I may spend most of this review working to figure out why I mildly enjoyed this movie when I should at first, second and every glance thereafter dislike it as much or maybe more than a porcupine hair jockstrap. Of course, like you I’m sure, I just googled “porcupine jockstrap” and was bemused when only one image caught my attention:
That’s a logo for a minor league baseball team out of Scranton/Wilkes-Barre called the Rail Riders. I was in a rough’n'tumble Western mindset though, blogging as I was, and took that name and pic to represent some kind of brutally enforced Pennsylvanian public transit system. Sure, that bat wielding bastard asks nicely for your tickets but only after he beats you near to death with his blood red bludgeon. None of this paragraph has anything to do with Buddy Goes West by the way but neither does Buddy Goes West when you get down to it.
“Odd” is a good way to describe this movie, also “how fucking hard did that porcupine hit me” would be acceptable. Like Little Rita, this film frolics in a funky no-man’s land between authentic cowboy romp and asinine cowboy pomp. I wasn’t familiar with lead actor Bud Spencer or his likeable partner in crime Amidou, but it seems both gathered a respectable European following over their careers playing pretty much exaggerated versions of themselves. Here they are, Spencer playing a genteel giant of a man, Amidou as a friendly Indian and some drunk Irish guy playing a drunk Irish guy. I’ll let you figure out who is who:
Not so much a movie with a plot as it’s a collection of scenes meant to drive home several not-as-hilarious-now-as-they-must-have-seemed-back-then set pieces, Buddy Goes West still manages to show off a sweet heart behind all the overzealous slapstick and overreaching attempts at situational humor. A film that endeared itself to me in the final five minutes with an unforced tip of the hat to finding happiness in making sure others are happy revolving around a lost gold mine (aw, how sweet!) also contains at least thirty minutes of farcical fisticuffs including a musical tune played out with frying pans upon the noggins of several ne’er-do-wells (aw, what the frosty fuck?) A film that has this bud risking his life, more than once, for that one also features a nonsensical Native American who for the most part only says “Chanukah, Chanukah, Chanuuuuuuukah!” because Indians love themselves some motherfucking Festival of lights right? A film that manages to espouse personal sacrifice over personal gain also features the line “Hooray! My bowels are liberated!” But hey, it could have been worse.
Smokey and the Bandit, Children of the Corn and Mac and Me jump headfirst into a blender. What is whatever the hell that is, Alex? For $200 Chris, you are correct! Buddy Goes West really then isn’t terrible and certainly not by traditional Western Watchins’ standards. It’s not boring, overly illogical, painful to behold or directed by Peckinpah. Despite all the scripted shenanigans both main protagonists were portrayed as largely competent, resourceful and loyal. The story, though simplistic, is nonetheless complete and throws you a nifty curve ball that even justified an earlier gripe I’d had with the film. All of that plus this bandanna:
Is that a fake Indian? Or Buddy? Or an Indian’s buddy? The answer to all of these could be “yes” but you’ll just have to watch and find out for yourself which no one reading this is actually going to do so I’ll just tell you the answer to all of those questions is indeed yes! But why you have to now ask yourself and then not go watch this movie. The “why” isn’t explained as much as it’s felt, implied as only a large burly man faking a doctorate who hangs out with a Morrocan dude with a great tan playing an Indian dude with his regular skin tone who only talks in Jew-bberish can. Man, two insensitive jokes in one sentence of the review? I’m getting real good at this. Being insensitive I mean, the reviews are still moments of brilliance hanging around Average Town but you’re all still here so either you enjoy it or just want to see how big a creative dick I can manage to be each week.
This week I’ve got 3 rounds for Buddy Goes West. Unexpected and moronically charming, it’s a mess of a movie that ends wrapped up neatly and with a bow to boot. It doesn’t hurt that Ennio Morricone scored the film either. One of Morricone’s most absurdly interesting scores but still Morricone. Always, always Morricone. You can find this film in a Western collection at Wal-Mart, K-Mart or on that aisle no one ever goes down at your nearest Big Lots. From the 80s looking like it was made in the 60s with jokes as dated as its production values Buddy Goes West isn’t for everybody and I’m still not sure it’s even for me. But I can always find a little treasure among the trash and amigos, you live long enough, you’ll find that’s a valuable skill to hone.
