July 24, 2011
The Redbox Strikes Back

Season of the Witch: Nic Cage kills a witch and cures the plague.
“Ah, Blyman, have thee come far?”
“Oh, only from Blogsby, for I am am Bayblem of Blogsby.”
“Ah, Bobsby. Is that close to Brimbsbroom?”
“Nay. Nearer to Brimbrock, I’d say.”
“What is your bidding?”
“Broomsmen of Bogsby, you must transport this witch to the ancient temple in the evil forest where we keep the only copy of the magic book that can banish her evil to hell for all eternity.”
“Aye! I, Bligman Bibsby, will transport the witch! But only to ensure she gets a fair trial and convey to the audience that I have modern ideas about people being innocent until proven guilty.”
“That’s all well and good, Brian of Bonesby, but you do realize the ‘fair trial’ involves tying a boulder to her legs and throwing her in a lake?”
“I am Bigman of Bogswell! I fought in the crusades of Blybrook! I’ve spilt blood from Bingbore to Brandbain, and have lain with maidens from Brosbig to Bigback. So yeah, I know what a ‘fair trial’ is.”
—Then some nonsense happens: 1 Braveheart of Broxley.

Titanic II: A riveting dramatization of the tragic sinking of what appears to be a San Diego Marriott.
“This ship is unsinkable this time!”
“A testament to man’s will and ingenuity!”
“And complete with the latest iceberg radar detection systems!”
“Surely nothing can possibly go wrong.”
“It’s a ship God himself couldn’t sink again.”
“Oh Jesus, we’ve been hit by… global warming?”
“What? We were only prepared for icebergs.”
“Oh my god! The eleven extras are dying!”
“All eleven of them?”
“Jesus, it looks like buckets of water are being thrown into their faces.”
“It’s terrifying.”
“Quick! Everyone into the amazing new technologically-advanced life-submarines that there are totally enough of for everyone.”
“Oh god no, the life-submarines that there were totally enough of for everyone just got hit by global warming too, and now everyone’s dead.”
—0 Bravehearts. (Which, I mean, I don’t know what the fuck we were expecting.)

Bonnie and Clyde: Young lovers and bandits Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow raise hell and rob banks through a depression-era midwest.
“Hey Clyde, we just robbed some banks and killed some cops, and all the excitement has stimulated me sexually. Let’s fuck.”
“Sorry Bonnie, I just can’t bring myself to do it. Even though I was totally fine with robbing banks and killing cops, when I think of having sex with you, even though you’re hot circa-1960’s Faye Dunaway, I get all nervous and can’t perform.”
“But why Clyde?”
“Well, I’m not sure. Maybe I’m a virgin, maybe I’m impotent. We didn’t really do a great job of explaining my sexual dysfunction.”
“But I’m so hot!”
“I know, and I’m goddamn Warren Beatty!”
“Oh well, goodnight. See you tomorrow for more bank robbing and cop killing, and probably a few weird tonal shifts.”
“Sounds good. I’ll bet if I can kill a few more cops I’ll be able to have sex with you.”
“We should do it in the car.”
—2 Bravehearts.

I Saw the Devil: A secret agents plays a deadly game of catch, torture, and release with the sadistic serial killer who murdered his fiance. Perfect for movie renters who saw Old Boy and thought, “You know, it was good, but it could have used less profound psychological struggle and originality, and more graphic, gratuitous violence.
“My quest for vengeance is going perfectly, but am I becoming just as brutal and cruel as my prey?”
“No, that would be too thematically obvious.”
“I did construct an elaborate, Saw-like death-trap set to chop off his head after systematically torturing him for months. And then I tricked his completely innocent family into not only activating the trap, but witnessing his decapitation.”
“Oh. Nevermind, then.”
—2 Bravehearts.

Drive Angry: Nic Cage doing what he does best: making any piece of shit that’s offered to him in the hope of somehow eliminating his massive debt.
“I am Baymen of Blybrook!”
“Um, Mr. Cage, that’s … that’s not in the script.”
“It’s not? Wait, which movie set am I on? Is this The Sorcerer’s Apprenctice, or is this Bangkok Dangerous?”
“This is Drive Angry.”
“Right, sorry. What’s it about again?”
“No one cares.”
—1 Braveheart.

