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.

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(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.

Friday Night Flix: You’re Next

Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 7.13.45 AMWelcome 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.

Welcome to the laziest Friday Night Flix EVER. You’re Next (Netflix) is a movie I saw ages ago (as did Jay) but I had to get it on DVD like a sucker. Now it’s available instantly! For streaming! On internets!

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I am awful at remembering the details of movies. I see maybe 150 movies a year (down from around 300 in my prime) and a lot of them tend to be horror. The details would start to run together even if I didn’t have an awful memory to begin with. Which I do.

So without reading any synopses of this movie, without re-watching it (as any conscientious writer should do), and with about fifteen minutes before I have to leave for work (enjoy the typos!), here we go.

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You’re Next is your basic survival horror thriller but smarter. It’s well shot, well acted and well directed. It was definitely among the best horror movies of 2012 (though I saw it in 2013 and technically I think it released in 2011 at festivals). The ways in which the requisite lone hero character turns the tables on the men assaulting this luxurious family estate are generally pretty believable. (At least insofar as it’s believable that any unarmed civilian can repel a heavily armed, well trained invading force.)

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It’s also pretty funny. I can’t recite any specific jokes because it’s not an episode of South Park. But there are genuine laughs to be found in the bickering siblings of this rich, dysfunctional family. There are also some humorous beats in between the various deaths and dismemberments that populate movies such as this. You have to love seeing directors Ti West and Joe Swanberg show up to deliver a few funny lines before being unceremoniously and brutally executed.

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Added bonus: Animal masks? For reals? Okay, sure, why not. These jackasses use crossbows when silenced rifles would work much better so why not add some ridiculously impractical masks? Aside from Halloween, very few movies ever bother to explain why their villains would decide to limit their vision and get all sweaty while they work. But I guess the image of a man in a bunny mask hacking someone to death with an axe is worth it.

Friday Night Flix: The Conspiracy

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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.

The unimaginatively named The Conspiracy (Netflix) is a good looking, modestly budgeted attempt at a wide-angle conspiracy thriller shot in a manner to suggest a documentary. I don’t say mockumentary because it doesn’t adhere the conventions of real documentaries as mockumentaries generally do. Many scenes are clearly shot from two camera positions when supposedly only a single cameraman is in the room, etc. I’m not sure how much that will bother most audiences but it stuck out for me as a blemish on an otherwise thoughtful and well executed thriller.

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Jim and Aaron are two young filmmakers who pursue a crackpot conspiracy theorist after seeing a provocative viral video. Once the theorist appears to suffer the consequences of getting too close to the truth, whatever it might be, the would-be documentarians find themselves wrapped up in a steaming burrito of intrigue.

Despite its humble nature, The Conspiracy looks pretty slick. It’s well shot despite some contrivances (see above) and despite the ill-advised choice to simulate chest mounted button cams for a huge swath of the overlong, cartoonish climax. That climax is just about the only area where the direction runs off the rails, too.

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In general the dialogue feels natural. At times the the two men’s reactions stretch credibility but they always manage to snap back to plausibility. You’ll find yourself watching The Conspiracy thinking, “Oh bullshit. What about…” But before you get to the end of that thought, the movie answers the question. It’s being one step ahead of audience expectations that sets this movie apart from other shaky-cam investigatory thrillers.

Even as The Conspiracy‘s politi-corporate intrigue spirals out of all possible control and you question how this could ever conclude with either man surviving to tell the tale (at least one of them must since he’s narrating the movie), the screenplay delivers a satisfying if perhaps too tidy resolution.

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Added bonus: Ambitiousness. Not content to run just The New World Order up the flagpole, this movie makes time to tackle World War I, the Gulf of Tonkin, JFK, 9/11 and pretty much every other wacko theory you’ve ever heard of. If someone’s shouting about it on a street corner, odds are it’s in The Conspiracy.

 

Anti-Hero? Perhaps. Pro-Beer? Definitely! Butcher Billy Returns.

Butcher Billy‘s back and in fine form (where’ve you been? Where have I been?), this time with a mixed seven pack of anti-hero inspired brews that make me angry because they don’t exist. These are all, as we’ve come to expect, stunningly creative and clever new twists that show not only the Butcher’s deep love of the material but also his wildly inventive side. Somehow the guy keeps getting better and more creative with every iteration; how is this even possible? “Well,” you say, accusingly, “what else has this guy done?” Glad you asked.  Check out his Behance page for the pure, uncut experience; he’s got work for sale through Society6, which, if you would like to buy me something, I wouldn’t say no.  Oh, and we’ve featured him here on Modern Borefare.  Y’know, once or twice.
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