Bad Ass

When BAD ASS came out in the summer I took a look at it and considered it, because it’s that rare Danny Trejo starring role we’ve always wished for. But the title and the tagline “They messed with the wrong senior citizen” made me think it was another one of these post-GRINDHOUSE neo-Troma type tongue in cheek movies that I’m not really interested in. And then I looked up director/co-writer Craig Moss and learned that the rest of his filmography is:

1. SAVING RYAN’S PRIVATES (not a porno, but way worse – a parody)

2. THE 41-YEAR OLD VIRGIN WHO KNOCKED UP SARAH MARSHALL AND FELT SUPERBAD ABOUT IT (a parody of comedies?) and

3. BREAKING WIND (TWILIGHT parody with farting).

This was before his next movie was listed, it’s gonna be 30 NIGHTS OF PARANORMAL ACTIVITY WITH THE DEVIL INSIDE THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO. So not only did I put BAD ASS back on the shelf, but would’ve reconsidered everything I believed about civil liberties if given an opportunity to deport Craig Moss just for making up those titles. And what, I’m supposed to believe this guy has no friends or family who could intervene and tell him to have some fucking dignity as a human being and stop making those? Come on, people. You’re just as culpable in this SARAH MARSHAL IS SUPERBAD fiasco as he is. If you see something, say something. What did you know and when did you know it. All that is necessary for the release of BREAKING WIND is that good men do nothing.

But a buddy said BAD ASS was pretty good, so now I watched it.

It’s okay everybody, this isn’t a comedy, it actually is a straight vigilante movie. That’s why it’s not called THE BOURNE EXPENDABLE CRANK TRANSPORTER SPIDER-MAN DARK KNIGHT X-MEN RAMBO MACHETE PREDATORS SPY KIDS. Trejo plays Frank Vega, a vet who had trouble finding work after Vietnam, couldn’t be a cop because of a leg injury, had to become a hot dog vendor, still struggling in his old age. One day he beats up some skinheads on a bus, a video of it gets put on Youtube and he becomes a local folk hero nicknamed “Bad Ass.” Then, on another day, his best friend Klondike Washington (Harrison Page) gets murdered, and he sees the cops fucking around playing trash can basketball at headquarters so he decides to investigate it himself, find out who did it and get revenge. He goes to the crime scene, finds clues that the cops missed and follows a trail from person to person trying to locate the guy who might’ve done it, getting into lots of fist fights along the way, stopping a convenience store robbery, stuff like that.

I guess I would’ve known this was a serious movie if I’d noticed Charles S. Dutton was in it. I don’t think that guy has an insincere bone in his body, not even any of those tiny little bones in the ear. I figured he’d play a neighbor or a guy at the community center who knows about Frank’s cause and righteously backs him up, but to my surprise he plays one of the villains, a vicious gangster named Panther. You can tell he’s not the standard Roc type upstanding citizen because he wears a gold chain and flashy earring and curses. A nice switch for Dutton.

Ron Perlman, on the other hand, is the mayor, and I thought maybe he was getting a different type of role when he was first shown making a statement on TV and enunciating clearly, but of course he turns out to be crooked. In his handful of other scenes he just talks the same way he does when he plays thugs and crooks.

The filmatism is iffy, and the script is simple-minded even for this subject matter. There’s a whole prologue about Frank being a P.O.W. (I don’t buy the guy they have playing a young Danny Trejo, but then again I can’t picture what a young Danny Trejo would look like at all), but they never even say he was a boxer or anything, it’s not clear why he has super punching powers that win every fight even though he’s usually outnumbered and with guns pointed at his head. In one of the more intentionally goofy scenes he gets heimliched by an Odd Job-like giant (Tyler Tuione) and has a cartoonish reaction to how outsized he is, but still punches the guy out a window. The same people who murdered his friend with guns never seem to be able to use weapons on him, because he can punch.

It’s satisfying to see a nice character defend people from assholes, for example when Frank sees his neighbor Amber (Joyful Drake) getting beat up by her husband and Frank comes in and physically stops the guy and makes him leave. Then insists on helping her with her wounds even though she says she’s okay. He has a first aid kit and learned some things from helping the medic back in ‘Nam. But I think it goes too far into little boy fantasy when she seems to fall for him instead of just appreciate him as a good neighbor. I gotta admit I was pretty grossed out when she went in for a kiss. And her young son Martin (John Duffy), despite his characterization as a constant shit talker in the GRAN TORINO tradition, seems to have no hesitation about this grandpa becoming his new daddy. I guess it’s kinda sweet.

One unusual detail about Frank: he wears a fanny pack. I don’t think I’ve seen that in a movie before. The guy’s in his late 60s, he doesn’t give a fuck what you think of his accessories. That’s just a costume detail, they don’t make a joke out of it and I don’t remember them actually showing what he keeps in there. I heard Trejo interviewed on a podcast about this movie and he said he was embarrassed to wear the fanny pack but had to admit it was really useful.

I don’t think Frank is supposed to be crazy, he’s just supposed to be a sweetheart whose rough background gives him the ability to stand up for the standupless. He’s good friends with one of the cops and likes to go on ride-alongs. He loves to drink but doesn’t seem to have an alcohol problem. He steals a giant bag of weed from a guy he beats up, but is not seen smoking it. He’s a good guy, but sometimes when he’s interrogating people in his murder investigation he goes a little DEATH WISH 3 on some guys, and that’s probly the most enjoyable parts.

I like when he chops the tips of a guy’s fingers with a garbage disposal, asking him who he’s working for. “I can’t say!” the guy screams.

“Are you sure?”

“I can’t say!”

“I respect that,” Frank says, then flips the disposal on again.

There are a few other joke type deals in the movie. Some are clunkers, some are better than you’d expect from the asshole who makes that fucking parody garbage that soils our culture by even having titles and covers that our eyes have been exposed to. It never gets all out comedic, but in my opinion it gets too silly in the climax when Frank and Panther play chicken in stolen buses. I can imagine an alternate version where it’s somehow poetic that the final showdown uses the same form of transportation that turned Frank into “Bad Ass” in the first place, but the way they obtain the buses is a groaner, the scene is full of cheap CGI (and a shot of a train that I’m pretty sure they jerry rigged out of plywood and junk metal), and anyway they’re Greyhound type buses, not public transit like the one from the beginning of the movie. It’s a little too dumb.

* * *

There’s a weird backstory to this movie. The back cover says it’s “inspired by true events” because the producers paid for the life story of a real guy who became a Youtube celebrity under the nickname “Epic Beard Man.” I made the mistake of pausing in the middle of the movie to look up the video and find out what the deal was. Based on what I’d heard I thought it would be like a WALKING TALL type deal, a highly fictionalized version of a real guy’s underdog story. The reality is a little more complicated.

In the fictional Youtube video of BAD ASS, two skinheads are harassing a black man on the bus. Frank (whose long beard, baseball hat, fanny pack and “I AM A MOTHERFUCKER” t-shirt all come from the real guy) intervenes, stops them from hitting the man and beats them up.

In the real video, “Epic Beard Man” or “Viet Nam Tom” isn’t a guy who’s quietly minding his own business and goes to defend someone else. He’s a loud mouth who gets in an argument with one other man, not a skinhead but a black man named Michael. Tom does at one point move away to the front of the bus, but then he continues yelling back to Michael about “slapping the shit out of” him. Michael makes the mistake of going up to the front of the bus and getting in Tom’s face, and then hitting him, which leads to the legendary beat down, and Michael in the back of the bus bloody and dazed asking for an ambulance while the women who egged him on through the whole thing continue to record him on a phone. Classy.

On its own there’s definitely something funny about Michael’s misjudgment of how badly this confrontation is gonna go. But in context it’s more sad than funny. In the movie version the other people on the bus applaud at the hero standing up to the two presumably racist bullies. In the real version they gasp and scream “What the fuck!?” and “Jesus Christ, oh my god!” and try to help Michael. There’s blood all over the seats and everybody’s panicked. Tom screams Sam Kinison style “I TOLD YOU NOT TO FUCK WITH ME AND YOU FUCKED WITH ME!”, repeatedly stepping on and off the bus and scaring the shit out of everybody.

It seems to be a case of two blowhards, one drunk, the other mentally ill, getting into a fight over stupid shit. Youtube commenters and this movie pretend it’s a good guy vs. bad guy story, and a generational clash (Tom claims to be 67, video descriptions call Michael a “teen” or “young attacker”, though in actuality Tom was 63 and Michael 50). All of these interpretations ignore what started the argument that turned into the fight: Tom asking Michael “how much you charge to spit shine my Stacy Adams?”

It seems to me like Tom is deliberately demeaning Michael, trying to get a reaction out of him, but it might just be his mental illness talking, he might not understand what he’s saying. Either way it’s pretty hard to make him into a hero. Clearly from Michael’s point of view he’s the one standing up to a bully, some asshole on the bus who randomly started telling him to shine his shoes.

Unfortunately, the not-so-enlightened Youtube commenter community feels it’s a case of a white hero standing up to “black thugs,” so the movie takes that underdog sentiment, makes the bad guys the white racists to be safe and makes a DEATH WISH type story out of it. As fiction I’m okay with it but I hope nobody believes this “based on true events” horse shit. For the truth read this thorough investigation by SF Weekly. Among other things it reveals that “Viet Nam Tom” was not in Vietnam. He was forced to join the military to stay out of prison, but showed up drunk, got clubbed in the head and was discharged for psychiatric reasons in ’69.

Like so many fictionalized movies, the true story is actually more interesting than BAD ASS. Here’s this notorious mentally ill dude, kicked out of the military, evicted from many homes, banned from many establishments, tased at an Oakland As game (his first Youtube appearance), always getting in fights, inspiring restraining orders, causing disturbances, prone to sudden weeping, never did make it to his mama’s funeral… this story could’ve (and still could) easily end in tragedy. But first somebody records one of his public assaults, puts it on Youtube, kids think it’s funny and ironic, somebody makes t-shirts, Hollywood manager smells money, gives him $6,000 which he uses to buy weed, guy from farting vampire movie tries to make him star in an “internet movie,” but he’s too depressed to do it so they get Danny Trejo…

I mean, that’s modern living in a nutshell, isn’t it? We can’t get mentally ill people help, so we get them agents. Turn them into licensed properties. Hey, this guy caused a violent racial incident on a bus, then screamed and punched a newspaper machine, what can we do with this? Can we get a treatment on this? It’s not even a story. It’s a beard and a fannypack, and they had to get an option on it.

The movie is sure to take any possible racism out of the equation, except when Frank and Martin jokingly make racial jabs at each other. Frank isn’t white and is against racists, so it’s okay. But it is a little weird that the belligerent but harmless Michael of the video is transformed into a criminal kingpin with a name suggesting black militancy. To make the connection clear, Panther asks for an “am-bee-lanz” at the end just like Michael did in the video.

