Tuesday, March 31, 2009

There will be blood, gore, and more when "Story of Ricky" plays tomorrow!

In case you were not already aware, online tickets for "The Story of Ricky" are now available.

Also, those who attend tomorrow's screening will be playing an integral part in selecting the films we play during next year's Mixed Tape Film Series. We've got a shortlist of films we are selecting from, and we'll be letting the audience tell us about the ones they want to see the most.

So show up, vote, and drink $1 beer. You'll be glad that you did.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

RE: EW's 'Top 20 Heroes' list and my response.

Entertainment Weekly devoted an entire cover story to the "Top 20 Heroes and Villains of All Time." You can see how the heroes were ranked here, or you can save time and modem strain by reading their infuriating list here:

1. James Bond
2. Indiana Jones
3. Superman
4. Harry Potter
5. Ellen Ripley
6. John McClane
7. Han Solo
8. Buffy The Vampire Slayer
9. Robin Hood
10. Spider-Man
11. Mad Max
12. James T. Kirk
13. Foxy Brown
14. Will Kane
15. Dirty Harry
16. Jack Bauer
17. Nancy Drew
18. Batman
19. Atticus Finch
20. Sydney Bristow


So let's get this straight, of all the heroes on the list, Batman was ranked number 18?


For starters, there's not a single person on that list Batman couldn't beat in a fight.

James Bond?

Bats would easily give that martini-swilling, product placement whore of misogynist what for.


I got two words for you: Kryptonite ring - Batman has one.

Spider-Man? He would spray the web-head with Pam so he couldn't stick to walls anymore and give 'ol Spidey a wedgie and a lesson in true heroics.

Nancy Drew?

Batman would swiftly convince her that the two of them don't need to fight, and tell her to go do her homework.

This poorly ranked top 20 list ruffled my feathers to the point where I actually wrote my first angry letter to an editor.

Here it is:


That you would deny Batman number one status on "The Top 20 Heroes" - let alone salt the wound by ranking him number 18 under Superman (#3), Spider-Man (#10), or Nancy Drew (#17) - is an insult to the concept of heroes. The modern day equivalent to Arthurian legend, the Caped Crusader has penetrated our nation's consciousness more than any other character in contemporary literature. More hours of TV have been devoted to Batman, including the seminal "Batman: The Animated Series," and with only seven movies, the character is but a mere $200 million shy of eclipsing the amount James Bond earned in 23 flicks, none of which are half as good as "The Dark Knight." And while Superman fights for the American way, it is Batman who represents America's spirit by pushing himself beyond his limits to preserve hope and restore justice in an increasingly bleak world.

Most lists are a matter of opinion, but in this case, it's a matter of fact: When it comes to heroes, Bats is best, and those who disagree are fools or liars.

Joe Scott
Greensboro, NC

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

You MUST Watch This Trailer: 'Where the Wild Things Are'

I've made it a personal editorial rule not to use swear words on this site, but HOLY SHIT does the trailer for Spike Jonze's Where the Wild Things Are look amazing.

See for yourself:

My anticipation for this film has ecclipsed that for all others this year. The only way I could possibly be more excited right now about a film project is if Paul Verhoeven announced he is making an official sequel to Robocop, but even then I would have to flip a coin.

We all know that Spike went through studio hell with WB to get this film made the way that he wanted. If the movie is half as good as this trailer, we are in for a treat.

Now I must look for a time machine that can zap me about seven months into the future.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Through the eyes of a child: 'Pee Wee's Big Adventure'


A couple of weeks ago, I let the 1st and 2nd grade students in my after school class watch Tim Burton's Pee Wee's Big Adventure. They loved the film from the opening dream sequence at the Tour de France all the way to the drive-in movie finale. One student loved the film so much that he wrote the following synopsis of the film as a writing assignment for his regular 2nd grade class.

Thought you might want to take a look at it:

"Piwi Herman and the Wonderful Bike"
By Josiah


Once upon a time there was a man acting like a child. His name was Piwi Herman. One ight, Piwi Herman had a dream about his bike. He was in a bike race. He is number zero. He was on that bike going fast. he won the race. Piwi Herman wins.Ring Ring! Ring Ring! Time to wake up. When he got up he said "Good morning sun."

