Wednesday, November 29, 2006

LOVE GUN and MS. VLEERICK

Back in Downey California, I had Ms. Vleerick. She was this thin woman with glasses. The only reason why I mention her name is because I was recently in a conversation about what an absolutely sucky ban KISS was. I mean, KISS SUCKED. But as a kid, I wanted to understand these made up freaks. Dad wouldn't allow KISS records in the house. Once I even got one for my birthday, and he took me to the LICORICE PIZZA record store to find out how much Rock and Roll Over was worth. He bought it from me on the spot.

Anyways, I was having this conversation about KISS and I remember that Ms. Vleerick allowed Jeff Lopez to hang his KISS poster on the wall. She wouldn't allow the Farrah Fawcett poster, but we all thought we were getting over with the LOVE GUN poster. She made us fold the women up at the bottom so all you could see were the members of KISS.

KISS sucked then, and they still suck now. A friend of mine told me that Peter Criss is the worst drummer in the biggest band or some such trash. Then he said that Gene Simmons is the Peter Criss of bass. OH GOD DID THEY SUCK! But they were onto something. I remember seeing "KISS" tagged everywhere. It was the coolest thing. There were comic books. There were t-shirts. The stuff was on fire. I'll bet those charlatans made a billion dollars back then. Remember that damn movie "KISS AND THE RETURN OF THE PHANTOM"? I think that was the title. That movie sucked too.

Ms. Vleerick almost failed me in 4th grade. I had to go back to her in summerschool and make up whatever it was that I didn't get during the school year. I can't remember a thing that woman taught me. That woman was vicious. I do remember that KISS poster she allowed though. Here it is below, in all of its uncensored glory.

I USED TO HATE JAMES BOND


For reals. James Bond has always irked me. Irked me deeply. He is this suave older man who truly makes no sense. He is impossible and he knows it. I personally want to smack Pierce Bronson (or however you spell that punk's last name) in the face with a wet fish. I really want to kick him in the balls. This is personal.

Bond is trash and always has been. I think I have only sat through one entire Bond film until the past 5 years of my life and that was FOR YOUR EYES ONLY. That movie was some drippy trash, lemme tellyuh.

Now all of the Bond defenders are going to say, "You didn't look at the good stuff!" WET FISH SMACKS ALL AROUND, PEOPLE. You defend Bond, you are getting the fish. I was at a church of Lucifer rummage sale a few years back and picked up THE ENTIRE BOND BOX SET. No, not the books, smartass, the videos. I watched Dr. No. I must say that it had a moment or two, but nothing that I can even think of to post here off the top of my dome. Next up was GOLDFINGER. Well, I start-stopped that thing for a solid week until I realized that I was not going to stay awake through that crap no matter how many times I was teased with the idea of Connery's ball getting sizzled by lasers.

Oooooh, shaken not stirred! I am such a badass! I always wear a tuxedo. In some of my movies I smoke. I look like a wet blanket with my shirt off. The exotic betties flock to me. I have smooth quips. I shoot silenced bullets. I like gadgets. My hair is properly coifed. I have a permatan. I draw attention wherever I go. I am always high-rolling. I always say that my name is, "Bond, James Bond". Don't you want to be like me? - Ian Phlegming's character's inner monologue.

WET FISH. SMACKAGE.

There is no use for such a character. The man is impervious to all! He has no heart. He is nothing but skill compounded upon skill compounded upon womanizing skill. He knows too much for every situation. He outhinks them all. He is constantly 2 steps ahead of the game and half-drunk. He is a baby-boomer fantasy. He just doesn't work for me.

People argue and say that Roger Moore was the best Bond. Any man that stars in a movie called Octopussy probably should get such a vote. I never made it all the way through Moonraker, but I am pretty sure that what I saw was complete drivel. Old schoolers swear up and down that it was Connery who was the man. Then there was Timothy Dalton (who was damn good in an episode of Tales From the Crypt where he turned into a werewolf). And what was the name of that failed Bond? Dirk Lazenby? Something like that? I would wind up with a freshly caught mackerel and splat each of these people in their perma-tanned faces and forget about it five minutes later. These people don't count. they are portraying something that doesn't work. They need to be humbled with rock cod scales across their bronzed faces. I cannot and have not been able to buy into the fantasy, until now.