There are other weird references to the video, but most of them in very different contexts. When Amber gets beat up by her husband her son tells her she’s “leakin'”, which is what the girls in the back of the bus said about bloodied Michael. There’s even a nod to the shoe-shining comments when Frank shows up for a date with Amber dressed in an outfit like the one Tom was describing on the bus: a powder blue suit and what appear to be Stacy Adams shoes.

There are a couple interviews with Tom on Youtube, and those inform the plot too: he has a black best friend who’s homeless who he lets live in his house, his mom just died. It’s kind of like making a Batman movie or James Bond or something. You take little things from throughout the mythos and try to work them into a new dramatic context. Something new, but something familiar for the fans. It’s just that instead of having decades worth of books and movies to look at they just have a couple cell phone videos of a crazy guy flipping out in public.

* * *

Despite all its cinematic and arguably moral failings I do think BAD ASS is a fairly enjoyable movie, and for exactly the reason you’d think it might be: Danny Trejo. It’s great to see him not only playing the hero, but a relatable, sympathetic human. He does some crying, he loses hope in life, he makes a difference, he gets real fuckin lucky, he hangs a guy out a window, does a little bit of mugging. And all without owning a car. His travels are shown on transit maps. So it’s not bad. For sure by far the best movie this director has ever had anything to do with, for crying out loud. I mean not to keep harping on this, but somebody do something about this guy. Bad Ass, you want to help your community, go break the fingers that typed those scripts.

Anyway, okay job. Baby steps. Next let’s give Trejo an action vehicle that’s not a joke or a weird exploitation of a mentally ill guy. I think we can do this.

 


This entry was posted on Tuesday, November 20th, 2012 at 2:32 am and is filed under Action, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

177 Responses to “Bad Ass”

  1. wow, they make an Epic Beard Man inspired movie?

    call the amber lamps! call the M&Ms!

  2. I never understood what people have against fanny packs. They are the greatest thing in the world! You can put all your shit in there without having to spread it out over a million pockets that are probably way too small anyway and because it’s all dangling in front of your balls, it’s harder for pickpockets to pick your pockets.
    The only thing that comes as close are those bags that look like gun holsters, but a.) you can’t put as much in it as in a fanny pack and b.) you might run into some serious security trouble with it. (I use one for traveling and tend to always take it off before I enter an airport. Just in case.)

  3. Of all people, I knew you would actually do the legwork (or fingerwork to google stuff) to find out the back story on all of this. When the Epic Beard Man video came out, I actually followed up and read about the actual guy and what his real story was.

    So of course the moment I saw that poster of this video and read up about it, I was kind of disgusted. At humanity in general but more in the direction of the makers of this film because of what they did with the “true story”. It felt like one of the most crassly exploitative things I had seen done. Yes, take a mentally ill old man and twist everything to make a movie about him, with a hook you know would make the people who had seen the viral video give a second glance to this cheap piece of crap.

    I even tried to watch it. I just couldn’t after seeing how they played out the scene on the bus. I might be missing out but I just can’t get over the disgust.

    Now if they had made a movie that really explored the life of a mentally ill man in a realistic and dramatically satisfying way, I would watch that. Unfortunately, this is the way the world we live in works…

  4. CJ Holden: I haven’t seen anyone in public wearing a fanny-pack since the friggin’ 90’s

  5. I’d seen the viral video and read the depressing story behind it before I saw the trailer for this, so when I did I was pretty disgusted. I also made the rookie mistake of reading the comments, which consisted almost entirely of complaints that the “PC Police” had ruined the film by making the bad guys racist skinheads instead of a black guy. It made me want to pull the plug on the Internet.

    I still don’t think I want to see it even though this review makes it seem like I’d probably enjoy it. The whole thing leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

  6. …”Play chicken in stolen buses”; aw, man, that is a direct steal from Walter Hill’s RED HEAT. Right down to the buses being Greyhounds. Except in RED HEAT they didn’t need CGI, or special effects at all. They just did FOR REAL in downtown Chicago, by god.

  7. Coming Soon: An exploitation film about that old man in Florida who shot at two black teenagers as they were trying to hold up an Internet cafe, and became the hero of rabid racists and pro-gun fanatics everywhere, at least judging by the comments sections on YouTube after the security-cam video got posted.

  8. I’m almost entirely positive the bus chase in Bad Ass literally IS the footage from Red Heat, kinda like how I’ve seen the giant bridge explosion from Long Kiss Goodnight pop up in DTV actioners that just don’t have a budget for their own explosion. The rest of Bad Ass is so small scale that I can’t believe they would have one action sequence that must have costed 3 times the rest of the movie.

    Anyways, I found Bad Ass really entertaining and enjoyable. Trejo is enormously appealing here in a way he wasn’t in Machete and I actually liked his warm relationship with his neighbor.

    I guess I never put much thought into how wrong the premise is, but even though I agree with everything Vern said, I don’t think anyone watching this movie will come away thinking “man, that Epic Beard Man was a real life hero”. They’ll probably just smile warmly at Trejo’s performance and think “that movie was surprisingly good”

  9. The bus chase scene is a digitally altered and re-edited version of the one from Red Heat… I always laugh when cheap DTV uses stock action footage from other films. I remember seeing one that used a bunch of footage from Terminator 2 and it was hilarious.

    Here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DdgJYFerbJk

  10. One day I saw on TV a very cheap movie, that recycled the cable car chase from METRO. And another movie took place during an earthquake and I spotted a few shots from GHOSTBUSTERS (during the finale, when they are about to enter the building, but the street bursts open). To be honest, I love that shit.

  11. Bobby Lupo –

    They using footage from both T2 AND the original Universal Soldier (the truck/bus battle at the end of that clip). I wonder how much of that movie was actually that movie.

  12. Wait, SAVING RYAN’S PRIVATES isn’t a porno?! Then why did I spend 20 minutes whacking off to it??!

    CJ Holden, RE: fanny packs.

    It’s nice to know you live up to the German tourist stereotype, I bet you also get up super early and steal all the sun loungers round the pool don’t you? ;)

  13. It’s somewhat telling that they switched Epic Beard Man’s enemy from a young black youth to a bunch of skinheads. The original video had some awkward racial tensions in it when you viewed it in a larger context (and saw some of the other interviews with the Epic Beard Man) that I think could have made for a pretty interesting Taxi Driver style movie.

  14. Wow, I skipped down and commented as soon as I saw that photo of Trejo and realized this was an Epic Beard Man movie. The rest of the review went on to explain that. I’m kinda flabbergasted that they seriously bought this guy’s life rights. That’s gross. And yet, the part of me that regularly watches WorldStarHipHip (It’s for research on writing realistic fights and learning slang terms for dialogue…I swear) kinda wants to see this now.

    Also, the character named amber is a reference to the white hipster girl on the bus who doesn’t even react. People dubbed her Amber Lamps.

    See, it’s funny because sometimes Black people use spoonerisms.

  15. CJ – Fanny packs are a totally functional pocket. I’ve used one as a screen-printer to keep my tools close at hand(as wearing a toolbelt for this type of work feels like massive overcompensation), but there is no way I could adorn one in public, they look silly and really aren’t that much more convenient than a backpack; however, I assume this is a cultural thing and if you prefer the convenience than good on you.

    I had a real interest in this movie when I first saw the trailer, seeing Danny Trejo beat up skinheads on a bus is all sorts of awesome. Then like many of you I investigated the story behind the movie and watched the youtube videos and was pretty disgusted with the exploitation of this obviously ill Bearded fella, anyways I’ll see it I’m sure, it’s just unfortunate that my moral compass is preventing me from paying to see a film with main roles for Trejo, Dutton and Pearlman.

  16. I’m not an expert on stock footage, but I’ve noticed that they usually use the shots as they were originally filmed.

    At least in the age of digital editing, it’s easy to do all kinds of post-processing to the shots to make them look different. You could take that T2 footage and make the whole scene for example cold grey-brown (Dark Knight style). Also make the light and contrasts levels slightly different and use some partial vignettes. Flip shots horizontally whenever you can (You could do it to most shots in that scene). Re-frame them slightly since you’re working on HD and the quality loss is not noticeable even if you zoom in and re-frame every once in a while. You could even make some static shots look like hand-held.

    All in all, you could actually fool people that the shots were filmed for YOUR film. Due to my experience in editing and post-processing, I could take those T2 shots and make them look like a completely different film. And it would be pretty fast, two day’s work would be well enough for the shootout scene.

    I’m just wondering why this isn’t done more often.

  17. Just rewatched the original video…it’s incredibly depressing. I remember maybe laughing at it when it first happened. I mean, I remembered it and some of the associated memes. But watching it now, it’s just really sad. Have I grown as a human since this video first came out? Or maybe I never thought it was funny and just assumed I had because it was a popular internet video and now a probably-less-popular digital-video-disc?

  18. When I talk about wearing fanny packs, I talk about wearing one every fucking day when I leave the house since at least 1994! (It’s the gun holster thing that I use for traveling.)

  19. In all seriousness, I do way too many things, that are perfectly normal, but cause from the people around me the weirdest reactions.

    I let my hair grow long. People look at me like I’m insane or question my sanity, although nobody would care if I would shave my head. (In all fairness, at least once a week I get a compliment from a woman, often including the line “I wish I had such beautiful and/or long hair”, so not everybody is like that.)

    I wear a hat. Not one of these little hipster hats that the kids wear today, a REAL hat. One that is so big, that from time to time some kids greet me with “Howdy, partner”, because they mistake it for a Cowboy Hat. (In fact, it’s more a Blues Brothers hat. In summer it’s a white straw hat of the same shape and size.) And people are like “Oh no, why are you wearing that, instead of let’s say a Baseball cap or nothing?” (Baseball caps are uncomfortable. That’s why.)

    I wear a fanny pack and people are like: “Why would you like to wear a comfortable and convinient extra pocket to put all your stuff in? It doesn’t make any sense! Please, be normal!” The answer is, why wouldn’t I? I even wear one that looks “mature”, without bright colours and shit, and people act like I would walk around with my junk out.

    I don’t try to be “different”. If I wanted to be, I would dye my hair green, get a face tattoo and walk around in a pink dress and clogs while listening to Lady Gaga and MGMT and masturbate every day over my “creative personality”. But apparently I always pick the wrong kind of “normal”.

    Seriously. Can we (and with “we” I mean the world in general, not just you guys here) stop making a big affair out of shit like fanny packs, because one day someone fabricated a reason to not wear it?

  20. Fuck CJ, that might be the most hilarious post I ever read. On a related note, I would not recommend typing “mature fanny pack” into google images while at work.

  21. “To be honest, I love that shit.”

