i (Love Myself)

This song makes me happy.

I done been through a whole lot
Trial, tribulations, but I know God
Satan wanna put me in a bow-tie
Praying that the holy water don’t go dry, yeah yeah

As I look around me
So many motherfuckers wanna down me
But ain’t no nigga never drown me
In front of a dirty double-mirror they found me

I love myself
The world is a ghetto with big guns and picket signs
I love myself
But it can do what it want whenever it wants and I don’t mind
I love myself
He said, “I gotta get up, life is more than suicide.”
I love myself
“One day at the time, sun gonna shine.”

Everybody looking at you crazy
What you gone do?
Lift up your head and keep moving
Or let the paranoia haunt you?
Peace to fashion police
I wear my heart on my sleeve let the runway start
You know the miserable do love company
What do you want from me and my scars?
Everybody lack confidence, everybody lack confidence
How many times our potential was anonymous?
How many times the city making me promises?
So I promise this:

I love myself
The world is a ghetto with big guns and picket signs
I love myself
But it can do what it want whenever it wants and I don’t mind
I love myself
He said, “I gotta get up, life is more than suicide.”
I love myself
“One day at the time, sun gonna shine.”

They wanna say there’s a war outside and a bomb in the street
And a gun in the hood and a mob of police
And a rock on the corner and a line full of fiends
And a bottle full of lean and a model on a scheme, yup

These days of frustration keep y’all on ducking rotation
I duck these cold faces, post up fee-fi-fo-fum basis
Dreams of realities peace
Blow steam in the face of the beast
The sky can fall down, the wind can cry now
The strong in me, I still smile

I love myself
The world is a ghetto with big guns and picket signs
I love myself
But it can do what it want whenever it wants and I don’t mind
I love myself
He said, “I gotta get up, life is more than suicide.”
I love myself
“One day at the time, sun gonna shine.”

Walk my barefeet (Walk my barefeet)
Down, down valley peak (Down, down valley peak)
I keep my fee-fi-fo-fum (Fee-fi-fo-fum)
I keep my heart undone (My heart undone)

And I love myself
The world is a ghetto with big guns and picket signs
I love myself
But it can do what it want whenever it wants and I don’t mind
I love myself
He said, “I gotta get up, life is more than suicide.”
I love myself
“One day at the time, sun gonna shine.”

I went to war last night
With an automatic weapon, don’t nobody call a medic
I’m a do it ’til I get it right

I went to war last night
I’ve been dealing with depression ever since an adolescent
Duckin’ every other blessin’, l can never see the message

I can never take the lead, I can never bob and weave
For my nigga that be letting ’em annihilate me
And the sound is moving in a meteor speed
From a 100 to a billion lay my body in the street

Keep my money in the ceiling let my mama know I’m free
Give my story to the children and the lesson they can read
And the glory to the feeling of the only unseen
Seen enough, make a motherfucker scream,

“I love myself!”

I lost my head,
I must’ve misread
what the good book said
Oh woes keep me,
it’s a jungle inside
Give myself again
’til the well runs dry.

– Kendrick Lamar

5 Quick Reviews August 2014 (Super Long Extended Suck Edition)

This is the super long extended suck edition of 5 Quick Reviews.

I’ve been stuck in the news cycle this month (A lot of crap going on) and I’ve been working hard on my dystopian, social feminist, sci-fi surveillance, alien crime novel, so I’ve kinda let my DVD folder get a bit out of hand…

Emma Stone

“Out of HAND? We’ve been stuck down here for weeks!”

Okay, WAY out of hand.

So… for August I give you 8 new DVD reviews of 8 new DVDs in August. And two rants. Only two. But be warned. There’s an awful lot of suck this month.

So… strap your browsers in, people. This is gonna be a big long one.

"That is NOT what she said."

“That is NOT what she said.”

Damn, Penny.

To the reviews…

First up – Sci fi… I guess.

Divergent (Lionsgate, Summit Entertainment)

Divergent poster

Directed by Neil Burger

Written by Evan Daugherty & Vanessa Taylor  Based on Divergent by Veronica Roth

Starring Shailene WoodleyTheo JamesAnsel ElgortAshley JuddJai CourtneyRay StevensonZoë KravitzMiles TellerTony GoldwynMaggie Q & Kate Winslet

Tris with knives

“Okay, Mel. Go ahead and take your best shot. Do your worse.”

Here’s a movie, Divergent, that feels more like two separate movies. Over-all it’s the beautiful story of a fractured factional society. Interesting and compelling. Divergent One (we’re going to call them Divergent One and Two) is an insanely good movie. Shailene Woodley plays a societal anomaly named Beatrice Prior (We call her Tris) that lives in fear of being found out because she is special. She is divergent and fits into more than one class of persons. More than one faction. She can use more of her brain than most people. She’s better. I bet the book is amazing

Divergent Factions

Anyone else notice how all the lines are straight except for Candor, who can’t help but lean in toward Abnegation just to tell them what they think.

I thought learning about the different factions and the people who lead them and about their place in the society was infinitely fascinating. And watching Shailene as she goes through her trials was gripping. The factions are as follows: Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Erudite (the intelligent), Amity (the peaceful) and Dauntless (the brave). She chooses one (because she fits in more than one) and she goes through training. And Miss Woodley is attractive and her instructor is attractive and you root for her against the bullies and the power structure and her own fears. Divergent One is an incredible movie. But then something happens to it. A plot happens to it.

Tris fighting

“Mel is gonna get such a punch in the head if he isn’t nice. SUCH A PUNCH”

Divergent Two is awful. It is sloppy. It is rushed. It is so very very bad. Divergent Two is an action movie that looks like it was made in somebody’s backyard and directed by their thirteen year old dim-witted cousin. The last half hour of this movie is pure garbage. It looks like a completely different creative team. It is – the suck. There are continuity errors and logistic problems and enemies that pop out of thin air and overwhelming odds that pave the way for bad fight scenes with one punch knockouts and instant technology advancements and leaps of logic and it ruins a really good movie. Just fucking ruins it.

Tris and Four

“He’s right you know.” “I know. But it’s just that I don’t want to hear it. And I don’t know where to go. This was supposed to be my Hunger Games.”

Divergent (the whole bloody thing) is a badly directed film. And the story is not to blame. The acting is not to blame. It looks like they ran out of money before the end or just blew it all on food. And it was promising. It had the makings of a winner, but there wasn’t enough time spent away from the main characters to justify the sharp change in tone the movie takes. There wasn’t enough time spent establishing the villain to justify their actions. There was no introduction to this new technology or even a feeling that it was being misused. If it was made for that purpose then who are the manufacturers? What is the manufacturing class?

Divergent Dauntless

Please stop. Mel. Think of what you’re doing to Shailene.”

And I get it. The director spent most of his time setting up that Hunger Games slash Harry Potter “feel” to the first two acts that it never occurred to him to use parts of the first two acts to make the third act make sense. And I bet that it makes sense to people who read the book. But I didn’t read the book and most of the people who see the movie didn’t read the book. The third act is so bad that it makes the first parts seem frivolous. Where were we that whole time.

Kate Winslet

“He’s right? I’m the villain of this film. Not you.” “I know. And we hardly ever see you.”

Divergent is a rarity. It goes from “OMG this is the best movie. I love this.” all the way to “This is a piece of garbage that I wish didn’t exist. Why do you torture me with this filth?” and it does that in seconds.

Shailene Woodley

“Is he done? Can I come down now?”

