“These last few days are some the happiest I’ve ignored”
Something about this quote from the late Doug Kenny, which appears right before film begins , has always stuck with me, and during this crazy time where I’ve tried to throw myself into my hobbies to avoid going absolutely mental from the news of the world, it continues resonate strongly.
For those who don’t know (and lets face it, a majority of people probably don’t) Doug Kenny was a talented writer who co-founded the humor magazine National Lampoon, he would also go on to write two of the most influential comedies of the 70s and 80s: Animal house and Caddyshack.
A Futile and Stupid Gesture is biographical com-Drama, that stars Will Forte as comedy writer Douglas Kenney, during the rise and fall of National Lampoon. The film is character study as well as a tribute to doug kenny and all the wild, creative people who flipped comedy world on its head. The movie is more so trying to capture the spirit and energy of that era, instead being a boring retelling o things we can just read on Wikipedia. This attitude is clear just from looking at the casting. Iconic comedians and writers like Bill Murray, Brian McConnachie, Anne Beattes and Gilda Ratner from that time are played by the iconic comedians and writers of today. I don’t care what anyone says, Joel McHale playing his former co star Chevy Chase was a genius idea.
Let me cut the chase. I really like this movie. So much so that since its debut on Netflix in 2018, I’ve watched it at least three times. To me its a humble but touching tribute to comedy, low art, the spirit of creativity of rebellion. The surprisingly bittersweet ending may catch you off guard, but I will always find it uplifting.
In times of great sadness and woe, A Stupid and Futile gesture can be just what people need to get through the day.
The verdict: WATCH IT
Recommended for Fans of : Community, Saturday Night Live, MAD Magazine, Stand-up Comedy
Green Room is the punk rock thriller we needed and deserved.
The first time I watched Green Room, it couldn’t have been a more appropriate time. It was around earlier this year and I had recently developed an almost a mad infatuation with punk music. I’m not quite sure what triggered it, but all i know is that for months I was devouring all the info I could find about classic bands like: The Clash, FEAR, Black Flag and The Dead Kennedys.
So when I finally decided to watch the film (after having it in my watch-list for an embarrassing amount of time) it was out of desire to just ingest anything hardcore punk related. I wasn’t expecting the movie to completely blow me away, but as soon the credits hit the screen, I knew this was banger.
Green Room is a tense, claustrophobic, darkly humorous, thriller about Punks vs Neo-Nazis. It has no right being as good as it is.
The unfortunate heroes of our story are Pat (Anton Yelchin), Sam (Alia Shawkat), Reece (Joe Cole) and Tiger (Callum Turner). Four members of a struggling punk band called the Ain’t Rights, who get by playing in embarrassingly small venues and siphoning gas when they’re desperate. Contrary to how I just described them, the film does an excellent job of making these characters very likeable. They’re crass yet laid back attitude,clear passion and friendship immediately charms you and succeeds in making later events feel more even harrowing.
Down on their luck after a cancelled show, they begrudgingly accept a gig at a Skinhead bar in the backwoods of Portland. After a particularly hostile set, where they play a cover of the Dead Kennedys song “Nazi punks F**ck Off”, they begin packing up, leading Sam to forget her phone in the green room, only to discover a grisly murder scene. From this point on they become trapped in the green room and the skinhead leader Darcy (played chillingly by Sir Patrick Stewart) comes in to “handle the situation”. From there the film becomes a visceral cramped nightmare.
What was so refreshing about the films premise is the strength of all the characters clashing personalities, and the complexities of the Neo-Nazi groups hierarchy, coupled with a extremely tense build to the gory chaos. The disaster the bands been thrown into feels frighteningly realistic, especially because of the growing real world anxiety of the violent alt-right. I definitely would fear running into a skinhead in the wrong part of town, let alone an entire sect.
The skinheads in the are not portrayed as mustache twirling goons or as mindless killers. This aint that type of movie.
Rather, they’re shown as cold and calculated foot soldiers, who would do anything for “the cause”. This includes faking a stabbing between two willing members to throw off the police and using rabid dogs to hunt our poor musicians. This is in contrast to the band pretty much making most of their decisions pretty much on the fly. Its a war between two ideologies: Living in the moment vs unwavering military-like discipline.
