VonCouch

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Reviews

Perfect Bid: The Contestant Who Knew Too Much
(2017)

Light-Hearted, Well Made Documentary
I didn't see a review for this film so I thought I'd leave one. It's an interesting story with a likable subject. The editing is very crisp, which is one of the most important things for a documentary. Some of the interviews have some slight audio issues and the music can be a little generic, but the illustrations and art style are well done. Overall, a fun watch.

ThanksKilling
(2009)

A True Turkey
Let me start by saying I love bad movies. I'm not as well versed as some, certainly more so than most, but nothing beats watching a laughably bad movie with the right group of friends. And this movie looked exactly like what I was hoping for in that. But even as a movie that's so bad it's good, it fails. It's just so bad it's bad.

The story is absurd, but I would expect nothing less. Apparently, the American Indians weren't cool with the pilgrims, so a medicine man put together some kind of curse to have an evil mutant turkey kill everyone. And of course, he comes back X years later to kill again. The main characters are the same 5 clichés that show up in every teen/slasher film: The whore, the virgin, the jock, the fat guy and the nerd. One by one, this turkey puppet tries to kill them off. Nobody in the film uses logic. The dialogue and acting are just horrific. And the one parental figure in the film has the most hilariously bad fake mustache I've ever seen this side of community theater.

I've read some reviews where they liked how it was obvious that nobody in the movie took themselves seriously. And yeah, that's fun for those who do the film to watch later. But what about the rest of us who weren't there at the shoot? There are actually some absurdly funny moments in it. But the whole film is just a chore to watch. All in all, skip this one. There are many better bad films out there.

Game Box 1.0
(2004)

The Tale of the Pinball Wizard
I'd be shocked if you know the title to the review, but it was an episode of the SNICK show Are You Afraid Of The Dark in 92. That's basically what this movie was. It's about a video game tester who mysteriously receives a new system in the mail that's supposed to give you the ultimate gaming experience. But once he plugs in, he's stuck and can't get out until he beats the game.

This really seems more like a project for Adobe After Effects than a full out movie. The whole "game" doesn't really seem to make sense and the effects make you wonder where the million dollar budget went to. The zombies in it are actually just strange, CGI, shadow gymnasts. The acting and the writing is pretty bad, but nobody hams it up like the evil cop who offed the main character's girlfriend. I swear, Nicolas Cage would tell this guy to tone it down. The movie gets points for not having a stupid twist ending that could have easily been churned out with the whole "reality/fantasy" thing it had going for it. But when the best compliment you can give is for not doing something even more stupid, I don't think that says much.

And though it's easy to focus on the negative, it's not completely unwatchable. The premise, though obvious, can be interesting and all in all it's a fun watch if you have the right group of people with you. Also, it stars Harvey from Sabrina The Teenage Witch and Topanga from Boy Meets World, so any TGIF fan should dig it just for that.

All in all, this isn't a good movie by any stretch of the imagination. But if you enjoy camp, this movie should hold your interests. Just get a good group of friends to watch it with.

Blízko nebe
(2005)

My First Czech Film - Not Off To A Great Start
A friend of mine invited me to a showing of this film. I'm a pretty big film guy, and since I had never seen a Czech film I agreed to come along. But I don't think this was a good start for me. There were parts of the film I really liked. Some of the characters were interesting, like the budding magician with a bad lisp. But most of them just tried to hard to be quirky. The framework used as the plot moves very slowly, and I found myself being bored on several occasions. Some scenes really stood out, but the good didn't outweigh the bad. The cinematography and color palate was interesting, but in no way original. And the ending, without spoiling anything, seems like a clichéd, unnecessary cop out that's been beaten to death in recent films. If you're big into Czech film, maybe give this one a look. You might appreciate it more than I did. But if you're not, give it a pass. Very "meh".

Miracolo a Milano
(1951)

A Magical Feel-Good Film
I just recently watched De Sica's Miracle in Milan and I must say it's a tragedy this film isn't more widely accessible. The film follows the curiously magical exploits of a grown up orphan who has just left his orphanage for the first time. His unstoppable optimism finally brings him to a shantytown outside of Milan. He helps to build the town into a thriving community, which soon comes under the fire of the property's owner. Through a miracle from the heavens, our optimistic orphan sets to help his fellow vagrants with their lives and their homes.

I'm not normally one for dopey family films, so I was very happy to enjoy this. It's not dopey, it's not sappy and it's not overly sentimental. The story is told with a gentle touch that De Sica is such a master with. The film is sweet, good-hearted and touching without ever relying on the corny or the melodramatic.