Skip it. (It’s obvious that the movie they wanted to make ends almost a full hour before the one they released to the world does)

Next up – Crime and a big dick

Dom Hemingway (Lionsgate (UK), Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Dom Hemingway Official Poster

Written and Directed by Richard Shepard

Starring Jude LawRichard E. GrantDemián Bichir & Emilia Clarke

Dom is out of prison

“Do your worse, Melvin.”

Dom Hemingway, the movie, is about a safe cracker who gets out of prison after 12 years and tries to get “rewarded” for his pain. Because he kept his mouth shut. But he’s a dick because he can’t keep his mouth shut. I have seen this movie before, this “guy gets out of prison and things have changed on the outside” movie, a bunch of times before. And I’ve seen it done much better and with a better lead.

Dom

“Don’t you know not to taunt Mel like that. He’ll grab you by the balls and squeeeze.”

I didn’t like Jude law in this. I would have preferred a young Michael Caine. Or any better actor. And I usually like Jude Law. He just didn’t do it for me in this. It always felt like he was doing a character and not playing a character. The whole movie feeels like a Jude Law vehicle but Jude Law just can’t carry the load.

Dom Hemingway

“You keep talking tough guy. I’ll be in my bunk.”

The plot is decent even though it’s familiar. He’s a horrible person that makes horrible decisions and gets horrible outcomes but there was really nothing more to it and without a good character actor and a better lead character this character driven movie is flat and lifeless and frankly lacks character.

Emilia Clarke

“It was sooo clever the way you repeated the word character like that. You’re such a good writer… I’m being sarcastic. I AM YOUR KHALEESI. 1 2 3 4!”

The dialogue is wonderful, however, although, again, Jude Law chews up the script so horribly, I had to watch it with subtitles on (Closed Captioning for the acting impaired). I’m getting used to good british accents. I watch a lot of Brit shows (a lot). But Jude Law’s Dom Hemingway is a bad british accent. It’s just bad.

Dom and his grandson

“When you grow up, don’t be like Mel. He’s mean.” “Okay.”

The main thing is that a better actor would have played the part better and made Dom seem more real (Brad Pitt or Christian Bale) and, to tell you the truth, I think that is really all that they would have to do to make this a pretty good movie. The rest of the cast is great. Emilia Clarke is fantastic as his estranged daughter. And Richard E. Grant is.. Richard E. Grant, which is always great. But because it relies too much on Jude Law and he’s so very bad. The movie is not good at all.

Jude Law is Dom Hemingway

“I’ll be back!! But with a better acceeeeeeeeeeent.”

Skip it. (The dialogue is fantastic but the movie is shit)

Next up – I feel the need…

Need for Speed (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Need for Speed

Directed by  Scott Waugh

Written by George Gatins & John Gatins  Based on Need for Speed by Electronic Arts

Starring Aaron PaulDominic CooperScott MescudiImogen PootsRamón Rodríguez & Michael Keaton

need-for-speed

“Do your worse, bitch.”

There are some really sweet cars in Need for Speed and it was good to see Aaron Paul in a different kind of role after Breaking Bad. And those are the only two positive statements that I can make about it. The makers of Need for Speed have no idea. They know nothing about cars. They know nothing about racing. They know nothing about geography and linear space and time. They know nothing about simple physics and logic. They know nothing about the rules of society. They know nothing.

Need for Speed Aaron Paul

“Haven’t you been paying attention, Aaron. It doesn’t end well when you taunt him.” “Yeah bitch, bring it! you heard me.”

At one point in the movie, a pivotal point, Aaron Paul’s character is racing the supposed bad guy for 2.7 million dollars. Well not really. The bad guy is risking 2.7 mil but Paul is risking about 750 thou. Money that he desperately needs to fix his business. Money he earned because the supposed bad guy gave him a high paying job and saved this man’s life. Money he has. Money he already has. Hurray! His business is saved. But in a moment of ego gone mad he agrees to race the much richer man for a much greater sum. And for some idiotic reason Aaron Paul’s young friend races along with them.

Need for Speed Cars

Oh look! Expensive cars going really slow but sped up to look fast. (no sweet rides were actually harmed in the making of this movie)

There is no earthly reason for his young friend to be involved in their race. There is every reason for him to not be in the race. He has no money in it or place in it. They can go two-wide without danger but not three-wide. The kid is nowhere near as good as the other two men. Tons of logical reasons he should be excluded. Except for the plot. The friend then proceeds to block the wealthy guy at every turn and not let him pass. Helping Aaron Paul’s character to win the bet and basically steal 2.7 million dollars from the man who just saved their business and helped them and let them drive his nice sports cars.

Need for Speed British Girl

“I’m out of here. I’m not going to be another of Mel’s blog victims.”

SPOILER ALERT The kid dies. OBVIOUSLY!!! (not much of a spoiler. It happens early in the movie) But I too would have bumped the kid. He’s cheating him out of almost 3 million dollars. It’s bad form. It’s not just bad form. It’s cheating. But anyway we’re suppose to see that differently and he’s the bad guy. But it proves the creative team knows nothing about racing. Or England for that matter. What’s with the awful British chick? Is she supposed to be smart or stupid?

Aaron Paul

“Mel, you son of a bitch, look what you did. Look at what you did. She was out. She was out! You bastard. YOU BASTARD!”

They run down homeless people. Cause traffic accidents. Cause police cars to crash and roll and burst into flames. They wreak havoc on the entire countryside and they’re supposed to be the good guys. Which would be cool if Need for Speed were made with the same silliness of say: The Blues Brothers or Smokey and the Bandit or even the Fast and the Furious movies. But no. Need for Speed takes itself way too seriously for how bad it is. And every aspect of this movie is crap. Ev er y thing.

Need for destruction

Oh look an explosion where a cop dies. And look a school bus… because… you know… why not. Why fucking not? Let’s race!

There’s another character who spots for them from the air. Who just somehow gets into planes and takes off and flies over populated areas. Finally, when they point out that he wouldn’t be able to do that, they switch him to helicopters. Like that’s different. Need for Speed is a very stupid movie. The absence of police presence is noticeable until they’re needed for the plot. Then they’re everywhere. Nothing in this movie makes logical sense. It is the worst written movie I have ever seen. And one of the worse directed.

NEED FOR SPEED

“You can’t affect me. I was in Breaking Bad, bitch.”

You say bitch a lot now, don’t you?

Then there are these other guys who are driving a tanker truck (a slow-moving vehicle by comparison to these foreign racecars) that not only keeps up with them but passes them. And the guy stealing the planes takes them back to their airports but then somehow is at airports further along the linear progression of the main character. Oh my god. This is why video game movies are so bad. Because they let people make shit like this.

Need for Helicopters

“Mayday. Mayday. We’re going down. We’re going down. The movie is terrible.”

Skip it. (If you rent this by accident, do us all a favor and run over the disc with your car)

Next up – Let’s get biblical

Noah (Paramount Pictures)

Noah Movie

Directed by Darren Aronofsky

Written by Darren Aronofsky & Ari Handel

Starring Russell CroweJennifer ConnellyRay WinstoneEmma WatsonLogan Lerman & Anthony Hopkins

Noah

“Hurry up kids. We’ve got to get out of here before Mel tears us a new one.” “Aren’t you gonna say do your worse, dear?” “No. I made that mistake with god.”

Noah begins with a lot of promise. And I was prepared for some Aronofsky goodness. It felt more like a sci-fi fantasy movie than a religious one and I was excited. Because if you throw out all the religious elements, it’s a decent fable. At least the watered down version they teach children in catholic school (pun absolutely intended). It’s a fairy tale story of magic, love, sorcery and revenge.

Noah's Ark

“It’ll hold. It’s just a blog and he’s just a blogger. It’ll hold.”