So Matt, Gabby and I took it in yesterday. First we drove through a local "dirty burrito spot" and got California Burritos. This in and of itself was something new to me. You can't pick up a burrito this dirty at Taco Bell, you have do pick this up at the taqueria up the street that is in the faded white building with the menu handwritten in spanglesh. A California burrito is carne asada, pico de gallo, cheese and french fries in burrito form. Matt later remarked that it is basically a Happy Meal wrapped in a tortilla. The stuff was bomb.

The crowd in the theatre were from the generation that is a solid 20 and 30 years beyond mine. Once again, I was reminded of the fact that this was not my tribe and I freaking hate James Bond. Then the movie started.

Bond is now, people. Bond is right NOW. This was a prequel. We see Daniel Craig get his double-oh status and proceed to put in mad work. The opening scene is some serious action. Luther said that this scene out does the chase sequence in Ong Bak. He is right. But in Ong Bak, that stuff was real, and I am sure that many people died while filming it. Bond on the other hand was polished and wired and probably bluescreened. Still, it was some action to behold. And once that action broke and the movie got underway plotwise, I was riveted to my seat. Yeah yeah, you can get all, "If this was a prequel, why does Bond have a cell-phone?" on me. I understand. I let that one slide. You should too, or I will have to reach out and touch you with a rainbow trout.

Bond has ego. A little too much ego. M (Judy Dench in a pre-Q role) tells him more than once that his ego is going to get in the way. Bond's ego does get in the way, and homeboy learns from it.

Bond can fight. It seems that the aggression displayed onscreen was about 8 to 10 notches above anything I ever saw one of those previous asshats do. These are some serious hits to the face that he is giving and taking. In one post-fight scene, Bond really looks like he has been pounded and clawed to a point of ugliness. This is the kind of guy I can get behind. He bruises, and he deals out an impressive crunching.

Bond gets owned. He gets owned at cards. He gets owned in several fights. He gets owned by his boss. he gets owned by a poisoned drink. He almost dies...sheeeoot....he does die in one scene. Bond puts it down and makes the stuff almost possible. Somewhere along the baby-boomer path, the writers thought that it would be good to show a guy who never gets tarnished. They were WRONG. The new Bond goes through two tuxedo shirts in a rough-assed card game. One is bloodied the other one is soiled and scorched. The bloodying and the soiling and scorching have to do with Bond's enemy's fluids and his own. Bond gives at the office.

What drove the previous films (in my limited summation) is that the stuff was improbable. Basically, old-school Bond was like some sort of primped modern Greek god, doing the unholy and the inhuman, at an unholy, inhuman pace. People 20 and 30 years older than me were gobbling that crap up. Same as they gobbled up Superman and a bunch of other baby-boomer nonsense. Superman, Shazam and James Bond all needed a good fish swat across their kissers. Just enough to let them know that the common man, the real people with real problems weren't buying into their insulated escapist world. What has that world gotten me? Nothing. That world wants me though. Did you see Superman Returns? That world wants me, but that word will have to work a little harder. Superman is so damn perfect that they couldn't even really give him problems. That world called out to me last summer and failed heinously. That world called out to me again this fall, and this was no failure.

I am from the MARVEL-AGE, people. I am from a time when heroes have problems. Where heroes are real people in situations that should be handled by a boomer-hero, but the real hero pushes through with real blood, real sweat and real pain. I want a flawed hero. A flawed hero is real. Daniel Craig is the real.

*SPOILER TYME*

What makes this all work and why I have so much wood for this film right now is this: IT IS A PREQUEL. You get to see Bond before he became the asshole that I hate. The key factor is his relations with women. Bond actually falls for this girl and gets OWNED. She uses him. This is the scar tissue that the rest of the series hangs on. I don't know about you, but I think it is badass. The lesson for Bond is that he has to close his emotional doors. And he does, you have all seen how closed those doors are. How ridiculous it all is. How he bangs woman after woman with no remorse. Why? He is incapable. He says it himself in Casino Royale. He says that he needs to get out of the business before he doesn't have any soul left. This is the brilliance.

Bond is successfully castrated as a decent male on many levels in this film. Furthermore, you get to see why. Goldfinger's laser never did get to sizzle Connery's nuts, but today's Bond takes a serious gas-pedaling via knotted rope. Bond's nuts are attacked on all levels, and because of this, we are able to see his sleazy over-the-top trysts of his future as a little more sensible...a little more compensating. This Bond has taken blows to the balls that wound the soul. The rest of the film syllabus speaks to how he handles his pain.

The other bit of genius? This movie was made for ME. Why? Because I don't have to see another Bond film as long as I live. I have seen him at the top of his game and at at his most vulnerable. It is made dead clear at the end of his film that Bond is preparing to slouch into the Connery, Lazenby, Moore, Bronson(whatever) direction of Bond. I now understand why Solomon told us to weep at the beginnings of things.

