Holding the Razzies Accountable: Vern on the Other Great Awards Injustice

Okay, so at the Oscars Jerry Seinfeld pissed off the documentarians, the theater owners, and if I were one of those minimum wagers who have to clean up theaters I don’t think I’d be too happy with him either. We know you’re a millionaire bud, if the popcorn is too expensive just bring some caviar from home. But pick up your own garbage, asshole.

Me, I’m thinking bad thoughts about a different set of awards. Every year around Oscar season you see articles and discussions popping up about “when Oscar got it wrong,” usually pointing to The Unfortunate Dances With Wolves Over Goodfellas Affair as well as the career-long snubs of Hitchcock and Kubrick (please remember to delete references to Scorsese not having an Oscar before recycling that essay next year). Coinciding with those writings are the annual blurbs on the Golden Raspberries, which can be summed up as “ha ha, that crazy bitch Sharon Stone made a bad movie, ha ha.” You don’t usually see complaints about the Razzie people getting it wrong, but they do it all the time. I know it’s all supposed to be in fun and nobody really thinks about it too much, but still – these people have been getting attention this way for 25 years. Either we hold them to a certain standard or maybe it’s time we gave this smarmy tradition the gong. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Departed

If you saw INFERNAL AFFAIRS you know the storyline. Undercover cop vs. undercover gangster. There’s alot of stories about cops going undercover in gangs, but this one also has a member of the crime family who entered the police academy and moved up the ranks as a mole for his gang. So now both traitors are well situated and it starts to get obvious to both sides that they have a mole in their midst. And the moles are given the job of finding out who the mole is. It could be called LOS TOPOS.

Mr. Scorsese took that premise and moved it to Boston and told his own story about contemporary Boston criminals. Scorsese’s young associate Leonardo Del Caprio (looking more like Benicio Del Toro every year) plays the cop who pretends to get kicked out of the force, does some time and then joins Jack Nicholson’s gang. Matt Damon plays the cop who’s really working for the gang. We first see him as a little kid getting money from Nicholson in a diner. And the kid they chose is a dead ringer. They even taught him how to cock his eyebrow like Damon. Somebody’s gonna have to find a young Ben Affleck doppelganger and these two can go on the road. Or they could do THE YOUNG JASON BOURNE MYSTERIES where the camera shakes around while he’s fighting some kid in a treehouse. (read the rest of this shit…)

Babel

It turns out we’re all connected.

The end.

Nah, just fuckin with you. So last year, 2006, some people said was the Year of the Mexican Director because of the so-called Three Amigos, named hopefully not after the Chevy Chase movie but after a half English, half Spanish phrase that literally translates as “Tres Friends”:

AMIGO #1, Alfonso Cuaron, broke through to the V.I.P. Director’s Lounge with CHILDREN OF MEN, which alot of us consider the best or one of the best movies of 2006.

AMIGO #2, Guillermo Del Toro, finally got some respect from the fancypants establishment critics and Oscar voters with arguably his best Blade-less movie to date, PAN’S LABYRINTH.

But it was #3, Alejandro González Iñárritu, who got his new one BABEL somehow nominated for best picture, with some people (comparing it to CRASH because of its multi-cultural ensemble cast, goofy coincidences and themes of different cultures interacting) thinking it’s gonna win. (read the rest of this shit…)

Vern! Steven Seagal! Whattaya Need… A Road Map?!

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here.

It wouldn’t be a holiday weekend without our own Vern digging in with a review of a new Steven Seagal film.

Savor it like fine wine. I did.

FLIGHT OF FURY
Starring Steven Seagal
co-written by Steven Seagal

Well, it pains me to admit it guys, but Steven Seagal may be in a small rut here, at least movie-wise. Everyone knows his heart is in playin the blues right now, yet between guitar solos he’s still poppin out 3 movies a year. I’m definitely not counting my man out yet, especially with him directing PRINCE OF PISTOLS still a possibility. But after MERCENARY FOR JUSTICE, SHADOW MAN, ATTACK FORCE and now FLIGHT OF FURY all in a row, I feel like he’s not at his highest potential of achievement right now. Somebody forwarded me his tour rider for some reason (somehow people got the idea I was obsessed with Steven Seagal) and I noticed he’s drinking Red Bull, not his own Steven Seagal Lightning Bolt energy drink. So that might be part of the problem. (read the rest of this shit…)

Ghost Rider

GHOST RIDER is the story of an Evil Knievel type motorcycle jumper named Johnny Blaze who accidentally drips blood on a contract with the devil so his dad is cured of cancer but then dies in a motorcycle accident the next day so he leaves his girlfriend and then about 15 or 20 years later the devil turns him into a burning magic skeleton so he has to fight some gothy monster dudes and hang out with a cowboy (Sam Elliot, obviously). If you’re into bullshit like that, you might like this movie, but probaly not. I have too much respect for you to assume that.