September 9, 2010
Jesus Camp

This week’s review must begin with a somewhat tedious, but necessary, distinction:  it seems clear to us that (a) there are Christians, and (b) there are “Christians.”  This is unfortunate and can cause confusion when Christians come up in conversation.  For the sake of clarity, “Christians” will henceforth be referred to as Christians. Our apologies to Christians.    

Jesus Camp is a great documentary about a terrible group of people called Christians.  These evangelical fundamentalists believe that a holy war is being waged for America’s soul, and that to achieve ultimate victory, they must build an army of righteous warriors ready to become martyrs for the cause. Taking (and citing) a page from the terrorist handbook, they draft their army from the ranks of the Dora the Explorer Fan Club; which is to say, they recruit children.  Christian children probably aren’t allowed to watch Dora the Explorer.    

          T.  What could be objectionable about Dora the Explorer?

          Z.  Talking monkey.

          T.  Ah.

Now, we don’t want to come off as questioning the logic or feasibility of their recruitment strategy. On the contrary: it’s brilliant. Children are naïve and impressionable; they’re passionate and easily manipulated; especially if they’re being told that they’re fighting for good against evil. Kids eat that shit up. We’re just saying that recruiting children for a holy war is kind of, well, fucking reprehensible.

There are reasons why it is against the law for an adult to have sex with a child,

          The Pope:  “Wait, what?”

and perhaps it is for these very same reasons that indoctrinating children is frowned upon.  Children have a respect for adults which isn’t based on character or responsibility, but rather on the fact that adults are fucking gigantic.

          T. Fine, three days, then he came back to life, just please put me down.

          Z. Everything you’re saying makes perfect logical sense to me, and it is totally by my own volition that I agree with you and would like to become a Christian myself.  Also, I just shit in my pants because I’m five.

While it is important (and unavoidable) that parents instill values in their children, it is paramount that a child still be given room to grow, think, and, eventually, decide for themselves what they believe. A value or belief that is supported by thought and reason is one that can always be revised and improved. However, a value or belief that is taught strictly through manipulation and fear can only lead to ruin.  Or, at the very least, terrible grades in science class.

          T.  Alright, class.  Can anyone tell me how old the earth is?

          Z.  6,000 years.

          T.  Not quite.  I’m sorry, Zach.

          Z.  I’m sorry too.  That you’re going to hell.

          T.  That may be, but you’ll be going to summer school first.

Perhaps more alarming than watching pressured little kids going into conniptions and speaking in tongues

          T.  When Christians are filled with the Holy Spirit, they can begin spontaneously speaking a new language: fucking gibberish.

          Z. It’s historically a spoken language, but we hired a crack team of skilled linguists to transcribe some of it:   “Shunundunfu!  Bljederadji-munfluflu! Chi ki chi-Chi ki chi!”

          T.  Which means, roughly, “Is this right?  Am I doing this right?”

          Z.  Or, depending on the dialect:  “Repeating syllables!  Repeating syllables!”

—Perhaps more alarming than watching children work themselves into a guilt-ridden hysteria, is that all of this fear-mongering is in service of an extremist political agenda.  The Evangelical Right (redundant) hates the Gay Left (redundant) and thinks that personal morality should be legislated in compliance with traditional biblical values carefully chosen at random.

          Z.  For instance:  You may not put your penis in a butt.

          T.  But you may put your penis in a mouth, provided it’s your wife’s mouth.

          Z.  Wait a minute, isn’t oral sex still sodomy?

          T.  Only if you know how to read. 

Jesus Camp is a well-made but horrifying journey into the heart of Evangelical America.  More importantly, it’s a heartbreaking examination of children being sold a bill of goods while desperately trying to evoke the love of a higher power. Their parents.

          Z.  Shunnunununu.

          T.  Mungabogglebluda.

Jesus Camp:  4 Bravehearts.

September 7, 2010

(after wrapping this week’s review)


Tyler:  Do you think there’s a porno version of Date Night?

Zach:  There should be a porno version of every movie.

Tyler:  Schindler’s List… of People to Fuck.

Zach:  Maybe not every movie.

September 6, 2010
Date Night

There are only two conceivable reasons to rent Date Night. One, the short pale balding movie encyclopedia behind the counter can’t find The Mist, even though he knows it’s there somewhere, like that’s supposed to be some kind of consolation. Two, Tina Fey and Steve Carrell are great in their respective television ventures, so perhaps the combined power of their comedic timing and delivery would make for an at least somewhat entertaining movie.  And the movie guy still can’t find The Mist.