He taped his dog [Editor's Note: A deleted scene?]. He went vrom vrom with his firetruck in his pj's. He went over his cho cho train and slide down the pole. He had many inventins. When he got down and was ready he pushed a button and sereal went n a windmill basjen it whept around and arond it pored in to a bowl and a hand reached and put it in to a nother hand with milk the milk pored and the hand pulled the milk up. It put the milk in the revrostrator and his crevid was ready when he was. When he finished, he whent to his back yard and pulled sertaht branches wich mode doors. The last one was the one to his wonderful bike when he got on the front porch his rich next dor naber said, "Today is my birthday and I can have anything I want and I whand your bike," said the rich boy. "NO!" said Piwi. The rich boy took his bike to a show, when he found it, then he had a cool bike performans. It was on TV where people can watch it and thats the end.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

'No Retreat, No Surrender': The Aftermath

I wanted to shoot a quick thanks to everyone who attended last night's screening. Hope that "No Retreat, No Surrender" was the stupifying white man kung-fu experience that we promised it would be.

Van Damme shined in a role that probably took a couple of days to film; Bruce Lee's ghost looked nothing like Bruce Lee, but that didn't stop him from hawking Coke products; R.J. got the ride of his life while licking a fudgescicle; and yes, Fatass ate a whole goddamned cake on the side of the road.

If you've had a great time at any of our movie events, don't thank me. Thank the gang at the Carousel who have given us fans of questionable cinema a venue where we can enjoy crappy films and lots of beer.

The best way to thank the Carousel is to vote for them in Yes!Weekly's annual the Triad's Best poll (click here!).

You don't have to nominate someone in every category, but the gang at the theater sure would appreciate the props. And since they are in fact the best theater in the Triad, why don't we let everyone else in Greensboro know that?

-Joe Scott

P.S. The officer on duty last night said he wanted to thank you guys for being such an excellent crowd. He's had to deal with his fair share of knuckleheads at the Carousel, but never at one of our events.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

[PODCAST] St. Patty's Movie Show


An early review of the Nicholas Cage film Knowing is but one of many reasons you should tune in to this week’s episode of The Movie Show. Joe and Mike also talk about the future movie projects for two of this year’s Oscar winners. A trio of horror films make their way towards Development Ave. in hopes of a greenlight. AND can 20th Century Fox somehow manage to save their dead in the water Fantastic Four franchise?

It’s all on this week’s show, plus music by Joanna Newsome, Vampire Weekend, Rufus Wainwright, and the Velvet Underground.

Stream it!

Spike Jonze's "Where The Wild Things Are" gets a poster.


When I heard that WB was planning to reshoot the film, I was worried they might ruin it. Fart jokes, groin punches, gross-out humor, part of which would be scored to the Troggs' "Wild Thing" as well as Tone Loc's "Wild Thing" for good measure.

Fortunately, that does not appear to be the case.

I cannot wait to see this film, and what's great about it is that it comes out on the same month as my birthday.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sam Raimi's "Drag Me to Hell" trailer

I don't know about you, but Sam (Evil Dead) Raimi making a horror film is always good news to me. Even better, this film played SXSW last weekend, and killed.

The end of this month couldn't get here soon enough.

"Little Minx Exquisite Corpse" by Laurent Briet

Here's Little Minx Exquisite Corpse, the short film from Laurent Briet, who will most likely be directing The Strangers 2.

Not bad, and maybe the job of directing a trio of masked killers who terrorize a small trailer park could lead to bigger and better things.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Midnight Madness video

Louis Bekoe, a videographer from News & Record stopped by our first "Midnight Madness: Beer and a Bad Movie" of Troll 2 to make the following video:

If you haven't attended a "Midnight Madness" screening, my hope is that this video will make you reconsider. Unlike every other possible late Friday night event in Greensboro, ours won't damage your wallet or pocketbook, and as you can see, we always have a good time. So make your way out to the Carousel (1305 Battleground Ave.) midnight this Friday when we play No Retreat, No Surrender.

Watch the following trailer for just a taste of the Jean-Claude Van Dammage:

And while we're on the subject of the Carousel, all of us should do what we can to help them win Yes! Weekly's The Triad's Best 2009 award for Best Movie Theater. Why? Because even if they weren't hosting our crazy movie parties in town, they still provide our only source of genuine independent and foreign films here in the Triad. They are also the only theater that is locally owned.

So go here and vote. You don't have to select a candidate for every category. Just vote for Best Movie Theater, and show Greensboro and Winston-Salem that the "Best" is actually the best.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Looks like some people in Greensboro have the right idea....

Went to Best Buy yesterday to return an unsatisfactory DVD player when I decided to try and buy a Blu Ray of Let the Right One In. That's when I discovered this:


The picture was taken with my iPhone, hence the lackluster quality.

And while I was a little disappointed I didn't get to buy my own copy last night, I am happy that enough people were interested in seeing this film to sell it out.

'Watchmen' screenwriter begs fans to see film again, makes arse out of self.

Looks like Watchmen co-scribe David Hayter wrote an open letter to AICN I thought about posting just the link, or even just an excerpt, but the audacity of this letter as a whole is so shameless and absurd that it would ultimately do his letter injustice.

Prepare for intense pity and nausea. Here's the letter:

So it has been five months since I saw my first rough cut of WATCHMEN, and eight days since the premiere of the film I've been working on since late in the year 2000.

The reviews are out -- Some outstanding, others rankly dismissive, which can be frustrating for the people involved, (though I can only speak for myself,) because I firmly believe that WATCHMEN, the novel, must be read through more than once to even have the faintest grip on it. And I believe the film is the same.

I've seen it twice now, and despite having run the movie in my head thousands of times, my two viewings still don’t' allow me to view the film with the proper distance or objectivity. Is it Apocalypse Now? Is it Blade Runner? Is it Kubrick, or Starship Troopers? I don’t know yet.

All I know is that I had a pretty amazing experience the two times I've seen it. And both viewings produced remarkably different experiences. The point is, I have listened for years, to complaints from true comic book fans, that "not enough movies take the source material seriously." "Too many movies puss out," or "They change great stories, just to be commercial." Well, I f***ing dare you to say any one of those things about this movie.

This is a movie made by fans, for fans. Hundreds of people put in years of their lives to make this movie happen, and every one of them was insanely committed to retaining the integrity of this amazing, epic tale. This is a rare success story, bordering on the impossible, and every studio in town is watching to see if it will work. Hell, most of them own a piece of the movie.

So look, this is a note to the fanboys and fangirls. The true believers. Dedicated for life.

If the film made you think. Or argue with your friends. If it inspired a debate about the nature of man, or vigilante justice, or the horror of Nixon abolishing term limits. If you laughed at Bowie hanging with Adrian at Studio 54, or the Silhouette kissing that nurse.

Please go see the movie again next weekend.

You have to understand, everyone is watching to see how the film will do in its second week. If you care about movies that have a brain, or balls, (and this film's got both, literally), or true adaptations -- And if you're thinking of seeing it again anyway, please go back this weekend, Friday or Saturday night. Demonstrate the power of the fans, because it'll help let the people who pay for these movies know what we'd like to see. Because if it drops off the radar after the first weekend, they will never allow a film like this to be made again.

In the interests of full disclosure, let me also point out that I do not profi t one cent from an increase in box office, although an increase in box office can add to the value of the writers' eventual residual profits from dvd and tv sales.

But I'm not saying it for money. I'm saying it for people like me. I'm saying it for people who love smart, dark entertainment, on a grand, operatic scale. I'm talking to the Snake fans, the Rorschach fans, the people of the Dark Knight.

And hey, if you hated the film, if you think we committed atrocities, or literary mistakes of a massive, cephalopodic nature. If the movie made you a little sick to your stomach, or made you feel bad about your life. If you hated it for whatever reason, that's cool too. I'm not suggesting you risk gastro-intestinal distress just for the sake of risky filmmaking.

But if you haven't seen it yet? Well, I'll just say this...

It may upset you. And it probably will upset you.

And all along, we really meant it to.

Because face it. All this time...You there, with the Smiley-face pin. Admit it.

All this time, you’ve been waiting for a director who was going to hit you in the face with this story. To just crack you in the jaw, and then bend you over the pool table with this story. With its utterly raw view of the darkest sides of human nature, expressed through its masks of action and beauty and twisted good intentions. Like a fry-basket full of hot grease in the face. Like the Comedian on the=2 0Grassy Knoll. I know, I know...

You say you don't like it. You say you've got issues. I get it.

And yet... You'll be thinking about this film, down the road. It'll nag at you. How it was rough and beautiful. How it went where it wanted to go, and you just hung on. How it was thoughtful and hateful and bleak and hilarious. And for Jackie Earle Haley.

Trust me. You'll come back, eventually. Just like Sally.

Might as well make it count for something.

-David Hayter


See this film again? I'm upset that I saw it once. The one and only time I will ever see Watchmen again is to check out this legendary wonder-cut of the film that fans say will remedy all the movie's flaws. Even then, I will probably just rent it or borrow it from a friend.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Getting audiences ready for "The Room."