While the whole cast is great in their own right, the two brightest stars are the late Anton Yelchin as the band leader Pat, and Patrick Stewart as Darcy. These two completely throw themselves into their roles and elevate the movie to classic status. Pats transformation from naive band leader to frenzied survivor is great to watch, and a certain brutal scene involving a door, and some sharp knives will have you cringing. The wit and vulnerability he brings to his character is something you don’t see a lot in horror movies, and its a tragedy that an talent like Yelchin passed so young.
Last but certainly not least we have Darcy, the skinhead leader. As soon as Patrick Stewart casually dropped the n-word, I knew I was in for a treat. Whats terrifying about Darcy is how calm and methodical he is while coordinating atrocities. He speaks calmly and intelligently. Even when talking to the band through the Green Room door, he speaks in warm tones, barely ever raising his voice. This is man who values loyalty, discipline, and most importantly, control. He orders around his men and orchestrates plans with almost navy seal like precision, its like the darkest timeline version of Jean luc Picard. My only gripe is that this is the only character I truly wished we got some background on, to see just how this man fell so far into the Neo-Nazi underworld.
Its pretty safe to say that I love Green Room and Director Jeremy Saulnier is slowing becoming one of my favorite new directors. He is master of playing with audience expectations and is always looking for a way to subvert expectations. If you want a great thriller that doesn’t waste your time, Green Room is where its at.
9 out of 10
Green Room was written and directed by Jeremy Saulnier
After a few weeks of silence, im gonna try and get back on the saddle. I was in the middle of a big move and numerous family issues came up, but hopefully now I can finally focus the website. Thanks to the 10 people who actually read my handful of articles so far, and if this is your first time here. Welcome.
ZUU is a bumping summer album that’s chock full of bangers and future party anthems. Its not as conceptual or polished as his instant classic album: TABOO, but still leaves me excited for more to come.
For those of you not familiar with Denzel Curry aka Denny Cascade aka The black metal terrorist, Denzel Curry is an American rapper, singer and songwriter, from Carol City, Florida. An MC who has quickly positioned himself to be one of the most charismatic , as well as sonically versatile rappers currently in the game. Calling Curry a one trick pony or even “boring” would probably deserve a slap in the face, with influences ranging from nu metal and punks band like Rage Against The Machine and Nirvana, to old school Outkast-esqe vibes. This all sprinkled with touches of trap beats and reverb drums, and of course Curry’s signature blunt but wildly distinguishable voice.
This time around the focus on his upbringing and representation of South Florida takes center stage on this new project, coming off more braggadocios and confident than ever before.
The titular track “ZUU” serves as a tone setter and immediately distinguishes itself from his previous album, filled trap drums and echoing bass, complete with a howling melodic chorus. In contrast TABOO kicked off somber, increasing with angst through each catchy yet darkly comedic song. It dripped with melancholy , paranoia, and bouts of manic euphoria.
ZUU comes off confident, ready to fight all comers. This tone is perfectly captured in the second song on the track list, RICKY, which was also one of the two singles that supported the promotion of the album. RICKY is a hard hitting track, that explores Curry’s childhood life lessons he learned from his parents and environment(the title and cover of the track being Curry’s father). Its clear to see why this was chosen as the promotional track. THE SONG JUST DESERVES REPLAY, held up by its punchy motivational chorus and Curry’s effortless energetic flow.
Another Highlight on the album being the track “SPEEDBOAT”, which on first listen I thought “meh, its just another generic-ass song about money”. But on the second listen, I realized just how somber and passionate some of lyrics are, inferring that even though the money Curry’s acquired has provided him more security, at the same time it has made him more of a target than ever before. One of the lines even referencing the death of the late XXXTENTACION; “My dawg didn’t make it to twenty-one, so I gotta make it past twenty-four.”
My personal favorites on the album being the insanely fun and the insanely aggressive tracks: “SHAKE 88” and “P.A.T”, respectfully. Just the way Curry manipulates his voice and tone, you cant help getting hype right with him. It is my hope that “SHAKE 88” becomes one the more circulated songs party anthems this summer. If don’t hear it in multiple clubs and bars this summer, Ima be stressed.
