5 by 5: 5 Quick Reviews of 5 Movies on DVD

Let’s get right to it.


Directed by Ridley Scott

Written by Damon Lindelof & Jon Spaihts

After watching this film 3 times, I can still honestly say it is my favorite movie of this past summer. That’s right I liked it better than Dark Knight Rises. One of the best Science Fiction dramas I have seen in a long time. Fantastic cast. With Noomi Rapace, Micheal Fassbender, Charlize Theron and Idris Elba all bringing it hard for an amazing script. And the writing… Great story.

Ridley Scott has not lost a step. He creates an amazingly rich and real futuristic world. He channels Stanley Kubrick at times. And John Carpenter at others. He is a magician.

I’ve heard some talk of a sequel. I hope not. This movie was perfect and adding to it will just take away from that perfection.

Also I feel that if it answered too many questions it would lose some of its magic. I like unanswered questions. I like open ending.

Prometheus is a little heavy on the religion and mysticism but it fits with the theme of searching for man’s beginnings and quite possibly finding  its end. The best futuristic science fiction has to pull religion into it at some point because scientific advancement doesn’t decrease spirituality, it enhances it.

Anyway. So good. So thought-provoking. A sometimes terrifying, only occasionally preachy, tension filled, kick-ass action film.

The academy will overlook it, but I won’t. Film of the year so far. Best Direction so far. Best Ensemble Cast so far.

Loved it.


Dark Shadows

Directed by Tim Burton

Written by Seth Grahame-Smith

Dark Shadows, however, is the worse film I have seen this year so far. It is dumb. I was never a fan of the old campy soap opera. It too was dumb. But this film is just plain idiotic. It’s even worse than Battleship.

What a terrible story. Terrible dialogue. Terrible acting. With bad effects. Garbage. Pure garbage.

It’s supposed to be campy but it’s shit. It’s pure shit.

Eva Green is hot though but not worth the hour and a half.


The Cabin in the Woods

Directed by Drew Goddard

Written by Joss Whedon & Drew Goddard

The Cabin in the Woods is fantastic. Joss Whedon never fails, never disappoints. It is smart,  funny, original… It’s a new take on the slasher film. A parody of the slasher film. A deconstruction of the slasher film. At the same time being a very, very cool slasher film.

A lot of Joss Whedon favorites are in it. Amy Acker, Fran Kranz, Tom Lenk… It’s a fun cast with Chris Hemsworth, Bradley Whitford and many more. Although they are secondary to a very cool script. The dialogue is sensational. Funny and hip. (what would you expect from Joss & co.) And the story is just insane.

I’m not the biggest fan of the horror genre except when someone puts some real creativity into it or a new spin on it. The Cabin in the Woods is insanely good, beautifully creative and refreshingly original.

This would make a great TV series.

Love, love, loved it.


The Avengers

Directed by Joss Whedon

Written by Zak Penn & Joss Whedon

I reviewed the Avengers earlier in the summer. Now that it’s on DVD, and deleted scenes have been added, I felt the need to review it again.

Still amazing. Stands up well to repeat viewing. Deleted scenes fit right into the story. I barely recognized them. Except for Harry Dean Stanton’s extended scene which stands out and helps the Hulk’s actions make more sense (that sentence was a train-wreck… sorry)

Great movie. I think this Joss Whedon kid might be good at his job.


Batman: The Dark Knight Returns part 1

Directed by Jay Oliva

Written by Bob Goodman, Bob Kane & Frank Miller

The Dark Knight Returns is a very nice story. I never read the Frank Miller comic about the old retired Bruce Wayne who is forced to re-don the cowl & cape to face yet another threat to Gotham City, but I loved this movie.

A very gritty, more realistic Batman and I always love when they do that, it features the vocal talents of Peter Weller as the more grizzled Dark Knight. But then throws in a new sidekick where the difference in their ages is so stark that she is young enough to be his great-granddaughter. That’s right I said SHE. The new Robin is voiced by Ariel Winters from Modern Family (She plays the nerdy Alex Dunphy)

Girl Robin in the house.

Good movie.

Is there a part 2 yet? Bring it on. Hurry up.


