Friday, August 15, 2008

Guilty Pleasures: 25 Movies Part 1

The first of many lists to come, I bravely present to you Part I of a 2-Parter list of my own personal guilty pleasure films. A few of them I'd actually call more 'underrated'. But since most people tend to laugh when i express my love, I've posted them here for your own schadenfreude...

Let's start things off with a bang...pool-side.

1. Showgirls - It's hilarious. I almost died laughing during that pool-sex scene. Seriously. This movie is so bad it's almost genius. Oh the good times we had at college, rewatching the best parts and stuffing out faces with tongue-scalding Bosco Sticks (another guilty pleasure, of sorts). You haven't seen it yet? What the hell is wrong with you?

2. 54 - Ok, really, I don't even like this that much. For whatever reason, though, I'm completely fascinated by it and kept the DVD copy my college radio station purchased for use at our Studio 54 party (Yeah, we had one of those, be jealous). I've heard there's actually an awesome director's cut of this that makes Ryan Phillipe's character bisexual and really amps up the more accurate naughty bits of life at the club. I would KILL to see it.

3. The Avengers - Horrendously cheesy lines and a completely absurd plot. Come on... Sean Connery as a villain who controls the weather, collects snow globes, and makes his henchmen wear teddy bear costumes? That's amazing. Plus, Emma Peel (Uma Thurman) has a clone. And that's not all! John Steed (Ralph Fiennes) totally has an implied shoe fetish. Additionally...Eddie Izzard! Not kidding, in 8th grade, i had a brief but powerful obsession with the entire concept of The Avengers.

4. Sleepover - Watched this at a girly teeny-bopper sleepover in college and was somehow quite entertained. The plot is ludicrous and shallow, junior high girls go on an elaborate scavenger hunt to win prime lunch-time real estate once they hit high school, and filled with bright colors and fluff. They joyride, evade adults, sneak into nightclubs, and catch the eye of 'dreamy' boys. Did I mention Steve Carell plays a rent-a-cop? Bet he'd like to forget that now.

5. You've Got Mail - In my head it's way better than Sleepless in Seattle and is way too sickeningly charming. It might be a mega sugary chick-type flick, but it has a whole lot of corporate vs. independent rage going on and is high on the snide jabs at literary elitists. In fact, with a backing cast made up of Greg Kinnear, Parker Posey, Steve Zahn, & Dave Chappelle, the movie as a whole does have more of an 'indie' romantic comedy feel to it than most. I declare it: underrated. I may also just be in denial. The latter is more likely.

6. Josie and the Pussycats -
Speaking of underrated. This is right up there with SERIOUSLY underrated. This movie is pure satire with a catchy pop-rock soundtrack and a whole lotta color. Fun, funny, and filmed pretty damn well when compared to almost every other teen comedy of the time, it's delightful. Also, it's boy band Du Jour sings a song called "Back Door Lover"

7. Bedazzled - The more recent version (which, one compared to the original, is almost a triumph). I think what I loved most about this movie was that it got to spastically go from sequence to sequence, and thus use all sorts of absurd costumes and scenes. Plus, Liz Hurley was wicked as the Devil.

8. Beyond the Valley of the Dolls - WTF? No, it's not a sequel. It's a bad acid trip written by (of all people) Roger Ebert that plays out as a pseudo-pornographic, semi-musical romp around LA that turns into(basically) a slasher flick. Kind of like Josie and the Pussycats on a shame spiral. You want to see it now, right? Admit it. You're curious.

9. Domino - So this was released and pretty much every review said it was ADHD, epileptic, brain-sucking shit. I HAVE to disagree, enthusiastically. I think it rocks not merely on the absurdity factor, but the fact that it's SUPPOSED to be a bio-pic. Personally, after this movie, i don't care what Domino Harvey was in real life. Keira Knightley's version was a total bad ass who made me briefly consider becoming a bounty hunter. Just kidding. I actually think about that all the time. No, really though, this movie was shot and cut beautifully, even if it doesn't always make sense.

10. Beastmaster (1982)- Realistically, i haven't seen this since i was about 10. But before that, i was all over this absurd 80's fantasy movie. Yeah, yeah, mostly it was because the Beastmaster has ferrets named Kodo & Podo. They were cute. Also, there was a panther. So, really, it was pretty awesome.

Ferrets, by the way, don't climb trees. They also don't produce those sounds.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Horrible news for all you muggles. The release date for the next film adaptation (Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince) has been pushed back to JULY 17, 2009!

That's a whole SEVEN MONTHS after the original date (November 21, 2008). Ridiculous!

Warner Brothers Studio Execs. blamed the switch on 'repercussions of the writer's strike'. I don't know about you, but i'm tearing up a little. Whatever will I do without my dose of Snape for the year? Please don't tell me this means I'm really going to have to see Twilight now.

Let's all hope that in pushing the date back, it means they'll make improvements on the film. Some good can come of this, right?

Review: Pineapple Express

Did Judd Apatow & Friends invent the Bromance, or just bring about it’s glorious Renaissance? I’d opt for the latter, but what a Renaissance it is. With a string of commercial and critical hits under their belts, the newest vehicle Pineapple Express is a more raucous take on this cinematic family’s brand of golden hearted vulgarity.

Former Freaks & Geeks cast-mates Seth Rogan (who also co-wrote the film with fellow ‘Superbad’ collaborator Evan Goldberg) and James Franco reunite in a haze of pot smoke to play a pair of fully baked stoners. When process server Dale (Rogan) witnesses a homicide, he seeks out assistance in the form of his gleefully out-of-it dealer Saul. What follows is a madcap, genre shuffling gore-fest as the two bumble from scene to scene, inadvertently falling into a dangerous underground war between the local drug lords.