While most of album is great, there are some low points. The song BIRDZ featuring Rick Ross didn’t really do much for me, and Ross’s verse I almost immeadiatly forgot. BUSHY B INTERLUDE sounding like a dime a dozen trap track that’s so short and echoing, that it almost sounds unfinished, and was just thrown on the album as an afterthought. The sketch right after “BUSHY B”, “YO”, is hilarious and pokes fun at the south Florida slang and was more entertaining then I was expecting, just wish there more of it.
And as stunning and full of attitude ZUU is, it still doesn’t manage to achieve over the legacy of TABOO, which was such an ambitious album, brimming with storytelling, a dark atmosphere, and back to back songs that to this day I’m still not tired of. But that doesn’t mean ZUU falters either. ZUU is Curry’s most accessible project to date, perfect for anyone who may have been put off by the bleakness of TABOO, and want something more a bit more positive with a theme of overcoming adversity while also never forgetting your roots.
ZUU is an ode to all lessons and struggles that comes with success, it is Denzel Curry’s victory lap back to his home of Carol City, Florida.
I’m not gonna lie. I had such high expectations for this mind melting thriller. The poster was creepy in a vintage/minimalist way. The trailer for the movie was mysterious, and I was a fan of Jake Gyllenhaals performance in Nightcrawler, a thriller he starred in a mere year AFTER he starred in Enemy.
Enemy was NOT what I was expecting. Both, in a good and bad way.
Lets get the plot summary out of the way. The Story is about a mild-mannered college professor Adam Bell (Jake Gyllenhaal) who discovers a look-alike actor and delves into the other man’s private affairs. The film goes on to explore subtle themes of the repressed subconscious, anxiety, and compulsion.
I’m gonna start off with what I loved about the film before I get into the many things that left me shaking my head unsatisfied.
For starters, Jake Gyllenhaal is gripping in this. He plays a dual role in this as both main characters, and the subtleties he displays to differentiate between them are just great. The history teacher, Adam Bell, is a very quiet and meek man. His life consists of teaching, coming home, eating, and sleeping with his girlfriend, who treat each other more like one night stands than actual lovers. His life mirrors the historical patterns he talks about during his lectures. He is a shy, boring man, who only shows some kind of ambition when he finds out he has a twin. From then, he becomes a man on mission to find out whats going on, albeit going about it in the most roundabout and paranoid way possible.
On the flip side, his twin Anthony Claire is much more confident and outgoing. More sure of himself and headstrong. He has a wife, and an apartment that’s well furnished and glistening. The complete opposite of Adam in almost every way. Gyllenhaal handles this tightrope act with ease, without resorting to overacting or turning these characters into horror movie stereotypes. You truly do come to see these as different characters, even if the movie plays to conclusion that they might not be.
The film has hazy nightmarish atmosphere to it. Almost everything looks dull, brownish and muddy. The world feels cold and uncertain, maybe even fake. There are numerous dream scenarios in the movie that revolve around sexual lust and spiders; spiders that seem to grow and seep into our main characters reality, like ignoring a problem that only becomes larger the more you ignore it. This motif of spiders, lust, and anxiety, eventually come to a head in the films final scene, that comes so out of left-field, that it will either terrify you or leave you scratching your head.
This is where we get into my problems with movie. There are so many ideas, themes, and suggestions, but none of them result in anything of actual substance. For anyone who manages to sit through this slow burn thriller,they will likely leave with a completely different interpretation of whats going on than the next person. Nothing about the movie is certain and it does not attempt to hold your hand.
Normally, I don’t mind that in a movie. Ive seen other psychological thrillers that leave a lot whats going on to the audiences imagination. Where the director refuses to compromise just to have mainstream movie-goers go home happy. Not to sound like a pretentious ass-hat, but this is very much a thinking persons movie. Designed for discussion and analysis. Its just that analyzing the movie is more enjoyable than actually watching it. Too many ideas and too much build up get in the way of actually enjoying the movie. I was CONSTANTLY waiting for something to happen, waiting for all this tension to be released in a surprising sendoff or twist. What I got was much more quieter and subdued. A sly whisper instead of a bang. Even though the film is technically sound in its own right, better than most of the dime-a-dozen crap that’s pushed in theaters, Id be lying if I said my viewing was mostly enjoyable. The first hour was great but as time went, the more unease and impatience grew. “Get to the point, GIVE ME SOMETHING”, was one of the thoughts that appeared in my head near the end.
