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Oscar!Watch 2015: My Predictions

Oscar!Watch 2015: My Predictions

You guys, someday I’ll get back into this, I promise. Maybe next Friday night, I’ll kick off Movies Alaina’s Never Seen 2: The ReDeepening. I mean, I barely cracked anything open last year, and here it is almost March. Maybe I just need to schedule it or something. Not Thursdays, though; Thursdays are gonna be real busy next month. Between Trivia Nights and The Princess Bride Quote-A-Long, I’m pretty much booked solid. Plus my birthday, which is also a Thursday.

But y’all didn’t tune into this because this blog is called Diary Entries Alaina’s Never Made. Y’all hopefully clicked whichever link brought you here because you’re curious as to whether I think Will Tippin’s gonna win an Oscar. (SPOILER ALERT: Not this year, Will.)

This is the part where I’d roll out a cute Photoshopped banner, but I don’t have Photoshop on this netbook, so here’s the MS Paint reenactment:

OscarWatch

Heh heh heh, I’ve missed this. (Also, I’m gonna make a Tom Collins.)

Best Original Screenplay
Nominees: Birdman; Boyhood; Foxcatcher; The Grand Budapest Hotel; Nightcrawler

This will be the first match-up between Boyhood and Birdman, so let’s get some stuff out of the way regarding these two first.

Birdman was the first movie I saw during the Oscar!Watch Official Period (the day the nominees are announced through the day before the awards ceremony), and I still don’t know how I feel about it. There were parts of it I really, really liked; and then there were parts that I didn’t like as much. Being a person who identifies herself as the modern-day, female version of the great Addison De Witt (or at least a person who aspires to be the modern-day female version of Addison De Witt), I can pick a Chekov’s Whatever out at the most normal of times, but in Birdman, there was a Chekov’s Whatever that was not only gift-wrapped, but the wrapping paper had written all over it THIS WILL PLAY A MAJOR PART LATER PAY ATTENTION TO THIS SEEMINGLY MEANINGLESS PROP. And if there’s one thing I abhor, it’s lazy writing. But at the same time, the writing didn’t feel lazy; because all of the action takes place in a theatre, I start to think, “maybe Innaritu meant to make it look lazy, to make a point on how people rely on such tropes, where they could be creative and find another solution to their problem.”

Basically, Birdman has kept me thinking about it, and I saw it almost six weeks ago.

Boyhood, on the other hand … I realize the movie took twelve years to make, but was I the only one who felt the movie was twelve years too long?

So I’m going to give a slight edge to Birdman for its creativity. Of these nominees, the only film I haven’t watched is Nightcrawler, How did I enjoy Foxcatcher and/or The Grand Budapest Hotel? Well … Grand Budapest is classic Wes Anderson, and obviously the film made an impression, seeing as how it was released in February 2014. But do I think it’s better than Birdman? No. Will I be surprised if Boyhood wins? No, but I don’t think the writing was very strong.

I MEAN THERE WASN’T EVEN REALLY A PLOT although I guess that life itself doesn’t really have a plot BUT STILL

Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominees: American Sniper; The Imitation Game; Inherent Vice; The Theory of Everything; Whiplash

Of this list, I have seen only The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything. Full disclosure: I really had no interest in seeing American Sniper. As much as I love Bradley Cooper (and it’s a lot – again, I saw him as Will Tippin on Alias … oh shit, fourteen years ago?? I have got to stop counting things), I couldn’t stomach the thought of sitting through a two-plus hour movie extolling the virtues of blind jingoism. So I passed. Inherent Vice came up to one theatre in Maine, I think? And I could have seen Whiplash, and I still kind of want to, because I love J.K. Simmons, but I just never somehow made it.

So of the two movies I’ve actually watched in this category, I’m going to go with The Imitation Game, because I like how the flashforwards were woven between the main plot, and really, I just liked the story better.

But honestly, this category’s kind of a crap shoot.

Best Director
Nominees: Birdman; Boyhood; Foxcatcher; The Grand Budapest Hotel; The Imitation Game

Guys, Richard Linklater directed Boyhood over twelve fucking years. If you think the Oscars aren’t going to award that level of tenacity, then you clearly haven’t been watching the same self-masturbatory award show I’ve been watching for the past …. mumblemumble years.

Best Supporting Actress
Nominees: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood; Laura Dern, Wild; Keira Knightly, The Imitation Game; Emma Stone, Birdman; Meryl Streep, Into the Woods

Let’s get two people out of the way first: Meryl Streep is not going to win her next Oscar for playing The Witch in Into the Woods. She was fine, but the Oscars aren’t going to give Meryl Streep a Best Supporting Actress Oscar; it’s just not done. Two: Keira Knightly is fine in The Imitation Game, but she didn’t blow me away.

I liked Emma Stone’s role in Birdman, but it’s her first nomination. While the Academy has been known to reward first-time nominees fresh out of the gate — and nowhere is that more apparent than in this category in particular — I don’t think this is the right time for her to win.

That leaves Patricia Arquette and Laura Dern. I loved Laura Dern in Wild – between the subtle direction, the writing, and Reese Witherspoon’s guiding hands, Laura Dern’s character’s presence is felt in every frame of the film, and most of that can be attributed to her portrayal. Having said that, Patricia Arquette has won nearly every award leading up to this, so I’m going to go with Patricia Arquette to win, even though I really didn’t like that movie or her character, and if I’m wrong and it goes to Laura Dern, just be aware that I will be celebrating.

Best Supporting Actor
Nominees: Robert Duvall, The Judge; Ethan Hawke, Boyhood; Edward Norton, Birdman; Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher; J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

Remember, I haven’t seen Whiplash, and I also didn’t catch The Judge. Let’s be real, Robert Duvall isn’t going to win here. Of the three films I’ve seen, I’d give an edge to Edward Norton because I really liked his character (although if Mark Ruffalo wins, I wouldn’t be mad), but let’s be real, J.K. Simmons is going to walk away with this, based on all the other awards and buzz he’s won.

Best Actress
Nominees: Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night; Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything; Julianne Moore, Still Alice; Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl; Reese Witherspoon, Wild

One of the reasons I’m not as huge a fan of The Theory of Everything that I’d like to be is because I feel the movie was based on a book written by Jane Hawking, but she’s a supporting player in the life of Stephen Hawking. Fucking Hollywood, man. Anyway. If anyone thinks they’re not going to finally give Julianne Moore the award she should have won by now, then you really haven’t been watching the Oscars. And unlike Kate Winslet’s pity Oscar for The Reader, Julianne Moore will have earned it for Still Alice.

Best Actor
Nominees: Steve Carell, Foxcatcher: Bradley Cooper, American Sniper; Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game; Michael Keaton, Birdman; Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything.

Hey look, a category where I’ve seen all the movies!

Let’s take this in alphabetical order. Now, I love Steve Carell; I was addicted to The Office when it was on, and while I would love nothing more than to see him win an Oscar — and I do believe he will, eventually — I don’t think he’ll win it for this film. Unfortunately, there were a couple of lines that he said as DuPont that could have almost just as easily come out of Michael Scott’s mouth, and if I noticed it, I’m sure some other people did as well. Not saying he wasn’t great; because he was. He just wasn’t good enough.

Bradley Cooper. Beautiful, amazing Bradley Cooper. Little Will Tippin, all grown up. Sure, he’s getting some buzz for Chris Kyle, but there was, unfortunately, a dark side to the real Chris Kyle, and that political-ness (meaning outside the Oscars-politics) is going to keep Bradley from winning here.

Benedict Cumberbatch will not win an Oscar for this. Sorry, fellow Cumberbitches. Maybe next time.

And that leaves Keaton and Redmayne. As much as I would love to see Michael Keaton win for Birdman — and if he manages to upset, I’ll be dancing — I have to admit that Eddie Redmayne‘s performance should win. I mean, the physicality of the role alone was astounding.

Best Picture
Nominees: American Sniper; Birdman; Boyhood; The Grand Budapest Hotel; The Imitation Game; Selma; The Theory of Everything; Whiplash

Honestly, I think it comes down to Birdman and Boyhood again. Between buzz and backlash, the only films that are still being talked about as having a shot at this are those two. And I think it’s going to come down to which card the Academy wants to play here: reward a film that tries to generate or answer questions about everyday life without really accomplishing it, although managing to achieve something … ineffable; or it’s going to be Boyhood.

My preference is to have Birdman win, obviously. I think it’s possible; but I also think it’s entirely possible and most likely more probable to have Boyhood win. It’s a coin toss.

I’m going to give Boyhood the edge here, because if anyone has the opportunity to give the Oscar to a movie that is deserving of it, because it engages us in actual, artful conversations about both life and art, the Academy is going to fuck that opportunity up royally and reward the bloviating, emotional claptrap option instead.

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Posted by on February 21, 2015 in Oscar!Watch!

 

OscarWatch! 2015

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BRING IT.

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2015 in Oscar!Watch!

 

Netflix Roulette!

You guys — you know what we haven’t done for a while? NETFLIX ROULETTE

Full disclosure: I may have started this when I housesat for my parents a month ago, and now I’m finishing it at the house of someone else I’m housesitting for. So basically, if you ask me to housesit, and you have Netflix on either a Roku, AppleTV, or a laptop with a bigger screen than my netbook and also more mobile than my laptop, I’m gonna play Netflix Roulette.

Did y’all know that there’s an actual app in the GooglePlay Store called “Netflix Roulette?  And that it’s completely free?  And that I’m COMPLETELY PISSED that I did not copyright that term when I had the chance?

ANYWAY, this is how this is going to work:

– I’m going to open up the Netflix Roulette app on my phone.
– Since this is the movie blog, I’m going to eliminate the TV show selections.
– Because this is “roulette,” I am not limiting myself to a genre. EVERYTHING IS FAIR GAME. EH. VER. REE. THING.

Here we go …

Beavis_and_Butt-head_Do_America

OH HELL TO THE YES I DID NOT JUST GET BEAVIS AND BUTT-HEAD DO AMERICA! DON’T TELL ME I CAN LIVE IN THIS WORLD IT’S TOO GOOD FOR ME

DAAMMIT

Okay, good to know – the Netflix Roulette app includes everything, not just streaming movies. Dammit.

So to add to the above criteria:
– The first movie that is available to stream will be the movie that I watch.

NOW here we go …

Chicago_Overcoat

When Chicago mob kingpin Stefan needs a witness eliminated, Lou volunteers for one last big job so that he can retire. The task becomes complicated, however, when younger thugs resent Lou’s interference.

If I find out that a Chicago Overcoat is ANYTHING like a Columbian Necktie, I am going to be SO PISSED OFF.

This movie takes place in Chicago,1986. So there had better be some good references in this thing. The first place we see is – WAIT, IS THIS IN BLACK AND WHITE? The poster’s in color — why is the movie in black and white?! Goddammit!

OKAY, so we open in a film noir strip club… great. (I’d feel bad about using my friend’s Netflix to watch this, but  … I mean, I’m watching Orange is the New Black right now, so I figure everything’s off the table at this point.) One woman gyrates in front of a smoking man (remember – this is 1986), and she takes the cigarette from his mouth, takes a drag, and then blows the smoke right back in his face. Note From the Future: That is the oldest stripper I’ve ever seen. And look, he’s not exactly sitting at the edge of the bar – they’re like, a foot away from each other. He passes her a bill (I was too busy laughing to catch the denomination) and then he gets a lap dance. So, a ten, then? (Remember – this is 1986.)  Note From the Future: She’s also the most underfed stripper I’ve ever seen. Seriously, honey, use that lap dance money for a sandwich; coke doesn’t put any meat on your bones.  

A soulful sax plays in the background while the nameless dude snorts a line of coke in the bathroom. OH RIGHT THIS IS WHY I WAS LAUGHING there’s this dude, sitting in a booth? And he’s wearing a fedora and he’s got the collar of his trenchcoat popped up high and his face is covered? He looks so out of place here. But not in the bathroom, which is where Faceless Dude sneaks up on Cokehead and shoots him in the back.