Date Night isn’t a somewhat entertaining movie.  Date Night is a lazy, predictable, unfunny, and bitter movie about a lazy, predictable, unfunny and bitter married couple. Steve Carrell is doing his, “I’m a normal meek guy except when I yell unexpectedly!” schtick, and Tina Fey is Liz Lemon, but trying a little too hard not to be.  The chemistry between them is nonexistent, encumbered by an awkward  script which self-consciously strives to sound improvised.    

Basically, the apparent amount of care and work that went into conceiving this movie could be surmised thusly:  “Hey, people like The Office and 30 Rock.  I bet if we made a movie starring Steve Carrell and Tina Fey, it’d make money.”  

Domestic drudgery is played for lazy jokes, effectively turning Fey into a shrill caricature with no faith in Carell’s impotent version of the old dolt husband.  A shoehorned-in subplot about friends going through a divorce provides the impetus to try and reignite long-lost passions.  So then, well, you know the premise.  Zany shit happens.  Identity theft, car chases, bad cops, mobsters and a running joke where Steve Carell tries to explain their situation, but all anyone cares about is that he stole someone’s dinner reservation.  


    T. Holy shit! I stole someone’s reservation and now a team of Congolese separatists from the Czech Republic, bent on the destruction of the Hoover Dam and San Diego, are after me. 

    Z.Hold on a second.  You stole someone’s reservation?

    T. Ba-Dum. Ok, now we only have to make that joke work 8 more times and we have our movie.

    Z. Should Steve Carrell yell unexpectedly?

    T. Yes.  And Marky-Mark.


All this madcap nonsense involves some flash-drive that holds character-impugning photographs of a pervy senator who has connections with the police department and the mob.  So they find the flash drive, then lose the flash drive, then do an awkward striptease.  And Steve Carrell expectedly yells unexpectedly again. 

For all its faults, they really probably shouldn’t have made this movie. Despite it’s flaws, it was a total waste of time.  Making concessions for caveats, this movie was fucking terrible.    


So thanks for the evening, Date Night… we’ll call you. 


    Z. We won’t call.

    T. Not until they release the director’s cut where Tina Fey and Mila Kunis make out.

    Z. Ooh, that would’ve been a good movie.

    T. Masturbate Night.

Date Night:  1 Braveheart.

August 24, 2010
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Shane Black just wanted to write bad-ass action movies. When he was offered $4 million for his script, The Long Kiss Goodnight, who was he to turn it down? Too bad that movie really sucked and Geena Davis has a weird face. Not really weird, it’s more like an anachronism. She’d be sexy as hell in the 1940’s (see: A League of Their Own), but in the 21st century, she’s all cheekbones.

          T. Right?

          Z. Whatever man, what is it with you and Geena Davis’s cheekbones and Julia Roberts’s mouth?

          T. It is a pretty huge mouth.

          Z. My Best Friend’s Huge Mouth.

          T. Eat, Pray, Mouth.

          Z. In The Mouth of Madness.

          T. … Julia Roberts wasn’t in In the Mouth of Madness, and that’s actually the name of a movie.

          Z. There’s a movie called In The Mouth of Madness?

          T. Yeah, Sam Neil, Julia Carmen, Jurgen Prochnow. An insurance investigator goes to some small town to find a horror writer, for motives that escape me, probably something having to do with insurance. Anyway he ends up living out the plot to the horror writer’s book, and it turns out that the insurance investigator and the people of the town are phase one in the horror writer’s plot, you know, “plot,” like the plot of his book, but also referring to his plan, to make everyone on the planet, or at least America, fucking crazy.

          Z. …The Great Mouth Detective.

Anyway, $4 million was a shit load of money to pay for a script, especially one that turned out to be such an awful movie. So how did Shane Black command such a high price? When he was twenty-three he wrote a movie called Lethal Weapon, widely considered to be one of the best buddy-cop movies of all time.

          T. Because it is the best buddy-cop movie of all time.

          Z. Until Lethal Weapon 2.

But if the first two Lethal Weapons were so good, how did The Long Kiss Goodnight turn out to be so terrible? Did Shane Black lose his touch? Was he leveraging his notoriety as a writer of Hollywood hits to sell a subpar script? The story with the script, according to Wikipedia, is that it went through heavy re-writes, so Shane Black’s original vision was not represented on the screen.  As for losing his touch, after a near-decade long reclusion from the business of movie-making, he wrote and directed Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, a darkly comic, noir reinterpretation of the buddy-cop genre.  And it’s one of the best movies of the past ten years.

