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Alphabetical Movie – Major League

When watching Major League, I can’t help but think of a time when Charlie Sheen and Wesley Snipes weren’t punch lines.

I’m not suggesting that this film represented the finest work of their careers.  But they sure come off as likable guys, you know?  It doesn’t seem like they will just slip into obscurity or insanity.  I think they both show a kind of charisma that suggests they are unlikely to burn out.

Snipes was Blade for goodness’ sake!  He and Sandra Bullock are the reason that Demolition Man isn’t a complete disaster.  Snipes kind of wills his audience to enjoy that movie.

By the time Sheen makes this movie, he’s been in Wall Street and Platoon!  For both of these guys, this dopey baseball film should be little more than a speed bump.  Sheen ran over it twice because he appeared in Major League II.  His career then migrated to Television, where he did very well until – well – we all know what happened.

Snipes, for his part, decided to skip paying taxes for a while.  So he spent a little while in jail.

He’s in Expendables 3 so things are looking up for him.  Good news there.  The Expendables franchise is not at all about featuring action stars past their prime in mediocre films.  Should work out great.

Sheen’s got another show on television so I’m pretty sure that he’ll be able to spend another few years swimming in a pool of cocaine on his days off.

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Alphabetical Movie – The Majestic

You know, I really loved The Majestic the first time I watched it.  Until I watched it for the Alphabetical Movie Project, I hadn’t watched it again.  I didn’t really understand why it was considered a bad film.

I don’t think it’s a bad movie.  But wow.  It is nowhere near as good as I remember.

I generally think I’m a bad judge of movies on a single viewing.  I like a lot of films the first time I see them because I’m focused on the stuff that was good.  Most films have at least a few parts that are good.  It took me a few weeks of thinking about the film before I finally concluded that yes, Man of Steel was pretty dumb.

There was still stuff I liked in the film that I liked.  Can’t recall what that stuff was but I remember there were a lot of parts I liked.

When I watch a movie in the theatre, I want it to be a good experience.  I like seeing films in the movie theatre but it costs a lot to see go to the theatre.  If I’m going to shell out money and time to see a film, I want to find something to enjoy.

A few years later, I’ll go back to a film like The Majestic and realize that my desire to enjoy the film was what made it worthwhile.

I’m not saying that is a bad thing.  Unless my goal was to watch a bad film, it is actually a good thing to walk out of the theater feeling like it was time well spent.

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Alphabetical Movie – Magnum Force

The first thing I think about every time I hear the name of this movie is how you can conveniently turn it into a porno version without changing the name.  Actually, you probably wouldn’t have to change the plot all that much.

Harry Ballahan is a tough cop who doesn’t play by the rules.  He and his partner are upset because a gangster beats the rap in court so they double team the court reporter.

At the same time, a cop shows up and kills the gangster and everyone in the car.  Then he goes home and his wife gives him a blow job.

Ballahan goes in to talk to his boss, Lieutenant Bangs, who is having sex with his secretary.  They talk about the murder of the gangster while Bangs is having sex.  Because he can multi task.

Then a couple of female cops have sex.  Just because that sort of thing happens all the time during a murder investigation.

We switch to a gigantic orgy.  For like fifteen minutes.  Just tons of people having sex.  They switch partners.  They don’t use condoms.  It’s just insane.  And strangely boring.

Then the party blows up because it turns out all those people having sex were gangsters.

Ballahan is stumped.  He has no idea who could be killing all of the gangsters in town.  In fact, he delivers this exact line: “Damn!  I have no idea who is killing all the gangsters in town!”  He pounds his fist on the table and takes a swig of beer for emphasis.

So he orders a pizza. For some reason, it takes two women to deliver a pizza.  And Ballahan doesn’t have any cash for a tip…

He goes to a really nice house with a pool in the suburbs to ask some questions.  While he’s on his way, one of the killer cops breaks into a prostitutes room.  She doesn’t have any information for him so they just have sex.  Her pimp breaks in and he shoots the guy while he is still having sex with the prostitute.

The sex scene lasts for another two minutes and the entire time the pimp is lying on the floor dying.  He’s still able to masturbate while watching them have sex.  He ejaculates and then expires.