Oh, great – the blood is red. Meaning they’re going to attempt to be all fancy with the cinematography. Trenchcoat Guy walks out, and the screen fades to red, if that’s possible. Trenchcoat Guy looks familiar.

When the video comes back in, apparently the black and white was just a flashback. OH THANK GOD, I don’t know if I could have taken a Sin City knockoff seriously. Now we meet (I’m assuming) Old Trenchcoat Guy, who’s busy polishing his gun (not a euphemism) and collecting on debts or something. Oh, now he’s winding his watch. That might be a metaphor.

There’s a knock on the door, and before he answers it, he hides the money he collected in a coat in his closet. His … daughter? granddaughter? seems too old to be a granddaughter – anyway, a female person enters carrying a bag of groceries. Apparently she tried to get him to get her out of a ticket, but she can’t get her license back until she sees a judge. Then she complains about taking the bus and working two jobs, and that her son gets shuffled around from latchkey house to latchkey house. Old Trenchcoat Guy (because no one’s been named, yet!) asks her, “Why didn’t you ask me?” So apparently Old Trenchcoat Guy is going to be babysitting soon.

Oh, apparently the woman is Trenchcoat Guy’s daughter. She divorced some dude from the Cicero crew. CICERO?

chicago cicero

Sorry – I just had to watch “Cell Block Tango.” I mean, I didn’t do it – but if I’d done it, how could you tell me that I was wrong?

OKAY so anyway, Overcoat says something about how in this life, you’ve got one family, then your job becomes your family, then another family shows up, and then it cuts to jail and wait, wasn’t I just watching this? Is there a men’s version of the Cell Block Tango? Wait, these are old men in jail. Is there a hot young male criminal version of the Cell Block Tango, perhaps starring a certain handless pirate captain who stars on Once Upon a Time?

Criminal is talking to Lawyer, and apparently Criminal wants to stand trial, but if he loses, he could stay in jail for 25 years to life. Criminal insinuates to Lawyer that he’s going to take care of his witnesses, maybe? It’s all very innuendo-ey and coy, and they are essentially trying extremely too hard to be all tough guy mafia don. Oh, but apparently his name is Stefano! THANK YOU FOR NAMING SOMEONE, MOVIE!

Ew – beer does not wash down Oreos well.

Overcoat goes into an Italian restaurant – as mafia dons do – and apparently now in his old age, he’s playing second fiddle to some dude. I’m not sure who, but Overcoat is clearly the oldest guy in the room. Overcoat complains that he was late because of traffic, and Second Fiddle says, “Only two seasons in this fucking city: winter and construction.” HEY THAT’S MAINE’S LINE.

Some dude who is either Bobby Baccala or Big Pussy from The Sopranos is wearing a tie and conducting bizness. Wait, which one was he? (browses the imdb.) Wait, he was never on The Sopranos? Then where do I know him from? HOLY SHIT he was on Ed! Am I the only one who remembers that show?

Lawyer has met up with Kenny from Ed and wants to have three people killed for $80,000. Jeez, I’m not a contract killer and even I know that’s low. Kenny from Ed would love to help Lawyer out, but he doesn’t have anyone who works for that kind of dough.

Lawyer leaves (apparently), and Kenny leads everyone into the back for collection. He hints that there’s a job that needs doing, and then takes the envelopes from everyone and kicks everyone out. Twelve hours later (I’m assuming, seeing as how in the first scene it was broad daylight and now it’s pitch black), Trenchcoat goes back to the restaurant and finds Kenny all alone counting the money. Trenchcoat – WHOSE NAME IS LOU, THANK YOU, MOVIE! – offers to take the job because he could use the extra cash. Kenny shakes his head and says that Lou hasn’t done a job since 1986, and also, whacking is a young man’s job (PHRASING).

That night, Lou and a young thug go and beat up a mechanic who happens to be working at like, midnight. Seriously? Sign me up for that, I’m afraid I may need new tires. Young thug beats the mechanic with a tire iron (yet manages to avoid the face) while Lou beats up a car that’s on the lift. End scene.

Next day (I’m assuming – we’ve switched back to daytime), Lou’s taking a pill when his friend Whoozits calls him up and just says “Tiger Cage.” Is that code for something?

Oh. Lou goes to meet Whoozits at the tiger cage at the Chicago zoo. There’s a zoo in Chicago? (googles) Oh, Lincoln Park Zoo. Okay, carry on. Anyway, Whoozits hands Lou a manila envelope, because they gave the jobs to Lou. Whoozits wants to know why Lou wants this job all of a sudden, and Lou says that maybe he’s decided he wants a new life in Vegas or somewhere. I’d make a joke, but the story I’m writing actually involves people starting over in Vegas, so maybe I’ll shut up. I’m also a little surprised that they don’t end this scene with a lingering shot of the tiger pacing in its cage at a horrible attempt at metaphor.

Lou parks in front of a bar and narrates, “I need a fucking drink.” I’ll drink to that!  He goes inside and while he waits to hit on the bartendress he watches a news report about his first mark.  The bartendress comes over with a fresh Scotch and Lou greets her as Lorraine. Look at that – we get the name of the character in less than five minutes? That’s amazing. There’s some wicked flirty banter regarding his cigarette lighter being out of fluid and maybe it’s a metaphor for his hydraulics ifyaknowwhaddimean and watching this after the high that was FDR: American Badass, I am attuned to all the ways this movie could be better if it wasn’t so focused on taking itself so godamned seriously.

Anyway, Lou asks Lorraine about a parking spot on Wednesday, and apparently that’s code for something because she stubs out her cigarette and says, “I read somewhere that the person you are at thirty is the person you’re gonna be for the rest of your life.” Jesus, if that’s true, I’m not sure if I like it. Well, that’s not true; I like thirty-year-old me much better than twenty-two-year-old me. Anyway, Lou tells her that she didn’t know him at thirty. I was gonna say, that seems like quite the age difference.

The next day, his grandson’s standing on the couch trying to get the machine gun that just happens to be hanging up above it. He stops his grandson, but then takes it down himself. He calls it a Chicago Typewriter – “the city was written on these machines.” Oooh, poetic. *eyeroll* He lets the grandson hold it, and I’m petrified for all of two seconds before Lou explains that the gun is an antique so it doesn’t work. Thank god; if this were Hobo With a Shotgun, the gun would misfire and the son would kill his mother on accident.

OH NO NETFLIX IS HAVING TROUBLE ACCESSING THIS CONTENT WHAT THE HELL? Oh, thanks for rewinding a few seconds what the fuck how have I watched only twenty-three fucking minutes?! Seriously?!

Later that night, Lou puts on his trenchcoat and heads down into a machine shop and hits up a friend, asking for a piece. It’s all made out to be incredibly epic, what with the sparks from sautering irons and dobermans and the slow walking shit that’s going on. Lou’s friend, Eddie, tries to talk Lou out of returning to the life of hitmanning, but Lou’s determined.

Lou parks his car outside of Lorraine’s bar and waits for his target to arrive.  The target takes a detour past the bar and into an alley and goes to piss behind a dumpster. Lou walks up behind him and shoots him as the El train passes overhead, covering the sound of the gunshots. The victim drops to his knee to avoid bruising, and it’s one of the worst fake deaths I’ve seen in a while.

HOLY SHIT THE COUCH I’M SITTING ON RECLINES GET THE FUCK OUTTA HERE HOW HAVE I BEEN SITTING UPRIGHT THIS ENTIRE TIME??

Then there’s this Asian guy who’s tying a tie in the mirror when there’s a knock on the door. It’s Lou, and they know each other. Apparently the Asian guy is a mortician, because Lou tells him to “flush his ashes down the toilet.” I can tell that the Asian guy is a mortician also because they’re standing in front of an occupied coffin in a viewing room. The Asian confirms what he’s going to do, by insisting that he’ll give the corpse his first taste of hell.  I — what?  What?

Then Lou abandons his car somewhere and blows it up. He comments to himself that maybe he should start appreciating Lorraine more. But then he does nothing about it, and before we know it, we’re seeing the cops arrive at the crime scene after the CSI units. By day, the alley looks like an exact replica of the alley in The Boondock Saints, where Greenly et. al are trying to figure out what happened to the guy who got a toilet dropped on his head, only there is no evidence of a huge friggin guy anywhere, and this is the wrong town. Dammit. It has been at least a year since I’ve watched Boondock Saints. Maybe tomorrow …

So for the cops! We’ve got Stacy Keach playing Angry Cop, and some young guy who’s playing Eager Play It By The Rules Cop. Eager Beaver is trying to find a rhyme or reason for the crime, but Angry Cop isn’t having it. I get the impression that Angry Stacy Keach just wants to get back to his bottle.

Then we cut to Lou and Lorraine hanging out, so apparently instead of going home, he did go upstairs to “appreciate” Lorraine. She’s helping him with his alibi, so clearly she knows what’s up. For a lowly bartendress, she’s got a pretty sweet apartment.

Eager and Angry are interrogating the widow (who doesn’t know she’s a widow yet) because the car the victim was driving was registered to his mother-in-law. The widow is extremely defensive, but mainly she’s pissed off at her husband – she’s not defensive in that she knows anything, because I don’t think she does. She mentions that she didn’t know anything about what her husband was doing, but he must have been in deep, because just that morning he sent her flowers, and he never sent her flowers. Angry Cop gets even angrier (if that’s possible) and storms out.

In the car, Angry Cop tells Eager a story about the Flower Guy. FLOYD?! Apparently in the late 80s, there were tons of murders, and the weird thing was the morning the murder was discovered, the widow would have received a bouquet of flowers from her husband. The majority of the widows admitted that their husbands were never the type to randomly send flowers. DUN DUN DUNNN

With the prosecution’s star witness now missing, Criminal from earlier (apparently his real name is Stefano) has been released, and Lou comes to visit him the restaurant. Stefano comments that they are surrounded by young copies of old friends. This movie picks the strangest times to be poetic.

Then Lou sees someone sitting at the bar and he goes over and makes a stink. Turns out it’s his erstwhile son-in-law. He politely reminds him that he’s got a family, and maybe he should pay attention to them and start paying quicker. Lou’s compatriots assume that he’s trying to start something and calls him off. Kenny from Ed accuses Lou of trying to take over Cicero now that he’s back in the hitman game. Lou asserts that it’s “just family shit.” Apparently where Cicero is concerned, it’s never just family shit. Yeah, no kidding – just ask Velma Kelly.

Oh …. my god. Okay, so we leave the mafia party and head over to the precinct, where Angry Stacy Keach is investigating the dead guy. At one point, he pulls out a flask of whiskey — you know in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, when Eddie Valiant is about to head back into Toontown for the first time since his brother was killed, and he takes out the Toon bullets, and is about to take a swig of his whiskey when he realizes what an epic boozehound he’s been the past few years, so he dumps it, right there in the road in front of Robert Zemeckis’s Favorite Tunnel, and then tosses it up in the air so the Tomahawk Bullet can smash it?  Well, basically, that’s the flask that Angry Stacy Keach is drinking from. Also, he’s using the oldest computer. It’s like the Gateway my parents had when I was in high school. In 1998.

One of Angry Stacy Keach’s friends – maybe an ADA? I’m not sure, THIS MOVIE DOESN’T IDENTIFY PEOPLE WELL – brings him a hearty breakfast of a disgusting, greasy steak sandwich, and as they eat Stacy Keach brings up Flower Guy.

ACTUAL DIALOGUE TRANSCRIPTION TIME
ADA: What’s your gut say?
Angry Stacy Keach: It says, after twenty years of nothing, we got flowers.

OH MY GOD.

Cut to: Angry Stacy Keach and Eager Beaver Cop interrogating a florist.

ACTUAL DIALOGUE TRANSCRIPTION TIME
Angry Stacy Keach: 34 East Schiller.  East Schiller, with an ‘S.’

