what a brilliant bastard. He said
what he was doing wasn’t illegal, and technically it wasn’t, except for
he used fake names [mostly cartoon characters], fake addresses as well
as fake socials.
The bank noticed all this activity and
gave him a call, since he was feeling like the man, and thinking he was
getting away with it, he told them all about it. The bank of course,
being a bunch of pussies who were pissed they weren’t scamming awesome
ideas from movies, turned the guy in.
 July 15th, 1989
Star[s]: Andrew McCarthy, guy who played the Dr who got the saw blade to the gut in Friday The 13th Part VII: The New Blood.
The Film:
You know, I would have loved to be in the room the day this plot was
pitched. I mean, people had to literally pitch an idea about two guys
who tote around their dead-boss for a weekend. That’s the stuff dreams
are made out of, man.
Basically, two dudes uncover a major
insurance scam, and report this to their boss, Bernie Lomax. Well,
Bernie is behind it, and arranges to have the two killed. So, he invites
them out to his beach house for the weekend, as a way to celebrate them
uncovering the scam. Bernie is instead double crossed and killed. The
hitman injects him with heroin, to make it look like an overdose. Well,
the two guys arrive to find Bernie, and instead of calling the police,
like a couple of idiots would, they instead make it seem like Bernie is
alive so they can use his beach house and get chicks!
Again, the greatest plot ever.
The Real Weekend At Bernie’s:
Two guys, David Daloia and James O’Hare, were probably wanting a few
bucks so they could buy something bad-ass, like Funyons, beef jerky, or
wrestling DVDs.
So, what do you do? Do you get a job, like
a sucker? Hell no! You get your friend, who’s got a fat Social Security
check of $355, wheel him down in an office chair to the Pay-O-Matic,
and have him cash it! Look, it doesn’t matter if the guy is dead
or not. Is there a law that says someone has to be alive to cash a
check? None that I’ve seen. My bank has never said that. You know, I
hate things like that. It’s like women, you know? You do something
bad-ass, where you work around the rule/law, and then they go and bitch
and moan, and say you can’t do that because blahblahblah.
What a couple bad-asses. They were
arrested for this, but eventually let go, because they couldn’t figure
out when in fact the guy died.
I hope they got to keep the $355. Awesome.
 March 17th, 2000
Star[s]: Devon Sawa, Ali Larter, Sean William Scott
The Film:
Horror movies every few years will always have one awesome idea that
gets milked to death, then the next great idea comes along. It’s like
clock work, damn near.
Right as the fantastic Scream trilogy was
winding down, we got Final Destination. One fantastic film
that’s basically a slasher with an invisible enemy. It’s such a
brilliant and fresh idea. Having the vision, cheating death, and then
having death come back after you is just so creative.
When Death finally started to play
catch-up, it wasn’t like people were dying of heart-attacks or anything. We got an incredible array of deaths, and you were sitting, waiting to
see just how grisly the next death was going to be, and just knowing that there’s going to be a death involving a catheter. The bus death is
still one of the greatest in horror history. It may not be elaborate, or
creative, but it literally came out of no where, with absolutely no
warning, and it was awesome before being ripped off a thousand times over. I saw this in the theater, and that would have made me jump, if my body was capable of fear.
The Real Final Destination:
Johanna Ganthaler, a retiree from the Bolzano-Bozen province, was
scheduled to take flight 447 to Paris with Air France Airlines. It never
ended up making it’s destination, because it crashed into the Atlantic
Ocean. When the black box was recovered, pieces of the pilot’s
conversation were released, with one pilot, David Robert saying, “Damn
it! We’re going to crash. It can’t be true!”.
Man, that would suck so bad to know you’re going to die. I’d at least whip my dick out and run to the back of the plane.
Anyways, the women escape the clutches of death by missing her flight. But it didn’t last for long.
While driving with her husband on an
Austrian road, their car swerved and hit a truck head-on. The husband
was badly hurt, but survived, the woman wasn’t so lucky.
I mean, wow, she was meant to die. There’s
just no way of getting around it. The husband, I’m sure is devastated,
but he has to kind of chuckle about it. Now, every time he meets someone
he hasn’t seen in a while it’s like;
“oh…the wife passed? I’m so sorry”
“Thank you”
“Wait…she missed the flight that crashed, then died in a car accident just a little bit later?”
“*sigh*…yeah”
“…did she get drunk and then sexually aggressive towards God’s wife at an office party or something?”
I’m sure in a few years people I’ll be
able to update this article, because the plot of Predator, or The
Wizard is bound to happen to me here in a little while.
It just has to.