All in all, this film leaves you with a heart-warming feeling that only a poet like De Sica could give you. A sure recommendation.

Baby Needs a New Pair of Shoes
(1974)

Cheap Blaxploitation With A Spark Of Possibility
I just saw this film a few days ago under the name "Jive Turkey". In it, a numbers kingpin tries to keep control of his empire. In the process, he has to go against the Italian mob, the cops, snitches and all kinds of unscrupulous folks.

As far as low-budget blaxploitation goes (and really, what isn't?), it's not that bad. The acting is decent, sometimes even good. The direction and cinematography is competent, sometimes even great. But what really stands out here is the story. Yeah, yeah. Same old brother-against-whitey plot that's in 99 out of a hundred of blaxploitation films. But there's a desperation in there that shines through. The best example is a scene of Russian roulette between the kingpin and the mafia boss. It's actually fairly well acted and well written.

There's some confusing moments, like what the hell is up with the murdering-psycho man-girl that everyone wants to bang? And there's sprinkles of cheesy acting and poor production values. But there's actually a lot in here that, given better people behind it, could equal a pretty damned good movie. As it is, however, it's certainly above average on the Z-grade blaxploitation flick.

All in all, recommended.

Hotel Torgo
(2004)

A Good Idea But Flawed
Like most people, I found out about Manos when I saw the MST3K episode. It was funny, I had been on a personal hunt for the worst film of all time for quite a while. And when I saw that MST3K episode, I knew my search was over. I own this film both with MST3K and without. I believe that there's a special place in heaven for those who are able to sit through the film without Joel and the Bots cracking wise.

So I digress. I first heard of this short documentary a few years back, constantly keeping an eye for it. Finally, the director/s were generous enough to post it for free online just to get some visibility. I was glad I got the opportunity and there was some good stuff in there, but it had it's problems too.

First the positive: Bernie Rosenblum tells a damn good story. Playing the guy making out in the car, he (according to him) also helped with nearly every aspect of the film. He even claims to have directed the wives' big brawl. He's very willing to talk about the film and it's creator Hal Warren. The film even finds the filming spots in El Paso and re-visits them with Bernie. Truly a cool moment for lovers of the B Cinema.

However, there are two strong problems with the film. First, it's factually inaccurate. It claims that Bernie is the only man involved still living. That's not true, and anyone that knows about Manos could tell you that. Jackey Neyman, just to name one, is still alive and well. I don't know if it was because they just couldn't find them or they refused, but instead they're just counted as dead. Kind of disrespectful if you ask me.

Secondly, it leaves you wanting more. I would love to see this on a slightly bigger budget with more interviews, better film quality and just flat out longer. Sadly the audience, while dedicated, is small. So this is probably all we're going to get.

And you know what? I was glad to get it.

Choke
(2001)

Madsen and Hopper Just Try So Hard...
Like most everyone who views this movie, I did it for the stars Michael Madsen and Dennis Hopper. The two are extremely underrated and sadly, because of that, have to headline a lot of crap. In this film, Hopper plays a guy who accidentally kills a blackmailer and is offered help from the mysterious Madsen.

The film actually isn't as terrible as it could have been. I've seen both in much worse, both independently and working together (LAPD, horrible film). The direction was pretty poor and the script needed a few re-writes, but both give the best performance possible with the material offered. Also the ending is pretty strong, so you can tell the story had potential. But when a glowing review of a film is, "It could have been much worse", it doesn't say much for the film itself.

All in all, this is one that can easily be skipped if neither of these actors draw you in. But if you're a fan of either or both, give it a watch. They both give strong performances that outshine the obvious flaws of the film. Trust me, there are much worse options out there.

Death Bed: The Bed That Eats
(1977)

Wow...Just Wow
I first heard of this film when Patton Oswalt talked about it on his "Werewolves and Lollipops" CD. He said it was a lost classic that is completely ridiculous. Being a lover of terrible cinema, I knew I was in for a treat.

This film is, hands down, one of the weirdest I've ever seen. Certainly one of the weirdest shlock films. Basically, a demon took human form years ago for a woman, the woman died or something, the demon cried blood, the blood fell on the bed, the bed is now possessed and it now eats. Along with fruit, flowers and chicken, it also has a taste for people. The people can range between horny teens, mayors, gangsters, servants or professional orgy throwers. There's also a sick guy who the bed ate but put his soul behind a picture in the room.