The movie starts like it will not be taking itself too seriously. Noah starts like it will be a cool fantasy adventure. But it abandons that whimsy somewhere in the middle. And ends like a sermon. Don’t preach at me, movie. I came here to be entertained.

Noah's Family

“Oh dear god. Mel was not entertained.”

And it’s too bad too. I wanted to like Noah. I like the cast. I like the effects. The animals and the stone giants. I thought the battle scene was awesome and I really identified with the king (supposedly the bad guy). Once again the only person making any sense was the bad guy. (But he loses my support when he shows his true colors later in the movie).

Noah Battle

“Run for your lives! Mel was not entertained! He was not entertained!”

Noah is still an interesting movie up until the end. But it ends like the worst thing this movie could be even as it starts like the best thing a Noah movie could be. It becomes too preachy. And quite honestly it seems more like God and Noah are the bad guys and the worse thing the humans did was eat meat. (Don’t get me wrong. They’re pretty bad)

Ark

Well I guess that ended well… Where is everybody?

But you know what I say… drown ’em all why don’t you? Just drown ’em all.

Emma

Not you, Emma. You’re still my girl. Let’s repopulate the earth baby.

Skip it (Starts good and then gets too serious and then ends too preachy)

Next up – the suckfest continues

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Sony Pictures Entertainment)

Amazing Spider-Man 2

Directed by Marc Webb

Written by Alex KurtzmanRoberto OrciJeff Pinkner and James Vanderbilt  Based on The Amazing Spider-Man by Stan Lee & Steve Ditko

Starring Andrew GarfieldEmma StoneJamie FoxxDane DeHaanCampbell ScottEmbeth DavidtzColm FeorePaul Giamatti & Sally Field

Andrew Garfield

“Do your worse, you bloody wanker.”

Better than the first one, but only slightly better. And that’s not saying much.

Green Goblin

“Ha ha. He hates you too, Spider-man. Mel hates you, too. He is my homeboy.”

If you can remember back when the first Andrew Garfield – Emma Stone Spider-Man reboot came out, I hated it. I hated the first Amazing Spider-Man with a passion. I hated everything about it. The plot was full of holes. The changes to the Spiderman (no fucking hyphen) origin story were unbelievably dumb. It was badly directed. Badly acted. The scenes where Emma and Andrew so obviously improvised were cute – at best. They do have some chemistry, those two. But I was in pain watching it. I love Spiderman.

Jamie Foxx

“Yeah, you could say Andrew and Emma are electric… or you could pretend that I didn’t just say that. You know. Go ahead and pretend I didn’t just say that.”

But in the second one, even the scenes with Andrew and Emma are awful because Andrew Garfield often drops his bad American accent when talking to her on camera. I think he forgets himself because it’s his girlfriend and they’re improvising and he drops his bad American. And the director, the same awful, but aptly named, Marc Webb from the first one, leaves it in the movie because… well because he’s horrible at his job. Just completely horrible at his job. Stop hiring this guy to mangle Spiderman.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2013) Jamie Foxx as Electro

“You got issues. You know that, son.”

However, this time around the Amazing Spider-Man movie has better bad guys and better effects. Some say there are too many bad guys. I don’t. The bad guys are the best thing about it. The effects were cartoonish in the first one. They’re a little better this time. But it has the same bad writing and bad directing. These are truly awful movies.

Spider-Man 2 Goblin

“Ha ha. I win Spider-man. I’ve got your girl and Mel hates your movie. Ha ha.” “You’re in the movie too, Goblin. He hates OUR movie.”

One day the world will reach a consensus and every copy of both of these films will be destroyed in less than spectacular ways. Sam Raimi’s much maligned third Spiderman movie is a thousand times better than The Amazing Spider-Man 1 or 2. These movies should not even exist. Horrible movies that are perfect examples of what not to do when making a superhero film. Stop making these movies! They suck.

Harry Osborne

“You are no longer my homeboy.”

Skip it (Better than the first. But again, that’s not saying very much)

Next up – a temporary respite from the suck

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

The Winter Soldier

Directed by Anthony Russo & Joe Russo

Written by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely  Based on Captain America by Joe Simon & Jack Kirby

Starring Chris EvansScarlett JohanssonSebastian StanAnthony MackieCobie SmuldersFrank GrilloEmily VanCampHayley AtwellRobert Redford & Samuel L. Jackson

Widow and Cap

“Mmm. Didn’t he already review this movie when it was in the theaters?” “I think Mel just needed to watch something good on DVD this month. I don’t blame him.”

I loved Captain America: The Winter Soldier and, on DVD, I still do. The relationship between Cap and Black Widow is worth the price of admission and worth exploring further. I love that their individual moralities are so diametrically opposed, yet they’re on the same side. Some of the best scenes in the movie are of those two interacting (Right after that seriously kick-ass elevator fight scene – god I love that scene).

Elevator Fight

“So, nobody wanted to get out, I guess.”

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is one of the best films of the year. Here is a list of my top five movies so far this year. And as you’d expect each and every one of them is a superhero type action adventure film.

Winter Soldier

“Pffft. Heroes. Who needs ’em? I have my glorious hair.”

I really liked Edge of Tomorrow (at 5) and then Guardians of the Galaxy just a touch ahead of that. The Lego Movie (at 3) after Captain America: The Winter Soldier (my number two favorite so far) and X-Men Days of Future Past at the top of my list.

Black Widow

“Mmm. Number two huh? We’ll just have to see if we can change your mind.”

But really, to be honest again, all five of those films are just scrunched up together. Changing position on repeated viewing. There have been some good movies this year.

Captain America

“Yeah but you think the X-men was better than us. That’s just plain un-American, son. And I won’t stand for it. I won’t stand for it one bit. You hear me?”

Buy it (This is one for the permanent collection)

Next up – back to the bad

Mr. Peabody and Sherman (20th Century Fox)

Mr Peabody and Sherman Poster

Directed by Rob Minkoff

Written by Craig Wright  Based on Mr. Peabody and Sherman by Ted Key

Starring Ty BurrellMax CharlesAriel WinterLeslie MannStephen Colbert & Allison Janney

Peabody and Sherman

“Aren’t you gonna say, ‘Do your worse.’ Mr. Peabody.” ” No, Sherman. No, I am not.”

Mr. Peabody and Sherman is a horribly bad animated movie. First off, Ty Burrell’s voice as the undeniably perfect Mr. Peabody is incredibly annoying. And then there’s Sherman (yes I know he’s 7). He is the worst. He has no discipline and proceeds to destroy everything he touches. Like an unruly puppy. It’s like he was raised by a dog or something. But the “dog” theme throughout the movie, because Sherman is adopted and raised by Mr. Peabody; a dog, just made me uncomfortable.

Sherman and Penny

“Ooh ooh. I know. I know… It was the worst piece of shit you ever saw.”

Very good, Sherman.

I remember these guys from saturday mornings. They didn’t have their own full length show. They only had little educational interstitials between other cartoons. Along with Rocky and Bullwinkle. It was like a little joke with a punch line somewhere in history and then there would be a short cartoon.

Our heroes

“Hurry, kids. If we leave now, we can avoid the inevitable point where Mel says that we suck. I don’t know about you two, but I can do without that.”

The Mr. Peabody and Sherman animated movie is worse than any of the Rocky and Bullwinkle failed attempts. And those were pretty bad too. Wasn’t there a live-action one? Anyway, It’s a very bad movie. A very very bad movie.

Peabody and Sherman sidecar

“I think we’re gonna make it!”

It sucked.

