10 January 2021

Marina Abramovic -- The Artist is Present


Hot damn, this movie was great! Art rules. Everyone should do stuff, especially when it's weird and people get mad at you for stupid reasons like being irritated when they can't understand you or having no sense of humor.

09 January 2021

The Sound of Metal

 This was real good, and also he uses ProtonMail.

10 October 2020

Queen and Slim

 Wonderfully shot, every scene. Great.

11 July 2020


These Pixar movies look amazing.

10 July 2020

The King of Staten Island

This movie has it all! Pam Adlon, Herc from The Wire, and Bel Powley who was great in that movie where she writes letters to Aline Crumb.

I liked it more than Trainwreck, but not as much as Funny People.

03 June 2020

Just Mercy

It's 1992, which means all the cars look GREAT.

30 May 2020


Pretty standard Netflix fare. Not that good and not that bad. You watch it and it took ninety minutes, and when it's all over you turn on Queer Eye or Ozark. I dunno - Becoming is a really just passable ad for Obama's book. It has some really great and inspiring footage of girls all across the country. I mean, wow, what a mind-blow that must have been to be fourteen and have the former First Lady, this former First Lady, listen to what you're saying and give you a hug. Michelle Obama, of course, absolutely rules and is totally fucking missed, but the movie doesn't have a lot of bite or grit, which is the only thing I want to see. Oh well. Recommended only if you want to further lament our national state of chaos. It's a nightmare out there, each day worse than the last.

17 May 2020

No Direction Home

The problem with streaming is that you get used to bein' able to watch something whenever ya want, but then the moment you really want to watch it, the darn thing isn't available on any of the services anymore. Fucking dumb.

10 May 2020

The Mandalorian (Season One)

How fun, and -- gosh -- better than all those dumb movies! It was nice to see a Star Wars story that's wasn't too grand or spectacular, and one that hardly focused on family legacies or magical/mystical mumbo jumbo. Seeing this season end with Giancarlo Esposito and his flowing cape and light-up sword made me a little skeptical, however, for Mandalorian season two, as I'm afraid that the future of the series will trend toward Jedi spiritualism and the unmasking of a Fett dynasty rather than maintaining the toward desolate landscapes and one-on-one blaster combat of these episodes. We'll see!

05 May 2020


The great thing about Yesterday is that it's really just pretty good! Not a masterpiece, not a classic, just a top-notch weeknight watch on pay cable. All of the right levels of drama, comedy, and quirkiness, and not a lot of nerdy-ass Beatles fan service. Thumbs up.

03 May 2020

The Adventures of Baron Munchasen

I watched The Baron a number of times as a kid, which means I still enjoyed it as crusty old adult. I also - and this was pretty astonishing to me 'cause I haven't watched it for two decades - remembered all the dialog and all the vocal inflections. What a trip! I mean, for all these years, I doubt I could have quoted this movie to you, but from the moment we pushed play I could hear Sarah Polley's voice a second before she said anything. Same for John Neville and Winston Dennis and all those other guys whose names I didn't look up. How cool is the brain, ya know?

That said, the whole movie is yelling and explosions. Yipes. Definitely wouldn't have cared for it if I'd seen it as a pretentious grown-up rather than as a precocious child.

That Thing You Do!

The story's super cute, and the acting's real fun, but - wow - how boring is the camerawork and editing? Jeepers. No zip. No pizzazz. Nothing exciting seems to happen - and this is rock and/or roll!

02 May 2020


Not that great, but neat that it had Gore Vidal and Ernest Borgnine.

01 May 2020

The Plague Dogs

Neat era for animated features.

26 April 2020

Toy Story 4

Ack, nowhere near as good as number three.

24 April 2020

Toy Story 3


Except for the Ken and Barbie stuff which I thought was cliche and corny, and will probably make the movie feel more and more dated as the years go on.

21 April 2020

Fantastic Mr. Fox

This movie was annoying. I wanted to like it, but I didn't get its sense of humor or find the dialogue or delivery amusing. Also, so much orange.

18 April 2020

Grand Budapest Hotel

Wes Anderson and co. took full advantage of the medium of film in this one, and - hey - that was pretty cool! The set design, pacing, dialogue, color schemes, casting, humor - all of it felt uniquely geared toward the cinematic experience. As we watched Grand Budapest Hotel I thought, wow, this feels like a shining example of narrative cinema's strengths and possibilities, even though when the movie ended I found that it hadn't quite - as the kids might say - "hit me in the feels" or made me want to award it four stars like I would with stone-cold classics like Silence of the Lambs, Frankenhooker, or Tales of the Grim Sleeper.