Most movies let you figure out the plot through exciting action. Death Bed takes another path: it basically tells you through narration exactly what's happening while slow, dull murder scenes take place. Also, I must say everyone who's eaten by the bed are surprisingly quiet. I would think if a bed is eating you through the ways of a 5th grade science fair experiment, it would sting a little. I guess nerve endings weren't invented until 1981 or so.

The story is wacky, the direction is slow and pretty awful, the sets are sparse, the acting it fairly painful and the brother is one of the unintentionally ugliest actors I've ever seen. Probably would make a great party film if alcohol and smart-asses are involved. Certainly one you shouldn't miss.

Underworld
(1996)

They Have A lot To Say, But Can Leary Make It Interesting To Hear?
I picked up this movie for a few dollars at a local discount store in town. It advertised Denis Leary & Joe Mantegna, plus the box promised "In the style of The Usual Suspects and Reservoir Dogs". I bought it and threw it on my DVD shelf, not really thinking about it. But last night I was in the mood for some crime, so I threw it in.

I really don't know what to say. The film just kind of falls flat with a whole lot of unnecessary dialogue. I think they were trying to go for a Tarantino thing by having incredibly long scenes of Leary explaining where he wants his money to go or the beauty of Rodgers and Hammerstein, but while somewhat humorous in the end it just seems like padding. That's not to say Leary makes it boring, quite the opposite. Leary is well known for his tirades. And for what he has to work with, he actually keeps the long dialogue bits somewhat watchable.

Joe Mantegna does his best, but his role just isn't very well written. He's mostly there to be a quiet straight-man for Leary's insane ramblings. When given a chance he has shining moments, but those are few and far between.

But as for the rest of the film, it just kind of falls flat without any fanfare. The script is too long and kind of confusing, if only for the fact that major plot points are surrounded by stilted dialogue chunks so you can't really pay attention to grab hear them. Editing is very by the book, however there's a few aesthetically pleasing moments of lighting and direction that might surprise you.

All in all, if you're a strong fan of either Leary or the modern crime genre, it's worth a look for only it's hour and a half run time. But if you have something better or just not in the mood, this film isn't going to turn any heads.

Bogard
(1975)

Fair Revenge Flick
To summarize, Black Fist is about a low-rent street tough named Leroy Fisk who is brought into the world of a black market (no pun intended) street fighting ring. He does well until he refuses to be the white leader's stable boy anymore and wants out. The gang leader then kills his family as a goodbye present, and Leroy has to get revenge on the crime syndicate one by one.

The film itself isn't great. The story is simple and drags from time to time, and the ending is a bit weird. The lighting, as with many Blaxploitation films, leaves much to be desired. But still, all those things aside, this film is surprisingly watchable. The street fights, although no Sonny Chiba or Bruce Lee, are handled well for the most part. And I guess I'm just a sucker for a good revenge flick. So if you're in the mood for some Blaxploitation that you can actually sit through, give this film a shot. Trust me, I've seen much much worse.

Dead Men Walking
(2005)

Hey, Where's Sean Penn?
I really wasn't expecting miracles with this film. It's a low budget zombie film. All I ask is that there's some good splatter and maybe a few original zombie kills. The film is about a virus that spreads in a maximum security prison that turns people into 28-Days-Later Style zombies. The acting in this is good enough. Usually in a piece like this you're expecting acting that turns your stomach inside out. And a few hams aside, it's not so bad.

The plot is pretty thin, but who needs any more. There are a few plot holes, such as why there's a family hanging out in a prison for no apparent reason. And why an inmate is making out with a girl in a random room, other than the filmmakers needed to throw in some tits and couldn't find another way. The direction was competent, which is all you can really ask for in a film like this. The editing had both of it's highs and lows. Well done in some flashback scenes, crappy MTV editing with some of the attacks.

The music was alright. Headbanging rock that can get kind of annoying at times. The costumes and set were maybe the strongest evidence of the low budget. The prisoners of the "Maximum Security Prison" all wore hospital scrubs for some reason, and the guards looked like they were better dressed to guard a mall or a hotel rather than a prison. They even had "Security Officer" patches on their arms for pity's sake. And the set of the "Maximum Security Prison" was obviously an old abandoned jail. They tried to explain it in an aside that the warden liked it that way, but it was obviously an afterthought to explain the poor set.

The ending was a little unsatisfying, in that no one actually got out alive. Not even the main blonde chick. But since there's a precedent in Romero's zombie films, I can't fault them too much. All in all, I would suggest this film if you're a zombie nut such as I am. Otherwise, there's many others I would suggest in the genre over this one.