Skip it (Another ruined childhood memory)

And lastly – The return of the great Terry Gilliam

The Zero Theorem (Stage 6 Films (United Kingdom), Amplify (United States))

zero theorem poster

Directed by Terry Gilliam

Written by Pat Rushin

Starring Christoph WaltzMélanie ThierryDavid Thewlis & Lucas Hedges

The Zero Theorem, Terry Gilliam’s most recent film, is vintage Gilliam. It’s like a cross between 12 Monkeys and Brazil with a little less nihilism (just a little less). And I loved it.

Zero Theorem

“We’re already partying because there was no way Mel was going to hate this movie.”

The only problem I had, if there was one, was with the film’s star; Cristoph Waltz, who tends to mumble his lines. In his past films, with Tarantino dialogue lines, that would be fine. They are perfect. They are well-written. They are short. They are cool. You know what he said. It was something badass. It’s Tarantino. But here, his angst moves the plot. His dialogue is important and it is so difficult to hear him sometimes. So, except for the need to turn on Closed Captioning again, in order to hear another bad accent (at least this one is his own), I loved it. I fucking loved it. The Zero Theorem is an exceptional film.

The Zero Theorem - Ben Wishaw

“Exceptional, you say? Go on.”

Just like in Brazil, the main character is a corporate number cruncher in an administrative factory. Except that this factory is a lot more colorful and little more sinister. He suffers from a number of phobias. The worst of which being his agoraphobia (remind you of anyone). He just doesn’t want to go in to the office. He wants to work from home. Why can’t he just work from home? (no really, doesn’t it remind you of someone?).

Management is always watching

“We get it. You saw yourself as the main character. When does that not happen? Go on.”

I’m not going to give too much away but there are a number of great characters and interesting themes. The ultimate search for meaning, for love, for confidence… It’s a real thinker. It reminded me of a cross between the Coen’s Barton Fink and Pi (directed by Darren Aronofsky [Noah]). With an art direction that’s like a cross between Blade Runner and Tim Burton’s Batman. I loved this movie so much. And I’ve only watched it once.

The-Zero-Theorem

“Oh stop lying. I know for a fact you watched one scene more than once. But go on.”

The Zero Theorem is not Gilliam’s best film by a long shot and it leaves some things unanswered. (I think by this point I expect Terry Gilliam to tell us the meaning of life in cinematic brilliance. Is that too much to ask for?) And it is so sad that the studio is dicking him around with the release of this one. Look for it on VOD. Or wait for it to hit theaters. But definitely see it. It’s funny. It’s sweet. It’s deep. It’s cool. It’s interesting. It’s Gilliam. Not his best. Not even in the top five, to be honest (for the last time). But it’s really good.

Christoph Waltz and Lucas Hedges

“Is it safe to come out yet?” “He liked us. He liked everything in the movie but your accent.” “Do your worse.” “It’s too late. It’s over.”

Rent it (I will be adding it to my collection. I own them all. Terry Gilliam is one of my filmmaking and comedy heroes. My presciption: watch Brazil, 12 Monkeys and The Zero Theorem and call me in the morning)

So to recap…

There were two movies about fathers who are not the best parents in spite or because of their humongous egoes; Dom Hemingway and Mr. Peabody and Sherman, One of them is starring a dog and the other one is a cartoon. Both are pretty bad.

There were two movies about rebelling against the horrors of a dystopian society that thinks it’s utopian; The Zero Theorem and Divergent, Both of them start off strong but only one of them ends that way.

There were two movies about the destruction of life and property by good guys who act like bad guys and bad guys who aren’t really that bad; Noah and Need for Speed, Neither of them with much good to speak of but at least one of them had Emma Watson.

And there were two movie sequels from Marvel superheroes that featured a good-looking couple with strong chemistry; The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, But first I want to apologize for including those two titles in the same sentence, because one is one of the best movie of the year and the other’s the worst.

And that’s all 8.

I can’t do no more.

Widow, Cap and Hill

“I think we killed him. I think we killed Mel with DVD reviews of bad movies. Oh the humanity.” “He was a good soldier. But this month was the worst.” “It really was.”

C’mon guys! I’ll be back in September with more reviews. And those studios better put out some good ones (they usually do in September. so… fingers crossed).

See you guys on the couch.

– Mel

The Littlest Psychopath

(a sob story)

This is the story of a boy called Melvin. And before you think he is me… he is not me. We sort of share a name but he is not me. He is somebody else. A little boy who grew up in a house full of psychotic people. And everyone knows that psychos prey on the weakest. And he was the weakest. He was the littlest psychopath.

Let me see… There was Violent Psycho, Trust-Me Psycho, Grandma Psycho, Rapey Psycho, Uncle Psycho and a half-brother he called monster, that we’ll call Half-Monster Psycho.

And before you feel too bad for little Melvin. He was not alone in this house full of demented psychos. He had a friend; A teddy bear, he named Teddy Beam. This was his companion and protector… that doubled as a football on its day off. Its name was Theodore Melvin Beam.

Its first name was Theodore because Melvin was only five years old when he found it and failed to realize that this was an awful name for a teddy bear. He chose Melvin as its middle because HE was Melvin, so shouldn’t his bear be named Melvin too. And its last name was Beam because… Well, because it doubled as a football. Teddy Beam was a good football.

And I know he sounds like me, but little Melvin was not me. He was not. He was somebody else.

At five years old, Melvin wanted to be an actor when he grew up.

Grandma Psycho was an elderly heroin addict whose habit had outgrown her income. Melvin loved her for her stories and for her butter and maple syrup sandwiches. Heroin addicts sure love their sugar he never thought, because he was only five and had no idea.

When she baby-sat for him, they would read tarot in the kitchen and eat their sticky sweet sandwiches and laugh at the ghosts and demons that came to mess with them. Grandma Psycho would stay with him until the money was gone and the drugs wore off and there were no more suckers, who only wanted to hear what they already knew told to them by an old soul dealing out cards while an even older one stared blankly at their dead relatives or lost friends and grasped his little teddy bear for dear life.

But once the drugs wore off and there was nothing left in the house to steal, she would rent little Melvin to the local pedophiles for money. That’s right. Grown men would pay her money. Not a lot of money. Just enough for her to get good. Money to spend time with a little boy.

“Grandma needs her fix.” she said “And grown men need their hugs. She’ll just be in the next room getting high on these here drugs.”

Theodore Melvin Beam was a tan classic bear. One of his eyes was brown while the other was a black button. He had been someone else’s bear before Melvin and they had apparently let things happen to him. Bad things. But Teddy Beam wants you all to know that he’s safe now. He’s good.

At six years old, Melvin wanted to be a comic book artist when he grew up.

Uncle Psycho was Melvin’s least favorite uncle. He would take Melvin down the block to watch him and his friends drink cheap wine and get into fights. Sometimes there was blood and they would have to run. Or down to the bar or to the brothel until it got dark and Melvin couldn’t wake him because he was too drunk. Or until Melvin was forgotten somewhere along the way, like that jacket you’re always leaving everywhere, the one your mother tells you that you’re going to lose one day.

And the whores would kiss Melvin’s fat little cheeks and pretend to care about him in between giving blow jobs to patrons and it got too dark and he’d have to find his own way back in that dark and the six-year-old boy, older than his years, his cheeks stained cherry red, would head for the door to walk home in the dark.

“You’ve forgotten your jacket sweetie.” a working girl might say. “Can you make it back alone?”

“I got it. I ain’t scared at all.” In fact, it’s scarier at home.

Theodore Melvin Beam always smelled of wine, whiskey and spirits. Jack Daniels was his favorite. He could drink with the best of them. He was the most interesting bear in the world. Then Teddy Beam turned to the camera and said, “Stay thirsty my friends.”

