Awesome Eats in Atlanta, Georgia: Ann's Snack Bar and The Ghettoburger

So here’s another exciting tale of adventure and unhealthy foodstuffs from my trip to Atlanta, Georgia a week ago.

While I was staying up there, I heard tale of a giant, crazy, greasy burger called The Ghettoburger, served at a small out of the way location called Ann’s Snack Bar.

Based on the name I looked it up on Google, and was quickly greeted with pictures of absolute horror, beef patties, cheese and grease arranged in was that would make even the most enthusiastic burger aficionado think twice.

I did some more research to find that it was named The Best Burger in America by a writer from The Wall Street Journal.

That was all I needed to hear, I had to put this burger monstrosity in my tummy box.

So I traversed the cross town drive to find Ann’s, it’s a tiny inconspicuous building off a road near I-20, in a neighborhood, that might be a little on the sketchy side. I got there before it opened, ended up having to wait around for a half hour or so. Thankfully the joint had a nice shaded screened in porch, cause it was a quite the warm day in the ATL.

The thing about Ann’s is that it’s really tiny, so only about 8 people can come and sit at the bar at any given time, and when you’re there, you’ve got to obey Ann’s rules. No Cell Phones, and No Swearing are two of the big ones. You don’t talk to Ann unless you’re spoken too, and you have to be ready to order when she’s ready to take it. It’s a little harsh, but Ann’s an old southern lady, so one can assume she just doesn’t want to take any shit from no one.

So I sat at the bar once the place opened, next to some Atlanta Natives who were also going to experience the Ghettoburger for the first time.

Ms. Ann took the orders in a very matter of fact way, writing everything down, taking names, and being a bit more intimidating that you’d expect for a tiny lady such as herself. She does all the cooking herself, with just one assistant, so she takes all the orders and then cooks everyone’s burgers at the same time.

I got my taste of Ms. Ann’s attitude when I ordered my drink. She serves lemonade and red drink, probably fruity punch, out of plastic jugs, and I requested to get them mixed half and half for my beverage. She gave me a look and said, “NO. We don’t mix them.” No reason, nor any argument, just NO.

The burgers consist of these giant patties that she plops down onto a grill, covers with onions, and once done she douses them liberally in a whole lot of seasoning salt, while you sit about four feet away having the magical aroma of coked meat fill your nostrils. So these are well made burgers to say the least, add cheese and bacon and these things get a little bit frightening, but when she adds the spoonful of chili as the final topping that’s when you know shit just got real.

So to be clear, my Ghettoburger consisted of two giant patties, two slices of cheese, a strip of bacon, lettuce, onions, tomato, ketchup, chili, and mayo.

So while my burger came out far more normal looking that some of the pictures I’d seen online, I still had to cut in in half to eat it, cause it was the sort of giant burger that you have a hard time even getting a bit into.

Now the thing is, I ended up not entirely caring for the chili, I thought it overpowered the burger flavor a bit, but aside from that The Ghettoburger was pretty badass. Giant, greasy, and tasty, along with various other artery clogging adjectives.

I wouldn’t call it the best burger in the USA, I prefer some sauteed onions and mushrooms, thousand island, and the occasional wacky ingredient, but I’d say it’s worth stopping by to try if you’re in the ATL. I can see myself making the pilgrimage to Ann’s Snack Bar the next time I’m in town. Cause the burger felt right. It felt down and dirty, and home cooked. It felt southern, it felt like a big FUCK YOU to the shitty, tiny burgers of fast food, and it felt like something special.

It’s the sort of thing you’d normally eat on a day when life’s got you down, and you have to say to the world “I don’t  care about these troubles of mine, grease and meat shall conquer all.”

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Awesome Eats in Atlanta, Georgia: Gladys Knight's Chicken and Waffles

So this past weekend I went up to Atlanta to hang out with my friend Richard, and see The Pixies.

I made him take me to Gladys Knight’s Chicken and Waffles.

I had seen the restaurant on the travel channel, and knew that I had to go there while I was spending some time in the ATL.

The outside of the building isn’t overly impressive, it’s a little bit run down looking from the side, but the neon sign is pretty classy. It’s located on Peachtree in Atlanta, in the midtown area. It’s an easy enough place to get to, even if the parking nearby is a little bit on the expensive side at night. But that’s not even a big deal, cause when you’re going to a fancy restaurant that’s open till 4 am on Saturdays, it’s nice to not have to park far away in a big city.

That’s right, it’s a fancy place.

It’s really nice on the inside, with big comfy booth seating, and dimmed lighting that gives the whole place a wonderful feeling of class. I pretty much loved the inside, it just made you feel like you were eating at a respectable establishment, which is the sort of treatment that southern foods don’t get as much as they should. Which isn’t to say that southern foods aren’t respectable, as a southern boy myself I have a keen love for many things chickeny, and I love grits. It’s just most of the time you get such foods at places like Waffle House, which are sketchy to say the least.

I ordered the signature meal, the Midnight Train.

One giant waffle, and four giant fried chicken wings.

I also got a side order of cheese grits, cause like I said before I’m a good ole southern boy.

These were easily the biggest chicken wings I’d ever had. Honestly I’m used to the tiny wings that you get at wings places fore takeout, or the tiny ones you get as appetizers. But these were huge. I only managed to finish two.

They were pretty good, unbattered, the flavor was more natural than most wings I’ve had, there was a little bit of the seasoning flavor, but the chicken did a lot of the work. As you’re having chicken with your waffle it is custom to have syrup with both, and that’s what made the chicken really work.

While I liked the chicken, I loved the waffle.

I’d consider myself a connoisseur of waffles, I love Waffle House with all my heart, I love waffle cones, waffle fries, and consider the Belgian Waffle to be the best thing that has ever come out of Belgium.

So it’s no exaggeration when I saw that Glads Knights waffle was superb. The waffles there are malted, so they taste a little bit different than your average waffle, and it seemed a little bit more dense, but it was delicious. It was a soft and fluffy waffle, which I prefer to the alternate crispy style. Wonderful, and mouthgasmic with butter and syrup.

I can easily recommend the restaurant on the strength of their waffle alone.

But I don’t have too; cause they’ve got a great atmosphere, and good chicken, not to mention an entire menu of other appetizing foods and deserts.

I can easily say that I’ll be going back next time I’m up in the ATL.

Liar by THE JESUS LIZARD is Awesome

So I first heard of The Jesus Lizard back a couple of years ago; ran across their name at some point online while searching for loud abrasive music.

I think I was looking up music associated with producer Steve Albini, the guy who produced The Pixies and the Mclusky album that I really really like. At one point he was quoted as saying that The Jesus Lizard was the best band in the world.

Well that was a good enough reason for me to give them a listen. I looked up which album of theirs was supposed to be the best, found out is was their 1992 album Liar, put it on a mp3 CD and put it in my car.

To be honest, the first couple of times that I tried to listen to it, I didn’t get very far. The music was loud, crazy sounding, and well sometimes it just takes me a bit to warm up to new music.

Especially music in which the singer does his best to sound like a raving madman as much as possible. Some would say that it’s an endearing quality of the group; while I won’t go that far I will say that the way that singer David Yow belts out his partially indecipherable lyrics is unique.

A lot of the time you can’t really understand him, and he doesn’t really go in tune with the music, or really in tune with anything. It’s a little creepy at times honestly. But it’s part of their musical Je ne sais quoi, if you will.

Considering that, the thing that really makes The Jesus Lizard stand out is that their music is awesome. Right from the very first instant of sound the guitars are crunchy, and explosive. It’s like an awesome musical punch in the face. It’s disorienting, and amazing, and you’re thrown into this world of crazy man screams and distortion.

The first song Boilermaker pretty much sets the tone for the record. It’s got this repeating riff that is all grindy, and then there’s a crazy breakdown part, and it’s loud and awesome.

The second song, my favorite of the album, and one of my favorite loud awesome songs of all time, Gladiator is a standout. It’s got a pounding drum beat that goes with a bassline that just powers through most of the song, this sort of loud violent pulse. The chorus breaks it up with the guitars coming in violently over the crazy dude, there’s some more noise, and things crescendo even more. I’ll use the word awesome again here to describe the song: Awesome.

The thing is that the music is really measured and exacting, you can tell that the chugging and the noise explosions are done with precision and skill, they’re a great foil for the crazy vocals, which is why the band works.

The album changes from the sonic assault of the first few songs to a slower yet still crazy self at times, but it just shows that The Jesus Lizard has the chops to do variety. Songs like Slave Ship and Zachariah, are almost tortured feeling in their slow intensity.

It’s just great to hear loud crazy music that doesn’t have to fall into all the silly trappings of Metal. They’re frequently lumped with the noise rock guys, but The Jesus Lizard aren’t unfocused in their attack, they’re pretty meticulous in their intensity. You always feel like theirs this sort of musical violent intensity that just boils below the surface of their sound.

So yeah I’m pretty sure I’ve gotta practice a lot more with the whole writing thing before I can pop out the sort of metaphor filled reviews filled with musical hyperbole that the likes of Pitchfork can pop out, but I’m workin on it.

I’ll fall back on my favorite descriptive word here to describe Liar, the 1992 album by the band The Jesus Lizard.

AWESOME.

But hey, not everything I write about can be silly movies that I can post funny captioned screencaps from, so deal with it.

Also I might invest some more time in using a thesaurus.

Bionic Ninja

Guest post by Richard

There are no bionics in Godfrey Ho’s Bionic Ninja, or anything relating to any sort of advanced super technology. Bionic Ninja is another shining example of Godfry Ho making his art, his crapft*, and his desire to profit off dumb westerners or something like that, the movie’s over 20 years old.

Nothing this cool is in the movie

For those of you who are unaware of Godfry Ho, he was a maker of movies in Hong Kong in the 70s and 80s. He “made” movies in the same manner of way that Dr. Frankenstein made his monster, splicing together two movies. Every Godfrey Ho movie is actually two films, one a unfinished Chinese film, that is then spliced together with footage of western actors doing stuff involving ninjas (this is the stuff Godfrey Ho directs). Usually the actors show up, shoot their scenes, and then this footage is stretched out over multiple films. Most actors were not even aware that this was taking place. Richard Harrison has said that the experience led to his retirement and described the experience of working with Godfrey Ho as

“This experience made me feel very dirty. I really felt like a prostitute. They were thrown in my face all the time. I saw part of one once, it had something to do with witches. I don’t think I had more than a couple of scenes in it. ”

He made this man feel like a whore

Godfrey Ho would try to make the two movies seem as one by having the white characters discuss what was going on in the other film or make it seem like they had scenes together. This is usually done in such a way that it seems like the editing in of Raymond Burr in Godzilla seem masterful.

Needless to say Godfrey Ho is a God.

DIOS!!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Anyway back to Bionic Ninja, it’s one of Godfrey Ho’s lesser works- in the sense that some of his movies can be amazingly entertaining. The plot is not important or understandable- it involves something regarding the KGB using ninjas to smuggle secrets in and out of Hong Kong and then the Chinese film that all the ninja scenes are edited around is dubbed over to make it seem like there was a microfilm that was stolen that had these secrets. This all leads to a bunch of real boring spliced with some moments of just perfect like awfulness.

Despite all that the movie is entrancing, it’s just so bad that you can’t avert your eyes from it, and once you’re in-you’re in for good. The movie works its magic and turns off your brain eventually leaving you in a coma like state…or asleep. The dubbing is terrible, the acting is terrible, and the action is terrible. The dialogue is laughable and with the dubbing added on top of it, it becomes pure gold. Lines like:

“The information is 99% accurate”

“Well since it is that reliable we have no choice”

become rivals of the best David Mamet ever wrote in just pure entertainment value.

I can’t really write anymore on this-it’s just terrible, but I love it anyway.

Godfrey Ho now teaches “film” at the Hong Kong Film Institute. A majority of his films are public domain and thus are on google video, watch at your own risk.

*intentional

LETHAL NINJA

I like to consider myself a budding connoisseur of the late 80’s early 90’s ninja film.

Having seen my fair share of films from the era, I feel that I’ve had enough experience with that genre to present a fairly qualified critical viewpoint. Having seen the entirety of the American Ninja series, Revenge of the Ninja, Ninja 3: The Domination, Enter the Ninja, Gymkata, the more modern Ninja Assasin, and all of the films in the Three Ninjas franchise.

The thing about all of these films, is that for the most part they’re all borderline incompetent, but in a good way. Cause in the 80’s all you needed to make a ninja movie was a crappy plot, enough money for a few explosions, and a bunch of black leotards.