Stoogemania
(1985)

As Bad As You'd Think
My dad bought this years ago when I was just a kid. I remember watching it with him and remembered some key parts, but almost none of the plot. There's a reason for that: there's no real plot to remember.

Here's the basic plot. A life-long Stoogemaniac by the name of Howard F Howard (Stooge fans will get it) is trying to get married to his girlfriend. But the 3 Stooges are taking over his life as he sees their movies wherever he goes. He runs out during the wedding and goes to live on Stooge Alley: where all the Stoogemaniacs live. This is apparently a newly discovered affliction that causes you to whoop and holler while slapping your Stooge friends. The Stooge center comes ala the men in white coats and pick up the Stoogemaniacs. They put them through a deprogramming system to get them off the Stooges, but in the end it fails as the Stoogemaniacs declare their love in a giant free-for-all pie fight. The movie ends with Howard getting married, with his Stooge friends on hand.

That's literally the entire plot. Most of it is used as a set up to show clips from 3 or 4 public domain Stooge films. Frankly it would be a lot better and more enjoyable to just watch the films by themselves, as 99% of the stuff in between is unfunny garbage. Plus you wouldn't have to watch the same jokes repeated half a dozen different times in the same movie.

The acting sucks, as you would imagine. The only one that might even get a chuckle out of you is Sid Ceasar. But really, what is there to work with? The directing is simple, as it's only needed to set up the next Stooges clip. Two different scenes in two different buildings are shot in the same obviously refurnished room, and the hallway they had on set was used many different times. Probably the most notable things in the movie are the surprise appearances of James Avery (Uncle Phil on Fresh Prince of Bel Air) and Victoria Jackson (SNL). A somewhat skinny James Avery plays an orderly in the institute, and an even skinnier Victoria plays a nurse. She even gets to do one of her famous handstands during the pie fight.

Bottom line, this movie is bad. I know hardcore Stooge fans will probably want to see it, but all I can tell you is that it's not worth it. I just rewatched my dad's old copy for this review, and I've gotta say the only reason I'm not chucking/selling/burning it is because I have a feeling it's pretty hard to find. And with good reason.

Mr. Nanny
(1993)

Box Office Gold (And By Gold, I Mean Poison)
I saw this movie years back when it first came out. I was a kid and a wrestling fan at the time, and Hulk Hogan in a movie? You're darned right I'm going! My brother, dad and I went the very first week it opened! Good thing we did, because it didn't last to week two.

The movie is basically Hogan as an out of work wrestler. His manager/agent Burt (Sherman Helmsley) can't get him any in ring work because him and Hogan told a promoter they weren't throwing matches. You may say, isn't wrestling scripted like a play? Yeah, but this is 1993. That was still a secret. So anyway, Burt can't put him in the ring so he gets him a job as a body guard for a scientist who just created the chip to some missile or something. Hogan thinks he's golden until he learns that he's not guarding the scientist: he's guarding his kids. The kids are little monsters who have terrorized every nanny they've ever had. Plus one added twist we didn't see coming: HOGAN HATES KIDS!!! So who will have the last laugh, Hogan or the kids? The answer: not the audience.

The kids play cruel jokes on Hogan in order to get him to leave. These include short-sheeting his bed, making his exercise bike go really fast and causing him to fall into a pool of red seaweed. I know. The horror. Hogan sticks in there, though, and gets the kids to like him once he spends time with the daughter Kate and teaches the son Alex how to stick up for himself. Of course the son uses his brains, because violence is never the answer. Especially when an ex pro wrestler is on the job.

The kids finally fall in love with the Hulkster for good when he punishes them. If God were kind it would be by him giving Alex a big boot and dropping the legdrop on Kate. Sadly, he doesn't even give the "YOU!!!" finger. After making them sit on a couch for about an hour, the kids finally respect him and listen. Because their dad never did it and that's why he failed, get it? The movie finally ends when the villain who is trying to steal the chip turns out to be the same wrestling promoter Hogan and Burt told to take a hike years back. That's right: a wrestling promoter turned world-domination villain. Not even Vince Russo could write that piece of gold! The villain, who has a metal skull cap for reasons I don't have the energy to type, is finally vanquished and Hogan isn't needed anymore. But he doesn't leave empty handed. He learns an important lesson about a children's love. Plus he ties Kate's dolly to his motorcycle. And good times are had by all. Except those who have sat through this piece of crapola.

I loved this movie when I was a kid. I watched it over and over (haven't watched it since and I still know the whole story). I laughed my head off every time and wondered why it didn't stay in the theaters longer.

Now? Oh, I'll still watch it. But not because I think it's good.