          T. Ten years? That’s kind of arbitrary.

          Z. Yeah.  I don’t know, 15 years?

And it’s one of the best movies of the past 15 years.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang stars Robert Downey Jr. as Harry Lockheart, a small-time thief and coincidental actor, and Val Kilmer as “Gay” Perry von Shrike, private detective and Hollywood consultant, who’s hired to teach Lockheart how to play the part of a real detective. After witnessing the killing of a young woman while on a routine surveillance job, Harry and Gay Perry find themselves wrapped up in a real-life murder mystery. It’s a battle of wills and wits as they try to discover the identity of the killers before becoming the next victims.

          Z. By the way, they call him Gay Perry because he’s gay.

          T. Sam Gayde.

          Z. Sherlock Holmesoexual.

          T. Hercule Poirot.

Aiding in, and possibly connected to, the murder mystery is Harmony Faith Lane (Michelle Monaghan), a 30-something failed actress (she did a commercial with a bear) with a tragic past; beautiful and jaded, she’s the classic archetype of the small-town girl hoping to make it big under the bright lights of Hollywood. Facing the inevitable metamorphosis from aspiring actress to career waitress with grace and humor, Harmony is as much trying to solve the case as save her soul. The chemistry between Downey and Monaghan is effortless, hilarious, and actually touching as it turns formulaic love story conventions on their heads.

          T. Go ahead Zach.

          Z. And you totally get to see Michelle Monaghan’s boobs!

Robert Downey Jr., Val Kilmer and Michelle Monaghan are all perfectly cast and give exceptional performances.  But the real star of the movie is Shane Black’s wry, witty screenplay:

          Harry:  Well maybe you should try to get in touch with him, I’ve got five bucks says you could still… get him.

          Gay Perry: Really? That’s funny, I got a ten says “pass the pepper,” I got two quarters who sing harmony on “Moonlight in Vermont”.

          Harry: What?

          Gay Perry: Talking money.

          Harry: A talking monkey?

          Gay Perry: A talking monkey, yeah. Yeah, came here from the future, ugly sucker, only says “ficus.”


          Harry: Was she a looker?

          Gay Perry:  She opens the door, and she got nothing on but the radio. Yeah, invites me to sit down, sits on my lap, fires up a splif.

          Harry: Geez.  Really?

          Gay Perry: No.  Idiot.

So see it for the great performances, see it for the dialogue, see it for Michelle Monaghan’s breasts. Whatever the reason, see Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang:  4 Bravehearts.

August 18, 2010

Kick-Ass kicked-ass.

Or at least Hit Girl kicked ass. Kick-Ass was sort of annoying. He looked ridiculous, for starters, and his weapon of choice was, what, sticks? The few times he was actually fighting crime, he was usually stabbed. Or hit by a car. Or giving some boring speech about how gang violence is wrong. 

Kick-ass’s alter ego, a pre-pubescent 17 year-old named Dave Lizewski, is even more unbearable. He spends most of the movie masturbating and hating himself.

           T. Well, in his defense, all we did in high school is masturbate and hate ourselves.

           Z.  I’m masturbating and hating myself right now.

He also pretends to be gay so he can have naked sleep-overs with the hot girl at his high school. This works out for him, by the way, even though he reveals his true sexual preference after breaking into her bedroom dressed like a Jamaican Bobsledder and getting hairsprayed in the face.  And then she’s like, “Oh, fine, I forgive you. You wanna have sex?”

           Z. A good rule of thumb though, generally, is don’t lie to a girl about your sexual preference.

           T. Yeah, the only lies you should tell a girl are:  “You know what TV show I really love? Grey’s Anatomy.”

           Z. “I don’t get why everyone thinks Megan Fox is so hot.” 

           T. “I agree, we should get to know each other better before beginning a physical relationship.”

           Z. “I know what you mean.”

Anyway, Kick-Ass, despite its eponymous flaws, was really fantastic. Thanks mostly to one homicidally precocious little girl: Mindy Macready, our little Hit Girl. The purple-haired pixie spills enough blood to put Bonfils out of business. The first time we see her on screen, her father, a perfectly unhinged Nic Cage, is preparing her to do battle with drug-dealing junkies.  First lesson:  “Here’s a bulletproof vest, no wincing while I shoot you in the chest.”