Ballahan arrives at the house with the pool and there is a beautiful naked woman swimming in the pool.  He asks her if he can ask her a few questions.  She unzips his fly and he says he has no time for that right now.

Literally.  His line is “I have no time for that right now.”

Turns out he does though, because they have sex in the hot tub.

Cut to Ballahan’s partner, who is having sex with his wife.  At least we assume it is his wife because she’s the only other black person in the entire movie.

They have sex for a while and then he goes to the bathroom while she masturbates.  As soon as she finishes, there is an explosion and she screams.  What I mean is there is an explosion in the bathroom.  Like from a bomb.

Cut to Ballahan comforting his partner’s wife (his partner didn’t have a name because he was black).  She tells him that she’s so lonely so they have sex.  She feels a little better.

Then we cut to Lieutenant Bangs office.  Harry tells Bangs that he knows who did it.  Bang says really, who?

Again, that is the exact line.  “I know who did it.”

“Really? who?”

“It’s you Bangs.”

“You’ll never catch me!”

“Like hell I won’t.”

Then Ballahan punches Bangs in the face.  Actually it looks more like he punches Bangs in the shoulder.  But Bangs falls down as if he was punched in the face.

Then the two lesbian cops show up wearing really short skirts, high heels, and shirts unbuttoned to their navels.  He tells them to take Bangs away but they say they have a better idea.

The movie ends with Bangs handcuffed to a chair watching Ballahan having sex with the lesbian cops and complaining that he doesn’t have a hand free to masturbate.

After the credits, there is a credit cookie where the two pizza delivery girls show up.  Ballahan looks at the camera and says “A cop’s work is never done” and we fade to black as the pizza girls start to take off their pants (but not their shoes).

See?  Practically the same movie.

Geeks Without God Get Into a Mexican Standoff

Geeks Without GodThis weekend, we recorded two podcasts at Die Laughing.  On Friday night, we talked to local comedian Patrick Bauer about his favorite filmmaker, Quentin Tarantino.

I, of course, felt the need to discuss how Bill is completely wrong about Batman at the end of  Kill Bill, Vol 2.  Because if you are going to talk about the awesomeness of Tarantino, you need to spend a little while talking about his most egregious mistake.

We traverse the whole of his filmography, spending strangely small amounts of time on Django Unchained.  As one might expect, I enjoy a nerdy film conversation so this one was a treat to record.  It was also a treat to record in front of a live audience.  Thanks to everyone who came out!

 

 

Alphabetical Movie – Magnolia

I don’t really care when a critic savages a movie I love.  Critics are paid to write about film and be interesting.  As Anton Ego says in Ratatouille, negative reviews are fun to write.  Magnolia, however, is the source of the worst negative review I’ve ever read.

My issue with the review (which you can read here) is not that City Pages critic Rob Nelson hated the movie.  That’s totally fine.  He has the right to hate the movie and it is his job to tell people what the thought.

My biggest issue was that the review, at least in its reference to the character played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman, is completely misleading.  He refers to Hoffman’s character as nurse who “who nervously orders porno mags for home delivery.”

While this statement is true, the statement’s implication of why he is doing this is far different from his actual motivation.  We read that line and we conclude that he is probably ordering these magazines for his own personal use.  We are given the impression he is some sort of pervert who is reading porn and jerking off while a man lies dying nearby.  He clearly doesn’t give a shit about his patient and cares only about his own sexual gratification.  Maybe he’s a closeted gay necrophiliac or something.

In fact, Hoffman’s character is the kindest and most compassionate person in the entire film.  He treats his dying patient with care and respect and when he is asked to do that patient a favor, he goes far beyond his charge as a nurse.

He orders those magazines as a way to help him search for a man’s estranged son.  That is what the review carefully doesn’t tell you.

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Alphabetical Movie – The Magnificent Seven

Not only did I watch this film for the Alphabetical movie project recently, I watched it again for A Reel Education!

That provides me with a wonderful springboard to talk about A Reel Education, which is by far my favorite podcast to record.