    CJ – I do too. I’m reminded of a J.A.G. episode where they reused alot of the ambush sequence footage from A CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER for…an ambush.

    My favorite personally? an old MACGUYVER episode* where the cars sequences from ITALIAN JOB (Mike Caine original) are transported from Italy to Cairo. (?!!?)

    *=Now a movie from the director of SAW. First time I read that news, I thought “didn’t they do this alreadY?” Turned out I was thinking of MACGRUBER.

  22. Death Sentence proves that James Wan was born to direct action.

  23. RRA: And who could forget the episode of that Bixby/Ferrigno HULK show, that famously cannibalized Spielberg’s DUEL? I also remember an episode of PRETENDER, that featured an impressive looking plane crash, but was taken from that movie where Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin fight a bear in the woods.

    Mode7: Thanks for finding my problems so hilarious. *runs away crying* But seriously, I don’t know what it is, but there is something in the way how I talk, dress and think, that strangers (and friends) often find incredibly weird and after all these years I still haven’t found out what it is.

  24. Whenever I feel out of touch with whatever the fuck normal is I go and check how many followers Kim Kardashian has on twitter. People care what this woman thinks, that’s normal.

  25. CJ- I’m sorry dude, the point of my first post was that I understand how functional the fanny-pack is, but choose not too wear one (outside of work situations). I wrote it kind of as a response to Griff’s second post; however, I guess called it silly-looking which kinda undoes any goodwill I was trying to convey.

    If it’s any consolation, I’m sure in the 22nd century, North America will finally come to terms with the fact that although the fanny pack may make us feel self-conscious, that it is truly a functional accessory and we have been utter jackasses questioning whether or not it somehow affects our self image, rather than embracing it’s function as a useful alternative to wallets, pockets, purses etc.

    I’m curious what kind of fees filmmakers have to pay to recycle other films action sequences.

  26. No problem, man. I might have sounded angrier than I really was.

  27. Yeah, I wish Wan would try another action type movie. His horror ones are okay but the only reason I have hopes for him is ’cause I love DEATH SENTENCE.

    Also I think it’s kinda cool that he’s Asian-Australian.

  28. Joe Rogan is also a big advocate of the fanny pack. I check his podcast every once in a while for when he has a guest I’m interested in, and somehow I’ve heard more than one where he started ranting angrily about people making fun of his at UFC events. I think it was Andrew Dice Clay who also wore one and it was like they had finally found somebody who truly understood them.

  29. CJ- Wait, you were angry? Sorry bud, I thought you were going for humorous self-mockery.

    I just find something inherently hilarious about fanny-packs, I dunno what it is. Might be the name, fanny means something quite different over here. We call them bum-bags, which is almost as funny. I had a pink and green one in the early 90s. It matched my shellsuit. THE LADYS LOVED ME.

  30. Over here they are called “belt bags”. And while I wouldn’t really say that I was angry (I accepted my status as the most normal weirdo in the world more than 10 years ago and never tried to change it [but also don’t try to cultivate it although according to the world, that doesn’t work out]), I tend to be pretty annoyed by the outsider status of these bags and most of all, everything I wrote in here about me is 100% true.

  31. CrustceanHate – if you think that’s bad then you must not have been around much on the internet, I’ve seen racism that would make my late grandpa blush and makes the Epic Beard Man reactions seem tame and the twist? a lot of it is coming from people of my generation, who were raised being specifically told that racism is bad and none of made it any difference

    all the racism was the most shocking thing I encountered when I first became familiar with the internet, I can honestly say I didn’t see that one coming

  32. Don’t worry about it, CJ. You’re just ahead of the curve. I have spotted many a Williamsburg hipster sporting one, albeit cocked to the side, as wearing items of clothing, however pragmatic, in their prescribed fashion is too mainstream. The genus has currently entered the 1991-1993 phase of its perennial retro cycle, so most of these fannypacks are in some kind of day-glo pink, orange, or green and worn with Ray-Bans, partially shaved heads, rattails, three-quarter shorts, Chucks, and sleeveless T-shirts with florescent patterns reminiscent of the animated opening credits sequences of early 90s farces like MADHOUSE.

  33. Vern, you pulled a good review out of a movie that didn’t seem like it would be compelling at all. Good work, sir.

  34. “The genus has currently entered the 1991-1993 phase of its perennial retro cycle, so most of these fannypacks are in some kind of day-glo pink, orange, or green and worn with Ray-Bans, partially shaved heads, rattails, three-quarter shorts, Chucks, and sleeveless T-shirts with florescent patterns reminiscent of the animated opening credits sequences of early 90s farces like MADHOUSE.”

    oh God, really? WHY? I mean make no mistake I LOVE the 90’s, but do we really want to bring it’s fashions back? sometimes things change for a reason

    well, I guess early 90’s bikinis were a lot hotter than bikinis today, I wouldn’t mind if they brought those back

  35. Well, with our nation’s vital stores of eighties retro well and truly depleted (the last dregs were recklessly squandered on that Topher Grace movie), what choice did they have? Come up with something new? Ha! What’s ironic about that?

    Seriously, though, it’s looking like CLARISSA EXPLAINS IT ALL out there. I might just have to blind myself when the late nineties comes back and everyone’s pants start dragging on the ground again.

  36. almost makes me happy I live in an area with no hipsters (IE a small town)

  37. but seriously though, RATTAILS!? they’re bringing back RATTAILS!? only the dead can know peace from this evil

    also Mr M, you’re reaching quite deep into the well of early 90’s comedies by referencing MADHOUSE

  38. Griff – If your happy about living in a small town than awesome; however, you shouldn’t consider hipsters a deterrent to traveling or relocating to a larger city(ies), for work,school,whatever. Hipsters are inevitable anywhere large enough to provide or inspire some sort of culture that runs counter to predominant tastes. I live in East Vancouver, which may only be slightly dwarfed by Williamsburg for hipster capital of North America. I know tonnes of folks who are needlessly defiant of societal norms with their wardrobe, but alot of ‘em are good people. I realize some(10-15%) of them can be super pretentious-elitist Fucktards, but most of them are interesting people with at least one fully researched interest (whether it’s Music/Literature/Comics/Movies/Etc) that they devote most of their spare time to without compensation(mostly), basically I’m inferring that a good deal of people who post on this site, are about a can of PBR and an American apparel v-neck away from being a hipster.

  39. Griff: It’s not that it was a particularly shocking display of racism. I’ve been on the internet since before it was the internet and I am familiar with 4chan etc. I just found this particular attempt to capitilise on a internet meme rather wearying and depressing, given the subtext and the story behind it.

    Hell, normally I’m all about crass exploitation of short-lived fads. Without that sort of entrepeneurial spirit we wouldn’t have BREAKIN’ or the FAST AND THE FURIOUS series, and then where would we be?

  40. Can we please not get into a discussion about hipsters? I’d like at least one place on the internet that isn’t clogged up with people arguing about definitions of the word ‘hipster’. Let’s stick to safe, controversy-free topics like the STAR WARS acquisition or BATMAN.

  41. windows – I was mostly joking, I would LOVE to live in a big city, rattail sporting hipsters or not

  42. Crustacean hate – I wasn’t trying to start one of those debates dude, I’ll consider it a faux pas like those other controversial topics you listed above, I just wanted to convince Griff he should move to a bigger city.

  43. One thing about fanny packs though, is that they are the most useful when you are on vacation and you need to carry some of your stuff around without having to go whole hog and carry a backpack. However, the problem is that you automatically look like a tourist and thus prime target for pickpockets and grifters, depending on where you are. So yeah, even at its most useful, it’s really not.

    I used to have a neon colored McDonald’s fanny pack that was a giveaway with their Happy Meals when I was a small kid. I guess at some point in time, it was actually socially acceptable to not only wear one but to draw attention to it as a fashion item.

    I feel too self-conscious to wear one today, as useful as one is, because even the most understated type draws attention to itself due to its bulkiness.

    And seriously, hipsters need to find their own thing rather than co-opting or mining the past in an “ironic” way that is just another way of following the herd.

  44. I love hipsters. They’re not afraid to experiment, and when it works, they provide me with great fashion ideas. And when it doesn’t, they provide me with comedy. It’s a win-win. New York without hipsters is like Texas without cowboys. What’s the point?

  45. Three cheers for the return of long-winded cultural criticism tangents. MVP line: “I mean, that’s modern living in a nutshell, isn’t it? We can’t get mentally ill people help, so we get them agents.”

  46. Ummm…I’m wearing a girl’s pair of skinny jeans, thrift store Doc Marten’s, an American Apparel V-neck that I modified with spray paint to say, “Vonnegut” (using the V-neck as a letter) and an American Apparel hoodie right now… And PBR is pretty much my beer of choice.

    So, I guess that’s my cue to leave.

    Post Script: I will stand by American Apparel. They are pretty much the only brand I will buy (everything else comes from thrift stores). Though Dov is a total letch, they I know for a fact that they make their product without slave labor and that’s important to me. I know where I got pretty much every item of clothing I own and I know exactly which articles were and were not made by slaves. Hate on AA all you want, but their product is high thread count and doesn’t make the world a worse place. I would contend that most of my other clothing options (when bought new) do make the world a worse place.

  47. That said, a lot of the cultural appropriation within hipster culture and the ‘ironic racism’ of many hipsters is utterly disgusting.

    I guess I’m a hipster, kinda. But I don’t really do things for irony. I love the things I love. When I blast Meat Loaf, it’s because Bat Out of Hell is one of the best records ever made. When I praise Nic Cage, it’s because I honestly love watching his movies. When I wear American Apparel, it’s because I feel the weight of slavery in my garments. When I go thrifting, it’s partially the same ethos and partially my poverty. Plus, it’s a fun way to kill an afternoon. When I wear skinny jeans, it’s because I’m pretty damn skinny and ‘normal cut’ jeans all fit me awkwardly. Plus, they offer me greater mobility, are good for mosh pits and I rock the look well. When I wear a tie as a belt, it’s because it has been my signature for years (I lost a lot of weight and didn’t have a fitting belt, so I used a tie and decided I liked it.)

    Not all hipsterism is defined by irony. And not all of it is a scourge. Which is worse for culture, The Black Keys, or Chief Keef?

    Just sayin’.

  48. Tawdry – I like pbr, I own a few aa shirts. Whenever I read/hear lazy generalizations about “hipsters” those are the go-to references. I was trying to point out that being 100% invested in Badass Cinema, could be almost considered hipster-ish.

  49. tawdry–

    ah meatloaf. i was just thinking about him the other day, about how he is probably the weirdest/most improbable music superstar of my lifetime. also, his wiki page has the following as a stand alone paragraph:

    “After Aday received his inheritance from his mother’s death, he rented an apartment in Dallas and isolated himself for three and a half months. Eventually a friend found him. Aday bought a car and drove to California.”

