Monday, November 20, 2006

The Michael Richards Show

Michael Richards goes APE!

Seriously, what happened here? I'm all for stand-up comedians taking hecklers down about 20,000 notches but this is pretty repellent. It's odd that he said the thing about the lynching and someone actually cheered in the audience but then he says the dreaded N-word and everyone gets quiet.

I suppose there's a silver lining, though, in that someone far wittier than I can now make up a joke that begins:

Mel Gibson, Michael Richards, and Sammy Davis Jr. walk into a bar...

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Soon... One Movie a Day Part 2?

Mulling over the idea of doing another one movie a day marathon. Probably starting at the beginning of November.

More to come.

Friday, August 18, 2006

A Review?: Snakes on a Plane

Spoilers abound.

Snakes on a Plane has the good sense to provide the titular snakes on the titular plane and not much else. It's not a great bad movie or a decent film--it's an average bad film, the kind-of movie you see on TBS all the fucking time. The great relief is that, besides the obligatory "motherfuckers" spoken by (and clearly re-shot by) Samuel L. Jackson, it doesn't wink too much at the audience, letting them do their own nudge-nudging. Jackson, in fact, provides a sturdy anchor for all the improbability... and, good God is David Koechner a god-damned relief whenever he's onscreen, wasted as he is. The rest of the characters are pretty weak and bland, one-dimensional archetypes representing segments of society like the cast of one of those disaster movies from the 70s (did Airport '77 have it so good/bad?). During the first act, when the film establishes these, um, characters, it's nigh-well intolerable and anytime the action slows down to focus on the emotional turmoil of these stand-ins for humanity, the dullness is depressing.

It reveals that not much has changed in the slasher-movie paradigm. Have sex? Die. Do drugs? Die. Are snobby? Die. Fat? Die die die! The only thing that seems to have changed is that "The Brother" doesn't die first and "the sissy" is found to be useful and not some sort-of burden to the brute masculinity needed to overwhelm the snakes (sorry right wing fundies...Snakes on a Plane is the official death-knell to your anti-gay crusading...the zeitgeist has officially shifted). The movie has a few fun geek-show gore moments where people die in surprising and graphic ways, but completely misses the chance to have some visceral bloodthirsty, vengeance-filled snake-deaths. With one or two exceptions (including a shout-out to Gremlins), anytime the movie offs a snake, it's vague, unclear, and coy about it. Call me human, but when I see a poisonous snake bite a man in the junk, I want to see that motherfucking snake get his motherfucking head bitten off in all the gory detail.

The movie plants some seeds that could have really blossomed into some absurd and delightfully logic-free moments. But it's playing it far too safe to launch into the stratosphere of absurdity. Why introduce the kickboxer if you're not going to use him? Sure, he gets a moment of heroism, but what he does is so average that you'd believe any other character could do the same thing. The premise itself is ridiculous enough that I wouldn't have minded seeing a kickboxer kick-boxing his way through the snake-pile--I would have relished it. And why build up the entrance of the bizarre-looking croc-o-snake (or, if you will, allisnaker), a giant constrictor with two rows of teeth accompanied by Jaws-esque music, if you're not going to have the passengers or Jackson or even the girl with the dog have a show-down with this behemoth?

If one is interested in seeing this film, it is imperative to see it opening weekend with the amped up, self-aware, irony-soaked crowd of youngsters ready to cheer, chortle, and mock the very things that are usually taken for granted in movies of this ilk. I was fascinated that the crowd, primed by months and months of Snakes on a Plane internet jokery, was ready to lambast any moment of the film that tried to be genuine. I wondered if this would have been the case, absent the months and months of buildup. And I wished that everyone would watch all of movies with such a generous, yet critical eye as the audience turned toward Snakes on a Plane. The world would be better off if audiences could be counted on to sneer and boo at, say, Tom Cruise during some of the schmaltzier Mission: Impossible 3 moments the way they did when Samuel L. Jackson advised Julianna Margulies to stay strong.

Anyway, Snakes on a Plane does deliver some effective and compelling snakes-on-a-plane peril. It's a sometimes fun goofball film that, despite earning instant kitsch status, will probably fade from memory like a silly dream had four years ago. It reminded me of the Kurt Russell vehicle Executive Decision more than once. Even that barely-average film had the capacity to wring applause from the crowd as the nerdy Kurt Russell, sweating like Robert Hays, semi-successfully landed a huge commercial airliner. This movie climaxes on a nearly identical note and it's just as stupid and yet rewarding. We're living in a post-9/11 world now and we could all use a United 93 that ends on a happy note. Well, for most of us. The sex couple, the peeing man, and that fat lady clearly had it coming.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Electric Shadows

I forgot to really clean this site up. Oh well. One Movie a Day is over, but I'm continuing to review films at Electric Shadows, a once personal blog that is now devoted to writing about movies on my Netflix Queue.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


I would feel remiss if I didn't mention (gloat/brag about?) that One Movie a Day has been named one of the 10 best blogs on the Internet by the folks at Brainwash Cafe. I would feel remiss.