The Devil Thumbs a Ride
(1947)

My Unicorn Is Found
In 2002, Reservoir Dogs came out with their 10th Anniversary Edition DVD. Included in the set was a tribute to the actor who played Joe Cabot: Lawrence Tierney. The cast had mixed feelings towards Tierney but all agreed on one thing: he was amazing in The Devil Thumbs A Ride. I had never heard of this film, but immediately went on a hunt for it. I checked every tape trader online and couldn't find the sucker. For a year and a half it became my Unicorn (something you want but always seem to just miss). So when through dumb luck I found that TCM was showing it one Friday night I canceled my plans and set my VCR.

The film is about bank robber Steve Morgan. After pulling a late night robbery, he takes a ride with slightly tipsy salesman Jimmy Ferguson driving back home to California. On the way they pick up two ladies who are also on their way to Cali. Through several seemingly logical mishaps, Morgan convinces Fergie to evade police, back up over an officer and hide out at a friend's house until morning. The way Morgan manipulates the passengers is really quite something, and there are moments of true suspense in the friend's house. Some of the acting from the lesser characters can be a little corny, but Tierney is more than enough reason to watch. And the climax is especially good.

This is a film that I highly recommend. That is, if you can find it. Good luck and happy hunting.

Kung Phooey!
(2003)

Pee Pee In Your Coke
I've known about Kung Phooey for a while now. I've been seeing it for about a year on my local Hollywood Video shelf. I mean, come on. It's kind of hard to miss the cover of the DVD box. I've been meaning to watch it for a while, it looking like a cheaper version of a favorite film of mine: Kung Pow. Finally I picked it up the other day for a chuckle. Did I get what I wanted? Well, yes and no.

Kung Phooey is not really a bad movie for what it is. It's a low budget spoof of the Kung Fu genre. And, at times, it works as such. But the sad truth is that it falls into the pitfall of 90% of low budget comedies. It just doesn't know how to tell a joke. The joke is set up and given, but the punchline just kind of falls flat and without much fanfare. I don't know what is with low budget comedies like this. Perhaps it's too long of a pause after a punchline. Perhaps it's silly music to accentuate the punchline. If I had more time and effort, I'm sure I could do a very revealing study on it. However, I'm a very lazy man.

So in summation, Kung Phooey is not necessarily a bad film. The script is good enough, the acting is good enough, the filming is good enough. For a low budget film, at least you can see the director knows what he's doing. But it just kind of sits like cardboard in that it's not funny. Truly, I would give this film a 4.5 if I could. But seeing that I can tell they had good intentions and they tried their best, I'll give them the benefit of the curve.

Love.com
(2002)

Deadlier Than A Computer Virus
I just watched this film 15 minutes ago, and I still have no idea what I just watched. Mainly I think it's a film about an internet S&M "star" of CD Roms that are about as realistic as flash cartoons online. She's murdered by someone, which causes her sister and a crack team of 2 FBI agents to investigate the death. The local homicide division of Big City, USA is also investigating, though most of his work comes by the way of oogling the CD ROMs which he claims are as realistic "as the real thing". I know. Wow.

Michael Madsen is the only one in the film that has any kind of credits behind him. He's in the film for about 15 minutes, and half of that is him banging the main girl for seemingly no apparent reason. I won't even explain the ending, because quite frankly I can't make it out myself. But before the final scene, we're treated to a 3 or 4 minute montage of everything in the film. Honestly, they could have ran that then the final scene and it would have been the same effect with the cross eyed direction and all.

All in all, stay away from this film. I got it because I love bad movies and I love Michael Madsen. I really could have used that 80 some minutes on something else and have been more satisfied. Like, playing that game with a knife where you jab at your hand repeatedly. That for 80 minutes would be much more entertaining.

L.A.P.D.: To Protect and to Serve
(2001)

Like Dark Blue and Training Day but, you know, not
I found this DVD at Big Lots for $2. With badly photoshopped images of Dennis Hopper and Michael Madsen (obviously from a Reservoir Dogs promo) on the cover, I had very low expectations. But I'll give this movie credit. At least the director has some idea of what he was doing. Unlike other crap films like "Cheerleader Ninjas" and "Tha Sistahood", this one could actually direct the camera in a way that didn't make you want to blow your brains out. But when saying the director wasn't doing hits off of a crack pipe while working is the best compliment to give a movie, that's still pretty bad.