For the most part, Pineapple Express manages to maintain its hilarity and upbeat pace with the help of the same off-topic banter and reluctantly lovable characters that made Superbad resonate. While the violence leans towards pure brutality at points, pushing the film more towards becoming a bad, jumbled, trip, the characters at the films core are endearingly comic screw-ups. Rogan & Franco have got chemistry. Even as the body count increases and absurdity of the situation becomes painfully obvious, you’re rooting for their bromance (that is, their deep sense of male companionship) to work out.

On the downside, however, those who find the Apatow brand of comedy to be a raunchy cultural acceptance of an ever-growing Peter Pan complex will find much to criticize here. There’s an irreverent take on responsibility (duh, it’s a stoner comedy) now not merely combined with over-the-top remarks on anatomy, but also an insatiable bloodlust. Combine the two together and you’re sure to leave a bad taste in many a viewer’s mouths. Personally, this reviewer can’t imagine why certain types would even be attracted to this film in the first place. This is a film for a target age bracket and a target market, and if you aren’t sure whether or not you’re amongst them…you probably aren’t.

Overall, Pineapple Express is a successful endeavor. The genre-splicing is sloppy, but works well if taken in context with the film’s overarching drug-fueled idiocy. Rogan & Franco are pretty damn fabulous to watch together, even if many of the supporting cast (I’m looking at you, Gary Cole and Rosie Perez) are entirely forgettable.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Dream Casting: Batman

We can probably all agree that the spectacle known as The Dark Knight was pretty awesome. Though the film snobs amongst us will begin to argue that there were several pesky continuity flaws and some slightly problematic editing, the general consensus is a big thumbs up.

Personally, I'm prematurely excited about the future of the franchise. Batman is my favorite of the major league comicbook heroes and Christopher Nolan has barely touched upon the possibilities Gotham city holds when it comes to a wide world of deranged villains. Thus, I've been geeking out about the routes Nolan could take, and think it's time to type it out here.

Are you there Nolan? It's me, your uber-caster.

(Spoiler Alert)

Plan A: Now that Rachel Dawes is dead, Bruce Wayne will be free to reluctantly move forward with his lovelife. Thus, the window is open for supreme anti-hero Catwoman, who is (all Halle Berry versions to the contrary) one of the most fascinating and developed characters in the DC Universe. Catwoman's presence in the film would be more along the lines of the Harvey Dent subplot. There is no need for her to anchor an entire film, she's not that much of a villain, instead her character would be allowed to slowly evolve possibly over film 3 and 4. There have been claims that Catwoman is a non-option, there have also been claims that Angelina Jolie is being considered for the role. Both are major mistakes. Allow me to explain.

I dig Angelina Jolie, but my god, her casting would put the franchise in over-the-top terrain. Currently, Nolan has cast from within the realm of reasonably understated actors, and placed excessively well known stars just slightly out of focus (Morgan Freeman, for instance). Jolie would throw off the film's balance, and based on her performance in past actioners, her version of Catwoman would likely veer this variation towards campy (I had a great time watching Tomb Raider, but wouldn't want that as a Catwoman). In conclusion, while Jolie has the looks, she doesn't have the whole package. My pick? Simple. Underused femme fatale Eva Green.

Think about it, Eva is perfect. She's got the sex appeal, the acting chops, the feline looks, the dark persona, and already proved she can rock the witty banter necessary to the role (Remember her as Vesper in Casino Royale). Additionally, she can alternate between dangerous and defenseless in a heartbeat. Plus, she's just low-profile enough to not offset the fragile balance of the series.

Plan B: So one thing the rumor-mills and I agree about is the perfection that is Johnny Depp.
He would be a divine Edward Nigma (That's the Riddler, for all you non-nerds), the perfect blend of neurotic, homicidal dandyism. Do I even have to defend this? No. No I don't. Of course, Riddler would anchor the film as a spotlight villain. Considering the slight similarities between Joker & Riddler, Nigma's appearance could be a smooth transition between characters. Though for some, the reliance on puzzles and elaborate schemes could be too much.

Plan C: In terms of character continuity, the absolute best option would be to make use of Harley Quinn. If Heath Ledger were still alive, he could have resurfaced with demented Quinn as a cultish admirer (shades of the Manson family, anyone?). Since Heath is sadly unavailable, and no one should step in, Quinn's arrival on the scene could take on even more sinister elements of extreme psychosis. She could be a copycat killer and deranged stalker, a sort of Basic Instinct John Hinckley. 100% imbalanced and ready to party. I'm not sure about who I'd want for this role. I might have said Maggie Gyllenhaal if she weren't already Rachel Dawes. I think Tilda Swinton is a little too old now, but she could still deliver, she always does.

Who would you cast as Harley Quinn?

The Jump Off

I know what you're thinking. Really. I don't even have to be psychic (though sometimes I think my brain controls the shuffle function on my iPod). You're looking at this blog and going "Great. Another asshole started another blog devoted to pure unadulturated crap". Or, alternately, "The world doesn't need another Perez Hilton".

You would be right, on both counts. The world doesn't need another Perez Hilton, I never liked over-exuberant illiterates. And yes, the function of this blog is that silly sugary detritus officially recognized as 'pop culture'. But I swear, if I ever post about celebrity nip slips or make crude paint additions to an image, I'll publically flog myself in a random town square for senseless contribution to the downfall of the American Empire.

That said, welcome to the Pop Candy Arcade.

Love & Squalor,

(The Artist Henceforth Known As) Wilde.Dash


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