           T. Nic Cage is nuts.

           Z. He should stick to being nuts.  Nic Cage is great when he’s playing nuts.

           T.  Like, totally crazy characters.

           Z.  Joaquin Phoenix: starring Nicolas Cage.

When we first see sweet little Mindy Macready in full bad-ass regalia as Hit-Girl, she’s surrounded by thugs and her first sentence (we don’t remember it exactly) is something along the lines of, “Okay you cunts, let’s see what you got.”

           Studio:  “We want your eleven-year-old girl to be in our movie.”

           Parent:  “Oh, great.”

           Studio:  “Is it okay if she says ‘cunts’ and gets kicked in the face and shoots a lot of people in the face?”

           Parent:  “Absolutely.”

 Hit Girl steals the show; or rather sneaks up on the show and stabs it in the throat. Hopefully Kiss-Ass spawns a new genre of action movies staring tween girls.

           Z. “Miley Cyrus … as Rambo.”

           T.  “Abigale Breslin is:  The Fugitive.”

So while it may be Kick-Ass who saved Hit Girl — Hit Girl saved Kick-Ass.

           T. See what I did there, with that last sentence?

           Z. Love it.


Kick-Ass:  3 Bravehearts.

August 10, 2010

Hollywood is fickle. It can pluck you from obscurity, bring you to the cusp of fame and fortune, only to cast you back out, before you even get a chance to release a sex tape. We’ve been witness to many ill-fated meteoric rises to stardom — spectacular success stories with bitter endings.  Starlets become drug addicts, pop sensations crumble under the pressures and the flashbulbs, and well respected, aging beauties fade into obscurity.  All in all, it’s a tough business, hanging in a delicate balance of creativity and profit, flash-in-the-pan hype and George Clooney durability, all of it run by the hard-nosed axiom:  The Show Must Go On. 

So if you’re given a golden opportunity to break into the industry, the first step towards succeeding is this: maybe don’t be a fucking asshole to everyone you meet.     

Overnight is a masterful documentary about a man named Troy Duffy, who got his very own golden ticket to superstardom. And then decided to be a fucking asshole to everyone he met.


Z. What a penis.

T. Thanks for noticing.

Z. Zing!


Anyway, the story begins in 1997, when Harvey Weinstein found Duffy in a bar, probably drunk off his ass, waxing philosophic about the virtues of vigilantism, and really badass-sounding praying.  And cool tattoos.  And lots of slow-motion gunfire.  And Ron Jeremy.

For some reason (boredom), Weinstein decides to offer Duffy a sweetheart deal for his script, The Boondocks Saints.


Z.     The Boondocks Taints.

T.      The Box-office Tanks.

Z.   Boom!


Duffy gets $300,000 for the script, a $700,000 advance to begin production, and not only is he allowed to direct, he gets final cut.  His band The Brood even gets to do the soundtrack.  And in case this deal wasn’t close enough to the plot of a Cheers episode, if Sam Malone were a terrible human being, Weinstein even agrees to go halves with Duffy on purchasing a bar.


Troy Duffy:  Evening everybody.

Friends at the bar:   TROY!

Troy Duffy:   Fuck all of you. You people wouldn’t even be in this bar if it weren’t for me. You can all go to hell.


Anyway, he basically gets a ludicrously good offer.  But is Troy Duffy humbled and grateful, ready to work hard to show his appreciation?  Fuck no.  He wrote The Boondocks Saints. 

Instead Troy sits in a rented office and holds a series of meetings with his inner circle, his very own “cesspool of creativity,” as Troy so poetically words it.  Troy also refers to himself and his band as “a logpile of creativity.”

Z.     A train wreck of creativity.

T.  A heaping pile of shit of creativity.


So anyway, he holds these meetings with his band members and basically goes through the litany of reasons why, even though they’ve done jack-shit and suck, they’re going to take both the movie and music industries by storm.


Troy Duffy:  “Guys, all we have to do is make a bunch of fucking amazing movies, and then release album after album of fucking amazing music, and then Hollywood will know we’re totally the shit, and we’ll get paid ass loads of money,  and be rolling in pussy!”

Troy’s Friends:  “Yeah man sounds good, but my phone service just got cut off and I’m being evicted, so if you could maybe give us just a little bit of money now to…”

Troy Duffy:  “Fuck you guys!  You guys are nothing!  You’re only here because I wrote The Boondocks Saints.  I wrote The Boondocks Saints.”

Troy’s Friends:  (muttering) “Oh Jesus.”