As Bender B. Rodriguez would say “I’m back baby!” After a week of mental and physical convalescence following my one and only marathon I’m to a point where humor and coherence has (perhaps) returned to my fingertips. I also just ate a huge Mexican dinner of several tacos and a pair of Little Debbie Santa Brownies. Yes, they believe in Santa Clause in Mexico. He’s just more Mexican there. Point is, I’m sluggish due to stagnation and caloric over consumption. Hopefully the whiskey will help with that. Working out again soon will help too. When my body is fucking fat my brain feels fucking fat too. No correlation tween the two except that feeling of fat that fucks you.
So, Mexican Santa Claus, does he really exist? Maybe, photographic proof is needed fore I’m sure but until then I’ll hold out hope because I do love that sad sack Sonoran state to our South. Lots of bad news out of there lately but lots of bad news here as well. Bad news all over this tipsy turning globe so find something, somewhere and/or someone to love and love like everything else blows because it does. My heart is part fake Mexican so I work in relatable topics for these Watchins once in while like last week’s luchador wrestling show or this week’s modern day border town bashup Get The Gringo.
Mel Gibson is a former sniper turned larcenist desperately trying to distance himself from the law and any nearby Jews. After Duke boying his way into Veracruz he’s captured and thrown into a prison called El Pueblito.
A filthy place filled with violence, corruption and despair it’s like Detroit without the Red Wings. And all based on an actual former prison that tested the idea of an alternate and communal system of operation. It worked great (having families stay with incarcerated loved ones) until inside the walls began to mimic outside of the walls. Casual contraband exchange became legitimate crime became criminal networks became “I came to prison to get away from this, no?” A micro-city with anything you could ever want as long as you had the cash to buy it or the the brawn to take it. A mass of humanity, families and fiends, crammed into a makeshift city-like cage. Imagine Macross City via Tijuana instead of Tokyo and you get the idea. It’s a big mess and once Mel catches wind of an organ harvesting operation it gets even messier. Thankfully he has someone to show him the ropes:
That’s Kid and he’s all like “so the Jews did what to you?” And Mel’s all “okay, there was this Thunderdome thing and hey, what’s with this organ stealing thing?” And then he finds out and then he gets mad. Like “postapocalyptic Aussie cop mad.” Or “my face is blue, I have a huge sword, historical facts be damned” mad. Or even “I’m about to fuck up these aliens with tap water” mad. But not “hanging out with Venezuelan dictators bashing America” mad because that’s Murtaugh, not Riggs. If you haven’t seen Lethal Weapon in a while and forget which is which it’s easy: one is Mel Gibson, the other is a Left leaning and tremendous piece of shit. The big bad in Get The Gringo is also a tremendous piece of shit. I have no information on his political leanings. I do know he’s up to no good and only Mel has the balls to stop him. And rifles, grenades and pistols too:
Though every action scene is shot fluidly and handled with competence the fact our hero chose to hold his handgun sideways most of the time was disconcerting. The dude behind him might be breakdance fighting and that would be less ridiculous than any gangbangin’ grip. I’ll chalk it up to a heat of the moment decision that came out half baked and take comfort from my image search that good old Mel hasn’t always been this way:
Firearms or furry beavs, the Gibson knows where his hands must go. Nine times out of ten that’s straight up some scumbag’s ass. Get The Gringo doesn’t disappoint in the fist up your ass department and like a dollar store Santa Claus, Mexican or otherwise, he’s got killer presents for every deserving villain. Exposition and explosions dovetail into one another pleasantly fitting into the run time which, at an hour and a half, reminds you that your not watching Lincoln who was easily more racist that Mel will ever be. However you feel about the man (Mel, not Abe) we can all agree that the last few years have seen him laid out raw onto the world stage to be picked at and excoriated in the name of entertainment journalism. As the central figure and narrator of this movie, Mel ramps up the intimacy by tearing the fourth wall down right from the start. He’s talking directly to you, he’s honest in both his confident times and his fearfully cautious ones. He’s saying here’s my story, the truth of it and the truth that is me. A lot of how exposed he must’ve felt lately came through in the screenplay. Not always where he wanted to be but always working towards moving past the troubles he’s stumbled upon or those that trip over him as he was simply looking to stay out of the way. This film premiered in Israel by the way so get off any high horse you’re currently mounting and enjoy this film for the fun it is and the antagonist it has. Heroically flawed, sarcastic, savage and self-aware, with Get The Gringo Mel Gibson gives us the best Deadpool movie we’re ever likely to get.
