Sunday, October 20, 2013

Day 686

Uggh.  I feel sick.  I wanted to write about the Two Door Cinema Club concert I went to last week.  It was great, by the way.  But it was filled with lots of people under the age of 21.  And at age 41, this is starting to get a little disconcerting.  Although, nothing still angers me like a 6 foot plus behemoth pushing his way in front of all us tiny people.  C'mon!  Genetics have obviously been kind to you, you don't have to be a jerk about it.  But the other thing about the young people there is something that happened that I don't plan on writing about (see, while that may be frustrating to the reader, I have some own limits to what I want people to read). But, needless to say, it was incredibly awkward, and while I found a strange workaround, it was still a surreal experience.

But the concert, and today have proven what I already know - I'm a coward.  Not in everything, but in certain things.  My mouth doesn't work the way I want it to many, many times.  I have a hard time letting my brain shut down sometimes, and that seems to be one of the biggest problems. My social anxiety can be a crippling thing, and while I hate it, telling me to "Get over it" or "Just do it" ain't helping.  It's really just something I live with.  And, at times, I'm fine with it.  I know what I can or can't do, and I just deal with it.

And, yes, this is a completely depressing post, but it's really just for myself (and possibly the seven followers I have on here), since I won't advertise this post on any social network.

 Oh, and this video is the main reason why I wanted to see the band in the first place.  My love of choreography and the bright colors make this massively addictive.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Day 672 - Convention season

I love the San Diego Comic-Con.  I've been going every other year (or so) since 1996.  There's a number of people who complain because they think it's gotten too media heavy,with less emphasis on comic books.  My simple take on this is that when they expanded the convention center space they used all that extra space for pop culture, yet they've kept the same amount of space for comics and such.  Since that was a lot of space back in the day, it's still a lot of space now.  I'm still able to meet all the writers and artists I want to.  I'm still able to get sketches, original art, autographs, and early issues of Amazing Spider-Man without sacrificing my love of pop culture.  But, because I work at Carol and John's Comic Shop, going to a local comic convention just doesn't hold the same allure for me anymore.  My list of back issues that I need gets smaller and smaller.

So I've been going to horror film conventions in the area.  The short story for those of you who don't know - I have three notebooks that I filled with my reviews of all the films I watched during 1988 to about 1996.  So whenever I meet someone who starred in a movie that I reviewed, I have them sign by that review.  It's made for some interesting stories  (of which, I will only be relaying some of the most recent here).

A month ago, I went to Horrrorhound Weekend in Indianapolis with my buddy Jason.  Honestly, the main reason I wanted to go was because Monica Keena was going to be there.  I'm a huge fan of Undeclared (Judd Apatow's followup to Freaks and Geeks).  But there were plenty of other people there that I was happy to meet.

First off, was Katharine Isabell of Ginger Snaps fame.  I've got to say, she's actually more gorgeous in person than in any picture I've seen.  She was also very nice as she signed my Ginger Snaps DVD (she wasn't in any movies that were in the notebook, so sometimes I have to make do).

The next person was Dana Ashbrook (Bobby from Twin Peaks).  By far (by far!) one of the nicest people I have ever met.  He was incredible!  I would go to a convention just too meet him again.

Then it was a sprint as I got Vivica A. Fox (she whispered some secret Quentin Tarantino info to me), Larry Drake (who doesn't love Darkman?), Gerrit Graham (Used Cars, and the awesome and awful TerrorVision), Megan Ward (Freaked), Barry Bostwick (we bonded over the SyFy Moby Dick movie), Chris Marquette (who signed my Fanboys DVD, but like I told him, I could have just as easily had him sign my Joan of Arcadia DVDs),  Zack Ward (Titus' brother and, of course, A Christmas Story), and Sherilyn Fenn (who I've met before, but she was still very nice).

Eventually Monica Keena showed up.  She was very pleasant.  I did not get a photo.  I'll leave it at that.
Finally, I discovered the deal of the day.  Sean Clark, the writer of a film called The Black Waters of Echo's Pond, was selling DVDs and BluRays of the film, and if you bought one, Danielle Harris, James Duvall, and Electra and Elise Avelon would sign it for free.  I still haven't watched the movie yet (I'll probably get around to it in a couple of years).

I spent a lot of money at the show, but not as much as I brought, so I was able to have some extra cash to have a good meal at Red Lobster.  I can be a simple man with simple needs.

This last Friday Cinema Wasteland started.  The "get" for this convention was Dee Wallace.  Obviously, Elliot's mom in E.T., but for me, the decision was between Critters and The Howling.  But also, I was going to meet Chester Turner the mastermind behind one of the rarest VHS movies ever - Tales From the Quadead Zone.

And Chester was a real nice, soft-spoken gentleman.  I bought the DVD of Quadead Zone even though I may never watch it, simply for the curiosity value.