HOW THE FUCK ELSE WOULD YOU SPELL SCHILLER!? Oh, apparently the florist speaks Spanish and Angry Stacy Keach is a racist in this movie, so Eager Beaver Cop steps in to demonstrate his bilinguilistic tendencies. Eager Beaver Cop learns that the person that placed the flower order to the Widow was …. a thirteen-year-old Latino boy wearing a red hoodie. Eager Beaver Cop is extremely skeptical that a thirteen-year-old boy took down a political-hungry jackass, but Angry Stacy Keach will not be deterred. He leaves Eager Beaver Cop to stop every thirteen-year-old boy wearing a red hoodie. On the corner next to a florist. Yeah, this will end well.

Meanwhile, someone calls Lou and wants to meet. Cut to: big shiny limousine driving on the Loop. What? Who’s so fancy? Oh, apparently it’s Tiger Guy giving Lou his second target. Tiger Guy wants to know how Lou’s doing – is he okay? Cuz he can sit this one out if he wants. OH MY GOD LEAVE LOU ALONE, HE’S HAVING SO MUCH FUN KILLING PEOPLE AGAIN

Angry Stacy Keach runs into one of his retired buddies, and the retired buddy asks Angry Stacy Keach if he wants a beer. OH RIGHT Well, while the buddies are bonding over their Budweisers (yick – it’s Sam Adams or Blue Moon or nothing), the retired buddy tells ASK (what? I’m getting lazy, sue me) that this old case of his was all mobbed up. No kidding. This movie takes place in Chicago, right? ANYWAY, retired buddy tells ASK to keep doing what he’s doing as long as he can, and ASK replies, “Amen, brother.” OH LOOK, PARALLELS

Meanwhile, we jump to that night (I’m guessing – the transitions and time jumps are really fucking weird) and Lou is taking Lorraine out on an honest-to-goodness date. I wonder if it’s a coincidence that Lorraine looks like Velma Kelly.

ASK joins EBC on his stakeout, and (surprise!) there hasn’t been a single sighting of a red hoodie. If I followed the DC universe of characters, I’d make a Jason Todd joke right there. They sleep in the car (but not like that), and then the next morning, EBC actually spies a Latino kid with a red hoodie, and sure enough, this kid was sent on an errand to send a bouquet of flowers. The cops actually pick the kid up and take him in for questioning.

That afternoon (see what I mean about time jumps?), Lou picks his grandson up from school – or, he tries to, but apparently Lou’s grandson likes being a bully.  Hm – I wonder where he picked that up. As a … reward? Lou takes the grandson out for his afternoon snack. But the kid isn’t eating it, because he doesn’t like onions. I know that feel, brother. And instead of doing the “Oh, I’m sorry, I’m not in your life all the time, I didn’t realize that you didn’t like onions” thing, he basically tells the kid that that’s a Chicago Dog, and Chicago Dogs come with relish, and ketchup, and mustard, and lettuce and tomato and onions, and by gum, he’s going to eat the whole damn thing or he’s walking home. Jeeez… The grandson takes one bite – reluctantly – and Lou says, “Do you like it?” His face says, “No, old man, I fucking told you, I hate onions,” and for once, a character’s mouth said “no” at the same time.

The conversation actually turns into a conversation about bullying and the fact that the kid doesn’t really have a reason for bullying, and that conversation just emphasizes Lou’s belief that the low-down punk from Cicero is to blame. So what does Lou do? He drives to Cicero and attempts to have a conversation with the Cicero punk, but ends up cold-cocking him with his Old Fashioned. The Cicero crew jumps up, worried that he’s starting something, but Lou waves his gun and declares that this is ‘family shit.’ He threatens to the Cicero punk to step up and be a man, otherwise, next time he comes down here, he’ll kill him.

The next morning, ASK’s friend comes down and reminds ASK to drop the Flower Guy case. I mean, seriously, Floyd’s gotta be hunkered down in Cleveland by now. But ASK proudly proclaims that he’s got a thirteen-year-old kid that’s gonna break this case wide open! ASK’s Friend asks ASK to just fucking retire already, and calls him the “oldest stewed potato on the force.” That is …. whoo, that is some kinda prejudiced right there. Apparently ASK reports to the Friend, and that’s as a courtesy. Basically, ASK’s on thin ice, but he doesn’t give a fuck.

Lou goes to scope out his next target, but finds that the target already has a tail on him. He tells Kenny from Ed, and Kenny from Ed doesn’t give a shit. Then Lou drives over to see Lorraine, who breaks up with him because she wants to be more than just an alibi. I can’t say as I blame her.

Lou’s on his way to murder the target, and we learn that the second tail was put on the target by the cops. The target is recovering from his nightly blowjob from his secretary when he sees the first victim on the news. While the secretary’s doing a line of coke in the bathroom, Lou comes out and suffocates the guy with a plastic bag. The cops see the thrashing from across the street through binoculars, but because the blinds were drawn, they can’t see the aggressor. The coked-up secretary misses the whole thing, and the cops aren’t quick enough to get there to catch Lou in the act.

Lou takes the freight elevator downstairs, then gets stopped by a patrol car because he’s limping. And because he doesn’t have any ID on him, he’s going to get brought into the station. SO MUCH FOR PULLING A CLEAN JOB, LOU

Angry Stacy Keach starts interrogating Lou and oh my god, I wish I had the energy to transcribe this, because it is made of win. And by “made of win,” I of course mean “terrible beyond all reason.” Basically, I’ve only got twenty minutes left and I don’t want to waste time with transcribing anything else. This movie is, by the way, the longest ninety-minute-long movie I’ve ever seen.

ASK brings the kid into the lineup room – so, how many days have they had this kid in lockup? 48 hours? I’m pretty sure that’s illegal. I mean, the kid hasn’t even changed his clothes, so he definitely hasn’t been home. The kid can’t pick out the man from the lineup. Then EBC interrogates Lorraine as to Lou’s whereabouts earlier that night, as well as the previous Wednesday. Their stories match, so Lou is released. ASK is so mad he tosses his half-empty paper cup of water on the floor and stomps like a three-year-old.

Oh, apparently, the Criminal in jail in the beginning was Stefano, but the guy who got released was a different guy. Stefano’s calling his lawyer from a pay phone in the jail yard, and that is a different setup than in Orange is the New Black. I mean, can you imagine Piper calling Larry from the yard? Basically, Stefano orders his Lawyer to order Enzo to get rid of Lou. I’d care, but I totally don’t.

Lou and Tiger Guy meet up in an abandoned parking garage or something. Tiger Guy makes some noise about how times are changing, and when Lou says he wants a smoke, Tiger Guy waves on the assassins as Lou leans over to the cigarette lighter in his Cadillac. Lou grabs the cigarette lighter and burns Tiger Guy’s hand, then smashes his car into that of the assassins, then PULLS OUT HIS MOTHERFUCKING MACHINE GUN and shreds everyone within range.

Apparently Tiger Guy was only burned, and he advances on Lou, telling him that the best thing he can do for his family right now is die clean.

ACTUAL DIALOGUE (AND ACTION) TRANSCRIPTION TIME
Tiger Guy: Come on out; I promise you an open casket!
[Tiger Guy shoots repeatedly until … he runs out of bullets.]
Alaina: Oops, no bullets!
Lou: Fuck that, I’m going to Vegas! [shoots Tiger Guy IN THE FACE]

Oh man — that was awesome. And by “awesome,” I mean “awesomely bad,” of course, but … you get my drift.

Meanwhile, ASK gets suspended. And true to character, he’s pissed about it. HOW IS THERE STILL TWENTY MINUTES LEFT OF THIS MOVIE

EBC goes to see ASK’s Friend and asks to take over the case. He feels that ASK was close to something, but they need some help cracking the case. EBC gets shut down by the Friend, which tells me that maybe the Friend was supposed to be the third target?

Lou heads over to Kenny from Ed‘s diner, where he shoots someone in the chest with a huge-assed rifle, then goes to kill Kenny from Ed.  Kenny tries to talk him out of it, but Lou’s had it with talk. The only person left standing besides Lou is another old guy, and Lou gives him some money and his gold watch.

ASK is drinking Maker’s Mark in a dive bar, and bitching that everything fell apart because of flowers. Oh Christ on Sale, seriously? Enough.

The next morning, when the diner has a call out on it, the cops – including a reinstated ASK and EBC find the old man wearing Lou’s watch. Except Lou isn’t at his apartment – he’s picking up the money from the Criminal’s lawyer. Then Lou goes over to his daughter’s house to give the money to his daughter, and asks her to take the money and his grandson and leave town.

Grandpa Lou has a heart-to-heart with his grandson: be brave, be smart, and that there’s no room for “I don’t know’s” in his life. Then he makes his grandson promise to never pick up a gun for his entire life, and the kid promises. Well, good for him.

Jesus, one minute the cops are in the apartment and it’s daytime, the next they’re getting a call, and then when they go down to their cars on a tip, it’s the middle of the night. What the fuck, Chicago?

OH AND I WAS RIGHT ABOUT WHO THE THIRD TARGET WAS

So the third target – who, for those not following along, is ASK’s Friend – called EBC and ASK up to an abandoned rooftop and sure enough, he kills EBC right off, and then is about to finish off ASK when Lou finishes the Friend off from behind. ASK goes barrelling off after Lou, and then EBC gets up because HE WAS WEARING KEVLAR, GOOD FOR YOU EBC, except as Lou’s running away and EBC is chasing him, ASK is aiming without being able to see clearly because not only does he have blood and brains in his eyes, but also he’s perpetually shitfaced, so he’s shooting blindly and OOPS SHOOTS EBC IN THE NECK WHICH IS NOT KEVLAR-PROTECTED, so good job, dude.

Somehow ASK manages to beat Lou down to the street, where it’s Hollywood Raining where it wasn’t before (meaning, the rain is coming down in one location but the water is falling in different directions because no one can set up a rain rig straight enough to replicate real rain). ASK has a cigarette dangling from his mouth, and he’s about to shoot Lou for shooting his partner, except no, that didn’t happen, Drunky McDrunkerson, maybe shut your hole?

ASK keeps yelling at Lou, and finally Lou gives up caring, and he whirls around and blasts a hole in ASK’s forehead. Then he walks off into the rain, narrating about how he’s going to miss the rain, and HOLY SHIT THE MOVIE’S DONE.

Well. Thanks, Netflix Roulette; that was the opposite of illuminating. Normally, I’d end this with some pithy remark, but I really should get to bed before the animals in the house decide to wake me up for their breakfast in about six hours. So … don’t watch Chicago Overcoat, because it’s not nearly as funny as I’d hoped it’d be.

i mean where does the overcoat even fit in they never explained that come on guy you had one job to do

 
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Posted by on August 9, 2014 in Netflix Roulette

 

THIS JUST HAPPENED.

Me: Do you have Netflix?
Brad: No, but I think I’m gonna sign up for it again.
Me: When you do, you need to watch a movie.  Ready?
Brad: Oh god.
Me: FDR: American Badass.
Brad: Is … is it a documentary?
Me: … … … yes.
Brad: Is it?
Me: Okay, no.  But it’s AWESOME.  Barry Bostwick plays FDR, and Ray Wise –
Brad: Robin’s dad?
Me: Robin’s second dad, yes, he plays Douglas MacArthur, or as he’s known in the film, “Dougie Mack.”
Brad: NO.
Me: OH YEAH.  And Kevin Sorbo plays Abraham Lincoln.
Brad: Kevin Sorbo of Hercules fame?
Me: The very same! And FDR gets bit by a werewolf, which carries the polio –
Brad: Oh god.
Me: And they get into World War II because Hitler and Mussolini are werewolves, and FDR is a badass.
Brad: Jesus Christ, Alaina.
Me: Last weekend, I went to Jen’s for her birthday, and I said, “I’m making you a cake, but your other present is I’m making you watch FDR: American Badass.” She said it was the best present she’d ever received.
Brad: So let me get this straight: you’ve watched this … cinematic masterpiece twice, but you haven’t watched all of Shawshank?
Me: Tell you what – if you watch FDR: American Badass, I’ll watch Shawshank.
Brad: Really?
Me: Hand to god.
Brad: Fine. I’ll get Netflix just for that.
Me: Good, you do that.
Brad: I’ll watch that piece of shit for that.
Me: Oh, you’re gonna eat those words.