Daniel Craig is the man. I'm telling you, this guy puts it down like the way it is supposed to be put down. I have put my bucket of fish away.

THE TRUTH FOR THE MOMENT


"HAPPY FEET? MORE LIKE, 'CRAPPY FEET.'" - The Eyeball not too long ago.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

HARSH TIMES INDEED

Why do I title this blog "Harsh Times Indeed" and then have a picture of the movie poster for THE THREE EXTREMES? Because this is going to be a disjointed Blog that will bring Oregon, Santa Cruz, LA, Sacramento, Salinas, Marina and Monterey together. I might even throw in some Las Vegas and some Bangkok for good measure. Piqued? Its a good sales pitch, but the rub is a lot more benign than you would think.

I work at this place where I make the tests that you fail. When I started there, I was hanging out with this guy named John. John and I hit it off for whatever reason and we would walk around the building every day at lunch. It is a big fokking building. We would discuss film and literature and the world around us. John had spent some time in the east. He has even married a woman from Japan. He had an understanding of Japanese culture that I have always wanted but never quite landed.

Then John got it together, purchased a house in Oregon and moved there to work from home. John and I keep a sporadic email relationship up. Something about once a month or so. These are great, profanity-laden missives that really score the rusted underbelly of the pop-culture war machine. We still talk movies. We still discuss Japanese culture. We discuss it all, actually.

So a few weeks back, I had an opportunity to go to Sacramento on a job thing. John was supposed to be there. We were supposed to do the big beers, the late nights, all of that stuff. Unfortunately, my end fell through. John burned some DVDs for me and sent them back to me through this other guy who didn't get them to me until last Thursday. The DVD I want to reference here is the DVD of the movie THREE EXTREMES.

THREE EXTREMES is three short horror films mixed together in one big film. I am a big fan of the horror genre and so is John, and this is a film we had discussed multiple times. He said that the first episode called DUMPLINGS was pretty good. Thursday night, I started to watch Dumplings. It was smooth. It was well filmed. It was about a woman who eats these dumplings served to her in a seedy apartment. Some beautiful shots. Some clean close-ups. A lot of questions hang in the air as to what these dumplings are made of.

Friday was my day to lift off out of Santa Cruz, hang out with the babies in Salinas and take Matt (see SLUTTIEST BREAKFAST EVAR) out for his birthday in Monterey, via Marina. I was rolling in the Mustang and the doors have the pop-lock alarm button now, so you know it was a sexy drive.

The babies were supposed to go surfing and L-Dogg and I were supposed to watch Mortal Kombat. Well, the surf instructor failed and suddenly I was on 100% duty. We went to In and Out. We went to the mall. We went to Claire's and I checked out the Happy Bunny display ("I did it, but I am blaming you)". Happy Bunny is the dope.

Got to Matt's house and started to talk about the THREE EXTREMES. He said that he had the thing and that he had started to watch it before. I was into firing the thing up and watching the first episode before we went out to see HARSH TIMES which was my birthday gift to the man. So we fired it up.

DUMPLINGS might very well be the most fokked up film short I have ever viewed. The dumplings are stuffed with aborted fetuses. There is a lot of moloch worship in this little ditty from Hong Kong. It is filmed in such a way that you are hoping that these aren't fetuses being chopped and served, but sooner or later, you have to give in and accept that yeah, Fruit Chan the director does in fact go there. So you see an abortion performed in a kitchen. This isn't the fun sort of birth that happens in Monty Python's the MEANING OF LIFE. This is even cruder. Then it turns out that the actress who is finding the unborn so damn comestible learns that her latest mean was a product of incest. This is when the film actually raises up with a conscience. Hey, abort and eat, but having sex with your granddaughter is just too doggone far. Of course it is supposed to hit you like a water balloon filled with maple syrup. Of course you are supposed to cringe at all aspects. When protagonist woman finally does indeed abort her own child, you are left to wonder if she actually ate it, because blood is running out of her mouth and a gigantic, fast-moving, slug-like tongue launches out of her mouth and slobs up the crimson drool.