So to recap…

– If you like thought-provoking sci-fi horror with great performances & effects then rent Prometheus (or just buy it the shit is amazing)

– And if you like your horror films with a little less sci-fi but more cool, funny & entertaining (in a Joss Whedon sort of way) then rent The Cabin in the Woods (or just buy it the shit is amazing)

– But if you like your cool, funny& entertaining Joss Whedon films with awesome superhero action then rent The Avengers (hell just buy it the shit is amazing)

– Or if you like your superhero action in animated form and with a gritty tough as nails Batman then rent Batman: The Dark Knight Returns part 1 (or just buy it the shit is amazing)

– And lastly if you like any of the things listed above I can’t see how you could enjoy Dark Shadows. It’s awful. Really bad. (However if you like bad movies just rent it the shit is amazingly bad)

That’s all for now.


– Mel


10 Unsolicited Questions I Do Not Like

These are the questions I get asked too often. The ones that get under my skin. Asked by people who are either trying to piss me off or they don’t know better. I made a list. So now you know. (and knowing is half the battle… G.I. Joe)

The Question Is What Is the Question?

The Question Is What Is the Question? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


1) Where are you from?  (Regional)

Implying- You must not be from around here because the people who look like you in this neighborhood aren’t as (smart, well-spoken, talented, motivated) as you are. You must be from somewhere else.

This is not a compliment. You are insulting an entire race of people and using me to do it. Fuck you.


2) Where are you from? (Global)

Implying- I don’t recognize your accent. or You speak English so well you must be from another country.

Not as accidentally racist as the first one but still pretty bad. Also you must only watch reality shows because you can find people who speak English without a regional accent on The News or Talk Shows.


3) Are you okay?  (Judgmental or Compassionate)

Are YOU okay? I know you’re asking about ME but it’s obvious that you’re concerning yourself with my life as a way of neglecting your own. How about you get your shit together before you offer help to someone else. Don’t use me as a way to avoid your own life.  Also, if I’m not gasping for air or waking up from being unconscious, the question is annoying.


4) What’s your name? (Conversation Starter)

Do I know you? No, wait. That’s not the right question…

Do I want to know you? That’s better.

If we’re introduced by someone else that’s cool. If we start talking and hit it off there will probably be a point where we learn each others name. But if the first thing you have to say to me is “What’s your name?” I have to tell you, that is too personal a question for a complete stranger in the internet age. Take a step back.

What’s my name? My name is leave me the fuck alone. That’s my name.


5) What size shoe do you wear? (From Any One Except A Shoe Salesman)

Everyone who grew up in an urban area recognizes this question. When someone asks you what size shoe you wear it is a way of saying “Give me your shoes” or “I’ll be taking them from you later” or if you’re living on the street, it’s a way of saying “You will wake up tomorrow without shoes.” (Why a lot of homeless sleep on them)

But the best answer to this question is always “Your size. They’re your size.” and then you give ’em the death stare.


6) Where do you live? (For Any Reason Other Than “Let’s go to your place and have sex.”)

If what you mean is “Do you live around here.” (also a Sex Question most of the time) then say that, please.

Where do you live? is something you ask a lost child. (“Do you know your address? Let’s go find your mommy.”)


7) Do you work here? (Retail)

I don’t have to work here to help someone who needs help HOWEVER this nametag with the store logo on it and my name under that, should serve as a hint.

But I know why people do this. It’s because they want to avoid the asshole answer.

Here’s an example exchange:

“Excuse me. Do you know where the blah blah blah is?”

Turns slowly. Makes a snotty annoyed face and says. “What do I look like, I work here?”

“No sir, I just thought you might know where it was. I’m sorry to bother you.”

“Actually I think it’s over there.”

“Oh. So you DO know where it is. Then why the attitude?”

“I don’t know. I’m sorry about that.”

“It’s okay. You wanna make out?”

“Sure. You live around here?”

….and scene.



8) Why can’t you act normal? or What’s wrong with you? (An Insult)

They think this is an insult.

And that’s what I say to them.

“Wow. You think that’s an insult. That’s kind of sad. And it says more about you than it says about me. Now please move out of my way. I need to continue with my silly dancing. It’s Autumn, you know.”


9) Can I help you?  (Instead of May I help you?)

Not a grammar thing, but a difference in implication.

May I Help, is someone who wants to help who is asking for permission. Very nice.

Can I Help  is several things. All bad.

You look like you need help and I can’t stand watching you fumble around in the darkness of your ignorance.

or What are YOU doing here? and How can I get you to leave?

Some people are able to say CAN I while actually meaning MAY I and vice versa. It’s really an attitude thing.



