Archive for May, 2013

Western Watchins Week 28


I want to tell you why I really like Rango but I know I can’t. I probably shouldn’t like it due to many of Johnny Depp’s liberal leanings and yep, I know, “he’s just an actor” or “that chameleon isn’t him” but I’ve always had a hard time separating a real person from the fake one they’re playing. I’m Tentacle Chris on stage and pretty much him off it as well. I wouldn’t expect you to laugh at my jokes or be amused by my stories or enraptured by my deep well of talent if you and I disagreed on some personal level. I’m weird like that I suppose in this feel good let’s rub each other’s dicks even though your punching me with the other hand kinda world we all live in these days.

People think I’m angry, dark and that I hate everyone. What I hate is the pussy in them. And I hate the pussy in me too. The pussy that sells out in the name of money or multitudes of meaningless friends. Look in the mirror long and hard and live just as that person staring back at you truly would and you’ll shock more than you’ll snuggle in this life.

But most of us are afraid to really look. To really challenge ourselves. To really go beyond the billions just barely breathing day in and day out and hol-eee shit Chris I didn’t come here to think about such grand and meaningful things.

I thought the same thing the first time I saw Rango.

It was subtle. I see more each time I re-watch it and I see more questions popping up each time too. But that doesn’t upset me. How could it? I mean look at this guy. 

That’s our hero before all hell breaks loose. Master of all he surveys! But that’s the catch. His field of vision is colossally limited. It takes one life shattering event (literally) to put him on the path to widening that view. Gone is the plastic cocktail sword and the safety it represents replaced by a six shooter, some new found pride and a fascination with the unknown. An unknown that is good and bad and all other sorts of things he makes of it.

With a little help from some friends along the way of course. Like this owl mariachi band. Adorable!

Or old Sergeant TurlLLLRrrLLLllGGGRRRrrggGBBBLLEaaghhckkk!

Mmm, sorry about that. But look at this guy’s face! Yes that is an arrow going through his right eye, yes the other ostensibly good eye has conjunctivitis and yes it almost makes you puke when you see him on screen. Every time! Stare into that face long enough and it’s easy to see why Rango took home the Oscar for Best Animated Film. Kung Fu Panda‘s compadres just can’t hold a candle to the likes of Sergeant Turley, a (director Gore Verbinski voiced) wild turkey who apparently fought for the South during the War Between the States. And he’s just one of dozens and dozens of unique critters (including a cat I swear is the High Plains Drifter!) to take in on screen alongside what may be one of Rango’s most mesmerizing offerings: that goddamn beautiful desert scenery. 

Slap my sandworm and call me Sally I just love the desert. The panoramas you’ll experience in this film will have you feeling as if Ford and Leone must be smiling down with approval from those fluffy clouds. Then combine all of those views, with all the varmints and somehow you get one very sincere love letter to the Old West. This thing is choc full of tipped hats and raised glasses to everything from El Topo to Once Upon a Time in the West.

(We will pause briefly here in case you need to go masturbate due to the greatest fucking Western of all fucking time and the almost certain fact that you became savagely engorged at the mere mention of it’s title)

Annnd…we’re relieved and back! This movie is really good my friends yet my authentic thoughts and didactic dick jokes are still no closer to knowing why, or conferring to you how, this movie touches me so. I can tell you it’s not a kid’s movie. Not like Caligula isn’t a kid’s movie but still not a kid’s movie. So it’s like Caligula but with less fisting. Here’s Gore from an old interview with another way of saying it:

“We’re all sitting here talking about family entertainment. Does animation have to be family entertainment? I think at that cost (of a professional, feature length CGI film), yes. There’s the bull’s-eye you have to hit, but when you miss it by a little bit and you do something interesting, the bull’s-eye is going to move. Audiences want something new; they just can’t articulate what.”

Rango is not what you’ll expect it to be. Good. Westerns, more than any other genre perhaps, rarely are. I think because of their innate wildness much of what you come across is unexpected and unnerving. Days gone by are days forgotten and when that’s thrown in your face you’re dumbstruck.

Or better yet: awestruck.

I was the latter because, even though I didn’t have all the answers at that moment, I started asking myself some awful big questions. I wasn’t arrested, I was amazed. This little cartoon with a great big soul reached out a shook something in my lizard brain. Rango isn’t a bad-ass. You know what? Neither am I. He, by nature, pretended to be something other than he was just to make life bearable. But come the end of it all and for the first time in all his years, in a place he never expected to be, he was truly living.

The time you’re gonna spend here…do you want an adventure or just a destination? If you’re just waiting to stop then go ahead, do it, and save yourself the effort. Skip Rango too. It’ll be pretty to look at but you’ll miss the point. That damn narrow view has got you good. And until you get shook up it always will.

What Rango has from me is 6 rounds in the cylinder. Yep, it’s that good and I still can’t tell you why. You’ll have to be brave one of these days and just see for yourself. I could be reading too much into some silly little movie but I don’t think so. I saw this right when I needed to. My prayer is that you’ll do the same.