  50. Is it sad that I’ve always been intrigued by the fact that the same person who did the credits for Madhouse and possibly Mannequin also did some fucked up animation sequences for Sesame Street in the mid-to-late 90’s?

    And Madhouse was always on HBO when I was a kid, so I remember mug more of that movie than I should. Have to admit to laughing when the pregnant cousin wants to name her baby after a concentration camp because she thought it was the name of one of the Seven Dwarfs. Or when the cat eats the crack cocaine.

  51. I disagree heartily with this NY Times piece:

    http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/17/how-to-live-without-irony/?smid=fb-share

    Again, if any of you saw me, you’d probably label me a hipster. I am a white, middle-class urbanite whose parents and grandparents saved up enough money so that he could go to a 4-year university with very minimal debt. When I got there, I pretty much only took classes in Film Studies, Feminism and Black Studies. I took 12 units – including an honor’s seminar – in pornography as a film genre. I made an animated sitcom pilot starring a time traveling Adolf Hitler who becomes a NYC taxi driver and a surrealist musical romance about a boy trapped in a big pink bunny suit; I got class credit and state grants for both of these. I spend my days clad in thrift store clothing, writing pseudo-rap slam poetry and screenplays at starbucks. While I don’t have a blog, I have spent most of my free time since 16 writing for various film websites. Recently I have begun to paint postmodern minimalist graffiti on walls (Beige squares: how you gonna cover that up? That’s what you cover graffiti with!) and when I took a trip to Israel, I carefully selected the strangest clothes I could, but didn’t bring a camera so that I could make a photo album of myself in the background of other people’s facebook shots looking like a weirdo. You’ve never heard of my favorite band. I sing mashups in the shower. I speak almost entirely in references and allusions. And so on.*

    The fact of the matter is this; I grew up with the internet. I grew up with netflix and file sharing. I don’t see history like the previous generations did. We now live in a full of pop culture singularity. It doesnt matter if a movie came out in 1960 or last Friday. I have equal access to both. I haven’t listened to music radio since the 10th grade, so it doesn’t matter if a song is famous, or obscure or new or old. They’re all on an equal plane. I’m sorry if postmodernism pisses people off. Or Meta annoys you. Those things speak to me. They speak to my soul. They make perfect sense, emotionally, philosophically and intellectually. Derrida was right. Maclauren was right. There is nothing outside the text. And I don’t see why it is bad or inferior to pointedly express myself through the recombination of previous or dissimilar elements jammed together to create something new.

    The NY Times article describes me and my kin pretty thoroughly. But not a word of that article applies to us. I do not do these things out of irony. I love the things I love. And I can explain exactly why I love everything I love. In great detail. In fact, the vast majority of the so-called Hipsters I know can. I keep hearing about these vile, self-indulgent Trustifarians, but I really haven’t met very many. And I spend a lot of time in Hipster havens. I do stupid things because they make me happy. And I have absurd and frivolous life goals because I’m stupid enough to think that a song, or a poem, or a screenplay can change the world.

    If that makes me worthy of derision, then so be it. But I’m incredibly happy in my non-slave labor V-neck and thrift store biker jacket, comparing weird foreign films to the plays of Samuel Beckett while sipping PBR at a dive bar.

    Fuck you. I’m a hipster. And you know what, you just don’t get it.

    *intertextual reference!

  52. There’s a funny bit of symmetry in those “comedy” titles, Vern. If you go with the Wayans to Zucker/Abrahms/Zucker parallel it even shows a lack of understanding in terms of structure on top of the lack of ability to make people laugh.

    ZAZ’s parody films are of two types: one-movie (AIRPLANE, HOT SHOTS) and cross-genre (TOP SECRET). Wayans may have started with a straight blaxsploitation riff with I’M GONNA GIT YOU SUCKA, but when he turned his eye to straight parody he made a twist on the ZAZ formula with DON’T BE A MENACE TO SOUTH CENTRAL WHILE DRINKING YOUR JUICE IN THE HOOD. Instead of a single film point of reference he welded the plots of two films, BOYZ N THE HOOD with MENACE II SOCIETY to hilarious effect. He followed the same principle with SCARY MOVIE, mixing the plots of SCREAM and I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER. While all of these parodies also riffed on other films and tropes, having a tight allegiance to particular source material made them seem like films rather than a bunch of strung together skits.

    The ridiculously long titles this filmatist uses doesn’t seem to understand that any more than the EPIC MOVIE dudes. It’s more like a bunch of drunk idiots sitting in a basement doing bad impressions and giggling about “wouldn’t it be funny if someone shot Superman in the cock?”

    I guess I don’t have anything to say. Just wanted to vent about the lack of quality parody these days.

    Oh, and go watch TOP SECRET again.

  53. CJ: The fanny pack came to be associated with a certain kind of yuppie tourist that was often seen in the 1990s, at home and abroad, acting like an entitled nitwit everywhere he went, much in the way that the bolo tie became associated with racist shit-kickers. It’s a simplification, and it ignores the functional/aesthetic aspects of the accessory, but it isn’t just some arbitrary decision.

    Seinfeld’s remark about the fanny pack looking like a belt that was digesting a small animal probably cemented the impossibility of the accessory ever being considered cool. And if women’s shoes have taught us anything, it’s that cool trumps comfort and practicality every time.

  54. Tawdry, it’s cool. I wasn’t really making fun of you or your kind. The only working definition of “hipster” I’ve ever been comfortable with is “Someone who you think thinks they’re cooler than you.” Which means that hipsterism is relative. Everyone is a hipster compared to someone else.

    As for myself, PBR is my beer of choice, not because it’s cool but because it’s the best cheap beer on the market. (You think they give that blue ribbon to just anybody?) I have more than a few ironic T-shirts (this used to just be a Gen-X thing, not sure how the hipsters managed to steal it). I can currently be spotted wearing a Member’s Only winter coat and giant brown sunglasses I appropriated from Detective Jimmy Drive (kinda jacked my whole look from him, truth be told). My jeans are tighter than most American men would be comfortable with, but I can’t go full-on skinny because a. I’m 35, and b. I tried once and it made my balls hurt for a week. Compared to all the ballcap-and-cargo-pants-wearing friends I left behind in the suburbs, I am totally a hipster, but compared to the frizzy-haired fraggles I pass on the street every day, I’m a square. So who am I to judge?

    I retain the right to mock each new hipster trend as it comes, but I am not across-the-board racist against hipsters. They serve their purpose, and I have to admit that they dress better than I did at their age. We’re talking lots of corduroy here. In my defense, it was the late nineties, when wearing flattering clothing that fit properly hadn’t been invented yet.

  55. The skinny jeans problem might have been more related to your choice in underwear. I wear obnoxiously skinny jeans (often officially from the women’s department) and I have always found them to be very comfortable and flexible and good for moshing.

  56. Like I said, I’m too old for skinny jeans anyway. I might as well get a ponytail and a hoop earring to prove how hip and with it I still am. I keep my jeans slim, though, because it makes for a better silhouette than baggy ones.

  57. I, uh…have very long hair too. Any other random guesses at stereotypes you guys wanna throw out that I probably fulfill?

  58. What are you, like 22, 23? You can wear your hair and your clothes however the hell you want and get away with it. I was talking about this guy:

    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-XadAYq9NFik/T6mG82SbM8I/AAAAAAAARfQ/sZKZWGx5pVk/s1600/anders_borg.png

  59. Well, I´m not cool in anyway. I dress in jeans and heavy metal t-shirts and its not ironic in any fucking way. I guess you have to be 30+ and above to have that kind of attitude. The sincerity of it, I mean.

  60. I have two pairs of Iron Maiden Vans, and, ironically, there’s nothing ironic about them.

  61. Ironically liking something seems to me a post-modernistic disease. You are not really liking it, it just makes you kind of laugh for whatever reason, which is not the same thing.

  62. Can’t we do both? I tend to legitimately enjoy laughing, so when something terrible makes me laugh, am I being ironic? I mean, I’ve got like 30 gigs of really cheesy eighties soundtrack music that I’d be hard-pressed to call good music, but I love it anyway. I think irony can be the entry point to earnest appreciation. I think people are just hedging their bets when they refuse to admit that what started out as irony as morphed into something more.

  63. Majestyk: How did you come across Anders Borg? Did you know he is responsible for the swedish economy?

  64. Ah, well. My ponytail is much longer than that, and the only (non-safety pin) piercing I ever had was in my face. (Past tense). I just turned 24, thank you.

  65. I have no idea who he is. I just googled “middle-aged guy with ponytail and earring” and that’s what came up.

    He is obviously super hip, though.

  66. Well, he seems to be hip with our economy at least.

  67. I’ve never honestly met anyone who likes something to be ironic, of all the hipsters I’ve met their passions seem to be 100% genuine.

    All this discussion of “hipsters” on the thread of a Danny Trejo vigilante film though, all because of a fanny pack.

  68. I’ve never been one to like something ironically either

    I think when it comes to entertainment there’s things that you can’t necessarily defend as a great piece of work, but there’s something about it that you find appealing and enjoyable regardless, there’s no irony in it

    and as far as retro fashions go, isn’t that because hipsters are actually nostalgic for the 90’s instead of wearing 90’s fashions “ironically?”

    I honestly think the 90’s is going to be the next big decade to get hit with a “nostalgia wave” among people at large, especially as people slowly realize how good we had it and how much was lost, it could be the next 1950’s in American pop culture

  69. I donno. I downloaded an album of children’s songs that I used to listen to when I was a kid and played that at some house parties…that was ironic enjoyment I guess.

  70. My enjoyment was nostalgic. Playing it at a beer bash was ironic? I donno…

  71. Griff – I’m 31, I spent the better portion of the 90’s growing up, becoming an adult and I never get seriously nostalgic for the era. There was some seriously awesome aspects of the decade but there was also a tonne of shit: Rave culture, nu-metal, No-Limit records contribution to hip-hop music, annoyingly self-aware and referential horror films, the term “grunge”( seriously there were some awesome bands under that banner, also some terrible one IMHO)
    Post-Grunge(every band that formed after ’94 that wanted to be labeled grunge) Corporations found how to successfully co-opt thriving underground cultures; Action cinema becoming stagnant. The commencement of the WTO.

    I’m not saying that the 90’s were terrible, there was plenty of awesomeness in the decade too, it’s just that people view it through rose-colored lenses.

  72. windows – but see the 90’s was an AWESOME decade to be a kid, as I was and as my generation gets older you’re gonna see more nostalgia for it

  73. this doesn’t have anything to do with anything, but I just thought I’d make you guys laugh

  74. Are those people supposed to be…attractive? Maybe it’s the Lard text, but their faces look like they’ve just seen the ark of the covenant.

