Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Accountability, Integrity and Things You Should Know About Me

As 2010 draws to an end I have but one resolution I need to keep as I move into 2011; I need to continue writing and adding to this blog as often as I can. (That and I need to stop abusing the semi-colon; I love that little guy. See.) Now, I have always held true to the notion that my opinion on all matters film, statistically speaking, will change from one day to the next, hell from one minute to the next. Such is the case with something like my recent year in review wrap-ups for 2010. The reality is these lists are mine and mine alone. I can amend or add to them as I see fit, especially when I'm going back and forth with someone face-to-face. But, in keeping with some sense of accountability and integrity with regards to what I post online, I have to resist the urge to go back and revise these things, tempting though it may be.
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"Night Breed" - Unsequelized


Let me be the first to admit that the movies we love are rarely perfect. We may not recognize that fact until much later; we also may not recognize what it is that they're lacking until much later. In the case of Night Breed, a movie I still adore, it wasn't until many years later that I discovered just why the movie a) is kind of a mess and b) not well regarded by so many including its creator. All I knew after many years of repeated viewings of the film was that I was never gonna get the second part in what I saw as the Star Wars of monster movies.
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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I Heart Sequels' Year in Review: 2010

I hate that I can't be a dissenting voice on this, but I have to agree with everyone else; 2010 was a pretty shit year for films. Last year I had a harder time putting together a top 10 best-of. This year I struggled with the idea of putting together a top 10 worst-of list. But I tried to remain optimistic as always and only highlighted a handful of what I felt were some pretty bad moments in cinema in 2010. Plus there are some bonus goodies and topics for discussion. Again, this is MY opinion based on what I saw this year.
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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

"National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" I Heart Sequels - Holiday Edition


Is there really all that much more to be said about this film? Over the last two decades I have seen this film grow from a minor cult classic to a certified New Christmas Classic, and it has done so organically. Even if it was a big box office hit during its release, how many films have lasted so long after the initial success like this? Through numerous "Hey you gotta see this" sessions to it running as a new fave on basic cable all the way through to having people throw quotes out offhand both during the season and apropos of nothing, "Christmas Vacation" established itself as being the perfect holiday comedy for everybody. At least Chase can say he beat out old rival Bill Murray in this instance; "Scrooged" could never be the all-inclusive classic for the holiday.

If you do not watch this at least once over the next three days you have no sense of humor. For Christmas I give you that hyperbolic statement and a little bit of the funny from CV to get your holiday started. Enjoy!

Required Reading (Last Minute X-mas Gift Idea Edition): "Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th" by Peter M. Bracke


God, this is a thing of beauty. Big, beautiful and badass; kinda like Jason. While most film fans discount horror movies, they have an even greater sense of animosity reserved for Friday the 13th and its slasher buddies. But any fan of film would be missing out if they did not drop serious to read how this series evolved over the years. This book may be for die-hard Jason fans (like me) but it is also one of the most thorough discussions of filmmaking ever released on the market. This is the nitty gritty people.

I would also like to recommend, if you want to spend a little less this Christmas, the book "Making Friday the 13th: The Legend of Cammp Blood" and the DVD "His Name Was Jason: 30 years of Friday the 13th".

Tron:Legacy is The Most Confounding Film I've Experienced in 2010

Late to the party as always, I've finally got something to say about Tron:Legacy. Let's just put it this way; I did not Heart it. However I didn't not Heart it entirely either. We're gonna break this down mathematic-like, with lists and statistics. Actually it isn't even gonna be that thorough. There are three categories everything eventually falls under - The Good, The Bad and The Meh. It is with these criteria that we will be talking about this season's most expensive, heavily marketed sequel to a flop that damn near set back the evolution of cinema. Ladies and gentlemen, The Good, The Bad and The Meh of Tron: Legacy.
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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Horror Movie A Day, BC, Terror Tuesdays and Badass Digest Converge in a Tribute to the Silent Night, Deadly Night Series

I'm sure anybody reading my stie has already seen this. But if you haven't, you must. Christmas horror isn't necessarily a rarity; even I have a Christmas horror script I wrote laying around. But so few films took it as far as Silent Night, Deadly Night, and no other Christmas horror flick led to four successive sequels. This is required reading for I Heart Sequels fans!