IT’S ON, CHILDREN.

 
 

Alaina’s Friend Sarah Recommends: FDR: American Badass

So a weekend ago, I house-sat for my parents. While there, I attempted to do a Netflix Roulette, because a) I realized the last time I did a Netflix Roulette was when Amelia and I watched Two Girls, An Abortion, and a Pizza Place, and b) I could use my mother’s laptop for the Netflix viewing and type the entry on my netbook, because I have yet to enter the next generation of technology and have no other ways to access streaming Netflix. (Please send any gently-used X-Boxes, Playstation 3s, Wiis, RoKus, or streaming Blu-Ray players to: Netflix Roulette, c/o Movie’s Alaina’s Never Seen. Cash donations are also greatly appreciated.)

I say “attempted” to do a Netflix Roulette, because I grew extremely tired halfway through and had to go to bed. But never fear, dear readers: I have the post saved. I would have tried to finish that first if it weren’t for Sarah sending me this tweet yesterday:

And it wasn’t just me – she told EVERYONE. She live-tweeted her watching of it, she tagged people in her Facebook status about it; this was the biggest deal since Hobo With a Shotgun. BUT, she also told me that, unlike Hobo With a Shotgun, this movie would actually be enjoyable. (I can hear Sarah yelling at me through the twitterverse that the movie is actually delightful, it gives you exactly what the title tells you, how could I not love that movie with all of my heart, apparently I’m broken, blah blah blah OKAY THE HOCKEY SKATE WAS PRETTY AWESOME I’LL GIVE YOU THAT.)

So tonight, I have enough time to watch this while still getting to bed before midnight (she says, optimistically). Oh, I should mention: because I have to use both my laptop and my netbook? Well, a few years ago, the screen on my laptop died, so it’s hooked into a monitor, so basically, this is my setup tonight:

2014-07-17 21.02.06

For science!

Now that I’m ready to go (WAIT I JUST REMEMBERED I HAVE BEERS beers won’t make me hungover, right? I have to work in the morning here), let’s take a closer look at that synopsis.

FDR-American-Badass

After contracting polio from a werewolf bite, FDR and a team of historic figures seek victory in World War II by defeating an army of Nazi werewolves.

WHAT. WHAT THE FUCK. WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS GOING TO BE. THIS IS GOING TO BE EPIC IS WHAT THIS IS GONNA BE. HOLY SHIT.

WAIT SARAH

SARAH

SARAH

YOU DIDN’T TELL ME BARRY FUCKING BOSTWICK IS PLAYING FDR

BRAD FROM ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW IS PLAYING FDR

IN A WHEELCHAIR WITH ROCKET LAUNCHERS

WHAT THE FUCK

(Aw, it didn’t attach the tweet I did after, wherein I said “I’M NOT DENYING THAT – I’M EMBRACING THIS CASTING CHOICE WHOLEHEARTEDLY”)

Also, Ray Wise is in this. Holy shit. Robin Scherbatsky’s (second) dad is in this. The Devil from Reaper is in this. Man, I love Ray Wise so much, you don’t even know.

Okay, Sarah’s chomping at the bit (read: sending me tweets every fifty seconds making sure I’ve pressed play), so let’s let my shoddy internet buffer and LET’S DO THIS.

Goddammit, laptop, what do you mean I have to re-activate SilverLight? WHY ARE YOU HOLDING THIS MOVIE OF ALL MOVIES HOSTAGE!?

God, technology hates me.  Okay.  HERE WE GO.

We start with FDR narrating a couple of pieces of paper. I flashback immediately to when the titular Ghost Hunter narrated her chyrons, but the dulcet tones of Barry Bostwick make this much better. Plus:

“Badassery is not born, but often thrust upon you. The film you are about to see is dedicated to Badasses everywhere. If you have to ask yourself if you are one, you’re probably not.”

Truth.

NO NOT THE BATMAN THING WITH THE PRESIDENTIAL SEAL OH MY GOD THAT’S AMAZING

We come upon FDR having a laugh about Woodrow Wilson’s dick [“That was Wilson for ya – he just didn’t give a fuck!” So Woodrow Wilson is the honey badger of the presidents?] when something runs back and forth between trees a few times, giving FDR enough time to scan the surrounding area with a pair of binoculars, and they learn that the thing running back and forth a few times is a werewolf, who looks like (much like the presidents do) he shopped at LL Bean, judging from his sporty flannel shirt. He jumps the Wilfred Brimley lookalike (you know the one, he’s in everything), who moans, “Why me? I’m fat and weak!” OH MY GOD THAT’S GOING ON MY TOMBSTONE

And then the guy who’s dressed up like Indiana Jones’s dad says, “we got to get to the cabin, Frank – werewolves carry polio!” And I know I read that in the summary up there, but I guess it didn’t register back then, because I’m dying of laughter right now. WEREWOLVES. with POLIO. I mean – I know we had the conversation in college, about what to do if a werewolf had AIDS, but we never even thought about polio! Oh my god. Oh my god.

Also, that’s the shittiest werewolf mask I’ve ever seen.

FDR shoots the werewolf, but doesn’t have silver bullets, because who uses silver bullets on a routine hunting party? There’s a GREAT MOMENT where the werewolf kills another guy by ripping his innards out and throwing them at Indiana Jones’s Dad, and Dad asks, “Why even take the time to do that?” AND THE WEREWOLF SHRUGS. HE JUST SHRUGS, YOU GUYS!

Then FDR gets bit, and wakes up in a hospital with Eleanor exclaiming over him.

ACTUAL DIALOGUE TRANSCRIPTION TIME

Some Dude: How do you feel, Frank?
FDR, American Badass: Like a bag full of dicks at a lesbian convention.

Oh my god.

And then, because Eleanor doesn’t like language, he repeats it in a sucky French accent.

The doctor walks in and HOLY SHIT IT’S ETHAN ROM GET OUT OF THERE FRANK YOU DON’T WANT TO BE AN OTHER

“You’ve got the polio, Frank.” OH MY GOD “THE POLIO”. And all Frank wants to know is if his dick still works. Bless him. Also, true to Weird Other Form, Dr. Ethan Rom had one of the nurses test his tackle out. Good news, everyone! His cock still works. Frank winks at the pretty nurse over Eleanor’s head, and oh my god, why did this movie not make a jillion dollars?

Apparently, wherever werewolves bite people, that’s where the polio sits. Which his why his legs are — HOLY SHIT YOU GUYS VISUAL AID TIME

20140717_215957

HIS TINY LITTLE LEGS. OH MY GOD. They are flailing around like Kermit’s arms after an excellent episode of the Muppet Show. FDR comes to terms with the fact that he’ll never walk again and kindly tells Eleanor to shut the fuck up.

Dr. Ethan Rom takes Indiana Jones’s Dad out of the hallway and tells him he wants to show him something. Indiana Jones’s Dad – actually, now that I think about it, dude’s dressed more like Marcus than Sean Connery, so I’mma start calling him Marcus. Sorry for the confusion. Anyway, Marcus takes a gun out and threatens to shoot Dr. Ethan Rom if he tries any dick business. Ethan Rom says that he has something important to show him – important to the fate of all mankind.

He takes Marcus into the morgue, and he dramatically lifts up a sheet to reveal: a dead dude with a squirrel stuck up his ass. Marcus says, “What the fuck, dude” in this “are you kidding me” sort of way, it’s priceless. Ethan’s all, sorry, my bad, that’s the wrong dead dude, and instead reveals the dead werewolf, now in autopsy mode.

They reveal: a perfectly tattooed swastika on the werewolf’s stomach. “How can you be sure he’s German?” “Oh, he just happened to have stuck up his ass a vinyl of Beethoven’s greatest symphonies, Mein Kampf, and also, a German-English dictionary.” Marcus and Ethan decide to hide the Nazi werewolf from Frank.

Frank doesn’t want to use the wheelchair, but then a ten-year-old kid who also has polio comes in, and inspires FDR to get in the chair. A of all, there is no way that actor is ten. Timmy/Tommy is 19 at best. B of all, MARCO POLIO OH MY GOD.

A douchebag reporter wants to know how FDR will feel as the first invalid president. I’m surprised he didn’t make a crack at William Howard Taft. (Oh come on, we were all thinking it.) But essentially, FDR decides to run for president. I WONDER HOW THAT’S GOING TO END UP.

Marcus tells Eleanor she has to ride up front on FDR’s shriveled little legs because there’s a dead werewolf in the trunk. HAHA wait what?

THE BATPRESIDENTIAL SEAL COMES OUT AGAIN YES

Eleanor goes to sleep in the guest room because she can’t share a bed with a cripple. Marcus goes in to check on Frank and asks him how he’s doing. He had trouble getting into bed – “I was as nervous as a ten-year-old in a whorehouse” (sooo, childhood Don Draper? ZING). FDR reads his announcement for presidency in the paper, and is appalled that there’s nothing in the paper about the fact that his dick still works. Marcus is more concerned about the werewolf being German and apparently Lincoln was also attacked by a werewolf before he ran for president? Oookay. Anyway, they’re going to keep the werewolf on ice until he becomes president.

FDR goes on a campaign trail, taking names, cracking wise, and letting eeryone know that his dick works. Until he gets to Jersey, when a dockrat starts telling a story about some guy named Tommy. Wait, wasn’t he the kid back at the hospital?

ACTUAL DIALOGUE TRANSCRIPTION TIME (I’m gonna make a banner for that… not tonight … next time.)

Dockrat: Tommy used to work on the docks. Union’s been on strike, he’s down on his luck. It’s tough.
FDR, American Badass: So tough. What happened to him?
Dockrat: He got so depressed, he tried to off himself.
FDR, American Badass: And who’s taking care of him?
Dockrat: His wife, Gina. Gina works the diner, all day. Workin’ for … [sobs.]

OH MY GOD. That was beautiful and completely unexpected; I LOVE THIS.

WAIT IT GETS BETTER

FDR, American Badass: I am not going to leave you living on a prayer!

Bless you, movie.

So FDR heads to Warm Springs, Georgia and meets a Clark Gable lookalike and his pretty wife, who not only has great melons, but her tits are perky too, and she offers to go down on FDR and Marcus. Clark Gable has no problem with this. I’m getting reminders of Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle with this.

And then there’s a scene about racism that’s actually quite funny, but transforming it into a liveblog might not translate well, so I’m just going to skip it.

Clark Gable – who is apparently Jimmy Carter’s uncle – takes FDR to the hot springs. He tells the story about how Clark Gable – whose name is actually Cleavon – got attacked by a werewolf years ago. He got a mild case of the polio, but he’s able to keep it in check with blowjobs from Peaches.

FDR offers Cleavon a position of Vice President in charge of Hot Tubs if he wins the presidency. This scene is going on entirely too long, but it highlights Cleavon’s ability to generate tears and spittle, so kudos.

Finally, it’s election night and FDR wins every state except for six plus Maine. Dammit, Maine, what is wrong with you?

The Roosevelts celebrate by … well … shit gets really fucking weird. Eleanor takes her bra off, Roosevelt’s son James shits in a vase … seriously, what the fuck is going on?

While Roosevelt gets driven to Washington, Hitler, Mussolini and Hiro Hito get on a three-way conference. Oh, and all of these people are werewolves. The guy playing Mussolini-Wolf looks familiar, which is really weird to me. Hold on. *To the imdb!* HOLY SHIT THAT’S STAN FROM IN PLAIN SIGHT! STAAAAAAAAN? WHAT DID YOU DOOOOO?

FDR makes his first radio speech, and it is full of excellent good stuff:
– “Hoover was great. They’ll probably name a dam or a vacuum cleaner after him.”
– “This is the Delano, signing off.”
– “I was freestyling son.”

