Archive | August, 2010

Chuck Norris Wrote Propaganda Songs

14 Aug

Chuck Norris is a wart on the dick of pop culture. First Conan had the Walker, Texas Ranger lever that unleashed bad acting and untold laughs with each pull. Then there were those jokes about him. You know, stuff like: “Chuck Norris walked into an Indian restaurant and skull fucked the chef until someone cooked him a steak.” Chuck Norris kitsch storm! Don’t mess with Texas! OMG, that’s what it says on the shirt you’re wearing!!!

But here’s the thing: Chuck Norris is kind of a dickbag in real life. And he looks like the dad who would drink too much at a block party, bust out an acoustic guitar,  and play out-of-tune Bob Seger songs before falling face down in the grill pit. Whoops! Someone’s mug is going to look like brisket in the morning!

Still ruggedly handsome.

Okay, full disclosure: When I was a kid, I owned a Chuck Norris action figure. Why? Because I was dumb. All kids are dumb. And when I saw Delta Force 2: The Bloodening in the ol’ Hulu queue, I just couldn’t resist the chance to relive my stupid, stupid childhood.

So here’s what some Hollywood dimwit barfed onto paper over two decades ago: A nefarious Colombian drug lord goes on a rampage, murdering villagers and government agents alike. But then God and the ghost of George Washington send Norris into the fray to deliver a hefty dose of badassery. And compassion. Because, you know, it’s not all mixed martial arts and body counts.

Anyway, the drug lord and his henchmen murder Norris’s best friend and there’s a reckoning. A dead reckoning. (GUITAR RIFF!) In the end, the kingpin is caught and his ponytail is chopped off, thus stripping him of his evil powers. Then Norris firebombs a gay dance club and America wins the war on drugs.

U! S! A! — U! S! A!

Also, this movie’s portrayal of America’s criminal justice system is HI-LARIOUS. Indicted for murder and a bevy of other charges? No problem! Some bleeding heart liberal judge will find a loophole so you can continue to walk the streets and murder more people! Well played, Delta Force. Well played. Maybe we ought to have the courts run by a cabal of guys who look like this instead?:

Jaywalking, eh? Bring me my machete and I’ll fix those legs for ya.

In sum, Delta Force 2: DEA Jungle Party provides all the elements expected from an 80s action flick: guns, mustaches, not so thinly veiled jingoism, and more guns. Yes indeed, it’s a failure platter served with a side of hate sauce.

Eat it.

I give it 0 Just Say No t-shirts out of 4.

Endnotes: “Winds of Change,” the song that plays during the credits, was written by Chuck Norris, Ronald Reagan, and the orangutan from that one Clint Eastwood movie. Helluva collaboration.

The Road or How to Make Your Life Look Awesome in Comparison

10 Aug

It’s easy to get bogged down in life’s day to day annoyances — the crummy job, flagging relationship, or raging case of hemorrhoids that turn every pair of your underwear into a Japanese flag. These things are enough to send anyone into a shit fit, right?

We’re gonna need a whoooooole lotta Tide.

Well then, hold on tight to your plasma screen TV, ya spoiled brat, because The Road tears asunder all that modern society holds dear. Not only are there no longer any motorized carts at the grocery store, there is no grocery store at all. There’s no industry. No agriculture. No animal husbandry. Poof! All gone! Smiles are practically extinct, too. And if people still bother to have sex with one another, it’s probably done ruefully, listlessly and with lots of apocalypse tears. Plus, dirt probably gets into all the crevices, and no one wants that.

We’re never told what exactly happened, but it looks as if the earth were punched in the face by the fist of God. It’s a world of fire and ash, a world without green. The landscape is a tableau of dead trees and deserted highways. All the animals are dead and any canned food left in the rubble has long since been scavenged, for the most part. Gone are the ethical parameters that rein in people’s baser instincts. Vegetarianism? Hoo-hah! A relic of a daintier time, my friend. Now, with an empty stomach and a buck knife, that button-nosed kid next to the burned out Chevy looks like a walking buffet.

Just add salt.

Viggo Mortensen, as The Man, looks like a scarecrow version of his Lord of the Rings character. He is haunted by the suicide of his wife. But, having been tasked with the responsibility of protecting his son, he pushes ahead with his rickety shopping cart, knowing only that he’d rather put one foot in front of the other than give up. “When I have nothing else, I try to dream the dreams of a child’s imaginings,” he intones. The Boy, played by Kodi Smit-McPhee, carries with him the kindness and purity of a child despite what he’s experienced. When they meet strangers on the road, he implores his father to be merciful and share their food, much to his father’s chagrin. Trust is a waning commodity, after all.

