Friday, November 30, 2007


Out of the 4 conveniently located theaters, and the one slightly unconveniently located theater not a single one of them is playing "No Country For Old Men?"

This is like "Grindhouse" and "Black Snake Moan" all over again!

I guess the backwards little area that I currently am stuck calling home has made it's decision. And that decision is "Fred Clause". Why do I say that? Because if I'm remembering right 4 out of the 5 theaters previously mentioned were playing "Fred" some in multiple rooms...concurrently.

Mark my words, this is is the type of thing that makes people snap.

Friday, November 23, 2007


Well sort of. This year we decided not to do a huge dinner with turkey or ham or anything. It just didn't make sense since there are only three of us on this side of the country. Which was ok with me since really I'm not all that thankful for the big things until I find a way to break from crushing relentless grasp of Michigan. By the way did I mention that Detroit was named the nation's most dangerous city? Can't say as I'm surprised, every visit I've had to the motor city has left wondering why we haven't just fenced it off and cut our losses.

So anyway, I didn't plan to come here to complain all that much. Just write. In reality I'm trying to put the unfortunate turducken incident behind me and look towards the future!

So like I said, the plan was not to have a big dinner. Just a few small things and a couple of special items (yams, fruit salad, and olives most notably). Not grand plans but plans nonetheless. Well just as we were about to get cooking things took a turn. The power blinked out. Then it came back...for approximately .33 second and then it stayed out. Then next hour and a half was pretty much the mad dash to find candles, flashlights, batteries etc...

Next we went to see if any restaurants or stores in our town were open. We didn't have much that would amount to much food wise that didn't' require power to become edible. Unfortunately when you live in the middle of nowhere you don't always have the option of stores so dinner was completely scrapped. Well almost completely. I decided that I was probably going to die if I didn't eat (ok maybe not die but I would get very cranky) so I went ahead and made the fruit salad. Have you ever made a fruit salad in pitch dark by candle light? I don't recommend it at all! But in the end I suppose the important thing is that the fruits mixed masterfully with the cool whip and a delicious snack was born.

But the day wasn't a complete bummer. I mean any day that starts out with The Trouble With Harry, middles with (most of) The Birds (at least until the power goes out), and then ends with Pretty Poison can't be considered all bad can it? Especially when you consider that between "Harry" and "The Birds" I also caught bits and pieces of "Vertigo" At some point I even managed to catch a bit of "Rear Window"....Not bad at all.

Normally I don't watch a lot of movies on AMC. Not because they don't play movies I like but but because I just can't stand edited and cut up movies at all. Not when the full then is always just a Netflix away. But when I was seeing what would be playing on the Hitchcock-athon on AMC I decided to give "The Trouble with Harry" a shot on the DVR. I'm really glad I did. I was completely surprised by how much fun the movie was. I've already placed the full DVD release near the top of my queue for a deeper watch.

As usual "The Birds" was just great. It's strange just last week I was thinking that it was time for some Tippi Hedren AMC musta read my mind!By the way how great is Tippi? Your answer better have been "really effin!" Or something to that affect.

While looking over Tippi's IMDB page my head almost exploded. I looked down at the message board area (Always a TERRIBLE idea) and I found a post that mentioned Tippi Hedren looking a lot like Paris Hilton. What??? I mean What???

Ah that brings me to "Pretty Poison". What can I say? I just really dig this movie I've mentioned it before briefly. It didn't fit the mold of the day which was Hitchcock, but the movie has a twisted dark streak a mile long. Just the way I like em. Also Tuesday Weld. Need I say more? ...I didn't think so.

So, how was your Thanksgiving? Or if you are not in the States, how was your Thursday?