And then there’s this, from a florist to James Roosevelt, who is again crapping in a vase:
“If your father wasn’t President, I’d steam your chest like Grover Cleveland!”
OH MY GOD

The Batsignal/Seal joke never EVER gets old.

HOLY SHIT RAY WISE/THE DEVIL IS DOUGLAS MACARTHUR

HOLY SHIT HE CALLED HIMSELF DOUGIE MACK

DOUGIE MACK

holy shit you guys.

“My father was a midget so I’ll keep it short.” Holy shit, you guys. I want to hug this movie so hard.

“We’re the United States Government. Anything’s legal.”
FDR, American Badass: “Fuck yeahhhhh.”

Apparently alcohol’s being imported into America, and all of the booze is tainted with Werewolf venom. Anyway, Dougie Mack wants to outfit FDR, and does so, with….THE DELANO 2000. It’s a wheelchair with a shitload of silver bullets, plus two rocket launchers. That thing is fucking sweet.

Flash to Baltimore Harbor, where three Italian werewolf mooks are trying to unload some tainted wine. The werewolves make a lot of puns, which I love, and then FDR starts shooting the shit out of them. I’m assuming this scene is one big allusion to probably both Godfather and Scarface, what with the opera in the soundtrack, but a) I’ve never seen those movies (THEY’RE ON THE LIST), and b) anytime someone puts a lot of violence and blood over an operatic soundtrack, I just think of Hannibal and then a tiny piece of my soul dies because February is so far away, you guys!

ACTUAL DIALOGUE TRANSCRIPTION TIME

FDR, American Badass: The Delano don’t give a fuck!

And then he rolls away on his wheelchair ahead of a big ass explosion. It’s kind of epic, you guys.

FDR ends Prohibition, and Mussolini calls Hitler, who is playing Beer Pong with what I can only assume is Naked Eva Braun. They get Hiro Hito on the line and try to figure out how to take over the world. They’re going to invade their neighboring countries and make everyone werewolves. It’s not as quick as turning all the college drinkers of America into werewolves, but it’ll work.

Churchill goes to meet with FDR and Dougie Mack, and enters into an alliance. Cleavon offers the lease of his wife (who looks damned familiar, but I’ll be damned if I can remember her from anything specific), and everyone is okay with this plan.

Churchill asks for troops to help out England, and FDR’s secretary offers to give him a massage. He thinks she’s talking about a neck rub, but she starts rubbing and licking his legs, which do not look very shriveled anymore. Then the secretary tells FDR that she was a hot-dog eating champion at Coney Island, and she pulls … mustard and ketchup out from her garters? and starts squirting the condiments all over his legs, and it’s weird. Eleanor walks in, and she says, “It’s time for Eleanor Roosevelt to strong-arm a ho.” OH HELL YES

Dougie Mack brings in Eisenhower (code name: Dewdrop) and they agree to go to war. FDR, still in his pajamas with his fedora, is stressed out, so he goes to the Oval Office, where his butler lets him know that George Washington kept pot in the third drawer on the right. FDR lights up a joint, and then MOTHERFUCKING ABE LINCOLN POPS OUT OF HIS PICTURE FRAME AND STARTS TALKING AND DID I MENTION IT’S FUCKING KEVIN SORBO PLAYING LINCOLN? NO I DON’T THINK I DID.

Before we know it, FDR and Lincoln are laying on the roof, passing the joint back and forth and stargazing. FDR feels slightly sorry for Lincoln’s plight, who replies, “Mary Todd had to go to that fucking play. Bitch.” Lincoln gives FDR a pep talk, and then he flies him around Washington. But then he wakes up in the Oval Office hugging a bust of a bald eagle.

The next day, he goes to speak to the smallest contingent of D-Day soldiers ever committed to celluloid. Seriously, this army only has seven dudes. But he tells everyone that he’s going to fly the first plane. Oh, so maybe this is actually the bombing of Hiroshima? I’m not sure. What I am sure of is that logic has no place in this movie, and I love it for it. FDR ends his speech by saying “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Now let’s go kick some werewolf ass!”

I’m not really sure where the Delano was fighting, but it sounds like the plane’s goin’ down. Eleanor asks Marcus for a drink, and he hands her a bottle. She chugs it, and all she needed to do was this and this movie may have supplanted Raiders of the Lost Ark as my most favorite movie ever (but she didn’t, so have no fear, Indy; you’re still number one:)

drinking-moonshine

FDR struggles to get back into the Delano 2000, because with the rocket launchers he’d at least be able to land. It looks like a no go, but then! Cleavon Buford pops out of a trunk where he had stowed himself away, and he helps put Delano in the Delano 2000 and they both bail out.

As they’re falling with style, I see this

20140717_235817

and immediately think of this

mickey-mouse-bugs-bunny-112

but because Cleavon isn’t wearing a parachute, he ends up dying. But he manages to find Hitler and shoot him to shit. Hitler fulfills his destiny by dying in a ditch.

But Frank manages to roll himself back to Washington, and he announces his return by asking, “Who ordered the honky with a side of polio?” Oh my god, you guys – this movie. Eleanor looks like she’s gonna strong-arm a ho again, but they end up reconciling. And by “reconciling,” she means he’s going to be – how’d she put it? – “ridden like a pony at the state fair tonight.”

Roosevelt rolls fireside to address the nation, and the final words in the movie are:
“Allow me to reintroduce myself: it’s Franklin Delano Roosevelt, motherfuckers!”

OH MY GOD YOU GUYS. YOU GUYS. I don’t want to say that this movie makes up for Hobo With a Shotgun (mainly because I don’t want Sarah to gloat about that), but it TOTALLY DOES. This movie is …. the only comparison I can make for it right now is by detailing it like a Stefon club recommendation. This movie has EVERYTHING. Violence, nudity, stoner Abraham Lincoln, L.L.Bean werewolves, a human valet service –

“Stefon, what’s a human valet service?”

– It’s that thing, where a midget with polio brings your wheelchair right to you at the end of the night?

ANYWAY. Thank you, Sarah, for recommending the amazing movie that is FDR: American Badass. I’d gush more, but I’ve got to be on the road to go to work in 6.5 hours, so I’m gonna go the fuck to sleep. If I graded movies anymore, I’d give it five stars. But since I don’t grade … make up something.

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2014 in Alaina's Friend Sarah Recommends

 

Insomniac Theatre: Ride Lonesome

Well, now that I’ve gotten a rant out of the way, how about I get back into the business of watching some movies, huh?  It’s not that there haven’t been movies I haven’t seen; it’s just that there’s been so little time for me to watch them.  I mean, when you think about it, the last movie I watched was Dead Poets Society, and that was back in December!

A part of the problem was that Jeremy The TiVo: Episode IV: A New Hope became pretty damned hopeless over the past couple of months.  Meaning I felt like I had almost nothing on my DVR list, and yet my capacity was at 91%.  I had to go through and delete a few movies that I wanted to watch, and there were a couple of TV shows’ pilots I wanted to see if I’d like, but I guess in retrospect Jeremy was trying to tell me something, seeing as how almost all of those shows were canceled.

[Sidenote: You know what wasn’t canceled?  HANNIBAL.  So I would like to preemptively apologize for my behavior from February through May of 2015, because HANNIBAL.  EVERYTHING IS HANNIBAL AND NOTHING HURTS.]

[Note from The Future: I totally wrote that above paragraph before I watched the season finale.  Because now EVERYTHING IS HANNIBAL AND EVERYTHING HURTS.]

So flash-forward to tonight, where the television season is officially over (even Orphan Black HOLY SHIT ORPHAN BLACK YOU GUYS) and I may have taken a nap this evening instead of staying awake and getting other shit done, so since my sleep cycle’s screwed for the weekend, I can reinstate Insomniac Theatre for a night.

I dug out Ye Olde Martini Shaker of Choosing, and tonight’s selection is:

RideLonesome1959-Columbia

A bounty hunter escorts a killer to town to be hanged, but is allowing the man’s outlaw brother to catch up to him, for a showdown over a shocking previous murder.

At first glance, my readers (all five of you) are probably scratching their heads over the possible reason that this movie would have been recorded off of TCM. This movie doesn’t star Bette Davis, or Barbara Stanwyck, or have a ridiculous premise.  This is also a Western, and Westerns haven’t really come up as a genre on Movies Alaina’s Never Seen.  So what’s up with this?

Well, for the reason I would watch something called Ride Lonesome, you have to go to a barely-watched TV show that aired on ABC Family a few years ago that was canceled after one season, and it was a damn shame that it was canceled, because it is one of my favorite TV shows, and I don’t talk about it much, but I really should:

the_middleman-show

The Middleman was a crazy sci-fi show about a Middleman (on the left), who was, to quote the Wikipedia article about it, a freelancer who cleans up the earth’s exotic problems, ranging from aliens that love shopping to mad scientists who create gangster gorillas to take over the world.  In the pilot episode, the Middleman hires Wendy (on the right) to be his Middleman-in-Training.  With their snarky android, Ida, they take care of the aforementioned exotic problems.

But that’s not all!  There’s the fact that Wendy is badass and independent and while she gets a boyfriend in the last half of the season, she doesn’t become all goopy about him.  She’s an artist and enjoys playing violent first-person shooter zombie games.  Her roommate, Lacey, is a vegan animal rights spokesperson who is sweet and yet also brings the sass when necessary.

And I didn’t even mention all the pop culture references!  Every episode has a theme – the pilot has overt references to The Godfather and Goodfellas, but also subtle references to the James Bond canon – although that’s nothing like the episode where Kevin Sorbo guest-stars as a former Middleman. There’s also an entire episode devoted to Die Hard.  YOU KNOW HOW MUCH I LOVE DIE HARD, YOU GUYS.

So what does this have to do with Ride Lonesome?  In one of the episodes, The Middleman says that he has seen the first act of this movie sixteen times, but due to one thing or another, has never been able to finish watching the movie: he’s always called away to save the world.  There’s a whole sideplot about Lacey meeting up with the Middleman to watch the movie as a date, but that’s not quite germane to why I recorded it.

Basically, I didn’t realize it was a real movie until I saw that TCM was showing it. So I decided to tape it and see if I could watch more of it than The Middleman could.

Also, in a weird twist of fate: a few weeks ago, I had to watch something to get the AWFULNESS of Hannibal (SPOILER: MASON FED HIS OWN FACE TO WILL’S DOGS I. CAN’T. EVEN.) (Note From The Future: ALAINA YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT’S COMING IN THE SEASON FINALE MASON FEEDING HIS FACE TO WILL’S DOGS IS NOT THE MOST HURT YOUR HEART WILL FEEL), so I put in Blazing Saddles.  And that night, I watched this scene, and I was all, “Who’s Randolph Scott?”  And then I found out that Randolph Scott is the star of Ride Lonesome.  SYNERGY.

So basically, everything was coming up Milhouse.  Also, apparently this movie is only an hour and a half long! Woo hoo!  Good choice, Ye Olde Martini Shaker of Choosing!

Well, the first thing I learned is that The Middleman lied to me – this was filmed in color!  WAIT James Coburn is in this?  That’s a name I recognize!

The credits roll under some music that is both heroic and also incredibly depressing, if that’s possible.  A cowboy comes riding out of some stone formations in what I presume is Arizona, and then there’s another cowboy with his own horse and the guy is drinking some coffee on an overlook.  Pretty far to go for a scenic first cup o’the day, dude.  Dude’s just sipping his coffee, talking to his horse like everything he’s doing is normal.

Coffee Guy greets the first guy and calls him McGee.  Coffee Guy is apparently named Billy.  Apparently McGee is a bounty hunter, and he’s trying to bring Billy back to Santa Cruz to face justice.  McGee’s been tailing Billy for three days. Why’d you sit there, Billy?  If you had a three-day head start, why’d you stop at Starbucks for coffee?