Which brings us to Lethal Ninja, a 1993 entry into the ninja-sploitation genre.

The movie takes place in Africa,you know a place where there are generally tons of ninjas, we start off by watching some blond lady working at a science lab, analyzing some water samples. There’s some beakers and test tubes ad everyone has lab coats and they’re talking about ho the water in the area has gone bad.

Then all of the sudden some ninjas show up, just popping out of nowhere, kill everyone but the blond lady, who they kidnap. They then promptly shoot rockets at the tent full of science stuff, it explodes.

We soon meet the hero of the story JOE. He’s teaching some meditation in San Fransisco. Some government looking dudes show up to give Joe the bad news. He finds out the blond lady, who it turns out was his wife, has been kidnapped; and so he decides to go to Africa to go get her.

But not before he decides that he’s gonna need the help of his black friend from black buddy from back in the day, who kinda reminds me of Eddie Murphy. He picks him up at a dojo, and they go to Africa, armed with some crossbows and guns and stuff, not really anything particularly ninja-esque.

They get into Africa under the excuse of it being a hunting expedition, and check into a decent hotel, which just happens to be the very same hotel run by the bad guy of the movie, and also conveniently enough the very same hotel in which the blond scientist lady is being held captive! There’s two main bad guys, one is the old guy who has something to do with the government or an evil corporation or something, and the sleazy younger guy, who also might have something to do with the government or an evil corporation or something. I don’t really remember the motivations beyond the fact that someone was dumping all sorts of toxic waste into the water supply in this small African nation, and some other people were paying some people off to let it happen. Possibly, I’m pretty sure it was something like that.

Our heroes decide to take a night on the town, while they look for some contact of theirs that’s got the lowdown on the local situation, there’s a rather long scene of this chick signing, it’s a crappy filler scene,the chick is in too much of the movie, she’s like the younger bad guy’s girlfriend or something. Then the bad guys harass some government officials, and then the heroes get in a small bar fight, then they run into their contact who tells them to meet him the next day.

There’s a few scenes of the blond chick being stuck in a swank hotel with the sleazy younger bad dude, trying to hit on her, and or persuade her to join his cause/team/side on the toxic waste issue, I think he just wants a new girl. She’s like “aaawww hell naw, my man will save me”.

The heroes meet their contact, who tells them that they have to meet up with other dude, and for some reason they’ve gotta do this at what happens to be a random carnival, they find the guy on a carousel that ominously starts up on its own to reveal that the guy who they were supposed to meet has be murder killed to death with a knife.

Then it turns out that someone has put bombs on their cars!

The contact guy gets exploded, but the heroes survive.

The go to the site of the science tent massacre that took place in the first scene, and then drive up to this old abandoned, factory/mill place and end up finally fighting some ninjas. In Africa. With No Asian People In Sight. That was really one of the best things about the late 80’s and early 90’s, it didn’t matter if ninjas made sense, people liked them, and so they showed up in movies. The thing is at this point in the movie the heroes haven’t done anything ninja related either, they go into this fight with guns and a crossbow with explosive tipped arrows.

You get ninjas jumping outta trees, different colored ninjas falling off buildings, ninjas hiding in the shadows, and then some ninjas jumping out at Joe with swords.After he defeats them in clumsily choreographed combat, there’s a quick rip off of an iconic scene from Raiders of The Lost Ark. This one ninja jumps outta nowhere with some nunchucks, swings them about all threatening-like, and then just gets shot in the chest by Joe, which makes you wonder why he didn’t just shoot the other few ninjas, they were clearly inept after all.

After a small car chase they intrepid duo heads bad to the hotel for some rest, they discover some sort of plant near the hotel, and they begin to put the pieces of the plot together.

After a few boring scenes Joe finally dresses up in black like a ninja and heads off for the films best scene. He sneaks into what appears to be a roller rink. He sneaks into the place, all the lights are off and it’s almost mysterious, but then the lights turn on and he’s surrounded by ninjas.

Surrounded by ninjas on roller skates.

Yeah, roller skates, not even roller blades, which were still kinda cool back in the 90’s, but just plain old roller skates. And then all of the sudden they’re not just plain old roller skates, knives pop outta the sides! It’s like they’re Swiss army skates of death.