Over the top? HOLY SHIT. This film hit me as hard as the DOOM GENERATION did back in the day. Unfortunately, I am older and more cynical. I am desensitized and pretty much done. Matt's friend Tino had posited to Matt a few days before that all film should be viewed from the POV of a 14 year old boy. This is the way he views film, and this is why he enjoys the crap of the 80s so much. I have watched such classics as THE WRAITH starring Charlie Sheen with Tino. I missed out on IRON EAGLE 2 a few weeks back, but this is what I am talking about.
Here is the truth for Tino though: if Matt and I had watched Dumplings as 14 year olds, I wouldn't be posting right now...I would be locked up somewhere. The short is not for anyone under 30 and that is the cold truth.

So we locked and loaded and got to the Osio in downtown Monterey to check out the Harsh Times. The previews were everywhere. It is being heralded as the next big thing from the writer of TRAINING DAY. Christian Bale is up in there. JK Simmons is up in there. FOK Freddy Rodriguez though. That fool hasn't done anything for me that is worth more than one dollar. It is set in South Central Los Angeles. It has all of the trappings of a good film. All of the trappings I said. But this is one hunk of celluloid that falls flat. DEAD FLAT.

Christian Bale is some ex-death squad fool from Iraq. He is trying to get into LAPD now that he is back on the streets of LA. He fails the psych test and decides to get high. Form that point on, you see this fool unraveling. The unraveling of a protagonist is a movie can be a beautiful thing. Think about FALLING DOWN. Think about TRAINING DAY. Think about FULL METAL JACKET. Think about Mah-fackin SCARFACE. The unraveling is something that we are fascinated with. Well, HARSH TIMES has an unraveling that is sloppy and ridiculous. There is no true explanation of this Christian Bale kid. There is no real explanation who his family is, how this white-boy got so damn bilingual or why he has a girlfriend in Mexico. The point when he realizes that he has smoked pot and now has to pass a piss test is so unbelievable that I was through forgiving the movie at that point, and I was a mere 20 minutes in.

Bale can act, but then again, he can't. Is this guy a one-trick tough-guy pony? I am beginning to think so. He is the man however, when it comes to handing out ass-kicking or scowling. He did a damn good Batman. He did a damn good Machinist. He was also a damn good professor in The Prestige. He was damn good in Equilibrium. He was pretty damn good in American Psycho. Hell, I'll throw in Reign of Fire and Shaft too. I have never seen this guy get his ass kicked on the big screen. This is part of his schtick. Christian Bale does some damn good macho work. However, no matter how damn good he is, HARSH TIMES as a film misses something fierce.

Check it out: when a movie ends, and you hear 360 degrees of collective profanity as people get up out of their seats on the opening night of a film, there is something seriously wrong with the film. That was our experience as the film ended.

HARSH TIMES is a waste of time. As Matt and I drove through spaghetti hill and I showed him my old stomping grounds, I realized a few things.

#1. We were still talking about DUMPLINGS.
#2. DUMPLINGS is about 25 minutes long.

This means that the 2 plus hours of HARSH TIMES was eclipsed by a fraction or filmwork from the other side of the planet. If there was a time to see HARSH TIMES, it was last friday night. That still didn't save it. I am still thinking about DUMPLINGS and HARSH TIMES is now officially off of my radar.

I must say that there was some good dialogue in HARSH TIMES, but nothing that was spectacular.

My conclusion? THREE EXTREMES > HARSH TIMES but I wouldn't suggest either of them if you want the truth.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

PWNED

Found this on a board I haunt.
Pretty damn funny.

br0kenrabbit says:hi

Greg_ValveOLS says:good evening

br0kenrabbit says:What's ip?

br0kenrabbit says:up?

Greg_ValveOLS says:my name is greg a member of the valve online Support team

br0kenrabbit says:On MSN?

Greg_ValveOLS says:yes

br0kenrabbit says:Why?

Greg_ValveOLS says:we logged multiple ips from your account and ned to verifi your information

br0kenrabbit says:My information?

Greg_ValveOLS says:we believe someone may have stolen your account mmmm you havent shared youre account infomation with anyone have you?

br0kenrabbit says:No. I don't even have it written down.

Greg_ValveOLS says:hmmm maybe a keylogger on you r PC then maybe you need a format?

br0kenrabbit says:Well...

Greg_ValveOLS says:if you can verify your account information to me i can insure that only your ip have access to it Its a new security feature were trying because this happens so muchlogin names and passwords aint safe anymroe You know. L

br0kenrabbit says:Well

Greg_ValveOLS says:dont worry this connect it secure

br0kenrabbit says:Can I be honest with you, Greg?

Greg_ValveOLS says:k

br0kenrabbit says:Look, I don't know how you go this MSN account name, don't really care, either.

br0kenrabbit says:Unlike you, I DO work for Valve. Trace my ip and you'll see.