4 rounds grittily jammed into the cylinder for this one. It’s on Netflix at the moment and certainly worth a dinner date with one of cinema’s most charismatic action stars doing what he does best: making us laugh while making them pay. Well written and acted all around including a cameo from Blue Demon Jr. whom you may remember meeting here last week. Sadly, not many have heard of this flick and it’s unlikely to ever make it’s money back due largely to the pall hanging over its frontman’s head. I caught up with Mel and asked him why, after all the apologies and penance, he felt this move was still getting overlooked. He said “TC my friend, isn’t it obvious?”
“Jews, am I right?” I stood there shocked until he quickly followed with “I’m kidding, it was the Blacks.” It was at this point I realilzed I’d made all of this up because I thought it would be a funny way to end this review.
And amigos, it is.
Instead of wanting
Seek to give with all your heart
And know Christmas time
Whoah, stop the presses son.
I just got called out in a manner of speaking to stand up and throw down only the very best Western of all time for an old pal to purchase with some of his gifted birthday bullion. That this challenge comes to me a few days after an extreme physical exertion has left my body slowly recovery and my mind a foggy haze is fortuitous and for that fortune I am thankful. I take pride in my reviews, for my half dozen regular readers sure, but mostly for myself. I take my love of the West seriously and whether a movie is spectacular or nightmarish I’ll tell you just like it is. I always shoot from the hip and from the heart. Biologically impossible but spiritually necessary. I craft each one with as much entertaining perfection as the Creator and my creativity allows for that week. Tonight I am deaf and empty, my tank bone dry. So even with a title ready to review, this challenge has given me a chance to rise to an occasion while still resting on my laurels and terribly tired ass.
My decision was immediate and as easy as one…
A mere 21 weeks into this old time odyssey of mine I reviewed what I consider to be the very height of the Western genre. A film whose peaks are nearly unreachable by any others due to the fact that most can’t even find the bottom of the mountain to start a proper ascent. It’s got good guys and bad guys who are all mostly grey guys. Strong dudes and one stronger woman. It’s got murder and rape and emptiness and hope. Most of all it has a longing. A longing I feel too. A longing we all have in our own personal way. It’s what was being crushed by what is to come and that will make you think about the treasures of yesterday before throwing them away on the promise of a better tomorrow. Moving forward isn’t always progress and lately progress hasn’t really done any one too much damn good. Once Upon a Time in the West gives the word “epic” a reason to exist. So amigos, read my original review here for a few more meaningful and concise thoughts, as for you Tom…time to get to watchin’.
Then it’s your move.
I’ve trimmed down my waistline (fuck that fat!), my Facebook friends list (fuck those traitors!), how much crap is in my house (fuck that shit I don’t need) and even how many shows I watch on a weekly basis (fuck it all!) As for the latter, my time is precious (and all our time is fleeting) so if I’m going to give you any of it in the name of televised entertainment you’re gonna have to convince me it’ll be worth it.
Putting on a mask and hitting me with a clothesline certainly helps.
I’ve watched wrestling for a long time but mostly it’s been WWE and lately, as in the last decade lately, Old Mr. McMahon’s promotion has grown worn out and stale. They’re shoving last week’s breakroom bagels up their asses and telling you it’s going to be a delicious and meaningful treat. My wife struggles to stay awake for the main events of pay-per-views and when she passes out I consider reading a dictionary cover to cover because at least that would be more interesting than sitting through any match with John Cena in it. Most of the time he’s pummeling my will to live and sadly he’s booked to win. Now, in all fairness, WWE’s developmental territory NXT is outstanding. I attend tapings regularly and have seen some of the best sports entertainers ever step into the ring at those events. Electrifying almost all of them, which means as soon as they get called up to the main roster they’ll be squashed, misused and then forgotten. All in all then, the WWE landscape as it now stands is one of current or soon to be disappointment.