Man Movie Encyclopedia – The Condemned

Star: Steve Austin, Vinnie Jones
Year: 2007
Director: Scott Wiper
1989 was the first in WWE’s attempt to branch out into the world of
film, the Hulk Hogan vehicle, No Holds Barred. It came out the same
weekend as Indiana Jones: The Last Crusade, and came in at 2nd place at
the box office. It wasn’t much of a success, and critics weren’t having
it. So, fast forward almost 20 years and Vince is ready to give it
another shot, this time with Stone Cold Steve Austin at the helm.

 


Ian
Breckel has come up with the ultimate idea for reality TV. The
Condemned. 10 death-row convicts trapped on a deserted island, all
fighting to the death for what’s behind door number 1; a bag of cash,
their freedom, and a year lease on a Yugo. Jack Conrad [Stone Cold] is one of those convicts, he’s
ex-Delta Force and being held in a Salvadoran prison because he won’t tell them
he’s there on a black ops sorta deal.

All the convicts are then flown to a
private island, and kicked out of a helicopter at separate points.
Before they’re asked to tuck and roll however, they get a bomb strapped
to their foot, each with a 30 hour countdown. There’s also a pin that
one can pull if they feel the need to expedite things. Hell, I’d
probably forget and use the pin to pick my teeth after mobbin’ some beef
jerky or something.
One of the convicts is dropped out over a
dock and impaled. Another one tries to rape one of the female convicts,
and he gets his pin pulled for his troubles.
There’s a convict named McStarley [Vinnie
Jones] who’s set up as the main villain of the movie, and it’s an
appropriate choice. Vinnie Jones is a total bad-ass in all that he does,
and is so manly, I hear that when he gets a hair cut, they sell the
clippings to make steel wool. There’s also a bad-ass Asian dude. He and
McStarley decide to team up until it’s just those two.
Meanwhile, Stone Cold is tromping around
the jungle, looking for something he can help get placed on the
endangered species list, when Nathan Jones appears. For those who don’t
watch wrestling, Nathan Jones was one hell of a shitty wrestler, but had
a great look. So, and I’m sure it was done this way for wrestling dorks
such as myself, they proceed to do battle. Stone Cold eventually pushes
Mr. Jones off a cliff after his pin as been pulled out. I was really
hoping it would have been like PIN PULL KICK WHAM STUNNER [copyright Scott Keith], and then
Nathan Jones really sells the sucker.
McStarley and his friend do a bit of
damage themselves, as they come across a married couple that’s sort of like a Bonnie & Clyde situation. They break the guys leg, then proceed to beat &
rape his wife before pulling her pin. So, while this is going on, the guy with the busted leg
escapes & hides out. He’s then found by Jack, who reassures him that
he’s not gonna kill him, and has bigger fish to fry. Sure enough, he’s
out to find where all of this is being filmed. Once there, he calls up
his girlfriend in the states to give her the location of the island.
Well, the people who are making $50 a buy on the PPV aren’t happy with Jack trying
to bring shit down, so they unload a few clips his way in hopes of preventing his escape. That plan does not work.
Back with the other members of the game,
two of them have taken a time out to chill by a fire. One’s female, the
other male. The dude starts to tell a tale of how he got screwed by a
woman once, and refuses to trust them again. Then, as expected, before
he can even finish his sentence the girl has pulled his pin and ran for
the hills. Yeah, leave it to a woman to trip an explosive on you and
then just run. Hell, she probably did it right before it was her turn to
reciprocate oral sex.
It appears that the dude running the
program is in cahoots with McStarley, because he keeps getting grab-bags
with goodies. This time it’s a bow & arrows, Molotov cocktails, and a
couple knives. The Asian dude gets the knives, and McStarley gets the
bow & arrows. Jack starts getting smart, finds some re-bar and duct
tapes it to his forearms, so he can protect himself. 
So, Jack whoops some ass on the Asian guy,
and now it’s go time with McStarley who just so happens to have a
shot-gun. Jack ends up face down in the river, and it appears that it’s
game over for him. Mean while, McStarley heads back to base camp, in
hopes of getting his cash and freedom. Well, Breckel tries to renege on
the cash offer, and McStarley has a problem with that. He says they had a
deal, he gives’em a show, and in return gets a boat load of cash along
with this freedom. Breckel says nope. McStarley says else wise, and
proceeds to literally murder every person at the base camp. He seems to
have a problem with the fact that they watch this stuff. Well, a rapist
& murderer has to have his morals too. I know Charles Mason had
recycling has one of his big things to do, right behind starting the
race war.
While McStarley is in rampage mode, he
doesn’t see Jack coming up from behind. He forces him to sit in a chair,
then proceeds to empty the rest of his clip into him. Afterwards he
runs down Breckel, and proceeds to throw an ankle bomb into his
helicopter as it crashes into the mountain side. Unfortunately, he
didn’t say something cool like “You’re cancelled!”.
Official Man Movie Official Tally:
1-Liners: 4
Guys Beat-Up: 12
Guys Killed: 23
Swear Words: 62
Boobies: 0
Explosions: 6
Slow-Motion Scenes: 5
Car Chase: 0
Chase On Foot: 3
Broken Bones: 2
Guy Gets The Girl: Yeap
Guy Smokes: No
Fight/Shoot-Out At Motel: No
1-Liners:
Ian Breckel: What were you doing in El Salvador?
Jack: Working on my tan.
Ian Breckel: Why did you blow the building up?
Ian Breckel: It was blocking my sun.