Greg_ValveOLS says:huh?

Greg_ValveOLS says:bs

br0kenrabbit says:Trace it.

Greg_ValveOLS says:how

br0kenrabbit says:Start/run/cmd type Tracert and then my IP address and hit enter.

Greg_ValveOLS says:oh k

br0kenrabbit says:As an employee, I know that Valve employees will NEVER contact users over MSN. I also know a valve employee will NEVER ask a user for his/her username and password.

br0kenrabbit says:I'm putting a temporary hold on your Steam account.

Greg_ValveOLS says:why?

br0kenrabbit says:Have you read the ToS?

Greg_ValveOLS says:Tod?

Greg_ValveOLS says:tosbr0kenrabbit says:terms of service

Greg_ValveOLS says:were?

br0kenrabbit says:Greg, this is a serious infraction against the Tos. You are at risk of losing your account.

Greg_ValveOLS says:why

br0kenrabbit says:I just told you why

Greg_ValveOLS says:

br0kenrabbit says:I need some information from you if you want me to unlock you account. I'm going to write you up but I will only suspend you account for three days, since this is your first infraction, okay?

Greg_ValveOLS says:k

br0kenrabbit says:First, what is the name the account is registered to. Not the user name, the persons real name who created the account. This is for verification purposes.

Greg_ValveOLS says:xxxxx xxxxxxx

br0kenrabbit says:Is this you?

Greg_ValveOLS says:ya

br0kenrabbit says:Are you the only user of this account?

Greg_ValveOLS says:ya

br0kenrabbit says:Okay, and what is the username

Greg_ValveOLS says:xxxxxxxx

br0kenrabbit says:Okay.

br0kenrabbit says:I see you have purchased a few of our games, thank you.

Greg_ValveOLS says:some. dude

Greg_ValveOLS says:m

br0kenrabbit says:Do you always log on from the same IP?

Greg_ValveOLS says:ya

br0kenrabbit says:And who is your internet providers, your ISP?

Greg_ValveOLS says:xxxxxxx

br0kenrabbit says:Thank you. One moment, please, let me verify this information.

Greg_ValveOLS says:am i gonna be bale to play 2nite?

br0kenrabbit says:What is your city of residence?

br0kenrabbit says:That depends on if you cooperate. You're doing fine so far.

Greg_ValveOLS says:xxxxxx

br0kenrabbit says:Illinios?

Greg_ValveOLS says:yes

br0kenrabbit says:Okay. And what is the password associated with this account?

Greg_ValveOLS says:xxxxxxx

br0kenrabbit says:Okay. Do not try to log into steam. If you are connected now you need to log off.

Greg_ValveOLS says:why

br0kenrabbit says:So I can update your account.

Greg_ValveOLS says:can I play 2 nite

Greg_ValveOLS says:clan fight

Greg_ValveOLS says:wont win without me heh

br0kenrabbit says:Heh. You'll have to wait a few minutes. Are you logged off?

Greg_ValveOLS says:yabr0kenrabbit says:Okay. Give me just a moment.

br0kenrabbit says:Try to log in now.

Greg_ValveOLS says:kGreg_ValveOLS says:It says login failed wtf wtf!!@?

br0kenrabbit says:Greg

Greg_ValveOLS says:did u ban me???????????>WHY

br0kenrabbit says:Greg

Greg_ValveOLS says:what

br0kenrabbit says:Valve will never ask for your username and password.

Greg_ValveOLS says:what????

br0kenrabbit says:I don't work for Valve dude, but you just got pwnt.

Greg_ValveOLS says:omg dude wtf why?

br0kenrabbit says:Why were you trying to steal my account?

Greg_ValveOLS says:i wanst

br0kenrabbit says:Then why were you asking for my information?

Greg_ValveOLS says:i was just making a joke but not cerious honest dude just givemy acount back pllllleeease i'm only 13 and save d up for like a year to buy it

br0kenrabbit says:Greg

Greg_ValveOLS says:dude pleas

Greg_ValveOLS says:what

br0kenrabbit says:Go mow some yards, bitch.

VENOMTYME

I have been after this little clip for some time now. Apparently it was online for about .05 seconds before Sony pulled the plug.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5866757396576992173&q=venom+spiderman3&hl=en

Fak Sony.

*edit* FAK GOOGLE 2x without a condom. They pulled the link.

I'm a PS2 fanboy though.

I am sure that this is the LAST SCENE of Spiderman 3.

Enjoy the loop.