I cant really give the film points for originality either. Although it changes many details from the novel its based on , the concept of having a doppelganger isn’t territory at all, and the film uses the special effect of twin magic sparsely. The scenes that do showcase both twins interacting are great, but they do leave you wanting more.
It could be said that my own expectations betrayed me. I had this movie in my Netflix queue for about a year, as if i was waiting for the perfect time to watch this gem that I had saved for myself and put on a pedestal. That turned out to be a stupid idea. I had built up this movie so much own mind, that what I got wasn’t at all what I expected, and sadly that ended up hurting my experience. The movie might be more enjoyable on re-watch, although I cant say the urge is strong.
In the end, I went on to prove one of the movies biggest arguments right.
I saw mother! by myself, in an strangly empty theater, on a windy and gloomy September evening. This made for a uniquely sensory yet bizarre viewing experience. It was like my own little fever dream broadcasted on a wide screen.
The film stars Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem, as simply Mother and Him. A married couple that seem to live in a house that was recently violently burnt down. Him( Javier Bardem) apparently is an acclaimed poet suffering from writers block, while Mother (Jennifer Lawrence) dotes on him while also renovating the bare household. Their relationship comes across as tender but at the same time distance, with Him coming across as aloof and melancholy.
This all changes with the arrival numerous guests into household. First a doctor, then his wife, and even his sons eventually making their way into the house. With each guest, Mother becomes more and more agitated and confused at this bizarre gathering of people who seem to know Him well, who also is puzzlingly hospitable, almost blissful with by the thought of these people being his house.
Mother is stuck in the middle of this and barely gets a word in edgewise before Him let’s these strangers into her home. Her interactions with her unwelcome new buddy’s range start polite, then go on to be intrusive and slightly aggressive, escalating to a violent altercation between the two sons. From then on, things get….weird. Fanatic fans of Him start visiting, the house get damaged and broken as Mother is barely able to grasp what going on. Next thing you know, there’s a literal war going on inside the house with rabid fans fighting swat teams, as death and destruction swirl all around.
Lost? Confused? Don’t worry, that’s a normal side effect of trying to dissect this movie.
I’m being purposely vague with certain plot points and story beat, because this is film that is less about coherent plot or arc, but how the story is told and what atmosphere and vibe it displays. I’ve seen many films described as fever dreams in the past few years but I believe Mother! actually deserves the moniker.
The house that is the main and ONLY setting in the movie acts almost as pocket universe or world. One where actions and reactions escalate at a rate that wouldn’t be normal in real life. The passage of time seems distorted and amplified. Months or even years seem to go by in hours. This antagonistic atomosphere lends itself well to the style of the movie, that of a increasingly violent fever dream or even nightmare, one that Mother can’t seem to escape from.
This turns out to be the movies biggest strength and its biggest curse. If you prefer straight forward films with a clear cut narrative and story structure. You can stop reading. This movie is definitely not for you.
Mother! is absolutely LOADED with allegories, symbolic characters, and events represent biblical lore. It’s essentially a big budget art house flick. Which explains the polarizing reactions to the film. If you finish this movie saying “Was I just dosed with acid? What the hell was that?!?” you’d be well within your rights to say so. Even if the performances by the actors are good, it’s not going to mean a lot if everything being presented seem like the ramblings of a crazy person.
Make no mistake, this is a film that is intentionally antagonistic to the person watching.
It’s wants you to squirm. It wants you to get tense and uncomfortable.
And depending on who you are, this movie is either going succeed or absolutely fail.
Not that anybody was really anticipating this, but I finally have a website where can I just crank out my eclectic thoughts on pretty much anything.
Movies, Music, Tech, Games, Comics, how terrible but wonderful city life is.
IM GETTING INTO EVERYTHING
I created this site because frankly…. I think too much. That’s not some humble brag or me attempting to establish intellectual dominance.
I’ll save that for later.
No, just in general my brain just never shuts up and can never stay focused on one thought alone. Always yammering away on some wild opinion, random thought or stupid idea. When you have a boring desk job, unlimited internet access and an active imagination, you are definitely going to be just a ball of anxious ideas.
Even now as I start type this introduction post, I have a million ideas for what I want to post, but for now lets just take it nice and slow like a terrible new wave band.
If your reading this from when I first posted or perhaps years later: