31 May, 2010

Do You Feel Like You're Lucky, Punk?


I imagine that most 80 year olds would say "Yes."

Happy birthday, Mr. Eastwood.

Also, this photo? This photo is where it's at. I don't know what that means, but I know it to be true.

Andy Take My-- Wait, What the Heck?


Dennis Hopper. Dead as fuck. 1936-2010.

God speed, you crazy bastard.

(via the Guardian)

30 May, 2010

More Xenophobia From My Keyboard to Your Eyes!

File this under "What's Wrong With That Place?"

Guess which country allows robots to officiate weddings?

You get three chances at the right answer, and the first two don't count.

29 May, 2010

Gone West


And that's how you almost bring an animal that used to have a population of 100 million nearly goes extinct.

28 May, 2010

Hippos are Jerks


Hippos insist on only the finest of dentrifices and upon no less than three people (but no more than six) to brush his teeth.

What a jerk.

(via twisted vintage)

Water Marks Ruin Everything


Ian McShane. Photo by Michael Hardy.

26 May, 2010

You Gotta Burn That Dog


I would see this version of Old Yeller.

Stuff I Am Hocking Part II

Not much has changed from the last time I was broke. In fact, I am probably more broke than I was previously. Anyways, here's some DVDs I'm selling. If you're interested make me an offer, odds are I'll accept it.

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
Blade Runner: The Director's Cut
Chappelle's Show Season 2
Collateral
The Conversation
Dawn of the Dead
Dazed and Confused (not the Criterion version)
Finding Neverland
Hotel Rwanada
Matrix Reloaded
Million Dollar Baby
Rear Window
Snatch
The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada
The Transporter
Unbreakable
Vertigo
X-Men 1.5

All DVDs must go!

Songs Currently Stuck in my Head


It's been running through my head all damn day. That and the new UNKLE song. I'm glad I could excise that demon before I went to bed.

24 May, 2010

Fuck Yes, Fuck You

Serves him right.

Matadors are all cunts anyways.

22 May, 2010

A Massive Pointless Nothing Aimed At Warner Brothers


I've been thinking about The Road Warrior recently. There's a lot of subjects I've mulled over in regards to the film, but the one I can't find any progress on, the one which keeps impeading my progress, is why the DVD release of the movie sucks so bad.

Mad Max 2/The Road Warrior's transfer is awful. There's no special features to speak of and I'm surprised a DVD this old-- and one which seems this forced-- is even in wide-screen (is it in wide-screen, I can't remember. Hell, even the actual container for the movie is a piece of shit.

There's no reason for this. It's one of the greatest action movies of all time. It's perfect.

So, being stupid and drunk and a massive dork, I wrote a letter. Here in are the contents of said letter:
Hi, I'm a big fan of The Road Warrior and Mad Max. I own both on DVD, and I have been bothered recently by the quality of The Road Warrior's DVD release.

I want to know why you, Warner Brothers, refuses to release a DVD that compliments its greatness. There are far worse movies, far less deserving movies which have two disc sets, HD-DVD releases, Blu-Ray Releases, and whatever else you could imagine, but not The Road Warrior.

Why?

I know you like selling product. I know I like watching an HD quality version of The Road Warrior. So why is there a distance between your desires and my own, when they are basically one and the same?

Seriously though, it's bullshit.

THIS IS A SERIOUS PROBLEM! IT'S IN THE BOOK OF REVELATIONS, PEOPLE!

21 May, 2010

Follow Me Down


I want to say that the first time I listened to UNKLE it was a watershed moment, but I honestly don't remember when that was.

It must have been towards the end of high school. There was a coffee shop I frequented with my mom. I was fairly close with all of the people that worked there. They weren't much older than I am now, but at the time, they were these incredibly cool people who I didn't entire understand. They were adults and they weren't quite my parents or the places' managers or regulars, they were the connecting tissue between where I was then and where all of these real adults were at the same time.

