From Clintington: A League of Their Own

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Great post about a great movie.

There were so many GREAT movies in the 90s, some of them snuck past me. As much as I loved movies, I was busy. My first love was soccer and I had to make varsity and letter all 4 years. That doesn’t happen without obsession and practice. “A League of Their Own” was one such […]

via “Are you coming? See, how it works is, the train moves, not the station.” — Clintington on Film

 

I didn’t write this!

Featured Photo by: Stephanie Pombo

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Sweatpants Theatre: John Wick, Action Flick For Dog Lovers or Art House Film On The Elusive Female Orgasm?


 

I’m a pretty busy guy, my dance card is almost always full. For that reason, it’s taken me awhile to watch John Wick. A movie that almost everyone with a penis in my life* can’t recommend enough. Described as stylish and sleek with lots of death, it totally sounds like something I’d totally be into. While that description is apt and the movie delivers an assortment of ass kickings in urban settings filled with noiry darkness and douchey club lights, there were a few things that I didn’t like.

For those who haven’t seen it yet, don’t worry this thing is mostly spoiler free, not that there is much of an opportunity for spoilers. In order to have spoilers, a movie must have a plot and landmarks along the journey. Which are two things John Wick tricks the viewer into thinking it has, but does not. What passes for a plot is really just a trigger that leads to an anthology of fight scenes that happen because someone said they needed to. And because there is no plot, there can be no landmarks.

What I Didn’t Like (Besides The Obvious)

Alright, spoiler warning ahead. This is going to be the only spoiler. You’re a smart person, you know what to do.

What kicks off the story is one of those off-beat trigger things that one would expect from Chuck Palahniuk and sound like it would be hilarious if John Cleese and Terry Jones wrote it. However, none of these folks did. So, no matter how quirky and cynically ironic the premise is, it never seems funny. It also doesn’t help that the characters speak about it in serious dismissive tones the entire movie.

Alright, enough beating around the bush, time to rip off the bandage. Prepare thyself for the spoilers. Some twatty mobsters son, played by consummate weeny Alfie Allen (Theon Greyjoy) kills John Wick’s dog. Which is the last gift from his recently deceased wife. Not only that, it’s a puppy! Who kills a puppy? It was a bit too macabre for me personally. Maybe the writers are cat people and think they are super funny because their mom has always told them so. The entire point never seems to spread its quirky wings and ends up being void of dark humor it so craves by the end of the movie. Yet as a dog lover, I was hungry for revenge.

More of What I Didn’t Like

The characters, for the most part, seem to know it would be better to avoid John Wick, but do nothing to improve their chances of survival. It’s almost like a 80’s slasher flick where the viewer roots for the psycho killer. John Wick’s location is always known. Hell, everyone seems to know where everyone is. I mean, they’re old gangland acquaintances. No one seemed to move on up to the west side. Same old haunts, clubs, lofty penthouses. Yet that doesn’t really put anyone in real danger. Not the kind of danger the danger producer’s could produce. Threat is governed and throttled for the sake of screentime. I don’t recall seeing such truly insipid characters since Prometheus.

The plot as a whole, looks like a EKG reading for a patient in stable condition watching C-Span while eating saltines and water. There simply is no climax, just a few people vying for the spot of main antagonist/”the person voted most likely to have their asses handed to them next,” and doing things to piss off John Wick. It was strange to realize that there was no climax. No sense of closure. No tension. John is a super character, I mean an almost zero fault character. There is also rarely a point where he is in a near death situation that he can’t get out of on his own.  When he is – which is hard to believe after seeing him kill one hundred and forty people – the script fixes it easily enough. It just didn’t seem like he should really screw up.

What I Liked

The fight scenes are what this movie is all about. Of course with two stuntmen at the helm, how could they not be. There’s lots of interlacing of martial arts and guns. I found myself wondering how much cooler Equilibrium would have been with action sequences like this. Then I thought, “And the award for Movie Most Likely To Have Benefitted From Being Written By Kurt Wimmer Goes To -”

The Continental Hotel and, in general, the movie’s world building and history are pretty cool. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

Well, that was short. Oh well.

The Verdict

I’m not saying that I need my action movies to be so cerebral that they need to be directed by Werner Herzog. Their stories don’t need to be so serious that I ultimately end up seeing Paul Giamatti put Maggie Smith through a table after she does the splits and punches him in the Tom Johnson’s nutty uncles. However, having respect for the story and having believable characters whose actions adhere to what they say is really important.

If it were sex, this movie would be supremely frustrating. Sure, it would be really good looking sex with plenty growling and bangs. But there is no climax! It just drives around the block for an hour and a half, but never really gets you there. And when you think it’s done, it turns out it has another thirty minutes in it.

If you like action movies, check it out.

 


As always, I love the likes, shares and comments.

*Are you cringing.

Streets of Rage and Altered Beast: W(TV)F


 

Anyone hear about the Streets of Rage and Altered Beast TV shows or movies? I did and, if  you haven’t already guessed it, I was all “double-u tee eff?” Did anyone ask for this? Is that the kind of vibe us binge watching chuckle heads are giving off? What sort of lobotomized focus group was consulted and which states are they valid drivers in?

