January 2011


 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link]

PEOPLE: Directed by Carl Reiner. Starring Armand Assante, Sherilyn Fenn (Twin Peaks, Dukes Of Hazzard 2), Kate Nelligan (Wolf, Cider House Rules), Sean Young (Blade Runner, Stripes, Dune, Ace Ventura:Pet Detective, Dr. Jekyll And Ms. Hyde), Christopher McDonald (Dukes Of Hazzard 2, Fanboys, Superhero Movie, Requiem For A Dream, SLC Punk!), and James Remar (Pineapple Express, The Girl Next Door, 48 Hrs).

Also, bit parts by Jane Lynch (who’s been in some things we’ve watched recently, such as Fifty Pills, Walk Hard:The Dewey Cox Story, the Area 57 failed pilot, The 40 Year Old Virgin, Lemony Snicket’s, and Role Models) and Kevin Michael Richardson (who has voiced a lot of cartoons we’ve watched recently, such as Batman:The Brave And The Bold, The Spectacular Spider-Man, Wolverine & The X-Men, The Batman, and The PJs).

QUIRKS: An early spoof movie. While it spoofs Double Indemnity, Cape Fear, 9 1/2 Weeks, Fatal Attraction, Basic Instinct, and other movies, it is for the most part NOT a montage of spoofed scenes, but it’s own movie. Just one that doesn’t take itself seriously. At all. It’s actually a quite ridiculous comedy/crime movie.

BAD STUFF: The jokes are NOT top notch. They go for the corny, easy, obvious joke whenever possible. It can be a bit painful at times.

CONCLUSION: Although the jokes were cornily painful at times, this was still a fun movie to watch just for ridiculousness’s sake. However, there are many spoof and comedy movies that are much funnier than this. Carl Reiner fortunately stopped directing movies soon after this.

RATINGS: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: Clint: 6/10. Carolyn: 7/10. Clint gave it a generic pass, while Carolyn found it better than that.

RECOMMENDATION: See this on a slow night when you want some easy comedy watching. Don’t expect anything brilliant.

SIMILAR MOVIES: The Naked Gun (which is funnier).

MOVIE QUOTE: Prison Reporter: Mr. Ravine, how does it feel to have slept with a murderess?
Ned Ravine: It’s better than sleeping with a Ninja Turtle.

COINCIDENCES: (Role Models, Fatal Instinct) 2 movies within a day that had scenes of flirting innuendo involving hot dogs.
(Dukes Of Hazzard 2, Fatal Instinct) 2 movies within a week that had Sherilyn Fenn AND Christopher McDonald.
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 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link]

PEOPLE: Co-directed by Ethan Maniquis (his first directing credit). Written *AND* Directed by Robert Rodriguez (Planet Terror, Sin City, Spy Kids, The Faculty, 1 segment of Four Rooms). Co-written by Alvaro Rodriguez.

Starring Danny Trejo (Predators, The Haunted World Of El Superbeasto, Eyeborgs, Fanboys, Smiley Face, The Devil’s Rejects, Anchorman, Trojan War, Enrique on King Of The Hill, etc etc) as Machete. He finally has a LEAD role, after being a supporting or incidental character in hundreds of movies (they killed him way too early in Predators). Apparently the Machete character was also in Spy Kids 1-3. (Wow, I may finally have a reason to watch those movies??) Apparently this is actually the FIFTH movie with the Machete character in it.

The Senator is played by Robert Deniro (Brazil, Meet The Fockers, Wag The Dog, Stardust, etc etc). Yvette the INS (ICE) agent played by Jessica Alba (Dark Angel, Invisible Woman in the Fantastic Four movies, Sin City). Torrez is played by Steven Seagal (Cock Puncher in The Onion Movie, The Patriot) — the first time Seagal has played an outright villain. Luz is played by Michelle Rodriguez (Trudy in Avatar, Resident Evil 1, Lost). Jeff Fahey. Cheech Marin (i.e. Cheech & Chong Cheech). Don Johnson (Miami Vice). Lindsay Lohan (cast appropriately!).

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers]Illegal immigrant murders U.S. citizens, escaps prosecution.

QUIRKS: Based on the fake trailer shown between the 2 halves of the Grindhouse double feature movie. And this movie is grindhouse in every sense of the word. Crazy gore, cheesy dialogue, ridiculous plots and situations. Everything that makes movies great escapism. This is to Mexican exploitation what Black Dynamite is to black exploitation. Lots of violence. Plenty of sex — Machete gets laid four times. (Three if you count a threesome as once.) MACHETE IS A BADASS. END OF STORY.