You might know this already, but tickets for tomorrow night's "Midnight Madness" screening of The Room are now available online.

Starting tomorrow, they will also be available at the Carousel Box Office, first come first serve. For those who must absolutely attend this screening, I suggest that you get you get your tickets via either option. We sold out Troll 2, and the chances of doing the same with "The Room" are equal if not greater because of the rising popularity regarding the title. Matter of fact, one of the reasons I decided to go forward with "Midnight Madness: Beer and a Bad Movie" was because of the sheer volume of people who asked me to play this film.

Aside from buying a ticket, there are other things you can do to prepare for the screening.

1) Dress like writer/director/star Tommy Wiseau.

Here's a picture of Tommy Wiseau (center):


Easy enough, right? I mean all you really need is a black blazer:

And a black wig:

And as you can see, even a female can do it if she wishes to do so. And if you would like to seal the deal, it might be a good idea to bring a dozen red roses, like Wiseau's character Johnny gives to his fiance no less than three times during the film.

2) Bring a Nerf (or foam rubber) football:


Then during the two football scenes that take place in the film, you can throw the ball to your friends. However, if anyone throws a leather or non-foam rubber football, chucks a ball at the screen, or maliciously tries to hurt another person, they will be ejected from the screening. So don't be the douche who tries to take a cool thing and ruin it for everybody. Play right, and we all have fun.

-and lastly -

3) Make up your own drinking game. Due to unforeseen restrictions, I cannot officially sanction a drinking game with this film, but there's nothing that says you cannot start your own. Need some suggestions? Here's a great one I found on IMDB. But no matter what you do, always make sure to be safe and have a designated driver at the ready.

I've made up the perfect game for a couple of people to play before this Friday's screening. I won't spoil what it is, but I will say it involves a blanket, a boom box, and an R. Kelly CD. Should be lots of fun - if I can find a few willing participants, that is.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

[PODCAST] 'Watchmen' vs. Chuck Norris' beard, Medea, and an army of grandmas.

Watchmen gets its day in court on this week’s episode of the Movie Show. Sure, Joe hated it, but what’s Mike’s verdict? You’ll just have to listen to find out.

The guys also talk about Dakota Fanning's punk rock resume shift, a questionable turn in the career of Kevin Smith, the franchise opportunities for Grandma vs. Grandma, and how director Alexander Payne plans to ‘Downsize’ Paul Giamatti in a quirky new comedy.

Since there was only one new movie last week, Joe recommends five new DVD releases that could wash the horrid taste of Watchmen out of people’s mouths. Plus he and Mike discuss the future movie options for Tyler Perry’s Medea character, now that he’s run out of her plays to adapt for the big screen.

Soundtrack Selections include Nena’s “99 Luftballoons” from Watchmen, Pulp’s “Common People” from Happy-Go-Lucky, and Ennio Morricone’s “A Gringo Like Me” from Hot Rod.

Stream it!.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Trailer Park: 'Watchmen' Edition

A whole slew of trailers were released last week to coincide with the opening of Watchmen.

Here are the best:

Star Trek

This trailer offers a little more plot information than the previous two. Now that I have an idea as to what this film is about, I cannot wait to see it.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

While nowhere near as ridiculous as the last one, this trailer still accomplishes very little in terms of restoring my faith in this project. It also confirms the involvement of a kid Cyclops, Emma Frost, and Storm, which means ridiculous mind-wipes will be needed in order to explain why the X-Men know nothing about Wolverine from the first movie -- if they even bother to explain the continuity at all, that is.


Those Pixar guys are at it again, and this newest trailer shows a bit of a Miyazaki touch. And is that Owen Wilson providing one of the voices for Dug?

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

This is the fourth trailer they've put out for the next Harry Potter film. I just wish they had released it in November. WB is such a tease.

Public Enemies

It's Jack Sparrow vs. Batman. The Director of Heat vs. the story of real life crook John Dillinger. Digital Cameras vs. the Great Depression. Who will win? The audience, hopefully. Have to say, though, that the gritty, slightly pixelated digital camera work isn't meshing too well with the film's period setting.

-and in case you missed it last week-
Terminator: Salvation


This trailer marks the first time I am actually optimistic about this film

Chuck Norris vs. The Rat

If you're listening to the first story of this week's show right now, this is the scene from Missing in Action 2: The Beginning that we are talking about:

Anyone who voted on the Rat in this scenario was a damn fool.

Makes me wonder if the the remake the remake will have anything this cool in it.