  75. Probably what most people mean when they say they like something “ironically” is that they feel the need to add stipulations to their appreciation of whatever cultural product they’re discussing, to adopt a posture of intellectual distance to it. I assume this is some sort of safety mechanism to prevent them from getting insulted for their taste. I don’t think it has anything to do with nostalgia.

    Also: Lard Guy up above looks like Niles Crane shortly after he became a vampire.

  76. Hey, I warned you guys that mentioning ‘hipsters’ would end in a tiresome debate of definitions and whether it’s cool to like things ‘ironically’.

  77. Crust:

    I donno, I’m kinda proud of my little editorial. I can only write like that when I’m on a hard deadline for something totally unrelated.

  78. The Original... Paul

    November 21st, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Over here in the UK we call ‘em bum bags too. “Fanny packs” have.. other connotations.

    I would join the fanny pack revolution, but I’m a sartorial coward. Plus, all those people staring intently in the region of my crotch would be awkward and off-putting.

  79. I think part of the problem alot of people have with hipsters is the implication that because these guys have the time/inclination/money to shop in thrift stores and take university courses in feminism they’re somehow more socially conscious than the rest of us. Try unloading washing machines from a truck for ten hours a day / six days a week while trying to be a decent parent to three kids* and see how much energy you have left to devote to third-world outrage.

    In the words of Benjamin Sisko, It’s easy to be an angel when you live in paradise.

    *I’m not describing myself here, I don’t have kids. Although I did spend four years unloading washing machines from a truck.

  80. Oh, no. I wasn’t bragging. I was kinda talking shit about the absurd life choices I’ve made. That’s why I began the post by explaining that my parents and grandparents worked real hard so that I could be utterly frivolous. They were fighting in WWII at the same age that I was attending a top 10 party school with it’s own on-campus beach. I’ve basically lived an incredibly blessed and lucky life that has afforded me the opportunity to follow my muse. That said, I’m dead broke pretty much all the time and shop at thrift stores because I couldn’t afford Macy’s or whatever, if I wanted it. (Basically: I probably shoulda taken those business classes my father suggested).

    I recognize that there are people who, like, work for a living doing back breaking labor so that they can afford a shitty apartment in a non-chicly impoverished part of town.

    My entire life philosophy is this; I don’t know that I can make anything better, but I sure as shit know I can make things not-worse. So every day I try and make things not-worse.

    That particular article in the NYT just didn’t ‘get’ it at all and seemed off-base in its’ assessment of the core of hipsterdom because the author is too old to have grown up with the internet and file-sharing and netflix. And basically, I think that a lot of Hipster culture is predicated upon being kinda unstuck in time culturally because the whole of human history is available in the palm of your hand and constantly updating. And it makes phone calls.

  81. I was serious about the poems and songs and novels and screenplays changing the world though. I certainly know that my life has been permanently altered by a large number of writers. I was gonna go to law school, I even enjoyed studying for the LSAT, but then I realized that the only thing I would want to do with any money I ever made was make a movie. So fuck it. I’ll probably die poor, but I can’t think of anything else worth doing while I’m still kicking around this dirt bucket.

    Anyway, I’ve been up for about 30 hours now, but I finally have a really good draft of my spec. So, I’m gonna get some food, go for a jog and hopefully come home to discover that I didn’t drastically miscalculate my ability to write for 15 hours straight.

  82. Tawdry Mode7 – I don’t think it’s necessarily that cut-and-dry. I’m totally working class and called a hipster all the time.
    I never fully graduated high school; therefore, I never took any classes that some would accuse of being frivolous. I shop at thrift stores because it’s cheap(I like having nice clothes, this is how I can afford too).
    I live in a neighborhood that is historically poor as shit and plagued with prostitution, rampant intravenous drug use and alcoholism; however, we also have a shitload of culture, art, music, one of a kind shops and restaurants, that despite all the shittiness makes it feel like a real community, and this sense of community; in turn, makes this a “chic” neighborhood too live.

  83. Tawdry, I have one question about your hipster bonafides. They all seem to check out except I question the writing at Starbucks one. Don’t they have non-chain coffee shops in L.A., or is that just a Seattle thing? Starbucks is obviously good for the local economy but it’s considered prettyy uncool, like the McDonalds of coffee or something.

    Also, this is not a question but more of a request, could you kids start buying regular men’s shirts sometimes so they’ll still sell the fuckin things? It’s hard to find t-shirts anymore without a v-neck, which as you know is for busty women and would never be worn by a self respecting man other than in the home made Kurt Vonnegut pajama thing you described.

    Finally one serious question. Do you think maybe what’s going on here is that you are a second generation of so-called hipsters, following tastes that originally were done as a joke by your older brothers but have been adopted as serious by your peers? Because it seems to me impossible that some of those things described were first done in earnestness. The resurgence of young people drinking PBR, for example, started as a “ha ha, this is the shittiest beer, ha ha” type deal around the same time as the trucker hats. Because of that it became popular at rock shows and what not, but it’s a cheap beer so it stuck around and now that’s what you like. Ironic hand me downs.

    I actually like American Apparel too, they make high quality t-shirts. But all the fake thrift store fashions they sell, the idea of those is to look purposely stupid and that’s what supposed to be cool about it, right? i.e. irony? Because I mean come on, look at this fuckin guy

    http://store.americanapparel.net/product/?productId=rsa0410

    looking like that terrorist that looked like Ron Jeremy, or like somebody stole all his clothes and all he had was his mom’s aerobics shirt that got the neck stretched out from being yanked off the hanger wrong.

    or this poor fellow:

    http://store.americanapparel.net/product/?productId=rsakwfps

    Anyway I don’t really get either the pro or anti hipster obsessions, but this has been a pretty good tangent. I find it fascinating that young people could start a sentence “Um… I’m wearing girl’s skinny jeans,” because I feel like myself and all older generations have a built in shame that would never let them boast about something like that, let alone wear something like that. It’s something I wonder when I see some of the more ridiculous outfits, so I like hearing your (weird) perspective on it.

    A couple days before Halloween I seriously saw a guy that I wasn’t sure if he was wearing some unidentifiable Halloween costume or if it was how people dress now.

  84. fucking lol at that second picture Vern, that guy reminds me of this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSe4HmhkBpk

  85. I’ve never worn a trucker hat in my life. I can’t speak to those.

    While I would rather go to an independent *anything* shop, there are no other coffee shops within walking distance of my house and I am without car, so.

    As for PBR; it’s cheap and I don’t really drink beer (though I have taken a liking to Dewer’s and Soda). So if it’s on my own tab, I’ll just get whatever and nurse it for an hour while I play darts. Frankly, PBR is far superior to Budweiser or Coors in my opinion. Also, if the car thing wasn’t a tip-off, I live a fairly frugal existence because it allows me maximum freedom in my day-to-day activities, so cheap beer = good beer to me.

    If I get a pitcher with friends/I’m not paying/celebrating something, general beers of choice are Fat Tire, Hefeweizen, Shock Top, Delirium or Sapporo (that last one mainly because I like the can’s shape and the modesty of calling it Japan’s oldest beer. Not best. Not favorite. Just oldest. Like, “We’ve been adequate for longer than anyone!”)

    I don’t buy much stuff from AA, mainly just basic shirts, hoodies and sometimes pants. I would never be caught dead in that first shirt, but I could totally rock that second one, if it cost 10% of the list price. The AA hoodie I had on yesterday was a piece of swag from a Dreamworks Animation panel I covered back in February. I’ll wear swag printed on AA. It’s technically licensed gear for Rise of the Guardians, but the corporate logo is tiny and on the part of the sleeve that I cuff so it’s unobtrusive. I find the odd blue color quite appealing and it makes my eyes pop a bit. Plus it’s soft and warm.

    If any when I do buy AA stuff, it’s usually because I’m buying some shirt online or at a concert. Alternately, they have a groovy warehouse sale at the end of every season where you can get new stuff for literally 10% of list. Also also, I like that they have a no-photoshop policy and specifically pic models with natural body hair and stuff.

    Again, I wasn’t boasting. I just thought it was funny that I was wearing such a prototypical hipster uniform at that very moment. I am neither proud, nor ashamed that I own pairs of pants that were hung in the women’s section because A) Fuck gender normativity B) Chicks seem to dig ‘em C) My goals for ‘masculine’ behavior begin and end with what does and does not get women to notice me.

    As it happens, the jeans from yesterday were actually secondhand H&M, not AA. And I’m not 100% sure they were girl jeans based on the fit. They felt more unisex. Frankly, I have an odd body type. I’m very skinny, not emaciated, but skinny enough that girl jeans just kinda fit better. Men’s skinny jeans bunch up weird and aren’t as elastic, which makes them less useful for moshing/running ect. I discovered that women’s jeans fit my legs well when my then-girlfriend left a pair in my apartment and I threw them on without realizing they weren’t mine. Come to think of it, I have no idea how she got home. She didn’t take any of my clothing (I would’ve noticed) and she didn’t bring a change of clothes. Maybe she went home half-naked? She did live in the same apartment complex.

    My general fashion sense is this —

    *Patent leather Doc Marten’s/steal-toed Doc Marten knock-offs/Cole Haans

    *skinny jeans of some variety

    *a plain white undershirt/vintage collared shirt (often originally owned by my father or grandfather)/concert tee/spray paint experiment/anything without a corporate logo (save band logos).

    *a leather jacket/vintage British P-Coat/vintage suit jacket/studded leather jacket/non-militant military jacket/nondescript hoodie

    *a tie as a belt hanging down about halfway to my knee on the left side.

    *I don’t do jewelery/piercings/tattoos, but I do have a pair of D&G glasses that I accidentally stole from Lupe Fiasco while covering the MTV Movie Awards and a pair of Serious Pimp (Snoop Dogg’s brand) aviators that my girlfriend gave me.

    *When it’s cold, I like to wear one of the hand knit beanies that the aforementioned pantsless ex left at my place.

    Sometimes I’ll also wear a vest. But I tend to lose those.

    It’s funny that you mention Halloween costumes because one year I bought like an entire wardrobe in the local thrift store’s post-halloween sale. I was like, “I know you think this is a costume, but I will totally wear this houndstooth at 11:30 a.m. on a Wednesday in March.” And for 2 dollars!

    I developed a sense of fashion by accident while at that party school I went to instead of war. After my then-girlfriend became my ex-girlfriend I started going out to more social events. I would dress in a completely arbitrary ensemble and sometimes girls would react positively, sometimes they wouldn’t. The clothes that girls didn’t spark to got taken out of rotation and eventually I was left with a coherent wardrobe. I’m not really passionate about it per se so much as I am receptive to positive reinforcement. I do, however care about the slave made/non-slave made angle as per my not-worse world philosophy.