At seven years old, Melvin wanted to be a professional photographer when he grew up.

Violent Psycho and Trust-Me Psycho were a couple. They were in love. He bought her things and made her feel pretty and wanted. Trust-Me’s mother, Melvin called her Grandma, was fond of telling her that no one would ever want her and she believed it. So when a violent psychopath brought her flowers, she overlooked that he’d been abusing her seven-year old son so badly that he’d been hospitalized twice.

Melvin had a scar over his eye where the doctors had to cut it open so that it wouldn’t go blind. This was before the time when “I fell on the swing” or “I bumped into the door” was questioned. No one cared and no one came.

Melvin was Violent Psycho’s whipping boy. VP had a long oak staff that… (Oh do you guys mind if I call him VP? It’s just so much easier) Well, he had a bo staff. And it was that he used to beat the hell out of little Melvin. In the morning. The afternoon. At night. He was a martial arts instructor, militant radical and an overall sadistic human being. Your basic violent psychopath.

At dinnertime, Melvin was his favorite little plaything. He would make Melvin stand beside the table with his arms held out at his sides parallel to the ground. If they dropped at any point, if Melvin got tired or lost his focus, VP would snatch up his bo staff and whack Melvin across the thighs with it or across the back or on the head.

While the rest of the psychos ate dinner in silence, Melvin had to stand there like a statue straining against gravity until everyone was finished with the meal. Or until Melvin had gotten angry enough or tired enough to drop his arms in defiance and take the beating. The savage beating that had hospitalized him twice. Some days he added books to his hands.

And before we go much further I can tell you think he’s me. He is not me. He’s somebody else. I say this honestly.

One day VP thought it would be amusing to juice Melvin’s most hated vegetable and force him to guzzle a large glass of beet juice in one go.

It got messy.

Little Melvin tried his best to keep it down. But it came back up violently and so Melvin ran into the bathroom to escape the beating. He would beat Melvin even when he wasn’t mad. Just for fun. So an angry beating was always particularly brutal.

The bathroom was the only room in the house with a lock. It wasn’t actually a lock but a hook and eye. It was a wall, a moat with alligators, a tower with sentries, an impenetrable force field with a thousand-year power source. It was a little piece of metal with a bracket screwed into the door frame. It was a place of solace.

Violent Psycho huffed and hollered. He banged on the door. He could have easily smashed it in but he enjoyed the game. Even angry, he enjoyed the terror he created.

Then there was the sweetest little knock. It was Trust-Me Psycho’s sweet little knock on the bathroom door. So he unhooked the eye and let her in. She smiled.

“He’s not angry anymore. Breathe. You can stay here if you like.” And then she shoved him out the door. I even think she whispered, “Psych!”

Theodore Melvin Beam was just a stuffed animal and did not feel pain. This came in handy when he was dropped from a great height. He was often dropped from great heights but he never complained. Teddy Beam was always cool like that. He was very cool.

At ten years old, Melvin wanted to be a rock star when he grew up.

Trust-me Psycho was fond of saying I love you when dropping Melvin off with strangers. “Out of sight, out of mind.” she used to say. She said a lot of things. “I love you.” “I’ll kill you.” “Who are you? Why are you trying to hurt me?” “What happened to my spaceship?” OR “God hates me.” Were some of her favorite things to say, to the wall, the door and anyone and no one in particular.

She met a man at school who lived with a mute boy. They were not related. Just a mute little boy who lived in his house. (Sounds legit, right?) She would drop little Melvin off at this house and leave him there so the boys could play.

I’m going to call the man RP for short. It stands for Rapey Psycho because his house was a full on pedo-trap. He had coins on his floor. Dimes and nickels that were easily pocketed when he wasn’t looking. And candy dishes near the sofa. Kids would come over to play and leave with almost a dollars worth of change and a pocket full of candy.

But on the table, where he sat and watched the children, he kept dollar bills, just out of reach. This one time Melvin took a chance and sat down with him at the table where the bills were. Melvin had gotten greedy for money and that’s when he served Melvin the Kool-aid, the Kool-aid with the quaaludes in it, or whatever, that knocked him right out cold.

And when Melvin opened his eyes he found himself on RP’s large creepy water-bed. The little mute boy, the little mute boy who was not the man’s relative, still played on the carpet. Who leaves their child in the house of a man with a large creepy water-bed and a boy who is not his own?

So when the man suggested a sleep-over, a chill ran up Melvin’s spine. Trust-Me Psycho gave him the choice. He could sleep over the pedophiles house or come back home where Violent Psycho had something special ready for him. It was his choice.

The little mute boy said, “Stay.” Not mute after all. Just scared and lonely. Melvin chose the gentler of the two options. He chose to stay.

“Giving your child to pedophiles seems like the family trade. But you’re doing this for nothing, bitch. At least Grandma was getting paid.”

Theodore Melvin Beam sleeps in a bed. He is hugged for comfort and not for pleasure. He chases away the demons with his softness. But the years have hardened his material. He is still soft on the inside but his outside is course and hard. Don’t judge him by his exterior. He has feelings, you know.

At fifteen years old, Melvin wanted to be a filmmaker when he grew up.

He was not alone. Melvin was not alone. There was someone watching from the corner of the room. There was someone with him. There was someone there at every turn. A monster in the corner delighting from his pain. Melvin had a half-brother. A half-monster. Three years older and dumb as a bag of bricks. He was friendly one moment and a complete monster the next. His half-brother must have hated Melvin like something out of a fairy tale to watch all that abuse and say nothing. He watched years of torture and torment that his little brother endured.

But at nicer times, they would play catch. During the down times, Teddy would fly through the air like a beam of light. He was a pretty cool football, that Teddy Beam.

His brother was not a football. He was a smiling witness. He was there to pour salt on the wounds because the psycho rolls downhill. He was glad he was no longer the youngest, the weakest, the littlest psychopath. And that smile of relief for not being the center of abuse never left this half-monster’s face.

He left home when he turned eighteen and never looked back. He asked Melvin to come with him. Melvin had a girlfriend. Melvin was in High School. Melvin was fifteen and moving across the country with a half-monster just didn’t seem like the right decision. The devil you know. Plus by this time all the other psychos were dead or in jail. Except for Trust-Me Psycho, who Melvin desperately wanted to trust. So, he chose to stay.

“I saw them beat, saw them rape you.” he said. “Put you in the hospital twice. But I don’t think it was that bad. It was actually kind of nice.”

And then he left.

Theodore Melvin Beam had been through the wars. Through the fire. Through the mill. And had passed every test. He was a good…

“And you don’t need a teddy bear.” his brother said, as Melvin complained in earnest, then he ripped it from his arms and then he threw it in the furnace.

Melvin stood and stared in horror as Theodore Melvin burned.

“Now you have nothing!” The monster slammed the door, never to return.

Theodore Melvin Beam had been through the wars. Through the fire. Through the mill. And had passed every test. He was a good friend. He was a good companion. He was even a good football. And he will be missed. R.I.P.

At seventeen years old Melvin didn’t know what he wanted to be if he ever got to grow up. It really wasn’t that important anymore.

He was left alone… with HER.

Trust-Me Psycho was in rare form. She was talking to herself and redecorating her life as if she lived by herself. But there was someone breathing in the next room. There was Melvin; Her son. She couldn’t drop him off with relatives; They were all dead, or pawn him off on psychos who were all in jail.