Then all the ninjas begin to skate around menacingly. The attack Joe one at a time, and he manages to takeout a few through his brand of poor mans kung fu. The scene ends when he throws his sword at the lights to make his quick escape, leaving the viewer to wonder why the ninjas had skates in the first place, and what this scene had to do with anything. I’m pretty sure the writers of the film were tasked with coming up with something involving ninjas that nobody had seen before, and the best they could do was ninjas on skates. I mean it is amazing and all, but it doesn’t really fit into the context of the film very well, what with it being a movie about kidnapping, pollution, and Africa.

Speaking of which, the next part has Joe and his buddy sneaking into the pollution plant under the cover of night. I’m pretty sure that the plant consists mostly of some water slides that they put some foliage around, and tried to make look more industrial.

The black dude is gets trapped in one of the big pipes, and almost gets killed by toxic waste, but in doing so he figures out the bad guys evil plot. Which is cool cause it makes almost care, but not really.

The Old dude bad guy shows up, this time with a monocle, and he’s got ninjas with machine guns, so the good guys get captured. Then they get tortured a bit, then they get freed by the bad dudes girl friend, the annoying one who sang too much in he filler scene earlier, cause she’s tired of the bad guy being a dick and always trying to hit on the blond scientist lady.

They then run around for a bit looking for blond scientist lady until they find her, the old guy bad guy gets killed and then everyone is reunited. Yay, but we still gotta take care of the other bad guy, cause he’s a dick.

Turns out he’s at that old factory place from earlier in the movie that we first encountered the ninjas at, also turns out that that’s a mine. So the bad dude makes his way to the top of a large tower for a dramatic and exciting showdown with our heroes. Wait make that hero, cause right when they get to the bottom of the big tower, the black dude, whose name I just remembered was PETER, just all of the sudden decides he doesn’t care about getting the bad guy anymore.

At the top of the tower Joe fights some more ninjas, who I guess were just waiting up there. The thing is, this is the last few minutes of the movie, and the final ninja related scene, and it’s also the most comically inept. The fight is slow, and it really looks like the actors were having a hard time trying to look even remotest bit convincing.

Just when you think that Joe and the bad guy are actually gonna fight, this one ninja sneaks up behind Joe. So Joe rolls outta the way a little bit, and makes the ninja accidentally stab his boss, who then gets hit off the top of the tower. It’s a bit anticlimactic if you’re looking for anything resembling competence.

So that’s pretty much Lethal Ninja.

Compared to quality films it doesn’t hold up very well, but when compared to other low budget action films, well you could still do quite a bit better.

But for the ninja enthusiast, who doesn’t mind their ninja films having no real reason to have ninjas; well, you’ll probably be amused. There’s a number of unintentionally funny parts, and there’s even a few explosions, and as a whole the film entertains, just not because it’s cool or anything like that. The film entertains, cause you can just tell that the filmmakers weren’t trying very hard when they made it.

It’s a movie that you don’t have to respect, it doesn’t very hard, and you don’t have to put much effort into watching it.

Compared to other ninja films, I’d say it’s worse than American Ninja parts 1, 2,and 3, but at least on par with American Ninja 5.

Lethal Ninja is available on Netflix Instant Watch at the moment, but the cover art they have for it is for a totally different movie. You either watch it on Netflix or you find a VHS copy, cause it never got a DVD release.

Nobody Likes M. Night Shyamalan

This past Thursday night at midnight I ventured to my local movie theatre to see The Expendables.

It was amazing, if you were wondering whether or not you should see it, ask yourself “Do I want to see Terry Crews turning people into people puddles with an automatic shotgun?”

Of course the answer is yes.

But that’s neither here nor there, right now were gonna talk about the trailer for the new movie written by M. Night Shyamalan, called Devil.

It’s about some people stuck in an elevator in a building, and some creepy stuff starts goin on, and I’m guess by the title that at least one of the people in the movie is a demon/monster/satan sort of person. It looks mildly amusing, but it also looks like it has the potential to be dumbtarded.

The thing is, at the point the trailer says “from M. Night Shyamalan”  a good portion of the theatre let out a collective groan, and then followed that up with laughter.

I’m relatively sure that laughter isn’t the intended reaction from the trailer.