At no point during my childhood did I think to myself, “Gee-willikers! I sure would like to see a feature length movie based on Streets of Rage and/or Altered Beast.” Admittedly movies like Super Mario Brothers, Street Fighter and Double Dragon had already turned me into a jaded little tubby bastard. How my inner child didn’t shrivel up like an exposed to lake water scrotum after those turds, I will never know.

At no point did I add, “Multiple twenty-four episode seasons, would be even better. That would really give some lucky duck writer a chance to flesh out the ‘Welcome to your doom’ guy. Show us what makes him tick. I am sure he was just a misunderstood, Prometheus lookin’ motherfucker who shoots the player with lighting at the end of every stage.”

You know why I never thought any of those things? Because I am not a total ass-bag of a douche poncho! And I assume a vast majority of kids that played those games aren’t either. Decades have passed and we may be the only people who experienced these games. Do you suppose the kids are clamoring for it? Fuck me, a majority of the eldest millenials probably don’t even care. Who the hell are these shows for, loser ass forty-somethings?

These games are almost thirty years old and, while they were great games, they don’t have enough character depth or world building to support movie or television format by default. Oh sure, someone can whip up some shit and make both properties barely resemble their former selves. Maybe David Caruso can play Axel Stone’s grumpy police chief. Perhaps Blaze Fielding can do some crime scene investigating between jump kicking back flips. Personally, I can’t wait until Adam Hunter calls in the bazooka chain gun wielding militarized cops to kill* all the bad guys.

Seriously, there was a fucking Kangaroo and a cybernetic Master Po like guy in the third one. How the hell can anyone make any show or movie worthwhile out of these? It isn’t the eighties! I am so glad that Fifty Shades of Grey ushered in a new era of movies that feature two-dimensional characters beating each other up.

What do you think? Holler!

 


As always, if you liked it, share it. I love comments. Apologies to, Machismo Wainwright for the swearing.

*Cause them to blink out of existence

 

 

Snake Plissken Is My Spirit Animal: The Pantheon of Testicular Fortitude

Snake Plissken is my spirit animal and I let him down constantly. I come up with one liners fifteen minutes too late. I can’t get the same gravelly rumble in my throat, like words riding choppers on a highway paved in brimstone. I don’t smoke. I drive a Mazda. All my shirts have sleeves on them. I have binocular vision. Yet, through all the forsaking, Snake Plissken, and the rest of The Pantheon of Testicular Fortitude, is there for me.

I am sure many readers have heard of most of them. After all, members of the pantheon are icons in ass kicking and public relations. Here are a few of the registered members. The old guard: Manko, Conan, Dutch, Rambo. The Pantheon of Testicular Fortitude isn’t just a boys club: China O’Brien, Buffy, and newcomer Furiosa are there too. John McClean demonstrates how to practically apply the pantheon’s teachings. And “You’re Goddamn Right!” Bernardo O’Reilly is there, to teach us how to gracefully accept when the dusty trail of life is at an end.

Seemingly, no villain can best them in hand to hand, fully armed or vehicular combat. The lucky few scumbags who have landed a direct hit didn’t live long enough to live tweet about it. No matter how serious the wound, it is nothing members of the pantheon can’t patch up with a bottle of alcohol and a hot blade. Most of them just can’t die, which is why many in the pantheon smoke.

As for the pantheon’s name itself, testicular fortitude is a misnomer. It exists somewhere between concept and state of mind; not anywhere near anyone’s crotchular region. In fact, the smaller and more protected those things are the better. Especially when dealing with nut kicking ninjas. Honestly, if testicles were an AD&D character all their stats would be three except their hit points and armor class which would be one and twelve respectively. Physically, they offer no fortitude and are quite possibly the worst way to accessorize, ever.

At the end of the day, testicular fortitude lives inside us all, in our heads and in our hearts. Regardless of wedding tackle or how one identifies. How much of it there is varies from person to person. How much one decides to use is up to that person. Tactics and methods may also vary.

For fun: Re-read the third paragraph, but at the end of each sentence add, “except Bernardo O’Reilly.”

Jem (And) The Hologram(s): Synergetically Challenged.

  Have you seen the trailer for Jem and the Holograms? If you haven’t take this moment to do so. Okay done? So what did you think? If you liked it and can literally not quit pissing your pants with delight, this is your stop. Stay on if you want, but you have been warned. For those of you who have standards and good taste, stick with me and lets wallow in disappointment together.

  First, I am a guy, but that didn’t stop me from watching Jem as a kid. I mostly started watching it because it was on before He-Man and G.I Joe. I would show up early as not to miss any of my favorite cartoons, which was pretty much all of them. As time went on I started to actually like Jem and started showing up early for it.

  When I saw the trailer was out I became hesitantly excited and sent the link to my wife, she was a big fan when she was a kid. We watched it on her PC. The disappointment was so palpable, the dogs left the room. Here was some fifteen year old girl who puts on her own makeup, then breaks up with her band and dumps the orphans. I was super excited when I caught my first glimpse of who I thought to be the best casting for Pizazz ever, Juliette Lewis! Instead, she is the gender swapped Eric. Which isn’t so bad I guess, but come the frick on!