    I guess the closest to out-and-out ironic dress I ever get is when I wear my entire collection of a given band’s t-shirts on successive days in an effort to look like a cartoon character who has a base model. But even then, those are shirts I have amassed over a period of years following a group. (7 Andrew WK shirts, 6 Amanda Palmer Shirts, 4 NIN shirts, 3 Gogol Bordello shirts)*

    Good lord, this is more thought than I have ever put into my wardrobe at once. I’ve designed the whole thing so that I can basically get dressed in the dark with a very simple amount of color coordination and then avoid having to actually think about what I should wear. I think it’s about time I turn in my punk rock merit badge and exchange it for a straight-up dandy demerit badge.

    *I don’t generally buy albums and I didn’t have to pay for most of my concert tickets for about 3-4 years, so I would buy a shirt at almost every gig to support the band and I’m a sucker for limited edition shirts that come with import vinyls, even though they’re always shitty thread count and often break my no-slave-clothing rule.

  86. *When it’s cold, I like to wear one of the hand knit beanies that the aforementioned pantsless ex left at my place.

    I meant to type, “When it’s cold, I like to wear one of the hand knit beanies that the aforementioned pantsless ex made for me.” I guess she ‘left’ them at my place when she gave them to me as gifts…

  87. Tawdry:

    ” I don’t see history like the previous generations did. We now live in a full of pop culture singularity. It doesnt matter if a movie came out in 1960 or last Friday. I have equal access to both. I haven’t listened to music radio since the 10th grade, so it doesn’t matter if a song is famous, or obscure or new or old. They’re all on an equal plan.”

    THIS. I love you for everything you’ve posted in this thread.

  88. Vern:

    Thanks for posting that youtube link in your review to that episode of Roc. Everybody who neglected to click on it should go back and do so; it’s fascinating stuff and densely humorous.

  89. I don’t know man, how many people of Tawdry’s generation could name even 5 movies from the 1960s? It’s a nice concept but I see no evidence that the crack babies of the internet have gained a greater sense of history or timelessness from their technology than previous generations. I think it’s still only for those who care to learn about the past, which is not most people. What do you guys think?

  90. Vern- I think age and standard of living might be a factor in it too. I’m 28, so the Internet wasn’t much of a thing for most of my childhood, and we couldn’t afford cable, so my exposure to pop culture was basic tv(which was only 4 then 5 channels in the UK back then), so I grew up watching a lot of reruns of old tv and movies, though I certainly knew people the same age who had it better and were a bit less informed about the sort of stuff I would mention.

  91. Great review, but the story behind the film sounds terribly sad.

    CJ don’t feel bad about everybody ganging up on you for your love of fanny packs. They wouldn’t be so quick to do so if the legions of body builder/pro-wrestlers that don’t leave the house without them were here to defend their love of the maligned accessory.

    I don’t mean to start a big debate but I don’t understand all the hipster hate that is out there. I am not saying that I endorse or even understand hipster culture, but it seems like hipsters get a bad rap. Maybe I am wrong but I always thought being a hipster was more about doing your own thing and not conforming to societal expectations then just being ironic. Besides I am not going to judge anybody for the shit they wear because I wore some ridiculous outfits when I was younger. Sometimes I wore crazy stuff to be funny or ironic. Like when I wore a silly silver suit similar to the ones Ma$e or Puffy would have worn in a Bad Boy video to my senior picture day in high school (97) just so one day I could show my kids the pictures and have them wonder, “what the fuck is daddy wearing?”. However, in reality most of the more embracing stuff I wore I actually thought was cool at the time.

  92. “I don’t know man, how many people of Tawdry’s generation could name even 5 movies from the 1960s”

    lemme try without cheating (using the internet)

    2001: A Space Odyssey
    Psycho
    The Birds
    Easy Rider
    It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World

    see, that wasn’t so hard, I’m 23 fyi

  93. Good work, Griff. I guess what I’m questioning is Tawdry’s concept that if you grew up with the internet then you don’t distinguish between old and new, you just absorb everything. I don’t doubt that it’s true for some people but my guess is that it’s not most people.

  94. I think the point is that today, if you have the interest, you have the access. I don’t know about the average 20-30 year old, but I think Tawdry’s point is that all these kids who (ahem) Older People assume are “ironically” digesting and regurgitating and remixing and recontextualizing All of Human History might be more genuinely interested in it (or in some cases, very passionate about it) then they/we are given credit for.

    I guess it’s pretty humble of Vern to run one of the web’s best resources on his field (Badass Cinema) and not realize how many kids have learned about and sought out stuff due to his journalisming and community talkbacks. I mean, the astute Outlawvern reader can not only name 5 movies from the 60’s, they could name 5 Japanese Samurai films from the 60’s by directors who aren’t Akira Kurosawa! Without going anywhere else on the web!

  95. Griff – This was the list I thought up when I read that question:

    Psycho
    2001
    A Hard Day’s Night
    The Train (review that someday Vern!)
    Goldfinger

  96. The Original... Paul

    November 26th, 2012 at 10:57 am

    The films I know from the sixties are not films that I would associate with the sixties. “The Birds” is one of my all-time favorite films, and I wouldn’t have thought of that as an answer to Vern’s question. “Wait until Dark” and “Charade”, ditto (yeah, I’m an Audrey Hepburn fanatic, so sue me), and I’ve always considered the latter film as very much a product of its time. I guess the point I’m making is that we have the opportunity to digest more media than ever before now, and timelines (indeed context itself) tends to become less important in those circumstances.

  97. If there is one movie I would associate with the 60´s, its THE WILD BUNCH. The film itself is kind of a farewell to the western and the beginning of the more cynical action genre that would be the staple for many years and it´s handled expertly by Peckinpah. The definitive action-movie in my opinion.

  98. my movie knowledge primarily only stretches back to the 60’s, the oldest movie I’ve ever seen is The Wizard of Oz

    now I’m trying to change that, watching more movies from before the 60’s is on my life’s to do list, but I consider the 60’s to be the start of the modern day as we know it, anything prior to that is so far removed from the era in which I grew up and live in that I find it hard to emotionally connect with movies that old, it’s not a technical thing, but a culture one

    not that I’m not willing to try though

  99. Griff – If you are serious about old movies I highly recommend 1933 KING KONG, THE MALTESE FALCON,THE BIG SLEEP and TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE also THE ASPHALT JUNGLE, THE KILLING and fuckin´WHITE HEAT. Just a few truly bad ass movies,but its a start.

  100. Easy cheat to name five movies from the sixties:
    . Dr No
    . From Russia With Love
    . Goldfinger
    . Thunderball
    . You Only Live Twice

    Seriously, though, I turn 26 in a week, and I would say I’ve always known people with a pretty good knowledge of past popular culture, including some three or four years younger than me. I don’t know if they could *specify* five movies from the 60 on demand, but I certainly think they would know the names of five sixties movies. Maybe it’s a US/UK thing, maybe it’s the circles I travel in, maybe I’m just lucky (not that being able to name the second Derek Flint movie makes you better than anyone else or anything), but jokes like the secretary on 30 ROCK having no idea who Simon Le Bon is have never rung true for me.

  101. “not that being able to name the second Derek Flint movie makes you better than anyone else or anything”

    In Like Flint! In Like Flint!

  102. Not true for most people, perhaps. But I think that as much as hipsterism engages in faux-retro shenanigans, it is actually defined by and a byproduct of the internet. If you look at it from that perspective, the various cultural detritus that stands out as a unifying force amongst various hipsters is far more logical. I’m not being ironic when I wear a t-shirt for an obscure band from the 1960s; I JUST HEARD ABOUT THAT SHIT! It’s totally new to me! And so on.

    However, hipsterism very often goes too far with the cultural appropriation and steps over into racism. Because it exists almost entirely in the realm of Web 2.0, things seem cute and funny in theory that are just gross and offensive in practice. You’re only seeing the cute Native American headdress and not seeing the cultural history of Kill the Indian, Save the Man, small pox blankets, ect.

    And fuck that shit. I want no part of that section of hipsterism and I will straight up tell someone to their face when they’re being a racist doofus. And most of that hipster racism does come from a place of irony and a mistaken belief that because someone has friends of multiple ethnicity that he/she ‘understands’ the minority experience and oppression.

  103. Honestly I had no idea what a hipster was supposed to be until a couple years ago. I think it was when the Star Trek movie came out and Harry I think wrote something complaining about “hipsters” having a Star Trek party as a promotion for it? I don’t know when the “hipster” replaced the “jock” as the natural enemy to the “geek.” So I had no clue they were wearing Indian headdresses (?)

    I’m gonna have to look up hipster racism on wikipedia or something.

  104. Yeah. A bunch of brands have been holding fashion week parties with Native American themes and cocktails to promote racially insensitive fashion lines. And lots of other stuff too. Like, the ironic sects of hipsterism (who are more like yuppies crossbred with hippies) will do and say racist things as a way of showing how totally, *not* racist they are. IE,

    “Get it, because I, as a well-to-do heterosexual, white male *totally* understand the plight of underprivileged Black kids because I listened to Stra8 Outta Compton, once and went to Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles. Therefore you know that when I make jokes invoking N-bombs it’s ironic and I’m showing how the opposite is true!”

    Except, it’s not.

  105. The only pre-1960’s film you need is THE WAGES OF FEAR. Griff if you’re ever in the mood to watch the most suspenseful, Bad Ass action sequences ever filmed, please watch.

    … this is the thread to talk about things that are Bad Ass, right?

  106. Wages of Fear is so good it hurts.

  107. I’d like to take this opportunity to lament the death of the spoof genre

    I mean I love spoofs, The Kentucky Fried Movie, Airplane, Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles and Spaceballs are some of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen

    but good Lord has the genre been forever ruined by the Seltzer and Friedberg shitheads, the funniest thing those guys could do is die in a horrible car crash, their movies are so bad they should be tried for crimes against humanity

  108. The Original... Paul

    November 27th, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    Griff – you forget “Hot Shots part 2″. Ok, it’s no “Airplane”, but it’s one of my “guilty pleasure” movies (yeah, I know we don’t use that term on this site, but I don’t have any better way to describe it.)

  109. Griff-
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0bZ6Idfqt8
    Not a recommendation, but you might at least enjoy the trailer

  110. BLACK DYNAMITE is going to kung fu you all in the face for not including his movie (although it clearly transcends parody).

  111. Hotshots Part Deux is in that exclusive group where the sequel is better than the original. Godfather 2, The Empire Strikes Back, Terminator 2, and . . . Hotshots Part Deux.

  112. I do not lament the death of the spoof genre. Why? Because if there were lots of spoof movies today, they´d be spoofing newer, more recent movies I don´t give a shit about anyway. HOT SHOTS PART DEUX I think was the last one I enjoyed. Have not seen any of the SCARY MOVIES, nor will I ever.

