I mentioned Danny Trejo last week and now, as the star of Dead in Tombstone, he earns another nod. If I bring his name up just one more time, like a south of the border Beetlejuice, he’ll appear and drink tequila with me. That’s going to be awesome. I was thinking the same thing heading into this movie and it did not disappoint. Direct to video productions work best when the producers embrace two vital decisions. Don’t take yourselves too seriously, do cast Danny Trejo.
Hold on, there’s a knock at my door. It was Danny. I told him I needed to write for about another hour so he should get to gardening until I’m done.
Anyway, if you’re not familiar with at least some of Danny’s body of work I probably hate you as much as you obviously hate great cinema and my fake national origins. To bring you up to speed, Trejo plays Machete in Machete, Bullet in Bullet and a bad ass in Bad Ass. That’s sort of misleading, he’s a bad ass in everything but you see my point. Dead in Tombstone is just another hundred minutes for you to enjoy voices filled with gravel, guts filled with fire and balls filled with vengeance. See, Anthony Michael Hall makes the mistake early on of betraying Danny and calls down all the balls. He’s looking rough, but in that “if I saw him having sex with a hooker in the gutter I would still watch” kind of way. He’s a right nasty bastard who backstabs his half bro before deciding to keep their gang in a town they just looted to continue looting it and change it’s name from “Edenville” to “Tombstone”. That’s right, Dead in Tombstone doesn’t even take place in the Tombstone. You don’t have time to care or be confused though because before you can care to be confused Rusty Griswold takes his rusty Griswold and sends Danny down to Hell and right into the Devil’s meaty hands.
Fuck yeah Mickey Rourke is the Devil and he’s about to get his devil dick burnin’ balls deep in a bunch of assholes’ assholes! He sort of looks like Al Bundy and Prince Adam had a kid and that kid grew up, slept with Kim Basinger, and then become homeless. He sure is generic but carries the clichés with a casual intensity that silently screams “why yes I am an accomplished actor” and ”they paid me for this in cases of Twinkies” all in the same breath. Like a Twinkie he too needs to be filled with a mysterious and disturbing substance, the souls of the sinful, and wants to wager with Señor Trejo in order to make sure he stays bubbling up to the brim with salacious spirits. Machete don’t text or play the golden fiddle but he does know his way around weaponry.
Especially made up and/or anachronistic weaponry:
His custom revolvers, that supposedly no one knew how to assemble except for him despite the fact they appeared to break down like any similar revolver, were all Dragoon up front and totes LeMat out back. Huge, powerful and rather unwieldy they reminded me of the way my penis appears in dreams. Both mine and others let me clarify. I could have said “ridiculous” too but they got the job done. Again, like my dream penis. Now, if this silver plated and three barreled son of a bitch bothers you that much just wait till the camera angle changes. When the action jumps around from person to person so do the firearms. The first thing the director did on set was to have a window constructed so that he could immediately throw continuity right the fuck out of it. Dead in Tombstone features a half dozen prominent hand guns that all the principal actors share across different scenes (and also the same scenes) even going as far as to shoot at one another simultaneously with the same ordnance. Not the same model, the same actual gun. Trejo goes from handling his fantasy favorites to something that looked period appropriate to something Smith and Wesson made in the past ten years. I’m no expert but even I was noticing pieces that had no business being in this late 19th century movie.
Of course dynamite has no business being shoved inside of a kerosene lamp to make an impromptu napalm bomb unless your business is making my dick hard and let me tell you, many times during this movie, business was booming. What do you expect when you get a former Mexican jailbird, Marv from Sin City, the dorky kid from The Breakfast Club and that chick who banged Johnny Rico during Starship Troopers together in one show? I did tell you that chick who banged Johnny Rico was in this right?
