Archive for April, 2010

Taxidermia Is Pretty Fucked Up

(Spoilers ahead)

Uncomfortable.

That’s how you feel watching 90% of Taxidermia.

You’ll laugh every once in a while, you’ll cringe more often, and for a good portion of the run time, you’ll wonder why you decided to watch the movie in the first place.

It’s one of those creepy, dirty, fucked up movies that comes from Europe. Like Ex Drummer. It’s like if you mixed Jean-Pierre Jeunet, and David Cronenberg into a nasty Hungarian concoction.

The movie is three vignettes set in different time periods in Hungary, following three generations of a fucked up family line.

The movie starts with a guy and a candle, it seems kinda arty. It’s flickering, the guy is playing with the fire, you wonder why he seems so entranced by it, and then he ejaculates a stream of fire out of his penis. Which you can see in the European poster for the movie to the right.

It’s pretty much right there that you have to decide to either continue watching or to go back to the Netflix menu, cause it’s pretty much all downhill from there.

This dude is our main character for the first 20 minutes or so. He’s got a harelip, is dumb, constantly being a perv, and seems to be the only soldier at an army post. He has a commander who spends all day giving him shit, but you don’t really feel bad for him cause he’s a gross creeper sort of guy. He spends about half his screen time being creepy and ‘batin. At one point he gets his dick pecked by a rooster, which is amusing, and at another point after having creepy/weird fantasies about a younger girl he ejaculates so hard that his seemen flies into space and becomes stars.

Yeah you read that right, he ejaculates into space. WTF?

His sequence ends soon enough, cause after his commander fiends him engaging in some hardcore pig carcass action he gets shot in the head. YAY he’s dead! Unfortunately if you’re still watching at this point, you’ve just had to see a guy have hallucinatory sex with a pig carcass. Ewwww.

And so the second portion of the movie begins. It’s disturbing in totally different ways than the first part! It’s about the son of the guy from part 1 growing up to be a competitive speed eater, coached by the commander from earlier. He’s on the Hungarian speed eating team, and he’s trying to be a world champ. So you get a whole bunch of morbidly obese guys eating a whole lot of food really fast, and then they hold strategy talks over their vomit troughs.

They encourage use of the cross over swallow, it helps for faster food intake.

There’s a love story of sorts involving the new morbidly obese main character falling in love with a large, morbidly obese lady. There’s a happy times montage, and then some betrayal, and then more gross scenes of fat people eating. I haven’t been as grossed out by eating in a movie since I saw Singapore Sling.

Things go on until the fats folks have a kid kid, who in turn end up being quite skinny, creepy looking, and the main character of the third part of the story. He’s like DJ Qualls, If DJ Qualls was more sketchy and evil. They guy loves him some taxidermy. He’s got his own taxidermy shop, full of dead animals and stuff.

His father, the fat dude, has turned into a monstrous, fat, abomination; similar to the fat vampire in the first Blade. He is so big he’s stuck in his apartment, unable to move, where he raises giant cats that eat margarine. Like these a big ass cats. He’s trying to train them to be championship eaters too. He’s brought cady bars by his creepy skinny son who loathes his existence, and eventually gets fed up and lets him die.

His son who is pretty much insane, stuffs his father, stuffs his father’s freaky, huge cats and then performs self taxidermy on himself. In what is probably the most sickening scene in the film, he puts himself into a self-embalming device, removes his own vital organs, leaving his body preserved. Almost the whole sequence is done in close-up, so you’re never quite sure what’s being cut, or how the process is actually being done, but it’s really gross none the less.

What follows next is just one of those ending that stays with you. The final scene is one I shall not ruin. It’s creepy, and wrong, and you just kinda don’t understand the sort of people who could have made such a movie, but it’s borderline brilliant in how wrong it is.

Taxidermia isn’t a movie I can really recommend. Cause most people wouldn’t ever watch something like this. It’s a strange Eastern European social commentary of some sort. I know it’s got some sort of meaning, I’m just not sure what most of it is. Watch Taxidermia if you’re in a bad mood, or if you hate things that are nice, or if you just want to feel a slow retch build in the pit of your stomach.

Uncomfortable. Yup, pretty much sums things up.

Taxidermia is available now for free on Netflix Watch Instantly, just in case you feel like letting your morbid curiosity get the best of you.

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Missing In Action – One of Chuck Norris' Many Adventures In Vietnam

Hey you remember the 1970’s when all the movies about Vietnam were heavy handed and sad? Like The Deer Hunter?