Enter Lucha Underground.
Enter so spectacularly that I’ll be jumping off my couch clapping and screaming to cheer every face and jeer at every heel. Yes, I know they’re called “téchnicos” and “rudos” but what you don’t know is that my dick is still hard from watching the first episode. Lucha Underground made me feel like a kid again. A kid who wanted to fuck and fight everyone and everything in the world! It probably doesn’t hurt that one of my favorite comic book characters of all time was Marshal Law. This Marshal Law!
By combining my love for this leather clad law bringer with a curious addiction to Jarritos and nearly incessant need for tacos it’s clear to see that Robert Rodriguez has, with his El Rey network, presented to me just about the most perfect pageant of athleticism, excitement and south of the border badassery I could ever ask for. I now know it’s possible to be fully erect and fully spent at precisely the same fucking time because that’s what happens to me during this show. This gringo can tell you, it’s that good.
There’s not too much talking but when anyone opens their mouth it’s fresh, fun, often curse word laden and un-PC sensitive. The play by play and commentary mix well with the produced segments and all of it flows along with, not against, the story the luchadores are telling in the ring. The spoken word slathered over brutality, technicality and sex! Attitude era, tits in your face and hands and mouth kinda sex:
That’s Catrina. She licks you and then her beau, Mil Muertes, tears you a new asshole. And face hole. And all holes.
He’s kind of a tank, slow and punishing, beating you near to death with his sluggish intensity in lieu of acrobatic aplomb. He’s one warrior however in a temple full of combatants and there is guaranteed to be someone that suits your personal style. High flyers, grapplers, old school brawlers, heavyweight, lightweight and every weight in between. Whether it’s on the mat or off the ropes Lucha Underground is off the charts. And don’t let Catrina fool you, sure she puts the “T and A” into the “Jesus, those are some nice tits” but the ladies aren’t just set dressing around here. Female luchas get down and dirty (yes, against the men!) and fuck so many kinds of shit up that new shit has to be invented just so it can be fucked! Take Sexy Star for instance:
Don’t let her looks, or the previously ample use of Catrina’s bewbs, fool you into thinking that the feminine is relegated to the realm of eye candy only. Hell no, this is Lucha Underground, the bitches and the bastards both compete on equal terms here. No pandering to feminist whining, no glorification of domestic abuse, no excuses. The men and women here prove that age old idiom “where there’s a will there’s a way” by sacrificing body and blood against whoever, wherever in the name of their personal whatevers. Here’s Sexy after taking an almost unprotected chair shot to the head…from a dude.
Is that brutal? Yes, undeniably. Is life? You goddamn know it is. Whether you have a sack or a slit between your legs, Lucha Underground doesn’t pull any punches because outside of your flatscreen and your cubicle and your somewhat safe Wal-Mart shopping experience the world out there can be terrible. There’s no excuse not to accept that and prepare yourself accordingly. This show is completely fake, and 100% real. The effort and expenditure of it’s production staff (including Mark Burnett of Survivor fame) and all of its stars (including WWE castoff John Morrison, Luchador legend Blue Demon Jr. and holy-shit-how- have-I-never-heard-of-this-guy-until-now guy Prince Puma) is immediately evident and immediately appreciated.
5 rounds in the cylinder for Lucha Underground. If you love slobberknockers with a Southwestern flavor, this show is right up your alley. No lube and hard up your alley, but you’re still gonna love it. I haven’t enjoyed wrestling this much in years. The talent and creative sides of this upstart engine are both running full throttle and looking for a stranglehold on any other promotion that chooses to stagnate instead of innovate. It’s not purely Mexican but not completely Americanized either, it’s a masochistic melting pot with all the ingredients needed to make a tremendously entertaining and devastating dish.
And 1…2…3, thank you ‘mano!
Behind every mask is a story and, with an open door policy at Lucha Underground, I’ve been giving some thought to telling my own tale. I’m no spring chicken but I know I’ve got lots of bumps and bruises left to give and take before I ever tap out of this life. And whether you follow me into the ring or not amigo I pray you’ll find your own squared circle sooner rather than later, filling it with every adventure and right up to the last.