And the boy was a handful. He had anger issues and personality problems. He had beaten up those boys at camp and bullied kids at school. He had yelled and screamed at his grandmother and never visited on her deathbed. He had threatened the lives of her boyfriends and set fire to their things. He punctured that man’s water-bed and flooded his house. He had chased his uncle with a knife when he tried to touch him. He had no respect for his elders. No respect for his mother. The screaming. The fighting with his brother. The temper tantrums. She couldn’t take anymore of this… this… little psychopath. He was a psychopath and she just couldn’t.

“What do you want from me?” she asked. “Stop looking at me.” she ordered. “Are you telling your friends that I’m a bad mother?” She was all over the place. But then suddenly calm.

She said, “I love you, little Melvin. Of that there is no doubt.” and then she swung open the front door and screamed. “Get out. Get out! GET OUT!!!!”

Melvin, after seventeen years, had finally found himself psychopath free… and homeless. Homeless and psychopath free. Well… there was one more left; Melvin himself.

He had survived Grandma, Uncle, Violent, Rapey, Trust-Me and Half-Monster Psychos. And even lost his imaginary friend along the way (a psycho in his own right and one hell of a football). But there was one more psychopath to go. And this would be the trickiest one to get rid of.

He decided to decide that he did not want to live with Melvin anymore. He did not want to BE Melvin anymore. Melvin was a victim. Melvin was a sad-sack. Melvin was a whipping boy.

He would change his name and become someone else. Someone else entirely. Someone who didn’t have the same skeletons as Melvin, the same psychos in his past.

He would change his last name from that old man’s name to something given to him by someone he liked.

He would shorten his first name to something he wanted to be called. Something better.
Something that wasn’t short for anything. And he would just move on.

But this was not a fairytale. It does not have a happy ending. He tried to finish High School but didn’t graduate with his class, mostly because of attendance but also because his life-long straight A’s became straight D’s overnight.

And he would always have trust issues and relationship problems that had deep roots. And though he’d exhausted the hospitality of his friends, after three years of night school (while sleeping on the subway), he finally got his diploma. And would start his new life. Freeing himself from his old one.

It is not a fairytale. But the one thing he learned was how to survive. This new man was a survivor. The memory of old Teddy Beam still comforted him though it had been replaced by a psycho kitty. A cat, which is a better companion for a grown man than a teddy bear.

And I know what you’re thinking; That last part definitely sounds a lot like me. And I’ll give you that much.

“We may share the same scars and our state of mental health.” he said again. “but this story is not about me. It’s about somebody else.”

Okay?

The End

Injured Teddy

For Teddy Beam

All Your Holy Books Are Belong To Us (The Gripes of Wrath)

Old Books

The idea of the SACRED text is destroying the world. The unwavering certainty that words written over a thousand years ago, changed incrementally, misinterpreted and mistranslated by sometimes well-meaning and sometimes evil but always misguided men, and protected by governments, religious institutions and churches under penalty of death, are in some way divine or holy or the recorded words of a god is the cause of most of what’s wrong with the world. Not all… But most.

We need to stop using these books to repress women, to oppress people, to justify violence. And we need to stop allowing governments to use them as well; to oppress, control and stay in power.

Our holy books need a rewrite.

* Needless to say, this entire post will annoy the religious and anger the easily offended. 

But yeah…They all need a good rewrite.

All Your Holy Books Are Belong To Us.

Supplies you’ll need:

A pen or a marker
A lighter or matches
A metal bucket or large metal can
Some good wine and/or good weed
(Or just a good sense of humor)
And a hot bubble bath.

First up… The Jews

How to fix the Old Testament

Wherever there is a reference to god in the Old Testament; The singular, I am the only one, no seriously there are no others, Who the hell were you praying to just now?, are you seeing other gods behind my back?, why don’t you love me? – God, change it from god to A god or one of the gods. Or if you’re feeling creative, give them all names. And each reference to a god in each individual chapter should be identified as a different deity than in a previous chapter. Sometimes even within the same chapter.

Once you have edited it, so that the whole thing is a bunch of jealous gods fighting amongst themselves, using humans as pawns, then you can separate the lies from the lessons. The cruelty set upon us from the cruelty that we brought upon ourselves. And then it all makes sense. Some would say mythological sense. But not me. I believe in the bible. I believe in god. Just not the idea that there is only one.

The schizophrenic multiple personality riddled, abusive one moment and kind the next, ONE God is many. More than one. And more than that, when any of the jealous gods claims to be the only god. It should be read as a lie or a trick. For they are powerful beings with very massive but fragile egos.

Next victim… The Christians

 

How to fix the New Testament

This is easy. Just rip out all the pages after Acts and burn them. You don’t have to burn them in a ritual cleansing fire or chant over them or anything, but you must burn them. Leaving just the accepted gospels (still no Gospel of Thomas however… nobody’s perfect) and leaving in Acts. And really Acts is only left to remind you of what you burnt; The letters of men and the dreams of a madman that should not have been added in the first place.

For extra credit add a page after Acts that reads SCREW YOU SAUL. I won’t let you pervert the TEACHINGS OF JESUS with your own agenda. You can sign it from me (or sign it yourself).

Also if your New Testament doesn’t already highlight the words of Jesus, go through and highlight or underline his words. What you are left with is what Jesus said and did and not someone else’s interpretation. It’s called a personal relationship because you do not need someone else to tell you what he meant. His words are self-explanatory.

Next… Oh my…  Who put all these eggshells on the floor?

 

How to fix the Koran

If you ask me the whole thing needs a woman’s touch. But, of course, nobody asked me. And I am in no way saying to burn or alter or do anything disrespectful to the Koran.

So don’t threaten my life you violent fuck.

I know that’s sort of racist because it’s like one in a million who are violent or radical. But if you have a million people who don’t want to kill you and one who does… which is the greater number? The one. Unless of course the million are actively trying to save you from him. Then he’s outnumbered. But he’s not. Because they are not.

Because it isn’t the book, nor is it the teachings of Muhammad. it’s the rigid, sober brain of the man who holds it and elevates it above human life that is at fault.

Human beings, society, relationships, gender roles and the planet itself are evolving. These are living, breathing, ever-changing phenomena.

So how do you fix the Koran you say? Respectfully place it on a shelf. Go smoke a bowl, Have some wine, hop in a bubble bath. Calm the fuck down.

Now reread what I said to the Jews and Christians and know that some of that can also be applied to you as well.

Ana asif

 

How to fix the Four Noble Truths

Rip out the first noble truth. Or at least move it to the end. Buddhist have been slaughtered for centuries. You don’t have to hate in order to fight back. But when the first thing written is that life is suffering, you get a bunch of well-meaning people letting bad things happen to them because that’s the way life is.

Karma doesn’t destroy temples, kill monks and rape nuns. People do that. People who, through their actions accumulate bad karma. And allowing this to happen through inaction is also a source of bad karma.

I blame the first noble truth and its misinterpretation as an acceptance of suffering. Start with the second. or skip ahead to the third. (or combine the second and third) Buddhist don’t have to put up with suffering and not all desires are bad. A desire to not be slaughtered by the thousands is not bad. A desire to practice your religion in peace is not bad. And sometimes the only way to do that is to get angry. I know I just told the Muslims to not get angry. I’m telling you the opposite. You do not have to hate to fight back.

Also setting yourself on fire… stop doing this. Please stop doing this. Live to practice. Live to teach. And if teaching gets you killed then that’s how you die. Because the person you’re killing, when you kill yourself, is a Buddhist Monk and we have already established that killing monks is a source of bad karma.

Since I’m on a roll, I also have a problem with the Buddhist concept of emptiness. I get it that life is an illusion and nothing is as it seems. But within that illusion there are laws of science and rules of physics and the lives of people. You don’t have to be of the world to be in the world.