But, hey, bravo!!

17 April 2020

11 April 2020

Raiders of the Lost Ark

I kept thinking, "They'll go blind being in the desert sun like that."

04 April 2020

Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness

Everyone obsessed about that Carole B., but I just want to hear about the sex and drugs. Prince Alberts! Alcohol abuse! Squirrely facial tics! There's some heavy stories here, and murder is the least interesting of 'em all.

14 October 2015

The Brick Dollhouse

This one has a GREAT soundtrack.

13 October 2015

Color Me Blood Red

I'd like to think all these paintings are hanging on someone's wall right now, but I'm sure they were left at the curbside like a bunch of worthless garbage.

27 May 2015

Crips and Bloods: Made in America

It was okay, but I already knew this stuff.

28 April 2015

Tales of the Grim Sleeper

I'll say the most trivial thing I can right now, which is how I truly regret the level to which I'd undervalued Nick Broomfield.  Tales of the Grim Sleeper is mandatory.

30 May 2014

Death Wish

This movie has a lot of great hats.

28 July 2013


Every element of Keoma, from its camera work to its gorgeous theme to Franco Nero's eyes, is a thing of absolute bad-ass masculine awe, but sadly these parts never come together in a way that elevates the movie into a majestic artifact for the ages.  It's a stone cold masterpiece compared to late-period western dreck like Mannaja, so my guess is that all of its cool-ass sadness and fancy gun totin' tricked me into holding Keoma up to Peckinpah-level standards rather than a more appropriate Island of the Fishmen-informed yardstick.

07 April 2013

Project X

You know that chubby kid shot a scene for Bang Bros? What a creep.

08 September 2012


Wow, is anyone cooler than Franco Nero?  The guy has it all: tanned features, burly forearms, a perpetual morning-after leer, and a steamer trunk full of sweaters and Pendleton flannels. Even in my most generous dreams I'm only half the man he is.

07 September 2012

God Bless America

I recently went into a sensory deprivation tank and my introspective reflection was that I should probably stop being so cynical and judgmental.

06 September 2012

House on the Edge of the Park

I used to think the people who made these movies were psychopathic narcissists, but now I realize they're probably just guys who go to swingers' clubs.

15 August 2012

Last Days Here

Holy Christ, is this some harrowing shit.  I need to take better care of myself.  Now.

04 July 2012

Wavy Gravy -- Saint Misbehavin'

Man, how square am I?  Whole time I'm thinkin', "What the hell's wrong with these people?"  Yeesh.

11 June 2012

The House with the Laughing Windows

Phil Anselmo likes this so much I expected it to be horribly nightmarish and disturbing.

What a disappointment.

28 April 2012

I Spit on Your Grave (2010)

Somehow even more offensive than the original! Is it because its very existence suggests many serious conference calls between studio executives and financiers, all of whom were looking for an advantageous return on investment?  Is it because its existence further suggests the involvement by an even more populous collection of actors, technicians, and union laborers, many of whom probably had serious qualms about re-shooting such a film and yet signed on anyway?  Is it because I still chose to watch this movie in spite of my own knowledge of and qualms regarding its production and promotion?

OR is it just because I watched the 1978 version with the non-stop Joe Bob Briggs audio commentary?

11 April 2012

The Larry Sanders Show

The question we have to ask ourselves is: Would you rather be an Artie or would you rather have an Artie?

23 January 2012

I Saw the Devil

The lighting was real good.

30 October 2011

Dr. Bronner's Magic Soapbox

 What a bunch of weirdos.

14 October 2011

Bukowski -- Born Into This

I don't like to say that my father drank himself to death because I feel like that implies agency, like Dad set out and to kill himself with booze rather than what actually happened, which is that he plain gave up and drank Miller High Life until his body did the same.

And that last part, it's probably the biggest reason I'm here on the Highland Cinema today. It's why I was so excited to see the Mentors a few years ago, why I search "most disturbing films" in Google whenever I reactivate my Netflix account, why I can never muster up the nerve to call a girl.  All because of my dad.  It's why I watched No Direction Home or bought Cat Stevens' Catch Bull at Four or why I tried to read a book on Richard Nixon.  For years without me knowing it, Dad was the reason I couldn't help but put up defense mechanisms and deflate your enthusiasm with cynicism.  He's why I felt it necessary to convince myself that the reason I bought used copies of Ham on Rye, Post Office, and Women wasn't because I couldn't pull myself away from sad, middle-aged alcoholics, but because I thought that Jon Daly and his Bill Cosby Bukowski character were just hilarious.  Seriously....Jelloems?  My God.  Inspired.