But after having been dealt the one-two punch of the comedy opus The Happening, and the what I’ve heard shitstorm The Last Airbender, I think audiences might be tired of that guy.

It would have been just another funny occurrence in a crowded movie theatre, had it not happened again the very next night.

On Friday night I went and saw the amazing Scott Pilgrim vs The World.

If you were wondering if you should see that movie, the answer is a resounding YES. It’s great in just about every way imaginable.

But before the movie, when the trailer for Devil played, a number of folks in the audience let out groans of displeasure followed by laughter.

Not a good sign for Universal, not a good sign in the least.

FUN FACT: If you run a google search for M. Night Shamalamadingdong, Mr. Shyamalan’s imdb.com site is still the first entry!

The Entity and Raiders of Atlantis

THE ENTITY

The Entity is a movie from 1981 about a lady who get repeatedly raped by a ghost.

Yeah you read that right, it’s a movie about ghost rape.

Ok I know how absurd that sounds, and I realize that it sound a little bit on the horrible side, but it’s actually supposedly based on a true story. So it’s a completely credible movie about ghost rape.

The movie is played almost totally serious, almost like a Lifetime Network drama. Imagine for a moment, a movie about a woman, with three children, and a husband who beats her. The movie is comprised of various scenes of her getting beat up, and then dramatic scenes of her dealing with the problem. In the end she leaves.

Just replace “husband” with “ghost” and “beating” with “rape”.

Which is weird really, this is the sort of movie that you’d expect to be played for exploitation value, but it’s not. It’s genuinely uncomfortable to watch. There is a little bit of absurdest humor to found, just based on the subject matter, but the movie itself isn’t funny.

Ok the end parts are kinda funny, cause they set up this elaborate trap to try and freeze the ghost with liquid helium.

The acting is pretty good around the board, with Barbara Hershey giving a believable performance as the woman. You feel pretty bad for her most of the movie, cause she spend a lot of it getting the crap beat outta her.

This is just one of those movies, that while good, I can’t really recommend to most people. Cause it’s a ‘Woman In Peril’ drama that just happens to feature some crazy supernatural shenanigans, but none of the revenge catharsis that we enjoy from our usual exploitation fare. It’s not really fun, but it’s pretty creepy for the most part.

It’s available on Netflix instant watch.

http://www.youtube.com/v/jjDH7DTVSN0&hl=en_US&fs=1?rel=0

RAIDERS OF ATLANTIS

I saw the trailer for Raiders of Atlantis a few years ago while watching 42nd Street Forever, and just knew I had to see it. It looked like some crazy shenanigans full of silly Road Warrior ripoff type bad guys, and that’s pretty much what it turned out to be.

The movie was directed by Cannibal Holcausot director Ruggero Deodato.

As far as the plot goes, I’m not really sure, there’s very little there. It’s something about some dudes,on a boat, and then some scientists, who’ve found some ancient artifacts near some underwater wreckage, then some stuff about an oil platform, then a giant storm shows up and some really bad miniatures and destroyed, an island pops out of the ocean, and then the Road Warrior guys show up.

From there on it’s just a whole ton of mindless shooting and action. Suffice to say it’s pretty great. It follows the 80’s action movie code of if we can’t have a quality plot, or well thought out action, lets just have more explosions and shooting.

It’s pretty mindless, I honestly didn’t know who half the characters in the movie were for most of the film. But more and more bad dudes keep showing up, and so more people get shot. There’s a bus chases where some guys jump out of a helicopter onto a moving bus, and that was pretty cool. The main characters go to the island that came out of the ocean, which I assume is part of Atlantis, they shoot a whole bunch of dudes, half the main characters die, along with a few side characters, then there’s some lasers or something, and at some point the movie ends.

I watched it like three weeks ago, while I was pretty tired, so I mostly just remember lots of shooting.

I was entertained quite a bit by the movie, despite not having much of an idea as to what was going on besides loud noises and shenanigans. For fans of B action movies from the 80’s there’s quite a bit of enjoyment to be found in Raiders of Atlantis.

Interestingly enough, the movie has never gotten a DVD release in the USA, so I ended up watching it on what appeared to be some sort of Scandinavian VHS rip.

http://www.youtube.com/v/yQ0m-idDCLg&hl=en_US&fs=1?rel=0