    BLACK DYNAMITE I don´t consider a spoof, more of a homage. Instead of making fun of the cliche´s, it embraces them.

  113. I would call BLACK DYNAMITE a pastiche, not a spoof. It imitates the style and content of an existing form for humorous effect. It does not rely on the audience’s awareness of references to specific movies for its jokes, the way a spoof does. SCARY MOVIE and etc. don’t actually get the feel of the movies they parody right. They just throw the famous bits up there in the standard glossy studio comedy style and add a nutsac.

  114. Griff: Are you telling us you haven’t seen CITIZEN KANE? Man, you’ve got hours and hours of great films in your future.

    I’m willing to propose that if you can identify with the GODFATHER movies, CITIZEN KANE shouldn’t be much of a stretch for your imagination thematically (though David Fincher’s reputation as a stylist might suffer a bit in comparison to what Welles accomplishes). And I don’t think anyone as well-versed in Japanese animation as you are will find MODERN TIMES especially alien.

    Other old movies that feel surprisingly modern:

    MESHES OF THE AFTERNOON
    HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR
    THE SEVENTH SEAL
    BICYCLE THIEF
    M (brilliant sound design techniques still used today, especially by Fincher)
    EYES WITHOUT A FACE
    THE THIRD MAN
    ZERO DE CONDUITE (precursor to both Pink Floyd’s THE WALL and ANIMAL HOUSE, featuring a sadistic dwarf!)
    IKIRU (the film LEAVING LAS VEGAS wishes it could be)

  115. I dunno, you can sit around with your buddies and make fun of stuff in stupid ways, I don’t see why you gotta actually MAKE A MOVIE about it.

    I bet Mel Brooks would get a kick out of the whole “40 year old virgin who did other Judd Apatow titles” joke title Vern cited in the beginning of the review. (But on the other hand I fucking die laughing every time I hear that “Did you say Abe Lincoln?” joke in his Robin Hood spoof, so wtf do i know…)

  116. “M (brilliant sound design techniques still used today, especially by Fincher)”

    ^^^ Awesome, watch immediately. Also DUCK SOUP.

  117. What amazes me about DUCK SOUP isn’t that the Marx Brothers’ satire of nationalism was a scathing comment on Hitler’s rise to power in Germany, but that it still resonates as a commentary on today’s politics.

    Also, changing sides during a war “because the food is better.”

  118. So we are making a list of aweome old movie and nobody mentions NIGHT OF THE HUNTER? (Although to be honest, the 2nd half isn’t as good as the 1st. Still a great movie.)

  119. NIGHT OF THE HUNTER is, indeed, the tits. (Makers of DVD covers: You have my permission to use that.) So theatrical and gothic, a spooky psychodrama that’s bold enough to border on camp but never quite crosses the line. You know that PRECIOUS dude has seen it like 50 times.

    I’m far from an expert on Ye Olde Cinema, but here are some of my favorite black-and-white type filmaticals:

    M (thirded)
    MAN HUNT (great Fritz Lang WWII spy film made before the U.S. got involved with a rousingly gung-ho “Let’s show Adolf what-for” ending)
    PATHS OF GLORY (Kubrick’s great WWI film)
    THE LADY VANISHES and THE 39 STEPS (two of Hitchcock’s last British films, both of them breezy, sophisticated comic thrillers)
    THE SET UP (Excellent real-time boxing drama from Robert Wise)
    BLAST OF SILENCE (real gutter beatnik hitman movie filmed on real locations)
    WILD STRAWBERRIES (my favorite Bergman movie, about an old guy having weird trippy dreams as he looks back over his life)
    THE VIRGIN SPRING (surprisingly faithful LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT premake)

  120. I would also like to add Lubitch’s TO BE OR NOT TO BE.

    (Although to be honest, I slightly prefer the Mel Brooks version, just because it adds more layers to the story, personality to the supporting characters and suspense to the right moments [like when the old jewish couple has to walk through a room full of Nazis]. The original is still damn hilarious.)

  121. Bergman films hold up surprisingly well. I was going to put HOUR OF THE WOLF on my list but it falls after Griff’s cut-off year of 1960.

    WILD STRAWBERRIES is so great. It’s nice to know what the Professor and Marianne did prior to getting stranded on that island.

  122. Bergman…GRRRR!

  123. I finally got around to watching the restored METROPOLIS last weekend, and it’s a real jaw dropper. Excepting the corny message, it’s a film of such amazing scope and imagination, and pretty much set the template for every cinematic sci-fi dystopia to follow.

  124. It just now occurs to me that we are dealing with a rare Danny Trejo starring role here and we’re reduced to discussing Lang and Bergman films. All because of a fannypack.

    Do you see now, CJ? Do you see how dangerous they are?

  125. If we can get rid of Bergman-discussions,I´m all for it.

  126. And in a Danny Trejo discussion-thread?! Fuck you guys for bringing HIM up…

  127. What’s your problem with Bergman? He’s not exactly my go-to Scandinavian filmatician (not while Renny Harlin is still walking the earth) but you can’t front on his skills and his influence.

  128. Meshes of the Afternoon totally has Halloween costumes, which I find hilarious.

  129. My problem with Bergman, is ´cause I´m swedish. A far as a I am concerned he ruined swedish cinema for so many years. It´s not until now, more diverse stuff is in the making.

  130. Genre-movies have had a hard time in Sweden. Usually it´s Bergman-esque shit in the making or just lowbrow comedy.Guys like Anders Nilsson or Mats Helge Olsson has been a bit of fresh air from a usually stagnant swedish film industry devoted to just two things.

    Mats Helge Olsson´s THE NINJA MISSION is ni masterpiece by no means, its acually pretty shitty. But it marks a departure from the standard putout from Sweden. His protege Anders Nilsson has made some excellent action-pictures that should have been noticed outside Scandinavia. Stuff like EXECUTIVE PROTECTION ( from which my Johan Falk avatar is from) or THE THIRD WAVE, Movies that highlights different aspects of the swedish film industry than the usual depressing gloom.

  131. Yeah, it can be frustrating when one style overwhelms all others. But you can’t really blame the guy who started it. He just did his thing and was so successful at it that everyone else felt they had to copy him. Don’t hate the player, etc.

  132. I have a theory that we will end up discussing exactly the opposite of whatever the initial topic of discussion is. Did we start talking about John Cassavettes in the last Star Wars review?

  133. Shoot, don’t be modest, I’ve seen 15 movies and TV movies with Johan Falk as the hero now, and they’re all good enough to be released world wide.

    By the way, I’m with you on the Bergman thing.

  134. Well, I blame Bergman, allright.

  135. “BLACK DYNAMITE I don´t consider a spoof, more of a homage. Instead of making fun of the cliche´s, it embraces them.”

    that’s how I interpreted the movie too, it’s one of my favorite movies of the last few years, but it’s not quite a spoof

    “Griff: Are you telling us you haven’t seen CITIZEN KANE? Man, you’ve got hours and hours of great films in your future.”

    I’m afraid not, but keep in mind guys, I’m only 23, I’ve got my whole life ahead of me to watch all these classic movies and now that most of them are out on blu ray I can see them for the first time in quality much higher than dvd

  136. “I’ve got my whole life ahead of me to watch all these classic movies and now that most of them are out on blu ray I can see them for the first time in quality much higher than dvd”

    This is more or less how I feel about it. There’s always tons of great movies to watch from every era. Fuck dude, you guys will kill me for this but I just saw HALLOWEEN for the first time this Halloween!

  137. “Wait a minute. Why are you mad at me? He’s the one who ate your father.”

    There just aren’t enough spoofs to make a genre, Griff, even if you count the dreadful EPIC MOVIE junk. As I mentioned way at the top the most successful spoofs have either been outright parodies of specific movie(s) or genre spoofs. I’d say TOP SECRET stands alone as a cross-genre parody since THE KENTUCKY FRIED MOVIE is more a series of skits, and I’m sure its lack of financial success compared to other ZAZ flicks kept that dream from blossoming. Too bad really as the genre mash up possibilities are easy to imagine.

    To the rest, HOT SHOTS PART DEUX is great but can’t hold a candle to the original which followed the plot of a huge Hollywood success closely while both slamming it and subtly tweaking it all the way.

    “If it helps, I didn’t have seconds.”

  138. Griff, you may feel that way now, but soon you’ll have a wife, kids, job etc and you won’t be able to see contemporary movies, let alone the classics, because the closest thing you get to leisure time is spending the commute home from work fantasising about driving your sensible compact into a pylon.

    So watch KANE now.

  139. Yeah, but Biggie was only 24 when he died. Tupac was 25. Jimi and Kurt were 27. Get your movie watching in fellas.

  140. Griff – You are only two years younger than Orson Welles was when he *made* CITIZEN KANE.

  141. “Orson Welles was when he *made* CITIZEN KANE.”

    I stared at this for so long trying to figure out why you were being sarcastic about Orson Welles making CK…then I realized they were *s and not “s…

  142. Originally I had it capitalised for emphasis, but then it looked like I was talking about a movie called MADE CITIZEN KANE.

  143. “Griff – You are only two years younger than Orson Welles was when he *made* CITIZEN KANE.”

    holy shit, really?

  144. Picasso was in his blue period when he was 24. Dylan released “Like A Rolling Stone” when he was 24. Robert Johnson died at 27 years.

    And just to make us all look like jerks, Arthur Rimbaud quit writing poetry when he was 19.

    ShootMcKay: Did ABBA dominate Swedish taste in music the way Bergman dominated the style of films being made?

  145. hahahaha, my generation is damn lazy then, aren’t we?

  146. Hey, don’t blame your whole generation. That iCarly works like a mule.

  147. jareth – Regarding ABBA, They certainly were a big part of swedish music industry. If it were not for them, we would not have had Roxette,Ace of Base or Robyn I believe. Swedish pop music started with them, but they were not entirely representative of the 1970´s swedish music. There was a lot of “political” music, very leftwing angry stuff back then and that kind of music is perhaps more associated with the swedish 1970´s than ABBA ever was.

  148. Crappy music are the same all over the world, and we would have been just fine without ABBA, Ace of Bace and The Swedish House Mafia. Sweden’s finest contribution to the world of music are the greatest punk band ever, Ebba Grön, and rock bands like Wilmer X, The Nomads and Perssons Pack. No other Scandinavian acts, Norwegian, Danish or Finish, come even close to those names.

  149. For years, I dismissed ABBA as just another one of those white disco bands that don’t have any soul. But one drunken night my roommate and I gave them a chance, and holy shit, ABBA is awesome. They’re not just a dance band. They have way more of a power-pop feel to them than I thought, and their use of synthesizers was a good decade ahead of its time. You can basically hear them inventing the eighties in the seventies. It might not be your cup of tea but anybody who’s a fan of solid pop craftsmanship would be remiss to dismiss ABBA.