Ian: Well, where are you from back in the states then, huh?
Jack: Alaska
Ian: Alaska, whereabouts?
Jack: About 80 miles north of Anchorage. Little fishing town. You probably heard of it. It’s called Fuck Your Mama.
Jack: Sounds like you’ve had a hard life
McStarley: Yeah
Jack: Good thing it’s over.
Ian: What do you do for a living, Jack?
Jack: Interior decorator
Box-Office Business:
Released April 27th, 2007, to 2,310 theaters. It opened up at #9, bringing $3,807,595 for the weekend.
Costing around $20 million to create, the total take for it’s theatrical run was $8,642,858. But they ended up doing well when it hit DVD.
Man-Facts:
Stone Cold
was originally slated to play the role that Vinnie Jones plays. But once
WWE came aboard, they felt it’d be best if Stone Cold were the hero. I
think Stone Cold would have been pretty fucking rad as McStarley.
Stone Cold & Vinnie Jones had actually
worked together before hand, when WWE did a tour of the UK, Vinnie did a
run in for one of Stone Cold’s match in order to lend a hand.
C’mon Bennet, Let’s Party:
 The movie got a pretty good chunk of negative reviews when it came out, and I think it’s pretty unjust. The film delivers exactly what you expect, and that’s more than you can say for a lot of films. You’ve got a great villain in Vinnie Jones, and Stone Cold, as it’s been known for years, makes for a great protagonist. There’s a ton of explosions, fight scenes, people dying left and right, and just about everything else you’d expect from an action film. I wouldn’t put it in the pantheon of the all-time classics, but it doesn’t belong any where near the bottom either. Just a solid film that’s worth your time. 
3 & 3/4th Head-Butts Out Of 5
– Caliber Winfield
Str8 Gangster, No Chaser – more Man Movie Encyclopedia entries, along with Top 4 lists, reviews, and pro-wrestling.
WCW In 2000 – I’m sure by now you know of the horror.
.