Sunday, November 30, 2008

AS IF YOU'VE NEVER WANTED TO BUST KURT RUSSELL

I currently live in a house, until the first of year, with a couple who love television. I mean, LOVE: when they moved in, they brought with them their complete package of digital cable-expanded package-premium channels, and continue to pay an extra share for it to continue to be a reality in the house. I've never been much of a TV-watcher, but with literally 500 channels to choose from, it's hard not to find myself sitting on the couch with Die Hard going in the background while I mindlessly grade papers.

Die Hard post forthcoming. Don't think I won't post on that Christmas-time gem.

***

Tonight, as I sit down to crank out some notes from the evening pastor search committee, I see Kurt Russell driving a car like hell through a deserted backroad, with Rosario Dawson in close pursuit. Obviously, I am intrigued. It's a meeting of Overboard and Rent: what's not to hate about this trainwreck already?

A quick look at the information on the cable reveals that this is indeed Quentin Tarrantino's Grindhouse. For the next 30 minutes, I watch Russell drive with a bullet in his shoulder, pursued by three violent--yet mildly attractive--women until they run Russell off the road. And stomp on Russell's face with a stilleto.

There might have been a time when I liked the Tarrantino films. I still admire portions of Pulp Fiction, mostly because it's a highlight for both Samuel L and John Travolta, gems in an otherwise lackluster decade of films for both actors. I love the pontifications of Pulp Fiction; I enjoy the snazz of watching Uma Thurman kick ass; I really get tired of the gratuitous violence. A stilleto? To the face? Really?

One and a half Dodge Chargers out of five. Quentin, I am losing my patience.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

THE PATERNITY TEST OF THE CENTURY




my friend tim douglass (strapping young bloke, looks great in blazers) recently assigned our science-fiction bookclub robert heinlein's short story "all you zombies -". after reading this story twice today, detailing the margins with notes and doodles to help me follow the clusterscrew of heinlein's scattered chronology, i am utterly convinced - despite what james cameron might say - that this story by heinlein is the basis for the entire TERMINATOR saga. 

listen up here, people, as i convincingly convince you all of my speculations.

according to james cameron, he got the idea for the TERMINATOR story from two episodes of THE OUTER LIMITS written by harlan ellison: "demon with a glass hand", and "soldier."  however, one weird notion i've picked up about harlan ellison is that he's wicked paranoid of being plagiarized.(or, at least, he's way contentious). in fact, there's two stories floating around about whether or not cameron paid and credited ellison in advance for the TERMINATOR ideas, or if ellison had to sue cameron in court. i don't know, and, honestly, i don't really care. 

regardless, i will boldly say that people usually fear sins in others that they are most susceptible of committing themselves. meaning, ellison wrote THE OUTER LIMITS episodes in the early '60s, a few years after heinlein's 1959 publication of "all you zombies-". now, i think all of you know that i would rather step on my own tongue with dirty football cleats than to say something falsely accusatory of another person, but, really, somethings just force you into the pausing corner for a little sitting spell. and i think that if one were to carefully read this here heinlein story, which i so graciously linked in its entirety above, one might find a few unmistakable connections between heinlein's "... zombies -" and cameron's TERMINATOR, namely: 

- the time traveling protector
- the time traveling impregnator
- the cyclical timeline, as indicated by "The Worm Ouroboros" snake ring
- heinlein's mention of some catastrophic event in 1992, the same year as cameron's "judgement day"
- heinlein's lead "jane"; cameron's lead "john"
- the movement and protection of a boy that must be recruited at the right time in life for some crazy secretive special mission. 

seriously, sister leia, i am a burgeoning young padawan to the science-fiction literature, and i plan to earn my readerly keep in due time. jumping to conclusions like this about the connections between stories and films simply because they feature similar trends, trends that stretch over major sci-fi landscapes, might get me kicked off the millenium falcon at the next fuel stop. but, i'm telling you, the connections here are too tight to be ignored. 

if nothing else, heinlein's story, given through the hands of a trusted friend, offered me two really geeky hours in a coffee shop this afternoon. the story is linked above. please, do yourself a favor: print off the story, pour a big mug of joe, and sci-fi out for a bit. i'm sold. 

as always, cameron's TERMINATOR gets five linda hamilton's out of five. and i'll give heinlein's story five bent jukeboxes out of five. in conjunction, these two blow the roof off our regular scales.

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i also can't help but wonder if joss whedon named FIREFLY'S gunner male-macho "jayne" after heinlein's intersex hero/heroine "jane." just another tangent of a thought.