And the last question I do not like to be asked…
10) What do you do? (All day, With Your Time, For A Living)

The only thing I do all day is breathe. I breathe for the entire day. Non-stop.

The greatest chunk of my time is spent sleeping. I sleep away a third of the day. I can’t seem to help it.

And I do what everyone else does to stay alive; What ever they have to do.


But if what you wanted to know is what do I LIKE to do, then you should have asked that. I can talk about that all day.


But I’ll tell you what I don’t like to do…

Answer annoying questions.

– Wrath

N* Brown

On the street where I grew up, in the early 70’s, there was a young man named Nigger Brown. He was my friend.

His parents had given him the first name Nigger, over the strong objections of a shocked and, his mother liked to say, offended young nurse in the prison hospital where he was born.

It was just his name.

They named him Nigger for a reason that they never told him.

It was just his name.

His father was serving a life sentence for murder and he was conceived in the conjugal room of the state penitentiary, so perhaps it was some kind of statement or a protest that missed the mark.

His mother was arrested for selling knock-off Cartier watches in Times Square while she was 6 months pregnant and gave birth to little Nigger behind bars. So maybe his parents wanted him to grow up hard.

He was conceived in one prison and took his first breath in another. So if that was the case, and they had wanted him to grow up hard, then it surely worked because Nigger Brown grew up hard.

People who knew him either called him by his full name, “Niggerbrown!” just like it was one word.

Or if you knew him well, you called him Big Nig, Sweet Nig or just plain old Nig.

“Yo, Nig!”

“What up Big Nig?”

And in that deep booming baritone he would answer, “Sup?”

But anyone of any official capacity, social workers, teachers, his campaign staff, they just referred to him as Mister. They called him Mister Brown. As if Mister was his first name.

Some well-meaning low-level government employee along the way, in a state of panic, entered the letter N then an asterisk in place of his first name. So that was what it said on most of his official documents. Except for his Birth Certificate and his Social Security Card which both read Nigger Brown, all of his official paperwork read N* Brown.

And no one, not anyone, ever called him by his full first name alone, Nigger. It never happened. Not because he minded it or anything. It was just his name. A name that got him into trouble time and again, but just a name. A name that was more than a conversation starter, halter, ender, but just a name. It’s just that nobody ever used it in that way. Out of respect, maybe, or fear, I suppose. But he had told me one day that he didn’t mind it, being called Nigger. He only hated to be called boy. He did not like that at all.

“My name is Nigger Brown.”

When he introduced himself to people, he would call himself Nig since everybody else called him that. And on work applications he would write Nig but it would always end the same.

“Does this say Nig?”

“Yes sir.”

“N – I – G?”


“You mean like as in,” then in a hushed tone. “- nigger?”

“Exactly like that.”

“And you’re going to tell me that’s your real name?”

“Yes it is. It’s my real name.” Opening his wallet. “And this is my Social Security card. I just want a job man.”

“Well… I will…” standing up, “keep your résumé on file and um…” showing Nig the door, “we’ll call you if something becomes available.”

His father was choked to death by a prison guard before Nigger had started school. He was awarded a huge settlement from the state that he couldn’t touch until he turned 18.

A week after his 18th birthday his mother overdosed on cocaine & diet pills leaving him alone with all that money. People had suggested to Nigger after she died that he have his name changed to something less shocking, less offensive but in his parent’s honor he refused.

Nigger is stubborn.

Nigger turned fifty-five early this year and still…

– Nigger has never held a steady job.
– Nigger always thought the odds were stacked against him or that the world was out to do him wrong.
– So Nigger had a bad attitude.
– Nigger never had a real relationship but I don’t think he really wanted one.
– Nigger never learned to trust anyone.
– And Nigger never took shit from anyone.
– But after the lessons of his parents’ deaths, Nigger never broke the law
– And Nigger never took drugs in his life.
– However for some, and some would say obvious, reason Nigger was always being harassed by the police.
– So Nigger had his lawyer on speed dial.
– Still Nigger always had some grand scheme, some big plan that he was working on even though he never followed through.
– Nigger always gave up too easy.

But Nigger was not lazy. He volunteered. He helped out in the community. He always kept busy.

Which is why it didn’t surprise me when I learned that Nigger Brown was running for the state senate.

He called me at home and said he wanted me to write a story about his campaign. He didn’t say much. He just told me to come to the old neighborhood and interview him.

And there he was on campaign fliers, attached to telephone poles and in familiar store windows. Our own Sweet Nig.

