The Number 600

While trying to come up with something witty to write about the Curb Your Enthusiasm (I’ll leave it at BEST EPISODE EVER!!……………”WILL YOU JUST SHUT THE F*CK UP!!!!!!”) finale, I noticed that this will make my 600th post on failedpilot.com. Not really a cause for celebration, but cause enough for two REALLY old re-runs.

Check out this depressing post from February of 2005 (an especially disturbing month in my life).

…and this one from the previous month. The links still work!! Watch the last one!!  

 

 

 

I was thinking…

…that I missed a few:

Rawhead Rex (1986) – Pre-Hellraiser Clive Barker that deserves a little more credit than it gets. This one also deeply upset me as a child.  

Dogs (1976) – another pointless memory from childhood, or more specifically, of watching the local “Creature Feature” late each Saturday night.

Scream (1996) – Look, it’s clever.

Wacko! (1981) – Totally f*cked-up spoof. One of the first. A must see.

Wait Until Dark (1967) – How can you go wrong with Alan Arkin and Audrey Hepburn? This movie should be afforded the credit that Rosemary’s Baby garners.

Toxic Zombies (1980) – Yes, I fall for So Bad It’s Good. One of the many anti-drug, incredibly bloody for the time horror flicks shot in rural Florida. It was supposed to be set in Kentucky.

Alone in the Dark (1982) – A totally crooked attempt at making a slasher film, and it features great scene-chewing by some of the best scene-chewers: Donald Pleasence, Jack Palance, and Martin Landau. Watching Jack Palance stumble into a punk rock show is worth whatever time it takes to seek this one out.

Martin (1977) – George A. Romero’s lost classic that gets overshadowed by what it fell between: Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead. Skip The Crazies. Truthfully, this is sort of a beautiful movie.

Slither (2006) – This movie is so much fun, despite its thieving nature. For fans of early Cronenberg.

 

 

Last minute horror suggestions (or for general impact any evening)

1. The Tenant (1976) – Scarier than Rosemary’s Baby. Might cure you of apartment buildings.

2. Duel (1971) – When did filmmakers stop using the unknown?

3. Near Dark (1987) – Vulnerability is always a nice addition to horror villains. A great film.

4. Session 9 (2001) – Modern horror at its best, without a reliance on gore.

5. Rituals (1977) – When I was rather young, this movie scared the living shit out of me. A blatant Deliverance rip-off, but worth a look.

6. The Mothman Prophecies (2002) – I’m not joking. This movie did indeed contain moments that scared me. Then again, maybe you shouldn’t be taking movie advice from an amateur UFO nut.

7. The Vanishing (1988 – the original) – I’ve always had a problem with how this movie left me feeling in the end, but I respect it.

8. A Friend Like Harry (2000) – I don’t know. Just see it.

9. The Exorcist III (1990) – Best third sequel ever made.

10. The Changeling (1980) – George C. Scott’s great freak-out period of 1979 – 1981.

11. The Last House on the Left (1972) – Just keep thinking “1972.”

12. The Thing (1982 – remake) – When John Carpenter was being interviewed for Bravo’s 100 Scariest Movie Moments, he was wearing a band-aid over his recently removed forehead mole.

Listen Up, Dimwits!!!

     For all fans of “mumblecore” and Miranda July, it’s time to see how a real movie is made. The Assassination of Jesse James will be my number one movie of the year. I also recently viewed Straight Time on DVD for the first time, though that stands as what may be my 33rd time to watch it. Worth it for the short Edward Bunker/making-of documentary alone, this was also one of the only instances in which I’ve endured the commentary option. Dustin Hoffman and Ulu Grosbard fire off loose but fascinating facts about this overlooked classic. Then there’s Mamet. You are reading the unfocused ramblings of a David Mamet fanatic, and he is now mentioned because, at this very moment, I’m watching House of Games.

     This all-around level of quality causes me to further dismiss the indie genre and especially the ”mumblecore” idiocy that resides under its umbrella. I recently attended a local film festival, and “indie” film festival, in which I viewed a couple of films that disturbed me to the core with ineptitude, lack of meaning, lack of talent, and a troublesome dearth of original ideas. One of these films won. Executing a script in which nothing happens, something intentional and done with pride, is not an admiral feat. Supporters and practitioners of Mumblecore need to disappear if films, films as a whole, are to move in decent direction.

    This being a Southern film festival that I experienced, there was the requisite yet infuriating degree of slumming. I have no time for morons dressed up like rednecks, country-sounding pseudonyms, or any other example of Southern exploitation carried out by hipsters unfamiliar with rural existences. I’m a little regionally protective, thus naturally appalled by this type of crap. Another problem with these films (and their makers) is the calculated ignorance and dignified Luddite drive. People that make films should watch films. They should also watch TV. A paltry frame of reference is not beneficial or something to be proud of. It makes you what you are: Illiterate in your field. Many of these filmmakers like to state this bit of applesauce: “I make movies for myself, not for other people.” I’ll leave you with that bit of nonsense.

 

I’m back, and it’s horror movie time.