In closing I leave you with the quote of the day, taken from "Pretty Poison".
"I foolishly performed an abortion on a peach tree"

Thursday, November 22, 2007



Because sometimes you just have to say "Fuck it, one bird just ain't enough"

Note: The picture I found is actually a Turducken covered with strips of bacon. I applaud this kind of ingenuity.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Askewed Review (supersized) Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death

*Edit*Slight format switch this time around. Since my “The Basics” synopsis ran unendingly long “Way too long” I have moved it to the bottom, that way it is easier to ignore should you wish. */Edit*

It all started a week ago. Where during her regular “Final Girl: Awesome Movie Poster Friday” Stacie Ponder put up a special Adrienne Barbeau poster list. That list can be found Here, as you'll notice among the ranks of the posters is a landscaped gem for Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death. Well I don't know about you but that is a title that I certainly can't pass up. Upon further inspection I realized not only was the title impossible to ignore but the movie also stars one of my all time favorites Shannon Tweed.

So armed with this knowledge and a Netflix account at my fingertips my decision was made. “Easy Rider” was pushed back a week and “Cannibal Women” was added to the top of the heap. Then the wait started. I of course used my time wisely. I spent a night or two with Guitar Hero 3, another night watching “Cannibal: The Musical” with the commentary track on(An experience nearly deserving it's own post), some podcasts were listened to, I re watched all of the episodes of “The Guild” starting here, I kicked back with some Cheap Trick... But mostly I just spent my time cursing the slowness of the mail.

When the red envelope finally did appear in my PO box it was nestled between two other red envelopes (“Oceans 13” and “Enterprise: Season 1 Disc 1” ....don't ask). Needless to say I was ready. What did I find?

Well let's find that out together....
Warning, I spoil almost EVERYTHING.

..I say “almost” because in this post I never mention the part about Bunny's red rope licorice fetish

....shit....never mind.....

My Thoughts
It is no secret that I'm a big fan of the B-movie scene. Or as I like to call it, 3am cinema. I also like parody, and I'm a sucker for movies with a thinly veiled message...Well two out of three.

“CWitAJoD” isn't exactly a B-movie, it is more of an homage to them, which is good. They also mix in a bit of parody, not so much of the B's but of other movies and genres. This also is good, when done right. Which I believe it was. The 2001 bit with the beer in place of the monolith was great for me.

It also turns out that behind the absurd storytelling there is a bit of a message. You can apply it to many situations, but the example they use is radical feminism (obviously). I mean the entire flick is about trouble caused by a group of man eaters, and men's inability to deal with strong women, gender roles, stereotypes, etc... So the message, at least the message I got. Extremism...bad. Equality...good.

Maybe you'll get something else out of the movie than I did, or maybe I just put too much thought into it.

Does the movie work? For me hell yeah it does!

Bill Maher was cheesy believable as a clumsy bullheaded macho dweeb. Shannon Tweed was, well she was Shannon Tweed, a little stiff in her portrayal of Dr. Hunt, but it worked great. Especially when paired up with the valley girl-like constantly happy blissfully ignorant ways of the attached at the hip Bunny.

Sadly I'm not as familiar or friendly with Adrienne Barebeau's body of work as I should be (yes my head is lowered in shame at this very moment). But I can certainly see why people love her based on her time as Francine Kurtz, honestly she acted the hell outta that part. While I enjoyed everyone Else's work in the movie Barbeau actually shined with her serious take on Dr. Kurtz, which is good because..well Francine was VERY serious about what she was doing so it translated well.

Final thoughts

Will you like this movie? Maybe, maybe not. I'm not 100% that I “liked” it, but I enjoyed the heck out of it (twice). I say it give it a shot. What have you got to lose? Only 90 minutes.

On the flip side I did notice that there is a LOT of exposition in the film. Talk talk talk, it isn't out of place but for action heads I can see where that could be an issue. But the plus to this minus is that all of the main characters have unique voices and ideals that are very easy to pick up on.

It is most definitely worth a shot if you are of the Elvira's Movie Macabre, or the MST3k camp (I just know that Crow would LOVE this movie).....I wish I had three robot friends.

