The great American shit war still rages just outside my house. So, if the Whoop-Doo Nation media alert is not here on time, know it's because some derelict is taking a cold grumpy on my back stoop. And that I must fight against it! Now, without further interruptions, it's the "Whoop-Doo" Nation news of the week...
McBride's Blackbelt? Boo!
The Foot Fist Way Hype? Boo! Don't believe the gushing gosh darns that are coming out in favor of this three year old cramp-inducing used tampon. Internet News Sources claim that it's become a comedy classic behind some mighty powerful closed doors. Every big name on the comedy circuit (most associated with Camp Apatow) has whispered a song of greatness in favor of this tiny little comedy that seemingly came out of nowhere. It landed Danny McBride a bushel of supporting roles in various upcoming films and it set off a bidding war between the two-headed beast known as Will Farrell/Adam McKay and their sometimes producer Judd Apatow. It was McFried that won out (good, now they won't have to make a karate comedy anytime soon), and in less than a month, you, too, will be able to wrestle around in the muck of this "acquired taste" aperitif. I'm sure I will be schooled on this soon enough: But I just don't get it! I don't understand the appeal of this particular flick. Maybe it's been over hyped, and my imagination made up something way better inside that head-stashed Cineplex. Maybe the people "we" find funny (aka Ferrell, Apatow, McKay and crew), have so desensitized themselves to the comedic elements in a film, that they now find and see humor where others don't. Maybe they've evolved as comedy cool hearts, and we're not yet at their level of sophistication. It has to be something along those lines, cause this shit ain't funny. There's maybe one classic bit in its 80 minute running time. It's like a joke-free version of Hot Rod, and I don't remember too many people chuckling through that intensive labor ordeal. Maybe it's just me. This came on like some sort of horrible nightmare, and brought back memories I hadn't thought of in years. Tae Kwon Do class. Danny McBride looks and acts almost exactly like my instructor back when I was eight, trying to unsuccessfully protect myself and throw a ninja star while doing it. Those are some pretty repressed times. They didn't scar me. I'd just rather forget about those sweaty nights practicing my punch against a non-reciprocal wall. This film is a bad memory I've unsuccessfully tried to shake out of my brian. Before you start the name calling, I'll tell it like it is: I simply don't get the hype surrounding this awful thing. Sincerely, I hope you do. Maybe you can enlighten me on the whole matter. As it stands, this thing stinks like the pit of my Doo Mu Duk!
Haim & Busey? Whoop-doo!
Dazed?Whoop-doo! Back in 1985, no one realized the sheer brilliance of teaming Corey Haim with Gary Busey in the Stephen King werewolf movie Silver Bullet. It was a crappy little flick that proved to be a fun, sleek bestseller on VHS. Looking at it now, the werewolf costume might look totally fake, but the crazy on-screen relationship between Haim and Busey is solid gold sold in edible flakes. Before the wreckage, before the drama, before The Two Coreys, and before bible camp. Whoever was up late at night, watching that film and wondering what it would be like to get these two ex-junkies back together again is a luminary in the field of cinematic magic. If unleashed, the bumping energy vibrating off of these two could short out a small country. Who really cares what Dazed is about? Every single scenario that I run through my head becomes super awesome when I stick these two leads in the driver's seat. Right now, at this very second, Dazed is the movie I am most looking forward too seeing in 2009. No matter what, it is going to be a work of immaculate, insane, God-like brilliance.
Speed Racer? Boo!
Speed Racer? Boo! Talk about anticipated films, this is one of the bigger bummers of the summer, and it hasn't even gotten started yet. Where the Wachowski brothers have perfected a unique theatrical experience the likes of which has never been seen before, they forgot one little minor detail: They forgot to make the flick interesting. Despite the candy coated neon eye-rapage that is on display, and the inventive new camera work, and the endless car chases, I nearly dozed off into an unintended nap somewhere in the middle of the second act. It is whiz-bang visual wizardry served on a plain white napkin. There is a lot of talking, and it starts to invade the action scenes. When a car race gets started, it is quickly interrupted by flashbacks and regrets, and huge chunks of clunky, dialectic exposition. The actors are as fine as they can be, acting against a green screen ninety percent of the time. I truly wanted to be transported into this unique and beautiful new world, but my mind kept racing faster than the faux-plastic cartoon cars on screen. "Why am I not enjoying this? What is wrong with me? Oh, that's it...I'm bored and I don't care one bit about any of the characters on screen." The film is worth seeing for one car race that comes in at the midway point. It is a cross-country trek that sees Speed teaming up with Racer X and rival Taejo Togokhan to beat Snake Oiler for a chance at competing in the climatic final race. The scene culminates in a fantastically choreographed kung fu battle that had me smiling from ear to ear. But the scene is a long time coming, and a long time going on both sides of the fence. There isn't a lot of cheese and meat around this blah-blah sandwich. A lot of screen time is given to Spritle and Chim-Chim. And with good reason: Paulie Litt practically runs off with the entire show. Sadly, the monkey playing Chim-Chim doesn't get a proper cast credit. Which is weird, since he shows more on-screen range than Christina Ricci and Emile Hirsch combined. I wish I could throw out a recommendation, but this bloated vanity project is about a half hour too long, and a couple of exciting moments too short. With its bright colors and faked out worlds, its nothing more than the second coming of Warren Beatty's Dick Tracy. It's a night out at the "Cosmic Bowling Alley". And that's too bad. It really is.
