Friday Night Flix: The Poughkeepsie Tapes

pt3Welcome to Friday Night Flix, where there’s never a need to leave the couch or put on pants. Each week I’ll recommend an under-the-radar movie currently available on one or more of the major streaming platforms. They won’t all be classics, but every selection is guaranteed to be 100% watchable or your money back.

I realize I’m hard on found footage movies. It’s not because I dislike the convention as a rule. I just hate how some movies use it without feeling the need to explain how a prop in the movie (the footage) also exists in the real world such that we’re able to view its contents. It’s a pet peeve, I know. It’s also a big part of why I adored The Poughkeepsie Tapes (YouTube).

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Here is a movie that meets all my demands for found footage. Not only do we understand how and why the footage came to exist, we actually see it being discovered in the context of a mockumentary. Filmed in 2007, TPT even takes it a step further, reaching into the future to poke fun at all the found footage movies that would come after it with their wildly improbably camera angles and immaculate framing.

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In one scene we see the killer hitchhike his way into the back seat of a car occupied by two doomed good Samaritans. He of course kills both of them, recording the whole thing with a handheld camcorder. The thing is, the second one is recorded from in front of the victim, even though the killer is slitting her throat or whatever from behind. Cynical me immediately called bullshit on that. But – Ah ha! –  writer-director team the Dowdle Brothers (who would go on to write, direct and/or produce Quarantine, Devil and this year’s As Above, So Below) were way ahead of me.

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After the hitchhiking scene, the movie cuts to an interview with the forensics guy who had to review all 2400 hours of the murderer’s home movies. He explains how difficult it would be to kill someone from behind with your right hand while filming from in front of them with your left. How says the killer would have had to practice this maneuver over and over to get it right. That’s exactly what found footage camera operators have to do to film some scenes, but they gloss over it, hoping no one will notice the contortions they would have had to go through to get a particular shot. It’s a brilliant and elegant critique of the format, turning a found footage weakness into an asset.

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Added bonus: Did I mention this thing is on YouTube?! How cool is that? Granted, your only viewing options are low-res widescreen or a 720p version that’s tragically squished into 4:3, but still. You can’t findThe Poughkeepsie Tapes anywhere else because when it was made MGM decided to pull its theatrical release at the last minute. It never had a DVD release and only briefly appeared on VOD earlier this year. YouTube should really devote a channel to movies you can only find on YouTube. That might be good for business.

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Modern Borecast Vol.5 – Baby Storm Inbound

AH AH AH AH PODCAST 5 PODCAST 5 AH AH AH AH PODCAST FIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIVVVVVVVVVE

*Ahem* Modern Borecast vol.5 – Baby Storm Inbound is upon you. This time, Impervious Rex & Testicles run you through what they are reading (The Godfather, Rook) and what they are playing (Heartstone, ZAMN). We talk Spider-Woman’s butt and The Rock’s Black Adam. Impervious Rex gets the clock called on him numerous time but busts through into blather regardless! Testicles is over his Ancient Fear! All this and another listener email in vol. 5 of the Borecast. SHAZAM!!

On Previous Borecasts:

Vol.1      Vol.2      Vol.3     Vol.4

Don’t like going to other sites? Good, because they’re all embedded after the jump. Enjoy. Continue reading

Friday Night Flix: Blue Ruin

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Welcome to Friday Night Flix, where there’s never a need to leave the couch or put on pants. Each week I’ll recommend an under-the-radar movie currently available on one or more of the major streaming platforms. They won’t all be classics, but every selection is guaranteed to be 100% watchable or your money back.

Most of my recommendations range from fair to solid. It’s nice every now and then to find one that stands out as truly excellent. Blue Ruin (Netflix) is just such a movie.

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The story begins as a pretty straightforward revenge fantasy: traumatized vagrant sets off on an uncertain journey to avenge the murder of his family. Things nearly go according to plan, but our tragic hero fails to account for the repercussions of his vendetta.

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For a movie populated with literally no one you’ve ever heard of (unless you’re a really big fan of Home Alone) the cast is shockingly strong. It’s anchored by Macon Blair, the introspective, googly-eyed lead who carries big chunks of the movie in wordless silence. When we meet him he’s living out of his car, doing his best Castaway impression. The reality of his somber, numbed existence is riveting.

It only gets better once he shaves the beard and starts talking. His terror and pain coupled with an unfailing, logical resolve make for some amazing contrasts.

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Blue Ruin is the sophomore directing effort of a cinematographer named Jeremy Saulnier. His first film was Murder Party, which I have vague recollections of but never actually watched. Now that I’ve seen the follow-up, I will have to make time for it.

Blue Ruin is a fully formed piece of art, perfect in its simplicity and polished to a mirror shine. Saulnier has a great eye and gets the most out of his cast. He also wrote the smartly paced script, which is generally light on dialogue but never shies away from sincere exchanges. He even manages to plug in some genuine humor without clashing with the severity of the proceedings. This movie is gonna get its director noticed in a big way.

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Added bonus: No bonus for you. Just watch the damn movie and thank me later.

Wrestling. Comic books. Game of Thrones. Get it.

Ramon Villalobos can be checked out at Society6 and RedBubble (where you can buy some sweet swag) as well as deviantART.

…while With Spandex provides detail on the more esoteric moves.

Thor stretches out Loki with a Lightning Lock Delta.

Thor applies the Lightning Lock Delta to Loki

Mortal Kombat’s Scorpion applies a Scorpion Armlock.

Scorpion & the Scorpion Armlock.

Daenerys Targaryen, Mother of the Dragon Sleeper

Daenerys Targaryen with my go-to submission move, the Dragon Sleeper

Inverted scorpion  death lock (?)

Outside scorpion death lock (?)

More after the jump including Wonder Woman, Freddy Kreuger, Bane & more

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Friday Night Flix: Pumping Iron

pi3Welcome to Friday Night Flix, where there’s never a need to leave the couch or put on pants. Each week I’ll recommend an under-the-radar movie currently available on one or more of the major streaming platforms. They won’t all be classics, but every selection is guaranteed to be 100% watchable or your money back.

Do you want to feel like a complete weakling and waste of human skin? Then I demand you watch Pumping Iron (Netflix) immediately!

I had the 2014 movie Sabotage coming in the mail so I must have been in an Arnie mood as I was browsing through titles to commend unto thine eyeholes. While mentally debating for far too long whether I could in good conscience recommend Lars Von Trier’s Nymphomaniac (Vol. 1 definitely not, Vol. 2 almost) I chanced across Pumping Iron, a 1977 documentary that followed The Austrian Oak as he trained for his then record-setting sixth Mr. Olympia title.

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Like bodybuilding in general whole thing is a little goofy, especially viewed through the prism of where Arnold ended up. But back then he was just a hulking 28-year-old immigrant at the top of his field and having the time of his life. He was literally larger than life and at the very beginning of a tremendous upswing that would see him crowned the biggest box office draw of the next two decades. And here you get to see him before he was Conan, hell before he was even Hercules. He was just a happy as hell manchild who spent all his time lifting weights, smoking weed in public and casually committing sexual assaults.

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It’s honestly a pretty well done documentary and it chronicles what was then and still is a strange subculture: the bodybuilders. I’m super impressed by all these huge specimens. I mean even the ones that have no chance at winning are incredibly massive, so much so that you become numb to if after a while. It’s only when you see them wearing a t-shirt that can barely contain their biceps and standing next to a normal person that you realize how insanely monstrous these men are. But, like 95% of all humans, I have no earthly clue how or why they do what they do.

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The crux of the movie is the battle between Schwarzenegger and up-and-coming challenger Lou Ferrigno a/k/a the future Incredible Hulk. What’s striking is that at 6’5″ and 265 pounds, Ferrigno was significantly taller and heavier than Arnold. In fact, he was the biggest bodybuilder ever at that point. Contrast that now with big Ronnie Coleman, Mr. Olympia from 1998 to 2007. During competition Coleman weighed in at around 297 pounds and he was only 5’11”. He was 30 pounds heavier than Ferrigno despite being six inches shorter. Check out this composite I shamelessly stole from someone’s Facebook page in which Schwarzenegger looks like he’s been fasting for a month. Steroids have come a long fucking way.

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Added Bonus: And now for your reading enjoyment is a direct quote from the man who would go on to be elected governor of the most populous state in America:

The greatest feeling you can get in a gym, or the most satisfying feeling you can get in the gym is… The Pump. Let’s say you train your biceps. Blood is rushing into your muscles and that’s what we call The Pump. You muscles get a really tight feeling, like your skin is going to explode any minute, and it’s really tight – it’s like somebody blowing air into it, into your muscle. It just blows up, and it feels really different. It feels fantastic. It’s as satisfying to me as, uh, coming is, you know? As, ah, having sex with a woman and coming. And so can you believe how much I am in heaven? I am like, uh, getting the feeling of coming in a gym, I’m getting the feeling of coming at home, I’m getting the feeling of coming backstage when I pump up, when I pose in front of 5,000 people, I get the same feeling, so I am coming day and night. I mean, it’s terrific. Right? So you know, I am in heaven.

Me too, Arnold. Me. Too.

(b)Art Critic – The Simpsons Class it up With Art Show

If you’re looking to turn your joint, be it office, apartment, gulag or oubliette, from crappy dump into the pinnacle of sophistication, you can’t go wrong with some sweet art. Lucky for you, the Dart Gallery’s got you covered. We’re not talking any knock off Rothko’s or Pollacks or even any of that old master shit either. No sir/ma’am, we’re talking that old premium Springfield style (ed.note: elán too! Don’t forget elán!).
Now’s the time to grab a piece of that timeless style for yourself, right?