Monday, March 09, 2009

'Watchmen' box-office victory nothing to celebrate.

Even though the movie sucked, there was no doubt in anyone's mind that Zack Snyder's Watchmen would take top spot at the box-office this weekend. Reason being, it was hyped to hell, it was the only movie coming out this weekend, and the rest of the movies that had a reasonable shot at making the top five were at least two weeks old.

But when the numbers came back, I am sure Warner Bros. was a little miffed that the $100 million budgeted film only made an estimated $55 million. Compare that with the fact that Snyder's 300 made the same company $70 million on it's opening bow plus the enourmous marketing and legal fees that Watchmen incurred, and you have the makings of what could be a modest box-office flop.

Even more telling are the daily numbers. While most films tend to make more money on Saturday than Friday because more people can attend matinee screenings, Watchmen's numbers dropped from $25 million on Friday to $19 million on Saturday. And while part of Friday's numbers could be attributed to the $4 million worth fans who attended the midnight screening on Thursday, that still leaves $21 million on Friday proper, making for a $2 million drop between the first day of the weekend and Saturday.

Then the worst of it hit on Sunday, when the film's earnings dipped to $11 million. This was no doubt caused by bad worth of mouth, and limited repeat business.

It doesn't take a horse doctor to figure out the movie will drop even harder next weekend, when the movie shall weather both a wave of new releases and a negative critical and audience response.

I'm guessing the drop will be about 65-80%. Maybe Warners should rush out that Director's Cut DVD before nobody cares about the film anymore.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

"Troll 2" - The Aftermath

Most people who attended last night's screening of Troll 2 as part of "Midnight Madness: Beer and a Bad Movie" are probably still asleep, but I thought it would be nice to share a couple of pics that Niblog resident Tammy Weeks Dills took of the event, plus my take as to how it all went down.


Our story begins in Nilbog, Utah, population 26 including the Presents family.


Actually, our story really begins at the Carousel Luxury Cinemas, where the number of actual Nilbogians was closer to seven. Tammy and Janet above (L to R).


As well as Kat, Ben, Sam, Nathan, and Megan. Considering the enthusiasm these guys had for their beloved historical epic, it was probably best that the remaining 19 Nilbogians stayed at home. By this point, we had already sold out one auditorium, and were well on our way to selling out the second one.


The Nilbogians were more than glad to share Sheriff Gene Freak's "laws" for the screening with everyone who attended via their handy green pamphlets. What friendly people those Nilbogians were.


This guy showed up in an authentic Troll 2 t-shirt (which can be purchased here). This screening was probably the one and only context a shirt like that could get him laid.


See what I mean?


Here's a pic of me introducing the film. That black stuff on my head is the residue from my Watchmen joke that I made for the audience in the other auditorium moments earlier.


Since the event was sponsored by the folks at Natty Greene's, we thought it would be a good idea to use their wares to host a drink-off between two attendees - both of whom had verified designated drivers - for the coveted prize of a Lawnmower Man 2 poster. The guy on the right took his down slow but steady, and won the race. The guy on the left tried to go it fast and choked, costing him both time and the poster. After losing, he asked me, 'Do I get a consolation prize?' My answer: "Yeah, you get to drink a free beer without waiting in line."


Speaking of which, before the show, we had a killer beer line...


...killer kids...


...killer cats, fish, and dogs, too.


Then the movie began.


The audience loved this guy.


This guy, too.


Yes, there was a CORN-GASM!

Then it all concluded with the most epic finale in movie history.


'No, not the bologna sandwich!'


'Yes, the bologna sandwich.'







Thanks to Rob, Tony and the gang at the Carousel for hooking this up for us, plus all who attended. Hopefully I will see you all at next Friday's screening of The Room.

P.S. This is the remainder of the Nilbog cookies we gave away during the middle of the film:


Spring Garden Bakery & Coffee House custom made these for us with a maximum amount of green and a hint of lime. Or was it food coloring?

Thursday, March 05, 2009

News and Record catches the 'Madness'


Just thought I would share the story News & Record ran about "Midnight Madness: Beer and a Bad Movie."

A new Friday gig: Bad movie, cheap beer
By Charles Wood
Special to Go Triad

When the acting, directing, writing, and cinematography in a movie all fail miserably the results can sometimes lead to a charming and amusingly awesome bad movie.

Joe Scott and Mike Compton want to celebrate this badness.