The story is basically about how corrupt the LAPD is. This corruption is basically revolving around a half dozen or so cops. That's pretty well contained, I must say. There's also a subplot of guys robbing convenience stores that goes nowhere. And another subplot of the main guy's love affair with a cop groupie. That one may be uninspired, but the sex scene is probably the funniest I've ever seen in my life. The two roll around naked under covers in the most awkward positions possible while the guy grinds his loins and gives the most painful grimaces is the history of man. Honestly, it just has to be seen to believed.

Casting sucks. Dennis Hopper is in the movie for a total of about 10 minutes, and looks like he's in physical pain having to deliver the insultingly bad script. Madsen is in there for more and seems less affected, but he's no stranger to a bad script. I've sat through films with him that were much worse, so this is nothing new to him. The hot young cop who owns the nickname Cowboy (because, you know, they want to be original) looks about 40. One fatboy cop, who looks mid-thirties, has a non-touching scene with his "mother" of 45. The constant unexplained parties at fatboy's "mansion" have the same people who seem not to change their clothes for weeks on end.

But the worst part of this film is the logic. Cops w/ bullet proof vests take shots like Superman without barely a flinch. Whenever there's a shootout within 20 square feet, nobody considers taking cover from the bullets. And why should they? Trained LAPD officers are known for being terrible shots anyway, right? There's also no sense in ballistics when detectives come around.

Bottom line, this film may suck noodles but I've seen Madsen in worse (Against All Hope, Executive Target, My Boss's Daughter, etc). Unless you're a big fan of his, as I am, stay away from this film.

Against All Hope
(1982)

Beating Alcoholism: The Quick and Easy Way
Here's how you do it: Believe in God and repent for your sins. Then things should turn around within the next day or so.

Until the last fifteen minutes, this movie just plays as a bad recap of a drunk's crappy life. His mom dies. His stepmom's a b_tch. His dad dies. He drinks. He gets married. He has kids. He drinks some more. His wife gets mad. He disappoints his kids. The wife threatens to leave. He calls up a reverend late night b/c he wants to kill himself. Then after the recap happens, that's when we get the "Left Behind"-like subtle message.

"He needed a paycheck". This is the phrase I had to repeat over and over once credits started to roll so I wouldn't lose my respect for Madsen.

Madsen drops to his knees and begs Christ's forgiveness. Once he does, he walks outside and actually says that he sees the world in a different way. He tells his wife that he's found God and that's good enough for her. Flip scene four months and the wife is tired of going to church. End the movie as Madsen walks by the bar and gives a soliloquy about how happy he is with Christ and without alcohol. Final moment? He gives a little dismissive wave to the bar (i.e. sin house) and give a gay, Miami-Vice, after-school special congratulatory jump in the air as the camera freeze-frames. See why I had to repeat the phrase? "He needed a paycheck".

Man this movie is bad. The B-Grade 80's production values don't help much. The script could have easily been a "Touched By An Angel" episode. It could have been knocked out in 30 minutes plus commercials. The acting is wooden and never believable. Even Madsen, of whom I'm a big fan and is the sole reason I sat through this, makes it clear that this is his first acting job and he doesn't know his a$$ from his elbow yet on camera. 45 minutes into it I started to get discouraged. This thing was like homework. I just wanted to put it away and say that alright, I saw half of it. That's good enough. But no. If I sat through Cheerleader Ninjas, I could sit throughout this.

The only reason I'm not giving this thing a 1 is for two points: 1) I love Madsen. I know it's not fair. But it's great seeing the opening title "Introducing Michael Madsen". Sue me. 2) Some of the Dialogue is so bad that it's classic. I'll stick some quotes at the end of this so you can enjoy them too.

That's about it. To wrap it up ,this thing is a piece of crap that should stay flushed with the rest of the turds. But hey! Look! Michael Madsen! (See also TILT, EXECUTIVE TARGET, MY BOSS'S DAUGHTER, etc). Now I've gotta rewatch Reservoir Dogs and watch Madsen torture a cop to get my respect back for him. See ya, Kids.

"This stuff's gonna make me go blind, but I'm gonna drink it anyway" - Madsen's first taste of cheap alcohol

"I don't understand! Everything seems so beautiful!" - Madsen walking outside after confessing to God

"I'm going downtown later and pick up a bible and I'm gonna get a haircut too" - Madsen after converting at the dinner table, because Satan lives in your hair

Ready to Rumble
(2000)

Real Fans Should Take Offense To This
I usually don't comment on a movie if it has a bunch of comments already. I figure, what's the point? I'd rather comment on a movie that only has 3 or 4 reviews so people can get a fresh perspective. But screw it. I hold this movie as something that should not only be seen as a bad film, but something that should never be viewed by anyone. If we ever start burning media for censorship reasons (with Bush holding the reigns that should be sometime next month), I'm gonna throw the original prints of this piece of crap on there first. Then I'll boycott the burning.