Just for the love of God, whatever you do, when you sit down to view this movie make sure you put your head in the right place. Don't be all serious, don't expect an Oscar. I may not drink but I can certainly sense a beer movie when I see one. So if you partake do yourself a favor, grab a couple, grab a friend, hit play an go forth into the magical land of ....cannibalism and khaki.

The Basics Story
It is a normal day at work for Dr. Margo Hunt (Shannon Tweed), she is teaching her Feminist Studies class at Spritzer College, answering strange questions from a bubbly student, Bunny (Karen Mistal), questions like “is there a feminist cooking class?” Yep normal day all around that is until a surprise visit from a couple of military types. They explain to Margo that the U.S. is in the middle of an emergency. It seems that they are low on the precious resource that is the avocado.

That means an excursion into the Avocado Jungle. Unfortunately an ancient feminist tribe lives within the jungle and they don't like trespassers. The tribe is of course the cannibal women, or as they all themselves the Piranha Women. The government has already attempted to take the jungle by force. This ended in catastrophe when a pile of guacamole covered dog tags were left at the jungle's edge. The military, now desperate tells Margo that they don't wish to harm the Piranha Women. They just want the precious avocados. They would like Dr. Hunt as a feminist, to go into the jungle and negotiate with the women. They have even set aside a reservation in Malibu that the Piranha Women can be moved into, all their needs will be taken care of they'll even let them continue with their strange rituals, after all “That's the problem of the Piranha men” not them.

Margo decides that she will go into the jungle. By “decides” what I mean I she was blackmailed by threat of removed government funding from Spritzer. But she is also curious to find out what has become of the last feminist anthropologist to enter the jungle. A Dr. Francine Kurtz, internationally known author of the book“Smart Women, Stupid Insensitive Men.”

After a quick stop off at the teaching supplies desk to pick up a knife, some climbing rope, a revolver and a thousand rounds of ammunition among other things Dr. Hunt is off to find a guide and enter the jungle, but not before picking up a tag along in the form of Bunny.

Where do you find a guide for such a trip? Why in a bar on the outskirts of the jungle of course. A bar in a little town known as San Bernardino. Margo and Bunny interview three potential guides; Anvil, a Vietnam vet with no problem blowing anything in his way up. Bushido, the worlds greatest ninja...seems to need some work in the shuriken department. And The Black Masked Avenger, world renowned professional wrestler and body builder. He can bend steel and chew on the end! Sadly every one of the potentials flees at the mention of the Avocado Jungle. Probably a smart move!

This leaves poor Margo with but one choice. Jim (Bill Maher), a klutzy, mouthy, chauvinistic ex-one night stand of Margo's who just happens to be at the right bar at the right time. Naturally Margo would prefer to go without a guide but she needs him. After all she has no idea how to survive in the jungle.

Neither does Jim really, but he does have a survival guide to the Avocado Jungle, a paperback that is now out of print. Reluctantly Margo agrees to hire Jim on as a guide, but only after he reduces his reasonable $25,000 fee down to a minuscule $50 plus expenses...I wish he would have pulled out the old “but now you're robbin' me!” line.

Very quickly a few things are revealed. Bunny has a crush on Jim, Jim can't read a map, Margo has a long history of relationship issues, yadda yadda.

Eventually the group finds an old abandoned boat (The all knowing Jim has a story about that as well) and they move from land to water. Eventually the group find themselves under an attack of sorts. They were accosted by knitted potholders and doilies. Well maybe not an attack...apparently it was an offering. Gifts from the Donnahews, a subservient group of men that live in the jungle, make baked good and knit things as offerings to the Piranha Women in exchange for the women not eating them. A fair trade I feel.

A group of subservient sniveling wimpy men? To Jim this just doesn't compute. While the women sleep Jim attempts to evolve the men. Enter man's best friend BEER. There was some bonding, some teaching, some grunting, and many many cans of beer. So much beer that Jim finds himself a bit unconscious. Pffft lightweight.