Every Friday in March, Scott and Compton will present the film series "Midnight Madness: Beer and a Bad Movie!" at the Carousel Luxury Cinemas. The series begins midnight Friday with "Troll 2" and continues with screenings of "The Room," "No Retreat, No Surrender" (the director's cut), and "Switch Blade Sisters" on subsequent Fridays.

"We're calling these movies bad," says Joe Scott, a contributor to Go Triad and co-host of the film series. "And they are certainly bad, from a critical standpoint, but are good movies in an accidental way."

Admission to each screening is $5 and includes three beers for patrons 21 and older. Popcorn and soda will be given to those under 21. The event also will include zany retro trailers and a few interesting giveaways.

"Bad movies are like kids," says Compton. "They can be kind of stupid, sweet and guileless. By watching kids you can get a great education in the way people work. They make mistakes but you forgive them for it because they have an innocence to them.

"Bad movies are the same way. When you're watching a bad movie, you are always aware it's a movie; you don't get lost in it. It shows you a lot about filmmaking in general."

(You can read the rest of the story here.)

REVIEW: 'Watchmen' unwatchable.


NOTE: This review is not for general audiences. It was written specifically towards people who have read "Watchmen," the classic graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. That means there are a few spoilers for those unfamiliar with the book.

In the film, Amelie, there's a scene wherein a young boy wins a gigantic collection of marbles at the very end of recess. The boy excitedly starts jamming the marbles into his pockets, scrambling to get as many as he can until his pockets burst and... no more marbles.

Well, director Zack Snyder is that young boy, the chance to direct a movie based on the graphic novel "Watchmen" is the cache of marbles, and in trying to take everything from the Alan Moore's book sans "The Black Freighter" and the giant squid monster and put it into the film, Snyder essentially keeps nothing.

Snyder's adaptation of "Watchmen" kills itself through a series of winks and nods. The book is too expansive to include every plot point or character, so instead of trying to do so - or better yet, dropping many of these things altogether in the service of making a good movie adaptation - Snyder includes a series of references. Tons of them. The only problem with these references is that within the scope of the film, they don't mean anything. It doesn't mean anything to conclude the film within the offices of The New Frontiersman - Rorschach's favorite right-wing newsrag in the comics - if you didn't bother telling the viewers what The New Frontiersman is in the first place. It doesn't mean anything to show the kid and the newsstand owner embrace in the face of doom if you never introduced who they are as characters. And it seriously doesn't mean anything to take the best line of dialogue from the book, which was recently referenced in the brilliant Pulitzer-winning novel "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao," and have it recited by a another character in a wholly different context that strips the line of its impact.

To be fair, not all of the movie was a complete and total train-wreck. The opening scene and credits sequence were very good. We see Blake get murdered in all its cruelty, followed up by an inventive slow-motion montage of recreated comic panels that summarizes all of the events leading up to the point where the movie begins. Great idea, because to explore these events in a traditional narrative would have added another hour to a 161-minute movie. And while his soundtrack choices leading up to this point are indicative of a man who has never listened to a song that wasn't in another movie, I liked the way Snyder handled Dr. Manhattan's origin. Of course, by handled, what I mean is that Snyder took the brilliant way Moore along with artist Dave Gibbons did it in the book and made sure it got filmed as such.

Then the movie jumps the shark. No wait, scratch that. Because this is a comic book movie, it can't jump the shark - it sprays the shark.

Oddly enough, the shark-spraying happens in a location very similar to the one from the scene I am referencing above. Silk Spectre and the sexually impotent Night Owl are aboard the Owlship after having rescued a group of people from a burning apartment building, and just as they do in the book, they start to get it on. This sex scene is probably the worst one in recent film history. It's so bad, it makes me wonder if any of the people involved in the shooting of it - be it the director, the cinematographer, the lighting techs, the key grips, or even actors Patrick Wilson and Malin Akerman - have ever had sex before in real life. The scene couldn't have been any worse in its execution if Night Owl whipped out a Batman Express card a la Batman and Robin. Then to add insult to injury, this visual train-wreck is synched to Leonard Cohen's wonderful song "Hallelujah" (as if we never heard that one in a movie before). Did Snyder bother looking at the dailies when he shot this thing? Did editor William Hoy show him a rough cut of this moment while cobbling the film together? Believe me when I say I would have more respect for the guy if the answer was 'no.'