Every couple of weeks I get to sit down with Jena Young and Melissa Kaercher, watch a movie and then talk about it.  How is that not the best idea for a podcast ever?  I’m not saying that it is the best idea from a “everyone wants to listen to this podcast” standpoint.

Rather, it is the best idea from a “boy do I enjoy spending my time this way” standpoint.

 

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The King Has Returned

I’ve often said that the Oscars are given out too early.  If you really want to know what movie is the Best Picture of a particular year, wait ten years and then hand out the awards.  I’d bet most of the time you would get a different result.

2004, however, was the year The Return of the King won Best Picture and something tells me that we wouldn’t see too many people shouting for Peter Jackson to return his trophy.  I wonder, though, how the movie would have been different if it had been about another King.

Not Elvis.  I don’t know crap about Elvis.

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Alphabetical Movie – The Madness of King George

I don’t know if anyone has kept an official tally but it sure does seem to me like the best way to earn an Oscar nomination is to play an English monarch.  Helen Mirren has an Oscar for playing Queen Elizabeth II.  Judi Dench has one for playing Queen Elizabeth I.  Dench was also nominated for playing Queen Victoria.  Cate Blanchett was nominated for playing Elizabeth I twice.

That’s just the queens.  When it comes to the Kings, things get completely ridiculous.  Not too many wins.  Colin Firth has one for The King’s Speech, Charles Laughton for The Private Life of King Henry VIII,  and Laurence Olivier got an honorary one for Henry V but when it comes to nominations, seems like almost every king of England is Represented.

Nigel Hawthorne was nominated as George III in The Madness of King George.  Both Olivier and Kenneth Branaugh were nominated for Henry V.  Peter O’Toole was nominated for playing King Henry II in two different films!  Robert Shaw was also nominated for playing Henry VIII but he probably lost that award due to stupid Oscar politics.  Henry VIII already had an Oscar.

Fucking Charles Laughton.

Olivier was nominated for Richard III.

Oooo!  Richard Dreyfuss won for The Goodbye Girl and he was in a production of “Richard III” in that movie.  I’m going to count that one!

I mean, you can get nominated for playing a lot of other roles but a head of state in England just might be the ticket, baby!

Maybe it just feels that way because when it comes to historical drama, political leaders are well represented.  If you make an American film, you wouldn’t be surprised to see it feature a President (and boy o boy have a lot of folks been nominated for playing Presidents).  If the film is set in England, a monarch just might show up.

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Alphabetical Movie – Made for Each Other

I have an autographed picture of Jimmy Stewart in my bathroom.  I know that hardly sounds like a place of honor but it is in the same bathroom with my Peter Jackson autograph so please accept that only the most important stuff that I couldn’t fit on other walls in my house are found in that bathroom.

The autograph came with a certificate of authenticity so while I don’t know for a fact that it is real, I’m confident enough.  It is either an autograph by him or by someone who has spent a lot of time learning to copy his signature.  One has to admire that amount of effort.

I can’t communicate with Stewart’s spirit because psychics aren’t real.  Also, Stewart was a lifelong conservative so he might resent ending up in some liberal atheist’s house just to verify an autograph.  Given all of this, I’m going to live my life as if the signature is genuine.

It makes me sad, though, that the picture of Stewart isn’t joined by pictures of Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn.

If that was the case, I’d have the three leads of Philadelphia Story on my bathroom wall, and boy would that be something.

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Shit that Pissed me Off – 3/7

What the Fuck is Wrong With You, Arizona?

So in Phoenix they are detaining sex workers, taking them to a church and then coercing them into joining a (religious) recovery program without access to lawyers.  This can be done, I guess, because the workers are technically not under arrest.  They will only be under arrest if they don’t join the program.

Clever.

It is so much easier to coerce people when you don’t arrest them first!

Sometimes I think you don’t deserve the Grand Canyon. Especially since there was a time when you would have dammed it and turned it into a big fucking lake if you’d had the chance.

A week after Arizona tries (and fails thanks to one person) to make discrimination against gays extra illegal, this story comes out.  It seems that the high heat in the summertime might be adversely affecting some people by making them feel that just because something is legal, it is also moral.

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