There he was, that same face, a few decades older. I hadn’t seen him since his mother died. But there he was under the words: FOR STATE SENATE.

The same face but smiling.

The same eyes but softer.

The same Nigger but older.

There he was, pictured in a beautifully tailored pinstripe suit right above the words, the bold red words:


10 Things I Will Never Get To Do

This is my FUCK-IT list.

This is a list of things I have wanted to do at one point in my life but realize now that I will never do.

While there are still some things I hope to get to do before I die, these are the things about which I just have to say FUCK IT I’m not going to get to do them.

1. Be Wealthy

I wanted to be rich only once in my life, for about 20 minutes one Autumn night in the early 90’s. I wanted to buy more crack but had little money and I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be great to be rich and be able to buy ALL the crack.” That feeling passed. I had never wanted be rich before that or since.

2. Have Sex with a Movie Star

I’ve had sex with two different people (a man and a woman) who have done porn after I hooked up with them but never before we had sex. The girl just did an amateur but the guy was pretty big for a while. (that sentence just happened). But I never got a chance to say, “I’m fucking a porn star RIGHT NOW.” And actually that doesn’t really count as a movie star. I always wanted to be a star fucker but never got the chance.

3. Bring Someone Back from The Dead

I’m not talking about superpowers. Medical professionals do it all the time. I’m talking about someone who is about to die or who just died and I breathe life back into them. ” Don’t you die on me!” Never done that. I have seen 4 people die in front of me. (Not a large number considering… my life) I tried to comfort two of them, just watched one die, unable to move and actually made fun of the fourth (I thought he was faking. He was a bit of a dick. I’m not proud) I couldn’t have saved these people even had I been a surgeon but it didn’t stop me from wanting it.

4. Learn To Fly

An aircraft under my control or my power or even just a controlled free fall. I’ve been in planes, helicopters and a hot air balloon but always as a passenger. I want to fly. But flying lessons at this point would be a waste of money. I could jump out of an airplane but it takes 10 times before they let you go by yourself. Maybe I will be a bird in my next life. Maybe I’ll be Birdman, Attorney at Law.

5. Play Music for an Adoring Crowd

Who doesn’t want to feel like a rock star? I’ve played music in front of small crowds, sometimes they even paid me but a stadium full of screaming fans… that’ll never happen.

6. Travel Into Space

Low orbit or better yet deep space, maybe go to the moon. Recently I have wanted to go to Mars. Perhaps once I leave this flesh anchor behind I will be able to visit the stars.

7. Be Celebrated

This is akin to the rock star fantasy but a little more grounded. This is about being loved for something I’ve done. Something I’ve written or created. The critics love it. The people love it. I’m doing all the talk shows. Attracting a substantial amount of haters (that’s when you know you’ve done something). Maybe a few awards. Oscar, Pulitzer, Peabody… Nobel? It’s not about the money. It’s more about respect. But this will never happen because in most cases it begins with talent. I have an abundance of ego but a shortage of talent.

8. Play For or Manage a Professional Team

This one expired a long time ago, a dream for the young, but I always wanted to play baseball. Play on or manage the Mets or the Yankees. And coach football. never wanted to play American Football. (playing football is just crazy pants. why would anyone want to do that to their body?) Guiding the Giants or the Jets to another Superbowl though would be cool. Or to win a pro (video) gaming tournament. However once again I have no talent. But I still think I could coach the team better than most of these numb-nuts.

9. Inspire World Peace


Yeah, I said I had an ego problem.

I wanted to sit down with world and religious leaders and bring the tough love. You know, smack ’em around a bit in the name of peace. (“What’s that Putin?” SMACK “Shut your mouth. I’m talking about peace.” “What are you laughing at Your Eminence? Don’t make me come over there and smack a bitch.”) But that’s not gonna happen now.

10. Be Forgiven by Everyone I’ve Wronged

This one became impossible after the first person on that list died. And as more of them passed and it also became obvious that there is nothing I can say or do to change what people feel about me, I’ve become aware that it will never happen. I will not be forgiven. Maybe one of these days I will be able to forgive myself but I will never be able to control others or change the past. Not without help. (And by that I mean a Time Machine, Mind Control or Alternate Reality. You know, the big three)

And with that I put these 10 fantasies to bed. And I say Fuck it. I will not get to do the things on this list. But beyond these…

Anything is Possible.

I still have lots of time.

– Mel