So what have you learned, Dorothy?

Beside the fact that I know nothing about religion, I learned that it is past time for the spiritually evolved to speak up. Past the time for the passionate to tell the pacifist to get off of his ass and defend his right to exist. For the modernist to tell the traditionalist to shut the fuck up you do not speak for me. For the moderate to grab the extremist by the collar and get him the meds he surely needs.

It is past the time of the old gods. The old books. The old words. The old world is gone and holding on to it is destroying this one.

While there is a place in this new world for Moses, Jesus, Muhammad and Buddha, there just isn’t for the centuries of crap piled on top of their great words and great deeds.

And finally…

How to fix The Book of Mormon

You don’t. There is nothing wrong with The Book of Mormon. Trey Parker & Matt Stone are the Lords of Broadway.

– Mel

End of Year Review: The Good The Bad The Ugly & The Movies from 2012 MEGAPOST

Goodbye 2012. I am happy to see it go.

Goodbye to the fiscal cliff. Goodbye to the most negative presidential election I have ever seen in my life.

Goodbye to end of the world prophecies. Goodbye to the bloodiest year for domestic gun violence since the civil war.

Goodbye to the shittiest year of the 21st century so far.

Goodbye.

Let’s get to it…

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly and The Movies of 2012.

THE GOOD of 2012:

Television got even better in 2012. People had less money in 2012. Stayed at home and watched TV more in 2012. So TV producers stepped up their games and brought the goods in 2012. Television was awesome in 2012

Best Television Moments in 2012

In 2012 some of my favorite shows had their best seasons. Here are ten of my favorite things.

Doctor Who: The Snowmen Christmas Special

Doctor Who: The Snowmen

The episode was very good. I love the new companion. She’s as pretty as Rose Tyler, as brilliant as Martha Jones. She’s as fearless as Amy Pond, as cute & funny as Donna Noble. But most of all she’s about as mysterious as River Song. The one word lie detector test scene was amazing.

The Doctor Who Gang

I can’t wait until April. I WANT MORE DOCTOR WHO NOW.

The Walking Dead’s Michonne

Michonne from The Walking Dead

She really made this season of the show for me. She is a badass. A badass, dread-locked, lesbian w/ a samurai sword. Where do I sign? I loved this season. Best one so far.

Rachel Maddow’s Last Show Before Election Day & Her First Show After The Election

Rachel Maddow

I would put both of these shows in the time capsule. Pure Perfection. Rachel really worked overtime this election season. Before he leaves office, President Obama really should reward her in some way. (Exclusive Interview, Medal of Honor, Blanket Pardon for Future Crimes… something nice)

Fringe: The Final Season

Fringe Final Season

The show is fantastic. Still one of the best shows in TV history. Some of their best performances are from this season. And some of their best writing.

Game of Thrones: The Battle of Blackwater

Game of Thrones Blackwater

The episode was one of the best hours of TV in 2012.

Game of Thrones Tyrion

“Those are brave men knocking on our door… Let’s go kill them.”

Peter Dinklage was robbed at the Emmy’s. I can’t wait until March.

Elementary & Vegas

Elementary & Vegas

These are two entertaining & well-written new mystery shows on CBS. With all-star casts. And neither is your run-of-the-mill procedural. Both are great shows renewed for second seasons. Watch them.

Girls:  Welcome to Bushwick a.k.a. The Crackcident

Girls HBO

The Bushwick Episode was the best episode of the season of a thoroughly enjoyable and immensely entertaining show. Lena Dunham did great work last year. I hope the second season is as good as the first.

Breaking Bad’s Evolution of Walter White

Breaking Bad Walter White

This show gets better and better every year. It was already good. It’s criminally good now. (“Say My Name” “Heisenberg.” “You damn right.”) I’m looking forward to an intense finale.

Best Performer in 2012

Anne Hathaway

2012 was most definitely her year. Anne Hathaway has been good for a while but finally everyone else is beginning to recognize her talent.

"You Look Hungry Anne. Could I Tempt You With A Bite?"

“You Look Hungry Anne. Could I Tempt You With A Bite?”

She is incredibly good in Les Miserables. Made me weep my eyes out. I was soaked. Great voice. Great acting. She dropped the weight for the necessary realism. And then proceeded to blow the roof off of every theater in the country.

And the Oscar goes to…

"Don't Play. You Know I Could Eat You Up Little Girl."

“Don’t Play. You Know I Could Eat You Up Little Girl.”

And earlier in the year she kicked ass as Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises. She took an iconic character that has been played to death by Oscar winners and icons in movies and television for decades and she made it her own. Anne Hathaway was my favorite thing in an excellent film (one of my top films of the year…wink).

"Keep Laughing Amanda. I May Not Be Able To Outsing You But I Will Swallow You Whole."

“Watch It, Hathaway. You Know You Can’t Hit Those High Notes Like Me.”
“Keep Laughing Amanda. I May Not Be Able To Out-sing You But I Will Swallow You Whole.”

Anne Hathaway has officially become my favorite actress. She is insanely talented, funny, has a fantastic voice and is gorgeous. The girl is smokin’ hot.

"Okay, I'm Going To Eat You Know."

“Ha Ha. You Wish.”
“Okay, I’m Going To Eat You Know.”

And even when she hosted SNL (a show that has seen better days but looks to be getting back to form) it was their best show of the year.

"All Gone."

“All Gone… Thank You. Thank You.”

And now to bummer town…

THE BAD of 2012

or more accurately

The problems we need to address in 2013

First and foremost…

Movie Ticket Prices

Yep That Looks About Right

Yep That Looks About Right

Come on man, $23.00 for IMAX? And even more for IMAX 3D.  That’s crazy pants. Although I did like the reserved seating for The Hobbit. No line, already knowing where your seats are. (I got cheated out of the Star Trek sneak peek that they promised, however. Still angry about that one)

But guys, seriously, the movie going experience is no longer better than viewing at home. It just isn’t. You have to either make it more special. Maybe a restaurant & movie situation or beer & wine at the movies. Perhaps optional headphones. I don’t know. But it ain’t worth the money as it is, except for maybe when there’s a major event movie coming out, where seeing it the first weekend is important.

Other than that I’ll be waiting for the DVD.

Terrorism

It's A Madhouse! A Madhouse!

It’s A Madhouse! A Madhouse!

It’s the escalation of the mass shootings that troubles me & how the pattern seems to suggest that they are designed in a way to make us feel unsafe in the places that have been our safe havens.

Of course that suggests that there is an intelligence behind them. Not just wacko after wacko trying to outdo, out-evil, out horrify, and one-up the last, instantly famous mass murderer that came before them before they off themselves.

(By the way, fellas, skip right to the last shooting, the one where you shoot yourself. That way you die a hero. You die having killed a probable & future mass murderer. “You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” – Half of a great man said that)

But these trends do not have to have intelligence behind them. The next killer, having seen the way the news vilifies but also enshrines and bathes in the spotlight the previous super villain (these guys think they’re in a comic book or something), then comes up with a new, more heinous way to make us all cringe.

The depths of darkness that someone can dive to when they believe that they are dark to their very core is only limited by imagination.

Universal Mental Health Care (and Health Care in general, for that matter) can do so much to reduce this escalating trend. You need to find these troubled souls when they are too small to make these plans, to hold a gun, to do these things. For our safety, for their family & friends and for the victims.

Race

There Is No Such Thing As Mixed Race To A Racist

There Is No Such Thing As Mixed Race To A Racist

Not just racism, mind you, but race. Because there is no racism without the misguided idea of race.