    I would also like to sample the badass triumphant keyboard trumpet gallop from “Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight)” and sell the beat to M.O.P. without telling them where it’s from. Because that would be hilarious.

  150. Majestyk: Between ABBA and Blondie, which do you prefer?

    pegsman: There’s a bunch of Swedish musicians that are well-respected here in Canada, at least among the Pitchfork crowd: Stina Nordenstam, Cardigans, Concretes/Taken By Trees, The Hives, El Perro Del Mar, Jens Lekman, Lykke Li: more than enough good stuff to make up for that damn “Cotton Eye Joe” song that you guys exported in the 1990s.

    Swedes are probably sick of hearing it, but I think The Knife’s album Silent Shout is one of the best things released in the last ten years.

  151. Nah, ABBA were maybe everything that Mr Majestyk say they were, but SPARKS (not Swedish though) did it all better.

  152. I gotta give it to ABBA. I like a few Blondie songs but I never really had much of a connection to them. Hate to say it, but I think they’re a better marketing strategy than a band. Granted, I have not explored too many of their deep cuts, which is usually where you can get a true sense of what a band can do. Perhaps it’s time to give them more of a chance.

    I’ll definitely look into Sparks, though. Any band that can out-ABBA ABBA has got to be worth exploring.

    I also like The Hives and Jens Lekman.

  153. Majestyk: Since you’re here, I have one completely unrelated question I’ve always wanted to ask you:

    Have you seen DEADWOOD? If so, did you know that Brad Dourif was in it prior to watching? Also, did you find DEADWOOD suffered from some of the same problems you had with CARNIVALE?

  154. Majestyk: Two more things that speak for Sparks:

    – They are still making music and haven’t realesed one bad album yet (they are they are good or brillant)

    – They wrote the score and theme song for KNOCK OFF!

  155. I saw DEADWOOD and loved it. I could say that it suffered from the same problems as CARNIVALE (meandering plotting that never actually arrives anywhere) but I didn’t mind because, unlike CARNIVALE, I liked all the characters and had fun just spending time with them. It also helped that its protagonist was the great Timothy Olyphant and not the oily charisma vacuum that is Nick Stahl.

    I did know Dourif was on it. That was why I started watching it, actually. A friend told me that he played the most decent character on the show, and that was something I had to see.

  156. I think your friend might have been forgetting Charlie Utter and Sol Star when he nominated Cochran as Most Decent resident of Deadwood: Cochran had been repeatedly busted for grave-robbing and performing unsolicited autopsies, after all.

    There’s this moment when Cochran thinks he’ll have to perform surgery on Sweregen; his hand is trembling and he says something to the effect of: “Lord, don’t make me take another life:” Dourif somehow balances a devastating range of elements in that moment – humor, pathos, fear. Just phenomenal stuff.

    Apparently his daughter also played one of the whores at Powers Booth’s place.

  157. But all the graverobbing and autopsying was in the name of medicine! The ignorant philistines of the 19th century just didn’t understand the scientific method.

  158. After being called a Swede, and since we’re on the subject of brilliant western television, I can finally fit in a quote from HELL ON WHEELS; “They call me the Swede, but I’m actually Norwegian!” Marvelous! Now I can get drunk (relax, it’s night here in Norway) and come back later fit for fight!

  159. It’s such a beautiful combination of compassion and cynicsm in that character, like when his compassion for the dying priest compells him to curse God as a son of a bitch.

    I didn’t know Dourif was on the show, and, as is so often the case, I recognized his voice before recognizing his face. That was like finding out that your new pretty girlfriend is also filthy rich.

    Similar thing happened with LORD OF THE RINGS.

  160. Guys, I’d argue that the vast majority of the meandering-ness on DEADWOOD was a result of its premature cancellation. You check out from season 1 to season 3, there’s a lot of plot threads that start off, develop, escalate and pay off, only to make way for MORE plot threads that were cut off in their prime.

    The very last image of the show was pretty good, but still. A damn shame, all things considered.

  161. I agree, Jam. It ended right when the uberplot was starting to come into focus. The same thing happened on CARNIVALE. For me, that show’s lack of closure basically made the entire thing a waste of time, while DEADWOOD was still a journey worth taking, even if it never reaches its destination.

  162. DEADWOOD’s seasons are more self-contained than CARNIVALE’s; where DEADWOOD ended each season with a kind of resolution, CARNIVALE saved some of its best tricks for its season-ending cliff-hangers (Sophie’s mom grabbing her daughter’s wrist and tipping over the lamp at the end of the first season being one of my favorite moments of anything ever).

    Even though I prefer CARNIVALE, I’ll always be grateful to DEADWOOD for letting Major Dad be such a hard-ass (among many other things).

    Also, how many times do I have to type his name before Google alerts Brad Dourif and sends him here to investigate? Should I be saying his name quickly three times in front of a mirror?

  163. Jareth – I don´t know who The Knifes are actually, so I can´t say I´m sick of hearing about them, when I´ve never listened to them. I´ll give them a listen sometime,though. As a kind of a metalhead and a swede, I have to give a shoutout to Candlemass. Heavily influenced of Black Sabbath, their slowpaced,lumbering doom-metal is simply wonderful to listen to. Unless you want your music to fill yourself with joy,hope and all that bullshit I never understood anyway,that is. Listening to Candlemass gives you that warm,fuzzy comforting feeling of impending doom,lying in the couch waiting for the grim reaper to be knocking on your door like a Jehovas witness. But instead of selling the concept of salvation, he gives you the option of rocking it out in fires of hell with the big boys.

  164. The first season of CARNIVALE is pretty amazing. But the second season had the “oh shit! we better tie up what we were trying to do before we get cancelled” kind of deal. A real shitty season with heavy emphasizing on extensive expositional dialogue making the show moving along much faster than I was comfortable with. The slowpacing of the first season was part of what made it magical to me. I wish I could have had the second season un-watched.

    Still,nice to see Clancy Brown getting a real good part. Usually he´s stuck playing prison guards in overrated movies or whatnot. Here he gets to shine. He can be pretty imposing and he´s great in this.

    DEADWOOD is a classic. I was never too impressed by Timothy Olyphant at this point. There were a lot of actors in this that impressed me more. Ian McShane as Swearengen is one of my favourite characterizations of alltime. What an actor and what a performance.

    THE CRAZIES was the movie were I actually started to like Olyphant as an actor and since then…? Well, JUSTIFIED fuckin´shot him through the roof.

  165. Hey, has anybody heard from Tawdry since this thread?

  166. Vern, Griff— I have a theory about Tawdry’s whereabouts. After years & years of being a non-licensed psychologist and 35-45 minutes of close scrutiny of this here talkback, I can only surmise that Tawdry has gone off the grid. Not “John Connor in Terminator 3 gone off the grid”, but something less about stealth mode and more about self-enlightenment.

    Note his initial dismay about the Epic Beard Man video. Not the typical “Damn, ain’t THAT a bitch” semi-dismissive reaction many of us get when we read of another’s misfortune on the Internet news services, or watch it on TV. The struggles of and the unjust hand life had dealt Epic Beard Man seemed to strike a deeper, more responsive chord in Tawdry… perhaps awakening in him an empathy he didn’t previously realize he possessed.

    Further note the talkback’s segue (and I’ll be fucked if I know why) into an intense examination of Hipsterism and its accompanying fashion shackles. Obviously a subject near & dear to him, as he seemed to shake off the EBMv lamentation funk he had gotten bogged down in. So… normalcy has been restored. But the deeper the talkback got into the Hipster subculture, the more cathartic Tawdry’s responses became… as if he were, by discussing it here, suddenly and obliquely calling into question the validity of his whole Hipster persona.

    It’s not everyday you see someone bare their soul online, get bent about their current trajectory, and decide to change their dance card from the Tango to the Watusi (so to speak). But I think that’s what Tawdry has done here. My guess: he’s now bereft of his fancy hipster clothes/lifestyle (but still retaining the whole “PBR as beer of choice” dealie) and had gone undercover as a nasty, smelly, janky homeless man in order to:
    1.) Feel firsthand the true pain & despair of the Epic Beard Men of the world, and thus come to terms with his anguish, and extinguish any residual guilt bred fom the juxtaposition of his own carefree hipster whiteboyz existence with the world of Mad Dog 20/20 and dumpster cuisine that EB Men live in.
    2.) Provide material for a new spec script that will be the basis for an immersive documentary about the plight of the homeless; i.e., sorta like Undercover Boss meets Morgan Spurlock, but with dead cat kabobs and the smell of day-old puke.

    Anyway, if I’m correct about this… I look forward to seeing the finished product.

  167. I am rather looking forward to possibly meeting our friend Tawdry in L.A. at some point, and possibly somehow parlaying that meeting into a first-time meeting with my close personal friend John Hyams.

    We failed to find time for a real life encounter when I e-mailed him from Studio City a few months ago, and I’ve only been briefly in & out of his city since then. Oh well, maybe one of us should contact Collider and ask what’s up.

  168. Amazing Larry, that was…well, amazing

  169. We’re trying to discourage our local white supremacist bigots, Griff. Please ignore that dude.

  170. Griff— Thanks, dude.
    Mouth— Why not post a pic or two of your new “abode” in Beverly Hills? Perhaps a candid front lawn shot of you and your Alexandra Daddario lookalike girlfriend? I’m sure we’d all like to see it.

  171. I’m not big on posting photos with recognizable non-famous faces, especially not at the request/demand of bigots.

    Anyone here wants to chill at my new house once I’m permanent in Cali, I’ll be glad to relay the pertinent info through phone/text/e-mail channels, as I’ve freely done several times in previous instances in other cities with other OutlawVern forumites, including a few who met my other other old girlyfriend in person. I believe they were all a fan of her brand new tattoo behind her left back bra strap. Good times.

  172. I don’t know what I should put this under, but BAD ASS sounds about right; has anyone seen the new series BANSHEE, and what do you think about it?!

  173. My friend is in episode 3. Small role.

    You should all watch it.

    I haven’t seen it.

  174. “Valet Parker”
    (Not related to the Westlake character. Or Statham’s PARKER. Or Mel Gibson’s Porter/Parker. That I know of.)

    I got invited to the BANSHEE premiere [party] with my boy, which would have been great because I really want to yell something about the rent being due, motherfucker, to Frankie Faison, but there was a scheduling conflict.

    The more exciting news is that my friend is being filmed by none other than Roger fucking Deakins in a few weeks for a small speaking part opposite Jake Gyllenhall.

  175. Mouth, what part of BH are you in? I spend a lot of time there these days, you still have my email address? I lost my phone the day we were supposed to kick it and ended up seeing Cosmopolis at the new Lammle in NoHo instead. (Bad choice. I almost walked out).

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