Billy must not ride lonesome, because he’s got a sniper friend up in the rocks above them who takes a shot at McGee.  Billy tries to sell McGee on the fact that there are a ton more sniper friends hiding in the rocks, and if McGee rides away and lets Billy go, Billy won’t go after McGee cuz he don’t have no quarrel with him.  McGee says that if Billy tries to kill him, he’ll take him out with him. Ow – my head hurts from too many similiar pronouns.  Do y’all get that sentence?  Good, because I ain’t going back to fix it.

Oh shit – don’t let me slip into Cowboy parlance.

McGee tells Billy to call his boys off, and basically McGee calls Billy’s bluff because there’s only one dude up there with a BB gun.  Okay – so there’s this hilarious little bit that is played totally straight, I’m the asshole that thinks it’s funny, where Billy straight-up shouts at the mysterious sniper named Charlie, that he has to go find Billy’s brother Frank, and tell Frank that McGee is taking Billy back to Santa Cruz, and apparently Frank will know what to do.  I don’t know what that means, but I’m not even ten minutes in and I remembered why I don’t really like Westerns.

Anyway, Billy and McGee are almost right friendly-like, as McGee handcuffs Billy and makes him get on his horse to take him back to Santa Cruz. There’s some scenery shots, designed to make us all nostalgic for the wild wild west, and guys, time out – it’s no — WHAT IN THE DAMN HELL

Uh, sorry. I’m watching this late at night and I just heard a weird sneeze-slash-growl coming from outside, and when I went out to my deck to investigate (because I live in the woods and my deck is on the second floor and also if Hannibal were to kill me so he could eat me he wouldn’t make noise sneaking up on me [he’d take off his shoes and do it in his stocking feet] [PHRASING]), and lo and behold, I see a freaking raccoon trying to eat the suet out of the landlady’s birdfeeder.

So as I was saying before Meeko so rudely interrupted me – it’s no Anchorman, but I really enjoyed A Million Ways to Die In the West.  Something tells me I’ll probably be making a bunch of references to that movie in this review – especially the part about how the West looks beautiful and brilliant, but really, everything in the West is trying to kill you.

Back to the movie!  McGee and Billy are riding their horses through beautiful scenery that undoubtedly hides rattlesnakes, scorpions, and devastating Native American curses that will all kill you while you sleep.  They end up at an pueblo outpost or something.  McGee asks if anyone’s home, and the person who’s home tells McGee to drop his gun.  He does, and the guy who comes out is apparently someone McGee knows named Bones? And apparently Billy’s full name is Billy-John.  And thanks to a check of the imdb., I’ve gotten a lot of these names wrong.  McGee is actually named Ben Brigade, and Bones is named Boone, and now I just want to hit the sound guy, because he did a shitty job mixing this movie.

Boone and Brigade are talking about Brigade’s plan on traveling to Santa Cruz, and everyone’s being all friendly-like when a woman comes out of the pueblo with a shotgun.  Apparently this is a way-station for a stagecoach and the station-master’s disappeared.  The woman wants everybody gone, but Boone doesn’t want to leave her alone while the station-master’s missing.  I’m sure that’s the reason.  Anyway, Brigade sees that the west-bound stage is coming, so maybe everyone can put down their guns and let’s see what the stagecoach brings.

Boone tells the woman to get back in the kitchen and make everyone on the stagecoach sandwiches, and while he says it rather nicely, the patriarchal sentiment remains.  Brigade just watches the stagecoach come riding in, and Boone wonders aloud if Brigade thinks Boone and his men are just waiting to rob the stagecoach. Boone says Brigade’s wrong about him; Brigade responds “am I?”

And then the stagecoach runs right into the animal pen, because the coach driver has a big fucking spear sticking out of his chest.  The “dried” “blood” painted on his shirt is practically DayGlo orange.  Oh, this budget is bad – can’t even research that dried blood is more brown than red.  Boone and Brigade determine (based on the feathers attached to the spear, maybe?) that the murderers is/are the neighboring Mescalero tribe.  I was gonna say “that’s not … a real place,” but then I googled it and apparently the Mescalero is a tribe within the Apache nation.  Goddamn public school education!

Boone and his man buries the coachman and the dead riders from the coach. Boone’s coworker wonders why the Mescalero attacked; as far as he knew, “we” had a treaty with them.  Boone then likens the Mescalero tribe to a woman who killed her husband because she got mad at him over nothing. I just shake my head.

Later that night, the woman brings something out to the stagecoach where apparently Brigade has decided to spend the night.  There are at least three coyotes singing in the background.  Keep them away from your birdfeeders, lady!

The lady wonders why her husband hasn’t returned.  Brigade doesn’t really care, because either way you slice it, her husband brought her to the West and then left her alone at the way-station.  She proclaims that she can take care of herself, and Brigade says that if she were his she wouldn’t have to. The lady – WHO HAS YET TO BE NAMED, BY THE WAY – asks what he means, and Brigade responds that he wouldn’t have brought her out here to the middle of nowhere and then left her alone.  She says that her husband’s job brought them out here; Brigade answers that he should find a better one. She sarcastically responds “like Bounty Hunting?” and I yell IT WORKED FOR BOBA FETT. Brigade changes the subject by acknowledging that the little woman cooks good coffee.  Oh, brother.  But apparently, her name is Mrs. Lane and if you will excuse me, Meeko’s sneezing again.

Brigade tells Mrs. Lane to get some sleep, he’ll be taking her with them on his way back to Santa Cruz.  Boone comes out to tell Brigade that the reason he and his friend are out in the middle of nowhere is because the good people of Santa Cruz has granted amnesty to anyone who brings Billy-John in. There’s also a line where Boone admits it took them a week to figure out what ‘amnesty’ meant, so I can’t even make a joke here.  Essentially, Boone tells Brigade that he and his man are tagging along with Brigade to swoop Billy-John out from under his nose and turn him in so they can get amnesty for their crimes. Brigade doesn’t say a word besides telling Boone to keep an eye on Billy-John for both their sakes.

The next morning, the boys are planning out their route when a delegate from the Mescalero tribe approaches. He throws his spear into the ground and circles his horse around it three times: apparently this is the Internationally Known Gesture that stands for “he wants to talk.”  Brigade speaks Mescalero (of course he does), so he goes over and finds out what they want.  Apparently, the Mescalero want to trade something for … Mrs. Lane.

ACTUAL DIALOGUE TRANSCRIPTION TIME

Brigade: He’s got a horse, wants to make a trade.
Mrs. Lane: For what?
Brigade: You. He said they’d been seeing you here.  He wants to take you for his squaw.
Boone: So what do we do now?
Brigade: Play along with ’em.
Mrs. Lane: Play along with them?
Brigade: If we don’t, we’re apt to stir up every buck in the country.

OH MY GOD. I CAN’T EVEN WITH THIS.  A WOMAN FOR A HORSE.  AND BRIGADE’S GOING TO PLAY ALONG. HOLY SHIT. I HOPE THAT THE MIDDLEMAN NEVER ACTUALLY SAW THIS PART.  I HOPE THAT THIS IS WHERE IDA CALLS HIM TO COME BACK TO HEADQUARTERS BECAUSE THEY’VE GOT A RED BALL. HOLY SHIT.

Okay.  Now that I’ve got that off my chest (and also rewatched last night’s episode of The Daily Show wherein my new hero, Ms. Jessica Williams, outlined the double standard in college campus safety talks), I can continue with this movie.

Brigade tells Mrs. Lane that he’s not going to go through with the deal (if this were a modern movie, he’d accompany that with an eyeroll and a sarcastic “obvi”), but she’s not supposed to say anything or break down, as saying something or breaking down would bring shame to the Mescaleros, and then they’d attack them later or something.  The Mescalero brings out the horse that apparently they found, and Mrs. Lane takes a look at the horse and starts bawling.  The Mescalero take the horse and … the horses they rode in on, I guess, and run away. Brigade now actually rolls his eyes and asks what the fuck, Mrs. Lane, I thought you said you didn’t break easy?  She coldly replies, “That was my husband’s horse,” and returns to the pueblo.  [*sad trombone noise*]

Later that day, they all mount their horses and ride off towards Santa Cruz.  I don’t know why this movie is called “Ride Lonesome” if it’s a group of five people riding, but whatever.

Boone and Brigade discuss Mrs. Lane and how pretty she is, and how if Boone was wanting to trade, he’d — WHAT IN THE DAMN HELL

… goddammit, Meeko!  Stay out of the effing birdfeeders!

Anyway, for Boone, he’d give up an entire herd of wild horses in trade for Mrs. Lane, because she’s the prettiest thing on two legs with a vagina west of the Pecos, or something equally cowboy-ish and awful.  Brigade’s response?  “She’s not ugly.”  THANKS, BRIGADE.  JESUS.  Then Boone tries to change the subject to Billy-John’s brother Frank, but then Brigade says that they’re in “medicine country,” and the Mescaleros are waiting for them over that ridge.  What — medicine country?  Does that mean that everyone who lives in that area is a doctor?

The Brigade …er, Brigade, I guess, turn their horses up to “gallup” and end up in an even worse shack than the pueblo way-station they were in.  Somebody shoots Mrs. Lane’s horse out from under her, and Brigade tries to hold the Native Americans off while the rest of the group runs into the burnt-out shell of a shack and basically, it’s a gun fight and a whole lotta trick falling on the part of the horses.

At one point, all the men are reloading while a Native American runs up.  Brigade nods at Mrs. Lane, because she’s the only one with bullets in her gun, nods at the advancing Native American, and yells “get ’em!”  Mrs. Lane “fires” her gun (because there is absolutely no recoil on that thing, nor is there even the requisite puff of smoke), and when the bullet “hits” the Native American, he merely grasps his chest like Fred Sanford pretending to go up to see Elizabeth and then falls over.  Mrs. Lane is horrified that she killed a man.  Yay remorse!

ACTUAL DIALOGUE TRANSCRIPTION TIME

Boone: Sure beats all, don’t it?  What a man’ll put himself through to get his hands on a woman.  Can’t say as I blame ’em, though.

ARE YOU SERIOUS. OH MY GOD.  CHRIST ON A CRACKER.  I AM HAVING PROBLEMS WITH THIS MOVIE.

Seriously – after the shenanigans with Meeko outside, I’m giving serious thought to canning this and watching Pocahontas.  And I haven’t been able to sit through Pocahontas for about … how long as Mel Gibson been crazy now?  That long.

While I’ve been contemplating quitting this (oh, it’s just an empty threat – I’ve never quit on a movie before), Frank and his boys have arrived somewhere and decided to keep moving.  I’m not sure where they ended up, but they counted five horses.  It can’t be the place where the Brigade Brigade is staying, though, or else they’d have found five people to go along with the five horses.  MYSTERY.

Later that night, Brigade gives Mrs. Lane a blanket and then wanders off to be Batman (I’m guessing; he doesn’t seem able to sleep and he has an overdeveloped sense of justice).  Boone talks with his lackey and proposes that maybe Brigade wants Frank to catch up to their brigade.  Then the two of them reaffirm that they are going to go with Brigade and turn Billy-John in so they can get their precious amnesty.

Oh good, it’s time for another one of Brigade’s day-for-nighttime talks with Mrs. Lane.  She pets her horse that happens to have a broken leg and tells Brigade that her husband wanted her to go home or to a town or something, but she couldn’t leave her husband.  Brigade understands.  Mrs. Lane wants to know if Brigade’s really the type of person who’d hunt a man for money, and Brigade confirms that he is that man.  Then she goes off to bed (“I made a place for you in the wall, for you to sleep” – THE WEST IS ALWAYS TRYING TO KILL YOU SO MUCH THAT SHE HAS TO SLEEP IN THE WALL) while he hunkers down next to the horse he didn’t put out of its misery and goes to sleep.  Billy-John attempts to escape where he’s been handcuffed to a wagon, but I’m not sure he’s successful.

The next morning, Boone’s lackey is holding a mirror up so Boone can shave. Okay, SHENANIGANS. A of all, where’d he get shaving cream in the West?  B of all, with a crazed brother of a con coming after them, why’d he take the time to shave?  Oh, he wants to impress Mrs. Lane.  Jackass.