Till then, ride true amigos.



Pork and beans at dusk

The sun sets and thoughts arise

Plainview’s ghost watches

Western Watchins Week 27


If you’ve ever gone to an anime convention you’ve undoubtedly run into some Trigun fanatic wearing a floor length red leather trench coat when it’s way too hot out or dragging a huge cross on his back looking like chiropractor’s wet dream. Vash (main guy) and Wolfwood (way cooler than “main guy” other guy) sometimes joined by Meryl (cute chick) and Milly (“cute” chick) will all be there as well. Then absolutely everyone else who isn’t dressed up will still salivate to orgasm the minute you mention anything about the series as if Christ himself has come back and started hosting an ice cream social. It’s just like when Superbad came out everyone and swore to me it was the funniest movie that had ever been made and that I better just start duct taping my balls in place before I sat down to watch it lest, while laughing harder that I ever had or would again, I herniate myself severely causing them to explosively leave my body. The only energy I expended during that film was spent trying to stay awake. The let down was disappointing but not unexpected. Same feeling for different reasons with Trigun here

Live and learn long enough and you’ll come to realize that the pack mentality covers a multitude of sins. You’ll also learn that preconceived notions are usually never a good idea to build up inside of yourself. People, places and things will inevitably fail to fill in all your hypothesized wants and needs. And Trigun is some or all of that stuff I’m sure! And it wasn’t what I wanted or needed but I’m mature enough to admit that the only person I can blame for that is every goddamn one of you who said this was amazing!

All twenty six episodes were filled with a lot less of this

And shit tons more of this than I would have liked.

This series is downright goofball at the start and while it grows darker as it nears the finish line (even featuring one of the most moving deaths I’ve ever seen, anime or otherwise) the yin and yangs never balance out proportionately. There are some outstanding moments, some ultra violence, some terrific character designs and some wonderful set pieces but all of that gets dwarfed by the preponderance of giggly fuckery that you want to like it and say it was all a moderately acceptable way to burn thirteen hours but you just…can’t…do it. Sure, at the moment you’re getting a blowjob from this babe who said she’d swallow but about thirty seconds in your dad starts banging her too all the while talking football with you. And you haaate football!

It’s that kind of promise into displeasure I’m talking about here.

Not that the series, emotional padre-foot-blow-convo that it is, isn’t without merit. There’s Wolfwood for starters:

If he looks like a bad-ass riding around from wet dream to wet dream that’s because he is! He chain smokes, breaks hearts, shoots the shit out of everything, cheats at board games and helps little children too! Paging Dr. Model, Dr. Role Fucking Model! He was the star of the show for me but waiting around for someone other that the lead protagonist is never a good spot in which to find yourself. Thankfully, besides Wolfwood, the Gung Ho Guns helped right the hell out with that too! Here’s one of them now.

I can’t remember his name at the moment but if you can never tell me because I’m having one of those pre-conceived notions that I might kick you in the nerts either for knowing some random character from Trigun or obviously liking Trigun which means you have no discernment whatsoever or I bet feelings so maybe you won’t even feel me hit you but you’ll call the cops anyway so let’s just agree to you shutting up forever about all this so we can save our boys in the blue some paperwork okay?

But like I said this guy was cool. All the Guns were except for Midvalley the Hornfreak. He just sucked. My wife almost broke our television trying to punch those smarmy good looks off of his face and now I have to go punch myself for knowing that “Midvalley the Hornfreak” was his name. Be right back!

Ahhhhh yeah that hurt! But baby I can take it and dish it! I wish Trigun had dished a bit more on the classical Western themes of brutality and vengeance. A lot of well timed non life threatening solutions to gravely life threatening problems in this series. Would it kill you to kill someone Vash? Not that being a pacifist isn’t cool but it isn’t! And not that everything I watch needs to be bathed in bloodshed but when you get wronged I need to see me someone, preferably lots of someones, getting what they’re due! You say “two wrongs don’t make a right” and “turn the other cheek” and also “be a better person”. I say go smoke a joint hippie! Enjoy Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind as you get ready to head out to an anti-gun rally! I always say “If you don’t like getting raped don’t bump into Clint Eastwood on the streets of Lago!”

Speaking of pussy look at this cat!

Adorable right? And she’s in every episode. Just like an Observer from FRINGE except not trying to kill, or I guess in that one case help, you.

So nifty priest guy, nasty team of bad guys and cute not a guy at all cat. For these three reasons Trigun is worth a gander if you have a few to spare. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t my cup of tea. 3 rounds in the cylinder. Peace and love may get you far in life but in most Westerns they won’t even get you out of the stable. Keep on smiling Vash and doing your thing. I’m gonna go put in “There Will Be Blood”.

That always makes me feel better.

Ride true ya’ll.