So now Bunny who can't sleep decides to come ask for a nice cup of hot chocolate. Apparently the impenetrable walls of the tent don't allow her to hear the ruckus outside! Before she knows what is happening Jim's teaching takes effect and the Donnahews pounce. No, pounce is the wrong word. They sort of drunkenly lumber and mumble towards her eventually overtaking her. Luckily Margo has miraculously heard all of this and is out to make the save with her trusty gun. BANG BANG and the Jim Clones scatter.

Jim's response to his teachings nearly causing a gang rape...He's sorry that the boys got out of line, but at least it was encouraging to see them taking a healthy interest in the opposite sex. Yep...healthy, I don't think I can defend Jim on this one. I mean any simp knows that when you are trying to change the ideals of an entire group of peoples the first thing you do is make sure they know that rape=bad.

Lunchtime rolls around, Margo isn't happy. She's sick of Guacamole. I would be to. Jim gloats , after all he did mention earlier that within a few days she would be begging for a Burger King. That's when it happens. Margo gives Jim a look, he catches it and realizes “....You want to eat me!”. And she did, but only for a single weak moment.

Margo decides that the jungle is getting to them so they need to turn tail and beat it. Too late though, the Piranha women have found them. When Margo mentions the name Dr. Kurtz the Piranha Women take the group back to their temple. The temple itself shows a remarkably advanced architectural style. Jim thinks it looks like a big Lego. I think it looks more like a Duplo.

Jim and Margo discover the pool filled with actual piranha in the courtyard when Dr. Francine Kurtz emerges from the temple. Good timing as she really seems to have a thing for those piranha.

As it turns out when she was captured the Piranha Women christened her their new empress. A powerful and wise empress she turned out to be, she was even able to lead the jungle women to their successful defense against the military (remember that from earlier?). Not only did the soldiers have to die, but they were delicious to boot!

Kurtz offers Hunt the chance to join the tribe. She also reveals that There is no avocado shortage. Actually the U.S. has too many of the things (I agree, yuck!). Francine is also aware of the Malibu offer, She is also aware of the subscriptions to Cosmo, the group of Mary Kay saleswomen, and the ultimate plan of eliminating the Piranha Women cultural assimilation!....What anthropologist would agree to those terms? None that's who...not even Margo.

Still Dr. Hunt refuses to join. Kurtz has no choice. She must have Margo thrown into the piranha pool. Bunny on the other hand has no problem killing and eating a man to become part of the tribe, as long as she gets one of those cute outfits. This revelation gives Jean-Pierre (Margo's would be sacrifice) a chance to cause a ruckus escaping his chains and helping Margo get out of the temple. Jim isn't so lucky. He is to be Bunny's sacrifice. They even marinate him! Yeesh, I thought that the guacamole looked bad.

On the run from the Piranha Women Margo is rescued by another tribe of jungle women. The Barracuda Women of the Avocado Jungle. You see thousands of years ago the Piranha Women and the Barracuda Women were as one, but they split up and have been at war because of a very fundamental argument....The Piranha Women cook and eat their men with guacamole dip. The Barracuda Women disagree with this practice heartily. They believe they should be eaten with clam dip. I'm still going to take a pass on seconds.

Margo leads the Barracuda Women to the temple to make a rescue attempt for her friends. Along the way she discusses with their leader a plan to help reunite the tribes by way of a council comprised of equal representatives from each group to get together bi-weekly to discuss their issues. I hope that they use tiki torches for their voting!

Once inside the temple Margo stumbles across Dr. Kurtz's field notes, and an outline for a book she is writing.

Meanwhile Jim is weighing the pros and cons of his current situation, “She's going to make love to me, that's good. Then she's going to eat me, thats bad. ...Why can't I ever have a completely good day?” Bunny is getting ready for her initiation by being washed and having her hair dyed for the occasion.