ACTUAL DIALOGUE TRANSCRIPTION TIME

Boone: She’s sure something, ain’t she?  Said she was married to that station feller about a year.  Can you imagine having her around all that time?  All them days? … Nights?  Just thinking on it gives me a way-down shiver.

OH MY GOD.  I KNOW I’VE SAID THIS BEFORE, BUT I CAN’T EVEN WITH THIS.  JESUS CHRIST, HE EVEN MIMED OUT A SHIVER.

Lackey: I wonder what she’ll do now, she’s without a man?
Alaina: Probably the same thing she did at least once a week while her husband was away, no big deal.
Boone: Find another.
Lackey: But if she loved that feller hard enough, she’d stay a widow, wouldn’t she?
Boone: Ain’t the kind.
Alaina: Really?  You can tell that Mrs. Lane, who can shoot straighter than you, is the type who can’t be without a man for too long?  Jesus Chr–
Boone: Not her.Some are; some get along without.  But not her.  She’s the kind that’s got a need.  A deep, lonely need that only a man can get at.
Lackey: But how do you know?
Boone: I’ve seen it in her eyes.
Alaina: …. …. …. he’s going to rape her.

Boone, I will bet you American dollars that what you think is lust is actually hatred.  Because no woman in her right mind should ever want you.

Mrs. Lane’s walking back to her literal hole in the wall, I presume, when Billy-John calls to her from his spot at the wagon.  Billy-John warns her that The Terrible Frank is on his way, and he’d make sure nothing happened to her (“because you’re a woman and all”) if she took pity on him and let him go. Except Billy-John didn’t count on Brigade’s Batman-like sense of hearing, who heard him whispering practically all the way across the desert. Brigade goes to unhitch Billy-John from the wagon but Billy-John pulls a rifle out from under his blanket and points it in Brigade’s gut.  Boone almost just laughs at Billy-John, because that’s Boone’s Winchester rifle, and after he accidentally shot himself in the leg while riding once (*deep breath* HHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA IT’S TOO BAD IT WASN’T YOUR DICK, DIRTBAG), he never carried it loaded after that, so if Billy-John was stupid enough to grab that rifle, then he’s pointing an empty gun at Brigade.  But yeah, go ahead and try it. Billy-John calls Boone’s bluff and drops the gun.  Boone walks over and shoots it, and sure enough, it is loaded.  The shotgun blast makes the horse THAT I THOUGHT HAD A BROKEN LEG jump up, so apparently the shotgun blast healed the horse, just not in the way we all would have thought.

The Brigade Brigade goes riding off into the … sun.  And there’s more long shots of scenery and dust being kicked up by the horses and HOW HAVE I ONLY WATCHED 45 MINUTES OF THIS THING HOLY HELL I’m getting ice cream.

Man, is there anything better than vanilla ice cream with peanut butter swirl? Well, I guess if you’re allergic to peanuts … y’know?  Never mind.

While I was eating peanut butter ice cream straight from the carton (and not a Ben & Jerry’s pint, I’m poor now — poor and experiencing a severe lack of clean bowls, apparently [goddamn, I have got to do the dishes tomorrow.  And by “do the dishes,” I of course mean ‘turn on the damn dishwasher.”]), Boone offered to pay Brigade double Billy-John’s bounty in exchange for letting him and his lackey turn Billy-John in for their precious amnesty.  Brigade doesn’t take him up on it.

Meanwhile, Frank and his goons show up at the place where the Brigade Brigade spent the night last night.  He practically licks the dust and determines that they slept there the night before (I think in actuality he finds the spent shell from when Boone shot the shotgun and cured the horse), and tells one of his minions that he figured out that Brigade is letting him catch up to them, because years ago, Frank “did Brigade a hurt” and now Brigade wants to get even with him for it.  Frank tells the minions to take a load off and let the horses rest, because Brigade will be waiting for them.

The Brigade Brigade comes upon a hanging tree, and for a second I thought it was a people!pole, but that’s because I was just reading an article about how Hannibal is the best, no really, it is, SHUT UP IT IS SO and also I’m tired yet also high on the largest amount of caffeine I’ve had in weeks.  (hooray!)  Boone says that years ago, Brigade would’ve probably strung Billy-John up hisownself, but now Brigade just tells them to move on.

That night, Boone’s Lackey and Billy-John start talking about how Boone and the Lackey will get amnesty (“Oh, that WORD again! I don’t even know what it means!” NAME THAT MOVIE) if they turn Billy-John in at Santa Cruz.  Billy-John’s still angling to escape, so he tries to appeal to the Lackey’s sense of human decency, by saying that if Frank happens to catch up to them, Mrs. Lane might get caught in the crossfire, and he “wouldn’t want to see a woman all shot up and dead, would ya?”  Oh, brother.  Then Boone shows up and stops the Lackey from helping Billy-John, then asks where Mrs. Lane is.  Apparently, she’s down by the riverbank. Alone.

Oh, god.  I do not have a good feeling about this.  I’m going to get pissed off again, aren’t I?

Boone meets up with Mrs. Lane at the riverbank.  Boone offers to “take care of her” when they get to Santa Cruz, and she turns him down.  He doesn’t immediately hate her for friendzoning him, but he does tell her that Brigade won’t be making it to Santa Cruz because Boone’s going to kill him.

Well, that sends Mrs. Lane right off to see Brigade, who is standing and watching the hanging tree (which happens to be the lesser-known, more-depressing sequel to The Giving Tree).  Mrs. Lane tattles on Boone, tells Brigade that Boone plans to kill him, and she jumps to the conclusion that they’re fighting over the measly bounty of Billy-John.  (That’s a good title for a novel: The Measly Bounty of Billy-John. Damn, I’m good sometimes.)  Anyway, FINALLY, Brigade explains to Mrs. Lane what’s actually going on:

Years ago, Brigade was the sheriff of Santa Cruz, and he brought Frank in for murder.  When Frank was shoved off to Yuma, he yelled that he would get even with Brigade for this.  When Frank gets out of jail and returns to Santa Cruz, he doesn’t meet Brigade for a showdown; instead, he kidnaps Brigade’s wife and then hangs her on this here hangin’ tree.  So clearly, this isn’t about Billy-John at all, and Boone was hiding in the bushes listening to everything, because he’s so insecure about his manhood he needs to make sure that the girl won’t end up with Brigade.

Boone sends his Lackey up to the ridge to keep an eye out for Frank.  Boone then repeats his offer to Mrs. Lane, who again politely turns him down.  The Lackey returns to camp and tells them who’s coming for breakfast.  Boone sends his Lackey into the brush to take care of Mrs. Lane, but Boone tells Brigade that he and the Lackey will cover him, even though it doesn’t change anything with regards to Billy-John.

Brigade brings Billy-John out to the Hanging Tree and confronts Frank.  Billy-John’s already got his neck in a noose, and there is the most pitiful shoot-out I’ve ever seen.  Brigade manages to shoot Frank in one, then Boone and the Lackey (opening next month for Lando and the Droids!) almost take out a minion each, but when they see that Frank has fallen they turn tail and run.  In addition, Brigade manages to save Billy-John from dying at the Hanging Tree.

At which point Boone comes out and once more asks Brigade if he and the Lackey can have Billy-John for their precious amnesty (also, the new hit single from Boone & the Lackey).  At this point, I’m really hoping Brigade just gives the dope to the two of them, because he got revenge for his wife and by my count, this should all be over by now.  But instead, Brigade, says “come and get him” to Boone, and DEAR GOD WHY IS THIS MOVIE NOT OVER YET

Oh, it’s all a big fake out, because yes, Brigade doesn’t have any need of Billy-John anymore, so he lets them go ahead and take the idiot to Santa Cruz to get their amnesty.  Mrs. Lane asks Brigade if he’s still going on to Santa Cruz, and he says no.  She understands.  I DON’T

Brigade stays behind to burn the Hanging Tree while the rest of the Brigade goes off to Santa Cruz and HOLY SHIT THE MOVIE IS OVER

Dear Middleman:

You didn’t miss much.  Also, I’m probably going to take 45 minutes and rewatch “The Cursed Tuba Contingency” because I really don’t understand why you want to see this movie so badly.  I mean, sure, Brigade has an overwhelming sense of justice, but THE MISOGYNY IS HORRIFYING.

Love,
Alaina

Okay, so that’s that.  And apparently deleting the movie didn’t remove any percentage from Jeremy the TiVo, so I’m probably going to a couple more of these next week.  Meanwhile, I’m going to — WHAT IN THE DAMN HELL

… *sigh*  Fuck you, Meeko.

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2014 in Insomniac Theatre

 

Alaina Rants On: Maleficent

My poor, poor neglected movie blog.  I promise, I will soon get back to the Insomniac Theatre routine (although my definition of “insomniac” has changed slightly, seeing as how I rarely stay up past midnight, let alone into the wee hours of the morning anymore) and the List.  But first, there’s been a lot of discussion about this film, and one of my friends (Sarah – YOU GUYS ALL KNOW SARAH) said she would be interested in my take on this topic, and while I admit that I’m now pretty much two weeks behind the curve, I’ve never let an opportunity to rant and/or ramble pass me by.

I saw Maleficent on opening night — Dad and I were supposed to go see The Amazing Spider-Man 2, but when Maleficent opened, Spidey’s evening showings mysteriously disappeared, so he and Mom and I went to see Maleficent instead. I had been wary of seeing Maleficent since I heard of its inception (referenced handily here in the middle of this entry at my reading blog), and I have to say that my gut instinct turned out to be right, because after the first twenty minutes, I realized how the story was gonna end up, and I may have sat through the rest of the film like this:

merryweather

Backstory time!  I grew up with a lot of Disney movies, many of which were recorded off of our free Disney channel weekends purchased legally at the Disney Store before it went out of the business of Disney memorabilia.  One of my favorites was Sleeping Beauty.  I can’t exactly pinpoint why I watched it over and over — it may have had something to do with being on the same VHS as the Disney-channel-recorded … NO it was on the same VHS as The Great Muppet Caper!  THAT’S why I watched it so much, I freaking love that movie!

Anyway, Reasons Why I Love Sleeping Beauty: Phillip was the first prince to have a personality (and actual dialogue, to my knowledge, though I bet if anyone could confirm that it would be mine and Sarah’s friend Brian [who I follow on Twitter], who watched all of the Disney animated movies in about a year), and his horse had a personality too!  (I suppose one could argue that the friendship between Phillip and Samson was one of the first Bromances I ever encountered). The fairies were both sweet and smart, but Merryweather was the best one, and if you disagree, I will fight you.  (I may still say “I still think what I thunk before” because of this movie, and no, even the grammar nerd in me won’t apologize for that.)  I mean come on — tell me Aurora looks better in the pink than in the blue. I dare you.

But most of all, there was Maleficent.

maleficent1 Disney

Look at her – talk about having grace and beauty; I wish had her posture.  And in this still, she looks like she’s just a normal fairy, showing up to give her present to the baby.  I mean, clearly a woman with that headpiece and letting her raven perch on her walking stick maybe isn’t the nicest person in the world, and sure, when she arrives she shows up in a lightning bolt and a burst of fierce wind, but it’s not like she storms in and starts mowing people down like Voldemort or some other villain that I wish I could think of in this moment.  She’s almost serene in her evil.

Basically, I loved Maleficent.  I loved how delightfully evil she was.  I loved how she stood up for what she believed in, and by gum, she believed that that little baby should die.

… y’know, reading this?  Might make me seem twisted.  I’m kind of okay with that.  I mean, I probably get it from my mother (DON’T WORRY MOM THIS ISN’T A BAD THING), because I can distinctly remember hearing my mother comment once that, while she definitely does not condone her actions, she would have loved to have played Cruella De Vil in something, because playing a character that delightfully evil has to be the most fun thing in the world.