I really don't know who likes a movie like this. The film itself is too stupid and insulting for real wrestling fans to like. And it has too many esoteric jokes and situations in it to hold a non fan's interest. So I guess it's someone who really liked Russo's booking around this time came out. Anyone who turned into WCW with excitement for the next PPV around this time. In other words, anyone with a lukewarm IQ.

I've been a fan of wrestling for nearly all my life. It was because of wrestling I got interested in acting, which is what I'm doing to this day. It was because of heels like The Million Dollar Man and Shawn Michaels that I love a great villain (Castor Troy, Tyler Durden, Frank in Once Upon A Time In The West). I hold a great respect for the business and I see it as not only a form of theater, but an art form in and of itself. To watch two wrestlers who really know what they're doing in the ring put a match together is a thing of beauty. People in the past like Ric Flair & Ricky Steamboat. People now like Chris Benoit, Eddie Guererro & Kurt Angle. Professional Wrestling is the most underrated art form in the world, especially in the USA. At least it's somewhat seen higher than a sweaty circus in Mexico and Japan.

Part of the reason is the poor image. Wrestlers are seen as bad actors who pretend to fight and hit each other with folding chairs. In turn, anyone who's a fan is just an idiot yokel who got the night off of working the Dairy Queen to come see the rasslin men fight real durn good. And it doesn't help that we got movies like "No Holds Barred" and "Bodyslam" that just perpetuate that image back in the 80's and back in the days of Kayfabe. But now that we've accepted the notion of "sports entertainment", we've moved on. We've accepted that it's a form of theater and it's all for our entertainment. It's not real. We get that. And that's the fun of it.

That's why this film is a slap in the face. Not just the crappy acting and even crappier story. But the fact that this movie says not only do wrestling fans all believe that what happens in the ring is real, but that the movie actually SAYS that it's all real! It's like the writers, producers, and directors all got together, flew to your house, crapped in your mouth, then went to the next name on their list.

OK, I've gotten this off my chest. But I'll be angry at this film forever more until someone puts out a wrestling movie that doesn't just exist to get a cheap buck of the fans. If you want something close to that, try "Beyond the Mat" or "Wrestling With Shadows". They're documentaries, yes. But they show a glimmer of truth to the business that nothing else has yet to do.

Executive Target
(1997)

Kidnapping The President: For Dummies
Just the premise of this film sounds horrible. An ex-Hollywood stunt driver, arrested on a minor crime, is broken out of prison and forced to drive the getaway car for a plot to kidnap the President of the United States. Would probably make a fun video game. As a film? Well...

This movie is kind of like a magic show. It's point is to distract you and make you think that something it happening. You sit there thinking "Wow, this movie sucks...Cool, a car blew up!" And they use every car chase cliché in the book. Cars bunny-hopping inexplicably. Driving through boxes of fruit while people jump out of the way. They even have a woman pushing a freaking baby carriage. I yank you not, a freaking baby carriage! There's a line a character mutters after a huge explosion: "Now tell me that doesn't give you a hard on". Somewhere, Jerry Bruckheimer is stroking himself in agreement. I'd bet all that I own that with a little bit of a reworked plot, a bigger budget and a few A-List stars, this would be a total Bruckheimer flick.

As I said before, the story is dull and predictable. The acting is wooden and hard to swallow. Even Madsen, whom I rented this solely on the fact that he's on the cover holding a gun, feels like he's going through the motions and just looks bored with the entire thing. But it does have shut-your-brain-off boom-booms, and they are done fairly well. Even if it does take only a half dozen people, a couple of which are untrained in any sort of combat, to take down an entire evil military base. If it's ever on late at night and the batteries on the remote are dead, I'd probably watch it again. So if you get a chance to see it for free and you honest to God have nothing better to do, it beats the hell out of some films I've seen.

Vampires Anonymous
(2003)

Thankfully Good
Put yourself in my shoes. You're walking through your local Blockbuster. You've gone through all the new releases, not finding anything worth watching. Finally, you get to the V's. Sitting there is a movie called Vampires Anonymous. Always a fan of a camp fest, you pick it up. But who is it on the cover? Why it's one of your favorite under-appreciated actors Michael Madsen sitting on a motorcycle. You read the back of the box that says the movie is about a 12 step program for Vampires. Low budget. Little known. This has to be bad.