Since then I've tried to copy the arch of these people. It hasn't quite worked out. By the time I became their age, I had probably quit more jobs than they had ever had, plus I was fired from my one coffee shop job, the one job I had coveted since I had entered into junior high. I got shit canned from that world and have had very little opportunity to return to it. It's not sad, it's just strange. I feel like the world has changed since the first time I ever listened to Psyence Fiction.

That's probably a bunch of bullshit.

As I get older, despite my best efforts, I find everything I encounter to be intensely odd. The people who gave me Highway 61 Revisited and Deltron 3030 and humored me about my art and screenwriting are now who I am. But, of course, I know I'm not those people. I'm just some weirdo creating his own hermitage in the back of his parents' house. This isn't what I imagined I would be at this time.

Way back when being 23 was this unnamed country. It was a place full of wonder and potential and now that I'm here all I do is worry about gas prices and becoming an alcoholic. There's no romance. There isn't even making coffee. It's strange. It is utterly strange.

At least I've still got UNKLE, though. Time cannot take that away from me.

Just Another Piece of Nomad Trash


This is a really well edited video and it pisses me off that I lost my copy of The Road Warrior some time ago, but not as much as it pisses me off that the DVD of that movie sucks massive amounts of ass. I should write a letter.

20 May, 2010

Everyone Loves a Shawerma

Including the prophet Mohammed.
Photobucket
Look at how much fun he's having.

I ain't scared.

Draw Mohammed Day

Fight censorship and terrorism in one fell swoop! Defend freedom by drawing the prophet Mohammed, praise be to him!

I really wish people would tell me this stuff before the day is out.

World's A Mess: Asia Edition

Chinese astronauts eat dogs.

I think it's a profound statement-- of what, I don't know-- that China's most advanced scientists, the heroes pushing themselves to the furthest eat dogs. This means something, for who or what I don't know, but it is clear that it has some kind of meaning.

In other news, apparently that South Korean frigate that was sunk a few months back was destroyed because of a torpedo.

These this doesn't bode well for anyone in Asia, especially not the world's favorite hermit regime, North Korea. While they like to pretend that they have cards to play, the reality is that NoKo is a tiny little spec of spit with nothing to offer the world except for half-assed threats and being really loud in public. I think the only reason North Korea has been allowed to be this big of a dick for so long is on account of China and as their wealth and international clout increases, I think their love of Kim Jong Il and his broke-ass dictatorship is going to wain. I mean, what else is it going to do?

In other news, Thailand has been having a bit of trouble.

"Red Shirts," protestors demanding a number of things, from a stronger, more transparent democracy, to greater strides in health care and other services that would benefit the rural poor. Whatever the case may be, the Red Shirts aren't exactly fans of Thailand's current PM, Vejjajiva. For the past weeks and months, the protesters have peacefully shutdown the center of Bangkok, demanding, among other things, new election.

This all recently came to a head when the military started to crack down on the barricades.

Anyways, this is all very exciting, as I'm sure you will agree.

Utter Faggotry


I kind of miss being really into videogames.

Then again, I don't miss being a virgin.

It's a conundrum.

(via JPG a Day)

The Hammer of Hell!


I love Enemy Ace because he's exactly the kind of character that I like to write about. He's a man who is incredibly skilled at his job, but do to timing and geography, he is a "bad guy." If he was American or British, he'd be a hero to us, but because he's a Kraut, he's interminably fucked.

He isn't a fascist or a bloodthirsty murderer, at his most basic, he's a soldier. He couldn't be accused of being a soldier like any other, though.

Which is what makes the mini-series Garth Ennis wrote about him so interesting. In Ennis' story, the Enemy Ace is recruited by the Luftwaffe to fight for Nazi Germany. Han von Hammer, at heart isn't a man who loves war or Hitler, in fact, everything he does indicates the opposite. He's tortured by the fact that he's skilled in the martial arts. It isn't something he's proud about, it's just who he is. And as far as the Hitler question goes, in the same way that timing and geography cursed Hans to be on the losing side of World War I, these same forces conspire to have him fight for the single most wicked power that ever walked on earth.

One of the other things I like about Enemy Ace is the fact that it was made in a time where it was acceptable to put word balloons on the cover. It's a lost technique and because of that, it endears me to Enemy Ace. It's a rather sophisticated concept and yet it seemed to come out of a far more seeming innocent era.

19 May, 2010

Emil Shur


(via Nymphoto)

He's Not Only Crazy!

But he's also an asshole!

Glenn Beck in an effort to appear to be even more of a cunt has gone on the offensive, in order to protect a gold retailer which sponsors his show.

He compared congress' investigation into the company Goldline International as tantamount to McCarthyism-- because I guess comparing it with the Holocaust would have been too rhetorical.

To me the investigation's results seem to be about as politically motivated as Glenn Beck's motives are financial, but I think we can all agree on the fact that the world is not a better or sounder place with all of these sketchy gold companies popping up all over the place. There's a sucker born every minute and I imagine that a place like Goldline is banking on it.

Thirty Years Ago Yesterday

Nobody told me that the anniversary of Ian Curtis' death was on the 18th.

Thanks for making me find out on my own! Now I feel like a jerk!


I love you and your users, You Tube. Don't ever change.

18 May, 2010

I Want One


Quick, get me a ticket to Ho Chi Minh City stat!

What Happens When You Mix Gun Nerds and Film Nerds?

You get blog posts about the firearms in about three dozen movies, including each actor's gun handling abilities and various errors in gun use.

Don't Cry For Me, I'm Already Dead

This is a delightful little webcomic.

I suppose you have to have a serious and personal attatchment to the TV show it revolves around, but even then I think it still probably works if only you know someone like these two friends.

17 May, 2010

Wu? Who!

16 May, 2010

I Don't Give No Fucks


This is a fantastic song.

If you and your bourgeois standards can't handle it, then you can go rot in Hell, as well. I love this song. Not loving this song is an indictment on yourself, on your ability to have fun.

Though, if you're going to argue about what is or is not a song, then that's another issue. Whatever this thing is, it is great. I am a better person, a happier person, because of it.

This is What Great Music Sounds Like


That is a bona fide fact. Everything else can go burn in a corner of Hell.

I went and got drunk with my dad tonight. After heading back from The Cheval Blanc, we proceeded to collect an armful of High Life cans and kick up the jams on one of his jukeboxes. This one plays 45s. We burned through quite a few songs. 45s came out of an era of music where, if you didn't have something to say in three minutes, it didn't get said. I can appreciate that kind of music.

One of the many songs we played-- which included a lot of original Sun Label records-- were Jackie Wilson's "Lonely Teardrops."

It is good to know that my dad and I can agree on something even if it's only for three minutes at a time.

15 May, 2010

He Say You Brade Runna


Also, I'm pretty sure that Malcolm McDowell is to Anthony Hopkins as Brian Cox is to Albert Finney or as Rip Torn is to Brian Cox.

Think about it.

We Love You, Sam Rockwell

14 May, 2010

He Say You Brade Runnah


Deckard: Shakes? Me too. I get 'em bad. It's part of the business.
Rachael: I'm not in the business. . . I am the business.

(via NEVVER)

13 May, 2010

Get a wire up.

The Wire is one of the best damn things that has ever been on television. As with Battle of Algiers, you're less of a person for having missed out on it.


Now tell me if that doesn't get you're motor running?

If it doesn't, you're a liar.

Rock the Casbah


The Battle of Algiers is one of the best movies ever made. That's not my opinion, that's verifiable fact. It's a simply amazing movie and if you haven't seen it, you're a lesser person for it. It's great. It's one of the most real looking movies I've ever seen (probably because it didn't use professional actors for the most part). It's arresting from start to finish and it elucidates a chapter of western history that we either choose to ignore or simply don't know about, which is colonialism-- 20th century colonialism.

I saw the movie at the height of the Iraq War, back when our men and women were getting the shit blown out of them on a seemingly daily basis by an unseen, unknown, unaccountable enemy that just wanted to hurt as badly as they could. With that said, I don't think it's my experience at the time that makes it an allegorical film. It's a film that revolves around insurgent warfare and a domestic resistance against an occupying power. It makes for an interesting viewing experience to root for the Arabs to displace and destroy the white soldiers that are trying to bring order to their country.

I've written about this movie before, you can read my write up of it here.

Anyways, this is all a roundabout way of bringing up these series of photographs that are on the New York Times' photoblog (what an ugly word that is).

Look at it. Look at it because it's an interesting document of a world we have very little to do with. Look at it because the people in the photographs don't want you to. Look at it because its mere existance is a loogie in the eye of every French imperialist there ever was.

And at the end of the day, isn't that what it's really about?

I Hope You Put Your Money in Heroin Stocks

A mysterious fungus has been wiping out opium crops in Afghanistan. Apparently 25% of this year's crops have been effected and Afghan opium makes up 92% of the entire world's supplies.

First the oil leak in the gulf and then that mine explosion in Russia and now this. The whole world is falling apart by the looks of it.

This is What Happens When You Do Acid and Design Luggage


This is what happens when you don't have a sitter when doing hallucinogens, you end up hiring a midget and a hot Asian chick and you start making confusing commercials about baggage for children.

12 May, 2010

What the FUCK is going on over there?

I was going to ignore this story the first three or so times that it happened, but now that China has had it's fifth knife attack at a school in less than two months, I'm inclined to post this news story. Because I'd like to think that when your society has a spat of weirdos attacking children with knives at school, it means that something is up.

It's probably anxiety from the knowledge that Taiwan believes it is its own country.

Quick or Slow

But I still think that, even at its best, Slow-Cinema-As-Default-International-Style is profoundly nostalgic and regressive — and I think that this is a bad thing. It’s a way of simulating older cinematic styles, and giving them a new appearance of life (or more precisely, a new zombified life-in-death), as a way of flattering classicist cinephiles, and of simply ignoring everything that has happened, socially, politically, and technologically, in the last 30 years.

Slow Cinema versus Fast Movies, by the Pinocchio Theory.

Here's something interesting about movies you should read. Personally I've had an assload of foreign films about people dragging their asses around for two hours. I know this makes me a plebe, but in my defense I'm not saying that they need to start blowing more things up or having witty banter about movies and music no one has ever heard of. I just want to buy into the myth that foreigners do things with their days, as well. Is that so wrong?

11 May, 2010

The Roaming Legend of Riot Dog


I'm blaming this on the Japanese, as well.

What is wrong with that place? Part 80 of 694


There aren't words.

10 May, 2010

Another One Bites the Dust


Frank Frazetta. Dead today.

February 9, 1928 – May 10, 2010

Have The Rolling Stones Killed

09 May, 2010

Hearts of Oak


On the way back from Long Beach I figured out what the heart of my World War II comic was going to be. It's going to be about oak trees.*

It's a difficult thing to pick up a theme that's worth a damn, because more often than not a theme is just one more piece of shit that's keeping an audience from a story. It's like philosophy or explanation, it's the enemy of a story. It's not like you can't have these things, but unless they're important, they're obstacles, not boons.

I'd rather have a half-assed story with no theme than a half-assed theme with no story.

Luckily, I think I figured out what my theme is going to be for my WWII story, which I have partially written and almost entirely mapped out. It's going to be based around a singular character. The fact that he has a lot in common with my character from my Afghanistan story is helpful, though the similarities are superficial more than anything else. The story is going to be wrapped around him and it's going to be steeped in a kind of pride for the English army and the Fortress Britain's history as a bulwark against fascism and totalitarianism of every stripe.

It's this letter from Simon Schama on the BBC that got me thinking along these lines. It's a pretty impressive piece of writing. It isn't about World War II at all, so if you're concerned about that, don't be. The piece is more about environmentalism and history than it is about any kind of mortal combat.

Hearts of Oak is going to be a part of that, I think. I think it's interesting to treat the oak tree as a kind of metaphor for England itself and, by extension its people. The character that's going to be the anchor in this also happens to use a bow, so the fact that all of these ideas I just found out about sync up is a good sign. I've found most of my good ideas aren't so much bolts from the blue as they are a sudden realization that I've had the puzzle solved in front of my face the whole time and all I need to do is put them together.

*Also, I find it odd that "Heart of Oak" is in this particular episode of the Sharpe's series since I just happened to have watched it on PBS' Masterpiece Theater after coming back from Long Beach on Wednesday. A lot of things have been syncing up like that for me over the past week. The Universe must be trying to tell me something.

An Ignomious Milestone

It figures that my 1,000th blog post was about Carlos Hathcock.

08 May, 2010

35 Years Ago


A U.S. crewman runs from a crashed CH-21 Shawnee troop helicopter near the village of Ca Mau in the southern tip of South Vietnam, Dec. 11, 1962. Two helicopters crashed without serious injuries during a government raid on the Viet Cong-infiltrated area. Both helicopters were destroyed to keep them out of enemy hands. (AP Photo/Horst Faas)

Fighting in 'Nam is probably one of those things we should all be thankful for never having to live through. As much as I love The Wonder Years, fuck that shit, I'm staying home.

(via the Denver Post)

Tales of Badassness


Hathcock only once removed the white feather from his bush hat while deployed in Vietnam. During a volunteer mission days before the end of his first deployment, he crawled over 1,500 yards of field to shoot an NVA commanding general. He wasn't informed of the details of the mission until he accepted it. This effort took four days and three nights, without sleep, of constant inch-by-inch crawling. Hathcock said he was almost stepped on as he lay camouflaged with grass and vegetation in a meadow shortly after sunset. At one point he was nearly bitten by a bamboo viper but had the presence of mind to avoid moving and giving up his position. As the general exited his vehicle Carlos fired a single shot that struck the general in the chest, killing him. He had to crawl back instead of run when soldiers started searching.

Carlos Hathcock is one badass.

Fuck You


Not you're not.

07 May, 2010

CURRENT MOOD

06 May, 2010

We started together. We'll end it together.


I think I've said all I need to say about this film already.

(via Cinema is Dope)

han solo p.i.


I would watch this. I would watch this almost as readily as I watch the real Magnum, P.I.

04 May, 2010

Congratulations!

 

It's a hamster!

(via Cute Overload)
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One From the Archives

 
Posted by Picasa

(illustration by Walter Baumhofer)

Cinecult: Cross of Iron


"Good kill."

As time goes on, I find I like certain kinds of stories. I've talked about this before so I won't waste your time before I say that movies about Nazis aren't one of them. There got that out of the way. But, one of the things I do enjoy is a movie is basically decent people forced into terrible circumstances due to no action of their own. Now, while I wouldn't label the vast majority of the Third Reich's war machine with the title "decent people" (or any main characters in a Sam Peckinpah movie), I still like the fact that Cross of Iron is about an entire army of men who would rather be home drinking schnapps than going to war with the Russian army. It's dire and its hopeless and I like that.

Corporal Steiner, the film's main character, isn't a Nazi or a member of an extermination team, he's just a broke down old man stuck in a pointless land war in Asia (and you know how that saying goes, I'm sure). He's far from a fanatic, in fact the only thing he's passionate about, if you want to call it that, is his loyalty to his men. He's a respectable man and a brave one, it's just a damn shame that he's a Kraut. Luckily, he also happens to be James Coburn, who plays Steiner in an uncharacteristically uncharismatic fashion. It's jarring, but it works, because the only other option would be to make a movie about the coolest member of the Wermacht there ever was.

Steiner's greatest sin isn't that he's brutral, but that he's a pragmatist, completely unburdened by patriotism, mercy, or kindness. He can't have any of these things, because if he paused to be soft for a moment, he'd be killed or, worse, he'd turn into the collection of soft bodies and rich boys that make up the officers that he so hates. He isn't very likable, but he's respectable, in that he knows that war isn't much more than an over sized meat grinder.

In the words of one of the characters of the film, he's the last best hope Germany has for winning the war, and we all know how that turns out. From the start of the film we know Steiner's mission is a doomed one. In that way, Cross of Iron is a bit like Das Boot. It isn't as well made, as memorable, or as likable as Das Boot (even in it's fuck-ass long TV movie version), but they're both at their heart about skilled men having the ill fortune to be born in Germany during a certain period of time. I guess it is a testament to both films that you want all of the characters to survive the war, and the Eastern Front is as foreboding and hideous as the inside of a submarine being depth charged.*

What's interesting to me about Cross of Iron is that it obfuscates the stereotypes we have of the German soldiers World War II. In this film-- and in reality-- the German army and the Nazi party were two distinct entities. A man can belong to a country and still be separate from his government. A person can be German and still not be a Nazi. There's very few references to the party in the film. The first is when Steiner is speaking with his nemesis, who bristles at Hitler being called "his Fuhrer." This man is a fop and a coward and he fights for the German army, but even he is above being called a Nazi. The second time is when Steiner's platoon receives a replacement, a party member. The replacement is quickly made fun of and put in his place. The scene reminded me of The Tin Drum, where it made the Nazis look like a bunch of fumbling Boy Scouts gone mad instead of the pompous knights they wanted to be.

This is a point that truly irritated me with Inglourious Basterds. I didn't go into the film (knowing the ending by then) and expect and historically accurate film, but I did expect it to rise above the self-righteous dialogue of an eleven year old who just found out about D-Day. Cross of Iron isn't a perfect movie, but it does have the verve to treat Germans like human beings with personalities and beliefs outside of the hivemind in Berlin.

Another thing that interests me about the film is that it was released in 1979, during the last full decade of the Cold War. Back then it was prefectly acceptable-- and expected-- to hate the Russians. This movie doesn't rely upon the fears of the Cold War to sell the movie, but I find it interesting that the Wermacht could be considered better "good guys" than the Soviet Union, which actually was the "good guys." **

Cross of Iron doesn't humanize the war efforts of the Third Reich, not politically and not cinematically. From the opening credits, Peckinpah paints the efforts of Hitler's government as ridiculous and cartoonish. The brutality they inflicted isn't funny so much as their aspirations to top off every mountain in the world with flying Swastikas. Just what were they thinking?

The movie even deprives the audience of a denouement. It doesn't end in the showdown you might be expecting, rather it ends with a freeze frame Coburn's face, with his laughter running over into the credits. The ending is appropriate for the film. The entire thing is an enigma. There's no reasoning behind Steiner's actions-- unless you consider survivalism a motive-- and there's no real conclusion for any characters unless they died on screen. Though, again, what is Steiner going to do? Go home, live a happy life? Die like a hero? No, of course not, Steiner is a man stuck in the state of war and that's how we leave him, forever trapped in some Russian hellhole firing away like a madman.



*Also, I just realized both films have fairly baffling endings for entirely different reasons. I guess both directors realized, in their own way, that even if you did end up rooting for the Germans they couldn't very well win the war.

**Luckily we have Enemy at the Gates now, so I don't have to stay up at night worrying about that.

Who Watches the Watchpulp?

 
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Adventures with Maurice Micklewhite

Michael Caine, apparently, was a veteran of the Korean War.

When I first read "Michael Caine is a veteran of the Korean War," I didn't connect it with the actor for some reason, because of the context I was reading it in. I also don't think of him as old of a man as he obviously is.

But, anyways, here's some wisdom from the ever avuncular Caine:
“When I was nineteen and a soldier, I often wondered how I was going to be if I knew I was going to die. At one point, we were ambushed in the paddy fields, just four of us surrounded by Chinese. And my instinct — which has lasted me the rest of my life — was: All right, I’m going to die. And that’s O.K. But” — he paused and levelled a heavy finger at the recollected enemy, and at any future adversaries — “as many of you as possible are going to die with me. I’ll take the whole fucking lot.” He grinned. “I’m going to die expensive.”

Now, without further ado, here's a photo shoot of Michael Caine as featured in Playboy Magazine.


You're welcome.
(Quote via the New Yorker)

03 May, 2010

Oh Hells Yes

An assassin movie that takes place in Europe directed by the guy who did Control?

Yes, please.

He Say You Brade Runnah

02 May, 2010

Can You Imagine a World Without Lawyers?

You Heard it Here First

The Pope said that the Shroud of Turin is real!

So, lick a dick, you bunch of doubting goons!