Archive for December, 2014

Western Watchins #109

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Today is a special day for many people. It’s the day when a savior was born. Sent from Heaven to die for mankind’s sins. One of those being this movie. I’m not sure where to begin, how to end or even if I want to write this at all. But I must, and certainly after watching it I’ll take a few moments in the name of good will to convince you that you should probably avoid this film unless you’re a Lee Van Cleef completionist or just hate yourself. Known as La Brute, Le Colt Et Le Karate in France, The Stranger and the Gunfighter or Blood Money in the United States and Fuck No Don’t Watch That in my personal collection, this movie surely made sense in one country or another at some point but by the time a brutally converted and amateurishly edited version was released for home viewing on our soil the plot holes contained therein were more gaping than a whore’s gaping asshole. Here’s a critical scene where Van Cleef asks his Celestial traveling companion if he has any goddamn idea what’s going on:

 

 

The answer is a resounding “why are you still reading this?” The central plot of this movie revolves around finding a hidden treasure by tracking down one dead dude’s four different mistresses in order to gather the presumably important information said dead dude left tattooed on their butts.

 

 

Like our heroes, I also sat staring at ass for nearly two hours. No promise of a payoff for me though, oh no. Instead of gold I got an evil deacon named Yancey Hobbit and his henchman, an Indian named Indio. I’ve found myself more engaged during a casual bowel movement than I was at any time during this film. It’s always disappointing to see the Cleef wasted as gratuitously as he was here getting only one sweet moment after he found a Gatling gun, strapped it between two horse and then rode around shirtless dispensing vengeance with panache and more ammunition than was logically available. Sadly the rest of the film was all about sucking ghost dick:

 

 

He’s not really sucking a ghost’s dick but this movie is almost so unwatchable he might as well be. The holidays are a time for giving after all and this movie gives it to you good and ghost balls deep.

1 round in the chamber for this directionless Eastern/Western. The Cleef (one of America’s best) and Lo Lieh (one of China’s) had little to do but act wacky and forget how it was they were tracking down literal and figurative booty in the first place. They still couldn’t recall by the end of the film and neither could the director so it all just wrapped up with an alternate, non-secret ass code involving solution to the missing treasure riddle, an impossibly accurate shot from a derringer, one laughable wardrobe choice for Van Cleef and a reason defying romance for his new Asian best friend. At the end of it all you might say “now where did that come from?” And I’d reply “the romance, or the ghost dick you’re about to choke down?”

Time to go wash that taste away with some whiskey and eggnog. I suggest you go and do the same whether you need it or not. And amigos, have yourself a merry little Christmas along the way as you do.

Western Watchins #108

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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 Ritathis 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.

Western Watchins #107

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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.

 

Haikuesday

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Instead of wanting

Seek to give with all your heart

And know Christmas time

 

Western Watchins? Challenge Accepted!

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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…

 


 

Two…

 

 

Three.

 

 

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.

 

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