After Duffy finishes pontificating about his artistic genius and sure-fire success while systematically alienating his friends and family, he drunkenly attends to casting his movie. His really brilliant strategy for this is to be really rude and unprofessional to the actors he wants to be in his movie, and talk all kinds of shit behind the backs of the actors he doesn’t want to be in his movie. 

Always painfully aware of the documentary crew following his rise to fame, Duffy casts himself as a hiply superior Artist of unparalleled integrity who “[would] never work with Keanu Reeves!” and thinks Ethan Hawke is “a no-talent hack.”  Because he’s Troy Duffy, and what Troy Duffy does not give is a fuck.

So basically no one wants to be in this asshole’s movie.


Z.     Well, and it’s just a shitty movie anyway.

T.       Except for that part where that old guy has like eight guns and is all, bang, bang, bang, bang. And the brothers all have guns and they’re all, bang, bang, bang, bang. 

Z.      Obviously.


Does Duffy take this as a cue to curb his massive ego and start working hard?  Fuck no.  He takes this as a sign that everyone in Hollywood must be a stupid asshole who doesn’t understand his genius.  And then he yells at some people, and he’s like, “I wrote the fucking Boondocks Saints, I’m the new big thing, put me through to Harvey Weinstein.”  And, to make a long, complicated story short, Harvey Weinstein is eventually like, “Jesus, fuck this guy.”

So Miramax drops the picture, and Duffy finds himself blackballed by all of Hollywood. He starts being even more of an asshole to his friends, his band, the documentary crew, and even his younger brother. By this point everyone is finally starting to be like, “No, dude.  It’s you.  It’s… I mean you’re a total fucking asshole.”  And he’s like, “Fuck you all!  I got you here!  You didn’t do shit!  I don’t trust you assholes!  I wrote Boondocks Saints!”  And the documentary crew is trying to be reasonable, and they’re like, “No, really man, you can’t treat people like this.  It’s just not … decent.”  And Troy’s like, “The Boondocks Saints!  The Boondocks Saints!” 


Z.     What an asshole.

T.      Definitively.


Boondocks Saints eventually gets made for less than half its Miramax budget, which is no big deal to Duffy because he’s convinced that when the finished movie debuts at Cannes, every fucking studio in Hollywood will be lining up and coming all over themselves to buy it and Harvey Weinstein can eat a dick.  It debuts at Cannes and every major Hollywood studio doesn’t give a fuck.  And Duffy’s like, “Wait, what the fuck?” 

Despite this setback, he manages to negotiate an even- though-you’re-a-big-asshole-I–feel-kind-of-bad-for-you contract with some really independent distribution company who manage to get it released in five theaters for a grand total of seven days.

The reviews are unanimous:  It sucks.

As for his band, The Brood, he changes their name to, you guessed it, The Boondocks Saints.


Z.     Oh god.  Seriously?

T.      Jesus Christ.


They get signed with some Atlantic subsidiary and record their first album, which sells a grand total of 690 copies. The Atlantic subsidiary drops them from the label and they disband.

As for Duffy, he is ostracized from Hollywood and retires to a street corner outside a bar in Boston, where he smokes cigarettes and talks to himself.

But the story doesn’t end there. Thanks to 14 year-old boys everywhere, The Boondocks Saints gets a second life on DVD as a cult classic, and it goes on to earn $50,000,000.

Too bad Duffy didn’t negotiate for any piece of the video sales. 

What an asshole.

Overnight:  4 Bravehearts.



August 1, 2010
The Kid Stays in The Butterfly Effect

T.  That was amazing.

Z.  Wow. 

T.  It blew my mind.

Z.  It blew my mind also.

T.  Robert fucking Evans.

Z.  What a character! What a storyteller!

T.  A force of nature.  He made films the way men go to war.

Z.  Part hard-boiled detective, part playboy…

T.  Part mad-cap Hollywood player.  A producer in the fullest sense of the word.

Z.  A poet.

T.  A philosopher.

Z.  What was it he said to Coppola, at the first screening of The Godfather?

T.  “Francis, you shot a great picture… where is it?”

Z.  Yes!  “Where’s the heart, where’s the family, where’s the saga?”

T.  “Make it longer.”

Z.  That’s what she said.


T.  And fifties Hollywood!  Fifties New York.

Z.  We should time-travel to fifties New York.

T.  We should just time-travel.

Z.  We should. But we should only do it once a month.

T.  That’s what she said.


Z.  Yeah, get some perspective on shit.

T.  See the sights, the glitz, the glamour.

Z.  Wear a fedora.

T.  Kiss a dame.

Z.  Yeah, but we would need to be sure we weren’t interfering with the course of human history.

T.  Like Marty McFly did in Back to the Future. Which is a great cautionary tale exploring the dangers inherent in time travel.