Music in Review: 2010

Well, I turned in my top 10 records of the year list to my boss. As far as music goes, 2010 is pretty much over for me. My film list will be coming next week, since there are still some things I need to see. But this is pretty much it for music. The list is below, almost verbatim; some minor adjustments were made, mostly having to do with the store in particular. I've also included some other stuff, as well as caveats and addendums to the list.

Best Albums of 2010 (in no particular order)
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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Paying My Respects: People I Admired, That We Lost in 2010

As 2010 winds down there will be more than everybody's fair share of best-of, worst-of, and retrospective pieces going around. I'm gearing up mine at this point; there's a good chance the music best-of/worst-of will be up later today. But, here's to hoping that I will not have to make any more additions to this list in the next 10 days.
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Thursday, December 16, 2010

"Parents" - Vestron Video of the Week


Right now, I can't think of a more timely film than Parents. Not because of its startling social commentary (it really doesn't have any), but because Randy Quaid is clearly a certifiable nutjob. Plus, it's almost Christmas time and Randy Quaid was in new Christmas classic "Christmas Vacation". And it's about parents trying to force their kid into eating copious amounts of meat, which is also very Christmas-y. Okay, so it's not so timely. But damn if there aren't enough decent reasons to talk about this forgotten flick.
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Miramax to Dish Out Some Reheated Sequels to Minor Classics - So Much For Remaining Optimistic

Forget optimistic this time around. I mean, we know Dimension was the king of cash-in sequels throughout the 90s and into the new millenium; I lost count on some of those Children of the Corn and Hellraiser titles. But Miramax is supposed to be the class act division and Dimension the much-maligned, often-rewarded little brother, cranking out mid-budget explotation. The fuck?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Alien:Resurrection vs. Spider-Man 3 - Worse Moments in Bad Sequels: December 15, 2010

I try to remain positive in almost all aspects of my life. That's kind of the point of doing this site; finding and pointing out the good things about material that has been relegated to the meh bin. But lately, due to some things career-wise I care not to get into, I'm feeling a little less optimistic. Hence this little feature where I will focus on two (relatively) bad sequels and pick out the worst moments in them, while having them square off to see which one is truly the lesser of the two. Basically, these are moments that encapsulate all that can go wrong with a movie. Good times. Enjoy!

Alien:Resurrection - The Basketball Stand-Off


Spider-Man 3 - Evil Peter Dances One Big Fuck You to Mary Jane (and us)
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Thursday, December 9, 2010

DTV Sequels No One Asked For and No One Wants + Some Alternates

As a way of changing things up I thought I'd talk about some sequels I absolutely do not Heart. The main problem I have with these are that they are (for the most part) bad cash-in sequels to film I actually like or respect. They are all DTV, many of them being released well after the expiration date for any sequel of this ilk. To keep things upbeat, I've also included some alternate choices if you were a fan of the film being sequelized, as well as a list of some DTV cash-ins that were pretty good.

We'll start with the biggest piece of shite and work our way down from there.

1. Slap Shot 2 - I would like to say that what goodwill I have for Stephen Baldwin stems from The Usual Suspects and Threesome, two films I'm sure his born-again ass wants everyone to ignore. Outside of those two films his career is bogged by films that can be but in two categories: bad and worse. SS 2 is a dreadful sequel to one of the ultimate guy movies, a movie that is as smart as it is outright dunderheaded. SS 2 is only interested in the dunderheads.
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Michael Bay Proposes That Not Only Did Buzz and Neil Land on the Moon But That They Discovered Transformers

Wow. This teaser pretty much continues the epic, self-serious tone Michael Bay has reserved for his epic trilogy about TRANSFORMING TOY ROBOTS! I still have not finished Revenge of the Fallen; I have better things to do. But this, this looks awful on a level that even Bay has heretofore only hinted at. Fuck me, when's he gonna make Bad Boys 3 already? I have no other purpose for this asshole at this point.