Oh Dizzy, you screwed Johnny boy good and thorough but then a big old bug screwed you likewise. Tough scene to watch and I learned right then never to sleep with Caspar Van Dien. But if you learned anything tonight, besides what my dick will look like once you fall asleep and not to, under any circumstance, put it inside dream Van Dien, it’s that if you have Netflix or feel like stealing this from Wal-Mart, you should watch Dead in Tombstone.
4 rounds in the cylinder for one of the better non-theatrically released Westerns I’ve seen. Judicious but thoughtful use of slow-motion and more than a few tricks up its sleeves to make you smile. The story wasn’t anything relevatory but the way this standard revenge with the supernatural help and sometimes interference from a demonic Mickey “Have you seen The Wrestler ‘cuz goddamn that’s great” Rourke, the way it was presented, made for a fun dinner time dalliance. Plus you got to see what Anthony Michael Hall looks like all puffy and haggard now presumably due to being stung by a posse of rough and tumble cowboy bees:
“Don’t you…forget about me” he said with a lecherous lilt in his voice. I’m giving him a hard time here, we all fill out with age, but he had the Dead Zone and has fared better overall than Judd Nelson. Jesus, that guy’s career went to shit as soon as he got Optimus Prime killed. Wait a minute, fuck China, the next Transformers movie should be set entirely in and around the Sonoran Desert! I’m serious, fuck China! And serious about the movie too…Autobots battling to stop the Decepticons from converting the vast silver deposits still under Tombstone into energon while concurrently discovering the secrets of the Arizona Spark. I can tell you from experience, once you feel that spark, you’ll fight for it. Down in the dust or dirt or the where or fucking however. Man I love that place and I finally feel like I’ve figured out how to get there: become a world famous luchador hero.
More on that next week.
Till then, give Danny and his crew a shot if you can spare the time. More importantly, give yourself one. The bullseye of that dream life you wish you were living is just waiting for you, begging for you, to pull the trigger.
So aim true amigos, and squeeze.
Any night in old Mexico should be one to remember. This movie makes that a challenge. Not for lack of trying so much as a lack of actually getting it done. Ornery grandfather and estranged grandson slip south of the border to blow off some steam with a misplaced backpack full of drug money in the back of their Cadillac. Those two, a lounge singer, some street punks, one hitman and a crime boss all cross paths exacting payback from one another against the beautiful and brutal backdrop of a nondescript Mexican town. It’s Dia de Muertos no less so fantastically ominous should be an atmosphere easy to achieve but I’ll tell you, I’ve wiped my ass with more apprehension than I ever felt at any point in this film. What went wrong then?
The cast? Robert Duvall, Jeremy Irvine and Angie Cepeda are your trio of protagonistas.
Robert Duvall you know and of course he’s pretty great even when his lines aren’t particularly so. Who you might not be familiar with are Jeremy (you’ll remember him from War Horse) and Angie (you’ll remember her from the next time you masturbate!)
Jerry’s the weak link here. He hails from the UK and does a tremendous job of hiding both his accent and any talent he supposedly has. “Made for TV” kept popping into my head every time he opened his mouth and also all the other times. He must have narrowly beat out a bump on a log and some paint drying on some wall for the role. He’s a college kid searching for a family with a good deal of baggage already packed for the trip, he’s coming of age in a meat grinder of shootouts and shady dealings and he’s almost completely unbelievable in the role. Everyone is written as tip-of-the-iceberg style characters but never do we get to peek below the surface. It’s weak writing and the writer is responsible but I’ve seen Danny Trejo say goddamn next to nothing comprehensible yet still manage to excite and entertain me. He really is a Mexican criminal so it’s not a reach for him to grab on to authenticity in his roles which is where Jeremy failed. They were going for fish out of water with his “big city kid thrown into the Wild West” performance but got lame duck instead with his “I’m not really coming across as a big city kid thrown into the Wild West am I” performance.