Everything from this point on is downhill. The movie adds buckets of grisly violence where it wasn't needed. It wholly botches the wonderful moment in the book when Rorschach escapes from prison -- a senseless tragedy since it was so wonderfully storyboarded in the book. Then as a final act of cruelty in this hapless adaptation, Snyder's film takes the brilliant last act from the graphic novel and ruins it entirely. To be clear, I am not one of those people who needed the giant squid to appear in the film. Changing the method Ozymandias uses to manufacture a global catastrophe was not the problem. The problem was changing the characters' reactions to this moment, especially Night Owl's.

I can almost hear the studio money men's reaction when they read the conclusion from the book: "So let's get this straight, this Ozymandias character ended millions of human lives and the only person who tried to do anything about it was the crazy guy who got evaporated?"

What's so great about the book is that while it was a horrible thing for Ozymandias to murder millions of people, the reason no one but Rorschach gets too upset about it is because Ozymandias' actions probably saved billions of lives from an impending nuclear holocaust. In being the world's greatest villain, he was also probably its greatest hero. But instead of realizing this thematic brilliance on the big screen, which is also one of the reasons people care so much about Moore's "Watchmen" in the first place, the movie crudely shifts Night Owl into a vessel to grab Ozymandias by the scruff as if he were a dog so they could stick the character's nose into his own poop. That way the filmmakers can say "Bad Ozymandias! No! Bad! Bad!"

As I drove the 80 miles it took to get to the Charlotte screening of Watchmen, it was not my intention to see a film that took every moment, character, or detail from the book and convert it shot-for-shot into film like Sin City or 300. Nor was it really my intention to see a great film. What I was really looking for was a movie someone could show to Moore - who famously called his book unfilmable and refused to have anything to do with this movie - and say, "See, that wasn't so bad, was it? Guess that means your beloved book wasn't so 'unfilmable' after all, right?"

That's what I was looking for, but now that I have seen the film, all I can say is that Moore was right all along.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

[PODCAST] Who will watch the 'Watchmen'?

Who watches the Watchmen? Nobody yet, but that doesn’t stop Joe Scott and Mike from talking about it. Stephen Mayer and Jermaine Exum from ACME Comics also stop by for the most insightful discussion of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon’s graphic novel in the history of radio.

But man is that not all. The guys also discuss upcoming remakes of The Neverending Story and Total Recall, two potential comedic rebounds for Eddie Murphy and John Cusack, plus what’s next for Juno writer Diablo Cody.

You also get four songs from “Watchmen” and a pair of reviews for Fanboys and Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, It short, this might be the greatest episode of The Movie Show ever made.

Stream it!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Mixed Tape Film Series Vol. 2 - We need your help!

We're getting ready to plan this year's Mixed Tape Film Series, and would love to get input from you on ways to help make next year's series even better (title suggestions, etc.). If you help, you'll automatically enter yourself into a drawing to win four (4) free movie tickets. Plus, it's a perfect way to make sure that we only play the movies you want to see.

Take the survey here!

10 minutes of "Watchmen"

Looks like someone posted their entire EPK of Zack Snyder's Watchmen on YouTube. I saw the footage on Friday, and debated whether I should host it on the site. The movie is 161 minutes long, but even then, that ten minutes is roughly six percent of the entire film.

So I am going to offer the following disclaimer:

It might not be a good idea to watch this footage. Especially if you already want to see the film. However, if you're still on the fence because of the slow motion-addled trailers, check it out. The slow-motion is thankfully absent, and there are some really good scenes. Especially the moment between Rorschach and Nite Owl.

Tonight, I will be risking life and limb to drive to Charlotte so that I can see the remaining 151 minutes of the film. Should be able to convey what that experience was like very soon.

The new Terminator: Salvation trailer rocks! (Plus a bit about the upcoming Wonder Woman film)


After watching the trailer below, I am now on board with this film.

McG has always been a director of style with limited substance, but with a screenplay by Jonathan Nolan (Momento, The Dark Knight), Terminator Salvation could be the film that changes how the fanboy community looks at him. Especially if the movie lives up to the promises made by this trailer.

In other news, my wife and I watched WB's animated straight-to-DVD Wonder Woman, which is surprisingly great. Not good, folks, great. The 70-minute feature introduces you to Wonder Woman, shows you what she's about, and gives lots of great character moments plus an empowering message to young girls to boot. There are several wonderfully animated action scenes, but my favorite moment isn't an action scene at all. It's this moment wherein Wonder Woman confronts this American chick about needing a man to move a desk for her. I won't spoil what happens, but it's great. You also get to see Wonder Woman pound tequila like an Amazon.