Chow Yun Fat "The Killer" - The First Time...: December 9, 2010 (Man-crush Edition)

A lot of guys from my generation were forced to look into cinema's past for representations of masculine cool. While some of those may have been from recent pasts, i.e. Steve McQueen and Lee Marvin, who had passed away in the early 80s, or Paul Newman and Charles Bronson, men who were still acting into the 21st century but weren't the young toughs they once were, many were from eras well before our own, including guys like Bogart, Lancaster, The Duke, Alain Delon, etc.

Children of the 80s had a much more inflated image of male strength, due in no small part to stars like Schwarzenegger and Stallone. Even Bruce Willis, the model of the so-called everyman action hero, wasn't exactly the coolest cat on the block. He was too damn funny to be truly cool. It wasn't until I saw Chow Yun Fat coolly walk into a nightclub before setting the world ablaze that I could point to an actor of my own time and place (albeit one who was situated on the other side of the planet) and say, what a smooth, cool motherfucker.

In a way, my man-crushes tend to come in the forms of dudes who make me say, God wouldn't if be cool if I were that guy. Chow Yun Fat is definitely all that and more to me, which is in no small part due to my introduction of the man in John Woo's classic "The Killer". Now, mabye I'm biased because it was the first Yun Fat/Woo film I ever saw, but I'd take the Pepsi challenge with this movie over any other any day of the week. When people ask me what my favorite action movie of all time is, this still comes up as my number one answer.

While it's true that Hard Boiled's much more gonzo and off the wall action is a sight to behold (particularly that final third of the film, set in the hospital), The Killer still maintains that same sense of delirious actuion, while packing in all the heartfelt melodrama of Yun Fat/Woo's previous collaboration, the low-key gangster action pic A Better Tomorrow. It is the perfect synthesis of Woo's style and The Killer is a character that is not only badass, but whose actions you are behind 100% even if he is a ruthless killer.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Whatever It's Called There's a Good Chance the Alien Prequel Will Suck,48825/

Looking at the details in that article it's easy to read a lot conjecture, misinformation and all around subterfuge regarding the so-called plot of the Alien prequel. Even the name "Paradise" sounds more like the location name given to the project to use as obfuscation / production company detritus, and less like a real title. That aside, who the fuck wants this really? Those that do are gonna be seriously disappointed, mostly because they're kidding themsleves. Deep down inside they know nothing is gonna be as good as the orignal, but they're holding out hope because they are Ridley Scott fanboys.
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"The Adventures of Bob and Doug McKenzie: Strange Brew" - Unsequelized: December 8,2010


In the history of comic cinematic duos, no two characters have deserved a shot at further adventures on the big screen than SCTV spin-offs Bob and Doug McKenzie. (On a related note, no two charcters deserved that second chance less than Wayne and Garth, whose Wayne's World 2 pretty much killed off any goodwill left for those characters. Funny how Mike Myers tends to repeat himself in that way.) Like a lot of the comedians who inspired them and who they in turn inspired Bob and Doug's first film could have easily been parlayed into even more ridiculous laugh-riots. As it stands all we have now is this film, one whose power to make me laugh has lasted for almost three decades.
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Tron: Legacy Score is Amazing! Check Out New Daft Punk Video!

Hey, I may not have seen the movie yet, but I at least know the score is amazing. We got an in-store play copy a week back or so and it is so much fun. Now they've just released this new music video and I Heart it as well.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

"Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey" - Better Than The Real Thing: December 7, 2010


As an an old fogie, all of 31 years old at the time of this writing, I feel it is my right to talk about the good old days, aka time before the internet, and you have to humor me just like you would any other old man. See, before the interweb the film nerds had to rely on magazines, newpapers and good old secondhand information for whatever "up-to-date" news they could get. Like a lot of my old school brethren I grew up reading Fangoria and its sister publication Starlog a lot. In the pages of both they would have future, in-the-works films listed in a little section, either near the front or the back of the mag. After the summer of 1989 one such in-development project caught my pre-teen eye: Bill and Ted Go To Hell
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Sunday, December 5, 2010