Miss Cepeda on the other hand (the one you’re not touching yourself with) was immediately and continually arresting. Her character’s look, line of work and lengths she’d go to for success reminded me of Jennifer Connelly from Dark City with a hint of Jennifer Connelly from Requiem for a Dream thrown in for grimy good measure. Playing Patty Wafers, a slumming showgirl with dreams of making it big, she’s basically a Latin American version of Satine. The bright lights of a promising tomorrow all but blocked by the ample bosom she’s forced to show off for the chance to sing at one club or another. He family thinks she’s a star but she’s fallen and hard, with nothing to her name and nowhere to go. Angie carries Patty’s pathos without exertion, her bright demeanor and carefree outlook disarming when you realize what she’s really going through. And then she runs into two gringos. And then trouble runs into all three of them.
Duvall’s devil-may-care-to-suck-my-dick-cuz-he’s-a-bitch-and-I-hate-everything attitude only carries them so far before they start to figure out what a mess they’re in and the bullets start to fly all around that same mess. Pursued by two dirt level dumbasses (one who might know Vampire Bill), an amiably amoral assassin (who looks like a Mexican Gimli) and this guy (who looks like his eyebrows could kill you), they are unavoidably drawn into a cat and mouse game with no pussies allowed.
“Unavoidable” is a strong word too. There were several junctions when further danger, or any danger at all, could have been avoided or quickly snuffed out or ignored but these 3 WTFusketeers are quite the mystery to behold and while some motivations are convincing, many strategic choices are on par with those latter decisions made by George A. Custer. One in particular is irreparably illogical and derails the remainder of the film’s efforts from that moment onward right up through the expectantly predictable finale. There was promise here (a good framework, a great setting, a strong enough ensemble) but, like a marshmallow man’s erection, it was promise made entirely of fluff. Tasty, tasty promise that just disappeared in your mouth before you could enjoy it, coating your gums with a filmy confusion. Five minutes in and A Night in Old Mexico was headed into No Country for Old Men, another five and it was it was Gran Torino by way of Thelma and Louise. Then it’s Scarface serious just before Shoot Em Up ridiculous. It was Reservoir Dogs without the clever dialogue, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels sans Brits. It’s empty where awesome should have been.
2 rounds in the cylinder. 3 is my minimum for “at least I got something, one thing, out of this ergo I’m glad I watched it.” Nothing to see here that you haven’t seen before and better. A Night in Old Mexico was the cinematic equivalent of one of those “I Went to Tijuana And All I Got Was This AIDS” t-shirt. Do they even make those? Maybe. But if they do, it makes for a more compelling piece of art than this film. That poster. That premise. That Duvall! Old Bob will probably explain it to you better than I ever could.
The experience I expected going in…
The experience I came out with one hour and forty eight minutes later…
But come out I did. Life’s experiences won’t always be what your expecting and can many times leave you the worse for wear. But also better for the wisdom. Even the shittiest of days can teach us some truth amigos. At great personal expense I’ve learned never to watch this movie again and now, so have you.
Not too shabby for a night’s work.
So many have died
While others bravely still risk
And we all stay free
Andrew Walls is going through some tough times. Lost wages, mental anguish and, according to certain documents, “severe emotional stress”. Is he a former first responder traumatized by an accident? Maybe a veteran returned home after witnessing unspeakable horrors on the battlefield? No food on his table or roof over his head even? Nope on all counts. The startling truth is this: Andy had surgery and when he woke up afterwards he was wearing women’s underwear!
Seems after a colonoscopy the “victim” was fitted with some pink lady’s sundries as a prank by his co-workers, the medical staff of a surgical center. He awoke but only to find his nightmare just beginning. A nightmare that would lead him to litigate presumably after said business failed to settle for the bazillions he was seeking. You know, to cope with the abject terror of being garbed in silk undies. I have no doubt that for some men this would be annoying or slightly disquieting but let’s save any diagnosis preceded by “severe” for kids who get beaten or a woman who got raped or a grunt who saw his buddies blown up right in front of him.