At the last minute Jim is able to use his wiles to make Bunny change her mind. She realizes that she can't kill him...she loves him (awwwww). This displeases Dr. Kurtz and as usual she sentences them to death by being dumped in the pool of piranha. She must really love feeding those fish.

Before the feeding can go down Margo returns. A little late I feel. If not for luck at this point Bunny would be enjoying a serving of Jim by now wouldn't she?

Well no matter Margo is here now, and she is challenging Dr. Kurtz to a duel. A duel for the title of empress of the Piranha Women. Apparently that is how you take over, who knew? Kurtz can't refuse the request and the fight ensues.

During the fight Margo takes the opportunity to discuss Francine's plans of exploiting her time with the Piranha Women in a tell all book. Kurtz denies it all (of course).

Margo has Kurtz beat, but shes no killer she doesn't make the killing strike. Instead Francine steps the blade impaling herself (Ouch!). After some confessing some tears and keeping everyone at a distance Francine decides to fling herself into the Piranha tank “Oh the humanity!, the humanity!!” I guess she really was serious about feeding the lil guys.

Back to civilization. Margo makes a trip to Malibu to visit her military contacts. She informs them of what she has learned. She also informs them that the jungle women will not be moving any time soon. Now it is Margo's turn to make with the strong arming. She insists on a very generous donation to her university. If they don't deliver she'll take her story to the talk show circuit and let the world know the truth!

Bunny and Jim on the other hand decide no more fighting for them. In fact they plan to get married, but only if Dr. Hunt gives her OK. Bunny sure doesn't want to disappoint Margo. Luckily Margo won't be alone. She has convinced Jean-Pierre to leave the jungle life and come to the city to pursue an education.

And that my friends is the ending to one of the most beautiful stories you'll ever know! Well OK it was a story.

Kudos to you dear friends if you have read through my ramblings all the way down to this point. You must either really like me, or really dislike yourself. Either way to you I say Mahoalo

Ignore the writing but watch the video

Say what you will about The Rock but I say he is in fact a big deal. Need proof? Just check out this video, a little gem from "Be Cool" (A movie with two bright spots, The Rock, and Vince Vaughn, and little else)

Yes the video is silly, in fact it might be a little nuts but there is a lot going on in there. Though the movie was a bit of a stinker the character was not. The Rock really brought Elliot to life. While doing so he also proved that not only is he talented, but he is willing to have a little bit of fun, he is willing to take a few risks, and he is worthy of our attention.

Hell the guy should get credit for going along with a scene that involved John Travolta kicking his ass...I mean really?

Monday, November 05, 2007

FGFC: "Eyes of a Stranger"

Well it's that time again, time for the Final Girl Film Club. This time around the movie is ”Eyes of a Stranger”. Another flick from that magical year 1981, a year which brought us....wait I've already named off quite a bit of awesome that has come from 81 in previous posts...Still since I brought the year up ”An American Werewolf in London”...I'm just sayin, check it out would ya?

So ”Eyes of a Stranger” What to say? Well I had a tough time getting it from Netflix for a while but eventually a couple of weeks ago it actually did show up at my door which was cool. Then I watched it and was all ready to get this written down and put away to post well in advance. Sadly once I watched it and sat down I realized that I had nothin'. I sent the movie back and thought about it some more in the back of my mind, all the time planning on being able to sit down and write out something smart, something sexy, something relevant. That never happened, instead I spent the last week in an incredible amount of pain which culminated in a tooth being pulled, pain meds being distributed and me renting the movie from a local BB so that I could this time put something down(preying that the medicine induced haze help color my words)

I'm not sure if I've succeeded, but if I failed miserably at least I can blame the dentist this time (You hear that Doogie dentist? If this sucks I'm blaming and your impossibly young image)

The Basics

Miami, normally a nice warm sunny happy place to live suddenly finds itself the unfortunate host to a serial killer/rapist(John DiSanti). The killing is really just the end result of the killer, Stanley Herbert's activities. First he stalks his victims, then he uses the telephone to terrorize them even going as far as to telling them what he is going to do to them, and then finally he makes with the face to face(or belt to neck, same diff...right?).