VISUALS: Modern production values with fake 1970’s-film-looking effects overdubbed to make it look old while actually being new. And while you get to see some Jessical Alba nudity, IT ISN’T REAL, it’s computer-generated. What a fucking prude. She’s the Milli Vanilli of the titty world.

SOUNDTRACK: Retro 1970s Mexican feel.

WILHELM SCREAM: Yup!

MORALS: There’s the law–and there’s what’s right.

POLITICS: Immigration politics looked at from interesting angles. Of course, this was written way before the unconstitutional Arizona law was passed. But that won’t stop people from thinking this is some liberal conspiracy commentary on the Arizona law. Hah!

GOOD STUFF: Great action. Ridiculous deaths. Ridiculous situations. A great feeling of closure. Epic fights and battles. Epic cars with guns on them. What’s not to like?

BAD STUFF: Some people will find this cheesy. Get over yourselves. This isn’t supposed to be a 100% serious movie. If every movie had to be serious, I’d kill myself.

CONCLUSION: Serious grindhouse action at its finest. We came in with high expectations and was still pleasantly surprised. Plus, it’s one of those movies that you THINK is over, and then it keeps going for awhile after that, and you’re all happy that it didn’t end prematurely.

RATINGS:
Clint: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 9/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 9/10.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 7.4/10, Netflix: 3.8/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 4.5/5 stars–well played, Netflix).

RECOMMENDATION: DO NOT MISS THIS, THE BEST ACTION MOVIE OF 2010!!

SIMILAR MOVIES: Grindhouse:Planet Terror, to some extent.

MOVIE QUOTES:

Machete: Machete don’t text. — Apparently after Rodriguez thought of this movie and told Danny Trejo about it, Trejo kept calling him at random hours of the day trying to convince him to make this movie. Eventually, Rodriguez asked him to text him instead of keeping up with the voice-call harassment. Trejo simply responded: “Machete don’t text.” It’s hilarious that this was incorporated into the actual film!

Sartana: We didn’t cross the border. The border crossed us.

Padre Benito del Toro: I absolve you of all your sins. Now get the fuck out.

Sartana: Well, there’s the law and there’s what’s right. I’m gonna do what’s right.

FRIENDS’ RATINGS:

Ian B’s review. “This isn’t a spoof, but Rodriguez knows how to push every scene just far enough over the top to make it funny without entering completely silly territory.”

Dr. Dark gives it his “highest recommendation”.

Rachel Weird: “Machete = OMG WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

OTHERS’ REVIEWS:

Outlaw Vern’s review, funny as always. “Even though he has these directors who love him like Rodriguez and Rob Zombie he’s still just getting these supporting roles or cameos and then for his day job he still has to fight some Eyeborgs or something.” He also reviewed the script before the movie came out.

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 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] Been meaning to check this out for awhile.

PEOPLE: Directed by Takashi Miike, who is known for his violent Japanese movies.

QUIRKS: Japanese. Yakuza. Ultra-violence. Torture.

VISUALS: Some incredibly graphic scenes of violence.

BAD STUFF: The post-climax ending is a bit hard to understand, with lots of IMDB-forum speculation as to what happened. And of course, with everyone being foreign, it is a bit harder to follow than an English movie.

CONCLUSION: This was a good story about mob violence, with some memorable torture scenes, such as the nipple-slicing. Good stuff.

RATINGS: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 7.5/10 (we voted 7).

RECOMMENDATION: Do you like over-the-top gore and violence? Then see this; it’s considered one of the great cinematic masterpieces of violence.

SIMILAR MOVIES: Batman The Dark Knight has similarities. Both Kakihara from Iichi and the Joker have slits to the sides of their mouths in the shape of grins, dyed hair, wear crazy outfits, try to take over organized crime, and act without morals. Ichi also has a blade in his shoe, like The Joker.

MOVIE QUOTE: Ichi: Did… you really want me to rape you, Miss Tachibana?
Karen: Oh, no. I didn’t want it from you. I wanted it from anyone. The only thing that can help me now is despair.

FRIENDS’ RATINGS: Christie loved it. Neal M spoke highly of it. And I’ve generally heard this movie mentioned by lots of people.

TAKING THINGS TOO FAR: This movie has a scene where Ichi grabs someone’s cheek, and starts pulling. He keeps on pulling on the person’s cheek until he rips their entire face off! This didn’t seem possible, so Carolyn & I immediately grabbed each other’s cheeks and started pulling. Hard. But Carolyn got me way worse than I got her, so then she had me do it again. That time, I got Carolyn way worse than she got me. My cheek hurt for minutes to hours, but Carolyn’s cheek hurt for several days. Our conclusion is that it’s not quite as easy to rip someone’s face off as the movie makes it look. (more…)

Got 2 different drink mixes for free recently.