So why can’t different humans from different regions and different backgrounds just look different: Skin, Hair, Eyes, Height, Weight. Be different: Sex, Personality, Creativity, Intellect, Language. And/Or believe different: Politics, Spirituality, Religion. Be Human without then having to form groups and perpetuate the illusion of a competition.

That’s what sports are for. (And frankly I’d rather be in a soccer riot than a race riot any day)

Fear

False Evidence Appearing Real

False Evidence Appearing Real

The misguided fear that believes if homosexuality is universally accepted that they will have no choice but to be gay. Because the only thing stopping them at this point, I suppose, is that people LIKE THEM would attack them. (or other equally stupid reasons to deny Marriage Equality)

And the annoying fear that seems to believe that by accepting a man’s role in human reproduction, as almost nil, somehow makes men more useless than they already are. Leading to this need to legislate reproduction so that they still feel important and involved. Aw, fellas. You feel left out? By how you’re acting, I’m guessing there’s a reason. Uterine envy is ugly business, gentlemen. Stop it. Stop it now.

And the idiotic fear of Science, fear of evolution or climate change FACTS. A fear so great that you deny the validity of scientific discovery, basic Biology & Physics & Math. Fear that somehow science wants to replace god. We are meant to understand… everything. Your willful ignorance would make any deity weep. If your god had wanted us to remain dumb he wouldn’t have made us so curious.

So those are the problems that I believe reached critical mass in 2012. And if we begin to address them, to solve them, we can save the world.

Fear, Race, Terrorism… & Movie Ticket Prices.

Get on that, planet.

And lastly…

THE MOVIES of 2012

There are 3 major films from 2012 that I haven’t seen yet they are Lincoln, Argo & Zero Dark Thirty but I don’t like to see political propaganda films until a few years after their release. And I know they are all amazing. I’m weird, okay?

To the list

My Top Ten Movies of 2012 (and links to where I blog about them)

1. Les Miserables – Anne Hathaway!! (you have to picture me singing that and not just saying it)

Les Miserables (pronounced lay-miz by theater geeks) is easily the best film of the year. It is the best movie musical of all-time. (Yes, better than West Side Story & The Wizard of Oz. Better than Chicago & The Sound of Music. It’s that good)

Les Miserables

It’s the story of Jean Valjean. Imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread to feed a starving child & how that crime changes his life. It is the story of the police officer, Javert, haunted by his own past and his twisted sense of justice as he tracks down the fugitive. It is the story of Fantine, a woman pushed to her limits in order to keep her daughter safe and fed. It is the story of France in the early 19th century & the class struggles that followed the French Revolution. It is a love story. It is a story of redemption. But most of all, it is a story with some incredible music.

Les Miserables 2

What the filmmakers added to Victor Hugo’s story and Claude Michel-Schonberg’s beautiful music was an insanely talented cast: the aforementioned Anne Hathaway, the insanely versatile Hugh Jackman, the golden throat-ed Amanda Seyfried & the much hated Russell Crowe (He’s a lot better than he is given credit). They sing every line. There is no speaking. And they sing on camera. On set. Every take.

Les Miserables 3

I loved this film. It is perfect. Some complain about the sound stages and the look of the film but having the actors sing on set creates the need to shoot on a sound stage. There are musicians off camera, playing along with the scene, with the actors. You can’t get that realism on location. because you can’t get that sound on location. So I forgive the sets because the MUSIC is the whole movie.

Go See It or at least Rent It (I’m going to buy it)

2. Prometheus – Ridley Scott (Back where he belongs. Making kick ass Sci Fi Horror)

3. Dark Knight Rises – Christopher Nolan & Hathaway as Catwoman (Fantastic end to an amazing trilogy)

4. The Avengers – Joss!!! (Joss Whedon can do no wrong. Honestly)

5. The Hunger Games – Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss (I used to call Lucy, Catness but now I call her Kitty Katniss) This was a surprisingly good movie.

6. Skyfall – Casting Casting Casting (New M, New Q [all the letters are back and better than ever] and Javier Bardem is deliciously villainous)

Skyfall is a return to form for the Bond franchise. The reboot of the series, and the first two films (The first one about how he becomes a superspy, the second about how he deals with becoming a broken man) left out many of the iconic symbols James Bond fans have been used to seeing. This movie brings them all back with a vengeance.

Skyfall

James Bond is back in the saddle. But this time he’s joined by Q branch, M and Miss Moneypenny and the Ashton Martin & the Walther PPK also his favorite drink (shaken, not stirred)

Personally I didn’t like Skyfall as much as the first two Daniel Craig installments in the series (The amazing Casino Royale & the under-rated Quantum of Solace) but I was happy to see all the old favorites back.

Ralph Fiennes as M

However the absolute gem of Skyfall is the performance by Javier Bardem (Hollywood’s creepy bad guy) as the villainous Silva. He is creepy, evil, funny and heartbreaking all at the same time.

Skyfall Javier Bardem

I’m looking forward to, now that the franchise is back up to speed, seeing where Daniel Craig can go with the character. I believe he is the best James Bond since Sean Connery.

7. The Hobbit – I want to go to there. Where? New Zealand (The landscapes and scenery in this film have a starring role. It is gorgeous)

The first installment of The Hobbit Trilogy (I know it’s just one book but somebody should tell Peter Jackson) is a thrill ride. He brings us back to Middle Earth and introduces us to a new group of adventurers. This time: The Dwarves.

The Hobbit Dwarves 1

The party scene, where the Dwarves take over poor Bilbo’s home, to me, is the highlight of the movie. I like how the Dwarves all work as one well-oiled machine. It’s fun to watch.

The Hobbit Dwarves 2

Martin Freeman as the young  Bilbo is expert casting. He fits the role like a glove. He is not the hero (well not on purpose), he is just along for the ride.

Martin Freeman as Bilbo

It remains to be seen how good the last two films will be but this was a great way to start.

Gollum

And much like in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Gollum steals the movie from the moment he slithers on-screen. Not the best film of the year but in my top ten.

8. Looper – Joseph Gordon-Prosthetic Nose-Levitt (Fantastic film if a bit Timey Wimey)

9. Ted – Seth MacFarlane (Love him. So Funny… & Mila Kunis)

10. Snow White & The Huntsman – Rupert Sanders (For his first feature he did pretty damn good and I don’t mean sleeping with the lead actress)

And Now..

The Bottom Five Movies of 2012 or (how Hollywood spends millions to shit on audiences)

In reverse order

5. John Carter – Mindless Martian Crap

4. Battleship – Loud Abrasive Crap

3. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter – Presidential Seal of Crap

2. The Amazing Spider-Man – Comic Book Killing Beautifully Dressed Up Crap

And the worst movie of 2012:

1. Men in Black 3 – A Big ol’ Steaming Pile of Crap

"Why You Be Hatin' On Men In Black 3?"

“Why You Be Hatin’ On Men In Black 3?”

YOU KNOW WHAT YOU DID.

And that, my friends, was my 2012. I did not like this year at all. A lot more bad than good if you ask me. From the election, starting with those hate-filled republican debates, really casting a dark shadow over the year. And the massacres at a movie theater, a temple, a college, an army base & a school along with rampant racism on the internet and talk radio & it was like everybody was in such a bad mood all year.

Breathe.

I’m here to tell you, (I’ve been to the future so listen to me)

2013 was… I mean… will be AWESOME.

Trust me, I’m a Doctor.

"No. I'm the Doctor"

“No. I’m the Doctor”

Doctor who?

Happy New Year Everybody

– Mel