Then you watch it. And to your delight, it's surprisingly good. Has a good amount of dark humor. Really original story. Some fun action sequences. Only gripe is could have had a little more Madsen. But that's alright. Because the movie was still enjoyable without him.

All in all, this is a good film. Nice to see an original take on the vampire theme. Sometimes that can blow up in your face like the Dracula musical on Broadway at the moment that's bombing hard. But this film has just the right mix of action/drama/humor to keep you interested.

Cheerleader Ninjas
(2002)

I was expecting bad, but...
...damn.

This "film" looks like it was done by a high school journalism class. It seems to never know if it wants to go porno or comedy. There really is nothing to save this film. The story is something about computers and cheerleaders. I think the cheerleaders are whores and that ticks off moms or something. So they send other bigger whores to beat the hell out of the cheerleader whores. And I think there's a bomb defused at the end. Plus it has gay guys. It's movies like this that make me sad that someone financed it.

The only reason it gets one above the lowest is because it made me chuckle once. And if you ever ask me in public if that happened, I swear to God I'll deny it up and down.

Somebody to Love
(1994)

Dull and Annoying
I'm sorry, but this movie is just way to shallow for me. In it, Perez is a taxi dancer with boyfriend Keitel trying to make it as an actress. First of all, what the hell is a taxi dancer? Even after sitting through this, I still don't know. Oh yeah, Perez also inspires DeLorenzo to follow her like a lovesick puppy. There's no reason behind the love, it just kind of happens. There are times when the characters and events really try to pull at your heartstrings, but it rarely works. The only character you really do feel anything for or with is Keitel's character, and that's only because he does such a good job with it. Any other actor and the character would have been just like the others.

The script is basically an uninspired rehashing about how hard it is to make it as an actor/actress. It's been done and said before, the language and dialog sounds like it was written by a street pimp. The ending is...well, I don't want to spoil it. Let's just say it feels unsatisfying. I'd be more upset if the story was any good to begin with. The directing is average with nothing truly wonderful, but nothing that is really painful to watch either. To reiterate the acting, the only one that does anything worth watching is Keitel. Though I could have lived on without seeing him in tiger print bikini underwear.

Oh yeah, Eddie Bunker shows up. As random as that mention is, that's how random it is in the film. And Tarantino does his director buddy a favor by showing up for about 20 seconds.

The Punisher
(2004)

No Remorse
OK, this film had problems. MANY PROBLEMS. MANY MANY PROBLEMS. MANY MANY MANY...you get the point. But the thing that irked me to the breaking point was the complete and total lack of remorse. By anyone. The Punisher had no remorse for his family. Sure, the script said he did. But just because that's his back story, doesn't mean he shows any of it.

He watches his mom get shot right in front of him, says "Mom?" like she just stumbled over a footstool or stubbed her toe, then just grabs guns and starts shooting. He has no remorse over his mother's death. Then he shoots some bad guys, goes outside with his dad, and watches his father get shot in the back. Again, no remorse. He just knocks the baddie down and runs w/ his dad lying dead. Jumps on a motorcycle. Chases the truck which is chasing his wife and son. Wife and son wipe out, kid hurts his arm, says "My arm hurts", easily crawls on said arm to get out of truck. Wife and son run then get run over, when they certainly had an option of jumping off the deck. Punisher finds them, picks them up & grunts an almost-emotion. Drops them and sees pickup truck that somehow turned around on the skinny dock. Forgets about dead family, tries to shoot a freakin pickup truck, gets shot in the chest, left for dead in firey explosion.

Travolta also had no remorse. Everything he finds on his friend and wife could have several explanations. If this were an episode of Three's Company, it would turn out they were planning a birthday party for him. Has no remorse for his friend's or wife's death. Just kills them both and goes to the 9th Annual Black Suit Convention, offering them a suitcase full of money to kill a guy who isn't exactly being secretive about his whereabouts.

The only ones who showed unnecessary remorse were the three stooges in the apartment building. Piercing Dave, who has been cemented as a weakling, gets every piercing pulled out without talking. When the (surprise surprise) shirtless Punisher asks why, he says "we're a family". No. No. No you're not. I laughed out loud at that line. That was, literally, the worst line in the entire movie. And that's a bold statement, with all the crappy, 80's action one-liners we had.

OK, so I didn't just cover the lack of remorse. I kind of gave it an all over glaze of crap. But quite honestly, after the first hour I was praying for a fire, tornado, flash flood; just an excuse to leave the movie.

CAUTION - DO NOT SCREEN THIS FILM NEAR AN OPEN FLAME AVOID AT ALL COSTS

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