If Bukowski had genius, it was in his fearlessness, a fearlessness that was rooted in defeat and completely without bravado.  His finest moments are exercises in emasculated machismo: waking up and vomiting stomach acid into the bathroom sink or pulling out and telling her you can't cum because you're just too fucking blitzed, hon. Bukowski's charm is this gallows humor, the matter-of-factness with which he celebrates a homely woman's fat ass or talks back to his boss as he's getting chewed out about his far too frequent trips to the water fountain.  Bukowski was prone to rambling and incoherence, but that's why we remember him.  We like that he was a self-professed dirty old man who drank beer by the case and spent his nights in front of a ramshackle typewriter in an even more ramshackle welfare hotel.  His adult existence was rejection letters and soulless shifts at menial jobs.  But that's what gives us hope.  Maybe someday our own brooding and half-ass will could amount to something so great as literary fame and fortune.

But then there's the mean-spirited sorrow of Charles Bukowski, a bleary-eyed insensitivity and inadvertent nastiness that make me want to take back everything I just wrote.  There's the way he calls his girlfriend a bitch and a fucking whore while they're in front of the cameras.  Or the way he opens his mouth and makes me nervous that his staggering intensity is about to trap me in a conversation peppered with bloodshot glares and sweaty finger pointing.  Born Into This shows us Bukowski slur his way through horrible poetry readings while co-eds and burnouts cheer him on and he sucks down Screwdrivers. These scenes are book-ended with footage of agents and sunglasses-clad celebrities who speak with a glowing fondness for Bukowski's legacy as a drunken Bard of the Los Angeles streets.  The whole time I can't help but think of the sadness and pain he'd gone through.  I can hardly get over how offensive it is that anyone could mythologize or encourage such hurtful and melancholy behavior.  It's almost unbearable.

But even after all of that I still feel a romance for the lonely alcoholic, awake and creative at one in the morning.  Which is why tomorrow I'm still going to buy Factotum even though I didn't like Ham on Rye, and I thought Post Office was just okay.

Here's my favorite passage from Charles Bukowski.  From the final two paragraphs of chapter thirty-eight of Women, published in 1978:

That night she drank half a bottle of red wine, good red wine, and she was sad and quiet.  I knew she was connecting me with the racetrack people and the boxing crowd, and it was true, I was with them, I was one of them.  Katherine knew that there was something about me that was not wholesome in the sense of wholesome is as wholesome does.  I was drawn to all the wrong things: I liked to drink, I was lazy, I didn't have a god, politics, ideas, ideals.  I was settled into nothingness; a kind of non-being, and I accepted it.  It didn't make for an interesting person.  I didn't want to be interesting, it was too hard.  What I really wanted was only a soft, hazy space to live in, and to be left alone.  On the other hand, when I got drunk I screamed, went crazy, got all out of hand.  One kind of behavior didn't fit the other.  I didn't care.

The fucking was very good that night, but it was the night I lost her.  There was nothing I could do about it.  I rolled off and wiped myself on the sheet as she went to the bathroom.  Overhead a police helicopter circled over Hollywood.

25 August 2011

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

I pretty much take Matthew Timmons' advice on everything, probably because we had the same PE class in seventh grade and he had a Metallica t-shirt. In recent years, Matt's been all, "You should move up to Seattle," and "You should buy that guitar," and "Dude, that TV! It's just like mine!" He's also been, like, "You totally need to call that girl," and "Eh, probably shouldn't call her again," and "It's Always Sunny is incredible, Booth. What am I, an asshole?"

So far it's all worked out pretty goddamn well.

19 August 2011

Bad Biology

I like RA the Rugged Man because he's a tough white dude who raps about offensive things and I listen to a lot of Necro. But I also like boxing because of a Larry Sanders extra and I decided to go to Prague after I saw some Polish animation, so my logic isn't always the most sound.

18 August 2011

Jonathan Richman -- Take Me to the Plaza

I'm kinda tired of the story where I went to see ArnoCorps and got blackout drunk on a few PBRs and one whisky sour and I vomited all over a girl I liked in the back seat of her car. But the story I'm not yet tired of is the one where I got home the next day reeking of of hangover and remorse and I put on Take Me to the Plaza just so I could watch Jonathan Richman sing about how beautiful it was to live in a world where the sad sun stared at you through the trees and men sat in the cafe crying in vain and your heart hurt so bad you can't eat, you can't sleep, you just wandered around. After that, I knew everything was going to be okay.