Yeah thank God the 1980’s happened.

That’s when all the movie about Vietnam were about us going back, cleaning shit up, killing the bad guys, and making things right. While not exactly historically accurate, movies like Rambo: First Blood Part II, and Uncommon Valor, pretty much made America feel awesome again as a country. These sort of movies, were a lot less sad, and a whole lot more entertaining.

Which brings us to the movie of the day Missing in Action starring bearded, killing machine Chuck Norris.

Norris stars as a man who went to Vietnam, was stuck in a prison camp for a number of years, and is generally sour about the whole situation in that country. He knows that there are still American men being held prisoner over in ‘Nam despite the fact that the Vietnamese government is denying it.

In fact they’re holding a summit of sorts to publicly announce that the claims of there still being Americans are untrue. But we know they’re lying, and Chuck knows they’re lying, so after having a Vietnam flashback/dream he picks up the phone tells some government people he’ll help ’em, and so he’s off to ‘Nam again as some sort of… ok I’m not totally sure how they explain the reasoning in bringing Chuck to a Vietnamese government function. He’s there, that’s what matters and the movie aint wasting any precious minutes on plot.

Once the meeting starts, this slimy Vietnamese official turns the whole thing into a trial, he puts Chuck on the spot, straight up calls him a war criminal and then brings out a bunch of fake witnesses that say that ole Chuck is a bad man. Chuck goes up to them and they can’t even look him in the eye, cause they feel so bad about having to lie about Chuck, one old dude even apalogizes to him, and Chuck’s like “Hey man, it’s ok, I know you don’t have a choice”.

Chuck then calls the slimy officials assholes and leaves.

Later that night, he hits on the American chick that came to ‘Nam with him so  he can get into her room, then he promptly dresses like a ninja, sneaks out, and fins that slimy official. He sneaks into the guys bedroom holds a knife to his throat and demands to know where the POW’s are. The guy tries to lie to Chuck, and then winds up dead when he tries to shoot him in the back. This sequence ends with the evil Vietnamese army guys chasing Norris all the way back to the hotel that he’s staying at, so right when he sneaks back in he grabs the chick from earlier, pulls of her top, jumps into bed with her, and then they begin to pretend they’ve been doing it all night when the army breaks into the hotel room. It’s all kinds of amazing.

So is told to leave the country or he’ll get killed, so he goes to find an old Vietnam friend of his, whom he finds in the middle of a silly bar fight, and they buy some weapons and a raft. Not just any raft mind you, but one made out of Kevlar! So it’s bullet proof, which’ll turn out to be very convenient later. The best thing about this scene is that Chuck decides to haggle with the arms dealer who sells him all the stuff, by threatening to kill him. It’s right then that the dealer forgets he has armed goons, and somehow Chuck walks out of the deal with a bunch of stuff on the cheap. Chuck actually does most of his negotiating in the movie via threats of violence, he’s not much of talker.

A guy jumps out of an armoire and tries to kill Chuck, later there’s a car chase, and then Chuck an his friend head upriver to wherever the prison camp is. They show up at night, and Chuck blows up pretty much the entire camp, and kills all the bad dudes there without even the slightest bit of trouble. Except it turns out that they’ve just moved all the Americans cause they knew Chuck was coming.

DAMNIT! Oh wait, they have a super fast motorized raft with a mounted machine gun, they can totally catch up to the convoy and shoot the fuck out of it!

So they do. It’s pretty amusing cause like half the sequence is you just wondering why the bad guys can’t shoot Chuck Norris and his raft, and then you remember it’s cause the raft is bullet poof, and so is Mr. Norris. They do blow up the raft with a rocket launcher in the end, but that just gives Chuck Norris an excuse to rise up out of the water like a bad-ass, and blow away the remaining bad dudes in slow motion.

Then there’s some more chasing, some more shooting, a helicopter shows up, and eventually the day is saved.

Missing in Action is a quintessential 80’s action movie. Low on plot, carried on the shoulders of a famous macho guy with limited acting range, and has a decent amount of shooting and explosions. It’s not the best, Rambo is better, but Missing in Action will provide you with the Chuck Norris and action fix you need. It’s competent for the 80’s and it is better than some of the other movies put out by the prolific Cannon Films, it’s slightly more serious than the ninja centric fare of the later 80’s. It’s also got two sequels Missing in Action 2: The Beginning, and Braddock: Missing in Action 3.