Dee Wallace was a sweetie.  I had her sign by Critters, and she got to tell me that she's taken more recent "evil" roles because she was tired of the "good" roles.  I followed that with a visit to Donna Wilkes.  She even read my review of Jaws 2 saying, "Yep" then signing it.  I got a picture with her, and when I left I forgot one of my notebooks.  She actually ran after me to give it back.  My friend Laura had the best statement -  "She got up from behind her table to bring your notebook to you?  That's so cute!  I wish I had gotten a picture of that."  Donna Wilkes is awesome!

The last autograph of the day was Stephen Macht.  I could have gone the easy route and had him sign by my review of  The Monster Squad, because we all know Wolfman has nards.  But instead, I went with Graveyard Shift.  It's an awful movie, but it does have a tremendous performance by Stephen, which I mentioned.  We had a great laugh about it, and he is simply a fantastic guy.

And a visit to the Wasteland wouldn't be complete without some purchases, and my very best one was a VHS copy of the movie Dudes with Jon Cryer, Daniel Roebuck, and Catherine Mary Stewart.  It really is an undiscovered classic that has never been released on DVD.  But I also bought a copy of Lon Chaney's He Who Gets Slapped.  I saw it last week, and it made such an impression that I may even watch it again in the near future.

So two conventions in the last month.  I may have spent more money than I needed to, but I had some great times, hung out with some good friends (Thanks Jason, Joe, and Laura!), and met a lot of cool people.  And admission for both those shows was the same as it would have been if I went to Wizard World Columbus.  I feel I made the right choice.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Day 668 - The Best Films I've Seen This Year (so far) - Part 2

Alright - it's a Wednesday morning, and I'm watching Married...With Children.  That seems appropriate when writing about the best movies I've seen so far this year.  Let's jump right in (and this is in the order I've seen them in).

Spring Breakers - Harmony Korine's surreal masterpiece is one of the most subversive movies to ever have been given a wide release.  The fact that it had Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens toting guns in bikinis was only to bring the audiences in the theaters.  James Franco's gonzo performance was what kept them there.  It's not a perfect movie (it does meander at times), but when it hits, it's a home run.

Mud - Matthew McConaughey is just pumping out solid movies one after another.  And he isn't even really the star of this film.  It's Tye Sheridan as the young kid, who, with his best friend, Neckbone (Jacob Lofland), stumble upon Mud (McConaughey) and try to help him out as he's hiding from people who want him dead.  And all that's almost incidental to the coming-of-age story that plays out.  A compelling look at families in disarray, what the truth is, and where one's loyalties really lie.

Before Midnight - Richard Linklater's (and Ethan Hawke's and Julie Delpy's) third film in the series takes place 9 years after the last one, and the two characters are hitting a rough patch in their relationship.  As with the previous two films, this one is massively dialogue heavy.  But the ideas expressed and the emotions that are portrayed are some of the most honest in just about any film.  And from a movie nerd standpoint, one of the opening scenes, with its long, unbroken take is just fabulous.  So far, my favorite film of the year.

From Up on Poppy Hill - Goro Miyazaki (Hayao's son) directed this highly melodramatic animated film.  It's yet another coming-of-age film on this list, and it reminded me of a 1950's Douglas Sirk film, but with more lightheartedness and not as much tragedy.

The Hunt - Mads Mikkelsen plays a kindergarten teacher accused of sexually molesting a child.  Really inspiring, right?  It's simply a powerful film, made all the more gripping because of what we, the audience, know.  Never boring, never preachy.  Just a tough, suspenseful film that tests its characters, and lets you know, sometimes there isn't a bad guy, and that can be more heartbreaking.

The Way,Way Back - Oh, Sam Rockwell will you finally be Oscar-nominated for your role as water park manager in this film?  I hope so.  And as inspiring as he is, Steve Carell plays the most loathsome character he's ever portrayed on film, and does a great job at it.  Deftly mixing humor and pathos, it was one of my most anticipated movies of the year, and it didn't disappoint one bit.

You're Next - Probably the lowest on my favorites list, it's still one of the most fun horror films I've seen in a long time, although that's probably because I don't seek them out that often.  Plenty of fist pumping, yelling at the screen in encouragement moments, and a heroine who kicks major, major butt - that's what I wanted.  And explanations for the bad things that happened was icing on the cake.

The Family - Luc Besson's newest film is still sticking with me.  Tonal shifts aplenty.  Funny at times (but never really hilarious), suspenseful when I wasn't expecting it to be, and shockingly brutal towards the end.  I didn't know what I was getting into, and I'm still not sure even now.  But it was nice to see Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert DeNiro play a loving couple (even if they were mobsters in witness relocation).

The Spectacular Now - A high school kid in a small town is an alcoholic, and on the rebound falls for a smart girl.  An absolutely no-holds-barred look at young love, young heartache, and second (and third) chances.  Sometimes circumstances say we can't see ourselves the way others see us, and that's what this movie is telling us.  The performances are uniformly amazing, and with a touch of hope at the end, it's so, so satisfying.

And now it's time to go to work.