  At this point I started looking around the room, I was kind of bored. Then I began to think about all the fans and how disappointed they were going to be. In the matter of two in half minutes, Jem is relegated to being a young and seemingly powerless girl both literally and “magically.” She can’t keep her band together, cries a lot, and can’t figure out if she is Jerrica or Jerrica who puts her pants on one leg at a time and has no synergy, a.k.a. Jem.

  Why can’t she be an older more confident woman? Selfmade, powerful, and owner of Starlight records.Someone who gives kids hope and lets them forget about their problems! Someone kids can look up to and say “I want to be like her!”

  Also, there is a glint from a stage light as she rubs her earring and mumbles “Showtime Synergy.” Which is when you hope the whole trailer was just a hologram and is going to transform into something outrageous. It doesn’t. I guess her dad wasn’t some super smart computer scientist after all.

So, what do you think?

I’m So Excited!

  People get so excited when they hear their favorite book, comic book, video game or whatever is going to be made into a TV show, movie, or other media. Regardless of who is attached as writer, director, or any other information. Mere seconds have passed since the announcement. People scream and shake with violent glee as they tweet their own casting calls and scream praise. Who is acting? Who is directing? Who is writing? “Errrrrrmaaaahhhgaaaaahhhhd! Going to be soooooooooo gooooooood.” Alright, who cares!

  Some people may slow down after thirty tweets and twitchily realize the potential for soiling something they love, is huge. Some will never realize it and walk blindly into season two of The Walking Dead. There will be confusion, anger, and people at work talking about the TV show adapted from a book they haven’t heard of. Don’t get me wrong, I am glad those people are watching it. This isn’t about elitism. We aren’t talking about them. [Grabs you by the shirt and shakes] We are talking about you and why you are so fucking excited! The dang thing was just announced via twitter three seconds ago! You don’t know a damn thing except someone is making another version of something you love! Oh look, here is the creepy android version of your mom! Good, but something isn’t quite right. [Lets go of shirt]

  Why get so excited about something you love getting made into another media? It is just another media. A media that quite possibly wasn’t the first choice because it wasn’t the best choice. You love the story the way it is. All six thousand pages! Why condense it to a two hour movie? How can you still be excited when you know they are going to expand a one hundred and twenty page book into a trilogy of three hour movies? You read it faster than you can watch it! What the hell! Casting! Writing! There are so many ways this stuff can go wrong and has. Do we even need to experience this? Could it be like having a coffee grinder that plays “La Cucaracha” when you use it? Mostly unnecessary, although amusing. Why are you so excited with such little information? See how it pans out, then get excited! This way, you won’t be disappointed. I’m just trying to protect you, like a bearded blogging big brother.

  To be honest though, I can’t wait for a Full House comic book. I’ve always wondered what would have happened in season nine. Plus, there could be a Joey vs. Doomsday issue.

  “That would be amazing! I’m going to google a pre-order right now!” You say.

  Don’t! Don’t you dare! You just failed your test! Have you learned nothing?

  “I think Keanu would portray your expansive range of cynical anger in Zweihander Plus Ein, the movie!”

  Don… You really think so? You think my hair is that good? That would be amazing.

  “And R. Lee Ermey would play you as an old man.”

  Now we’re talkin’! That one was bang-on!

  “You know that book you’ve been working would make a great movie and comic book! There is so much story there!”

  Man! You’re totally right! Who do you think would play the main characters? Errrmaahhhgaahd!

 Going to be soooooooooo gooooooood.  Ah, crap!

By Odin’s Beard, Thor Is A Girl!

  Who hasn’t heard the news. Thor is getting a sex change. I don’t know why. I don’t care how. I’ve never really cared about Thor. And I believe there-in lies the reason.

  Don’t get me wrong. I think it is great that Marvel is seemingly brazen enough to change a character’s gender or swap out the actual character itself as the case may be. Especially with the internet and rampant fanboyism so eager to collectively express its butt-hurt. It just doesn’t seem like enough though.

  I just have three questions for Marvel. Why not a bigger character? You know who I am talking about. Iron Man and Spider Man are both easy to switch.  An additional suit, another radioactive spider. My second question is, why not promote an already established character?  There are so many woman in the Marvel Universe that are just waiting for a full set of looser fitting, fully encompassing clothing and the chance to be taken for more than sexy ass kickers. Finally, why not a Black Widow movie? The Guardians of the Galaxy got movies. I had no idea who those Eh-holes were two years ago. Ant Man is getting a movie. I can’t believe I live in a world where that phrase can be muttered and people care.

  I think they whole idea is cool and current. I just think that women deserve more. I hope that this switch kick starts something bigger. I hope the writers at Marvel really do something fantastic with opportunity. I am fairly certain that they will. Honestly though, this was announced on The View. Why wasn’t the Black Widow movie announced instead? Demographics much?