Z.  Like dating your mother?

T.  Like dating your mother.

Z.  So we would need to develop the technology to the point where we could go to the past, but be unable to interact with the past.

T.  Yeah, like some kind of matrix, virtual reality shit.

Z.  Yeah, totally!  Like Mr. Whitaker’s Imagination Station in Adventures in Odyssey.


Z.  Right?


Z.  Speaking of shit altering the course of other shit in horrible and totally implausible ways, have you seen Ashton Kutcher’s The Butterfly Effect, staring Ashton Kutcher?

T.  Holy shit, it’s terrible.

Z.  It’s so terrible.  “Hey, Ashton Kutcher, do you want to make a really awesome, gritty movie that philosophically toys with the concept of the butterfly effect in a way that pre-teen girls can understand?”

T.  “The … butterfly effect?”

Z.  “It’s like a theory on causality.”

T.  “Cause… Causalty?”

Z.  “Forget it.  It’s gonna be really cool, basically.”

T.  “Oh, awesome.  Will it be lit really darkly, making me seem really darkly handsome?”

Z.  “Totally.”

T.  “Sign me up.”   

Z.  “Great.  We’ve seen your work on That 70’s Show.  Naturally we thought you’d be perfect for this.  Because it takes place in the past sometimes.”

T.  “Thanks.  Did you know that I’m also fucking Demi Moore?”

Z.  “ Yeah!  Use it.  Your character is like totally fucking up reality like you’re totally fucking Demi Moore.”

T.  “Fuck me, that’s deep.”

Z.  That’s what she said.


T.  Have you seen the alternate ending?

Z.  No!  I don’t even remember the theatrical ending.

T.  Get this, so instead of going back in time and arranging it so that Amy Smart thinks he’s a real asshole and never talks to him again, and everyone’s life working out better since they never date, and blah blah blah, he goes back in time to when he was still in the uterus and strangles himself with his umbilical cord.

Z.  Holy shit!

T.  I know. Way more awesome. I mean, I know the entire time I was watching it I wanted to strangle Ashton Kutcher.

Z.  Everyone did.

T.  I’ll give them this.  They really went for it. Plot holes and assholes, that picture had it all.

Z.  That should be our next movie review.

T.  Jesus. I don’t think I can watch The goddamn Butterfly Effect again.

Z.  Oh fuck no. We’ll just do it from memory.

T.  Or better yet, what if for this week’s review, we just write out this conversation. We’re being hilarious.

Z.  Yeah.  We’ll just start it out when we were talking about how awesome The Kid Stays in the Picture was.

T.  Yeah.  And we can include when we were talking about time-travel and its inherent dangers.

Z.  And we’ll even include us talking about recreating our conversation for the review, like what we’re saying now.

T.  So meta.

Z.  I love it.

T.  We’re brilliant.

Ashton Kutcher’s The Butterfly Effect:  0 Bravehearts.

The Kid Stays in the Picture: 4 Bravehearts

July 12, 2010
Raiders of the Lost Ark

Tyler:   4 Bravehearts

Raiders of the Lost Ark is a remarkable film. It plays like a greatest hits reel of iconic Hollywood scenes. The forbidden temple, the map room, the melting faces; all are part of our collective pop culture consciousness. 

Meaning Raiders has been reviewed and parodied many times over. So I, for my part, will not attempt a review. Primarily because everyone has seen Raiders and loved it, and writing a glowing review of a movie that is universally enjoyed seems a bit masturbatory — and I’m trying to cut back.

As far as parody, sure, there is a lot about Raiders that is hilarious and makes no sense. For instance, as intelligent and experienced an archeologist as Indiana Jones is purported to be, he decides to raise the Ark of the Covenant out of the Well of Souls, under cover of dawn, about a hundred yards from a battalion of Nazi soldiers. Dumb.

But that’s just, I don’t know, kind of mean. I love Indiana Jones. It feels unseemly to take him to task for every mistake he’s made (see Kate Capshaw).  

