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.
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.