“Freebie and the Bean” – Unsequelized: December 5, 2010


Well before Riggs and Murtaugh would become the archetype buddy cop duo, Freebie (James Caan) and The Bean (Alan Arkin) were two seemingly mismatched partners, tear-assing through the streets of San Francisco, causing serious damage to public property and being all-around two of the most reckless cops to ever grace the silver screen. 1974 marked the true debut of what would become a genre on its own, one that wouldn't really gets it due until a decade later. And while Mel and Danny had four adventures together, Eddie and Nick had two pictures, and Martin! and Big Willie Style got two pictures out of the genre, the godfathers of the genre never got another shot at kicking ass and cracking wise.
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Saturday, December 4, 2010

“Man on Fire” - Vestron Video of the Week: December 4, 2010


While I haven’t seen Déjà Vu and The Taking of Pelham 123 remake, I have a soft spot for the Tony Scott / Denzel Washington films I have seen. Crimson Tide is quite thrilling in no small part due to Scott’s staging and his incredible crew of actors. It is damn near perfect. Man on Fire, on the other hand, is far from perfect. It’s a big, bloated and over-long film, whose strength mainly comes from Denzel’s determined and single-minded performance. I was really looking forward to Man on Fire; I seemed to be the only person I knew who had seen the original film starring Scott Glenn.
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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Bubblegum Bang For Your Buck - 10 Big Budget Pop Art Adaptations

Last week, around a Thanksgiving dinner that grew more and more tense by the moment, I was engaged in some seriously heated conversation with my friend's new boyfriend's brother. Let's just called him Jack for short. So Jack and I were destined to meet according to my friend. Seems Jack is a big movie nerd, like yours truly. The night got off to a pretty good start, talking about the films of Whit Stilman, why he thinks they're superior to the work of Wes Anderson (a target favored even more passionately by his brother), the things that got us into cinema, blah, blah, blah. Jack is pretty fidgety, but seems in general to be pretty knowledgable and affable. Then things take a turn.
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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Jennifer Connelly "Once Upon a Time in America" - The First Time...: December 1, 2010

The first time I saw Once Upon a Time in America I must have been around 6 years old. At the time I can remember having a very strange reaction to it; much like a fever dream, its impact was felt in sporadic, disconnected moments, both beautiful and brutal. Seeing it later I understood two things: 1) That's pretty much what the film is, 2) the cut I saw was probably the chopped and butchered version the studio put out, making it even more confusing and confounding. For all the violence that was doled out in the film, there is even more beauty in the mix. One of the most beautiful scenes is an early encounter between a young Noodles and Deborah, played in the flashback by the then 11 year old Jennifer Connelly.

Now, I'm about to tread a fine line here that I don't really want to get into, but must, considering my history with the film and with the actress. There is an ick factor inherent when you begin to discuss the beauty of a young girl, no matter what age you were when you first saw her. Think more recently of Natalie Portman and you'll know what I'm talking about. Seeing fanboy discussion of her "reaching legal age" was fucking digusting and downright abusive, directly or indirectly.

But I grew up watching Jennifer Connelly grow up. I still contend that she is without a doubt one of the most beautiful and talented actresses in Hollywood. I come to this conclusion after years of watching her go from child star to hot teen starlet to decorated actress. To me, she's like a girl you grew up with, in the neighborhood, seeing her go from the pretty little girl to the gorgeous woman we now know. That starts here, for me, as a kid a few years younger than she at the time. I hate to make a case for the beauty of a child star, but watch that scene again and think back to a time when you were the age of the children in that scene. You would have fallen head over heels too.

"For a Few Dollars More" - Better Than The Real Thing: December 1, 2010

I had been planning on starting this sooner, much like many of the other series on the site and, for that matter, the site in general. My prompting to do this has less to do with the fact that I finally got off my ass, but more to do with a recent article over at Badass Digest. Check it out:
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