So instead, I’ll make an embarrassing confession. When I was nine, a friend of mine invited me to go tubing; or rather he invited me to be dragged behind a boat at high speeds, buoyed by a donut-shaped piece of polyurethane. Considering my aversion to most adrenaline-inducing activities, I was scared shitless at the prospect. However my susceptibility to peer pressure at that age meant I really had no choice but to accept my friend’s invitation.

As we drove to the lake, my heart pounding, I tried my best to convince myself that it was pretty unlikely that I was going to come to any harm. After all, I was in the hands of adults; surely they had some kind of biological imperative to keep children safe. Armed with that imagined safety net I watched my friend take his turn. As it turned out, to my dismay, the captain of our boat was a goddamn maniac. His one and only goal was to try and eject my friend from the tube via break-neck speed and reckless maneuvers.

My safety net in tatters, it was time for me to take my turn. Making up some excuse to get out of an impeding watery grave was not an option. My friend’s dad and the boat’s captain were the type of guys who wouldn’t have any qualms with calling me a big pussy until I relented. So, near hyperventilation, I descended the wet chrome steps into the waiting tube. I watched the boat slowly put distance between me and all that I held dear (the ground), and waited for that crazy motherfucking captain to attempt to send me flying into the abyss.

The boat began to pick up speed, and I was out of options. Left with a choice between ten minutes of white-knuckled terror, or of finding some way to get comfortable, to make this fun, I did the only thing I could think of. I began to hum, loudly, the Indiana Jones theme: which, almost instantly, transformed my experience from sustained dread to great adventure. At that moment, I was Indiana Jones. I was no longer trying my best not to drown; I was in hot pursuit of ancient treasures and slapstick Nazis. My confidence swelled with this conceit and after my turn ended, I wanted nothing more than to get back out there and continue my adventure.  

Thanks for the courage Indy, sorry about the aliens.


With the titular Zach of Tyler and Zach go to the Redbox wandering through the wilderness, much like Jesus, but with cowboy boots, I enlisted the aid of a very special guest to help with this week’s review of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Greetings –

Indiana here. Dr. Indiana Jones.

Much has been made of my exploits and galavantious nature. A closed man to most, khaki-clad, five o’clock shadowed, friends only of men well my senior and expert of the belt tuck-up after students flash seductive eyelid messages (I may have found the Holy Grail, but they’ll never find my erection).

I’m here to address concerns of inattentive plot hatching in the discovery and recovery of Al Capone’s hidden vault. Pause. Jesus Christ, I’m kidding. It was the goddamn Ark of the goddamn Covenant. Not some simple truc (French for “small item” – I once porked the curator of the French Legation Museum in Austin, TX) that one finds under the cushion of their thrift store couch while looking for loose change or lighters. You may find three quarters, but you’ll never find your dignity.

Dignity is found in the throngs of a Nazi camp feverishly searching for a tool that unleashes the wrath of a God who promises to bring about the end of days with dragon-lions painted with fireblood, ridden by an Animorph of Voldemort and Predator combined. And Hans Gruber.

I did that.

While you were defecating into your uncomfortably-tight-for-a-nine-year-old board shorts for fear of falling into water during a family-friendly recreational activity, Tyler, I outran an entire civilization of aborigines (maintaining possession of my fedora), avoided thousands of AIDS-tipped blowdarts and wrangled a functioning alcoholic from a flame-filled Nepalese bar. Who, by the way, turned out to be effectively worthless – especially when it came to escaping the cunning grasp of a spider monkey and one drunken Frenchman.

Still forging ahead, I found the Well of Souls even though some smarmy-ass German had half the medallion seared into his hand (twist!). I avoided a plate of dates some goddamn monkey-wielding pirate on a motorcycle had poisoned. Then, despite me telling those Oktoberfest bastards that I was over this bullshit and that all I wanted was the functioning alcoholic, they used my love of antiquities to capture me. Figures. I was then tethered to a post like a simp and took in some twisted Nazi séance followed by a matinee of master face melting. You see that shit? Gross, man. Finally, for all my trouble, I didn’t even get to look at the Ark - that sweaty Hindenburg from the government put it away in some goddamn warehouse.

But thanks, Tyler. I will deeply consider your concerns of my choice of when and where to dig next go-round.

Keep the courage. Eat a dick.

June 28, 2010
"Guuuugghh!  I’m Mel Gibson!  Fuck yeah!  Sugartits!"

"Guuuugghh!  I’m Mel Gibson!  Fuck yeah!  Sugartits!"

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