MAY THIS DAY FOREVER BE KNOWN AS "THE DAY OF THE HAMSTER"




i've been sitting on this review for a week and a half now, trying to think of something overly clever to say about this film. there was the gloating rodential letter review:

dear squirrels,

ha! we made it big in pictures before you did. you've laughed from your tree limbs at us in our cages long enough. we hamsters will rise! we will RISE!

- the human hamster

then there was the haiku review:

nowhere near badassness of

and then i considered a limerick, but it just kept deconstructing itself:

There once was a hamster in a ball,
who used it as bed and bathroom stall
until the day
Bolt came his way
and made Rhino the most freakin' awesome hamster superhero in the entire hamsterian history of Rodentialdom! and all!

but none of this seemed to work. there's just no way to express how cool and fun and hilarious and great BOLT was on the big screen. two out of two stills agree this is the best thing disney has made since TOY STORY (pixar, of course, not included). 

people with kids - grab up the young-uns!

people without kids - grab up somebody!

as a hamster, speaking for all of the hamsterian race, i boldy give the film BOLT five crystal clear stealth balls out of five. it's about time the world gave hamsters their due.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

HOW VERY!


dear diary,

i finally got around to seeing that movie. ugh! what was i thinking?! not seeing this movie sooner! i mean, really, if i'm going to make it with the heathers i've got to keep up with their reindeer games. even heather douglass told me after heather urban's bridal shower that the movie HEATHERS was really very. and i totally believed her. i mean, why wouldn't i? even though J.D. said that it was as cool as puking on you own shoes at a college party, i still watched it and i still laughed. 

i mean, really, what's that kid's damage? seriously, there was a time when i thought i needed to stop the heathers, but now i realize: i've got to stop all the jason dean's murdering our movie going before we've even went! i've got some chaos that could really kill his dinosaur!

sure, i felt bad laughing at some of the parts. who didn't? like when heather drank the drain-o and gasped "CORN-NUTS!" and fell through the glass coffee table, i knew right then and there that this movie was going to be big fun. i mean, it's one thing to want someone out of your life, it's another to serve them a wake-up cup full of liquid drainer! 

this film was totally very in so many ways, but then it was way damaged in others. but i'm so afraid to tell heather that i didn't get it, and that it was like so '87, cause she told me that this movie was the big one and that if i blew it, it would be keggers with kids all next year. and i really like heather and all, but, seriously, i've had about enough of her and all her Swatch dog, Diet Coke heads. 

wait a minute! maybe heather and heather and heather deserve the likes of jason dean! before those brain tumor for breakfast hounds get any more weak ideas, i'm gonna spread my wings. i'm gonna teach other people to spread there wings and fly. like eagles! and then heather will say to me, you're beautiful! but this time, that girl scout cookie will really mean it!

okay, i'm done here. this film was really great, but i've got to motor if i'm going to unslush their slushies. i've got to think of something big here. something drastic. something as big as moby dick, and fast, before people realize that my teen-angst has a body count. 

i give heather's beloved HEATHERS film a ghastly 2.3 gentle chainsaws out of 5. honestly, it's all red ribbons and THE red croquet ball for me from here on out, heather. 

love, your best friend, your worst enemy - same difference,

- veronica 

Friday, November 7, 2008

The itching and THE BURNING


THE BURNING is a legendary slasher flick for a few reasons. It came out in '81, a year after FRIDAY THE 13TH. Naturally, it was called an imitator. It was the first real film for Jason Alexander, Holly Hunter, and Fisher Stevens. Also, it was the first big film that Harvey and Bob Weinstein made - this fact alone assures its place in history. More than any of that, though, is the fact that THE BURNING carries with it a cult following that's as rabid and intense as the Ft13th crowd. The good news is, there's a reason. THE BURNING is, quite simply, the best slasher film ever made (with the exception, of course, of HALLOWEEN, which really transcends the genre, so it doesn't quite count).

The simple story: You've got campers at a circa 1980s summer camp. The caretaker, Cropsy, is mean to all the kids, so they plan to exact their revenge. The plan goes awry and Cropsy ends up in the burn ward of a local hospital for the next few years. Upon exiting the hospital, Cropsy returns to the camp to get even. With garden shears as the weapon of choice, he raises the body count well past Jasonian levels. There's a final showdown in a copper mine - with Cropsy pitted against one of the boys who originally caused the burning.

THE BURNING includes a massacre on a raft, a skull with maggots, Jason Alexander in his finest role, blood by the bucket full, a violation of a MAJOR horror movie cliche, and 25 year old campers. What more does a horror fan need?

I'll say it again - best slasher film ever. I really don't want to say too much - I want you all to rent this one. It's lovely, in a horrible, horrible way. Watch it right now.

THE BURNING gets 5 fingers sliced off at the knuckles out of 5. Brilliant!