Roving dark grey clouds

Creative thunder booms harsh

In sky and in me

Western Watchins Week 26


Wyatt Earp died on January 13, 1929 in Los Angeles California which means he never had to see Wyatt Earp. Of all the bullets he dodged perhaps this was the greatest of them all. I was not so lucky, but fearlessly reviewing any and all kinds of Westerns leaves me open to attack at times not unlike the great Jim Bowie who, out on some lonely sandbar, was repeatedly shot, stabbed and beaten while still managing to kick all kinds of ass. And now so too shall I, not with a famous knife but with my famous words.

If any movie ever deserved to be left bleeding in the alley behind a corral this is the one. And terrible as Wyatt Earp was stop and remember that it was almost Tomsbstone! Kevin Costner had been involved with that other Earp-ian flick but left over creative differences. Those differences being everyone at Tombstone wanted to film something memorable and exciting while Costner wanted to film a bowel movement. And with 191 minutes to work with that’s a lot of shit. Even if you find fault with Tombstone‘s faster and at times glossy pace you will miss it once Earp‘s monotony takes the reigns. Every detail of a man’s life, even a great man, need not make it into his biopic. The filmmakers did attempt to paint the man, his friends, his enemies and the conflicts that embroiled them all as less black and white than you’re used to and for that I can salute them but for every interesting tit there was forty five minutes of tat. Boring, boring tat.

You’d be hard pressed to see a more boring Western screenplay realized. A million monkeys with a million typewriters would never come up with this crap because they would die of boredom first. Paint drying on the wall was asked what it thought about Wyatt Earp and said “fuck my life that was boring!”

And if fighting off the boredom wasn’t enough to send you off to the liquor cabinet the casting surely will. Kevin Costner must have read somewhere that the real Wyatt Earp was an emotionless waste of a man and I firmly believe only took the role to spite everyone making the competing film. A film he tried his darnedest to quash. A film that would out gross his by a 2 to 1 margin. They say “pride goeth before the fall” but Costner’s lifeless and real-life vengeance fueled portrayal of Wyatt was less pride and more pride fucking his own mom in the ass and then turning around and giving him a Dirty Sanchez.

It’s that horrendous. Go ahead and try me, watch it and tell me I’m wrong.

For most of the rest of the cast the producers must have sent out this casting call:

“Wanted: People who can say things.”

I’ve been to cold reads that had more personality than some of the scenes in this one. I’m thinking everyone wanted to remodel their kitchen or a free trip to Arizona or both. Now I can’t fault them. Anyone wants to send me to the old AZ for free I am there. I’ll even appear in Wyatt Earp 2: The Legend of the Hooded Angels if I get a free trip to Arizona. I love that place. I need the desert. I need the warm, dry air. I need those sunsets. I also need to payoff several drinks worth of kindness to my friend Kyle so I get it. But damn people, you’re actors. So fucking act. I know Tom Sizemore has done a lot of drugs and now I know this is probably when he started. You could say they were wooden but I saw Lord of the Rings 2 and those Ents were yelling and throwing rocks and shit so I know everyone involved could have done better or at least yelled and thrown a rock or some shit.

The only person who gave any kind of shit, aside from Gene Hackman who gave a little shit, but the biggest pile of shit given was by far given by one Dennis Quaid in a stunning turn as the awesomely cantankerous Doc Holliday. And he even looks like the guy! See!

(Real Doc Holliday)

(Fake but still fucking amazing Doc Holliday!)

He looks outstanding! Kevin Costner just looked like that asshole from Waterworld in a cowboy hat. In all seriousness, Quaid’s performance was the stuff of thespian legend. It was a poignant powerhouse that left the rest of the film stewing in the outhouse. He lost more than 30 pounds to come off all sickly for goodness sake! He tuburculosified himself so that anyone sitting through this movie would be able to think “yeeesh, I guess it could always be worse” so just look at this pic while you sit there not coughing up your lungs. It’s all you need to know about Wyatt Earp in one screen cap.

There’s Dennis hoping craft services has more whiskey, Sizemore realizing that yes this is where his career starts to die and Costner breathing. Forget any sort of 20th anniversary special edition Blu-ray of this thing next year if Warner Bros. was smart they’d just release a Doc only version and maybe make some of their money back. Funny side note: Dennis Quaid went on to play Bill Clinton in a TV movie.

It’s not so weird once you think about the fact that he’d already been in Wyatt Earp which sucked in the wrong way 😉

So dig up his scenes somewhere and enjoy them. Bury the rest and move on to enjoy the two hours and forty five minutes more of your life than I now have. This film along with The Postman and the aforementioned Waterworld round out Costner’s “Roughly Eight Hours That Will Shit On Your Soul Trilogy”. Did I enjoy this movie? Let’s just say…

Yeah, Wyatt Earp earns 1 round and I probably can’t even be bothered to chamber it. Dennis Quaid however gets 5 rounds. Well damn done sir, I raise a glass tonight to you and to that original damned dicer. May we all be brave or foolish enough to face the life we have left with as much humor and testicular fortitude as you good sirs.

And best to you all as well amigos, ride true till next we meet.

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