1) Carolyn’s mother gave us “Great Value” drink mix. They came in several flavors. “Orange Early Rise” (orange), fruit punch, etc.

2) Via some free website, I got a sample of 3 packs of Emergen-C “Health and Energy Booster” packs. Tropical flavor, fruit punch, and some 3rd flavor I don’t care for. Raspberryprobably.

INGREDIENTS

1) The Great Value Drink Mix isn’t marketed as nutritious. It’s strictly something to flavor your water with. Each pack is a mere 10 calories. The sweetener is Splenda.

2) Emergen-C is full of nutrients. But it’s 25 calories for each pack — 2.5X more than the other. But it gives you 1000 mg of Vitamin C, and tons of other healthy things. Folic acid, zing, manganese, chromium, potassium, phosphorous, calcium, and other such vitamins.

WINNER: Emergen-C for vitamins, Great Value for calories.

TASTE

1) I’ve always hated Splenda, but every sweetener has it’s place. It’s wrong to think that because you hate X, you will hate X in every product its featured in. For instance, asparatame/Nutrasweet is quite good in yogurt, but not nearly as good in cola. In this case, the Splenda works VERY well. There is a LOT of flavor. I would fill my huge Virginia Tech 1992 RHF Mug (a ~30oz mug) up with water, and put a flavor pack in. Soooo much flavor. I would drink a couple sips, and then refill it with water. I would repeat this 3-4 times. Once watered down, it’s not an exciting drink to drink exclusively. But if you’re like me, you have ice water in one cup, whiskey on the rocks in another, and a sweet drink in a 3rd cup. This is a great “3rd cup” drink. The sweetness being watered down makes it a bit boring to drink straight, but as a break between your whiskey and water, it’s still damn sweet. With my refill-and-dilute strategy, I’d end up drinking a good ~50oz of the stuff over the course of 2 hours. Flavor goodness.

2) This one isn’t nearly as flavorful. I learned that I could only fill my huge Virginia Tech 1992 RHF Mug about halfway or so — only aboug ~15oz. Even then, the flavor was quite bland and watery. No refilling or diluting this; it was drunken very fast. I was disappointed every time.

WINNER: Great Value.

PRICE (Google Shopping)

1) I’m seeing 10-packs for $5. That’s $0.50 a “dose”.

2) I’m seeing 10-packs for $1.65. That’s $0.17 a “dose”. But these doses provide less than half the flavor.

If you adjust for flavor, the price is pretty close.

WINNER: Emergen-C. But you’ll be disappointed in the taste. And you’ll end up drinking more calories for equal flavor

SUMMARY

For me personally… If I need healthy supplements, I’ll take a damn multivitamin. This, for me, calories are the main health concern. Which gives me the most taste for the least calories? In that case, the winner is clearly Great Value drink mix. I just wish it didn’t cost more. But the cost differential — three times the cost — is almost completely offset by the fact that it is so much more flavorful.

So, for me, the winner is GREAT VALUE DRINK MIX.

But at 50 cents a dose – I’ll probably never bother again. I was just having the stuff because it was free.
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 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] Oops!!! Wrong movie!!! We had meant to watch the first Dukes Of Hazzard movie — from 2005 — with Jessica Simpson as Daisy Duke, Burt Reynolds as Boss Hogg and Johnny Knoxville as Luke. Our bad.

HAIKU REVIEW: Redneck miscreants
fight against prohibition
and corrupt lawmen.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Vigilante redneck drug dealers defeat oppressive redneck mayor.

PEOPLE: Bo & Luke played by Jonathan Bennett (Mean Girls, and Van Wilder from Van Wilder:Freshman Year) and Randy Wayne. Daisy Duke played by April Scott (what a body!). Cooter played by Joel Moore (Avatar, Grandma’s Boy). Roscoe P. Coltrane played by Harland Williams (Buckley from Slacker Cats, Mike from Gary & Mike, Sorority Boys, Half Baked, Wag The Dog, Dumb & Dumber). Willie Nelson reprises his role as Uncle Jesse. Cooter is played by Joel Moore (Avatar, Grandma’s Boy, Dodgeball:A True Underdog Story). Boss Hogg is played by Christopher McDonald (Fanboys, Superhero Movie, Tappy Tibbons from Requiem For A Dream, Stevo’s Dad from SLC Punk!, Happy Gilmore, Fatal Instinct, Thelma & Louise, and Jor-El from a few episodes of the 1990s Superman animated series). Boss Hogg’s wife is played by Sherilyn Fenn, who sadly isn’t looking nearly as good as in her Twin Peaks heyday.