Stanley thinks he is being pretty slick about his business but what he doesn't know is local television news anchor, Jane Harris(Lauren Tewes) is suspicious of him. he witnessed him pulling into their apartment complex's parking garage one evening in a bloody shirt and changing into a clean one before heading upstairs. Jane, who has been pretty vocal and a tad overzealous about the story while reporting on the news decides not to take her own advice. She embarks on her own personal investigation of Stanley.

Jane's investigation eventually leads to danger not only for Jane, but also Tracy(Jennifer Jason Leigh), Jane's deaf and blind sister.

What works for me

First and foremost the best thing for me all around in this flick was the work of Jennifer Jason Leigh. Not only was she believable as being deaf and blind. But she also managed to convey a bit of the disconnectedness that her character most likely would have had from the trauma that led to her handicap. This was mainly done during the scenes with Stanley where even though she was incredibly scared for herself she also was distant, her face blank much of the time.

One thing that could have gone either way but ultimately ended up on the good side of the coin for me was Stanley himself, ridiculous name aside of course. At times in the genre it seems like every killer is out for revenge, or has a destiny, or something of the like, but not Stanley. Stanley proves pretty quickly that the only reason he does what he does is because he is a real dick. The phone calls prove that. Then later on he really proves it in one of the flicks more suspenseful scenes as he plays head games with an unknowing Tracy.

And yes I'll jump on the bandwagon and say “Sorry, but your party is dead....” is an awesome tagline!

stuff that didn't quite work for me

So Jane is quite adamant about anyone who notices anything suspicious should inform the police while he is on camera but once she starts noticing things herself she decides to take things into her own hands?

Of course who could blame her as another thing that really bugs me in these movies happened here as well. There is a serial killer on the loose, the news is warning people to inform the police if anything is happening. Inevitably the killer starts harassing someone who subsequently calls the police only to be told “it's probably nothing” by the voice on the other end of the line. Maybe someone should write a movie where all of the 911 operators who get canned for being clearly inept band together and go on their own killing spree.

What was up with strip clubs in the 80s? Was this an accurate portrayal? I so why do clubs still exist today? Good lord both dancers that were shown in the movie were painful and the opposite of sexy, but the interesting part is they both reached this same road by two very separate paths...The booze back then must have been dynamite!

How many times has a quote very similar to the following been used to explain someone's ill advised antics in a movie? “I made a promise to myself that I would never let anything happen to Tracy ever again”.

Confusing Outcome

Ok so when Tracy was younger she was kidnapped and traumatized which left her deaf and blind. They weren't physical problems which means they were mental, ok got that. So then when Stanley nearly rapes Tracy it jolts her eyes and ears back into working. where does that leave these series of events for Tracy? I mean yeah it was bad for all of the other victims, but Tracy survived and in the long run is better for it. Doesn't that mean that in the end she and her sister Jane can't very well wish that it had never happened?

Final Thoughts

In the end “Eyes of a Stranger” left me with a very much “been there done that” feeling. There was very little new ground broken. With the exception of the Stanley/Tracy scene I didn't find anything truly intense.

It wasn't bad but at the same time I wouldn't go so far as to proclaim it as good either, all in all this comes down to a mediocre slasher film with a fantastic performance by Jennifer Jason Leigh, a few good effects, one slightly cool head in the fish aquarium gag, an awesome tagline, and very little else.

My verdict? Watch it if you are awake at 2am and you see it on HBO, but don't go out of your way to pick it up because you can do much better. '81 has a lot of real classics but this ain't one of em.

I'm just sayin'