While the option of filing suit to right actual wrongs is one sign of an mature if not enlightened society, preposterous litigation in the name of “I’m a huge sleeze gimme a comparably sized pile of cash” has become too commonplace. Cases like this are despicable and detrimental to the legal system, despoiling the good deeds of those David like attorneys slinging stones at corporate Goliaths and muting the cries of actual people in need. Walls’ own lawyer, Gary Nitsche, would I’m sure disagree. The complaint he filed read in part, ”the defendant’s extreme and outrageous conduct went beyond all possible bounds of decency.” His name reminds me of an old quote, something about “when you stare into an asshole, the asshole stares back until you become an asshole you fucking asshole!” I’m paraphrasing but you know that’s just how Gary and Andy got on with each other.
Now perhaps this dress code violation was simply the final straw in an ongoing pattern of harassment but if Mr. Walls had been the target of systemically inappropriate verbal and/or physical molestation up to this point, based on race, creed or color, neither the complaint nor any reporting news agency has made mention of what would surely be a shitstorm creating circumstance. So I’m left to conclude that Andrew Walls is but a schmuck. Maybe he’s a prankster and ended up on the wrong end of a jest for once. Or worse, he’s a bully and the set-upon staff finally gave him a taste of his own medicine.
Either way, it’s not the end of the world.
Unless he’s a closeted crossdresser whose privacy and suffering self-worth were assaulted by the conspiratorial acts of bigoted bastards he needs to go find a good, short pier and take a long, hard go fuck himself. Starving is troubling. Losing a loved one, unsettling. Getting beheaded has to be rather horrible. Wearing panties?
Other than saying I find them rather comfortable, I won’t even dignify that with a response.
People often ask me what I think about whichever recent football or basketball game just aired and was terribly important to at least them. I never have the answer they’re expecting as I don’t waste my time with such banalities. No, I follow two sports only. The two only real sports of any consequence: professional hockey and professional wrestling. Say what you want about either because a) I can’t hear you and b) while violence is a central theme of both endeavors, disagreements get handled on the ice or on the mat and not usually in a nightclub or Vegas elevator. Plus most hockey players and pro wrestlers are decent if not exceptional on a microphone. They can conjugate verbs and form complete sentences. Listen to that kid who just got drafted after supposedly graduating from Wherever State and tell me you can understand one thing he’s saying. “You’re a bigot, Tentacle Chris! Stop belittling our culture!” Illiteracy is not a culture you philistine. And ”philistine” has more than one meaning, look it up. You can’t change what color you are (and shouldn’t have to) but you can change if you’re fucking ignorant (and fucking should!)
I was ignorant to the mysteries of Mexico at one time in my life but now embrace her with open, damn near needy arms. Her greatest export, besides Jarritos and upsetting crime statistics, is the masked wrestler: the luchador. Hailing from place unknown, with face unknown, but talent, charisma and machismo totally known these bemusing badasses fling storylines and themselves around with obvious dexterity. They are national heroes and your next door neighbor, for all that stands between you and lucha glory is a cover for your face and cojones for your balls! I was swelling with excitement then (you know exactly where) when I stepped into the ring with Guacamelee: Super Turbo Championship Edition. I may never actually be Mexican but I could be an actual pretend Mexican wrestler. So after turning into a chicken with “Pollo Power” and training with a part goat, part man, ALL goat-man named Uay Chivo, playing the demo became buying the full game because chickens and goddamn goatman!
Uay Chivo’s the name and giving you shit is just his game. Like mocking your outfit or deriding your interpersonal communication skills before he grants you one awesome super power or another. So both kinds of shit he will give, insults and assaults. The former is great for starting a scrum, the latter for ending it. Like this enemy ending Rooster Uppercut for instance:
Thanks Uay, that is some cool shit. Your boy Juan, or your boy you, depending on how into character you get, will need an arsenal full of acrobatic attacks to stem the tide of nightmarish creatures that have flooded into Pueblucho, the humble hometown of our hero, and the surrounding areas. Aluxes (sort of Mexican gremlin things), alebrijes (sort of Mexican chimera things) and skeletons (skeletons) all seek to thwart your every effort to save the love of your life, El Presidente’s Daughter, from the clutches of a bastard charro returned from the grave named Carlos Calaca.