The Fall? Whoop-doo! Speaking of visually inventive works of staggering awesomeness, Tarsem Singh's artistically challenging and beautiful new film The Fall opens on the exact same day as Speed Racer. And it is equally stunning to look at. The difference here is that Tarsem actually creates a group of characters you will like and grow to care about. So much so, that when a number of them start to slowly get pecked off near the end, you will be one weeping mess. This has adventure, excitement, and swimming elephants. It also has a scene-stealing monkey whose fate I cannot betray. Though it is rated R (for some harsh violence that any normal eight year old can see on the nightly news), the film is one of the grandest family outings made for cinemas in quite some time. And it must be seen on a big screen. Lee Pace gives an extraordinary performance as a stunt man that has lost the use of both his legs and the will to live. While in the hospital, he meets a young immigrant by the name of Alexandra who has broken her arm working on her family's Orange ranch. Together, they weave a tale of excitement that spans the globe. The very adorable Catinca Untaru, as Alexandra, comes in and obliterates the screen with her genuine cuteness. Yeah, she is another scene stealer. To say that you will fall in love with her in an instant is an understatement. Here, Tarsem proves that you can make a family film about kids and monkeys, and make it work. It's a shame that the R rating is going to work against him. Trust me, you can take your kids to see this. In the coming years, I am sure it will be looked upon as a children's classic.
Mike & Dan? Whoop-doo!
Crudo? Whoop-doo! It looks like Lovage task masters Mike Patton and Dan the Automator have created another awesome concept record, this time recording under the pseudonym Crudo. The two musicians have been longtime collaborators, working on a number of different projects together. Crudo will be the duo's second full-length project, and it promises to be a hoot. The music has a certain sad lack of Jennifer Charles, but the craftsmanship and the groove-heavy beats certainly make up for her disappearance here. Said to be a selection of catchy R&B tunes (somewhat similar to their collaborative tracks on the last Handsome Boy Modeling School CD and the Peeping Tom LP), the album is locked and awaiting a summer release. The guys are currently gearing up for a preview show in San Francisco, and then they will take their new sound to the Sasquatch festive in Washington State. This is one record you don't want to miss. I've heard bits and pieces, and it is hotter than August in Austin, Texas.
Harmony Korine? Whoop-doo!
Mister Lonely? Whoop-doo! Its odd that I don't meet too many Harmony Korine fans. I think his movies are made of mad genius, and I love all three of his feature films. Though, I do meet a lot of hard core Harmony haters that always rush to the same argument. It is blase to create offensive images in the name of simply being offensive. It is too easy, I am told, to throw a black kid on the back of a pigmy horse and have him talk about "bitches and chicken". It is too easy to get people worked up in this day and age, and he only creates these images to cause controversy. That may be true, but it's the same exact sort of cinematic manipulation that goes into creating any type of provoked emotion. Every director can be faulted for this abusive type of relationship that they have with their audience. Some dramas throw in a touch of ball cancer to make certain single mothers cry. How is that any different than Harmony showing shocking scenes to generate anger? Its not. And he always does it in such a fantastic way, I have to remain on his side. His new film Mister Lonely is his most accomplished project to date. While it shows a more mature side to the illusive director, it also retains the humor he sees in the shadier sides of life. Watching the Three Stooges shoot a bunch of diseased sheep is incredibly hilarious if you look at it in the right frame of mind. Korine has created a visually stunning fever dream with Mister Lonely. It is one of the best films of the year, and delivers a grand tome poem on the effects of pop adulatory and one's own anonymity. There are scenes here that are as stunning as they are offensive and beautiful. That's the magic of Korine's show. It may seem easy on the outset, but underneath the ice is a complex amount of cables and wires. I don't think his work should be so easily dismissed, and this only goes to prove that the guy is working with some real talent up his shirtless sleeves. You should definitely check it out if you get the chance.
That's it for your Whoop-doo emergency alert this week. And if you don't like what I said, remember...Its just what I do when I'm doing my laundry. So please, don't get too worked up about it. I'm sure you've had similar thoughts while folding your pants. And you're a much bigger asshole than I could ever hope to be. Congratulations! And kudos, funky reader.