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That’s the best part; moon money not required.
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AmandaThompson_1_BartdelosMuertosJames-White-Krusty

 

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More to see after the jump.
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With a Jolt, My Mind Awakens…Chapter Ninety-One: Holy Sh*t, I Just Got to the Chapter Number that Covered the World in Grunge.

Eggs’re are cookin’ on the stove. Coffee’s brewin’ in the pot. Outside is gray and windy, kin, so here’s the advice ol’ Jay’s got. Stay indoors and allow YouTube to trap ya in a figure-four leglock with video-fried distractification. Reality’s a popsicle, slowly melting, so catch this madness before your grain goes the way of John and June in ’03. Don’t worry, friends…they’ll still be seein’ ya a little further on up the road, guitars in hands and redemption in their grips…

1. Bojack Horseman – new Netflix series, animated misadventures of an actor from a 90s sitcom who is living the Hollyweird dream of staggering on the outskirts of hipster reference as a halfway-to-nirvana writer ghost-writes his memoirs. Will Arnett voices the title character. Finally! Will Arnett in his ideal environment…heard and not seen. The humor of the show coincides pleasantly with a perpetually bleak outlook on the prospect of social evolution, a capful of ZzzQuil, and the permanent black marker of your choice. Lately, this sandwich has been the lunch of champions. Season 1 is a 12-episode-layered submarine of horseradish, pepperoni, and dysphoria (the good kind of dysphoria, the tragi-comic breeze that shifts the hairs of balding crankcases). I hit them all in one overnight joust, then I watched Thursday’s “Project Runway”. Apply, Rinse, Repeat…

2. The Great American Traffic Jam – TV land’s (the entity, not the network) late 70s all-star comedic response to the disaster movie craze. The movie is also referred to as “GRIDLOCK!” A weekday morning on the L.A. freeways turns into Parking Lot-palooza when a cockpile of auto mishaps clogs all the thoroughfares, and NO ONE’S GOING ANYWHERE! A guilty pleasure I’ve been chasing for many years since I saw a YouTube video for the Warren Zevon song “Gridlock” that featured clips from the movie, you will certainly require pen and notepad to properly document the sundry celebrity appearances and cameos. My favorite “droppin’ by” appearance comes from Al Molinaro, proprietor of the teen-age hangout in “Happy Days”, who plays a garishly-garmented spectator who purchases something like 10,000 hamburgers, french fries, and sodas for the trapped motorists. Ed McMahon rides a motorcycle, Abe Vigoda teaches the 2nd housekeeper from “Diff’rent Strokes” how to drive, Vic Tayback delivers a baby in the back of his cab, Cousin Oliver from “The Brady Bunch” strums a guitar, and the military very seriously delivers portable johns by helicopter to the tune of “Ride of the Valkyries”. I don’t care if you’re kosher – EAT THIS HAM.

3. A Full Hour of Bloopers from “Mr. Warmth” Don Rickles from a TV Show You Don’t Remember — The sitcom is entitled “Daddy Dearest” and yes, dear Borefare-ians, I do remember this sitcom, being one of the 13 people on this planet who was religiously committed to the program before its quick demise. “Daddy Dearest” debuted on September 5, 1993 on FOX Sunday nights at 9:30 PM, the coveted slot after the 9 PM powerhouse that was “Married…With Children” that was surprisingly hard to fill with a successful follow-up (RIP “Open House”, “Good Grief, “Herman’s Head”, “The George Carlin Show”, “Wild Oats”). As you can see from the clips, the Don Rickles-Richard Lewis combination clicked as resonantly as a “Spies Like Us” alum hosting a talk show. Rickles’ prickly demeanor and extemporaneous diatribes couldn’t be lassoed into the streamlined ice cube tray of situation comedy, and the program was brushed under the carpet after 10 episodes. The song remains the same: the bloopers are better than the show. Hey, if you’ve ever wanted to see Don Rickles battle a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle or Richard Lewis being repeatedly struck in the noggin by a soft pretzel (although in one take, the pretzel missed the comedian and struck a certain famous movie cop in the chest), I have the montage that will fit your idiosyncratic requirements:

4. The Pre-Pieces of Shining Cuckoo Nest’s Days of Mr. Nicholson — Jack Nicholson had a rich body of cackling, crackling work before he took the last detail, axed a Scatman, and tried to teach an Indian how to throw a basketball. Watching “Psych-Out” and “The Trip” is really worth the…worth the…experience. Motherf*cker, almost wandered into a dogpile of bad pun there…scrutinize “The Cry Baby Killer”, “The Wild Ride”, and “Hell’s Angels on Wheels”, too.

5. *ahem* EVERY SINGLE EPISODE OF “THE REAL GHOSTBUSTERS“!!!!! ‘Nuff said.