Because to me, what makes Maleficent so amazing and special is not just that she’s evil; it’s that she revels in it.  Check out her gleeful grin at Stefan’s horrified face after she curses Aurora!  After capturing Prince Phillip she tells him a wonderful little fairy tale about true love that, oops, spoiler alert, he’s not going to experience because when he finally goes to save the princess, he’s going to be like a hundred years old, so have fun with that relationship! She’s so happy once everything goes her way that she tells her raven, “For the first time in sixteen years, I shall sleep well.”  I have hungered after that type of sleep my entire life.

So my unconditional love of Maleficent as a character has been with me since childhood.  And when I first heard that Disney was capitalizing on the success of the Tim Burton-helmed Alice in Wonderland by revisiting the origins of Maleficent, I … became wary, to say the least.

What Tim Burton did for the latest Alice in Wonderland wasn’t an origins story: it was a continuation.  And I know that there are people who weren’t a fan of it for whatever reasons, but because it was a new story, built on the foundations of both the 1951 animated movie and the Lewis Carroll novellas, I could separate my enjoyment of both the original movie and the books from my enjoyment of the Tim Burton movie.  Full disclosure: I didn’t hate it.  I didn’t love it and it didn’t become one of my top ten favorite movies of all time (I should really post about that at some point; it would probably explain a lot of things), but I did buy it when I found it for five bucks a couple of years ago.  I’ve even watched the DVD since I bought it, which is fairly high praise.

But I was afraid that by showing us the origins of Maleficent, we would see that there was a reason behind the curse on Aurora, beyond just not being invited to the party.  And I was very afraid that they would humanize Maleficent.  I hoped that the tale would be told in the way that I remembered it: that okay, maybe she has a reason for wanting a baby dead – that will at least get her to the christening to bestow the curse.  But at the end the fairies and Phillip would try to defeat her and she’d turn herself into a dragon and then Phillip would kill the dragon and maybe she’d get redemption through death (which is one of my favorite tropes EVER.  See: Severus Snape; Jack Bristow; Jack Shepherd; possibly some other Jack; and I hope Regina on Once Upon a Time, even though I do NOT want her to die EVER NEVER EVER because that character is amazing, but because that scene will just make me want to claw my eyes out in grief.).

Needless to say, I was disappointed.

In this film, Maleficent starts out as a nice fairy.  And one day, Stefan stumbles into the fairy world and they become friends, which is kind of forbidden because humans and fairies don’t really mix.  Over time, she falls in love with Stefan, and it’s possible that the affection is returned.  However, Stefan’s ambition overpowers his depth of feeling, because when the dying king asks for revenge on the fairy that so handily handed his army’s ass to them on a silver platter, Stefan goes marching into Fairyland, drugs Maleficent, is going to kill her, but instead, decides to just cut off her wings.

And look, pretend you’re me: you’re watching this movie, and it’s starting out kind of slow and sappy, and then – BOOM! – rape metaphor.  If there is ANYTHING that is going to vindicate Maleficent’s downward slide (or upward climb, depending on your perspective) into evil and vengeance, THAT IS IT. So for a brief moment, I actually had some hope that maybe the film wouldn’t completely defame her character by giving her a sappy side.  Because look: if I were a fairy and some … god, I wish the English language had words for the type of awful, horrible human being Stefan was in that instance (bless you Tina Fey/Liz Lemon, but fungdark really doesn’t even come close) drugged me and cut off my wings, leaving me mutilated beyond repair? You can bet your ASS that I’d want to wreak vengeance on him, on his descendants – a pox on his house wouldn’t even begin to cover it.

(And I know that the sins of the father shouldn’t transfer to the children, but seriously: rape metaphor with mutilation. Tell me you wouldn’t at least consider it.)

So I’m sitting there, actually anticipating how this story will go: she’ll get her revenge because Aurora will prick her finger and she’ll die, she’ll cackle, and maybe she’d piss off Phillip’s family, which makes him seek revenge on her, and something would happen to make her redeem herself in death.  (I clearly hadn’t thought that through, but that’s what I wanted.)

Until Maleficent curses Aurora.  Because when she made that curse, I knew that Maleficent would never live up to my expectations.

The curse, as written in the 1959 original, states:

Before the sun sets on her sixteenth birthday, she shall prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel – and DIE.

In Maleficent, she amends the curse to say:

Before the sun sets on her sixteenth birthday, she shall prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and fall into a sleep like death!

There is a HUGE difference between those two curses, and it’s not just the words.  In Maleficent‘s version of the curse, she has already softened up compared to her predecessor, because now she’s not killing the kid, she’s just putting her to sleep forever.

And then she amends her own curse, giving it a cure!  She says the equivalent of, “Oh well, okay sure, I’ll give you a curse-breaker: she can only be woken up by True Love’s Kiss.”  And as she leaves, she’s all, “BECAUSE THERE’S NO SUCH THING SUCKA HAHAHAHA”  And then she would flip  the entire gathering of peasants and rabble The Bird as she vanishes in a cloud of green smoke like a motherfucking boss.

Except she can’t stay away from Aurora – I’m still not sure if, initially, she kept watching Aurora and saving her from the fairies’ ineptitude just because she wanted to make sure she (Maleficent) was the one responsible for the girl’s demise (and DON’T get me started on those fucking fairies.  Not one Merryweather in the bunch).  The first line of the curse in both Sleeping Beauty and Maleficent states that Aurora will be beloved by all who know her. Well, in this film, Maleficent falls under her own spell.

To the point that Maleficent tries to break her own curse!  She ends up caring for the princess and tries to take it back!  Except she fooled herself because when she cursed the girl originally, she made sure to say that the curse will be unbroken until True Love’s Kiss – she didn’t even put in a override line or anything reserved for herself.  So then she gets sad because she’s cursed Aurora to this sleep of death, because True Love’s Kiss doesn’t exist.

Well, that’s all well and good, except that anyone who’s ever watched Once Upon a Time knows that the best True Love’s Kisses come from mother to son (both Emma and Regina to Henry, breaking two curses).  So when the fairies force Phillip into kissing a sleeping Aurora and it doesn’t work, Maleficent tries to say goodbye to Aurora by kissing her, and GUESS WHO WAKES UP

In the end, Maleficent gets her wings back, she stops being evil, Stefan dies (as all good Disney villains do) (I actually pointed and shouted DISNEY VILLAIN DEATH in the theatre but no one heard me), Aurora rules the humans in concert with Maleficent not-quite-ruling the fairies because they don’t believe in a system of government, and Alaina does not like the movie because they made Maleficent soft.

Where was my evil queen who ruled all those wonderful, stupid minions?  Where was her outright glee in tormenting others?  You know how much fun Lana Parilla has playing Regina the Evil Queen on Once Upon a Time?  THAT’S WHAT I WANTED FOR MALEFICENT.

(I’m not even going to get into the fact that on Once Upon a Time, Maleficent was played by the awesome Kristin Bauer Von Straten, only to have Regina permanently turn her into her dragon in episode 2, and then have Emma kill her in the season 1 finale.  Why does Maleficent always get short shrift?)

So that’s why I didn’t like the movie: they took one of my favorite childhood antiheroes and made her soft in the heart and gave her a happy ending that was actually happy (versus my other favorite trope, Redemption Through Death).  I would like to point out – before I get into the true impetus of why I’m writing this post – that while I felt the writing did a disservice to Maleficent, Angelina Jolie was phenomenal in the role.  I mean, really: my main problem was the story.  Or the fact that their story deviated from what I wanted the story to be.  My dislike of the movie had nothing to do with the persons involved (unlike when I went to see Mission: Impossible IV: Ghost Protocol because SOMEONE said it was an amazing movie and that Sawyer from Lost was in it but Sawyer died in the first ten minutes of the movie and basically SOMEONE STILL OWES ME NINE BUCKS FOR THAT MOVIE AND ALSO FOR PRISONERS BECAUSE THERE WERE SNAKES IN PRISONERS AND YOU DIDN’T TELL ME ABOUT THE SNAKES, BRAD).

Ahem.

So anyway: heaps of praise for Angelina Jolie and the visual effects; bunches of boos for the poor story decisions (my opinion).  Once the movie came out, I was seeing a few articles that praised Maleficent for having such a female-centric storyline, and after careful consideration, I have to agree.  It is amazing that there are five female characters with speaking roles compared to the two male characters (three if you count the king that dies in the beginning).  The movie passes the Bechdel test with flying colors; no doubt about that in my mind.  And I applaud the movie for showing us such a positive female relationship between Maleficent and Aurora, regardless of how I felt about the relationship as part of the story.

And then Sarah links me to this article, and says, “I’d be interested to hear your take on this.” So I read it, and I’ve been stewing over it for a couple of weeks now, and I guess my main feeling regarding this article is that I feel the author is nitpicking and reading into a lot of stuff (says the girl who has written nearly 2500 words in the same manner).

The author of the article claims that Disney had the opportunity to create a truly revisionist feminist movie starring Maleficent – show a woman’s agency and the choices she makes and how those choices go against the patriarchy found in that realm, and how grrl!power would triumph over the stupid stupid men. And remember that part where Maleficent was horrifically mutilated by a man and I thought this was going to be the best revenge fantasy movie ever?  I really wanted that, along with the author of the article.

Obviously, my disappointment comes from a deep-rooted nostalgia.  The author of the article traces her disappointment to the fact that the film is not Maleficent’s movie – she is merely a player in Aurora’s movie, remade to look like the main character.  Aurora is the narrator of the movie, and the narration that begins the film tells the audience that we haven’t heard the story told in this way before.  And that’s because for the first time, we’re seeing the story as told from Maleficent’s perspective, and we’re getting backstory on Maleficent’s motivation, but at the end of the film, Aurora still needs to wake up.  We can’t have Maleficent succeed in her original plot (revenge against Stefan = keeping his daughter sleeping like death for eternity) because then we really would be seeing Maleficent win, and the villain winning wouldn’t be a comfortable position for any summer tentpole audience.

What I kind of have to love in an ironic manner is the fact that the author of the article can’t even focus on Maleficent for her entire article.  She ends the article claiming that the Aurora in the 1959 movie is more femme-positive (her words) than the Aurora found in Maleficent:

In Sleeping Beauty, Aurora had a nurturing family and a trio of good fairies who were flighty (yet responsible). She had the gift of song, the man of her dreams, and an iconic, charismatic villain who audiences loved. In Maleficent, Aurora is the product of a cold and loveless marriage and a vengeful, unhinged rapist. Her safety relies on a trio of clueless and dangerously careless fairies, and her Godmother is the woman who cursed her — and who had, in turn, been violated by her own father.

Which sounds more reductive to you?

To be honest, I don’t even know what she’s talking about.  In Maleficent, Aurora doesn’t need a man to save her from her fate – Maleficent saves Aurora with her version of True Love’s Kiss.  When Maleficent is captured by Stefan’s guards, sure, she changes her raven-man into the dragon instead of changing herself into a dragon, but maybe there was a line that was cut that explained that fairies can’t actually turn themselves into other creatures?  And in the end, Aurora helped save Maleficent by returning her wings to her (there has to be a metaphor in there somewhere about a woman returning another woman’s power to her after it had been raped away, but I’ve been working on this essay for about a week and I can’t think too hard about this anymore) – how is that less femme!positive than Sleeping Beauty where the prince kills the female dragon and wakes the heroine up with a kiss and her marriage to Prince Phillip had been arranged before she was born, and they were just lucky that they met in the woods and fell in love immediately without knowing each other was their betrothed whereas in Maleficent Aurora got to choose to marry Phillip and the marriage wasn’t arranged or anything and everyone lives happily ever after, even Phillip, who honestly ended up having less of a personality than this guy:

sleeping beauty jester

So there.  I really don’t think I can analyze this movie anymore.  I was disappointed in the movie, but I’ve got my anger out now so I won’t be talking about it any longer.

I will most likely continue to bring up Mission: Impossible IV: Ghost Protocol and Prisoners when applicable, because I haven’t gotten my refund for either of those movies yet, BRAD.

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2014 in Alaina Rants On