Now, I gotta admit I went into this movie knowing I would not like it, and actually hoping it would be hilariously bad. It’s not like this is a surprise – the last movie by this director is DAREDEVIL, an absolutely fucking horrible comic book movie about a chubby blind lawyer in a red gimp outfit who fights a villain whose power is that he can kill people by flicking peanuts at them. (I’m not joking.) This is basically the same type of bullshit with more uncomfortable failed attempts at humor and a bigger budget for lots of cheesy video game style effects. (Apparently this movie cost $120 million, which almost makes me cry.) (read the rest of this shit…)

The Holy Mountain

PLOT SUMMARY: When a dwarf with no hands or feet and some little kids try to stone a naked dude they found passed out, pissing himself with his face covered in flies, the naked dude and the little guy smoke a joint, hug and become fast friends. So they go into town, where tourists laugh and take pictures of the troops executing school children, and they watch the frogs and chameleons re-enact the conquest of Mexico in a model city. Also the naked dude looks like Jesus and these guys drug him and make a cast of him and he wakes up surrounded by hundreds of duplicates of himself so he screams and smashes them but takes one and carries it around for a while and later he eats its face off and ties it to a bunch of helium balloons and sets it free. He hangs out with 12 hookers in matching see-through black outfits. One of them is an old lady, one is a little girl and they also have a chimpanzee. Some people might call it 13 hookers I guess, but I’m old fashioned so I’m gonna assume the chimpanzee is just an associate and not a professional. (read the rest of this shit…)

Ballbuster

Remember when that jackass Geraldo opened up Al Capone’s vault on live tv, and there was nothing inside? I know he remembers, people probaly give him shit about that four times a day. Well, most of us are smart enough to check inside the vault before we go live on tv, but the truth is that most of our big discoveries turn out to be a bust. I mean, if it was easy to find gold it wouldn’t be gold, would it?

I only bring this up because when I discovered this little known ’80s blaxploitation/karate dude from Indianapolis named Ivan Rogers, and especially when I found his movie BALLBUSTER, I figured I had pretty much just opened Al Capone’s vault and found Jimmy Hoffa and Amelia Eirhart’s skeletons inside holding hands. I mean the title alone is a treasure, but you read the back of the box, one of those way-too-detailed synopsises you find on some real low budget movies, and you gotta get excited: Ivan Rogers plays a P.I. named Roosevelt “Ballbuster” Prophet. I repeat, his name is Roosevelt “Ballbuster” Prophet. Two of the villains he fights are called Hacksaw and Paycheck. Later he fights mercenaries called “The Nasty Boys.” (I’m not sure if they said this in the movie, so I’m glad it’s mentioned on the box.) (read the rest of this shit…)

Black Caesar

In my opinion BLACK CAESAR is one of my favorite blaxploitation movies. It’s got a good story and direction (by Larry Cohen), a badass soundtrack (by James Brown) and a super badass lead (Fred Williamson). Fred plays a cruel motherfucker, sort of a Scarface type anti-hero, but makes him mostly sympathetic.

You already know the movie is good at the beginning because it has such a good and unusual opening. Fred’s character Tommy Gibbs is a kid (played by some young guy, don’t worry it’s not Fred wearing a beanie or nothin) working as a shoe shine boy.

There’s a nervous white man in a suit, looking over his shoulder, but Tommy convinces him to get a quick shine. Suddenly a scary mafia dude comes out with a gun and the whitey tries to run. But Tommy holds onto his shoe. After the dude is dead, Tommy meets up with the mafia dude in an alley. He gets his payment and also gets to hold the murder weapon and check it out. This kid may have some problems, is the idea. (read the rest of this shit…)

Elektra

ELEKTRA was considered sort of a flop when it came out a year or two ago, and that made the studios think there just isn’t money in female action heroes or female biopics. This may have led to the troubles with the Edie Sedgwick movie, the limited release of the Betty Page movie, etc. However, this very unorthodox and presumably fictionalized biography of Carmen Elektra is not really as bad as I thought it would be.

Jennifer Garner (Felicity) plays Elektra (they never call her Carmen) as a brooding, obsessive compulsive ninja assassin who has recently returned from the dead. (a little exaggerated there, in my opinion.) She imagines herself as a major player in some kind of mystical war between good and evil forces. I think you can interpret it a couple of ways, alot of people probaly take it literally and figure this is like CONFESSIONS OF A DANGEROUS MIND, this is telling us that the whole time we thought Carmen Elektra was just some chick on BAYWATCH or SINGLED OUT or whatever, she was actually also a ninja assassin. On this mission she goes to an island somewhere, it is not exactly a beach paradise but still she could be filming some pickups for BAYWATCH or MTV Spring Break while she’s there and then after she’s done with those she’s gonna assassinate some people. (read the rest of this shit…)

By Popular Demand! Vern Reviews The GYMKATA DVD!!

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here.

What else needs to be said?

This makes me giddy the same way Neill reviewing 300 did. Sometimes the right reviewer gets hold of the right film, and the result is… well, see for yourself:

I believe Donald Drunko was the name of the wiseguy talkback newsie who kept bugging Harry and Moriarty to review the GYMKATA DVD, and then roped me into it. If so this is for you, Drunko. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy to perform this important service. Number one, I am a positive individual so I try to give back to the community. Number two, I always meant to see this horse shit anyway.

GYMKATA is the 1985 picture by Mr. Robert Clouse, director of ENTER THE DRAGON, BLACK BELT JONES, CHINA O’BRIEN and various other American martial arts pictures. Unfortunately he must’ve hit upon some hard times during the Reagan years because here he is rehashing ENTER THE DRAGON but instead of finding a cool new martial artist to star in it he got a gymnast. Kurt Thomas was a world champion and was expected to win a gold medal in the 1980 Olympics, but the US team boycotted over the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. If he had gone maybe he would’ve won, but maybe he wouldn’t have and people woulda been disappointed, the shine woulda been gone on him and nobody would’ve wanted to make GYMKATA. What I’m saying is this movie and Osama bin Laden are both unintended consequences of the same conflict. And I can say objectively that the better of the two is GYMKATA. GYMKATA is better than Osama bin Laden. (read the rest of this shit…)