You’ll fight Carlos and his minions in both the living world and the world of the dead, once you learn how to swap dimensions of course using the aptly named “dimension swap”. And swap you will! Like a 70s swinger, you’ll be back and forth and back again till you don’t even know which way is up or whose dick is in you mouth. The taste of adventure, not unlike that of an inexplicable dick, is fresh on your tongue now! You’ve got twice the game to explore as you did before and twice the game to suplex some ass all over:
What the hell is all that? Don’t look at me, I’m not sure either. I’m just drinking tequila, mashing buttons and drinking tequila. Confusion and concussions! The only thing I know for sure is that a lot of things are getting punched in the face and it’s my fist doing the punching and some other face (not mine!) doing the getting punched in itself. Plus I look good doing it!
Numerous humorous wardrobe choices are just one more reason to love Guacamelee. This skin here’s called “Mighty Warrior” and hearkens back to when the majestic Mayan ruled much of Mexico. That hawk on the bottom right is actually you as a chicken dressed up as a “Mighty Warrior”. It’s a cock in a hawk in a Juan, it’s dick-ception. Call it whatever you want, but it’s awesome, because whether you’re a football goaltender, piñata or the Devil himself, you and your poultrified alter ego will both get to play dress-up. By the way, that girly on the right is Tostada, a playable character in co-op so a friend can help you on your way towards destiny. She’s in both of the above pictures but don’t risk the madness of that battle scene. Looking into it is like staring down Ghost Rider. You’ll just end up in a pool of sweat, disoriented and full of shame about that time you masturbated twice while watching Troll 2.
No shame in this here game though. The score is fantastic, the locations plentiful, the action unceasing. Clever, heartfelt and well researched, this game is a feast of quirky quesadillas for all your senses. Available on the PS4, Xbox One, and 360, plus the Wii U means the only reason you wouldn’t play this title is if you have something against fun or Mexicans. Either way you’re racist. So race your black, yellow, brown, red, white and/or blue bitch-ass over to that console and grab some Guac! Es muy delicioso (if you can’t read that you are still racist!)
Not me though. Hell no. I’m 100% fake Mexican just like the made in Toronto by way of Nogales Guacamelee: Super Turbo Championship Edition. Our friends to the North and those South of the border came together to craft an experience fabulously cheeky in its execution yet completely respectful of what inspired it. I luch-adored it and reckon you will too. 6 rounds strewn about the ring for this worthy opponent. They’d be in the cylinder but this game gave me what for and gave it more than once. Most of the gameplay is of average difficulty making for a lightly challenging run through if you possess even modest platforming skills but two specific levels tested my dexterity, patience and sanity. Completing them was truly monumental and they’ll stand as the greatest trials I’ve ever faced in gaming for a long time to come, my numb hands and bloodshot eyes are sure of it. I’m not a pro gamer but I’m no newb either and shit tons of fucking shit…this was the easiest and toughest game I’ve ever gotten through.
I failed and failed and failed with failure on top. Then I failed before failing a few dozen more times. It was failure after failure. But I never stopped fighting. Sounds trite, sounds silly, but it sounds like Life and like the ring of fucking truth. My life has been full of missteps and mistakes and falling short more often than not. But every bit of that has made every success so goddamn sweet I can barely even remember what defeat tasted like. I say “barely” because it’s important to stay hungry for what you want most. Past all the pitfalls and fuckups, hunger for the good stuff, the great stuff, the best stuff.
That’s out there for all of us amigos, don’t settle for anything less.