Unless the ground cracks open to spit fire, dead birds fall from the sky for no reason, rabid dogs ravage the countryside, or any other last minute tragedy or drawback occurs, you will be seeing Earles and Jensen Present: Just Farr A Laugh Vol. 1 & 2 released on Matador Records in the very early part of 2008. Two CD’s and a 50+ page book(let)….(I think….I’ve lost track of its growing size) in an old-school, doublewide plastic CD case (think about the first CD issues of Miles Davis’ early 70’s work, Coltrane’s Ascension, or The Hampton Grease Band’s Music To Eat…….a much better album than the ones listed before it).

On with the goods….it’s Halloween, thus time for my annual list of entertaining horror.

Day of the Dead (1985) – Don’t expect this one to be remade with Hot Topic-approved jump cuts and bad nu-metal (the otherwise good Dawn of the Dead remake) or a Godspeed You Black Emperor! soundtrack (28 Days Later….a horror movie for foot-shuffling hipster manwafers unfamiliar with the genre). The entire film takes place in an underground bunker, with impressive scene-chewing from all of the never-to-go-anywhere actors involved. This, the third in Romero’s trilogy, was even more of a “social statement” than the original Dawn of the Dead (1978), which can be credited as a fairly early attack on mall culture. Day of the Dead was obviously HEAVILY influenced by John Carpenter’s amazing remake of The Thing (1982), a must for even those that don’t care for horror. Later, the overrated 28 Days Later would lift the “let’s do humanizing experiments on the zombie in the name of science!” subplot from Day of the Dead. All of the (over)acting is amazing, apparently executed by actors that assumed this movie would be a hit. It wasn’t.

Silent Night, Deadly Night 1 & 2 (1984, 1987) –  These come together on a double-sided DVD. Don’t let that confuse you, it’s not that common in DVD reissues. Kudos to the first one for a genuine attempt a making a somewhat, eh, I don’t know, “different” slasher flick, especially in 1984. I understand why this filmed was temporarily banned upon release (man in Santa suit killing and sexually assaulting a couple while their young son watches, etc), though the depravity plays tame compared to what qualifies as an R-rated film these days. Watch for the absurd sequence about a half hour in, when the main character (aforementioned young boy flashed forward ten years, following a long stay in a Catholic orphanage for the requisite mindfuck brutal nuns and childhood trauma) tries to become acclimated to life working in a toy store. Death by taxidermied deer head? Check! I have yet to watch part 2.

Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) – I mention it every year. Please rent it. It’s perhaps the ultimate WHAT-THE-F**K?!?! moment in post-1970 horror.

The Fog (1980) – The only case in which the PG-13 remake (recent) is possibly better than the original. So boring. Carpenter would bounce back HARD with The Thing remake, later settling in as the ugliest man on earth.

Closing list of recommendations for your movie night: Alone in the Dark (1982), the original When A Stranger Calls (1979), Session 9 (2001), Wacko! (1981…early spoof), Driller Killer (1979….early Abel Ferrara), and Martin (1977)

 

 

 

 

The Cable Report – early 10/20/07

– Odd and intense audience misbehavior to be had on tonight’s Real Time with Bill Maher. It reminded me slightly of a personal experience that occurred last Saturday night. No one cares what you have to yell.

– Simultaneous UFO (History Channel Jr.) and Chupacabra (Natty Gee….the Is It Real? program) docs on LATE. The “last” button got a nice workout! These channels certainly know how to synchronize their commercials.

– Don’t steal this idea, but I’ve always wanted to write a magazine piece about PG-13 horror films. Much to choose from tonight, including the hilarious Stay Alive.

– VH1 Classic’s 40 Greatest Metal Songs Of All Time is tough to watch. A perfect storm of base pop-cultural jokes, especially regarding the long infertile realm of 80’s Hair Metal.

Nuns on the Run my friends, Nuns on the Run!!! 

Pet Sematary on HBO+, remembered only for the cringe-inducing Achilles tendon slice scene and a too-late-to-be-that-catchy Ramones song. You know, the movie is not THAT bad.

 

Indie Rock had soul?

Read This.

I can’t even begin to list the issues with this piece. The pitch e-mail is a good place to start. The conception the next best. Based on sound, Arcade Fire are about as white as it gets. Thanks for the scoop. Who does not know or expect this? Why would anyone attend an Arcade Fire performance (or one by any other TOO-WHITE!!! indie rock band mentioned here) and decide that “exposing” their lack of “soul” would make a pointed magazine article? It doesn’t matter that one of the members hails from non-white descent, they could be comprised of Ethiopians and still be white, seeing as how they basically rewrite the Hooters for hipsters. The based-on-sound angle (not always taken in the article) would make TV On The Radio pretty white as well. And Wilco isn’t exactly the Pharaohs. Uh…Indie Rock is too white? Who’da thunk it?!?!? The closest Indie Rock gets to black is when it thinks it’s black (Jon Spencer, The Make-Up). Don’t listen to Indie Rock if you want a Stax boxed set. What the hell is going on here? Reverse slumming?!? Or just slumming? I should afford less quality to a form of music because it doesn’t share sonic or emotional attributes with Black, indigenous, or traditional forms? I suppose that argument has been made for ages, but why now? It’s as pointless as me pitching “There’s Not Enough White Indie Rock in Modern R&B.” Maybe I should pitch that.

Bee Tee Dubya….not a lot of research went into this post.