It's wonderful to have this blog finally put where it belongs: directly below a link to Terrorism News.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Alphabetical listing of movies


The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai
L'Age D'Or
Ali: Fear Eats the Soul
All That Jazz
The American Astronaut
At the Circus


Bad Company
The Battle of Algiers
Being There
Bring Me the Head
.......of Alfredo Garcia

Bringing Up Baby


Carnal Knowledge
Cat People
The Celebration
Cold Comfort Farm
The Comedians of Comedy
Corpse Bride
The Crush


Danger: Diabolik
Dark Habits
Day for Night
Dr. Goldfoot & the Bikini Machine
Dressed to Kill


The Endurance


Fanny & Alexander
Female Trouble
First Blood
The Frighteners


Gates of Heaven
Go West


Hiroshima Mon Amour
A History of Violence
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Hotel Rwanda


Inside Deep Throat


Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter


King Kong
King Kong (1976)
King Kong (2005)
King of New York


The Lawnmower Man
The Leopard
Little Otik
Lost in La Mancha


March of the Penguins
Monsters Crash the Pajama Party
Murder, My Sweet
My Dinner with Andre


The Nesting
The Nightmare Before Christmas


Paris, Texas
Passion Fish
The Passion of the Christ
The Phantom of Liberty


Q: The Winged Serpent


Rasputin: the Mad Monk
A Real Young Girl
Reflections of Evil
Robocop 2
Rumor Has It…


Seven Up!
7 Plus Seven
Sex, Lies, and Videotape
Short Cuts
The Stendhal Syndrome


The Time of the Wolf
True Stories
Two Mules for Sister Sara


Wallace & Gromit: the Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Who's That Girl?
Who's That Knocking at My Door
The Wicker Man


Zombi 3

Monday, January 02, 2006

So it ends.

My new blog can be found here: Electric Shadows. It has no purpose, no goal, nothing... just the unedited ramblings of me.

One Movie a Day is over and this post is really just a squeezing out of the afterbirth. I am delighted that I was able to no-foolin' meet a goal I set down for myself and I'm pretty happy that the blog was at least noticed by some people. I didn't expect that to happen, though I did want it. The process of watching one movie a day was so much more mundane than I expected. Though it was tiring, frustrating, and overwhelming at times, after a while, my life gained a certain rhythm that was ultimately very boring as I'd do nothing but work, write, eat, watch, write, work, eat, etc. Moments when I was able to find the time to read from a book were heavenly.

One unexpected effect this whole experiment had on me was to get me excited about writing again. I've been writing for a long time, but this really got my juices flowing since I kind-of forgot how hard it is to actually write decent stuff. Another thing I found via blogging here was just how much I love the first Robocop movie. Quite a bit.

Over the next couple of weeks, I'm going to clean this site up a little, create an alphabetical list of the movies I've watched, and probably do some more detailed reflection posts. Right now, I'm going to celebrate by having some toast.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Day 93: Reflections of Evil

This is the final film for One Movie a Day.  This film was viewed on a VHS tape a friend of mine sent me some years ago.  I note that a DVD for this film has been released, but have no idea if this is the same version.

Like channel flipping through time while taking a methamphetamine-inspired jump into a nest of cobras, Reflections of Evil is a media-saturated pastiche, the plot focusing on an obese street vendor in Los Angeles.  His sister disappeared sometime ago on the Universal Studios tour (not unlike the famous story about a young Steven Spielberg who is lampooned without mercy in the film) and she figures into the film in oblique, sometimes terrifying ways.  Reflections of Evil is a kitchen sink style production with crazy and inspired choices in overdubbing, editing, and shooting.  When it works, it's touching, scary, and exciting - suffused with the life and vigor of undiluted artistic integrity.  It's far too long, though, and the valleys in the film are very, very low with a final sequence that falls to the level of a home video prank and makes too coherent a plotline that previously meandered at its own whim.

The film's audacity is almost enough to carry it off, though.  The film opens with an intro by Tony Curtis, who introduces what would seem to be a completely different movie, but he's overdubbed at times to say the correct title (and "he" reveals that the director was sued by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg). We're then treated to an old Serta commercial and some old ABC promotional material.  More materials like this are cut in and out of the movie, and there's even a clip of John Ashcroft talking about the war on terror from FOX News at one point.  There are also clips from other films like 2001 and The Omega Man that play counterpoint to the narrative.  The soundtrack of the film also contains many "sampled" elements including music and sound FX (I heard the bird noises from The Birds at one point).  These alternate media sources float in and out of the film like radio interference at times.  They often work well as jokes or distortions of mainstream culture, but they're as often digressive.

A better idea of what this movie is like:  We first meet our main character as he stumbles around a neighborhood shouting obscenities, gets drunk on candy liquers, shouts at dogs, and vomits a great deal of some disgusting substance.  Then, the film flashes back several months to when he's selling watches on the streets of L.A.  When he's got free time, he eats giant sugar-filled snacks with great delight, though his sound effect laden gorges will put anyone off food for some time.  The citizens of L.A. and, indeed, the city itself are presented as blatantly hostile to the main character and he responds in kind with grandiose threats of pent-up rage.  Much later in the film, there is a sequence in which the main character is attacked by dogs that rivals the traffic jam sequence in Weekend for its length, intensity, brilliance, and insufferablity.

This is a good movie, made good by brilliant passages and kept from brilliance by overindulgence.  It's a feverish experience: dirty, random, and smoking with temple-vein bursting vitriol.  However, even as the film beat me down, I was terrified, excited, and overjoyed for much of the movie because I had no idea, whatsoever, what would happen next.  And that, it seems to me, is as good a place as any to stop.