Archive for June, 2013

Western Watchins Week 32

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I feel like shit today. I’m home from work and I never do that. Like this will be the one day this year I call in sick. My eyes feel like something horrible is squeezing them with a malevolent grip and just won’t let go to the point I’m nauseous. At first I thought I was just watching Twilight but that turned out not to be the case. Though that couldn’t be much worse than Yellow Rock. Don’t let the shitty poster fool you, this movie was shitty! Though as contrived and plain ugly as amateur photo-shop skills can make it the above image does adequately sum up the feeling you’ll get from seeing this movie. And don’t let the Red Nation Film Festival results fool you neither…

Supposedly (well actually) this movie took home Best Film, Best Director and Best actor. And while best actor, the admirable Eddie Spears, I can understand I find it hard to believe that there wasn’t any other Western film in 2011 that came off even a bit better than this one did but from the sounds of the “reviews” this movie, and I’ll paraphrase, was a little labor of love made by people who really cared all on a minuscule budget. Ego stroking at its worst here. I doubt anyone has ever really enjoyed watching Yellow Rock and from the pic below it seems no one enjoyed being in it either.

That’s Michael Biehn and writer/producer Lenore Andriel. Michael can be seen here remembering how Alien 3 was even more fun than this and Lenore is concerned she’ll be prosecuted for a hate crime because Yellow Rock is quite possibly the worst thing done to Native Americans since the Trail of Tears.

I see what they were trying to do for those poor red bastards here, I do. In the vein of Inglourious Basterds the cast and crew obviously set out to set things right and give a little back to a people we took just about everything from. Rewriting or creating history is cathartic and a salve on wounds that will most assuredly never heal completely. A revenge film is a good way to do that too but if you’ve ever wondered how lukewarmly you could address this situation and somehow make a film full of vengeance boring look no further than this flick.

And whatever you do, no matter how bad things get, do not fall for the whore at the beginning of the film. It’s not her acting that’ll get you, because she can’t act, but she does have a nice rack…and a familiar face! Her name is Jennifer Blanc-Biehn and I think I’ve been on an elevator with her. No, it’s not Michael’s daughter it’s his wife and you can tell how far he’s fallen because he can’t even afford water anymore or wear a matching pair of goddamn shoes!

And yes, at DragonCon one year I stepped into an elevator at the Marriott already occupied by old Hicks and a lady friend. I was dressed as a Spartan and we talked about my abs and then he got off, the elevator, leaving an aromatic trail that smelled of vomit, week old tequila, an abundance of Axe body spray and a longing to understand what went wrong with his career. Aw c’mon, he’s done a lot since those 80’s heydays and The Victim looks good right? Actually, I think that’s about anyone who had to watch Yellow Rock or be stuck for 10 floors on a lift with him but enough Biehn bashing (I have my reasons!) let’s bash this guy instead!

Looks like somebody has masturbated to his share of Val Kilmer porn over the years. Everyone in this movie looked just like, or styled after, someone else. Except for Peter Sherayko who looked a lot like himself. But Christopher “Ah’m yoor hawkelberry” Backus was above and beyond the term cookie cutter. Here’s Schlock Holliday in a dramatic scene with Peter as they try to free Michael Biehn from a tarp in which he’s become trapped.

I’m kidding, that’s his cliched Western bad-ass poncho and for as big a trope as Yellow Rock is why not have the garb to match right?

In fact here’s a great shot of most of the main cast to show off even more shittiness. Starting at the left there’s Lenore worrying about the pending lawsuit, Gerald McRaney I think in a passable Indiana Jones cosplay, Steve Zahn maybe, a circus tent on a horse, Not Holliday, followed by any guy from The Apple Dumpling Gang, Peter Sherayko and Eddie Spears hoping Hell on Wheels will start production again anytime soon.

Friends, this should have been a good movie. It really could have been even despite the heavy-ish subject matter but with little humor, rough editing, poor film stock and a script straight out of some third grader’s Mad Libs book it didn’t even come close to competency or being even the slightest bit entertaining. I feel asleep not once but twice working my way through this. And the second time I had just gotten up from a full nights rest! Not a joke. This film is more lacking in luster than a black hole. Nothing good can escape the hellish gravity well that is Yellow Rock.

But…the nail in the coffin was yet to come. Near the climax of the film Michael Biehn is fighting for his life after being beaten and drug behind a horse. As he lays there panting heavily his attacker casually asks him what he wants. His answer delivered with all the pomp and circumstance of fetid gas lazily leaving the bowels of a dead donkey was “I want your blood”.

What the Johnny Ringo ridin’ fuck?

Sure that line (and execution thereof) left me upset but you know who it upset even more?

This guy!

It’s one thing to rip off some other actor and do it poorly but it’s another thing completely to rip off yourself and do it poorly. Piss in my mouth after a tuna and asparagus dinner poorly! Yeah, that does it. 1 round in the chamber for Yellow Rock and even that might be a dud. A few places online had listed this as “destined to be a classic”. If any of my convulsive post taco and re-fried bean defecations are “classics” then I wholeheartedly agree. Can you smell what I’m cookin’ amigos? If so it’s time for some fresh air so let’s go freshen up before next time alright?