The Road is a tale of endurance, duty, and mutual commitment. The Man and The Boy stumble through endless blight armed with nothing but caged necessity, a revolver, and two bullets (later just one). They’re headed toward a coast that may or may not grant them a reprieve from the waking hell that is Post-Convenience Store America. And as they slog their way through cannibals, injuries, sickness, starvation, and an unrelenting pall of gloom, The Man still has to look in the mirror every once in a while and contend with…

Follicular face rape.

I give it 3.5 wails of despair out of 4.

Okay, now go hug all of your piddly modern conveniences. I won’t judge you. Go on.

The Brown EP by “Richardson” Richardson

4 Aug

Dekalb, Illinois is a college town ringed by cornfields. It’s located just far enough from the orbit of Chicago to ensure a measure of insularity (read: CABIN FUCKIN’ FEVER). The same houses host the same beer swilling parties night after night after night. Winter seems to last two months longer than it should. All the single girls in town used to date one of your friends. Manure wafts in on the breeze, Asian beetles descend like a Biblical plague, and carloads of frat boys scream “faggot” at you as they drive past, because, hey, that’s funny, right? Oh, and if you don’t own a car, you’re pretty much stuck in Fucktown, because the closest commuter train line is over fifteen miles away.

Is it Russian Roulette season yet?

But good times do exist beneath the fray, and Dekalb’s “Richardson” Richardson exemplify what happens when small town malaise and hard drinking collide with bass guitars, a drum machine, and a sense of humor.

Usually I don’t care much for bands that do the whole “hey, we‘re funny dudes” thing. For whatever reason, I instead fall in love with soul crushing songs about heartbreak or pissed off songs about how screwed up the world is.

A pictorial representation of my record collection.

But with The Brown EP, “Richardson” Richardson kick out some catchy, bass driven, let’s-do-this-shit-in-under-thirty-seconds jams. Highlights include “There Will Be Bronson” and “Mad Money.”

Their style is difficult to pin down. Sure, I’ve been using the umbrella term “punk,” but let’s step away from that label for a moment, shall we? Allow band member Tony to paint a picture for your ears (wait, what?):

“Have you ever been at a party where all the girls were unattractive and all the guys wanted to do was play beer pong in some nasty basement and listen to the Smiths? The Brown EP is the answer to all your problems.”

I have indeed been to the Basement of Despair he speaks of (haven’t we all?), and yes, “Richardson” Richardson is the sonic antithesis of that bore-filled party of barfy boringness.

As for their lyrics, here‘s a random sampling: “Bitch sunglasses / Can’t even see your face.”

Wait, did I say random sampling? Those are the lyrics of “Bitch Sunglasses” in their entirety. That’s the whole song. All of it.

And hey, I know I already mentioned it, but I wanted to bring it up again: These guys use a drum machine. How awesome is that? I mean, I know it’s just a little control panel and shit, but whenever I think of “drum machine” I automatically think of “Johnny 5,” because I’m “dimwitted” and the thought of a drumming robot makes me “smile.”

I snort motor oil off of a waffle iron’s ass before every show.

Final verdict: This EP is pretty good. Not mind blowing. But it does manage to break free from punk rock redundancy and sound unique. That alone is a feat. Plus, these guys put on a fun show. Their between song banter will probably hit you in the chuckle box. So get on it.

I give it 2.5 warm cans of Old Milwaukee out of 4.

Battlefield Earth

3 Aug

I know, I know. You’re asking yourself, Why would you do this? Why would you rent this atrocity? All I can say is, well, sometimes you know something is going to be really, really bad but you want to see it anyway. Sorta like in 12th grade when your PETA friend was all like, “Hey, check out this animal rights video,” and you were thinking, Man, this is gonna be rouuuuuuugh, but you said okay anyway, and now when you eat bacon you hear gargling blood-screams emanating from the death factory inside your soul.

Thanks a lot, asshole.

Okay, let’s get the pithy shit out of the way: yes, this movie is exactly as bad as you’d think.

With that said, let me tell you a tale. A tale pulled from the sweaty slab of ham L. Ron Hubbard called a brain.

Sooooooooo a bunch of CHUDS escape from New York City sewers, grow dreadlocks, and become alien overlords. Their human slaves get all Planet of the Apes, telling their captors, “These homespun leather pants are TOO TIGHT.” Meanwhile the director yells, “Travolta, you need to give more! More botched, effete British accent! More flamboyant hand gestures! More yellow-toothed, D-grade Fangoria grins! MOOOOOOOORE!!!”

Then the credits roll, I perform trepanation (as per the YouTube instructions I found), and pour hot candle wax into my frontal lobe through a crazy straw.

I can still taste the Lavender Jamboree.

Did I mention that this movie is obsessed with wipes? Holy christ, talk about obtrusive. These are the kind of wipes where the screen splits down the middle and pulls apart, as if the director were trying to employ a heavy-handed metaphor for cinematic birth. Instead the baby is stillborn and there are labor turds all over the place and everyone’s really, really sad and embarrassed.

Hey, I’m not going to lie. I liked it when the man-apes went nuts at the end and smashed a whole lotta glass (to say nothing of the MOTHERFUCKIN’ NUKE). But if I wanted unruliness, I’d just watch Over the Edge again and again and again. Post-apocalyptic man-apes don’t have skateboards. Early 80s SoCal kids do. Plus, they have better drug hook-ups than man-apes.

I pretty much just chew on the adrenal glands of my slain foes.

I give this movie 0.5 gnarled alien dreads out of 4.

Greenberg

2 Aug

For most people, Ben Stiller will forever be the Oops My Spooge Is In Your Hair! guy. But don’t forget, he also had a sketch comedy show in the early 90s. And he worked at a zany museum (TWICE!). Oh, and I think one time he played a Hollywood junkie who did Hollywood junkie stuff like screw things up and disappoint people.

Sorry about your couch, Mr. Geffen.

This time around, as Greenberg, he’s a mopey, disaffected Generation X-er in the throes of a midlife crisis. He’s also an alumnus of a rock band from the 90s called Crotch Riot or some shit. But, predictably, he fudged the deal with a big wig record label back in the day. You know, because it would’ve compromised his artistic integrity. As a result, his former bandmates harbor a bit of a grudge against him. And why not? They could’ve been backstage at the Whisky A Go Go getting overzealous handjobs from college freshmen.

Yes indeed, Greenberg is the kind of guy who exists in a perma-sealed world of self-concern. (It probably smells like whiskey farts and cat litter in there.) If you invited him to your daughter’s ballet recital, he’d stay home and forlornly stare out the window instead. Later he’d give you a long winded explanation about why he couldn’t come, and then he’d ask you to drive him to the store to buy balm, because he doesn’t drive, and because balm is the kind of weird shit that sad Gen X-ers without cars need to buy at 11 goddamn p.m. And then at the store he’d buy a green visor instead of balm and none of it would make any sense AND YOUR HEAD WOULD FUCKING EXPLODE. (Note: Not an actual scene in the movie.)

Greenberg’s behavior would come off as grating if not for the fact that most of us are self-important, emotionally damaged assholes at times, too. And if you’re one of the saintly few who has never been a blip on the asshole/failure radar, then fuck you. Go for a power walk while the rest of us watch Dr. Phil and try to find an un-collapsed vein to shoot sorrow juice into.

Oh, you'll get your fucking pot roast.

This movie is at its best when exploring just how awkward courtship can be. In one scene, Greenberg is picked up by his brother’s assistant, Florence. The plan is to go to a bar for a drink. But on the way Florence realizes that she forgot her ID back at her studio apartment. Cut to her kitchenette, where she and Greenberg share a beer. In a fumble-fucked instant, his lips are pressed to hers. He struggles with her unflattering bra, they lurch toward the bed, and he plunges his face between her thighs like some dude who jumped the gun at a pie eating contest (pun totally intended, fuckface). It all happens too fast, too gracelessly. “Do you hear a train?” Florence asks. Then she says, “Sorry, I get weird sometimes.” She sits upright, fixes her skirt, and weirdness lingers.

If that scene comes across as contrived to you, then you my friend have been spared a lifetime of libido-induced awkwardness and should be thankful. But that also means you’re probably an upstanding, well adjusted person, and in that case you probably won’t like this movie.

I give it 3 sour bastards out of 4.