Missing in Action was directed by Joseph Zito who would later direct another film starring Norris, Invasion USA. Invasion USA is a much more amusing movie, cause it’s essentially about Communists invading South Florida, and having almost all of their evil plots stopped by Chuck.

The bottom line is: If you’re in the mood for seeing some Vietcong get demolished by a bullet proof American then Missing in Action will make your day.

Peelander Z at Common Grounds – Gainesville, Fl – April 23, 2010

So I went to see the band Peelander Z at Common Grounds last Saturday night.

They’re a Japanese punk rock band, that wear brightly colored outfits, have costumes, and have a great deal of audience involvement. There’s a giant squid, limbo, crowd surfing, chants, hand motions, silly wigs, conga lines, loud punk music, multiple choice song selection, and they gave out drumsticks and various pans to hit.

It was incredible fun and full of joyous spectacle.

They’re pretty awesome to say the least, if you ever have a chance to check them out live I wholeheartedly recommend it.

Here’s a bunch of pictures:

[nggallery id=2]

SO YEAH TOTALLY AWESOME!

TNA Wrestling at Universal Studios

ANGRY FACE

So I took a trip to Universal Studios Orlando yesterday.

I haven’t been to Universal in a number of years for anything but Halloween Horror Nights; 2006 might have been the last time I was there proper.

I went with four friends from work, Jay, Kato, Alec, and Adrian.

Since it was a Tuesday, and not during a vacation season, the two parks weren’t all that crowded, most of the rides had lines of 10 minutes or less, which made the day super awesome.

We did Islands of Adventure, in the first half of the day, and then went to the studio.

First thing I noticed is that Nickelodeon Studios is closed.

I guess it closed a while ago, but I had no idea. It’s weird, when you’re a kid, Nickelodeon is such a huge part of the Universal and now it is a building for The Blue Man Group. Not as Fun.

But it turned out that TNA Wrestling was filming a show that day in one of the studio buildings, and my friend Kato loves wrestling.

He loves wrestling as much as I love terrible movies.

I’ve never seen professional wrestling live before, and I have to say it was pretty amusing. I was into wrestling when I was 10 or so and would watch it on Saturday nights on TV, but that phase of my television viewing history didn’t last too long. I could just never really get into the silly story lines and rivalries, and never really got into the actually wrestling beyond the shenanigans and chair hitting.

TNA Wrestling is from my understanding a considerably smaller operation than the WWE, WCW, ECW, and various other acronyms were/are. I guess they get a lot of the wrestlers who don’t want to be a part of WWE anymore, so they’ve got a few faces I recognized from my childhood. Like STING, and HULK HOGAN!

Honestly when I was younger I never realized that Sting was just a dude who saw The Crow too many times and had a scorpion on his shirt.

Never really noticed the similarities when I was younger

Sting was wearing a Sting shirt. Kinda lazy promotion really. I know he’s not nearly as famous as he once was, but come on, wearing your own shirt?


At one point there were two dudes with Mohawks wrestling!

TWO GUYS WITH MOHAWKS!

Hulk Hogan showed up at the end to call Ric Flair a cheater, he tried to win using brass knuckles. OMG!

Then he spent a few minutes posing and talking about the pay per view event that was coming up, not the coolest thing ever, but still it isn’t everyday you get to see The Hulkster.

LET ME HEAR YOU SAY IT. PAY PER VIEW!!!

So while I’m not really into the whole wrestling thing at all anymore, I did enjoy my TNA experience a whole lot. It was fun, silly, and full of body slams.

My only complaint is that nobody pulled a RAM JAM.

Officially moved to Jonisthebest.com

So yeah I decided to just move everything to Jonisthebest.com

CHEERS!

Japandroids

I, much like a lot of people first heard of Japandroids last year from the pitchfork review.

An 8.3 on pitchfork usually means that the music is something I’d hate, but I’m glad we agree every once in a while.

I downloaded their album, gave it a quick skim and kinda forgot about it for a bit.

Last summer I was on a trip to San Francisco and saw that they were playing in town, so I decided to see how they were live. Turns out it was pretty amazing. The guys just have such an earnest quality, a lot of emotionality if you will, that translates to something amazing when you’re literally a foot away from them.

I remember waiting over 90 minutes to try and get a ticket for the small venue, The Hemlock Tavern. I can’t really remember too many specifics about the show itself, I remember hearing a good number of the songs off of their album Post Nothing, and they closed their set with an awesome cover of Mclusky’s To Hell With Good Intentions. It was easily one of my favorite shows of 2009, I took a ton of really awesome pictures of them performing, and got them to autograph a vinyl copy of their album for me. It was a pretty awesome way to spend my last night in California.