QUIRKS: A redneck 70s/80s TV show made into a movie. Recipe for disaster, right?

VISUALS: Redneck girls, cars, and dirt.

MORALS: The law isn’t in the right. People in power are usually corrupt assholes.

POLITICS: Prohibitions don’t work; the will of the people typically prevails.

BAD STUFF: It’s a remake about a 70s/80s show about rednecks, cars, and dirt. And not just that: It’s the sequel to a remake. A prequel origin story, actually. Considering most people said Dukes Of Hazzard 1 (2005) was an awful movie… And this is a sequel… Then this might actually be worse than the movie everyone says is awful! The problem is that we accidentally watched DoH2 before watching DoH1. D’oh.

CONCLUSION: This was a generic pass of a movie for us, but it got bonus points for being highly nostalgic, since we both watched the original Dukes Of Hazzard series religiously, like everyone else in our classes. We went in with ultra-low expectations, which really helped.

RATINGS: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 6/10.

RECOMMENDATION: If you like the nostalgia of watching remakes of old TV shows, then you’ll be able to stand this. Just think of it as a modernized, movie-length episode of the original series.

MOVIE QUOTE: Daisy Duke: [about to paint a number on the General Lee] What’s your lucky number, Bo?
Bo Duke: Uh, one? (more…)

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] Ian B recommended we watch this after I posted my review of The Long Weekend back in January, 2010. So we obliged…

PEOPLE: Written & Directed by Dylan Kidd — who only has 3 movies under his belt 8 yrs later. Starring Campbell Scott (Hi-Life) as Roger. His nephew/pick-up artist protege is played by Jesse Eisenberg [who, for once, is more than a poor man’s Michael Cera] (he’s also in The Social Network, Zombieland, Adventureland, The Village). Boss-lady Joyce is played by Isabella Rossellini (Blue Velvet, Wild At Heart, The Phantom 2009). The girls they pick up are played by Elizabeth Berkley (Saved By The Bell, Showgirls, Donnie Darko 2:S. Darko) and Jennifer Beals (The L Word [70 eps!], The Grudge 2, Four Rooms, Flashdance).

Also a small role by Morena Baccarin of Firefly/Serenity and V fame.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Uncle fails at getting nephew laid.

QUIRKS: Kind of a coming-of-age adult-party drama with a bit of comedy. Pick-up artist misogynist anti-hero douchebag shallow uncle teaching honest nice-guy virgin nephew how to pick up women and get laid. NOT a straight-comedy or sexual comedy film at all; the majority of it is actually serious.

VISUALS: Mostly gritty, city bar and party type settings. Nothing special. Some people complain about hand-held cameras, but honestly, I do not even notice that. I think people who dislike camera shaking are whiny pussies.

MORALS: Battle of the sexes explored. Is it okay to lie to women to get laid? Well, apparently it must be, because it works. For most people, anyway.

GOOD STUFF: Great dialog, interesting situations, the thrill of the hunt. Great open-ended ending.

BAD STUFF: The fact that douchebags like Roger know how to score, and that this is true in real life. “The Game” is real. It only works for fake people, but most people out there are fake. So there you go.

CONCLUSION: A very interesting, mostly dialogue-driven movie about hooking up with women, and the tricks men have to resort to in order to achieve this.

RATINGS:
Clint: Netflix: 4.4/5 stars. IMDB: 8/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 8/10.

Certainly better than the 3/5, 5.6/10 rating we gave for The Long Weekend.

The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 7.2/10, Netflix: 3.0/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.1/5 stars–at least it knew we’d like this more than the average viewer did).

RECOMMENDATION: Watch this, but be prepared to dislike the main character. Not everyone will, but many people aborted this movie because they couldn’t stand Roger. To do this is to miss the entire point of the movie.

SIMILAR MOVIES: The Long Weekend definitely comes off as a poor man’s version of this movie. So if you like this and want more (but not as good), check that out. Melvin Goes To Dinner has a lot more conversation than most movies, and is sometimes compared to this movie as well.

MOVIE QUOTE:

Roger: Sex is everywhere!

Roger: You drink that drink! Alcohol has been a social lubricant for thousands of years. What do you think, you’re going to sit here tonight and reinvent the wheel?

FRIENDS’ RATINGS: I assume Ian really liked this, since he was the one who recommended it to me! Lauren W loves this movie.
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