Till then ride true and keep an eye our for yellow rocks. 

Haikuesday

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This brief swirling fugue

Grit and fight to control it

You will break apart

Western Watchins Week 31

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The Old West was rough. Riding a horse everywhere was not easy, you had to be quick or you were dead and the only thing that smelled worse than that whore you just spent four minutes with was the dick you put inside her. That’s your dick! And it’s as grubby, whiskey weary and exhausted as the rest of you and it’s not even breakfast. And yet for some of us we can’t think of a better way to pass the days. With your own sweat dripping down your brow and someone else’s blood dripping down your knife. Brutal and beautiful ain’t it just? And when a movie can roll up both of those things without getting too damn serious or sap laden sentimental then you’re probably in for a good night with the popcorn bucket. Throw in an extended dick joke (no pun intended) and you’ve got some quirky classic potential a brewin’.

So Good For Nothing finds our heroine Isabella stranded in some strange savage land that looks a lot like New Zealand because it is. But she’s lost and abducted and almost raped (several times) and just trying to make it to the next day along side “The Man” when this film really sort of turns into a buddy road trip kind of thing just with a little more rape than usual.

And I know what your thinking…is Isabella played by Kristen Stewart because we’d all rather fill our asses with syphilitic fire ants than have to watch her in anything every again am I right? Hello? But take a closer look! 

 That is none other than not Kristen Stewart so our colons are all safe for now. Her name is actually Inge Rademeyer and sure she looks all stoic and emotionless but that’s just a product of all the almost raping and the bright sun not the fact she can’t act worth a fuck. By comparison here’s a shot of Miss Stewart in one of her more memorable scenes: 

You know you’re getting somewhere in life when you become the brunt of sloth jokes! Good For Nothing goes places too and most of them are really pretty. The sprawling and picturesque Italian deserts once stood in memorably for the likes of Texas, Colorado and Arizona and now it’s New Zealand’s famous hinterlands filling that role.  

Good For Nothing is just like Tombstone with hobbits except not really. Not enough rape in The Hobbit but with two movies left there’s always hope.

I say and do some horrible things but you’re still reading this so welcome to the hellbound basket pal!

Now, one thing that always makes a movie more memorable are the unexpected surprises. Those little nuggets of gold you come across hold in them a shining promise that this film will rise above the sloppy sediment of so many others. You’ve seen the good guy and the bad guy and that guy in between. Revenge is always awesome. Revenge’s eccentric cousin Vengeance is also always awesome. And of course, one word: fuckin’ whores! All of these things are made even better however by those nuggets I was just talking about…nuggets like this guy. 

 I will not ruin anything but his last scene is both hilarious and hysterically accurate that is to say he is part of a posse after “The Man” and “The Not Kristen Stewart” for some reason I won’t reveal but know that his final gunfight and many others in the film aren’t all head shots and glorious diving kills. They’re all awkward in a way most probably were back then ( 10 gunmen firing 30 shots in 30 seconds behind the OK Corral and only 3 dead anyone?) bringing a smile to my face and a chill up my spine at just how random life and death was back in those days and still is at times even now.

So huzzah to the Mexican tracker (who I just realized looks a lot like my friend Buzz!) but his success and Good For Nothings many more don’t mean this flick is without faults. It has faults. The pacing is just a tad off the mark. It’s only 92 minutes long but 88 would have helped I believe. Some of the acting was a bit scene chewy but in a delicious Spaghetti Western send-up would you expect any less? So, forgiven. But one thing I can’t is the fact that the director either forgot to film the climactic showdown on location or ran out of money to do so. It takes place in a small mountainous pass made entirely of paper-mache. I am not joking in saying that this aquarium for lizards looks more realistic than did the “rock” walls of that penultimate scene. 

 

It looked almost as bad as an episode of Dr. Who so the only way I could tell the difference was that there weren’t a bunch of goddamn retards cosplaying anywhere nearby and I didn’t have the taste of shit, bile and barbecue in my mouth from forcibly vomiting everything in my body between my asshole and my uvula so no, it wasn’t anything Dr. Who related! It’s not really you Dr. Who it’s all your goddamn annoying retard fans. But who am I to call out another person for ‘tarding. I ‘tard out over the Old West all the time. But then again the Old West is terribly cool so apples and oranges folks, apples and oranges.

Plastic walls and some plastic delivery aside, I will grant Good For Nothing 4 solid rounds in the chamber. Barely 4 but 4 none the less. It reminded me many times of movies from way back, like Leone back, and that’s always a good thing. Plus that dick joke, some mild racist characters, tons of flying lead and that gorgeous Kiwi backdrop…can you really argue with me? Watch it on Netflix and then argue with me. Wait, buy me a whiskey first then argue. Or a whore. Or a whiskey flavored whore! That would do your argument tons of good. As for this movie…good for nothing? I wouldn’t say amigos, I wouldn’t say that at all.