The reason I bring this up is because as we watched the movie, my wife and I began to dream up a major Wonder Woman film in our heads. Anne Hathaway would obviously be choice one to play Wonder Woman. As for the director, I would love to see Quentin Tarantino direct it, but we all know this would never happen. Then I got to thinking, which director loves comic books, can direct movies with big action and special effects, and can present a powerful and beautiful warrior goddess in a big budget action film without exploiting her as being merely a sex object?

I thought about this for quite a while. Then when I remembered the fact that McG directed both Charlie's Angels movies, he loves comics (he almost directed a Superman film on two seperate occasions), plus the fact that the Terminator Salvation trailer looks awesome, he could certainly be the man for the job.

Of course they'll probably need to see how Terminator Salvation plays out first, but if I ran Warner Bros., I would tell an intern to start leaving Wonder Woman comics in McG's company mailbox.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Best-worst death scene of all time.

In honor of "Midnight Madness: Beer and a Badmovie" which starts this Friday, I thought I would post a series of bad movie clips, all of them leading up to the big day.

The following is a glorious death scene from the Andy Sidaris' film Hard Ticket to Hawaii, wherein musclebound bad dudes Rowdy and Jade must defend themselves from an assassin simply known as 'Skater.'

And while Skater might have been armed with both a machine gun and a sex doll, I do think Rowdy goes a little too far....

Wonder why the assassin's name was Skater? Was it a reference to the way he sort of breezed through life before he was killed? Kinda tragic when you think about it.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Get as many people as you can to read Alan Moore's "Watchmen" this week - or else.

(Looking at the pages she is reading in this picture, if this is her first time with "Watchmen," I envy her)

With the release of Watchmen less than a week away, I felt it was important to remind all fans of the book to do everything we can to make sure everyone we care about has read the original novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons before March 6. Reason being, when the long-awaited movie hits, there is no turning back.

The first time I read “Watchmen” was about five years ago. As I made my way through this dense lasagna of visuals and text, I immediately dreamed of the day that someone would make a movie based on the book. Why? Because of the characters, my favorites being Rorschach and Dr. Manhattan. No two characters could be more different from each other. Rorschach has no powers to speak of nor wealth to compensate this fact, is publicly despised, but persists in his quest due to very rigid moral standards. Manhattan, on the other hand, has the powers of a God, is a beloved national celebrity whose presence keeps America on top of the global power totem pole, and his morality veers into gray pools of ambiguity. These contrasting details actually set both of these characters directly against one another in the most gut-wrenching finale since George told Lenny about the rabbits for the last time in “Of Mice and Men.”

Many readers also like Moore’s story. It’s a great sci-fi mystery labyrinth, filled with treasures to reward those who read the book on multiple occasions. It also juggles themes like humankind’s search for meaning in this life, whether or not certain levels of evil are necessary - or even justifiable - in the creation of world peace, and yes, the book's oft-repeated question of "Who watches the watchmen?"

But when the movie hits theaters on Friday, I now realize the book is going to lose some of its purity. Even if watching Zack Snyder’s film somehow manages to be just as great as reading Moore and Gibbon’s book, the urge to compare, contrast, or even confuse the two experiences will be commonplace. Also, if the movie sucks, the chances of new readers picking up “Watchmen” for the first time will be reduced to nil.

I’ve already seen it happen to a buddy of mine who watched part of that ridiculous slow-motion Glamour Shots trailer they plopped in front of The Dark Knight. Other footage released since then has shown that the overall movie won’t be quite so ridiculous. However, for this person, that trailer has become his definitive “Watchmen” experience. Now there is no reason for him to read Moore’s work for the fist time – an experience I would liken to the first time I watched The Graduate or Annie Hall, or listened to Radiohead’s “OK Computer” – because he’s got a strong feeling now that reading the book will be a lot like this:

How wrong he is, folks, but I can’t necessarily blame him. If any of the Twilight movies actually turn out to be any good, chances are, I won’t know, because I will only assume that they were just as lame as the first one. I won’t even bother reading the books for that very reason, not that Stephenie Meyer will be hard pressed for my money.

That means it’s up to us to fire up our Owlships and save as many people as we can. We’ve only got five days left, so make up a list of everyone you know who hasn’t read “Watchmen,” grab all the loner copies you can spare, and pester as many people as you can, starting with the ones you love most dearly.

Now’s the time to get people to read “Watchmen.” Awareness is high because of the previews and trailers, but if the movie sucks, our ability to convince more people to crack the book’s hallowed pages for the first time will take a serious hit. Perhaps this is why Moore hated the idea of a “Watchmen” movie from day one.