Since then I’ve revisited Post Nothing a whole ton of times, and can easily say that it is one of the best records of 2009.

It starts off with a song song that perfectly conveys the feel you’re gonna get from the whole rest of the album. The Boys Are Leaving Town begins with 15 seconds of single not strumming before the fuzz soaked chords blast out. They don’t sound harsh, just fuzzy. While all the songs are fuzz drenched, it never becomes a wall of noise, it’s always got a nice melody under the surface, there always sounds like there’s something more than the fuzzz, and that’s what helps to make them sound great.

At 35 seconds the drums kick in. To guys, one guitarist, and one drummer.

There’s a total of two lines in the song “They Boys Are Leaving Town, Will We Find Our Way Back Home“. They’re repeated, sometimes with both members of the band singing at the same time, sometimes with Whoooaaaa thrown in, but that pretty much sums up the song writing style of a lot the album. Instead of lots of filler lyrics they just say what’s important and say it simply and repeat it.

A lot of the lyrical content seems to take place in between those lyrics, about the life that comes after leaving town, growing up, coming to terms with the changes involved with coming into the world, and what to make of it. It’s a relationship album too, about half the songs are about girls.

The song Young Hearts Spark Fire has the lines: We used to dream, Now we worry about dying, I don’t wanna worry about dying, I just wanna worry about those sunshine girls. It just feels so real, without attempting to poeticize things, they just say how they feel, they sing it in harmony, and it sounds 100% genuine.

That’s the best thing I can say about Japandroids as a band, they always sound 100% genuine. There’s no irony to their music, they’re just two dudes, singing and playing their hearts out.

And they play those hearts out quite well. There’s some great riffs on the album, Crazy/Forever has a stand out catchy riff, while most of the other songs have various different sounds that string through different harmonies. There’s no solos or guitar heroism if you will, but there’s this dynamic to most of the songs, where the heavier and lighter parts of the chords being played stand out from each other. Sometimes you’ll hear the crunch and then part of the chord will change and you’ll hear the brighter notes changing through the fuzz. It all sounds quite dynamic, even though a good portion of the songs are just chord progression. The progressions never seem like filler cause there isn’t your common AB, AB, C, AB son structure, so the songs always sound large, and formidable.

They’re lo-fi if lo-fi sounded a lot better, and they’re refreshing in this time of generally shitty rock. They’re a breathe of fresh air, without pretense, but full of ambition. Suffice to say Post Nothing is a great album. Japandroids is an awesome band, and I hope that they continue being awesome in the future.

Speaking of the future I guess I should mention their new single that you can listen to on their myspace. It’s called Art Czars and it’s super awesome.


I’m really sorry if you want more screaming
You missed my heart but you’ve got my ears bleeding
Here’s your money back
Here’s your punk rock back

Biscuit Gravy Cheeseburger

I’m gonna start this one by putting it all out front.

I love Waffle House.

El Casa De Waffle-o.

Their waffles are on the list of my favorite, mouthgasmic foods. I love the sketchy atmosphere, the sometimes creepy employees, the questionable sanitation, and the crazy songs about raisin toast they have on their jukeboxes.

It was a little after midnight when Drew, Alec, and I went to waffle house for some late night foodstuffs. I remembered reading a post on Grocery Eats about a biscuit and gravy cheeseburger. Essentially a cheeseburger with a biscuit for a bun, with some gravy on it.

I figured that would be worth trying, but unfortunately the waffle house we went too isn’t the best with having it your way and wouldn’t just make me a biscuit with a hamburger patty. So I just ended up getting their dollar cheeseburger with tomato and a side of biscuit gravy, cause I figured I like buns more than biscuits anyways.

So it was pretty much just a cheeseburger with onions, tomato, a smidgen of mayo, and biscuit gravy.

In a word: AWESOME.

I don’t know why they just don’t offer this as an actual menu item. It’s like a wonderful combination of lunch an breakfast, all in one sandwich. It tastes like what you’d expect biscuit gravy to taste like on a cheeseburger, but it’s one of those things, where you just can’t believe it isn’t more prevalent. The tomato though, really holds together the whole thing, it provides a nice mellow base to an unhealthy item.

Why don’t they just add this to the menu and call it the Country Breakfast Burger or something like that?

The world may never know…