So till next time, ride true.

Haikuesday

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Shut down the big screen

Rain broke out calming the night

Sweet sleep in its arms

Western Watchins Week 30

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Movies are mirrors. We love them because there’s something in them we admire or want for ourselves. We hate them because they cast our own disfigurement back at us. We don’t understand them, or don’t want to, because there’s something in us we’ve yet to fully grasp. So there I was lying on the couch convalescing from surgery when There Will Be Blood comes on the tube. I sat enraptured alone on a couch with the warm, quiet day all around me going on a strange, dirty journey with that peculiar Mr. Plainview and loved and hated and sat stymied by it all as the ending credits rolled by at cable’s alarming cram more into every hour pace.

If you’re looking for a traditional Western this is not it. Something action packed? Not really. Huge ensemble cast? No. Clearly defined good and evil? Good luck with that.

But are there horses? Yes! And pocket watches? Indeed! And whores? Yes, briefly. And of course shootouts? Well, one (sort of) and some hunting too. So some of what you’re used to and quite a bit you’re not but…there will will be blood.

There…will…be.

There will also be Daniel Day-Lewis. Lots of him. Here he is with his “son”.

Look at that face! There’s more intensity right there than in your last month’s worth of orgasms! That guy can produce. Don’t believe me? Well he showed up the first day of shooting sans mustache but just Play-Doh Fun factory-ed that shit right out of his face as soon as the director yelled “action” so believe me now you poor, poor boy!

What’s going on in this scene? Well I don’t want to give anything away but it’s sort of along the lines of how he doesn’t much like anyone in the room, how they all suck and how the will all inevitably fail/betray him. I saw that look and then I thought “jeez, I’ve had that look too!” Wow. This guy’s a dick. But he’s my kind of dick!

He’s also an oilman but isn’t vilified based on that profession alone probably to the discontent of MoveOn.org users everywhere. Nothing in this movie is in fact vilified or glorified. Oil, religion, family, trust, prudence and personal choice are all laid out for your perusal in There Will Be Blood but neither condemnation nor pontification is thankfully anywhere to be found. Any revelations you reach will be your own. Any catharsis because you earned it.

This film builds slowly, day by day, piece by piece and, as human beings, so do we. We’re not monsters or madmen overnight for the most part. Becoming a savior or a saint takes time too. This isn’t so much a slice of life as it is the whole of one man’s existence from when he was metaphorically born to the point where he has nothing left to accomplish. And for good or evil it’s all in there. Takes some mighty broad shoulders to carry that load but we all know if anyone can do it it’s Daniel Day-Lewis. He was Hawkeye and Bill the Butcher and that guy with his left foot. He has an abundance of talent. So much so that for fun he often sat down between takes and just burned off numerous gallons of it. See?

I stopped by at one point an yelled “Lincoln was a horrible goddamn movie!” at which point he stood up angrily, see?

But then he sat right back down and reluctantly grumbled at me in the affirmative that yes indeed it was. A horrible goddamn movie. Everyone is allowed a few missteps now and again. They remind us we are human. Fallible. Mortal. Other important and meaningful words.

Hey! Daniel there gets angry! So do I. He manipulates. Me too. He pushes and too vigorously at times. Done that and will do it again. He destroys on a whim, feeds the jealousy in himself like a ravenous dog and hates as if he created the word himself.

There’s that mirror again. 

But Daniel loves too. And he works hard for what he wants and those he loves. He values loyalty, craves it and looks only to the simplicity that will come after all the storms. Looks to that peace and for those treasured few he’ll spend that peace with. 

And who hasn’t gotten this drunk at some point in their lives? Or many points don’t judge me you sober bastard!

I haven’t done that in my private bowling alley yet. But one day, man, one day. So to say Mr. Day-Lewis fully develops his character is an understatement right up there with “the holocaust was sort of upsetting” or “congress is incompetent.”

This whole movie is a rare and rich strike. Plainview is evocative on a soul shaking level and every one else, even bit players, seem fleshed out and real. Every one is deep behind the eyes. It begins starkly and ends with just as big a spank to the face as it started. This movie is a stiff drink and bloody steak for dinner. Flavorful, intoxicating and necessary.

6 rounds in the chamber for There Will Be Blood. A rating that has actually caused me to rethink an earlier one. You see, I look at this film as one side of a coin with Rango on the reverse. Each had characters I could relate to for proud and shameful reasons both. Rango had been a “5” but honestly it deserves the full compliment. Both of these movies deserve a look from you as well.

As does something else. But that mirror is so hard to look into sometimes. Even harder to really see what’s looking back. Perhaps the greatest vision a man can have in this life is the vision to see himself clearly. And perhaps shrewdness the greatest talent he can aspire to in truly becoming all he beholds.

Till next time then amigos, ride true. And enjoy those milkshakes along the way.

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